His name appears on the website for being Spartan Athlete of the Week so many times that he has become a household name in the area. Through hard work and determination, senior Patrick Michaels has had quite a career throwing the shot put for the Spartans. And after he graduates this May, he will continue throwing the shot put at the Division I level of the NCAA at Western Illinois University.
Last week was unofficial college signing day for high school athletes looking to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level, and Michaels leads a strong group of Spartans looking to do just that.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve dreamed of making it big in college,” Michaels said. “By that I mean Division I. That dream was the pushing force behind every action I have done. After many college visits and a ton of thinking, I decided on Western Illinois University, not only because of how much I loved the campus and the atmosphere around Macomb but the coaching staff and its athletes as well.
“If it weren’t for my recruiter, new throwing coach, Jeremy Snow and coach Nick Maas for walking me through the process of competing, attending WIU wouldn’t have been a possibility. Western was the perfect place for me because it wasn’t too far or too close to home. Thanks to the athletic scholarship and all of the active members of the track team, I’m going to be at home with WIU.
“I chose to partake in track and field to continue following my dream of making it to the Olympics. I’m blessed to get this opportunity to represent Western Illinois University and OLCHS in the highest level of competition.”
Over the last five years, Oak Lawn has averaged 14 student-athletes in 10 different sports per year signing to keep on scoring goals, racking up points and making tackles in college. This year the Spartans have 15 students choosing to play on in nine different sports.
Allison Yacko is another standout athlete electing to play volleyball at the next level. She is going to the Division II school Northern Michigan University on a scholarship.
“I chose Northern Michigan because I loved the school itself and the volleyball program,” she said. “I knew it was the school where I wanted to spend my next four years. The volleyball program, run by coach Michael Lozier, was one I also knew I wanted to be a part of. It is a very competitive Division II conference. Everything just felt like the perfect fit, and I can’t wait to pursue my academic career at NMU. Go Wildcats!”
Girls track has two athletes ready hit the next level with Jenny Miranda choosing Olivet Nazarene University and Nicole Arias heading to Trinity Christian College. Miranda will also run cross country at Olivet. In football, Kameron McNicholas will go to Saint Xavier University. In boys track, Anthony Glover is going to Saint Ambrose and Alexandria McGlynn is headed to Saint Ambrose as well to cheer. Boys swimmer Alex Ditzler is making his way to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Amanda and Taylor Bulow will go to Moraine Valley Community College to play volleyball.
Other athletes who intend to play in college but have not chosen a school include girls basketball player Kiara Stallworth, boys bowler Michael Rollberg, girls track standout Blessing Egbulefu, and girls soccer player Cayley Patete is considering playing at Moraine Valley Community College.