UI's Olympic sports undertake busy weekend

While current Illinois football players go through their first spring practice Friday evening in Champaign, and potential future Illini basketball player Jeremiah Tilmon plays this afternoon in New York, here are five other UI sports to keep an eye on beginning Friday:

UI roundup: Softball routed at Eichelberger

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois’ home and Big Ten opener did not go according to plan Friday, as the Illini were thumped by Nebraska 10-2 in five innings at Eichelberger Field.

The Cornhuskers (19-9, 1-0 Big Ten) jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a Cassie McClure first-inning single.

But they poured it on in the second frame, tallying eight times.

UI roundup: Men's gymnast Diab honored

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois gymnast Alex Diab was named the Big Ten’s Co-Freshman of the Week on Monday after claiming the still rings title and sharing the floor title in the Illini’s weekend loss to No. 1-ranked Oklahoma at Huff Hall.

Asmussen: Learning at heart of Whitman hire

Chris Peacock knows Josh Whitman. And he knows Illinois athletics.

Peacock and Whitman worked together at Illinois from 2005 to ’08. When Whitman became the athletic director at Washington University, he brought Peacock to the St. Louis school as his right-hand man, naming him deputy director.

Now, Whitman is in charge at Illinois.

UI roundup: Women's gymnasts 8th at Big Tens

LINCOLN, Neb. — Sunny Kato earned a share of third place on the uneven bars in Saturday’s Big Ten Women’s Gymnastics Championships, leading Illinois to eighth place in the team chase.

Kato posted a 9.900 score, tying with seven other athletes and finishing 0.050 behind Michigan’s Brianna Brown and Penn State’s Kiera Brown.

Illini legends, lists and lore: Keith Jones

Happy 50th birthday to former Fighting Illini running back Keith Jones. Coach Mike White recruited Jones to Champaign-Urbana from Webster Groves High School in Rock Hill, Mo., where Jones was named Greater St. Louis’ Player of the Year. Jones was a three-way threat for Illinois — running the ball, catching passes out of the backfield and returning kicks.

UI roundup: Illini volleyball adds two

CHAMPAIGN — The Illinois volleyball team was put on the market for a middle blocker when Maddie Mayers elected to forego her final year of eligibility next season. The positional need was filled Monday when Blayke Hranicka committed to the Illini.

UI roundup: Bloch-Jones betters prior NCAA display

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Illinois’ Kandie Bloch-Jones finished her indoor track and field season Saturday with a 12th-place high jump showing at the NCAA Championships.

UI roundup: Men's golf 1 stroke off lead

LAS VEGAS — Dylan Meyer and Charlie Danielson each carded an even-par 72 in Monday’s first round of the Southern Highlands, leading Illinois men’s golf to a share of second place in the team chase. Meyer and Danielson were tied for 10th, 3 strokes behind a trio of first-day leaders. The Illini carded a collective 292, putting them a stroke back of Arizona State.

UI roundup: Three wrestlers advance to finals

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Illinois wrestling had a decent showing during the first day of competition at this year’s Big Ten Championships, sitting in sixth place after the first day of competition at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Illini (78 1/2 points) will look to move up a couple of spots during today’s competition, which will see six UI wrestlers compete.