All-Conference Athletes Named
All Conference selections for the high school spring sports were just published! Many Olympia athletes earned conference and state rankings. Congrats to all athletes!
All Conference selections for the high school spring sports were just published! Many Olympia athletes earned conference and state rankings. Congrats to all athletes!
Many recent Olympia High School grads are going on to pursue athletics in college. From a class of only 86 students, 5 females and 4 males will be continuing their athletic careers. Most of them will be staying right here in Illinois, with just a few moving over to the bordering states.
The sports season for OHS in the 2021-2022 school year concluded on Friday. Friday was the state track & field meet for our boys' team. The boys competed in the prelims on Friday but did not end up making it to the finals on Saturday. The qualifying 3200-meter team consisted of Anthony Ragland, Cooper Phillips, Owen Dare, and Brad Schardan. Owen and Brad wanted to save their energy for the 800 so the alternates, Logan Demling and Caden Clark ran instead. The team ran an 8:42.37 relay. Then, Brad Schardan ran the 800-meters at a personal best time of 2:00.20. Owen Dare was right behind him with a time of 2:00.26. Then, Keagan Uphoff did the 300-meter hurdles and had a time of 44.40. With Keagan being just a sophomore, he has a lot more potential to advance further in the coming years. He is off to a great start and ready for more!
This was regional week for the softball and baseball teams! To begin, the baseball team played Clinton on Monday night, coming away with a 3-2 win. This advanced them to play Pontiac on Thursday. The Spartans were not as good as Pontiac’s baseball team and lost 1-14. Pontiac is now going to the regional championship game on Monday vs Tremont. Olympia High School hosted all these regional baseball games. The high school baseball season has now ended and the boys are ready to play travel ball. The baseball program is grateful for finally having a full season that was very fun and memorable, too!
Post-season for Olympia High School athletics is coming into full gear. Just this week Girls Track and Field competed in their IHSA Sectional Meet. Anna Beiber qualified for State at the meet with a time of 2:21.68, just 2 seconds under the state qualifying time. Melissa Bieber just barely missed the qualifying time by .29 seconds with a 47.98 in the 300 hurdles, which is less than a second off the school record. Boys Track and Field will compete in their Sectional this coming week on the 18th.
The Spartans started off the week with a win. The girls' soccer team played Decatur Lutheran for their senior night. But, instead of the traditional senior night, they had a foreign exchange student night. The three girls include Kaat Biskanter, Lea Gersdorf, and Sofia del Val. The soccer team won with a score of 4-1. Raquel Birky earned a hat trick. Brooke Rogers also scored a goal. Assists by Tarah Hilt, Grace Birkey, Kensie Kleinschmidt, and Andi Ewalt. Congrats on such a fun game! They had three more games this week too. It was a tie against IVC 2-2, a loss of 0-4 against St. Thomas More, and a lose 1-8 against Bloomington.
The Boys Track and Field Team started off their week successfully in Heyworth with multiple first-place finishes. Owen Dare got first in the 400, Caden Clark got first in the 3200, Keagan Uphoff placed first in the 110 and 300 hurdles, and the 4x200 team came in first as well as the 4x400 and 4x800 teams. In the high jump, Olympia took the top two spots with Chase Litwiller in first and Keagan Uphoff in second, and Chase Ragar placed first in the boy’s triple jump.
The softball team was keeping busy this week. They began at Pontiac on Tuesday, coming away with a 2-0 hard-fought win. Shelby Finchum had a great fake throw to turn into a double play, keeping the Indians scoreless. Danika Frazier followed this with a 2-run home run. The JV team then picked up a 7-1 victory. On Thursday, the girls had a home game against rival Central Catholic. They won 10-0, scoring all 10 runs in the last inning. A double by Kat Springer started the rally by scoring Jordyn Turner. Other highlights include Shelby Finchum hitting a grand slam and a 2-run homer by Julia Winterland. On the defensive side, Danika Frazier threw a 2-hitter while striking out 10. JV softball followed with a 6-5 win. Saturday was a big tournament at Mt. Zion with at least 3 varsity softball games for the Spartans!
