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By MIKE SANDROLINI
HILLSIDE | Proviso West High School and Athletic Director Calvin Davis hosted a ceremony recently for three student-athletes who’ll be continuing their athletic careers at the collegiate level as freshmen for 2017-18.
Patrick Robinson has signed to play football at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri, while Tenesha Walker has committed to Kankakee Community College’s women’s basketball team. Samantha Giron has agreed to play soccer at Concordia University in River Forest.
The use of recruiting-specific websites to get noticed by college coaches and scouts—with the ultimate goal of landing either a full or partial scholarship—has become more and more popular in recent years.
Samantha Giron, who’s been starting on the Panthers’ varsity girls soccer team since her freshman year, put her profile on NCSAsports.org. Coaches and scouts can look at profiles on NCSA (Next College Student Athlete), and that profile helped her get in contact with Concordia University’s soccer coach, Chris Brown, her junior year.
“The coach contacted me on this website,” she said.
Giron further impressed the Concordia coach by scoring five goals and three assists during a four-game indoor winter tournament held at Concordia in January. The tourney consisted of five teams, and Giron’s team won it.
Concordia first saw her play in a college showcase last November, where she scored three goals.
Last year, Concordia finished 10-8-2 and secured a bid to the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) tournament for the second time in school history. Giron will join a Cougars’ roster that has a number of players on it from the suburban Chicago area.
Giron said she had been contacted by a few colleges through the NCSA site, but “Concordia was my top pick.”
She noted that the Concordia coach was going to come out to one of Proviso West’s games later this week to see her play outdoors.
“Since there were two indoor tourneys, he wants to see me play outside,” she said. “That will be the first time he’ll see me play outdoors.”
She plays center-mid for the Panthers, who are the 13th seed in the Downers Grove North sectional. They begin regional play at the York regional vs. the host Dukes at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 17. Giron has seven goals and five assists this season.
“If I switch positions (in college) it will be either (to) a forward or midfielder,” said Giron, who’ll be receiving a full four-year academic scholarship. “I know that he (the coach) does know that my positon is a center-mid.”
Robertson, a two-year varsity starter at linebacker for Proviso West, is part of the first recruiting class of new Culver-Stockton head coach Tom Sallay, who spent 11 previous seasons at St. Francis (Joliet) College as an assistant coach.
Sallay, a Culver-Stockton alum, replaces Jeff Duvendeck, who resigned last November after six seasons during which the Wildcats finished 13-53 overall. Culver-Stockton is a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) school with an enrollment of around 1,000 students.
Robinson, his new coach and teammates will try to right the ship after a 2016 season where the Wildcats went 1-10 overall and 0-5 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference North Division. One of those losses was a 90-0 pasting at the hands of nationally ranked Grand View University last October.
“Toward end of season they (Culver-Stockton) reached out to me,” Robertson said. “When they reached out with the scholarship I had to take. It’s a nice campus; basically the town is rural and not a lot going on.”
Robinson said his scholarship covers full tuition. The coaching staff has indicated they want him to start his freshman year as an outside pass rusher.
“They’re definitely improving and getting recruits from the Chicagoland area,” he said. “I think I’ll be able to adapt.”
Walker, the leading scorer last winter for the Lady Panthers who finished 19-9 overall and won the West Suburban Conference Silver Division championship, joins a Kankakee Community College squad that graduated a number of sophomores off a club which advanced to the NJCAA Division II national championship semifinals in March.
KCC, a perennial Illinois junior college power, won 13 straight games before losing in the semifinals, finishing 30-4 overall. Walker should be in line to see playing time next season as the Lady Cavaliers return just two players off last year’s roster.