Local Sports

Clinton High School Names Boys Basketball Coach

Dan Luketich has been named the Clinton High School boys basketball coach as announced Monday by athletic director Matt Koeppel.

 

Luketich currently resides in New Jersey but is a native of Roxana, Illinois. Coach Luketich was impressed with how dedicated to finding a coach Clinton administrators were and liked the energy everyone has for the programs of the district.

 

 

For Coach Luketich, he wants his kids to play fast on both sides of the ball. He described the defensive style of play as 'playing with their hair on fire' and says the pressure will never stop. 

 

 

Coach Luketich has worked at camps across the country from Point Guard College, worked summer camps at Creighton University, and has been able to attend summer workouts for KK Split in Croatia,  traditionally one of the top club teams in Europe. 

 

Additionally, he has coached at Ridgewood High School under Coach Chris Mroz in Chicago, Horizon High School under Jerry Conner in Arizona, Bourgade Catholic High School under Tim Benedict in Arizona, and most recently at Bergen Catholic High School under Billy Armstrong in New Jersey. 

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NCAA Grants Spring Athletes Extra Year of Eligibility

The NCAA will permit Division I spring-sport athletes — such as baseball, softball and lacrosse players — who had their seasons shortened by the coronavirus pandemic to have an additional year of eligibility.

 

The NCAA Division I Council voted Monday to give spring-sport athletes regardless of their year in school a way to get back the season they lost, but it did not guarantee financial aid to the current crop of seniors if they return to play next year.

 

Winter sports, such as basketball and hockey, were not included in the decision because many athletes in those sports had completed all or most of their regular seasons, the council decided.

 

How much scholarship money will be made available to each athlete whose college career would have ended this spring will be determined by the athlete’s school. The amount could range from nothing to as much the athlete received had been receiving.

 

The added scholarships could cost a school hundreds of thousands of dollars more than it would usually spend on spring-sport athletes. The extra expenses come at a time when athletic departments could be facing cutbacks. The pandemic forced the cancellation of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, which cut the association’s distribution to members by $375 million this year.

Schools will be able to use the NCAA’s Student Assistance Fund to pay for scholarships for students who take advantage of the additional eligibility in 2020-21.

 

Roster and scholarship limits for teams will be adjusted next season to fit returning seniors and incoming freshman. Similar changes have already been approved in Division II.

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NFL Owners Approve 14-Team Playoff

The NFL is gearing up for a normal season and playoffs — with two additional wild-card teams in the Super Bowl chase.

 

NFL team owners voted Tuesday to expand the playoffs by one team in each conference for a total of 14 next season as they continue to plan for the 2020 season to begin on time.

 

During a conference call to discuss league business after the annual meetings were canceled due to the new coronavirus, the owners also awarded one of those extra games to CBS and one to NBC. Three-fourths of the 32 owners needed to approve the change, and the vote was unanimous, football operations chief Troy Vincent said.

 

Contingencies are being discussed for all potential interruptions caused by the coronavirus.

 

As for the first expansion of the postseason field since 1990, when the NFL went from 10 qualifiers to 12, only the teams with the best record in the AFC and NFC will get a bye under the new format; the top two teams in each conference skipped wild-card weekend in the past. The seventh seed will play No. 2, the sixth will visit No. 3 and the fifth will be at the fourth seed for wild-card games.

 

Three games are set for Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 9-10 — pending the NFL schedule going forward as planned; that schedule likely will be released on May 9, according to Brian Rolapp, the league’s chief media and business officer, to give the NFL “flexibility.”

 

CBS will broadcast one of the new games on Jan. 10 at approximately 4:40 p.m. EST. The game will also be available via live stream on CBS All Access. A separately produced telecast of the game tailored for a younger audience will air on Nickelodeon.

 

NBC, its new streaming service Peacock and Spanish-language Telemundo will broadcast the other new game on Jan. 10 at approximately 8:15 p.m. EST.

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PBL Basketball Coach Excited to Join Illini Prairie Conference

The courtship between Paxton-Buckley-Loda and the Illini Prairie Conference has been going on for many years and when the opportunity first came up, basketball coach Adam Schonauer saw a great opportunity for the Ford County school district.

 

Coach Schonauer was not as vocal about taking advantage of the invitation to the Illini Prairie the first time around as he was early in his tenure, but this time, he spoke up and pushed hard for the school to be apart of the league that stretches from the Champaign area, to Bloomington and up north of Peoria.

 

 

PBL already has a number of Illini Prairie Conference teams on their schedule. Coach Schonauer says there's a natural, budding rivalry with Monticello forming, Rantoul is a natural fit on their schedule being just up the highway and they fit in Tolono Unity and St. Joe-Ogden.

 

 

Schonauer has grown up around good basketball with roots in Lincoln, playing under Hall of Fame Coach Neil Alexander and has adopted many of the Lincoln basketball styles at PBL.

 

 

Schonauer's PBL team this year lost in a sectional championship to Joliet Catholic. He feels playing in a league like the Illini Prairie Conference will help prepare for battles like they had with Joliet Catholic down the road. 

 

The conference switch for the Panthers begins with the 2021-2022 school year.

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Heyworth Schools AD Concerned for Future of Spring Sports Season

Everyone in the education world is wading through uncharted waters as learning will now begin to take place from home and a spring sports season seems almost unlikely after Sunday's order from the federal government to extend social distancing guidelines to the end of April.

 

For first time athletic director Derek Logue in Heyworth, he has looked to his peers in the area and the Heart of Illinois Conference for guidance during this time and even they are telling him, this is uncharted territory for them as well.

 

 

Trying to stay optimistic before the weekend's extension of social distancing guidelines from the Federal Government, Logue was concerned then because of the continued developments of the coronavirus outbreak across the country. 

 

 

Last week the IHSA indicated their continued optimism to have a spring schedule but with the month of April likely wiped for any sort of sports activities, the future of a spring sports season seems even more uncertain.

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Former Cardinals CF Jim Edmondsd Has Pneumonia, Waiting on Coronavirus Test Results

Former All-Star outfielder Jim Edmonds announced on his Instagram page that he went to the hospital to be tested for the coronavirus after displaying some symptoms.

 

The 49-year-old Edmonds sent a video update Saturday night on his Instagram Story saying he was back home after testing positive for pneumonia for the first time in his life, but was awaiting results of tests for the coronavirus.

 

Earlier Saturday, Edmonds posted a photo of himself in a hospital room with a facemask covering his nose and mouth.

 

He said he was feeling “super sick” and added that he wasn’t “taking any chances because it’s so hard to get tested by the rules of the CDC.”

 

Edmonds played 17 seasons in the majors, mostly with the Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis Cardinals. He won eight Gold Glove awards, and finished with a .284 career batting average with 393 home runs and 1,199 RBIs. Edmonds also helped the Cardinals win the World Series in 2006. He also played for the San Diego Padres, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds late in his career before retiring in 2011.

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Clinton High School Girls Track Stars Sign National Letters of Intent

Each year across the country student-athletes commit to continuing their passion for athletics while pursuing their college degree.  This was the case earlier this month when 4 female student-athletes decided to celebrate their decision together at Clinton High School and to anyone’s knowledge is the first time in CHS history where 4 athletes from the same spring sport sign to run track in college.  Olivia Earle, Aryn Scott, Tori Burke and Payne Turney have been planning this event for a while and finally got the opportunity to have their signing ceremony in front of their friends, family, teachers, and coaches.  The ladies wanted to sign together as a family because the girls track & field team is just that… “family.”

 

Olivia Earl is one of the most positive and joyful athletes to be on the girls track team.  She is a positive influence and encourager with her teammates, coaches and her competition.  Olivia has worked very hard through some injuries over her high school career to accomplish a 2019 CIC Girls Conference Championship and was a 2019 IHSA State Qualifier in the pole vault.  Olivia continues to sharpen her skills in the pole vault through her strength and conditioning, practices, and faith.  Olivia’s positive influence, determination, faith, and strength will help her make her way at Olivet Nazarene University while studying to be an elementary teacher and participating in Track and Field.  Nothing but big bars ahead for Olivia Earl!

 

Aryn Scott is a very positive, coachable, and a hard worker which are attributes that will contribute to her collegiate years ahead at Greenville College.  Aryn is always willing to race whatever distance the team needed and that is one of many attributes that makes her so successful.  In 2019 Aryn placed 3rd at the CIC Conference Championships in the 3200m run and was a key runner in the 4X800 IHSA State Relay!  With Aryns confidence, faith, determination and beliefs she will be a strong member of the Greenville College Cross Country and Track & Field team while pursuing a degree in Dermatology.  Nothing but big strides ahead for Ayrn Scott.

