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The longest serving mayor in Batavia history and a lifelong resident, Jeff Schielke has seen a lot of things happen in his town. He hadn't seen this.
Coordinating an escort with Chief of Police Gary Schira for the Batavia football team after last Saturday's Class 6A championship victory over Richards, the official entourage of police and fire department vehicles met the team Saturday at Wilson and Kirk roads. Players and coaches piled into three buses.
"We brought them into town with red lights and sirens going," Schielke said.
The closer down Wilson Street the parade came to the high school, more and more people came out from their homes to line the streets and welcome the team after its first football title in history, and first state title in any sport since the boys basketball championship in 1912.
"What was the amazing thing to me about it was as we came into town all these people were on the sides of the street, crying, both men and women," said Schielke, who on Sunday read a proclamation honoring the Bulldogs. The team presented him with a game ball which will be kept at the Depot Museum.
He did not equate the two scenarios, but the parade reminded Schielke of things he had been told as a child, foreign citizens weeping in joy upon the U.S. Army's arrival to liberate a town during wartime.
"It kind of reminded me of hearing all the stories," he said. "People have moments in life when the emotions in your life overwhelm you."
Jon Drach (St. Charles High School) just finished his seventh season as an assistant football coach with Hobart College in (ironically) Geneva, N.Y. The former Western Michigan three-year starting quarterback and six-time dean's list student is the quarterbacks coach for the Statesmen. Hobart finished 10-1 this season, unbeaten until Saturday's 27-6 loss to St. John Fisher College in a second-round Division III playoff game. This season Drach helped quarterback Patrick Conlan deliver 16 touchdown passes, tied for fifth in Hobart history (five of the top 10 marks have come during Drach's tenure). The Statesmen's senior class went 34-8 over four seasons, the best cumulative mark since the class of 1959.
Aurora University won both the men's and women's titles cross country titles in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. Matt Meyers (Aurora Central Catholic) won the individual title, thereby earning NACC runner of the year honors. All-conference Spartans runners included Alex Duncan (ACC). The first-place women's team included all-conference finishers Taylore Anderson (West Aurora) and Christina Luptak (St. Charles North). In October, the women's team entered U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association National Coaches Poll for the first time in history.
For a second straight year, Michigan State senior outside hitter Lauren Wicinski (Geneva) was a unanimous selection to the first team of the Big Ten All-Conference women's volleyball team. Already a two-time American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America selection, as of Tuesday Wicinski ranked ninth nationally in points, 18th in kills per set and 23rd in aces. Her 2,376 kills rank 14th all-time in NCAA history and lead all active players as do her 270 aces.
Also making the Big Ten All-Conference Team was Wisconsin setter Lauren Carlini (West Aurora), who was named freshman of the year. The Badgers' first all-Big Ten pick since 2007, Carlini has started all 28 matches and her 19 double-doubles this season is the most of any freshman in the country.
Nebraska senior outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (St. Francis) was named the player of the year on that All-Big Ten team. the first for Nebraska. Entering Friday's first-round DI tournament match against Fairfield, the 6-foot-2 Robinson had totaled 481 kills and 356 digs for 23-6 Nebraska. Also boasting 19 double-doubles, she led the Big Ten in kills per set and points per set.
Fielding Geneva graduates Sean Grady and Bret Shannon, Bryce Barry (St. Charles East) and Matt Shiltz (St. Charles North), by virtue of their Pioneer Football League conference title the 9-4 Butler Bulldogs became the first football team out of the PFL to advance to the NCAA Division I Football Championship playoffs, falling to Tennessee State in the first round. Grady, a senior defensive back, was a second-team all-conference selection after making 55 tackles, 4 interceptions with 7 pass breakups. Barry, weakside linebacker, made 41 tackles with 2.5 for loss and a pick. Shannon, a defensive lineman, made 24 tackles, 5 for loss.
University of Wisconsin-Stout junior Megan Ramp (Batavia) earned her second honor in the All-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Women's Golf Team. She finished eighth in the WIAC tournament and earlier in the fall aced a hole-in-one on a 170-rd, par-3 hole at the D3 Classic.
If memory serves last week we mentioned Augustana senior center Eric Dratnol (Kaneland) earning Academic All-District honors. This week it came through that Dratnol, an accounting and applied math major with a 3.85 grade-point average, is an Academic all-American.
After three seasons as a regular starter for the Northern Illinois women's soccer team, senior forward Sammie Hill (Geneva) only played 156 minutes in 8 soccer games this season for the Huskies due to a knee injury. She struck at an opportune time during the Huskies' senior day game Oct. 27 against Ohio. On the only shot she took all season, Hill broke a scoreless tie with a goal, leading to a 2-1 victory.
Despite losing 48-42 to Concordia (Wis.), Concordia-Chicago quarterback Ryan Fischbach (St. Charles North) had a game to remember. He accounted for 394 yards on 78 yards rushing and 316 passing, completing 24 of 41 passes with 2 touchdowns. With Fischbach at the helm the Cougars gained a season-high 596 yards of offense.
Carly Pottle (St. Charles East), a freshman forward for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater women's soccer team, was second on the team in scoring while starting 18 of 22 games for the 17-1-4 Warhawks. Setting a program record for victories in their best season in history, Whitewater went 8-0 to win the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference a fourth straight season and took its sole loss in the second round of the Division III Tournament. Pottle scored 23 points on 9 goals and 5 assists, including 2 game-winning goals.
Another Warhawk out of St. Charles East, senior soccer player Bob Shone, was a first-team pick in the WIAC after two prior seasons as a second-team selection. Shone, a defender, was second among Whitewater scorers with 5 goals and 12 points. At one point in mid-October he scored 2 goals on 3 shots spanning two games. Another great thing was his iron-man consistency. Shone started and played in all 21 games and was second in minutes for the Warhawks to help them go 14-6-1.
Taylor University kicker Alec Eickert (Aurora Christian) was named to the College Division Academic All-District Team. The sophomore has a 3.73 grade-point average in environmental science. On the field Eickert made 27 of 30 points-after and 11 of 19 field goals with a long of 49 to lead off the Trojans' homecoming against Concordia, one of four field goals Eickert knocked over 40 yards.
Now that we're entering the winter season, here's a teaser for the future: With an 88-80 win over Concordia (Wis.), Aurora University men's basketball team won the 1,000th game as a program. Leading the Spartans on the boards was senior center Kyle Pilmer (West Aurora) with 10 rebounds. Off the bench came prep teammate Tommy Goulding, a junior guard.
Also, Illinois Wesleyan senior guard Lexi Baltes (St. Charles East) is a nominee for the 2014 "Good Works Team," jointly sponsored by the Allstate company, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. In addition to ranking 17th in school history in assists, 28th in 3-pointers and 48th in points entering this season, the English major has a laundry list of community service and academic achievements, including leading a mission trip to Nicaragua this summer and owning the highest grade-point average of any player in the DIII Final Four when the Titans won the 2012 title.
In some bad news, last year's honorary captain of the Tri-Cities All-Area Boys Basketball Team, Josh McAuley (West Aurora), suffered a season-ending knee injury in only his third game for Waubonsee Community College. He had scored 14 points in each of his first two games and then scored 21 with 16 rebounds in a 66-61 overtime win against Wright College. Get well, Josh!
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