Rolling Meadows' Benner will take her power to powerhouse Rock Valley
Rolling Meadows' powerhouse hitter is heading to a powerhouse.
Sara Benner, the Mustangs' all-time leading home run hitter, has committed to play softball at Rock Valley College, a Division III junior college powerhouse in Rockford which has won an unprecedented five straight national championships under coach Darin Monroe.
"I really felt it's a strong program for me and I will fit in well," said Benner, who has belted 25 homers in two seasons at Meadows (she was injured as a sophomore).
Monroe became the school's athletic director last October. The Golden Eagles are 314-62 under Monroe, including six consecutive N4C conference championships.
"It's such a competitive program," Benner said when asked how she chose the school. "I like the culture of the program. They work real hard, play strong and your teammates are like band of sisters."
Benner, who plans to study biology, also liked the location.
"I like to be close to my dad and my family," she said. "So this seemed like a good option -- far away from home where I can live on my own, but still be close to my family."
Benner broke her own single-season record with 15 homers last spring.
She also had 51 RBI and batted .528, leading the Mustangs in eight offensive categories and owning four school records.
"Sara works extremely hard and is always trying to improve her skill level," said Mustangs coach Tony Wolanski following last season. "What makes Sara a very good hitter is her ability to make adjustments. She really isn't a power hitter, she is a great line drive hitter. Sara has special skill but she also cares about her teammates and loves the game of softball."
Drake sophomore Tim Lim (Barrington) finished in a four-way tie (2-under 141) for third place at the Twin Oaks Intercollegiate which was shortened due to inclement weather. Lim had rounds of 72 and 69.
Drake shared the team title with a two-day total of 565 to tie with Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
Wisconsin-Whitewater freshman Jaritt Shinhoster (Barrington) is one of three members of the school's wrestling team named to the 2018-19 National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III All-Academic Team.
He qualified for recognition by carrying at least a 3.2 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale for the previous full academic year.
He helped Whitewater finish as the runner-up in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, third at the NCAA Upper Midwest Regional and seventh at the NCAA Championships.
Shinhoster qualified for the NCAA Championships after placing second at 174 pounds at the NCAA Upper Midwest Regional. He tallied a 16-7 record for the year.
Duke redshirt junior Haley Gorecki (Fremd) closed out her impressive season by becoming the third Blue Devil in school history to register over 500 points, 200 rebounds, 100 assists and 75 steals.
She joined Alana Beard and Monique Currie.
Gorecki had a game-high 17 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals in 38 minutes when the Blue Devils (15-15) concluded their season with a 51-41 loss to No. 22 Florida State in the second round of the ACC Tournament.
• Alabama-Birmingham senior Deanna Kuzmanic (Wheeling) poured in 22 points in the Blazers' 93-89 win over Troy to advance to the second round of the WNIT.
Kuzmanic shot 7-for-11 from the floor and added 7 rebounds and 3 assists.
Purdue sealed its first Big Ten series of the season with a split against Iowa and sophomore catcher Rachel Krzysko (Barrington) played a key role in the Game 2 triumph.
The Boilermakers (22-10) won 4-2, getting 7 hits. Leading the way with 2 hits, including a triple, was Krzysko.
Earlier in the week, Boilermakers coach Boo De Oliveira complimented Krzysko's catching skills via Twitter.
"She is being more aggressive picking at baserunners," the coach tweeted. "And she is leading the defense vocally."
• Shaw University (Raleigh, NC) senior catcher/outfielder Alex Masnica (Elk Grove) leads the Bears with 7 runs through their first eight games. Masnica is batting .333 with 6 RBI and 2 doubles.
• Georgia Southern freshman pitcher Jess Mazur (Fremd) owns the team's second lowest ERA (3.03) in 32⅓ innings of work. Mazur (2-1) has appeared in 11 games and has started six.
• Schaumburg senior Michael Hodges has committed to Culver-Stockton College (MO). The three-year starter averaged 16.2 points per game. He also averaged 3 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game. Hodges cracked the 1,000 point mark this season while leading the Saxons to their first regional title since 2012. He had 18 points in that regional title game, hitting all 5 of his shots including 4 from outside the arc.
"Mike is an incredibly explosive scorer, who plays with a high motor at all times," Schaumburg coach Wade Heisler said. "He has incredible character, and holds himself to a high standard that shows on the court. Mike is an extremely hardworking goal-oriented player who has worked himself into being a dominant scorer. He is positive in all situations and is a great teammate."
• Barrington senior Mark Johnson signed a letter of intent to play for Roosevelt University in Chicago. The 6-foot-5 power averaged 8.8 rebounds while scoring 11.3 points per game and handing out an eye-popping 4.6 assists per game. He was the team leader in assists, rebounds and blocked shots and was second on the team in steals.
"Johnson really played both ends of the floor," Barrington coach Bryan Tucker said. "He had a rare ability to dominate a game with his passing and he sacrificed some of his scoring with 4.6 assists a game. In my 30 years of coaching, he has distinguished himself as one of the best passers I have ever coached. He will be a hard player for us to replace, as he does so much."
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