Michael loved baseball. He called his two years as a Heartland Hawk “the best two years of my life.” Those two years included consecutive trips to the NJCAA World Series in Enid, OK. Prior to playing at Heartland he starred at Normal West, leading the Wildcats to consecutive Big 12 conference championships. And while he was attending Illinois State University, Michael was an assistant coach at University High School.
The Michael Collins Memorial Scholarships will be awarded annually to a player who exemplifies the characteristics that made Michael a special individual to have as a teammate, player, friend and son. Players chosen will demonstrate a strong faith, an outstanding work ethic, a commitment to servant leadership, a high level of integrity, a love for coaches and teammates, and a pursuit of excellence both on and off the field.
Here are the 2015 scholarship winners:
Heartland Community College – Travis Auer
Travis is a redshirt freshman at Heartland after missing his initial season of college baseball while recovering from elbow surgery. Travis is a 2014 graduate of University High School, and Michael was one of his coaches at U-High. Even though he was unable to play in his initial collegiate season, Travis brought an attitude of giving and servant leadership to the team, contributing in any way possible. He consistently carries one of the best GPA’s on the team and attended all of the team chapel’s last spring. Travis also volunteered several hours during The Michael Collins Foundation baseball events in 2014.
Normal West High School – Reid Birlingmair
Reid led the Wildcats to a regional championship in his senior season and was selected to play in the Illinois Coaches Association – MCstrong All-Star game and the Pantagraph All-Star game. Reid excelled on the field and in the classroom at Normal West, and embodied Michael’s faith, attending all of the team’s optional chapels in the spring of 2015. Michael had the opportunity to coach Reid when Reid was a 6th grader at Parkside Junior High School. Reid’s older brother Jacob was one of Michael’s best friends and a Normal West Wildcat teammate. Reid is continuing his baseball career at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
University High School – Nick Mosele
In his senior season, Nick led U-High to a 28-6 record and was selected to play in the Illinois Coaches Association – MCstrong All-Star game. He also represented U-High in the Pantagraph All-Star game. As a junior in 2014, Nick’s outstanding defense helped the Pioneers win a regional championship and advance to the sectional title game. Michael coached Nick at U-High, and loved working with Nick and the other infielders. Nick has been a role model on and off the field, pursuing excellence in baseball and the classroom. Following in the footsteps of his parents, Nick is attending Augustana College and is playing baseball for the Vikings.
Congratulations to all recipients and thank you for supporting Michael’s foundation!