Last column of 2012-13, last time we salute some local collegiates' athletic achievements. Please be seated, this will take awhile ...
Waubonsie Valley graduate Shakeia Pinnick, who just finished her studies in family and community development at Arizona State, was named the outstanding women's athlete at the Pac-12 Track and Field Championships for her performances over successive weekends. First "Keia" won the heptathlon with a personal-record 5,801 points, fourth nationally. Then, the day after the dean's list student graduated she contributed more than a quarter of the ninth-ranked Sun Devils' 110.33 points. Pinnick finished third in the 100-meter hurdles in a personal-record 13.17 seconds -- fifth fastest in school history -- fourth in the 400 hurdles and ran on a second-place 1,600 relay that was ninth fastest in ASU history. At this week's NCAA Division I championships Pinnick was qualified in the 400 hurdles, the 400 relay and heptathlon -- after which she hopes to both gain a pro contract and represent the United States at the World Championships this August in Russia according to her mother, Deidre.
Pinnick's Waubonsie teammate, Illinois' Morolake Akinosun, is also at Eugene, Ore. She's the only freshman woman to have qualified in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Akinosun also runs the second leg of Illinois' third-seeded 1,600 relay that set a school record of 3 minutes, 30.76 seconds at the West Preliminary Round. Illinois junior Katie Porada (Benet) finished two slots away from qualifying in the 1,500 at the West Preliminary in Austin.
The men's Division I championships also brings in former prep teammates. Wisconsin junior Danny Block (Lake Park), the ninth-ranked Badgers' record holder in discus (200 feet, 4 inches) and shot put (65-7½), will compete in shot put. Sophomore Zach Ziemek is in the decathlon field after his Big Ten Conference title. A Lake Park superstar in triple jump and pole vault, Ziemek ran a wind-aided 100-meter time of 10.60 that is Wisconsin's fastest this season.
Notre Dame third baseman Eric Jagielo (Downers Grove North) was among 30 semifinalists for USA Baseball's Golden Spikes Award, best player in the country. The junior was the Big East player of the year and hit .388 with 19 doubles, 9 home runs, 53 runs batted-in, a .500 on-base percentage and a .633 slugging percentage. Only five players in the country had both a higher average and more home runs. Jagielo reached base in 54 of 56 games.
Waubonsee Community College's baseball team (38-24-1) finished third in the country, ending its season at the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III World Series Tournament with a program wins record. That helped Waubonsee earn the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference All-Sports Trophy for the third time in four years. The Chiefs have several players from Waubonsie Valley -- freshman shortstop Ryan Vega, sophomores Kyle Limanowski, Harry Vickers and Chris Anderson. A pitcher, Anderson was named to the World Series All-Tournament Team and was second in NJCAA Division III in complete games with 9, 10th in wins with 8.
Freshman Antwon James (Glenbard East) became Concordia's first track All-America since 1992 and first male All-America, period. He'd qualified for Division III nationals with a leap of 23-7½ at North Central College. On James' first preliminary jump at the big meet in LaCrosse he went 23-8½, which held up for eighth place. Earlier at the Northern Athletics Conference meet he was named both freshman of the meet and its all-around male athlete.
Another Concordia athlete, junior pitcher Steve Cox (Willowbrook) was a D3baseball.com first-team Midwest Region pick. Cox converted 100 percent of his save opportunities, a program-record 13 tied for third in Division III. The closer struck out 20 batters in 16 innings and didn't allow an earned run to help the Cougars win a record 39 games and earn a No. 16 ranking by D3baseball.com, Concordia's highest ever.
Illinois State sophomore distance runner Kelly McShea (St. Francis) was named to the Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete Team due to her 3.42 grade-point average in elementary education paired with her four all-conference track honors this year. That includes her second-place 1,500-meter and 3,000 steeplechase finishes this spring.
In De Pere, Wis., Kelly's older sister, Erin, was a senior at St. Norbert College. She won the 800-meter run at the Midwest Conference meet. Illinois College junior Chandler Polyte (Naperville North) won pole vault in the men's competition.
