The high school fall sports season got under way in earnest Monday as area boys' soccer teams kicked off. Here is our first Top 10 of the season — including No. 3 St. Thomas More, which opened with a 4-0 win against Judah Christian on Monday — courtesy prep sports coordinator Fred Kroner:
1. Urbana Tigers return two All-Area first-teamers
What a school year! State championship teams, state championship individuals, top-ranked teams. Underclassmen who have already committed to Division I universities. Athletes who are being wooed by Division I coaches. Some memories are still vivid in our minds. Some had almost been forgotten.
Last year, schools such as Clinton, Danville, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley, St. Thomas More and Tuscola were among the ones upset with the IHSA's postseason assignments, which are based on enrollments.
This year, Danville and Monticello are among the ones unhappy with how the enrollment breaks worked out.
MONTICELLO — The Okaw Valley Conference will start its 87th year of competition in August.
It won't be the last year for the venerable league, but it likely will be the next-to-last in its current 12-school setup.
Three former area basketball players will be enshrined in the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame on April 28 at the Illinois State University student union.
Urbana senior, goalkeeper
Why he made it: Threlkeld was named the top keeper from the Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association Section 10 after posting a 1.7 goals-against average for the Big 12 Conference champions.
Season highlight: Coming back from an early deficit to defeat Normal Community 4-1.
Coach of the Year: Phil Anders, Uni High
Anders led the Illineks to their best season in program history, including the first sectional crown, a sweep of the Class 2A schools on their schedule and a 22-2 record.
Season highlight: "I was blown away by our sectional win against Kankakee Bishop McNamara."
FARMER CITY — When The News-Gazette's All-Area team gathered Sunday for a photo shoot at Soccer Planet, the new indoor soccer facility in Urbana, an impromptu scrimmage broke out once the cameras were put away for the day.
It was just a bunch of high school soccer players enjoying their sport for a bit — playing just because they love it.
CHAMPAIGN — At some point, Centennial's Chargers figured to come up short even when putting forth their best — or close to it — effort. The odds suggest as much.
That time arrived Tuesday.
CHAMPAIGN — While the Warrensburg-Latham soccer team was celebrating with its fans on the south end of the UI Intramural Fields after claiming a 2-0 win against Urbana University High on Tuesday in a Class 1A super-sectional, the louder celebration was happening a few yards north.