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August 2011, Vol. 4 No. 12


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The Line Up August 2011

Volume 4, No. 12

Publisher/Editor Jim Muir

Account Executive Cheryl Hughey

Photographers

Christopher Kays Ceasar Maragni

Contributing Writers Teri Campbell Don Gasaway John D. Homan Roger Lipe Ceasar Maragni Mario Moccia Jim Muir Mike Murphy Joe Szynkowski Nathan Wheeler Tom Wheeler

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Columns Publisher’s Greeting In Focus Faith on the Field Safe at Home The Great Outdoors Murf Turf RLC Report Miner’s Baseball Ask the AD From Where I Sit From Wheel’s Garage JALC Journal

5 6 8 15 23 31 32 34 35 36 38 40

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For more information regarding Southern Illinois Sports Connection call Jim at 618-525-4744. For advertising information, call Cheryl at 618-353-8515.

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42 37 Features

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Three Peat Family First DuQuoin Fair Photo Feature A Day for the Record Books Henderson Named Saluki Baseball Coach Competition

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Publisher’s Greeting

G

reetings and welcome to the

to dig out, other memories to make

August issue of Southern Illinois

and other anniversaries to celebrate.

Sports Connection. In closing, the biggest debt of

Let me begin today by saying that it is

gratitude I owe regarding the past

with a lot of pride and humility that I say

four years is to God, through his

‘Happy 4th Anniversary to Us.”

son Jesus Christ, for my many blessings. I started this magazine

Every coach, regardless of sport, will tell you that it takes a team

four years ago on a gigantic leap

effort to succeed. While that might be just an overused cliché to

of faith and I truly believe that

some it is spot-on when talking about the work that goes into to

the road I’m traveling is exactly

putting SISC together each month.

the road God has put me on. And it doesn’t matter if anybody else

From every single aspect – writers, photographers, graphic design,

believes that … because I do.

circulation and distribution, and most importantly the wonderful and loyal advertisers who believe in what we’re doing – the cooperation,

As always, I hope you enjoy this

helpfulness, professionalism and team effort that has been present

issue.

from day one is unmatched when compared to any other work environment I’ve experienced. I believe the success that SISC has

All the best and God Bless!

enjoyed and the rave reviews we’ve received from our advertisers and loyal readers since the beginning is a great testament that team work and a group of like-minded people pulling in the same

Jim Muir

direction adds up to terrific results.

Publisher

But, for those of us who follow sports very closely on a day-today basis we’re very aware that any team is only as good as its last performance. If a team plays great today, a true fan knows to enjoy it and then move on because there are other games to play. The same can be said here at SISC where we certainly don’t plan to rest on our laurels. We know we’ve had a great four year run and we know that we have things rolling in a good direction but we also know that there are other games to play, other athletes to highlight, other stories

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In focus

J

By Ceasar Maragni

ust imagine that you’re a 23 year old cell phone salesman just a year out of college still burdened with an outstanding college loan debt of over $150,000. Also imagine that one day, when you least expect it, someone drops a quarter of a million dollars in your lap, and there’s no obligations involved. It’s yours, it’s all legal, and all you have to do is pay a portion of the windfall to the IRS. Would you scream with delight and sport a mile-wide smile? Or, would you turn around that same day and give it to a total stranger, out of some sense of fairness, even though the recipient is a multi-millionaire? Say what? - you’re thinking. Well that’s just what happened to Christian Lopez recently in New York, and that’s just what he ended up doing with his unexpected fortune. Lopez is the lucky baseball fan who caught the home run ball of Yankees star Derek Jeter that was the Yankee captain’s 3,000 base hit. Pretty special. Pretty special indeed, when you consider that in the 110 year history of the Yankees organization, Jeter is the first player and only player to reach that prestigious hit plateau. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra or Mickey Mantle never did. With that history, it’s not

far fetched to believe that, according to estimates by memorabilia experts, Lopez could have easily sold the historic baseball for a quarter-of-a-millions dollars or more. Even after taxes, that’s enough to pay off that college loan debt and leave some extra to boot. Seems to me that for most working stiffs like myself and many of you, the decision would have been pretty easy revel in the fact that you’ve just been kissed big time by Lady Luck, and then sell the ball to the highest bidder. But, Lopez had another idea, give it to Jeter, no strings attached. At a press conference afterward, Lopez explained his reason for giving the baseball to Jeter, “Mr. Jeter deserved it. Yeah, money is cool and all, but I’m only 23 years old. I have a lot of time to make that. His accomplishment is a milestone.” Yep, that’s why he said. Remember now, he’s holding a baseball, legally his and his alone, worth at least $250,000 or more, and he impulsively decides to just hand it over to a man he’s never met who just happens to be earning $28 million a year in salary and endorsements. I actually think the baseball would have brought much more than a quarterof-a-million dollars if Lopez had decided to sell it. History alone would indicate so. Consider that Mark McGwire’s 70th home run ball from 1998 sold for $3 million and Barry Bond’s 73rd home run ball from 2001 sold for $517,500. Lopez’s gift to Jeter is not unprecedented. Remember the name Tim Forneris? He was the young Busch Stadium part-time groundskeeper who on September 8, 1998 snatched up Mark McGwire’s 62nd home run of the season. The historic dinger erased

Tim Fortneris, center, addressed a gathering of reporters in the Busch Stadium Press Box Suite on September 8, 1998 just minutes after handing over Mark McGwire’s 62nd home run ball of the season to the Cardinals slugger, saying “I have something that belongs to you.” (Photo by Ceasar Maragni)

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the long standing record of 61 homers in a season set by former Yankee and Cardinals great Roger Maris in 1961. Fornersis, then 22 , handed the ball to the St. Louis slugger saying, “Mr. McGwire, I think I have something that belongs to you.” Legally, that wasn’t the case. It actually became Fornersis’ property the minute it cleared the left-field fence and bounced into his hands. Ironically, Fornersis is now a Collinsville lawyer. At the time of Fornersis’ gift to McGwire all he received in return was instant fame, a trip to Disneyworld, a Chrysler minivan and about $5,000. worth of McGwire stuff. Estimates at the time set a price tag of several million if Fornersis had decided to sell the ball instead. I don’t really know the cost of a law school education, but I’m pretty sure that a couple of million dollars would have covered it. But there’s a happy ending of sorts for Lopez and his 3,000 hit Jeter ball. It seems that times have changed somewhat in America for fans who give multimillionaire athletes such valuable gifts. As word got around about Lopez’ gesture, he has had one surprise after another. First off, the Yankees organization gave Lopez four season tickets for the remainder of this season and now the Topps baseball card manufacturer has promised Lopez they will produce a baseball card in his honor. In addition sports memorabilia dealer Brandon Steiner and a sporting goods CEO, Mitch Modell, have said they’ll give him $50,000. to help pay off those student loans. Jeter personally gave him three signed bats, three signed baseballs and three signed jerseys. Steiner says that the bats, jerseys and uniforms are worth about $4,500. But, then again there’s St. Lousian Philip Ozersky. He’s the young man who caught McGwire’s home-run ball number 70 toward the end of the 1998 season. Rather than hand the ball over to McGwire, he decided to hang onto it for awhile, then sold it at auction a year later for $3 million dollars. Ozersky, now 39, used the money to purchase a new home for himself and another for his parents. He also donated over a quarter million dollars to two separate cancer fighting charities and donated money to the Cardinals’ community foundation. A few years ago he told a reporter, “I obviously profited by it, but it not only affected my life, it affected a lot of people in positive ways.”


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Faith on the Field

By Roger Lipe

E

very year I observe parents, coaches, school athletic directors and even sport chaplains as they relentlessly drive young athletes toward the goal of becoming a “Division I studentathlete.” Their rationale is overly simple, “If you work hard enough, you can earn a Division I full-ride scholarship to college.”  They’ve bought the foolish end of the American dream, “You can be anything you want to be.” The reality is much the opposite and one simple statistic bears this out.  Only three percent of all high school student-athletes ultimately receive any measure of scholarship to compete in college sports.  Three out of 100 receive anything. If the goal of the endless hours of practices, private lessons, thousands of miles driven to out of state games, tens of thousands of dollars spent to be a part of ‘travel teams’ and the untold measure of grief, anxiety, pressure and emotional trauma endured by the family is a “full ride,” then it is a total loss on 97 percent of those involved.  If the acquisition of a college scholarship is the goal, almost everyone fails. If, however, the goal is something

Introducing

other, one’s chance of success is much greater. If we can simply focus on the athlete’s experience with the sport, with his or her teammates, with the coaches, officials and opponents, the athlete is suddenly free to experience the sport without the artificial pressure to perform for an elusive and probably unrealistic goal several years in the future. More simply said the goal of earning a scholarship must not be the goal.  It is simply too remote and results in failure for almost everyone concerned.  Let’s focus on this game, this practice, this day and an attitude which helps the players, coaches, parents and everyone else to experience the best parts of sport.  Hear Jesus’ words from Mark chapter 6 and verse 34, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

Let’s help those we lovingly lead to experience the best of sport in the moment. Let’s help them cultivate a growing sense of the Lord’s presence and pleasure in the activity of sport.  That is an enduring joy which does not require a scholarship.

Bottom line – Mom and Dad, back off! Give your child a break! 

