NBA Locked Out of Sports Thread

It was announced recently that the NBA owners will be locking out the players when the current collective bargaining agreement expires tonight at 11 p.m. CST.

Therefore, just as I have done with the pro football league that shall remain nameless, I will boycott the lockout by ceasing posts regarding the NBA.

Until the lockout is over, this will be the last time the acronym NBA will be seen on this blog.

And by the lockout being over, I'm not talking about a court-ordered lifting that will inevitably be appealed. Football fans may know what I'm referencing.


Farmer City Raceway Point Standings as of June 24

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- On July 1, the Farmer City Raceway will conduct a Late Models trifecta.

It will race UMP Late Models as well as Crate Late Models. FCR will also have its Late Models feature make-up from June 10.

The Farmer City Raceway will also put on a fireworks display three days in advance of Independence Day.
However, it will not hold any Sportsman races.

The following are the point standings leading up to July 1:

Late Models

1. Eric Smith (Bloomington) 257; 2. Joe Harlan (El Paso) 200; 3. Jimmy Dehm (Lexington) 188; 4. Bobby Pierce (Oakwood) 186; 5. Derek Chandler (Pontiac) 183; 6. Ryan Unzicker (El Paso) 180; 7. Chris Dick (DeLand) 154; 8. Roger Brickler (Springfield) 144; 9. Scott Bull (Fairbury) 134; 10. Brandon Sheppard (New Berlin) 129.

T-31. Curtis Hobbs (Farmer City) 52; T-57. Matt Beadles (Clinton) 21.


1. Jeff Leka (Buffalo) 435; 2. Justin Delong (Bloomington) 319; 3. Lance Dehm (Chatsworth) 318; 4. Jay Ledford (Pontiac) 305; 5. Ryan Cary (Catlin) 293; 6. Jeff Curl (Forrest) 286; 7. Gary Turpin (Bloomington) 251; 8. David Henderson (Danville) 218; 9. Dave Crawley (Decatur) 202; 10. Dane Tilstra (Onarga) 185.

T-81. Matt Wilson (Clinton) 15.

Street Stock

1. Travis Johnson (Ashland) 399; 2. Chris Dick (DeLand) 356; 3. Darrel Dick (Monticello) 331; 4. Jim Quinn (Farmer City) 310; 5. Rick Alwood (Clinton) 273; 6. Eric Wilson (Downs) 225; 7. Jeff Semmons (Pontiac) 213; T-8. Troy Dodson (Cerro Gordo) 197; T-8. Nathan McNeese (Catlin) 197; 10. Dave Crawley (Decatur) 172.

T-12. Travis Thrasher (Clinton) 157; 41. Josh Smith (Clinton) 47; T-46. Donnie Rhoades (Clinton) 30.


1. Matt Maier (Thomasboro) 421; 2. Chris Burton (Mansfield) 360; 3. Casey Gernentz (Gifford) 347; 4. Ben Gernentz (Gifford) 347; 5. Brian Wilson (Colfax) 291; 6. Jim Wilson (Towanda) 289; 7. Larry Hawk (Champaign) 284; 8. Dion Smith (Bloomington) 281; 9. Trisha Burton (Mansfield) 248; 10. Kenny Butterfield (Glasford) 239.

26. Jim Eads (Clinton) 41.


1. Dave Crawley Jr. (Decatur) 406; 2. Daniel Flessner (Thawville) 400; 3. Dustin Mounce (Flanagan) 352; 4. Nick Macklin (Oreana) 313; 5. Rod Rusher (Mansfield) 274; 6. Donny Sublon (Fisher) 272; 7. Richie Rich (Pontiac) 245; 8. Darrel Dick (Monticello) 221; 9. Shawn Diggs (LeRoy) 173; T-10. Jason Maier (Thomasboro) 170; T-10. Alan Crowder (Elwin) 170.

For full point standings and more information on Friday's races, visit farmercityracing.com.


Chicago White Sox's Blown Opportunities Proving to be Costly

Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Washington Nationals was a retelling of a story Sox fans are sick of hearing.

Runners left on base, in scoring position but not being sent to home plate.

Although the White Sox led 1-0 through the first six innings, one had to be concerned with the blown opportunities at the plate. Juan Pierre, for instance, hit a double to lead off the first inning.

He eventually would up at third base, with Carlos Quentin at second, when Adam Dunn struck out to end the inning.

It was the first of two occasions where Dunn struck out instead of driving in a runner from scoring position. In total, the White Sox left nine runners on base.

Then Danny Espinosa hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning to give the Nationals a 2-1 lead.

Espinosa represented the game-winning run for Washington. If the South Siders did what they needed to do at the plate, that run would have been merely academic.

If the Sox did what they needed to do offensively all season long, they would be on top of the AL Central. Instead, they are below .500.


Farmer City Raceway Raises Money for Skate Park

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- Every week during its races, the Farmer City Raceway sells a 50/50 drawing.

The proceeds of these drawings go to non-profit organizations such as Blue Ridge's Junior Football League team and the boys and girls scouts.

On June 24, sellers of 50/50 tickets (including Chris and Rachel Dubson, seen in the photo above) raised money for a skate park to be built in Farmer City.

The plans are to build the skate park in an area near Weedman Park.

The recap of June 24's races can be seen in the post below. More results and information can be seen on farmercityracing.com.

