CHAMPAIGN — His four-year run as principal brought a blue ribbon from the U.S. Department of Education (Champaign's first since 2005) and a state championship in girls' basketball (its first ever).
The times the Maroons and Chargers meet head-to-head on an athletic field are fleeting this school year. A look back at what has transpired in the past nine months, with Centennial holding an 8-5 edge on Central and three contests remaining:
The best female hurdler in the state of Illinois nearly didn’t hurdle.
For Salt Fork senior Jenny Kimbro, the indecision she felt her freshman year is almost unimaginable looking back. But during the fall of that year, she contemplated playing softball instead of running track.
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.
ST. JOSEPH — The St. Joseph-Ogden girls’ basketball team helped coach Jeff Finis make his way through the loss of his daughter in 2013 and his own struggle with colon cancer. But on Thursday, Finis told his team in a tearful meeting that it was time to step away.
“After 18 years of coaching, it’s really hard to step down,” Finis said. “It’s been my life for 18 years, and my family.”
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.
When Tom Garriott announced that this year would be his last as Prairie Central’s girls’ basketball coach, he thought he’d take next season off at the very least as he adjusted to his new job at State Farm in Bloomington.
But when Jay Price stepped down at St. Thomas More, his thought process changed.
NEW YORK — When Tori McCoy looked outside of the Jordan Brand headquarters in New York earlier this week ahead of Friday’s Jordan Brand Classic, one aspect left her in awe during her first trip to the city.
“The lights look so amazing,” she said.
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.