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Waubonsee honors top student/athletes in 10-11

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SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College recently honored its top student/athletes for 2010-2011 at the school’s annual Athletic Awards Banquet. Individual achievements as well as team accomplishments were recognized during the festive evening in the college’s Academic and Professional Center. Student/athletes from throughout the Fox Valley area and beyond were among those honored during the evening. In addition, the fifth class of inductees to Waubonsee’s Athletic Hall of Fame were formally enshrined at the beginning of the evening’s festivities.

Basketball player Markus Cocroft was named the Male Athlete of the Year after earning Second Team NJCAA Division II All-American status and leading the Chiefs to a second straight appearance at the NJCAA Division II National Tournament. The Aurora West High School graduate was the heart and soul of the Chiefs’ squad the last two years, earning All-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) First Team and All-Region IV First Team honors this season. Cocroft, a five-foot-eight point guard, averaged 9.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.5 steals per contest while running Waubonsee’s offense and spearheading their nationally ranked defense. A Physical Education major, Cocroft elevated his game late in the season while leading the Chiefs to the Region IV Championship, where he was named the Tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Alexa Schofield was chosen the Female Athlete of the Year, after excelling on the tennis court and softball diamond for the Lady Chiefs’ the last two seasons. A Secondary Education major, Schofield went undefeated at number-one singles during the regular season the last two years. She was the ISCC Player of the Year both times, winning the ISCC and Region IV titles each year and participating in the NJCAA Division I National Tournament. Schofield also teamed up with Taylor Dahlstrom at number-one doubles to win the Region IV crown, qualifying for the NJCAA National Tournament in Arizona the last two years. The Lady Chiefs’ shortstop also smacked 53 hits, including 15 doubles en route to earning All-ISCC First Team honors.

Baseball player Brandon Lawrence was named Waubonsee’s Most Improved Male Athlete. The Liberal Arts major from Aurora West High School eventually became the Chiefs’ starting first baseman midway through his freshman season despite batting just .235 overall. The right-hander collected 43 hits, including a dozen doubles and 23 runs batted in. The six-foot-four first baseman posted a .991 fielding percentage to place him 10th in the nation defensively among NJCAA Division III players. Lawrence made only three errors in 321 chances, tying him for fourth all-time in Waubonsee history for Chiefs’ first basemen.

Kaneland High School graduate Danni Garcia was chosen as the Most Improved Female Athlete. She participated in both soccer and cross country simultaneously last fall. After playing sparingly as a freshman, Garcia was an integral part of the Lady Chiefs’ dominating defense in soccer, earning All-ISCC Second Team honors. She also scored six goals and registered three assists in helping the Lady Chiefs post an 18-4-1 record. Despite not participating in cross country as a freshman, Garcia literally ran to the front of the pack last fall. An Athletic Training major, she finished second overall at the ISCC Meet to earn All-ISCC status. Due to a conflict with a playoff soccer game, she did not participate in the Region IV Meet. However, based on her previous times she qualified for the NJCAA National Meet, where she placed in the top third among all participants.

Alexis Ford, an Elementary Education major from Dekalb High School, was the recipient of the Vermilion and Gold Award. This award is given annually to the Waubonsee student/athlete who best exemplifies the true ‘heart and soul’ of Chiefs’ athletics.

“Essentially someone who helps others and gets involved on campus,” Athletic Manager Dave Randall said. Ford was that person at Waubonsee the last year, doing whatever it took to help the softball team succeed and participating in numerous activities on campus. An infielder on the softball team, she batted .250 with seven doubles and 19 runs scored for the Lady Chiefs.

Men’s basketball player Dexter Turner was selected as the S.T.A.R. Award recipient, given to the student/athlete that displayed a good work ethic, dedication to academics and achieved perfect attendance in Waubonsee’s athletic monitoring program. Turner demonstrated these attributes and more while helping lead the Chiefs’ to a second consecutive Region IV Division II Tournament title. A six-foot-two sophomore forward from Beloit, Wisconsin’s Memorial High School, Turner tallied a team-leading 9.8 points-per-game in the Chiefs’ ball control offense. The Liberal Arts major also pulled down 5.2 rebounds per contest, while shooting 42 percent from the field and 71 percent from the charity stripe on the way to being named to the All-ISCC Second Team. Turner led Waubonsee in scoring in the Region IV title game en route to earning Region IV All-Tournament honors for the second straight year.

Former athletes David L. Bacon, Carlos H. Gil, and Graham Hill, along with administrator Dr. John J. Swalec and the 1975 Chiefs’ Baseball team, made up Waubonsee’s Athletic Hall of Fame class for 2011.

