Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Chaires Chooses Biola University

PALATINE, Ill. – Harper cross country and track and field athlete Stephanie Chaires (Palatine, Ill./Christian Liberty) nearly gave up running due to a frustrating injury that wouldn't seem to go away. However, coach Jim Macnider encouraged Chaires to continue rehabbing because he saw the potential in her.

He saw potential in her to not only be a great Harper Hawk athlete, but to be good enough to get a college scholarship after Harper. Chaires finally got healthy and developed into an even better runner in her sophomore season, and because of that she will now run for Biola University in La Mirada, California.

Women's Cross  Country and Track and Field: Stephanie Chaires Biola University Signing 2015
Chaires will continue her collegiate running career at Biola University in La Mirada, California.
Biola University is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and a member of the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC). Chaires was drawn to the school for a variety of reasons.

"I heard it was a good school, so I reached out to the school and everything just fell in place," Chaires said. "I love how the school will encourage me to grow in my faith, how committed the track and field and cross country programs are, and how challenging the academics seem."

Chaires graduated from Harper with an Associate in Arts degree and will major in business with concentration on management and marketing at Biola. She plans on using that degree to either start a business, work in a health/wellness related job, or work with kids.

Chaires' list of accomplishments in her time at Harper College is a lengthy one, starting on the academics side. Chaires received an NJCAA Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement, an award given to student-athletes who have a GPA between 3.60-3.79 on a 4.00 scale. She was also an N4C Academic All-Conference student-athlete in both her years at Harper.

Athletically, she finished her Hawks track and field career this May with a strong showing at the 2015 NJCAA Division III Women's Outdoor Track & Field Championship. She placed fourth in the nation in the 1500m and fifth in the 5k and also helped the 4x400m relay team finish in fourth.

In the fall, Chaires placed 16th at the 2014 DIII Cross Country National Championships and her team took second place, best in school history. She gives credit for her success to the tandem of Macnider and assistant coach Eric Wallor.

"They were the two coaches that saw potential in me and pushed me to what I didn't think I was capable of doing," she said. "I'm blessed to have them."

Things seemed bleak last spring as Chaires sat out the entire season due to a foot injury she sustained back in the summer of 2013. She placed 23rd at the 2013 DIII Cross Country National Championships despite battling injury.

Prior to the injury, Chaires was a big part of the Hawks track and field team's success in the spring of 2013. She was a member of the 4x800m relay team that took home a national title, was a member of a fifth place 4x400m relay team, and took fourth individually in the 1500m.

Before her running career at Harper started, Chaires was a First Team All-Region midfielder for the Hawks' soccer team in 2012 and helped the team win a regional title and place sixth in the nation.
Reminiscing on her time at Harper, Chaires is grateful for her entire experience.

"I'm grateful for all my business teachers and my classes. I feel prepared academically because of the great teachers I had. Their goal is to help you succeed," she said. I don't feel anxious and feel completely prepared going into the (cross country) season, and I will most definitely miss all the amazing people and friends I have made along the way."

Opening Ceremony Set for August 24

PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College athletic department will be hosting an opening ceremony for student-athletes to kick off the 2015-2016 school year on Thursday, Aug. 24.

The event will be held in the gymnasium in the Wellness & Sports Center (Building M) and is open to all students. The ceremony begins at 3 PM and will feature an introduction by Director of Athletics and Fitness Doug Spiwak. This year's featured keynote speaker is former Harper cross country and track and field athlete David Adler.

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: David Adler 2014

Adler, who was featured in last summer's Harper College Alumni Spotlight series, competed for the Hawks in 1973 and 1974. After graduating from Harper, he received an athletic scholarship to Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago and ran cross country for the school.

Following his time at Northeastern, he spent 14 years in the hotel business in food service and served two presidents as well as a number of famous athletes. He currently works as a GM in the food service industry in Phoenix, Arizona and also stays active in the sport of running to this day.

Men’s Soccer Tryouts Being Held August 3-7

PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College men's soccer team is holding tryouts beginning  Monday, August 3 for those interested in playing for the fall 2015 team.

Here are the tryout dates/times:

Monday, August 310 AM-12 PM
Tuesday, August 410 AM-12 PM
Wednesday, August 510 AM-12 PM
Thursday, August 610 AM-12 PM
Friday, August 710 AM-12 PM

After the tryout on Friday, August 7, the team will likely be finalized.

All interested student-athletes will need a current physical and must have it completed prior to tryouts. The paperwork can be picked up in the Athletics office in M Building (M219) or found here: Athletic Physical Packet Student Checklists. Interested student-athletes can also fill out the Prospective Athlete Form.