Farmer City Raceway Results: Matt Maier, Darrel Dick Among Feature Winners on June 24

Cullom native Torin Mettille needed help after slipping on the Farmer City Raceway dirt during his qualifying run. He ended up finishing the run and racing in the Late Models Division semi-feature.

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- Prior to June 24's races at the Farmer City Raceway, Matt Maier of Thomasboro had a bounty on him totaling $200.

If a Hornets Division opponent beat Maier in a feature race, he would get the $200. The money, however, shall be saved for at least another week.

Once again, Maier came away with the feature win.

Hornets Feature Results

1. Matt Maier, Thomasboro; 2. Brian Wilson, Colfax; 3. Chris Burton, Mansfield; 4. Jim Wilson, Towanda; 5. Ben Gernentz, Gifford; 6. David Lauritson, Normal; 7. Casey Gernentz, Gifford; 8. Larry Hawk, Champaign; 9. Dion Smith, Bloomington; 10. Bob Althouse, Bloomington; 11. Eric Wilson, Downs; 12. Christy Mash.

13. Jim Eads, Clinton (DNS)


On June 24, Farmer City Raceway had a kid's night.

So it was only fitting that Monticello's Darrel Dick held out a Minnie Mouse doll in celebration of his feature victory. The doll, he said via the public address system, was given to him by his granddaughter.

"This was for you," Darrel Dick said.

Meanwhile, Jim Quinn of Farmer City won the first heat in the Street Stock feature. He started the feature race in the No. 3 position, but finished fifth.

Street Stock Feature Results

1. Darrel Dick, Monticello; 2. Chris Dick, DeLand; 3. Travis Johnson, Ashland; 4. Steve Ewing, Decatur; 5. Jim Quinn, Farmer City; 6. Troy Dodson, Cerro Gordo; 7. Wayne Orrick, Bloomington; 8. Doug Berbaum, Monticello; 9. Darrel Lehigh, Fisher; 10. Greg Brewer, Bement; 11. Travis Thrasher, Clinton; 12. Rod Eichorn.


Maier was not the only one who continued his dominance on June 24.

For the fourth consecutive week, Buffalo native Jeff Leka won the feature in the Modifieds Division as he continues his quest for a 10th Farmer City Raceway points championship.

Modifieds Feature Results

1. Jeff Leka, Buffalo; 2. Josh Ferguson, Covington, Ind.; 3. Gary Turpin, Bloomington; 4. Dave Crawley, Decatur; 5. Roger Cary, Catlin; 6. Justin Delong, Bloomington; 7. Ryan Cary, Catlin; 8. Dane Tilstra, Onarga; 9. Brad Crosby, Decatur; 10. David Henderson, Danville; 11. Cody Bauman, Eureka; 12. Don Kiger, Tilton; 13. Rory Overmyer, Champaign; 14. Rick Hamilton, Decatur; 15. Steve Keenen, Philo; 16. Jeff Sandford, Gifford; 17. Bruce Malone.


Mike Glascock, a.k.a. Dirty 30 (that is his car's number), of LeRoy posted the fastest qualifying time (13.19) won the pole position by winning his respective heat.

However, Tonica's Scott Schmitt and Joe Harlan of El Paso overtook Glascock and found themselves in a tight race for the feature win. Schmitt beat out Harlan to the checkered flag.

Lexington native Jimmy Dehm won the semi-feature.

Late Models Feature Results

1. Scott Schmitt, Tonica; 2. Joe Harlan, El Paso; 3. Mike Glascock, LeRoy; 4. Derek Chandler, Pontiac; 5. Rusty Schlenk, Jackson, Mich.; 6. Roger Brickler, Springfield; 7. Jim Moon, Zionsville, Ind.; 8. Brian Diveley, Springfield; 9. Eric Smith, Bloomington; 10. Charlie Hess, Peoria; 11. Jimmy Dehm, Lexington; 12. Rich Bell, Sheffield; 13. Chris Dick, DeLand; 14. Gary Schalmo, Mokena; 15. Zach Bunning, Decatur.


Dave Crawley Jr. of Decatur won the Trophy Dash.

He also held the pole position at the start of the Sportsman Division feature. However, Thawville's Daniel Flessner took over the feature race from the start en route to taking the checkered flag.

Sportsman Feature Results

1. Daniel Flessner, Thawville; 2. Dave Crawley Jr., Decatur; 3. Shawn Diggs, LeRoy; 4. Darrel Dick, Monticello; 5. Dustin Mounce, Flanagan; 6. Donny Sublon, Fisher; 7. Jim Bailey, Hoopeston; 8. Richie Rich, Pontiac; 9. Dan Todd.


Farmer City Raceway Quick Note

The Late Models feature from June 10 will be made up on July 1, not tonight.


Chicago White Sox Have Found a Closer: Sergio Santos

Sergio Santos sturck out three Chicago Cubs yesterday in 1.1 innings to preserve the Sox's 3-2 win.

Today, he earned the save once again, striking out two Cubbies in the ninth inning as the South Siders won 4-3.

Needless to say, Santos has established himself as the White Sox's closer.

Matt Thornton can return to the set-up man role that Neal Cotts used to play for Bobby Jenks when the Sox won the 2005 World Series.

By the way, I am on Facebook now as Andrew Rosten.

