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June 2017

Iroquois County’s Times-Republic Sports Review

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Iroquois County at play

A look back at the sports year of 2016-17

A special supplement to the Times-Republic June 2017


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Iroquois County’s Times-Republic Sports Review

June 2017

Photos by Doug Brenneman Kollin Krumweide takes the pitch from Central quarterback Andrew Boudreau as Tyler Konetski (30), Connor Prairie (66), Kyle Grice (25) and others block in a 35-34 loss to Momence in the last game of the regular season.

Feast or famine for local football teams By DOUG BRENNEMAN, Sports Reporter sports@intranix.com It was feast or famine for Iroquois County football teams last high school season. Two teams won just one game while three teams made the playoffs. Watseka, which won a single game the previous year, joined forces with St. Anne as Donovan native Aaron Hilgendorf started his first season as the Warriors head coach. The combined program qualified for the Class 4A playoffs. The Warriors started the season with an exciting 30-23 win over perennial power Bismarck-Henning. The win was helped by a Wyatt Claire sack that stopped the Blue Devils final drive. The Warriors started fast and Herrin’s Jacob Hartline runs into Watseka defenders Blake Castonguay (3), Tony Villalva (9), Jaden got out to a 4-1 record. The WarDowns (14), Bobby Netzband (60) and Drew Hagen (17). riors made the playoffs with a 5-4 left. rumbled through the defense for 100 yards rushmark but had to travel to the southPBL lost its first game of the season, but coach ing. ern part of the state for a game against Herrin. Iroquois West looked awesome was led by runWatseka last had a winning season (6-4) in 2012, Jeff Graham helped the Panthers roar through the rest of the regular season schedule without losing ning back Jacob Connor, who was also voted Mr. when it made the 2A playoffs. a game to win the Sangamon Valley Conference Raider at IW Homecoming. IW looked strong in Kollin Krumweide set a new Central High its win over MCP. After falling behind 8-6, the School record during the Comets season, rushing title. The Panthers finished with a 9-2 record for the Raiders rolled up over 300 yards in a 34-8 win. for 330 yards in one game. second straight year. Central’s Ben Schafer was an All-State selecHis play at running back helped coach Brian Qualifying for the 3A postseason for the third tion as was Alex Pippen for PBL. Both were Spooner get his team back to the playoffs after a straight year, PBL won its opener, 50-2, before lineman. 4-5 season in 2015. That was the first time in 10 falling to the eventual years Central was not playing in the postseason. state champion in the Central may have played the most exciting game of the season when it lost to Momence, 35- second round. Joe Taylor had an 34, in the final regular season game. incredible game during Krumweide set another school record in that Milford-Cissna Park’s contest, lugging the football an astonishing 47 season, rushing for 286 times. Central led 14-7, trailed 15-14, but had a 28-15 yards in the last battle lead at halftime. Trailing 29-28, Krumweide went of the season. MCP 69 yards for a 34-29 lead with two minutes left in opened its season with a win as Chaz Reetz the game. The Redskins scored with 16 seconds

Photo by Tanya Tovey Iroquois West starts an offensive play against the Milford-Cissna Park defense.

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June 2017

Iroquois County’s Times-Republic Sports Review

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Kidwell, Watseka led area volleyball talent Wessels sets Lady Timberwolves school record for kills By DOUG BRENNEMAN, Sports Reporter sports@intranix.com   It was an area high school volleyball season that had a little bit of everything.    Central’s Lady Comets had a new coach, Cissna Park was coming off of two straight appearances at state, PBL hit a benchmark in wins, and Iroquois West equaled its previous year’s win total just halfway through the season.    Watseka was one of the eight best teams in Class 2A. Katie Kidwell, who will play at Division I Bowling Green this fall, helped the Lady Warriors start their volleyball season with the championship of the Timberwolf Tip-Off. The Lady Warriors kept winning in 2016, stacking up tournament titles during its quest to return to the state tournament wher they finished third in 2014. Watseka finished with a 36-3 record, the regular season Sangamon Valley Conference title, the Sangamon Valley Conference tournament title, a Regional title, a Sectional championship, and coach Krista Pufahl’s 300th victory along the way.    The Lady Warriors claimed their sixth straight regional title and third consecutive sectional championship and fifth in the last six years.

