Sunday, December 29, 2013

Dabrowski Honored as First Team All-American

Volleyball: Veronica Dabrowski 2013
Dabrowski was recently named First Team All-American. (Jim Cummins)
PALATINE, Ill. – Harper volleyball player Veronica Dabrowski (Mount Prospect, Ill./Rolling Meadows) won numerous awards in her two years at Harper College.  Dabrowski can now lay claim to the crowning achievement of the junior college volleyball world, as she was recently named First Team All-American for her outstanding 2013 season.

Dabrowski was one of 12 First Team All-Americans selected.  To see the full list, click here.

"She (Veronica) was a very effective player. She hit the ball hard, blocked well, played very good defense and was a very good primary serve receiver," said Harper head coach Bob Vilsoet.

Dabrowski led the Hawks with 475 kills in 2013, which ranked first in the conference and fourth in the nation. The Rolling Meadows High School product had 828 career kills for Harper, ranking second on the Hawks' all-time kills list behind only fellow Christy Lima (860 from 2007-08), also a Rolling Meadows grad.

In 2013, Dabrowski also earned First Team All-Region, First Team All-Conference, Region IV All-Tournament team, and was named to All-Tournament teams at three other 2013 tournaments (Illinois Valley Invitational, Harper College Invitational, Harper College Invite). Dabrowski was also a N4C Academic All-Conference athlete
In 2012, she earned First Team All-Conference , N4C Academic All-conference and was named to the All-Tournament teams at the Illinois Valley Invitational and Harper College Invitational.

Dabrowski becomes Harper's volleyball's 13th All-American in the last 12 years under Vilsoet.

"Winning awards like that continue to prove that Harper College is recognized as a major force nationally in NJCAA volleyball," Vilsoet said. "We are continuing the tradition of consistently having nationally-ranked players."

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Baseball Program Raises $1,772 for Movember

The Harper baseball program raised $1,772 for Movember. (Jim Cummins)
PALATINE, Ill. – The moustaches finally came off for the Harper baseball program in early December. After frightening their family, friends and peers with facial hair for the entire month of November, the players, coaches, and alumni raised $1,772 for Movember to promote prostate and testicular cancer awareness as well as men's mental health awareness.

Freshman catcher Grant Meranus was the leading donation recipient, bringing in $907.04 for Movember.
"Final Movember a Donation total: $907! Thanks to all that helped! #proud @Harper_Baseball @HarperHawks," Meranus posted on his Twitter account on Dec. 9.

The program had 27 total participants and  hopes to grow next year. Assistant coach and recruiting coordinatorTodd Zasadil came up with the idea. He stated the team's mission as," "We strive to be not only great students and athletes but great people. We feel it is important to be involved in the community and promote mens health. All the while having fun doing it."

Hawk Brand Reenergized with Follett

Harper Apparel Photo
Follett has helped to reenergize the Hawk brand. (Alice Paul-Paese)
PALATINE, Ill. – Brands such as Under Armour, Ping, Capelli, Vera Bradley and Lily Pulitzer can typically be found at an outlet mall. However, since Harper College switched over to Follett Corporation in July, these brands, in addition to other significant changes in the campus bookstore, have helped reinvigorate the Hawk brand.

Store Manager Alice Paul-Paese said that since switching over to Follett, the bookstore now carries more articles of clothing, electronics, school supplies and general reading material. Her and her staff have received many compliments, and each day more students are coming in to purchase spirit wear.

"Students love our new t-shirts that support our various sports teams. Our apparel has given students the Harper Hawks spirit," Paul-Paese said.  

With the excitement around the new apparel, Paul-Paese explained the importance of building and reinforcing the Harper College brand both on and off campus.

"It raises the visibility of the campus, as ultimately everyone wearing a Hawks logo or a Harper logo is a walking billboard promoting and supporting the institution," she said.

The bookstore has offered a variety of specials and sales in the last few months, including a couple of flash sales where selected general merchandise items were discounted up to 20 percent off. Also, they have a Ready Set Save promotion on select sweatshirts and carry an everyday line of value-priced t-shirts and sweatshirts, making perfect gifts for the holiday season.

Online orders have been running efficiently and smoothly from the start, with over 1,800 orders filled so far. Students are able to purchase textbooks, collectibles and gifts, apparel and promotional items through the website as well as access items not sold in store through the eFollett "Door to More". This feature allows customers the ability to purchase an array of products directly from third party vendors.

If you would like to purchase Harper apparel, visit the bookstore in L Building or the website by clicking here.

Four Hawks Claim Individual Titles Over Weekend

Men's Wrestling: 24th Art Kraft Memorial Open
Bellis, Tisza, Santi and Cobb all won their respective weight classes. (Jim Cummins)
RIVER GROVE, Ill. – The Harper College wrestling team had a successful Saturday at the 24th Art Kraft Memorial Open, hosted by Triton College. The Hawks had four wrestlers win individual championships and two wrestlers who finished runner-up in their respective weight classes.

