Former Illini Hall joins Force

CHAMPAIGN – The most decorated player in Illinois softball history signed a contract with the Philadelphia Force of the National Professional Fastpitch League.

Jenna Hall, who owns nearly every offensive record at Illinois, joins the expansion team in the 3-year-old league that features seven squads.

Tirapelle wins scholarship

CHAMPAIGN – The NCAA awarded former Illinois wrestler Alex Tirapelle a $7,500 postgraduate scholarship after he graduated last weekend with a 3.73 grade-point average in accountancy.

Tirapelle, the winningest wrestler in Illinois history with 128 victories, was a two-time All-American and a two-time Big Ten champion. He plans to earn his master's degree in sports management.

Whitmore's absence leaves Illinois short-staffed

CHAMPAIGN – The Illinois baseball team will be without its top pitcher this weekend for a critical Big Ten series at Michigan State.

Illini coach Dan Hartleb said Tuesday that Matt Whitmore is experiencing pain in his throwing shoulder and won't make the trip. The senior right-hander is scheduled to have an MRI test Thursday.

Spring places at World Cup

GHENT, Belgium – Former Illinois gymnast Justin Spring finished in the top eight in two events at the World Cup last weekend.

The four-time NCAA champion, who completed his collegiate eligibility in April, finished sixth in parallel bars and eighth in high bar at the 30-nation meet. On Saturday, Spring scored a 14.350 in parallel bars and a 14.350 in high bar to advance to the finals. A day later, the 12-time All-American recorded a 14.800 in parallel bars and a 10.425 in high bar.

Weber nets coaching gig

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Illinois' Bruce Weber is among the six basketball coaches named Monday to serve as court coaches at USA Basketball's Under 18 Men's National Team trials next month.

Weber will join Ron Cottrell of Houston Baptist, Mike Dunlap of Metropolitan State College of Denver, James Jones of Yale, Scott Gernander of San Jacinto (Texas) College and Reggie Witherspoon of the University at Buffalo in coaching the trials, to be held June 16-18.

Confident Jones keeps composure

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Illinois' Abe Jones captured the 400-meter hurdles Sunday at the Big Ten Track and Field Championships.

Jones' regional-qualifying time was 51.11 seconds.

Robinson leaps to Big Ten title

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Illinois' Camile Robinson won the 400-meter hurdles Sunday on the final day of the Big Ten Track and Field Championships.

Robinson's victory in 57.79 seconds was the second Big Ten individual title of her career. She also placed third in the 100 hurdles and helped both Illini relay squads (400, 1,600) to second-place finishes.

Co-workers say officer killed in crash dedicated to work, family

BONDVILLE – An Illinois State Police investigator killed in a two-vehicle crash south of Bondville Friday will be remembered as a dedicated officer, husband and father, according to a colleague.

Sgt. Rodney Miller, a 16-year veteran trooper, died as a result of a crash at 4:43 p.m. Friday at Windsor and Bondville roads, authorities said Saturday.

Simeon's Rose comes clean about recruiting, rumors and reputation

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – His game is all that you expect it to be.

Derrick Rose is a magician with the basketball in his hands, just as you've been told. He sees everything on the court at once, the way the great point guards do. He is a defensive terror when he wants to be, the kind of pest who takes an offense right out of its rhythm.

Bob's random thoughts

Nice to see Arkansas and Texas renewing their rivalry starting in 2008. Like Illinois-Missouri, they should play for the rest of time.