Illinois State volleyball player Ashley Rosch made an immediate impact last fall in the Missouri Valley Conference.
The Cary-Grove graduate became only the sixth player in league history to earn first-team all-conference honors as a freshman.
Beginning Thursday, Rosch will get a taste of international competition when she competes as part of the USA Volleyball Junior A1 National Training Team through July 28 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“I’m super excited,” said Rosch, who also earned the MVC’s Freshman of the Year award. “It will open a lot of doors if I want to continue playing after college, and it’s a good learning experience.”
Rosch and nearly two dozen other athletes from around the country will train for five days with the A1 program. The athletes then will be divided into three teams to begin competition in the USA Volleyball High-Performance Championships, which will include teams from Brazil, Chile, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, among others.
“It will be interesting to play against other countries and different styles of play,” said Rosch, an outside hitter who led ISU with 336 kills last season. “It’s great to have this opportunity.”
During a recent three-day tryout in Colorado Springs, Colo., Rosch said working with different coaches and players was a highlight of the experience.
“The tryout in Colorado was only three days, but I learned so much from the different coaches and the girls I stayed with,” she said. “This trip is 10 days, so I’m sure I’ll learn a lot more.”
Rosch and the Redbirds, who advanced to the MVC Tournament semifinals last season while finishing 18-12, open the season Aug. 30 at the IUPUI Tournament in Indianapolis.
Kittle hits his stride: Anderson University sophomore Max Kittle achieved All-America honors this spring at the NCAA Division III track and field national meet in LaCrosse, Wis.
Kittle, a Dundee-Crown grad, placed sixth in the 110-meter hurdles finals in 14.8 seconds. Kittle qualified for the finals by running a person-best time of 14.47 time in the preliminaries.
Entering the national meet, Kittle ranked 16th nationally in the event. Kittle won Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference titles in the 110 and 400 hurdles races.
NJCAA award for Ekx: McHenry grad Kara Ekx was named an NJCAA Division III softball second-team All-American this season.
Ekx, a freshman who plays third base at Rock Valley College in Rockford, led D-III with 12 home runs and ranked second nationally with 75 RBIs while batting .516. She also produced 13 doubles and scored 55 runs while helping RVC (32-13) advance to the NJCAA World Series in Rochester, Minn., in May. Rock Valley finished sixth at nationals.
Ekx also earned first-team All-N4C conference and first-team All-Region IV honors.
Ekx has committed to play for the next three seasons at NAIA Judson University in Elgin.
Spinelle honored: Crystal Lake Central grad Lee Spinelle was selected for the 10-member NCAA Division II Academic All-District 5 baseball team.
Spinelle, a senior third baseman for Florida’s Eckerd College, achieved a 3.76 grade-point average as a marketing major.
On the field, Spinelle led the Tritons (15-35) with 49 hits while batting .295. Spinelle also had 11 doubles and 23 RBIs this season while starting 48 games.
• Barry Bottino writes a weekly column and a blog about local college athletes for the Northwest Herald. Write to him at BarryOnCampus@hotmail.com, check out his On Campus blog at McHenryCountySports.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryOnCampus.