Thursday, December 18, 2014

Suljic Named National Player of the Week

PALATINE, Ill. – The NJCAA national office announced the Men's Basketball Players  of the Week, and Harper freshman forward Admir Suljic (Chicago, Ill. /Lane Tech) has been named the NJCAA Division III National Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 1-7.

In Suljic's one game during that time period, he played a huge part in the Hawks' 90-81 road win against the Olivet Nazarene University JV team. The 6-foot-5 forward poured in a career-high 35 points on 11-of-18 shooting, including seven 3-pointers. He showed off his versatility as he also snagged 12 rebounds, handed out six assists, and blocked three shots.

Men's Basketball: Admir Suljic National Player of the Week 2014
Suljic was named the NJCAA Div. III Player of the Week. (Jim Cummins)
"Admir is a high-level player. He has worked tirelessly on transitioning to the speed of the college game, and it was only a matter of time before he found his groove and had a statement game," said Harper head coach Justin Welke.

In 11 games this year, Suljic is averaging 16.4 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 2.2 SPG. The freshman is shooting 47.5 percent (28-of-59) from 3-point territory.

"He's so dependable and committed; he never takes a day off and always finds a way to balance and prioritize," Welke said. "Both athletically and academically, he embodies what the Harper basketball program is all about."

Harper Men Close the Deal

Box Score

PALATINE, Ill. –The Harper College men's basketball team held an 11-point halftime lead over Illinois Valley Community College , but a reenergized Eagles squad took a lead for a brief period midway through the second half. The Hawks (6-7) regained their composure and outscored their opponents 23-12 over the final 8:05 to come away with a 77-69 victory.

Jazz Drane's layup with 8:55 left gave the Eagles (5-7) a 57-54 lead, but Dvonta Jones (Joliet, Ill./Joliet West) and Robert Hudson (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Conant), who both came off the bench, sparked a Harper comeback. Jones' free throws cut the deficit to one, and Hudson got to the line and knocked down a pair as well. Hudson's layup with 5:54 remaining gave the Hawks a 60-59 lead that they would not relinquish.

Reigning NJCAA Region IV Div. III Player of the Week Admir Suljic came to life offensively, knocking down a 3-pointer to push the lead to 66-61. On the next possession, Suljic converted a three-point play to extend the advantage to 69-61 with 2:56 left. The Eagles would get no closer than within six in the closing minutes.

Men's Basketball: Jalon Roundy 2014-15
The Hawks came away with a 77-69 victory over Illinois Valley on Tuesday night. (Jim Cummins)
Suljic scored a team-high 18 points and added seven rebounds. Jones, Hudson, and Jalon Roundy (Palatine, Ill./Fremd) each scored 10 points in the victory, and Davion Benton (Chicago, Ill. /Alcott College Prep) grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. Tyree Coe led the Eagles with 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting.

Illinois Valley struggled from the foul line, making only 11-of-23 attempts. Harper converted 17-of-24 attempts from the line.

The Hawks closed on a 13-2 run over the final 5:59 of the first half for a 36-25 lead, highlighted by a pair of Benton dunks and a Suljic dunk.

Harper plays its next game on Thursday at Richard J. Daley College (0-12) in Chicago.

Herzog, Hawks Find a Way

Box Score
Daily Herald Article

The Harper College women's basketball team led 56-55 with 2:34 remaining in the game against Illinois Valley Community College on Tuesday night when Hawks leading scorer Joslyn Nicholson (/Cary-Grove) fouled out. Forced to play 4-on-5, the Hawks, led by point guard Kim Herzog (/Buffalo Grove), held on for a dramatic 65-63 win.

Women's Basketball: Kim Herzog 2014-15
Herzog scored nine of her 16 points in the closing minutes to help the Hawks get a 65-63 victory over Illinois Valley. (Jim Cummins)
Herzog scored nine of her 16 points down the stretch, including several key buckets. She split a pair of free throws to make it 57-55 with 2:10 remaining. After a stop on the defensive end, Herzog calmly knocked down two more free throws to give the Hawks (6-7) a 59-55 advantage with 1:34 left. Following an Illinois Valley (2-7) turnover, Herzog made a driving layup with under a minute remaining to stretch the lead to 61-55. A free throw from Ashonte Sims (/Normal Community West) gave Harper a 62-55 edge with 44 seconds left.

The Eagles made things very interesting in the closing seconds. Kaylee Kingen knocked down a 3-pointer, and Mia Porter scored off a Harper turnover to cut the lead to 62-60. After another Hawks blunder, Kingen went to the line and split a pair of free throws to make it a one-point game.

The Hawks turned it over again, but Lane Winkler (Arlington Heights, Ill./Rolling Meadows) stole a Raley Mauck (team-high 17 points) pass and was fouled. She sank both free throws to give Harper a 64-61 lead. Illinois Valley's Becca Herrman (14 points) knocked down a pair of free throws with four seconds left to trim the lead to 64-63.

