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Local

Oregon grad makes immediate impact at RB for D-III Gustavus

Finch even better in the backfield

Oregon’s Brayton Finch (36) fights for yards against Winnebago during a 2015 game. Finch now plays for Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota, and had a big game at running back this past Saturday against Martin Luther College.
Oregon’s Brayton Finch (36) fights for yards against Winnebago during a 2015 game. Finch now plays for Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota, and had a big game at running back this past Saturday against Martin Luther College.

A position change on the gridiron paid early dividends last Saturday for a 2016 Oregon High School graduate.

Mount Morris native Brayton Finch carried the ball 13 times as a running back, caught four passes, racked up 100 all-purpose yards, and scored three touchdowns in Division III Gustavus Adolphus College’s 32-20 road win over Martin Luther College.

He also averaged 41.7 yards per punt, with two of his three punts landing inside Martin Luther’s 20. His two kickoffs went a combined 110 yards.

Finch, a junior for the Golden Gusties, played tight end his first two seasons. He played in seven games, and caught three passes for 49 yards and a score during his freshman season. He also made six tackles and forced a fumble in 2016. Last season, the 6-foot-2, 215-pounder started nine of 10 games at tight end, catching 28 passes for 412 yards and a touchdown.

The Golden Gusties host
Wisconsin-Stout this Saturday at 1 p.m. in St. Peter, Minnesota – about 400 miles from Mt. Morris. Gustavus is looking to improve on back-to-back 5-5 seasons.

•••

Juan Carreno, a 2016 Polo grad, made five solo tackles last Saturday for Division III Aurora University in a 16-7 loss at St. Norbert to open the season. Oregon grad Tyler Blume made one solo tackle for the Spartans.

Cody Mighell, a 2015 Dixon grad, rushed eight times for 8 yards, and caught one pass for 19 yards in Division III Loras College’s home loss last Saturday against UW-Eau Claire. Redshirt junior defensive back Brandon Ahlgrim, a 2015 Newman grad, recorded two tackles, one quarterback hurry and a pass breakup for the Duhawks.

Two 2016 Fulton grads also made their season debuts for Loras. Trey Simmons caught three passes for 17 yards, while Jack Lemke had five punts go a combined 141 yards, as well as two kickoffs that traveled a combined 95 yards.

One of the greatest running backs in Illinois high school football history is making an impact at Illinois State. James Robinson, a 2016 Rockford Lutheran grad, rushed nine times for 54 yards and 2 TDs in the Redbirds’ 46-0 victory over NAIA foe Saint Xavier last Saturday.

Volleyball

Brayton Finch’s younger sister, Gylian, is also starring at the collegiate level. The 2018 Oregon grad tallied 17 kills, 15 digs and three aces in last weekend’s
Chattanooga Classic, helping Tennessee-Chattanooga to three wins against UNC Asheville, Tennessee State, and North Alabama. Gylian Finch also had five kills and four digs in a 3-1 loss Tuesday at Tennessee Tech.

Sterling grad Kaylee Martin also helped the Illinois State volleyball team to three wins last Friday and Saturday at the Top Dawg Challenge in Indianapolis. Martin registered 16 kills, two blocks and two digs for the Redbirds in wins against Eastern Illinois, Auburn, and host Butler.

Sommer Rhea had a hitting percentage of .425, and recorded 32 kills, 27 digs, five aces, three assists and a block last Friday and Saturday at Division II Auburn University-Montgomery’s home invitational. The former Oregon and Sauk Valley Community College standout helped the Warhawks to three victories versus LeMoyne-
Owen College, Limestone College, and Tuskegee University.

Division II Illinois Springfield went 3-1 last Friday and Saturday at the Warrior Invitational in Detroit thanks to a pair of local 2016 graduates. Sterling native Jay Borum tallied 44 digs, five assists, a kill and a block for the Prairie Stars, while Erie native Rachel Cobert had 40 kills, 34 digs, seven blocks, six assists and two aces.

Bre Cullen, a 2016 Oregon grad, helped Division III Dubuque University to a 3-1 mark at last weekend’s Rhodes College Invitational in Memphis. The former Hawk registered 27 kills, 10 digs and four blocks for the Spartans.

Former Eastland standout Makenzie Fink recorded 21 kills, nine digs, three blocks, two aces and a dig in NAIA Northwestern University’s last four matches.

Hailey White, a 2017 Oregon grad, had 12 kills, 12 digs and an assist last Friday and Saturday at the Chaparral Tournament in Glen Ellyn for Kishwaukee College. She also had nine digs and four kills Wednesday against Illinois Valley.

Men’s cross country

The 2016 Class 1A cross country individual champion made his season debut for the University of Illinois last Friday. Rock Falls grad Brayden Hamblen finished sixth with a time of 26:07.1 on the 4.97-mile course at Eastern Illinois’ Walt Crawford Open, helping the Illini to a first-place finish in the team standings.

Indiana freshman Jacob Gebhardt captured 11th place last Friday at the Miami (Ohio) Open. The 2018 Sterling grad finished with a time of 25:44.6, as the
Hoosiers won the meet.

Newman grad Chris Ahlers finished 54th last Friday for DePaul at the Butler Twilight, as the Blue Demons took seventh out of eight teams. The former Comet finished with a time of 21:15.8 on the 3.73-mile course.

Women’s cross country

Megan Grady finished 20th last Friday at the St. Francis Invitational for NAIA St. Ambrose. The 2017 Amboy grad ran a time of 19:52.5 on the 3.1-mile course, as the Fighting Bees took third out of nine teams. Dixon grad Katie Binkley crossed the finish line in 21:53.2 for St. Ambrose.

Women’s soccer

Dixon grad Kylee Hermeyer had one shot and a yellow card in Northern Illinois’ road loss to UTEP last Sunday, a 1-0 result in double overtime.

Hermeyer’s former classmate, Lexy Langloss, scored a goal in NAIA Robert Morris University-
Chicago’s 2-2 draw last Saturday against Concordia University. Langloss also had three shots on goal last Sunday in a 3-0 loss to Siena Heights University.

Former Dixon goalkeeper Ellie Provo made one save in NAIA St. Francis’ 1-0 home win Monday against Asbury University.

Women’s golf

Twins Abi and Ali Scheidecker finished 33rd and 34th, respectively, for NAIA St. Ambrose in the two-day Highland Classic. Abi bounced back with an 84 on Monday after carding a 90 at Highland Springs Golf Course in Rock Island, while Ali fired rounds of 89 and 88 for the Fighting Bees. St. Ambrose finished sixth out of eight teams.

Women’s triathlon

Leah Drengenberg, a 2018 Dixon grad, competed in her first meet for South Dakota. She finished 60th in the Augustana Twilight Cross Country Meet in Sioux Falls, S.D. last Friday. Drengenberg posted the top time among all South Dakota triathlon competitors, completing the 3.1-mile course in 19:40.63.

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