ALAHA Golf To Attempt Break Through in AA

August 20, 2014

Another strong year expected 

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Despite going 15-3 last year, the Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond/Arcola golf team bowed out early in the postseason after being bumped up to double A regional play in Mahomet. There they faced schools such as Mattoon, Champaign Centennial, and Monticello. And this year could see a similar grouping, but head coach Tyler Renshaw believes his team will be better equipped to make a run for sectionals.

“We had a great season last year,” said Renshaw. “We got a tough draw with double A. I think we probably would have gotten out as a team in single A and definitely two or three individuals. We could have even gotten out of double A, but it took mid to upper 70s to get out, and though we had the guys that could do it, they just didn’t do it on that day. It was a tough break that day.”

Photo by Keith Stewart Pictured back row, left to right: Jimmy Lopez, Clayton Miller, Chris Davis, Jack McLane, Dylan Bugos, Lucas Hutton, and Samir Patel. Front row: Bailey Conner, Blake Lindenmeyer, Parker Ingram, Mason Gentry, Mitchell, Bernius, Kyle Schmitt. Not pictured is Shandon Herschberger.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Pictured back row, left to right: Jimmy Lopez, Clayton Miller, Chris Davis, Jack McLane, Dylan Bugos, Lucas Hutton, and Samir Patel. Front row: Bailey Conner, Blake Lindenmeyer, Parker Ingram, Mason Gentry, Mitchell, Bernius, Kyle Schmitt. Not pictured is Shandon Herschberger.

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New Conference, Coach, SOV Football Gets Set

August 20, 2014

SOV to begin season with two unfamiliar teams

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

It’s an exciting time right now in the Sullivan-Okaw Valley huddle.

This year marks the start of the new Central Illinois Conference of which SOV is a part, not to mention the return of area decorated football coach Gerald Temples to the gridiron.

“It’s been very exciting,” said Temples on his return to the grind of high school football. “It’s been a good bunch to work with. We’ve had good practices, although today (Thursday) wasn’t one. We took a step back today, and the kids know that. But they’re smart kids, and they don’t mess up on purpose. It’s a good bunch.”

Photo by Keith Stewart Pictured are sophomores, juniors, and seniors from which the 2014 SOV varsity football team will be chosen.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Pictured are sophomores, juniors, and seniors from which the 2014 SOV varsity football team will be chosen.

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Change-a-Plenty for ALAH Volleyball 

August 20, 2014

New coach hopes to continue winning tradition

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

New coach, new conference members, new team, and a slightly new team identity. The Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond volleyball team has had a lot to grapple with in the way of change so far in the preseason, which will no doubt continue into the regular season this year. But first year ALAH high school coach Emily Crossman isn’t too worried.

“The beautiful thing is the girls have taken all the of the change with a grain of salt, and it hasn’t affected them one bit,” said the former seventh grade AL volleyball coach, who took her team to a third place state finish last year. “From a coaching standpoint, it’s difficult to know my opponents and strategize against them so we’re really focusing on ourselves and our team and what we can do right against other teams.”

And speaking about coaching, Crossman has a pair of shoes three decades in the making, to fill, as last year’s high school program bid adieu to legendary Valerie Cornwell,who tallied a record of 447-401 at Arthur, including three regional titles in the last three years, and back-to-back sweet 16 appearances. 

Photo by Keith Stewart Pictured are ALAH volleyball’s returning varsity letter winners, from left to right: Brooke Tabb, Elyse Harris, Emily Seegmiller, Felicia Wolfe, and Logan Kauffman. Not pictured is Alyssa McArthur.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Pictured are ALAH volleyball’s returning varsity letter winners, from left to right: Brooke Tabb, Elyse Harris, Emily Seegmiller, Felicia Wolfe, and Logan Kauffman. Not pictured is Alyssa McArthur.