A 5-foot-10 shooting guard from West Aurora High School, Bacon was the marquee performer on a pair of nationally ranked Waubonsee teams, leading them to the Skyway Conference title each of his two years. He earned All-Region and All-Skyway Conference First Team honors as a freshman in 1989-1990 before being named an NJCAA First Team All-American his sophomore year. On the way to Waubonsee’s first-ever Region IV basketball championship in 1990-1991, Bacon was named the Most Valuable Player of both the Skyway Conference and Region IV, as well as Waubonsee’s Male Athlete of the Year. He now serves as the assistant pastor at Grace Deliverance Outreach Ministry in Aurora, while also working for the Weyerhaeuser Company.

After learning the game of soccer at Aurora West High School, Gil brought his talents to Waubonsee in 1982. His freshman year, Gil recorded 23 goals and 21 assists to help Waubonsee break into the NJCAA national rankings, earning All-Skyway Conference and All-Region IV First Team honors along the way. As a sophomore, Gil netted 43 goals, and more awards followed, including NJCAA Second Team All-American status, and both the Skyway Conference and Region IV Player of the Year honors. After his Waubonsee playing days were over, Gil took over as the Chiefs head coach, guiding Waubonsee to the Region IV finals for the third consecutive year before transferring to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside on a full soccer scholarship. He has worked for AIM Engineering and Surveying in Florida the last eight years.

Tennis player Graham Hill played just one year for the Chiefs, but what a year it was. Undefeated at number one singles, he earned the Skyway Conference and Region IV titles in that category and at number one doubles with partner Ryan Brazas, ultimately leading the entire Chiefs squad to the two crowns. Not surprisingly, Hill was named the Player of the Year for both the Skyway and Region IV and went on to a 12th place finish at the NJCAA National Tournament—the highest finish ever for a Waubonsee tennis player. After his outstanding season for the Chiefs, Hill played tennis at the University of Arizona until an injury cut short his collegiate career. He then spent time as a coach before eventually returning to the court to play professionally in New Zealand.

Today, Hill works as an Energy Analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., while pursuing a master’s degree in environmental management from the University of Denver and giving tennis lessons at the Lakeshore Athletic Club in Denver.

Waubonsee Hall of Fame inductee and President Emeritus Dr. John J. Swalec had a longer tenure in which to make a lasting impact on Waubonsee athletics, guiding the college from 1981 to 2001. During his two decades as president, Waubonsee grew by more than 50 percent, and he was labeled a “pacesetter” by the American Association of Community Colleges for establishing landmark initiatives such as the Athletic Department’s Student-Athletes Taking Academic Responsibility (S.T.A.R.) Program. He served on the NJCAA’s Board of Directors, the NJCAA’s Executive Committee, the State of Illinois Athletic Board, and as the Chairman of the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference. Dr. Swalec’s passion for athletics began during his time as a standout wrestler at Illinois State University (ISU) and grew as he coached the sport in later years. He has been inducted into ISU’s Wrestling Hall of Fame, the NJCAA National Wrestling Hall of Fame, the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association Hall of Fame, and the NJCAA Region IV Hall of Fame.

The first whole team inducted into Waubonsee’s Hall of Fame, the 1975 baseball team helped put the college on the athletic map. Coach Bill Prince’s squad advanced all the way to the NJCAA Region IV Tournament Championship game at a time when all 45 schools in Illinois participated in one division. Undefeated in league play, the team captured Waubonsee’s first Skyway Conference title in baseball before going on to win a Region IV Sectional crown and finishing as the Region IV State Runner-up. They had a school-record 10-game winning streak, which stood until 2010. The pitching staff had a team earned-run-average (ERA) of 3.48, the fourth best in school history, and three of their pitchers are still in the top 15 for strikeouts per game. Their team fielding average of .942 still stands as the fifth best mark in Chiefs’ history.

Individuals achieving All-Conference, All-Region, All-American and Academic honors during the school year were recognized throughout the evening. Long-time head baseball coach Dave Randall was also recognized for being named the ISCC Baseball Coach of the Year after leading the Chiefs to back-to-back league titles for the first time ever. Men’s basketball coach Dave Heiss was acknowledged for his 500th career coaching victory. Several team accomplishments were also recognized throughout the evening, including the Men’s Cross Country team advancing to the NJCAA National Meet for the fourth consecutive year, the Women’s Soccer team winning the Region IV title for the second time in the last three years, and the Men’s Basketball team reaching the National Tournament for the third time in the last four years.

Vitiello gets softball honor

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SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College’s Lauren Vitiello was named a 2011 NJCAA Softball Second Team All-American. She is the first Lady Chiefs’ softball player to ever earn that distinction. A sophomore from South Elgin, Ill., Vitiello batted .413 with a school-record 67 runs batted in. The left-handed power hitter smacked a Waubonsee record 12 home runs to break former Kaneland star Sara Rose’s mark of 10 set last season. Vitiello averaged a home run every 15.75 at bats to go along with ripping 17 doubles and 78 hits on the season. In addition, the Lady Chiefs’ first baseman scored 41 runs, had a .457 on-base percentage and posted a .987 fielding percentage. Vitiello also went 16-6 with a 2.19 earned-run-average overall as a pitcher on the season. She struck out 118 batters and walked 37 in 163 innings pitched.

