Palatine grad Oleksak has standout freshman season at Marian U.

  • Palatine graduate Erin Oleksak competes in the 300-meter low hurdles during the Class 3A girls state track and field preliminaries in Charleston last spring.

      Palatine graduate Erin Oleksak competes in the 300-meter low hurdles during the Class 3A girls state track and field preliminaries in Charleston last spring. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

Updated 3/20/2020 7:55 AM

It's been quite a rookie season at Marian University for Erin Oleksak.

Last fall, the former Palatine standout played soccer for the Knights and became the first NAIA All-America first-team selection in program history.


This winter, she began her track and field career at the college and has already made Knights' history.

Oleksak shattered the school record and won the Pentathlon at the NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships.

The freshman became the first female individual to earn an individual national championship in Marian track and field history.

Oleksak opened her busy day at the track in the 60-meter hurdles, winning the first event of the day with a time of 8.89 seconds. Oleksak edged out Indiana Tech's Kylin Nichols by one-tenth of a second in the hurdles, holding a narrow lead after the first event.

She then won the high jump, besting the competition by .03 meters. She passed on the heights until entering at 1.52m, and cleared all but one height on her first attempt. At 1.67M, Oleksak was able to clear the height, outlasting Rachel Gadient of Mount Mercy. Oleksak then cleared 1.70M, which fell short of the school record by .01M.

She entered the shot put in first place overall, but fell back into second at the conclusion of the event.

Oleksak set a season PR in the shot put hitting 7.72M on her final attempt, scoring 381 points in the event.

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Oleksak bounced back and over took the lead after the fourth event, winning the long jump section of the pentathlon.

After easing into the event on her first attempt, she exploded for a 5.47 meter leap on her second try, marking her best attempt of the afternoon.

Her attempt was the top jump of anyone in the long jump, besting the competition by .21 meters.

After four events, Oleksak had a total of 2,860 points, picking up 691 in the long jump.

Entering the 800 meters, Oleksak needed a strong finish to secure the top spot on the podium, holding a narrow lead over the field. In the final event, she ran a 2:29.67, finishing in fifth place by 15 seconds.

The final event gave her 697 points, adding to her score to give her a total of 3,557.

Oleksak's efforts in the 800 meters gave her the points needed to win the Pentathlon, winning the NAIA National Championship by 136 points.


Oleksak's national title is the fifth in Marian track history on the men's or women's side.

Girls basketball

Just one day after coach Dave Yates' Fremd Vikings won the Class 4A state girls basketball title, the Immanuel Lutheran (Palatine) girls basketball team captured its fifth consecutive title at the Lutheran Sports Association Illinois state championships at St. Peter Lutheran School.

Fremd's state championship team included four former Immanuel Lutheran Bobcats -- senior Kendall Maloney, junior Ruthie Montella, sophomore Anna Schmitt and freshman Kace Urlacher.

In addition, the 4A runner-up Lincoln Way West's roster includes sophomore Brianna Woodridge, who also played for Immanuel Lutheran.

All five girls were coached by former Fremd standout Heather Glaser, the Immanuel Lutheran girls' head coach who also played basketball for Immanuel Lutheran.

The Bobcats have now won eight of the last nine LSA state titles and 15 since 1991. They won a record six Lutheran girls' national titles since 1994.

"This season was expected to be a rebuilding year," Glaser said. "But, through hard work, teamwork and mental toughness, these girls proved everyone wrong. I have a lot of respect for the grit and character all 14 players showed on this journey, and I'm so happy that it resulted in another state championship for them."

Boys basketball

The Immanuel Lutheran-Palatine boys basketball team (27-6) took second place at the LSA Illinois state championships.

"This group of young men has worked very hard to hone their skills," said head coach John Ulrich. "We've been able to develop some great depth, so we are able to play extremely hard for long stretches. I am extremely proud of them, especially off the court. They are good students and leaders, who honor the Lord and live their faith. The eighth graders, in particular, have been shining examples to the younger children in the school."

Ulrich is assisted by Matthew Ulrich, Dave Walther, Johnnie Ulrich, Jr., Benjie Gallardo and Morry Gaan. "I'm so grateful for these assistant coaches, who have contributed so much to the program's success," John Ulrich said.

Men's lacrosse

Sophomore John Calabrese (Maine South) was 53 of 108 (. 491) on faceoffs and led the Vikings with 35 ground balls.

Men's volleyball

Augustana junior Matthew Schiferl (Wheeling) led the Vikings with 188 digs.

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