With lots of meets and games throughout the week, Olympia High School athletes had an eventful, and successful, week. Track and Field had first-place finishes at the Metamora Coed Invite with Brad Schardan in the 400-meter, Owen Dare in the 800-meter, a boys 4x400 meter relay, a boys 4x800 meter relay, a girls 4x800 meter relay, and had a third-place finish from Anna Bieber in the 800 meter. The boy’s track and field team continued their success at the Monticello Invite with Owen Dare once again finishing first in the 800-meter, the 4x400 relay team getting a first-place finish, a second-place finish in the 4x800 relay, and Keagan Uphoff achieved third in the 300-meter.
Olympia High School athletics had a successful week as many teams picked up wins throughout the week. Starting with girls’ track and field, the team placed 3rd out of 17 teams at the overnight meet in Greenville with only 4 points separating them from first. To achieve this placing the girls brought home 25 medals with Amelia Kistner finishing first in the 2-mile, Anna Bieber finishing second in the 800, Abby Litwiller placing third in the mile, Hannah Cleveland getting third in shot-put, Melissa Bieber finishing third in both the triple jumps and 400, Kourtney Fann placing 3rd in the 300 hurdles, and Chrystal Cornwell, Madison Bales, Anna Bieber, and Kaylie Dare got third in the 4x800.
Back from winter sports, Taylor Nowaskie earned yet another basketball accomplishment. She made it on the Pantagraph All-Area girls’ team. Taylor is at the top of the area team averaging 24.7 points per game.
Cold weather, rain, and harsh winds prevented many Olympia High School sports from competing this week with many of the games being canceled. Olympia boys and girls track and field didn’t face these cancellations due to their indoor season. Just this week four members of the boy’s team qualified for the Class 2A Illinois Top Times Indoor Championship Track meet held at Wesleyan’s Shirk Center. Of these members are seniors Owen Dare and Brad Schardan who will run the 800 and 400-meter races and will also be competing with sophomore Keagan Uphoff and freshmen Cohen Alexander in the 1600 meter relay. From the girl’s team, Anna Bieber qualified for Illinois Top Times in the 400-meter dash and will also be competing at the Wesleyan Shirk Center.
Softball opening day was on Monday at Tri-Valley High School. Both the JV and varsity teams came out with big wins this night! Shelby Finchum and Casey Wissmiller both hit home runs, too! The final score for varsity was 16-2. On Thursday, the softball team played their home opener game against Brimfield. Varsity had a walk-off win in the bottom of the 8th inning with a score of 2-1. The Spartans overcame Brimfield in this game with 11 hits, 2 runs, and 0 errors compared to Brimfield with 3 hits, 1 run, and 2 errors.
With all of the winter sports having come to a close, within the next few weeks spring sports will be starting up. These sports at OHS include; softball, baseball, girls soccer, and girls and boys track and field. Many of these spring sports had successful seasons last year that will hopefully transfer into this year’s season.
Spring sports for Olympia High School are officially underway. Olympia offers baseball, softball, girls’ track and field, boys’ track and field, and girls’ soccer at this time. All of these sports welcome athletes in each grade to participate at their appropriate level.
All winter sports at Olympia High School have officially come to a close. Starting within these coming weeks Olympia’s spring sports will startup, all of which include; softball, baseball, Boy’s and Girl’s Track and Field, and Girl’s Soccer.
The Dee-Mack Chiefs fell to an outstanding El Paso-Gridley team at the senior night home game on Tuesday, February 15.
Monday night the freshman boys’ basketball team traveled to Tolono Unity to begin their end of the season tournament. Olympia played Tolono Unity in the first game. More tournament games were to be played later in the week, but were postponed due to weather. Therefore, the tournament should conclude on Saturday.
