Fall sports are underway for the 2016-17 school year. What football teams might contend for a state title? Will Champaign Central football replicate its run to the Class 5A state semifinals from a year ago? Who are some of the top volleyball teams and players? Will Urbana Uni High boys' soccer advance to the state tournament again?
DECATUR — Champaign Central’s Mia Hayasaki used a front-nine 39 at Saturday’s State Preview event to capture medalist honors. The junior finished with an 80, giving her a 1-stroke edge over Mattoon’s Kira Wolf.
A look at one game, meet or tournament to keep an eye on in each sport the next two months:
Okaw Valley Conference meet, Oct. 4, 4:30 p.m.
Defending Class 1A state champion Unity and third-place St. Joseph-Ogden will likely vie for the top two team spots at Lodge Park in Monticello.
In 2005, we asked now-retired sports writer Fred Kroner to come up with a formula to fairly evaluate all of our area schools against one another, whether they competed in five sports or 20.
TEAMS OF THE YEAR
1. Unity boys’ cross-country. Dominant performance by five seniors at state; they placed among the top 14 individually, leading Rockets to a Class 1A state crown.
2. LeRoy boys’ basketball. School’s first state trophy in the sport was for first place in Class 1A.
The offseason might be in full effect for area high school athletes, but it's never too early to look ahead. That's what preps coordinator Anthony Zilis is here for. What football teams might surprise in 2016? When does The News-Gazette Preps Year in Review come out? Who's the next big-time recruit to come out of C-U? Ask and Zilis will provide an answer in his 12:30 p.m.
ALL-AREA FIRST TEAM
NAME SCHOOL YR.
Connor Gross St. Thomas More Sr.
Van Gundersen Urbana Uni High So.
Matthew Scaggs Centennial Sr.
Jared Thomas Centennial Fr.
Why he’s Coach of the Year: Avery led a program on the rise to a fifth-place finish at the Big 12 Conference tournament. After finishing in the bottom three at the sectional meet each of the last two seasons, the Tigers took third this year.
CHAMPAIGN — When he was a kid, Kishor Thope would flip through the channels to find a sport that he had never played but always loved: tennis.