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Parkland College Athletic Hall of Fame Ceremony, Feb. 17
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Parkland College Athletic Hall of Fame Ceremony, Feb. 17

Hall of Fame will now have 110 inductees.

Parkland College will induct new members into two classes of its Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday, Feb. 17 in the Donald C. Dodds Jr. Athletic Center. The ceremony will take place during halftime of the 3 p.m. Cobras Men's Basketball game.

Dating back to the inaugural class of 2007, the Parkland Hall of Fame will now have 110 inductees who range from players and teams to coaches and administrators. This is the 16th and 17th Hall of Fame classes chosen since the inaugural induction ceremony held in 2008.

To see the full list of Hall of Famers, visit the Parkland Athletics website.

Class of 2023

2014-2015 Women’s Basketball Team
The 2014-2015 Parkland College Women’s Basketball team set the program record for wins and winning percentage with a 35-2 record as the Cobras achieved a program-best second place finish at the NJCAA Division II National Championship. The Cobras won the M-WAC Conference Championship for the seventh consecutive season, and the NJCAA Region 24 Title for the second time in as many years for Head Coach Mike Lindemann. Assisted by Jeff Turner, Dave Ellars, and Bill Dobrik, Lindemann’s squad went 14-0 at home and 10-0 in conference play in 2014-2015, losing only its first game of the season and final game of the season in the NJCAA DII National Championship Game. The Cobras boasted two NJCAA First Team All-Americans, Laura Litchfield and 2014-2015 NJCAA Division II National Player of the Year Hannah Wascher, and Lindemann was named the NJCAA National Coach of the Year.

 

Dana Dunson, Basketball (1980–1981)
Dana Dunson played Cobras Women’s Basketball from 1980 to 1981, earning NJCAA DII All-American Honorable Mention recognition following the 1981 season. She was named MVP of the three different tournaments in which Parkland appeared in that season, leading the team in scoring, rebounding, and assists. The Cobras upset No. 1 Kankakee Community College, the program’s first win over a top-ranked team.
Dunson now coaches basketball, serving as the women’s basketball head coach at Centenary College for two seasons (2021-2023) before being named the new Women’s Basketball head coach at the Indiana University of Columbus prior to this season.
 

Sarah Gray-Belcon, Softball (2009–2011)
Sarah Gray-Belcon played Cobras Softball from 2010 to 2011, earning national recognition for both seasons and etching her name in the Parkland College record books. In 2010, she earned a slew of accolades including NJCAA First Team All-American, MWAC Conference Freshman of the Year, and Region 24 Player of the Year. Notably, she was instrumental in leading her team to success, earning recognition as the Parkland College Female Athlete of the Year. The following year, Gray-Belcon continued her dominance, earning another NJCAA First Team All-American honor and solidifying her status as one of the top players in the nation. She is the Cobras’ all-time leader in runs (155), stolen bases (97), doubles (43), and triples (22), and her 12 triples in 2010 ranks eighth all-time in NJCAA single-season history. Continuing her softball journey at the University of Illinois at Springfield in 2012, Gray-Belcon was recognized as a First Team ALL-GLVC West Division player in her one healthy season in Springfield.  
 

Samantha Inman (Cockrell), Softball (2009–2011)
Samantha Inman played Cobras Softball at Parkland College from 2009 to 2011, offering consistently high-level play at centerfield. She earned M-WAC All-Conference and NJCAA Region 24 All-Region honors in both 2010 and 2011, and her exceptional performance led to back-to-back All-American selections. In 2010, she led the team in RBIs (65) and home runs (13), while also ranking third in hits (82) and runs (62). The following year, she continued to shine, leading the team in RBIs (53) and home runs (7), while placing second in hits (62) and runs (40). Inman’s 20 career home runs and 10 triples rank third all-time in program history, while her 119 RBI stat ranks fourth all-time. Following her tenure at Parkland College, Inman continued her softball career at the University of Illinois-Springfield (UIS) from Fall 2011 to Spring 2013. She was named to the UIS Athletic Hall of Fame as a member of its historic 2012 Softball team.