North Central sophomore Emily Dierking (Naperville Central) was among many athletes who helped the Cardinals women win the CCIW outdoor track meet for the second time in three years. Dierking placed second in triple jump to help North Central to a 58-point margin of victory over Illinois Wesleyan. Winners there included Illinois Wesleyan's Nia Joiner (Glenbard North) in long jump and Wheaton's Alexa Sharkey (Wheaton Academy) in the 1,600 relay. At the CCIW men's meet, also won by North Central, Illinois Wesleyan junior Joey Pacione (Lake Park) successfully defended his triple jump title; Wheaton's James Waterman (Wheaton North) won steeplechase. Incidentally, Wesleyan's Danny Krob (Wheaton Warrenville South) was voted "best newcomer" to the men's program.
Augustana junior Lizzie Lundeen (Willowbrook) earned "most improved" honors by the Augustana women's track program. Classmates Kristyn Barton (York) and Johanna Schnitzler (Downers Grove South) were chosen as co-captains for 2013-14. On the men's side, sophomore Antonio Owens (Naperville North) was named most improved after helping Augie to national runner-up in the 1,600-meter relay. At the Drake Relays he helped set a school record. Junior Chris Madison (Downers South) was named a co-captain for 2013-14.
Augustana media guru Dave Wrath is a 24/7 guy. He points out that left fielder Laura Behnke (St. Francis) was the softball team's MVP, and outfielder Chelsea Lavin (Downers South) shared top defensive honors. Both are sophomores. Behnke, the first-team all-Great Lakes Region leadoff hitter, led the Vikings in 10 offensive categories. In eight postseason games she hit .556 with a slugging percentage of .925. Her 66 hits set the program mark.
Augustana shortstop Jeremy Juhl (Glenbard East) concluded college ninth in program history in hits and at-bats, 176 and 514, respectively.
Another former Ram, Hayley Cardinal, was just named outstanding freshman female athlete at Lawrence University. She broke school records in both the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke, finishing top-three in each at the Midwest Conference meet. She also swam on two record-setting relays -- and in the spring earned a letter in track.
Glenbard East grads enjoyed a banner spring. Senior pitcher Andrew Edwards of Beloit College ended college ranked fourth in all-time ERA at Beloit and on the all-Midwest Conference team.
Ben Krusen (Glenbard West), a sophomore, led all North Central College pitchers with a 2.27 ERA in a team-high 63.3 innings pitched. His ERA ranks sixth in program history and his 65 strikeouts are tied for fifth. Krusen was a second-team pick in the CCIW while Wheaton College's Justin Swider (Wheaton North), Elmhurst's Dave Wolak (Glenbard North), North Park's Eric Sousanes (Waubonsie Valley) and Carthage College's Mark Mantucca (Naperville Central) were first-team picks.
Tim Zyburt (Wheaton Warrenville South), a freshman outside hitter at Nazareth College in New York, had 4 kills in the Golden Flyers' three-game, Division III championship-match loss to Springfield (Ma.). The 6-foot-6 Zyburt pounded a team-high 330 kills and 385 points while playing in all 38 games for 36-2 Nazareth. Chris George, a freshman setter from Downers North, also was on the squad.
In Division I volleyball, Thomas Jaeschke (WW South) and Loyola lost to eventual national champion California-Irvine in a semifinal. On the year the 6-6 freshman outside hitter recorded 344 kills and 162 digs. In the other semifinal, Brigham Young beat a Penn State team that includes freshmen Zack Parik (Downers North), Spencer Sauter (Naperville North) and Matt Callaway (WW South).
In Division III, Carthage College outside hitter Jon Storm (Neuqua Valley) averaged 3.53 kills per set -- Carthage's fifth best mark -- and a .308 attack percentage to be named second-team All-America by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, as well as all-Continental Volleyball Conference West Division.