Photos by Doug Brenneman Watseka team members leave the congratulations line and jump for joy to celebrate their sectional championship with a three-set win over Reed-Custer in Seneca.

Cissna Park’s Gabby Wessels leaps to connect on one of her school record kills total against Milford’s Emily Duis (6), Sierra Fanning (12) and Cheyanne Wilken (14).   Cissna Park finished second in the Sangamon Valley Conference tournament behind Gabby Wessels. On a team that had just finished second and third in Class 1A the two previous years, Wessels set the single season school record for kills. The Lady Timberwolves (26-9-2) season ended in a Regional final.    PBL posted its fourth straight sea-

son of at least 20 wins by completing its season with a 21-11 mark. After four different coaches in four years, Jill Luckenbill steadied the ship for the Lady Comets, who finished with a 12-19-1 record and a new passion for the game. After getting to a record of 6-10, Iroquois West ended the year in a regional final with an 8-24 record.

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Iroquois County’s Times-Republic Sports Review

June 2017

Schroeder wins regional, Lady Raiders ace area

Taylor McTaggart tees off for Iroquois West in an early season meet at Shagbark.

By DOUG BRENNEMAN, Sports Reporter sports@intranix.com    There is plenty of local competition in Iroquois County golf.    All area teams have their home course as either Shagbark in Onarga or Shewami Contry Club in Watseka.    Area girls golfing teams saw the Iroquois West Lady Raiders as the leading linksters and some touching camaraderie from Watseka team members.    Both Milford and Watseka advanced boys teams to sectional play.    Nathan Schroeder shot the low score of the Regional meet to become champion of his team of champions. The Warriors won Regionals for the second year in a row. Milford was second as a team behind Bradley Leitz, who had the fourth-best score. Iroquois West saw Justin Kuipers and Brandon Olson advance to sectional as individuals.    Watseka won the Iroquois County tournament title behind meet medalist

Joe Hebert.   Marissa Pool got the Lady Raiders off to a great start when she bettered his career best round by 10 strokes in the first meet of the year. Taylor McTaggart won the Iroquois County tournament medalist honors to buoy her Lady Raiders to the county title.    McTaggart also went low for Iroquois West at the regional meet to help the Lady Raiders team advance to sectionals. Iroquois West barely missed securing a regional title as Beecher’s last golfer went low to give the Bobcats a two-stroke win, 423-425.    Watseka was fourth as a team at the regional meet, but only the top three teams advance. Summer Cramer and Maddie Hebert advanced to sectionals as individuals. Hebert tied with teammate Emma Germann for the final sectional qualifying spot, but rather than face a teammate in a playoff, Germann ceded the berth to Hebert.

Lady tracksters leap into successful seasons setting school records By DOUG BRENNEMAN, Sports Reporter sports@intranix.com The girls track season got off to a great jump start with success in the indoor season before Central won its third straight sectional title in the outdoor season. Watseka’s Katie Kidwell leaped into the school’s record books when she broke an indoor long jump record, then extended it at the state indoor meet. Central claimed a state championship in the 4x400 meter relay at the state indoor meet behind Emery Podowicz, Madyson Beasley, KIDWELL Jenna Raines and Andrea Pace. Kidwell continued her exploits in the outdoor season with school records in the long jump, high jump and triple jump, while an injury to Raines left Central coach Rebecca SwigertFenton, the Class 1A coach of year in track for 2016 for the Northern Division of the state by Tyra Mueller hands off to Iroquois West teammate the Illinois Track and Field and Cross Country Elizabeth Conrad at the Comet Carnival track meet in Coaches Association, grasping for a replaceClifton April 18. ment. ert), Pace in the 200 at 27.51, and Lauren James in the shot put with a Milford and Cissna Park started the second 35 foot, 4 inches throw. year of a sharing program. The result was Podowicz had the best preliminary time in the 300 hurdles, but numerous records as Anna Jennings, Morgan placed sixth in the finals. Her prelim time would have won the finals Kaeb, Gabby Wessels and Emily Duis joined race. forces in the 4x100 meters and 4x400 meters The 4x2 team of Gabbi Smith, Madyson Beasley, Tessa Coulter and relays. Both relays made it to state as did WesPace placed ninth with a time of 1:51.62 in the 4x2. sels in the 100. She broke her own school record Gabbi Smith, Madyson Swigert-Fenton found a replacement for Raines in the 4x4 team with in the preliminaries. Beasley (bottom left to Lauren Ladehoff. AlWatseka won four of the six field events at the right), Tessa Coulter and though they qualified Class 1A sectional meet to send Kidwell, who Andrea Pace (top) pose on eighth and finished won the long jump and triple jump, Asia Benson the medal stand at state. eighth, they set a in the shot put and Emily Bunting in the discus new PR of 4:10.35 to state. Kidwell finished 10th and Benson 12th. with Podowicz, Ladehoff, Also competing at state in the preliminaries were Central’s 4x8 with a 10:56.07 (Lauren Ladehoff, Olzea Smolinski, Fallon Gray and Katie Klein- Beasley and Pace.

