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."