Prep Year in Review

TEAMS OF THE YEAR

1. Salt Fork boys' basketball. Storm will be the hunted, not the hunter, next year in Class 1A.

2. Tuscola football. In last four years, 45 wins and three state championship-game berths.

3. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley wrestling. Falcons have elevated program to an elite level in Class 1A.

4. Urbana girls' cross-country. Tigers' regional crown ended a 27-year streak without a postseason title in the sport.

5. Centennial boys' basketball. First boys' program in any sport in school history with back-to-back top-four finishes at state.

6. Danville softball. Elite Eight berth capped a super (sectional) season.

7. Unity football. Rockets won 13 consecutive games before falling in the Class 3A state title game.

8. Mahomet-Seymour boys' basketball. Regional title Bulldogs' second in past 15 years.

9. Champaign Central girls' basketball. Maroons accomplished what all coaches want: They hit their peak at tournament time.

10. Danville girls' track and field. Seven underclassmen earned state medals as the Vikings placed third in the Class 2A state meet.

11. Monticello boys' running. Cross-country team won a regional, and track and field team captured a sectional.

12. Danville football. While qualifying for playoffs for fourth straight year, tied school season record for wins (12).

13. Champaign Central girls' swimming. Sectional championship enabled Maroons to secure a threepeat.

14. Centennial volleyball. Regional, sectional titlists seeking the next step: a Big 12 Conference crown.

15. Champaign Central wrestling. Maroons ended Mahomet-Seymour's 19-year reign as regional champs.

FUTURE BLUE-CHIPPERS

1. Regan Romshek, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley softball. Illinois State already has made scholarship offer to rising junior pitcher.

2. Destiny Carter, Danville track and field. Big Ten Conference schools among those courting Vikings' star sprinter, who won a state title as a junior.

3. Joel Learnard, Salt Fork baseball. College coaches had taken notice prior to upcoming senior's junior season.

4. Hannah Bowen, St. Joseph-Ogden. Softball career has skyrocketed after decision last fall to bypass volleyball.

5. Casey Fletcher, Oakwood. Whether it's as a pitcher, catcher or infielder, senior-to-be has a future in the game.

6. Dagny Olson, Centennial. Hard enough to make All-Area team as a ninth-grader, but to earn Player of the Year accolades speaks of soccer standout's tremendous Division I skills.

7. D'Lando Carter, Danville. Few area players have shown as much improvement from sophomore to junior year as the Vikings' scoring leader.

8. Morgan Leach, Centennial. Indiana recruit lone underclassman on 2009 All-Area volleyball first team.

9. Adam Blackman, Urbana. Coach's son, an upcoming senior, has knowledge of soccer to match his skill and passion for the sport.

10. Ian Park, Bismarck-Henning. Chosen to the Illinois Olympic development State Soccer Team, which will compete July 16-18 in Kansas.

11. Jordan Wheeler, Blue Ridge. College coaches love the combination of pitchers who also can hit.

12. David Keenan, Salt Fork golf. Area Golfer of the Year can't rest on his laurels based on stiff competition from his own teammates.

13. Emma Newman, Champaign Central girls' swimming. Strong in multiple strokes.

14. Shaquille Traylor, Centennial football. Champaign's west-side school has a penchant for producing prospects as ball carriers, receivers or quarterbacks. Traylor was the team's top rusher as a junior.

15. Kegan Skelton, Centennial diving. Look for prep All-American to emerge from Division I recruiting pool with scholarship.

STATE CHAMPIONS

Teams

Boys' basketball, Class 1A: Salt Fork 55, Sesser-Valier 42.

Football, Class 1A: Tuscola 14, Lexington 7.

Music, Class D: Cerro Gordo.

Individuals

Wrestling, Class 1A: Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley/Fisher's Guy Kirby, 140 pounds.

Girls' track and field, Class 2A: Danville's Destiny Carter, 400 meters.

Journalism (sports writing): Chris Yoder, Urbana Uni High.

Journalism (review writing): Katy Metcalf, Urbana Uni High.

ALL-INTERVIEW TEAM

1. Jeff Johnson, Centennial. Basketball standout as insightful about the game as any coach.

2. Erin Wachtel, St. Thomas More. As eloquent talking as she is graceful in her athletic endeavors.

3. Logan Taylor, Danville. Effervescent speaker always provides insightful comments.

4. Trey Russell, Urbana. A go-to athlete as well as a go-to speaker.

5. Seth Gooch, Unity. His in-game competitiveness carries over to postgame with colorful comments.

6. Shelby Stevenson, Urbana. Cooperative and congenial whether performance was outstanding or average.

7. Morgan Buerkett, St. Thomas More. Provides well-conceived answers, not a series of cliches.

8. Katie Davis, Arthur. Volleyball standout is a confident speaker.

9. Joel Learnard, Salt Fork. Attracts multiple defenders during basketball games and multiple reporters after the contests.

10. Jade Ackerman, St. Thomas More. Offered a unique perspective and was never at a loss for words.

DESERVED MORE PUB

1. Becca Millage, St. Thomas More. Three-sport athlete on verge of being All-Area in multiple sports.

2. Bobby Aikman, Arthur. Epitome of a small-school do-everything athlete.

3. Ryan Root, Centennial. A big deal to be your school's first cross-country all-stater after 30-plus years of competition.

4. Daniel Wells, Danville First Baptist. Senior was poised to make a splash in News-Gazette Honor Roll track meet before the IHSA prevented him from competing.

5. Bria Olson, St. Joseph-Ogden. Strong competitor during all seasons.

6. Doug Kyrouac, Champaign Central. Set Twin City all-time football record for passing yards (3,106) and pounded hits in a state-record 13 consecutive at-bats in baseball.

7. Josh Piper, Centennial. Chargers' 6-foot-8 forward won't be overshadowed as a senior.

8. Chase Kelley, Fisher. One of area's top soccer scorers emerged as area's leading high jumper this spring.

9. John Kennedy, Mahomet-Seymour soccer. Goalkeeper should have been featured, if only to discuss politics.

10. Kevin Price, Blue Ridge. Area scoring leader will be a marked man for the Millikin University soccer team.

11. Blake Hoveln, St. Joseph-Ogden. Junior-to-be a three-sport letterman for second straight year.

12. Allison Gwinup, Mahomet-Seymour. Bulldogs' career stolen base leader plans to walk on to nationally ranked Illini softball program.

13. Robbie Irvin, Hoopeston Area. Three-sport varsity mainstay projects promising future for Cornjerkers.

14. Edwind McGhee, Champaign Central. Determination and effort made basketball forward a handful for foes.

15. Julian Anastasia, Champaign Central. Regional, Big 12 champ won 34 matches at 119 pounds.

16. Dylan Overstreet, Paxton-Buckley-Loda. Rising senior already an All-Area first-teamer in two sports.

17. Lauren Grubb, Unity. Basketball is her game and that's where she's made her name.

18. Jake Bock, St. Joseph-Ogden. Area's top returning football scorer and rusher certain to get looks from colleges.

19. Nathaniel Khachaturian, St. Thomas More. Senior-to-be seeking fourth consecutive state golf appearance.

20. Elizabeth Everingham, St. Joseph-Ogden. Softball standout not the main focus on a team of talented players.

MILESTONES

1. 300th career win. Urbana boys' soccer coach Randy Blackman on Aug. 28 in 7-0 win vs. Eisenhower.

3. 300th career win. Bismarck-Henning volleyball coach Susan Kentner on Oct. 19 vs. Salt Fork.

3. 200th career win. Schlarman volleyball coach Jamison Kuemmerle, who retired at season's end, on Oct. 14 as the Hilltoppers beat Hoopeston Area 25-16, 22-25, 25-13.

4. First match. St. Joseph-Ogden lost its first boys' varsity soccer match, 8-0 to Monticello on Aug. 26.

5. Tournament record. Oakwood's Amy Martin broke the Vermilion County tournament single-game girls' basketball scoring record with 43 points in a Jan. 16 win against Westville.

6. State record. Tuscola's Gunnar Edwards tied an IHSA tournament mark with three interceptions in the Nov. 27 state championship game.

7. State record. St. Joseph-Ogden's Hannah Bowen (a Chicago Tribune all-stater) broke the IHSA mark for RBI during a single season, with 97. Her mark ranks second all time nationally.

8. Area record. St. Thomas More's Brandon Noe tossed the discus (203 feet, 7 inches) farther than any other News-Gazette area athlete ever.

9. City first. Central, Centennial and St. Thomas More all won regional championships in volleyball, marking the first time three Champaign schools won regional titles on the same day.

10. School's best. Uzuri Williams and Alyssa Chambers reached the 1,000-point career scoring mark, making them the first and second athletes in that club for Judah Christian's girls' basketball program.

GAMES OF THE YEAR

1. Aug. 28, Danville 30, Bloomington 28. MykeTez Forman kicks a game-winning field goal as time expired to spark the Vikings' upset of sixth-ranked Bloomington in football.

2. Feb. 27, GCMS 37, Stillman Valley 36. Elliott McClure's 12-10 overtime decision at 145 pounds in the final bout enabled the wrestling Falcons to advance to the Class 1A state title match.

3. Feb. 17, Centennial 56, Rantoul 52. Charger girls trailed for all but 1:07 in the sectional basketball semifinals but recovered thanks to two late three-pointers by Stacia Simmons.

4. Oct. 16, Centennial 27, Champaign Central 21, OT. Down eight points with 1:02 remaining, Centennial scored to force OT in the Big 12 football game, then scored in the first extra session to secure the win.

5. Nov. 21, Unity 58, Greenville 53. Unity scored touchdowns on its first eight possessions to advance to the Class 3A state championship football game.

6. June 2, Danville 3, Chatham Glenwood 2. The Vikings won a Class 3A softball sectional semifinal when outfielders Morgan King and Elisa Ramos collided, but King held onto the ball for the game's final out.

7. Oct. 9, Mahomet-Seymour 14, Bloomington Central Catholic 5. The Bulldogs beat the top-ranked Class 4A team, snapping BCC's 21-game Corn Belt football winning streak.

8. Jan. 23, Peoria Richwoods 63, Centennial 47. Centennial's unbeaten streak in boys' basketball came to an end at 37 games.

9. Nov. 7, Tuscola 21, Brown County 18. The Warriors scored all their points in the second half to beat the top-ranked 1A team.

10. March 3, Champaign Central 67, Danville 65. Edwind McGhee's putback with 0.2 second left decided nailbiter in Class 3A regional semifinals.

SPORTSMANSHIP STANDOUTS

1. Monica Rondon, Champaign Central softball. Catcher routinely retrieved the bat for opposing players who hit foul balls.

2. Ryan McCord, Salt Fork basketball. Senior scored in double figures in his only start, but didn't complain about his limited playing time during a championship season.

3. Jeni Free, Bismarck-Henning. Aggressive post player was an enforcer but never crossed the boundary.

4. Brannon Kwiatkowski, Mahomet-Seymour. Maintained a calm demeanor whether he was doing well or struggling.

5. Mallory Lampkin, Danville. Junior gave up his spot on Vikings' 400-meter relay after qualifications so senior Solomon Crenshaw could run in the finals at state.

6. Amy Martin, Oakwood. Area's premier female athlete quick to credit others – coaches and teammates alike – for her ultimate success and recognition.

7. Justin Schuring, Arthur. Leader by example for not showboating and demonstrating respect for opponents and the game.

8. Dylan Sturgeon, Unity. Record-setting quarterback accepted praise with grace and sought out an injured Stillman Valley player afterward to offer good health after losing state title game.

9. Seth Trolia, Mahomet-Seymour. Golfer always a picture of courtesy and congeniality in a sports that places an emphasis on it.

10. Jordan Arford, Bismarck-Henning. Willingly devoted time to volunteer projects along with the commitment needed for athletics and academics.

COMEBACKS OF THE YEAR

1. Kaitlin Knowles, St. Thomas More. Junior missed each of her first two years with ACL injuries but sprinted near top of area track leaders this spring.

2. Abby Immke, St. Joseph-Ogden. Recovered from serious illness – uncovered by her parents – to earn All-Area second-team honors.

3. Hanna Mennenga, Rantoul softball. Open-heart surgery a week before season opener didn't slow down the right-handed pitcher.

4. Jud Wienke, Tuscola. Broken collarbone limited junior quarterback to two regular season completions, but he helped rally team from a 7-0 deficit in state title game.

5. Justin Flinkman, Milford/Cissna Park football. In his inaugural season of 11-man football, senior chosen to All-Area first team as a receiver.

6. April Barnett, Rantoul. Played only a handful of games after first semester of freshman year but made senior season memorable in basketball. A first-team All-Area standout, she earned a college scholarship.

7. Emily Harms, St. Joseph-Ogden. Softball third baseman returned from offseason shoulder surgery to bat cleanup for the Spartans before a reoccurrence sent her back to the sideline at midyear.

8. Cody Flynn, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley/Fisher wrestling. Broken wrist in football ended season early as well as first half of wrestling, but 189-pounder returned strong and advanced to a state championship match.

9. Cody Eells, Hoopeston Area track and field. Missed two weeks of training with mononucleosis but returned to win 200 meters in conference meet.

10. Jenna Einck, St. Thomas More. Overcame a back injury to lead the regional champion Sabers in kills.

SUPER SOPHOMORES

1. Sam Stewart, Champaign Central swimming. Area Honor Roll leader in an unparalleled three events this season.

2. Jamie Blue, Urbana Uni High basketball. Few weaknesses in her overall game.

3. Sydni Meunier, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley track and field. Running to success as a middle-distance runner.

4. Stephanie Canfield, St. Joseph-Ogden softball. Complete player from the offensive and defensive perspectives.

5. Nate Volk, Champaign Central wrestling. The 152-pounder is more than halfway to 100 career wins after two varsity seasons.

6. Aaron Larson, Unity basketball. Rockets' offense should benefit from addition of transfer, who was all-conference first-team at Heritage last winter.

7. Jay Simpson, Champaign Central basketball. Purdue commitment came on strong down stretch.

8. Steve Schroeder, Monticello track and field. On pace to graduate as the school's premier distance runner.

9. Emma Cabutti, Mahomet-Seymour volleyball, track and field. Quickness and jumping ability cast multi-sport standout as a rising star.

10. Korie Vire, Georgetown-Ridge Farm, football, basketball, baseball. An impact player throughout the school year.

11. T.J. Onstott, Tuscola, football, baseball. Carrying on the tradition of tenacious linebackers for the Warriors.

12. Jonathan Malone, Blue Ridge soccer. Only underclassman among area's top five scorers.

13. Destani Burton, Urbana girls' basketball. Scoring leader working hard on summer AAU circuit to improve her game.

14. Tyler Bialeschki, Unity. Right-handed pitcher tied for the area lead in wins (11).

15. Austin Armetta, Mahomet-Seymour. Two-time wrestling state qualifier also one of area's top pole vaulters.

16. Justin Meyers, LeRoy. Regional and sectional champion already a two-time state qualifier.

17. Zach Elkins, St. Joseph-Ogden. Another entry in the school's long list of outstanding distance runners.

18. Philip Meyer, Tuscola. Only sophomore on News-Gazette football All-Area first or second teams.

19. Blas Garcia-Canga, Centennial. Few large-school athletes excel in three sports like Chargers' cross-country, swimming, track standout.

20. Sierra Myerscough, St. Thomas More. Often overshadowed by older teammates in golf and softball.

FANTASTIC FRESHMEN

1. Chantal Meacham, Centennial. Could be a special player in basketball and soccer.

2. Kandie Bloch, Argenta-Oreana, girls' basketball. Six-footer has big-time potential.

3. Cameron Mammen, Urbana. Has already made a name for himself in the wrestling community.

4. Chuckie Robinson, Danville. Baseball catcher drawing favorable comparisons to Darrin Fletcher at the same age.

5. Morgan Supergan, Bismarck-Henning. A varsity letterman in football, wrestling and track and field as a ninth-grader.

6. Katelynn Martinez, Centennial. Aggressiveness bodes well in basketball and soccer.

7. Stacia Simmons, Centennial. Plays with poise and confidence uncharacteristic for a young player.

8. Jon Delzell, Danville. Swimmer posted area's best mark in the 100-yard freestyle.

9. Tyler Mangum, Schlarman. Lineman has good combination of size (280 pounds) and quickness.

10. Maddie Baillon, St. Thomas More. In first year school offered tennis, ninth-grader burst onto the scene as a sectional runner-up.

11. Chelsea Cross, Centennial. Flashed potential to be a powerful inside presence in basketball.

12. Jonah Peoples, Centennial. Track sprinter already capable of running with the big boys.

13. Dylan Donner, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley. Competing at 103 pounds, wrestler also competed for a state title.

14. Cole Hasselbring, CPCI. Led 17-win team in rebounding in first varsity season.

15. Emma Hoyer, Urbana Uni High. Six-footer will be a big part of Illineks attack.

16. Alex Mestre, Urbana Uni High. Part of all-freshman doubles duo that teamed up for a sectional title.

17. Ido Roth, Urbana Uni High. See No. 16.

18. Lizzy Smith, Villa Grove. Good in basketball; could be outstanding in softball

19. Jade Brinkoetter, St. Thomas More. Can't run enough in the spring; excels in track and soccer.

20. Austen Schott, Centennial. Sectional wrestling champion (103 pounds) poised beyond his years.

COACHES OF THE YEAR

1. Rick Reinhart, Tuscola football. In his second year at a school with a state championship in football, returned the Warriors to the state's loftiest position.

2. Aaron Hird, Salt Fork boys' basketball. Coaching many of the athletes he guided to state championship as eighth-graders, his 33-win Class 1A team captured a state title.

3. Amy Boscolo, Urbana girls' track and field. During her two-year coaching tenure, the Tigers' program has roared into prominence.

4. Stan Bergman, Centennial volleyball. Has guided Chargers to 11 consecutive 20-win seasons and back-to-back sectional championships.

5. Randy Wolken, St. Joseph-Ogden softball. State's winningest coach guided Spartans to most wins ever (34) in a season.

6. Wesley Brown, Danville girls' track and field. His Big 12 champion Vikings a force on the state scene, placing third in Class 2A.

7. Susan Kentner, Bismarck-Henning volleyball. Blue Devils' dynasty features six successive Vermilion County titles.

8. Ryan Birt, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley wrestling. Two dual-meet state trophies in the last four years and five successive 20-win seasons; resigned at season's end.

9. Erika Tock, St. Thomas More volleyball. Guided Sabers to their first 30-win season in the sport.

10. Chris Mennig, St. Thomas More girls' basketball. Chosen as co-recipient of IBCA's District 13 Coach of the Year award.

11. Mike Stephens, Bismarck-Henning girls' basketball. Chosen as co-recipient of IBCA's District 13 Coach of the Year award.

12. Jeff Butler, Monticello cross-country and track and field. Guided Sages to postseason titles in two boys' sports for the first time in the same school year.

13. Staci Starkweather, Champaign Central girls' basketball. Renowned AAU coach returned Maroons to prominence, 21 wins and a regional crown.

14. Tim Lavin, Centennial boys' basketball. Followed up school's first 30-win season with another one this season.

15. B.J. Luke, Danville football. Directed Vikings to 12 successive wins before a loss in the state semifinals.

16. Scott Hamilton, Unity football. In 16 years, has coached 16 playoff qualifiers, including 2009 state runners-up.

17. Krista Kuhlman, Watseka volleyball. Directed the Warriors to back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in the program's 37-year existence.

18. Dan Warner, Champaign Central wrestling. Coached Maroons to fourth in Class 2A dual-team state in first year as school's head coach.

19. Erica Kostoff, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley girls' track and field. Directed Falcons to highest state finish ever, eighth place in Class 1A.

20. Chad Benedict, Mahomet-Seymour boys' basketball. Guided Bulldogs to outright Corn Belt title, plus first regional crown since 2005.

ALUMNI TO WATCH

1. Rayvonte Rice, Centennial. Drake University basketball signee projected as an immediate impact player.

2. Heather Page, Salt Fork. Recently selected as coordinator of basketball operations for the University of Missouri women's program.

3. Brandon Noe, St. Thomas More. All-time area leader in discus will thrive at University of Illinois.

4. Verdell Jones III, Champaign Central. Indiana sophomore ranked sixth in Big Ten in scoring average for conference games.

5. Kylie McCulley, Clinton. Former two-time All-Area volleyball Player of the Year tries her hand in coaching as Champaign Central's next head coach.

6. Nick Elder, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley. Falcons promoted one of their own (1999 graduate, four-year boys' assistant) to fill the vacant girls' basketball coaching position.

7. Mikel Leshoure, Centennial. Illini junior-to-be will be the featured back in an offense that emphasizes the running game.

8. Denzel Stewart, Champaign Central. Joliet Junior College could be steppingstone for talented running back.

9. Maggie Fitzgerald, St. Thomas More. Joining Wisconsin's nationally prominent Big Ten champions in crew.

10. Donald Stewart, Champaign Central. ACL injury as a sophomore at Vincennes University didn't prevent scholarship offer from Northwest Missouri State for basketball standout.

11. Megan Gingerich, Arthur-Lovington. Sophomore runner adding her name to Eastern Illinois' all-time list of middle-distance runners.

12. Keith Biggers, Champaign Central. After juco stint, ex-Maroon big man will join Kentucky Wesleyan University's touted Division II program next season. The Panthers were 29-5 last season.

13. Hope Elam, Champaign Central. In first season of Big Ten competition, started 22 of 30 games for Indiana University.

14. Cam Strang, Champaign Central. Junior shortstop a steady hitter and fielder for Eastern Illinois University.

15. Caleb Pratt, Westville. Monmouth College tailback was top ground-gainer as a sophomore for the nation's eighth-ranked Division III squad.

TEAMS ON THE RISE

1. Centennial girls' basketball. Five of the top six scorers on a 22-win team were freshmen.

2. Salt Fork boys' golf. Top four players on state's fifth-place Class 1A team were all juniors.

3. Danville football. The pieces are in place to successfully follow up on a Big 12 Conference championship and state semifinal season.

4. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley, everything. Falcons earned the all-sports trophy this spring from the 13-team Heart of Illinois Conference.

5. Urbana volleyball. First 20-win season a sign of what could become the norm.

6. Unity baseball. School-record win total impressive for a program whose nucleus is underclassmen.

7. Villa Grove football. Top rusher, passer and receiver on an 8-3 team were underclassmen.

8. Blue Ridge softball. Knights won a school-record 30 games, anchored by sophomore pitcher Jordan Wheeler.

9. Arthur volleyball. LOVC tournament title was school's first in 13 years.

10. Arcola girls' track and field. LOVC champions ended a 28-year drought without a title.

TOP BOYS' PROGRAMS

(combined 2009-10 football, basketball, baseball victories)

1. (tie) Salt Fork 60 (8-33-19)

1. (tie) STM 60 (10-23-27)

3. Unity 56 (13-19-24)

4. PBL 54 (3-28-23)

5. Centennial 53 (4-31-18)

6. (tie) Danville 51 (12-17-22)

6. (tie) M-S 51 (7-22-22)

8. (tie) GCMS 45 (11-11-23)

8. (tie) LeRoy 45 (8-24-13)

10. Watseka 44 (4-20-20)

TOP GIRLS' PROGRAMS

(combined 2009-10 volleyball, basketball, softball victories)

1. STM 77 (30-24-23)

2. SJ-O 75 (23-18-34)

3. (tie) B-H 69 (23-32-14)

3. (tie) Watseka 69 (27-19-23)

5. Centennial 65 (34-22-9)

6. Salt Fork 59 (19-20-20)

7. Prairie Central 57 (18-22-17)

8. Ridgeview 56 (23-28-5)

9. Schlarman 54 (27-2-25)

10. (tie) Heritage 53 (12-21-20)

10. (tie) LeRoy 53 (20-17-16)

TOP COMBINED PROGRAMS

(total 2009-10 football, volleyball, boys'/girls' basketball, baseball, softball victories)

1. STM 137 (60 boys, 77 girls)

2. Salt Fork 119 (60 boys, 59 girls)

3. Centennial 118 (53 boys, 65 girls)

4. Watseka 113 (44 boys, 69 girls)

5. Unity 107 (56 boys, 51 girl)

6. Bismarck-H. 104 (35 boys, 69 girls)

7. (tie) LeRoy 98 (45 boys, 53 girls)

7. (tie) PBL 98 (54 boys, 44 girls)

7. (tie) SJ-O 98 (23 boys, 75 girls)

10. Prairie Cent. 92 (35 boys, 57 girls)

HEADLINES YOU MIGHT READ IN 2010-11

1. Danville wins first Big 12 boys' basketball title since 2001

2. Drake's Rice leads Missouri Valley Conference in scoring

3. Central hires former UI athlete to coach

4. Soccer cancels Friday games so kickers can play football

5. SJ-O's Wolken earns 800th career softball triumph

6. Area athletes in scandal: Twittering from the bench

7. Parkland lands Area Athlete of Year in every sport it offers

8. IBCA finally opens Hall of Fame in Danville

9. Salt Fork storms to another state title

10. More area schools eliminate freshman teams

HEADLINES YOU WON'T READ IN 2010-11

1. Big 12 changes name to Big 9

2. Unit 4 builds new swimming pool for Champaign high schools

3. UI chosen to host lacrosse state finals

4. IHSA returns boys' basketball tournament to Assembly Hall

5. Unit 4 builds home football stadium for Central

6. Urbana, Uni High form athletic co-op

7. Budget crisis restricts all prep coaches to volunteer status

8. Unit 4 breaks ground for multipurpose fieldhouse

9. St. Thomas More joins Big 12 Conference

10. Okaw Valley, Little Okaw merge into Super Okaw

QUOTES OF THE YEAR
 "I got fired for being honest; I got fired for my faith." – former Champaign Central football coach Dave Jacobs, after tendering his resignation.

"I tried not to act scared, but I was inside. Once I found out I had a brain tumor, it was hard not to think about it. Nobody wants to have a brain operation. Pretty scary stuff." – St. Joseph-Ogden sophomore Abby Immke, who underwent surgery last December for Cushing's Syndrome but returned to play softball this spring.

"Before state (in basketball), I was sleeping in the locker room. Today I had butterflies. You want to stab yourself in the stomach and let them out." – Josh Chandler, Salt Fork senior, commenting on feeling different levels of pressure between basketball and the track and field seasons.

"By playing these Double-A schools, we really want to show what we've learned, how we've grown. We're not 'Puny Uni' anymore." – Urbana Uni High's Michelle Wong, on the Illineks' success in girls' soccer.

"At 16, it is really hard for me to deal with losing my mom. I'm still learning how to deal with it every day and I just keep doing my best to be strong because I know my mom is in heaven and is looking down on me and if she were here, she would want me to be strong," – Bismarck-Henning sophomore Stephen Krout, whose mother, Darla, died in January after a six-year battle with cancer.

"It's going to take my foot to literally fall off and unattach from my body. I will crawl if I have to." – Tuscola's Josh Scribner, on his intentions of playing in the Class 1A football state title game after suffering an ankle injury.


 "Honestly, I don't really like wrestling quite that much. I just like the workout and so I decided to take my junior year off and prepare for football." – Champaign Central's Tyler Finkbeiner, after he qualified for state as a senior in wrestling.

"We don't run secret plays. We go get Joel (Learnard) the ball. He's a real star." – Salt Fork boys' basketball coach Aaron Hird on his junior standout.