Farmer City Raceway Point Standings as of June 17, 2011

This Friday, the Farmer City Raceway will schedule its weekly full show and make up the Late Models feature from June 10.

The following are the point standings in each division, updated from last week's races:

Late Models

1. Eric Smith (Bloomington) 231; 2. Bobby Pierce (Oakwood) 186; 3. Ryan Unzicker (El Paso) 180; 4. Jimmy Dehm (Lexington) 164; 5. Joe Harlan (El Paso) 162; 6. Derek Chandler (Pontiac) 149; 7. Chris Dick (DeLand) 132; 8. Brandon Sheppard (New Berlin) 129; 9. Scott Bull (Fairbury) 119; 10. Daren Friedman (Forrest) 116.

32. Curtis Hobbs (Farmer City) 42; 53. Matt Beadles (Clinton) 21.


1. Jeff Leka (Buffalo) 395; 2. Jay Ledford (Pontiac) 305; 3. Lance Dehm (Chatsworth) 302; 4. Justin Delong (Bloomington) 289; 5. Jeff Curl (Forrest) 286; 6. Ryan Cary (Catlin) 265; 7. Gary Turpin (Bloomington) 215; 8. David Henderson (Danville) 193; 9. Chevy Miller (Wapella) 179; 10. Dave Crawley (Decatur) 168.

T-79. Matt Wilson (Clinton) 15.

Street Stock

1. Travis Johnson (Ashland) 363; 2. Chris Dick (DeLand) 318; 3. Darrel Dick (Monticello) 291; 4. Jim Quinn (Farmer City) 278; 5. Rick Alwood (Clinton) 273; 6. Eric Wilson (Downs) 225; 7. Jeff Semmons (Pontiac) 213; 8. Nathan McNeese (Catlin) 176; 9. Dave Crawley (Decatur) 172; 10. Troy Dodson (Cerro Gordo) 167.

12. Travis Thrasher (Clinton) 133; 39. Josh Smith (Clinton) 47; T-44. Donnie Rhoades (Clinton) 30.


1. Matt Maier (Thomasboro) 381; 2. Chris Burton (Mansfield) 324; 3. Casey Gernentz (Gifford) 319; 4. Ben Gernentz (Gifford) 262; 5. Larry Hawk (Champaign) 257; T-6. Dion Smith (Bloomington) 255; T-6. Jim Wilson (Towanda) 255; 8. Brian Wilson (Colfax) 253; 9. Trisha Burton (Mansfield) 248; 10. Kenny Butterfield (Glasford) 239.

T-42. Jim Eads (Clinton) 19.


1. Dave Crawley Jr. (Decatur) 368; 2. Daniel Flessner (Thawville) 360; 3. Dustin Mounce (Flanagan) 320; 4. Nick Macklin (Oreana) 313; 5. Rod Rusher (Mansfield) 274; 6. Donny Sublon (Fisher) 242; 7. Richie Rich (Pontiac) 218; 8. Darrel Dick (Monticello) 187; T-9. Alan Crowder (Elwin) 170; T-9. Jason Meier (Thomasboro) 170; 11. Shawn Diggs (LeRoy) 137.

For more point standings, visit farmercityracing.com or speednetdirect.com.


Blue Ridge Softball Players Selected for ICA All-State Teams

The Illinois Coaches Association recently revealed its Class 1A All-State softball team.

Jordan Wheeler was selected to the First Team. Jordyn Fones was picked for the Second Team, Melinda Wilson for the Third Team.

For more information on the ICA All-State selections, visit the following link: http://www.icacoach.org/.


Farmer City Raceway Feature Results -- June 17, 2011

Make-Up Hornets Feature

1. Matt Maier, Thomasboro; 2. Chris Burton, Mansfield; 3. Eric Keymon, Danvers; 4. David Lauritson, Normal; 5. Brian Wilson, Colfax; 6. Ben Gernentz, Gifford; 7. Larry Hawk, Champaign; 8. Jim Wilson, Towanda; 9. Trisha Burton, Mansfield; 10. Kenny Butterfield, Glasford; 11. Joe Reed, Decatur; 12. Jim English, Eureka; 13. Casey Gernentz, Gifford.

Make-Up Sportsman Feature

1. Dave Crawley Jr., Decatur; 2. Daniel Flessner, Thawville; 3. Nick Macklin, Oreana; 4. Rod Rusher, Mansfield; 5. Darrel Dick, Monticello; 6. Dustin Mounce, Flanagan; 7. Shawn Diggs, LeRoy; 8. Danny Smith, Maroa; 9. Richie Rich, Pontiac; 10. Jim Felker Jr., Bloomington.

Late Models

1. Bobby Pierce, Oakwood; 2. Kent Robinson, Bloomington, Ind.; 3. Greg Johnson, Bedford, Ind.; 4. Eric Smith, Bloomington; 5. Joe Harlan, El Paso; 6. Chris Dick, DeLand; 7. Jimmy Dehm, Lexington; 8. Matt Furman; 8. Russ Adams, Princeville; 9. Shane Garrison, Dawson; 10. Chad Evans, Mattoon; 11. Jake Little; 12. Curtis Hobbs, Farmer City; 13. Matt Beadles, Clinton.