 

David Keenan, Golf (2011–2013)
David Keenan played Cobras Golf at Parkland College from 2011 to 2013, coached by the late Zach McNabney in his last years with the Cobras. Keenan achieved notable success, earning a place on the NJCAA All-Region 24 Team and the M-WAC All-Conference First Team both years. In 2013, Keenan was named an NJCAA First Team All-American after winning the NJCAA Division II Individual National Championship. He continued his golf career on scholarship at Chicago State University, where he was a two-time WAC Academic All-Conference recipient. After college, Keenan qualified in the USGA Mid-Amateur Championship in 2021 and 2022, and he is the three-time reigning Champaign Twin-City Golf Tournament Champion.
 

Erin Paulsen (James), Softball (2001–2003)
Erin Paulsen played Cobras Softball for Parkland College from 2001 to 2003, leading the Cobras to back-to-back NJCAA Division II National semifinal appearances. As the leadoff batter, Paulsen’s sophomore year was nothing short of spectacular, boasting a .520 batting average alongside 44 stolen bases and 85 runs and producing a flawless fielding percentage that earned her Defensive Player of the Year honors. Paulsen, then James, was named an NJCAA Second Team All-American, NFCA First Team All-American, and the NJCAA Region 24 Offensive Player of the Year. She was also honored as the Collegiate Conference of Central Illinois Player of the Year and secured a spot on the News Gazette’s JUCO All-Decade Team. Among Paulsen’s cherished memories at Parkland College was her pivotal performance in the quarterfinals of the National Tournament, where she propelled the Cobras to victory with a triple in extra innings, ultimately sending them to the Championship Game.
Following her time at Parkland College, Paulsen graduated with a 4.0 from the University of Illinois with a degree in recreation, sport, and tourism management. After graduation, she moved to Utah to work in sports marketing for Brigham Young University and later became the director of athletic marketing at Utah Valley University. She now teaches in the Academy of Finance at the Granite Technical Institute and helps students start businesses as the facilitator for the Granite CEO Program.

Class of 2024

Alexis Braghini, Volleyball (2010)
Alexis Braghini played Cobras Volleyball at Parkland College in 2010, leading the team to the NJCAA DII National Tournament for a second year in a row, while being selected to the M-WAC All-Conference First Team, the NJCAA Region 24 First Team, and the NJCAA All-American First Team in her one year as a Cobra. The 2010 NJCAA Region 24 Player of the Year, Braghini recorded 736 kills, 375 digs, 113 blocks, and 56 aces, producing a hitting percentage of 37 percent and ranking second in the county in kills per set (4.75). Following her season at Parkland, the Champaign native walked onto the SIU-Carbondale Volleyball team before deciding to focus on education, graduating with a degree in aviation management and her private pilot’s license. As an aeronautical analyst for the National Geo-Spatial Intelligence Agency, Braghini will be deploying on February 19 to Qatar to offer forward support to our troops.
“My single amazing season at Parkland College reinvigorated my love for the game of volleyball,” Braghini said. “I thank Cliff and Ron Hastings, Gia Lewis-Smallwood, and Heather Horn for supporting and pushing me into having an amazing season with an amazing team.”
 

Davin Harris, Men’s Basketball (90–91)
Davin Harris played Cobras Men's Basketball at Parkland College for one season (1990-1991), leading the Cobras to a 20-11 record. After earning his associate’s degree, Harris continued his academic and athletic career at the University of Illinois, playing one season there and earning his bachelor’s degree in communications. A Class of 2018 Bloomington High School Hall of Famer, Harris is now a licensed real estate sales agent, associate broker, and builder, located in Atlanta.
 

Kelsey Kniepmann (Bentlage), Softball (2012–2014)
Kelsey Kniepmann played Cobras Softball from 2011 to 2013, leading off and playing second base under Head Coach Chuck Clutts. She hit the ground running for Parkland College, earning NJCAA Division II All-American Second Team honors in her freshman year, propelling the Cobras a Third-Place Finish at the NJCAA National Tournament, and receiving NJCAA DII All-Tournament Team recognition. She received M-WAC All-Conference First Team nods both seasons she played in Champaign.
Following her time at Parkland, Kniepmann finished her bachelor's degree in nutrition and dietetics at St. Louis University and her master’s degree in nutrition education from Eastern Illinois University. Following post-graduate work, Kniepmann and her husband Chistopher Bentlage welcomed their first son Trace. She currently works for the St. Louis District Dairy Council as a nutrition educator.
 