Jacob Bellis (/Bloomington)Blake Tisza (/Thornton Fractional South)Blake Santi (Roselle, Ill./Lake Park) andLavontay Cobb (/King College Prep) won individual titles while Michael Romanelli and John Walker (/Huntley)each finished second in their weight classes.

Bellis compiled a perfect 4-0 record on his way to a championship at 125 pounds. He first defeated Mercyhurst's Jared Rice 16-0 and followed it up with a pinfall victory over Triton's Thomas Angsten. Bellis defeated Muskegon's  Devane Dodgens 10-7 in the semis and knocked off Lincoln's Leslie Williams by fall to take first place.

Tisza ran off four straight victories on Saturday to captured the 141-pound weight division. He pinned Lincoln's Rook Kassabaum and beat Minnesota West's Mike Tanner to advance to the semis. Tisza topped Triton's Troy Valdez 9-3 to set up a finals showdown with his teammate Walker. Tisza earned the victory by fall in 1:03.

Santi blitzed through the field at the 149-pound weight division, going 3-0 and winning his matches by a combined 45-8 score. He bested Triton's Stan Whiting 17-0, Triton's Ryan Fulton 17-2 and Muskegon Community College's Elvis Peacock 11-6 to capture first place.

Cobb clashed with the biggest competitors at the heavyweight division and emerged victorious with an unscathed 4-0 mark. He topped Lincoln's Cameron Pascoe 6-1, Minnesota West's Josh Valandra 7-2, Elmhurst College's Shane Vincent 10-4 and finally Lincoln's Dequence Goodman by injury default.

Romanelli picked up wins over Mercyhurst's Josh Grodesky (9-0) and Muskegon's Steven Malloy (3-2) before losing in the championship to Lincoln's Archie Williams, 13-8.

Walker collected victories over Waubonsee's Phillip Ottesen (17-2) and Lincoln's Jeremiah Tucker-Shead (5-3) before losing the title match to Tisza.

The Hawks have a quick turnaround and return to action Thursday in the Wellness and Sports Center gymnasium for a dual meet with Waubonsee beginning at 3 PM.

Hawks' Streak Ends at Highland Tournament

Men's Basketball: Kyle White 2013-14
The Hawks faced tough competition at the Highland Tournament over the weekend. (Jim Cummins)
Box Score 1 | Box Score 2 | Box Score 3

FREEPORT, Ill. – The Harper College men's basketball team saw their eight-game winning streak come to an end over the weekend at the Highland Community College 46th Annual William R. Bear Men's Basketball Tournament. The Hawks (8-6) suffered a Friday defeat to Highland and Saturday defeats to Midwest Elite Prep Academy and Black Hawk College-East.

Harper vs. Highland Community College

The hosts had four players score in double-figures, led by Grant Prusator (17 points), and defeated Harper 87-70. The Hawks trailed 47-30 at halftime.

Kevin Sexton (/Prospect) led Harper with a game-high 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field. Bradley Reibel (/Prospect) added 11 points.

Harper vs. Midwest Elite Prep Academy

The Hawks trailed throughout much of the first half and were down 39-30 at the break.

Midwest Elite built a 61-43 lead with 11:34 left in the game, but the Hawks slowly crept back into the game. Reibel's pair of free throws with 3:52 to play cut the deficit to single digits at 69-61.

The Hawks got to within three points at 71-68 on a Reibel basket from Sexton with 2:25 remaining. Harper's Kevin Walsh (/St. Viator) (16 points) hit a pair of free throws to make it 73-71 with 1:12 left.

Midwest Elite missed their next three free throw attempts, giving the Hawks a chance to tie it. Walsh's 3-pointer and shot attempts by Sexton and Eric Porter (Arlington Heights, Ill./Lake Zurich) came up short. Midwest Elite's David Skara hit a pair of free throws with 7.2 seconds left to make it 75-71.

Sexton scored on a layup with less than two seconds left. After Midwest Elite missed their second free throw, Walsh's three-quarter court shot hit the front of the rim, nearly going in and sending the game to overtime.

Reibel led the Hawks with 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting while Charles Wright (Cheyenne, Wyo./Cheyenne East) provided a boost off the bench with 10 points.

Harper vs. Black Hawk College-East

The Hawks struggled from the field in the game, shooting only 36.2 percent (25-of-69).

Walsh led all scorers with 27 points on 11-of-21 shooting. Wright scored 15 points, grabbed six rebounds and had six steals off the bench in 26 minutes of action.

Torrance Evans led Black Hawk with 24 points.
Up Next

The Hawks are off for an extended period of time before returning to action on Jan. 8, 2014 for their N4C opener at nationally-ranked Joliet.