The Eagles fouled Herzog on the ensuing inbound pass. She hit one of two from the line, and Kingen's three-quarter-court shot came up short, giving Harper the victory.

"With only four players, I knew that we had to step up. I just took charge," Herzog said. "It makes me feel really good because I love to score, and I haven't really been doing it that much."

Nicholson, the reigning NJCAA Region IV Div. III Player of the Week, led the Hawks with a game-high 29 points (11-of-22 shooting) and 15 rebounds. Harper also got 10 points each from Winkler and Ashonte Sims (/Normal Community West) and a stout effort defensively from Shannon Koch (/Prospect).

Harper plays its next game on Thursday evening against Ancilla College (7-5) inside the Wellness & Sports Center. Tipoff is set for 5 PM, and you can follow the Hawks' Twitter, @HarperHawks , for live in-game updates.

Suljic Selected Player of the Week

PALATINE, Ill. – Just five days after Harper College men's basketball player Admir Suljic (Chicago, Ill. /Lane Tech) was named the NJCAA Div. III National Player of the Week, Suljic was selected as the NJCAA Region IV Div. III Player of the Week.

Men's Basketball: Admir Suljic 2014-15
Suljic was named Region IV Div. III Player of the Week. (Jim Cummins)
Suljic, a 6-foot-5 forward averaged 21 PPG and 5 RPG in two games last week. He poured in a game-high 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds in a road win over Oakton Dec. 9.  In a loss at Parkland College on Saturday, he scored a game-high 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting.

In 12 games this season, Suljic is averaging a team-best 16.5 PPG to go along with 4.3 RPG and 2.3 SPG. Suljic has drilled 30 3-pointers on just 64 attempts (46.9 percent) for the year.

Nicholson Selected Player of the Week

Region IV Report
Daily Herald Article

PALATINE, Ill. – In the Region IV Report released on Monday morning, Harper sophomore Joslyn Nicholson (/Cary-Grove) was selected as the NJCAA Region IV Div. III Player of the Week.

Nicholson, a 5-foot-10 forward, averaged 26 PPG, 14 RPG, and 4.5 SPG in two games last week while shooting 79% from the free throw line. She scored a career-high 32 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in a come from behind 70-65 win over Oakton Community College Dec. 9. Nicholson had 20 points, 13 rebounds, and five steals against Kennedy-King College Dec. 11.
Women's Basketball: Joslyn Nicholson 2014-15
Nicholson was named Region IV Div. III Player of the Week. (Jim Cummins)

Nicholson is averaging a team-high 21.9 PPG (12th in nation), 10.8 RPG (31st in nation), and 2.7 SPG in 12 games for the Hawks. She is shooting 76.6 percent (59-of-77) from the free throw line.

Hawks Wrestle at Art Kraft Memorial Open

Full Results

The Harper College wrestling team took to the mat at the 25th Art Kraft Memorial Open on Saturday at Triton College. A number of Hawks had noteworthy performances, highlighted by Matthew Conrad (/Barrington)'s third place finish at 141 pounds.

Conrad pinned Trion's Philip Besser in just over two minutes to advance to the semifinals, where he lost a 2-0 decision to Davenport's Connor Hughes. He rebounded in the third place match, topping his teammate Corey Cross (/Thornton Fractional South), 14-3, in the third place match.

Wrestling: Art Kraft Memorial Open 2014
Conrad (left) and Cross (right) took third and fourth place at 141 pounds. (Jim Cummins)
At 125 pounds, Zachery McCullough (/Elgin) took fifth place in a 12-man field, posting a 3-2 record. McCullough opened the day with two wins and finished his day with a win over Triton's James Pellegrino. Cory Pych (/South Elgin) placed finish at 149 pounds as he posted a 2-2 record on the day. His two wins came in convincing fashion, a 16-1 first round victory over Triton's Shawn Swiderek and a victory by fall over teammate Nenif Keso (/Maine East) in the fifth place match.

Justin Bernero (/Crystal Lake Central) claimed fifth place at 174 pounds. His victories both came by fall over Triton's Matt Murphy and Elmhurst's Emmet McGovern. Finally, Daniel Draski (/Willowbrook) and Lavontay Cobb (/King College Prep) placed fourth and fifth at 197 pounds. Draski's most impressive win of the day was a pin of Lincoln's Tanner VanDalsen in just 38 seconds. Cobb had a 3-1 win over Lincoln's Tucker Harn in his second match of the day.

The Hawks return to competition on Dec. 29 and 30 for the Midlands Wrestling Championship at Northwestern University in Evanston.

Alumni Basketball Event Scheduled for January 31, 2015

PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College men's basketball program and the Office of Alumni Relations will be hosting an alumni basketball event on Saturday, January 31, 2015 for former Harper basketball players and their families.