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Coach, stop it. Your quixotic drive to get your player a D-I scholarship will not be the validation of your coaching.  Chaplain, cut it out.  Your attempts to manipulate your relationships in sport will not enhance your ministry even if the student-athlete becomes AllAmerican and ultimately a pro AllStar. 

sisportsconnection.com

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3 FEATURE

FEATURE

Three-Peat JALC sophomore Reena Ruggles from Nashville makes contact with the ball in postseason action at Kaskaskia College against Wabash Valley. Ruggles is expected to play a key role with next year’s team. (Logan Media Services file photo)

Logan captures unprecedented third straight GRAC All-Sports Trophy By John D. Homan espite battling significant budget cuts each of the last two years as funding for Illinois schools from the state has declined, the John A. Logan College Athletic Department has not only found a way to survive the cuts, but has flourished. For the third straight year, the Volunteers have been presented with the All-Sports Trophy in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference. The trophy is awarded on a point system based largely on team placement within the league. Logan competes in seven different sports – men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball and men’s and women’s golf. Three JALC teams – men’s and women’s golf and women’s basketball – competed at the national tournament this past school year. The women’s golf team placed 10th overall, while the men’s team captured a

D

second national championship in the last three years. “Winning the trophy three straight times is unprecedented at Logan,” said Jerry Halstead, JALC athletic director. “We’re certainly proud of our accomplishments. Our success all starts with the administration and board of trustees. They are the ones who have given us the opportunity to compete at a pretty high level, even in these tough economic times.” Halstead said the college’s facilities remain “at a pretty good level” and the staff he leads (Mark Imhoff and Zach Carpentermen’s basketball; Marty Hawkins and Amanda Buldtman-women’s basketball; Bruce Jilek and Angie Jilek-softball; Tom Ferris and Brian Shumate-men’s golf and Bill Glenn and Harry Melvin-women’s golf) is one of the more experienced ones in the state, as well as the conference. Halstead himself has the most seniority.

He is beginning his 29th year as head baseball coach. “From the secretaries (Tracy Elliott and Myschelle Burton) and student workers, who keep our office running, to the head coaches and assistants, it’s a group that is extremely dedicated to the tasks at hand,” he said. “We pride ourselves in putting together a quality overall athletic program. We’re not just a one-sport school.” Halstead said he and his staff try to focus on what they have to work with in terms of financial resources as opposed to what they don’t have. “It’s important to think positive and have a glass half-full approach rather than half empty. We may not have some of the luxuries we once had, but we keep plugging along. At the end of the day, our coaches have still managed to do a great job.” Mike Hopkins is chairman of the board of trustees and also serves on the athletic committee. Hopkins said he is proud of the

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FEATURE

Feature continued. . .

JALC righthander David Suarez rocks and fires in District Tournament game action with Iowa Western in May. Suarez is a returning sophomore. (Logan Media Services file photo)

Returning sophomore Allison Krips powers the ball over the net for a kill in regular season game action last fall. Krips and her Vols teammates are again expected to contend for a GRAC title in volleyball. (Logan Media Services file photo)

“I had a game plan when I was hired as athletic director several years ago to see all of our sports succeed. And I think we’re doing that. As long as we continue to have the support of the administration and board, we will continue to squeeze every ounce of every penny we have to remain successful.” – Jerry Halstead, JALC athletic director – athletic department’s accomplishments. “To win three straight all-sports trophies is an incredible achievement. I know that’s very difficult to do in these challenging times in terms of budget.” Hopkins said Halstead has guided the athletic department in the right direction. “Jerry’s done an outstanding job for us. He’s the right captain at the helm. And everyone seems to be pulling their weight. I’m proud of Jerry’s efforts and all his staff’s efforts. I have no doubt that John A. Logan College will continue to succeed in all sports.” Hopkins added that it is his hope that funding levels will be restored in the near future. “I’d like to think so … once we get this budgetary crisis behind us.” Longtime board member Don Brewer agreed with Hopkins that the athletic program’s success has been “significant” in light

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Returning sophomore Austyn Ridings from Herrin drives to the hoop in Region 24 championship game action against Wabash Valley College last March. Ridings is the Vols’ leading scorer going into the new season this fall. (Logan Media Services file photo)

of limited funds. “Having been a former athletic director myself, I can appreciate the job that Jerry has done here at Logan. He is running a wellbalanced program that is almost always competitive. And that’s not easy to maintain.” Brewer said there are some people who don’t agree with spending any money on athletic scholarships. He does not count himself as one. “It’s easier to justify the expenditures when you see the success we have enjoyed here at Logan,” Brewer said. “Their accomplishments have come under adverse conditions, and as long as money remains tight from Springfield, the situation isn’t going to get any better.” Jake Rendleman is another longtime JALC board member who has served on the Athletic Committee. He said Halstead and his staff are to be commended for a job well done. “To take a $200,000 cut last year and another $100,000 cut this year and still maintain all seven sports and be successful on top of that … it’s a tribute to Jerry and the coaches, in particular. It also speaks to the caliber of student-athletes that have been recruited. Many of those young men and women are true student-athletes.” Rendleman added that JALC has persevered even though some schools within the conference dedicate more financial resources to athletics. “I had a game plan when I was hired as athletic director several years ago to see all of our sports succeed,” Halstead said. “And I think we’re doing that. As long as we continue to have the support of the administration and board, we will continue to squeeze every ounce of every penny we have to remain successful.”

3

peat

Returning sophomore forward Anthony Shoemaker of the Vols slam dunks the ball in Region 24 tournament action last March at Rend Lake against Southeastern Illinois. (Logan Media Services file photo)

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By Joe Szynkowski

Safe at Home

Rent One Park atmosphere enough to tame even the terrible-twos

T

hank you, Southern Illinois Miners.

I will admit, I was a bit nervous entering your gates clutching the tiny hand of my two-year-old daughter. It was a Friday night in mid-July and the place was packed – close to 5,000 fans, I remember Steve Falat belting over the speakers. One of those 5,000 was having the time of her life. From the moment we found our seats, my daughter ate, screamed and clapped the night away. Really, except for one abbreviated tantrum fueled by me telling her she couldn’t run onto the field to play “bay-ball,” she was a perfect angel. I have only the Miners – and Ellie’s grandma – to thank for that. My family and I were seated about four rows up from the River City Rascals’ dugout, which meant plenty of mascotdancing and flying T-shirts to keep us busy for hours. It also meant the trip to the concession stand required a long trip up the steps. My daughter loves steps. She probably made five trips up those steps with her grandma that night – and each time came back with a huge smile and a different snack. The Miners, unfortunately, could not solve River City’s pitching that night and lost 7-0. My daughter couldn’t care less. Ask her if she saw a baseball game and the first thing she spouts out is, “Ho, Ho, Ho.” So what if she thought John the Miner was Santa Claus? Bushy beard, big boots … I can kind of see it now. I can’t think of another atmosphere that can so aptly appease any age – the visuals, the music, the dancing – it’s the perfect place for a two-year-old. The baseball, the banter, the Dippin’ Dots … it’s the perfect

place for us big kids, too. I’m convinced that we would still be sitting in Rent One Park if they didn’t turn the lights out and shut the gates that night. Oh, and speaking of ice cream, my daughter sure did enjoy the ballgame fare. Here’s a short list of the other things she ate that night: one hot dog, Goldfish crackers, whatever else I packed in her diaper bag and probably 20 pounds of popcorn. And that’s just what I saw her eat. Her grandma is infamous for sneaking her some cheese balls and her grandpa is the same with Whoppers. So really, who knows?

especially if you are a dad with a twoyear-old. My daughter ran wild, touched home plate and tried to have unintelligible conversations with perfect strangers. And that was before the fireworks. The loud booms and bright lights sure kept her attention, just like a couple of other key distractions from that night. Maybe her biggest laugh of the night came while she was watching the yellow tennis balls flying on the field, as fans tried to win $6,500 dollars by throwing one in the bucket at second base. I can’t explain that look you get from your child when they are laughing hysterically, but they have no idea why they’re laughing. Classic. Another one of those looks came a few innings prior, when the crowd was prompted to “Get Loud!” As the decibel-level increased, so did the sound of my daughter screaming and clapping, trying to keep up with the noise. By the time we walked out of the stadium gates, my nerves had long been replaced by relief and pride in my little baseball fan. As public meltdowns become more common in the Szynkowskis’ ventures out into the world, I am happy to recall the perfection of that night.

All I know is that the front-office staff and on-the-field entertainment has it figured out. Baseball games are about fun. Yeah, I’ve heard people complain about the frequency of the between-inning eyeball races and trivia contests, but come on people, lighten up. We’re making memories, here. The young fans involved in those activities will remember them for the rest of their lives, including my two younger brothers (both in their 20s) who competed in the bike race that night. But that’s another column for another day. And letting the fans on the field for post-game fireworks is a stroke of genius,

So thank you again, Southern Illinois Miners. Keep up the good work. Because if baby isn’t happy, nobody’s happy. Joe Szynkowski is a freelance writer for SISC and he is looking for inspirational people, teams and stories on which to focus his monthly column. If you or someone you know has overcome adversity to make a difference in his or her community, please email Joe at joeszynkowski@hotmail.com or call him at 618-521-7483. Stories can range from the light-hearted to the tear-jerking - Joe just wants to tell your story.

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Cover Story

Family First Benton native Robert Corn says success is worthless if you have no one to share it with 16 l August 2011 l

By Joe Szynkowski Photos by Ceasar Maragni

R

obert Corn considers himself to be a member of many families. After all, family was the foundation of his success as a talented basketball player and remains the focal point of his career as a decorated head basketball coach – a profession that is going on 23 years at Missouri Southern State University. Corn grew up in Southern Illinois, nurtured by the love of two supportive parents and three siblings. He played basketball at Benton high school and is still considered a brother in the proud program’s fraternity. He treats his players at MSSU like sons, regularly inviting them into his home for a hot meal and friendly conversation to help ease their transition away from home. And when he turns the lights off in his office or delivers his final postgame interview, he feels fortunate to return home as a husband and father to his wife, Cindy, and two boys, Rob and Scott. And as Corn has received more and more attention as a top coach and excellent recruiter, it’s that focus on family that has kept him in Joplin, Mo., home of MSSU’s campus.