As winter sports are coming to an end IHSA Regionals and Sectionals are fast approaching. The Boy’s Basketball team started the week with a win against IVC on Tuesday with a score of 53-49. On Thursday they faced Central Catholic where they put up a good fight, staying a few points away from Central throughout the third quarter, but couldn’t get it together to pull through a win and lost 48-69. The team has two more games before they start regionals on the 19th where they will play DeeMack to start. They lost a close game to DeeMack earlier in the season, 39-45, so hopefully they can pull through and gain a win in their first regional game.
Saturday, January 29th, was the start to a girls basketball tournament at Central Catholic for local JV teams. Olympia lost the first games in the tournament and are no longer competing for a trophy. The girls’ varsity basketball team competed in a crossover shootout between the Illini Prairie and Sangamo conferences. Olympia was lined up to play Williamsville based on conference rankings. A close back and forth game resulted in a loss of 59-61 for the Spartans, though. Monday night, the girls hosted IVC. This was senior night for Erin Dederich, Taylor Nowaskie, and Casey Wissmiller. The JV was very competitive and got the crowd all pumped up already going into double overtime. But, the Spartans were able to pull ahead and come out with a 38-31 JV win. Then, everyone was excited for the varsity game and senior night to begin. The whole team played very well together and won 60-36. Taylor Nowaskie had an outstanding game, scoring 32 points for the Spartans. This made her the Olympia High School Girls’ Basketball All-Time Leading Scorer. She also signed to play college basketball at Lincoln Land Community College that night!
Going 3 for 4, the Girls Basketball team has had a busy week. They started off at Peoria Manual where they won 57-33 on Saturday the 22nd. Then on Monday, they got a tough loss against St. Joseph Ogden 40-50. They then faced East Peoria on Tuesday, winning 59-20, and then faced Pontiac and won 61-48. Also, this week senior Taylor Nowaskie, who just recently passed the 1,000 point mark for high school career points scored, has now passed her mom, Mandy (Bryan) Nowaskie, and has taken over the #2 spot on the All-Time Girls Basketball Career Scoring List.
This week was very busy with sporting events for Olympia High School. Every day there was at least one competition going on, with multiple on many days.
Olympia High School’s athletics had a successful week with the majority of the teams adding wins to their record and competing well throughout their games and meets.
Over winter break, Olympia boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball had the opportunity to participate in the State Farm Holiday Classic tournament. There were 4 brackets and classifications of games played. Both Olympia teams were in the small school brackets. 64 teams total came to Bloomington-Normal for one of the best basketball tournaments in Illinois.
This week has been a rough week for Olympia High School sports. Many students are sick, injured, or quarantined so they are unable to play. Thus, the week was much lighter with sports and activities going on.
To start off the week, girls’ basketball had a home game against Heyworth. JV had a nice win of 37-17. The varsity also won 57-32. Leading scorers were Taylor Nowaskie with 23 points and Hannah Cleveland with 17 points. Wednesday night, the freshman team traveled to St. Joseph-Ogden and came out with a win. Thursday was an away game at Tremont. Since this game was much closer in distance, the Spartans had a fan section of students. Again, the JV team won by a lot. The varsity girls also lead throughout the whole game and came away with a 66-54 win. This advances the team to eight wins and only two losses. They begin conference play with home games on both Monday and Thursday of this coming week. On Saturday morning, the freshman girls played a home game against Normal Community and lost 29-52.
Olympia High School’s winter sports are now in full motion, most having begun their season last week and continuing into this week. Multiple of the teams have had early successes, showing promise for the season to come.
To finish up the Turkey Tussle tournament, the Varsity girls’ basketball team played against Riverton on Thursday. This game was a close battle the whole night, with the Spartans pulling ahead with the win by just one point. The Olympia Spartans then advanced to the third-place game at Clinton High School on Saturday. From the other bracket, Olympia matched up against Clinton. After a long game, Clinton pulled away with the win by just a few points.
