Monday, March 31, 2014

Hawks Ready to Take Next Step in 2014

Softball: Ashley Alicea 2014
The Hawks appear ready to take the next step this spring. (Lynsey Ciezki)
PALATINE, Ill. – This year's Harper softball team appears ready to take the next step under the direction of second-year head coach Cray Allen. Allen's squad returns four skilled players from last year's team and welcomes in seven new players ready to make an impact.

While weather has been a major issue in getting the season started so far, the Hawks finally got their season started yesterday at Volunteer State Community College. Harper lost the opener, 12-4, but they take on Volunteer State two more times today before returning for their conference opener at Joliet tomorrow.  

Last year's team posted a 4-20 record, but Allen is confident this group of players is prepared to get the job done.

"We have some dedicated kids with high softball IQ that are willing to take the program to the next level," Allen said.

Assistant coach Lynsey Ciezki echoed Allen's view on the team.

"We have some star pitchers and a good balance of speed, power and athletic ability," she said. "I'm excited to watch all our hard work pay off."

Here is a look at the returning players as well as newcomers:

Utility player and pitcher Jazlynn Skor (Barrington, Ill./Barrington) is the team's top returner. In 2013, Skor led the team in hitting with a .328 average and also led the Hawks in hits (21), triples (4), runs (12), and OPS (.850). Catcher/third baseman Alexis Filler (Hanover Park, Ill./Hoffman Estates) is back for her sophomore campaign. In 2013, she served as the team's primary catcher and also earned N4C Academic All-Conference accolades.

Third baseman Kaitlyn Keegan (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove) and utility player Jessica DuBrock (Rosemont, Ill./East Leyden) are also back for their second years. Keegan finished the season strong last year, and DuBrock served as the team's second base last year while earning N4C Academic All-Conference honors.

"We have a very dedicated group of new players, and our coaching staff did an awesome job of recruiting them," DuBrock said. "I think working as a team is one of our main goals."

Sophomore Tori Liewergen (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove), a transfer from Lake Forest College and former standout player for Elk Grove High School, will serve as the team's primary pitcher.  Former Lake Park High School two-time All-Conference player Sam Cummings (Roselle, Ill./Lake Park) will be the team's primary first baseman and assume some catching duties.

High school teammates Beth Petrunich (McHenry, Ill./McHenry East) and Lindsay Cannon (McHenry, Ill./McHenry West) will play vital roles for the Haws as well. Petrunich can play second base or shortstop and was on a McHenry team that won back-to-back regional championships in 2012 and 2013. Cannon was a part of those same teams and will play outfield for Harper.

East Leyden grad Anna Kawka (Franklin Park, Ill./East Leyden) will also play outfield for the Hawks along with Huntley grad Ashley Alicea (Lake in the Hills, Ill./Huntley). Barrington High School grad Raegan Fingerman (Fox River Grove, Ill./Barrington) will play first base and catcher.

Conference Schedule
The Hawks are scheduled to play 20 conference games and were scheduled to open N4C play on March 25 at Madison, but inclement weather forced the cancellation of those games. Those will be made up on Saturday, April 5. Harper was supposed to play DuPage yesterday (March 27), but poor field conditions forced the cancellation of those games. The tentative conference opener is now scheduled for Tuesday, April 1 at Joliet.

Rock Valley won the conference in 2013, finishing 17-3 in conference play. DuPage finished runner-up with a 16-4 mark.

Postseason Play
The Region IV Play-In Game (5 vs.4) will be played on April 29, followed by the Region IV Tournament May 2 and 3. If the Hawks were to win the region championship, they would head to Rochester, Minn. for the 2014 NJCAA Div. III Softball National Championship May 15-17.

Resources for the Season
@Harper_Softball and @HarperHawks on Twitter for updates.

Hawks Make Progress at DuPage Invite

Women's Track and Field: Delfin and Piltaver COD Invite 2014
Delfin and Piltaver placed second and third in the 5k. (Jim Cummins)
GLEN ELLYN, Ill. – The Harper College women's track and field team set more PR's at the College of DuPage Invite on Saturday while taking seventh place as a team.

Distance runner Lori Delfin (/Wheeling) ran a personal-best 21:06.91 in the 5k and finished in second place. Fellow distance specialist Mary Piltaver (/Conant) took third in the same event with a national-qualifying time of 21:13.22.

In the field events, four Harper athletes tried their hand at the javelin, with all setting PR's in the process. Amanda Hagen (/Hoffman Estates) led the group with a toss of 22.77m, followed by Gabby Beaupre (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove) (19.91m), Anna Lanier (Dominican Republic/Home School) (16.88m) and Gabrielle Brosnan (Mount Prospect, Ill./Christian Liberty) (16.59m). Hagen also PR'ed in the hammer throw with a toss of 26.00m.

The Hawks return to competition on Saturday at 4 PM at Wheaton College.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Spring Trip Recap/Season Outlook: Coach Cliff Brown

Interview with John Majerus

Season Preview: Theo Yfantis

Season Preview: Jess DuBrock

New Head Men's Soccer Coach Dan Klaus

Payne Signs with Judson University

Women's Basketball: Rachel Payne Signs with Judson Univ.
Payne (right) recently signed to play for Judson and head coach Kristi Cirone (left). (Bill Smith)
PALATINE, Ill. – Harper sophomore women's basketball player Rachel Payne (Wheeling, Ill./Schaumburg Christian Academy) embodied what it meant to be a student-athlete in her two years as a Hawk. Payne dominated on the basketball court, but more importantly, she thrived in the classroom. She will now have a new home as a student-athlete for the next two years, as she recently signed a NAIA Letter of Intent to play for Judson University in Elgin.

Payne excelled in her two years as a Harper student-athlete. On the court, she was the team's second-leading scorer in back-to-back seasons and also earned Harper College Athlete of the Week honors. Off the court, the physical education major with a concentration in biology maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA  and earned N4C Academic All-Conference honors for her efforts.

She will play for the Eagles and head coach Kristi Cirone, who will be entering her third season as the head coach of Judson. Cirone thinks Payne will be a great fit to the team.

"She has a high basketball IQ, works extremely hard and has a great overall attitude," Cirone said. "We're excited to have her here."

The Eagles are members of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC). According to Cirone, Payne's skills fit perfectly in a conference with strong guard play and a fast-paced game. Payne expressed her confidence in choosing Judson.

"I really liked what I heard from coach Cirone. Next year she feels we will be at the level she wants, and I'm happy to be a part of that," she said. "It'll be a big step up from here, but I'm looking forward to the transition."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Harper Men Excel at Augustana

Max Anderson
Several Hawks set PR's and qualified for nationals at Augustana. (Jim Cummins)
ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – The Harper College men's track and field team had several athletes set PR's as well as qualify for nationals with excellent performances at the Augustana Early Spring Opener.

John Walker (/Huntley) set PR's in both the 100 (11.63 seconds) and 200-meter (23.88 seconds) dashes and finished as the team's top sprinter in both events. In the 400-meter dash, Tom Rohn (/Cary) took third place in a time of 51.99 seconds.  Junious Matlock () continued his improvement in the 800-meter run with a PR time of 2:12.27.

At 1500 meters, all seven Harper athletes who competed in the event set PR's, led by Jhoan Lino (León, Guanajuato/Streamwood) (4:11.82) and Zach Stella (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) (4:17.48), whose times were both good enough to qualify for the national meet. Juan Barajas (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Schaumburg) (4:28.08), John Majerus (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove) (4:30.55), Sebastian Ramirez (Lima, Peru/Palatine) (4:31.79), Vince Greco (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove) (4:38.15) and Connor Williams (/Wauconda) (4:38.76) all ran strong races as well.

Hurdler Daniel Lim (Schaumburg, Ill./Streamwood) qualified for nationals in the 110-meter hurdles (16.47 seconds) for a second straight year, and Ernest Downing () qualified for nationals with a career-best time of 59.23 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles. In the 3000-meter steeplechase, Nick Modlin (Wheeling, Ill./Wheeling) (10:20.90) and Brennan Albuck (/Hoffman Estates) (10:28.60) took first and third place while also setting PR's and qualifying for nationals.

The relay teams also had a productive day as the 4x100m relay team of Walker, Rohn, Max Anderson (/Cary Grove) and Downing took second place with a national-qualifying time of 44.55 seconds. Anderson, Rohn, Majerus and Downing captured third place in the 4x400m relay with a PR time of 3:34.09.

Thrower Will Botefuhr (Arlington Heights, Ill./Prospect) set PR's in both the hammer (116'2") and javelin (127' 10") in his collegiate debut.

The Hawks took second place as a team with 102 points. Host Augustana took first place with 472 points, and Ashford University finished third with 60 points.

Harper is back in action this upcoming Saturday at the College of DuPage Invite.

Women's Track and Field Opens Outdoor Season With Strong Showing

The Hawks opened their outdoor season with a strong showing at Augustana. (Jim Cummins)
ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – The Harper College women's track and field team opened their outdoor season with a strong showing on a chilly day at the Augustana Early Spring Opener. Two Harper athletes set national-qualifying marks and the 3200m relay group qualified for nationals as well.

Sprinter Stephanie Hurwitz (Rolling Meadows, Ill./Fremd) set a PR in the 100-meter dash with a time of 13.56 seconds (second place) to qualify for nationals. Hurwitz also took second place in the 200-meter dash in 28.62 seconds. Fellow teammate Taylor LoCoco (/Prairie Ridge) was not far behind with a time of 29.98 seconds. Distance runner Lori Delfin (/Wheeling) ran a 5:37.21 in the 1500-meter run to qualify for nationals.

The 3200m relay squad of Kaila Privatsky (/Barrington), Delfin, Marisa Andreuccetti (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Conant) and Mary Piltaver (/Conant) posted a time of 11:51.14 to earn a trip to nationals. Piltaver also PR-ed at 1500 meters, crossing the finish line in 5:57.28.