Melanie Moore (Rodriguez), Volleyball (2010–2011)
Melanie Moore played Cobras Volleyball at Parkland College from 2010 to 2011, leading the team in aces both years. The setter from Champaign compiled multiple accolades following her 2011 season, including NJCAA Region 24 Player of the Year and M-WAC Conference Player of the Year honors; she was also named to the NJCAA Division II All-American First Team as well as named the Parkland College Female Athlete of the Year. Moore led the Cobras to a fourth consecutive NJCAA National Tournament appearance, where they finished ninth.
After graduating from Parkland College with an Associate in Science degree, Moore pursued higher education at Illinois State University, earning bachelor's and master's degrees in Communication while playing club volleyball. She excelled in roles at Wolfram Research before becoming a project manager at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Moore and her husband Matt are expecting their first child in March 2024.
 

Bill Elliott, Baseball (1980-1981)
Bill Elliott played Cobras Baseball between 1980 and 1981. After a stint with the Cincinnati Reds minor league organization as a pitcher, Elliot dedicated 17 years to Thomasboro in the Eastern Illinois League, excelling as both a first baseman and pitcher. As a player, Elliott excelled at the plate, clinching the triple crown in 1982 and setting a single-season home run record in 1983 (13), a feat still unmatched today. In retirement, Elliott continued to make an impact on young athletes, generously sharing his expertise as a volunteer coach with Champaign Little League and Pony League teams, leaving an indelible mark on generations of local baseball players.
 

Cy Lystila, Tennis (1997–1998)
Cy Lystila played on the Cobras Tennis team in 1997 and 1998, winning the individual conference championship with Parkland College in 1997. He played singles and doubles for the Cobras, suffering only seven losses over two seasons and earning All-Conference honors in 1997 and 1998. Lystila made the Parkland College Dean’s List both years before continuing his athletic and academic career at McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois, and Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, Missouri. After college, Lystila competed on the East Coast in tour-level tournaments before beginning a 20+ year career teaching and coaching tennis in Peoria, Illinois. He has coached state champions and medalists at the high school level and adult amateur champions at the state, regional, and national levels.
 

Seamus Reilly, Soccer/Administration (1999–2018)
Seamus Reilly worked at Parkland College from 1999 to 2018, serving as Men’s Soccer head coach from 2000 to 2006, winning one conference championship, and as Women’s Soccer head coach for one season (2004). He remained active in coaching club soccer following a move into athletic administration at Parkland, working for the Illinois Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program through 2018. Many of the youth players he coached went on to successful college careers, including as Parkland College graduates. Reilly’s own sons, Aidan and Diarmuid, also attended and played soccer for Parkland.
As an administrator, Reilly was a strong advocate and supporter for Parkland Athletics programs and facility improvement projects. He secured support from the Illinois Futbol Club to purchase equipment for the Soccer programs and oversaw the creation and construction of the Parkland College Soccer Field. He was also instrumental in hiring fellow Centennial High School Soccer Coach Mark Sikora to grow the Cobra Men’s Soccer program into one of the best in the nation. Reilly left Parkland College in 2018 to become the president of Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg.
“I am grateful for the support of Rod Lovett, who was the athletic director when I was hired as coach; Brendan McHale, who was the athletic trainer and is now athletic director; the assistant coaches who worked with me; all the faculty and administration who supported me as coach; and the many student athletes whom I coached and had in my classes," Reilly said.
"Community college athletics creates opportunities for our students and enhances the community college experience for all students and our communities. I am humbled by this honor and express my thanks to the Hall of Fame Committee, the Parkland College Foundation, and the trustees, president, administration, faculty, and staff at Parkland College for their nomination and support.”

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