Men's Soccer: Juan Hernandez 2014
The Harper College men's soccer team will hold tryouts beginning Monday, August 3. (Jim Cummins)
Please contact head coach Dan Klaus (dklaus@harpercollege.edu or 847-925-6467) for more information.

The Hawks finished with an 8-6-2 record in 2014 in Klaus' first year as the head coach. Harper finished as the runner-up to Rock Valley College in the Region IV Tournament. This year, the Hawks open regular season play on Tuesday, August 25 at College of DuPage.

Chaires, Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Honored by NJCAA

PALATINE, Ill. – Harper women's cross country and track and field student-athlete Stephanie Chaires (Palatine, Ill./Christian Liberty) and the Harper College women's outdoor track and field team received honors for their academic success during the 2014-2015 school year.

Women's Track and Field: Team Photo 2015
Chaires (bottom row, middle) and the Harper College women's outdoor track and field team received honors for their 2014-2015 academic success. (Jim Cummins)
Chaires received an NJCAA Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement. This award is given to student-athletes who have a GPA between 3.60-3.79 on a 4.00 scale.

The women's outdoor track and field team earned NJCAA 2014-2015 All-Academic Team Distinction for maintaining a team GPA above 3.0.

Women’s Soccer Practices Start August 3

PALATINE, Ill. – For those interested in playing on the fall 2015 Harper College women's soccer team, the team will begin practicing on Monday, August 3 at 2 PM.

Women's Soccer: Kristen Serviss 2014
The Harper College women's soccer team starts practicing Monday, August 3. (Jim Cummins)
All-interested student-athletes will need a current physical and must have it completed prior to practicing. The paperwork can be picked up in the Athletics office in M Building (M219) or found here: Athletic Physical Packet Student Checklists Interested student-athletes can also fill out the Prospective Athlete Form

Please contact head coach Dwayne Cruz (dwayne@ahaces.com or 224-381-2832) for more information.

Women’s Basketball Signs Five Incoming Players, Six Returners

PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College women's basketball program bolstered its team for the 2015-16 season by signing a five-player recruiting class. Additionally, the Hawks had six returning players who signed their NJCAA Letters of Intent to play another season for Harper.  

The incoming group of players who signed their Letters of Intent includes: Mary Saitta (Hoffman Estates), Jaclyn Stroud (Ridgewood), Ayana Johnson (Normal Community ), Sarah Lucansky (Jacobs), and Jasmine Munoz (Dundee-Crown).

Women's Basketball: Recruit Signings 2015
The Harper College women's basketball team signed a five-player recruiting class and had six returners sign to play another season for the Hawks. (Bill Smith)
Saitta was a three-year letter winner in basketball and played for coach Mike Koester. She captained the team in 2014 and 2015 and earned Daily Herald All-Area Honorable Mention. Finally, she has ability as an outside shooter, as she competed in the 3-point contest at the regional and sectional level in 2013 and 2014. Saitta also competed in track and field for two years and was a sectional medalist.

Stroud brings a wealth of high school experience to the table. She was a four-year letter winner for the Rebels under coach Amanda Timothy. She also earned All-Conference honors twice, and her team won the regional crown in 2012. Additionally, she was voted Team MVP all four years and holds school records for most points in a game, most points in a season, and most 3-pointers. Stroud also played softball for a year at Ridgewood.

Johnson comes from a Normal Community program coached by Marcus Mann. In her time with the Ironmen, Johnson earned a Scholar Athlete and Sportsmanship Award.

Lucansky was a four-year letter winner for the Eagles who played for coach Joe Benoit, and she won a Sportsmanship Award. Lucansky also competed for the Jacobs track and field and tennis teams.

Munoz played for the Cougars and won a Sportsmanship Award. She also competed on the track and field team.

The six returning players who signed their Letters of Intent include: Kim Herzog (/Buffalo Grove), Ashonte Sims (/Normal Community West), Lane Winkler (Arlington Heights, Ill./Rolling Meadows), Nastia Solsaa (/Menomonie ), Sarah Nelson (/Warren Township ), and Shannon Koch (/Prospect).

Herzog ran the point guard position for Harper during the 2014-15 season and started 28 games. The 5-foot-3 guard was second on the team in scoring at 9.8 points per game (PPG) while averaging 4.0 rebounds per game (RPG) and 4.0 assists per game (APG). Herzog scored a season-high 27 points in a home contest against Wilbur Wright College.

Sims played in all 29 games for the Hawks as a freshman and made 28 starts.  The 5-foot-8 forward averaged 9.0 PPG and 6.2 RPG while logging 37.7 minutes per game.  Sims notched a season-high 18 points at Oakton Community College and reached double figures scoring 13 times.

