CHAMPAIGN — St. Thomas More senior Airiana Smith signed last week with Illinois-Springfield, where she’ll continue her basketball career.
Smith averaged 6.5 points per game and knocked down 25 three-pointers this season, when the Sabers made a run to a Class 3A sectional title-game appearance. She earned News-Gazette All-Area special mention honors.
The new conference consisting of the 10 remaining teams in the Okaw Valley and Corn Belt Conferences will be named the Illini Prairie Conference, the conference announced Wednesday.
The conference will begin play during the 2017-2018 school year.
PONTIAC — The merger between the Okaw Valley and Corn Belt conferences is complete.
Pontiac became the final school to approve the new conference at Tuesday’s school board meeting, meaning a new 10-team league commences beginning with the 2017-18 school year.
New 6:23 p.m. Friday:
Services have been set for Matthew Prather, according to Mahomet-Seymour football coach Keith Pogue.
Matthew's visitation is at First Christian on Staley and Curtis 3 PM - 8 PM on Monday. Funeral services at First Christian on Tues. 10 A.M.
The offseason is upon the two major programs at Illinois, but will Lovie Smith and John Groce win on the court in 2016 and off the court? How is Josh Whitman settling into his role as athletic director? Will top recruits finally land at Illinois in football and men's basketball? Who are some top area high school recruits? How does The News-Gazette determine its All-Area teams?
ST. JOSEPH — One of the more successful athletic programs in the area will have a new athletic director next school year.
ST. JOSEPH — One area high school administrator said the proposed Okaw Valley Conference merger with the Corn Belt Conference shouldn’t affect transportation costs as much as people may expect.
St. Joseph-Ogden Principal Gary Page said his school district has traveled fairly extensively already in most sports outside of conference play, especially in football.
What's going on with Illinois athletics? What are the biggest challenges Josh Whitman faces? Will John Groce be around for a fifth season? Does Bill Cubit have a chance to coach Illinois beyond 2016? How does The News-Gazette handle coverage of certain events? Sports editor Matt Daniels will take any and all inquiries in his 2 p.m. chat on Thursday. Feel free to submit questions beforehand.
BLOOMINGTON — The Corn Belt and Okaw Valley conferences came one step closer to a merger Tuesday morning, when the 10 principals from both conferences voted unanimously at a meeting at Bloomington Central Catholic to move forward with the formation of a new conference.
After years of seismic shifts in the conference landscape, the Okaw Valley and Corn Belt conferences may finally find themselves on solid ground if discussions of a merger between the two leagues move forward.