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Elmhurst running back Scottie Williams honored as best in Division III football

Elmhurst’s Scottie Williams was proud winner Gagliardi Trophy. | Ryan

Elmhurst’s Scottie Williams was the proud winner of the Gagliardi Trophy. | Ryan

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Updated: January 21, 2013 3:34PM

After Scottie Williams accepted the Gagliardi Trophy last week in Salem, Va., there was little time for celebrating, or even receiving congratulations from fellow students at Elmhurst College.

“We didn’t get back until Thursday night, and we were in finals week,” said Williams, recognized as the most outstanding football player in NCAA Division III. “I had to take a final right way, so there wasn’t much time. I got a lot of text messages and calls congratulating me.”

The trophy is named for former St. John’s of Minnesota coach John Gagliardi, whose 489 wins are the most in college football history. Given annually by Jostens and the J-Club of St. John’s, it’s awarded for football excellence, academics and service to the community.

Former Downers Grove South star Williams has filled the bill in all three categories ever since he was part of coach Tim Lester’s first recruiting class at Elmhurst. The running back ran for 2,046 yards and 22 touchdowns this season, both Bluejays records. A two-time academic All-CCIW selection and an academic all-American in 2011, Williams has participated in President Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge and has helped build homes for his school’s Habitat for Humanity chapter.

Tops in fall

Olivet Nazarene in Kankakee had success all around in fall sports, good for the lead in the NAIA division of the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings through Dec. 13. Schools earn points in each sport, and the Tigers were the NAIA runner-up in women’s soccer, finished third in women’s cross country and 22nd in men’s cross country. The men’s soccer team made it to the NCAA round of 16, which is counted as a ninth-place finish.

That gave Olivet Nazarene 258 points, putting the Tigers atop the cup standings for the first time. Oklahoma Baptist (250) is second.

Cards rank high

North Central rose one spot to No. 3 in the latest NCAA Division III men’s basketball poll compiled by The Cardinals (9-0) won twice last week, beating Wisconsin-Platteville 73-64 and Benedictine 61-55. North Central next plays Dec. 28-29 in the Classic in Las Vegas, taking on No. 10 Ramapo a day before playing Wisconsin-LaCrosse.

CCIW rival Wheaton (10-1) is ranked 14th, with Illinois Wesleyan (6-2) at No. 17 and Augustana (9-1) at No. 22.

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