Nolen, Nonnemacher named Cougars Athletes of the Year
Football kicker Spencer Nolen and softball pitcher Megan Nonnemacher were named St. Xavier University’s top male and female athletes, respectively, for the 2013-14 school year at last week’s awards banquet.
Their designations highlighted the event, which also feted a total of 94 student-athletes for their classroom achievements. Both Nolen, a graduate student who is pursuing a masters degree in business administration, and Nonnemacher, an elementary education major, were among those individuals awarded gold medallions for maintaining a grade-point average between 3.75 and 4.0 on a 4.0 scale through Dec. 31, 2013.
On the field of play, Nolen led the Cougars in scoring last fall with 72 points, which came on 33 conversions and 13 field goals. He was also the team’s primary punter. Nolen was a member of the Mid-States Football Association All-Midwest League squad and a Daktronics-NAIA Scholar Athlete.
Nonnemacher has won 22 games for SXU’s No. 8-ranked softball program this spring after being chosen as a first-team honoree for the Capital One Academic All-America College Division team and a Daktronics-NAIA Scholar Athlete.
Others awarded gold medallions last week along with Nolen and Nonnemacher were softball players Alex Bahner, Franchesca Graffeo (Shepard) and Holly Hilden; basketball players Suzie Broski, Darius Draper (Stagg), Maloree Johnson, Kody Kleinrichert and Morgan Stuut; cross country and track athletes Courtney Correa, Ann Kolker, Matt Krakowski (Marist), Dana Martin (Marist) and Ashley Shares (Stagg); soccer players Erik Diaz, Alex Perry, Molly Sheehan (Stagg) and Kamil Szczesniak; volleyball players Meghan Falsey and Kelli Shaffer; football players Austin Feeney, Greg Hayward (Oak Lawn), Matt Johnson, Ron Luce (Oak Lawn), Tyler Sharp, Brian Studnicka (Stagg) and Dennis Vilimek; baseball players Tyler Gaynor, Ryan Pellack, Bryan Polak (Marist) and Jack Surane; and golfer Taylor Thompson.
Silver medallions, given to students carrying a GPA between 3.5 and 3.74, were presented to golfers Ashley Anderson, Brendan Ryan (Shepard) and Zachary Trent; football players JD Barchard, Paul Carey, Zach Dolph, Kevin Lonergan (Oak Lawn), Stephen Simms, Alex Walters and Jacek Wesolowski; volleyball players Sean Barry, Marie Hackert and Cassidy Sponsler; soccer players Rachel Didier, Mariana Hoerr, Rene Leon, Gabbie Risolvato and Rachael Wojtysiak; softball players Ariel Hinton and Savannah Kinsella; basketball players Kyle Huppe, Amjad Karim, Brad Karp, Brandon Marren, Josh Mawhorr and Caitlin McMahon; baseball players Tom Keating (St. Laurence) and Robin Prokaski; and cross country and track athletes Shane Kenney, Amanda Magee, Ali Proffitt, Leslie Rosario and Ben Tracy.
Earning bronze medallions for holding a GPA between 3.25 and 3.49 were baseball players Alika Andres, Jeremy Dryier (Shepard), Brad Myjak and Terrance Southern; football players Kevin Berrigan, Jake Buck, Jacob Ghinazzi, John Glover (Oak Lawn), Nick Kijurna, Khalfani King, Jake Lemming and Marco Scalzatti; volleyball players Natalie Carberry (Shepard) and Anthony Huang; soccer players Dan Cordes (Shepard), Kyle Held, Danielle Inzinga (Marist) and James King; basketball players Chrissy Heine, Meaghan McMahon and Sidney Prasse; golfer Mark Kluk (Stagg); softball players Nicole Nonnemacher, Sarah Saunders and Katie Sears (Mother McAuley); and cross country and track runners Chris Sarna (Stagg), Dan Spencer and Jordan Wallace.
Freshman Taylor Thompson, who captured the individual title at the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Women’s Golf Championship two weeks ago, was recognized for her achievement by being chosen as the conference Golfer of the Week for the week ending April 27 and the World Hyundai-SXU Athlete of the Month for April.
Thompson became just the second freshman to claim the latter award in its two-year existence. Softball pitcher Nicole Nonnemacher won it in March 2013.
Thompson posted a two-round score of 160 in the CCAC meet, overcoming a four-stroke deficit on the second day to collect the victory. Prior to that, she tied for eighth place at the Bethel College Pilot Spring Invitational in South Bend, Ind., on April 12 with her two-day total of 164.
Thompson’s CCAC honor was her second of the season. She also was recognized on March 17.
Senior Jordan Wallace’s NAIA-qualifying time of 11 minutes, 31.55 seconds in the 3,000-meter steeplechase highlighted the Cougars’ appearance at the Benedictine University Twilight Invitational in Lisle.