Vitiello was tabbed All-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference First Team after helping lead the Lady Chiefs to the conference title with an 11-1 record. She was selected to the All-Region IV First Team after helping lead Waubonsee to a school-record 42 wins and a second seed in the Region IV Division II District B Tournament. In addition Vitiello was named to the Region IV All-Tournament team after helping propel the Lady Chiefs to the championship game and a runner-up finish. She will continue her collegiate playing career at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

WCC baseball adds to honors

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SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College’s record-setting baseball season may have come to a halt in the finals of the Region IV Division III Tournament, but the honors for the Chiefs continue to roll in. The Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) and the NJCAA’s Region IV Committee recognized nine members of the Chiefs’ program for their outstanding performances this past spring.

Shortstop Nate Strusz, designated hitter Cory Walden and pitcher Dan Okapal were each named All-ISCC First Team, with Strusz tabbed as the league’s Most Valuable Player. Outfielder Nolan Craig, second baseman Tony Gaffino, pitcher Steve Lewis, first baseman Brandon Lawrence and third baseman Tim Brann were each chosen to the All-ISCC Second Team. Long-time head coach Dave Randall was selected the ISCC’s Coach of the Year after leading the Chiefs to the league championship for the second straight season. In addition, Strusz, Walden, Okapal, Craig, Lewis, Lawrence and Brann were all selected to the NJCAA All-Region IV Division III First Team.

Strusz, a slick fielding shortstop from Aurora West High School, batted .395 in ISCC contests in helping lead the Chiefs to a 10-4 league mark.

Walden, a sophomore from Aurora West High School, batted .445 in conference games. The slugger had a record-setting spring as the Chiefs’ clean-up hitter, finishing second nationally in home runs (12) and runs batted in (67), both new single-season Waubonsee records. Walden ended the season with a .422 batting average to place him 20th among NJCAA Division III hitters. He smacked 65 hits, tying him for fifth nationally in that category.

Okapal, a right-handed pitcher from Aurora East High School, went 4-1 with a 1.80 ERA in ISCC action. Overall on the season, the 6’4” sophomore compiled a 6-2 record to go along with a 2.67 ERA, striking out 73 and walking only 9 in 70 and two-thirds innings pitched.

Craig hit .359 in ISCC contests to help lead the Chiefs to the title. On the season, the Hinckley-Big Rock alumnus batted .374 with 58 hits, 42 runs scored and 31 driven in. The left-handed hitting outfielder also stole 23 bases in 28 tries, drew 23 walks and had a .470 on-base percentage.

Gaffino batted .280 in league action, and helped anchor the Chiefs’ record-setting defense. The Aurora West High School graduate made only five errors in 191 chances at second base, registering 84 putouts and 102 assists.

Lewis, from Chicago’s St. Laurence High School, went 3-1 on the hill against conference competition after having elbow surgery in 2010. Overall the sophomore finished 7-3 with a 3.19 ERA in 62 innings pitched with five complete games. The seven wins the right-hander posted tied him for sixth among NJCAA Division III hurlers.

Two Chiefs collect Div. III diamond honors

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SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College’s Cory Walden and Dan Okapal were named the NJCAA’s Division III Player of the Week and Pitcher of the Week, respectively. The duo helped lead the Chiefs, 23-8 overall, to a 7-2 record over the last week ending on April 10. It is the first time two Waubonsee baseball players have ever been honored nationally in the same week.

Walden, a 6-foot, 205-pound sophomore from Aurora West High School, blasted seven home runs and drove in an astounding 24 runs over eight games in the past week. The Chiefs’ designated hitter went 13 for 24 at the plate for a .542 batting average, ending the week on a 10-game hitting streak. Walden smacked a pair of 2-run homers, a trio of 3-run homers, and two grand slams, while scoring 11 times. For the season Walden is tied for first nationally among NJCAA Division III players with 11 home runs, is second in runs batted in with 48, is 16th nationally with a .446 batting average, and has a phenomenal .986 slugging percentage. Walden’s 11 round-trippers equals the Chiefs’ single-season record set by Ben Schmoker in 1996, while he is just four shy of Schmoker’s mark for runs batted in set that same year.

Okapal, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound sophomore from Aurora East High School, tossed two complete-game victories last week without allowing an earned run. The right-hander struck out 16 and walked none in 14 innings of work. On Tuesday, April 5, Okapal dispatched the College of Lake County on just 69 pitches, allowing only one hit and striking out nine with no walks in a complete game shutout. On Saturday, April 9, Okapal struck out seven, walked none and scattered seven hits while yielding two unearned runs in a 5-2 win over McHenry County College. Thus far on the season, Okapal is 4-0 with a 1.25 earned-run-average (ERA), ranking him sixth nationally among NJCAA Division III pitchers. He has struck out 39 batters and walked only four in 36 innings of work.

