Former Illinois basketball player Brett Melton has spent the last few days giving back to his hometown. Melton was a standout player at Mahomet-Seymour in the late 90's. Bad ankles forced him to transfer after just two seasons with the Illini, but as our Bret Beherns shows us, Melton still bleeds orange and blue.
Champaign school district officials have settled on a site for the new Central High School, and it's the one Athletic Director John Woods has wanted all along. Superintendent Judy Weigand said Thursday they will pursue the interstate drive site, eliminating Spalding Park and Dodds Park from consideration. Interstate drive will have the most space for athletic facilities and future growth. Right now, most central athletic sites are off-campus and some are even shared with other schools. "Allowing them the opportunity to stay on campus and do their thing is so important. The time that they lose traveling to all of our off-campus sites is time away from their family, time away from after school help, time away from homework, and it's just time lost. Now it's going be really neat to be able to provide those opportunities - an all-inclusive campus for all of our kids and the community", said Woods. The district has already purchased the land needed on interstate drive. The board will now decide whether to put a referendum on the November ballot.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Central grad Kam Rowan is continuing the tradition of Champaign-Urbana stars playing Division-I basketball, and he is staying in-state to do it. Rowan announced Friday he will continue his basketball career at Western Illinois University in Macomb. Rowan averaged nearly 11 points and 3 assists per game for the Maroons, who made it all the way to the sectional final. He should be able to compete for some early playing time for a Western Illinois team that finished 10-20 last year.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Central High School will have a new girls basketball coach this year, and Aaron Ratka held his first open gym Friday night to meet some of his new players for the first time. Ratka is a former Division-III player, who spent last season as an assistant coach for the Judah Christian girls. He says his goals for this season will develop as the team gets together, but he had one clear message for the girls Friday.
ST. JOSEPH, Ill. - St. Joseph-Ogden grad Hunter Hart did not reach an agreement with the Baltimore Orioles, so instead he will pitch for Kaskaskia Community College next year. Hart was drafted by the Orioles in the 37th round last month, and he had until 4:00 pm Friday to sign. Hart had originally signed with Indiana, but now by attending Kaskaskia he can re-enter the draft next year.
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - IHSA leaders feel like they are being unfairly singled out while they await word on if - and when - they will be called in for another hearing as state leaders investigate their transparency and financial accountability. They were scheduled for a hearing in Chicago last week, but it was canceled and has not been rescheduled. At the first hearing in Springfield the IHSA was not given sufficient time to call any of the witnesses they had arranged and were told they would not be allowed to call any witnesses at a second hearing. IHSA assistant executive director Kurt Gibson sat down with WCIA 3 to talk about it, and he says the state isn't treating his organization fairly.
GEORGETOWN, Ill. - To some people it's just a bucket of coal - but to football fans in Our Town Georgetown it means much more than that. And the tradition goes back long before any of the current players were born. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns took a trip to Georgetown for a history lesson in one of the best rivalries Central Illinois.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - South Carolina is the latest school to offers St. Thomas More star Tori McCoy. The Gamecocks offered McCoy on Wednesday. ESPN ranks McCoy as the No. 5 recruit nationally in the 2016 class. The junior-to-be holds more than a dozen offers including Illinois, Michigan State and Ohio State.
MAROA, Ill. - Okaw Valley leaders woke up Tuesday morning with some work to do. We first told you last night Maroa-Forsyth has voted to leave the Okaw and join the Sangamo Conference starting in 2016. WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten has more on what it all means, and why Okaw leaders are now desperate to find a replacement.
MAROA, Ill. - Maroa-Forsyth is leaving the Okaw Valley Conference and will join the Sangamo Conference starting in the 2016-2017 school year. The school board voted Monday night to accept the Sangamo's invitation. The Trojans were one of just six schools set to compete in the new Okaw Valley. Maroa will now be in the Okaw for just two more seasons before heading to the Sangamo. Trojans' athletic director Josh Jostes told WCIA 3 that a "nomination to decline the Sangamo's invite" failed by a 3-4 vote before the board later voted overwhelmingly to accept the Sangamo invite. Jostes says the Sangamo will be a good fit from an enrollment standpoint, but says it will be "bittersweet" leaving the Okaw.
WCIA 3's Bret Beherns talks with IHSA Associate Executive Director Kurt Gibson as Champaign-Urbana prepares a bid to bring the IHSA State Basketball Tournament back to State Farm Center.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - As district administrators try to pick the best location for Central's new high school, Central athletic director John Woods knows exactly which one he prefers. Woods says the Interstate site will be far better than the Spalding Park site when it comes to the future of the school and its extracurricular activities.
