As winter sports draw to a close let's visit some DuPage County collegiates who finished strong.
Benedictine University senior point guard Tahron Harvey, out of Glenbard East, earned both National Association of Basketball Coaches and D3hoops.com first-team Central Region honors. The 6-foot-3 point guard averaged a team-high 18.8 points, 6.3 assists and 1.6 steals, second on the Eagles at 7.5 rebounds.
Loras College senior Lori Obendorf (Metea Valley) earned second-team West Region. A forward with a 4.00 grade-point average in elementary education and Spanish, she is a third-team College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America, first-team all-district.
Iowa guard Kathleen Doyle (Benet Academy) made the Big Ten Conference All-Freshman Team. She averaged 8.9 points and a team-high 4.2 assists, one of three Hawkeyes to start 25 or more games entering Thursday's NIT game against Missouri State.
Demetrius Ewing's (Waubonsie Valley) 12th 3-pointer all season gave Waubonsee Community College an overtime lead for good in an 89-83 win over Triton. That sent the 25-8 Chiefs into their sixth NJCAA Division II National Tournament, starting March 21 in Danville.
Cornell College (Iowa) senior guard Sierra Bisso (Wheaton Warrenville South) earned first-team honors in the Midwest Conference, where the Rams were 17-1. Bisso's 72 3-point baskets set the program record and ranked third in MWC history. Averaging 13.7 points a game, her seven 3s matched a program high as she scored a personal-best 31 points against St. Norbert. Bisso finished among Cornell's top five in four career categories, third in made 3-pointers with 126.
Wisconsin-Whitewater junior guard Malia Smith (Neuqua Valley) earned first-team Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honors in basketball. The repeat Defensive Team pick averaged 12.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.7 steals and made 82 percent of her free throws, starting every game for the 22-6 Warhawks. Senior guard Reilly Stewart (Wheaton North) earned second-team honors; sophomore guard Emily Kraft (Naperville Central) was Whitewater's Sportsmanship selection.
On ice, Minnesota junior winger Cara Piazza (Downers Grove South) earned a second straight Western Collegiate Hockey Association All-Academic honor while helping the 26-7-5 Gophers to a sixth straight NCAA Women's Frozen Four, starting Friday in St. Charles, Missouri. Her brother is Michigan defenseman Sam Piazza, honorable-mention all-Big Ten and among league Sportsmanship honorees on top of his 8 assists and 6 goals, 3 on the power play.
In a wonderful coincidence, Cara Piazza and Minnesota will open their Frozen Four bid against 19-1-2 Clarkson University -- which features former Downers Grove North student Savannah Harmon. The Golden Knights co-captain and junior defender is fourth on her team with 33 points on 9 goals and 24 assists, third in plus/minus at plus-34. The Eastern College Athletic Conference first-teamer, also named ECAC top defenseman, was nominated by USA Hockey for the Patty Kazmaier Award for the top women's college player.
What a season for Miami University (Ohio) senior forward Anthony Louis. The former Wheaton North student is a finalist for National Collegiate Hockey Conference player of the year, to be announced Thursday. The first-team winger led Miami with 39 points on 14 goals and 25 assists; he was nominated for NCHC player of the week three times and won it a fourth. On Monday, Miami's 20th all-time scorer signed an entry-level deal with the Chicago Blackhawks, who in 2013 drafted the Winfield native in the sixth round. Louis was to report to the Blackhawks' affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs. Love that name.
Eric Kilby runs the Illinois College Hockey website. He noted that Division III quarterfinalist St. Norbert rosters Naperville's Kevin O'Hara, Warrenville's Pijus Rulevicius and goalie T.J. Black of Wheaton, 16-2-1 with a 1.14 goals-against average and a .944 save percentage. Crikey.
In track and field, on Feb. 19 Rice University junior Scott Filip (Lake Park) became the first athlete to win three Conference USA indoor heptathlon titles. The two-time All-American also won in 2014 and 2015 but redshirted for the 2015-16 season recuperating from "Tommy John" surgery. He came back strong in the summer with two decathlon wins and a berth in the U.S. Olympic Trials. At the C-USA meet Filip won heptathlon pole vault, high jump, long jump and 60-meter events.
Filip's Lake Park and Olympic Trials buddy, Michigan State redshirt junior Tim Ehrhardt placed fourth in pole vault at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships with a personal-best height of 18 feet, ½ inch. In 2015 Ehrhardt finished seventh in NCAA heptathlon and qualified for the Trials in decathlon like Filip and another former Lancer, Olympian Zach Ziemek.