Winkler was a staple in the Hawks' lineup, starting all 29 games for the team. The 5-foot-6 guard averaged 7.2 PPG and 7.1 RPG (second on team) in 38.5 minutes per game and scored a season-high 18 points in a win over College of DuPage. She also led the team in 3-pointers made with 43.

Solsaa started nine games for the Hawks before an injury ended her season. The 5-foot-3 guard averaged 9.1 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 3.3 APG in those contests and scored a season-high 14 points two times.

Nelson began playing for Harper at the beginning of the spring semester and appeared in 15 games, making 14 starts. The 5-foot-4 guard averaged 4.1 PPG and 2.6 RPG in 37.1 minutes per game. She scored a season-high 12 points and hit four 3-pointers at Wilbur Wright College.

Koch played in 27 games for the Hawks, making nine starts. The 5-foot-5 guard made her biggest contributions on the defensive end throughout the season while logging 19.5 minutes a game.

Majerus and Arriaga Continue Journey to Judson

PALATINE, Ill. – Harper cross country and track and field athletes John Majerus (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove) and Jordy Arriaga (Wheeling, Ill./Wheeling) formed a close bond during the 2015 track and field season. The two sophomores ran the same events and produced very similar results throughout the season.

The two will continue their athletic careers together, as they both recently committed to Judson University in Elgin.

Judson University is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and a member of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC).

Men's Track and Field: John Majerus and Jordy Arriaga 2015
Majerus (left) and Arriaga (right) will both continue their collegiate careers at Judson University in Elgin. (Photo Courtesy of Digital Sports Photography, Herkimer, NY)
Both Majerus and Arriaga are two-time national champions in cross country as they were a part of the 2013 and 2014 NJCAA DIII Men's Cross Country National Championship teams. In 2014, Majerus earned All-American honors at the national meet with a ninth place finish. He credits Harper coaches Jim Macnider and Eric Wallor for knocking 4 ½ minutes off his 8K time in just one year. His respect for them goes much deeper than improved times.

"Basically everything I've done in running, I can attribute to Coach Macnider and Coach Wallor," Majerus said. "I came from playing different sports in high school. They welcomed me in with no experience, found out that I had potential, and worked with me to reach that potential."

After the back-to-back championships in cross country, Majerus and Arriaga trained and competed against each other this spring on the track. The two ran the same events (800m, 1500m, 4x800m) and gave the Hawks a major boost at the 2015 NJCAA Division III Men's Outdoor Track & Field Championship for a Hawks team that took second place.

They each ran a leg of the 4x800m relay and helped the Hawks to a third place finish and six valuable points. At 1500 meters, Majerus placed fifth in the nation while Arriaga took sixth place to earn a combined seven points. Finally, at 800 meters, Arriaga captured seventh place, and his teammate was right behind in eighth place. Harper scored 98 points in the meet and edged Montgomery College (91 points) for runner-up honors.

"Going with Jordy (to Judson) is something I'm really excited about, too," Majerus said. "He became like a brother this season."

Majerus and Arriaga will be joining former Harper standout runner Nick Modlin (Wheeling, Ill./Wheeling), who committed to Judson just over a year ago. Majerus enjoyed his visit to Judson and says the team seems like it'll be a good team to run with. He also pointed to the fact that Judson provides very specific guidance with internship placement as a key factor in his decision to attend the school.  

Majerus graduated from Harper as a N4C Academic All-Conference student-athlete for two years with a 3.39 GPA and an Associate in Arts degree and Associate in Science degree. He plans on majoring in accounting at Judson (JU).

Arriaga, who plans on majoring in biochemistry at JU and wants to get into physical therapy, was also drawn to the school initially after talking to Modlin in the fall of 2014.

"After half way into the spring semester, Judson started to become a really affordable option for me with a great, strong, and young team of runners who are passionate about running," he said.

Much like Majerus, Arriaga touted the Harper coaching staff and how instrumental to his experience they were.
"Coaching at Harper was an amazing experience that revived my running spirit long gone after my high school years," Arriaga said.

He also credits Macnider and Wallor for getting him interested in physical therapy because it involves exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Arriaga also hopes to become an assistant coach at the university level during his grad school years.

Arriaga is grateful for his experiences at Harper and optimistic about his future at Judson.

"I will definitely miss the people and the cross country and track and field environment I experienced during my time there, which was also the part I enjoyed the most, especially when people supported me no matter what," he said. "I'm very excited to meet new people and make new bonds just like at Harper. I'm excited to put myself to the test and see how I fair at the NAIA level."