Wallace will run in that event at the national meet for the third straight season. The NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships will be held May 22-24 at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium in Gulf Shores, Ala.
“I’m really excited that Jordan qualified for the national meet [again] in her final season,” SXU coach Lisa Ebel said. “I can’t wait to see how she performs.”
Five other individuals also keyed the Cougars’ team performance at Benedictine. Junior Leslie Rosario was the top finisher among the quintet with her seventh place in the 800-run (season-best 2:21.34). Two spots behind her was freshman Nicole Watkins, who completed the race in a season-best 2:21.80.
A third SXU athlete, sophomore Lexi McDermid, was 17th in that same event while clocking a personal-best 2:28.13.
Freshman Rachel Koronkiewicz notched a personal-best time in the 400 with her 1:06.34, which landed her in the 13th position. Junior Amanda Magee took 15th in the 1,500-run with a season-best 5:56.64 effort.
“This was such a great meet for us because so many of our runners had either their best times of the season or their careers,” Ebel said.
Freshman Abel Hernandez’s 30:47.52 clocking in the 10,000, which qualified him for the NAIA Outdoor Championships later this month, represented the Cougars’ most notable performance on a weekend that had SXU sending participants to two different meets.
Most of the men joined the Cougars women’s squad at Benedictine’s Twilight Invitational, but some others traveled to Hillsdale, Mich., for the Gina Relays. The latter stop is where Hernandez ran his qualifying time and junior Janis Pastars registered a 3:58 in the 1,500.
“I am running out of adjectives to describe Abel’s performances on a weekly basis,” SXU coach Ed McAllister said. “He is beyond my expectations for this season and continues to surprise, more by his grit than his actual runs. He will be a name that you will be hearing for a long time.”
Standouts at Benedictine included sophomore Rexford Wiafe (fifth in the 800 in 1:56.13), senior Nick Pesek (sixth in the 100, 11.60) and junior Matt Krakowski (sixth in the 200, 23 seconds flat).
“I am very satisfied with Rex in the 800 as he has taken another step toward qualifying for nationals and looks better by the week,” McAllister said. “[And] Matt showed that he is 95 percent back from an injury and should improve in the coming weeks.”
The Cougars gave retiring coach Mike Dooley something to remember in his final regular-season contest as they defeated Purdue-North Central 10-0 in eight innings last Tuesday at Richard R. Ferrell Field.
Not only did SXU send its leader out on a good note, but the win also secured for it one of the six berths in the CCAC Tournament, which began this past Saturday. The victory followed a 4-1 loss to the Panthers in Game 1 of the conference doubleheader.
The Cougars used a 14-hit attack — six of them going for extra bases — to bury PNC in the second contest. Spearheading the barrage were the trio of sophomore Jim Augle, freshman Bryan Polak and senior Chris Klein, who totaled 10 hits between them.
Included among Augle’s four hits was a double, plus two RBI. He scored once. Klein went 3-for-5 with a homer, triple, two RBI and two runs, while Polak counted a double among his three hits, drove in two runs and tallied three others himself.
That offensive handiwork made it an easy day for winning pitcher Jesse Lopez, who triumphed for the fifth time in nine decisions. He scattered eight hits, struck out three and walked two.
While SXU scored in six of the eight innings in Game 2, it was nowhere near as potent in the opener. The Cougars fell behind 2-0 in the first inning and never caught up to the Panthers.
SXU finished with just four hits. It scored in the bottom of the seventh on Klein’s RBI triple. Junior pitcher Dan Wetzel fanned seven in a losing cause.
Behind sophomore Alec Barnhart and Polak, the No. 4 Cougars won their opening game of the CCAC Tournament with a wild 6-5 decision over No. 3 seed Trinity Christian College in a 13-inning marathon Saturday night at Hoffer Field in Elgin.
Wetzel (4-7) earned the triumph on the mound for SXU after coming in to relieve senior Scott Vachon. Vachon threw the first eight frames and allowed six hits and one earned run while striking out nine. Wetzel fanned six and gave up three hits over five stanzas.
The Trolls scored first when sophomore Vincent Flores drove in a run on a third-inning single, but the Cougars answered in the top of the fourth when freshman Ryan Pellack tied the game with an RBI single. Later in the inning, Trinity senior starter Danny Britt had trouble with his control and walked both Barnhart and senior Tom Keating on back-to-back at-bats with the bags filled to give SXU a 3-1 advantage.
The Trolls tied the score with two outs in the bottom of the eighth on a two-run single by senior Steven Brewer after the inning was extended by a Cougars error.
Neither team scored in the ninth, but SXU got a go-ahead run in the 10th on Augle’s double that knocked in senior Brad Myjak. Trinity responded with Joe McCaw’s game-tying double, which led to two more scoreless frames.
