2016 will be go down in the history books as the year the Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time since 1908. I am a White Sox fan, however, I was happy for my long suffering friends and family who are Cub fans.

Here is my top ten NUIC sports stories for 2016.

1. Forreston Football: The team went 14-0 on its way to a 1A State championship. It's the second title in three years for the Cardinals and coach Denny Diduch.

2. Dakota Wrestling: The team won its fourth straight 1A State championship for Dakota/Orangeville co-op coach Pete Alber. The trio of Greg Krulas, Nate Olsen and Alec Henze also won their second straight individual State titles and a team title all four years.

3. Eastland Volleyball: The team was runner-up for a State title under new coach Mallory Clements.

4. Ric Arand: Lena-Winslow long time football coach Ric Arand was chosen to be inducted into the Illinois Coaching Hall of Fame. Arand led the Panthers to a pair of State championships.

5. Andrew Wenger: The senior wrestler at Dakota won the elite Dvorak 170 pound championship on Dec. 23. He was a State runner-up at the 1A State individual. Wenger also was an all-state linebacker in football and all-conference first team as a running back and linebacker.

6. Rebecca Waite: The Milledgeville athlete finished second in the 100 meters and fourth in the 200 at the State finals.

7. Carmen DeVries: The Lena-Winslow track star finished third in the 400 meters and sixth in the long jump in the State track meet.

8. Freeport Aquin Baseball: The team lost 3-2 in the Super Sectional.

9. Pearl City Softball: The team lost in the Super Sectional.

10. Galena Basketball: The team lost in the Super Sectional with all-state player Katie Furlong who also was a volleyball standout.

Also this year: Former standout NUIC athletes are in the midst of excellent college seasons.

Sophie Brunner who was a state championship in basketball at Aquin is a junior forward on 14th ranked Arizona State. Brunner, was named ESPN women basketball player of the week.

Josh Alber and Brett Benning are college sophomores from Dakota. Alber, is a four time State wrestling champion and the state's only unbeaten wrestler in history. He is 8-2 on the season for Northern Iowa heading into a New Years tournament.

Benning has played a key role off the bench for Augustana College basketball team who is 8-3 going into their next game New Year's Eve.

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