Men's Basketball: Alumni Event 2015
All former Harper College men's basketball players are invited to the alumni basketball event on January 31, 2015.
The Hawks take on N4C foe Rock Valley College that day at 3 PM. The schedule for the day will go as follows:

3 PM: Harper Men's Basketball vs. Rock Valley in the Wellness & Sports Center (Building M)
Halftime: Ceremony to honor Harper men's basketball alumni
5:15 PM: Complimentary postgame pizza reception with current and former players upstairs in Building M
*You will also be receiving a free Alumni Basketball t-shirt for your attendance

If you are interested in being a part of this event, please contact head men's basketball coach Justin Welke ( or 773-359-3553) or Sports Communications Assistant Bill Smith ( or 847-925-6000 x2034) to RSVP and let them know your shirt size.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Men's Basketball Tryouts Begin September 26

Men's Basketball: Stefan Vucicevic 2013-14
The Harper men's basketball team will hold tryouts beginning Friday, September 26. (Jim Cummins)

PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College men's basketball team will be holding tryouts for the 2014-15 team beginning Friday, September 26 at 4 PM in the gym of the Wellness & Sports Center (M Building).

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 theProspective Athlete Form.
Please contact head coach Justin Welke ( or 773-359-3553) with further questions or for more information.

1st Annual Hawks/Chiefs Invitational Details Released

Men's and Women's Cross Country: 1st Annual Hawks/Chiefs Invitational Details 2014
Coaches-How to Register Your Roster

PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College men's and women's cross country teams will open their seasons with the 1st Annual Hawks/Chiefs Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 30 on the campus of Harper College. Harper will co-host the invite with Waubonsee Community College.

Date:               Saturday, August 30, 2014

Time:              Women's 4k – 9:00 a.m.
                       Men's 6k – 10:00 a.m.
Location:        Plum Grove Reservoir at Harper College Campus
                      1200 W. Algonquin Rd., Palatine, IL 60067
                      Enter Harper off Route 62 (Algonquin Rd.). Park in Lot #2
Course:          Grass with a blacktop path to cross.  Terrain is mostly flat with some small hills.  Spikes or flats are acceptable.
Entry Fee:      $150 for men, $150 for women – unlimited entries. 
                      Make checks payable to Harper College.  Hand deliver to the meet director Jim Macnider at the meet or mail to: Doug Spiwak,
                      Athletic Director, Harper College, 1200 W. Algonquin Rd., Palatine IL 60067.
Scoring:        Incomplete teams will not count in the team scoring.
                      Paper copy results will be available after the awards.  
Awards:         Team:  First Place Women and Men
                      Individual:  T-shirts to the top 15 finishers.
Other Info:     An athletic Trainer will be available.  Water and Ice on site.
                      Showers and restrooms are in Building M (400m from start/finish)
Entries:          Enter rosters at by noon on Tuesday, August, 26th.
                      Instructions are attached to this form.
Contact:        Coach Jim Macnider:  847-925-6000 x2251, 847-912-2729 (cell),
                     Athletic Director:  Doug Spiwak:  847-925-6969
Participating Schools: Harper, Waubonsee, College of DuPage, Southwest C.C. (Iowa), Joliet, Elgin, Triton College Club, Prairie State.  All Region 4 and 24 schools invited.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Alumni Baseball Game Set for September 21

PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College baseball program will be hosting an alumni baseball game on Sunday, September 21 for former Harper baseball players.

The schedule for the day will go as follows: 

11:00 AM-12:00 PM-Warm-up and batting practice
12:00 PM-2:00 PM-Alumni game and cookout during the game
*You will also be receiving a free Alumni Baseball Game t-shirt for your participation.

There is no Chicago Bears game on that day (they play the New York Jets on Monday Night Football), so come on out and join us at the Harper baseball field. Last year was a great turnout, as we had 22 former players take part in the alumni game.

Former and current Harper baseball players came together in October of 2013. (Cliff Brown)
For those former players who have families, bring your wives and kids out to the game; we'd love to have them out for the day! If you do not wish to play in the game, you can still come out and enjoy the day.

If you are interested in being a part of this event, please contact head baseball coach Cliff Brown ( or 847-925-6485) or Sports Communications Assistant Bill Smith ( or 847-925-6000 x2034) to RSVP and let them know your shirt size.


Weber Signs with University of New Haven

PALATINE, Ill. – For Harper College student-athlete Colin Weber, he knew that his time competing at the college level was not over. Weber was an All-American for the Hawks in both cross country and track and field during his sophomore year (2012-13) and served as a volunteer assistant coach during the 2013-14 school year.

Weber (middle, foreground) recently committed to Div. II University of New Haven in West Haven, Connecticut. (Jim Cummins) 
Although he described himself as an "average" athlete in high school, Weber kept working hard at Harper even while battling anemia. Weber's hard work paid off, as he recently signed his NCAA Letter of Intent to compete for Div. II University of New Haven in West Haven, Connecticut.