Monticello quarterback Brandon Wildman is working hard during the off-season to help the Sages in the fall. He's been competing at camps and is catching the eye of college coaches.
WINDSOR -- Four students remember great times at Windsor High School.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - If Champaign-Urbana wants to bring the IHSA state basketball tournament back to State Farm Center, it won't be easy. And it will have to be a joint effort between the local tourism departments, business leaders and most importantly the University of Illinois. The three entities will form a committee later this summer to consider bidding on both the boys and girls state finals. They will bid on at least one.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The City of Champaign and the University of Illinois will work together to bring the IHSA state basketball tournament back to Champaign. The IHSA opened up the bidding Monday for the tournaments beginning with the 2015-16 season and running through the 2019-20 season. Jayne DeLuce, President and CEO of Visit Champaign County, says they're considering bidding on both the boys and girls tournaments, but will definitely bid on at least one. The U of I hosted the boys state tournament for 77 years before losing it to Peoria after the 1995 season. It has been in Peoria ever since.
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - The IHSA announced Monday it will delay the implementation of the new multiplier waiver and success factor until the 2015-2016 school year. The move was made at the IHSA Board of Directors' regularly scheduled meeting Monday in Bloomington. The success factor, aka "The Bump," would bump non-boundaried schools up a class beyond their multiplier if they have won two state trophies in a four-year period. The "success factor" would have send the St. Thomas More girls basketball team up to Class 3A. Instead they will now stay in 2A next season.
Maroa-Forsyth High School is discussing an option to move from the Okaw Valley Conference to the Sangamo.
ST. JOSEPH, Ill. - Alexandria Boaz was one of the senior leaders for an SJO softball team that won yet another conference championship this season, but Monday she took center stage on national television - and it had nothing to do with softball. WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten has more as competed for a big pay day.
St. Joseph-Ogden pitcher Hunter Hart was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 37th round Saturday. He also has a scholarship offer to play baseball in college at Indiana. The Orioles are waiting for him to recover from a knee injury before making him an offer. They'll likely watch him pitch again in about five weeks. WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten talked with Hart about the draft, his injury and the decision he'll have to make: go pro, or go to college.
St. Joseph-Ogden senior pitcher Hunter Hart was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 37th round of the MLB first year player draft Saturday. Illinois senior relief pitcher Ronnie Muck was picked up by the Los Angeles Angels in the 30th round.
The Argenta-Oreana baseball team beat New Athens 7-1 Saturday afternoon to win the third place trophy at the Class 1A state baseball tournament at Dozer Park in Peoria.
The Monticello softball team finished its best season in school history Saturday afternoon, beating Beecher 6-1 to win the third place trophy at EastSide Centre in East Peoria.
Altamont capped its best season in school history winning the Class 1A state softball title Saturday, beating Trico 2-1 at EastSide Centre in East Peoria.
The Mattoon softball team fell just short in the Class 3A Lincoln sectional final Saturday morning, losing to Glenwood 2-1.
PEORIA, Ill. - Freeburg scores two unearned runs in the first inning capitalizing on two Pleasant Plains errors, but Cardinals overcame those early jitters to beat Freeburg 5-2 in the Class 2A state baseball semifinals at Dozer Park in Peoria. Mitch Koehler's defense let him down early, but he was resilient on the hill throwing a complete game for the victory. Plains (30-11) will take on Byron (35-5) in the state title game Saturday at 5:30 pm.
EAST PEORIA, Ill. - Teutopolis found itself running out of outs, trailing Beecher 5-3 when Allison Apke stepped to the plate in the fifth inning and sent a three-run blast over the wall in left center. The home run capped the Shoes rally that saw them come back from four-run deficit to win 6-5. The victory sends the Wooden Shoes to their first ever state softball title game. Kadi Borries pitched through some early trouble, scattering 11 hits over seven strong innings. Teutopolis (28-3) will play Rock Island (Alleman) (31-6) in the Class 2A state championship game Saturday at 5:30 pm.
PEORIA, Ill. - All season long Argenta-Oreana has relied on great pitching to lead them to victory. That was no different Friday in the Bombers' state semifinal game against Crete (Illinois Lutheran), but unfortunately on this day, the Chargers' pitching was just a little bit better. Gage Eller was outstanding, striking out eight over six innings, but a fifth inning RBI double by Dylan Gould was all Illinois Lutheran would need as they shut out A-O 1-0 to advance to the state title game. The Bombers (23-6) will face New Athens (19-8) in the third place game Saturday at 9:00 am.