Walsh Showcasing Skills for Red-Hot Hawks

Athlete of the Week: Kevin Walsh 2013
PALATINE, Ill. – Freshman men's basketball player Kevin Walsh (/St. Viator) spent his first semester of college studying at the University of Illinois. Walsh described it as a fun experience, but something was missing – the game of basketball.

He returned home last December and enrolled at Harper College. After a semester of coursework, Walsh knew he wanted to continue his basketball career. A key part of the Hawks' success this year who has been on fire on the court lately, Walsh now owns the honor of the 12th Harper College Athlete of the Week for the 2013-14 school year.

Walsh injured his ankle a month before the season and was very limited in practice. In the Hawks' first two games of the year, both losses, Walsh scored a combined 10 points. Since that time, the 6-foot-3 guard/forward has been on unstoppable force on the offensive end.

Walsh has only scored less than 10 points in a game once (Nov. 14 vs. Moraine Valley) in the last eight games and is averaging  26.7 PPG over the last three contests, all wins amidst an incredible eight-game winning streak. He scored a season-high 30 points in a 79-72 win over a strong Olive-Harvey squad Dec. 3.

Athlete of the Week: Kevin Walsh File
"He's a natural scorer. Offensively, the game is slow to him," said Hawks men's coach Tony Amarino. "He never panicks and lets it come to him. He's got good range as a shooter, and he's confident and thinks he's going to make jump shots."

That range is apparent as Walsh has canned six 3-pointers in back-to-back games and 26 total over his last seven games. However, Walsh is not just a scorer and averages 5.8 RPG (rebounds per game) to go along with his 17.9 PPG.

In the win over Oakton on Tuesday night, the Raiders went on an 8-0 run in the second half to take a lead with 7:22 to play. Unfazed by the surge, Walsh grabbed an offensive rebound on the next possession and scored a put back basket to give the Hawks the lead back. The next time down the court, Walsh calmly knocked down a 3-pointer.

With the game tied at 62-62 in the closing minutes, he sank a 3-pointer from the corner with the shot clock winding down.

"He's a very intelligent basketball player," Amarino said of Walsh. "He knows the game so well and puts himself in the right position to make those plays."

Walsh, a business major who is also interested in sports management, is hoping to play at a four-year school in the future. Amarino believes he has the ability to at the Div. II level and maybe even a Div. I school.

For now Walsh is just enjoying the team's 8-3 start to the season.

"Winning is more fun than losing, so we have to keep the streak going."

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hawks Finish with a Flurry for Eighth Straight Win

Men's Basketball: Kevin Walsh 2013-14
Walsh hit six 3-pointers and scored a game-high 28 points in the victory. (Jim Cummins)
PALATINE, Ill. – Keyed by a 14-0 run in the game's closing minutes, the Harper College men's basketball team picked up their eighth straight win, defeating Oakton Community College 76-65 on Tuesday night at the Wellness & Sports Center.

With the game tied at 62-62 with 2:56 to play, Harper's Bradley Reibel (/Prospect) found Kevin Walsh (/St. Viator)(game-high 28 points) in the corner with the shot clock winding down, and Walsh buried his fifth 3-pointer of the night to put the Hawks ahead 65-62. The Hawks (8-3) extended the lead to 67-62 with 1:37 left on a pair of technical free throws from Kevin Sexton (/Prospect).

The dagger came with just over a minute left with the shot clock expiring as Walsh, who was heavily guarded, heaved up a 3-pointer that found the bottom of the net to make it 70-62. Sexton (16 points) went a perfect 6-of-6 from the line in the final minute to seal the win.

"Anytime you can win eight games in a row, it gives you even more confidence," Walsh said.

The Hawks led for most of the first half but only held a 34-33 lead at the break. Harper stretched the advantage to 55-48 on a Michael Boyd (/Lake Zurich) 3-pointer with under 10 minutes to play, but Oakton (5-6) went on an 8-0 run to take the lead with 7:22 to play.

Harper responded the next possession as Walsh scored after grabbing an offensive rebound to reclaim the lead. The next trip down, Walsh drained another 3-pointer.

 "They came back and got up two or three, but we knew we had to respond to their physicality," Walsh said. "Once we did defensively, we started hitting a few shots and got to the line more."

Bradley Reibel (/Prospect) stuffed the stat sheet for the Hawks, scoring eight points while grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out six assists. Najee Bailey led the Raiders with 15 points.

The Hawks travel to Freeport, Ill. this weekend for the Highland Tournament.  Harper opens tournament play on Friday at 5 PM against host Highland Community College.

Hawks Fall Short Against Oakton

Women's Basketball: Rachel Payne 2013-14
Payne scored a game-high 18 points for the Hawks. (Jim Cummins)
Box Score

PALATINE, Ill. – A cold shooting night for the Harper College women's basketball team led to a 61-47 defeat at the hands of Oakton Community College Tuesday night at the Wellness & Sports Center.

Harper (2-10) shot just 26.8 percent (15-of-56) from the floor in the loss.