 

Tori Burke is a hard worker both on the track and off the track.  T-Burke’s commitment and ability to recognize what is takes to be successful has shown in her success as an athlete.  Tori is a valued leader of the track and field team and is a great roll model for underclassmen.  Tori is always working on technique to help her in the blocks.  Tori achieved the 2018 CIC Conference Champion Title in the 100m and was a 2019 IHSA State Qualifier among other accomplishments.  Tori’s faith, work ethic, and leadership skills will help her make her way at Illinois Wesleyan University while studying to be a nurse and participating in Track and Field. Nothing but fast strides ahead of Tori Burke.

 

Payne Turney is a natural born leader and leads by faith and examples in everything she does.  She displays great sportsmanship, a positive attitude, and is ALWAYS very humble.  Both on and off the track Payne finds ways to be her best, but in a way to stay humble.  Payne is committed to pushing herself into races and events to challenge her inner self and she does that will so much success.  Payne holds the most records of any athlete in Clinton Girls Track History. She holds every record, indoor or outdoor, F/S or varsity, from the 800m run to the 3200m run.  She has qualified multiple times for the IHSA state meet and indoor top times for the 800, 1600, and 3200m run.  Her best finish came in 2019 when she became Clinton’s first EVER Girls State Track and Field Champion in the 800 m.  Payne is undoubtedly committed to doing what it takes to be the best and she will flourish at Purdue University majoring in Biochemistry while competing on the cross country and track and field team.  Nothing but big strides ahead for Payne Turney.

 

All four of these female track and field athletes have played instrumental rolls in the Back to Back to Back CIC Conference Championships.   Tim Burke mentioned that “The girls track and field program has undoubtedly the most supportive teammates and coaching staff I have ever witnessed.  Thank you for the past 4-year lesson in what teamwork is all about!”    All four of these student-athletes are successful in the classroom as well as an athlete and that allows for the underclassmen to look to these 4 for guidance, leadership, and support.  “This is a great testimony of hard work does pays off.  

 

I am blown away by the girls and how they’ve bought into what an excellent coaching staff has put into place.  Every one of these college programs is getting the best young lady for their teams” says Ryan Sosamon.  The Clinton Girls Track and Field Program is coached by Rachel Lyons, Leann Sosamon, Ken Lovett, and Darren Moser.  All four of these coaches not only coach, but they too lead by faith, teach life lessons, and promote a family atmosphere.

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Clinton High School AD Taking Things Day By Day

Encouraged there has not been an outright cancellation of the spring sports season, Clinton High School Athletic Director Matt Koeppel says he is simply going a day at a time right now.

 

Koeppel is not getting ahead of himself worrying about if there will be a spring sports season or not and remains optimistic the IHSA continues to take a wait-and-see approach as well.

 

 

When the news came down about the coronavirus outbreak suspending the sports season, Koeppel believes it wasn't that much of a surprise to his coaches or athletes as most had been tracking the situation via social media.

 

 

According to Koeppel, Clinton School facilities are closed at this time and they continue to follow the lead of the state leaders. He hopes they can soon get their athletes back together to get something out of the spring sports season.

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On Scheduled Opening Day, MLB and Players Agree to Coronavirus Hiatus Pay Scale

Players agreed to a deal with Major League Baseball that would preserve service time in the event this season is canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic but left open details of what a configured schedule would look like.

 

As part of the agreement approved by the union Thursday night, players will not challenge the loss of their salaries if no games are played.

 

Management will advance $170 million in salary payments over two stages, and that money does not have to be returned if the season is canceled. Player salaries this year are expected to total roughly $4 billion.

 

Management was given the right to cut the amateur draft in both 2020 and 2021 and to freeze the values of signing bonus money at 2019 levels.

 

Teams are set to approve the roughly 17-page agreement Friday, the person said.

 

Opening day was to have been Thursday but was pushed back to mid-May at the earliest because of the virus outbreak. The spring training schedule was cut short on March 12 because on the pandemic, and it remains unclear when and if baseball can resume.

 

Both sides agreed to make a “good faith effort” to schedule as many games as possible this year, subject to government rules, travel, player health, and economic feasibility.

 

Seven-inning games for doubleheaders have not been given much discussion but also have not been ruled out.

 

Players considered service time the key, and older players were willing to give up money to keep younger colleagues on track for big-money contracts next offseason.

