Waubonsee Community College inducted former baseball player Dr. Shaun Neitzel, four-sport athlete Puamuh T. Ghogomu II and former soccer coach Leslie (Ferguson) Raney into the Chiefs' Athletic Hall of Fame at the school's annual Athletic Awards Banquet on May 16. During the festive evening in Waubonsee's Academic and Professional Center Ballroom, individual student-athlete achievements for 2018-2019, as well as team accomplishments were recognized. Men's basketball player Josh McAuley was named the Male Athlete of the Year, while volleyball and basketball player Kayla Battle was selected the Female Athlete of the Year. Men's soccer player Arnold Arevalo was chosen as the Most Improved Male Athlete, with volleyball player Maizy Larson tabbed the Most Improved Female Athlete. Women's basketball player Emily Uplegger was named the Vermilion and Gold Award winner, and her teammate Haley Farren was selected as the S.T.A.R. Award recipient.
Neitzel excelled on the mound for a pair of nationally-ranked Waubonsee teams in 1992 and 1993, twice finishing as the national co-leader for saves in a season. He still holds the Chiefs' single-season mark for saves with eight, career saves with 13, and career appearances with 46. Neitzel was an assistant coach at Aurora University for five seasons before taking over as head coach in 2002, leading one of the most successful college baseball programs in the country. During those 15 years in Aurora's dugout, the Spartans won 454 games, 11 conference championships, made 10 NCAA Regional appearances, and earned four NCAA Division III World Series berths, finishing third twice and seventh twice. The last six years he has been the Dean of Student Life and Title IX Coordinator at Aurora University.
Ghogomu was just 16 years old when he arrived on Waubonsee's Sugar Grove campus in 1996 from the African nation of Cameroon. He quickly became a fixture on campus and in Waubonsee's Athletic Department as a four-sport athlete, running cross country and playing soccer in the fall, playing basketball in the winter, and tennis in the spring. He was also active with several organizations on campus, while additionally serving as a student ambassador and a student senator. Ghogomu earned NJCAA Academic All-American honors in 1998 and was selected Waubonsee's Vermilion and Gold Award winner. He later earned a pair of degrees from the University of Illinois, and has served as Senior Counsel for the Walgreens Corporation the last 13 years.
Raney took over Waubonsee's fledgling women's soccer program in 2004 and built the Chiefs into a force to be reckoned with in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) and the NJCAA's Region IV. She guided Waubonsee to 86 victories, three Region IV Championships, a pair of ISCC titles, two second place finishes and Waubonsee's first-ever National Tournament appearance placing 7th in the nation in 2011. She was twice named the ISCC Coach of the Year, the Region IV Coach of the Year three times, twice nominated for the National Soccer Coaches Athletic Association Regional Coach of the Year, and was selected the ISCC Female Coach of the Year for 2008-2009. Raney currently teaches at Harrison Elementary School in Wonder Lake, where she coaches volleyball and basketball.
Men's Basketball player Josh McAuley was named the Male Athlete of the Year. The 6'8" sophomore from Aurora West High School was an NJCAA First Team All-American after averaging 26.4 points, 11.7 rebounds, three assists and nearly two blocks per game. McAuley was chosen as the ISCC and Region IV Division II District 4 Player of the Year, and the NJCAA Division II National Player of the Week the second week of November. He finished in the top-50 among all NJCAA Division II players in 11 different statistical categories despite missing nearly a third of Waubonsee's 31 games due to injuries. McAuley will be continuing his collegiate career at NAIA affiliate Peru State University in Nebraska.
Kayla Battle, who played both volleyball and basketball for the Chiefs, was chosen as the Female Athlete of the Year. The 6'0" sophomore middle hitter was a two-time All-ISCC First Team and All-Region First Team selection in volleyball, and was nominated for NJCAA All-American consideration this past season. The Aurora West High School graduate was third nationally among all NJCAA Division II player with 109 solo blocks, booked 300 kills and was second on the Chiefs' team with 430.5 points. On the basketball court Battle averaged 8.1 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. She was second on the team with 128 defensive rebounds and was tabbed the Region IV Division II Player of the Week the third week of January.
Men's Soccer player Arnold Arevalo was selected as Waubonsee's Most Improved Male Athlete. As a freshman he saw very limited time on the pitch before becoming an integral piece of the Chiefs' defense this past fall. Arevalo started as a defender in 15 of Waubonsee's 17 matches and even recorded a pair of assists. The Oswego East High School alumnus helped the Chiefs go 13-3-1 and earn a share of the ISCC title for the third straight year. Arevalo was a key contributor on a defense that registered eight shutouts, allowed only 20 goals all season, and compiled a 186-73 advantage in shots on goal.
Women's volleyball player Maizy Larson was named the Most Improved Female Athlete by Waubonsee's coaches. The Sycamore High School graduate played sparingly her freshman season as a reserve for Coach Steve Kish's crew. This past fall she was a key contributor on Waubonsee's ISCC champion squad that finished 24-16 overall. Larson was second on the team with 332 digs, was third in kills with 280, fourth in points with 344, and recorded 38 serving aces and had 34 blocks on the season.
Women's basketball player Emily Uplegger was the recipient of the Vermilion and Gold Award, given annually to the Waubonsee student-athlete who best exemplifies the true 'heart and soul' of Chiefs' athletics. The Geneva High School graduate was an All-ISCC Second Team selection as a freshman, averaging 8.1 points and leading the Chiefs with 52 three-pointers. The shooting guard average 5.2 points per contest coming off the bench this past season with 26 three-point baskets for the season.
Haley Farren, also a member of the women's basketball team, was tabbed as the S.T.A.R. Award recipient, given to the student-athlete that displayed a good work ethic, dedication to academics and achieved perfect attendance in Waubonsee's athletic monitoring program. The Yorkville High School alumnus averaged 10 points, 2.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game this past season. Also a shooting guard, Farren led the Chiefs with 49 three-pointers, and was second on the team in assists (62), steals (36) and total points (291).
During the evening individuals achieving All-Conference, All-Region and Academic honors during the school year were recognized. Volleyball player Natalie Jones was honored for earning the ISCC Player of the Year award; while basketball player Katie Beebe and baseball players Gavin Lovesky, Jordan Isham and Tyler Venditti were recognized for being selected NJCAA National Players of the Week. Waubonsee coaches Steve Kish (volleyball), Brett Suhayda (men's soccer), Trevor Howard (men's cross country) and Jennifer McMullen (women's tennis) were all acknowledged for leading their respective teams to ISCC title.