Talk to News-Gazette prep sports coordinator Fred Kroner
Greetings. We're back for another week of questions, so lets dive right in.
Fred, Who in your mind right now are the best area baseball players? Also, what would your current rankings on the top 10 area teams be?
Hi Steve. Interesting question. Four names come to mind immediately in the short list of top players. You will see a trend in this listing. They are all hitters who can pitch. Or perhaps they are all pitchers who can hit. In alphabetical order, I would say current frontrunners would include Unity
This quesion seems to early to ask, but who is your top team to win the VVC next year?
Hi Tiger99 fan. A lot of things can change between now and next Aug. 26
Hey Fred, great coverage on area sports and you are a busy man! How many days until IHSA football practice starts? A reader guessed several weeks ago that about 15 past athletes were selected to the all-area first team in both football and basketball over the last 25 years
Hi Zach. Well, at least you asked one easy question!! Football practice begins on Aug. 10, with is 118 days from now. As for the rest: I wish I had an intern, or a secretary, or both. Or maybe not needing as much sleep. Or more hours in a day. I still have good intentions of tracking down who might have been on both All-Area first teams in basketball and football, but have not yet done so. Too many other things keep popping up and pushing it further in the background. I have some files of previous All-Area teams for both sports, but I certainly don
Hi Fred - It seems like there are a lot more all weather tracks in the area, very few aren't these days. Where are the best track facilities in the News Gazette area? Which venues are best for field events, which are best for running events? I know it's just your opinion, but I'd like to go see some of the better venues and you always seem to present a very unbiased approach to your thinking. Thanks
Hi Steven. I
Fred,Do you have any information on the Illinois High School Sport of Bass Fishing?For instance when the Season starts,what Teams are in the area.Are there any local teams rated very high or might place at State May 6th or 7th?
Hi Tom. I don
Fred, I liked your answer for Steve on the pitchers in the area, and I agree with the names put out there. However, since many high schools aren't real deep at the pitcher spot, I feel a lot of games are either won or lost by having (or not) a good shortstop and catcher as teams get deeper in their rotations. Will we see a list of the players to look for at those positions any time soon?
Hi Jason. You are very right. I couldn
Fred,Why do you think Scott Davis left Decatur St Theresa after 24 successful years to take the Mt Zion Head Football Job?
Hi Tom. I have not spoken to him, so this is pure speculation, but I can think of a couple of reasons. First, of course, is seeking a new challenge. That's always a big one. Another could be that traditionally the salary and benefits (retirement funds, etc.) are not nearly as good at a parochial school as at a public school. Possibly that was a factor as well. There could also be a competition factor. With the mutiplier, St. Teresa has been competing in 3A and 4A in the playoffs. The Bulldogs have qualified most years under Davis, but have not reached the semifinals. At Mount Zion, you have a much larger school that has a strong tradition of reaching the playoffs under its past two coaches and usually finds itself in Class 4A. Those are some of my guesses.
Fred, love the chats. Wondering if you could give us a Scott Krapf update. I hear he's doing big things. Any word on possible Olympic Trials for him after he gets out of school?
Hi Scott Krapf fan. I know Scott's collegiate career at Illinois State is winding down. The years seem to fly, don't they? He won the 5,000 meters in last outdoor debut a couple weeks ago at the EIU Big Blue Classic (14:40.98). I know he has been involved with a number of activities in addition to running. I think he has been able to experience the whole college experience and is benefitting from it. From here, who knows? He's certainly in better position to try and seek an Olympic berth than many, but to take that step from premier college athlete to elite world runner requires a huge time commitment. Some people are ready to get on with the rest of their life. I've not spoken to Scott about how he feels or what his plans are. It's a tough road to travel. I'm sure Kyle O'Brien could tell you about that. He was on the verge, but couldn't quite break through. I think just to be considered as someone with that kind of potential is a noteworthy achievement in itself.
Fred, which would you pick here: A) Terra Ramsey is the greatest female athlete of all time. OR B) Terra Ramsey is the greatest athlete of all time. I'm leaning toward B.
Hmmm...I suppose it depends on what group you are looking at! Greatest female athlete of all time anywhere...I might be more inclined to pick someone like Florence Griffin Joyner, but certainly if you are looking at Westville High School, or even Vermilion County, her feat of making seven consecutive All-Area teams (three in softball, two in volleyball and two in basketball) is unparalleled. That puts her in a class by herself for this area. Take that, and book it.
Fred,What is your list of all time favorite coaches?Especially Football.
Hi Tom. Nothing like putting me on the spot, eh? To qualify to be on the list, it would need to be a coach I dealt with and whose teams I covered on a repeated basis. That would eliminate Warren Smith, from Urbana, because our beats used to be set up by school as opposed to by sport. When he was in his final years, my emphasis was more on covering Champaign Central. Thus, Tom Stewart would be right near the top of my list. A gentleman. A great coach. A wonderful person. Always willing to take the time that was needed with reporters. Always fair with his athletes. Terrific knowledge of the game. Fantastic motivating capabilities. Remember when he created the three-platoon system (offense, defense and special teams) and had around 150 players from grades 9-12 involved with football at Central? He had a knack for getting kids involved and feeling like they were a part of something. Thanks for asking.
That's a wrap for this week. Lets return next week and see what's new!