WHEATON – Plenty of families have long lines of graduates from universities and colleges.
In the case of Lyons Township graduate and La Grange Park native David Suominen, his family line is Wheaton College. Suominen added to the already long list of family members to attend the school and is heading into his junior season with the Wheaton College football team.
“Both my parents went to Wheaton and a couple of my uncles and an aunt went to Wheaton and my grandpa did, too,” Suominen said. “I even had a couple cousins go there. [Wheaton] showed interest in me for the football team. I had interest in it, and my parents were very supportive. It worked out quite nice.”
Suominen cracked the starting lineup last season at defensive end after four seniors graduated on the defensive line in 2011 and a pair of injuries in summer camp opened up spots. He registered 16 tackles and shared the team lead with four quarterback hits.
The adjustment from high school football to college caught Suominen by surprise, but he is settling in.
“I wasn’t quite sure how the competition would be, but Division III is no joke,” he said. “It was a surprise, but I was happy with the coaches at Wheaton and the team. Just the camaraderie around the guys and the atmosphere around the whole team is awesome.”
One thing that helped Suominen in the transition from high school to college was his time at LT. Suominen went from one winning program to another. The Lions made the Class 8A quarterfinals during his senior year. The Thunder have gone 8-2 in each of Suominen’s two years on campus.
“Wheaton has been really successful over the past decade,” he said. “It’s been an awesome transition just to see how hard you have to work and sacrifice to be a good team in D-III.”
Part of Wheaton’s success last year included a 35-21 win over rival North Central. It was the first win over the Naperville school since 2007 and gave the Thunder the Little Brass Bell, the trophy that goes to the winner of the annual football game.
Suominen mentioned keeping the bell as one of the team’s top goals this season.
“As a team our goals are always to win a CCIW championship, keep the Little Brass Bell we got last year by beating North Central and to win the [Division III] championship at the Stagg Bowl,” he said.