Local products show college mettle

Athletes from Hinsdale represent village across range of NCAA programs

As the competitive spring high school seasons are winding down for local senior student-athletes, several former sports standouts from Hinsdale have reached the end of their college journeys.

Most notably is Kiran Amegadjie, former Hinsdale Central and Yale University star offensive tackle who was chosen 75th overall by the Chicago Bears in last month’s NFL Draft.

“It’s surreal,” he told The Hinsdalean this week about joining the professional ranks with his hometown team.

Watch for more on Amegadjie in a future issue. Today we’re catching up with other village natives closing their campus careers with a flourish.

Reilly Revord

Graduate student Reilly Revord has been a six-year mainstay of the track team at University of Missouri, where she’s also competed in cross country.

Talk about a final kick. In March she won the 1,500-meter race at the Pepsi Florida Relays in a then-personal best time of 4:25.97.

“That was probably one of my better wins,” she said. “That was opener of the outdoor season, and I ran a closing lap of 64 seconds, which is a really fast lap for me.”

A couple of weeks later she shaved two-hundredths of second off that mark at a meet in California. Then two weeks ago at Kansas State University, she set another career mark, this time in the 800 meters with 2:10.35.

“I was really happy about that,” Revord remarked. “I was really able to step it up at the end.”

Being the oldest of three siblings at Mizzou — all track athletes — has made it a particularly special experience.

Currently in Florida to run the 1,500 in her final SEC Championship meet, the Spanish major will cross the Atlantic this summer for a year-long job teaching English in a Madrid high school.

Competing at the college level, Revord reflected, has taught her to resist the constant urge to measure herself against others by concentrating on simply being her best, at whatever she pursues.

“I’ve learned to listen to myself and do the things I know work for me to help me be successful,” Revord said. “Focus on yourself and on what you can do within yourself.”

Olivia Oosterbaan

Olivia Oosterbaan closed her University of Montana tennis journey in winning style, helping the Grizzlies win their first Big Sky Conference regular season title since 2014.

“To end my career with a Big Sky championship with my team was great,” said Oosterbaan, who secured the clinching point with her doubles partner in a nail-biting 7-6 tiebreak. “To be able to be the top team in the conference and be able to win a ton of big matches was awesome as senior.”

The former Hinsdale Central star stayed for a fifth year in Missoula, and her teammates are presumably thankful she did. Winning results had been hard to come by for Montana in the years before Oosterbaan signed her letter of intent.

“I wanted to change it and help turn it around,” she said. “I’m just glad that I got to leave a lasting mark on the program.”

The driven student-athlete finished her bachelor’s degree in three years and then completed her MBA while logging untold miles during a grueling fall and spring schedule.

“I practiced everyday at 7 a.m., and we would travel three to four days out of the week,” she explained. “We traveled everywhere — from San Diego State to Michigan State.”

Most of Oosterbaan’s cohorts had actually traveled from distant lands to campus, including natives of Spain, Bulgaria, England and Sweden. She was one of only two Grizzly players from the States.

Oosterbaan keeps tabs on her Central buddies and the girls tennis team. And she’s become a pickleball convert.

“I still want to play in tennis leagues and coach,” she said.

Alaina Hamood

Alaina Hamood admitted to feeling a bit overwhelmed as an incoming lacrosse player at Penn State University.

“I just remember knowing that I would have to work really hard to get what I wanted,” Hamood said.

She discovered a supportive roster around her that welcomed and encouraged her.

“They were so open and elevated me to be my best,” she related.

Hamood forged a tight bond with her first-year teammates during COVID restrictions.

“Basically our only way out was lacrosse, so that made us become best friends and definitely made us stronger and more connected as a unit,” she said.

Junior year brought her first start, which she capitalized on by scoring a hat trick with her family in attendance.

“I hadn’t started a game since my junior year of high school. Just seeing my parents cheering in the stands made me feel so accomplished,” Hamood said.

An upset of No. 4 Maryland on the road this season was another highlight, as was Senior Night a few weeks ago, a celebratory and poignant occasion to look back on her journey.

“That was the best day of my life,” she said. “Everyone on my team came together to make me feel so special and valued.”

With graduation in the rear view mirror, Hamood is locked in on her team’s first-round NCAA tournament clash with James Madison University tomorrow, May 10.

Win or lose, she wouldn’t trade the last four years for anything.

“It’s taught me how to be a great leader and deal with adversity,” she said.

Emily Napier

DePauw University women’s lacrosse team had never made the Division III NCAA tournament when Emily Napier joined the program. By her junior year, the former Hinsdale Central standout had helped the Tigers secure their first postseason berth with 49 goals in 18 games, second-best on the squad.

“Going to NCAAs last year, I think all of us were so psyched to be there, and that boosted everyone’s confidence in what we could achieve,” Napier said.

She finished her career with 114 goals, third most all-time, and life lessons that will last well beyond the field.

“I’ve really learned the importance of leadership and leading by example,” she said. “I’m not a very outgoing person, but I think I’ve definitely made an impact with the way I play and my composure.”

Napier also honed her time management skills as a student-athlete, making use of the often lengthy trips to away games.

“It’s nice on four- to six-hour bus rides when you can just knock a bunch of (class work) out,” she remarked.

She enjoyed the occasional match against a former Devils teammate like Lally Johnson, who competed for University of Chicago.

“It’s always fun just to watch everyone that I’ve played with over the years, seeing them setting records and thriving,” Napier said.

The soon-to-be logistics analyst offered a positive analysis of the future of Tigers womens’ lacrosse, although she’ll miss the camaraderie.

“I’ll miss seeing all the people that I’ve seen on a daily basis for the past four years,” Napier said.

Kendall Schrader

Kendall Schrader said tennis for her had mainly been an individualistic pursuit. That was until she arrived at Denison University.

“When I got to college and was with my team competing in tough matches, I realized the fun part about the sport is being a part of a team that wins and loses together, not just winning your individual matches,” Schrader said.

The Big Red’s conference championship her sophomore year is among her lasting memories.

“I will never forget what it was like when my teammate clinched the conference match as I was playing next to her. We were the only two left playing, so we ran over to each other, and everyone else followed,” she recounted.

Denison played in two NCAA tournaments during her four-year tenure. Schrader served as captain this past year — as the only senior on the squad.

“I spoke a lot to my teammates about how important encouraging your teammates is. Not everyone is going to play in the lineup, but the girl cheering on the sideline plays just as important of a role as the girl out there playing,” she said. “It really is a group effort and being a part of college athletics has given me the chance to see the importance of having different people contributing in different ways.”

As the Benet Academy alum prepares to start law school, she reflects fondly on her Division III court proceedings.

“I couldn’t be more grateful for the college athletic experience I had,” Schrader said.

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean