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|Great Rivers Athletic Conference|
|Region||Lower Illinois (Region 24)|
The Great Rivers Athletic Conference (GRAC) is part of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) located primarily in the Southern part of Illinois and was formed in 1982. The GRAC is located in Region 24 which is about 4/5 the Southern portion of Illinois. The GRAC has nine member schools, with enrollments ranging from less than 1,000 to more than 6,000. While there is no limit as to how many teams each school can field, the GRAC only sponsors five sports: Men's Basketball, and Baseball and Women's Basketball, Softball, and Volleyball.
The GRAC currently consists of ten schools, all from Southern Illinois. The members of the GRAC span the width of Southern Illinois with Wabash Valley College on the Eastern border of Illinois and Indiana, and Southwestern Illinois College on the Western border of Illinois and Missouri. There are multiple highway rivalries between schools located along Interstate 57 and 64. These include John A. Logan vs. Rend Lake and Lakeland vs. Kaskaskia.
|John A. Logan College||Carterville, Illinois||1967||Vols||Black & White||7|
|Kaskaskia College||Centralia, Illinois||1940||Blue Devils & Blue Angels||Navy & White||12|
|Lake Land College||Mattoon, Illinois||1966||Lakers||Red & Black||5|
|Lincoln Trail College||Robinson, Illinois||1969||Statesmen||Green, Orange, & Black||6|
|Olney Central College||Olney, Illinois||Blue Knights||Navy & White||4|
|Rend Lake College||Ina, Illinois||1955||Warriors||Red, Black, & White||8|
|Shawnee Community College||Ullin, Illinois||1967||Saints||Maroon, White, Grey, Black||4|
|Southeastern Illinois College||Harrisburg, Illinois||1960||Falcons||Blue & Gold||4|
|Southwestern Illinois College||Belleville, Illinois||1946||Blue Storm||Blue, Black, & White||7|
|Wabash Valley College||Mount Carmel, Illinois||Warriors||Red & White||4|
Every team in the GRAC fields a men's baseball team. The Wabash Valley College Warriors are annually one of the premier teams, not just in the GRAC, but in the NJCAA, given their annual success and multiple conference victories and the number of players taken in the draft since the year 2000. This is considered to be an oddity since the school is very small and located in the Midwest and most premier teams are located in the west coast or southern regions. Other teams that have had a large number of conference titles and players drafted are Southwestern Illinois, John A Logan, Lincoln Trail, and Rend Lake College.
The Volunteers have won nine conference titles, six Region 24 championships, and made two national tournament appearances. Eleven Volunteers have earned NJCAA All-American honors, and fourteen former Volunteers are currently playing professional baseball, with four competing in the major leagues. Many players over the years have been drafted and gone on to play in the MLB. The following is a list of recent players drafted.
|Player||Year Drafted||Team||Player||Year Drafted||Team|
|Dean Anna||2008||San Diego Padres||Ken Smalley||2008||Oakland A's|
|Cody Dunbar||2008||Toronto Blue Jays||Kyle Catto||2007||New York Mets|
|Andrew Dunn||2006||Atlanta Braves||Zach Dials||2006||Toronto Blue Jays|
|Eric Barret||2006||Atlanta Braves||Ryan Rogowski||2005||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Jason Cairns||2005||St. Louis Cardinals||Chris Johnson||2005||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Drew O'Connell||2005||Chicago Cubs||Chad Mulholland||2003||Toronto Blue Jays|
|Aaron Coonrod||2002||San Diego Padres||Aaron Edwards||2001||New York Yankees|
|Bobby Coomer||2001||Pittsburgh Pirates||Chris Johnson||2000||Cincinnati Reds|
|Sean Patrick||2000||Baltimore Orioles||Victor Kleine||2000||Cleveland Indians|
Blue Devils won 108 games in 3 years, won 2 GRAC titles, have 30 Academic All-American athletes and were named an Academic All-American Team in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Many players over the years have been drafted and gone on to play in the MLB. The following is a list of recent players drafted.
