Alumni

Austin O'Connor '17 Leads Five Tar Heels in Preseason FLO Rankings

From GoHeels.com:

Posted On: September 24, 2019

CHAPEL HILL --- All-AmericanAustin O'Connor is FloWrestling's top-ranked wrestler at 149 pounds, leading the Carolina contingent in the outlet's preseason NCAA rankings. He is joined by redshirt freshmanJoey Melendez(125), redshirt sophomoreZach Sherman(141), redshirt juniorJosh McClure(165) and redshirt juniorDevin Kane(174).

O'Connor looks to be Carolina's first national champion since T.J. Jaworsky stood atop the podium in 1995. Last season O'Connor posted a 34-6 record, finishing third at NCAAs, the highest finish ever by a UNC freshman.

Melendez, ranked No. 22 at 125, enters the first rankings of his collegiate career following a redshirt year in which he finished 20-5. The former Montini Catholic standout broke onto the scene winning both the Pembroke Open and the Franklin and Marshall Open, as well as posting four wins at the Midlands Championships. There, his performance was highlighted by a pin of Ohio State's Malik Heinselman in 46 seconds.

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St. Rita High School Appoints Roshawn Russell '08 as Head Basketball Coach

Chicago – Fr. Paul Galetto, O.S.A., Ph.D., St. Rita of Cascia High School's Head of School and Chief Executive Officer, has appointed current St. Rita Athletic Director, Roshawn Russell, M.B.M., a 2008 St. Rita alumnus, as Head Basketball Coach of the 114-year-old institution. Russell will also retain his position as Athletic Director. Russell will succeed Coach Gary DeCesare, who coached the Mustangs for ten years with an 182-110 overall record. Russell spoke highly of his time working with DeCesare. "He took our basketball program to new heights. We wouldn't be where we are today without him," Russell said.

Roshawn Russell ‘08, St. Rita Head Basketball Coach

Roshawn Russell ‘08, St. Rita Head Basketball Coach

Prior to becoming Athletic Director in July 2018, Russell served as an Assistant Admissions Director at St. Rita. Russell has extensive basketball coaching experience, including serving as the Assistant Men's Basketball Coach at Fontbonne University. Additionally, Russell enjoyed a very successful playing career on the hardwood. He finished his career with the North Park University Vikings ranked number one for career and season all-time free-throw-shooting percentage. He shot a career-best 88 percent from the line and a record 90 percent during his freshman year. He also ranks tenth all-time in total assists at North Park and scored 939 points over his four-year playing career. Russell is ranked seventh all-time at North Park for career three-point field goals, and ranks eighth all-time in career three-point percentage with 38.5%. Russell graduated from North Park University with a BA in Physical Education, and holds a Masters in Business Management from Fontbonne University. Coach Russell has served as St. Rita's Head Sophomore Basketball coach since September 2015, and has led the sophomore Mustangs to two 20+ win seasons and two Chicago Catholic League titles.

Russell attended St. Rita where he enjoyed a stellar prep career. He was a four-year starter for the basketball team and earned All-Chicago Catholic League Second Team honors as a junior and First Team as a senior, as well as All-Area honors from the Southtown Star. He was voted the team MVP his senior year and earned All-Tournament honors at the McGovern Classic. He averaged 18.7 points, 4.1 assists and 2.1 steals in leading the team to an 18-11 record his senior year. Russell also played in the Catholic League All-Star Game in the spring of 2008.

When asked about Russell, Fr. Galetto said, "St. Rita is in a strong position. We have premiere facilities and a great family atmosphere, which Coach Russell understands. His positive and competitive attitude, combined with his basketball knowledge is a winning combination. I'm excited to see his dynamic coaching style on the varsity level."

Russell is equally excited to step into this role, stating, "I've worked very hard to get to this point in my career, and I understand what it takes to succeed. I've been very fortunate to learn from some of the best coaches at every level. St. Rita and its basketball program had a tremendous impact on my life, and I am honored to be able to carry the tradition forward. This is the opportunity of a lifetime."