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Formidable Front Line in Store for Lady T-Wolves

August 20, 2014

More height than recent years to be strength

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

When you combine returning varsity outside hitter Megan Dash along with up and coming athletes such as Nicole Miller and Christy Buford, not to mention the pleasant surprise by way of Amanda McClain, OV head coach Jody McCormick hopes this year’s team will have a lethal front line capable of second ball attacks.

“I’m hoping if we get the rotation to work out, we’ll have a formidable front line,” said the second year OV coach.

But the team will also have to deal with the graduation of both setter Mollee Decesaro and libero and Central College (Pella, Iowa) commit Shelby Dash.

“I can’t replace Shelby,” said McCormick candidly. “Right now, unless somebody really steps up and shines in the next three weeks, I don’t have anyone. We have a couple players that are going to step up and probably interchangeably work in that position.”

Photo by Keith Stewart Pictured, front row, left to right, are: Brianna Creviston, Moranda Matheson, Jessica Stiner, Kelly McGill, and Kaylee Thomas. Second row: Amy Monroe, Natalie Jeffers, Caity Ohm, Hayley Carlson, and Abby Vander Burgh. Third row: Devan Nave, Jesse Robinson, Hope Ruppert, Nicole Miller, Charli Uhlrich, Savannah Birch, and Amy Orris. Back row: Madison Uhlrich, Brianna Vanderlaan, Blair Monroe, Megan Dash, Kristy Burford, Amanda McClain, and Madison Fox.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Pictured, front row, left to right, are: Brianna Creviston, Moranda Matheson, Jessica Stiner, Kelly McGill, and Kaylee Thomas. Second row: Amy Monroe, Natalie Jeffers, Caity Ohm, Hayley Carlson, and Abby Vander Burgh. Third row: Devan Nave, Jesse Robinson, Hope Ruppert, Nicole Miller, Charli Uhlrich, Savannah Birch, and Amy Orris. Back row: Madison Uhlrich, Brianna Vanderlaan, Blair Monroe, Megan Dash, Kristy Burford, Amanda McClain, and Madison Fox.

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Injected with Numbers, OV Golf to See First Ever Girls’ Team

August 20, 2014

Group of 20 hopes to breed success

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

For head coach Andy Wagner, seeing his high school golf team grow from last year’s seven to this year’s 20 is more than just exciting. It’s promising.

“I feel really good about this year with our numbers,” said Wagner. “The numbers are incredible. For a school of 165 students that has a JV team, a varsity team, and a girls’ team, the best thing I can say as a coach is locally, in this smaller community, junior golf is coming back and I really love that.”

Over half of the program’s numbers this year are from freshmen with 11 in all.

“With the freshmen, it’s going to be competitive,” said Wagner. “They are a nice group of athletic freshmen, and from what I’ve been told, they compete, get after it hard, and most importantly, they’re good students.”

Photo by Keith Stewart Pictured, front row, left to right, are: Seth Bartimus, Connor Sheehan, Grace Harlin, Natalie Jeffers, Paige Harlin, Kali Forsyth, Trey Yarnell, Cameron Nickerson, and Austin Harshman. Back row: Ian Tiarks, Connor Cloyd, Drew Fruchtl, Devon Still, Logan Tipsword, Ethan Macklin, Tanner Coleman, Jay Orris, and Jared Bunfill.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Pictured, front row, left to right, are: Seth Bartimus, Connor Sheehan, Grace Harlin, Natalie Jeffers, Paige Harlin, Kali Forsyth, Trey Yarnell, Cameron Nickerson, and Austin Harshman. Back row: Ian Tiarks, Connor Cloyd, Drew Fruchtl, Devon Still, Logan Tipsword, Ethan Macklin, Tanner Coleman, Jay Orris, and Jared Bunfill.

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Big Shoes to Fill Defensively for Knights Soccer

August 20, 2014

Key 2014 graduates prompt search for fullbacks

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

There’s an ongoing search at the soccer field in Lovington.

Last year’s 7-7-1 Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond soccer program graduated seven including defensive leaders in David Emrick and Natalie Bicknell who had long anchored the team’s fullbacks. 

