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updated: 5/31/2013 10:47 PM

Harper's Cunningham, Lorenz and Gatz makes commitments

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By Jonathan Cregier

A trio of Harper College male athletes have made commitments to continue their sports pursuits at four-year schools.

If you had to use just one word to describe Hawks runner Troy Cunningham it would be "winner."

"When it comes to the big meets, that's when I really perform," Cunningham said of his sterling results in major championships.

The Conant grad is looking to add to his three team championships at Harper -- two in cross country, one in track and field -- along with individual championships in the 800 meters, the 1500 and the 4x800 relay, as well as an individual title in cross country.

Cunningham's next challenges await him at NCAA Division II Wisconsin-Parkside, where he received a scholarship.

"Based on his ability he should be one of their top seven guys," Harper cross country coach Jim Macnider said.

Still undecided about a major, Cunningham is leaning toward sports managment, which is a new program the school is offering.

"Getting to know some of the guys on the team made it more comfortable to me," Cunningham said of his official visit. "I can play a big part in this cross country season."

For the track team, Cunningham will likely run the 800 and 1,500 meters. He may also run the 400.

"I think he will ge a good fit" Macnider said.

Basketball: Guards John Lorenz (Elk Grove) and Garett Gatz (Conant) were the final two sophmores from the Harper men's basketball team to make college commitments. Lorenz chose to continue his career at Illinois Institute of Technology, and he will major in business.

Lorenz said he'd never heard of the school before being introduced to the program by a friend, and he likes the idea of getting starting minutes for the Scarlet Hawks.

IIT was a member of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference last season. In September, IIT will jump from being an NAIA member to an NCAA Division III school.

The Scarlet Hawks finished 4-14 last season, but Lorenz hopes he can help turn the program around.

"My goal is to get us over a .500 winning percentage," he said.

• After redshirting the 2011-2012 season, Gatz made a full recovery from an ankle injury suffered in the fourth game of the most recent season. He recently committed to CCIW member North Park.

"I'm excited to play good players and good teams," Gatz said about competing in the midwest's premier NCAA Division III conference.

North Park finished last season 6-19 overall and 1-13 in the CCIW. Despite the Vikings' record, Gatz said he believes his new team will find success.

"They both fit really well (with their new teams)," said Harper coach Tony Amarino. "They're both going to have a chance to make an impact and play.

"Both players will be missed at Harper, on and off the court. Both were character kids for us. We wish them the best, and we're glad they are going to continue to play basketball."

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