Thursday, June 16, 2016

Conference and Region Champs Holding Tryouts Aug. 1-5

PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College men's soccer program is holding tryouts starting Monday, August 1 for those interested in playing for the fall 2016 team.

Below is a list of the tryout dates/times:
Monday, August 110 AM-12:30 PM
Tuesday, August 210 AM-12:30 PM
Wednesday, August 310 AM-12:30 PM
Thursday, August 310 AM-12:30 PM
Friday, August 510 AM-12:30 PM

Following the tryout on Friday, August 5, the team will be finalized by head coach Dan Klaus and assistant coach Tom Wang.

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: Niko Mihalopoulos 2015
The Harper College men's soccer team will hold tryouts beginning Monday, August 1. 
Please contact head coach Dan Klaus ( or 847-927-0974) for more information.

Under Klaus' direction, the Harper program has been extremely successful. In 2015, the Hawks finished with an 11-4-3 overall record and went 8-1-1 in North Central Community College Conference (N4C) play to win the conference regular season title outright. More importantly, they went 3-0 in the Region IV Tournament, including wins over defending Region IV Champion Rock Valley College in the Region IV Semifinals and Joliet Junior College in the Region IV Championship, to become the 2015 Region IV Champions. Six Harper College men's soccer players were named to either an All-Region or All-Conference team. Finally, Niko Mihalopoulos was selected as a Second Team All-American, becoming the first Hawks men's soccer player since Matt Polovin in 1993 to win the award.

In 2014, the Hawks finished with an 8-6-2 record and finished runner-up to Rock Valley College in the Region IV Tournament. Six players were named to either the All-Region or All-Conference team.

This year, the team opens regular season play on August 17 against Waubonsee Community College at 5 PM on the campus of Harper College.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Barajas Honored as Male Athlete of the Year

PALATINE, Ill. – Harper men's track and field student-athlete Juan Barajas (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Schaumburg) capped off his Harper College athletic career in the spring of 2015 in impressive fashion. Barajas was a national champion in the 5k and placed second in the 10k at nationals to complete his long list of accolades. Barajas can add one final accomplishment to his career, as he has been selected the 2015-16 Harper College Male Athlete of the Year.
Male Athlete of the Year: Juan Barajas 2015-16
Barajas is the 2015-16 Harper College Male Athlete of the Year (Photo Courtesy of Digital Sports Photography, Herkimer, NY)
"His success is a result of countless hours of training and commitment to both his running and his academics," said Harper head track and field coach Renee Zellner. "Juan is both humble and kind and has been a positive role model for the sport. He clearly deserves this very special honor."

At the 2015 NJCAA Division III Men's Outdoor Track & Field Championship, Barajas won the 5k by nearly 15 seconds over his nearest challenger, and his second place finish in the 10k was also worthy of All-American distinction.  At the end of the season, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) recognized him as the Central Region Men's Track Athlete of the Year.

Over the summer, Barajas committed to continue his running career at Eastern Illinois University and has nearly completed his first full year there.

Barajas also did well in the classroom throughout his time at Harper College as he earned N4C Academic All-Conference honors as a member of both the track and field and cross country teams.
In the fall of 2014, Barajas captured the individual title at the 2014 DIII Men's Cross Country National Championship and helped the Hawks to their fourth straight national title in men's cross country. He also won the Region IV Championship individual title.

During his freshman track and field season, Barajas was an All-American in both the 5k and 10k, placing second in both races. During the fall of 2013, he was an All-American at cross country nationals as the Hawks won their third consecutive national title in men's cross country. He was also the Region IV Runner of the Year and a Harper College Athlete of the Week.

Kloss Honored as Female Athlete of the Year

PALATINE, Ill. – Harper College women's track and field student-athlete Leah Kloss (Grayslake, Ill. /Grayslake Central) had an extremely impressive spring 2015 season for the Hawks as she was a national champ in three different events at the national meet. For her efforts, she has been named the 2015-16 Harper College Female Athlete of the Year.
Female Athlete of the Year: Leah Kloss 2015-16
Kloss (Harper singlet, in the lead) was honored as the 2015-16 Harper College Female Athlete of the Year. (Photo Courtesy of Digital Sports Photography, Herkimer, NY)
"Leah is an exceptional athlete. She has the ability to learn and excel in new skills quickly. She is highly competitive and works hard to improve her fitness and technique," said Harper head track and field coach Renee Zellner.

