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Long, Homann among impressive list of college achievers
By Dave Oberhelman | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 12/9/2009 11:18 PM

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Santa Claus isn't the only one whose mailbag was bursting.

It was high time to unearth the faxes, e-mails, even investigate rumor and innuendo about the athletic exploits of some local graduates.

Without further ado...

Kaneland graduate Lyndsie Long, who entered this basketball season as Elmhurst College's fifth all-time leading scorer, is averaging 21.6 points through the Bluejays' first seven games. She was perfect from the foul line and also averaged 7.1 rebounds. In a 85-57 win over Franklin (Ind.), the 5-foot-10 forward equaled her career high with 33 points on 14-of-19 shooting, plus 11 rebounds.

Jonathan Schroeder, a sophomore at Iowa's Central College after prepping at St. Charles North, not only earned his first varsity letter in soccer this season, he was named to the all-Iowa Conference second team. A midfielder, 2 of Schroeder's 4 goals were game-winners for the Dutch.

Laura Homann, a standout setter for St. Charles East's 2008 Class 4A state volleyball champions, took her Prep Volleyball All-America honors to Syracuse University.

Right off the bat she dished out 120 assists at the Big Orange Tournament to earn Big East freshman of the week honors. Homann, who lists watermelon as her "favorite meal" on a Syracuse team Web site page, was named to the Big Orange all-tourney team as well as the Rhode Island all-tourney team.

Homann led Syracuse in assists in 28 of 29 matches, and notched 49 assists on three separate occasions. She also had a high of 16 digs. Homann averaged 9.91 assists on the season, appearing in 108 of 111 games for the Big Orange.

Aurora University soccer forward Nick Helmer, a junior out of Geneva, made the Northern Athletics Conference First-Team. Helmer tied for the team lead with 8 goals, 4 of which were game-winners.

Speaking of the NAC, Marmion graduate Jonathan Price, a senior golfer at Benedictine, was named to the conference's All-Sportsmanship Team for men's golf. Price is a four-time letter-winner for the Eagles and had three top-20 finishes for Benedictine this fall.

Aurora University's Emily Densmore, a sophomore out of Waubonsie Valley, also was named to the All-Sportsmanship Team, and she was an all-conference player as well. Another All-Sportsmanship representative, for soccer, was Concordia's Kelly Engelking, a sophomore midfielder out of Burlington Central.

Michigan State soccer co-captain Jeff Ricondo, a junior forward out of St. Francis' Class of '06, helped lead the Spartans - Michigan State, not Frannie - to a third straight NCAA Tournament berth. Michigan State fell to Duke in the second round. Ricondo, who was named Big Ten offensive player of the week Oct. 19 after his game-winning goal in double-overtime against Indiana, tied for first in the Big Ten with 7 assists. Ricondo's 7 assists were the most for a Michigan State player since the 2004 season.

In Normal, Rosary graduates Sarah Coghlin and Amy Schaefer helped Illinois State's 800-yard freestyle relay team set a new Horton Pool record with a time of 7 minutes, 50.76 seconds in a 199-91 win over Western Illinois. The leadoff leg was run by Redbirds freshman Jeanette Nolte of Neuqua Valley. Schaefer is a junior at Illinois State, Coghlin a sophomore, and they helped exceed the previous pool record set by Southern Illinois in 1986.

Now, back to the Northern Athletics Conference and a pair of Aurora University seniors. Ryne Reder, once a big-time running back at Marmion, and Aurora Christian graduate Tim Young, were each second-team all-NAC this fall. Young caught a team-high 21 balls for 397 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Reder leaves Aurora second all-time in rushing yards, 3,052, on a program-record 683 carries with 30 touchdowns, third all-time. His runs of 88 and 87 yards are the two longest in Spartans history, and his 3,348 all-purpose yards rank third.

Maddie Hughes, a junior libero for Northern Illinois University out of St. Charles North, was the Huskies' first winner of the Mid-American Conference defensive player of the year award. In the first year the MAC presented a weekly defensive player award, Hughes won three of them including the first. Hughes had 20 or more digs 11 times with a career high of 34 against Western Michigan. She led the MAC in digs this season, averaging 5.01 per set. She ranks second in history at NIU with 1,620 digs, and with a year left has a shot at the record of 2,249.

West Aurora graduate Brandon Vicory, a sophomore at, yes, Aurora University, was the 2009 Northern Athletics Conference men's golfer of the year and NAC All-Conference. The freshman of the year in 2008, Vicory led the league with a 75.7-stroke average.

St. Charles product Taryne Lee, a Wheaton College senior forward out of Wheaton Academy, has been selected First-Team All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association. It's the third straight year Lee has received the honor. She also earned First-Team All-Central Region honors - as did Augustana sophomore Caitlin Winkelman, out of St. Charles North High School.

Lee, who scored 20 goals with 15 assists this season, will graduate with Wheaton College records for goals, assists and, of course, points: 97, 51 and 245 respectively. She is the fifth player in Division III history to score at least 90 goals with at least 50 assists.

And, for the fictional honor of local sports information director of the year, let's hear it for Brian Kipley of... Aurora University.