Tracey (Latham) Stoneberg

Tracey (Latham) Stoneberg Named Waubonsee “Fab 40”

Tracey (Latham) Stoneberg, seen here posing with a trophy she won for her softball achievements, was named a “Fab 40” alumna by Waubonsee Community College.

Tracey (Latham) Stoneberg Named Waubonsee “Fab 40”

Sugar Grove — A standout on the softball diamond while a student at Waubonsee Community College, Tracey (Latham) Stoneberg continues this athletic excellence today, playing in tournaments nationwide with her team, Aero Mixed Softball, winners of the Illinois state title and top-three finishers at the World Championships in 2005 and 2006. Waubonsee is proud to honor her as one of the college’s “Fabulous 40” alumni.

As part of the college’s yearlong 40th anniversary celebration, Waubonsee is honoring 40 alumni and students who embody the mission, vision and values of the college. These individuals represent the diversity of Waubonsee’s students and the college district, as well as the diversity of the college’s mission as a comprehensive community college.

The daughter of Bob and Sally Latham of Sandwich, Stoneberg has played softball since she was 7. She learned to play from her father, who played softball in the Navy, and alongside her brothers. She played on teams in Sandwich until joining a traveling team out of Aurora that played in tournaments throughout the Midwest. She played all four years as catcher on the varsity team at Sandwich High School, earning all-conference and her school’s most valuable player awards.

Although she wasn’t recruited to play at Waubonsee, she decided to enroll and walk-on with the team, quickly earning a starting position as catcher. She would go on to play both years for the Chiefs, earning All-Conference honors both years, at catcher as a freshman and at third base as a sophomore. Her first year, the softball team had its first winning season in seven years and she was coached by fellow “Fab 40” alumnus, Dr. John Avendano.

“It was such a friendly atmosphere at Waubonsee,” she said. “It was like a big family while I was there.”

Stoneberg’s outstanding athleticism and can-do spirit led her to go out for the women’s basketball team where she played on a team that sometimes only dressed five players, eventually earning All-Conference Honorable Mention honors. She even pitched in and joined the women’s tennis team, although she had never played the game outside of gym class. With her softball-style swing, she hit a lot of balls over the fence, she said. But the tennis team finished in second place in 1991 with Stoneberg doing her part. No matter what the sport, her family supported her efforts. They came to all her basketball games and even sat in the snow at an early-season softball game.

Outside of the classroom, Stoneberg said she “pretty much lived in Erickson Hall.” She was the department’s student worker and would help prepare for sporting events.

“I was either in class, at practice, at the fitness center, studying or playing,” she said.

Her second year at Waubonsee, Stoneberg was named the college’s Athlete of the Year. She was also vice president and president of the Chiefs Athletic Club while a student. She gave so much back to Waubonsee because she found such outstanding support from Athletic Manager Dave Randall and Melinda James, who is now Waubonsee’s assistant vice president of student development.

“Melinda James really cared about us as athletes and people and didn't just do it because it was her job,” Stoneberg said. “She really wanted to know what was going on with us and if there was any way she could help us.”

With all the time spent practicing and competing, Stoneberg still found time to be a solid student. She maintained a GPA above 3.0, earning A’s and B’s.

“I understood what it meant to be a student-athlete, representing the college,” she said. “But the faculty gave us the support we needed. They cared and really took care of us as a student-athlete. The instructors knew your name, and you weren’t just a number. They always had time for you. It was an outstanding way to go through college and graduate without any debt.”

Stoneberg’s connection to Waubonsee runs deep. Her father went to Waubonsee and worked nearly two decades at the Sheridan Correctional Center. Her younger sister, Tammi, is also an alumna. Today, Stoneberg continues the legacy by often bringing her children to Waubonsee for youth programs or Dave Randall’s annual hitting camp.

After leaving Waubonsee, professionally, Stoneberg has worked for the Sandwich School District and the Sheridan Correctional Center, but her greatest impact has come in raising — and coaching — her four children, Brandyn, 11; Kylie, 9; Ethan, 8; and Evan, 6. She and her husband, Pete, who is a senior sales engineer for Rackable Systems, live in Yorkville.

Passing on all the knowledge she gained on the field, Stoneberg has coached basketball and softball and archery at the YMCA. All four of her children play baseball or softball. She even applies the principles she learned in Randall’s “Theory and Practice of Baseball”, teaching her son to pitch.

“I’ve really enjoyed coaching my kids and their friends,” she said.

Stoneberg shares her competitive drive with her husband, who plays on an opposing softball team. Her children wisely try to not take sides. Her teams have played at tournaments in Las Vegas and Texas, enjoying great success, and they are scheduled to play at Disney World in October.

A member of Village Bible Church in Sugar Grove, Stoneberg is American Legion Auxiliary Treasurer in Sandwich.