In these next coming weeks winter sports at Olympia are beginning to start. The Girls’ Basketball team started their first week of games this week, coming out of it with a win and loss for both the Varsity and Freshmen teams. The Varsity team played TCSV on Monday and won 57-29 and then played Mt. Pulaski on Tuesday losing 45-54. The Freshmen team played Metamora on Tuesday and ended up losing 20-45. They finished their week off on Thursday playing Lincoln and winning the game by four points. The JV Girls’ team hasn’t played yet, but so far the girls are off to a good start. This weekend the Varsity team has a tournament at Clinton and then they will play Athens on Monday.
On Friday evening, the Dee-Mack Booster Club hosted a Winter Meet the Chiefs event at the Mackinaw High School. The evening started at 5:00 P.M. with an introduction to the Mackinaw High School band, who then played the National Anthem followed by the Dee-Mack School Fight Song. The Spirit Team was also introduced, followed by the Scholastic Bowl team. Next, the wrestling team rolled out 2 of their mats and the 8 wrestlers split off into pairs and gave Dee-Mack fans a quick exhibition of the drills they run during practice, before being introduced. The wrestling team is coached by Timothy Thomas and their first meet is on Tuesday November 30th, at 5:30 P.M., at home.
Friday night was Spartan Night at Olympia High School for a winter sports preview to parents and spectators. To begin the night, the pep band played the National Anthem. Directly after, cheer and dance performed the school song. All teams were dressed in uniform for team, individual, and senior banner pictures. Then, Mike Castleman, Olympia High School's Athletic Director, recognized the speech team. These students were responsible for announcing all individual players and teams for the winter sports season. The night finished with various scrimmages of boys’ basketball, girls’ basketball, and wrestling.
As the fall season of sports dies down, many sports and activities at Olympia High School have reached their post-season. Last Saturday the 30th the Boys and Girls Cross Country teams both competed in their sectional meet. At this meet, the Boys Team took second with Owen Dare finishing 10th and Carter Phillips finishing 21st. The Girls Team finished 3rd overall with Anna Bieber taking 15th and Abby Litwiller taking 21st.
Football playoff time is upon us once again as our Dee-Mack Chiefs hosted The North Lawndale College Prep High School (Phoenix) on Saturday afternoon. North Lawndale received the initial kickoff and quickly found themselves punting. Lucas Blumeyer received and ran the ball back about 30, leaving the Chiefs with excellent field position. Brent Denniston was repeatedly used to march the ball down the field, with Blumeyer getting into the end zone on a very impressive reverse to the left. The 2 point conversion attempt was no good.
To conclude the high school football season, the JV team traveled to El-Paso Gridley Monday night. This was a Varsity preview game for next year for both schools. The Spartans finished strong with a 50-8 win. Good job to all the players, coaches, and fans. The loyal support of our football teams does not go unnoticed.
To kick off the week of OHS activities, on the 16th the Boys and Girls Cross Country teams both competed in the St. Anthony Invite. In this meet, most of the girls and boys from the teams placed in the top forty. The Boys Team got first overall in this meet and the Girls Team got second overall.
The Girls Swim team had a meet at Porta High School where the team did really well. Isabelle Forrest got first in the 200 IM and the team also got first and second in the 200 Medley Relay. Just like many other fall sports, their postseason is fast approaching with their sectional meet two weeks from now. With only a few weeks left of normal meets, the season will soon come to an end and winter sports will be starting.
The Dee-Mack Chiefs suffered a loss against the Eureka Hornets at home Friday night, with a final score of 29-20. The Chiefs started the game with possession of the ball and marched up the field to Eureka’s 22-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. Eureka fired back with an 85-yard touchdown reception and extra point kick for an early 7-0 lead. Not to be outdone, The Chiefs had multiple runs up the middle, resulting in a touchdown. The 2-point conversion was good, putting the Chiefs in the lead 8-7.
The Olympia High School Homecoming Court was announced.