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Feature continued. . . Corn feels responsibility to help Joplin after historic tornado Robert Corn had seen this kind of wind and hail dozens of times since he moved to Joplin more than 20 years ago – but the longtime head coach of Missouri Southern State University’s men’s basketball team gathered his family into his youngest son’s closet, just in case. “We had seen on TV that a tornado had hit down just outside of us, but we didn’t even have any limbs down once it passed through,” he said. “We didn’t have anything more than leaves blown out of the trees.” It wasn’t until he checked on a friend through a text message that he realized the scope of the historic tornado that had just ripped through his beloved city of 50,000 residents. “I got a reply back that said, ‘We’re fine, but the house is gone.’” Corn and his youngest son, Scott, jumped in their truck and tried to go downtown, but had to turn around after finding the roads were impassable. “My son wanted to park the truck and walk, but now after hearing the horror stories about what people saw, I’m so glad we didn’t.” In all, the May 22 tornado killed 159 people, destroyed more than 7,000 homes and left a trail of destruction nearly a mile wide and 14 miles long. About one month prior to the tragedy, the American Red Cross and MSSU set up an agreement for the university’s basketball arena to be used as an emergency shelter in the instance of a natural disaster. “It’s one of those things you sign and you think you’ll never have to use,” Corn said. The spring semester had ended a week prior, so all of Corn’s players had already traveled back to their hometowns. Just three hours after the tornado hit, Corn found himself at his workplace. But he wasn’t coaching Xs and Os. “We helped set up cots and haul in water,” Corn said. “We were there until about 1:30 in the morning. We came back the next morning and were helping with food and clothes donations that were coming in.” Corn didn’t go downtown until a few days later. “I didn’t want to be a sight-seer in the way of what they were trying to do as

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“It’s a really great community to raise kids in. There really is no crime or violence,” Corn said. “Depending on where you come from it’s either a small town or a small city.” That family atmosphere was cut to its core on Sunday, May 22, when an EF-5 tornado ripped through the Southwest Missouri city of 50,000. The twister carved out a path nearly one mile wide and 14 miles long, killing 159 people and destroying thousands of properties. Corn’s home and MSSU’s campus emerged from the storm undamaged, his family unharmed. He counts himself lucky, but also feels the responsibility to lead his players and sons into helping in any way they can. Corn learned those values growing up in Macedonia and has brought them with him to Joplin where he has built one of the premier DivisionII basketball programs in the nation. He enters his 23rd season at his alma mater as the school’s winningest coach (353-275). He was hired as the Lions’ fifth head coach in March 1989 and has been the university’s only coach since it joined the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. His Lions finished 26-5 last season and cruised through the MIAA with a 19-3 mark before advancing to the round of 32 in the NCAA Division II National Tournament. For the third time in his career, Corn was voted MIAA’s coach of the year. “This is my 23rd year here. I don’t know if you ever get into a job and think that you’re going to be there for the rest of your career,” Corn said. “You have to have a good administration to be able to do that. There were years that it was trying, and there have been really good years. It’s very important to have the administration behind you.” Defending MIAA Champs MSSU returns three primary starters to this year’s squad – seniors Jason Adams and Keane Thomann and sophomore Marquis Addison. Corn will have the tall task of replacing graduated point guard Skyler Bowlin, who recorded 18 points, 5.7 assists and 2.4 steals per game in his all-everything senior season. The 6-feet-3-inch guard out of Arkansas was named MIAA player of the year, co-defensive player

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of the year and first-team all-conference. “Skyler Bowlin was an awfully good player last year,” Corn said. “His on-thefloor leadership was tremendous. We have to have somebody step up. We’ve addressed some areas with some quality recruiting.” As MSSU’s other first-team allconference player last season, Adams led the Lions in scoring (19.2) and added six rebounds per game. “He’s got those things that you can’t coach,” Corn said. “He’s got that extra gear and he can play in a lot of places. He’s a local kid and he has definitely developed. He will get about two or three dunks every game.” Thomann, an Olney product, stands 6-11 and pulled down 7.3 rebounds per game last season, including five games with 10 or more. Addison pitched in with 8.9 ppg, becoming the third Lion in the last four years to be named MIAA freshman of the year (Bowlin and Adams).

Ranger senior Robert Corn drives to the basket against the host Mt. Vernon Rams back in 1972.


What’s more impressive than stats and all-conference selections to Corn is the way his team works together to accomplish a common goal. “I’m a firm believer that you win with character and not characters,” he said. “All it takes is one bad apple to ruin the whole basket. It’s very important that when you have a chance to bring in a player, that you bring in the right guy.” From mid-June to mid-July, Corn, his assistant coaches and players conducted the 2011 Robert Corn Basketball Camps for kids in first to 12th grades. No bad apples, here – just role models. “Those little kids really look up to the players,” Corn said. “We’ve got a lot of our guys helping and the kids always want them to dunk for them. They just follow them around.” Playing Days Before he was a winning coach, Corn was twice an all-state player in the early 1970s under Rich Herrin. Corn then played for two seasons at Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis). One of those teams was coached by the legendary Gene Bartow, whose other coaching stints included the University of Illinois and UCLA. Corn then transferred to MSSU, where as a senior he co-captained the 197778 team that finished 27-9 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NAIA Tournament. It was a fitting finish to a playing career for a young man destined to pursue a profession in basketball. “Our dad was a rural mail carrier and we had an outdoor basketball court,” recalled Dick Corn, Robert’s older brother and longtime coach of Pinckneyville’s boy’s basketball. “We’d take the ashes from the furnace in the wintertime and spread them on the court so it wouldn’t be just mud. “In the summertime it would always grow up with grass. Dad would come home and say ‘I was by somebody’s house today and the grass was getting high.’ That was his way of telling us that we weren’t shooting enough because the grass wasn’t all worn down. He would never tell us ‘you guys have to get out there and shoot’ but we got the point.” Corn said all of his siblings – Dick, Jerry and Jean – played influential roles in his upbringing, and his parents could not have been more supportive, regularly driving him to and from practice from their home

in Macedonia. “Our parents were very much middle-class people,” Corn said. “We didn’t have anything extra but we never wanted anything extra. We always had clothes, food and a place to stay. From early on one of the things I recall the most was my parents stressing that all four of us were going to get college educations. And my dad wanted us to have the opportunity to play high school sports because as a kid he didn’t have that opportunity.” Once a Ranger … Corn’s most vivid memory of playing basketball in Benton resembles that of most former players – the foot-stomp. “One of the first things you learn playing under Rich was you didn’t sit next to him,” Corn said. “He had that

far as searching for bodies and things like that. But that third day I took my son, Rob, to work. I came back and told my wife, ‘You’ve got to get in the car and see this.’ It was unbelievable.” Corn’s longtime assistant coach Ronnie Ressel had a similar reaction his first trip downtown – the day after the tornado. “I had a friend whose grandparents were in the middle of it so I went down there to see what I could do to help on that Monday,” Ressel said. “If I didn’t have GPS or the address on my phone telling me where to turn, I wouldn’t have been able to find it. And it was an area that I had been to a hundred times. There just weren’t any landmarks still up that would tell you exactly where you were.” More than two months later, residents of downtown Joplin are still working on getting their lives back to normal. The state of Missouri is doing what it can to help. Both the University of Missouri and Missouri State University will come to Joplin to play the Lions in exhibition games. Proceeds from the games will go to the Missouri Southern Foundation’s Tornado Emergency Relief Fund. MSU coach Paul Lusk, Corn’s former assistant from 1999-2002, jumped at the opportunity to help his mentor and former community. “It was a sad deal and obviously spending three years in Joplin, we have a lot of close friends there,” Lusk said. “Hearing all of the stories was just terrible. It was devastating. We’ve got a great opportunity to help a lot of victims of the tornado and it’s for a great cause.” Corn says the spirit of Joplin will prevail, even if the task of rebuilding seems overwhelming. He is proud to be in a position to help. “I feel very fortunate and blessed,” Corn said. “We didn’t have a single shingle come off the house. And where I work and where my older son works, there was no damage. Everywhere in between, there’s nothing but destruction. So I feel guilty, too. I have a lot of friends who lost everything. I really feel for those people and try to do what I can to help.” – Joe Szynkowski –

Benton Ranger senior Robert Corn is whistled for a foul at the old Benton East Gym.

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Feature continued. . . thing where’d he stomp his foot down and you definitely didn’t want to get your foot stuck underneath when he did that. When the huddle broke, everybody was running to get the farthest seat away.” When Corn wasn’t worried about his feet, he was studying Herrin and picking up on characteristics that he someday would want to implement into his own coaching style. Corn calls Herrin “a legend in the state of Illinois.” “He’s as competitive as anybody else I’ve been around,” Corn said. “There’s no doubt that when you’re involved in a program like that, you win some ballgames that you probably shouldn’t win. But you win those games because you go in knowing that you’re going to win. The other team may go in with more talent, but they’re only thinking that they’re going to win.” Corn hasn’t been to a Benton boy’s basketball game in several years, and instead spends time with his mother in McLeansboro when he comes back to

Coach Corn helps a camper with a shooting exercise.

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Southern Illinois. But he recently made a stop in Rich Herrin Gymnasium to join his nephew Ron Winemiller – head coach of Benton’s boys team – for the first-ever Robert Corn Shooting Camp. Winemiller, whose father married Corn’s sister, said it was an honor having his uncle back in Benton teaching fundamentals to fifth through 12th graders from 10 local schools. “Anytime you have a resource like that who has coached college basketball for 25 years with so much knowledge you can draw from, it’s a special thing,” Winemiller said. “It’s a valuable resource to be able to dial him up anytime you need somebody to guide you through something.” Winemiller recalls being a young boy at family reunions, soaking up basketball knowledge from his father, grandfather and his uncles. “If they had all been lawyers, I think I would have been a lawyer,” Winemiller said. “I was lucky, too, at a young age to see them be successful. If they hadn’t been successful I don’t know if I would have wanted to be a coach.” Corn takes pride in his opportunity to help his nephew and make an impact on Southern Illinois’ future stars. One of his assistant coaches at MSSU, former University of Kansas standout Jeff Boschee, helped lead the camp and was impressed by the gymnasium’s palpable Benton tradition. “He was really taken aback with all of the history,” Corn said. “You walk in there and see all of the jerseys hanging up. It makes you feel really proud to be a part of that.” Coaching Influences After Corn graduated from MSSU in 1978, he began his head coaching career at Mountain Grove High School in Missouri. He spent just one season there before receiving a career-changing phone call from his former coach Bartow, who had left UCLA to start an athletic program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. It’s not every day you get a phone call from the coach who succeeded John Wooden at UCLA, so Corn listened, leaped and spent the next 10 years as Bartow’s assistant coach. “I was thinking about making the jump into college basketball,” Corn said. “He called me out of the clear blue and asked if I wanted to be his graduate assistant. I was fortunate enough to play under Rich Herrin, then coach Bartow for one year and