 

If there are no games this year, anyone currently on a 40-man roster, 60-day injured list or an outright assignment to the minor leagues with a major league contract would receive 2020 service time equaling what the player accrued in 2019. If a partial season is played, service time would be the equivalent of what the player would have received over a full schedule.

 

Mookie Betts, Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman, George Springer, and JT Realmuto would be eligible for free agency, even if no games are played. The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Betts from Boston just before spring training with the assumption they would have the 2018 AL MVP for one season.

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IHSA Still Optimistic Spring Sports Season Could Happen

The IHSA is not ruling out the possibility of a partial spring sports season as nationwide efforts are intensifying to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

 

Craig Anderson is the Executive Director of the IHSA and tells Regional Radio News he does not have all the answers but his staff and their board of directors want to see a spring sports season happen but that will depend on when students return to class.

 

 

An option on the table at the moment is pushing the postseason back into the summer months. Anderson indicates this plan is based on what they know about a mid-to-late April of school resuming. 

 

 

There is fear the remainder of the school year could be shut down and Anderson says if officials are advising against students gathering in classrooms then they will not advocate for athletes to gather. He says an announcement of that nature would likely negate any possibility of having a spring sports season. 

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Clinton High School Girls Track Team Ready for Whatever Future Holds

Unlike most other spring sports, the track and field seasons begin well in advance of the first week of March and so when the IHSA hit the pause button on the spring sports season and the 'OFF' button on the winter sports season, the track and field teams of Illinois were left wondering if they would get to resume their campaigns rather than get them started.

 

For the highly ranked and highly successful Clinton High School girls track program, the defense of their three-straight Central Illinois Conference titles was put on hold after a very positive start. Co-head coach Leann Sosoman calls this year's group "special".

 

 

The possibility of their season being put on hold was on the radar of Sosoman and her coaches and they wanted to emphasize to their athletes to continue to compete like it was going to be their last meet.

 

 

Among the many positives for the team right before their final practice was being able to watch four of their senior athletes sign National Letters of Intent to continue their athletic careers in college. Sosoman says the four girls are great people both on the track and in the classroom.

 

 

While the competitive lessons are not being taught right now, Sosoman says this is a great opportunity for them to give their athletes lessons in life and how to deal with the adversity they are being presented with this season.

 

 

While the season may not be a complete wash, Sososam says they are mourning the loss of opportunities for their seniors but hope they can get back on the track and bring home more hardware from their Sectional meet.

 

Sosoman is trying to remain positive and is encouraged the IHSA is optimistic there will be a shortened version of their spring season. 

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IHSA Still Not Canceling Spring Sports Season

The possibility of Illinois athletes being able to compete in a shortened spring sports season is not out of the question.

 

In an update to high school coaches and administrators Wednesday, IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson says quote - "we continue to support the possibility of our member schools completing both regular- and post-season spring sports seasons. The date schools are allowed to return to [classes] will determine the length of the spring sports season and the potential of an IHSA State Series."

 

He says their staff and Board of Directors will follow the recommendations of the Governor and state health officials.

 

He added quote - "We are considering an extension of the spring sports season limitation to provide more participation opportunities for students. This may include movement of the post-season timelines and State Series."

 

A timeline for how long they will athletes to practice before the resumption of any season is not yet been determined but they are working with their advisory committee on that scenario. 

 

The worldwide coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of schools in Illinois in mid-March with the decree from Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, which meant the postponement of the spring sports season and the IHSA in early March canceled the conclusion of some of their winter sports season, including the high school boys basketball state finals. 

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Mets SP Syndergaard to Have Tommy John Surgery

Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard became the latest big-name pitcher to need Tommy John surgery, joining the Yankees’ Luis Severino and Boston’s Chris Sale.

New York said Tuesday that Syndergaard needs reconstruction of his ulnar collateral ligament and will miss the season that’s been put on hold because of the coronavirus outbreak. Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek will operate on the right-hander on Thursday.

Syndergaard, the hardest-throwing starting pitcher in the major leagues last season, received a second opinion from Los Angeles Dodgers head team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Altchek operated Feb. 25 on the right-handed Severino. The Red Sox said last Thursday that Sale, their hard-throwing left-handed ace, will have Tommy John surgery.

 

Since Major League Baseball announced on March 12 that opening day will be delayed because of the virus, San Francisco right-hander Tyler Beede and San Diego right-handed reliever Andrés Muñoz also were told they needed the reconstruction procedure.