The Chiefs’ next home outing is Monday, April 25, against Oakton Community College at 2:30 p.m.

Kaneland alum Rose among Waubonsee post-season honorees

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Courtesy Photo: Sara Rose

Sugar Grove—Waubonsee Community College’s Maxzine Rossler heads up a quartet of women’s basketball players that were recognized by the NJCAA Region IV and Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) basketball committees. Rossler was chosen to the prestigious All-Region IV Division II District K Second Team. Along with Alyssa Harbin, she was also named All-ISCC First Team, while the Lady Chiefs’ Colleen Purcell and Sara Rose were both tabbed All-ISCC Honorable Mention.

Rose, a 5-foot-8 guard from Kaneland High School, was named to the All-ISCC Second Team for the second straight year. She averaged 4.2 assists per contest to lead the team, tallying 129 assists overall for a two-year total of 226 assists. The sophomore also averaged 6.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.0 steals as the Lady Chiefs’ point guard.

Rossler, a 5-foot-6 guard from Hinckley-Big Rock High School, averaged 12.9 points-per-game to lead Waubonsee in scoring. The freshman also nailed 66 three-pointers, averaged 2.7 assists and 2.5 steals per contest, and made 70 percent of her foul shots.

Harbin, a 5-foot-7 forward from Yorkville High School, contributed in numerous ways every game in helping lead Waubonsee to a 17-14 record. The sophomore averaged 8.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.3 steals per game.

Purcell, a 6-foot-1 center from Oswego High School, averaged 10.0 points-per-game while connecting on 49 percent of her shots from the floor. The freshman grabbed a team-leading 235 rebounds, averaging 7.8 boards per contest.

WCC hoops Region IV District B kings

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WAUBONSEE—For the second consecutive year, Waubonsee Community College’s Men’s Basketball team captured the NJCAA Region IV Division II District B Championship.

The Chiefs downed the College of Lake County 67-55 in the title game this past Saturday, held at Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby. The Chiefs’ Markus Cocroft (So./Aurora/Aurora West) was named the Region IV Division II District B Tournament’s Most Valuable Player, while Dexter Turner (So./Beloit, WI./Horlick) was selected to the All-Tournament Team for the second straight year. Head Coach Dave Heiss was tabbed the Region IV Coach of the Year for the third time in the last four years.

Waubonsee (21-11) advances to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament in Danville, Ill., where they will play sixth-ranked Cecil (MD) College (27-5) in the first round beginning on Tuesday, March 15, at 6:30 p.m. Win or lose, the Chiefs’ second game in the double-elimination tournament will be on Thursday, March 17. If Waubonsee wins their opening game, they will play the winner between Lincoln (IL) College and Lakeland (OH) Community College at 6:30 p.m. If they lose, they take on the losing team between Lincoln and Lakeland at 11 a.m. The tournament runs through March 19 with all games played at Danville Area Community College.

Lady Chiefs earn two early wins

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Photo: Former Lady Knight Sara Rose is expected to contribute heavily to coach Perry Clark’s Waubonsee softball roster. WCC Sports Info

WAUBONSEE—WCC Softball ready for fun in sun to start 2011 season.

Waubonsee Community College began 2011 with a 2-1 record after stops in St. Louis and St. Charles, Mo.

Under 14th-year coach Perry Clark, the Lady Cheifs beat Florissant Valley CC 6-0 on Thursday, beat Lindenwood University’s JV team 12-10 on Saturday and lost to Fishbonne University 8-1.

Additionally, in a suspended game on Thursday, stopped after WCC went up 10-0 after two innings, former Kaneland standout Sara Rose doubled and homered.

In the win over Lindenwood, freshman Brittany Davis, 2010 graduate of KHS, went 2-for-4.

WCC Men’s team has Region IV aspirations

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OGLESBY, Ill.—Waubonsee Community College men’s basketball is now gearing up for the Region IV Championship on Saturday, March 5, at 5 p.m. against College of Lake County at Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby, Ill., after a 70-64 victory over Prairie State College on Sunday.

The tussle at IVCC saw WCC improve to 20-11 on the campaign. Red-hot shooter Danny Fernandez had a team-high 20 points, thanks to six-of-seven from three-point land. Ketrell Martin added 12 points.

Coach Heiss wins No. 500

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DES PLAINES, Ill.—Waubonsee Community College’s Dave Heiss joined a select group on Thursday in Des Plaines, Ill.

The Chiefs bounced Oakton Community College 71-59 to give Waubonsee’s long-time men’s basketball head coach his 500th career victory. Coach Heiss becomes the 21st active coach at the NJCAA level to reach that milestone, and is the 51st coach with 500 or more wins in the history of NJCAA men’s basketball.

