With half the season in the books for the North Central football team, there is no doubt who its offensive MVP has been.
In his second full season as quarterback Spencer Stanek has led the Cardinals to a 5-0 record, 2-0 in the CCIW after Saturday's 55-7 victory over Millikin.
This week the senior won the CCIW Offensive Player of the Week award, making him the first player in the conference to win the award three times this year. Stanek also received the honor after both of the first two games of the season. The North Central offense put up 41 points in those games against University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and Wisconsin-Stout, respectively.
Stanek's success this year has come from his ability to be a dual-threat quarterback. He leads his team in rushing touchdowns with 5 and has thrown for 15. He has rushed for 203 yards averaging 4.6 yards per attempt, an especially impressive performance for quarterbacks who often have diminished rushing yards when factoring in sacks.
Defenses aren't able to load up the box against Stanek either. The North Central quarterback is completing more than 76 percent of his passes and averaging 278 yards a game through the air with only 1 interception on the year. Stanek is leading the conference in passing yards and has the third highest passing efficiency in the country.
In last week's blowout win only one of Stanek's 16 passes touched the ground. The senior had 252 total yards between rushing and passing.
Stanek has the Cardinals sitting comfortably right now ranked No. 4 in the country in Division III, but their toughest tests are yet to come. After games against North Park and Carthage, both teams just 1-4 so far, North Central plays back-to-back games against No. 23-ranked Illinois Wesleyan and No. 13 Wheaton College. The latter of those two is especially important not only to North Central but specifically to Stanek.
In last year's battle between Wheaton and North Central for the Little Brass Bell, Wheaton beat the home team Cardinals by two touchdowns and forced a three-way tie between the two schools and Elmhurst for the CCIW conference title.
In that same game Stanek had his most impressive performance of the year. Stanek threw for a season high 334 yards, but his team lost by two touchdowns to the Thunder. Like North Central, Wheaton is undefeated so far on the season.
Two Benedictine women's tennis players were named to the all-NACC team following the fall season. Seniors Kam Haifleigh and Vivianna Iway were announced as an all-conference doubles pairing and Haifleigh was also recognized as all-conference in singles.
As a pair they went 8-4 on the season while competing in the No. 1 doubles position. This is the second year in a row Haifleigh and Vivianna have played together. Individually Hafleigh went 10-2 while moving between the second third and fourth position. She finished the season winning her final six conference matches.
The two seniors will be key for the Eagles if they hope to have any run in the spring's conference tournament. As a team Benedictine went 6-5 in conference and will be the No. 5 seed playing Aurora in their first match. When the two schools faced off this fall Aurora won 6-3.