Schaumburg Christian's Hoffman becomes a Conqueror first
The girl who grew up watching college sports will now be playing them herself.
On top of that, Morgan Hoffman will become the first student-athlete from Schaumburg Christian to play on an NCAA athletic scholarship since the Conquerors became an IHSA member four years ago.
The 6-foot-1 middle hitter, who helped lead her team to three regional crowns the last four years, signed her letter of intent to play for the Division II University of Montavello women's volleyball team in Alabama last week.
"The idea of playing in college definitely crossed my mind as a child," Hoffman said. "I watched college sports and heard stories about playing in college from family members. But it wasn't until my freshman year that I started playing volleyball year round and working toward that goal."
Hoffman plays for the Fusion volleyball club based in Marengo.
"I am very thankful for their hand in helping me earn the scholarship," Hoffman said.
Montavello went 21-9 this fall and 12-4 in the 12-team Gulf South Conference.
Hoffman plans to study biology with intentions of heading into the medical field.
While at Schaumburg Christian, she has maintained academic all-conference status owning a 4.7 GPA (weighted on a 4.0 scale) while taking advanced placement, honors and dual-credit courses.
On the volleyball court, the four-year varsity player and two-time all-conference selection helped lead SC to three regional crowns and one sectional (2016). She was the team captain this fall, helping the team to a 20-9 record after they had moved up to Class 2A and lost to Harvest Christian in the regional final.
Now she is looking forward to helping the Falcons, who did not have a girl on the roster from Illinois this fall.
"When coach Katie O'Brien first contacted me, I did an extensive search on the school and absolutely fell in love with the gorgeous campus, wonderful academics and strong volleyball program," Hoffman said. "After visiting both unofficially and officially, I truly felt like it was a family-like atmosphere on the volleyball team, as well as all around the campus. That's what distinguished it from other colleges for me."
Hersey graduate Emma Cooke, who participated in tennis, soccer and track in high school, will graduate from Loras this December (three and a half years) with degrees in psychology and criminal justice in December.
Cooke wrapped up her final fall regular season with a career record of 55-19, which ranks second all-time in program history behind Susan Andrukaitis' record of 56-15.
North Central junior guard Ricky Strba (Buffalo Grove) was named a first-time all-conference player for the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin. He was one of nine selections for the Cardinals (9-1). Strba started games at center and right guard this season.
• Augustana junior Bobby Jarosz (Prospect) rushed for 353 yards and a team-high 8 touchdowns on 61 carries this fall. Vikings sophomore safety John Kappel (Wheeling) finished second on the team with 70 tackles. He led the Vikings (4-6) with 2 fumble recoveries and tied for the team lead with 2 interceptions.
Kean University (Union, NJ) sophomore Zoe Strozewski (Hersey) was an American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America honorable mention selection. She became one of only three All-Americans in program history.
Strozewski was named a NJAC honorable mention after totaling 299.5 points, 252 kills and 77 blocks over 31 matches. She averaged 2.77 points per set, 2.33 kills per set, 0.71 blocks per set and had a .340 hitting percentage.
Strozewski, who starred for coach Nancy Lill at Hersey, was also named to the AVCA Northeast All-Region team.
Carthage senior Sam Gabriel (Prospect) was selected as the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin Men's Swimmer of the Week.
An education major, Gabriel helped lead the Red Men to wins over Illinois Institute of Technology (181.5-92.5) and Illinois Wesleyan (202-64). He finished first in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:54.88, which leads the CCIW and is currently ranked 24th nationally.
He also swam an untapered best time in the 100-yard butterfly, placing second with a time of 54.10. Gabriel was part of the first place 200-yard medley relay (1:35.33), where he finished with a split time of 24.73, and the fourth place 200-yard freestyle relay (1:31.02), where he clocked a split of 21.94.
• Lewis Universty's Colin Williams (Elk Grove) finished third in the 100 butterfly (49.57) at the University of Chicago Phoenix Fall Classic. The Flyers finished second in the event with 973 points.
Nine St. Viator student-athletes signed letters of intent to play college sports last week.
The list includes Jeremiah Hernandez (Kent State, basketball), Treyvon Calvin (Wright State, basketball), Casey Kmet (Notre Dame, baseball), Timmy Crawford (Loyola, golf), Nolan Doherty (Loyola, golf), Elijah Black (Ohio State, lacrosse), Max Rudolph (Ithaca College, lacrosse), Kate Nottoli (Wisconsin-Oshkosh, volleyball) and Taylor Pfaller (Harper College, volleyball).
Augustana freshman Karsten Zielinski (Schaumburg) ran 109th with a clocking of 26:59.2 as the Vikings took 12th place in a field of 35 teams at the NCAA Division III Midwest Cross Country Regional at Whitetail Golf Course. North Central had five of the top nine runners and claimed the team title with 30 points.
Augustana junior T.J. Lunney (Conant) won the consolation bracket at 174 pounds in the Millikin Open, a nonscoring event in Decatur.
Lewis' Abby Tripp (Conant) was top finisher for the Flyers (22:45.76 for the 6k course) to finish 33rd at the NCAA Midwest Regional at Hayden Park in Hillsdale, Mich. Grand Valley won the team championship as the Flyers ended their season with a 16th-place finish.
Lewis' Gaby Sanchez (Rolling Meadows) finished with a time of 24:07.70 while teammate Vanessa Peinado (Hoffman Estates) was clocked in 24:53.35.