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Aliyah Welter and Josie Held could have at least one more epic pole vault battle left between them at the Class 2A track and field state finals this season.

But the pair have also secured their long-term plans before track season officially begins.

Welter, a Monticello senior, took tops in the Class 2A pole vault last season with a vault of 12 feet, 9 inches. Earlier this month, she signed her National Letter of Intent to vault at the University of Louisville next season.

Held, a senior at Mount Zion, finished behind Welter last season to take second in Class 2A with a height of 12-6. She signed her National Letter of Intent to continue her track career at the University of Illinois next season.

Held has been the runner-up in each of the last two seasons, and finished fourth as a freshman in 2015.

Welter finished fourth as a sophomore in 2016 and second as a freshman in 2015.


Moving up the ranks

The H&R area had two teams in state championship football games this season (Tuscola in Class 1A and Maroa-Forsyth in Class 2A) but also saw a plethora of athletes set state records.

Taylorville receiver Justin Wright is the all-time single-game receiving yards leader with 390, which he set this season on Sept. 1 vs. Effingham.

Dalton Hoel of Tuscola finished his four-year varsity career ranked No. 12 in career receiving yards with 2,992 yards. That is also tops in Tuscola history.

The 5-foot-6 receiver also finished eighth all-time in IHSA career receiving touchdowns with 40.

Shelbyville senior quarterback Turner Pullen ended his career with a handful of IHSA accolades.

Pullen finished as the state's all-time leader in points scored with 962, surpassing James Robinson's record of 948, which he set from 2012 to 2015 at Rockford Lutheran.

On the way to another state semifinal game, Pullen accounted for 464 points this season, a state record.

The previous record was held by Anthony Maddle of Aurora Christian with 404 points in 2011.

Pullen also finished second in career touchdowns with 138 behind Robinson's 158.


Kohlbecker hits 250

Tuscola girls basketball coach Tim Kohlbecker picked up his 250th career win Monday with a 65-55 victory against St. Joseph-Ogden.

Kohlbecker has led the Warriors to three straight regional championships and seasons with at least 20 wins. Since he took over in 2004, Kohlbecker has won eight regional titles and one sectional championship.


St. Teresa hires coach

Connor Smith, a 2012 graduate of St. Teresa has been named the head girls soccer coach for the 2018 season, replacing Tom Cantwell who stepped down in October.

Smith played soccer for four years at St. Teresa before playing at Millikin University. He's been an assistant boys and girls coach since 2015.

"Connor is an outstanding candidate with experience playing and coaching soccer; he will certainly help carry on the great tradition of soccer at St. Teresa," St. Teresa Principal Larry Daly said in a press release.

Current assistant coach Stan Livingston will serve as Smith's assistant.


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