Kloss displayed her versatility throughout the spring of 2015, culminating in a very successful all-around performance at the 2015 NJCAA Division III Women's Outdoor Track & Field Championship. She won both the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash at nationals and was also a member of the Hawks' 4x100 meter relay team that won a national title and set a school record. At the conclusion of the spring season, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) recognized her as both the Central Region Women's Track Athlete of the Year and Central Region Women's Field Athlete of the Year.

She also placed fourth in the nation in the long jump, fifth in the hammer throw, and fifth in the javelin. Aided by a large number of points from Kloss in the various events, the Hawks secured a third place finish as a team at nationals.

Kloss was also recognized as a N4C Academic All-Conference student-athlete during the spring semester.

Showing her perseverance and versatility in the spring of 2016, she won the hammer throw, placed second in the javelin (All-American), and was a member of the 4x100m relay team that set a new school record at the 2016 NJCAA Division III Women's Outdoor Track & Field Championship. She also anchored the fourth place 4x400m relay team. She was also recognized as the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Central Region Women's Field Athlete of the Year for a second straight year.

"Not only is she talented, but she is humble and an excellent role model for both female and male athletes. Leah is an ideal student-athlete to achieve this prestigious honor," Zellner said.

Kramolisch Emerges as Top Hitter

PALATINE, Ill. – Coming into the 2016 Harper College baseball season, Paul Kramolisch (/Bolingbrook) was expected to be a key part of the Hawks' pitching staff. However, his success at the plate was pretty unexpected.

Kramolisch made the most of his opportunity as a hitter and emerged as the Hawks' top hitter while also serving as a reliable option in multiple positions in the infield. He also held his own on the mound and finished with the lowest ERA on the team. For these reasons, Kramolisch is being recognized as the 10th Harper College Athlete of the Week for the 2015-16 school year.

Athlete of the Week: Paul Kramolisch 2016
Kramolisch is the 10th Harper College Athlete of the Week for the 2015-16 school year. (Jim Cummins)
The 6-foot-3, 175-pound freshman hit a team-best .309 (17-for-55) in 28 games. Kramolisch was also tied-second on the team in RBIs (8) and led the team in on-base percentage at .387. One of his most impressive games came at Rock Valley College on March 29. In game one, he was 2-for-3 with a double, RBI, stolen base, and run scored. Later in the season against Rock Valley (April 16), Kramolisch was 2-for-2 with an RBI and run scored in the first game of a doubleheader in Palatine.

In the field, he rotated between several infield spots and only committed six errors on 110 total chances for a .945 fielding percentage. He recorded 30 assists and 74 putouts and also helped turn four double plays.

On the mound, Kramolisch made seven appearances (five starts) and threw 23 1/3 innings (fourth on team). The righty posted a solid 3.86 ERA, best on the team, struck out 15 batters, and threw two complete games.

Hayes Lands Job as Boomers PA Announcer

Schaumburg Boomers Website
Daily Herald Article

Current Harper College Student Athlete Success Center Coordinator/Athletics Program Assistant Steve Hayes, who also serves as the Public Address (PA) Announcer for Hawks home contests during the school year, will be taking on a new role this summer. Hayes recently auditioned for and accepted the position of PA Announcer for the Schaumburg Boomers Professional Baseball Team.
Steve Hayes Schaumburg Boomers 2016
Hayes was recently named the PA Announcer for the Schaumburg Boomers Professional Baseball Team. (Bill Smith)
Hayes will be the PA Announcer for Schaumburg Boomers home baseball games that run from late May-early September. The Boomers play in the independent Frontier League.

Hayes has a wealth of experience in PA announcing that began in 1999. He has announced baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, soccer, wrestling, cross country, and football events at all levels from pee-wee to the NJCAA Division III level. He is currently the announcer for baseball, softball, basketball, and volleyball home games at Harper.

Hayes graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Communication from Marquette University and worked in radio and television in Milwaukee.