In the field events, Amanda Hagen (/Hoffman Estates) captured top honors in the javelin with a throw of 77' 7".

The Hawks took second place as a team with 115 points. Augustana took top team honors with 152 points. Ashford University (102 points) and St. Ambrose University (46 points) finished third and fourth place, respectively.

Harper is back in action this upcoming Saturday at the College of DuPage Invite.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Talented Hawks Looking to Finish the Deal in 2014

Baseball: Steven Yfantis 2013
The Hawks are hungry for a NJCAA World Series berth in 2014. (Jim Cummins)
PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College baseball team came within one win of reaching the NJCAA Div. III World Series in 2013, and this year the Hawks are hungry to reach their desired destination in Tyler, Texas. With a strong core group of returners and an influx of new talent, Harper appears ready to reach its first World Series in program history.

After weather forced the cancellation of the team's first eight games, the Hawks finally take to the diamond today as they open their spring break trip off with South Suburban College at Vincennes University in Vincennes, Indiana.

The Hawks play Vincennes and DuPage tomorrow, a to-be determined opponent on Sunday and Vincennes again on Monday before heading down to Tennessee to take on Jackson State Community College next Tuesday and Wednesday.
Head coach Cliff Brown's squad returns the likes of shortstop Theo Yfantis (Prospect Heights, Ill./Wheeling), third baseman Kurt Becker (Palatine, Ill./Palatine), center fielder Chris Elliot, utility man James Ioriatti (/Hersey) and pitchers Lee Breitzman (Palatine, Ill./Fremd)Steven Yfantis(Prospect Heights, Ill./Wheeling)Brent Kiesel (Streamwood, Ill./Streamwood) and Jim Gockenbach (North Barrington, Ill./Barrington).

Yfantis, the team's leadoff man who was a Second Team All-Conference and All-Region honoree last year, likes the new group of players and also feels an added responsibility to be a leader.

"They are big energy givers and good athletes," Yfantis said of the new players. "I want to lead this team to a lot of wins and set the standard for next year's sophomores so they can step up."

While the Hawks lost six All-Region or All-Conference players from last year's squad, Yfantis feels good about the 2014 squad.

"I like the family aspect of our team. We are all really close and have each other's backs," he said. "Every day, we are pushing forward and sticking together."

Brown said that his team is just ready to get outside and start getting after it. He explained that this year's squad has the chance to be better than last year's team.

"We're more athletic than we've been, and we have guys who have good baseball sense," Brown said. "We are deeper positional-wise and pitching-wise."

Here is a positional breakdown of this year's team:


Becker and Yfantis will man the left side of the infield for the Hawks. Becker was a Second Team All-Region selection last year who hit .377 with two homers, 14 doubles and 28 RBI. Yfantis hit .356 and led the team in hits (47) and runs (38).

Freshmen Neal Ori (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) and Anthony Beale (Chicago, Ill./Walter Lutheran) will play second base for the Hawks. The competition at first base will be betweenKevin Conrad (Twin Lakes, Wis./Wilmot) and Jeremy Merino (Orland Park, Ill./Carl Sandburg). The catching duties fall on freshmen Zach Jones (/Maine South) and Andrew Haney (Milton, Wis. /Milton).


Elliot, who only made two errors last year, will likely be patrolling center field for the Hawks. Ioriatti, who played primarily second base last year, will see some time in the outfield.

Freshmen Tyler Crussen (Wheeler, Ind. /Wheeler)Angelo Curtis (Chicago Heights, Ill./Marian Catholic)Chuck Terron (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek), Matt Hayes, Austin Eliades(Palatine, Ill./Palatine) and Josh Hillmann (Chicago, Ill./St. Patrick) will all battle for playing time in the outfield.


The left-hander Breitzman, who threw a team-high 58.1 innings a year ago, will be a key factor on the mound for Harper. Fellow sophomores Yfantis, who threw 40.2 innings last year for the Hawks, and Kiesel will also be counted on again for innings.

Brown has plenty of right-handed pitchers to rely on, including Dan Schlitter (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett)Mickey Wazorick (Rolling Meadows, Ill./Rolling Meadows)Dave Rzewnicki(Antioch, Ill./Antioch)Eric Orozco (Melrose Park, Ill./Immaculate Conception)Matt Ittersagen (Wheeler, Ind./Wheeler) and Ken Cervenka (/Palatine).

The Hawks boast four other lefties in Gockenbach, Chris Simon (La Grange, Ill./Marmion Academy)Dan Pultorak (Dixon, Ill./Dixon) and Jason Obermaier (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Conant).

Conference Schedule

Harper opens N4C play on March 30 at home against Milwaukee. They play each conference opponent (Milwaukee, Rock Valley, Joliet, DuPage, Triton and Madison) twice. Madison won the conference in 2013 and took third in the nation at the NJCAA Div. II level.

