CHAMPAIGN — Former Centennial girls’ basketball coach TIM FAIRCHILD is organizing a reunion Saturday at the state-ranked Chargers’ home game against Urbana. Former players, their parents, coaches and others who followed the team during Fairchild’s 29-year tenure are invited back to watch the game and socialize afterward.
Saturday’s junior varsity game will start at 1 p.m. The varsity game will begin about 2:30.
Fairchild retired after the 2006-07 school year.
Ex-Rocket stars at ONU
BRADLEY — Freshman AARON LARSON, from Unity, scored the game-winning point last week as Olivet Nazarene edged Indiana-South Bend 51-50. Larson hit the second of two free throws with 1.8 seconds left, accounting for the last of his team-high 12 points.
The 6-foot-7 Larson is one of three squad members who have started every game for an 11-10 team that is on a three-game winning streak. He ranks second on the team in scoring (13.3 average) and second in rebounding (6.1 average). Larson is playing 26.7 minutes per game.
Two other former area athletes have seen time for the Tigers. REID FARCHMIN, from Mahomet-Seymour, has played in eight games and is averaging 1.5 points and 0.8 rebound per game. ALEX THORSON, from Unity, has played in seven games and is averaging 1.1 points and 1.9 rebounds per game. All three are freshmen.
Milford moves up Senior Night
MILFORD — Senior Night festivities for Milford’s girls’ basketball team will start sooner than originally scheduled Thursday night. There will be no junior varsity game, so the varsity contest will start at 6 p.m. Bearcat seniors GOLENE THRUSH and SAMANTHA WILKEN will be recognized in a pregame ceremony at about 5:45.
Cyclones hire ex-Illini player
SPRINGFIELD — Former Illini player and Parkland College assistant SANDY SCHOLTENS HAMILTON was hired as head coach for the storied Sacred Heart-Griffin volleyball program.
Counting her time at Parkland and with the Prime Time club team, Hamilton has nearly 20 years of coaching experience. At Illinois, she played on back-to-back Final Four teams (1987 and 1988). In 2011, she coached the eighth-grade team at Springfield’s Christ the King to an IESA state championship.
Former Sacred Heart coach HELEN DULLE won 921 matches in 34 years.
Track meets a family affair
MAHOMET — The Bunch family from Mahomet has two children participating in track and field in college. Their schools were at the same indoor meet last week and will be at the same location this week (the Indiana Relays on Friday at Bloomington, Ind.) and next week (the Meyo Invitational on Feb. 1-2 at South Bend, Ind.)
Redshirt junior DANI BUNCH was a double winner last week for Purdue. She won the shot put (53 feet, 41/2 inches) and the weight throw (68-113/4). Her mark in the weight throw is fourth nationally this year, second among Big Ten women and second all time at Purdue. In the shot put, Bunch’s season best (53-91/4) ranks 13th nationally.
Freshman DEREK BUNCH was the top placer for Indiana State in the shot put. His 52-103/4 effort placed sixth overall. Derek Bunch was eighth in the weight throw (55-81/2).
Olney signs four area players
OLNEY — Three area softball pitchers signed letters of intent to play at Olney Central College: Shiloh’s STEPHANIE HUNT, Clinton’s BAILEY WALKER and Westville’s CARSON RICHARDSON.
Walker won 18 games last year while striking out 144 batters in 1701/3 innings and compiling a 2.34 ERA. Hunt fanned 69 batters in 932/3 innings and was one of the area’s top batters, hitting .538 (35 for 65) and also stealing 28 bases for the Raiders. Westville’s Richardson struck out 49 batters in 861/3 innings and posted eight wins. She batted .352.
Also signing with Olney Central was catcher DANIELLE GABEHART, from Westville, who had 13 stolen bases as a junior.
Olney Central, an NJCAA Division I program, was 30-26 last year.
Dual role for new Rantoul AD
RANTOUL — The next athletic director at Rantoul High also will serve as the school’s dean of students. The school board approved the measure by a 7-0 vote at its monthly meeting Jan. 14.
ALLEN JONES SR. is serving as the interim AD for the second semester of the school year for the second straight year. Former AD JOE BENDORAITIS — also the Eagles’ football coach — resigned in mid-December for family and personal reasons.
Board member ANNE REALE said she didn’t think whomever the district hires needed to spend almost three-quarters of the position on AD duties. “I’m not totally convinced we need somebody more than 50 percent,” Reale said. “I do have a concern that you get somebody in that position of dean of students and eventually that’s going to take up more time anyway. I’m just not truly convinced that we need an athletic director 75 percent of the time.”
Jean reaches new heights
NORMAL — Sophomore THOMAS JEAN, from St. Joseph-Ogden, cleared a career-best 15-9 Saturday in the pole vault for Illinois State. He placed third in the Wisconsin Elite Invitational in Madison, Wis.
Matt Daniels and Fred Kroner