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updated: 12/4/2013 6:22 PM

The inbox is bursting with college achievers

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  • Sean Mogan

    Sean Mogan

  • Jessica Vitale

    Jessica Vitale

  • Jackie Vitale

    Jackie Vitale


Last week we said there were athletic college achievers to come. We weren't kidding ...

Harvard senior tight end Cam Brate (Naperville Central) earned unanimous first-team Ivy League honors a second straight season. A 2012 Capital One Academic All-America who this year was a candidate for the National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Award and semifinalist for the NFF's William V. Campbell Trophy, this economics concentrator finished his college career fourth in Harvard history with 18 touchdown receptions, ninth in receiving yards and 12th in receptions. On Monday he also was named to the FCS all-New England Team.

Also all-New England was Dartmouth senior linebacker Michael Runger (Benet). The team's leading tackler with 85 and 212 in his career, Runger was a repeat Capital One Academic all-District selection. The economics major with a 3.77 grade-point average finished his career with a season-high 15 tackles in a 28-24 win over Princeton, earning Ivy League defensive player of the week for the fourth time, a school record. He also was a repeat choice for all-Ivy League First Team.

Michigan State senior setter Kristen Kelsay (St. Francis) was a Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, racking up a 3.85 GPA in her major, psychology. A Big Ten sportsmanship award recipient for a second consecutive season, she's also a prime candidate for third straight all-Big Ten Academic and Distinguished Scholar honors. The two-time team captain and four-year starter amassed 2,826 assists, fifth all time at Michigan State; her 125 matches played are tied for eighth.

More All-District picks: In volleyball, West Virginia senior libero Liz Gulick (WW South) -- a 4.00 in elementary education, she repeats as all-District and academic all-Big 12; North Dakota sophomore libero Lauren Clarke (Waubonsie Valley), another 4.00 student, in chemical engineering. In football, Dayton sophomore safety Danny Leach (Downers Grove South). Augustana middle linebacker Erik Westerberg (York) was just named as an Academic All-America for a third straight season, carrying a 3.85 GPA in math and secondary education. He's received a National Football Foundation Postgraduate Scholarship and is among 10 finalist for another top prize in Division III football -- the Gagliardi Trophy, which since 1993 has honored football players excelling on the field, in the classroom and in service. The winner will be announced Dec. 18. Westerberg led Augustana with tackles for a third straight season, with 78 and 10.5 for loss.

Leading all freshmen at the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin men's cross country meet, Augustana's Michael Whaley (Neuqua Valley) was named the CCIW newcomer of the year. Junior Lizzie Lundine (Willowbrook) helped the Vikings women to their first CCIW title since 1998.

Benedictine University junior running back Artie Monaco (Lake Park) was a first-team offense selection in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. The versatile 190-pounder ran for 288 yards, had 272 yards in receptions, returned punts for 89 yards and returned kickoffs for 398 yards with a 100-yard return for touchdown against Aurora University.

Jordan Myers (Waubonsie Valley), a junior goalkeeper for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater women's soccer team, is the program's all-time leader in solo shutouts. Earning her second straight all-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honor, she helped the 17-1-4 Warhawks set a program record for victories in their best season in history. Whitewater went 8-0 to win the WIAC a fourth straight season and took its sole loss in the second round of the Division III Tournament. Myers allowed 19 goals in 22 games for a goals-against average of 0.88 with an .806 save percentage and 6 solo shutouts.

DePaul senior middle blocker Natalie Rizzo (Glenbard East) ended her volleyball career on a high note, a season-best .714 hitting percentage and 10 kills in a loss to Xavier on Nov. 23. Rizzo finished her career with 290 blocks, the most for any Blue Demon since the team joined the Big East in 2005. Her hitting percentage of .325 was the second-best season mark in DePaul history.

Army junior midfielder Sean Mogan (Benet) led the Black Knights soccer team in scoring with a career-high 10 points on 3 goals and 4 assists, earning all-Patriot League honors in the process. Mogan picked up an assist in Army's first Patriot League Championship appearance since 1996; he helped the side to a 12-3-3 record, the fifth time in the program reached 12 wins and the first time since 1993.

