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After helping anchor Pana's offensive and defensive lines, Austin Gruber picked where he'll try to do the same next year.

The Panthers' senior signed with Illinois College. Gruber was a two-year starter and made the H&R first team this past season. Pana had a perfect regular season before finishing 11-1

Illinois College is a Division III school in the Midwest Conference. The Blueboys finished 5-5 last year.

Bugg to Big Blue

Central A&M senior Zach Bugg will continue his baseball career in the area.

He will play for Division III Millikin University as he currently leads the Raiders' pitching staff through the postseason.

So far this season, he's posted a 5-0 record and a 1.44 ERA on the mound.

Repking, Smith sign

A pair of Teutopolis girls will continue to play basketball after high school.

The Shoes' point guard and defensive stalwart Danielle Repking signed with Lindenwood. Repking averaged 4.9 points and 2.4 assists per game this year. Lindenwood, a Division II program in the MIAA, finished 8-21 last year.

Molly Smith will head to Springfield to play for Lincoln Land. The senior averaged 10.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists for the second-place Shoes. Lincoln Land finished 18-11 last year.

Brown to Elmhurst

Argenta-Oreana's Austin Brown signed to play baseball next year with Elmhurst, a program led by Latham native Joel Southern.

Brown leads Argenta's pitching staff with a 5-2 record, 1.17 ERA while striking out 47. He's hitting .358 from the plate. That's good enough that Elmhurst is keeping its options open, as Brown said there will be pitching ad hitting opportunities. 

"I really didn't make the decision to play baseball in college until this year," Brown said. "I didn't know if I wanted to take on the student-athlete life, but signing was pretty awesome, honesty."

Elmhurst, a Division III school in the CCIW, went 21-19 this year.

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AOC breaks ground

Arthur Okaw Christian broke ground on a new facility this week that gives the basketball teams a place to play on school grounds.

The new facility will include a gymnasium with retractable bleachers and locker rooms.

The site is located approximately 2 miles west of Arthur on Route 133 on the south side of the road.

Many of AOC's home games for boys and girls basketball were at Lovington Grade School. The AOC Holiday Classic was played at Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond.

New track title

For the first-time in state history, the IHSA will crown a Combined Team State Champion at girls state track this weekend.

It will be determined by combining the scoring by wheelchair student-athletes with the traditional team scoring system.

“This marks another positive step in the IHSA’s quest to provide participation opportunities for high school student-athletes in Illinois,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said. “It will be a historic occasion that both the IHSA, and the schools who are fortunate enough to win these trophies will be incredibly proud.”

The IHSA will continue to conduct its traditional awards ceremony in Class 1A, Class 2A and Class 3A on Saturday by presenting the top three scoring teams in each class with trophies. 

New basketball rule

The National Federation of State High School Associations adopted a new rule for free throw lane violations.

Players occupying the marked free throw lane line spaces cannot enter the free throw semicircle until the ball touches the ring or the free throw ends.

It's an effort to create a safer environment for the free throw shooter.

“This new rule was approved by the committee in order to reduce rough play,” said NFHS director Theresia Wynns. “Part of what we had observed over several seasons was pushing and the displacement of the free throw shooter after he or she shot the ball. The new rule will hopefully stop rough play.”

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