Milford-Cissna Park’s Anna Jennings (left) and Central’s Andrea Pace race down the last 100 yards of their 800 at Watseka March 29.

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June 2017

Iroquois County’s Times-Republic Sports Review

Page 5

Middle schools full of possible potential, future promise By DOUG BRENNEMAN, Sports Reporter sports@intranix.com The Iroquois County area talent looks bright for the future as many area middle schools had athletes succeed in their sports during the junior high seasons. There were two area state champions. Jameson Cluver was the eighth grade Class A state champion in the 400 meter dash. Alex Willis of St. Anne won the seventh grade Class A long jump. Cissna Park started the parade to state when its eighth grade baseball team made it to the Class 1A state tournament but lost in the first round. The volleyball eighth grade improved on that with a first-round win at state and a fourth-place finish. CP was part of a state record for most points in a set when it lost 31-29 in a The Milford seventh grade volleyball team plays at the state tournament. semifinal. round. An eighth grade boys basketball Nash middle school in Clifton saw a magical season culminate in a team qualified for state for the third stunning win at state to finish in third place in Class 3A. The Rockets consecutive year. made it through the season with a 22-1 record and won its first game at Glenn Raymond school in Watseka state. A loss in the semifinals to the evenwatched its seventh-grade girls bastual state champion resulted in a game for ketball team ride through the regular Malaki Verkler of Cissna Park third place. The Rockets never led in the season without losing a game. The runs the Class A seventh game until Jacob Shoven made two free Lady Utes made it to the Class 3A grade 800 meters at state. throws with 10 seconds remaining to win state tournament but lost in the first He finished eighth. the game 41-39.

The Cissna Park eighth grade volleyball team takes the floor at state.

Milford saw its seventh-grade volleyball team make it to the state tournament as well. The Lady Bats swatted away its competition and took a 14-1 record to the first state appearance for Milford. A loss in the first round at state didn’t dampen an incredible season. A lot of local track and field athletes put together incredible seasons. Glenn Raymond’s eighth grade boys CLUVER finished fifth in the team race at the state Class A meet. Cluver was the state champion in the 400 meter dash. Cissna Park placed 14th in the team race. The GRS seventh grade boys finished 12th. St. Anne’s seventh grade was close behind in a tie for 14th. Cissna Park finished 56th at the state track and field meet in the seventh grade division. The GRS girls were 34th in the seventh grade team standings. The Milford girls were 47th in the eighth grade team standings. Clifton Nash placed 10th in the Class AA boys eighth grade team standings at state and PBL was 48th. PBL’s boys were 30th in the Class AA seventh grade team race. In the Class AA girls team standings at state, PBL was 17th. There were seven new school records St. Anne seventh-grader set during the season at Glenn Raymond. Alex Willis takes a handoff Donovan and Crsecent City/St. Paul in the 4x100 meter relay at also sent athletes to the state track meet. the state meet.

HAVE A GREAT YEAR RAIDERS Glenn Raymond seventh grader Justin McGahan puts the shot 38 feet, 5 inches at the state meet to place second in Class A. Photos by Doug Brenneman

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Iroquois County’s Times-Republic Sports Review

June 2017

Raiders rock soccer season By DOUG BRENNEMAN, Sports Reporter sports@intranix.com

  Iroquois West celebrated a new head coach with its fine season on the pitch.