Another Division I All-America redshirt junior, Purdue's Savannah Carson (Neuqua Valley) finished fifth in NCAA women's long jump, at 21-3¼. That set Purdue's program record, ¾ inches farther than Carson's leap that won a Big Ten title a month earlier.
Grand Valley State junior Chris May (York) finished seventh in the 5,000-meter run at the Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships in Birmingham, Alabama.
It "Bears" repeating: At the Division III Indoor meet in Naperville, Washington University of St. Louis senior Rebecca Ridderhoff (Downers Grove South) finished seventh in the 60 hurdles, 200- and 400-meter dashes and led off a second-place 1,600 relay that lifted the Bears past Ithaca to their first women's title. All-Americans Chris Buechner (Glenbard West) and Daniel Spaccapaniccia (Naperville Central) helped host North Central College win its fifth men's indoor title. That earned Cardinals coach Frank Gramarosso the honor of Division III Indoor national coach of the year.
Hope College senior Erin Herrmann (Wheaton Warrenville South) finished ninth at the Division III meet in the 3,000-meter run. Previously, she was named women's Division III national track athlete of the week after setting an eight-second personal record of 9:44.42 in that event at Grand Valley State on Dec. 2.
Illinois State's D'Jenne Egharevba (Naperville Central) earned the Missouri Valley Conference's inaugural women's freshman of the year award. She won the MVC indoor 200 dash (24.26) and placed fourth in the 60 (7.48) with the second-fastest time in ISU history. On the men's side sophomore Kyle Mattes (York) finished second in the 5,000 at 14:26.13, ninth in ISU history.
At the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin indoor track championships, Carthage junior Jake Menard (Glenbard North) won shot put and Augustana senior Marckus Simmons (Downers North) won the weight throw. Helen Majer (WW South) won the 3,000 run on the women's side.
On Feb. 22 we wrote about the U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships in Rockford. Skating for the Massachusetts-based Haydenettes, Bentley University junior Jordan Alexander (Naperville North) helped them win an eighth straight national title and 25th overall.
Sending out retiring Wheaton College swim coach Jon Lederhouse with his 49th overall CCIW title and 25th women's title, junior Erin Bagley (WW South) was named co-swimmer of the meet at the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin women's championships. In addition to swimming on four winning relays, Bagley won the 50-yard freestyle, the 100 butterfly and the 100 breaststroke in a CCIW open and meet-record 1 minute, 2.79 seconds. In each open event she advanced to the Division III Swimming and Diving Championships in Woodlands, Texas. Bagley clinched her seventh All-America award Wednesday with a sixth-place preliminary finish in the 50 free, sending her into Wednesday night's final.
In Division I swimming, Indiana senior Gia Dalesandro (Neuqua Valley) enters the championships in Indianapolis as the No. 5 seed in the 100 fly, the No. 7 seed in the 200 fly. On Feb. 17 at the Big Ten Championships she set an Indiana, Big Ten, meet and venue record in the 100 butterfly at 50.45 seconds. The next day she set a Big Ten and meet record in the 200 fly at 1:53.67. It was her fourth straight title in the event and made Dalesandro just the fifth woman in Big Ten history to win the 100 and 200 butterfly in the same year.
Michigan State freshman Scott Piper (Naperville Central) finished strong at the Big Ten Championships to rank first among Spartans this season in the 400 individual medley, the 200 IM and the 200 fly -- the latter just ahead of another freshman, Michael Schwers (Waubonsie Valley).
Notre Dame College (Ohio) won the Division II Wrestling National Championship on March 11. Helping the cause was sophomore Juwan Edmond (Hinsdale Central), who won his first three matches at 149 pounds before falling in the final for an All-America second-place finish.
Great news Wednesday out of the Missouri Valley Conference: The State Farm MVC Good Neighbor Awards for winter student-athletes saluted Illinois State senior gymnast Kristyn Bossle (West Chicago) and Loyola junior track athlete Stephen Hubona (Benet). An all-arounder and her team's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee representative, Bossle has a 4.0 GPA in biological sciences and is active in community service. Hubona, who owns Loyola's discus record and ranks third in indoor weight throw and shot put, has a 3.92 GPA in biology and volunteers with the Children's Miracle Network among other organizations.
Often, honors for fall sports arrive in winter. For example, Millikin sophomore football defensive back Josh Scudder (Waubonsie Valley) was the defensive scout team MVP.
Or, Wisconsin-Parkside senior Pat Niyork (Willowbrook) was among 14 male cross country runners to earn the Great Lakes Valley Conference James R. Spalding Sportsmanship Award.
And, finally: Millikin junior setter Emily Mihalkanin (Hinsdale South) was third in Division III volleyball in total assists with 1,349.
Congratulations, and keep those emails coming!
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