TriCounty Illinois Central College's ninth National Junior College Athletic Association team championship in school history was a first for Sue Sinclair's volleyball program.
The 33-7 Cougars completed their banner season in November with a five-set victory over Cowley College in the NJCAA Division II championship match at Wisconsin Dells, Wis. ICC's best finish previously in the DII national tournament was fourth place in 2005 and 2008.
The championship led to Sinclair's selection in December as American Volleyball Coaches Association two-year colleges national coach of the year. The pool of candidates for junior college volleyball's highest coaching honor comes from the NJCAA's three divisions, the California Community College Athletic Association and the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (Oregon and Washington).
ICC sophomore Yiting Cao, from Shanghai, China, was named AVCA two-year colleges national player of the year. College athletes, however, must be from Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties to be eligible for Tri-County awards.
Illinois Central College's ninth National Junior College Athletic Association team championship in school history was a first for Sue Sinclair's volleyball program.
Ulrich has coached in the Junior Football League and youth baseball for 32 years, while also serving as president of numerous youth leagues and director of the Peoria Diocesan basketball tournament. He began volunteering as coach for the Richwoods Browns JFL team in 1971 and served in a coaching or administrative capacity for the Richwoods JFL program from 1971-89. In addition, he served as a coach and president of the Richwoods League League, as well as Pony League, from 1975-85. During that same period, he coached the Bergan All-Star Pony League from 1981-84. In his role as St. Thomas Grade School athletic director for 32 years, Ulrich directed the 11 boys (six) and girls (five) basketball teams for 27 years, scheduling tournaments, ordering uniforms and hiring officials among his many duties. He also served as director of the Peoria Diocesan Tournament for 14 years. Ulrich coached basketball at Peoria Heights Grade School from 2006-11 and he volunteered as manager of a fastpitch team in the Peoria Park District Softball League for 23 years, while also playing on the team for several seasons. He currently is completing his two-year stint as the St. Philomena School 5th Grade boys basketball team and is preparing for his second year of coaching in the Irish youth baseball program.