Postseason Play

The Region IV Sectionals will be played May 10 and 11, followed by the Region IV Baseball Finals at Boomers Stadium in Schaumburg from May 16-18. If the Hawks were to win the region championship, they would head to Tyler, Texas for the 2014 NJCAA Div. III Baseball World Series May 24-29.  

Resources for the Season

@Harper_Baseball  and @HarperHawks on Twitter for updates.

Dabrowski Signs with Bethel College

Volleyball: Veronica Dabrowski Signs with Bethel College
Dabrowski with her parents at the signing day at Bethel.
PALATINE, Ill. – In her time at Harper College, women's volleyball player Veronica Dabrowski (Mount Prospect, Ill./Rolling Meadows) accomplished just about everything a student-athlete could accomplish. Dabrowski recently decided she'd like to continue her collegiate volleyball career by signing with NAIA Bethel College in Indiana.

Bethel College is located in Mishawaka, Indiana, just down the road from Notre Dame University. Dabrowski will play for head coach Kevin Ulmer and the Pilots, who went 27-14 in 2013. Dabrowski will also be able to continue her Pre-med coursework at Bethel while playing the sport she loves.

"I'm looking forward to playing volleyball, meeting new people and becoming more independent living away from home," she said. "I'm also very excited to be a part of a team. I'm able to do what I love while continuing my education."

A major force as both an outside hitter and middle hitter the last two years, she enjoyed success as a freshman as an N4C Academic All-Conference athlete and Second Team All-Conference player. Dabrowski accomplished even more as a sophomore, earning First Team All-Conference, First Team All-Region, Region IV All-Tournament Team and First Team All-American honors for a Harper squad that finished the season ranked No. 5 in the nation for the second straight year.

"She practiced hard every practice. She always tried her best on every point.  That set the bar high during our practices, and thus helped guarantee our team's improvement over the last two years," said Harper head coach Bob Vilsoet.

Dabrowski explained that she will miss playing volleyball at Harper as well as the amazing friendships and unforgettable memories she made.  She acknowledged that going to Harper was a great to start to college, and her former coach agreed with her.

"In her two years, she blossomed into a star and will likely continue to improve greatly and become a star for Bethel College," Vilsoet said. "All of us here at Harper College wish her the absolute best, both on and off the volleyball court, and we will miss her greatly."

Walsh and Sexton Net All-Conference and All-Region Honors

Men's Basketball: Kevin Walsh and Kevin Sexton All-Region 2013-14
Walsh and Sexton were honored as All-Conference and All-Region players. (Jim Cummins)
PALATINE, Ill. – Harper College men's basketball players Kevin Walsh (/St. Viator) and Kevin Sexton (/Prospect)were recently named to the N4C All-Conference and Region IV All-Region teams.

Walsh earned First Team All-Conference and All-Region accolades. He averaged a team-best 16.6 points a game for the Hawks and eclipsed the 20-point mark in nine contests, including four of his last five games. Walsh shot 44.1 percent from 3-point range and hit a team-best 83 triples in 29 games. He was also the team's top rebounder at 5.0 per game and shot 81.8 percent from the free throw line.

The team's floor general who started all 31 games this season, Sexton earned Second Team All-Conference and All-Region honors. He was the team's third-leading scorer at 12.3 points per game and led the team with 4.4 assists per game.  Sexton ranked as the best free throw shooter in the nation at the NJCAA Div. III level at 86.9 percent (73-of-84) and also canned 69 3-pointers while shooting an impressive 46.3 percent from deep (10th in nation).

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Most Valuable Hawk Competition Slated for Late April

Most Valuable Hawk 2014
PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College sports and wellness department will be holding a Most Valuable Hawk Competition on Tuesday, April 29 from 6-8 PM inside the Wellness & Sports Center gymnasium. Harper athletes will battle it out for supremacy in various athletic competitions, and the first ever honor of "Most Valuable Hawk" will be awarded at the end of the night to the best all-around student-athlete on campus.

Harper athletes will be treated to free food during the night. The big competition will involve a series of athletic events to determine which Hawk athlete is the best on campus. Scores will be kept for each event, and the athlete with the highest point total will win an award and the first ever "Most Valuable Hawk" honor.

In addition, there will be a presentation by professor Pardess Mitchell and academic counselor Sue Johnson-Royse on the topic of sexual assault prevention.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for the specifics of the Most Valuable Hawk competition.

Messner Signs with Div. I Chicago State

Women's Volleyball: Alex Messner 2013
Messner will be continuing her volleyball career at Chicago State University. (Jim Cummins)
PALATINE, Ill. – Former Harper volleyball standout Alex Messner (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Fremd) is currently taking classes at Chicago State University, and in the fall she will take to the volleyball court for the Cougars. Messner recently signed to play volleyball for the NCAA Div. I program.

After transferring from DePauw University to Harper College, Messner blossomed into a star for the Hawks and earned All-Conference honors.  She put down 346 kills and recorded 474 digs in the fall of 2013, both second-best on the team for a Harper squad that finished the season ranked No. 5 in the nation and came up just three points shy of a bid to nationals.