Weber was diagnosed with anemia, a condition characterized by a lack of healthy red blood cells or low iron (hemoglobin) count in the blood (WebMD). As a result, the cells in the body do not get enough oxygen and symptoms of anemia such as fatigue occur because organs aren't getting what they need to function properly.

Couple that with the demands of training and competing in cross country and track and field, and it wore on him.

"You feel really sluggish, tired, and get beat up really easily," he said. "Take your crumbiest day and just put another load on top of it. I felt like I was going to fail my classes because I couldn't stay awake because it was so draining on my body."

In spite of these obstacles, Weber was a member of the two national championship-winning Harper cross country teams in 2011 and 2012 and captured All-American honors with a fourth place finish at the national meet in 2012. On the track, he capped off his Harper career with a national title in the 10k and a second place (All-American) finish in the 5k.

Weber was also involved in Environmental Club, Math Club, and Student Government at Harper. He became vice president of Mu Alpha Theta, the math honors society in his second year and became treasurer of Math Club during his third year. He became one of the Student Government's vice presidents in his third year as well and also was appointed as the Student Trustee. Along with his numerous academic and leadership awards, he also promoted student success as a math, chemistry and physics tutor while at Harper.

While Weber no longer had NJCAA eligibility during the 2013-14 school year, he served as an assistant coach, training with and encouraging the team, serving as a role model for his peers, and learning what it takes to coach college athletic teams.

Weber, who holds a cumulative 3.51 GPA and Associate in Engineering Science degree, is very grateful for his three years at Harper and looks forward to his transition to New Haven.

"It's the best choice I've made and that anybody could make. Nobody ever thought I could be All-Region or All-American," he said. "Athletically, I'm well-prepared and loved Coach (Jim) Macnider's training plans. I'm glad we had a good coaching staff and assistant coaches."

Weber joins a University of New Haven Chargers program coached by Kevin LaSure and Alaric Best and will leave Aug. 18 or 19.  He will major in chemical engineering and is considering a double major with chemistry or minoring in chemistry, math or physics.

He reemphasized the vital role Harper plays in the development of a student-athlete.

"Harper provides you opportunities and resources to take advantage of. You'll have faculty that will teach to you, and you'll learn the material and have tutoring support," he said. "If you want to compete as well, come here."

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Forssander Cherishes Harper Experience

PALATINE, Ill. – Although Harper softball player Amanda Forssander only played for the Hawks for one season (2013), she relished the opportunity to compete at the college level. In her only season, the Prospect High School grad hit over .300 and earned Team MVP honors while playing catcher, first base and outfield for the Hawks.

Forssander has since moved on to play club softball at Illinois State University (ISU), and she credits her Harper experience as instrumental in making that happen.

"Because of my experience at Harper, I enjoyed softball a lot more. The overall atmosphere was really great," she said. "The coaching staff always gave you an opportunity to shine. It gave me the confidence to try out for ISU's team."

Forssander only played one year at the varsity level at Prospect, but says she got a lot of positive feedback from the Harper coaching staff and improved her game as a result. Academically, she earned N4C Academic All-Conference honors and also became the first person in the college to earn an Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT) degree.

Forssander also feels she made a wise choice financially coming to Harper College because her family has four students in college.

"It's been a big challenge. At first I was going to go to ISU, but then I realized it'd be silly because I can do the same thing here to start," she said.

At ISU, she holds a GPA above 3.0, is an S-Stem Scholar, and is majoring in Mathematics Secondary Education. Forssander will be a senior this fall and will student teach in the spring of 2015 before graduating.

She recently returned to Harper in early July for the Harper softball recruit signing day. Forssander likes seeing how the program is improving as each year goes by and is thankful for her opportunity to be a part of it.

"Coming to this program was great because I had the opportunity to show myself, work with a great coaching staff and have great teammates. All the time and effort was worth it."

Dabrowski Named NCSA 2014 Athleader All-American

PALATINE, Ill. – Harper College volleyball player Veronica Dabrowski (Mount Prospect, Ill./Rolling Meadows), who graduated from Harper in May, can add another accomplishment to her already impressive resume. Dabrowski was recently named a National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA) Top 5 2014 Athleader All-American.

College coaches and Athletic Directors across the country submitted nominees from their respective programs for a place on the Athleader All-American Team. According to the NCSA criteria, each nominee must exemplify the following characteristics:

• Excelling in the classroom, on the field of play and in the community
• Having an all-in attitude/all-out work ethic
• Putting the team first
• And having a thirst for learning

According to the College Coach Recruiting blog, in its third year, the Athleader All-American Team is a collaboration of exceptional student-athletes that embody all of NCSA's core values.

In her sophomore season, Dabrowski earned First Team All-American, First Team All-Conference, First Team All-Region, Region IV All-Tournament Team, three time All-Tournament team and N4C Academic All-Conference honors.  Dabrowski was also recognized as the Harper College Female Athlete of the Year and will be moving on to play at NAIA Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana, where she will be pre-med student.

