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By Russell Houghtaling | Posted at 9:52 am on Friday, June 26, 2009

In the No. 8 slot of our Top-10 Moments of 2008-09 Coutndown, the first home Northern Illinois track & field meet in nearly three decades, held at the new NIU Track & Field and Soccer Complex.

Since program reinstatement in 2000, the Huskie track & field team has been a bit of a vagabond (only better smelling). Without a true home to practice and host meets at, the team bounced from location to location, practicing a the local high school, inside the Convocation Center, and outside the Convocation Center... in the parking lot.

That era officially came to an end, May 9, 2009, when Northern Illinois hosted Augustana in the first track & field meet held on the NIU campus since 1982. The Huskies won all but five events, with junior Brittany Houghton scoring two individual golds, and helping two NIU relay teams to first-place finishes.

But the day will be rembered more for ribbon-cutting than running, as the team turned a corner into a new era. Even practicing on the new surface yielded immediate benefits, as Huskies set or tied seven school records during the 2009 outdoor season.

With a home to call their own, the Huskies should continue that upward trend.

You can check out the GameDay Blog from the event, this photo gallery, as well as the post-meet story, and this feature on the opening in the DeKalb Daily Chronicle.

Also, here are some photo galleries from the construction of the new facility: May 22, June 24, August 22.


By Zach Peters | Posted at 3:19 pm on Thursday, June 25, 2009

As we continue our countdown of the top-10 moments of the 2008-09 athletic season, day two brings us to the ninth moment.

At No. 9, we have Meagan Schoenrock (Sylvania, Ohio/Northview) of the women's volleyball program recording her 1,000th career kill midway through her junior season.

<A HREF=Meagan Schoenrock became the 16th Huskie to reach 1,000 kills." width="450" height="679" />

On September 25th, 2008, the Huskies opened Mid-American Conference play with a match in Kalamazoo, Mich. against preseason favorite Western Michigan, who would go on to finish first in the MAC regular season, second at the MAC Tournament, and received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. 

At the time the Huskies had won six of their last seven matches and Schoenrock was averaging 5.04 kills/set, which was first in the MAC and second in the nation.  She needed just five kills to reach 1,000 and true to her average she got it in the first set with NIU trailing 20-12.

Despite the outstanding achievement, the Huskies fell to the Broncos in the opener 25-17, 25-15, 25-21 and NIU head coach Ray Gooden summed up the moment and Schoenrock's competitiveness with this quote after the match: "It's a great individual accolade for Meagan.  I can safely say that she would trade that in for a team victory tonight."

By reaching the 1,000 kill mark, she became the 16th Huskie to do so and the third to do it under Gooden.  She finished the season with 507 kills to give her 1,265 for her career, which ranks 10th all-time at NIU.  If she has a similar season as she did last year, she can pass Amber Howard (1,484) for the third spot behind Tera Lobdell (1,907) and Kate McCullagh (1,936), who both also reached the plateau under Gooden.   

With her monster 2008 season, Schoenrock earned first team All-MAC and Academic All-MAC honors.  With her two second team All-MAC selections, she is the fourth players in program history to earn All-MAC honors three times.  She also was named to three All-Tournament teams.  She finished 16th in the nation with 4.33 kills/set.  She set career-highs with 507 kills, 118 digs, 543 points and hit .232. She had six matches with 20 or more kills, including a career-best 29 against Western Michigan on Oct. 30. She was a National Top Performer for the week of Sept. 8 as NIU went 5-0 and she registered 81 kills and hit .404.

Re-live the moment by checking out's archived recap.


By Joe Summins | Posted at 1:50 pm on Thursday, June 25, 2009

Former Huskie kicker Chris Nendick is kicking for the Chicago Slaughter of the Continental Indoor Football League. The Daily Herald caught up with Nendick this week as the Slaughter prepare to play the Fort Wayne Freedom for the CIFL Championship Saturday.


By Joe Summins | Posted at 1:33 pm on Thursday, June 25, 2009

John Sahly of The Daily Chronicle stuck around for a little while after football's volunteer workouts last night to take some time to talk with Chandler Harnish. The Huskie QB shared his thoughts on everything from summer workouts to summer grilling in Sahly's Q&A with NIU's grill master. 


By Joe Summins | Posted at 10:20 am on Thursday, June 25, 2009

The 2009 NIU Football game times were released today and features six televised contests, including a home game with Akron on Halloween. Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m. and will be part of the MAC's 2009 ESPN Plus syndicated broadcast schedule. It's the first meeting between the two since the 2005 MAC Championship game. The home opener against Western Illinois will take place under the lights and begin at 6:30 p.m.


By Joe Summins | Posted at 10:02 am on Thursday, June 25, 2009

John Sahly of The Daily Chronicle stopped by Huskie Stadium Wednesday night to take in some of the football team's voluntary workouts. He talked with a few of the players afterwards and got their impressions of the new FieldTurf that was installed during the spring.


By Brett McWethy | Posted at 1:32 pm on Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Let the countdown begin.  As was teased on Huskie Happenings yesterday, we are counting down the top-10 moments of the 2008-09 athletic season. 