This week was a busy week for the Spartans with Homecoming Week going on and multiple activities having games. Boys and Girls Cross Country ran in the Illinois Prairie Conference meet which was held at Olympia. In this race, the Boy’s team placed second overall. They finished off the week on Saturday with the Metamora Runnin Red Invitational. The Boy’s team got eleventh overall and the Girl’s team got sixth.
The only activity that went on Monday night was a home JV football game vs St. Joseph Ogden. Again, all levels of the football team were heavily depleted by injury. Late in the 4th quarter, Olympia was able to take the lead 22-20, but then St. Joe quickly came up with a hook and ladder play to win 22-28. Even with this loss, the coaches were very proud of their football players for all their hard work.
With the field now set for the inaugural Pork & Pigskins Championship, the IHSA and the Illinois Pork Producers Association have revealed the four regions and how to vote for your favorite concession stand pork chop sandwich.
The Girls Volleyball team had a strong week with two wins added to their record. In their first game of the week against Decatur, they won in two sets. The first set was 25-19, and the second set was 25-12. On Thursday against Prairie Central, the team won in three sets, winning the first one 25-13 and winning the third 25-19. Hopefully, they can keep the momentum going into next week.
In a small town with a passion for football, few locations mean as much to the community as the local football field. Not only is it a place for student athletes to congregate and compete, it is also a social outlet for adults. This is especially true for Mackinaw's Jim McDonald Field.
The argument could be made that the modern-day history of Jim McDonald Field starts with its namesake, Jim McDonald. Coming to Mackinaw as a student teacher from Eureka College in 1974, Jim went to work under then head coach Larry Young. After 5 seasons, McDonald was ready to take the reins himself for 2 years. While he did go back to assistant coach for another 2 years, Jim officially took over in 1982, where he would stay for the next 23 years. During his 25-year tenure, the Dee-Mack Chiefs amassed an impressive record of 178-84, with a state runner up finish in 1987 and 5 undefeated regular seasons.
In 1995, McDonald would be fundamental in establishing a JFL league for Deer Creek-Mackinaw. Starting with a goal of $11,000, several fundraisers were held that summer. Under Jim’s guidance, the club would go on to smash that goal, bringing in almost $20,000 with the help of many community members and businesses. As of 2018, the JFL teams would also play occasional games on the high school field.
McDonald went on to retire from coaching and teaching in 2005 at the end of yet another successful season that included a 9-0 regular season run, a Midstate Title, and a #1 state ranking. However, the winning tradition that Jim started would not end there. In 2016, under head coach Job Linboom, the Chiefs would bring home the state title after defeating Maroa-Forsyth 35-7 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign.
In August of 2018, the Dee-Mack football stadium was dedicated to Jim McDonald during half time of their home opener against Tremont. The ceremony was emceed by current athletic director, Mitch Holmgren, and featured speeches from coach Job Linboom and former player Zach Zehr. The 11-minute ceremony can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6oSFnRZ3v4
The next home game at the Jim McDonald field will be on Friday October 8th, against the LeRoy Panthers at 7:00 P.M.
Another night of Friday Night Football is upon us as the Dee-Mack Chiefs host the El Paso-Gridley Titans. Both teams took the field for a 7 o’clock kickoff. The first quarter was incredibly exciting, starting with a Chiefs touchdown during a 6-minute drive, as Lucas Blumeyer ran the ball into the end zone. Unfortunately, a 2-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful. The resulting Titans possession would end with a fumble at their own 39-yard line, which was recovered by the Chiefs defense.
The first snap of the Chiefs drive would go high, resulting in a 2nd fumble in as many plays; giving the Titans the ball. 2 plays later, the Titans threw an impressive pass to put 7 points on the board, after a successful PAT.
The 2nd quarter was an absolute slug fest with both teams trying to out-maneuver each other, but to no avail, despite an excellent interception by sophomore Tyce Albritton. The first half would end with an attempted field goal by El Paso which fell short. 7-6, Titans.
