At the beginning of this season, Saint Louis senior Jenny Vliet said it seemed so long ago when she and Jenny Kemph started playing basketball together in the second grade.
"But to think about how far we have come is really humbling," Vliet said heading into her final season with Kemph.
The former Rolling Meadows teammates wrapped up four years as Billikens following a 75-61 loss to Kansas State in the first round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament last week.
Like they did at Rolling Meadows, where they earned back-to-back Class 4A state runner-up trophies under coach Ryan Kirkorsky, Vliet and Kemph finished with their names in the Saint Louis record books.
Vliet was 5-of-8 from the floor and 3-of-4 from 3-point range in her final game to finish her collegiate career with 199 3-pointers, No. 2 on the Billikens' all-time list.
She also grabbed a team-high 6 rebounds against Kansas State, concluding her career with 669 rebounds, good for ninth place on the SLU list.
Kemph's 9 points and a game-high 10 assists against Kansas State. It was the 21st time Kemph recorded 10 or more assists in her career. She finished with school records of 1,894 points, 899 assists and 490 free throws made.
• While Vliet and Kemph were closing the books on their careers, Claire Gritt (Hersey) was just taking off in hers at the University of Denver.
Gritt earned three conference accolades from the Summit League: Freshman of the Year, member of All-Newcomer Team and honorable mention All-Summit League.
She started in 27 of 29 games, averaging a team-leading 10.3 points and 3.0 rebounds. She shot 40.8 percent from the field and 35.7 from deep.
Earlier this season, Gritt was named to the Roo Holiday Classic All-Tournament team after averaging 16 points, including a career-high 21 points vs. Liberty on Dec. 19.
Wolf Pack pride
The sixth annual 'Pride of the Wolf Pack' induction ceremony at Thomas Middle School is set for Thursday, April 26 at 8 a.m. The assembly honors Thomas grads who went on to play Division I or professional sports.
Anthony Kuch, a teacher at Thomas, recently announced the newest class to be honored. It includes Abby Fesl (2009 graduate), Chris Nowinski (1992) and Mark Woodsum (2001).
Fesl was a standout setter at Hersey before playing at North Florida University and Ohio State.
Woodsum starred in football at Buffalo Grove and Northwestern while Nowinski did the same for Hersey and Harvard before he wrestled with World Wrestling Entertainment. Nowinski then started the Concussion Legacy Foundation and is a leader in concussion research.
Kuch expects many of the former honorees to be in attendance, including former Chicago Bull Dave Corzine (Hersey and DePaul) and Buffalo Grove soccer standout Brian McBride, who played for the Columbus Crew, Fulham and the Chicago Fire.
The University of Illinois ACHA Division I hockey team ended its season with a loss to Adrian College in the finals of the national championships. Illinois was one of the 20 Division 1 teams invited to the tournament.
Illinois defeated Jamestown University, Ohio University and No. 1-ranked Minot State University on its way the championship game. Illinois' team is made up of several of the top Chicago area players, including Mark Candotti of Hoffman Estates, David Kellner and Joe Ritondale of Elk Grove Village, and Joe Nolan of Arlington Heights.
Iowa State redshirt sophomore diver Dana Liva (Prospect) qualified for the 2018 NCAA Zone D Championships. The highly-competitive event in Minneapolis, Minn., was highlighted by Liva's performance on platform, where she placed 17th.
On day one of the event, the divers competed on the 1-meter springboard. Liva led the charge for the Cyclones, placing 28th with a 246.75.
The final day of competition featured the platform competition. Liva finished 18th in prelims to advance to the finals. She scored a 200.15 in the preliminary competition. In the finals, Liva's performance was highlighted by a 50.75 on her forward 2.5 somersault, one twist pike. She propelled herself into 17th, just over 2 points behind the 16th-place diver.
Trinity International (Texas) freshman diver Anthony Liva (Prospect) placed third on the 1- and 3-meter springboard in his NCAA Division III Zones in San Antonio Texas. He qualified for the NCAA finals to be held in Indianapolis, Ind., March 20-24.
Former Hersey shortstop Kim Ferrera is serving as an assistant varsity coach for Lake Zurich High School, where she is teaching U.S. government.
Augustana sophomore right-hander Chris Refka (Palatine) has won all four of his starts and sports a 1.26 ERA. He also leads the staff in innings pitched (28⅔) and strikeouts (22).
Lake Forest junior Danny Sotos (Conant) helped lead the Forresters to a 17-9 record, including 13-5 in the Midwest Conference.
He started in all 26 games, putting up averages of 13 points, team-high 6.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists. Sotos now has 957 career points and 375 career rebounds and has helped lead the team, to three straight Midwest Conference Tournament appearances. He has a chance to leave the school as its winningest player in school history.
• Bucknell freshman Jimmy Sotos (Conant), playing in his first NCAA tournament game, collected 7 rebounds and 5 points in an 82-78 loss to Michigan State in the first round.
Two former Mid-Suburban League midfielders recently earned accolades.
North Central sophomore midfielder Christina Truver (Fremd) and Illinois Wesleyan junior midfielder Dani Engelbreit (Conant) were selected as the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin women's lacrosse players of the week.
Truver, an English major, totaled 6 goals, 4 assists and 8 draw controls for the 2-0 Cardinals. She finished with 2 goals and 2 assists in a 16-2 win over Benedictine and came back with 4 goals and 2 assists in an 18-8 win over Concordia. Truver had 4 draw controls in each game.
Engelbreit, a psychology major, totaled 10 ground balls and 6 caused turnovers for the 1-1 Titans. She had 4 goals, 1 assist, 4 ground balls, 2 caused turnovers and 9 draw controls in a 17-5 win over DePauw and then came up with 1 goal, 6 ground balls, 4 caused turnovers and 11 draw controls against Centre.
Augustana senior Josh Yamamoto (Fremd) earned All-America status for the fourth time when his Vikings' 4x400 relay team placed fifth at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships in Birmingham, Ala.
Augustana senior Eric Pohl (Fremd) teamed up with Samuel Totten to defeat Illinois Institute's Yousef Abdo and Adam Laitinen 9-0 at No. 1 singles as the Vikings won the meet 9-0.
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