|Player||Year Drafted||Team||Player||Year Drafted||Team||Player||Year Drafted||Team|
|Nick Gardewine||2013||Texas Rangers||Brandon Hardin||2012||Chicago White Sox||Philip Wetherall||2011||New York Yankees|
|Logan Mahon||2011||Colorado Rockies||Blaine Sims||2010||Atlanta Braves||Ryan Bradley||2010||San Francisco Giants|
|Nathan Forer||2010||New York Yankees||Lance Durham||2009||Toronto Blue Jays||Marcel Champagnie||2008||Anaheim Angels|
|Jay Voss||2007||Florida Marlins||Kevin Sullivan||2006||Houston Astros||Lance Durham||2006||Detroit Tigers|
|Marcel Champagnie||2006||Minnesota Twins||Aaron Lovett||2005||Minnesota Twins||Aaron Lovett||2004||Colorado Rockies|
|Marcus Barriger||2002||San Diego Padres|
The Lincoln Trail College Statesmen have consistently battled for a top spot in the GRAC. Year in and year out the Statesmen have fielded a strong team that has given fellow conference and Region 24 teams all they could ask for. The Statesmen have been champions of the GRAC four times (2001, 2006, 2007 and 2015) since the year 2000 and champions of Region 24 three times (2005, 2007and 2017) in the same span of time.
Along with these accomplishments on the field, the athletes have also been performing well in the classroom receiving the NJCAA Academic team of the year in 2006.
Jordan Brewer-Houston Astros, Justin Watts-Toronto Blue Jays, Damon Olds Kansas City Royals,Justin Hancock - San Diego Padres, Chuck Ghysels - Cincinnati Reds, Zach Gerler - Washington Nationals, Ricky Marshall - Chicago White Sox, Cody Gilbert - Chicago Cubs, David Arnold - Colorado Rockies, Seth Bynum - Washington Nationals, Tyler Evans - Houston Astros, Kevin Mahar - Texas Rangers, and TJ Brewer - San Francisco Giants
The Rend Lake Warriors are never taken for granted in the GRAC or Region 24. Rend Lake has consistently produced a competitive ball club that competes in the top half of the conference year after year. The Warriors have been Region 24 Champions three times (1997, 1999, and 2008) in the past two decades.
Many players over the years have been drafted and gone on to play in the MLB. The following is a list of recent players who have been drafted or have or are currently playing in the MLB or for an MLB minor league team.
Kyle Geiger - Twins, Jim Abbott - Twins, Neal Freandling - Rays, Dan Dement - Nationals, Mike Siefert - Blue Jays, Ryan Spille - Blue Jays, Dan Firlit - Cardinals, Brandon Braboy - Yankees, Zach Petersime - Orioles, Cory White - Indians, Nick Wooley - Royals, and Nathan Dorris - Braves.
The Southeastern Illinois Falcons have put a couple players on the field over the years that have reached the MLB. Two of note are Cory Bailey and Jeff Keener.
Cory Bailey played professional baseball from 1991-2003 for five different teams: Boston Red Sox (1993-94), St. Louis Cardinals (1995-1996), San Francisco Giants (1997-1998), Kansas City Royals (2001-2002), and the Yomiuri (Japan) Giants (2003).
Jeff Keener went onto the University of Kentucky and became their number one pitcher. He then signed and played with the St. Louis Cardinals for two seasons, winning one World Series. Jeff Keener currently coaches baseball at Gen. John A. Logan High School in Southern Illinois.
All players of note would be the All-Americans that have passed through the Falcons system. Jason Colemire, Kieth Jones, Jaime Malave, Tony Ochs, Ron Wahig, and Darren Weisheit, along with Jeff Keener.
The Blue Knights have competed for top honors in the conference consistently since joining the league in 1987. Olney has produced 8 Academic NJCAA All-Americans, and 8 NJCAA All-Americans since 2000, compiling a record of 565-241 in those years (2000-present).