The Hawks took a 6-2 lead in the early going on four points from Rachel Payne (Wheeling, Ill./Schaumburg Christian Academy) (game-high 18 points, 10 rebounds), but Oakton responded with a 14-0 run to take control.

Harper slowly climbed back in the first half and tied it at 23-23 with 1:07 to play on a Payne basket. The Raiders scored the final four points of the half to take a 27-23 lead into the break.  

In the second half, the Hawks kept it close and trailed only by three at 37-34 after a Monica Hinderer (Arlington Heights, Ill./The Willows Academy) steal and basket. However, the Raiders slowly widened the gap over the next several minutes, going on an 18-5 run punctuated by three straight Sharee Greenlee (15 points) baskets to open up a 16-point advantage.

For Harper, Hinderer recorded another double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds while Shante Hill (/Hoffman Estates) scored 10 points. Jasmine Gray scored 15 points for Oakton.

Game Preview: Harper vs. Oakton

Men's Basketball: Team 2013-14
The Harper men's basketball team is seeking an eighth straight win tonight as they host Oakton. (Mia Spiwak)
PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College men's basketball team closes out a five-game homestand Tuesday night as they host Oakton Community College at 7 PM. The Hawks have won seven straight games, including wins over Olive-Harvey College and the Olivet Nazarene University JV team last week.

Meanwhile, the Raiders (5-5) are coming off an 81-77 win on Saturday over the North Park University JV squad.

Last Meeting
The Hawks used a balanced scoring attack to top the Raiders 82-66 last season at Oakton.  Former Hawk Garrett Gatz scored 20 points while current sophomores Michael Rose (Rolling Meadows, Ill./Rolling Meadows)and Tyler Gaedele (Arlington Heights, Ill./Rolling Meadows ) scored 16 points and 15 points, respectively.

Key Players

The Hawks boast five players who score nine or more points per game, led by freshman guard Kevin Walsh (/St. Viator) (15.5 PPG). Walsh has been on a tear the last six games, averaging 19.2 PPG while canning 20 3-pointers in that span.

A pair of Prospect grads – Bradley Reibel (/Prospect) (12.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 4.2 APG) and Kevin Sexton (/Prospect) (12.2 PPG, 4.7 APG – have played pivotal roles in the team's success.
Gaedele (10.1 PPG) has begun to find his shooting touch in recent days and nailed seven 3-pointers in a recent win over Elgin Community College that helped earn himRegion IV Div. III Player of the Week honors.

The Raiders have five players who average eight or more points per game, led by sophomore forward Sam Mitchell (13.1 PPG). Mitchell is also a 96.2 percent (50-of-52) foul shooter. Sophomore guard Najee Bailey is the team's second-leading scorer at 12.0 PPG.

Game Preview: Harper vs. Oakton

Women's Basketball: Jenney Yousif 2013-14
The Harper women's basketball team squares off with Oakton tonight at 5 PM. (Jim Cummins)
PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College women's basketball team is looking to bounce back from a weekend loss as they take on Oakton Community College tonight at 5 PM. The Hawks fell 103-62 to Kennedy-King College on Saturday while the Raiders are coming off a 64-55 victory over Triton on Saturday.

Last Meeting

The two teams last clashed on Dec. 11, 2012, a game won 58-55 by the Hawks. Monica Hinderer (Arlington Heights, Ill./The Willows Academy) scored 33 points and ripped down 18 rebounds in the contest and scored the game-winner with 19 seconds to play.

Key Players

Through 10 games of her sophomore season, Hinderer is averaging 21.9 PPG (10th in nation) and 14.3 RPG (fifth in nation). Over her last three games, she is scoring 27.0 PPG on 64.7 percent shooting (33-of-51).

Point guard Rachel Payne (Wheeling, Ill./Schaumburg Christian Academy) has scored 25 or more points in three of her last four games and was recently named Harper College Athlete of the WeekShante Hill (/Hoffman Estates) is finding her shooting stroke over the last three games, scoring 11.7 PPG.

Guard Alicia Gutierrez leads the Oakton attack, averaging 12.1 PPG. Sophomore guard Jasmine Gray is the team's second-leading scorer at 10.9 PPG and also averages 7.0 RPG.

Haeffele, Tisza Top Finishers at Wisconsin Open

Wrestling: Haeffele and Tisza Wisconsin Open 2013
Haeffele and Tisza earned fourth and fifth places finishes in their weight classes. (Jim Cummins)

SOMERS, Wis. – The Harper College wrestling team competed against a loaded field, including four Big Ten Conference Schools, at the 42nd-Annual Wisconsin Open on Saturday. Harper's Daniel Haeffele (/Grant) andBlake Tisza (/Thornton Fractional South) led the Hawks with fourth and fifth place finishes in their weight classes.