"She was very good in clutch situations and had the ability to raise Harper's skill level to defeat top-notch teams," said her former coach, Harper head coach Bob Vilsoet. "We beat two NJCAA Div. I teams this year with her on the court, and these were teams in the past we didn't compete with favorably."

The Cougars are members of the Western Athletic Conference and are coached by second year head coachToby Rens. Other teams in the conference include New Mexico State, Bakersfield, Idaho, Utah Valley, Kansas City, Seattle U, Grand Canyon and Texas-Pan American.

Messner is a part of a four-player recruiting class for the Cougars. To view the full press release from Chicago State, click here.

Amarino Retiring After 22 Years of Coaching at Junior College Level

Men's Basketball: Tony Amarino 2013-14
Amarino was known for his passion and enthusiasm as a basketball coach. (Jim Cummins)
PALATINE, Ill. – After coaching for 22 years at the junior college level, including the past seven years here at Harper College, head men's basketball coach Tony Amarino has announced his retirement from coaching.

Amarino started at Harper in the fall of 2007 after spending 15 years as the head coach of the Morton College men's basketball team. He compiled a 263-236 record with Morton, including a Region IV Championship in 2005 and six 20-win seasons.
At Harper, Amarino worked not only as the basketball coach but as a facilities manager and teacher. In his seven years as head coach, the Hawks won 103 games, but more importantly, Amarino felt a strong bond with the Harper athletic department and his players.

"The acquaintance I had with Doug Spiwak (Director of Athletics and Fitness) and Ashley Knight (Dean of Student Affairs) was one of the great things about being here," Amarino said. "They've been great to me for seven years. They backed me 200%."

The Hawks' season and Amarino's career ended with a tough loss to Joliet in the Region IV Semifinals, and he described the initial feeling as 'numb'.

"When we win or lose, it's all about my guys. I didn't feel bad for me because my career is over," he said. "I just felt bad for the guys. The way we came back and could have had the win…"

It didn't really sink in until two days later when Amarino went in to his bedroom to get his bag out to prepare for the usual Monday practice.

 "Tony was a coach you wanted to play for night in and night out," said Harper basketball player Bradley Reibel (/Prospect). "He always expected you to work hard and carry yourself in the right manner."

Men's Basketball: Tony Amarino Retirement 2014
Amarino shared a strong bond with Dean of Student Affairs Ashley Knight and Director of Athletics Doug Spiwak. (Ashley Knig
Amarino explained that not many people  understand the daily challenges at the junior level. Despite the challenges, Amarino said he loved and enjoyed the experience.

 "Tony is one of the finest individuals I have ever worked with. He is dedicated, responsible, and always had Harper's best interests at heart," Knight said. "He was interested in what was best for the students and gave his job his all. I will miss working with Tony."

"It was an honor and pleasure to work with Tony for the last seven years. We were never outcoached. Tony prepared his teams physically and mentally to compete for a win in every game. The student-athletes improved their basketball and life skills by participating on our team," Spiwak said. "The players always had Tony as a teacher and mentor who was always looking out for their best interest. Tony had my complete confidence and trust, and I hope I earned his respect by supporting his efforts. The game of basketball was better because of Tony."

Hinderer Earns Second Team All-Conference Honors

Women's Basketball: Monica Hinderer 2013-14
Hinderer received Second Team All-Conference honors for a second straight year. (Jim Cummins)
PALATINE, Ill. – In her two years wearing a Harper College basketball uniform, Monica Hinderer (Arlington Heights, Ill./The Willows Academy) excelled on the court and in the classroom. For the second straight year she was rewarded by being named N4C Second Team All-Conference.

This season, Hinderer averaged 21.9 points per game (11th in nation) and 14.4 rebounds per game (fourth in nation). She also significantly improved her field goal and free throw percentage from a year ago. Hinderer finished her career with 1,047 points and now is second all-time in scoring in Harper women's basketball history.  

She scored a season-high 34 points at Milwaukee on Feb. 15. Her season-high in rebounds was a whopping 23 boards on Jan. 13 against Daley.

Hinderer also developed a consistent jump shot as the season went on, making it more difficult for opponents to guard her. She even expanded her range to the 3-point line, hitting eight 3-pointers. Perhaps her most important attribute was an increased leadership role for the Hawks.

Hawks Finish Indoor Season Strong at Carthage College

Men's Track and Field: Guibord-Majerus-Wells Carthage College Meet 2014
Guibord, Majerus and Walls all set PR's at Carthage. (Jim Cummins)
KENOSHA, Wis. – Eight Harper College men's track and field athletes set PR's in their individual events over the weekend at the Carthage College "Gill Athletics Final Qualifier".

In the sprint events, Ernest Downing () set a PR of 6.78 seconds in the 55-meter dash and another one in the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.62 seconds. Downing and the team of Max Anderson (/Cary Grove)John Majerus (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove) and Zach Stella (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) set a PR in the 1600m relay with a time of 3:36.58.