“I’ve been very blessed, very fortunate all around with a good administration at Waubonsee, a good boss in (Waubonsee Athletic Manager) Dave Randall, good assistant coaches and obviously good players. You don’t get to this plateau unless you have a mixture of those things,” Heiss said.

The Chiefs (17-8, 8-2) knocked off the Raiders (6-20, 1-9) for the second time this season, shooting 61 percent from the floor in the second half and owning a 44-29 rebounding advantage over their Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference.

“I’d be lying to you if I said I had not thought about it (500 wins), but at the same time our focus has been more on getting this team ready to go and prepared,” Heiss said.

Under Heiss’ leadership the last 25 years, the Chiefs have become a perennial NJCAA top-20 program, ranking as high as #2 in the NJCAA’s Division II poll two different seasons. Heiss has guided the Chiefs to the NJCAA Region IV crown and a berth into the NJCAA Division II National Tournament four times. He has been inducted into the NJCAA Region IV Hall of Fame (2006), the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Hall of Fame (2009), the Aurora West High School Athletic Hall of Fame (2010) and the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) Hall of Fame (2010).

In 2008, he became the ISCC’s all-time leader for career wins and currently has 224 league victories, winning more than 68 percent (224-104) of the Chiefs’ conference battles. His squads have won nine ISCC titles with 57 of his players being named All-ISCC First Team, including eight league MVP Awards.

Heiss is a full-time faculty member in Waubonsee’s physical education department and was an instrumental player in the establishment of the school’s S.T.A.R. program, the student/athlete academic monitoring system.

Waubonsee’s Fernandez takes Region IV Player of the Week for men’s hoops

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SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College men’s basketball player Danny Fernandez was named the NJCAA Region IV Division II District B Player of the Week for the third week of January. Fernandez set a Waubonsee record by making eight baskets from three-point range en route to scoring a collegiate career high of 24 points in the Chiefs’ 85-45 victory over Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference foe Oakton Community College.

The 5’9” guard made his last seven attempts from long range and finished the game 8 of 10 from beyond the arc. Fernandez also dished out three assists, grabbed a pair of offensive rebounds and recorded a steal in the Chiefs’ (12-8, 3-2) lopsided win. In Waubonsee’s last three contests, the graduate of Sunset Senior High School in Miami, has nailed 14 treys while averaging 16 points-per-game.

Fernandez, who missed five games in late November and early December with a deep bruise in his right bicep, was averaging just 4.7 points-per-game prior to his recent hot streak. The sophomore tallied more points (48) in the last three games than he did in the previous 10 contests (47) he competed in this season.

WCC accepting Hall of Fame noms

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SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College is accepting applications for the Chiefs’ Athletic Hall of Fame. Inductees will be honored at the school’s year-ending Athletic Banquet on May 10. Individuals or groups can be nominated for induction until Feb. 1. Nomination forms are available online by going to www.waubonsee.edu/athletics or through Waubonsee’s Athletic Office on the college’s Sugar Grove Campus.

Inductees will then be determined by a selection committee representing Waubonsee’s staff, administration and former Waubonsee student-athletes. Nominated athletes must be five years removed from competing for Waubonsee.

Nominees will fall into one of five categories: administrators, faculty and staff; athletes; coaches; community supporters; and specific teams. Criteria for induction varies based on the category of nominee, but includes involvement in sports, dedication to Waubonsee, athletic successes, years at Waubonsee, and contributions to the community or career accomplishments earned after leaving Waubonsee.

Hall of Fame selections will be announced the week of April 4. For more information, contact the WCC Athletic Dept. at (630) 466-2524.

WCC accepting HOF noms

in Waubonsee Sports by

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College is accepting applications for the Chiefs’ Athletic Hall of Fame. Inductees will be honored at the school’s year-ending Athletic Banquet on May 10, 2011. Individuals or groups can be nominated for induction until Feb. 1, 2011. Nomination forms are available online by going to www.waubonsee.edu/athletics or through Waubonsee’s Athletic Office on the college’s Sugar Grove Campus.

Inductees will then be determined by a selection committee representing Waubonsee’s staff, administration and former Waubonsee student-athletes. Nominated athletes must be five years removed from competing for Waubonsee.

Nominees will fall into one of five categories: administrators, faculty and staff; athletes; coaches; community supporters; and specific teams. Criteria for induction varies based on the category of nominee, but includes involvement in sports, dedication to Waubonsee, athletic successes, years at Waubonsee, and contributions to the community or career accomplishments earned after leaving Waubonsee.

Hall of Fame selections will be announced the week of April 4, 2011. For more information, please contact the Waubonsee Athletic Department at (630) 466-2524.

