We last opened the overflowing mailbag of local graduates' collegiate achievements last spring. It's way overdue, so without further ado ...
The top seven runners on Augustana's men's cross country team, which finished the season ranked 25th in NCAA Division III, own an average grade-point average of 3.632. Leading the way is junior Nathan Smith (Fenton) with an astronomical 3.831 while majoring in biochemistry/pre-medicine. Junior Brian Pollastrini (York) carries a 3.797 in Spanish and English while Nathan Smith's twin, Justin, pulls in a 3.708 in the same grueling majors as his brother. All earned their third varsity letters this fall.
Carthage College senior outside hitter Michelle Madeja (Neuqua Valley), who led the Reds to the title of the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin, repeated as the CCIW's player of the year. She's a three-time first-team all-CCIW player.
Benedictine junior running back and return man John Borsellino (at Montini he was Johnny) takes a host of accomplishments into the Eagles' Division III playoffs Saturday at power Mount Union. His 1,282 yards rushing on 234 carries are Benedictine season records as are his 22 total touchdowns and 132 points. Three times the Northern Athletic Conference's offensive player of the week and once its special teams player of the week, Borsellino's 43 touchdowns are 7 away from the Eagles career mark. Through Nov. 12 he ranked second in Division III total offense with 216 yards per game. He's third nationally in scoring, 17th in rushing.
Waubonsee Community College entered its first NJCAA Division I national women's soccer tournament Thursday. Helping the 17-6 Chiefs is freshman forward Valeria Farfan (West Chicago), tied for 10th nationally in points with 65 and in goals with 26 according to Waubonsee sports information specialist Steve Moga. Sophomores Cindy McDonald (Willowbrook) and Stefanie Salinas (West Chicago) also are down in Melbourne, Fla.
Illinois State senior John Navarro (Glenbard South), a known brainiac and psychology major, was named to the Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country Scholar-Athlete team based on his 19th-place finish at the MVC championships plus his 3.52 GPA.
Brown junior tailback Mark Kachmer (St. Francis) ran for a career-high 192 yards with 3 touchdowns in a 34-28 win Nov. 5 over Yale. His 95-yard touchdown run, on a draw play, was fourth longest in Ivy League history, a Yale Bowl record that also broke a 43-year-old Brown record. Kachmer had all the yardage in Brown's NCAA record-tying 99-yard scoring drive.
Judson University senior midfielder Corey Burke (Wheaton Academy) became the soccer program's first CoSIDA Academic All-District award winner, a first-team selection. An NAIA and NCCAA Scholar-Athlete as well, the three-year starter carries a 3.9 GPA in biology/pre-medicine.
Millikin junior Brittany Cardott (Glenbard East) recorded 1,180 assists for the Big Blue women's volleyball team this season, giving her 3,428 for her career and moving her into third place in Millikin history. She earned CCIW first-team honors as well as all-Region by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
Texas junior goalkeeper Alexa Gaul (Neuqua Valley) earned her second straight all-Big 12 Second Team honor this season. Overall, the former Under-23 Women's National Team keeper started all of the Longhorns' 21 games, posting 7 shutouts and a 1.06 goals-against average. She also scored a pair of goals, her first collegiate score coming on a penalty kick in a 3-2 loss to Kansas on Sept. 29. Gaul, second-team Academic all-Big 12, ranks second in Texas career shutouts.
St. Norbert College junior defensive specialist Catherine Guido (Immaculate Conception) was named the Midwest Conference player of the year. Through the regular season she was third in the nation with 6.87 digs per set, including 53 digs in one five-set loss, the eighth-best mark in Division III history. Guido was the conference defensive player of the week four times this season. IC classmate and St. Norbert junior middle hitter Danielle Remy joined Guido on the MCW first team.
For a second straight soccer season Ohio State senior defender David Tiemstra (Hinsdale Central) was named the Big Ten's defensive player of the year as well as a first-team all-conference pick. The high school All-America led a Buckeyes defense that allowed 20 goals in 18 regular-season games and 7 in six Big Ten contests.