"Veronica had an outstanding year, actually two-year career here at Harper College, both academically and athletically," said Harper head coach Bob Vilsoet. "She deserves all the awards she's received to date. I'm looking forward to following how well she does at Bethel College in the fall. We will certainly miss her here."

Men's Soccer Unveils Tryout Details

PALATINE, Ill. – With Harper College men's soccer team tryouts just around the corner on Friday, August 1, head coach Dan Klaus has announced the times and dates for tryouts.

Friday, August 1
10 AM-12 PM
Monday, August 4
10 AM-12 PM
Tuesday, August 5
10 AM-12 PM
Wednesday, August 6
10 AM-12 PM
Thursday, August 7
10 AM-12 PM
Friday, August 8
10 AM-12 PM 
After the final tryout on Friday, August 8, the team will be announced.

The Harper men's soccer team will hold tryouts beginning Friday, August 1. (Jim Cummins)
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

Please contact head coach Dan Klaus ( or 847-927-0974) for more information.

The Hawks open their season on Friday, August 22 at Moraine Valley Community College.

Reibel Signs with Eckerd College

PALATINE, Ill. – Another former Harper men's basketball player has made it to the NCAA ranks. Bradley Reibel (/Prospect) recently signed his NCAA National Letter of Intent to continue his college basketball career at Div. II Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Reibel was a key contributor for the Hawks in the 2013-14 season, starting all 31 games and averaging 13.7 PPG and 4.8 RPG ( both second on team) and shooting an impressive 51.1 percent from the floor.

Reibel recently committed to Div. II Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Jim Cummins)
The former Harper College Athlete of the Week joins an Eckerd College program coached by Tom Ryan, who has led the Tritons to seven NCAA Tournaments berths as a head coach. The Tritons finished 17-14 overall in the 2013-14 season and 7-9 in Sunshine State Conference play. 
Reibel was drawn to Eckerd for a myriad of reasons.

"They are a high-level D2 program with a lot of success in the past and a good coaching staff," he said. "They play a controlled style of basketball that suits my game."

He is also grateful for his Harper experience and how it helped pave the way to Eckerd.

"Harper is a great opportunity to improve. I was lucky that I had friends on the team; that was the icing on the cake," Reibel said. "I loved playing for Tony (former coach Tony Amarino) and improving my own game."

Reibel, who earned N4C Academic All-Conference honors at Harper, will major in business management with a concentration in sports management.

Harper Softball Signs Nine Players for 2015 Season

PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College softball program took the next step in 2014, finishing 11-15 overall and 9-8 in conference play. The team seems primed for even bigger things in the future, as head coach Cray Allen and his coaching staff signed four incoming freshman and five returning players to play for the Hawks in 2015.

The four first-year players who signed their NJCAA Letters of Intent are Jamie Haze (Palatine), Lane Winkler (Rolling Meadows), Emily Butler (Hersey) and Olivia Hamilton (Homewood Flossmoor).
Haze, a third baseman and outfielder, was a three-year varsity starter and letter winner for Palatine High School She earned All-Conference and All-Area honors for the Pirates in 2013. The four-year honor roll student will major in kinesiology at Harper.

Winkler will play catcher and the corner infield positions for the Hawks in 2015. A four-year letter winner in softball and two-year letter winner in basketball at Rolling Meadows, she earned All-Conference accolades for softball in 2013. Winkler was a seven-semester honor roll student and will major in criminal justice.

Butler will play second base and outfield for the Hawks. She earned a varsity letter in softball for the Huskies and was also an All-Conference bowler.

Hamilton, an outfielder and pitcher, was a three-year varsity letter winner at Homewood Flossmoor and also earned a varsity letter in cheerleading. She was her softball team's captain and also earned the Sportsmanship Award for the Vikings.

"The desire is high from this incoming group to add to our existing core," Allen said. "You can just tell that they have high expectations of themselves, which will lead to quality preparation and add professionalism to our program."

Five players will be back for their sophomore seasons: Raegan Fingerman (Fox River Grove, Ill./Barrington), Lindsay Cannon (McHenry, Ill./McHenry West), Sam Cummings (Roselle, Ill./Lake Park), Beth Petrunich (McHenry, Ill./McHenry East) and Anna Kawka (Franklin Park, Ill./East Leyden).

Fingerman provided the pop in the middle of the order in her freshman season, hitting a team-best .466 with four homers, 38 RBIs, 41 hits, seven doubles and two triples in 26 games. She earned First Team All-Conference, First Team All-Region and N4C Academic All-Conference distinctions as well as Harper College Athlete of the Week honors.  

Cannon patrolled the outfield for Harper and became the Hawks' primary leadoff hitter as the season went on, hitting .373 with a team-bests in both runs (37) and stolen bases (10). She earned Second Team All-Conference and First Team All-Region accolades.

