Hartleb's squad sizzles in the sun

BRADENTON, Fla. – Illinois baseball coach Dan Hartleb's squad has been as hot as the spring weather in Florida.

Dave Schultz had four hits, including two home runs, to lead the Illini to their sixth consecutive win, 19-12 against Cornell on Friday.

Who's that Illini?

I am the greatest high jumper in the the history of Illini men's track and field. I hold school records both outdoors (7 feet, 3 inches) and indoors (7-3). I'm the last Illini to win a Big Ten title in the event, capturing the league indoor crown in 1981. My highest NCAA finish was fifth at the 1979 outdoor meet. A graduate of Sycamore High, I hold the IHSA state meet Class AA record of 7-3, set in the 1977 finals.

Spring chasing conference crown

CHAMPAIGN – He's a two-time NCAA champion. A seven-time All-American. A 2005 U.S. high bar champion. A current member of the U.S. National Team. A past World Championships competitor.

For all that Justin Spring has accomplished in gymnastics since arriving on Illinois' campus, the senior does have one noticeably sparse entry on an otherwise jam-packed resume.

What to watch

News-Gazette staff writer Jeff Huth offers three storylines apiece on this weekend's Big Ten Championships gymnastics meets:

Illini work extra innings for win

BRADENTON, Fla. – Illinois remained perfect on its spring break trip, but it took alittle 10th-inning magic Thursday against Cornell.

After left fielder Ryan Hastings tripled, the Illini broke a 1-1 tie with five runs en route to a 6-4 victory against the Big Red.

Season changes

We asked Tony Bleill, who covers women's basketball for The News-Gazette, to look into his crystal ball for a read on the 2006-07 season:

Grentz looks to future

CHAMPAIGN – One night this week, Theresa Grentz sat down at her kitchen counter and mapped out a plan.

Her goal: to find an effective way to motivate each member of the Illinois women's basketball team in an effort to get the Illini past the mental roadblock they faced much of the season.

Who's that Illini?

I helped the Illinois wrestling team capture the 1932 Big Ten title by winning the 126-pound crown. I repeated that feat in 1933, then earned All-America honors the same year by placing second in the NCAA Championships.

Tate: Coach promises changes after free-fall

CHAMPAIGN – It's 26 years later, but you don't mess with an Olympic wrestler when he's mad. And Mark Johnson is downright angry.

"People avoid me," the Illini coach said, "and that's OK. I'm not a good person to be around these days."

Who's that Illini?

I hit .418 during the 1994 baseball season, which now ranks as the 12th-highest single-season batting average in Illini history. The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association recognized the feat by selecting me to its All-America second team as an outfielder. A year later, I led Illinois in hits, home runs and RBI. I was the team MVP that season as well as a first-team All-Big Ten selection.