Senior soccer forward Jessica Carlson (Hinsdale South), whom we've noted several times over her Illinois State career, went down swinging with 5 shots in a 3-0 loss to Milwaukee on Nov. 12 in first round tournament play. Carlson finished as the Redbirds' career and season record holder for assists with 22 and 10, respectively. The three-time all-Missouri Valley Conference first-team honoree ranks second in program history in points, goals and game-winning goals. She boasts a 3.87 GPA in physical education.
Fellow smarty Erik Westerberg (York), an Augustana sophomore linebacker, was a first-team Division III Academic All-District choice. He carries a 3.89 GPA with majors in math and business administration. A Humane Society volunteer and a member of Augustana's Athletes Giving Back, he also gives plenty on the field. The all-CCIW first-teamer has 106 total tackles and ranks seventh in Division III with 72 solos.
Wheaton College senior soccer forward Jaime Orewiler (Wheaton North) got the same academic honor as Westerberg, earning Academic All-District a second straight year. The CCIW player of the year, Orewiler is a French and math double-major with a 3.37 GPA. In her college career she's scored 45 goals with 29 assists for 119 points, ranking among the Thunder's top eight in each category.
Grove City College sophomore quarterback Brian Pell (Wheaton Academy) completed 21 of 33 passes for 305 yards and 4 touchdowns in a 24-21 come-from-behind victory over Washington & Jefferson on Oct. 29. Pell's outing ranked fourth all-time in Grove City history, and he became just the third Wolverines quarterback to pass for at least 4 touchdowns in a game.
Odd timing, but on Oct. 7 North Central College announced that senior Erin Drennan (Lisle) and Ashle Guest (Neuqua Valley) were selected as National Fastpitch Coaches Association NCAA Division III All-America Scholar Athletes. Drennan, an outfielder and elementary education major, claimed the honor for a second time. Guest, a freshman accounting major, was named for the first time.
Illinois Wesleyan sophomore Andrea Kerwin (Wheaton Warrenville South) was a first-team all-CCIW tennis player this fall, with junior teammate Helen Alex (Hinsdale South), Augustana senior Brittany Reece (Neuqua Valley) and North Central senior Cory Schillerstrom (Naperville Central) all second-teamers. Schillerstrom, North Central's first women's tennis player with four conference accolades, holds the program record for most wins at one position with 56.
Augustana senior soccer goalkeeper Kayla Radloff (West Chicago) earned her third straight first-team all-CCIW honor in her fourth year starting. She logged 6,686 minutes in goal in her career, finishing with a 54-16-7 mark and a minuscule 0.74 goals-against average.
St. Xavier University junior outside hitter Kayla Mullaney (York) was named co-player of the year on the all-Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference women's volleyball team. She led the 30-5 Cougars, and the CCAC, in kills and was fourth on her team in digs. Mullaney's teammate Kim Scudder, a senior middle blocker also from York, made first team as well.
What we have here is a whole gaggle of players of the week ...
Cross country: Illinois Wesleyan junior Elise Anderson (Wheaton Warrenville South); Aurora University freshman Rob Izzo (Naperville North); Illinois Wesleyan senior T.J. Luby (Wheaton North); Cedarville University senior Evan Thayer (Naperville Central).
Football: North Central College freshman Caleb Bednarz (WW South); North Central's offensive line including freshman John Cannova (Benet) and senior Nick Capristo (Waubonsie Valley); North Central sophomore Connor Douglas (Glenbard South); North Central senior Valente Garza (Wheaton North); Wheaton College sophomore Justin Swider (Wheaton North); Elmhurst College junior Scottie Williams (Downers Grove South).
Golf: Aurora University senior Emily Densmore (Waubonsie Valley) -- she also was named to the Northern Athletics Conference All-Sportsmanship team; Northwestern senior Alex Lederhausen (Hinsdale Central).
Soccer: Elmhurst College junior Amy Baschen (Downers Grove South); Taylor University freshman Tim Daniels (Wheaton Academy); Illinois sophomore Vanessa DiBernardo (Waubonsie Valley); Elmhurst College freshman Maddie Fitzpatrick (Downers Grove North); West Virginia senior Meghan Lewis (Neuqua Valley).
Volleyball: Carthage College senior Cindy Cavanagh (Waubonsie Valley); Wheaton College senior Kaitlyn Graham Novasad (WW South); North Central College junior Ryan Lally (Downers Grove North).