1. Jeff Leka, Buffalo; 2. Lance Dehm, Chatsworth; 3. Justin Delong, Bloomington; 4. Josh Ferguson, Covington, Ind.; 5. Brian Lynn, Mason City; 6. Jeffrey Leka, Buffalo; 7. Gary Turpin, Bloomington; 8. Dave Crawley, Decatur; 9. Cory Schwengel, Oreana; 10. Brad Crosby, Decatur; 11. Dane Tilstra, Onarga; 12. Ryan Cary, Catlin; 13. Tim Bohm; 14. Nick Neville, Mackinaw; 15. Chevy Miller, Wapella; 16. Norm Wood; 17. Mark Tullis, Macon; 18. Cole Hussong.

Street Stock

1. Chris Dick, DeLand; 2. Nate Zimmer, Mattoon; 3. Darrel Dick, Monticello; 4. Chuck Barnes Jr., East Peoria; 5. Brandon Kessinger, Normal; 6. Robert Turner, Kankakee; 7. Travis Johnson, Ashland; 8. Darrel Lehigh, Fisher; 9. Eric Wilson, Downs.


1. Matt Maier, Thomasboro; 2. Larry Hawk, Champaign; 3. Jim Wilson, Towanda; 4. Chris Burton, Mansfield; 5. Brian Wilson, Colfax; 6. Jerry Benninger, Lincoln; 7. Ben Gernentz, Gifford; 8. Eric Keymon, Danvers; 9. Jeremy Reed, Decatur; 10. Todd Rush; 11. Trisha Burton, Mansfield; 12. Jim English, Eureka.


1. Daniel Flessner, Thawville; 2. Ben Hulse, Flanagan; 3. Nick Macklin, Oreana; 4. Shawn Diggs, LeRoy; 5. Richie Rich, Pontiac; 6. Dave Crawley Jr., Decatur; 7. Darrel Dick, Monticello; 8. Danny Smith, Maroa; 9. Dustin Mounce, Flanagan; 10. Jim Felker Jr., Bloomington; 11. Ron Bohm, Cornell; 12. Donny Sublon, Fisher.

13. Rod Rusher, Mansfield (DNS).

Check out the post below for a recap of yesterday's races. Visit farmercityracing.com or speednetdirect.com for full results.

Farmer City Raceway: Matt Maier a Double Feature Winner on June 17, 2011

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- Former Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks once said, "let's play two."

Today, some Farmer City Raceway drivers in the Sportsman and Hornets Divisions raced double features to make up for a June 10 rainout. So to paraphrase Mr. Cub, let's race two.

Or, in the case of Thomasboro's Matt Maier, let's win two.

"[Farmer City Raceway] is my favorite track," Maier said. "It's the best one in the state."

Maier has another reason to love FCR, as he won both Hornets Division features.

"[Double features are] great if you don't break in the first one," Maier said. "If you do, you're out of luck for the second one unless you can fix it."

Gifford's Casey Gernentz would know how "out of luck" one would be. He spilled off the track in the make-up feature, but he managed to get out of a horrific crash safely.


At age 14, Bobby Pierce of Oakwood is not old enough to drive on IL-54 or US-150.

However, he is old enough to drive on the dirt track of Farmer City Raceway. Pierce drove to victory in the Late Models feature with a photo finish over Kent Robinson of Bloomington, Ind.


Maier was not the only racer looking for double-feature wins.

Decatur's Dave Crawley Jr. took the checkered flag in the make-up Sportsman feature. In the second feature, he found himself chasing Nick Macklin of Oreana and Daniel Flessner of Oakwood.

After making a move toward Macklin and Flessner, Crawley Jr. ran out of steam, falling to fifth place with four laps to go. Flessner ended up winning the feature.


Feature winner -- Jeff Leka, Buffalo


Feature winner -- Chris Dick, DeLand

More results to come in a later post. For more information on the Farmer City Raceway, visit farmercityracing.com.


Chicago Tribune All-State Honors Among Awards Received by Blue Ridge Softball Players

MAHOMET, Ill. -- The Lady Knights' junior varsity coach, Wayne Brown, followed his presentation of the JV awards with a note of praise for the man whom he will likely replace as varsity head coach next year.

"I would like to congratulate Myron Schroeder on his five years here," Brown said.

"He's my hero," Larry O'Neal shouted promptly.

"Yes, I am," Schroeder responded.

In his final season at Blue Ridge, Schroeder led the No. 9-ranked Lady Knights to a record of 28-6 and a regional championship game victory over Tri-Valley before losing the sectional championship game to Class 1A runner-up Danville Schlarman.

On Brown's introductory note, Schroeder presented numerous awards to his varsity players of 2011 at Monical's Pizza in Mahomet. Among those awards was one on which he received the news at noon on Wednesday.

Schroeder got a call from Bill Harrison, sports editor at the Chicago Tribune. Prior to the call, Jordan Wheeler, Jordyn Fones, Marcie Crawford and Melinda Wilson were nominated by the Tribune for the All-State Team.

Harrison informed Schroeder in the phone call that Wheeler was named a member of the Chicago Tribune's All-State First Team at second base.

"A great honor," Schoreder said. "For not only her, but the school. Very few downstate players receive All-State recognition from the Trib, as it includes all schools through [Class] 4A."

The following are awards she received from the area individually:

Piatt County Journal-Republican Player of the Year, Cornbelt WallStudz Player of the Month (April), WJBC Player of the Week.