Cummings hit .352 with a team-best five homers (T-24th in nation) and 26 RBIs in just 22 games while playing multiple positions for the Hawks. She received Second Team All-Conference, Region 4 All-Tournament Team, and N4C Academic All-Conference distinctions.  

Petrunich provided a steady presence in the field at second base and also hit .333 with 11 RBIs and 26 runs scored.

Kawka showed her ability in the outfield for the Hawks, playing in 16 games in 2014.

"They know our system and the expectations that come with this coaching staff and program. It will be an even easier year for them to get comfortable and continue their individual program, which can only lead to the program taking the next step," Allen said.

While Allen is excited about his returning players and influx of new talent, he knows it takes hard work to become great.

"Nothing great was instantly created," he said. "It takes time and perseverance to become special."

Monday, July 7, 2014

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Adler Thrives Under Pressure

Adler running the Palatine Hills Golf Course cross country course in 1974 (left) and running the AIDS Phoenix 5K Run fundraiser in October of 2013 (right). (David Adler)
PALATINE, Ill. – While the natural talent of a runner in the sport of cross country is very important, will, determination and the ability to handle pressure are also key factors in success. For former Harper College cross country and track and field athlete David Adler, who competed for the Hawks in 1973 and 1974, he learned those lessons at the collegiate level and used his experience at Harper as a springboard for success in the future.

Adler graduated from Evanston High School in 1973 and chose Harper based on its location and a positive school visit. Despite his diminutive stature (5-foot-6), Coach Bob Nolan convinced him to come out for the team, and Adler grew as a runner at Harper.

While he perceived himself as just an "average, hard-working guy", Adler flourished in his time as a Hawk and learned several lessons as a student and an athlete.

"Coach Nolan taught me the concept of concentration and preparation both in the classroom and out on the track," he said. "Coach Nolan gave me a strong work ethic and understood how to instill this in all different personalities on the team. I watched and learned."

As a college athlete, Adler learned how to handle pressure and credits Coach Nolan to keeping him calm prior to events. He admits he was not a star athlete, but Nolan still spent quality time working with him to improve.

After graduating from Harper, Adler received an athletic scholarship to Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago and ran cross country for the school. Following his time at Northeastern, he moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1977 and became interested in the hotel business.

Once settled in Phoenix, he spent 14 years in the hotel business with Westin Hotels, holding 11 different positions.

"I was using all the organization and killer instinct drive I learned at Harper. Many of my accomplishment are due directly to the learning experience I gained at Harper and with coach Bob Nolan," Adler said.

Among those accomplishments is being married to his wife, Patricia, and having two kids who both participated in athletics. His son graduated from Arizona State University while his daughter graduated from the University of Arizona.

In 1982, Adler was selected to serve President Ronald Reagan and his family dinner in his Phoenix home. By 1989, he was a hotel executive with Westin and was moved to San Francisco and Chicago. After entering the food service business as a general manager (GM) in 1991 in the country club industry, Adler hosted President Bill Clinton twice and was able to talk to him.

Among other celebrity athletes Adler has taken care of includes: Michael Jordan, Ernie Banks, Green Bay Packers' legends Bart Starr and Brett Favre, Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabaar and Dallas Cowboys great Emmitt Smith.

Adler currently works as a GM in the food service industry in Phoenix after changing jobs numerous times due to the 9/11 attacks.

"I used all my training at Harper to be well-prepared for the pressure I was under. Coach Nolan taught me how to plan and prepare," Adler said. "The school took a simple kid of average ability and prepared me for high-pressure situations that only a kid could dream of."

Adler has stayed involved in the sport of running, as he runs five days a week and has done over 30 5K's, most of which have been fundraisers for great causes. He is extremely grateful for his Harper experience and what he gained following life at Harper.

"Coach Nolan and my teachers were terrific. I considered myself just a regular guy and still am an average guy," he said. "There's so much opportunity (at Harper) that you just have to take advantage of it."

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Women's Soccer Tryouts Set for August 4

PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College women's soccer team will be holding open tryouts beginning Monday, August 4 at 2 PM for those interested in playing for the fall 2014 team.

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

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

The Harper women's soccer team will hold tryouts beginning Monday, August 4. (Jim Cummins)

Men's Soccer Tryouts Set for August 1

PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College men's soccer team will be holding tryouts beginning Friday, August 1 for those interested in trying out for the fall 2014 team.

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

Please contact head coach Dan Klaus ( or 847-925-6467) for more information.

The Harper men's soccer team will hold tryouts beginning Friday, August 1. (Jim Cummins)

Hurwitz Commits to Calumet College of St. Joseph

PALATINE, Ill. – Harper student-athlete Stephanie Hurwitz (Rolling Meadows, Ill./Fremd), who starred on the soccer field and was also a standout sprinter for the Hawks' track and field team, will continue competing in both sports next year for NAIA Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, Ind.

On the soccer field, Hurwitz played forward and earned Second Team All-Conference and All-Region distinctions. She scored eight goals in nine games, including an incredible five-goal performance in the Region IV Semifinals against Triton College on Oct. 15, 2013.  