Chris Siemers (Fenton), head coach of the Colorado School of Mines men's cross country team, engineered a fifth-place Orediggers finish at the Division II National Championships in Spokane, Wash. As interim coach for men's and women's cross in 2012 the two-time Olympic Trials qualifier directed both to nationals and was named CaptainU Division II coach of the year. Chris succeeded older brother Art Siemers, now head coach at Colorado State. Art Siemers took the Rams to the Division I nationals for the first time in nine years, earning 26th place.

Augustana sophomore tennis player Cassie Kovach (Benet) earned first-team all-conference in the CCIW. Combining singles and doubles play Kovach went 17-6, leading the Vikings in victories in each aspect.

Southern Illinois University volleyball's Hannah Kaminsky (Benet) was named Missouri Valley Conference freshman of the year, the Salukis' first since 1996. The 5-foot-11 setter was named MVC freshman of the week four times and led her team with 1,196 assists. She was fourth in the MVC in assists, sixth in aces, and helped 20-13 SIU reach the conference tournament finals for the first time since 2002.

Carthage College senior Katie Kummerer (Hinsdale Central), third place at the CCIW women's cross country meet, advanced to the Division III national championships for a second straight season, only the second Carthage woman to do so. After a 112th-place finish in 2012 she sliced that in half with a 56th-place in Hanover, Ind.

Old school: Southern Illinois announced its All-Century Team for football, and the members were honored at a banquet in September. Locals who made the cut were quarterback Rick Johnson (Wheaton North), punter Scott Ravanesi (Glenbard North) and kicker Craig Coffin (Downers South).

Wisconsin-Whitewater is great about sending us stuff. The tennis-playing Vitale twins out of Lake Park, Jackie and Jessica, made it to state as a preps doubles team. They've since helped the Warhawks win the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference women's titles title four seasons straight, and 10-0 overall this fall. Spanning singles and doubles play Jackie went 22-8 while Jessica went 18-9 and won No. 6 singles at the WIAC meet.

Players of the week: Wheaton College freshman swimmer Erin Bagley (WW South), Lawrence University sophomore swimmer Hayley Cardinal (Glenbard East), Illinois senior cross country runner Katie Porada (Benet), Northern Illinois senior soccer player Courtney Ksiazek (Neuqua Valley), Ripon freshman volleyball player Abbi Williamson (Naperville Central), Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne freshman soccer player Andie Lazzerini (West Chicago), Wheaton senior goalkeeper Kelsey Graham (WW South).

Also: Indiana senior kicker Mitch Ewald (Waubonsie Valley), North Central senior linebacker Nick Slezak (Glenbard South); Lake Forest sophomore safety Pat Clark (Naperville Central), Wheaton junior kicker Sam Cote (Wheaton Academy), Illinois State junior lineman Rocco Ammons (WW South), Wheaton senior cross country runner James Waterman (Wheaton North). Wheaton sophomore linebacker Adam Dansdill (WW South), University of Indianapolis junior cornerback Andre Smith (Glenbard North), Illinois Wesleyan senior defensive back Tim Hollowed (Glenbard West), North Central junior offensive lineman John Cannova (Benet), North Central senior midfielder Charlie Stanke (Downers Grove South), Wheaton College senior kick returner Justin Swider (Wheaton North).

As we head into winter, here's a couple early basketball returns: Augustana junior guard Danielius Jurgutis (Downers South) was named MVP of the UW-Platteville Pioneer Classic after going 14 of 19 from the field, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range. After 4 games he was hitting .545 percent of his 3s.

After being redshirted at Texas-Pan American then transferring, University of Illinois-Springfield freshman Wes Koral (Wheaton Academy) is getting playing time along with sophomores Jamall Millison (Downers South) and Dusko Despot (Glenbard South). After four games Millison was leading the trio with 9 points a game.

Benedictine University's men's basketball team won the 1,000th game as a program, 91-70 over Alma College on Nov. 23. Getting the Eagles off to a good start were freshman guards Tahron Harvey (Glenbard East) and Michael Blaszczyk (Naperville Central), who finished with 21 and 11 points, respectively. Senior guard Alex Edmondson (Waubonsie Valley), junior forward Chris Detloff (Wheaton Warrenville South) and sophomore forward Milan Bojanic (Metea Valley) came off the bench for Benedictine.

With an 88-80 win over Concordia (Wis.), Aurora University men's basketball team also won its 1,000th game. Helping the Spartans to the landmark win was sophomore starting guard Nick Kladis (Hinsdale Central).

Keep those cards and emails coming!

Follow Dave on Twitter @doberhelman1

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