CHAMPAIGN — Four Centennial athletes will sign letters of intent this week to continue their careers in college.
Swimmer Audrey Rodawig will sign Thursday to attend Ball State. Rodawig was the All-Area Swimmer of the Year in 2011. As a senior, she was the area leader and state qualifier in the 50-yard freestyle as well as the 100 butterfly, the latter an event in which she won a sectional title.
Three volleyball players will sign Wednesday: Paulina Nottingham (West Virginia Wesleyan), Lindsay Rogan (Indiana Wesleyan) and Maddie Weldon (Parkland). Nottingham and Weldon were setters on a 37-5 Centennial team that placed third at state. Rogan was the Chargers’ libero.
Unity fishermen stand alone
TOLONO — Unity’s bass fishing team was the only entry at Lake Vermilion to capture a fish, netting a sectional championship for the Rockets.
Senior Gage Bolt caught the day’s big bass — 1.78 pounds — and that enabled Unity to advance to the fifth annual two-day state meet, which will be held at a date to be determined.
Senior Ben Tate and junior Tyler Spencer are the other members of coach Keith Kropp’s team.
Conditions throughout the state were less than ideal for sectionals, which were held between April 19 and April 26.
At two of the 22 sectional sites, no bass were caught. At four sites, including Lake Vermilion, just one bass was caught. Among the sites where no bass were caught was Lake Shelbyville, where five area teams competed.
In all, 52 teams qualified for state, which will be held at Carlyle Lake. The state finals were supposed to start Friday, however, for the second time in three years, the event has been delayed.
“We could not hold the tournament as scheduled on May 3 and 4 due to safety concerns,” IHSA associate director and bass fishing administrator Kurt Gibson said. “We want to make a decision on the new state final date as soon as possible so that Carlyle and the qualifying schools can plan accordingly. Yet, we also need to exercise a certain level of patience, as our colleagues in Carlyle predict and monitor how the lake will drain over the coming days.”
Vaughn working his way back
CHAMPAIGN — Luke Vaughn has gone through many emotions the past two months.
Recovering from a broken right hand when said hand is used to toss a weighted shot put and discus is cause for the distress.
But the Centennial senior should have a chance to take out his frustrations in the postseason. Barring the Mississippi track and field signee doesn’t throw his hand at a hard wall, which is what caused the break at an indoor meet in Plainfield on March 9, the day after the Centennial boys’ basketball team’s season ended with a Class 3A sectional title-game loss.
Centennial coach Greg Walters said Vaughn, who placed eighth last May at the Class 2A state meet in the discus and 11th in the shot put, likely will vie for a state title in the discus.
“He’s a pretty fast healer, but right now we’re thinking shot put is probably out for the season,” Walters said. “We may get a clearance on that closer to the sectional meet.”
Vaughn had surgery after he broke the fifth metacarpal in his throwing hand, and Walters said the hard cast was removed last week. Vaughn had thrown the shot and discus at times this spring during the outdoor season, but with his left hand.
“He was throwing 40 feet in the shot put and in the 120s with the discus,” Walters said. “We simply did not have enough time to retrain the brain. If we had started in January, we could have turned him into a pretty darn good left-handed thrower.”
Vaughn has time to tweak his throws and gain additional strength before the Big 12 meet May 9 and the 2A Centennial Sectional on May 17. If his right hand performs like it has in the past, chances are Vaughn will end his career in Charleston at O’Brien Stadium for the state finals, even if he has taken a circuitous route to get there.
“We were hopeful we could salvage something out of it,” Walters said. “He’s done everything he could to try to prepare to get back.”
Sabers tracksters second — again
PAXTON — St. Joseph-Ogden won the girls’ Sangamon Valley Conference track meet Monday, extending its streak of consecutive titles to seven years. For the sixth time in that span, St. Thomas More was the runner-up.
Among the noteworthy STM achievements were school records by Randa Harshbarger in events she hadn’t done yet this season. She sailed 16 feet, 61/2 inches in the long jump and won the 300-meter hurdles in 48.61 seconds, both of which were events where she placed second. Harshbarger also anchored the victorious 3,200 relay and the second-place 1,600 relay.
Teammate Caroline Dodds, who hadn’t pole-vaulted competitively in two years, tied for first in the event but wound up second to SJ-O’s LOren Brooks based on misses. One of the marquee STM performances was by Liz Bristow, who won two individual events and added a second- and third-place finish in two others.
No event was better contested than the 1,600. SJ-O’s Abby Gawthorp and Abby Fisher were closely chased by STM’s Theresa Welle (the 3,200 winner) and Dodds. Gawthorp won in 5 minutes, 52.01 seconds. The next three spots were separated by 15-hundredths of a second.
Tuscola seeks coach
TUSCOLA — People interested in applying for the vacant Tuscola volleyball head coaching position should contact athletic director Ryan Hornaday at 217-253-2377. Last year’s coach, Aja Bozarth, resigned.
La Salette needs coach
OLIVET — La Salette Academy is seeking a boys’ basketball head coach for the 2013-14 school year. Interested people should contact Father McMahon at email@example.com.
Westville hires coach
WESTVILLE — Ann Picklesimer, a volunteer coach last year at Westville, was hired to replace retiring Allen Greenlee as the Tigers’ volleyball coach. The Unity High graduate has been an assistant coach for the junior high program for several years. She is a physical education instructor at Judith Giacoma Elementary School.
Her assistant will be Kelli (McMahon) Howard, a former Westville three-sport athlete.
Bulldogs on the move
MAHOMET — Senior Brad Herrmann will sign a letter of intent today to continue his basketball career at Illinois College in Jacksonville. A broken foot sidelined Herrmann for most of his senior season. He led the area in free throw accuracy as a senior (90.9 percent) and was among the leaders a year ago (83 percent).
Last week, Kristen Belyea signed a letter of intent to play for Rose-Hulman in Terre Haute, Ind. A 10-sport letter winner at M-S, Belyea stands second in points scored for the girls’ basketball team (1,198) and first in games played (117).
All-Area standout Elise Dahlke signed a letter of intent last week to continue her volleyball career at Parkland College. In her three-year varsity career, Dahlke amassed 560 kills and 114 blocks.
Milford star to Millikin
MILFORD — Senior Brandon Schroeder, a three-year letterman for the Milford/Cissna Park football team signed a letter of intent to continue his football career at Decatur’s Millikin University. The 6-foot-4, 290-pound Schroeder was an All-Area second-team selection. A defensive lineman, Schroeder also played basketball for the Bearcats.
Urbana Big 12 host
URBANA — Indoor girls’ champion Danville will attempt to add the Big 12 Conference outdoor championship to its list of season accomplishments Friday when the league meet is held at Urbana High School. Field events at the Gene Armer Track will begin at 4:30 p.m. Running prelims are scheduled for 5, with the finals to start at 6.
Matt Daniels and Fred Kroner