CHAMPAIGN — Tennis recruiting doesn’t take on the high-stakes nature of football and basketball recruiting.
Stars aren’t attached to players’ names. An official campus visit doesn’t send social media into a tizzy.
Austin Aten knows.
The recent Champaign Central graduate and The News-Gazette’s Area Tennis Player of the Year had to seek out colleges.
The biggest school in the state hosts a baseball super-sectional today.
“I think any time you have young people on your field and they are exposed to your university that’s a positive,” Illinois baseball coach Dan Hartleb said, “not only for your university, but for the community.”
But is that enough? Not even close.
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS — As he relaxed and reflected at home Friday night, Champaign Central boys’ tennis coach Scott Davis realized what a special group of players he had this season, starting with senior Austin Aten.
“He finished in the top 32 (in singles) all four years,” Davis said. “It has to rank up there as one of the best careers in C-U tennis history.”
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS — Champaign Central’s Austin Aten was at his best Thursday.
In three previous appearances at the boys’ tennis state tournament, Aten had won once in the main draw, bouncing back in previous years for eight wins in the consolation bracket.
The boys’ state tennis tournament starts Thursday at 14 sites in suburban Chicago. There are 128 entries in singles and 128 doubles teams seeking state titles during the three-day event. Executive sports editor Fred Kroner looks at storylines for area qualifiers:
Central steps up
At a youthful 53, Sally Walker is way too young to retire. But after 31 years at Uni High, Walker is ready for new challenges. Staff writer Bob Asmussen caught up with Walker in Salem, Va., where she is working at the NCAA Division II softball tournament. She is in charge of the umpires, so Walker has plenty on her plate for what will be a busy retirement.
CHAMPAIGN — Another year, another sectional championship for Central boys’ tennis.
News-Gazette sports staffers Bob Asmussen, Matt Daniels and Fred Kroner wrapped it up with talk on boys' tennis, girls' and boys' track and field, the postseason series in baseball and softball as well as thoughts on retiring Urbana Uni High athletic director Sally Walker. Available now at
5-21-14 Prep Sports Podcast: Play now!
Executive Sports Editor Fred Kroner is joined by Bob Asmussen and Matt Daniels for the final edition of the News-Gazette Prep Sports Podcast for the 2013-14 school year. Tennis, track & field, baseball and softball are all on the agenda.
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