Majerus also set a career-best time in the mile run with a time of 4:51.94. Fellow milers Jhoan Lino (León, Guanajuato/Streamwood) and Andrew Guibord (Crystal Lake, Ill./Prairie Ridge) also set PR's in the mile run. Lino completed the race in 4:26.56 to take second place while Guibord finished in 4:49.57. In the 3000-meter run, Juan Barajas (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Schaumburg) (9:10.38) and Nick Modlin (Wheeling, Ill./Wheeling) (9:11.13) both achieved their best times, and Brennan Albuck(/Hoffman Estates) put up his best time of the year in the 5000-meter run, crossing the finish line in 15:55.34.

Brad Walls (/Palatine) set a PR in the shot put with a toss of 11.52m (37 feet, 9.5 inches).

The Hawks begin their outdoor season at Augustana College on Saturday, March 22 at 11:00 AM.

Hawks Continue Improving at Carthage College

Women's Track and Field: LoCoco-Robinson-Hagen Carthage College 2014
LoCoco, Robinson and Hagen all set PR's at Carthage. (Jim Cummins)

KENOSHA, Wis. – 
The Harper College women's track and field team continued to make strides over the weekend at the Carthage College "Gill Athletics Final Qualifier". 
Distance runner Lori Delfin (/Wheeling) qualified for nationals in the 5k, and the 1600m relay squad of Taylor LoCoco (/Prairie Ridge)Stephanie Hurwitz (Rolling Meadows, Ill./Fremd)Marisa Andreuccetti (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Conant) and Gabrielle Brosnan (Mount Prospect, Ill./Christian Liberty) posted a national-qualifying time.
Delfin ran the 5k for the first time this season and crossed the finish line in 21:42.21. The 1600m relay team finished in 4:44.74 to earn a berth into May's national meet.

Additionally, several Harper athletes set personal bests in their respective individual events. LoCoco PR'ed in the 200 (29.52 seconds) and 400-meter dash) (1:08.99).Titi Robison ran a PR 33.63 seconds in the 200-meter dash. Amanda Hagen (/Hoffman Estates) put up season-best results in the 200-meter dash (32.54 seconds) and weight throw (8.09m). Andreuccetti set a PR with a time of 2:48.96 in the 800-meter run.

Hurwitz took third place overall in the 55-meter dash finals with a time of 7.81 seconds. She also placed ninth out of 22 sprinters in the 200-meter dash with a time of 28.16 seconds, best among Harper athletes.

The Hawks begin their outdoor season at Augustana College on Saturday, March 22 at 11:00 AM.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Marathon Support Letter: A Community In Need

March 14, 2014

Dear Friend,

On Sunday, November 17, 2013, a devastating F5 tornado ripped through the town of Washington, Illinois, leaving 1,484 homes in the town either completely destroyed or severely damaged. November tornados are pretty rare, but this tornado packed an incredibly forceful punch. On the news, the damage was unbelievable as I saw whole neighborhoods leveled.

By the grace of God, only two people lost their lives in this tragedy. However, the town of 15,410 people was forced to pick up the pieces.

My girlfriend Ellen came across the Bethany Community Church Facebook page one night and decided to like their page because she saw they were taking volunteers to help clean up after the tornado. In early December Ellen and I made the journey down there to volunteer. We were sent out with a team of eight or so others to clean up glass, insulation, and other debris from the front lawns of two houses that suffered damage but weren’t destroyed. We found a kid’s high school graduation photo in the lawn of the house we primarily worked at.  On the next block over, several houses were completely gone. Two houses down from where we were, all that was left was a foundation of a house.

A picture of the damage.
This was only the beginning of it. After we were done helping out, we drove through the heart of where the tornado hit. It is so different to see something on television compared to actually experiencing it. Words can’t truly describe the carnage we saw. A new subdivision was completely gone, cars were pulverized, and any semblance of houses had been reduced to rubble. I took some video of the decimation but also wanted to be sensitive to those who lost so much. These were people’s lives that had been radically changed.

Over the winter months, Ellen and I both wanted to go back to volunteer but didn’t make it back. We are planning on going to volunteer this spring.

As you may know, I enjoy running. I ran many races from June-October of 2013, including a half marathon on my birthday in October. On Valentine’s Day of this year, I signed up for the 2014 Wisconsin Marathon that will be held on Saturday, May 3rd. You can call me crazy, and I would agree with you; it’s a little scary to think about running 26.2 miles.

I have a time goal for this race, but that doesn’t matter compared to what I really want to accomplish. God is humbling me and teaching me more and more each day that I shouldn’t be doing this for my glory. It should be for his glory, and I’ve also decided I want to raise funds for the tornado relief in Washington.

At this point, nearly five months have passed , and only 50% of the clean-up effort has been done. Additionally, in January FEMA denied a request for disaster aid to the area because they said the damage wasn’t severe enough to warrant federal help. I was down there and couldn’t disagree more.  It takes snowplows a few hours to clear the roads of snow, but we’re just going to neglect and further hinder rebuilding efforts of Washington?