Chief XC Region IV kings

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GALESBURG, Ill.—For the fourth consecutive year, Waubonsee Community College brought home a regional championship.

The Chief men’s cross country team had three of the top 10 finishers during Saturday’s Region IV Regional Championship at Carl Sandburg College.

Waubonsee’s Greg Adelman finished third with a time of 28 minutes, nine seconds. Teammate Max Sliwa was fourth with a time of 28:11 and Stephen Clark was sixth with a time of 28:19.

WCC accepting HOF nods

in Waubonsee Sports by

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College is accepting applications for the Chiefs’ Athletic Hall of Fame.

Inductees will be honored at the school’s year-ending Athletic Banquet on May 10, 2011. Individuals or groups can be nominated for induction beginning immediately. Nomination forms are available online by going to www.waubonsee.edu/athletics or through Waubonsee’s Athletic Office on the college’s Sugar Grove Campus. Nominations can be submitted until Feb. 1, 2011.

Inductees will then be determined by a selection committee representing Waubonsee’s staff, administration and former Waubonsee student-athletes. Nominated athletes must be five years removed from competing for Waubonsee. Nominees will fall into one of five categories: administrators, faculty and staff; athletes; coaches; community supporters; and specific teams. Hall of Fame selections will be announced the week of April 4, 2011. For more information, contact the Waubonsee Athletic Department at (630) 466-2524.

WCC’s Rossler gets honor from NJCAA

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Waubonsee Community College freshman Maxzine Rossler was named the NJCAA’s Division I Women’s Soccer Player of the Week for all games played from Sept. 13 through 19. The Hinckley-Big Rock graduate had five goals and a pair of assists in the Lady Chiefs’ two victories during the week. Rossler had two goals and two assists as Waubonsee set five school records in blasting Truman College 13-0 on Sept. 13. She followed that up by scoring a ‘hat trick’ with three goals in the Lady Chiefs’ 6-3 win over the College of DuPage on Sept. 16. Entering yesterday the Big Rock native was tied for most goals scored in the nation among NJCAA Division I players with 15 goals in 11 games played. Rossler was also second nationally in points with 34 (15 goals, 4 assists), helping lead the nationally-ranked Lady Chiefs to an 8-2-1 record overall. Waubonsee was ranked 16th in the latest NJCAA Division I poll, and is set to host 11th-ranked Schoolcraft, (Mich.) College (8-1) on Saturday, Oct. 2, beginning at noon.

Waubonsee Community College offers fall baseball in September

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Waubonsee Community College will host a fall baseball hitting and game league for high school players who are not participating in any fall high school sports.

This IHSA approved league is the area’s longest running and most economical fall league. Over 2,000 players have participated throughout the past 25 years, with hundreds going on to compete at the collegiate level.

The league is scheduled to run from Thursday, Sept. 2, through Sept. 28. Games will be played on every Tuesday and Thursday during the month of September, beginning at 4:30 p.m. All games will be played on Waubonsee Community College’s baseball diamond in Sugar Grove, and all players signed up are guaranteed playing time. Each of the eight game days will provide players the opportunity to use Waubonsee’s outdoor hitting facility that features two astro-turfed batting cages and multiple hitting stations.

Individuals interested in playing should attend an organizational meeting on Tuesday,
Aug. 31, at 4:30 p.m. on the Sugar Grove campus. The meeting will take place in Room 219 of Erickson Hall, Waubonsee’s gymnasium, with a $60 fee due at that time. For more information, contact Waubonsee baseball coach Dave Randall at (630) 466-2527.

Organizational
meeting

Tuesday, Aug. 31
4:30 p.m.
Sugar Grove campus
Route 47 at Harter Road

Rose among best in Skyway softball

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SUGAR GROVE—A trio of Waubonsee Community College softball players recently received post-season honors. Lady Chiefs’ third baseman Sara Rose, centerfielder Bridget Kennedy and middle infielder Sam Palucska were all named to the All-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) First Team. In addition, Rose was selected to the NJCAA All-Region IV Division II First Team.

Rose led the Lady Chiefs in almost every offensive category this past spring, and ranked in the top-40 among NJCAA Division II softball players in home runs (23rd), triples (25th), on-base percentage (28th), runs batted in (39th) and batting average (39th). The freshman from Kaneland High School set a new Waubonsee single-season record with 10 home runs, including a single-game record of three. The right-handed hitter finished the year with a .456 batting average with 49 runs batted in, hitting .529 with runners in scoring position. Rose smacked 42 singles, 11 doubles and five triples en route to compiling a lofty .799 slugging percentage and tallying 119 total bases. She also stole 23 bases in 24 attempts and led the team with 41 runs scored in 49 games played. Additionally, Rose struck out just 10 times in 173 plate appearances for an average of once every 17.3 times at the dish.