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Missouri Southern Basketball Coach Robert Corn add

to work under him for 10 years at UAB. He has been a big-time influence on my career.” During his 10 years in Birmingham, Corn helped the Blazers to a 217-110 record, two Sun Belt Conference titles and nine NCAA or NIT appearances. He also picked up valuable experience coaching summer squads in Puerto Rico’s Superior Basketball League and was an assistant for the Puerto Rico National Team at the 1987 Pan Am Games in Indianapolis. Corn’s next career move was to return to Joplin to take over as head coach. Trying to duplicate the success he had at UAB wasn’t easy. His first two MSSU teams went 12-15 and 11-17, respectively. Luckily for Corn, he had his family to fall back on. “Anytime you get in a tough situation as a coach, you better make sure you have someone to talk to and get a better handle on the situation,” Corn said. “(Dick) has always been great about doing that for me.” Corn didn’t struggle for long, leading his next two teams to 21-win seasons (21-8 in 1991-92 and 21-10 in 1992-93). “From early on he was good about surrounding himself with some of the best coaches in the NCAA,” Dick Corn said of his little brother. “They were coaches who not only knew the game of basketball, but were good morally sound people.” Trusting His Assistants Corn has built a reputation as a great


dresses youngster at hoop camp in Benton recently.

coach to work under. Ronnie Ressel played two years for Corn at MSSU before joining his staff as a graduate assistant in 1991-92. Ressel then coached men’s and women’s basketball for 10 years at Rend Lake College, earning Great Rivers Athletic Conference women’s coach of the year honors in 1996. He returned to Joplin nine years ago and has since been promoted to associate head coach. “He gives his assistants a lot of responsibility,” Ressel said. “He gives them the freedom to do a lot of things from recruiting to on-the-floor coaching. He’s

been a big help for me not only playing for him, but coaching with him for the last nine years.” Corn’s past assistants paint a similar picture. “There were times where you definitely felt like you had a lot on your plate,” said Chris Lowery, head coach of Southern Illinois University’s men’s basketball team. “But the thing about being a young coach is that the sink or swim mechanism sets in and you do what you have to do. He did a great job of letting us know what work he wanted done and he trusted us to do it.” Lowery and Paul Lusk, who was recently named head coach of Missouri State University, were both assistants under Corn for three years (1999-2002). Their first year on board, the Lions finished 30-3 and advanced to the final four of the DivisionII NCAA Tournament. They were bounced from the tourney by eventual-champion Metro State on a controversial call. “One thing about coach is that he never gave any excuses,” Lusk said. “We lost in the national semi-final to Metro State on a very heartbreaking call. One of the first things he was asked by the media after the game was, ‘Do you think the call was fair?’ I would say that 100 percent of the people who saw the game thought the call was unfair. But coach just handled it like a professional and above the board. He said, ‘The referee made the call. The one thing we have never done is make excuses and

Missouri Southern men’s basketball Coach Robert Corn, left, laughs when talking old times with Benton High School faculty member Rod Shurtz at Rich Herrin Gym during a basketball camp break. Both are former Ranger hoop stars and Shurtz played baskeball at Missouri Southern.

we’re not going to start now.’ That was a great lesson for me.” After spending seven years at Purdue under Gene Keady and Matt Painter, Lusk was hired in April for his first D-I headcoaching job at MSU. He will get the chance to coach against his former boss in November, when MSSU welcomes MSU to Joplin for an exhibition game. The contest will help raise money for victims of the tornado that struck the city on May 22. “I don’t think you ever look forward to coaching against friends,” Lusk said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for coach and his family. It should be a good game from a basketball standpoint and it will certainly prepare us to go into their hostile environment and play.” Family First As well as learning coaching responsibility, Corn’s assistants also picked up on another key facet of his coaching philosophy: Family comes first. “He’s the best I’ve ever seen as far as balancing family and work. He really understands it,” Lowery said. “Sometimes we get caught up with wins and losses, but in the end, your family is what keeps you afloat. I think that’s the biggest thing I learned from him.” Corn, who was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Joplin Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2010, credits his family for his success. It’s their patience and love, he says, that makes it possible for him to devote so much time and energy into coaching. “It’s very important to have an understanding family,” Corn said. “When you’re gone so much with your job, you know that you’re not always going to be there for important things and just the dayto-day stuff. When Scott was in 7th, 8th and 9th grades, I probably only saw two or three of his basketball games a year. You get to the point where you just can’t do that anymore. The last two years, I’ve only missed two or three games and I’m not planning on missing any this year. Those are years you don’t get back.” Corn is a father figure to more than just his two sons. He invites his players to his home for cookouts and get-togethers, including Thanksgiving dinners and Super Bowl parties. “He’s different than other coaches I’ve played for,” said Thomann, MSSU’s big man from Olney. “He yells at you but never

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Feature continued. . . more than he has to. He really cares about us and always tries to stress that we’re a big family. All of the players have bought into that.” Once a player in a new environment, Corn understands the nerves and homesickness that comes with leaving the place you grew up for the first time. He tries to make his players feel right at home. “It’s important for your players to see you away from the office and to see you with your family,” Corn said. “They’re at a point in their lives where they’re going to have some tough decisions coming up in the next few years about whether to continue basketball or move on. You try to let

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them know that you’re there for them and help them make the right decisions. That’s all part of coaching.” So as Corn begins to turn his focus toward yet another season at MSSU, he is also spending quality time with his family and friends in Joplin. Soon he will be back on campus, leading the men he has chosen to represent what he says Joplin is all about:

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family. “Wins and losses are great. That’s what you strive to do, win games,” Corn said. “Everybody is competitive and wants to win. But at the same token, it’s even more important to see what your kids are doing 10 years down the road. You hope that they’re a productive member of their society, a good husband, a good father. Those are the things you strive to achieve with your players.” Joe Szynkowski is a freelance writer for SISC. He can be reached at joeszynkowski@ hotmail.com.


By Don Gasaway

The Great Outdoors

Catching those summer crappies

F

ishing for big crappie continues throughout the summer is just a little different from spawning

fish.

Finding crappie in the heat of summer requires the use of electronics. The fish are usually suspended in the deeper water and not in a large a concentration as in the spring. One has to do some scouting. The scouting may result in finding a school of redear sunfish, pumpkinseed or bluegill. One can only tell the difference when the catching begins. If all that is found are fish other than crappie, then it is time to move on to another location. A likely place to find fish is submerged wood in deep water. Move the boat back and forth over a stump that is located on or near a main lake point. Once the stump is located, place a marker in the water and backed off a little. Then flip a small jig to the marked stump.

If you take your time locating structure away for no apparent reason. That is why and then fish above it, chances are good for some days one can catch fish in a particular some nice crappie. location and come back the next day to no fish. Crappie jigs work for these fish the same as those found in the brush in spring. Another problem with summer crappie Sometimes the summer crappies are a bit fishing is sometimes it seems only the small more finicky. Overcome that with the fish are biting. A good rule of thumb is to addition of a small minnow to the jig. go deeper for the larger fish. One way Slip‑bobber rigs with a small jig or straight crappie hook tipped with a minnow work well too. If you get into a mess of fish then a jig is probably a better bet. It is easier to get a jig out of a fish and get the line back in the water than to take the time to re‑bait a hook and drop it overboard. The secret is to get the fish while they are feeding and before they decide to move away. Do not spend more than about 20 minutes in any one spot. Fish may be on a given spot for a while and then move

to get past the problem getting your bait through the small fish is to back the boat off a little. Once you get the bait down to the desired depth move the boat back into the location desired. Fishing for crappie during the dog days of summer can be frustrating. But for those who try this pattern the reward is a nice mess of crappie fillets on the grill in the evening.

Other structure that holds crappie in summer include such things as: weeds, brush piles, a subtle drop in the bottom or even those deeper drops created by the mining under the lake. If one takes the time to learn how to read a fish locator, any unit will work for this type of fishing. You can get away with a very inexpensive unit if you know what is appearing on the screen or flasher. Experienced electronics users find the thermocline, that area at which water stratifies into warm and cold water. Little oxygen and no fish are located below the thermocline.

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HARNESS RACING Friday, August 26 - 7:30pm Saturday, August 27 - Noon Sunday, August, 28, Noon

Josh Tu

with Jerr Aug. 27th

Matthew West

with Special Guest Jon Henninger Band Aug. 28th • 7:00 p.m.

Willie Nelson

Sept. 2nd • 7:30 p.m.

Finger El My Dark

Sept. 3rd •

USAC Silver Crown Series Sept. 4th • 8:00 p.m. 24 l August 2011 l

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FAIR HOURS Checking in Fairground Opens: 10:00 A.M. daily Carnival Opens: Noon on weekends 3:00pm on weekdays

Lynard Skynard

Aug. 31st • 7:30 p.m.

urner

DAILY ADMISSION Main Parking Lot: $7.00 Gate 1 Parking: $12.00 Gate 4 Parking: $7.00 Daily $30.00 Season Pass (Note: All inside public parking (including ADA) - $12.00) No weather related reimbursements!!

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CONTACT INFORMATION Administration..........618-542-1515 Ticket Office..............618-542-1535 TDD..........................618-542-1355 Mailing Address: 655 Executive Dr., Du Quoin, IL 62832 PAY-ONE-PRICE RIDE DAYS

Marty Stuart and Connie Smith Sept. 1st • 7:30 p.m.

