Illineks nearing full strength
URBANA – The bad news was Doug Mynatt's Urbana University High cross-country team was without No. 1 runner Malcolm Taylor for a couple of weeks with a respiratory infection. The good news for the Illineks is others used the opportunity to step up.
"It gave some guys a chance," Mynatt said. "Nathan Smith took the helm and led the team when Malcolm was out. I've got a pretty deep team this year. There's a couple guys that can step up."
And his runners have shown they are capable of doing that. Smith finished third at the Twin City meet, leading Uni to the team title, and AlBERT Anastasio finished in the top 20 of the 28-team Spartan Classic last Saturday at St. Joseph-Ogden.
And now with Taylor back in the fold, the Illineks are hitting their stride.
"Malcolm's come along fine, I think," Mynatt said. "He ran at Peoria Woodruff, he ran at the Tuscola Classic and the Spartan Classic as our No. 1 runner."
With a week off, the Illineks are trying to get healthy and gear up for the stretch run.
"We don't run again until next weekend at the Cumberland Invitational, so we just sort of assess where we are at this time of the season and see if we need to re-assess anything we're doing," Mynatt said. "We're just trying to keep everybody healthy. We've got a couple guys banged up right now."
Uni High is ranked ninth in this week's Class 1A boys' state poll, one position ahead of St. Joseph-Ogden.
Golfers set for postseason
The IHSA's first tournament championship series of the school year – and the first group to face steroid testing – starts next week when golfers tee it up at various regionals.
Boys' meets will be Tuesday, with girls' regionals scheduled for Wednesday.
Unbeaten Salt Fork, led by David Keenan and Jordan Danzl, will be the team to beat in the boys' 1A tournament at Danville's Harrison Park.
At Gibson City's Railside Golf Club, St. Thomas More is the projected favorite.
A dark horse is Monticello, which recently posted its top score of the season.
Qualifiers from both sites move into the Tuscola Sectional on Oct. 13 at Ironhorse.
Mahomet's Lake of the Woods Golf Course is the site for a 2A regional where six of the seven competing schools are from the area: Centennial, Champaign Central, Danville, Rantoul, Urbana and host Mahomet-Seymour.
Centennial was the runner-up in Monday's Big 12 meet with Robb Cozad and Billy Regan placing among the top three individuals. Qualifiers will compete Oct. 11 in the Lincoln Sectional.
Girls' golf remains a two-class postseason competition for the third year.
St. Thomas More is the prohibitive favorite at its own Class 1A regional, to be held at Stone Creek Golf Club in Urbana. Qualifiers will move on to the Watseka Sectional on Oct. 13.
In Class 2A, Centennial, Champaign Central and Mahomet-Seymour are among the 11 schools assigned to the Charleston Sectional.
Chargers Jenna Dombroski, Lizzy DombroskI and Krista Vedvik helped the school win Monday's Big 12 championship by 37 strokes.
At all regional sites, the top three teams and the top eight individuals not on qualifying teams advance to sectionals.
Clark helps Bunnies to milestone
Senior Brandon Clark has been on the field for 39 of the 100 victories posted by the Fisher/GCMS soccer program. No. 100 came in Monday's 3-1 win against Unity. Clark, a left midfielder, ranks fifth on the program's charts for career assists and is tied for 13th in career scoring.
The Fisher/GCMS overall record, following a Tuesday triumph, is 101-59-23.
This season, Clark has six goals and nine assists, raising his career totals to 12 goals and 18 assists.
Ahead of him on the all-time list for assists are Jay McDevitt (39), Lucas Pulley (24), Dan Malloch (22) and Matt Brown (19).
Other current squad members who are among the top 15 in career scoring are senior Pat Rodgers (13 goals) and junior Chase Kelley (12).