Linares weathers storm

CLINTON  Moments after clinching his first trip to the state tournament, Adam Linares dropped to the mat and put his hands over his face. But it wasn''t a show of emotion after realizing a lifelong dream. After his dramatic 6-5 win Saturday

New Spartans coach brings new attitude

As you read this, the moving vans are on their way from Louisville to East Lansing, Mich. Less than two months after being hired by Michigan State, John L. Smith is about to become a full-time resident. Smith didn''t have much to do with

State date

Local wrestlers who advanced to next weekend''s individual state championships at the Assembly Hall in Champaign: CLASS A 103Keith Knoll, Salt Fork (30-6); Ben von Behren, Unity (28-9) 119Brian Lange, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley (36-5)

Class A Sectional Stars

* JUSTIN BLACKBURN, Unity: Returning to state after 2002 injury * KEITH KNOLL, Salt Fork (right): Super sophomore wins 103 title * DEREK OAKLEY, Clinton: Won by a point in semis, final * BILLY REIDY, Clinton: Won a nail-biter in 215 final

Illinois'' finest

A look at the three best years Illinois colleges have had as a whole since the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. 1985 The Land of Lincoln enjoyed the expansion, sending four schools to the tournament and posting five wins.

Keady keeps focus firmly on defense

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Purdue freshman Matt Kiefer knew long before he enrolled that he would have to play defense. At Purdue, defense comes first. Before sleep, eating, breathing ... "If you don''t play defense, you''re not going to play," Kiefer said after the Boilermakers showed off their stinginess in a 70-61 win against Illinois on Saturday. "(Coach Gene Keady) called me after the Iowa loss last year (when Purdue gave up 87 points in a season-ending defeat). He said, ''If you don''t

Illini still hurtin'' for certain

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.  Luther Head is back to square one. Nick Smith hardly got past it Saturday. Head''s injured groin prevented the Illinois sophomore from playing more than 16 minutes in the Illini''s 70-61 loss at Purdue. It was the fewest

Thatcher Guild

Thatcher Guild, who is credited for writing the music and lyrics for "Illinois Loyalty," was born on this date in 1879. It''s a name even most avid Illini fans don''t recognize, but his contribution to Illinois has been sung thousands of times at nearly every Illini athletic event for the last 97 years. Much like Schubert''s "Unfinished Symphony," Guild brought the lyrics and melody to the Urbana-Champaign campus with him from his alma mater, Brown University. His original first line was, "We''re loyal to you, men of Brown." A newly hired English instructor, Guild took his tune to longtime UI band director Austin Harding, and the two men refined the now-legendary melody. After more than six months of work, "Illinois Loyalty" finally was performed before the UI student body at Harding''s First Anniversary Concert on March 3, 1906. Guild died at 35 in 1914 after sustaining a heart attack during a tennis match in the summer. Illini birthdays this week Today Jenny and Susanna

Comeback queen ¬ ¬

Cindy Dallas isn''t going anywhere. Not if it''s up to her, anyway. The Big Ten''s leading rebounder said this week she plans to petition the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility in hopes of returning to the UI next season. (Note to Illinois

Viking''s patience pays off

EAST PEORIA  Darius Dabney made the most of all his second chances Saturday. The Danville senior had no idea if he''d get the chance to wrestle when he arrived at East Peoria High for the final day of the Class AA sectional tournament. A