DANVILLE — The Schlarman softball team is unique beyond carrying the No. 1 state ranking in Class 1A into the postseason. The Hilltoppers are one of the few teams that still wear stirrups as a part of their uniform.
Most programs — such as Schlarman's baseball team — have gone to a solid-color sock.
"I'm old-fashioned," Schlarman softball coach Randy Skaggs said. "There are certain things you don't change, and that's one I'll never change. It's a respect factor for the game. Stirrups are mandatory, even for our travel (summer) programs."
Skaggs said schools that don't wear the stirrups "have one less thing to hassle about," but that's not enough of a reason for him to alter his feelings.
"This is my 33rd year coaching, and they've always been a part of my programs, even when I was playing," Skaggs said.
Koncel heading out of state
MONTICELLO — Senior Adam Koncel signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at St. Ambrose in Davenport, Iowa. Koncel chose St. Ambrose over Millikin and Roosevelt (Chicago) University.
"I think it is going to be a good fit and a good chance to become a better player and person," said Koncel, who as a senior averaged a team-high 14.5 points and 7.9 rebounds. He will major in accounting.
Charger diver Brown-bound
CHAMPAIGN — Centennial senior Will Holder, a three-time state qualifier in diving, is headed to Brown.
Like all Ivy League members, the Providence, R.I., school does not offer athletic scholarships. Thus, incoming athletes do not sign a national letter of intent. However, Holder was recruited by Bears diving coach L. Channing Kimball and, after being accepted into the university, committed to the swimming and diving team.
Holder, who will graduate first in his class academically, qualified for state every season in which he competed in diving.
New running coach for UHS
URBANA — Peter Breit, who has been an assistant with the Urbana girls' cross-country program for four years, was hired as the head coach. "I have some ideas for summer to get some new athletes interested," Breit said.
He replaces Renee Hunt, who resigned.
M-S golfer advances
MAHOMET — Garrett Cox, a senior-to-be at Mahomet-Seymour, placed second Sunday in the DuPage County Junior Classic at the Maple Meadows Golf Course in Wood Dale, which was a qualifier for this summer's Callaway Junior World Championships.
Cox, 16, finished in a second-place tie with a 36-hole 144 but won a one-hole playoff over Raymond Knoll with a par on No. 18 to secure the final spot for the July 12-15 event in San Diego (15-18 age division).
Cox was the lone underclassman on last fall's Class 2A Bulldog state championship team.
This weekend, Cox will play in the UI Better Ball Tournament with M-S teammate and Bradley recruit Seth Trolia.
Area relays set the pace
Girls' relay teams from St. Joseph-Ogden and Mahomet-Seymour ran the fastest state-qualifying times based on sectional performances.
SJ-O's 3,200 relay is seeded first entering the Class 1A state meet. Monticello is second. SJ-O's relay consists of Alyssa Pridemore, Sidney Long, Jolee Paden and Chelsea Blaase.
M-S' 1,600 relay of Jessica Melchi, Emma Cabutti, Shelby Stucker and Brittany Bohn ranks first in Class 2A. Bulldog teammate Morgan Young had the second-best sectional toss in the discus, and the M-S 3,200 relay of Stucker, Cabutti, Allison Melchi and Bohn is seeded third.
Uni's Anastasio picks college
URBANA — Senior Albert Anastasio plans on being a two-sport athlete in college. He committed to running cross-country and track and field next school year at Centre College in Danville, Ky. The school has qualified for the Division III nationals five of the last seven years in cross-country.
In this week's Class 1A sectional, he plans to compete in the 3,200 and 1,600.
Uni High will be among the 17 schools entered in the St. Joseph-Ogden Sectional, which will start at 4:30 p.m. Friday. Other 1A sectionals where area schools will participate Friday are at Bloomington Central Catholic, Gibson City and Toledo Cumberland.
In 2A, area teams were assigned to Mattoon for Friday's meet. Class 3A representative Danville will travel to Chicago Heights Bloom for its sectional Thursday.
Jeff Huth, Fred Kroner and Kyle Moss