EAST PEORIA - All postseason long it has been Monticello picking up clutch hits late in games, but Friday afternoon Rock Island (Alleman) flipped the script on the Sages. With Monticello leading 4-2 in the fifth inning, Alleman's Mackenzie Sanchez took a Chrissy Gadbury pitch over the left center field wall to give the Pioneers a lead they wouldn't relinquish. An Allie Hislope solo home run in the top half of the seventh was too little too late as the Sages lost 7-5 in the Class 2A state semifinals. Gadbury struggled in the circle, allowing 7 earned runs, but she tried to make up for it driving in four of Monticello's five runs. Monticello (30-5) will face Beecher (33-8) in the third place game Saturday at 3:00 pm.
EAST PEORIA - Deidre Ledbetter struck out 15 batters over seven innings to pace Altamont to a 3-1 win over Sciota (West Prairie) in the Class 1A state softball semifinals Friday at the EastSide Centre in East Peoria. Ledbetter (25-3) allowed only five hits to lead the Lady Indians to their first ever state championship game. Altamont raced out to a 2-0 lead after two innings thanks to back-to-back home runs by Lauren Ohnesorge and Lauren White. The Lady Indians added another run in the third when Ledbetter drove in Madison Ohnesorge on a double to left field. Ledbetter took care of the rest in the circle. Altamont (28-4) will face Campbell Hill (Trico) (33-3) in the state championship game Saturday at 12:30 pm
ARGENTA, Ill. - The Argenta-Oreana baseball team left for Peoria Thursday afternoon, where the Bombers will play Illinois Lutheran in the Class 1A state semifinals Friday at 12:00 pm. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns has more on A-O and two of the biggest reasons they're one of the top teams in the state.
BASEBALL SHG 2 Central 0 (F) U-High 7 Mt. Zion 5 (F)
MONTICELLO, Ill. - To have a chance to win a state title, you need to be a complete team. But even the best teams need one player to take it upon him or herself to make the big plays when needed. WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten introduces us to Monticello senior Chrissy Gadbury, who has been answering that call this postseason.
SOFTBALL Teutopolis 2 Carterville 1 (F) Mattoon 18 Mahomet-Seymour 4 (F/6)
MORTON, Ill. - Kassidy Sheedy scored two goals, including the game-winner in overtime to lead the Glenwood girls soccer team back to state with a 2-1 win over Peoria Notre Dame in the Morton supersectional.
The Argenta-Oreana baseball team is state-bound. The Bombers are back at the state tournament for the first time since 2007, but they haven't won a state trophy since 1989.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Before last weekend it had been more than 20 years since the Central Maroons had won a baseball regional. Now that that is in the past, they're shifting their sights to their first sectional crown since 1968. Central spent Tuesday afternoon practicing on the artificial turf at Illinois Field, the home of the Fighting Illini baseball team, before they play on a similar surface Wednesday at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield.
They've been playing softball in Monticello for more than three decades, and they've now gone further than ever before. The Sages will play Rock Island Alleman in the state semifinals on Friday.
SOFTBALL: Monticello 2 Dupo 1 (F) Altamont 16 Camp Point Central 0 (F)
BASEBALL: Argenta-Oreana 6 Ridgewood 1 (F) Webber Twp. 8 Windsor/Stew-Stras 6 (F) Pleasant Plains 7 Monticello 0 (F) Freeburg 3 Teutopolis 1 (F)
Central defeated Centennial 2-1 to win a regional championship.
Monticello baseball defeated Paris 10-0, while the Monticello softball team defeated Tremont 4- 2 in 12 innings.
Mahomet-Seymour defeated Charleston 7-5.
Argenta-Oreana defeated St. Teresa 5-3 to win a sectional championship.
Highlights and reaction from the Class 2A and 3A prelims at the boys state track and field championships
Mahomet-Seymour soccer falls; Rochester advances; Paris baseball knocks off Olympia
Highlights and scores from baseball & softball regionals & sectionals
Highlights and reaction from day one at the boys state track and field championships in Charleston
Stokowski powers Monticello past SJO; St. Teresa blasts Cissna Park; Central shuts out Rantoul
MAHOMET, Ill. - The Mahomet-Seymour girls soccer team is one win away from a spot in the elite eight, but to get there the Bulldogs will have to avenge a loss they suffered earlier this year at the hands of Normal West. Those two teams will square off Friday night in Normal with a trip to the supersectional on the line. Normal West beat Mahomet-Seymour 2-0 a little more than a month ago, but the Bulldogs are confident they can put that loss behind them and get revenge when it matters most.