Haeffele, who competed at the heavy weight division, lost his first match to Adam Latelle (unattached) by fall but bounced back in impressive fashion. After a bye, he defeated Triton's Darvell Burgess in 1:14 and then knocked off Illinois State's Kyle Ressinger in 2:46.

Haeffele won his next match by forfeit to set up a third place match with UW-Parkside's Brady Stumpf, a match won 4-2 by Stumpf.

Tisza (141 pounds) started his day strong with an 8-1 win over UW-Parkside's Zach Skarda before falling in a tight match (4-3) to UW-Whitewater's Matt Adcock. After a pair of byes, Tisza topped teammate Greshman Henderson (/Lake Zurich) 2-1.

He then lost to Purdue University's Nick Lawrence 10-2 but finished his day with a forfeit win over North Central's Andrew Rodawold to capture fifth place.

The Hawks return to the mat this upcoming Saturday at the Art Kraft Memorial Open, hosted by Triton College.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Payne's Improvement Paying off for Hawks

Athlete of the Week: Rachel Payne 2013-14
PALATINE, Ill. – Sophomore Rachel Payne (Wheeling, Ill./Schaumburg Christian Academy) had a successful freshman campaign for the Hawks in the 2012-13 basketball season. However, the 5-foot-5 point guard knew she could get even better.

Payne has elevated her game to a whole new level for the Hawks in her second season. The floor general for Harper, who recently scored a career-high in points, can now call herself the 11th Harper College Athlete of the Week for the 2013-14 school year.

Payne, whose favorite sport used to be volleyball and didn't pick up the game of basketball until the ninth grade, loved the challenge basketball presented.

"Basketball challenged me to become better, and I could practice it on my own," she said. "With volleyball, I couldn't really do that."

The Schaumburg Christian Academy grad knew Harper was the perfect place for her to hone her skills coming out of high school.

Payne scored 13.9 PPG as a freshman for the Hawks, good for second-best on the team.

In the offseason, she used her membership at XSport Fitness to improve even more. A typical morning for Payne included a workout, conditioning and shooting drills. At night she returned to play full court 5-on-5 games with predominantly grown men, including her two older brothers and brother-in-law.

"They made me the basketball player I am today," Payne said of her two brothers.

Athlete of the Week: Rachel Payne File
All the extra work is reflected on the court this year through the Hawks' first nine games. Payne is averaging 17.2 PPG, up over three points per game from last year's average. She scored a career-high 27 points on 10-of-18 shooting on Nov. 21 against McHenry County College and followed that up with a 25-point performance against Elgin Community College five days later.

"She steps up and makes big plays when we need her to. She's hit some huge shots," said Harper head coach Jenny Turpel. "For her size, she's very successful getting into the paint."

 She is also shooting better - 43.3 percent compared to 33.8 percent last year. Additionally, Payne has been a facilitator with the ball in her hands, averaging 3.3 APG, including a career-high eight assists against College of Lake County Nov. 8.

Perhaps her most important contribution has been an invaluable leadership quality.

"She's a leader, without her on the floor it gets chaotic. She brings a calming effect to the team," Turpel said.
While the Hawks are off to a bit of a rocky start with a 2-7 record, Payne feels her team is improving with each day of practice.

The N4C Academic All-Conference athlete seems destined for a lengthy collegiate career beyond the walls of Harper College.

"Rachel will be very good at the next level. She is always working to improve her game," said Harper assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Todd Zasadil. "She is a very smart player and a very good athlete. I look forward to seeing how she continues to progress this year and at the next level."

Hawks Come Alive for Seventh Straight Victory

Men's Basketball: Kevin Sexton 2013-14
Sexton scored 16 points for the Hawks in the victory. (Jim Cummins)
Box Score

PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College men's basketball team overcame an 11-point second half deficit and found their shooting rhythm to pick up a 81-64 nonconference win over the visit Olivet Nazarene JV team and earn their seventh consecutive victory.

"The guys really showed a lot of character, a lot of heart," said Harper assistant coach Cliff McSwine. "If we want to aspire to be a champion, this is the kind of effort it's going to take."

The Hawks (7-3) built an early 24-13 lead over the Tigers in the game's first 14 minutes behind 11 early points from guard Kevin Walsh (/St. Viator). Olivet slowly chipped away at the lead and cut it to two right before the half.Kevin Sexton (/Prospect)'s bucket with four seconds remaining gave Harper a 32-28 advantage, but Abe Barwegan beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer to make it 32-31 heading into the second half.

The Tigers carried that momentum into the second half, going on a 14-2 run behind strong interior play from Seth Johnson (game-high 23 points) to open up a 45-34 lead with 15:45 to play.

Harper slowly climbed back into the game with stout defense and two 3-pointers from Tyler Gaedele (Arlington Heights, Ill./Rolling Meadows ) (11 points). The Hawks regained the lead at 51-50 with just under 10 minutes to play on a pair of Will Botefuhr (Arlington Heights, Ill./Prospect) baskets on the interior.