Former Neuqua Valley classmates Aryan Avant and Cale Brown helped get Carthage's 1,600 relay to the Division III national championships. Third in the 200 and fourth in the 400 at the CCIW outdoor meet, Avant was Carthage's track event MVP.
Swimmer Genevieve Spittler (Benet), who recently graduated with a nursing degree plus minors in biology and gender and women's studies from St. Mary's College (Ind.), was presented the Belles' 2013 Leadership Award. The team captain swam the third-fastest 200 butterfly in program history while serving as liaison between her team and her coach, who was part-time without an office on campus. A member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, during college Spittler served as president of the Student Nursing Association and was a nursing peer mentor. Also: Student Government Association, Residence Hall Association, Alumnae Board, Belles Against Violence Advisory Committee. Four times on the dean's list, twice on the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association honor roll, she participated in St. Mary's Intercultural Leadership Program which requires monthly and bimonthly meetings, 50 hours minimum of community-based learning and -- for one year each -- mentoring by local and international leaders. When nursing clinicals forced her to miss team practices "Gen" returned to the pool to swim on her own. Inspiring.
Grand Valley State senior pitcher Anthony Campanella (late, great Driscoll Catholic) was named first-team all-region and honorable-mention All-America by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. He went 10-5 with a 2.24 ERA and threw 3 shutouts to give him the Lakers' all-time record of 5. The right-hander's 104.2 innings pitched were only the second time a Grand Valley pitcher has topped 100 innings. In conference Campanella held hitters to a .194 average.
Aurora University senior designated player Stephanie Lynch (Naperville Central) earned first-team Great Lakes Region and third-team All-America by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. Helping the Spartans to a 39-8 record and the Northern Athletics Conference title, Lynch had a team-leading .425 average with 44 runs scored and 24 driven in.
On the other side of the NAC, Benedictine senior shortstop Nick Karakosta (Addison Trail) was first-team NAC and second-team all-region by D3baseball.com. He hit .402 and reached base in his first 35 games with a 20-game hitting streak. Karakosta led the league with 50 RBI and set a team record with 26 doubles.
Shifting briefly to football, on May 13 North Central College announced its players named to the National Football Foundation's Hampshire Honor Society Class of 2013. They include senior linebacker Alex Pirela (West Chicago) and senior running back Nick Kukuc (Naperville Central), who finished as the Cardinals' leader in all-purpose yardage, points and touchdowns. Both players maintained at least a 3.2 GPA.
Augustana sophomore attack Christina Letmanski (Glenbard West) was named first-team Great Lakes Region by the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association after leading the Vikings with 52 goals and 33 assists. Letmanski and teammates such as regional second-team midfielder Kendall Maduro (Neuqua Valley) paced an 8-0 record in the Midwest Women's Lacrosse Conference in their first year in the league. Maduro was conference rookie of the year.
Another first-team MWLC selection was North Central College attacker Danielle Fiala (Naperville North). The senior scored 56 goals with 20 assists to help lead the Cardinals to their best season ever, 12-5. Her 7 goals against Fontbonne tied the program record; her goal 10 seconds in against Puget Sound set one. Fiala ended college as program leader in goals and assists, 165 and 32, respectively.
Matching his prep honor at Downers Grove South, junior Brian Sorich was named MVP of Illinois Wesleyan's men's tennis team. He totaled 26 wins between singles and doubles play and was a first-team all-CCIW pick.
Wisconsin-Whitewater sophomore pitcher Bekka Houda (Lisle) earned first-team honors in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. She was all over the leader board. Houda led the league in opponents' batting average, was second in strikeouts (and batters caught looking), third in wins and earned run average, etcetera. She lists macaroni and cheese as her favorite food on her Warhawks biography.
More Whitewater: It competed in its first National Collegiate Athletic Association Women's Bowling Championship, the only Division III team there. Sophomore Dayna Mackie (Glenbard East) helped the Warhawks earn the top-eight national finish. During the season she finished fourth of 87 bowlers at the Central Missouri Invitational, and toppled at least 200 pins seven times with a high of 254. In March she registered the fifth-highest series in Whitewater history, 722.
