What a winter that was. These local collegiates heated it up.
On Saturday senior wrestler Tony Ramos (Glenbard North) concluded his Iowa career with the NCAA Division I 133-pound title 3-1 in overtime over Wisconsin's Tyler Graff. Also defeating Graff in the Big Ten Championships, it marked the 61st time in Iowa history that's happened. Ramos, runner-up in 2013 and third in 2012, finished with 120 career wins, 19th all-time at Iowa.
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Wisconsin junior Frank Kaminsky (Benet) was a consensus coaches and media first-team selection to the Big Ten all-conference men's basketball team. Entering Thursday's NCAA Sweet Sixteen game against Baylor, he averaged a team-high 13.6 points and 6.3 rebounds and led the Badgers with 58 blocked shots. In a 103-85 win over North Dakota the 7-foot forward scored a team-record 43 points. Northwestern senior Drew Crawford (Naperville Central) was a third-team media pick, honorable mention in the coaches' vote.
Another Wisconsin athlete, Michala Johnson (Montini) earned first-team all-Big Ten on the women's side. The redshirt junior forward led the Badgers with 16.6 points a game, making 55 percent of her field-goal attempts. Johnson scored a season-high 32 points with 10 rebounds at Northwestern and averaged 7.3 rebounds, second on the team.
William & Mary senior forward Tim Rusthoven (Wheaton Academy) earned the Colonial Athletic Association's Dean Ehlers Leadership Award. A perennial first-team CAA All-Academic honoree and Allstate Good Works Team nominee, Rusthoven became the 17th Tribe player to tally more than 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in a career. Averaging 12.1 points this season, his .59 career field-goal percentage is best in W & M history.
Jared Brownridge (Waubonsie Valley) was the West Coast Conference men's basketball newcomer of the year for Santa Clara University. The freshman guard, all-WCC honorable mention, Brownridge averaged a team-high 17.2 points with 95 3-pointers, hitting 44 percent beyond the arc. Each of those are freshman program records (topping Kurt Rambis and Steve Nash, among others) as were Brownridge's 567 points, 183 field goals and 86 free-throw percentage. His 106 free throws and 1,107 minutes rate second all-time among Broncos frosh. Beating Pepperdine 86-78 on March 1, Brownridge's 38 points -- the highest Santa Clara total since 2002 and tied for ninth overall -- with seven 3s and 12 field goals all were Santa Clara freshman records.
Ryan Dzingel (Wheaton Academy) update: the Ohio State junior is one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, the top player in Division I hockey. A 2011 draft pick of the Ottawa Senators, in 37 games the forward tied for the Big Ten lead with 22 goals and added 24 assists for a league-high 46 points. The Hobey list will be trimmed to three by a selection committee as well as fan voting through March 30 at hobeybakeraward.com.
Corinne Boyles (Wheaton Warrenville South) update: The Boston College senior goaltender was a second-team Hockey East All-Star and a finalist for the Cammi Granato Award as top player in the league. Boyles finished 23-7-2 with a 1.67 goals-against average, a .942 save percentage and 3 shutouts for Boston, No. 4 in NCAA hockey upon entering the tournament.
Frankie Simonelli (Fenton), a senior defenseman and captain for Wisconsin's men's hockey team, made second-team all-Big Ten. He led the Badgers with 62 blocked shots and tied for the Big Ten lead in scoring with 15 points on 4 goals and 11 assists in league play.
Naperville's Chris Bournazos, a junior winger for Neumann University (Pa.), made the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference West All-Academic Team. He was third on the Knights with 4 goals and 13 assists for 17 points.
March 20 at the Division III Swimming Championship in Indianapolis, Wheaton College freshman Erin Bagley (Wheaton Warrenville South) swam on a sixth-place 400-yard relay, the Thunder's first top-eight relay since 2008. In preliminaries the Thunder foursome set a program record in the event at 3 minutes, 47.57 seconds. At the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin meet, Bagley set a meet record in the 200 breaststroke at 2:21.30 to help the Thunder to a 17th straight title.
At the NAIA men's national men's indoor track championship in Ohio, Olivet Nazarene freshman Zach Gordon (Wheaton North) won long jump with a distance of 24 feet, 7¾ inches. Earlier, at the NCCAA indoor championship, Gordon won the event at 23-9.
Illinois College senior Chandler Polyte (Naperville North) won the pole vault title at the Midwest Conference meet at 15-1½ exceeding by a quarter-inch the program record he'd set a week earlier at the Illinois College Alumni Meet.
North Central College senior wrestler Nick Santos (Naperville Central) earned his second consecutive selection to the Division III Scholar All-American Team by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. The athletic trainer major placed third at the Midwest regional and finished his career at nationals with a 27-16 record this season. North Central sophomore 157-pounder Josh Tardy (Naperville Central) also wrestled at nationals, finishing 37-13.