The Raiders won the Iroquois West Inviatational soccer tournament on a point system despite losing to Central, 1-0.   St. Anne finished second in the tourney with 12 points to Iroquois West’s 13. Central was third with 10 points.    The most exciting game of the regular season was a Iroquois West match at Watseka that ended 1-1 and went

to a shootout, then a second round of penalty kicks was played. A strategic move by new coach Rich Alvarez helped the Raiders get the victory. Alvarez had changed goalies with less than two minutes left so he would have a fresh goalie and one of his better shooters available for the shootout.   Another highlight of the local season was Watseka and Central’s match in Chebanse. Central took a 2-0 lead, but Watseka rallied to get ahead at the half, 4-3, then won 8-5. The Warriors’ Jesus Cintora equaled the Comets total as he netted five goals.    Watseka won its first postseason game with a 2-1 decision over Central. Iroquois West then defeated Watseka 1-0 to advance but lost to Herscher in the regional title game.    The Raiders finished with a record of 12-6-1.

Photos by Doug Brenneman (Above) Watseka and Central battle for the ball in front of the goal during the Iroquois West Invitational tournament. (Right) Iroquois West goes for a rebound of a missed shot in front of the St. Anne goal during the Iroquois West Invitational tournament.

Watseka, Cissna Park honor pasts with ‘70s night

(Above) The Cissna Park crowd cheers on the Red Devils (CP’s nickname in the 1970s) during the Throwback Night at Glenn Raymond School in Watseka January 27. (Right) Former Watseka coach Keith Baldwin (left), Watseka’s athletic director Barry Bauer and former CP coach Larry Hofbauer talk at the half when former coaches and players of the two teams were honored.

Wildcats cheerleader alumni reunite as Donovan celebrates Homecoming Former Donovan cheerleaders (left to right) Melissa Anderson, Lindsay Garrelts (on bottom), Kayla Savoie (on shoulders), Sara Meyr (on top), Jessica Hubert (on bottom), Lane Walters (behind shoulder stand), Emily Zabel (on top), Jennifer Schultz (on bottom), Whitney Henneike, and Bethany Mayotte (down in front) form a pyramid at the Donovan Homecoming Feb. 3.

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June 2017

Iroquois County’s Times-Republic Sports Review

Comet wrestlers make state, Coggins takes 4th By DOUG BRENNEMAN, Sports Reporter sports@intranix.com PBL and Central, which shares a program with Iroquois West, are the only schools that wrestle in Iroquois County. Central set a school record for dual meet wins, going 25-6 and spent the season in the Class 1A team rankings. The Comets started the season ranked as

high as third and had as many as six individuals getting recognition in the rankings. The Comets finished 12th out of 42 teams at Abe’s Rumble over the Christmas break. Central took second at the Reed-Custer Comet Classic, the highest finish at that meet in school history. The Comets captured a regional championship for the

Photo by Doug Brenneman Justin Coggins walks off the mat at the Class 1A state tournament after his win in the blood round.

second consecutive year. It was the first time that had happened at Central since 1982-83. Josh Smith, Justin Coggins and Dane Thorne won individual regional titles. PBL’s Jacob Parrish was second at 138 and Hunter Anderson was fourth at 132. The Comets had nine wrestlers advance to the sectional meet. Eight won at least one match. Coggins at 195 and Josh Smith at heavyweight advanced to the state meet. Parrish got within a win of making it to state. His year ended with a 23-9 record. Comets Thomas Konetski (40-9) at 126 and Ben Schafer (26-12) at 182 also got within a win of qualifying for the state tournament. At state, Love was unable to wrestle due to a medical condition. Coggins won his first match over an opponent he had lost to earlier in the year. He lost his second match to a wrestler he had defeated earlier in the season. He took care of matters in his third match, recording a pin in 39 seconds. He got a second-round pin in his next match, then eked out a 2-0 win to advance to the consolation championship. Wrestling for third place in a match tied at 1-1, Coggins’ opponent was awarded two points with 20 seconds left as both wrestlers fell outside the circle. Coggins fourth place was the second highest finish for a Comet coached by Travis Williams.