"Once we turned it on defensively, we got some easy buckets and the momentum changed," said Walsh, who had a team-high 22 points.

Harper went on a 20-6 run over the next six minutes, keyed by several stops on the defensive end and capped off by a Walsh's sixth 3-pointer of the contest to give the Hawks a 71-56 cushion with 3:40 remaining.

McSwine acknowledged the defense being the key to turning it around and knew his shooters would eventually find their groove.

Sexton scored 16 points on 7-of-7 shooting from the line for Harper while Bradley Reibel (/Prospect) scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

"We knew how good we were, and with the 0-3 start we didn't play nearly as good as we could," Walsh said. "Coach (Tony Amarino) told us once we got one (win), we'd get a lot. And he was right."

The Hawks return to the court next Tuesday for a nonconference tilt with Oakton Community College at 7 PM in the Wellness & Sports Center.

Walsh Propels Hawks to Sixth Straight Win

PALATINE, Ill. – In his first start of the season, freshman guard Kevin Walsh (/St. Viator) scored a season-high 30 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lift the Harper men's basketball team to a 79-72 win over Olive-Harvey on Tuesday night at the Wellness & Sports Center.

Walsh made his presence known early and often, hitting two 3-pointers in the first few minutes. His jumper put the Hawks (6-3) ahead 20-10 with 10:06 to play in the first half.

Olive-Harvey (5-2) went on a 13-4 run to close to within one at 24-23, but Walsh answered with his third 3-pointer of the half to stop the run. The Panthers closed the half strong and took a 35-33 lead at the break.

Men's Basketball: Kevin Walsh 2013-14
Walsh poured in 30 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the Harper win. (Jim Cummins)

Olive-Harvey took their biggest lead of the game at 50-45 on a Quentin Ruff basket, but Harper responded with a 15-5 run of their own to take control of the game.

Bradley Reibel (/Prospect) played a key role in building and maintaining the lead, scoring 12 points to go with eight rebounds. He also found open teammates for easy scores and finished with a team-high seven assists, including a feed to Eric Porter (Arlington Heights, Ill./Lake Zurich) to put the Hawks ahead for good at 57-55.

The Panthers clawed to within three at 71-68 with 3:22 to play on a Torrey Oliver (20 points, 11 rebounds) basket, but the Hawks closed the game out with strong free throw shooting, especially from Walsh (8-of-8 in game).

"We're really proud of the fact that we've won six in a row since starting 0-3," said head coach Tony Amarino. "That's a testament to the type of kids we have. They never got down after the first three games, and we're just looking forward to the next game."

Harper returns to action tonight at 7 PM to take on the Olivet Nazarene University JV squad at the Wellness & Sports Center.

Hawks' Second Half Surge Leads to Victory

Women's Bask
Hinderer scored a season-high 33 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in the win. (Jim Cummins)
Box Score

PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College women's basketball team held a slim 36-32 lead at halftime over Olive-Harvey College but dominated the second half en route to a 76-48 victory in nonconference play Tuesday night at the Wellness & Sports Center.

Monica Hinderer (Arlington Heights, Ill./The Willows Academy) led the Hawks (2-7) with a season-high 33 points to go along with 15 rebounds in the victory while Shante Hill (/Hoffman Estates) added 16 points and 10 rebounds.

The Hawks raced out to an early 8-0 lead on the Panthers but tied it up at 12-12 while Hinderer rested on the bench. Harper built a 27-20 lead with 4:50 to play in the half, but Olive-Harvey kept it close and went into the break trailing by just four points.

Harper began to pull away in the second half and built a 56-41 lead on a Hinderer offensive rebound and put-back with seven minutes to play. She could not be stopped on the offensive glass, as she had three more offensive rebounds and put-backs.  Hinderer finished the game shooting 16-of-20 (80 percent) from the floor.

Hill scored 12 of her 16 points after the break, capped off by a 3-pointer in the closing minute. Point guard Rachel Payne (Wheeling, Ill./Schaumburg Christian Academy) added nine points, six assists and five steals for the Hawks while Jenney Yousif (/Rolling Meadows) provided a boost off the bench with career highs of seven points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks.

Next up for Harper is the Kennedy King Tournament in Chicago beginning on Friday. Harper takes on Harry S. Truman College at 5 PM Friday and Kennedy-King College at 3 PM Saturday.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Gaedele Named Player of the Week

Men's Basketball: Tyler Gaedele 2013-14
Gaedele was named Region IV Div. III Player of the Week. (Jim Cummins)
PALATINE, Ill – In the Region IV Report released today, Harper sophomore Tyler Gaedele (Arlington Heights, Ill./Rolling Meadows ) was named the Region IV Div. III Player of the Week.

The 6-foot-2 guard scored a season-high 24 points in a 101-87 home win over Elgin Community College on Tuesday, Nov. 26. Gaedele was on fire from long distance, hitting 7-of-14 3-pointers in the game to help lead the Hawks to a fifth straight win.

