Vincent Martorano

Vincent Martorano is a student at Ball State University majoring in news journalism with a minor in sports journalism. He began writing his senior year at Vernon Hills High School, choosing sports writing because it brings together two of his passions.

Rodeo wunderkind Katelyn Turner

A veteran rider at 16 years of age, Katelyn Turner took her roping to the next level last year at the World Junior Championships in Vegas. Katelyn Turner found her passion at a young age when she first saddled up a horse. Now, she’s competing in the international spotlight at just 16 years old. Turner was only 10 when she first started riding. Once she put her feet in the stirrups, they almost never came out. “I lived in Hollywood, Florida, and they used to have a Wednesday night Jackpot Rodeo,” says Turner, the granddaughter of longtime Chicago-area Italian-American community …

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State hockey hall of famer John Conenna

An abiding passion for hockey propelled John Conenna to the pinnacle of the sport in Illinois. From standout grade-school goalie to stellar high school coach to Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, John Conenna has excelled at every local level of the sport. The soon-to-be-60-year-old travel agency owner was bitten by the hockey bug when he was only 8. “I used to watch a group of boys in my neighborhood play street hockey outside my window,” Conenna says. “I figured I’d tag along and try it and I was hooked.” His choice of positions was influenced by the play of …

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Hot rod legend Tony Schumacher

A hot rod legend like his father before him, Tony Schumacher holds the land-speed record for a quarter-mile run along with countless other drag racing achievements. Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher is arguably the most successful drag racer in the history of the sport. An eight-time National Hot Rod Association champion, he led the pack in consecutive years from 2004 to 2009. He is the winningest racer in the NHRA’s “top fuel” class, posting 53 career victories, holding the record for the fastest quarter-mile run and reaching 330 mph in competition before any other racer. The son of fellow drag racing …

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Rose Bowl champion Ralph “Babe” Serpico

A standout nose tackle in high school and college, Ralph Serpico emerged as a pillar of the community he grew up in throughout his adulthood. From high school football star to Rose Bowl champion and beyond, Ralph “Babe” Serpico was a role model and force for good in his native Melrose Park. “You have a community of mostly working-class Italians, and they’re reading stories in the newspaper about my dad winning the Rose Bowl,” Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico says. “It was a big source of pride for everyone in the community.” Ralph got the ball rolling as a standout …

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Karate Champ Angelina Romano

A karate enthusiast since early childhood, Angelina Roman has taken the sport by storm, earning a spot on the U.S. team before her 15th birthday. There’s a new force to be reckoned with in the karate world. From her first well-aimed kick in kindergarten, teen phenom Angelina Romano has pummeled her way to the top of the sport in her age bracket, winning the national championship and earning a spot on the U.S. team. Though the martial arts are now her passion, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight for Angelina. “My dad sat me and my sister down, and …

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