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Central cross country continues climb, IW starts By DOUG BRENNEMAN, Sports Reporter sports@intranix.com   While Central High School has an established cross country program, Iroquois West got one started in 2016.    The Comets won the first regional boys title in school history and sent Jeremy Snejberg to the state meet.    The Lady Comets sent their team to state for the third straight year. Andrea Pace was the first Lady Comet to run at the state meet when she qualified as a freshman four years ago. The senior continued to set the ‘pace’ for the Lady Comets, making it to state all four years. The Lady Comets finished 24th after placing 17th the previous year.    Although the Running Raiders are just at the beginning stages, the future contains possibilities as Iroquois West had its middle school cross country team make it to the state meet. Two Photo by Jennifer Levins runners from Crescent City/ Central’s Jeremy Snejberg runs at the state Saint Paul also went to state as cross country meet. individuals.


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Iroquois County’s Times-Republic Sports Review

June 2017

Scoring prowess evident as county cagers step up game By DOUG BRENNEMAN, Sports Reporter sports@intranix.com There was a lot of scoring prowess evident on Iroquois County girls basketball high school teams this past season. Grace Schroeder, who was a second team Class 1A/2A all-state selection in both her junior and senior years, became the leading career scorer in Iroquois West history with over 1,500 points. Emery Podowicz reached 1,000 points in her career at Central. Milford’s Kaylee Warren and PBL’s Liberty Jamison both reached the state tournament in the 3-point shooting contest. Watseka’s Summer Cramer set the school record for 3-pointers in a game with eight and teammate Kennedy Bauer netted 35 points in anoth- SCHROEDER PODOWICZ er contest for the Lady Warriors, who won the Sangamon Valley Conference Tournament for the first time in school history. The Lady Warriors Grace Schroeder, who was a second team Class 1A/2A all-state selection lost a regional final and ended the year with a 23-8 record. in both her junior and senior years, became the leading career scorer in Donovan’s Jacalyn Wingerter surpassed 500 rebounds in her career as a Iroquois West history with over 1,500 points. Wildcat. Donovan got double-digit wins after a total of eight in the three Emery Podowicz reached 1,000 points in her career at Central. previous seasons combined behind coach Mason Parks. Milford’s Kaylee Warren and PBL’s Liberty Jamison both reached the Cissna Park started state tournament in the 3-point shooting contest. the year with a 4-5 Watseka’s Summer Cramer set the school record for 3-pointers in a ledger before finding game with eight and teammate Kennedy Bauer netted 35 points in another their groove defencontest for the Lady Warriors, who won the Sangamon Valley Conference sively and going on Tournament for the first time in school history. The Lady Warriors lost a a 10-game winning regional final and ended the year with a 23-8 record. streak that didn’t end Donovan’s Jacalyn Wingerter surpassed 500 rebounds in her career as a until a Class 1A secWildcat. Donovan got double-digit wins after a total of eight in the three tional semifinal. The previous seasons combined behind coach Mason Parks. Lady Timberwolves Cissna Park started finished the year with the year with a 4-5 leda 21-9 record. ger before finding their Starting with an groove defensively and early season tournagoing on a 10-game ment title at Gibson winning streak that Donovan seniors (left to right) Casey Arseneau, Jackie Wingerter, Ashten Smith City, Schroeder helped didn’t end until a Class 1A sectional semifinal. and Carley Shivers pose with coach Mason the Lady Raiders into The Lady TimberParks around the victory bell after winning the Class 2A rankings for much of the seawolves finished the year their 10th game of the season. son, but a knee injury with a 21-9 record. late in the year spoiled the chance for a postseason run. The Lady Raiders Starting with an early finished with a 20-7 record. season tournament IW coach Kristy Arie announced her plan to leave as head coach after title at Gibson City, losing to PBL in a regional semifinal to focus on her new position as the Schroeder helped the school’s athletic director. Lady Raiders into the PBL (14-16) capped an up-and-down year with the regional win over IW Class 2A rankings for after losing to the Lady Raiders twice during the season. much of the season, Central, which won the Sangamon Valley regular season title with a 6-1 but a knee injury late record (the only loss was in overtime to Watseka), defeated PBL to win the in the year spoiled the regional title, its first in 17 years. The Lady Comets also won 23 games chance for a postseason in the season to set a new school record for most wins. Central lost in a run. The Lady Raiders sectional semifinal to Bloomington Catholic by just four points after being finished with a 20-7 Photos by Doug Brenneman tied with 30 seconds remaining. The four-point loss was the closest game record. Watseka’s Summer Cramer scores two the eventual Class 2A state runner-up had in the postseason. IW coach Kristy Arie of her game-high 24 points against PBL’s One game in Schroeder’s senior season stands out. Watseka and the Lady announced her plan to Cassidi Nuckols (left) and Mackenzie Raiders were tied at 47 with 6 minutes, 23 seconds left, but won 73-50. leave as head coach Bruns in Paxton. Schroeder had 14 of her 31 points in the final 4:23, four of her six steals after losing to PBL in a and three of her six assists. There was a lot of scoring prowess evident on regional semifinal to focus on her new position as the school’s AD. Iroquois County girls basketball high school teams this past season. PBL (14-16) capped an up-and-down year with the regional win over IW after losing to the Lady Raiders twice during the season. Central, which won the Sangamon Valley regular season title with a 6-1 record (the only loss was in overtime to Watseka), defeated PBL to win the regional title, its first in 17 years. The Lady Comets also won 23 games in the season to set a new school record for most wins. Central lost in a sectional semifinal to Bloomington Catholic by just four points after being tied with 30 seconds remaining. The four-point loss was the closest game the eventual Class 2A state runner-up had in the postseason. One game in Schroeder’s senior season stands out. Watseka and the Lady Raiders were tied at 47 with 6 minutes, 23 seconds left, but won 73-50. Schroeder had 14 of her 31 points in the final 4:23, four of her six steals and three of her six assists.

