CHAMPAIGN — The swanky Colonnades Club at Memorial Stadium hosts 1,000-plus Illinois football fans on Saturdays in the fall.
In the offseason, the calendar is crammed with wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners and private parties.
Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase marries high school sweetheart Morgan in Kansas City, Mo., and has three Illini teammates serve as groomsmen.
Top Male Athletes
1. Jesse Delgado, wrestling. Back-to-back national champion at 125 pounds first to do so in Illini history at that weight class. Best news? He still has a year of eligibility left.
1. National champions don’t happen every year, but with Jesse Delgado winning one in wrestling and Jordan Valdez doing the same in men’s gymnastics, Illini could brag about those two accomplishments.
1. Kevin Hambly’s intense speech to his Illini volleyball team after it lost the first two sets to visiting Michigan on Nov. 6. With its postseason hopes seemingly evaporating, Illinois responded and dug deep to pull out a 3-2 win in the season-turning match.
Why a B: No repeat trip to NCAA tournament, but a solid Big Ten showing.
High point: Beating Indiana 2-1 April 26 at home to end Hoosiers’ 10-game conference winning streak.
Low point: Losing twice to Michigan State in three-day span at the Big Ten tournament, costing them an NCAA berth.
Big Ten finish: Third
At 35, Gia Lewis-Smallwood is still going strong. The former Centennial and Illini athlete just won the U.S. discus title. Staff writer Bob Asmussen caught up with the 2012 Olympian, who was on a flight Thursday for upcoming meets in Paris and Glasgow, Scotland.
Tell me about your latest win.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gia Lewis-Smallwood continued an impressive post-graduate career in discus, winning her second consecutive title in the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships on Sunday.
Mike Thomas and Rick Darnell have plenty of reasons to thank Illinois athletic department donors.
Twenty-eight million of them. And counting.
As the fiscal year draws to a close on June 30, Illinois has already set a record for donations.
As of Thursday, the total was at $28,123,205.
That will buy a lot of basketballs, athletic tape and sports drinks.
CHAMPAIGN — Men’s gymnast Chandler Eggleston, a two-time All-American and Big Ten floor exercise champion, and women’s track and field standout Kandie Bloch-Jones, the Big Ten indoor high jump champion, were named Newcomers of the Year on Tuesday by the University of Illinois’ Division of Intercollegiate Athletics.