CHARLESTON — Effingham's Clark Williamson narrowly qualified for the Class 2A State Track and Field Meet at Eastern Illinois University, but in Friday's preliminaries, he showed precisely why he belonged among the top competitors in the pole vault.Williamson cleared the bar on each of his first three jumps, including a 13 foot, 9-inch performance on his last attempt of the day, to set a personal record and solidify his spot in today's state finals."I felt good this morning when I woke up," Williamson said. "I got a good meal in and got to come up here and perform my best."Whatever Williamson may have munched on to calm his nerves should become his new go-to breakfast.In his first jump of the day, Williamson breezed over the 13-foot bar. His next vault was at 13 feet, 6inches, three higher than his qualifying effort at sectionals.Williamson met the bigger stage with a bigger effort, successfully navigating the jump without much cause for concern."I performed well today," Williamson said. "I had good form. I was a little worried about my pole being stiff from the cold, but I left it in my bag, the bag kept it warm."Donning sweatpants and an Effingham hoodie in between jumps, Williamson kept his body warm and relaxed despite the sub-60 degree weather as he prepared for the final jump of the day. While his competitors often needed two or three stabs at a given height, Williamson brushed the bar at 13 feet, 9inches, but it came to rest without crashing down. In three quick jumps, Williamson was headed to today's finals.Teammate Thomas Lasher was also in action Friday, competing in the triple jump. After qualifying for the meet with a 45 foot, one-inch jump in sectional action, Lasher and the rest of the field struggled to get loose against the brisk temperatures."It actually affected me a lot," Lasher said. "My muscles were all cramped up, and before jumping I was like, 'Oh geeze.'"Lasher's best jump of the day was his first, where he landed at 41 feet, 5.75 inches."The first one, I was warm, I was ready to go," he said. "I had that mental factor where I was ready to get this done right."Lasher's second jump carried 40 feet, 8.75 inches and his third was a fault. His best effort was good enough for a 19th-place finish.Though he didn't qualify for today's finals, Lasher was just excited for a final chance to compete."I got to have one last meet with my coach (Terry Harbaugh) and my teammate (Williamson) here. I'm happy that I got to see him jump."
Czachorski: Lunt the right man at QB
There haven't been many times I've put pen to paper — or I guess more fittingly finger to keyboard — and written about the Illinois Fighting Illini.
Part of it is due to their football team's struggles, as it's hard to have an opinion on them outside of "man, they went 1-7 in the Big 10 last year" or "I remember that one time they went to the Rose Bowl, but that's about it." Part of it is staying in my wheelhouse, which is MAC football and my alma mater Central Michigan Chippewas, a topic that doesn't concern many, if any, around here.
Neoga prepares for upcoming volleyball season
Another area team finds themselves with a new coach holding the clipboard this season.
Susan Hutchinson is the new volleyball coach for the Neoga Indians, but she isn't new to the game of volleyball. Hutchinson coached at Mattoon for seven years when they were still in the Big 12 Conference. She said her new players had to get used to her coaching style very quickly.
Bulldogs fifth at ISU
St. Anthony took to the links for the second-straight day and had a strong showing at the Raider/Redbird Classic.
The Bulldogs finished fifth among a 20-team field, shooting a 318. East Peoria shot a 312 to win it, Normal U-High and Lincoln each shot 315s with Normal winning the tie-breaker, and Bloomington took fourth with a 317.
St. Anthony will lead with speed
For the last five years, Eric Morales has been the assistant coach of the St. Anthony Bulldogs soccer team. But this season he will have his chance at the helm and try to help lead the Bulldogs to their first regional title since 2010.
St. Anthony is missing six seniors from last years team, including its leading goal scorer and starting goalie.
Flaming Hearts win St. Anthony Invitational
The Flaming Hearts of Effingham were the overall winners and also had the medalist. Effingham shot a team score of 312 to beat the host Bulldogs by nine shots. Hearts senior Jackson Wendling finished with a 72 to take medalist honors.
Teutopolis takes opener against St. Thomas More
Teutopolis took the course with a new coach and four players, but as coach Becky Probst said, it takes four to score.
And those four Lady Shoes took their first match of the year, topping Champaign St. Thomas More 216-227 in both teams' openers at Cardinal Golf Course in Effingham.
Time to tee off, golf season starts fall sports campaign today
The fall sports campaign kicks off in earnest Monday afternoon, with the first area varsity contests being held in Windsor and Effingham this afternoon.
The St. Anthony Invitational boys golf tournament will be held at Fox Prairie Golf Course at 1 p.m. in Windsor, while the Teutopolis Lady Shoes host St. Thomas More at Cardinal Golf Course at 4 p.m.
Flaming Hearts' flexibility a plus; Effingham prepping for upcoming soccer season
Three days into the practice season, Effingham soccer coach Aaron Witges sees a lot of flexibility.
It was something his squad had last year, with 10 seniors but young players forcing their way into the lineup as well.
Coming off a 10-8-3 season, some of those young players will find themselves in new positions for the Flaming Hearts this season.
Flaming Hearts set with new coach
The Effingham Flaming Hearts volleyball team will have a new but familiar face leading them on the sideline this season.
As a former player for the Hearts, coach Mindy McCollum-Boswell will look to lead her team to their first regional title since 2008.
Czachorski: Bears backups worrisome
This might sound shockingly similar to a number of columns I've written in the past, but it bears repeating (excusing a terrible pun).
The quarterback situation is worrisome.
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