Grentz earns WBCA award

CHAMPAIGN – Illinois coach Theresa Grentz on Wednesday received the Carol Eckman Award from the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.

The award is presented annually to a WBCA coach who "exemplifies Eckman's spirit, integrity and character through sportsmanship, commitment to the student-athlete, honesty, ethical behavior, courage and dedication to purpose," the WBCA said.

Illini send eight to NCAAs

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Eight Illinois wrestlers qualified to compete for a national title Sunday following seventh-place or better individual performances at the Big Ten championship meet.

Gabe Flores (125 pounds), Jimmy Kennedy (133) and Mike Poeta (157) each claimed fourth place in their respective weight classes to reach the national tournament.

Super soph Masheto rounding into form

AMES, Iowa – Sophomore Lesiba Masheto placed second in the 400 meters, clocking a personal-best 46.65 seconds at the Iowa State Last Chance Meet on Saturday.

Masheto's time is the 14th best nationally, and he hopes to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships.

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Masheto a bright spot for Illini

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Lesiba Masheto gave the Illini something to smile about on an otherwise dreary day at the Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships on Sunday.

The sophomore won the 600-meter run title in 1 minute, 16.28 seconds – 0.09 off the Big Ten record – which gives him the No. 1 ranking in the world this year.

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UCLA rallies past Illinois in Chicago

CHICAGO – Third-seeded UCLA dominated singles play to knock off sixth-seeded Illinois in a quarterfinal match at Saturday's USTA/ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championships at the Midtown Tennis Club.

Host Illinois (7-2), which was looking to make its sixth consecutive semifinal appearance, won the doubles point. But only Ruben Gonzales won in singles as UCLA (7-1) rebounded with wins from 2006 NCAA champ Ben Kohlloeffel, Philipp Gruendler, Chris Surapol and Michael Look.

Dergo, Bond lead Illini to upset

MADISON, Wis. – Trailing by a point with two matches remaining, the ninth-ranked Illinois wrestling team turned to two youngsters in freshman John Dergo and sophomore Patrick Bond on Sunday against No. 6 Wisconsin.

Dergo, ranked 16th in the 184-pound weight class, put together a 9-4 decision against Wisconsin's Justin Peterson to put the Illini up 18-16, then the 20th-ranked Bond (197) capped off the 21-16 dual-meet upset with a 7-3 decision against No. 12 Dallas Herbst.

Mexicano powers Illini to season-opening wins

MIAMI – Coach Terri Sullivan's Illinois softball squad had a good start to its season Friday at the Diamond Fun & Sun Classic, topping No. 20 Louisville6-2 and Florida International 11-5.

In the Illini's season opener against the Cardinals, shortstop Angelena Mexicano went 3 for 4 with three runs and left fielder Makenzie Smith was 2 for 4 with three RBI. Reliever Ashley Wright allowed no runs on three hits in 4< 1/3> innings to earn the victory.

Illini complete sweep, gain dose of confidence

URBANA – A slow start didn't prevent Illinois from completing a weekend men's tennis sweep.

Bouncing back after losing the doubles point, the seventh-ranked Illini rallied past No. 41 Tennessee 4-3 on Saturday night at Atkins Tennis Center.