2024 Country Financial West Central Boys All Star Squad

Players have been announced for the Country Financial West Central Illinois All Star Classic that will be held Friday, March 15th.

Rich Thompson of Triopia will coach the north squad, and Bryon Graven of South County will lead the south.

At least eight of the all stars at least 1-thousand points in their career. Zack Evans of West Central leads the way with close to 2-thousand points in his career. Evans will be joined on the south squad by teammate Chance Little, who also has 1-thousand points., and Mason Berry. Other 1-thousand point scorers on the south include the two from South County…Noah Lyons and Trevor Colwell. Jacksonville has Isaiah Martinez Walls on the team, plus Aadyn Myers of Pleasant Hill, Dylan Pembrook of Greenfield-Northwestern, Braylon Rhoades and Konnor Campbell of Carrollton, Grant Dobson of Auburn, and Chase Caselton of Calhoun. Two other players will receive uniforms. Nolan Turner and Isaac Long were selected by the coaches for the all star game, but will not be able to play because the baseball schedule for Routt Catholic takes them out of state.

The north squad includes one representative from Thompson’s Triopia-Virginia-Meredosia squad…6-6 big man KJ Beck. Griggsville Perry has three players on the team..1-thousand point scorer Wyatt Lipcaman and his brother Lane, and another 1-thousand point scorer Michael Myers. Others on the roster include two from New Berlin..Lucas Bixby and Gannon Dodd. Bixby has over 1-thousand points. The rest of the tam include Brennan Tomhave and Javan Petty, Isaac Brockschmidt and Elizah Thomas of Beardstown, Torry Kistner of Lutheran, and Liam Hatfield of Pleasant Plains. Brockschmidt and Hatfield are also members of the 1-thousand point squad.

Tickets will be available next week at $7 from the all stars. Proceeds will go to yet announced charities. Area coaches vote on members of the all star teams.

This is the 44th year of the all star game.

All Star Coaches Announced

Coaches have been named for the 44th Country Financial West Central Illinois Boys’ All Star Classic.

The game will be played Friday, March 15th at the Jacksonville high School Bowl. Voting on the senior players roster is underway now.

Bryon Graven of South County will lead the south, and Triopia’s Rich Thompson will coach the north squad.

Graven is in his 16th year of coaching with 252 career wins. Graven has coached at Morrisonville, Williamsville, Mount Zion and South County. He is in his 5th year at South County. Graven is a graduate of Millilkin, after playing basketball for his father, Doug, at Auburn.

His assistants for the all star game will be Kollin Keltner and Brent Nelson from South County, and JHS head coach Mike Cameron.

Rich Thompson has been head coach at Triopia High School since 2019. Thompson was previously a head basketball coach at Virginia for 8 years. He was head football coach at Virginia for 8 years, Beardstown for 6 years, and at Triopia for 12 years. His Triopia team in 2008 won the Class 1A state football title. Thompson was inducted into the Illinois Football Coaches Association in 2018.

He also has been head baseball coach at Virginia, and at Triopia. Thompson will be helped at the All Star bench by three assistants from Triopia…Tanner Huddleston, Hunter Stockton, and Cody Winkelman.

Proceeds from the game will go to local charities, which will be determined later. Tickets will be available in later February and early March.

The All Star game was the brainchild of former JHS coach Mel Roustio, Buford Green, and the late Jerry Symons. WLDS-WEAI and the Midwest Officials Association help organize the game.

Kiwanis P and S Ticket Sales Begins

Ticket sales are off and running for one of the largest service club fundraisers in Jacksonville.

The 75th annual Pancake and Sausage Day will be held Monday, March 11th at Cured, the former McClelland Dining Hall.

Darin Gerhke is one of the chairman of the fundraiser, along with Bob Stambaugh.

Gehrke says this will be a special one. It began in 1950, and Gehrke says the first one sold 1500 tickets and made $12-hundred. He says last year’s event raised over $30-thousand that goes right back into the community.

Gehrke says there is one change from a year ago on the day of the event. The take out service will be in the front of the hall which allow easy access and quick departures.

Gehrke and Stambaugh are challenging all Kiwanis members, numbering 130, to sell tickets, and shoot for sales surpassing 6500.

Gehrke says the express drive through lane will continue to be done in the Routt parking lot from 4 to 7 PM.

Tickets are $8 in advance, and $10 at the door. The money raised goes to youth and civic projects. In the past, the money has been used for such things as roller hockey, Green Pastures, Midwest Youth Services and the Spirit of Faith Kitchen.

Tickets can be purchased from any Kiwanis member.

January Weather

The surprise in last month’s weather numbers may not be with the temperatures, but with precipitation.

The total precipitation for the month may surprise people. Total rain and snow moisture content last month was 4 and a tenth inches. That’s about 2 inches more than normal.

That’s the wettest precip total for the first month of the season since nearly 4 and a third inches was recorded in 2020. It’s not too far from the record of over 5 and a third inches set in 1944.