At No. 10, we've collaborated the men's and women's basketball team's respective regula r-season wins over Akron and Ball State, the eventual Mid-American Conference Tournament champions.  Both wins took place within the confines of the Convocation Center.

The first win came on Jan. 21, when the women's team outlasted then first place Ball State.  The victory snapped a 10-game losing streak against the Cardinals, vaulted the Huskies into a share of first-place in the MAC-West, and capped off a three-game winning homestand at the Convocation Center.  

The Huskies (9-9, 4-1) entered the second half trailing 36-35. Both teams exchanged baskets in the opening minutes of the second period until NIU built a 42-38 lead with 15:53 left to play. Ball State countered with a 5-0 run to take a 43-42 lead with 14:48 left to play. But it would be their last lead of the game.  Northern Illinois erupted with an 11-2 run to jump out to a commanding 53-45 lead with 11:14 left in the game.

The bench played a major factor for NIU, outscoring Ball State's reserves, 27-4; and the Huskies shot a season-high 51.8 percent from the field, going 29-for-56, including 7-for-13 from three-point territory.

Coach Owens' comments revisited after the win: "Jessie (Wilcox) and Marke (Freeman) came up big for us," Owens said. "They were huge in this game. They [Ball State] didn't have an answer for Marke, and Jessie did a great job of scoring and coming up with key rebounds and stops down the stretch."

All the ladies in the house say YEEEAAAHHH!  Now let's move onto the NIU men's team's decisive win over Akron, who nearly shocked Gonzaga in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

Darion "Jake" Anderson recorded his then fourth-career double-double, pouring in a game-high 24 points to go along with a season-high 10 rebounds, and lifted Northern Illinois to a wire-to-wire 83-79 win over visiting Akron in a Sunday matinee at the Convocation Center on Feb. 15.

The Huskies also stepped up the defensive effort, swiping a Convocation Center record 14 steals in the win, including four from Anderson and three steals by freshman Mike DiNunno.  The win snapped a six-game losing skid for the Huskies, and ended the Zips' seven-game winning streak. Sophomore center Sean Kowal, senior Sean Smith and freshman Tyler Storm all scored 13 points to join Anderson in double-figures.

NIU jumped out to a 12-2 lead out of the gate, capitalizing on Akron's 0-for-8 start from the field. The Huskies eventually built their largest lead of 19 points (42-23) with 2:32 remaining in the opening stanza. But the Zips went on a 9-4 spree to end the half, and NIU took a 46-34 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The second-half was one of nail-biting runs, and a dramatic finish that pleased the student section with free tickets to the Ludacris/T.I. concert at the Convocation Center.  The promotion required the Huskies to score 78 or more points for the free ticket give-away.  NIU entered the game have scored more than 75 points just four times on the season, and averaging just 65.3 points per game.  

Said Anderson after the game: "I think [the concert ticket giveaway if NIU scored 78 points and won the game], that was a great idea. It makes us want to play better. Anything for the students that will get them to the game is great."

Re-live the game in the DeKalb Daily Chronicle's ARCHIVED STORY.


Top Gun volleyball scene

The only people missing from this tournament were Maverick and Goose.

Overview of the Triples Tournament

An overview of the 2009 NIU Volleyball Summer Grass Triples Tournament.

Coach Gooden skying for an attack!

NIU head coach Ray Gooden skies for an attack!

By Zach Peters | Posted at 11:49 am on Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The NIU women's volleyball team hosted its first annual Summer Grass Triples Tournament this past Saturday composed of 40 men's and women's teams.   After a week of rain the weather held and on the bright, sunny day two teams featuring Northern graduates ended the event as champions. 

Former Huskie and current assistant coach Coley Pawlikowski helped her team to the Championship for the women's division.   They bested the field of 16 squads featuring many former Huskie players among other former collegiate athletes. 

On the men's side, a team of four former NIU men's volleyball club players, captained by Tony Jachera, prevailed in the finals.   Huskie head coach Ray Gooden's team finished in third place.  Additionally, assistant coach Dan Pawlikowski's squad also lost in the semifinals match to the eventual champions.  Many current NIU men's club players also participated among the 24 teams.

The NIU volleyball program would like to thank all who participated, and give congrats to the winners!


By Russell Houghtaling | Posted at 11:08 am on Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It's no secret that Larry English's mother, Susan, has been the driving force in his life. This San Diego Union Tribune article goes in-depth on the impact Susan had. Take a coffee break and read this story.


By Russell Houghtaling | Posted at 9:33 am on Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The amount of football preseason polls is a little daunting, so I decided to make a little cheat sheet for the prognosticators picks on NIU. We've featured most of these on HH previously, but I figure it's good to have all the info in one place. Let me know if I missed anything.

• - 4th in the MAC West

• - No ranking, but had an in-depth preview.

• - 92nd Nationally (c'mon!)