Campgrounds Open All Year Round $20.00 per night 1000 + sites with electric & water unlimited primitive camping 2 bath houses 1 dump station HIGHLIGHTS

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ARCA

Sept. 5th • 11:00 a.m. Qualifying

* Two Carnival Midways * Daily Livestock Shows * Harness Racing/World Trotting Derby * Senior Center with Daily Entertainment * Culinary, Hobbies, Agricultural Exhibits * Quarter Horse Shows * Free Family Entertainment * Conservation World * Miller Spectacular Shows, Inc. sisportsconnection.com l August 2011 l

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Photo Feature Photos by Ceasar Maragni Story by Jim Muir Janet Reed and daughter-in-law Kelly own “Blings It On”. “We’ve set up at basketball, track, volleyball and softball games so far”, Kelly said, “they will set up at football games next year.” After all these years that Janet has been a “coaching widow”, now Curt will be a business woman’s widower. Janet and Kelly go to so many games, that they decided they’ll give this a try. Facebook: BLING IT ON. While set up at a host school, the two sell raffle tickets with proceeds going to the local school. They offer plenty of Saluki items for sale.

Items in individual school colors.

Their custom jewelry is a bit hit with fans.

26 l August 2011 l

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Janet Reed with their wide array of team items.

Customers look over items at a Herrin High School basketball tournament this past winter.

Kelly Reed, left, with a customer.

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Feature

A Day for the Record Books

By Joe Szynkowski

J

ohn David Rollins scored a lot of points during his athletic career at Harrisburg High School. He found the end zone often as the Bulldogs’ shifty running back and explosive special teams’ speedster. He also earned high marks in track and field for his efforts in the long jump, 100-, 200- and 400-meter races. But it’s the single point that eluded him and track teammate D.J. Duncan at last season’s IHSA Class A state championships that he remembers most. The only two Bulldogs to qualify for the final nearly shocked Charleston with one of the best days in Harrisburg track history. Duncan finished seventh in the 110 28 l August 2011 l

high hurdles and third in the 300 hurdles, while Rollins finished first in the long jump, second in the 400, third in the 100 and fourth in the 200. When the dust settled and the pair caught their wind, Harrisburg had fallen to champion Chicago Leo – by one point. “I’m still disappointed but I obviously didn’t deserve it. If I deserved it I would have won,” said Rollins, who will run track for Division-II Texas A&M UniversityCommerce next season. If it sounds like Rollins is being hard on himself, that’s because he is. The pressure he puts on himself is what makes him stand apart. It was the reason he became the first track athlete in Harrisburg’s rich history to medal in four individual events at state.

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“John David set his goals so high it wasn’t funny. In his mind he was going to win everything,” said Harrisburg coach Chris Berry. “The great thing about him is his competitiveness. Some people kind of get down on themselves if they don’t do well in an event. If he ever came up short, it just motivated him to come out and do even better in the next event. “And some kids don’t like running against better competition but he thrived on facing people from Belleville West, Cahokia and schools like that.” Duncan, just a sophomore last season, didn’t shy away from tough competition either. He molded his own track strategy and attitude after his senior teammate, Rollins. He said Rollins set the pace from


FEATURE an early point in the season and followed through by performing at awe-inspiring levels. “If you know you’re good, you don’t have to be cocky about it, but you have to have a certain confidence,” Duncan said. “You have to prep yourself and tell yourself that you’re just as good as all of the other guys out there, if not better. He did that and went out and raced every race like it was his last. “It’s like

h e said, ‘OK, my legs are going to fall off after this race. There’s no more running after this. And at the end of this race, I’m going to make a lot of money and be set for the rest of my life.’ He just knew he was going to be successful in every event.”

Quick Off The Blocks

One of the many highlights of Harrisburg’s 2011 track season came before the campaign even began. Fifty-five athletes came out for the team, including 25 freshmen. Those were exciting numbers, Berry said, considering that the Bulldogs’ baseball team perennially draws such a large percentage of Harrisburg’s athletes. The Bulldogs started the spring with their indoor season, posting solid performances at Southern Illinois University, Principia College and Eastern Illinois University. The productive start not only helped Harrisburg

What a Day -- John David Rollins and D.J. Duncan combined to set personal bests in five of their six events at last season’s track state final in Charleston. They scored 41 points, finishing just one point behind champion Chicago Leo. Here’s a quick look at their results. Rollins Long Jump: 22-11.25 (1st Place) 100 Meters: 10.88 (3rd Place) 200 Meters: 22.16 (4th Place) 400 Meters: 48.59 (2nd Place) Duncan 110 Hurdles: 15.39 (7th Place) 300 Hurdles: 39.31 (3rd Place)

to make the transition to tough competition, but also caught the attention of its coaching staff. “Our kids at this time are starting to realize that we’ve got a couple of special guys and that if we can get a couple of good relays or a couple of

everybody uplifted during the whole season. He’s always pushing everybody to do that extra event or run that

extra relay.”

Rainy Day at State

kids step up in their events, we could make a good run,” Berry said. “We had told them back in 2001, Harrisburg won the state title with a basic core of two guys – Braden Jones and Brad Brachear. We kept saying that we had two special guys and we just had to build some pieces around them.” Success was nothing new to Rollins, who finished fourth at state in the long jump as a junior and was part of 2009’s third-place relay team. And as Rollins was doing more of the same to begin his senior season, the sophomore Duncan was coming into his own in the 110 and 300 hurdles. “I really started noticing a change in him at sectionals his freshman year,” Rollins said of Duncan. “He got first place at the sectional and qualified to go to state, and then finished in the top 30 at state. After the season, I was watching him through winter workouts and I could tell there was something different about him.” After battling major inflammation in his back during his freshman season, Duncan was fully healthy and focused on complementing Rollins. Good health combined with great coaching led to a solid second season, Duncan said. “You could tell coach really wanted us to do well and really believed that we had potential,” Duncan said. “He is always positive. He always keeps

Rollins and Duncan were the only two Bulldogs to qualify for the state finals after enduring a 50-degree, rainy day of preliminaries in Charleston. Rain was nothing new to these Bulldogs. A month prior to state, Harrisburg won the loaded Sparta Invitational on a wet track. “A lot of people don’t like it,” Duncan said. “But I love running in the rain.” The duo splashed through a proficient day of prelims to give them a golden opportunity for a strong finish in the finals. “We kept telling our kids this is when tough guys step up and block things out, like the bad weather,” Berry said. “We were running John David hard but that’s how he wanted it. We could have taken him off of some of his individual events and the relay team would have placed. But we thought he could really do well at all of his events so we gave him the shot.” Rollins responded by winning the long jump (22-11.25), finishing second in the 400 meters (48.59) and third in the 100 (10.88) – all personal bests for the senior. After the IHSA sped up the meet because of the threat of severe weather, Rollins had

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less than an hour of rest before tackling his fourth event of the day, the 200 meters. He finished with another personal best (22.16) and took home his fourth medal of the day. Berry called it “the best day of Rollins’ career.” Rollins agreed, but wishes he could have earned a couple more points to put Harrisburg over the top. “If I would have won my 100, instead of me getting seven points I would have gotten 10 points,” he said. “I remember thinking that it really might have cost us.” Duncan still has his own reservations about his showing at state. He hit two hurdles in his first event of the day (110 hurdles) and was never able to recover down the stretch. He finished seventh (15.39) after being in a dead heat for third place midway through the race. “It’s not an excuse but (the IHSA) switched the hurdles around because of the way the wind was coming in,” Duncan said. “I think that changed things just enough because you’re looking at them from a different angle.” It was a disappointing result, but Duncan said he couldn’t wait to redeem himself in the 300s. His coach never doubted him. “We really challenged him to come back after the 110,” Berry said. “And he came back and ran it a full second faster (39.31) than he had. It was unreal. You just don’t that.” Rollins’ fourth-place finish in the 400 capped off the day for the Bulldogs. Their long journey came to an end with the second-place trophy – not bad for a twoman team. “After losing by a point, you really have mixed feelings,” Berry said. “You get personal records in five out of six events. You get second in the state. You’re just really happy for the kids, and for the school and community. It was just a really exciting weekend.”

The Next Chapter

With their eyes to the future and their legs on the mend, Rollins and Duncan haven’t exactly been relaxing. Rollins has been filling his days with pick-up basketball and college preparation. Soon he will be at Texas A&M-Commerce, the four-year university just outside of Dallas, trying to make an impact for the defending national champions.

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“I’d love to play football down there my sophomore year,” Rollins said. “But right now I’m just focused on track. I can’t wait to get down there.” Duncan still has two seasons left to bring home a state title. He will continue to improve his flexibility and range by taking dance classes in Harrisburg. “I do all types of dance – ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, tap…I started that before I started track. It helps with my quickness and rhythm. You have to have rhythm to run hurdles.” This winter he will focus on melding more speed into his already springy stride. “I really want to improve my speed and get faster, period,” Duncan said. “I’ve got to get more explosive out of the blocks. If we’re doing 200s in practice and my legs are hurting midway through, I can’t let myself slow down. I’ve got to push even harder to keep the burn going.” “I’ve got to be like John David. John David always did extra. We would do our regular practice, then John David would go do his own practice.” As a team, Harrisburg might be even better next year. A solid group of polevaulters are joining the squad from junior high and Berry expects the relay teams to be much improved. Moving down to assistant coach next year, Berry is looking to Duncan for leadership. “He’s an extremely charismatic young man. Everybody likes D.J.,” Berry said. “We’re really excited for what he and the younger kids accomplished. We know that next year we’ll be more well-rounded.” It will be hard for Harrisburg to duplicate last season’s special run to a second-place finish at the state finals - maybe just as difficult as forgetting about that single point that could have made them champions. “We’re definitely still bummed out,” Duncan said. “It’s hard because we lost by just that one point.” “I really wanted to get coach a championship,” Rollins added. “That’s the toughest part. As more and more people come up to me and tell me I should be proud of what we accomplished up at state, I’m starting to appreciate it more and realize that I should be proud.” Joe Szynkowski is a freelance writer for SISC. He can be reached at joeszynkowski@ hotmail.com.