 

Openers have been pushed back until mid-May at the earliest. Tommy John surgery usually requires a recuperation period of 12-18 months.

 

Nicknamed Thor, Syndergaard was projected as the No. 2 starter in a strong rotation behind two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom. New York has for now sufficient starters to make up for Syndergaard’s absence, with Marcus Stroman, Michael Wacha, Rick Porcello and Steven Matz.

 

Syndergaard turns 28 in August and currently is eligible to become a free agent after the 2021 season. He agreed in January to a $9.7 million, one-year contract.

 

Syndergaard was acquired in the December 2012 trade that sent NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey to Toronto. An All-Star in 2016 when he went 14-9 with a 2.60 ERA, Syndergaard has an ERA that has climbed to 2.97 in 2017, 3.05 in 2018 and 4.28 last year, when he was 10-8 in 32 starts.

 

He averaged 98.1 mph for his four-seam fastball last season, tops among qualified pitchers and just ahead of Gerrit Cole (97.4) and deGrom (97.2).

 

Syndergaard made three spring training starts, the last on March 8. He pitched a total of eight innings and allowed four runs — three earned — and five hits with 11 strikeouts and no walks.

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Illini Prairie Conference Approves Paxton-Buckley-Loda As Latest Member

The Illini Prairie Conference will become an 11-team conference starting in the 2021-2022 school year thanks to the approval of adding Paxton-Buckley-Loda to the expansive league.

 

Monticello Schools Superintendent Dr. Vic Zimmerman is excited about the addition of PBL. He indicates it has been somewhat a while in the making.

 

 

The addition of PBL will keep schools from having to find a ninth football game on their schedule as Champaign St. Thomas More is now going to 8-man football. Dr. Zimmerman indicates not only will they help fill out of the football schedules but they will continue to add strength to a strong league.

 

 

Monticello is still seeking a game for their week three matchup this coming football season and Dr. Zimmerman notes it is looking like the Sages could be traveling to Door County, Wisconsin. 

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Green Bay Packers Helping Local Community Through Coronavirus Crisis

The Green Bay Packers are establishing funds that will provide $1.5 million to assist efforts to respond to the coronavirus in Brown County, Wisconsin - which includes Green Bay - and the Milwaukee area.

 

The $1 million Packers Give Back COVID-19 Community Relief Fund is directed toward Brown County and is being established through the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation. Packers Give Back also is directing $500,000 to support initiatives in the Milwaukee area.

 

Packers officials said the organization will consult with the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation and community partners in Milwaukee to evaluate the needs in each area and determine where the funds will be directed.

 

Packers Give Back already donated $30,000 last week to benefit the Brown County United Way’s emergency response fund for those impacted by COVID-19. Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy and his wife Laura have donated $240,000 to COVID-19 relief efforts in Green Bay and Door County, Wisconsin.

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Olympics Move Closer to Postponement

IOC members, national Olympic committees and athletes were all racing toward the same conclusion Monday: The Tokyo Olympics are not going to take place this summer.

 

Craig Reedie, a longtime member of the International Olympic Committee, told The Associated Press that everyone can see where things are headed, with the coronavirus pandemic spreading and Olympic hopefuls around the world unable to train.

 

Earlier in the day, IOC member Dick Pound told USA Today that he had reached the same conclusion about the games, which are scheduled to start July 24. A tweet put out by the newspaper read: “The 2020 Summer Olympics Have Been Postponed Over Coronavirus Concerns.”

 

The IOC said no decision had been made, and Reedie was quick to acknowledge that he was speaking only for himself and not because of any insight provided to him by IOC president Thomas Bach, who will guide the final decision. Pound did not return a message left by AP. Earlier in the day, after Pound’s pronouncement, an IOC spokesman said, “It is the right of every IOC member to interpret the decision of the IOC (executive board) from Sunday.”

 

Athletes also grew louder in their request for postponement. A track group called The Athletics Association joined another athlete group, Global Athlete, in pressing the IOC to act.

 

The track group is led by two-time Olympic champion Christian Taylor of the U.S., who said more than 4,000 track and field athletes responded to a survey, and 87% said their training had been adversely affected by the coronavirus.

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High School Administrators Continue to Wonder If There Will Be A Spring Sports Season

Governor JB Pritzker extended his closure of schools to April 8 last week, furthering the question - Will there be a spring high school sports season?

