Suburban high school athletes lauded for both athletic and compassionate feats

  • Coach Kim deMarigny, left, and members of the Class 4A state champion Maine West girls basketball team gather on stage during the Daily Herald Prep Sports Excellence Awards at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates on Thursday night. The team was awarded a Sweet Moments Award at the event.

      Coach Kim deMarigny, left, and members of the Class 4A state champion Maine West girls basketball team gather on stage during the Daily Herald Prep Sports Excellence Awards at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates on Thursday night. The team was awarded a Sweet Moments Award at the event. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Coach Bill Schalz of the Rosary High School swim team accepts a Beyond the Bench Award during the Daily Herald Prep Sports Excellence Awards at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates on Thursday night.

      Coach Bill Schalz of the Rosary High School swim team accepts a Beyond the Bench Award during the Daily Herald Prep Sports Excellence Awards at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates on Thursday night. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Rajat Mittal of Conant High School accepts a Heart & Soul Award during the Daily Herald Prep Sports Excellence Awards at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates on Thursday night.

      Rajat Mittal of Conant High School accepts a Heart & Soul Award during the Daily Herald Prep Sports Excellence Awards at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates on Thursday night. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Student-athletes enjoy the moment as they stand to be recognized during the Daily Herald Prep Sports Excellence Awards at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates on Thursday night.

      Student-athletes enjoy the moment as they stand to be recognized during the Daily Herald Prep Sports Excellence Awards at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates on Thursday night. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Maddie Degiorgio of Downers Grove North High School accepts a Spirit of Sportsmanship Award along with volleyball teammate Margaret Mahlke during the Daily Herald Prep Sports Excellence Awards at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates on Thursday night.

      Maddie Degiorgio of Downers Grove North High School accepts a Spirit of Sportsmanship Award along with volleyball teammate Margaret Mahlke during the Daily Herald Prep Sports Excellence Awards at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates on Thursday night. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Corrine Angle of Streamwood High School watches a highlight video as she accepts a Heart & Soul Award during the Daily Herald Prep Sports Excellence Awards at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates on Thursday night. At right is Daily Herald writer and program speaker Patricia Babcock McGraw.

      Corrine Angle of Streamwood High School watches a highlight video as she accepts a Heart & Soul Award during the Daily Herald Prep Sports Excellence Awards at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates on Thursday night. At right is Daily Herald writer and program speaker Patricia Babcock McGraw. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Abby Tonkery of Grayslake Central accepts an Overcoming Obstacles Award during the Daily Herald Prep Sports Excellence Awards at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates on Thursday night.

      Abby Tonkery of Grayslake Central accepts an Overcoming Obstacles Award during the Daily Herald Prep Sports Excellence Awards at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates on Thursday night. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Members of the Class 4A state champion Maine West girls basketball team watch as a highlight video is shown during the Daily Herald Prep Sports Excellence Awards at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates on Thursday night. The team was awarded a Sweet Moments Award at the event.

      Members of the Class 4A state champion Maine West girls basketball team watch as a highlight video is shown during the Daily Herald Prep Sports Excellence Awards at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates on Thursday night. The team was awarded a Sweet Moments Award at the event. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • People gather during the Daily Herald Prep Sports Excellence Awards at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates on Thursday night.

      People gather during the Daily Herald Prep Sports Excellence Awards at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates on Thursday night. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • People gather during the Daily Herald Prep Sports Excellence Awards at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates on Thursday night.

      People gather during the Daily Herald Prep Sports Excellence Awards at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates on Thursday night. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 6/13/2019 11:08 PM

Top suburban high school athletes were recognized not only for their physical prowess Thursday night at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates but also for traits including sportsmanship and overcoming adversity.

About 820 students, their parents and others gathered on the Sears Centre floor for the seventh annual Daily Herald Prep Sports Excellence Awards. Professional treatment was accorded to the student-athletes, who posed for photographs at an ice sculpture upon entering and moved on to collect a plethora of gifts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Sports columnists Patricia Babcock McGraw and Joe Aguilar co-hosted the festivities that celebrated 584 athletes in 22 sports from 64 schools. Five categories of winners were announced.

Two of the most compelling winners were Downers Grove North High School volleyball players Margaret Mahlke and Maddie Degiorgio, who shared the female Spirit of Sportsmanship Award. They were lauded for their actions after the death of teammate Beth Dunlap.

DuPage County prosecutors say Joseph Kucharski of Naperville was asleep at the wheel and coming down from a four-day cocaine bender Feb. 19 when he drove through a Downers Grove intersection, striking and fatally injuring Dunlap, a junior on her way to school with a teacher.

Before DG North played at Downers Grove South High School in a packed gymnasium March 1, Degiorgio and Mahlke took a microphone and talked about their late friend and teammate. They then requested 18 seconds of silence -- representing Dunlap's number -- before the game began.

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Mahlke said it was an honor and a privilege to know Dunlap. Degiorgio reflected on the evening she and Mahlke addressed the crowd at DG South.

"It was difficult," Degiorgio said. "I mean, it's also sharing ... the impact Beth had on me. It was really special, too. I had known her for so long. It was just like, awesome, to see so many people from North and from South coming together for it."

Naperville Central High School football player Payton Thorne won the male Spirit of Sportsmanship Award.

Receiving the Heart and Soul Award were Corinne Angle, a Streamwood High School volleyball and softball player, and Conant High School basketball player Raj Mittal.

Grayslake Central High School's Abby Tonkery and Antioch High School football player Dylan Czerlanis received the Overcoming Obstacles Award.

Winning the Sweet Moment Award were the Maine West girls basketball team and coach Kim deMarigny, and St. Charles North High School's boys swimming team and coach Rob Rooney.

Bill Schalz, girls swimming coach at Rosary High School in Aurora, and Matt Ellett, baseball coach at Harvest Christian Academy in Elgin, received the Beyond the Bench Award.

High school athletic directors nominated five senior female and male athletes who were considered their most fitting representatives of excellence in sports.

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