Kennedy, a sophomore from Aurora Christian High School, batted .318 on the season as Waubonsee’s leadoff hitter. The switch-hitting speedster swiped 30 bases to finish tied for 16th nationally in stolen bases. Kennedy was second on the team with 54 hits and 38 runs scored, and led the team with 170 at bats in 49 games played.

Palucska, a freshman from Wauconda High School, batted .259 with 21 runs batted in and 24 runs scored in 47 games played. She hit four doubles, a pair of triples and a home run during the season, to go along with six stolen bases in seven tries.The Lady Chiefs’ middle infielder finished the season with a .921 fielding percentage, while not making any throwing errors all spring.

Watson enjoys HOF honor, volleyball action

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Former WCC coach back from AZ after volleyball trip
by Mike Slodki
ELBURN—How does Maple Park’s Don Watson reflect on Hall of Fame accolades?

Not by taking a step back.

Watson, who was inducted into the Waubonsee Community College Athletics Hall of Fame at a banquet last month, also got back from Arizona this week where he was competing in Senior Nationals and the USA Adult Open Volleyball Championship.

A former sportswriter with the Elburn Herald, Watson also remains coach of local club volleyball and the Hinckley-Big Rock girls volleyball squad.

His hall of fame honor is a long way away from the humble beginnings of his WCC tenure, when he helped establish the Lady Chiefs volleyball program in 1977 as head coach, and remained for 14 years.

“It was an honor, in a sense that when I look at the others that went in (to the Hall of Fame) in years past, I knew all of them,” Watson said. “I was grateful and thrilled, it was a nice honor.”

Watson was also the first softball coach and led the team to its first Skyway Conference title in 1980.

“I’ve seen the Waubonsee athletic program grow a lot to where people are getting into the Hall of Fame,” Watson said. “We had some pretty good teams over the years.”

Watson began teaching a volleyball class in the 1980s and ran summer camps for high school players.

“I played with the Elgin YMCA team way back when and it was a very competitive league and that’s where I really learned the game,” Watson said.

With the new high school volleyball season set to begin shortly, Watson took the time to participate in mens volleyball for the sixth time in the USA Volleyball National Championships in Phoenix earlier this month, where the Chicagoland Masters took a bronze in the Mens’ 75 division.

“Then people ask how many teams were in the bracket,” Watson said. “But in the Men’s 75 group, it’s hard to get many people to compete. But the first and second-place teams were bigger and were better than we were.”

The group that Watson participated in also had teams from Florida, Maryland and Delaware.

The hall of famer has no plans to stop doing what he loves.

“With coaching high school, I feel I have to stay active,” Watson said. “I have to do what I try to teach and demonstrate sometimes what I’m talking about. It’s not just playing, you keep learning.”

Chiefs coaches recognized

in Waubonsee Sports by

ELGIN—The Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) honored a pair of current Waubonsee Community College coaches and a former coach at the league’s Annual President’s Luncheon on June 10 at Elgin Community College. Chiefs’ men’s basketball head coach Dave Heiss along with former Waubonsee coach and administrator Ray Lumpp, were inducted into the ISCC’s Hall of Fame. Long-time Chiefs’ baseball head coach Dave Randall was also honored as the ISCC’s Male Coach of the Year for 2009-2010 after leading the Chiefs to the ISCC and Region IV titles.

Heiss has led Waubonsee to nine league championships, four Region IV crowns and 483 wins over the last 25 years. He began coaching the Chiefs in 1986 and has built the program into a perennial power, winning 20 or more games 13 times. Heiss is the ISCC’s all-time record holder for career wins with 216 and counting, and he’s been named the league’s Coach of the Year nine times. He has also been selected as the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) and the Region IV Basketball Coach of the Year four times. Additionally, Heiss has guided the Chiefs’ golf program for the last 18 years, orchestrating two ISCC title winners and a Region IV crown, while helping 32 golfers reach All-Conference status. Heiss previously was enshrined into the Aurora West High School Hall of Fame, the NJCAA Region IV Hall of Fame and the IBCA Hall of Fame.

From Waubonsee’s inception, Lumpp was an integral part of the school and its athletic program. He was the school’s first physical education instructor and the first men’s basketball coach, directing the program until 1980. He guided the Chiefs to four ISCC Championships in the 1970’s, and his 1977 team earned a trip to the Illinois Region IV Finals, at a time when all Illinois community colleges were in one division. Coach Lumpp came back to guide the Chiefs for just the 1984-85 season, leading the team to a second-place finish in the ISCC. It was the fifth runner-up finish for Waubonsee under Lumpp’s leadership, meaning his Chiefs finished first or second in the Skyway nine of the 11 seasons he guided them. His teams won 75 percent of their league contests, going 101-34 overall with just one sub-.500 season, never finishing lower than fourth. Lumpp took over as Waubonsee’s athletic director in 1974 and held that position until his retirement in 1986. He also served as the Region IV Wrestling Chairman for 11 years during a time that Waubonsee hosted the Region IV Wrestling Championships. Even after retirement, Lumpp served as the officiating assignor of a variety of sports for the ISCC. Lumpp currently lives in the Knoxville, Tenn., suburb of Loudon.

