Perhaps Marquette sophomore Haley Loprieno someday will have a future as a track and field coach. She certainly can recruit.
Loprieno, a 2011 Huntley graduate, urged Red Raiders senior Omo Tseumah to check out the Milwaukee school. Once she did, Tseumah loved it. She gave head coach Bert Rogers her commitment in December and signed with the Golden Eagles on Wednesday, the first day of the signing period for football, soccer, cross country and track and field.
“Haley really helped me. She convinced me to look into it,” said Tseumah, the Class 3A state high jump runner-up. “It’s a great opportunity. All the hard work I’ve done is paying off.”
Tseumah cleared 5-foot-8 last season, but back spasms late in the season hindered her jumping at the IHSA Girls Track and Field State Meet. She made 5-6 and took second to Lyons Township’s Emma Hauger (5-7).
Tseumah, who stands 6-0, attended some jumping camps over the summer. She plans on heading to Minnesota for a camp with Kangaroo Track Club coach Hugo Munoz in March, just before the high school season starts.
“I feel really good,” Tseumah said. “I’ve been lifting. I feel really powerful. I have some big goals for myself this season.”
Still teammates: Crystal Lake South’s Dennis Gardeck was an undersized linebacker as a junior and Zevin Clark was a part-time running back. Now, after both players had strong senior seasons, they will play at D-II West Virginia State.
Gardeck and Clark signed their letters of intent Wednesday morning. They visited the school in Institute, W.Va., two weeks ago and were recruited by South graduate Nick Benedetto, who recently joined Yellow Jackets head coach Jon Anderson’s staff as co-defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator. Frank Benedetto, Nick’s father, teaches physical education at South and suggested the contact his son about playing there.
“I was pretty sure I was going to play my senior year and join the Marines,” said Gardeck, who is 6-foot, 200 pounds. “Even halfway through the season I thought that. Once colleges showed some interest I thought, ‘I need to go play football.’ I made sure I was in the wieghtroom every day and I just grew a little this year and put on the mass I needed.”
Clark (5-11, 192) became a force for the Gators and finished ninth among area rushers. He said working with former Cary-Grove and Northern Illinois University player Alex Kube at Elite 7 in Barrington made the difference.
“Alex trained me really hard,” Clark said. “I failed to get through his workouts a lot of times, but when the high school season came around, I was ready to go. I was more explosive and faster.”
The school, founded in 1891 as West Virginia Colored Institute, is located about 8 miles from Charleston.
“We went on a visit two weeks ago and once we were out there I knew it was the place for me,” Gardeck said. “Once I decided, I think it kind of helped Zevin’s decision.”
“We really liked it,” he said. “Dennis is a good person to go to school with.”
Still teammates II: McHenry receiver Jake Braskett and safety Nate Rueckemann will remain teammates next year at D-II Quincy University.
Braskett (6-0, 185) tied for sixth in the area with 29 receptions for 430 yards last season and was a Northwest Herald All-Area honorable-mention selection. Rueckemann (6-1, 190) had three sacks, two interceptions, five pass breakups and a forced fumble on defense. He was a two-year varsity starter.
• Joe Stevenson is a senior sports writer for the Northwest Herald. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @nwh_JoePrepZone.