By Mike Murphy

Murf’s Turf

Kyle Walker’s New Adventure

M

ay was a big month for former Herrin and SIU football standout Kyle Walker. Early in the month he was inducted into the Herrin High School Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. On May 28, he fought his first Mixed Martial Arts bout in Du Quoin winning by TKO in 9 seconds. “MMA is a sport, a sport I’d tried before,” Walker said. “While I was at SIU I messed up a couple of times and I got tired of getting in trouble, tired of getting arrested” Walker, who admits to having a violent side, calls MMA fighting his next challenge. There are many who think he may have found his niche. Walker was the Southern Illinois High School Football Player of the Year his senior season in 2004 after being named all-conference, all-south, and all-state his junior and senior years. He became a favorite at SIU with his quickness and kamikaze style on special teams and in his senior season he tied for sixth in team tackles and led the

Dawgs with eight sacks. Walker said after his football career ended he wasn’t ready to stop being an athlete. “I was getting fat and out of shape and my buddies suggested I take up MMA,” said Walker. “Right now I’m in the best shape of my life. One of the hardest things for me was my diet. In

football I was always trying to gain weight, this is much different.” In his SIU Football bio, Kyle was listed at 5-feet-9-inches and 215 pounds. Kyle is still 5-feet-9 but now tips the scales at 170 pounds. W a l k e r calls his MMA training regime “not unbelievably hard.” It consists of running 3 to 5 miles a day and being in the gym Monday thru Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., working on cardio, wrestling, and of course sparring. I had to ask Kyle if MMA was harder than football. “In football it’s the overall physical contact,” Walker said. “It’s

harder from the standpoint a football game is four quarters at 12-15 minutes a quarter. That’s a long time to be getting hit on and stuff.” Walker will be out of action for the next few weeks. He has to undergo surgery for cauliflower ear and is not sure how long that will take to heal. He is a big drawing card locally because of his success at Herrin and SIU. He was a bit surprised his first fight lasted only nine seconds. “I hit him with that first shot and knew I rocked him and he just grabbed me and held on,” said Walker. “I just kept punching; I didn’t expect it to go that fast.” Being an amateur, Walker doesn’t receive money for winning fights just exposure, getting his name out in front of the public. He plans to keep fighting and see where it leads. “I’ve gotten encouragement from a lot of people and former coaches,” Walker said. That list includes SIU football Coach Dale Lennon, defensive coach Eric Schmidt, and athletic director Mario Moccia as well as Herrin Football Coaches Jason Karnes, Dwayne Summers, and John Sims. Where will it end? MMA is a huge business/sport that is taking the country by storm. For Kyle Walker, it’s just another sport to keep him competing. “I’d love to still be playing football,” said Walker. “Obviously, I can’t do that anymore but now I can compete at this. It’s something you really have to work at. I think it’s for guys who have lost their way a little bit. It has changed my lifestyle.

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RLC Report

By Nathan Wheeler

Rend Lake College earns national recognition for academics

S

ix athletic programs at Rend Lake College have been recognized by the National Junior College Athletic Association for being among its 2010-2011 NJCAA All-Academic Teams. An “Academic Team of the Year” was named by the NJCAA in each sport. Teams were required to meet a minimum 3.00 GPA to qualify as All-Academic Teams. Men’s soccer at Rend Lake finished first among teams in Region XXIV and second among teams in the NJCAA with a 3.12 team GPA. Joel Harrison (Mt. Vernon) earned a NJCAA Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement. Cloud County Community College in Concordia, Kan., was first in the nation with a team GPA of 3.15, according to the NJCAA. RLC’s baseball team ranked third in the Region and tied for 15th in the NJCAA with a 3.07 team GPA. Pitcher Gavin Petrea (Salem) and first baseman Zach LaBuwi (Benton) earned NJCAA Awards for Exemplary Academic Achievement. The women’s golf team finished second among Region teams and ninth in the nation with a 3.18 team GPA.

NATIONAL RUNNER UP - , Led by NJCAA Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement recipient Joel Harrison (Mt. Vernon), the Rend Lake College men’s soccer team finished second in the nation academically in 2010-11 with a 3.12 team GPA. BACK ROW, FROM LEFT: Dylan Starr, Harrison, Chase Winn, Cody Shires, Grant Odell, Timmy Meldezis, Neil Houlihan, Alex Larson, Griffin Groves, Jacob Butler, Dusty Whiteside, and Wan Kuzac. MIDDLE ROW, FROM LEFT: Dillon Peebles, Victor Barillas, Sammy Fuentes, Micah Ressler, Jarrid Kraft, and Tyler Weston. FRONT ROW, FROM LEFT: Jake Keck, Ben Wilburn, Robert Rock, Jordan Grace and Nelson Kenne.

Rend Lake’s softball team, with a 3.28 team GPA, was third in the Region and tied for 17th in the NJCAA. Sophomores from that team, outfielders Katlynn Sater (Newburgh, Ind.) and Leah Exmeyer (Evansville, Ind.), earned NJCAA Awards for Superior Academic Achievement. The women’s tennis team tied for eighth in the nation with a 3.42 team GPA – highest among athletic programs at RLC this past year. Bethany Toms (Benton) earned a NJCAA Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement. Rend Lake’s volleyball squad finished academically at the top of the Region and tied for 27th in the NJCAA with a 3.29 team GPA. Miranda Bunge (DuQuoin) earned a NJCAA Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement. For all things athletic at The Lake, visit RLC online at www.rlc.edu/warriors.

LEADING LADIES - The women’s tennis team earned the highest team GPA, a 3.42, among all athletic programs at Rend Lake College this year. The team was led by sophomore Bethany Toms (Benton) with a 3.76 GPA. FROM LEFT are; Chelsea Cross (Belle Rive), Kylie Pickel (Mt. Vernon), Jessica Baker (Benton), Whitney Timmons (West Frankfort), Chelsea Flatt (Benton), Coach Dave Junkins and Toms.

32 l August 2011 l

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Miner’s Baseball

By Tony Piraro

Miners Mid-Season Report

W

ith exactly 40 games left in the Frontier League regular season, the Southern Illinois Miners boast the second best record in the league at 34-22 through 56 games. The Miners find themselves seven games behind the defending league champions, River City Rascals, for first place. Coming off a historic 2010 season where the Miners won the second most games (64) in league history and most in franchise history, Southern Illinois is clearly seeking consistency amidst their dominance. This season, the Miners have a seven game lead for the final playoff spot in the West division, thanks in large-part to their stellar pitching staff. The Southern Illinois pitchers are ranked No. 1 in the league for total team pitching, including their ERA (3.51), opponent’s batting average against (.240) and innings pitched (505.1) this year. The Miners relief pitchers are second in the league in total team saves (18) and wins. The success has been accomplished with a team that strikes out batters less than half the teams in the league, proving Manager Mike Pinto’s three-pitchout or less pitching philosophy is working flawlessly once again.

half run has him in the running for the league’s MVP award. Block added to his stellar season, being named the only starter from the Miners for the West Division team. The second baseman showed why, drilling a solo home run, one of just two hits for the west squad, during the all-star game. Catcher Sean Coughlin (team leader in RBIs) and third baseman Nate Hall (No. 1 fielding percentage for third basemen in the league) also made the trip to Cleveland for the all-star festivities. Southern Illinois entered the all-star break with the best fielding percentage (.981) in the league as well. The Miners defense definitely helps the pitching staff on a nightly basis. S o u t h e r n Illinois

David Harden (5-2, 2.76) is ranked the No. 5 pitcher in the Frontier League after a strong first half to start his professional career. In his 12 starts, Harden has allowed just 67 hits through 78 and one-third innings pitched and is in the running for the 2011 Pitcher of the Year award. The last two Southern Illinois pitchers to win the Brian Tolberg Pitcher of the Year award was Joe Augustine (2010) last season and Ryan Bird (2008) three years ago. Amidst the Miners 5th Anniversary Season, Southern Illinois is seeking their third playoff appearance in four years. After recording the best record in Miners (64-32) franchise history last season, Southern Illinois currently has the second best record in the league and is looking to do more damage once the playoffs come around. Since the beginning of the 2010 season, Southern Illinois has an extraordinary Frontier League mark of 98 total wins to the present date.

In fact, Miners starters Ryan Zink and David Harden were chosen to represent the Miners top pitching staff in the league for the 2011 All-Star Game at Lake Erie. Zink won three games in the first half of the season, with an ERA below 3.50, after being released by River City at the start of the season. Rookie David Harden has been a brilliant surprise for Justin Lord’s pitching staff. The right-hander went 5-1 in his first half of professional baseball in 2011.

defenders have had the most total chances (2166) of any defensive team in the league, with the least amount of errors.

Southern Illinois had five total representatives in the all-star game for the second best team in the league. Will Block’s (10 home runs) extraordinary first-

In the final 40 games of the season, Miners fans have some major things to keep their eyes on during the stretch-run. Will Block (.352 avg, 12 HR, 37 RBI) is

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ranked the No. 2 batter in the league and is in the running for the league MVP as he continues his torrid pace from the second base position. Block also owns the best fielding percentage for any second baseman in the Frontier League. The last Miners batter to win the Most Valuable Player award was Joey Metropoulos in 2009 with his 31 home runs.

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The Miners are looking to improve on their won-loss record this year, as well as advance to their first-ever Frontier League Championship series. With a group of young, eager players in 2011, this Miners team is chomping at the bit to return to the Frontier League playoffs for some unfinished business. Tony Piraro (Assistant Director of Media Relations/Broadcaster)


Ask the AD

By Mario Moccia Will there be a new helmet design for the Saluki Football team this year? We have no plans this year to alter the helmet, but we have discussed possible variations, specifically eliminating the dog head and just going with the “bullet” Saluki word mark. We believe this would give a better representation on television as well as in person. We are also considering a maroon helmet. Our Director of Equipment Operations, Mike Valentine, just took a position at the University of Arizona, so our new director will be taking the lead on the subject of helmet design. With the new track being built, does this mean SIU is closer to offering a soccer program? The new track was built with dimensions that can accommodate collegiate women’s soccer, and we also have a locker room area in the adjacent building which will house the men’s and women’s track teams, or a women’s soccer team if one is ever added. Adding women’s soccer as a sport has been discussed only from a cost standpoint. We have conducted some research in our conference but would need to weigh the cost of the program versus the benefits of Title IX compliance, opportunity for conference success, as well as interest in the sport in our area and region. Women’s soccer could also play a big part in the overall campus plan to increase enrollment, especially female enrollment.

