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Two of the top softball players in the Mid-Suburban League will be teammates and roommates a year from now in a new state.
Wheeling center fielder Sara Kern and Palatine catcher/first baseman Lauren Logan took time last week to sign letters of intent to the University of St. Louis-Missouri Division II softball program.
Kern continued to show why she will move on to play at the next level last spring when she batted .510 with .938 slugging percentage (13 doubles, 5 triples, 6 home runs) with 23 RBI.
"Sara works year-round on improving her skills," said coach Mike Caringella after her junior season. "She takes control of the game offensively and defensively."
Kern made her share of outstanding catches in center field. "She keeps the team loose with her positive attitude," Caringella said. "Sara is a pleasure to coach."
Logan went into the Palatine record books with the best single-season batting average in school history.
While hitting .509, the junior also went into a new position, switching from first base to catcher.
"I thought she was one of the best catchers in the area," said coach Jeff Manz last June. "She did a tremendous job moving from first and catching for the first time." At the plate, Logan led the team with 54 hits and 41 runs and was second with 28 RBI.
"Lauren has the best eyes I've ever seen at the plate," Manz added. "She is a great all-around player and we are excited to have her back another year."
Off to sunny skies
Another top MSL softball player, Rolling Meadows senior shortstop Sam Anderson, is signing a letter of intent today with Division II University of Tampa in Florida. Hogan chose the school over two others in Florida and will major in marine biology, possibly with a minor in psychology.
Anderson enjoyed a productive 2012 season for the Mustangs, who finished second in the Mid-Suburban East. She led the Mustangs in seven offensive categories, including her .374 batting average, single-season record 8 home runs and 29 RBI. "Sam was our best offensive player and is one of the top players coming back to the Mid-Suburban League," said coach Tony Wolanski. "Sam is a tremendous talent."
Men's cross country
Hope junior Sam Pederson (Prospect) helped the Flying Dutchmen to second place in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association by placing seventh with a time of 25:17.
The former Prospect standout earned a spot on the all-MIAA first team.
• Mid-Suburban League champion Quentin Shaffer, a senior at Prospect, placed fourth (15:34.7, pace of 5:01) in the Nike Midwest Regional on the LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, In. Runners in the regional were from Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri and Michigan.
Alex Riba of the O'Fallon Running Club won the event (15:30.1) with a pace of 4:59.
Prospect senior Noelle Johnston has signed a letter of intent to play at Lindenwood University in Missouri.
Johnston was a member of Prospect's 2011 Class AA state championship team and this year's state runner-up.
She had a career low round of 76 in the summer and 82 for the high school season.
"Noelle was one of our most positive and energetic kids we've had in her four years here," said Knights coach Jim Hamann. "She built her game up from having never played golf to becoming a college player with brute force. We'll miss her effort and dedication to the program."
Barrington senior Greg Conrad has signed a letter of intent to play for Miami University men's golf coach Zac Zedrick in Ohio.
Conrad was a four-year letter winner at Barrington. He had a career scoring average of 75.6 strokes per round and qualified for the high school state finals in 2011 and 2012.
This summer he tied for third in a U.S. Open local qualifier, which allowed him to participate in a U.S. Open sectional qualifier against several PGA Tour pros. He also qualified for the 2012 US Junior Amateur.
"Greg has gained a ton of experience at the national level in the past twelve months," Zedrick said. "To make it through local qualifying for the U.S. Open and qualify for the U.S. Junior in the same year is something that very few high school level players can say they accomplished. He's incredibly organized, was a great mentor to his teammates at Barrington and has the combination of physical skill sets and mental strength to compete at a high level."
• St. Viator alum Kenny Wiecnckowski (2011) continues to play well at Illinois Wesleyan University. He competed in all of the tournaments this fall for the perennial D-III power Trojans and averaged 75. His best tournament was the Springfield Invitational with a 71-78 (149 (5-over par) for a fifth-place finish.
Despite not competing as a freshman year at St. Viator, Wiecnckowski came back as a sophomore and started on the Lions' 2008 and 2009 IHSA 3A state championship teams.
Former Fremd pitcher Sean Stutzman, the 2011 "MSL West Player of the Year", signed a letter of intent to play baseball in the 2014 season for Dallas Baptist University, which is currently ranked in the top 25 and has qualified for the D-1 College World Series playoffs over the past few years.
Stutzman received a scholarship to play for baseball powerhouse Des Moines Area Community College.
In 2012, DMACC advanced to the Junior College World Series and finished fourth in the nation. Stutzman's first spring appearance was a dominating one against Dakota County in the Metrodome. He pitched 5 innings and had 11 strikeouts. He started five games, going 2-1 and throwing 25 innings with 29 strikeouts before an injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season.
Stutzman has worked hard in the off-season to be ready to pitch again next spring for DMACC.
Wyoming senior center Nick Carlson (Prospect) has been named one of 10 national finalists for this year's Awards and Recognition Association Sportsmanship Award.
The award is presented annually to an outstanding NCAA Division I football player who best personifies the spirit of sportsmanship.
Carlson earned second team All-Mountain West honors as a junior in 2011. He was also selected by conference media as a Preseason First Team All-Mountain West selection entering 2012. He has started 41 of 42 career games, including the last 33 consecutive. This past spring, he was named one of four team captains for the 2012 Wyoming Cowboys. An outstanding student, he has earned Academic All-Conference honors twice during his career. Carlson was also named to the 2011 and 2012 Rimington Trophy Watch Lists, honoring the nation's top center, and the 2012 Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List, honoring the nation's top lineman.
• Senior Matt Holmes (Wheeling) was selected for the second team of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin all-conference team.
The senior quarterback is a second-team pick for the second straight year after leading the conference this season in total offense.
Holmes' 2,894 yards from scrimmage (2,162 passing, 732 rushing) was 200 yards more than the next highest in conference. Holmes had 26 passing touchdowns and 5 rushing. He also had 2 touchdown catches.
He rewrote the school's record book, setting season highs for completions (173), passing yards, passing touchdowns, total offense and number of plays by a quarterback (431).
Holmes now owns the school's high-mark for number of plays in a career by a quarterback with 1,037 and moved into third all-time with 4,903 passing yards — 40 yards shy of second.
• Wisconsin-Whitewater left guard Jimmy Norris (Fremd) earned All-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honors. He helped Whitewater average 4.1 yards per rushing attempt and complete 56 percent of the passes it attempted. He paved the way for a 1,000 yard rusher, and the UW-W offensive line was second in the WIAC in sacks allowed (12).
• Whitewater linebacker Ryan Cortez was named All-WIAC honorable mention. Cortez, who had 35 tackles and 6 tackles for a loss this year, was an All-WIAC second team selection in 2011.
Saint Xavier junior goalkeeper Kyle Held (Palatine) was one of three Cougars selected first team all-conference in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Held finished the season with a league-leading goals against average of 0.86 and a league-leading save percentage of .833. He was second in the league with 7 shutouts and a record of 11-4-1.
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