When Emrick wasn’t sweeping or stopping, he was a big presence in the midfield along with fellow graduates Brianna Morgan, Matt Robinson, and Cassandra Lambdin.

But as far as offense goes, this year’s team looks to fare better, at least initially, than its defense.

“We lost a lot of seniors,” said head coach Jeff Trower, who continues to be assisted by JD Graham. “We’re going to have to rebuild our defense this year, that’s for sure. We have big, big holes there.”

Photo by Keith Stewart Pictured, front row, left to right are:  Annika Slabaugh, Cassandra Adams,  Megan Hug,  Cade Day,  Payton Wellbaum,  Samantha Landers, and Keegan Morfy. Back row:  Head coach Jeff Trower,  Javi Briseno,  Lucas Lee,  Eusebio Briseno,  Tanner Brewer, Brayden Coble,  Eilis Stewart,  Darian Hays,  and assistant coach JD Graham. Not pictured are: Brianne Jones,  Omar Martinez,  Jakob Brewer,  Jovany Martinez,  Richard Wright, Bradiey Miller,  Nick Wilheim.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Pictured, front row, left to right are: Annika Slabaugh, Cassandra Adams, Megan Hug, Cade Day, Payton Wellbaum, Samantha Landers, and Keegan Morfy. Back row: Head coach Jeff Trower, Javi Briseno, Lucas Lee, Eusebio Briseno, Tanner Brewer, Brayden Coble, Eilis Stewart, Darian Hays, and assistant coach JD Graham. Not pictured are: Brianne Jones, Omar Martinez, Jakob Brewer, Jovany Martinez, Richard Wright, Bradiey Miller, Nick Wilheim.

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Team Sectionals in the Cards for SOV Runners   

August 20, 2014

Girls look to three-peat while boys try to get back to streak

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Ted Walk won’t hesitate to say he expects both his boys’ and girls’ teams to get to sectionals come November.

Last year the Sullivan-Okaw Valley cross country team’s largely youthful bunch of girls reached sectionals as a team for the second year in a row. The boys missed qualifying out of the Shelbyville regional by just two points, a first in five years.

And while the girls return most of their top seven from last year, the boys will have to grapple with the loss of their no. one runner Ethan Lehman, who moved out of the district.

Photo by Keith Stewart Pictured, front row, left to right, are: Atticus Harris, Cameron Harner, Isaiah Plank, Michael Priest, Tyson Brown, Allie O’Neill, and Abby Cravatta. Second row: Charlie Goss, Anne Hogan, Mason Harner, Austin Schmohe, Evan Blakey, Bailee Pratt, JT Bland, Will Nolen, and Ashlynd Risley. Third row: Danielle Tingey, Kaleb Shumard, Adam White, River Edwards, Trevor Tarr, Elissa Stewart, April Shuman, Mackenzie Mosier, and Cadisen Nuzzo. Back row: Keegan Kruckeberg, Shawn Cody, Brent Mauck, Nick Cravatta, Clayton Waldhoff, Layne McMahon, Alex Harvey, Calen Landrus, and Jacob Cameron. Not pictured are: Jordan Bassett, Seth Bricker, Laine Cameron, Abby Elzy, Alyssa Marshall, Tori Murphy, Carlin Nuzzo, Logan Pedigo, Montana Roberts

Photo by Keith Stewart
Pictured, front row, left to right, are: Atticus Harris, Cameron Harner, Isaiah Plank, Michael Priest, Tyson Brown, Allie O’Neill, and Abby Cravatta. Second row: Charlie Goss, Anne Hogan, Mason Harner, Austin Schmohe, Evan Blakey, Bailee Pratt, JT Bland, Will Nolen, and Ashlynd Risley. Third row: Danielle Tingey, Kaleb Shumard, Adam White, River Edwards, Trevor Tarr, Elissa Stewart, April Shuman, Mackenzie Mosier, and Cadisen Nuzzo. Back row: Keegan Kruckeberg, Shawn Cody, Brent Mauck, Nick Cravatta, Clayton Waldhoff, Layne McMahon, Alex Harvey, Calen Landrus, and Jacob Cameron. Not pictured are: Jordan Bassett, Seth Bricker, Laine Cameron, Abby Elzy, Alyssa Marshall, Tori Murphy, Carlin Nuzzo, Logan Pedigo, Montana Roberts

