News-Gazette All-Area content from 2018-19 school year

Below is All-Area content from the 2018-19 high school sports season, put together by members of The News-Gazette staff.

Monticello's trophy trove

Plenty of folks throughout Monticello are no doubt thrilled after getting to stake their claim to some athletic history. The high school in Piatt County — and Loren Tate's alma mater — hosted a trophy giveaway on Wednesday, necessitated by some housekeeping tied to a renovations referendum that was approved last year.

Likas | Thinking back on the last year of prep sports action

Thinking back on the cheers, tears and titles

Local IHSA participation concluded this past Monday when two baseball teams and one softball team fell short in their small-school super-sectional games.

Those results put the finishing touches on a busy and largely successful 2018-19 school year, from an area athletic standpoint.

Former Illini McClure named STM volleyball's next coach

CHAMPAIGN — A familiar name on the Champaign-Urbana volleyball scene is accepting perhaps her biggest challenge as a coach.

Kelly McClure will take over the St. Thomas More program, the school announced Sunday night. McClure, a former Illinois volleyball standout, assisted Stan Bergman during the Sabers’ run to third place in Class 2A earlier this school year.

UPDATED: Bergman departs St. Thomas More volleyball for Mahomet-Seymour

CHAMPAIGN — When Stan Bergman walked off the Redbird Arena hardwood on Nov. 10, 2018, following St. Thomas More volleyball’s three-set victory over Nashville in the Class 2A third-place match, he had no inkling it would mark his final match in charge of the Sabers.

“I didn’t even give it a thought,” Bergman said Tuesday, “until I heard that the position opened up in Mahomet.”

Outgoing LOVC members name new conference

Fifteen members of the present-day Little Okaw Valley Conference now have a new banner under which they’ll compete moving forward.

Starting with the 2019-2020 school year, these institutions will be part of the Lincoln Prairie Conference. League president Matthew Shoaff, Okaw Valley’s principal, announced the title through a Tuesday press release.

Central standout Chopra gives word to Wolverines

CHAMPAIGN — There always was a good chance Mira Chopra would play volleyball at the Big Ten Conference level.

Among the four schools the Champaign Central sophomore was seriously considering were Michigan, Maryland and Indiana.

Wolverines coach Mark Rosen now can boast being the Chopra sweepstakes winner.

Chopra commits to Michigan volleyball

Champaign Central volleyball standout Mira Chopra committed to Michigan volleyball on Sunday night.

The 6-foot-3 sophomore middle hitter announced her decision on Sunday night via her Twitter account.

Chopra compiled 172 kills this past season for the Maroons, helping Central win a Class 3A regional title for the second straight year.

37th News-Gazette All-State volleyball team

First Team


Leilani Dodson (Nazareth Academy, Jr., 6-2, MB): BYU commit had 316 kills, 176 digs, 75 blocks and 36 aces for 31-win Roadrunners

2018 N-G All-State volleyball Player of the Year: Plainfield Central's Taylor Landfair

PLAINFIELD — The first time Erik Vogt saw Taylor Landfair at a Sports Performance Volleyball Club clinic the Plainfield Central coach was sure she was one of the soon-to-be high school freshman.
Landfair looked the part. Both in stature — she was around 6-foot-2 at the time — and in what she was doing on the volleyball court.