A new subdivision was torn to shreds.
The people of Washington may be down and hurt by this, but they are definitely a strong bunch. The phrase “Washington Strong” was created shortly after the tornado to describe the resilience of the people. I personally worked with a Washington resident whose house was intact, and he was spending his time helping fellow Washington residents. I failed to mention that his former house, which was sold just months before the tornado hit, was now reduced to rubble.  He just wanted to help his fellow hurting brothers and sisters out.

The race I’m running is the first Saturday in May in Kenosha, Wisconsin, 194 miles from Washington.  These people in Washington may never know that a total stranger is running 26.2 miles and thinking about them, but this is where you come in.

I want to raise as much money as possible. I could have picked a number of worthy causes to raise money for, but this is the one cause I feel called to. Bethany Community Church’s blog post in December of 2013 explained what the money will be used for:

Future Spending
·      We plan to continue to give funds to those affected by the tornado that will meet their physical needs in order to restore them and their property to pre-tornado condition (moving expenses, deductibles, landscaping).

·      We plan to spend funds on gifts to those affected by the tornado that will meet their spiritual needs (Bibles, counseling material, etc.).

·      We plan to use funds to cover expenses of volunteers who are helping those affected by the tornado (purchasing lunches, providing supplies, fuel costs, etc.).

·      We are NOT using funds given to the tornado relief fund to cover any of Bethany’s administrative staff costs. For example, we are hiring a part-time person to help temporarily with tornado relief ministry who will be funded from giving to our general fund.

As you can see, we are spending 100% of funds given to our relief efforts to benefit families affected by the tornado.

So will you help me? All of the proceeds I raise will go directly into the tornado relief. Once I collect all of the money, I will send it all via PayPal or check. If finances are an issue, do not feel like you have to give. I just ask that you pray for the people in Washington. Things to pray for: meeting physical and spiritual needs of the people, that these people rely on God as their strength to overcome, and finally for the volunteers who are helping those affected.

On the day of the race, I will be wearing a Sport –Tek t-shirt that will read “Washington Strong”. All I’m doing is running a long race. These people in Washington have already accomplished more than I ever will.

_____________ (check box) Yes, I will support Washington, Illinois financially and give money .

_____________(check box) Yes, I will support the people of Washington, Illinois through my prayers .

Thank you for your taking the time to read this letter. Here is my contact information if you have any further questions.

Or message me on Facebook

God Bless you,

Billy Smith

Monday, March 10, 2014

Maroon Team Collects Fifth Straight Win

Saturday, March 1, 2014 7:30 AM

                                                             1             2         F
Maroon                                                44           26       70           (5-1)
Baby Blue                                            29            33       62           (1-5)

We hadn’t played a 7:30 AM game since week one, but we came out and played a decent first half. Our 3-point shooters once again gave us a cushion, and we also got out on the fast break, beating the other team down the court. All this led to a 15-point halftime lead. It was also fun to play against my college roommate Kevin.

We were kind of sluggish and played a sloppy second half. It never seemed like the lead would slip away, but we also never really went on a huge run to take a 20-25 point lead. Nonetheless, we picked up the win and hold a firm grip on first place in the league.

After the game, we discussed the “4 Humbling Life Lessons” devotional, sharing which of the four life lessons listed applied to us the most. It was encouraging to see everyone being honest and vulnerable about what they’ve struggled with and dealt with regarding humility.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bellis Adapts, Dominates as Freshman

Athlete of the Week: Jacob Bellis 2014
PALATINE, Ill. – Coming into nationals, Harper freshman wrestler Jacob Bellis (/Bloomington) hadn't lost since Dec. 7, 2013, a period of nearly three months.

Bellis capped off an incredible 30-win season by going 4-2 at 125 pounds at NJCAA Nationals last weekend. He earned All-American honors with a seventh place finish, and he can now call himself the 16th Harper College Athlete of the Week for the 2013-14 school year.

Bellis choose Harper because he wanted to go to an Illinois school and heard good things about head coachDan Loprieno and the Harper wrestling program. Making the transition from a more international, freestyle Greco-Roman way of wrestling to collegiate, folkstyle wrestling was a challenge, but Bellis adapted and got better as the year went on.

"Assistant Coach Pool helped me a lot to get my folkstyle back on track to be a good college wrestler," he said.
Athlete of the Week: Jacob Bellis File

During his lengthy unbeaten streak, he compiled a 16-0 record, including a perfect 4-0 mark at the Art Kraft Memorial Open hosted by Triton College.

"He moves well and is very tough to beat," said Harper head coach Dan Loprieno. "He's still got a lot to learn but will be a big part of our plans next year."

When asked what he liked most about being on the Harper wrestling squad, Bellis quickly pointed to his teammates.

"The guys work hard, and they have their heads on straight," Bellis said. "Everyone's goal was to win the national championship."

The Hawks qualified all 10 wrestlers and placed 16th as a team at nationals, second among non-scholarship schools. With Bellis and other wrestlers returning, Loprieno thinks his team will be in the hunt again next year.