Gaedele is averaging 10.8 PPG and has a team-best 22 3-pointers in eight games.

Three Hawks Earn Postseason Accolades

Volleyball: Postseason Awards 2013
Spychala, Dabrowski and Messner all earned postseason accolades. (Jim Cummins)
PALATINE, Ill. – At the Harper College Fall Sports Banquet, the Harper College volleyball team honored their team that came within three points of a spot in the national tournament to the team that won the national championship this year. Three Harper sophomores earned postseason accolades, led by Veronica Dabrowski(Mount Prospect, Ill./Rolling Meadows) being named First Team All-Region and First Team All-Conference. Alex Messner (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Fremd) received Second Team All-Conference honors while Kelly Spychala (Des Plaines, Ill./Elk Grove) was voted team MVP. All three players were All-Region IV All-Tournament players as well.

The Hawks finished fifth in the NJCAA national poll for the second straight year, compiling a 31-21 record.

"I am very proud of how this team played this year, the results, and how they carries themselves and represented Harper College," said Harper head coach Bob Vilsoet. "I'm certain everyone on the team had an enjoyable and successful experience they will remember for a lifetime."

Dabrowski led the Hawks in 2013 with 475 kills, which ranked tops in the conference and fourth in the nation. Her 828 career kills for Harper ranks her second on the Hawks' all-time kills list behind Christy Lima. In addition to her postseason awards, Dabrowski was named to All-Tournament teams at the Illinois Valley Invitational, Harper College Invitational and Harper College Invite. Finally, she was honored as a scholar athlete for her work in the classroom.

"She moved from outside hitter to mostly middle hitter this year. To her, that was a very unselfish sacrifice; to us, it instantly made us a much better team," Vilsoet said.

Messner blossomed into a superstar in her lone season for Harper, putting down 346 kills while compiling 474 digs, both second-best on the team. She was named to the Harper College Invitational and Lincoln Land Invitational All-Tournament Team on back-to-back weekends.

"She was often in the right place on defense before I think the opposing hitter even knew where she was going to hit it. Alex was also a very clutch player," Vilsoet said.

Spychala was the nation's leader in digs with 819 and also set a Harper College single-season record with that total. Her 1,157 career digs ranks her second on the Hawks' career list behind Megan Maize. Spychala was also named to the College of DuPage All-Tournament Team.

"Kelly was phenomenal on defense. She could read the hitter, so she knew what was coming – a tip, roll or strong hit, and which direction," Vilsoet said. "She was all over the court on defense and was a very clutch player with her defense and passing."

The three sophomores, in addition to captain Madison Rodriguez (Palatine, Ill./Palatine), captain Rebekah Hischke (Algonquin, Ill./Dundee Crown), right-side hitter Alyse Kolner (Crystal Lake, Ill./Marion Central) and setter Valerie Bazemore (Houston, Tex./Keller), put together an incredible two-year run in which the Hawks went 67-36 overall and 17-6 in the nation's premier NJCAA Div. III volleyball conference.

Vilsoet acknowledged that his team was talented, very close and many will be friends for life as a result of their experiences together these last two seasons. He is also proud of the fact that the players are helping recruit players for next year because of the positive experience they had with the Harper volleyball program.

"It's sad that the banquet signals the end of a very fun volleyball year, and I won't get to see these sophomores as much anymore," he said. "But what the banquet also does is gets me excited for next year's team."

With a strong nucleus returning next year, mixed with a strong recruiting class, the Hawks will likely be national tournament contenders again in 2014.

Harper Men's Cross Country Honored for Three-Peat

At last week's Harper College Fall Sports Banquet, the Harper College men's cross country team was recognized for winning third straight national championship in dominating fashion on Nov. 9 in Northfield, Mass.  The Hawks had four runners place in the top 10 at nationals to earn All-American honors.

Brennan Albuck (/Hoffman Estates) placed as Harper's top runner at nationals, taking fourth place overall for All-American honors.  Zach Stella (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) placed fifth while Juan Barajas (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Schaumburg) and Jhoan Lino (León, Guanajuato/Streamwood) placed eighth and tenth overall to earn All-American status. Sebastian Ramirez (Lima, Peru/Palatine) also scored points for the Hawks with a 21st place finish.

"They ran like how we practiced. They gradually kept moving up, moving up, moving up," said Harper head coach Jim Macnider. "They listened to what I taught them and executed it."

Men's Cross Country: Postseason Awards 2013
Albuck, Stella, Barajas and Lino earned All-American honors for the Hawks. (Jim Cummins)
Nick Modlin (Wheeling, Ill./Wheeling) and Andrew Guibord (Crystal Lake, Ill./Prairie Ridge) also ran in the national meet, placing 30th and 42nd. Macnider also recognized other members of his deepest team to date, including Vince Greco (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove)John Majerus (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove)Connor Williams (/Wauconda)Livan Turyamusiima (/Modern Secondary School)Nick Kellerhals (/Hersey)Jordy Arriaga (Wheeling, Ill./Wheeling)and Daniel Lim (Schaumburg, Ill./Streamwood).