One of our national treasures, North Central College's Al Carius, was named assistant coach of the year for the indoor season by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. In his fourth year as Frank Gramarosso's assistant and 48th year overall at North Central, Carius' distance squad scored all of the Cardinals' 21 points in a seventh-place finish at the Division III nationals.
Several times over the past few years we've written about Augustana football player Eric Westerberg (York), a two-year captain, 2013 D3Football.com All-America linebacker (and CCIW defensive player of the year) and three-time Capital One Academic All-America. On March 6 the math and secondary education double-major with a 3.86 grade-point average was awarded a $7,500 NCAA postgraduate scholarship, which followed a National Football Foundation scholarship in December.
Benedictine University guard Michael Blaszczyk (Naperville Central) was freshman of the year in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. He started all 26 games, averaging 13.5 points and 5.7 rebounds. Overall Blaszczyk made 50 3-pointers and in conference his 42 3s ranked third.
Illinois Wesleyan sophomore Nia Joiner (Glenbard East) won the 60-meter dash in 7.58 seconds at the women's Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships in Nebraska. Running the fifth-best preliminary time, in the finals Joiner was .04 off the meet record. Kimber Meyer (Naperville North), a freshman at Macalester, took fifth in the 3,000 meters.
On the men's side at the Division III nationals, Benedictine junior Billy Sipek (Glenbard East) earned an All-America seventh-place finish with a high jump of 6 feet, 8¼ inches.
At the Division I women's indoor meet, Texas sophomore Morolake Akinosun (Waubonsie Valley), an Illinois transfer, finished fourth in the 60 at 7.23. Michigan State junior Tori Franklin (Downers Grove South), the Big Ten winner, placed fifth in triple jump at 43 feet, 2½ inches.
In the men's Division I indoor nationals, Wisconsin junior Zach Ziemek (Lake Park) placed fifth in heptathlon, including a first-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles portion and second in pole vault. His buddy, Wisconsin senior Danny Block (Lake Park), took seventh in shot put at 63 feet, 7¾ inches after placing second in the Big Ten.
Indiana freshman Gia Dalesandro (Neuqua Valley) had a bang-up couple of days at the Big Ten women's swim meet. On Feb. 22 she set Big Ten and Indiana records in the 200 butterfly with a time of 1:53.95. The day before in the 100 butterfly she set a school record at 51.75 seconds and helped the 400 medley relay to school and Big Ten records at 3:30.30. On Feb. 19 she helped the Hoosiers 200 medley relay set a school record at 1:36.69.
The last time we did this, we reported on Loras College's soccer team. An alert reader later suggested to look at Messiah's team, which has won 10 Division III national titles since 2000 and three of the last four. Josh Kremers (Wheaton Academy), a senior defender for the Falcons, played in 94 of the Falcons' 95 games during this span, in which Messiah went 88-3-4. Last fall Kremers earned first-team honors in the Commonwealth conference, which Messiah won the first three years he was there.
A fall sports award not announced until February: Augustana senior Isaac Trostle (Willowbrook) earned entrance onto the United State Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic Team. Team captain and winner of Augie's Most Inspirational award, Trostle finished 14th in the CCIW meet with a 3.45 grade-point average in math and education.
North Central College freshman Helen Majer (WW South) earned that same All-Academic award and finished in 15th place in the women's meet. Earning All-Academic Team honors as well were Illinois Wesleyan senior Cassie Anderson (Glenbard West) and junior Meagan DeSalvo (Hinsdale South).
Butler's football team, the back-to-back Pioneer Football League winner, which earned the league's first automatic bid into the Football College Subdivision playoffs, landed both senior offensive lineman Charlie Perrecone (Lake Park) and senior receiver Brendan Shannon (Montini) on the first team all-PFL team.
Carthage College senior cross country runner Katie Kummerer (Hinsdale Central) was a College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin Jack Swartz Award winner. A first-team CCIW runner who ran at nationals, at the time of this announcement the graphic design major had made Carthage's dean's list six times. Other area Jack Swartz winners included North Central senior football player Nick Slezak (Glenbard South) and Cardinals senior golfer Mary Kate Rohn (York).
Another honor released after the fall's college achievers article, North Central senior defensive back Shane Dierking (WW South) was named to the D3football.com All-America First Team. Dierking, who played in each of the Cardinals' 51 games over his four years, was D3football's North Region defensive player of the year, and CCIW defensive player of the year, after his 8 interceptions tied North Central's season record and set a career mark of 16. Dierking's 206 career tackles are 10th all-time at the college.
Michigan State senior volleyball player Kristen Kelsay (St. Francis) concluded her collegiate career -- though she might have a couple matches this spring -- by being named a third-team Division I Capital One Academic all-American. The setter, a two-time Big Ten sportsmanship award winner, earned it with a 3.85 grade-point average in psychology.
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