"I think he'll (Bellis) come out of the gate and look to have a really outstanding season next year," Loprieno said. "I would think his goal will be to win a national title."

Former Harper Wrestler Chalfant Thriving at Indiana

Wrestling: Adam Chalfant Feature 2014
Former Harper wrestling standout Adam Chalfant is making a name for himself at the Div. I level.
MADISON, Wis. – With the Big Ten Wrestling Championships on the horizon this weekend, former Harper wrestler and current Indiana University senior wrestler Adam Chalfant has made quite a name for himself this season. Chalfant comes into his final Big Ten championship ranked second in both the Big Ten and in all of Div. I wrestling at 285 pounds.

Seven of the top ten heavyweights in the country hail from the Big Ten, the nation's premier wrestling conference.

After redshirting for the Western Kentucky football team in 2009, Chalfant spent the 2010-11 season as wrestling for the Hawks, going 24-2 and helping Harper winning a non-scholarship national championship. He transferred to Indiana the next year and has improved with each year. He went 24-13 in the 2011-12 season, 27-11 last year, and is currently 24-2 this year for the Hoosiers.

"That's the fun part of what we do here is watching these kids move on to the next level. He definitely used the community college the way it's supposed to be as a springboard for success to bigger and better things," said Harper head coach Dan Loprieno. "He is by far one of the best success stories we've had at Harper, and it's kids like that that keep us going at it."

Earlier in the season, the Harper College wrestling team traveled to Northwestern University to watch Chalfant in action. At that meet, he bested returning national runner-up Mike McMullan of Northwestern. A few weeks later, he knocked off two-time returning national champ Tony Nelson of Minnesota.

The Harper coaching staff plans to travel to Madison this weekend for the Big Ten Championships.

"Adam is one of the most deserving kids. He has worked hard to get to this place," said assistant coach Kyle Boore. "I would not be surprised if he walks away with the title."

Nationals Recap: Three Hawks Earn All-American Honors

Wrestling: Jacob Bellis 2013-14
SPOKANE, Wash. – Three Harper College wrestlers earned All-American Honors at the 2014 NJCAA Wrestling National Championship over the weekend. Jacob Bellis (/Bloomington)Blake Santi (Roselle, Ill./Lake Park) andGreg Jacquez (/West Aurora) each finished as All-Americans for a Harper team that scored 43.5 points and took 16th place out of 39 teams. The Hawks were the second-best team in the nation among non-scholarship schools.

Northeastern Oklahoma A & M won the national meet with 169 points, followed by Northwest College (149 points) and Clackamas Community College (139 points).
Results/details provided with assistance from Click here for full results.

Jacob Bellis (/Bloomington)-All-American, Seventh Place at 125 Pounds
Bellis scored 13.50 points in the meet and compiled a 4-2 record. After an opening round loss to Southwestern Oregon Community College's Matthew Nguyen, Bellis won his next three matches all by fall.
Bellis dropped his fifth match of the tournament but won the seventh place match by fall in 6:29 over Colby Community College's Hunter Price.

Blake Santi (Roselle, Ill./Lake Park)-All-American, Eighth Place at 149 Pounds
Santi scored 10.00 points in the meet and compiled a 2-3 record. His two wins came by technical fall and by fall.
He lost to Northwest Kansas Tech's Elijah Davis in a tight seventh place match, 3-1.

Greg Jacquez (/West Aurora)-All-American, Eighth Place at 157 Pounds
Jacquez scored 11.50 points in the meet and compiled a 3-3 record. He dominated his first two opponents, winning both matches by fall. Jacquez lost his first match in the quarterfinals but rebounded with a win by fall over Lincoln College's Luke Dunn.
Jacquez lost his next match by fall and lost a 3-2 decision in the seventh place match to Darton College's Anthony Smith.

Other Notables-Kerin Ramirez ()Blake Tisza (/Thornton Fractional South)Kyle Bridgeman (/AFC) and Lavontay Cobb (/King College Prep) Earn Points
Ramirez scored 2.00 points in the meet and tallied a 1-2 record at 133 pounds. Ramirez beat Ellsworth Community College's Eric Franklin 8-5 for his lone win.

Tisza scored 2.00 points in the meet and tallied a 2-2 record at 141 pounds. After a first round bye, Tisza lost his opening match in a tiebreaker to Clackamas CC's Robbie Rizzolino. He won his next match 12-5 and won an 8-0 major decision over SUNY Sullivan's Richard Dennison. Tisza's tournament ended at the ends of Darton College's Zach Wright.

Bridgeman scored 4.50 points in the meet and tallied a 2-2 record at 197 pounds. He rebounded nicely from an early loss to win consecutive matches against Mercyhurst's Kojo Boado (Fall 3:00) and Northwest Kansas Tech's Miguel Montelongo (5-4 decision). His meet ended with a loss to Muskegon College's Donovan Fouchey.

Cobb scored 1.00 points in the meet and tallied a 1-2 record at 285 pounds. He beat Clackamas CC's Brandon Johnson 11-6 in the opening round but lost his final two bouts.