Klein, Barnhart and Polak finally decided the issue in the Cougars’ favor by teaming up to produce a pair of runs for SXU in the 13th. Klein’s double got the rally started, and both Barnhart and Polak followed with RBI singles. Wetzel surrendered one run to the Trolls in the bottom of the inning, but retired the side before additional damage could be done.
The Cougars (22-27) faced No. 2-seeded Judson University this past Monday night in the next tournament round.
One week after her sister Megan received the same honor, sophomore Nicole Nonnemacher was tabbed as the CCAC Pitcher of the Week for the period ending April 27.
During that seven-day stretch, Nonnemacher went 3-1 in the circle while striking out 54 batters and compiling a 0.80 ERA over 35 innings. She walked only 11 and opponents hit just .143 against her. She got no decision when the Cougars played eventual conference champ Olivet Nazarene to an eight-inning tie in the back end of a doubleheader, but Nonnemacher whiffed 10 Tigers, one of four double-digit strikeout totals she posted in five appearances for the week.
Nonnemacher carried a 19-3 ledger and NAIA-leading 0.36 ERA into postseason play. She currently ranks second nationally in strikeouts per game (11.03) and fourth in both hits allowed per game (3.45) and opponents’ average (.143).
On Friday, Nonnemacher also claimed CCAC Pitcher of the Year honors. She was one of six Cougars selected for the all-conference squad.
Joining her on the first team were senior pitcher Megan Nonnemacher (21-2, 1.17 ERA, 148 strikeouts) and junior outfielder Katie Sears (.356, 53 hits, 34 runs, 17 stolen bases). Second-team recognition went to senior outfielder Katie Houlihan (.371, 43 hits, 22 runs), junior first baseman Amanda Hainlen (35 RBI, nine doubles; 199 putouts, 12 assists, one error) and sophomore second baseman Kasey Kanaga (.346, 47 hits, 29 runs).
Junior Megan James slugged a two-run homer in the fourth inning on Friday to enable SXU (43-5-1) to pull away and register a 7-1 triumph over Calumet College of St. Joseph in its opening CCAC Tournament game.
James’ blast came on the heels of a four-run Cougars rally in the third. The earlier surge was sparked by RBI hits from Nicole Nonnemacher, Sears and Kanaga. Kanaga also belted a run-producing double in the sixth frame.
The Nonnemacher sisters teamed up in the circle to stop the Crimson Wave, who managed just two hits on the day while whiffing a total of 13 times. Nicole Nonnemacher earned the win by throwing the last 3 1/3 stanzas, striking out nine and allowing no hits or walks.
With two runs in the bottom of the seventh, No. 4 ranked Olivet Nazarene University rallied to beat the Cougars 3-2 in a winners’ bracket tourney matchup on Saturday afternoon at SXU Softball Field. The hosts rebounded to down No. 3 seed University of St. Francis 9-1 in five innings later in the day to advance to Sunday’s championship game and a rematch against the top-seeded Tigers.
With the victory against the Fighting Saints Saturday evening, SXU also officially punched its ticket to the NAIA Opening Round Tournament since Olivet had already earned the conference’s other automatic bid to the national event by virtue of its regular-season title.
Saturday’s first game featured a pitching duel between Nicole Nonnemacher and Tigers junior Lindsay Stotler. James (infield groundout) and Hainlen (single) had RBI in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively, to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead, and Nonnemacher had Olivet down to its last strike when she surrendered a two-run, game-winning single to Katie Megyesi.
SXU cranked out 12 hits in thesecond game, which was far more than Megan Nonnemacher needed to gain her 22nd pitching win. Nonnemacher stopped USF on five hits and did not walk anyone.
Pacing the Cougars’ offense were junior Sarah Saunders (three hits, two RBI), Nicole Nonnemacher (two hits, three RBI, two runs) and Hainlen (two-run double).
Sears’ two-run double broke up a scoreless tie in the fifth and sent SXU on its way to a 5-2 triumph over Olivet in the first game on Sunday. That set up a winner-take-all confrontation between the same two clubs in Game 2, which the Tigers captured by a 7-4 count.
Sears ended the day 4-for-8 with four RBI and three runs. Her second two-RBI double in the opener enabled the Cougars (45-7-1) to break a 2-all tie and move in front to stay.
Nicole Nonnemacher notched her 20th victory by stopping Olivet on four hits and striking out seven. Two of the Tigers’ hits were sixth-inning homers.
Game 2 was more of the same for a while as SXU constructed a 4-1 lead, but CCAC Player of the Year Hannah Gardner socked a two-run homer and tournament MVP Justine Phillips added a two-RBI double in the fifth as Olivet overtook the Cougars. Gardner had two round-trippers in the contest.
Megan Nonnemacher suffered the loss despite recording seven strikeouts. Sears and James both collected a pair of hits in the losing cause. Sears, James, Houlihan, Kanaga and Nicole Nonnemacher were all tabbed for the all-tourney squad.
SXU now awaits its seeding and site location for the national tournament, which begins Monday.