Huntley shortstop Matt Sullivan was not deterred by Chicago State’s low win totals over the past three seasons.
Instead, Sullivan saw opportunity. He saw an NCAA Division I school where he could play right away and where he is excited to be part of an impressive turn-around.
Sullivan committed to Cougars coach Steve Joslyn on Friday and will attend the Chicago school in the fall of 2014. He will be the fifth local player at Chicago State as four McHenry County College players were recruited there this year.
“They’ve done heavy recruiting the last year and got the guys they wanted to get,” Sullivan said. “The fact I can come in and hope to produce and help them become a winning program, I like that.”
Chicago State was 10-45 this season, Joslyn’s first after 10 years as an assistant at Northern Illinois University. The Cougars were 9-39 in 2011 and 13-40 in 2012.
However, Chicago State plays in the Great West Conference, a league that stretches from New Jersey to Texas and Utah, so players get to see lots of the U.S.
Sullivan said the coaches told him more of a monetary commitment has been made to better the program.
“I really liked the coaching staff and the way the program is going,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan was a Northwest Herald All-Area first-team player as a junior, hitting .393 with three home runs and 23 RBIs. He committed seven errors, had a .430 on-base percentage and scored 22 runs. The Red Raiders (25-7) shared the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division championship with Crystal Lake South.
Sullivan said Chicago State saw him this summer with Top Tier Americans, an elite travel program that plays out of McCook. He was also hearing from Northwestern, Evansville and Brown.
It was Travis Kerber, who coached with the Chicago White Sox Academy where Sullivan played when he was an eighth- grader, who planted the D-I seed with Sullivan.
“I had a great summer that year,” Sullivan said. “Kerber told me I had a chance to do it at the next level, and at a high level.”
Tickets available: McHenry High School Hall of Fame committee Chairman Pat Wirtz has tickets to the 2013 Hall of Fame Luncheon available for $22 each. The luncheon starts at 10 a.m. Saturday at the McHenry Country Club and food will be served at 11 a.m.
This year’s inductees include former football coach Mike Noll (1988 to 2003), former athletes Carl Neiss (1947), Dick Hiller (1950), Tom Huemann (1953), Tom Ludwig (1976), Jillian Elder (1995) and the 1995 wrestling team, which was 20-0 and won the FVC championship.
Anyone interested can contact Wirtz at 815-385-0191 or at email@example.com.
Lacrosse status changed: The IHSA has removed lacrosse from its list of “emerging sports” for the lack of numbers, although IHSA assistant executive director Matt Troha says the change was mainly for “technical recordkeeping.”
On the IHSA page listing sports, lacrosse still appears, but Troha said lacrosse is no longer considered that. The IHSA still needs 65 boys teams and 40 girls teams to be officially considered an IHSA sport.
“Emerging sports are any sport or activity that a high school has a team for, but that the IHSA does not offer at this time,” Troha said.
• 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.