CHAMPAIGN – After nearly four decades of developing some of the state's best high school divers, Don Waybright will be on the pool deck as a Centennial coach for the final time this weekend.
Waybright, who plans to retire from teaching in the Unit 4 district after this school year, is headed to his final IHSA state meet Friday and Saturday at New Trier High School in Winnetka.
"I'm going to miss all of this," Waybright said. "It's been 37 years (of coaching), and it's just been a lot of fun. ... But I'm looking forward to the last state meet a lot."
Waybright will be accompanied by two Charger divers, Kegan Skelton and Will Holder, in his final state appearance. During his career, Waybright has coached two boys' state champions – Jake Dorsey (1999) and Chris Schehlein (2003) – six boys' and girls' state runners-up, and numerous other finalists.
"I've been blessed with a lot of good divers," the Centennial coach said.
Waybright indicated he would like to transition into college coaching. He recently applied for the since-filled position of diving coach at West Virginia. Until something develops on that front, the longtime prep and country club coach figures wife Karen deserves more of his time in retirement.
"God knows I owe her that," Waybright said. "Every weekend for the last 37 years has been filled up (with coaching), so she's been a saint to put up with that, that's for certain."
Shooting for first
NORMAL – Six area girls, three in Class 1A and three in Class 2A, qualified for the IHSA three-point shooting finals at Illinois State University's Redbird Arena. They are among the 32 finalists in each class and will shoot at 5 p.m. Thursday.
The 1A representatives are Blue Ridge senior Marcie Crawford, Milford senior Kassandra Knauth and Salt Fork senior Maddy Stutsman.
In 2A, the area contestants are Westville senior Taylor Ceader, Prairie Central junior Courtney Somers and Paxton-Buckley-Loda sophomore Cheyenne Weber.
Bowen signs letter of intent
CATLIN – Senior Mat Bowen, from Salt Fork, will sign a letter of intent Thursday to attend Purdue-Calumet and play golf. He was part of back-to-back Salt Fork teams, coached by Dave McCoy, that placed fifth in Class 1A.
As a junior, he shot 169 at state and was 66th. As a senior, Bowen shot 161 and placed 36th.
Injury ends Kinney's season
PRICE, Utah – James Kinney, who helped lead Centennial to the 2009 Class 3A state basketball title, suffered a season-ending broken jaw in mid-February.
After missing the first portion of the season with College of Eastern Utah due to a foot injury, the 2009 News-Gazette All-Area Player of the Year averaged 12.9 points and 3.6 assists in 13 games. Kinney had been on a scoring tear for the Division I junior college before being sidelined by a fracture of his lower jawbone.
The sophomore guard scored 31 points on Jan. 28 and averaged 20.6 points in his last five games.
"His injury will have a huge impact on our team in so many different areas," COE assistant coach Chris Skinkis was quoted as saying. "He is our most well-rounded guard and has been leading our team in scoring the past couple weeks. His ability to score, make plays, and experience (will be missed) in so many ways."
Jeff Huth and Fred Kroner