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Top of the Morning, Oct. 14, 2017

While you watched at home, these locals took in Thursday's wild, late-night NLDS clincher:

The MJs

BIG SPENDER AWARD: James Harden

From the recliner

TODAY

Loren Tate: Illini success a battle with continuity

Dating to Ray Eliot's last season in 1959, Illinois has had 13 head football coaches in the past 58 years, including four in the past six years. Over nearly six decades, that averages out to a new leader — a system broken and reshaped — every 4½ years. You can see how that has worked out.

Olympic trials: Urbana's Sands, 53, faster than ever on ice

URBANA — For most folks over 50, there are two realistic ways to get to the Olympic Trials:

— as a coach or with the support personnel staff;

— as a spectator.

Urbana's 53-year-old Theron Sands is attempting to demonstrate there's a viable third way.

Sands is in an odds-defying venture to earn a berth on the United States speedskating team for the 2018 Winter Games.

MLB: Halfway Home

The 2017 season hasn’t played out particularly well for any of the three teams
most popular in the area. Staff writer SCOTT RICHEY breaks down why:

St. Louis Cardinals
(39-42, 3rd in NL Central)

From lowest low to highest high

CHAMPAIGN — On Aug. 30, 1998, Dennis Millage got the telephone call no father ever wants to get.

His 21-year-old daughter, Nichole, had lost part of her left leg in a boating accident at Clinton Lake.

"It was one of the saddest days of my life," said Dennis Millage, who now lives in Bourbonnais.

UI women's rowers prepare for major event

Having never been an athlete before, University of Illinois senior Lizzie Diamond had a chance encounter on Quad Day during the start of her freshman year that changed the course of her collegiate lifestyle.

“I was walking around and someone at the rowing table said, ‘Hey, you, you should come try this out,’ ” Diamond recalled.

Sunday Conversation: Mike Lindemann

Mike Lindemann is a busy guy. Really busy. He is co-owner of Champaign’s Body N’ Sole Sports (35 years). He is the coach of the highly successful Parkland women’s basketball team (assistant for five years, head coach the last two.) He is a married (Liz) father of three (Laura, Allie and Rachel).

Illini legends, lists and lore: Assistant basketball coaches

Dustin Ford, Paris Parham and Jamall Walker are all in their third season as assistant coaches to Illini basketball head coach John Groce.

It’s a nice stretch of service for the Illini trio, but they have a long way to go to catch up with nine other assistants who logged eight or more years as assistant coaches at Illinois.