About St. Rita High School

St. Rita High School is a college-preparatory, Augustinian Catholic high school located on a beautiful 37-acre campus at 7740 S. Western Avenue on Chicago's south side. The all-boys St. Rita has a 114-year old tradition and legacy, is over 24,000 alumni strong and offers 15 athletic teams competing in the Chicago Catholic League and 32 clubs and activities.

Ritaman Austin O'Connor '17 named All-American for North Carolina!

Ritaman Austin O'Connor '17 named All-American for North Carolina!

Congratulations to Austin O’Connor, Class of 2017, on taking 3rd place overall at this year’s NCAA Wrestling Championship and being named an All-American, St. Rita’s first in school history! Read more below!

https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/daily-southtown/sports/ct-sta-spt-pat-disabato-column-st-0331-story.html

Matthews Stars for Michigan in Run to Title Game

By Tim O'Brien, The Beverly Review

Earning a three-seed in the west region of the NCAA tournament, the University of Michigan men’s basketball team was rolling.

The Wolverines had won via buzzer-beaters and blowouts, advancing all the way to the national championship game.

Photo courtesy of University of Michigan

Photo courtesy of University of Michigan

Then, it all came crashing down on April 2 in San Antonio; Michigan fell to top-seeded Villanova 79-62.

However, despite the obvious disappointment, St. Rita grad Charles Matthews just tried to take it all in.

“Playing in the national championship game, that’s a great learning experience,” Matthews said. “You learn a lot playing on that stage. You’re playing at the highest level of college basketball. We learned from it, and we hope to get there again next year.”

2nd Annual St. Rita Night At Sox Game Becomes New Tradition

St. Rita and the Chicago White Sox—two legendary south side institutions with intertwining histories. Both were founded in the first years of the 20th century. The White Sox were founded in 1901 and St. Rita started in 1905. Many students from the 63rd Street Campus fondly recall the Opening Day walk-a-thons from 63rd and Claremont to Comiskey Park at 35th and Shields. The walk-a-thon partnership was so strong that the White Sox granted tickets to St. Rita for the Opening Day of the New Comiskey Park in 1991, when the walk-a-thon originated at the new 77th Street Campus. St. Rita Hall of Fame member Ed Farmer ’67 was a standout pitcher for the Sox and is currently the Sox radio announcer. The histories almost seem more than coincidental. For instance, did you know that the last weekend of games for Comiskey Park in 1990 was also the last weekend that St. Rita Stadium at the 63rd Street Campus hosted a St. Rita Football game? Fr. Bernard Danber, O.S.A. ‘68 who was St. Rita principal at the time, remembers WGN-TV covering the significance of the simultaneous end of the line for the two iconic stadiums. Also, not-so-coincidentally, Fr. Danber is the White Sox chaplain. The Sox and St. Rita even have similar lines in their fight songs, with the Sox using "Go Go White Sox!", and of course, all Mustang fans know the line "Go Rita Go!"

Nick Schultz, Kevin O’Hara, Ryan Caulfield, and JP Hernandez perform the National Anthem before the Sox Game on Monday, April 23, 2018

Ernie Mrozek ‘71 Throws out first pitch

It just seemed right to revive and strengthen the St. Rita/White Sox partnership in 2017 with a St. Rita Night at the Sox game. That tradition continued this year with the second annual St. Rita Night at Guaranteed Rate Field for the Sox vs. Mariners game on Monday, April 23. The first 750 Fans purchasing tickets through a special link provided by the White Sox were given free co-branded St. Rita/White Sox Hats. Also, a portion of the proceeds was donated by the White Sox to St. Rita.

Before the game, the St. Rita Jazz Band, under the direction of KC Perlberg played the National Anthem and our very own Chairman of the Board Ernie Mrozek ’71 threw out the first pitch. The Sox even played a St. Rita video on the scoreboard video screen for the entire crowd to see. Needless to say, the Sox did not disappoint the St. Rita faithful, securing a 10-4 victory with hot bats on a chilly night over the Mariners.