Along with Fones, Wheeler was named a unanimous member of the Heart of Illinois Conference's All-Conference First Team, the News-Gazette's First Team, and nominated alongside Crawford and Wilson for Illinois Coaches Association's All-State team. The ICA All-State team will be announced on June 20.

Wilson and Jade O'Neal were also named to the HOIC All-Conference First Team. Crawford was named a member of the Second Team while Hannah Mattingly received an Honorable Mention.

Crawford, O'Neal and Wilson were given Special Mention honors by the News-Gazette.

As a team, Blue Ridge hit 40 home runs, the second-most of IHSA history. The following players received plaques as a reward for contributing to the accomplishment:

Wheeler (13 home runs), Wilson (8), Crawford (6), O'Neal (5), Kalyn Reynolds (6), Jamison Brandt (1), Mattingly (1).

Individual records set by Wheeler and Fones were recognized as well. Fones has the Lady Knights records for career hits (170) and batting average (.463) while Wheeler holds the home run (22*), win (63*) and strikeout (665*) records.

*- "so far," as Schroeder pointed out. Wheeler still has one year left at Blue Ridge.

It wasn't just players who were recognized at the awards ceremony. Aimee Thacker, who will also retire from coaching at Blue Ridge, received the Special Coaches Award.

"She did all the things I didn't want to do," Schroeder said. "[She was] the best assistant coach anyone could ever ask for."


MVP -- Jordyn Fones and Jordan Wheeler

"We are forced to present two Most Valuable Player Awards," Schroeder said.

Best Offensive Player -- Melinda Wilson

"[Melinda] had more clutch base hits and improved her contact percentage at the plate tremendously during the season," Schroeder said.

Best Defensive Player -- Marcie Crawford

"Anyone that has seen some of the catches and plays that Marcie turned in at the end of the season would not doubt for a moment why she is the team's Best Defensive Player of 2011," Schroeder said.

Lady Knight Award Winner -- Jade O'Neal

"Every team needs someone who guides the rest, someone that holds the team together even when things seem to be falling apart," Schroeder said. "This year's Lady Knight Award Winner is the same as last year for good reason."

Spirit Award -- Kalyn Reynolds

"I wish she had played all four years, but she had to go run track or something," Schroeder said. "[Kalyn] began playing first base, but then went to left field and did a super job for us out there."

Other Varsity Awards

Most Improved Player: Hannah Mattingly

Clutch Player Award: Jamison Brandt

Senior Award: Paige Weidner

Hustle Award: Liz Cordes

Best ERA: Jordan Wheeler (1.24)

Strikeouts: Jordan Wheeler (234)

Pitching Wins: Jordan Wheeler (22)

RBIs: Melinda Wilson (45)

Most Doubles: Marcie Crawford (20)

Most Triples: Melinda Wilson (4)

Most Home Runs: Jordan Wheeler (13)

On-Base Percentage: Jordan Wheeler (.552)

Most Sacrifices: Liz Cordes (7)

Best Batting Average: Jordyn Fones (508)

Most Hits: Jordyn Fones (60)

Most Clutch Game-Winning Hits: Hannah Mattingly (three-run homer vs. Dee-Mack), Melinda Wilson (key doubles in regional title game vs. Tri-Valley), Jordan Wheeler (home run in regional semifinal vs. GCMS)

Best Slugging Percentage: Jordan Wheeler (962)

Most Hit by Pitches: Jade O'Neal (5)

Ironic side note: O'Neal bruised Schroeder in the ribcage with a foul line drive on Senior Day. In the photo below (snapped at a different game), O'Neal is batting and Schroeder is in his white shirt on the third-base side.

Most Walks: Jordan Wheeler (27)

Best Defensive Plays: Marcie Crawford (vs. Tri-Valley), Melinda Wilson (vs. Rantoul, GCMS, Villa Grove)

Most Stolen Bases: Jordyn Fones (30)

Best Contact Percentage: Jordyn Fones (one strikeout)

Longest Home Run Award: Kalyn Reynolds (vs. Prairie Central)

JV Awards

MVP: Chandler Morrow

Most Improved Player: Jenna Cheek

Best Defensive Player: Morgan Delaney

Best Offensive Player: Katie Tobin

Team Spirit Award: Lisa Wallace

Special thanks to Karen Bradd for providing the pizza for the awards ceremony.


Blue Ridge Softball Coaches, Players Have One Last Fun Day on the Diamond

NORMAL, Ill. -- Before Myron Schroeder (and assistant coach Aimee Thacker) could walk off into retirement...

...before Jade O'Neal and Marcie Crawford could move on to their college careers at ICC and Coe College, respectively...

...they still had one more game to coach/play: The Pantagraph's Area vs. Intercity All-Star Game at Champion Fields.

Playing/coaching alongside players/coaches with whom they have played against in the past (including Tri-Valley coach Jim Suiter and players Kendall Gher and Ashley Reynolds), Blue Ridge's chosen ones represented the Area team in this game.

"It was fun," O'Neal said. "I know Kendall."

"I think the camaraderie is tremendous," Schroeder said. "They've all played against each other for so long, and now they get to play together. They played well together, I thought."

Going into the bottom of the fourth inning, the Area team played well enough to lead 3-2. A grand slam, however, gave Intercity a lead it would not surrender en route to a 10-5 victory.

Trailing the Intercity team 9-5 in the top of the eighth inning, Area had a chance to score some big runs with the bases loaded and nobody out. Neither runner scored, however.

