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Inspired by thoughts of his late grandmother, Marmion senior quarterback Brock Krueger has become a veteran charity fundraiser.
Beginning as a freshman by raising money and awareness targeting breast cancer, which before he was born claimed his grandmother, Cynthia Carroll, Krueger and his mother, Crystal, have spearheaded annual campaigns that have raised more than $21,000 for the LivingWell Cancer Resource Center in Geneva. In the background, doing "all the hard work," Crystal said, is her husband, John.
Along with ongoing sales of T-shirts and other items at Cadets home football games, Brock & Co.'s charity effort includes the third annual Run for the Pink Twilight 5K at Marmion on Oct. 27. The inaugural run in 2011 drew around 130 runners; last year the number exceeded 200, Crystal said.
As the runners increase, so does the tally.
"I definitely enjoy it," said Krueger, who on the football field has helped Marmion to a 6-1 record. "When we give money to LivingWell everyone's so thankful and so appreciative of it, and I love bringing that feeling out in people."
As a freshman, Krueger and his mother petitioned Marmion football coach Dan Thorpe with the idea to raise funds and awareness through sales of pink clothing items, bracelets, raffle tickets, a cookbook and such. It was put to a vote and endorsed by Cadets captains Bobby Winkel, Mike Carbonara, T.J. Lally and Graham Glasgow.
"I thought it was a great idea, and I had no idea we were going to end up doing a 5K," Brock Krueger said.
The Twilight 5K begins at Marmion Academy and ends at Abbey Farms. Registration is available by sending a $30 check to Marmion; by visiting active.com, searching for Marmion and following directions; or after Oct. 25, registering on-site the day of the race for $35. For once there's no need to rise with the roosters as this 5K starts at 4 p.m. with on-site registration at 3 p.m. There also is a children's corn maze race.
Crystal Krueger also notes the third annual charity Zumbathon on Nov. 9 in the Marmion gym, run by football mom Tracey Kozak. Information on that is available on the Marmion Cadets Breast Cancer Awareness Facebook page.
"The faculty, parents and coaches are a huge factor in allowing this all to happen and trying to teach the boys about breast cancer," Crystal said.
Brock Krueger has visited the University of Indianapolis, Butler, Miami of Ohio and Kent State and has an upcoming visit to Drake with an eye toward playing college football. Crystal said Marmion head of school Anthony Tinerella has announced the school will sponsor the 5K after he graduates.
"It's a lot of work, but it's worth it," she said.
Brock Krueger believes so. He only had his parents' words to describe grandma Cynthia, but he believes a facility like LivingWell could have offered her comfort.
"I wish grandma had something like this where she could have gone to when she was going through that," he said.
Metro Suburban Conference 2.0
The Metro Suburban Conference has announced its expanded alignment starting next school year, 2014-15, reflective of the seven incoming schools from the Suburban Christian Conference. The scheme reflects an east-west setup.
Division 1 includes: Aurora Central Catholic, Fenton, Glenbard South, IC Catholic Prep, Riverside-Brookfield, St. Edward and Wheaton Academy.
Division 2 includes: Chicago Christian, Elmwood Park, Guerin, Illiana Christian, Ridgewood, Timothy Christian and Walther Christian.
For football, St. Edward will play in Division 1 to replace Timothy Christian and Illiana Christian, neither of which have football programs.
St. Francis presents its third annual Youth Coaching Clinic at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at the school's Spyglass Gymnasium. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Open to any and all girls and boys youth basketball coaches at any level, the clinic offers the players and staffs of Spartans boys coach Bob Ward and girls coach Mike Phillips running drills and outlining strategies used by their programs. Opponents can tell you their stuff works.
The clinic is free with no preregistration required. A post-clinic social will be held at The Bank Restaurant in Wheaton.
An award that keeps on giving to Zach Strittmatter, early last week the 2013 Batavia graduate and Washington University (St. Louis) freshman receiver was announced as one of five national winners of the 2013 National Football Foundation National High School Scholar-Athlete Award. Done with his calculus homework, he spoke about it.
It all started nearly a year ago, when Strittmatter, Lemont's Connor O'Brien and Lincoln-Way East's Nick Colangelo were acknowledged at a December banquet of the NFF Chicago Chapter in Westchester. That honor gained a $6,000 scholarship and "a really nice, big trophy, too," Strittmatter said. "Bigger than the Heisman, almost."
In August Strittmatter was notified he was among 33 finalists nationwide from various regional chapters. On Oct. 6 he got the call hearing he was a national winner.
"I remember receiving the call in December and thinking, 'I don't deserve this,' being one of the top (honorees) in Chicagoland. And now this. I was speechless when I got the call," said Strittmatter, who has an older brother, Brady, and a sister who's a junior at Batavia, Emily.
The former Batavia valedictorian had to sit on the news a couple days until the NFF news release broke. He could tell only his parents, Rick and Carol. After the release he called the person who nominated him initially, Bulldogs football coach Dennis Piron, "and anybody I could."
Strittmatter, a probable chemistry major, said one of his football roommates, freshman defensive back Dylan Newcomb, was a finalist for the NFF award. They were "talking smack back and forth" about who was going to win it.
To the victor comes the spoils of an all-expenses-paid, two-day trip Dec. 9 to New York City. Accompanied by his parents and grandparents he'll stay at the Waldorf Astoria and will be guest of honor at a luncheon honoring the five Scholar-Athletes. That night they'll attend a black-tie dinner saluting 2013 inductees into the College Football Hall of Fame, which also sponsors the high school awards.
On the football field, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound receiver has helped Washington win three straight games to improve to 4-2. Last Saturday the Bears beat Hendrix College in Arkansas when Strittmatter ran a fade route into the back of the end zone and caught a 17-yard touchdown pass with 51 seconds left to win 45-41. It was his first college touchdown reception.
"It was quite the week for me," he said.
More to come
In Northern Illinois University's 27-20 win over Akron, redshirt freshman receiver Matt Williams, the former Geneva quarterback, made his first college reception on a 14-yard gain in the first quarter.
Follow Dave on Twitter @doberhelman1