Ask News-Gazette prep sports coordinator Fred Kroner about the winter sports
It's that time to attack the questions and see what everyone is thinking. Here we go.
With the IHSA changing the enrollments in the 4 class system for basketball, it has really changed the landscape of area regionals for Class 1A and 2A. A lot more area 1A teams are now 2A and has shifted teams to different areas. Many of which leave me scratching my head, but that is the way the IHSA operates. One of the most interesting regionals is the Class 2A Tuscola regional. With the seeds coming out in just over a week, your top 2 seeds look to be Unity and PBL, followed by Praries Central and St. Thomas More. Who do you like to come out of this Regional and move on to the St. Joe Sectional?
Hi Rocket Fan. I'm not sure how the seeds will come out, but I think Unity and PBL are the top two teams, probably in that order, but don't discount Prairie Central, which may have the toughest schedule. Monticello is on a roll right now and St. Thomas More is improved over last year, when it won a regional. This could very much be a wide open regional. The Westville Regional will probably come down to Bismarck-Henning and St. Joseph-Ogden, but I know Jeff Millis will have the host Tigers ready to go. Again, another site where I don't see a clearcut favorite and if they re-played the regional a week later, you might well get a different winner. Teutopolis is clearly the favorite in its own regional and I think Georgetown-Ridge Farm may have a good shot at the title in Casey-Westfield. This appears to be a tough year to make predictions.
Fred,My prayers go out to Coach Vashoune Russell.Hopefully he returns tonight to Coach Urbana vs.Charleston in basketball the Sport he loves. With the passing of his father and illnes of his mother I'm sure it will be hard on him for some time.
Hi Tom. I couldn't have said it any better. It's incredibly difficult to deal with the loss of one parent and then to have to cope with a serious illness with the other one at the same time almost seems too overwhelming. Obviously, a person is not going to go back to basketball and forget everything from his personal life, but it may well be a time to return a bit of happiness to his life for a couple of hours. I certainly join you in wishing Vashoune Russell the best. I can't imagine being in that situation myself.
are the Illini recruiting any of the Danville football players?
To my knowledge, none of the Danville players are being recruited by the current UI staff. I'm sure the school will be on the radar screen for the upcoming years.
Fred,With the Retirement of Superintendent Preston Williams and now Principal Laura Taylor leaving in June for a different job in Champaign and probably other changes,possibly Greg Hall A.D.we will get some new people in those positions to make changes that will help the Sports Program and other Programs in the School. Maybe this will be the start of An Uphill Climb at Urbana that we haven't seen. 3 winning teams a year out of appx.20 teams is appaling.Including no Regional or Big 12 Titles in some time.
Hi Tom. I understand the point you're making, but I don't think I would say, "Hoorah, out with the old, in with the new" and throw these people under the bus. Preston Williams is a former coach and, in my mind, very much an advocate of athletics. I certainly think Laura Taylor has a favorable view of sports and, of course, Greg Hall is a former coach. I see where you're going in that many of the programs are currently struggling and perhaps changes of personnel will bring changes in the athletic fortunes. This might be wishful thinking. Regardless of the people in the leadership positions, the bottom line comes down to the students, their willingness to work hard, both in their classes and their sport, their desire to do the right things in their life to maintain a position on their teams. I think Urbana has already set the bar high with its football/track/soccer facility and even the best coaches go through cycles where not everything works out. A Hall of fame coach such as Warren Smith had some losing seasons on his resume. Less than a decade after leading Urbana to the state finals in basketball,. Lew Stephens had four consecutive seasons where the win total was eight, or less. Fans are always anxious for success and, understandably, when parents have children in school, their windown of opportunity is somewhate limited. While things may work out well in the long run, my concern when there are massive changes around the same time is that some things get lost in the shuffle or overlooked and the building process gets set back. Right or wrong, those are my thoughts.
Who are the area football players planing to sign on signing day?
Haven't heard of any at this time, but we'll keep tracking this and see how things work out.
That's a wrap for this week. Thanks to all who submitted questions. We'll be back next week for another round. Until then, best wishes.