There was an over 2 inch rainfall on the 10th and 11th, and another inch and a quarter on the 17th. There was measurable precipitation on 9 of the 31 days last month.

Snowfall was down a little. We had nearly 4 and a quarter inches of snow. Normal snowfall is closer to 5 and a half inches.

The precipitation has helped much of west central Illinois recover from a drought.

Meanwhile, it was another warm month. The average reading was 28-point-2 degrees. Normal is 26-point 4.

The warm winter last month continued a recent trend, and included 9 days of 40 or better readings. There were just four nights of below zero readings.

The top temperature was 48 on the 30th, and the coldest was 12 below on the 14th.

The weather records date back to 1927 here. WLDS-WEAI is an official weather observer for the National Weather Service.

November Weather

It was a warmer than normal November, but very dry.

The precipitation total came to just 3-quarters of an inch. Normal rainfall for November is 3 and two thirds inches. The driest November Jacksonville has ever had was 23 hundredths in 1933.

The wettest day was just a half inch of rain on the 21st. We did get a half an inch of snow. Normal snowfall is a little over an inch. There were just four days of measurable precipitation in November.

The temperatures last month were only slightly warmer than normal. The average reading was 42-point-7 degrees. That’s just 2 tenths a degree higher than normal.

A typical day last month saw a high of 55, and a low of 31.

Readings ranged from 78 on the 9th, to 14 on the 28th. The 78 degree reading was just 2 degrees from the record high for that date.

There were 12 days of 60 or better readings. One of the stretches saw the mercury reach 70 or better three straight days, starting on the 7th. And, just one night below 20.

WLDS-WEAI is an official reporting station for the National Weather Service.

Mitchell-All State-CP and GNW has Two Each

For the second year in a row, Jacksonville has a player on the Illinois Football Coaches all state first team.

A year ago, it was Elijah Owens. This year, it is senior running back Cam Ron Mitchell.

Mitchell had an outstanding year with JHS, rushing for 1433 yards. He also finished with 12 touchdowns, averaged 8 point 8 yards a carry and 159 yards a game. He was the only all state player on the 5A all state team from the Central State Eight.

JHS finished 4 and 5, missing the playoffs by one point.

In Class 1A football, the list includes two from Greenfield Northwestern and Camp Point.

Running back Kohen Vetter and quarterback Dylan Pembrook were named from the Tigers, and running backs Elijah Genebacher and Drew Paben were named from Camp Point.

Camp Point hosts Greenfield Northwestern in the Class 1A semi final game on Saturday.

July Heat

The heat was on last month, but not at a record level.

The average temperature last month was nearly 75 and a half degrees. That’s just 6-tenths of a degree higher than normal. One only needs to look to last year for a hotter July, when the average was 75 and a half degrees.

Typical highs last month averaged close to 87, and lows reached 64.

The hottest temperature did not reach 100. It was 97 on the 29th. The coolest night was 58 on the 10th.

The mercury reached 90 0r better on just 5 of the first 25 days. But, we climbed to 90 or better on 5 of the last six days. And, the highs averaged 95 over a three day period starting last Wednesday.

The total rainfall last month was 4 and a half inches. That’s a full inch less than July of last year. It’s still a half an inch above normal.

Keep in mind, much of the rainfall was in the first three days. Close to three inches fell in the first three days. Just two inches fell in the final 28 days of July.

July historically is the hottest month of the year.

WLDS-WEAI is an official observing station for the National Weather Service.

Two From Jacksonville on All State FB teams

A Jacksonville High School senior has been named to a 5A all state football team.

Senior quarterback Elijah Owens has been named to the Illinois High School football coaches association all state team.

Owens is headed to Indiana State next year.

He was the only player in the Central State Eight to make the 5A all state team.

Routt has one player on the IHSFCA first team all state FB team.

Running back Will Jackson has been included on the Class 1A team.

North Mac has placed Cooper Starks as an offensive lineman on the 2A all state team

Two From New Berlin Make First Team All Sangamo in baseball

Two players from New Berlin/South County have been named to the 2022 Sangamo All conference baseball team.

Lucas Bixby and Rockman Prince were placed on the first team.

Jacob Roberts and Gannon Dodd of New Berlin/South County received honorable mention.

Jake Shannon and Dane Degroot of Porta/AC were named to the 2nd team, and teammate Aaron Suiter was named honorable mention.

NG Looking for new Head Basketball Coach

North Greene High School is looking to fill another coaching vacancy.

Justin Vinyard has told the administration that he will step down from the boys’ head basketball coaching position to pursue other endeavors.

Vinyard has been head coach at North Greene for the past three season, and struggled this year with a depleted roster.

His overall record is 18 and 58.

Athletic director Brett Berry says the school has been appreciative of his work and effort, and wish him well.

North Greene has begun taking applications from qualified candidates to fill the vacancy.

North Greene had just filled its head football coaching position with North Greene graduate Brian VanMeter last month. VanMeter had been on the staff of outgoing head coach Donnie Allen.