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Local Sports

6 to be inducted into JCA Hall of Champions

Joliet Catholic Academy has announced its fifth Hall of Champions class, which continues to speak to the depth of tradition and talent on and off the playing fields that the school has produced over the years.

JCA President/Principal Dr. Jeffrey Budz announced the six members of the Class of 2018: Coby Fleener (JCA ’07), Chris Michalak (JCHS ’89), Kelly Murphy (JCA ’08), Samantha Quigley-Smith (JCA ’06) and Jack Schimanski. This year’s legacy honoree is Andrew Matichak (JCHS ’53).

The fifth class will be inducted during Hall of Champions Weekend on Friday and Saturday. Members will be introduced at the annual Alumni Golf Outing on Friday at the Joliet Country Club. They will be honored and inducted at the annual Hall of Champions Dinner on Saturday beginning with a 5:30 p.m. Reception, 6:30 p.m. Dinner and Induction Ceremony to follow in the JCA Student Activity Center. For information and to buy tickets, call JCA Director of Special Events Christine Voss at 815-773-0784 or email cvoss@jca-online.org.

Coby Fleener: He was all-conference, all-area, all-state and an all-state academic honoree his senior year in football, while also earning three letters in basketball. He went on to earn All-American honors at Stanford, where he ranks first all-time in receiving touchdowns by a tight end with 18. Fleener was selected in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts and has played six years in the NFL with the Colts and the New Orleans Saints. He is currently an NFL free agent.

Chris Michalak: A three-sport star in football, basketball, and baseball, Michalak later starred at the University of Notre Dame in baseball before embarking on a 16-year professional baseball career, including parts of four seasons in the big leagues with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers and Cincinnati Reds. Michalak was a member of the 1987 Joliet Catholic state championship football squad and a member of a high school pitching rotation featuring three future major leaguers (Sean Bergmann and Mike Grace the others). Michalak still holds pitching records at Notre Dame, where he went 34-13 overall with a 3.21 ERA, 12 saves, and 263 strikeouts in 372.2 innings pitched in four years. He was the first Irish pitcher to win 20 games and save 10 over the course of his college career. Michalak has been a minor-league pitching coach with the Washington Nationals, where he spent time as a major league bench coach in 2017. He currently serves as the minor league pitching coordinator for the Miami Marlins.

Kelly Murphy: A three-time All-America selection at JCA, Murphy led the Angels to two state trophies in her four years and capped off her senior season in 2007 being named the Gatorade National High School Player of the Year. During her collegiate career at Florida, she was a third-team All-American as a freshman, second team as a sophomore and first team each of her last two seasons. At Florida she became the first-ever four-time AVCA All-American in program history, was the 2010 SEC Player of the Year, and the Under Armour/Volleyball Magazine National Freshman of the Year in 2008. She has played in numerous international competitions with Team USA, highlighted by winning a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics. She has also played professional volleyball in Japan and recently captured the inaugural FIVB Volleyball Nations League title with the U.S. women’s national team.

Samantha Quigley-Smith: As a high school senior, Quigley-Smith was selected as the 2006 Chicago Sun-Times Female Athlete of the Year starring in basketball, volleyball and softball. She was a member of the 2003 JCA girls volleyball state championship team, the first in school history. Quigley-Smith had an illustrious playing career at DePaul University, where she was a two-time All-Big East selection and was named an Honorable Mention WBCA All-American in 2011 and a finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award as a senior. She is entering her second season as the head coach women’s basketball coach at Lewis University, following a five-season stint at the University of St. Francis. In her final two seasons at USF, the Fighting Saints registered a mark of 62-7 (.899) with two Top 10 finishes in the NAIA Division II Coaches Poll, including a No. 1 ranking in the final 2017 poll.

Jack Schimanski: The head baseball coach at Joliet Catholic from 1979-1988, during that time his team’s record was 323-101. His 1982 team won 53 games, a record that still stands. He won conference baseball championships in 1980, ’81, ’82 and ’88. His 1980, ’81 and ’88 teams were IHSA state finalists. His team won the 1983 summer state baseball championship. Jack was named IHSA Coach of the Year in 1981 and 1988, 18 of his players signed professional contracts, and five made it to the major leagues. Schimanski is also in the Lewis University and Brother Rice High School Hall of Fame’s. Schimanski retired as an assistant principal from Wheeler High School in 2018 after 46 years in education. In 22 overall years as a head baseball coach at Joliet Catholic and Wheeler (1999-2010), Schimanski posted a 541-237 overall record.

Andrew Matichak: The honoree for this year’s Legends category, Matichak was a standout three-sport athlete in football, basketball and baseball, while also excelling in leadership positions as his class president. Matichak starred on the gridiron during the ’50-’52 seasons, rushing for 1,339 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 10 extra points during his junior season leading the Hilltoppers to a 7-2 record. As a senior, Matichak gained 887 yards rushing, scored 15 touchdowns, scored 96 total points, and was named All-State by the Champaign News-Gazette. At one time he held school records in rushing yards and scoring, and total points scored in basketball, where he averaged a team-leading 14 points a game during his junior and senior seasons. He also hit .410 in baseball, leading the team in extra-base hits and home runs as a senior.

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