2011-2012 SCHEDULE Date

Opponent / Event

Location

Time/Result

Sat., Sep. 3

at SEMO

Cape Girardeau, Mo. 6:00 p.m. CT

Sat., Sep. 10 at Mississippi

Oxford, Miss.

5:00 p.m. CT

Sat., Sep. 24 vs. Missouri State*

Carbondale, Ill.

6:00 p.m. CT

Macomb, Ill.

3:00 p.m. CT

(Family Weekend)

Sat., Oct. 1

at Western Illinois*

Sat., Oct. 8

vs. North Dakota State* Carbondale, Ill.

2:00 p.m. CT

Sat., Oct. 15

vs. Youngstown State*

Carbondale, Ill.

2:00 p.m. CT

(Homecoming)

Sat., Oct. 22

at Northern Iowa *

Cedar Falls, Iowa

3:00 p.m. CT

Sat., Oct. 29

vs. Illinois State *

Carbondale, Ill.

2:00 p.m. CT

Sat., Nov. 5

at South Dakota St.*

Brookings, S.D.

2:00 p.m. CT

Sat., Nov. 12 vs. Eastern Illinois

Carbondale, Ill.

2:00 p.m. CT

Sat., Nov. 19 at Indiana State*

Terre Haute, Ind.

1:05 p.m. CT

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From Where I Sit

By Tom Wheeler

Sooner or Later

M

y wife Lynda handed me the phone and said “TJ has something to tell you.”

I wasn’t prepared when he said “Dad, I’m tired, I don’t want to play basketball any more.” This was the night before he was to fly to South Dakota to play in the CBA (he was drafted in the third round) and only a couple weeks since he had spent a month with the Bulls. In all he spent two weeks in Chicago and two weeks in Salt Lake City starting all 14 games for the rookie-free agent team. Sooner or later everyone hangs it up, and I was proud he gave it his best shot. Good buddy Kirk Reuter was the winningest left-hander in San Francisco Giants history and played 14 years in Major League Baseball. He told me once,” I wanted my girls to grow up in Nashville, I wanted to go home” Sooner or later even the pros have to hang it up. Anna-Jonesboro’s multiple-talented Josh Alley had a decision to make this January, start his seventh year with the San Diego Padres, or stay home with his very lovely wife Ashley. (He also remembers his month of winter baseball in Mexico the year before.) He decided to stay home with his very close family in Anna. You may remember Josh, a varsity letter winner and starter in three sports as a freshman. Expectations were high for Josh’s class, in junior high they were state champs in basketball and finished in third place in baseball. His junior year at AJ he was the MVP of the Eldorado Holiday tournament in basketball and helped his baseball team to state as a senior. Along the way he tore up a knee in the seventh football game and missed all of basketball his senior year. Josh was recruited to play at the University of Tennessee and was a starter all three years which ended his junior year in the NCAA college world series in Omaha.

36 l August 2011 l

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He remembers the Vols played in the opening game that year and there were over 20,000 fans in the stands. Alley was drafted in the 10th round by the Padres He played six years (469 games) of pro ball, two in AAA. Josh said “when you see guys you have played with get to the ‘bigs’ you know you have a chance.” Josh played two years with current Cardinal third baseman David Freese. There are currently five Vols in the majors: Kansas City pitcher Luke Hochevar who was in Josh and Ashley’s wedding, Toronto catcher J.P. Arencibia attended the wedding as did Chase Headly, 3b for San Diego who also roomed with Josh (as did Hochevar). Colorado’s 1b Todd Helton invited Josh and some of his AJ buddies to spent a week at his $7 million ranch outside Denver to hunt – described as an “unbelievable experience.” Josh has had many compliments in his athletic career. I remember one of the early ones. It was when Josh played basketball for my Little Wheels and we played in a tournament in Benton. Ranger super fan Kenny Irvin tried to recruit the third grader to move to Ranger land. With all the success Josh has had, sooner or later he had to hang it up. Now Josh tackles another challenge, instead of worrying about hitting a major league curve ball, he will have to worry about how to change the diaper of Addyson Grace, his daughter who is expected to arrive in November. As the school year starts, there will be many athletes at all levels playing their last year, all will hang it up sooner or later, so make sure you get out and follow your favorite athlete. That’s the way it looks “From Where I Sit”


Henderson Named Saluki Baseball Coach By Jason Clay SIUSalukis.com

S

outhern Illinois University Athletic Director Mario Moccia recently announced that Ken Henderson  has been named the head baseball coach of the Salukis. Henderson served as SIU’s interim head coach for the entire 2011 season after the passing of  Dan Callahan  on Nov. 15, 2010. Henderson becomes the seventh head coach in the history of the program. “I am extremely honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to follow outstanding coaches such as (Richard) Itch Jones and  Dan Callahan  in leading Southern Illinois University Baseball,” Henderson said. “I would like to thank Chancellor Rita Cheng, Mario Moccia, Jason King and the rest of our administration for their support and I, along with our players and staff, look forward to adding to the great history and tradition of Saluki Baseball.” Moccia praised Henderson’s ability to lead the team on and off the field. SIU had 15 student-athletes finish with grade point averages at or above 3.0 this past spring semester and the team’s 3.01 GPA was its highest for the spring in over 10 years. “Coach Henderson did an excellent job of shepherding our team through Coach Cal’s illness and his ultimate passing,” Moccia said. “That was an emotional and difficult time, but everything I’ve seen from Ken since he took over the program points to brighter days ahead for Saluki Baseball. “I was impressed that Coach took a young team that had lost a couple of key players to injury early in the season, yet finished with a winning record in conference play. Not only is the program improving on the field, but it is succeeding in the classroom and in the community, as well. I am confident Ken will continue moving Saluki Baseball forward.” Henderson has been with the Saluki baseball program since the 1991 season. He was an assistant coach from 1991-92 and was promoted to associate head coach in 1993, a title he held until being named interim head coach for this past season. Henderson was also the interim head coach for the last 20 games of the 1994 season

after Sam Riggleman resigned and before the hiring of Callahan. He led SIU to a 12-8 record in that stretch of the 1994 season. The loyal Saluki and veteran coach guided Southern Illinois to a fifth-place finish in the Missouri Valley Conference in 2011, when the team was picked to finish seventh in the preseason poll. SIU did so without two of its top players in first baseman Chris Serritellaand  Lee Weld, who both missed the entire season with injuries. In addition, Aaron Snyder missed the majority of the season after he was projected to be a weekend starter for the Dawgs. Serritella was a first team All-MVC selection in 2010 when he hit .374 with 13 home runs and 64 RBIs and Weld was Southern’s top reliever two years ago when he struck out a team-high 57 batters in 29 appearances. In his one year running the ball club, Henderson proved his ability to develop All-Conference players. Sophomore pitcher  Cody Forsythe  received first team All-MVC honors, as he led the league with a 2.08 ERA in the regular season. Forsythe

became SIU’s first starting pitcher to receive first team All-Conference accolades since P.J. Finigan, Southern’s current pitching coach, in 2005. He only walked 11 of the 429 batters he faced in 2011 and ranked 10th nationally in fewest walks allowed per nine innings pitched. Junior outfielder  Jordan Sivertsen  was Southern’s power threat at the dish and he received second team All-MVC accolades by belting nine homers and driving in 48 runs. Sivertsen and Forsythe, along with the players returning from injuries, highlight a talented roster that returns for Henderson’s first season as head coach in 2012. Southern Illinois’ 2011 roster featured 27 players, 19 of which were freshmen or sophomores and the Salukis only lost three players from that team to graduation. “Having lost only three seniors off of this year’s team, we have a talented and dedicated group of players returning for next season,” Henderson said. “We believe this group has built a foundation that will lead to a great deal of future success with Saluki Baseball.”                        

Newly named SIU Head Baseball Coach Ken Henderson with a couple of young fans in the Saluki dugout. Henderson was named the new head coach by SIU Athletics Director Mario Moccia after serving the past year as interim head coach following the passing of longtime Saluki coach Dan Callahan. (Photo by Ceasar Maragni)

sisportsconnection.com l August 2011 l

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From Wheel’s Garage

By Tom Wheeler

Past Players of the Year

30 YEARS AGO – 1981-82

Players of the Year in various conferences included Murphysboro’s Tim Flanigan (Murphy won their 7th consecutive crown), Kevin Howerton, Carterville, Cameron Riley, Metropolis, and Perry Duncan, Harrisburg. Captains were Brad Hall, McLeansboro, Reggie Silias, Carbondale and Creg McDonald, Christopher. Evansville paper picked Carterville’s Pat Comp as POY and SesserValier’s Dwayne Rone as captain. Elkville’s Mike Crews was Diamond Coach of the Year while Ken Joggerst, Harrisburg was South Sevens choice for this honor. McLeansboro’s Darin Lee won the passing title (1,023 yds) over Mt. Vernon’s Steve McCoy (909 yds.) The Rams Ben Dogan was the leading receiver edging out the Foxes Curt Reed Jr.

Ron Acks, from Carbondale to the Green Bay Packers Jim Collins, Southern Illini captain 1961

20 YEARS AGO – 1991-92

Southern Illinois Player of the Year was Carbondale’s Dell Berry, coach of the year was Carbondale’s John Helmick. DuQuoin’s Rob Eaton and Carterville’s Jermaine Gray were Chicago Sun Times All Staters. In the Black Diamond, Christopher’s Mike Parrill was defensive captain while Sesser-Valiers Joel Huie was offensive captain and teammate Brian Laur was Most Valuable Player (he also led the south in passing). Familiar names coaching 20 years ago include Maurice Phillips, Benton, Ross Babington, S-V, Ron Winter, West Frankfort, Keith Ellis, Elverado, Lewis Winemiller, McLeansboro and Al Way , Harrisburg.