El Paso started the 3rd quarter with control of the ball. On the first play of their drive the snap went wide, resulting in a 20-yard loss for the Titans. This drive ended in a punt; however, the next Titan possession would put another 7 points on the board for a score of 14-6.
For the start of the 4th quarter, the Chiefs take possession. Despite a valiant effort, they couldn’t get past the Titan defense. The Chiefs last possession was an attempted rally that yielded 3 excellent passes, but the Chiefs were stopped about 40 yards short of the goal line. El Paso would then take a knee to run out the clock.
This past weekend, JV and Varsity volleyball had some strong tournaments in Clinton. After a rough start, the Varsity team climbed their way back up to play in the championship game. Olympia played against St. Thomas More who is a huge conference rival for this sport. This was a big match with plenty of competitive rallies. The Spartans fell short of the win and ended up accomplishing second place. Shelby Finchum, Madeline Conway, and Andria Ewalt made the all-tournament team. On the other side, the JV volleyball team also played very well and earned third place. Tuesday and Thursday were home games for all levels. As always, Blue Crew represented Spartan spirit strong with a huge enthusiastic crowd. JV won both days while Varsity ended up going to three sets each time and losing.
Football fans couldn’t have asked for a better evening to watch a football game. Pork chops were on the grill as fans filed into the stadium. After a brief opening ceremony that included the Mackinaw JFL football teams, it was game time.
To start off the week, the JV football team got a win 18-8 against PBL Monday night. Alex Olsen led the team, getting a safety to end the second quarter, and a pick-six to end the game. On Thursday the Freshman team beat Monticello 20-16.
The boys’ soccer team and the cross-country runners were very successful this week for Olympia High School sports. On Tuesday, the soccer team won 6-2 at Blue Ridge highlighted by George Martin’s 5 assists, Jace Whitted’s 4 goals, and 11 saves by Elijah Smith! On Thursday, the guys picked up a shutout win. Again, goalie Elijah Smith performed very well earning a clean sheet by allowing no goals.
Monday night was a big night for HS boys soccer against Meridian winning its home opener. Evan Deterding, George Martin, Jace Whitted, and Elliott Hohulin all scored goals or made assists. On defense, Elijah Smith had 7 saves. Boys and girls golf had matches with Clayton Barnes finishing in 1st place. Volleyball had their first match on Thursday against the Eureka Hornets. Varsity came out strong defeating the Hornets in the first set, but then fell short at the end against the state-ranked team even with the help of the Blue Crew. Other events, including cross country, were canceled due to the extreme heat.
The Friday Night Lights will turn on throughout the Land of Lincoln on August 27 as Illinois high school football action returns around the state.
On August 4, 2021, Governor Pritzker announced an update to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) All-Sports Policy that will require masks to be worn for all indoor IHSA athletic events regardless of an individual’s vaccination status. This mask directive for indoor athletic events applies to student-athletes, coaches, officials, game personnel, and fans.
This week’s coaches spotlight brings us to the basketball court, where boys’ basketball coach Tom Garriott discusses his coaching career, his time at Olympia, and the culture of his basketball team. So far, Garriott’s favorite part about coaching at Olympia has been the player’s work ethics and attitudes. He explained that the players have kept a positive attitude, despite all the challenges COVID restrictions brought to the season. The work ethic and attitude of the Spartan basketball players fits right into the culture Garriott wants in his basketball program. “Hard work, great attitudes, and putting the team before all individual accolades is a culture most coaches strive for. So far, I like the direction we are going,” stated Garriott.
Coach Mark Finchum has been involved in coaching the Olympia Spartans baseball program for 26 years. Coach Finchum bleeds Spartan blue and white, being an Olympia Class of 1988 graduate. During his time as a student at Olympia High School, Coach Finchum played football and baseball for all four years. In his junior year of high school, Coach Finchum’s baseball team was the first team to make it to the state tournament in 1987. This was only the beginning of what was to come in the future of Olympia baseball.
