WHITING | Talk about your perfect situation.
Eric Johnson was a two-time state wrestling qualifier at Highland, compiling a 90-26 record.
"I knew I wouldn't be able to go away to school because I work," said the 2011 grad. "I knew Calumet College's wrestling program was up and coming, so it seemed like a good fit."
Johnson is ranked sixth in the NAIA individual polls at 197 pounds.
Dennie Brown began organized wrestling his junior year at Crawfordsville and spent the entire season on junior varsity.
As a senior, he made it to state at 162 pounds but lost in the first round.
"I was shell-shocked," he said of being on the big stage.
Brown also chose Calumet College and is ranked 15th at 184 pounds.
Johnson earned all-America honors at 197 last season. He currently is 2-4.
Brown, now 5-2, saw his potential in high school as a state qualifier.
"I wanted to see how much I could learn at the college level," he said. "My goal is to be a national qualifier."
Brown won the 184-pound title at the recent Dan Gable Open at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.
The Crimson Wave next competes at the Dec. 7 Little State hosted by Wabash College.
GETTING A SHOVEL FULL: Purdue University Calumet will hold a groundbreaking ceremony at Dowling Park's Jean Shepherd Center at 2 p.m. Dec. 9 for its new athletic facilities.
Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott Jr., PUC Chancellor Dr. Thomas Keon and numerous corporate sponsors are among those who'll be in attendance.
Phase 1 of the Peregrines' baseball, softball and soccer fields and tennis courts is to be completed by next fall.
MOVING ON UP: Gary native and Bishop Noll grad Audric Warren, no stranger to area coaches and athletes, recently was named head athletic trainer at Indiana University Northwest.
Warren has worked in the same capacity for the Windy City Thunderbolts, the Chi-Town Shooters, the Gary Splash and the Railcats.
Having been on the IUN staff only a few months, Warren already has had an impact on Redhawks athletics.
"I think he's a great benefit to the program," said junior guard Brandon Grubl, who's had pain in his shoulders and knees. "My shoulders started to feel better right away.
"It doesn't irritate me to shoot the ball anymore."
REDHAWKS ON THE INTERNET: The IUN athletic program is broadcasting all men's and women's home basketball games this season live at www.iunredhawkathletics.com.
VALPARAISO BASEBALL SPREADING GOOD WILL: Valparaiso departed Saturday for the Dominican Republic, and it will spend Thanksgiving break lending a hand. The team will supply locals with rudimentary baseball equipment and participate in community service projects. The Crusaders will also play a handful of games against Dominican clubs.
SSC TO HOST HOLIDAY CAMPS: The South Suburban College basketball and baseball programs will host two holiday camps at its main campus in South Holland.
Baseball coach Steve Ruzich will direct a two-day Catching Camp from 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 26-27 for ages 8-18. All participants should bring a glove and gear, and wear baseball sweat pants, gym shoes and cups. Cost is $100. Checks should be made out to SSC Bulldog Baseball.
Coach John Pigatti will host his eighth annual Holiday Basketball Camp for boys and girls ages 7-17 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 30-31 in the SSC Fitness Center. Cost is $65 per camper. Refreshments will be sold.
Call Ruzich (708-596-2000, ext. 2413) or Pigatti (708-596-2000, ext. 2524) for details.