Loren Tate: Howdy, freshmen

This is for you, the 7,000 survivors from the record 33,178 applicants at the University of Illinois.

It’s an unusually large campus, sprawling nearly 3 miles from the Beckman Institute on University Avenue to the south end of the Research Park, so that’s a lot of ground to cover. This annual column is geared to be advisory and explanatory.

UI soccer storylines

Before the Illinois soccer team opens its season Friday at No. 10 Notre Dame, coach Janet Rayfield and her team posed for the camera and answered questions on media day. Staff writer JEFF HUTH returned with storylines on the 2013 Illini:

Goal oriented

Soccer: 3rd in Big Ten preseason poll

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois isn’t ranked in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America preseason Top 25, but Janet Rayfield’s squad didn’t miss by much.

Rayfield's squad ready for challenges

The Illinois women’s soccer schedule was released Thursday. The Illini will play seven teams that made the NCAA tournament last year during the regular season before they host the Big Ten tournament for the first time since 2000.

Rayfield earns 5-year extension

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois soccer coach Janet Rayfield received a five-year contract extension, UI athletic director Mike Thomas announced Tuesday.

The new deal will keep Rayfield with the Illini through 2017.

All in the family

Tom, Darrin and Casey Fletcher are far from the only multi-generation family members to make their mark in University of Illinois sports history. Here are other notable examples of Illini athletes who kept it all in the family

Bill and Doug Altenberger

Illinois team grades

Baseball: B
Comment: NCAA tournament team won 35 games, most since 2000

Football: D-
Comment: Task one: End that 14-game Big Ten losing streak

Men’s basketball: B
Comment: Inconsistent bunch proved they belonged in NCAAs

Men’s cross-country: B
Comment: Big Ten finish of fourth was program’s best in 16 years

Illinois team-by-team breakdown

High point: Receiving Big Ten’s only at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
Low point: Losing NCAA elimination game after entering ninth inning with 3-2 lead.
Big Ten finish: T-5th
What’s next: Plenty of holes to fill in field, but starting rotation returns intact.


Generating some headlines

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Ang Lee’s new movie: “Life of Dee”

Illinois Year in Review


1. Justin Parr, baseball. Big Ten Player of the Year and first-team All-American taking sweet swing to pros.

2. Jesse Delgado, wrestling. Sophomore Big Ten champion became first Illini to win an NCAA title at 125 pounds.

3. Fred Hartville, gymnastics. Proving Big Ten vault title was no fluke, freshman repeated feat at NCAA Championships.