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.
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.
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.
URBANA — Urbana senior volleyball player Sophie Davenport will head to Olivet Nazarene University to continue her volleyball career. The Tigers, who compete in NAIA Division II, finished 24-19 last season and won the South Division of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
CHAMPAIGN — Illinois volleyball coach Kevin Hambly took another step toward finalizing his 2016 class with the official addition of Caroline Welsh and Annika Gereau to the Illini roster.
The offseason is upon the two major programs at Illinois, but will Lovie Smith and John Groce win on the court in 2016 and off the court? How is Josh Whitman settling into his role as athletic director? Will top recruits finally land at Illinois in football and men's basketball? Who are some top area high school recruits? How does The News-Gazette determine its All-Area teams?
ST. JOSEPH — One of the more successful athletic programs in the area will have a new athletic director next school year.
URBANA — Urbana athletic director Steve Waller knew for a little over a month that the Tigers would have an opening for their girls’ basketball coach after Jamal Maatuka handed in his resignation late in the regular season.
ST. JOSEPH — One area high school administrator said the proposed Okaw Valley Conference merger with the Corn Belt Conference shouldn’t affect transportation costs as much as people may expect.
St. Joseph-Ogden Principal Gary Page said his school district has traveled fairly extensively already in most sports outside of conference play, especially in football.
What's going on with Illinois athletics? What are the biggest challenges Josh Whitman faces? Will John Groce be around for a fifth season? Does Bill Cubit have a chance to coach Illinois beyond 2016? How does The News-Gazette handle coverage of certain events? Sports editor Matt Daniels will take any and all inquiries in his 2 p.m. chat on Thursday. Feel free to submit questions beforehand.