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June 2017

Iroquois County’s Times-Republic Sports Review

Page 9

Bountiful bounces for boys basketball Watseka, Cissna Park, PBL advance to sectional finals

By DOUG BRENNEMAN, Sports son in a 74-63 win. The Warriors lost their Reporter sectional title game to Kankakee Bishop sports@intranix.com McNamara. Three area boys basketball teams, Bishop Mac and Monticello met in the all Sangamon Valley Conference Class 2A third-place game, a contest that members, peaked in the postseason could have easily pitted Watseka and PBL. and made it all the way to the Illinois Mac won 58-53. High School Association Super Sixteen Milford fell to Cissna Park in the postwhile numerous area players had aweseason after finishing its season at 17-9 some years. and closing down its gymnasium with a It was Watseka’s first time since 1994 victory in overtime. in the Super Sixteen. One night of fun was capped by a thrillSt. Anne’s Jalmen Sullivan had one ing Watseka-Cissna Park basketball game. game that he won’t soon forget nor will It was 70’s night at the Glenn Raymond those who watched it. gym. Both teams wore throwback jerseys Cissna Park used its regular season and many fans wore outfits reminiscent to hone its talent as four sophomores of the decade. Cissna Park went by its old learned the nuances of varsity basketmoniker of Red Devils and played like ball from experienced senior leaders. demons before falling to the Warriors. St. Anne’s Markus Pickens and Beecher’s Andrew The Timberwolves ended the regular Donovan’s Kendell Arseneau deposited Olzewski reach for a jump ball. season with a 9-18 record, but went on 31 points during a game at Central. a run with defense and well-executed Anne was playing for a regional title game plans to finish 14-19, losing a Class 1A on its home floor with Jalmen Sullivan, sectional final. who scored 1,255 career points playing The Timberwolves vanquished the area’s best for the Cardinals, leading the way. regular-season team in its third playoff game. St. Sullivan had almost single-handedly won the Kankakee Holiday Tournament championship game for the Cardinals when he buried six consecutive 3-pointers, each one farther from the basket than the previous one. He finished with 39 points and was named the most valuable player of the tournament. That win was one during a 22-3 regular season in which the Cardinals were ranked in the top 10 for a number of weeks and won the River Valley Conference title. PBL won the regular season Sangamon Valley Conference title with an overtime win in Watseka. The Panthers went 21-8 on the year after losing to Monticello in overtime of a Photos by Doug Brenneman Class 2A sectional final. PBL’s Cole Eshleman (30) and Luke Fitton (42) Watseka claimed the Sanbattle Watseka’s Hunter Lee for a rebound as gamon Valley Conference tournament championship for Brendan Fletcher (24) and Andrew Zenner (44) the first time since 2005. It watch. Iroquois West’s Tyler Brenner tries to shoot was an exciting championship against Donovan as teammate Alexis Ramirez game against PBL and the first time the (35) prepares to rebound. Warriors had defeated the Panthers in a number of years on the hardwood. The Warriors also claimed the BSN tournament title earlier in the year. Leading scorer Nathan Schroeder, who ended up 12th on the Warriors all-time career scoring list, overcame an injury to his foot that kept him out of the Warriors own holiday tournament, where they finished fourth. Watseka melded its talents well in the latter stages of the season and won its first regional since 2008 when the Warriors overcame Photo by Tanya Tovey Chicago Christian Central’s Caleb Toberman shoots over Cissna Park’s John Khyler Cann shoots a free throw in the Academy with their Nowaczyk Jan. 17 in Clifton. best game of the sea- closing seconds of the last basketball game in Milford’s gym.

