Each week the Journal Gazette/Times-Courier features some of the top performances of local high school athletes. Here is the first list from Oct. 8-Oct. 13
Austin Ames, Charleston boys' cross country, senior
Ames won the Bulldog Challenge at Effingham with a time of 14:59.07, which was 30.24 seconds faster than the second place runner. He beat 150 other runners and helped the Trojans place third out of 17 teams.
Wyatt Brant/Blayne Donsbach, Cumberland football, 6-0, 170 RB/LB sophomore/5-9, 195 RB/DB
Cumberland assured itself of a third straight Class 1A playoff berth by beating Oblong/Palestine/Hutsonville 44-32 on the Pirates Homecoming. Brant had 25 carries for 192 yards and scored three touchdowns on runs of 4, 12 and 1 yard respectively. Donsbach had 11 carries for 71 yards and scored on runs of 14 and 10 yards. He also led the defense with 11 tackles. Cumberland improved to 6-2 and won its third consecutive Little Okaw Valley Conference Southeast Division.
Leigton Burcham/Caden Ellis, Drew Rogers, Sullivan boys' golf, senior, senior, sophomore
Sullivan finished fifth in the Class 1A state boys' golf meet at Bloomington's Prairie Vista Golf Course with a 337. It was the school's best finish since placing third in 1979, which was the last time the team competed at state. Ellis became the top golfer in school history by placing third with a four-over-par 76, good for third place. Burcham shot an 85, good for 45th place and Rogers had an 86, good for 49th place. The team advanced from the Oct. 8 sectional at the Danville Country Club by winning the school's first-ever sectional title with a 339. Ellis was second overall with a 76, while Burcham shot a 90 and Rogers an 88.
Grace Burnside, Tri-County volleyball, 5-9 OH senior
Tri-County won its 12th and 13th straight games and both were Little Okaw Valley Conference Southeast Division contests. The Lady Titans beat Cumberland 25-19, 25-14 and Martinsville 25-13, 25-13 to improve to 20-4 overall and 4-0 in the division. Burnside had a team-high 21 kills, eight aces, four blocks and eight digs (tied with Maiya Eskew) during the week.
Marcus Downs/Nate Fouty, Casey-Westfield football, 6-4, 190 QB/DB senior. 5-11, 180 RB/LB junior
Casey-Westfield won its fifth straight game and became playoff eligible scoring all 28 points in the first half to beat Clark County rival Marshall 28-14 at Marshall. Downs was 5-of-6 for 58 yards, including a four-yard touchdown to Storm Washburn. Downs also had seven carries for 12 yards and on defense had one of the team's two interceptions. Fouty had 3 carries for 26 yards, including an eight-yard touchdown run and led the defense with 6.5 tackles, including 1.5 for a loss and also had an interception. The Warriors improved to 5-3 overall and 4-3 in the Little Illini Conference.
Kyah Eastin, Mattoon girls' tennis, senior
Eastin qualified for the Class 1A state meet by placing fourth in singles in the Effingham St. Anthony Sectional going 2-2. She beat Teutopolis's Logan Blankenship 6-4, 6-1 and Charleston's Rachel Thomas 6-0, 6-3 before losing to Emilee Mossman of Effingham St. Anthony and Teutopolis' Diana Mossman.
Jake Ghere, Mattoon soccer, Forward, senior
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Ghere had one goal and one assist in Mattoon's 2-0 Apollo Conference win over Charleston last Thursday. The Green Wave improved to 19-1-3 overall and finished 10-0-2 in the conference.
Austin Hopkins/Michael Garza, Arcola football, 5-8, 165 RB/LB junior. Michael Garza, 5-9, 165 kicker, senior
Arcola secured a playoff berth with a thrilling 37-36 win over Decatur LSA/Decatur Christian/Mount Pulaski on the Purple Riders Homecoming game. Arcola is in the playoffs for the fifth straight season. Hopkins had 38 carries for 37 carries for 202 yards and scored two touchdowns on runs of 8 and 10 yards. Garza made four extra points and a 34-yard field goal to put the Purple Riders ahead to stay 24-22 at the half.
Lyla Kauffman/Ava Yoder, Arthur Okaw Christian volleyball, 5-4 S/RS junior. 5-10 MB, freshman
Arthur Okaw Christian went 3-0 during the week beating Okaw Valley 25-15, 22-25, 25-20 as well as DeLand-Weldon 25-21, 25-14 and Judah Christian 25-17, 25-18. The Conquering Riders are 32-5. Kauffman had nine kills, 2 aces, 14 digs and a team-high 36 assists. Yoder had eight kills, a team-high seven aces and eight blocks to go with her seven digs and six assists.
Ben Lanman, Robert Rardin, Preston Smith, Blake Wolfe, Charleston boys' golf, senior, senior, senior, junior
Charleston won its second straight Class 2A state title at Normal's Weibring Golf Club at Illinois State University Saturday with a 312, which was one stroke better than Benton. Smith as fifth overall with a 74, while Rardin finished 20th with a 78. Lanman was 28th with a 79, while Wolfe had an 81, good for 45th place.Smith's fifth place finish is the second best in school history behind Greg Petersen, who won the state title in 1978. In the Carbondale Sectional at Hickory Ridge Golf Course the Trojans won the meet with a 294, seven strokes better than Belleville Althoff. Lanman was third with a 73, while Smith and Rardin had 75's and Wolfe had an 80.
Tanner Romine, Mattoon boys' golf, senior
Romine won a playoff hole in the Carbondale Class 2A Sectional beating Belleville Althoff's Avery Irwin. Both players shot a 72. In the state meet Romine finished 36 with an 80.
Megan Schlechte/Mackenzi Tabbert, WSS volleyball, 5-10 OH/5-6 S/OH, seniors
WSS increased its winning streak to nine by going 6-0 during the week, including 4-0 in the National Trail Conference Tournament at Effingham St. Anthony. The Hatchets are 25-4. Schlechte had 86 kills, eight aces, 2.5 blocks, 42 digs and eight assists, while Tabbert had 13 kills, nine aces, 0.5 blocks, 28 digs and 108 assists. WSS began the week with a 25-13, 25-15 win over Arcola before sweeping Sullivan 25-15, 25-15 in non-conference games. The Hatchets downed South Central 25-4, 25-11 in the conference tournament followed by Neoga 25-16, 25-10 and St. Elmo/Brownstown 25-16, 25-14 and in the championship topped Altamont 25-20, 25-22.
Kira Wolf, Mattoon girls' golf, junior
Wolf began the week by being leading all golfers at the Champaign Central Sectional on the University of Orange Course in Savoy with a 74. In the Class 2A state meet after the first day she was in sixth place with a 75. Saturday at Decatur's Hickory Point Golf club she was 33rd with an 80, finishing the tournament in 19th place with a 155.