Spencer Allen first met Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb at the end of his playing career at Iowa State.
The Cyclones dropped their baseball program following the 2001 season, and Allen’s roommate Brandon Cashman transferred to Illinois and was Hartleb’s starting center fielder from Day 1 of the 2002 season.
CHAMPAIGN — The swanky Colonnades Club at Memorial Stadium hosts 1,000-plus Illinois football fans on Saturdays in the fall.
In the offseason, the calendar is crammed with wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners and private parties.
Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase marries high school sweetheart Morgan in Kansas City, Mo., and has three Illini teammates serve as groomsmen.
Top Male Athletes
1. Jesse Delgado, wrestling. Back-to-back national champion at 125 pounds first to do so in Illini history at that weight class. Best news? He still has a year of eligibility left.
1. National champions don’t happen every year, but with Jesse Delgado winning one in wrestling and Jordan Valdez doing the same in men’s gymnastics, Illini could brag about those two accomplishments.
1. Kevin Hambly’s intense speech to his Illini volleyball team after it lost the first two sets to visiting Michigan on Nov. 6. With its postseason hopes seemingly evaporating, Illinois responded and dug deep to pull out a 3-2 win in the season-turning match.
Why a B: No repeat trip to NCAA tournament, but a solid Big Ten showing.
High point: Beating Indiana 2-1 April 26 at home to end Hoosiers’ 10-game conference winning streak.
Low point: Losing twice to Michigan State in three-day span at the Big Ten tournament, costing them an NCAA berth.
Big Ten finish: Third
CHAMPAIGN — Men’s gymnast Chandler Eggleston, a two-time All-American and Big Ten floor exercise champion, and women’s track and field standout Kandie Bloch-Jones, the Big Ten indoor high jump champion, were named Newcomers of the Year on Tuesday by the University of Illinois’ Division of Intercollegiate Athletics.
LINCOLN, Neb. — The Illinois baseball team isn’t in a tie for second anymore in the Big Ten.
The Illini are now in sole possession of third place after falling 2-1 against Nebraska in the series opener Thursday night.
That’s important when it comes to seeding purposes at the Big Ten tournament, which starts Wednesday in Omaha, Neb.
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Drasen Johnson turned in another solid effort on the mound, leading Illinois to a 6-3 Big Ten baseball victory against Penn State on Friday night.
Johnson, who struck out six, allowed nine hits and one earned run in 61/3 innings.