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Knight Football Addressing Defensive Needs

August 20, 2014

Offense, though not deep, looks strong with key returners

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Last May’s graduation of players such as linebacker Logan West, defensive linemen Ethan Gingerich and Jesse Ruff, defensive back Curtis Plank, not to mention all-around contributor in Jordan Feagin, (all of whom were first-team all-conference selections), has this year’s Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond football team trying to fill gaps in the defense.

“Defensively, we lost a lot, especially straight up the middle of the field. That’s where we’re at this point, concentrating and trying to find out who can play where and what we’re going to do defensively to fill those holes,” said head coach Dale Schuring. 

Photo by Keith Stewart Pictured is the 2014 Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond football team.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Pictured is the 2014 Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond football team.

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In Step with Local Trend, Sullivan Golf Sees Increase in Participants 

August 20, 2014

Group of 24 out for fall season

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Just as other local teams have seen, Sullivan golf looks to benefit from an increase in players this and in following seasons.

The program improves from last year’s 19 to this year’s 24, something head coach Ben Richter actually attributes, in part, to Okaw Valley head coach Andy Wagner.

“We had decent numbers play over the summer and with Andy being out here was a godsend,” said Richter. “He was having clinics and was able to give them more technical practice on a Monday, and then on a Wednesday I was out here and letting them get out and play a little big. Having Andy out here was a big help.

Photo by RR Best Pictured, front row, left to right, are: Joey Davison,Luke Delong,Alexis Matlock,Hannah Elzy,Sammie Wood, Jessica Yantis, Ariel Heppe, Beretta Phelps, Grace Yantis, Dani Boyer, and Justin Root. Back row: Lake Atchison, Cody Johnson, Bretton Crouse, Gavin Harlin, Kent Taber, Kenneth Farley, Adam White, Eric Keller, Tom Schibur, Andrew Matlock, Ben Berner, Jacob Cameron, and Liam Bechtold.

Photo by RR Best
Pictured, front row, left to right, are: Joey Davison,Luke Delong,Alexis Matlock,Hannah Elzy,Sammie Wood, Jessica Yantis, Ariel Heppe, Beretta Phelps, Grace Yantis, Dani Boyer, and Justin Root. Back row: Lake Atchison, Cody Johnson, Bretton Crouse, Gavin Harlin, Kent Taber, Kenneth Farley, Adam White, Eric Keller, Tom Schibur, Andrew Matlock, Ben Berner, Jacob Cameron, and Liam Bechtold.

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Knights Cross Country Could See Team Scores

Photo by Keith Stewart 2014 graduate Mary Singer is seen in stride during a race at Sullivan’s Tabor Park last fall. She is trailed by returning runner Kate Edwards.

Photo by Keith Stewart
2014 graduate Mary Singer is seen in stride during a race at Sullivan’s Tabor Park last fall. She is trailed by returning runner Kate Edwards.

August 20, 2014

With four boys so far, ALAH still searching for extra member

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

In his 14th year, head coach Ryan Whelan has, so far, seven athletes out for the fall cross country season, which is tied for the most participants he’s had in the program. What’s more, Whelan is still hopeful in preseason that his team will pick up another male runner, which would allow a boys’ team to score in a meet, which has only happened one other time during Whelan’s tenure.

“I’m trying to get the boys to talk one more into coming out,” said Whelan. “I said to them, ‘If you can find one more kid, we can have a scoring group, which has only been the case once ever.’ That’s one meet ever, that’s what I mean. I’ve had four of one gender plenty of times, but only at one meet ever did we have five together. So there is a kid or two that they’re going to try convincing to come out here.” Read More