Hurwitz will play soccer for the Crimson Wave and head coach Justin Olson. Calumet St. Joseph (CCSJ) went 6-11-1 overall and 3-7-1 in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) in 2013.  

On the track, Hurwitz placed sixth in both the 100m and 200m at nationals last month, running PR times of 12.87 seconds and 26.69 seconds, respectively. She earned Team MVP honors and was also named Harper College Athlete of the Week.

"Stephanie's dedication to her workout and goal to improve her times are what I appreciated about her during her two years," said head track and field coach Renee Zellner. "She definitely was a great role model for our women sprinters. I was fortunate to have had her and her determination on the team. It sure makes coaching fun."

The track and field team at CCSJ is coached by Kevin Paterson.
Hurwitz likes that the school is not too far from home, fits what she needs for her double major in criminal justice and psychology and has two athletic teams on the rise that will allow her to play and run competitively.

Reflecting on her Harper career, Hurwitz will miss the bonds she made with her teammates.

"I'll miss being close to home and the friends I've made," she said. "I feel prepared for the opportunity (at CCSJ), and I know what to expect."

Hurwitz will continue her collegiate career at Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, Ind. (Jim Cummins)

Men's Basketball to Host Summer Camp

PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College men's basketball team and head coach Justin Welke will host a Harper College Basketball Summer Camp for kids who are in 2nd-8th grade from Aug. 4-7 in the Harper College gymnasium in Building M.

This four-day basketball camp will help young players improve skills, compete and have fun, all while being coached by Welke and his current college and high school varsity players.

The camp will begin each evening at 6 PM and end at 8:30 PM. The cost of this four-day camp is $75. Send an email to if you are interested in signing your child up for camp, or fill out the camp registration form. For more information, visit the Harper College Basketball Camp Facebook page or email Coach Welke your questions.

Not only will campers receive top-notch instruction, but they will also receive a Harper camp t-shirt and custom-made basketball mouthguard courtesy of Smiles for Kids Dentistry.

"This camp is going to be a great way for kids to improve their game, learn about mouthguard safety and have fun," Welke said. "My goal is to make this an annual event that serves Harper's greatest fans, the children of our community."

Fall 2014 Baseball Information

PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College baseball team has announced that there will be an informational meeting on Monday, August 25, for those interested in trying out for the Harper College Baseball team.

The meeting will be in Room M244 and begin at 4:00 PM. All interested student-athletes will need a current physical and must have it completed prior to the meeting.  That paperwork can be picked up in the Athletics office in M Building (M219) or found here: Athletic Physical Packet  Student Checklists

Please contact head coach Cliff Brown ( or 847-925-6485) for more information.

Those interested in playing for the 2014-2015 team are encouraged to enroll in KIN-210 Teaching Methods: Baseball (Fall 2014: Tuesday/Thursday 2:00 PM – 3:45 PM). Participation in the course does not guarantee a position nor is it required to be on the spring 2015 team, but it is recommended that you participate if you are planning to try out for the team.

The baseball team will hold a meeting on Monday, August 25 for those interested in trying out for the team. (Jim Cummins)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Former Hawk Plaza Pitches UW-W to DIII National Title

Baseball: Scott Plaza UW-W DIII World Series 2014
Plaza pitched UW-Whitewater to the NCAA Div. III World Series title. (Alex Saager)

APPLETON, Wis. – Former Harper College pitcher Scott Plaza was the ace of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater pitching staff this year. He proved it with two victories on the mound in the NCAA Division III baseball national championship, including a complete game shutout as the Warhawks (44-7) topped Emory University 7-0 in the title game on May 27.

"Being that it was the last game of my college career, it was a great way to go out," Plaza said. "It was a great experience, and we had so much fan support there, too. We overcame a lot to reach this goal, and it was an awesome feeling to go 4-0 in the World Series."

The national title gave UW-Whitewater national titles in football, basketball and baseball in the same academic year, the first NCAA school to ever accomplish the feat in the 67-year history of the NCAA.

Plaza allowed seven hits and two walks while striking out nine in the complete game against Emory (38-13). He also led Whitewater to an 8-1 World Series opening victory over University of Southern Maine with seven innings of scoreless ball.  

Plaza, who was featured in the Harper College Alumni Spotlight series last June, finished his senior year with a 9-2 record, 2.53 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 96 innings and earned First Team All-Conference (WIAC) honors and First Team All-Midwest Region honors. As a junior, he went 6-1 with a 2.65 ERA.

As a sophomore at Harper College, the right-handed pitcher went 6-4 with a 1.86 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 77 1/3 innings, earning him First Team All-Conference N4C, First Team All-Region, and Team MVP honors.

Plaza received his bachelor's degree in Business Education in May and plans to get his master's degree starting this upcoming fall. He credits his Harper experience as playing a key role in his success at UW-Whitewater.

