Lauren Leverenz sampled the usual assortment of youth sports – basketball, soccer and softball – and enjoyed them all.
But none of them came close to the sport she discovered at age 10.
Leverenz, now a Crystal Lake Central junior, played with Sky High Volleyball Club that year. She took the next year off and has played with Club Fusion ever since.
“I realized my love for volleyball,” said Leverenz, a 6-foot middle hitter who has played on varsity since her freshman year. “It was always a goal of mine to play in college. The coaches [at Fusion] and [recruiting director] Jim Mohr were so helpful.”
Leverenz committed April 12 to accept an athletic scholarship at NCAA Division I Saint Louis University. She visited the school Thursday with her parents – Jeff and Gail – and gave Billikens coach Kent Miller her commitment for the 2014 season before coming home.
“I liked the campus, the coaches were really nice and I liked the team a lot,” Leverenz said.
Leverenz was a Northwest Herald All-Area first-team selection after getting 253 kills and 197 digs for the Tigers, who won the Fox Valley Conference Fox Division for the fourth consecutive season.
Leverenz also visited New Hampshire and Valparaiso, both before Saint Louis.
“They were all great schools,” she said. “When [Saint Louis] offered me, I knew I wanted to go there. It was the right school.”
Saint Louis saw Leverenz in a tournament in Indianapolis this spring and emailed her about coming to visit. Leverenz now plays one year up, on Fusion’s 18 Black team. She will be joined at Saint Louis by Mackenzie Long, a 5-4 libero from Big Foot, Wis., who plays on Fusion’s 17 Black team.
Vlasak to Concordia (Wis.): Richmond-Burton senior Chris Vlasak, a Northwest Herald all-area first-team selection, will play football at Concordia University-Wisconsin, a D-III school, next year.
Vlasak (5-11, 160 pounds) was fifth among area rushers with 1,135 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Rockets. He was all-area as a defensive back, where he picked off four passes and returned one for a touchdown.
Vlasak looked at Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Dubuque and Hope College, all D-III schools, as well as NAIA Robert Morris, before choosing the Falcons, who were 7-3 overall last season, 6-1 in the Northern Athletic Conference. He was impressed with coach Greg Etter and his staff.
Concordia plans on using Vlasak at running back and receiver.
Geske to Coe College: Crystal Lake South senior guard Nick Geske, a 6-0 guard who averaged 13.5 points a game, will play at D-III Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, next season.
Geske hit 40 3-pointers for the Gators this season and was a Northwest Herald all-area honorable mention selection.
Wolfram to Aurora: R-B senior D.J. Wolfram will continue his running career next year at D-III Aurora University in cross country and track and field.
Wolfram, a Northwest Herald all-area honorable mention runner in cross country, helped the Rockets to the Class 1A state meet. Aurora won the NAC cross country and indoor track championships, which figured prominently in him picking the school. He eventually wants to teach high school history and coach cross country and track.
Wolfram, who was 31st in the state meet, plans on rooming with another Big Northern Conference runner, Dan Morgan of Burlington Central.
McHenry’s Ross to Clarke: McHenry senior Kaylee Ross signed this week to attend NAIA Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa, on a golf scholarship.
Ross was one of the Warriors’ top golfers last season and was a Northwest Herald all-area honorable-mention selection.