Grade school pals celebrate high school, collegiate achievement

  • From left, high school volleyball standouts Erica Grant (Lakes), Erin McBriarty (Grayslake North), Katy Fisherkeller (Grant) and Emily Bringer (Grant) have been invited back to their grade school roots at Prince of Peace in Lake Villa.

    From left, high school volleyball standouts Erica Grant (Lakes), Erin McBriarty (Grayslake North), Katy Fisherkeller (Grant) and Emily Bringer (Grant) have been invited back to their grade school roots at Prince of Peace in Lake Villa. Submitted photo

Updated 4/30/2018 3:29 PM

Grant's Katy Fisherkeller, Lake's Erica Grant, Grayslake North's Erin McBriarty, and Grant's Emily Bringer recently had a reunion of sorts at their grade school.

The four future collegiate athletes were invited back to Prince of Peace, a small Catholic school in Lake Villa.


Now seniors, they graduated in 2014 from Prince of Peace, which has roughly 30 students per grade and houses kindergarten through eighth-grade classes.

They were invited back to celebrate their accomplishments in high school as well as their commitment to becoming college athletes.

"These four girls have understood what it takes to be a great volleyball player while also being a part of a team," said Prince of Peace athletic director Gary Link. "It has been my pleasure knowing these ladies, who epitomize what it takes to be a student, athlete, leader and teammate. Prince of Peace is extremely proud of what they have accomplished."

Fisherkeller has committed to College of Lake County in Grayslake to play volleyball as a defensive specialist.

"I have been playing volleyball for eight years," Fisherkeller said. "I started playing in fifth grade (at Prince of Peace) and I am so excited to be able to have the opportunity to play in college and meet new people while playing the game I love."

Grant signed with Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tenn., to play NCAA Division I volleyball as an outside hitter.

"My first memory of playing volleyball was at after-school care (at Prince of Peace)." she said. "I saw a couple of girls just passing a ball around and I thought that it looked kind of cool. From then on, I have been determined to be the best player I can be."

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McBriarty signed with Oklahoma City University in Oklahoma City, Okla., to play NAIA volleyball as a setter.

"Everyone played at Prince of Peace in fifth grade because it was the first sport that we could do," McBriarty said. " I joined, and after the first practice I knew that it was what I wanted to do. I wanted to play volleyball forever."

Bringer signed with Lakeland University in Sheboygan, Wis., to play Division III volleyball as a hitter.

"We were all in Girl Scouts, that's when we started to become closer together," Bringer said. "Eventually we all did athletics and sports together. We got close through that."

While at Prince of Peace, the four girls helped lead the volleyball team to the Fox Valley Catholic Conference championship in 2012 and 2013 with undefeated records.

Although the girls will be on different college campuses, they plan to cheer each other on from afar.

"We grew up as a close knit group of friends at Prince of Peace,' Fisherkeller said. "We went our separate ways in high school but we still remain in contact. I am excited to see how everyone continues to succeed."


Women's track

Carthage senior Mia Bennett (Lakes), a psychology major, won the hammer with a school record throw of 188-10 (57.55 meters) at the Augustana Invitational. She topped her previous school record of 57.10 meters set at the Benedictine Relays on April 14, 2017. Bennett also had a personal best throw of 153-6 (46.80 meters) in the discus to finish second in the event. Bennett's hammer mark is third, while her discus throw is second in Division III. Both throw ranks first in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin.

Men's tennis

Augustana sophomore Scott Daluga (Libertyville) and his No. 3 singles partner Peter Alex (Hinsdale South) won 9-8 at No. 3 doubles when the Vikings defeated North Central 8-1 for their third straight win and sixth in eight matches.

Men's lacrosse

Augustana junior Brian Hinsberger (Lake Zurich) is second on the team with 15 caused turnovers for the Vikings (8-5) and 3-1 in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin.

Men's track

Augustana senior Kevin Barbian (Libertyville) finished fourth in the shot put (51-¼) and was fifth in the discus (147-2) at the at the historic Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa.


Arlington Heights resident Paul Petricca, author of Hitting with Torque: For Softball and Baseball Players, along with The St. Joseph Club of Italian Americans are presenting a "Celebration of Italian Baseball and Softball" on Saturday, June 2, 2018 at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights beginning at 11 a.m.

Petricca was the hitting coach for Wheaton College for two years and instructed many District 214 and St. Viator baseball and softball hitters that went on to play in college.

The Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum award-winning documentary, Italian American Baseball Family, will be shown. Immediately following the screening of the movie, a Q&A discussion with filmmaker Roberto Angotti and a panel of past and present Italian baseball and softball players will interact with the audience in an engaging discussion on playing baseball and softball internationally.

Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at the door by cash or check. Admission includes a pizza party reception beginning at 1 p.m. at Armand's Pizzeria (next door to the Metropolis).

Attendees are encouraged to participate in a silent auction featuring premium Chicago Cubs tickets, private pitching and hitting sessions and more. All net proceeds from this event will help buy equipment for the Italian national softball team and the Arlington Heights Youth Athletic Association (AHYAA). For more information, contact Paul Petricca at (847) 533-8474 or

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