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Local

College kids springing into action

Hometown update

Former Hall athletes Kaelyn Hamalle (from left), Tanja Acamovic and Madi Quinn were reunited at a track meet at Eastern Illinois recently.
Former Hall athletes Kaelyn Hamalle (from left), Tanja Acamovic and Madi Quinn were reunited at a track meet at Eastern Illinois recently.

With the spring season fully underway, it’s a good time to catch up with area college athletes with our long-running hometown updates. I appreciate those who have passed on information about their college kids. If you have additional kids to add to the list, please send a note to my email address below.

Track and field

• Best buddies and former Hall Lady Devils Madi Quinn and Kaelyn Hamalle have been reunited at Olivet Nazarene this year. Quinn is a returning sophomore (pole vault/hurdles) and Hamalle is a freshman jumper and recently tried her hand at the javelin. They recently met up with former Lady Devil Tanja Acamovic (Ladd), a junior hurdler for the University of Illinois-Chicago, at Eastern’s Big Blue meet in Charleston.

• Junior Josh Gross (LaMoille) ran on Monmouth College’s winning 4x400 relay in the Central College Dutch Invitational where the Fighting Scots finished first.

• Colton Youngren of Princeton is sophomore thrower (hammer/discus) for the University of Dubuque. 

• Former Hall ace Al Baldonado of Spring Valley is in his junior year running distance for North Central College. He placed second in the mile at CCIW Indoor Championship.

• Bret Dannis, the former BCR Trackster of the Year from St. Bede/Arlington, is running hurdles for the U of I. His former teammate, John Barnes, is a junior thrower for SIU-Edwardsville, ranked second for the Cougars in the discus, shot and hammer.

There are also three former Lady Bruins in the running this spring — Annie Needs, a sophomore distance runner for Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., Maddy Pearson (Peru), a junior thrower at Rockford University, and Courtney Cook (Princeton) is a sophomore thrower at St. Ambrose University.

Baseball

• Three key members of Hall’s 2018 state champions have moved on to the next level — Cam McDonald (Ladd), Brant Vanaman (Spring Valley) and Ty Rybarczk (Spring Valley).

McDonald has started every game for the University of Illinois (20-11) either in the infield or outfield, batting .295 with 20 RBI. He went 2-7 in an extra inning game at ISU Tuesday. McDonald and the Illini will play at Bradley in Peoria Tuesday, April 23.

Rybarcyzk has picked up where he left off at Hall, posting a 4-0 record in seven appearances (4 starts) with a sparkling 0.87 ERA and 33 strikeouts for the Cobras (19-8).

Vanaman, a two-time BCR Player of the Year, is rostered at Kent State University, but has not played.

• Jett Wedekind (Princeton) is a junior catcher for Aurora University, batting .325 with two homers and eight RBI in 21 starts for the Spartans (18-5).

• Jarrett Olson, formerly of St. Bede, pitches for Michigan State University. The junior southpaw has appeared in eight games (4 starts) with a 5.09 ERA and 0-3 record.

• Dominic Moore (LaMoille) is a freshman pitcher for Sauk Valley.

Softball

• Sophomore Rena Barroso (Hall) had six hits and three RBIs for IVCC in Tuesday’s doubleheader sweep over Blackhawk. Freshmen newcomers for IVCC include PC products Alivia Resurrection and Olivia Holmes.

• Emily Draper (St. Bede) is a junior outfielder for Reinhardt University in Waleska, Ga., batting .355 in 37 starts for the Eagles (24-15).

• Darcy Kepner (BV), a junior, is sitting out with an injury this spring, but still traveling with the Monmouth College softballers.

• Former St. Bede Lady Bruin Maty Nowakowski is a junior catcher/second baseman for Beloit College making 25 starts for the Bucs (6-23).

• Courtney Hoagland (Bureau Valley) and Maddi Deery (Ohio) are making their college debuts for Sauk Valley.

• Laura Phillips, another member of the BV Class of 2019, is a freshmen catcher/infielder for Heartland College in Bloomington. She is batting .370 in 11 games (3 starts) for the Hawks (17-7).

Tennis

• Nolan Frank and Ryan Frank (no relation), who teamed up as the No. 1 doubles at Princeton, are still in the game. Nolan Frank won his most recent singles and doubles matches for IVCC. Ryan Frank plays for Olivet Nazarene.

Golf

• Former BV teammates Colton Novotny and Spencer Marquez are teaming up once again as freshmen for St. Xavier University.

• Sydney Eustice (St. Bede) is winding up her senior season and career for Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa.

Kevin Hieronymus is the BCR Sports Editor. Contact him at khieronymus@bcrnews.com.

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