RANTOUL — After four seasons in charge of the Rantoul football program, SHANE CARTER is no longer the Eagles' head coach.
Carter officially resigned from the position Friday after learning earlier last week he would not be retained by the RTHS school board. Carter compiled a 7-29 record during his tenure, which came after he served six seasons as a Rantoul assistant coach.
Rantoul Superintendent SCOTT AMERIO said coaches are reappointed every year, and the board made a decision at its Feb. 13 meeting to not reappoint Carter.
"I think conversations I've had with Shane and conversations I've had with some individual board members, I think Shane feels he may not have the support he needs to continue as head coach," Amerio said. "It was kind of the process of once the season ended, getting the coaches' evaluations done, looking at those evaluations (and) seeing what they said. I wanted some time to discuss options with the rest of the administrative team and talk with Shane before they did make any decision."
Carter seemed shocked and stunned, like many of his players, that he would not be the Eagles' head coach for the 2012 season.
"There was no indication I was having issues until about a week before the board meeting," Carter said. "That kind of did leave a bad taste in my mouth about the short notice and not given a chance to speak on my behalf. I know the board doesn't legally have to give you that right, but I wasn't given a chance to stand up and defend myself at all or given a chance to correct the imperfections that they were seeing. That's where the disappointment came. It hurt to have something taken away from you and not quite understanding why at first, but now that I've had time to think, I see it through their eyes. I do. I just wish it might have been handled a little differently."
Chargers extend Big 12 streak
CHAMPAIGN — The Centennial boys' basketball team extended its streak of winning Big 12 records to six seasons. By knocking off Normal West last Friday, the Chargers improved to 7-5 with one game left in the conference race. The Chargers last finished with a losing conference record in the 2005-06 season. Since then, Centennial has a cumulative Big 12 record of 61-16.
Centennial freshmen shine
CHAMPAIGN — Centennial's freshman boys' basketball team, coached by Aush Knox and Roderick Hutchison, finished its season 20-1. The Chargers won last weekend's Big 12 invite, winning twice in overtime.
Balanced scoring among 13 players keyed the success; no one averaged in double figures.
After an early-season loss to Normal Community, the Chargers rattled off 17 consecutive wins, including a rematch against the Ironmen.
Area officials moving on
NORMAL — Two of the three referees who worked the Quincy Notre Dame vs. St. Thomas More girls' Class 2A super-sectional Monday will return to the court this weekend for the IHSA state tournament. Danville's PAUL DALBEY will make his third state appearance. Bloomington's KURT HARTKE, a former Iroquois West athlete, will officiate at state for the second time.
Shooting contests have area flavor
NORMAL — Eight area girls qualified for the Class 1A or Class 2A IHSA three-point shooting state finals. They will compete at 5 p.m. today at Illinois State's Redbird Arena.
The five finalists in Class 1A who are among the final 32 competitors are senior JAMIE BLUE, Urbana Uni High; sophomore SHERELLE COLLER, Arthur-Lovington; junior HOLLY HUCKSTADT, Schlarman; junior AUTUMN MEYER, Tri-County; and senior ASHLEY WALKER, LeRoy.
Those remaining in contention in Class 2A are sophomore DEVIN CURRY, Watseka; sophomore SHANIA SCURLOCK, Prairie Central; and senior CHEYENNE WEBER, Paxton-Buckley-Loda. During the regular season, Weber (67) and Curry (58) were second and fourth, respectively, in three-pointers among area players. Blue knocked down 26, and Huckstadt hit 16.
One for the record books
LeROY — When senior JUSTIN MEYERS, from LeRoy's third-ranked wrestling team, qualified for the Class 1A state championship match at 138 pounds last weekend, he joined a short — but elite — list of area grapplers who have competed for state titles three successive seasons in the 75-year history of the IHSA event.
The first to do so was Urbana's REX WHITLATCH, from 1953 to '55. The next two who accomplished the feat were Mahomet-Seymour athletes, BRETT CAMDEN (1987-89) and CHET CROWLEY (1993-95). The most recent member of the club, before Meyers, was current UI wrestler KYLE DOOLEY, from Monticello (2006-08).
Vire signs with Webster
GEORGETOWN — Senior KORIE VIRE, from Georgetown-Ridge Farm, signed a letter of intent to continue his baseball career at Webster University in St. Louis. As a junior, Vire was an All-Area second-team infielder following a season he batted .507 (38 for 75), swatted five home runs and drove in 27.
Jones commits to Bradley
CHAMPAIGN — Centennial junior RACHEL JONES, an All-Area volleyball first-teamer last fall, gave an oral commitment to Bradley. The middle hitter led a 34-win Charger team with 129 blocks. She also had 117 kills, 51 digs and 28 aces.
Neal picks DACC for baseball
DANVILLE — Schlarman senior ALEC NEAL will continue his baseball career at Danville Area Community College. He is joining a program coached by TIM BUNTON. As a junior, Neal led the Hilltoppers in pitching victories (six) and struck out 58 batters in 49 innings. He was an honorable mention All-Vermilion Valley Conference selection.
AOC standout makes college choice
ARTHUR — Senior middle hitter MEGHAN LOWRY, from Arthur Okaw Christian, signed a letter of intent to continue her volleyball career at Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn. An All-Area special selection, Lowry had an area-best 6.5 kills per set.
PBL grad had 'super' time
EUREKA — Paxton-Buckley-Loda graduate JERRY PRINA's coaching career got off to a slow start. His first Eureka High School girls' basketball team was 3-5 after eight games. From there, the team caught fire and made a postseason run that carried it to a Class 2A super-sectional and an Elite Eight berth. Eureka finished 24-7 after its 11-game winning streak ended with Monday's 38-26 loss to Stillman Valley.
State wrestling notebook
CHAMPAIGN — The lone area official assigned to state was Farmer City's RON COIT. He worked his ninth individual tournament.
One of the four Grand Marshals was former Champaign Central and Danville wrestling head coach DON PITTMAN.
Urbana Uni High senior SARAH SUTTER — who attends a school that doesn't offer wrestling — sang the national anthem prior to the championship matches on Saturday.
The championship-session attendance was 7,910, and the five-session total was 29,228.
The IHSA does not recognize team scores at state, but trackwrestling.com charted all the points earned by a school's entries. The 1A leaders were Sterling Newman (105), Lena-Winslow (89 1/2), Dakota (67) and LeRoy (67). LeRoy's eight state-meet competitors went 18-14.
Matt Daniels, Jeff Huth, Fred Kroner and Jim Rossow