About this time of the year, the University of Illinois typically names its male and female athletes of the year.
On the men’s side of the ledger, the recipients date back to 1940 when football and baseball star Bill Hapac received the initial honor.
Urbana gymnast Nancy Thies was the first female honoree in 1977.
CHAMPAIGN — Women’s gymnasts Julia Hutcherson and Brielle Nguyen will join Illinois coach Kim Landrus’ roster this fall.
Hutcherson of Canton, Ga., was a five-time regional qualifier and finished in fifth place in the all-around at the Level 10 state meet.
I love sports.
And I love movies/TV.
Thanks to Kirk Buchner, both my worlds collide. In a good way.
The Canadian-based Buchner is the owner/creator of the Fictitious Athlete Hall of Fame.
“It is a labor of love,” Buchner said.
The role of an athletic director touches on an endless variety of issues. Moving into May, Mike Thomas provides an Illini update:
How has the success of the men’s spring teams impacted the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics?
EVANSTON — Freshman Kate Giddens earned her first career win, leading Illinois to a 9-8 victory against Northwestern on Wednesday in the second game of a softball doubleheader.
In the opener, Jess Perkins drove in five runs and hit a three-run home run, but the Illini lost 12-4 in five innings.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Illinois’ final tournament of the regular season was one of its most dominant of the spring. The third-ranked Illini shot 35-under par as a team in the three-round Boilermaker Invitational, beat runner-up Louisville by 32 strokes and had the four top individuals.
FORT WORTH, Texas — Illinois women’s gymnast Giana O’Connor totaled a 39.425 in the all-around in Friday’s afternoon session of the NCAA Championships’ semifinals, tying for third and earning first-team All-America honors.
O’Connor turned in the best all-around score by an Illini in NCAA Championships history.
CHAMPAIGN — Illinois football received its fourth commitment in its 2016 class when Chicago Phillips linebacker Amani Jones orally committed to the Illini after Thursday night’s practice at Memorial Stadium.
“I am happy to say that I have committed to U of I!!!!,” Jones tweeted Thursday night.
We are left to wonder:
Why are University of Illinois men’s spring sports having such success while the school’s teams in the “money sports,” football and basketball, struggle?
Chicago — Jade Vecvanags tossed a three-hit shutout, leading Illinois to a 6-0 nonconference softball victory against DePaul on Wednesday night.
The Illini (19-21) won their seventh consecutive game and 11th in their last 12.