Men's Cross Country: Fall Sports Banquet 2013
The team has some fun with the trophy at the banquet. (Bill Smith)
The Hawks also captured top team honors at the Region IV meet, besting several Div. I schools on their way to a victory.

"It was a good group of mature adults who handled themselves really well throughout the year."

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hawks Wrestle at Coe College Invite

Wrestling: Coe College Invite 2013
Henderson, Bellis, and Santi all had strong showings at the Coe College Invite. (Jim Cummins)
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa. – While the Harper College wrestling team did not win any individual titles at the Coe College Turkey Invite on Saturday, they had some strong performances. Greshman Henderson (/Lake Zurich)took second place at 141 pounds while Jacob Bellis (/Bloomington) (125 pounds) and Blake Santi (Roselle, Ill./Lake Park) (149 pounds) each earned third place finishes.

After a first round bye, Henderson topped Cornell's Zach Becicka 6-0 to advance. In his quarterfinal match, he edged Grandview's Derek Miller 9-7. In the semis, Henderson won a thrilling 10-8 overtime match over Coe's Blair Kerkhoff to reach the final. Facing off against Coe's Beau Westpfahl, Henderson lost by injury default and settled for a second place finish.

Bellis began his day with a bye before beating Coe's Jan Rosenburg by fall in his first match. Bellis lost in the semis 14-5 to Coe's Tyler Endres but rebounded nicely with a third place match victory over Rosenburg by fall again.

Santi started his day with a 17-1 technical fall victory over Coe's Jacob Smith. In the semis, Santi was beaten 5-3 by Northern Iowa's Nosomy Pozo. Santi bounced back with a victory over teammate Jonathan Denikas (/Antioch) and took third place with a 16-1 technical fall victory over Missouri Baptist's Espen Conley.

Cody Brandle (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North) (133 pounds), Kyle Bridgeman (/AFC) (184 pounds) and Daniel Draski (/Willowbrook) (197 pounds) each had 2-2 records on the day for fourth place finishes in their respective weight classes.

Hawks Knock off No. 7 South Suburban

Men's Basketball: Will Botefuhr 2013-14
Botefuhr scored a team-high 18 points in the win. (Jim Cummins)
Box Score

PALATINE, Ill. – Six Hawks scored in double figures on Saturday as the Harper men's basketball team pulled off the upset of previously unbeaten No. 7 (Div. II) South Suburban College, 83-72. Will Botefuhr (Arlington Heights, Ill./Prospect) led Harper (4-3) with 18 points to help push the Hawks' win streak to four games.

The Hawks took control from the opening tip and led for the entire first half. The Hawks took a 19-10 advantage with 9:50 to play in the half on a Tyler Gaedele (Arlington Heights, Ill./Rolling Meadows ) steal and assist to Kevin Sexton (/Prospect).

Kevin Walsh (/St. Viator) regularly found Botefuhr on the inside for easy baskets over Bulldog defenders. Botefuhr was a perfect 5-of-5 shooting for 10 points in the first half. His basket late in the first half gave the Hawks a 35-28 advantage, but South Suburban's Antonio Levy (game-high 30 points) knocked down a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 35-31 at the break.

The Bulldogs (7-1) opened the second half on a 6-0 run and took their first lead of the game with 17:55 remaining on a pair of free throws from Levy. The Hawks responded with a 16-6 run of their own over the next five minutes to take a 51-43 advantage.

South Suburban took the lead at 60-59 on a Charles Knowles (20 points) basket with 7:55 to play, but Harper answered with a basket from Walsh and 3-pointer from Luke Potnick (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) to gain a lead they would never relinquish.

The Hawks upped the lead to 10 at 73-63 on a Walsh free throw with 3:15 remaining. With the shot clock winding down on two separate possessions late in the game, Sexton drilled two big jumpers, the final one coming with 35 seconds remaining to make it 79-70 and secure the victory.

Sexton (13 points, 5 assists), Bradley Reibel (/Prospect) (12 points, 5 assists), Walsh (11 points, 6 assists), Michael Rose (Rolling Meadows, Ill./Rolling Meadows) (10 points, 11 rebounds) and Gaedele (10 points) all joined Botefuhr in double figures scoring in the win.

The Hawks shot an impressive 50.9 percent from the field (28-of-55) and 91.5 percent (22-of-24) from the free throw line while the Bulldogs shot 41.7 percent from the field (25-of-60).

Harper returns to action at home on Tuesday night against Elgin Community College, looking to extend their win streak to five games. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 PM in the Wellness and Sports Center in Palatine.