Darrel Dubree is the Olympia High School softball assistant coach. Dubree started his coaching career at Olympia in 2009 as a volunteer coach for the high school team. That year, the Spartans won a state championship. Since then, he hasn’t turned back from working with the Spartans. Dubree has spent his entire coaching career at Olympia. He became the high school assistant and the middle school assistant coach in 2011, then became the middle school head coach in 2016. Before his time working with school softball, Dubree coached travel softball throughout the years that his daughter played for the Oly Fire organization. His first year in that role was in 2001, and he has filled assistant and head coaching roles throughout the last 20 years. It is safe to say that Dubree is committed to Olympia softball.
Coach Mike Neisler had been Olympia’s boys and girls cross country and track coach up until his retirement this year. Coach Neisler had been a student and athlete favorite as one of Olympia’s health and PE teachers. With a long history in athletics, especially running, Coach Neisler was the right guy for the cross country program at Olympia. At Girard High School, Coach Neisler ran track, played basketball, and played football his senior year and says that, “the best day of the season was the day we ran the mile in pads! I won. Maybe I was in the wrong sport.”
Jenny Gillis is going into her 5th season as the Olympia High School Head Girls Swimming Coach. Gillis is also a 4th grade teacher at Olympia North Elementary School, but her Olympia ties do not end there. She grew up outside of Danvers and attended Danvers Elementary then continued at Olympia through high school. During her time at Olympia, she swam for Olympia Country Swimmers from when she was 10 years old through middle school. During high school, she swam for the Olympia High School team all four years. After her time at Olympia, Gillis went on to study at Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL.
Olympia Spartan football coach Eric Lyons is this week's Coach of the Week. Coach Lyons has had a life full of football. During his childhood, Coach Lyons grew up the son of a football coach, so he was destined for a future full of football. Lyons played high school football for the South Piatt Co-op, where he was a four-year starter, a two-time Decatur Herald all area player, and earned News Gazette all area player one year as well. At the end of his high school career, Lyons left as the all-time leader in career assists, solo tackles, and tackles for loss. He also held the single season records for each of those categories. His incredible high school football career earned him a scholarship to play at McKendree College. After a freshman year injury, Coach Lyons made the transfer to Eureka College where he was a four-year starter, three year All Illini Badger Conference selection at offensive guard, three-time Nick Award winner for the team’s most valuable Offensive Lineman, and a two-year team captain. Coach Lyons’ playing career was over, but he was not done with football in the slightest.
Courtney Hoffman is the softball and girls basketball coach at Olympia High School. She moved into the Olympia district in 2015, and only coached basketball her first year at the school. Since then, she has been a two-sport coach and is leaving an impact throughout our community. Hoffman is a PE teacher at Olympia High School. She is also the head coach of the 12u Oly Fire Softball team that her daughter Finley plays on.
Monday afternoon the Spartans’ week of sports got started with the baseball team travelling to Shelbyville for the Regional Championship. Shelbyville came into the game with a 20-3 record and the top seed in the regional. In a close, hard fought game, the Spartans season unfortunately ended after losing 3-2. The team showed a lot of improvement throughout the season and had a great season. Seniors Andrew Nichols, Ethan Davis, Ryan Cleinmark, and Hayden Stork were all selected to the McDonalds All Star Game.
On Monday, softball and baseball both competed at home versus Prairie Central. Softball won 5-4 with a walk-off bunt from Freshman Jordyn Turner. Mariah Maris tied the game with a squeeze play bunt that brought in Kennedy Smith. Baseball won big over the Hawks, with Ryan Cleinmark leading the team to a 9-1 win. Cleinmark had four hits for the Spartans.
Monday afternoon, Olympia High School sports got started with a record-breaking girls soccer match at Macomb. The girls got the win 3-0 over Macomb and Ida Neumann tallied her fourth total hat trick on the year, while also becoming the new record holder for goals in a single season. Assists in the match came from Andi Ewalt and Amy Dederich, and Isabelle Forrest was in the net with a shutout.
