Aug. 10 prep sports chat

Aug. 10 prep sports chat

Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 12:30pm

High school athletics for the 2017-18 school year are about to get underway. What football teams could contend for a state title? Will Champaign Central or Centennial fare better in football? Which cross-country teams, boys' soccer teams and other fall sports could go on a postseason run? Preps coordinator Anthony Zilis is back to answer any of your inquiries in his 12:30 p.m. chat on Thursday. Feel free to submit questions ahead of time.

Anthony Zilis wrote on August 10, 2017 at 12:08 pm
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Fall season is officially underway, with practices beginning this week, and our area is flush with interesting storylines. We have a number of state title contenders in football, including Tuscola and Unity. In cross country, we have several team and individual championship favorites when the state meet convenes at Detweiler Park in November, like ALAH's Logan Hall, Unity's Jordan Harmon, the St. Joseph-Ogden girls and the Mahomet-Seymour boys. 

In volleyball, St. Thomas More looks like one of the teams to beat in Class 1A, while Champaign Central, led by Illinois commit Rylee Hinton, could see a resurgence this season. The Sabers girls and Champaign Central boys also look like they'll be strong contenders when the golf postseason rolls around.

Last but certainly not least, Uni swimmer Ema Rajic will close out one of the great athletic careers in our area's history after breaking two state records last year.

If you have questions about any of the above or any other topic in area prep sports, post them below.

Kurt Simmons wrote on August 10, 2017 at 12:08 pm

Do you think we will see SJO volleyball play in RedBrid arena again this year?

Anthony Zilis wrote on August 10, 2017 at 12:08 pm
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If I've learned anything during my two years covering high school sports in this area, it's to never doubt the Spartans in virtually any sport. Before baseball season, I wouldn't have predicted that St. Joseph-Ogden would make a second consecutive run to the state finals after losing top pitchers Dalton Parker, now at Purdue, and Colton Carr along with most of their lineup.

That being said, another run to state for SJ-O volleyball would be a surprise. The Spartans lost three All-Area first teamers, including two-time player of the year Kylie Michael, setter Andrea Coursey, and hitter Parker Francisco. Michael's dominance will be particularly difficult to replace obviously. She had the ability to take over games, like she did in the state semi-finals against Belleville Althoff.

They'll also likely have to go through St. Thomas More, who could be dominant this year behind U18 US national team setter Mica Allison. The Sabers, I'd say, are the team in our area that'd make state if I had to pick one.