"We just didn't score enough runs, but other than that, I thought we did well," Schroeder said. "The momentum, when they hit that grand slam, went their way and not ours, and we never got that key hit that we needed when we got the bases loaded."

O'Neal finished the game batting 1-for-2, hitting a single to left-center field in the top of the second. Crawford went 0-for-2.

Despite the loss, however, O'Neal and Schroeder said they had fun playing and were honored to be selected for the All-Star Game.

"The girls had fun, and that's the important thing," Schroeder said. "I had fun. People don't realize I always have fun."

"It's a good accomplishment [to be asked to play here]," O'Neal said. "I am honored to be here. We ended on a good note."

For Schroeder, it was his fourth time coaching at the game and his first as a head coach.

"It's an honor anytime you get to [coach in the All-Star Game], especially as a head coach," Schroeder said. "It's an honor to organize and to get a lot of the kids in the game and to see their enthusiasm. That's the fun thing about it."

2011 NBA Finals: The Sports Thread's Take on the Dallas Mavericks' Victory over the Miami Heat

LeBron James' motive for taking his talents to South Beach was to be on a team where he doesn't need to score points in bunches to win a basketball game.

He thought Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh would have enough talent to make up for any missteps by "King" James and help lift the Miami Heat to a championship.

In the first half of Game 6, Dirk Nowitzki made only one field goal. Regardless, the Dallas Mavericks led the Heat at halftime.

Mavs owner Mark Cuban and coach Rick Carlisle should get the credit for putting a true team together. By doing so, they built something the "Big Three" tried to build in Miami.

Speaking of Cuban, it's nice to see an owner who truly cares about his team winning a championship team. Whereas in 2006, Micky Arison seemed to have just stepped off a cruise ship to celebrate his Heat's title.

It was nice to see Cuban choose to refrain from communication and put the attention on his team. And when the Mavs won the title, he was gracious enough to give the Larry O'Brien Trophy to Dallas' original owner, Don Carter.

Miami Heat Going Forward

"Stay the course," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

In other words, have a small forward carry the ball across midcourt. Don't adjust to the Mavericks' zone defense.

Don't develop an offensive gameplan that goes beyond fastbreaks and LeBron/D-Wade going one-on-one.

Changes need to be made to that offense. My suggestion is to convince LeBron and Bosh to get stronger.

LBJ should spend the summer developing a post game and CB should think about playing the center position.

If the Heat think they can ride an offense based on defensive turnovers, one-on-one matchups and wide-open 3-pointers by Mario Chalmers and Mike Bibby, they have another thing coming.


Blue Ridge Softball Players, Coaches to Participate in Pantagragh All-Star Game

Time and place

The game will be played at Champion Fields in Normal at 6:15 p.m on Monday. There will be pregame festivities at 6 p.m.

The following link will give you MapQuest directions to Champion Fields from Blue Ridge High School:



Myron Schroeder will be the head coach of the Area team.

He will be helped out by Blue Ridge assistants Aimee Thacker, Claron Wheeler and Wayne Brown, among others.


Catcher Jade O'Neal, third baseman Marcie Crawford and center fielder Jordyn Fones were selected to be on the Area team in The Pantagraph's Area vs. Intercity All-Star game on Monday.

Fones will not be playing in the game due to a prior engagement.

Note: Players competing in the game are seniors only.


Farmer City Raceway Results -- June 10, 2011

The following are feature results from Farmer City Raceway's June 10 races as posted on http://www.speednetdirect.com/ as of 12:14 a.m. CST on June 11.


1. Jeff Leka, Buffalo; 2. Lance Dehm, Chatsworth; 3. Justin Delong, Bloomington; 4. Dave Crawley, Decatur; 5. Dustin King, Charleston; 6. Ryan Cary, Catlin; 7. Jeff Curl, Forrest; 8. Jay Ledford, Pontiac; 9. Gary Turpin, Bloomington; 10. Arby Burton; 11. Tim Bohm; 12. Rick Hamilton, Decatur; 13. Rory Overmyer, Champaign; 14. Jeff Sandford, Gifford.

Street Stock

1. Chris Dick, DeLand; 2. Darrel Dick, Monticello; 3. Jeff Simmons, Pontiac; 4. Travis Johnson, Ashland; 5. Dave Crawley, Decatur; 6. Rick Alwood, Clinton; 7. Scott Thrasher, Urbana; 8. Ronnie Burns; 9. Hugh Johnson, Champaign.

10. Jim Quinn, Farmer City (DNF)

Ben Gernentz of Gifford won the Trophy Dash. As always, go to farmercityracing.com or speednetdirect.com for more information.


Should College Football Consider Abolishing Kickoffs?

I am as much of a traditionalist in terms of how football should be played as the next guy.

However, I actually think Rutgers coach Greg Schiano's proposal for getting rid of kickoffs could make college football more exciting, as well as safer.

Before I discuss why, I want to take a moment to discuss the basic details of Schiano's proposal:

Instead of kicking off, a team has the option of either trying to convert a fourth-and-15 or punt the ball to the other team.

Basically, teams can either punt the ball as an alternative to the kickoff. Instead of an onside kick, a team can attempt to regain possession by going for a first down by gaining 15 yards on one play from its own 30-yard line.

