Track and Field
CHAMPAIGN — Forty-nine Illinois athletes have been recognized as Big Ten Distinguished Scholars for the 2014-15 school year, the league office announced Wednesday.
Honorees must have had a 3.7 or higher grade-point average for the academic year. A total of 779 athletes from the 14 schools were recognized by the league.
We rate all 19 Illinois athletic teams from the 2014-15 school year:
Why an A: Set the bar high for future seasons with 50 wins and first NCAA regional title.
Last year’s grade: B
High point: Beating Wright State to sweep NCAA regional and reach super regional.
Tom Michael left for Eastern Illinois and the chance to run his own athletic department after two-plus decades at Illinois, first as a basketball player for Lou Henson and later as an administrator.
Top Male Athletes
1. Isaiah Martinez, wrestling. Only 10 wrestlers win a national title each year. Those who go undefeated doing so are a much smaller group, which Martinez joined in March.
2. Tyler Jay, baseball. The Big Ten Pitcher of the Year and No. 6 overall draft pick of the Minnesota Twins was one of the most dominant closers in the nation this spring.
Illinois senior pole vaulter Stephanie Richartz swept the indoor and outdoor Big Ten Championships and set school and conference records by clearing a personal best 14 feet, 4 3/4 inches to win the Big Ten indoor title. Richartz also finished third at both the NCAA Indoor Championships and NCAA Outdoor Championships.
PHILADELPHIA — Ben Polland shot a 3-under-par 67 on Monday on The Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Wissahickon Course to take a 4-stroke lead in the 48th PGA Professional National Championship.
The 24-year-old Polland is a PGA assistant professional in Manhasset, N.Y. He opened with a 4-under 68 on Sunday on the Militia Hill Course and had a 7-under 135 total.
EUGENE, Ore. — Stephanie Richartz concluded her Illinois track and field career Sunday with a 14th-place finish in women’s pole vault at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships.
Richartz tied with Melissa Gergel by clearing 13 feet, 111/4 inches. Jennifer Suhr, who won the 2012 Olympic pole vault, placed first with a height of 15 feet, 93/4 inches.
EUGENE, Ore. — Former Illini Gia Lewis-Smallwood captured the women’s discus title Saturday at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships.
It is Lewis-Smallwood’s third consecutive discus victory at the event. Her throw Saturday was 207 feet and bested runner-up Whitney Ashley by nearly 3 feet.
EUGENE, Ore. — Illinois’ David Kendziera narrowly missed qualifying for the 400-meter hurdles final, clocking 49.57 seconds Friday at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Johnny Dutch, competing unattached, had the fastest semifinal time, finishing in 48.90.
Illinois’ Dylan Lafond placed 20th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing in 9 minutes, 5.07 seconds.
LAKE FOREST — Illinois senior golfer Alex Burge, a Bloomington native, won the Chicago District Golf Association’s 96th Amateur Championship on Thursday at Knollwood Club, defeating Tee-K Kelly of Wheaton 1 up in the 36-hole championship match.