Olney has produced many professional affiliated players over recent years.
|Player||Year Drafted||Team||Player||Year Drafted||Team||Player||Year Drafted||Team|
|Derek Hankins||2004||Pittsburgh Pirates||Kyle Haines||2004||San Francisco Giants||Eric Everly||2004||Chicago White Sox|
|Jeff Mault||2004||Seattle Mariners||Phil Britton||2005||Atlanta Braves||Matt Hayes||2006||Baltimore Orioles|
|Ben Humphrey||2007||Tampa Bay Rays||Brady Shoemaker||2009||Chicago White Sox||Nick Graffeo||2010||Kansas City Royals|
|Jerad Eickhoff||2011||Philadelphia Phillies||Jeremy Sy||2012||San Francisco Giants||Aaron Newcomb||2012||Los Angeles Angels|
|Zack Sterling||2012||Seattle Mariners|
Clint Barmes also played for Olney Central College in 1998 and 1999 before transferring to Indiana State and has been a 10-year veteran in the Major Leagues for the Rockies, Astros, and Pirates. He made his big league debut on September 5, 2003.
The Wabash Valley Warriors are consistently the team to beat in the GRAC. This team has national recognition along with the recognition from its peers in the GRAC and Region 24. The Warriors are consistently in the hunt for the GRAC Championship and Region 24 Championship because of all the talented players that have used this system as a sling-shot to playing professional ball. Under Coach Rob Fournier,(Head Coach of Warriors since 1997) there have been 46 players drafted into the MLB, and 38 since the year 2000. The following is a list of recent players drafted.
|Player||Year Drafted||Team||Player||Year Drafted||Team||Player||Year Drafted||Team|
|Sean Smith||Pirates||2000||Bradley Haines||Marlins||2000||Will Corbin||Mariners||2000|
|Jim McMahon||Orioles||2000||Justin Pouk||Expos||2000||Jayson Berrios||Dodgers||2000|
|Tyler Kirkman||Expos||2001||Ross Wolf||Marlins||2001||Todd Dulaney||Mets||2002|
|Mark Wahl||Orioles||2002||Andy Rohleder||Marlins||2002||Kenny Pokryfke||Rangers||2002|
|Ross Wolf||Marlins||2002||Luis Sabino||Tigers||2003||Ezequiel Perez||Tigers||2003|
|Nathan Stone||Independent||2003||Juan Downing||Atlanta Braves||2003||Adam Swain||White Sox||2004|
|Ramon Downing||Diamondbacks||2004||Kyle Rapp||Dodgers||2004||Carlos Soto||Diamondbacks||2004|
|Joe Campbell||Diamondbacks||2004||Ed Roman||Diamondbacks||2004||Osvaldo Torres||Philadelphia Phillies||2005|
|Julio Rodriguez||N.Y. Mets||2005||Joe Campbell||Arizona D-Backs||2005||Justin Pouk||Cleveland Indians||2005|
|PJ Thomas||Boston Red Sox||2005||Edwin Mieles||Oakland Athletic||2005||Derrick Walker||Arizona D-Backs||2006|
|PJ Thomas||Boston Red Sox||2006||Josh Yates||Cleveland Indians||2006||Ben Norton||Kansas City Royals||2007|
|Toby Matchulat||Detroit Tigers||2007||Reece Cheatham||Chicago White Sox||2007||Axel Gonzalez||Houston Astros||2007|
|Aaron Barrett||Minnesota Twins||2008||Josh Godfrey||Arizona Diamondbacks||2008||Toby Matchulat||Chicago Cubs||2008|
Every team in the GRAC has a men's basketball team. The Wabash Valley Warriors are the only team from the GRAC to have won a NJCAA Title.
Always competitive, the John A. Logan program has won seven conference championships, four Region 24 Tournament titles, and produced three NJCAA All-Americans.