In early April the Millikin men's golf team set a record for a low 18-hole team score of 275 at the Big Blue's own Spring Shootout in Decatur. Helping the cause were junior Brian Barry (Downers North) and sophomore Mike Bubenicek (Downers South), who each shot a 2-under-par 70 at Red Tail Run. The next weekend they helped compile Millikin's lowest two-round score at the Weist Foundation Classic. Barry won the tourney and Bubenicek's round of 67 tied for the Big Blue's second-lowest all-time.
Big-time players of the week: Purdue freshman pitcher Lily Fecho (Glenbard North), Big Ten softball; DePaul sophomore designated player Mary Connolly (West Chicago), Big East (also all-conference). Also: Loyola freshman pitcher Kristina Vizza (Naperville Central), Horizon League softball; Illinois-Chicago sophomore pitcher Tomas Michelson (Neuqua Valley), Horizon League baseball (also all-conference). Connolly was named all-Great Lakes Region after hitting .331 with a team-high 10 home runs, 41 RBI and 95 total bases.
Max Obriecht (Naperville North) became the first player in Aurora University lacrosse's brief history to earn All-America honors, an honorable-mention pick by Laxpower.com. The Midwest Lacrosse Conference offensive player of the year led the Spartans with 53 goals and added 32 assists, winning 223 of 347 faceoffs. At midfield he helped Aurora to a program-record 16 wins, a 10-0 conference mark and its first visit to the national playoffs. Sophomore attacker Danny Loyall (Naperville Central) was named the MLC player of the week when the Spartans capped their 10-0 league record.
On May 1, William and Mary announced basketball player Tim Rusthoven (Wheaton Academy) as its most improved player. Starting 29 of 30 games, the 6-foot-9 junior forward averaged 14.4 points and 7 rebounds, the Tribe's highest rebounding average since 2002. Rusthoven's field goal percentage of .56 led the Colonial Athletic Association and ranked 26th nationally. His five double-doubles were W & M's most since 2004-05, his 16 rebounds against Hofstra the most since 1995-96.
Early this outdoor track season, back in March, Iowa junior Jasmine Simpson (Glenbard South) set the Hawkeyes women's mark in the hammer throw, at 197 feet, 7 inches at the Alabama Relays. She was also an Academic All-Big Ten athlete.
On April 16, Carthage junior Andrew Arenson (Naperville North) threw a 7-inning no-hitter in a 4-0 win over Lakeland. Striking out 10 batters while walking just one, it was Carthage's first solo no-hitter since 1999.
At the Drake Relays, Illini junior Meghan Frigo (York) ran the 10,000-meter race for the first time -- and finished in 36:15.85 to rank eighth in Illini history. At Benedictine University's Eagle Invitational, one of Frigo's prep competitors, Carthage junior Katie Kummerer (Hinsdale Central), ran the 5K in a school-record time of 17:51.16.
At North Central's First Chance Meet, Wheaton College senior Shannon McNeil (Timothy Christian) went 5-6 in high jump to set the school record. Last year she ran on the record-setting 400 relay.
Last but certainly not least -- he may become an Olympian -- Arizona sophomore swimmer Kevin Cordes (Neuqua Valley) is headed to the World Championship Trials in Indianapolis on June 25. The top two nationally in each stroke advance to the FINA World Championships in Barcelona in July and considering last week Cordes won both the 100 and 200 breast stroke among a cast of Olympians at the Arena Grand Prix, he's got a good chance. The Pac-12 and NCAA swimmer of the year, Cordes swam with Matt Grevers and Ryan Lochte at the Short Course World Championships in Istanbul in December. At the NCAA meet Cordes won the 100 breast a second straight year and broke NCAA, American and U.S. Open records in both the 100 (50.74 seconds) and 200 (1:48.68) breast. In a school-record 400 relay he ran the fastest split (49.56) in relay history. All-Pac-12 academically, he carries a 3.5 GPA in pre-business studies.
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