Obviously, the primary motive of Schiano's proposal is to prevent the kind of hits that left Eric LeGrand paralyzed from the neck down in October 2010. However, I look at this proposal and think that it will make college football more exciting if it is passed.

We have some coaches who are daring enough to go for it on fourth-and-15 from their own 30. LSU's Les Miles, for example, would come to mind.

I know it would take a lot to convince the traditionalists of college football to consider this plan.

But then again, remember tie games?

Remember when the NCAA decided to abolish tie games by giving each team a possession in overtime, and keep giving them possessions until there was a clear winner?

Anyone who watched the Illinois/Michigan game last year must be glad those old days are over.


Jordan Wheeler, Jordyn Fones Among Blue Ridge Softball Players Earning Honors

On Sunday, the Pantagraph in Bloomington, Ill., will announce the players who will be participating in the Area vs. Intercity All-Star Game at Champion Fields on June 13.

Myron Schroeder and his staff from Blue Ridge have already been selected to coach the Area team in the game, and they expect to see at least some of their players in the game as well.

Jordan Wheeler and Jordyn Fones are pretty much shoo-ins to be among those players. They have already been named members of the (Champaign) News-Gazette's First Team.

Melinda Wilson and Jade O'Neal were named First Team members of the All-Conference team. Marcie Crawford was selected as a member of the Second Team while Hannah Mattingly was named an Honorable Mention.

Some other awards will be announced to the Lady Knights on June 15, when Blue Ridge's softball team will hold its awards night at Monical's in Mahomet.

For more details on the awards night and much more on the Lady Knights, visit www.eteamz.com/brhssoftballknights.


Jeff Leka Breaks Track Record, Wins Modifieds Feature at Farmer City Raceway

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- Jeff Leka of Buffalo, Ill., has won nine track championships at the Farmer City Raceway.

He is seeking his 10th this season, something that has not been done before.

"I like doing what nobody else has done," Leka said. "That's what it's all about; doing stuff that people will remember you for later in life."

Prior to June 3, no one had ever driven through a qualifying round in a time of 13.71 at the Farmer City Raceway. Leka can now consider that mission accomplished.

Leka followed his record-breaking qualifying time by beating out Lance Dehm of Chatsworth in the Modified Division feature. Dehm held the lead with five laps to go, but Leka took first place immediately after the green flag and never surrendered it.

"My guys did a great job on the car," Leka said. "I would like to thank them and my sponsors. Our sport's getting bigger, and you need sponsors."

Modifieds Feature Results

1. Jeff Leka, Buffalo; 2. Lance Dehm, Chatsworth; 3. Gary Turpin, Bloomington; 4. Jay Ledford, Pontiac; 5. Justin Delong, Bloomington; 6. Jeff Curl, Forrest; 7. Dave Crawley, Decatur; 8. Ryan Cary, Catlin; 9. Chevy Miller, Wapella; 10. Brad Crosby, Decatur; 11. David Henderson, Danville; 12. Rick Hamilton, Decatur; 13. Zane Oedewaldt, Hanna City; 14. Neil Rollins, Ridge Farm.


Farmer City's No. 1 hometown racer, Jim Quinn, has won four track championships at what he calls "the best track in the state" of Illinois.

His quest for a fifth title, however, is not going exactly as planned so far, as he ranked fourth in the point standings prior to June 3.

"I've had some bad luck this year," Quinn said. "Hopefully, the dirt dries up in this warm weather. I don't have as much horsepower as some other drivers."

The warm weather did not lead Quinn to victory on June 3. Chris Dick of DeLand beat him in the Trophy Dash.

Quinn also finished second in the Street Stock feature. Darrel Dick of Monticello won the feature, but Quinn won a furious three-way contest for second place, beating out Travis Johnson of Ashland.

Feature Results

1. Darrel Dick, Monticello; 2. Jim Quinn, Farmer City; 3. Travis Johnson, Ashland; 4. Travis Thrasher, Clinton; 5. Rod Eichorn; 6. Jordan Smith, Villa Grove.

9. Rick Alwood, Clinton (DNF).

Feature Results

1. Eric Smith, Bloomington; 2. Joe Harlan, El Paso; 3. Jimmy Dehm, Lexington; 4. Bobby Pierce, Oakwood; 5. Scott Bull, Fairbury; 6. Daren Friedman, Forrest; 7. Derek Chandler, Pontiac; 8. Charlie Hess, Peoria; 9. Russ Adams, Princeville; 10. Kevin Moffett, Moweaqua; 11. Zach Bunning, Decatur; 12. Chad Evans, Mattoon; 13. Troy Newberry, Bloomington.

Bill Hough of Thomasboro wrecked his car during the Late Models Division's hot laps. Needless to say, he did not race in the feature.

Feature Results

1. Matt Maier, Thomasboro; 2. Tanner Tibbs, Pontiac; 3. Chris Burton, Mansfield; 4. Casey Gernentz, Gifford; 5. Ben Gernentz, Gifford; 6. Brian Wilson, Colfax; 7. Jim Wilson, Towanda; 8. Eric Keymon, Lincoln; 9. Brett Embry; 10. Trisha Burton, Mansfield; 11. Jacob Caldwell.

Feature Results

1. Dave Crawley Jr., Decatur; 2. Dustin Mounce, Flanagan; 3. Rod Rusher, Mansfield; 4. Daniel Flessner, Thawville; 5. Jim Bailey, Hoopeston; 6. Donny Sublon, Fisher; 7. Timmy Dick, Monticello; 8. Richie Rich, Pontiac.

