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It can be challenging to keep track of local high-schoolers once they leave the prep realm.

But it's always nice when we can provide a positive update on the exploits of a former area athlete.

Ex-Champaign Central athletic director John Woods helped us out with that. His son Payton, another former Maroon, is a junior with the Michigan State men's swimming and diving program.

But he's also making national waves with the Spartans.

He and his teammates recently competed in the USA Winter National, held in Greensboro, N.C. Not only did Michigan State win the college competition, but Woods also made some personal history.

He posted a lifetime best clocking of 23.05 seconds in the 50-meter freestyle, garnering a 2020 Olympic trials qualification.

The time was good for sixth place in the A heat, which was won by five-time Olympic gold medalist Nathan Adrian.

Woods is just continuing the success he displayed at Central, where he won a state title in the 50-yard freestyle in 2016.

Unfortunately, with the University of Illinois not hosting a men's swim and dive program, the chances to see Woods locally don't really exist. But perhaps we'll hear about him tearing it up at the NCAA national championships in late March.

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In separate college-related news that has prep ties, Danville Area Community College will field men's and women's golf teams beginning next school year.

Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin golf coach Terry French will helm the men's program while simultaneously leading the Blue Devils. Debbie Toler will be the Jaguars women's coach.

French quickly snagged a quality pair of signees, with Westville's Nick Pinter and Tri-County's Logan Richardson both picking DACC golf last week. Each kid played in the Class 1A state golf championships earlier this year.

French no doubt will get the Jaguars up and running in a hurry. He's the only coach Bismarck-Henning and BHRA golf has ever known.

Since 2001, he's guided the Blue Devils to eight regional championships, two sectional crowns and one runner-up finish at state. His team's record in that span is 302-63.

This also provides another option for local prep golfers who may want to continue the game while staying closer to home for college. And French's passion for the sport is sure to do wonders for anyone under his tutelage.

Prep Sports Coordinator

Colin Likas is prep sports coordinator at The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).