10 YEARS AGO – 2001-02

Dean Webb, leading scorer in the south 1961

50 YEARS AGO – 1961-62

Players of Year in various conferences included Ron Acks, Carbondale, Bobby Brown, West Frankfort, Dean Webb, McLeansboro and Tom Horner, Salem. Honorary captains in these conferences was Charlie Scott, DuQuoin, Terry Thomas, Benton, Jim Collins, Johnston City, and Bill Wilkerson, Mt. Carmel

38 l August 2011 l

Creg McDonald, Black Diamond captain 1981

40 YEARS AGO – 1971-72

Players of the Year in various conferences include Larry James, Mt. Vernon, Dave Loucks, Sesser-Valier, Joe Linton, Johnston City, Tim Brown, Murphysboro. Honorary captains were Steve Nollman, Centralia, Brett Twitty, Christopher,Chuck Hamilton, McLeansboro and Mark Brosche, Chester.

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Diamond MVP was Johnston City’s Nick Francescon while Benton’s Brendan Summary was Southern Illinois Player of the Year , he was joined on the All South team by teammates Buddy Elders, Mike Richardson and Troy Schafer. Familiar coaches included Herrin’s Rod Sherrill. Murphysboros’ Fred Heinz, Benton’s Jeff Roper, Marion’s Brent McGee, Eldorado’s Brad Goodley and Carlyle’s Joe Wilkerson.


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sisportsconnection.com l August 2011 l

39


JALC Journal

By Teri Campbell

Logan Athletics Earn Academic Accolades

J

ohn A. Logan College enjoyed great success on the athletic fields during the 2010-2011 season. The Volunteers won the Great Rivers Athletic Conference All-Sports Trophy as the top-performing athletic program in the league. They also won four Region 24 titles, made three national tournament appearances, and claimed a national championship. The student-athletes earned numerous academic honors as well. Logan’s softball team and volleyball team both qualified as National Junior College Athletic Association Academic Teams of the Year for achieving team gradepoint averages above 3.0 based on a 4.0 scale. The softball team posted a cumulative GPA of 3.2 while the volleyball team recorded a 3.1 GPA. Angie Jilek, assistant softball coach at Logan, was pleased with her team’s recognition. “Our softball team had its share of success on and off the field this year, and earning this academic award is something we are very proud of,” Jilek said. “We always stress the importance of going to class and getting an education to our players, and they worked really hard.” Eight

student-athletes

40 l August 2011 l

earned

individual honors from the NJCAA. Pinckneyville products Nicole Cheek (softball) and Mandi Kellerman (softball) received Superior Academic Achievement awards as did Murphysboro’s Jennifer Manis (volleyball), and Effingham’s Derek Rohlfing (men’s golf). The award is presented for maintaining GPAs between 3.80 and 3.99 for 45 semester hours and three full-time semesters. Kelsie Bond (softball) of Galatia,

Elizabeth Gentry (women’s golf) from Carterville, Celci Mueller (softball) from Murphysboro, and Matt Smithpeters (men’s basketball) of Harrisburg garnered Exemplary Academic Achievement awards from the NJCAA for carrying GPAs between 3.60 and 3.79 for 45 semester hours and three-full-time semesters. In addition to the NJCAA honors, 14 student-athletes were chosen Academic All-GRAC for having GPAs of 3.25 or higher. These included softball players: Cheek,

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Kellerman, Bond, Mueller, and Reena Ruggles (Nashville). Baseball players: Josh Meade (Hilliard, Wis.), Cody Poole (Jeffersonville, Ind.), and Cale Wine (Coulterville), and women’s golfers: Gentry and Morgan Heisner (Pinckneyville) also made the academic all-conference squad along with men’s golfers: Rohlfing and Bryce Doughty (Benton). Volleyball’s Manis and men’s basketball’s Smithpeters rounded out the Academic All-GRAC selections. “Athletically speaking, the 20102011 season was outstanding for our program and we accomplished a lot,” said Jerry Halstead, athletic director and head baseball coach at Logan. “But it was just as gratifying to see so many of our student-athletes excel academically, too. As coaches, we always let our players know that getting an education is as valuable as anything they accomplish in sports. I’m glad that they are taking advantage of their educational opportunities and were rewarded for their efforts. We are about to start a brand new season, and I’m looking forward to another great year.” For more information on JALC athletics, visit the John A. Logan College athletics Web site at: www. jalc.edu/athletics.


The 2010-2011 John A. Logan College softball team was named an Academic Team of the Year by the NJCAA, and five JALC softball players earned individual academic honors.

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FEATURE

com·pe·ti·tion (kom-pi-tish-uhn) Christopher’s John Bigando proves at age 95 that competition and the thrill of victory is not only for youngsters. noun 1. the act of competing; rivalry for supremacy, a prize, etc. 2. a contest for some prize, honor, or advantage: 3. the rivalry offered by a competitor: 4. a competitor or competitors

By Jim Muir

J

ohn Bigando continues to defy Father Time. At age 95 Bigando not only continues to bowl weekly at Benton Bowl but thrives on the competition, leading his team to a league title recently. “I feel good and as long as I continue to feel good I’m going to keep bowling,” said Bigando between frames. “It’s something I enjoy doing.” And clearly it’s something he does well – with an average of 168. Bigando bowls with three ladies on the mixed league team who pooled their talents to win the league title in runaway fashion. Born and raised in Coello, Bigando lived and worked in Chicago for 15 but returned to Southern Illinois and worked for Reed Heating & Air Conditioning for 21 years before his retirement. Bigando said he enjoys the competition in the bowling league but sees additional benefits as well. “Bowling is great exercise and it gives me something to do,” said Bigando. Bigando will be 96 years old on February 14 and said he has plans to return during the next bowling league to defend his title. “Yeah, I plan on continuing to bowl,” Bigando said. “I’ve always like competition.”

42 l August 2011 l

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Edith Gostowski, John Bigando, Mary Miller and Louise Sandusky


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Feature continued. . .

Sports are a great way for teens to stay physically fit while learning important life skills. But, sports also put these young athletes at risk of injury, especially concussions. A recent study found that 47 percent of high school football players suffered a concussion each season, according to statistics gathered by the National Center for Injury Prevention.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a brain injury. Concussions are caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body. Even a “ding,” “getting your bell rung,” or what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious.

What are the signs and symptoms?

You can’t see a concussion. Signs and symptoms of concussion can show up right after the injury or may not appear or be noticed until days after the injury. If an athlete reports one or more symptoms of concussion listed below, or if you notice the symptoms yourself, keep the athlete out of play and seek medical attention right away.

• • • • • • • • • •

Signs Observed by Family/Friends/Coaches

Appears dazed or stunned Is confused about assignment or position Forgets an instruction Is unsure of game, score, or opponent Moves clumsily Answers questions slowly Loses consciousness (even briefly) Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall Can’t recall events after hit or fall

Symptoms Reported by Athlete • • • • • • • • •

Headache or “pressure” in head Nausea or vomiting Balance problems or dizziness Double or blurry vision Sensitivity to light or noise Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy Concentration or memory problems Confusion Just not “feeling right” or is “feeling down”

How to prevent a concussion

Every sport is different, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself. • Use the proper sports equipment, including personal protective equipment. In order for equipment to protect you, it must be: o The right equipment for the game, position, or activity o Worn correctly and the correct size and fit o Used every time you play or practice • Follow your coach’s rules for safety and the rules of the sport. • Practice good sportsmanship at all times.

Head injuries are very serious, please seek medical attention immediately. If you have any further questions about concussions or other sports related injuries, you can contact one of the certified Athletic Trainers of NovaCare Rehabilitation at 618-216-2583! Information provided by the U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services, Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. For more information, visit: www.cdc.gov/Concussion 44 l August 2011 l

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NovaCare Rehabilitation… Recovery Starts Here!

Physical Therapy Needed.

Our Services Include:

You don’t think about physical therapy… until you need it! When you do, think NovaCare Rehabilitation first. Our experienced clinical team will create an individualized treatment plan that will help reduce pain and prevent re-injury while achieving each patient’s specific goals. Whether you’re a student athlete, professional athlete, a weekend warrior or a working professional, NovaCare Rehabilitation will get you back to the activities you enjoy! Benton

Carbondale Marion

Mt. Vernon

618.439.3399 •

McLeansboro

618.529.3201

Nashville

618.997.9497 West Frankfort

618.242.1100

618.643.2143

• Physical Therapy • Occupational Therapy • Athletic Training • Aquatic Therapy • Vestibular

Rehabilitation • Graston Technique • Work Conditioning/ Hardening

618.327.4969

618.937.6200

w w w. n o v a c a r e . c o m / s o u t h e r nsisportsconnection.com _Illinois.htm

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Black Forest Ham • BLT • Spicy Italian • Cold Cut Combo Veggie Delite® • Meatball Marinara Prices and participation may vary. Excludes Premium Subs. May not be combined with coupon offers or discount cards. Plus tax where applicable. ©2011 Doctor’s Associates Inc. SUBWAY® is a registered trademark of Doctor’s Associates Inc. All rights reserved.

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The Numbers Tell the Story You have in your hand, on your hip or in your handbag the most valuable four inches of real estate in the world today. It is your mobile phone. And you carry it with you wherever you go. What makes it so valuable? It has your eyes and your attention. You might spend your idle time playing games or texting your friends. It is like television used to be... nearly everyone has one and uses it every day. Here are 10 facts: 1. You along with about 4.1 billion people worldwide have a mobile phone. 2.

An amazing 86% of all Americans own a mobile phone.

3.

An astounding 68.7% of all cell phone users are considered frequent text users (mostly the young).

4. Text messages are OPENED 97% of the time. Compare that to bulk e-mail rates which is opened only 20 percent of the time. 5. Within the first hour, 83% of all text messages are opened.

6. In the USA last year, 1.56 trillion text messages were sent. That has tripled since 2007. 7.

Every second 52,082 text messages are sent.

8.

Mobile phones are now the gateway for businesses to connect with customers.

9.

Customers choose what information they want to receive and when they want to receive it.

10. Smart businesses have begun using mobile media marketing as part of their marketing plans, both for prospecting new customers and for rewarding their existing customers.

For more information about how to take advantage of this growing trend in advertising or how to get in on the ground floor of this amazing new trend contact: Jim Muir 618-525-4744

writeon1@shawneelink.net

Cheryl Hughey 618-353-8515

highroadpublications@gmail.com

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August 2011  

August 2011 SI Sports Connection Magazine

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