 

Administrators and coaches are hoping the situation around the coronavirus outbreak the nation and the state will soon resolve itself so their teams can get back to practices and begin their competitive seasons but decisions like those are left up to state and federal leadership according to Maroa-Forsyth High School athletic director, Phil Applebee.

 

 

The Class of 2020 may not get to fulfill the potential of their senior season and while that certainly tugs at the hearts of administrators and coaches, Applebee says the bigger concern right now is keeping everyone safe.

 

 

Applebee says Superintendent Dr. John Ahlemeyer is sending out information to his administration and community almost daily. Applebee hopes to salvage some of this season and make whatever they get of a season the best possible for everyone. 

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Monticello Schools Hoping Spring Sports Season Can Be Salvaged

A two-week cancellation of school could only be the beginning for many communities as the fight against the spread of the coronavirus continues. 

 

For Monticello Schools Athletic Director Dan Sheehan, it is unfortunate for the student-athletes for their district that have put themselves in a position to be successful but may not get the chance to see how far they can go.

 

 

Sheehan is very concerned the spring sports season may not happen but in the event a ban on schools is lifted, they would still need a few weeks for practices and then schedules would have to be adjusted.

 

 

Seniors are the first group your heart aches for according to Sheehan. When the ban on groups of ten or more is lifted, he hopes to have teams be able to take their team pictures and believes it will be a story to tell in the future.

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Illinois Finishes Season As No. 21 in AP Poll

The Kansas Jayhawks will finish atop the final Top 25 from The Associated Press.

 

The regular-season Big 12 champions, who were 28-3 when the season abruptly ended after the first day of the conference tournament last week, received 63 of 65 first-place votes from a national media panel in balloting released Wednesday. That easily outdistanced No. 2 Gonzaga and No. 3 Dayton, each of which received a first-place vote.

 

Illinois finished ranked 21st after not getting to compete in the Big Ten Tournament and then likely the NCAA tournament. 

 

Gonzaga (31-2) finished second after beating Saint Mary’s in the West Coast Conference finals, one of a handful of league tournaments that were completed. But the Bulldogs will be left to wonder whether another dominant team from coach Mark Few would have finally delivered the school a national championship.

 

Dayton (29-2) was third behind behind breakout stars Jalen Crutcher and Obi Toppin.

 

Florida State (26-5) was fourth in the final poll, easily the best finish ever for the Seminoles, while Baylor (26-4) rounded out the top five after spending a longer stretch at No. 1 than any other team during a topsy-turvy season.

 

No. 11 Duke finished outside the top 10 for only the second time since 2007, while Maryland, Oregon, Louisville and Seton Hall came next.

 

The rest of the Top 25 included reigning national champion Virginia at No. 16, followed by Wisconsin, BYU, Ohio State and Auburn. The final five in the poll were Illinois, Houston, Butler, West Virginia and Iowa.

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Jaguars to Trade QB Foles to Bears

A person familiar with the trade says the Jaguars have agreed to send quarterback Nick Foles to the Chicago Bears for a compensatory fourth-round draft pick, No. 140 overall.

 

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because trades can’t become official until after the league year begins Wednesday afternoon.

 

The Jaguars are dumping Foles a little more than a year after giving the 2018 Super Bowl MVP a four-year, $88 million contract that included a whopping $50.125 million guaranteed.

 

The Bears are getting a veteran starter to compete with Mitchell Trubisky, who struggled in his third season.

 

The Bears were hoping he would take a big step last season — his second in coach Matt Nagy’s system — but that did not happen. His yards (3,138), completion rate (63.2 percent), touchdowns (17) and rating (83) all dropped from the previous year.

 

Foles, meanwhile, completed 77 of 117 passes for 736 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in four games last season. He also ran four times for 23 yards and lost two fumbles.

 

He was the most coveted free-agent quarterback on the market in 2019 after leading Philadelphia to four playoff victories over two seasons, including the franchise’s first NFL title since 1960. He earned 2018 Super Bowl MVP honors and a season later made himself the league’s top QB commodity.

 

Foles is due to make $15.125 million in 2020 and would have counted $21.837 million against Jacksonville’s salary cap. Dealing him will still be costly for the Jaguars — they will take on $18.75 million in dead money this fall — but it will free up about $35 million over the next two years.

 

Jacksonville saves a little more than $3 million in 2020 by trading him.

