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WCC Athletics Inducts four, honors 2014-2015 accomplishments

Waubonsee honors past and present student-athletes

Waubonsee Community College inducted four new members into the Chiefs’ Athletic Hall of Fame and honored its’ top student/athletes for 2014-2015 at the school’s annual Athletic Awards Banquet. Individual achievements as well as team accomplishments were recognized during the festive evening in the college’s Academic and Professional Center as student/athletes from throughout the Fox Valley area and beyond were honored.

The ninth-class of inductees to Waubonsee’s Athletic Hall of Fame included former Naperville Central graduate Scott Kawall, who earned Academic All-Conference honors while setting the Chiefs’ all-time record in career stolen bases as a baseball player in the mid-1980’s. The last two decades Kawall has worked as a mentor, counselor and administrator in higher education helping others find the right career path. Also honored was former women’s cross country runner Dr. Tara (Tormey) Parks, who was a two-time Skyway Conference Runner of the Year and a Distinguished NJCAA Academic All-American in the mid 1990’s. The Batavia High School graduate also earned All-Region honors twice and currently is a Podiatrist at the Boulder Medical Center in Colorado. Joining them was Aurora East graduate Alex Rodriguez, a two-time All-Conference and All-Region cross country runner on back-to-back conference championship teams. Rodriguez, a teacher and coach at Oswego High School, went on to place 19th at the NJCAA National Meet in 1996. In addition wrestler Omi Acosta, who was a two-time NJCAA All-American grappler and the 133-pound National Champion in 2010, was honored. Acosta, a native of Homestead, Florida, went on to win an NAIA National title as well and currently coaches at the United States Coast Guard Academy.    

Baseball player Jose Camacho was named the Male Athlete of the Year after leading the Chiefs in nine offensive categories on his way to being named to the All-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference First Team and All-Region IV First Team. The sophomore switch-hitter from Oswego batted .351 on the season and finished in the top-20 nationally in six offensive categories. Camacho drove in 47 runs and registered 54 hits, including 27 extra base hits which placed him seventh nationally among all NJCAA Division III players. He smacked a dozen doubles, five triples and 10 home runs, which placed him fifth nationally in most round-trippers. An Automotive Technology major, Camacho was also a key starter for Waubonsee as a freshman when the Chiefs finished fourth in the nation at the NJCAA Division III World Series.

Volleyball player Erin Bowe was voted the Female Athlete of the Year by Waubonsee’s coaches after she led Waubonsee to its first ever Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) title, Region IV title and berth in the NJCAA Division II National Tournament. The sophomore from Geneva was selected an NJCAA Division II Honorable Mention All-American, the first Waubonsee volleyball player to ever be named an NJCAA All-American. A Biological Sciences major, Bowe was a two-time All-ISCC and All-Region selection at outside hitter. The Rosary High School graduate led the Lady Chiefs in digs, aces, kills and points this past fall, finishing as one of the best volleyball players to ever suit up at Waubonsee. 

Men’s Tennis player Joseph Runkle was chosen as Waubonsee’s Most Improved Male Athlete. The Yorkville High School graduate won the Region IV Tournament’s number six singles title this spring. A Psychology major, Runkle finished the season with an unblemished record in singles play after rarely securing a victory his freshman year.

Kaneland High School graduate Sarah Grams was selected as the Most Improved Female Athlete by Waubonsee’s coaches. After playing sparingly off the bench her freshman year, Grams averaged 11.8 points per game and had a team-leading 84 three-point baskets for the Lady Chiefs’ basketball team. The 5’4” sophomore also averaged 3.4 assists, handing out 117 on the season. The Fitness Leadership major shot 40 percent from three-point range in ISCC play, and exceeded those numbers at the NJCAA Division II National Tournament. Grams nailed seven treys, one short of the tournament record, in the Lady Chiefs’ opening game and connected on 13 of 27 (48 percent) attempts in Waubonsee’s three tournament games. 

Brett Assell, a Special Education major from Yorkville High School, was the recipient of the Vermilion and Gold Award. This award is given annually to the Waubonsee student/athlete who best exemplifies the true ‘heart and soul’ of Chiefs’ athletics. “Essentially someone who helps others and gets involved on campus,” describes Athletic Manager Dave Randall. A member of the Chiefs’ baseball squad, Assell helped at numerous Waubonsee sporting events throughout the year, was a lead member of Waubonsee’s Christian Athletes group, and assisted the women’s basketball team. On the baseball field this past spring the left-handed pitcher posted a 5.40 earned-run-average over 20 innings pitched after missing the first half of the season with an elbow injury.

Women’s Cross Country runner Amanda Lesak was tabbed as the S.T.A.R. Award recipient, given to the student/athlete that displayed a good work ethic, dedication to academics and achieved perfect attendance in Waubonsee’s athletic monitoring program. Lesak, an Occupational Therapy major, demonstrated these attributes and more while earning All-ISCC and All-Region status. The Kaneland High School graduate went on to finish 34th out of 274 athletes participating at the NJCAA Division I National Meet in Levelland, Texas.

Individuals achieving All-Conference, All-Region and Academic honors during the school year were recognized throughout the evening. Waubonsee coaches Steve Kish, Brad Schlemmer and Jim Sury were all recognized for leading their teams to Region titles and appearances at the NJCAA National Tournament. Team accomplishments were acknowledged including the Volleyball team, which won the ISCC title for the first time in school history. Women’s Softball was honored for winning the ISCC title for the fifth consecutive year, Women’s Basketball was recognized for capturing the Region title for the first time in school history, while the Women’s Soccer squad was praised for earning their way to the NJCAA Division I National Tournament.