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Iroquois County’s Times-Republic Sports Review

June 2017

Boys track season witnessed history Watseka wins first sectional title in school annals By DOUG BRENNEMAN, Sports Reporter sports@intranix.com Watseka High School claimed the first sectional championship in school history to highlight the county scene in boys team track and field action. Central’s Jarod Meents was the individual highlight of the season, uncorking his best ever triple jump at the state Meet in Charleston to finish third in Class 1A. The Warriors eked out the Class 1A Photos by Doug Brenneman sectional title with a The Watseka High School boys track team poses with the sectional championship plaque, the first ever dramatic win in the won by a Watseka track team. 4x400 meters relay as Hunter Lee passes ing 44 feet, 7 inches. Meents took height of 11-11. two runners in the last 150 yards to second in the high jump at 6-footAt the state meet, only three win. One of those was from Bishop 33. Meents also finished fourth in individuals made it to the MacNamara, which would have the long jump, clearing the state finals. claimed the sectional title with a qualifying distance of 20-11 on his Lee advanced to the finals win in the relay. first attempt, going 21-0.5. That is at state in the 300 hurdles, Watseka also claimed a conferhis personal record. placing first in his heat. ence title with a runaway victory, Meents anchored the 4x200 Stevens made the finals in its first in 14 years, as Lee set a meter relay team with Kyle Grice, the 110 meter high hurdles, school record in the 300 hurdles. Darryl Harris and Kollin Krumfinishing second in his heat Watseka advanced eight of the 18 weide to a trip to state. with a time of 15.49. events in a track meet to the state The combined program at Meents made the finals with meet, with Lee going in four — the Milford-Cissna Park was led by a triple jump of 43 feet. high jump, 300 hurdles, the 4x100 Dakota Stevens. Stevens qualified Two days later, Meents meter relay with Keegan Zack, for state in the 110 high hurdles uncorked the best triple jump Drew Hagen and Lance Dittrich as and the 300 hurdles. of his life on his first attempt well as the 4x4 with Justin McTagSt. Anne’s Jalmen Sullivan, a se- of the finals, going 44 feet, gart, Darrell Collins and Anthony nior out for track for the first time, 9 3/4 inches. Lee ran a time Mathes. went to state in three events — the of 39.74 seconds in the 300 Other state qualifiers for Watseka 400, the high jump with a statehurdles. Stevens ran 15.57. were Keegan in the triple jump, qualifying height of 6-1, and the Both just missed setting a Dittrich in the long jump, Rusty triple jump, clearing the minimum personal record. Kuhlmann in the shot put and Naof 41-5. Stevens and Lee both than Schroeder in the 800 meters. PBL had two athletes make it to placed seventh in their reCentral’s Jarod Meents also state. Kody Harrison ran a 4 minspective events. qualified for the state meet in four utes, 44.51 seconds to place second All three seniors graduate events. Meents won the triple jump in the 1600. Garrett Bachtold pole as the school record holders Central’s Jarod Meents triple jumps at sectionals by nearly two feet, go- vaulted to state with a second place in their state finals event. at state.

