Argenta-Oreana senior Kandie Bloch has been a well-known high jumper since her freshman year. But her state title last year and subsequent commitment to the University of Illinois has made her an attraction at track meets this year.
When Bloch begins reaching the levels the rest of the jumpers at the track meet don’t — 5-8 and above — crowds begin to form around the pit.
“It’s puts a lot of pressure on me, because it’s like, ‘They came to see me, so I better perform and do well,’ ” Bloch said. “I like it, but I don’t know, when I was at Arthur and they announced my name when I was going for 5-11, I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t want everyone looking,’ because immediately everyone’s eyes were on me.”
Bloch said more than the crowds, what has bothered her this year is jumping by herself when all the other competitors are out well before her.
“Usually my competition is out at 5 foot, but that’s when I usually come in, so it’s basically just me jumping and I feel like I don’t get a break — I’m just constantly jumping and jumping,” Bloch said.
Edwards with career game
Taylor Edwards had the kind of game most players can only dream about Friday.
In an Little Okaw Valley Conference game against Cerro Gordo-Bement, Edwards threw a no-hitter with 19 strikeouts in a seven-inning game — a 7-0 Purple Riders win. Edwards didn’t walk a batter and was one Arcola error away from a perfect game.
And if that wasn’t enough, Edwards went 2-for-4 at the plate with a home run and two RBIs.
Pans’ Carls opening eyes
Pana junior Brody Carls has been a behind-the-scenes contributor for one of the area’s best power running games the past two seasons.
Carls’ work on the offensive line is garnering attention from several colleges ranging from Division I BCS to Division III. Carls, who is 6-foot-5, 245 pounds, has been contacted by Southern Illinois and Western Illinois, and he has also heard from Northern Illinois, Illinois State, North Central and Elmhurst.
In the offseason, Carls trained with Core 6 Athletes — a football training and conditioning program administered by former Division I football players.
“He’s already big and his dad is four inches taller, so there’s potential for him to be really, really good,” Pana coach Al Stupek said. “We look for him to be one of our leaders this year, and I know he’s anxious for his senior season. It could be a special year for him. It just depends on how bad he wants it.”
Robinson chooses ICC
Eisenhower senior Shay Robinson will continue her playing career next season at Illinois Central College in Peoria.
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Robinson, an H&R All-Macon County First Team selection this year, averaged 17.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 2.3 blocks per game and put up 25 per game in the Panthers’ final seven games of the season.
Robinson is joining one of the best NJCAA Division II basketball programs in the country. The Cougars have won six national championships (1992, ’93, ’98, ’99, 2003 and ’06). Last season, they went 32-4 and took third at the national tournament.
Kruse headed to McKendree
Monticello senior Matt Kruse has committed to play college basketball at McKendree University in Lebanon, Ill.
Kruse averaged 9.7 points per game this season for Monticello, which won a regional title.
McKendree is an NCAA Division II basketball program — transitioning from NAIA — that plays in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. The Bearcats are coached by Harry Statham, who holds the all-time record for wins at a four-year college. He has 1,061 wins in 46 seasons.
In a typed latter sent to Kruse and shared with the H&R, Statham wrote to Kruse, “Your size, mobility and shooting touch give you a huge top end for development.”
Forfeits no longer against limit
Beginning next season, forfeits will no longer count toward a wrestler’s daily match limit. Currently, wrestlers are limited by rule to five matches in one day.
“The limit on the number of matches permitted in any one calendar day was established as a safeguard to prevent any wrestler from undo fatigue, thus increasing the possibility of injury,” said Dale Pleimann, chair of the National Federation of State High School Associations Wrestling Rules Committee. “Since there is no fatigue or exertion involved with accepting a forfeit, the committee felt that it was not necessary to count forfeits in the match total for any wrestler.”
Monticello among those bumped up
The Monticello boys track team has been a force at the state level for years, winning seven in a row and nine in 11 years in the last decade — including a third-place finish in 2012.
But that was at Class 1A. This year, the Sages will compete at Class 2A. Their competition includes MacArthur and Charleston. And while without Steve Schroeder, it will be difficult to repeat last year’s success, look for the Sages to remain competitive a level up.
Other traditionally 1A area boys track teams in 2A this year are Olney and Flora. All three were also bumped up to 2A in girls track as well.
In baseball, last year’s Class 1A finalists — Tuscola and champion Effingham St. Anthony — will compete in 2A this year. St. Anthony was traditionally a 2A team, but Tuscola had previously always been 1A. Another perennial Class 1A powerhouse, Argenta-Oreana, was also bumped up to 2A.
A co-op with Bement pushed Cerro Gordo into 2A this year. All the programs listed are also Class 2A in softball.