He says he is looking forward to the opportunity to be a part of another great season for the two-time Frontier League champion Boomers.

"There's no such thing as a bad day at the ballpark," Hayes said. "I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Boomers organization."

Harper Softball Takes Interim Tag off Scott Plaza

PALATINE, Ill. – After meeting with Harper College Interim Head Softball Coach Scott Plaza, Director of Athletics and Fitness Doug Spiwak removed the interim tag from Plaza's title and officially made him the Head Coach last week.

Softball: Scott Plaza Head Coach 2016
After a season of coaching the Harper College softball team on an interim basis, Scott Plaza is now officially the Head Coach of the Hawks. (Tracy Timberlake)
"Scott was an instant success with the student-athletes. He and his assistant coach, Sean Stochl, created a positive learning environment that is consistent with the Athletics' Mission. I saw growth and development on the team. The team genuinely appeared to be enjoying their experience," Spiwak said. "Scott was able to take players with varying levels of experience and put together a cohesive team. The decision was Scott's as to whether he wanted to continue after his first year of coaching softball. He did not hesitate when the position was officially offered to him. I am looking forward to seeing what the team looks like next year as he has already signed some excellent players.

In Plaza's first year as softball coach, the Hawks saw substantial growth from their group of players. He also coached an All-Region and All-Conference player in Jordan Dallmann (Roselle, Ill. /Lake Park). Dallmann was named to the NJCAA Region IV Division III Softball First Team, and she was voted Second Team All-Conference for the North Central Community College Conference (N4C).

As Plaza gears up his second season and first full school year of coaching, he has already began to build a strong base for the program with the current group as well as several recruits who have signed their NJCAA National Letters of Intent.

Scott Plaza and Sean Stochl worked well together in their first seasons as softball coaches. (Tracy Timberlake)
"I'm excited to have my first season under my belt, and it was a great learning experience," Plaza said. I'm planning to take those experiences along with a great group of returners to keep moving forward and build the program for success. It will be a lot of fun to see the Harper softball program progress in the near future."

Commencement Showcases Accomplishments of Harper Hawks

Harper College Graduation Ceremony Video
Graduation Photos                                                                
Daily Herald Article

PALATINE, Ill. – Around 650 Harper College students took part in the 2016 Harper College commencement ceremony on Saturday afternoon at the college's new outdoor pavilion, and approximately 3,500 spectators attended the ceremony. About 20 Hawks student-athletes walked in graduation, and many others received their degrees as well from the college.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle delivered the commencement speech to graduates, and Harper College President Dr. Kenneth Ender introduced Preckwinkle.

Graduation: The Harper Hawk and Eric DeBold 2016
The Harper Hawk and new student trustee Eric DeBold pose for a picture at Harper College's commencement ceremony. (Nick Wenzel)
Harper College Director of Athletics and Fitness Doug Spiwak was at the commencement to witness Hawks student-athletes walk across the stage and receive their diplomas.

"I tell our student-athletes to always "keep an eye on the prize." Our goal is to have every athlete leave Harper with a degree or certificate. Seeing the student-athletes receive their diplomas is one of the most reward aspects of my job," Spiwak said. "When they walk up to the stage wearing a silver stole that has the Harper Hawk logo along with the words "Student Athlete", I know that they have received an excellent education and the full support of the athletics program. These are the feature leaders of our community."

Harper College student-athlete Emily Butler, who played softball for two years (2015, 2016) for the Hawks, took part in commencement and received her Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree. Butler, who will continue her education and softball career at Elmhurst College in the fall, applauded the new venue and reflected on her Harper experience.
"The ceremony was really beautiful and scenic. It was an amazing experience to be the first class to be able to be under the pavilion. The faculty and staff at Harper helped me get what I needed and got me on the right path," she said.

Emily Butler and her family enjoyed graduation day at Harper College.
New Harper College student trustee Eric DeBold, who was sworn into the position in April, was a firsthand witness to the reactions of graduates. DeBold was in the last seat on stage as graduates passed by upon receiving their diplomas.

"Everyone's time at Harper was summed up in their expressions in the very moment after getting their degree. It was the most authentic moment, and I got to see it happen for the entire graduating class," DeBold said.