For complete results, visit farmercityracing.com or speednetdirect.com.


LeBron James Closer to Being the Next Scottie Pippen than the Next Michael Jordan

As the Miami Heat blew their 15-point fourth-quarter lead against the Dallas Mavericks in Game 2, I'm sure Scottie Pippen might have been reconsidering his stance on who is the greatest basketball player of all time.

Have you ever seen MJ's Chicago Bulls do this in an NBA Finals game? No.

Prior to this historic collapse, Pippen said LeBron James may be the greatest player of all time. He said Jordan may have been a better scorer, but "King" James keeps his teammates more involved and is a better defender.

The way Pippen was comparing LeBron to his former teammate, you had the feeling that the concept of greatness (at least in Scottie's mind) was based on talent alone.

But as Thursday's NBA Finals game proved, greatness is not based on talent alone. It's a lesson that Pippen should have already learned from Air Jordan.

It also involves a certain mojo that propels a team through tough times and refuses to let it lose.

I don't know what exactly that mojo is. If I did, I would be Pulitzer Prize winner right now.

All I know is Jordan had it when he was winning championships for the Bulls. If LeBron had it in Game 2, the Heat would be leading 2-0 in the series right now.

He will need the mojo to lift Miami through this hangover effect and to the promised land. But until then, he will be nothing more than an extremely-talented athlete who never led his team to a championship.

Not unlike Pippen.

The fact that Pippen would call LeBron the greatest basketball player of all time spells out the reason he couldn't win an NBA championship without MJ: He didn't have the mojo.

He never learned from Jordan's example that it takes more than just pure talent to obtain the Larry O'Brien trophy. And Pippen was talented.

But the MJ-less Bulls (not to mention the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers) needed more than Pippen's talent to become champions. And in terms of having that mojo, Pippen couldn't win without Jordan.

In terms of talent alone, LeBron may be the greatest player of all time. But without the mojo, LeBron is doomed to be the next Scottie Pippen rather than the next Michael Jordan.

And unfortunately for LBJ, Dwyane Wade is no MJ, either.


Farmer City Raceway Point Standings as of May 29, 2011

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- On July 9, the Farmer City Raceway will host the first annual Rock on the Raceway event from noon to 11 p.m.

Jackyl will be the featured band at the event. Check out farmercityracing.com for full details.

On June 3, the racetrack will have a full night of races (weather permitting). The following are the current point standings:

Late Models

1. Ryan Unzicker (El Paso) 180; 2. Eric Smith (Bloomington) 157; 3. Brandon Sheppard (New Berlin) 129; 4. Derek Chandler (Pontiac) 121; 5. Roger Brickler (Springfield) 114; 6. Bobby Pierce (Oakwood) 112; 7. Donny Walden (Towanda) 101; 8. Jimmy Dehm (Lexington) 100; 9. Jason Feger (Bloomington) 94; 10. Joe Harlan (El Paso) 92.

T-44. Curtis Hobbs (Farmer City) 20.


1. Jeff Leka (Buffalo) 275; 2. Jay Ledford (Pontiac) 244; 3. Jeff Curl (Forrest) 228; 4. Lance Dehm (Chatsworth) 188; T-5. Ryan Cary (Catlin) 185; T-5. Justin Delong (Bloomington) 185; 7. McKay Wenger (Fairbury) 164; 8. David Henderson (Danville) 159; 9. Nick Allen (Wheatfield, Ind.) 146; 10. Chevy Miller (Wapella) 133.

T-70. Matt Wilson (Clinton) 15.

Street Stock

1. Travis Johnson (Ashland) 265; 2. Rick Alwood (Clinton) 217; 3. Chris Dick (DeLand) 216; 4. Jim Quinn (Farmer City) 215; 5. Darrel Dick (Monticello) 177; 6. Jeff Semmons (Pontiac) 154; 7. Eric Wilson (Downs) 150; 8. Troy Dodson (Cerro Gordo) 143; 9. Nathan McNeese (Catlin) 131; 10. Ronnie Burns 122.

14. Travis Thrasher (Clinton) 99; 32. Josh Smith (Clinton) 47; T-38. Donnie Rhoades (Clinton) 30.


1. Matt Maier (Thomasboro) 261; 2. Casey Gernentz (Gifford) 242; 3. Dion Smith (Bloomington) 218; 4. Chris Burton (Mansfield) 216; 5. Kenny Butterfield (Glasford) 194; T-6. Jeremy Reed (Decatur) 192; T-6. Troy Newberry (Bloomington) 192; 8. Larry Hawk (Champaign) 191; 9. Trisha Burton (Mansfield) 173; 10. Ben Gernentz (Gifford) 172.


1. Dave Crawley Jr. (Decatur) 258; 2. Daniel Flessner (Thawville) 248; 3. Nick Macklin (Oreana) 241; 4. Dustin Mounce (Flanagan) 226; 5. Rod Rusher (Mansfield) 182; T-6. Alan Crowder (Elwin) 170; T-6. Jason Maier (Thomasboro) 170; 8. Donny Sublon (Fisher) 165; 9. Richie Rich (Pontiac) 133; 10. Darrel Dick (Monticello) 127.

For full point standings, go to farmercityracing.com or speednetdirect.com.