All-American isn't a label that is taken lightly, regardless of the sport or level of competition.
Calumet College of St. Joseph now has one in 2011 Highland grad Eric Johnson, who recently earned All-American honors at the NAIA National Wrestling Championships in Topeka, Kan.
Johnson overcame some nagging injuries early in the season to finish seventh at 197 pounds, bettering his eighth-place showing at last year's nationals.
He won four of his six matches in the tournament, capped by a technical fall over No. 7-ranked Jahwon Akui of Lindsey Wilson College.
"I couldn't have been prouder of the way Eric wrestled," coach Ryan Rivera said. "He just came in with the mentality that he was going to be the aggressor in each match and battle for every point."
Johnson, a junior, returned the compliment.
"Coach and I knew the guy (Akui) was shorter and stronger. I had the reach on him, so I was able to get takedowns," Johnson said.
"I struggled early this season. A lot of the tournaments I was in, I went .500. But at the nationals, everything was clicking for me."
Johnson hopes to return next season and win it all.
"That's the goal, definitely," he said.
Johnson finished his season at 13-11.
'Sister Act' to open at PUC: Purdue University Calumet women's soccer coach Leslie Ferguson has added sisters Christina and Tiffani Kotas of Alsip to her 2014 recruiting class.
"I have high respect for their club program — Chicago International Soccer Club — and am looking forward to watching the sister connection on the field for the Peregrines," Ferguson said.
"They play competitively year round and know what it takes at a high level. I have confidence they will excel on and off the field in everything they do."
Both midfielders attend Shephard High School.
SSC men vie for NJCAA title: Burgers and fries, potholes and the region. Some things just go together.
Coach John Pigatti and his South Suburban College men's basketball team are headed to the March 18-22 NJCAA Div. II National Championship in Danville — again.
This marks the sixth finals appearance in eight years for Pigatti, who has won five and is 233-46 overall.
The No. 4 seed Bulldogs (28-5) open tournament play against Fort Scott (Ks.) Community College (14-16) March 19 at 11 a.m. Watch the national tournament live online at: http://www.njcaatv.com/menbkbchamp/
SSC also claimed several honors after winning the Region IV championship over Triton College, 93-75.
Pigatti was named Region IV Coach of the Year for the sixth straight time, guard Antonio Levy (Thornton) earned tournament MVP honors, and backcourt mate Anthony Strickland also was chosen to the all-tournament team.
This current team seems to be peaking at the right time.
"I just hope we don't blow big leads like the last two times," Pigatti said. "Two years ago, in the semis, we were up 18 with eight minutes to go. Last year, in the quarter-finals, we were up 22 with 11 minutes to go."
PUC flexing its muscles: Purdue Calumet's softball team breezed through the Lindenwood Belleville Tournament in St. Charles, Mo., on Sunday, crushing Indiana Southeast 19-1 and Lyons College 9-3.
Alison Kimble (4-1) and Shelby Jones (2-1) were the winning pitchers.
Brittany Adams had five RBIs in the opener while Abbi Fahse went 3-for-4 with three RBIs to spark the Peregrines (6-2) in their first season in nearly three decades.