May 11 prep sports chat

May 11 prep sports chat

Thursday, May 11, 2017 - 12:30pm

What area track and field standouts could contend for a state title? How is former Tuscola standout Nick Bates doing after his serious injury? What small-school baseball and softball regionals are the top ones in the area? Preps coordinator Anthony Zilis is willing to take on any questions in his weekly chat, which gets going at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Anthony Zilis wrote on May 11, 2017 at 12:05 pm
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Welcome to this week's prep sports chat. We've got an exciting few weeks ahead with the postseason upon us. I've been out at St. Thomas More the last few evenings to witness soccer regional semi-finals, and I'll be out at PBL for a sectional track meet tonight. Next week's honor roll meet will bring us right into state.

Hit me with your questions on area spring sports.

Thom wrote on May 11, 2017 at 12:05 pm

What are the oldest records in the NewsGazette honor roll track meet? Who are the most likely to set records this year? Thanks.

Anthony Zilis wrote on May 11, 2017 at 12:05 pm
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The oldest records, as you might expect, come in the 3200. State-qualifying distance runners don't generally run in the honor roll meet at this point with the state meet so close. Mark Thompson's time of 9:33 in 1982 and Melissa Straza's time of 10:39 a year later are still the top marks. Other old records include Gabe Spezia's 1995 110-hurdle performance of 14.2 and Centennial's 1995 1600-meter relay team, which ran an impressive time of 4:00.1.

I expect Danville's Ameia Wilson to challenge for the records in the 100, 200, and long jump. She's run below the 12.00 and 24.66 second records set by Rantoul's Kiara Clark-Lewis and Centennial's Dominique Lewis. Salt Fork's Rachyl Anderson would break the record for the discus with her PR, and Centennial's Henoc Mondika is just a tenth of a second away from the record in the boys' 400. One-inch PR's for Urbana's Diamonasia Taylor, ALAH's Kenli Nettles, or Champaign Central's Nick Jackson would tie the high jump records.

zeb wrote on May 11, 2017 at 12:05 pm

I got caught up in the hype abouthow good Tuscola and SJO softball teams are and then Clinton beats Tuscola. Is there really a team worth a darn around here? Does Clinton even have a winning record?

Anthony Zilis wrote on May 11, 2017 at 12:05 pm
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Clinton does have a winning record, but yes that was a big upset. I still think St. Joseph-Ogden and Tuscola softball are our area's top threats to make it to state, and they'd probably both be favored to win their sectional. I wouldn't give up on either yet. Those teams are talented, and both have strong pitching, with ISU commit Morgan Day in the circle for Tuscola and freshman standout Zoe Witruk pitching for St. Joseph-Ogden. Having that one star pitcher can go a long way toward a state run.

Long time reader wrote on May 11, 2017 at 12:05 pm

Were any boys selected to both all area first team in football and basketball this year? It seems the NG has instant access to prior years player or coach of the year and also those selected to all area teams for each school. The short spring season is almost over. How about an article that lists the unique boys who have been 1st teamers in both football/basketball since they are most heavily followed? Or a where are they now?

Anthony Zilis wrote on May 11, 2017 at 1:05 pm
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That's a really good question. 

This year, no athletes were all-area first team in both basketball and football. It's become incredibly rare for that type of athlete to exist because of specialization in basketball. Only a few of the first-team basketball players even played football.

I'd say the most impressive multi-sport athlete this year thus far might be Caleb Griffin, who was our All-Area boys' soccer player of the year, first-team football as a kicker, and second-team basketball. Some other impressive ones are Blake Reifsteck, who was all-area first-team soccer and second-team basketball and will likely be first-team track. Tuscola's Dalton Hoel was first-team football and is on track for first-team baseball, and Tuscola's Kaleb Williams was first-team football and second-team basketball.

Tuscola's Nick Bates just missed out on the trifecta last year - first team football, basketball, and baseball. He was probably the last one or two players left off the basketball first team.

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