Kaskaskia College has yielded four All-Americans in Sean Stackhouse, 1997, Jeff Rogers, 1992, Darren Hill, 1991, and Vernell Brent, 1991. The team has 4 Academic All-American athletes and 8 players who went on to play professional basketball. Shaun Durant (Spain), Mike English (Austria), Ikemefuna Attah (England), Marquis Scott (Mexico), Eoin O'Brien (England), Gavin Smith (France), Darrell Flake (Iceland), Jeff Rogers (Norway). Blue Devil Basketball player Doug Junkins was the 2005 GRAC Sportsman of the Year.
The Lincoln Trail Statesmen have made two NJCAA tournament appearances: 1977 and 1994. They have also produced 3 All-Americans: Michael Gray (1997), Chris Whitney (1991), and Terry Johnson (1994)
The Southeastern Illinois Falcons have made two NJCAA Tournament appearances: Placed 7th in 2003, and 4th in 2004. They have also produced 8 All-Americans: Tim Barnes 2000-2002 Takais Brown 2004-2006 James Foster 1997-1999 Girard Moore 1995-1997 Lamar Owen 2001-2003 Bill Patterson 1965-1967 Donta Smith 2002-2004 Damian Staple 2001-2003
Southeastern Illinois is one of the premier teams in the GRAC and Region 24. They have reached the Elite 8 twice in the NJCAA tournament. They placed 7th in 2003 and then 4th in 2004. In 2000 longtime coach and athletic director Virgil Motsinger was inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame.
The Blue Storm continue to be one of the strongest programs year to year in the GRAC. They are one of the Top 40 winningest programs in NJCAA history and are coached by Jay Harrington, a NJCAA Hall of Fame inductee. Harrington's squad finished 6th at the 2004-05 tournament.
The Wabash Valley Basketball Warriors is the only team to win the NJCAA tournament. They did that in 2001 in Hutchinson, Kansas, the annual site of the NJCAA Men's basketball tournament. Two players on the championship team went on to play in the NBA; Hiram Fuller and Tony Allen.
The Warriors have had many players transfer to Division I NCAA 4-year institutions throughout the years. A few noteworthy players are Carlos Williams ('06)- UNC Charlotte, Antwon Coleman ('05)-UNC-Charlotte, Jerell Jamison ('05)-UNC-Charlotte, Tony Allen ('02)-Oklahoma State-Boston Celtics Antwain Barber ('02)-Kentucky Hiram Fuller ('01)-Fresno State-Washington Wizards Daren Tarver ('01)-George Mason Dujuan Wiley ('96)-Michigan State, William Unseld ('94)- Univ. Of South Carolina, Mitchell Dunn ('94)- U. of Miami.
Though not every school fields a team in the GRAC, golf in the GRAC is played at a high level, seen by the All-American honors garnered since the year 2000.
The John A. Logan Vols have won six of the past eight Region 24 Tournament titles and qualified for eight consecutive appearances in the NJCAA National Tournament. Never finishing lower than eighth at nationals, Logan's best showing came in 2004 when it placed second. Logan has produced the last six individual Region 24 Tournament medalists, and seven Volunteers have earned All-American honors: William Bremner (2008), Patrick Scheil (2008), Scott McGrenaghan (2007), Justin Fetcho (2005), Sean McNemar (2004), Brian Norman (2003), Spence Andrews (2001, 02).
Kaskaskia College Blue Devils have 4 Academic All-Americans and were an Academic All-American Team in 2013..
All the teams of the GRAC that field a women's softball team are very proud of what they accomplish each year. The Wabash Valley Warriors are consistently the team to be in the conference as seen by their 19 conference victories since the year 1983, and winning conference every year since the year 2000.
The John A. Logan Vols have won four conference titles and produced six NJCAA All-Americans.
The Kaskaskia College Blue Angels have produced 15 Academic All-Americans and were selected as an Academic All-American Team in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The Kaskaskia College Blue Angels have made the Final Four in 2013, 2014 and 2015 finishing in the Top 3. They had 3 players make All Tournament in 2015, 2 make All Conference and All GRAC 24, and 1 GRAC 24 Freshman of the Year in 2015.
The Rend Lake Warriors have produced two NJCAA All-Americans: Jennifer Calandrilla (1999) and Jaymie Cowell (1996).
