The Parkland College Blog

"Musical Comedy Murders of 1940" Opens at Theatre Nov. 8

Comedy about murders, secret identities, and the Golden Age of Broadway

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"The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940," written by John Bishop, comes to the Harold and Jean Miner Theatre November 8–18.
When their latest Broadway musical closes after the murder of three chorus girls, the writers and stars escape to Westchester to work on their next hit. Unfortunately, the murderer has followed them upstate! A comedy about murders, secret identities, and the Golden Age of Broadway, "The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940" is a modern classic in the vein of Clue and Murder by Death.
Mathew Green directs a cast of campus, alumni, and community players including Karen Hughes, Chelsea Collier, Wesley Bennett, Jace Jamison, Monty Joyce, Mallory Sellers, Quinton Ohlsson, Jenny Gleason, Ed Pierce, Mindy Smith, and Parker Evans. The show includes lighting design by Stuart Wilson, scenic design by Molly Ilten-Fullan, sound design by Dominick Rosales, props design by Yen Vi Green, and costume design by Sheri Doyle.
Performances will be Nov. 8, 9, 10, 16, 17 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 11 and 18 at 3 p.m. The Nov. 8 performance includes a talkback immediately following show, where the director and cast and crew members discuss the show and answer audience questions.
Tickets are $15 for adult, $13 for student/senior, $9 for youth and $11 for groups of 20 or more. Opening night is half-price night. To make reservations, visit or call the show hotline at 217/351-2528. 

Cobras Win 23rd Straight Conference Crown

Women's Volleyball sweeps trio of conference matches

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The second-ranked Parkland Volleyball team clinched its 23rd consecutive Mid-West Athletic Conference Championship Saturday with a sweep of No. 16 Lincoln Land, and then added two more sweeps with wins against Lewis & Clark and John Wood. The three wins move the Cobras' overall record to 41-2 on the season.
Having won each M-WAC title since the conference's inception in 1996, the Cobras have won the conference title outright in every year except 2003. In 2003, Parkland shared the crown with John Wood. The 6-0 record against conference foes this season marks the 15th straight undefeated regular season against M-WAC opponents.
On Wednesday night, the Cobras clinched the top seed for the Region 24 tournament with a win at Illinois Central. The Cobras will host the regional semifinal on Wednesday, Oct. 31.
In the three straight-set victories on Saturday, the Cobras hit an impressive .419 on the afternoon while also posting 33 blocks combined on the three conference rivals. Individually, freshman setter Rachel Verdun tallied two double-doubles, giving her 14 on the season, outside hitter Amanda Greening knocked down 28 kills and middle blocker Dakota Harmon led the team with 13 blocks.
No. 2 Parkland 3, No. 16 Lincoln Land 0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-21) -- Box Score 

In their conference-title-clinching victory beginning the day, the Cobras were dominant in both its attack game (.324 hitting percentage) and defensive efforts (14 blocks). Offensively, the Cobras hit .324 as Verdun kept the Loggers guessing with five Cobras recording five or more kills. Opposite side hitter Katelyn Riffle led the team with nine, while middle blockers Shelby Nunamker and Harmon added eight and seven, respectively.
In addition to her seven kills, Harmon also led Parkland's block with seven stuffs, while Nunamker and Riffle each added in five more. Freshman libero Brooke Norder held down the back line with 22 digs, while Maggie Sorensen (12), Ryleigh Warfel (14), and Verdun (10) also reached double figures.
No. 2 Parkland 3, Lewis & Clark 0 (25-12, 25-13, 25-16) -- Box Score 
Parkland again overmatched its second opponent of the day, winning by at least nine points in all three sets against Lewis & Clark. After a seven-kill and serve-block performance in the morning victory, Harmon was again featured in the win over the Trailblazers with 10 errorless kills, tied with Gabby Wessels for the team lead, and six blocks to lead the team. Verdun recorded her second double-double of the day with 40 assists and 11 digs to go along with five kills.
No. 2 Parkland 3, John Wood 0 (25-14, 25-8, 25-8) -- Box Score
The Cobras wasted no time dispatching John Wood in their final match of the day, outscoring the Blazers by a total of 75-40. Orchestrated by setter Ashley King's 36 assists, the Cobras hit .515 in the match. Greening led the efficient attack with 22 swings, converting 17 of the attempts for a kill on a .727 hitting percentage. The 17 kills set a new season high for the freshman. On the opposite side, Abby Burnett added in eight kills, while Nunamker and Sidney Heck each recorded six kills.
Holding its opponent to single digits in two of the three sets, the Cobras defense recorded 11 team blocks, highlighted by middle blocker Hannah Benson's seven stuffs and 17 digs by Ellie Stone.
Up next, Parkland Volleyball will wrap up the away portion of its regular season schedule next weekend, Oct. 19–20, back in Springfield at the Lincoln Land Tournament. The Cobras will face Waubonsee (Ill.) and Kansas City (Kan.) on Friday before battling Neosho County (Kan.) and No. 8 Grand Rapids (Mich.) on Saturday.