Randall just completed his 33rd year directing the Chiefs’ baseball program, the longest current tenure in any sport for the NJCAA’s Region IV. His teams have been ranked in the top-15 of the NJCAA’s non-scholarship Division III polls for 16 of the last 19 years, including this year’s team which finished seventh in the nation. Randall has guided the Chiefs’ baseball program to 762 wins overall. The lone non-scholarship baseball program in the ISCC, Waubonsee has captured the league title four times under his direction, including this past spring. Randall is also the baseball chairman for the ISCC, serves as Awards Chairman for the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association Committee and is the Region IV Code of Conduct chairman. Additionally, Randall is a member of the Region IV Hall of Fame and the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Watson among HOF inductees at WCC

in Featured/Waubonsee Sports by

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College inducted five former Chiefs into its Athletic Hall of Fame during the college’s annual Athletic Banquet on May 11.

David Hejtmanek, Donald Lee Watson, Sally (Toma) Kempton, Sharon Metzger and Steve Smerz were chosen to form the fourth class of the Waubonsee Athletic Hall of Fame for their involvement in sports, dedication to Waubonsee, athletic successes, and contributions to the community or career accomplishments earned after leaving Waubonsee. The Hall of Fame was formed in 2007 in conjunction with the school’s 40th anniversary celebration.

“We are proud to recognize the success of our student-athletes, as well as the coaches, administrators and community supporters who helped to foster that success,” Waubonsee Athletic Manager Dave Randall said. “Waubonsee athletics has a rich history in contributing to the total development of our students and to the campus community as a whole.”

David Hejtmanek led Waubonsee’s wrestling program for eight years, beginning in 1987. Under his tutelage, 22 grapplers qualified for Nationals, with eight Chiefs earning All-American status. Waubonsee captured the Skyway Conference wrestling crown in 1990 and went on to place 19th at the NJCAA Finals. In 1993 Hejtmanek’s squad finished 13th in the nation as he was tabbed the NJCAA Region IV Coach of the Year.

Hejtmanek describes his former athlete and fellow inductee Steve Smerz as someone who was “dependable, a great teammate, and someone who represented Waubonsee with the highest degree of character and integrity.” Smerz has displayed those traits wherever he has gone, and consequently, success has followed. While at Waubonsee, the 134-pound Smerz won 60 matches, qualifying for Nationals in both 1990 and 1991. After earning All-American status his sophomore season, he received a wrestling scholarship to Eastern Illinois University, where he was a starter for the Panthers his senior year. Smerz has been the head varsity wrestling coach at St. Charles East High School since 1997, guiding the team to three regional championships during his tenure.

Donald Lee Watson helped lay the foundation of women’s sports at Waubonsee, establishing the volleyball program in 1977 and serving as its head coach for the next 14 years. In more than half of those seasons, his squad finished in the Skyway Conference’s top three. In 1979 Watson helped build the softball program, spending two seasons in the dugout and leading the team to a Skyway Conference title in 1980. Recently, at the age of 50, Watson began playing on an Illinois volleyball team that went on to compete in nine straight Senior Nationals, and played in the USA Volleyball National Championships in Phoenix, Ariz.

Like Coach Watson, Sally (Toma) Kempton specialized in volleyball but dabbled in softball as well. On the volleyball court, she earned All-Skyway honors in both 1985 and 1986, and All-Region IV status as a sophomore. Kempton was the Lady Chiefs’ MVP in 1985, achieving a 95 percent serving efficiency rate and establishing a Waubonsee career record with 465 spikes. In the spring she helped out the softball team by playing first base. Kempton was subsequently named Waubonsee’s Female Athlete of the Year for 1985-1986.

Inductee Sharon Metzger was the first and only two-time NJCAA All-American cross country runner for Waubonsee. As a freshman in 2002, she led the Lady Chiefs to their first-ever Skyway Conference title, earning Runner of the Year honors in the process. Metzger also garnered All-Region status before placing 14th at the National Meet that year. As a sophomore she again achieved All-Skyway and All-Region honors before finishing 12th at the National Meet. The squad she anchored placed third in the nation academically among cross country teams with a cumulative 3.33 grade point average. Metzger made the Dean’s List twice and earned Academic All-Skyway honors as well. Not surprisingly, she was named Waubonsee’s Female Athlete of the Year for 2002-2003. Metzger is currently training for the 2010 Chicago Marathon.

The Waubonsee Athletic Hall of Fame honors former Waubonsee administrators, faculty and staff; athletes; coaches; community supporters; and specific teams who are five years removed from their involvement with Waubonsee athletics.

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