"What hurts the most is we didn't play the right way, we didn't play as a team. We didn't play the way we're capable of and so it's going to hurt to watch that championship game tomorrow, knowing we should be there." – Jeff Johnson, following defending state champion Centennial's loss in Peoria.

"She cries at sad and not-so-sad movies, happy occasions, heart-warming events, but rarely cries when she is hurt," – Kathy Bowen, whose daughter Hannah was The News-Gazette Area Player of the Year in softball.

"We're extremely disappointed. What gives the IHSA, an organization to serve schools, the right to bully schools and force those schools to disobey their policy? What irritated me most was them being arrogant enough to put pressure on us to play and not respect our board's policy." – DeLand-Weldon girls' basketball coach and principal Russ Corey, after taking a forfeit loss in the Class 1A regional. D-W was not in school the day of its scheduled postseason tournament game and school policy is that if school is not in session, then teams can't play that night. The IHSA mandated the game be forfeited.

"Since I've come back, we've never played a team out of conference. I asked the kids if anyone knew where Oak Lawn is, and nobody did." – Danville football coach B.J. Luke after the Class 6A playoff pairings were announced.

"In high school, I played against them. I coached against Arcola, and their kids have always been hard-nosed, tough kids, and those are always fun situations to be involved in." – Gerald Temples, after being hired as Arcola's new football head coach.

"The beauty of it was you couldn't tell if we were winning or losing by the way we were playing. They played hard the whole time." – St. Joseph-Ogden boys' soccer coach Bill DeJarnette after SJ-O's first varsity soccer match in school history.

"The coaching staff tried to get him beat early in the season to make sure he was focused. He would weigh in at 140 and wrestle at 145. We would weigh him in at 145 and wrestle him at 152. It didn't matter." – GCMS/Fisher wrestling coach Ryan Birt, about eventual 140-pound unbeaten state champion Guy Kirby.

"My greatest experience was when I was 8 years old, hitting balls over the Green Monster (at Boston's Fenway Park)." – Oakwood junior Casey Fletcher, who made two road trips a season when his father, Darrin, played for the Toronto Blue Jays.

 "It was a long time coming; it was a bright spot after the (Christmas) holidays." – Georgetown-Ridge Farm girls' basketball coach Don Hackler after the Buffaloes' first win in 17 games.

"I had too much for breakfast. Too many carbohydrates." – Oakwood/Armstrong-Potomac cross-country runner Ciara Pierce on how she felt before the Oct. 3 Thunder Run cross-country invitational, which she won.

 "I would stop at practice and wait for it to stop. I'm pretty sure I wasn't supposed to continue pitching, but I did while I was in a game." – Rantoul senior pitcher Hanna Mennenga, who underwent surgery for a rapid heartbeat associated with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome one week prior to the start of the softball season.

"Coach is serious, but in the team huddle we're laughing and having fun." – Arthur volleyball player Katie Davis, after the Knights won the LOVC tournament championship.

"As far as the first year, it couldn't have gone any better." – St. Thomas More girls' tennis coach Jeremy Beach, summing up the Sabers' inaugural season of competition.

 "The coaches' consensus was, 'Let's do everything we can to bring it back here again next year.' " – Urbana boys' golf coach Chad McFarland on the positive feedback after the inaugural Champaign County Championship.

"I think these kids want to see me die before I'm 40. They like to make it exciting." – Georgetown-Ridge Farm football coach Jason Baccadutre after a comeback win against Schlarman.

"Nothing like hitting for breakfast." – Monticello baseball player Jordan Latsko, on showing up to school at 6:45 a.m. to get extra swings in the batting cage.

"I'm being more responsible this year." – Centennial wrestler Archie Williams, commenting on missing the 2009 regionals his freshman year by oversleeping. As a sophomore, the 189-pounder advanced into the championship match and advanced to sectionals.

 "I think it's something that the more Sam has to deal with it, the better he's going to get at controlling it." – Champaign Central swimming coach Matt Hopkins, about Sam Stewart's battles with breathing problems.

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