[Article by Chad Beyler]

Staerkel Planetarium to Host "Dark November" Events

Dark Matter topic for show premiere, science talks

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The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College will celebrate "Dark November" with three events on the topic of Dark Matter.
Kaler Science Talk
First, University of Illinois astronomer Jeff Filippini will give a talk titled "The Dark Universe" as part of the James B. Kaler Science Lecture Series. His presentation will be Friday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. Admission is $2 at the door, with free admission for Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium.
Over the past several decades, astronomers have been driven to a remarkable conclusion: The objects seen through telescopes form only the tiniest portion of the stuff of this Universe. The vast majority of the Universe is in unseen forms, different from anything known from the laboratory. Galaxies and galaxy clusters are held together by the gravitational pull of invisible clouds of Dark Matter, while a mysterious force called "Dark Energy" drives the Universe to expand ever faster. Dr. Filippini will take the audience on a tour of this invisible universe, from the evidence for its presence to the ongoing search to understand its nature.
Filippini is an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He completed his undergraduate degree at Harvard University and his PhD at University of California, Berkeley, where he searched for Dark Matter using advanced detectors located deep underground. After a postdoctoral position at California Institute of Technology, he arrived at UIUC in 2015. His research probes the history and workings of our cosmos using sensitive cryogenic detectors deployed at the South Pole and aboard stratospheric balloons.
Show Premiere
The Staerkel Planetarium opens a new fall show on Dark Matter called "Phantom of the Universe: The Hunt for Dark Matter" at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2. The show will run Friday and Saturday nights until the Thanksgiving weekend, when it will be replaced by "Season of Light."
From the journey of protons racing through the world's largest particle collider in Europe to up-close views of the Big Bang and emergent universe and the nearly mile-deep descent to an underground experiment in South Dakota, this planetarium show is designed to immerse audiences in the search for this elusive material. The hunt is on! Narrated by Tilda Swinton.
"Phantom of the Universe" tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for students, seniors and children under 12, with free admission for Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium.
UIUC scientist Dr. Lauren Pearce will give a talk entitled "Dark Matter: Why Do We Think It's Out There?" Thursday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. Her talk, part of the monthly Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society meeting at the Staerkel Planetarium, is free of charge.
For centuries, astronomers have used their telescopes to study the wonders of the universe: planets, stars, galaxies, etc. In the last century, however, astronomers have started studying something they can’t see in their telescopes: Dark Matter. Pearce will examine the lines of evidence that have convinced astronomers Dark Matter is in fact out there. Audience members will even discover a little about its properties and, time permitting, will discuss some ideas about what it could be.
Pearce is a post-doctoral researcher and Fortner Fellow at the UIUC. She is a theoretical cosmologist whose work incorporates particle physics. Her current research focuses include connecting Higgs physics to the generation of the Universe’s matter/antimatter asymmetry and using the cosmic microwave background radiation to constrain interactions between the hypothesized inflation and other fundamental particles. Previously, she has worked on self-interacting Dark Matter models. A native of western Pennsylvania, she completed her PhD at UCLA and was previously a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota. 

A calendar of shows and presentations is available at the planetarium website.

Softball Recognized By NFCA for Academic Achievement

Ten Cobras receive individual honors

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The 2017-18 Parkland softball team was recognized for its academic excellence on Monday, Oct. 3, as the National Fastpitch Coaches Association named its top teams and individuals for the previous academic year.

The Cobras finished 11th among two-year colleges with a combined GPA of 3.47, while 10 players garnered individual Easton/ NFCA Scholar-Athlete honors. 

The 10 players that led the Cobras to the team honor were NFCA Scholar-Athlete honorees Brigette BeltLauren BlockMadyson ButkauskasKirbie MendenhallMorgan Parrish, Makalya Reedy, Breanna Riemenschneider, Lauren SpelichTori Witruk and Shelby Youngblood. Butkauskas and Spelich each finished the 2017-18 year with an unblemished 4.0 GPA. 

In order to be eligible for the individual honor, players had to maintain a 3.50 GPA or higher during the academic school year. In total, 6.280 athletes received the honor, 553 from two-year colleges. Among Region 24 teams, Parkland was the only team to earn the honor.

Complete List of Honorees | Academic Teams

[Article by Chad Beyler]

Cobras Clinch Share of M-WAC Title, Shutout Lincoln Land

Cobras defeat Loggers, 2-0

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The Parkland men's soccer team clinched a share of the 2018 Mid-West Athletic Conference title with a 2-0 shutout of Lincoln Land on Oct. 2.

Owning a 3-1 conference record, Francisco Andrade's first half game-winner insured the Cobras of its fourth straight M-WAC regular season championship, fifth in the last six seasons.

The program's seventh M-WAC Championship, it's the Cobras' sixth under head coach Mark Sikora. Having completed their four conference matches of the season, the Cobras will await the outcomes of the remaining conference matches to see if they will win the title outright.

An evenly matched first half saw a combined seven shots on goal between the two squads, four by the Loggers and three from the Cobras. In the 35thminute, Parkland broke through when freshman Yu Sasaki connected with Andrade to break the scoreless tie. For Andrade it was his second goal of the season, while the assist by Sasaki tied him for the team lead (10) that also ranks third nationally.

"We had to grind out a difficult first half due to a much improved Lincoln Land team, and 20 mile-per-hour winds in our face," Sikora said. "Lorenzo Giaretti kept us in the match with some great saves throughout the first half. We were able to break through a tough defense with Francisco [Andrade], but the rest of the half was pretty even."

Starting the second half with a 1-0 lead, Parkland was able to control the possession game for the final 45 minutes. Only allowing Lincoln Land one shot on goal, the Cobras were able to add an insurance goal on one of their five second-half shots. Scoring his first goal of the season, freshman center Tyler Arias found the back of the net in the 58th minute.

"[The] second half we were able to control the match and make chances," Sikora explained. "We got very good shifts from Tyler Arias, who also scored a penalty, and Colby Woolcott who brought great energy to the team. Not our best performance overall, but it was enough to move forward."

Saving each of the five shots put on frame against him, Parkland goalie Lorenzo Giaretti earned his fifth shutout of the season. Giaretti and the Cobras also fended off four Lincoln Land corner kicks.

Up next, the Cobras will be back in action on Monday, Oct. 8, as they travel to face the University of Indianapolis Reserves. The match is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Central Time.

[Article by Chad Beyler]