• The Quad (NY Times blog) - 80th Nationally (a little better)

• - 77th Nationally (best so far)

• Phil Steele's 2009 College Football Preview - 4th in the MAC West (sorry, no link. It's an old-fashioned paper magazine)

All these rankings just having me feeling like the Black Eyed Peas, questioning, questioning 'Where is the love?' We did finish 6-7 and go to a bowl game under a first-year head coach. What do you think? Are people selling the Huskies short?


By Russell Houghtaling | Posted at 9:25 am on Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My bloggin' brother J-Sahly has turned into this guy, putting up a different countdown every day on his blog the Huskie Wire. In case you missed Tuesday's edition, here it is: Ranking the MAC Out-of-Conference Football Games. He's got our games at No. 47, 42, 16 and five. You'll have to check the story to find which game is which, and which MAC OOC game is Numero Uno.


By Russell Houghtaling | Posted at 9:10 am on Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Salt Lake Tribune had this little mini-story on Paul Dawkins, one of the great players in Northern Illinois basketball history. Dawkins is the fourth best scorer in Huskie lore with 1,749 career points. In addition to his 17.3 points per game, Dawkins averaged 7.7 boards per contest. Oh, and he was a 1978-79 All-American. Good to see a writer, in this case Steve Luhm, recognize some terrific history.


By Russell Houghtaling | Posted at 9:45 am on Tuesday, June 23, 2009

We ate up 2008-09 Huskie Athletics. Now we've got the season digested, and we're ready to start the Huskie Happenings 2008-09 Top Moments Countdown. We spent a lot of time trying to define a "Moment" for this list, and ultimately decided that anything that really stuck out in our minds from the past year counts, from a single second, to an entire game.

Today we're hitting the honorable mention list. These were things that we just couldn't justify putting in the top-10. Here's what didn't quite make it, in no particular order.

- Men's tennis comes back from a 3-0 deficit to beat Ball State 4-3, defeating the Cardinals for the first time in the regular season 1974.

- Mike DiNunno cashes in a half-court three-pointer to send the Kent State men's hoops game into double-overtime.

- Craig Rusch picks up a Kent State fumble and rumbles 60 yards for a touchdown, giving the Huskies a 28-7 lead.

- This.

- Mike Salerno wins the Bowling Green game with a 30-yard field goal with 12 seconds on the clock.

- Center fielder Pat Minogue hits an inside the park grand slam, lifting the Huskies to a 12-5 win over Toledo.

- Jennifer Naughton scores a 9.9 on the beam, which was the highest score in the country at the time.

- Women's soccer ties 2008 national runner-up Notre Dame and Northwestern at Soldier Field exhibition to raise awareness for breast cancer.

- Tied 10-10 in the fifth set, volleyball makes a 5-1 rally to beat Kent State in the first round of the MAC Tournament.

- Northern Illinois football scores 24 points in 16 minutes to send the Central Michigan game to overtime.

- Senior women's basketball player Jessie Wilcox becomes the 24th player to reach 1,000 points.

- Former NIU wrestler T.C. Dantzler makes the Olympic Team, becoming only the second Huskie to ever do so.

- Women's basketball wins back-to-back overtime games at the Convocation Center.

- Nate Palmer catches a 91-yard touchdown pass from Chandler Harnish against Minnesota, the fifth-longest play in NIU history.

- Jordin Hood blasts two home runs at Road Ranger Stadium in Rockford, Ill. against Milwaukee.

- Josh Allen breaks up the potential game-wnning fourth-down touchdown pass, allowing the Huskies to hold on for a 17-13 win over Miami.

The countdown officially begins tomorrow, with No. 10. Check back to find out what made the list!


Posted at 9:45 am on Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fifteen more days before head women's basketball coach Carol Owens reports to Colorado Springs for the FIBA World Championship practice!  In her third blog entry of the spring/summer, Owens enlightens Huskie fans on her summer braids, NIU's incoming freshmen, and assistant coach Heather Oesterle's "competitive streak" in touch football of all sports ... that's my job, to tease.  Now read the entire blog HERE!

Carol Owens blogs about her preparation for the FIBA World Championships on Huskie Happenings!


Posted at 9:45 am on Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In case you missed it, the Aurora Beacon News had a great feature story on Jerry Rich, owner of Rich Harvest Farms, the home of Huskie Golf and site of the 2009 Solheim Cup.  Did or didn't Jerry invent the bar code?!?


Posted at 9:45 am on Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In the return game from last season's ESPNU BracketBusters contest in Cape Girardeau, Mo., Southeast Missouri State will visit the NIU Convocation Center on Nov. 22, 2009.  The Huskies recorded their largest margin of victory over host SEMO last season (Feb. 21), securing a 97-73 win behind Sean Kowal's 21 points and 13 rebounds.  Stay tuned to and Huskie Happenings as the release of the 2009-10 men's and women's basketball schedules draw closer!  


Posted at 9:45 am on Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tim McMurray, Northern Illinois' Senior Associate Athletics Director for Development, will serve as President of the National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD) in 2009-10, the organization announced at its annual meetings in Orlando. McMurray, who served as NAADD's first vice-president in 2008-09, will lead the association through next year's national meeting.  CONGRATS TIM!

Event Calendar
Women's Track
Friday, Jul 1 vs Jamaican Olympic Trials

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