McCoy earns All-Big 12 track and field honors

Posted on April 2, 2014 - 11:45:39

Iowa State junior track and field athlete Kelly McCoy (Cary-Grove) earned All-Big 12 Conference honors this month by placing fifth in the high jump at the indoor conference meet in Ames, Iowa.

McCoy cleared a personal-best height of 5 feet, 8 ¾ inches. Her effort was only 2 inches shy of conference champion Shanay Briscoe of Baylor (5-10 ¾).

Barry Bottino writes a weekly column and a blog about local college athletes for the Northwest Herald. Write to him at BarryOnCampus@hotmail.com and check out his On Campus column every Saturday in the Northwest Herald sports section and follow @BarryOnCampus on Twitter.

McHenry's Conway 2nd in OVC pentathlon

Posted on April 2, 2014 - 11:43:20

Ashley Conway, a junior track and field athlete at D-I Murray (Ky.) State, finished second at the Ohio Valley Conference indoor meet in the penthathlon.

A McHenry East grad, Conway posted a total of 3,614 points in the event. Her score was only nine points shy of the school record and 11 points behind the OVC champion, Tennessee State’s Clairwin Dameus.

Conway won the shot put (38 feet, 11 ½ inches) and finished second in the high jump (5-6).

Barry Bottino writes a weekly column and a blog about local college athletes for the Northwest Herald. Write to him at BarryOnCampus@hotmail.com and check out his On Campus column every Saturday in the Northwest Herald sports section and follow @BarryOnCampus on Twitter.

C-G grad back right at home as head softball coach

Posted on April 2, 2014 - 11:38:53

As the coach of a 1-11 softball team, Jill Karwoski doesn’t fret about losses.

“Our No. 1 goal is to be competitive,” said Karwoski, a Cary-Grove graduate who is in her first season as the head coach at NCAA Division I Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. “They know this is a process. Every day, we just want to get one percent better.”

Karwoski’s positive perspective is a good fit for her new team, which has 11 freshmen and sophomores. Over the past two years, she’s had plenty of practice dealing with challenges.

“It’s been quite the journey,” she said with a laugh.

After spending four seasons as associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Boston College, Karwoski saw the team’s head coach resign. Karwoski was a candidate for the top job, but was not hired.

She spent the 2012 season as head coach at D-II Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass. The position, however, was part time. She left to pursue a full-time job and worked last season as a volunteer assistant coach at D-I Providence.

While coaching softball over those two years, she also had two other jobs.

“I worked (as a server) at a restaurant in downtown Boston,” she said. “I also got my real estate license and worked as a sales agent.”

During that time, Karwoski said she sent out “well over 50” applications for full-time coaching jobs and had more than a dozen in-person and phone interviews.

“I’ve been through some challenging times the past two years,” she said. “But you just have to stay true to who you are. I didn’t think about (working three jobs). I just thought about where I wanted to be. I knew I had a lot of experience in what I wanted to do, and I saw it as a temporary setback.”

Karwoski said she had plenty of support from family back home and friends in Boston, where she lived for six years before moving to Connecticut.

At Quinnipiac, she has found support on and off the field from athletic director Jack McDonald, a Boston College grad.

“The first time we met, it was for coffee,” she said. “We hit it off right away. Being here now, the entire administration is so supportive. They’ve said it doesn’t matter what the scoreboard says. We see that you’re making progress.”

Situated near Sleeping Giant State Park in Connecticut, Hamden offers plenty of benefits.

“We’re 20 minutes from the water and an hour and a half from New York City,” she said. “It’s very comfortable here for me. It’s more like northwest Illinois than Boston.”

The Quinnipiac program has not been to the NCAA tournament since 1984, something Karwoski would like to change.

“Long term, I’d definitely like us to play in the postseason,” she said.

For now, Karwoski wants her roster to get game experience under its belt.

“My first meeting with them, I had our roster on a board and I erased all the classes,” said Karwoski, whose team has only one senior. “I wanted them to see us as all becoming one, regardless of class.”

McHenryCountySports.com Blogs