The Wabash Valley Warriors are consistently known to be the premier team of the GRAC, and even Region 24.
The Warriors have won 19 GRAC titles: 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1997, 2000 (Co- Champs), 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
The Warriors have also won nine Region 24 titles (place): 1984, 1985 (4th), 1997 (5th), 2001 (9th), 2002 (13th), 2003 (10th), 2004 (6th), 2005 (4th), 2008 (7th).
The Warriors are led by NJCAA Softball Hall of Fame coach Paul Schnarre. Currently, Schnarre is first in active coach's wins in the NJCAA. He has guided the Lady Warriors to 17 Great River Athletic Conference championships, 9 NJCAA Region XXIV Championships, and 8 NJCAA Division I National Tournament appearances. In 2006, the Illinois Eastern Community College Administration dedicated the Softball field as the Paul Schnarre Field in honor of his accomplishments. In 2007, Schnarre was inducted into the NJCAA Softball Hall of Fame.
Every school in the GRAC fields a women's basketball team. The Southeastern Illinois Falcons are consistently the team to beat as seen by the number of All-Americans players from their team.
The John A. Logan Vols have won 16 GRAC titles and twelve Region 24 titles with their best finish in 1988 of second place. The Lady Vols have also been named NJCAA All-Americans.
The Kaskaskia Blue Devils won 2 GRAC titles, have produced 6 Academic All-Americans and 3 NJCAA All-Americans: Kierra Graves (2014, 2015), Miranda Burroughs and Leslie Dumstorff (2000).
The Southeastern Illinois Falcons have won the Region 24 title three times 1990 (place): 2006 (5th) and 2007 (4th). The Lady Falcons have also produced 9 NJCAA All-Americans: Chandra Brown (2003), Crystal DeLorch (2004), Juliana Fernandes (2005), Christy Henry (1994), Amber Holt (2006), Lesha Jones (2007), Armelie Lumanu (2008), Chanel Mokango (2008), and Sonja Thompson (1997)
John A. Logan College is consistently the team to beat in the GRAC, as seen by their winning three GRAC titles since the year 2000.
The John A. Logan Vols have won three GRAC titles: 2000, 2002, and 2008. They have won three Region 24 titles and (placed) in the NJCAA Championship: 2000 (8th), 2002 (7th), 2008. They have also produced five NJCAA All-Americans: Shannon Winkeler, Jenny Heimann, Shannon Winkeler, Megan Markwell, Amy Verseman
The Kaskaskia College Blue Angels have won one GRAC title, produced 19 Academic All-Americans and were an Academic All-American Team in 2003, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
2002 was Rend Lake's best season as a Women's Volleyball team. They went 35-17 and gained second in the GRAC.
Though not officially sponsored by the GRAC, many of the schools also field teams such as men's and women's track and field, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer, women's golf, men's and women's tennis, and many others.
The Kaskaskia College Blue Angels have produced 4 Academic All-Americans and were selected as an Academic All-American Team in 2012 and 2013.
The Kaskaskia College Blue Devils have produced 4 Academic All-Americans.
The Lady Vols have won three Region 24 Tournament titles and competed as a team in the NJCAA National Tournament seven times. Their best finish at nationals came in 2002 when they placed fourth. Logan has had five individual Region 24 Tournament medalists, three NJCAA All-Americans, and one honorable mention All-American selection.
The Kaskaskia College Blue Angels have produced 8 Academic All-Americans and were an Academic All-American Team in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2014. The Blue Angels were the Academic All American Team of the Year in 2008.
The Kaskaskia College Blue Angels have 1 NJCAA All-American - Miranda Burroughs, 14 Academic All-Americans and were an Academic All-American Team in 2012.
The Kaskaskia College Blue Devils have produced 3 Academic All-Americans and were selected as an Academic All-American Team in 2013..
The Kaskaskia College Blue Angels have produced 2 Academic All-Americans and were selected as an Academic All-American Team in 2012.