"My two years at Harper prepared me mentally and physically for a four-year university atmosphere. I now have the groundwork for success in the future, whether it be baseball or in the job market," he said.


Anderson and Rohn Lead the Way for Hawks

Athlete of the Week: Max Anderson and Tom Rohn 2014

PALATINE, Ill. – Sophomores Max Anderson (/Cary-Grove) and Tom Rohn (Cary-Grove/Cary), both Cary-Grove High School grads, were key pieces of the Harper College men's track and field team for the past two years.

Anderson and Rohn both qualified for nationals this year in several events for head coach Renee Zellner. Although the pair scored big points at the national meets the last two years (two of which were relay events), they also improved their individual times during their tenure at Harper College.
Because of these exceptional accomplishments the last two years, Anderson and Rohn can be recognized as the first-ever Harper College Co-Athletes of the Week.

Cary-Grove Connection

The two go back to their days on the track at Cary-Grove, where they competed in relays together and experienced a great deal of success.  Their 4x400m team placed tenth in state in 2013.
"Tom is definitely my ally. We've been together for years," Anderson said. "There's nobody I trust more with the baton or in a big-time race in general."

Rohn choose Harper after high school to continue his track and field career, and Anderson settled on St. Norbert College. Anderson left St. Norbert and transferred to Harper, and Rohn and his high school coach, Dale Ankele, who would be the assistant track and field coach at Harper for his freshman year, talked him into coming out for the Hawks' track and field team.

Freshman Year

Rohn's first year was hampered by a hip flexor injury, making it hard to train and be at the level he wanted to. However, Anderson's decision to come to Harper paid off, as he joined up with Troy Cunningham (Elk Grove, Ill./Conant), Jhoan Lino (León, Guanajuato/Streamwood) and Andre Barnes (Mount Prospect, Ill./Prospect) to capture a national title in the 4x800m relay. The Hawks also captured second place in the nation as a team.

Reflecting on his freshman year, Rohn knew he needed to make every training workout count in preparation for 2014.

"You see how hard the D1 and NCAA teams train, and they are usually a few months ahead of us," Rohn said. "They are cooking on the indoor track, so you have to train hard."

Sophomore Year

In 2014, Rohn was able to train more and felt stronger throughout the season, improving his times each meet. It showed in the national meet, where he took fifth place in a very competitive field in the 400m and was a part of 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams that took sixth and seventh place, respectively. Including prelims and semifinals, Rohn competed in eight events at nationals.

Anderson took on seven events (including prelims and semifinals) at the national meet. Like Rohn, he was a key part of the 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams while also running on the 4x800m relay team that took third place. He also captured eighth place individually in the 800m.

After running a strong leg in the 4x800m relay and with only 20 minutes to recover, Anderson was able to run his leg in the 4x100m relay, qualifying the team to the finals.

"Max was a great leader and led the way for our sprint team. He was always a sprinter, but this year he was an all-around, do-it-all guy," Rohn said. "He became one of my closer friends because of it."
While the team missed the biggest team goal of a national title, Anderson feels the team gave it their absolute all and that a lot of runners stepped up in a big way throughout the year.

Reflections on Harper Careers

Anderson will move on to the University of Illinois and major in psychology. Looking back, he says he will miss his coaches and teammates the most.

"I feel like I've gained so much from Harper as a school and the track and field program. It'll make going to U of I so much easier," he said.

Anderson explained that the coaching staff was key to his success, and according to him, Zellner is well-deserving of the NJCAA Hall of Fame honor she has. He said coach Jim Macnider was a key part of his success in the 800m this year, and coaches Eric Wallor and Colin Weber (Wheeling, Ill./Wheeling) were two people he looked up to because they competed at the same level and were mentally tough in competition.

Rohn has yet to settle on a four-year school but will major in business management and minor in marketing. He says he will miss the team atmosphere with the athletes and being part of a close-knit group.

"Just being with your team every day after school and blowing off steam on the track-I wouldn't have traded it for anything," he said. "Coach Zellner always had my back and helped me the most, opening the door as far as four-year coaches goes."

Insights from Zellner

Zellner saw both athletes improve immensely in their two years at Harper. She saw Anderson trust the training more and become a better listener, which resulted in improved times in each meet.
"I'll miss his deep commitment to the sport and dedication to the team. Team devotion and leadership is important for Max and is what drives him," she said.

She also saw great improvement in Rohn as he trained hard and improved his times after a disappointing freshman season. As the season went on, Zellner saw his confidence and leadership grow as the team prepared for the national meet.

"He encouraged his teammates and worked for the team points even if it meant potentially sacrificing a personal goal in the 400m," Zellner said. "That demonstrated his personal growth and maturity."

"Both are very talented, and it was not surprising that they would qualify this year. They both worked very hard to qualify and devoted themselves to the team and personal accomplishments at the national meet. I am a better coach because of these two talented student-athletes."