Locals to play in Shrine Game
Sterling senior Alejandro Arellano and Forreston senior Mason Fox will play in the 48th annual Illinois Shrine Game, to be held Saturday, June 18 at Tucci Stadium on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington.
Both Arellano and Fox will be offensive linemen for the Red Team, and will be joined by Byron running back Chandler Binkley and Rochelle defensive lineman Braden Alfano on the 53-man Red roster.
The football game, held as a fundraiser for Shriners Hospital for Children, also features two patients to serve as prince and princess. This year’s princess is Madi Penaflor from Sterling, a patient at the Chicago Shriners Hospital.
The 106 seniors who will play in the game will also visit the Shriners Hospital in the week leading up to the game.
Game time on June 18 is 11 a.m., with pregame festivities starting at the stadium at 10 a.m. Admission is $10, with tickets available at the gate. Visit www.ilshrinegame.com for more information.
Rude, Sanders named SVCC Student-Athletes of the Year
Sauk Valley Community College awarded its inaugural Student-Athlete of the Year awards recently, with golfer Jacob Rude and volleyballer/trackster Kiley Sanders being named the winners.
Rude, a Newman grad, has qualified for the NJCAA National Championships in golf each of the last three years, and is a two-time all-Arrowhead Conference selection. He also has been named to the Dean’s List (3.5 GPA or higher) multiple times.
Sanders, also a Newman grad, earned All-American honors in both volleyball and track & field this past school year. She was a standout on the SVCC volleyball team that went to the NJCAA National Championships, and she also competed in the heptathlon at the NJCAA National Meet. She holds 12 school records in track & field, and has been named to the President’s List (3.75 GPA or higher) multiple times.
The award, which will be given annually to a male and a female student-athlete, is voted on by a panel of student-athletes, coaches and administrators, and was based on nominations submitted by the head coach of each sport.
Newman’s Graham earns NJCAA honor
College of DuPage football player Chase Graham has been named as the Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the National Alliance of Two-Year College Athletic Administrators, the first Chaparral student-athlete to ever win the award since its inception 20 years ago.
Graham, a Newman grad, was an All-American linebacker this past fall, and helped lead DuPage to the inaugural NJCAA Division III national championship. He led the team in tackles while playing in all 11 games on both defense and special teams.
He also maintained a 4.0 GPA in earning his Associate’s degree with high honors, and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the Honor Society for two-year colleges. He will transfer to Western Illinois University this coming fall and play football on a full scholarship.
“It is an honor to receive the 2022 NATYCAA Scholar Athlete of the Year,” Graham said in a statement. “Of the hundreds of student-athletes who compete and study each year at the NJCAA level, I am humbled and extremely grateful to be selected as [an] award winner.
“I’d like to thank the nominating committee, the athletic administration staff and professors at College of DuPage, and in particular, the coaching staff at College of DuPage, led by head coach Matthew Rahn.”
More than 40 student-athletes were nominated across all three divisions of the NJCAA. Graham joins track & field standout Aaliyah Moore from Monroe College (N.Y.) as this year’s male and female award winners.
NUIC tabs all-conference track performers
The Northwest Upstate Illini Conference has released its list of boys and girls all-conference track & field athletes from each school in the league.
Forreston-Polo’s Matthew Beltran and Galena-East Dubuque-River Ridge’s Dawson Feyen were co-MVPs on the boys side, while Dakota’s Kelsie Minkie was the girls MVP.
Amboy-LaMoille-Ohio-AFC’s honorees were Brock Loftus, Kyler McNinch and Ian Sundberg on the boys side, and Elly Jones and Lauren Althaus for the girls.
Forreston-Polo boys were Beltran, Brock Soltow, Payton Encheff, Carson Jones, Lucas Nelson, Dane Setterstrom, Micah Nelson, Thomas Falk, Wyatt Queckboerner and Johnny Kobler. Cardinal girls honored were Emileigh Williams, Sydni Badertscher, Letrese Buisker, Autum Pritchard and Ennen Ferris.
Fulton had a pair of boys honored in Daken Pessman and Brock Mason, while girls selections for the Steamers were Lauren Mahoney, Miraya Pessman, Lara Bielema, Kylie Smither, Abbi Thyne, Mikayla Gazo, Annaka Hackett, Brooklyn Brennan, Kali Brewer, Aliya Bueno, Olivia Knott and Jasmine Moreland.
Milledgeville-Eastland’s honorees were Kacen Johnson, Kolton Wilk, Gage Wilk, Landon Frederick and Hudson Groezinger on the boys side, and Skyler Hartman and Quinc Haverland for the girls.
West Carroll’s all-conference selections were Emma Randecker, Kylie Hill and Olivia Shelly.