(Left to right) PBL’s T.J. Jones takes a handoff from Ryan Masterson, Central’s Canyon Burrow gets the baton from Carson McGill, Jacob Conner breaks away from Iroquois West teammate Jorge Jimenez and Lance Dittrich watches Hunter Lee run the anchor leg to victory in the 400 meter relay at the Class 1A sectional track meet May 18 in Paxton.

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June 2017

Iroquois County’s Times-Republic Sports Review

Page 11

Softball teams improve through season after wet spring

By DOUG BRENNEMAN, Sports Reporter sports@intranix.com   Finally getting to play after a springtime full of postponed and cancelled games, area softball teams continued to improve throughout the season.    Watseka’s Madison Bauer was the school’s reigning runs batted in re-

cord holder for a season and Taylor Hotaling has been a force in the circle for the Lady Warriors. Hotaling holds school records for wins in a season and strikeouts in a season. The two seniors, who will both extend their career in college, saw sophomore Magan Harris step up with the singleseason home run record, career home run record and single season RBI record. Bauer is the career RBI leader, breaking Erin Cowan’s record of 118 that was set in 2010. When Watseka won its sixth game of the season, it gave coach Barry Bauer 200 career softball wins at the school.   Central spent its season getting better and faced Watseka in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs. Pitcher McKenna Goldtrap helped her cause with the first home run she ever hit over a fence for a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning. Watseka’s Kennedy Bauer gave her team the win with a 3-run dinger in the sixth inning. Central has upped its season win total for three straight years and finished 12-13.    Watseka lost to the second-ranked team in a regional final to finish the season at 21-7.    The St. Anne Cardinals had a new coach take over and an incoming freshmen class that had made it to the state tournament as eighth graders. After starting 2-3, the Cardinals won 10 of their next 12. The played state champion Beecher to a 1-run game at Beecher. St. Anne finished the year with a 15-9 record.    Donovan’s season was highlighted by Adrienne Adams striking out every batter in a five-inning win. The Wildcats season ended with a loss to Heyworth, which finished fourth in Class 1A. Milford and Cissna Park shared a softball program and won its first four games but finished 12-15. PBL brought back coach Kelli Vaughn to rebuild the program. Jacey Stiers provided Iroquois West’s highlight twice. The Lady Raiders catcher had a walk-off hit in two different games. Photos by Doug Brenneman Madison Bauer clubs a pitch for an extra base hit for the Watseka Lady Warriors.

Milford, PBL baseball seasons last longest in era of pitch counts By DOUG BRENNEMAN, Sports Reporter sports@intranix.com The big news in high school baseball was the imposition of a pitch count rule. Smaller schools struggled with availability of arms to take the mound. Inexperience on the hill led to walks, which led to more pitches, which led to more inexperienced players having to toe the rubber. A rainy spring cancelled and postponed many games which further exacerbated the problem of available pitchers. It was a mixed bag for area baseball teams. PBL led the way, crafting a 29-4 record while not losing a Sangamon Valley Conference game for the third consecutive season. The Panthers will send six of their players on to play college baseball. The new pitch count rule was not a factor for PBL coach Rick Johnson, who had his best season in his last year before retiring. Donovan had a baseball team. That statement in itself was big news because the Wildcats had not fielded a team in four previous seasons. The Milford High School baseball team rushes the field to celebrate the regional championship win. St. Anne and Cissna Park were the first local teams on the field with the Cardinals getting a win. Two days later, the Timberwolves and Cardinals played a scintillating game. After CP took a 6-0 lead, the Cardinals chipped away and got to within 6-4. CP answered for a 7-4 lead, then the home team got it to 7-6. The Cardinals sent it to extra innings with a run in the bottom of the seventh and CP won with a run in the top of the eighth. Watseka defeated Indiana’s top-ranked Class 1A team with two-run home runs from Jaden Downs, Joey Jaskula and Drew LaVoie. Milford peaked at the right time of the year, winning a regional championship before losing a close game in a sectional semifinal. Central saw Jeff Gifford throw a perfect game during a 10-14-1 season. Iroquois West, which had an 11-14 ledger, batted .319 as a team.

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Will Clark throws a complete game 3-hitter for Iroquois West.

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Page 12

Iroquois County’s Times-Republic Sports Review

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