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WEZC 95.9 To Air Monticello "Best Of" Sports Broadcast Starting This Saturday

WEZC 95.9 FM, the Voice of the Monticello Sages Sports Broadcasts, will begin airing a weekly "Best Of" Monticello Sports Broadcast on Saturday afternoons at 12:30, starting this Saturday, March 22.

 

With Monticello Schools on hiatus until further notice, WEZC decided to provide Monticello sports listeners an opportunity to hear some of the greatest games and plays that the Sages' football, boys and girls basketball teams had this school year.

 

These "Best Of" Monticello Sports Broadcasts, will be heard on WEZC at 95-point-9 FM across Central Illinois, as well as streamed by clicking the "WEZC Live" icon at dewittdailynews-dot-com.

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Monticello Baseball Coach Telling His Players 'Control What You Can Control'

The future of the spring sports season is up in the air at this point as the country shifts its focus to preventing the spread of the fo coronavirus and kids are not in school at this time.

 

As baseball squads get the itch to take advantage of days like Tuesday, sunny and nice enough to be outside, the wait will go on. Monticello baseball coach Chris Jones is telling his players, control what you can control.

 

 

Kids are not allowed to get together in groups or player-led workouts, so Coach Jones is encouraging his players to get any sort of work they can.

 

 

Upon any resumption of the spring sports season, WEZC will announce an updated broadcast schedule to follow the Sages this season. Some coaches have become optimistic the season could be salvaged as the IHSA reaffirmed March 30 remains the target date to resume sports activities but other administrators believe the shutdown of schools could linger for several more weeks. 

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Lincoln High School Guards Named To All-Apollo First Team

Lincoln High School senior guards Kaeden Froebe and Kamren Whiteman have been named to the Apollo Conference first-team all-conference Monday.

 

The seniors led the Railsplitters to a season-shortened 32-2 record and Lincoln was set to take on Springfield Lanphier for a Sectional title last Friday night.

 

Mahomet-Seymour senior Grant Coleman, Jase Bergschneider from Taylorville and Parker Wolfe from Effingham were also first-team selections. 

 

Lincoln senior Will Ewald and junior Dylan Singleton were second-team selections. 

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Packers Sign LB Kirksey

inebacker Christian Kirksey has agreed to terms on a deal with the Green Bay Packers less than a week after the Cleveland Browns released him.

 

Kirksey’s agent, Brian Mackler, confirmed that Kirksey would be signing with the Packers but didn’t disclose terms. NFL Network first reported the deal and said Kirksey would be getting a two-year, $16 million contract. Free agency opens Wednesday.

 

Kirksey, 27, played six seasons with Cleveland, where he collected 148 tackles in 2016 and 138 more in 2017 before struggling with injuries the last two years.

 

After not missing any games in his first four seasons, Kirksey played just nine games in 2018 due to a hamstring injury. He appeared in only two games last season before going on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle.

 

He collected 484 tackles, 11 ½ sacks, two interceptions and three fumble recoveries in six seasons with Cleveland. The Browns released him Tuesday.

 

His move to Green Bay enables Kirsksey to reunite with Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who was the Browns’ head coach from 2014-15.

 

The move enables the Packers to address one of their biggest needs heading into free agency. Inside linebacker had shaped up as a major concern after the Packers gave up 285 yards rushing in a 37-20 NFC championship game loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

 

That need would become more critical if free-agent linebacker Blake Martinez leaves Green Bay after leading the Packers in tackles the last three seasons.

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Maroa-Forsyth Baseball Coach Concerned Spring Season Could Be In Jeopardy

Spring sports coaches in central Illinois along with their athletes will be at home unable to practice or play in games for the foreseeable future as the coronavirus outbreak and the prevention of its spread takes precedent right now.

 

Maroa-Forsyth baseball coach Sean Martin feels there is legitimate concern he may never be able to take his team out to the field again this spring for games, much less practice.

 

 

The Trojans were 16-3 in a challenging spring last year, but for reason much less serious given our current climate, because of weather. Coach Martin says this is a situation unlike any other we've ever seen.

 

 

Last Friday was the last practice for the Trojans before Athletic Director Phil Applebee informed the students during practice their season was going to be suspended as schools across the state were mandated to close down for two weeks.

 

The Trojans have had games against Meridian, Argenta-Oreana, GCMS, Mt. Zion, Riverton,  and Okaw Valley so far based on Governor Pritzker's closure of schools but that is likely not to be the end of the cancellations as President Trump is recommending to not have gatherings of more than 10 people for the next two weeks.

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