On Monday, baseball and softball were scheduled to play at Central Catholic and soccer was scheduled to play at Riverton. All activities were cancelled due to the weather.
On Monday afternoon, the Olympia Spartans got their sports week started with a softball game against St. Thomas More at home. The Spartans dominated the game, winning in three innings by a score of 18-0. Olympia freshman Danika Frazier had herself a day, going 3-3 with 3 home runs.
Baseball and softball kicked off the week at home versus the Monticello Sages. Both games were cut short due to weather conditions, but the softball team had played a complete game, winning 4-0 in five innings. However, the baseball team had just tied their game 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning when the game was called, so it was not a complete game for them.
Olympia’s girls soccer team kicked off their season on Monday afternoon with a home game against Macomb. The Spartans came out on top, 3-1 over the Bombers of Macomb. Battling against the wind, the Olympia girls were led by Ida Neumann. She put up a hat trick in the second half of the game, while the Spartan’s defense held Macomb scoreless in the first half.
It’s time for another transition of sports seasons during this unusual school year. This week the sports that typically run in the fall season wrapped up their season, and one of the spring sports had their first competition.
On Tuesday, Olympia High School’s sports kicked off with a home soccer match against rival Central Catholic. The Saints of Central Catholic came in as the top team in the Illini Prairie Conference on Tuesday, having a great season so far. The Spartans were hoping they could make a big statement win and knock them off, but Central Catholic held strong winning the match 9-2. The Spartans will be ready to get back on the field on Thursday at Tolono Unity.
AnElyse Sweeney is a thirteen-year-old gymnast from Armington with a very bright future. When she started at nine years old, AnElyse knew she would love doing gymnastics. It took her a couple of years at the start to find a gym where she would really be able to excel. Two years into her gymnastics journey, she found Gym Corner in Washington, IL, where she and her mother, Stacey Sweeney, felt she would truly be able to grow as a gymnast.
This week was an exciting week of sports for the Olympia Spartans! Boys soccer, volleyball, and football all played a thrilling week of games. On Monday, boys soccer had a rough start to the week at Central Catholic, losing 7-0. Although it was a rough start for the Spartan boys, they bounced back quickly and had strong appearances the rest of the week.
Olympia High School sporting events got started this week on Tuesday when the volleyball team took on the Sages from St. Thomas More. The Spartans put up a good fight against the Sages, but ended up losing in two closely decided sets. Some highlights from the game include ten kills from senior Bella Dickhut, eight kills from senior Katlin Dean, and seven digs from senior Abbi Bode. The girls gave a great effort and continue to improve every game.
Boys Soccer kicked off the week of sports for the Olympia High School Spartans on Monday with a game at home vs St. Thomas More. Going into the game the Spartans were 3-1, but unfortunately they lost to the Sabers 4-0. When asked about the game senior Payton Carroll stated, “I would say that even though we lost there was definitely an improvement from how the game went last year against St. Thomas More, and it’s nice to see the improvement that we’ve made.”
Olympia High School’s sporting events started this week on Tuesday after a cold and rainy Monday, causing boys soccer to postpone their game vs. St. Thomas More. The Spartans soccer team got back out on the field Tuesday afternoon at home vs Rantoul. Senior Justin Siebert and sophomore, Gannon Willie led the team to a 6-1 victory with 2 goals each. Other goal scorers in the match included Corentin Thumfart and Payton Carroll. Some highlights from the game included Noah While and George Martin with 2 assists each and Jace Whitted with an assist. The Spartans improve to 2-1 on the season.
This week at Olympia High School the Spartans officially wrapped up winter sports and began the sports that are typically played during the fall season. Boys and girls basketball concluded, while football, volleyball, and boys soccer began their seasons.
The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) was featured prominently among the 2021 Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Hall of Fame class when the IBCA revealed its latest honorees on December 7, 2020. Current IHSA Associate Executive Director Kurt Gibson and recently retired IHSA Assistant Executive Director Scott Johnson were both named Hall of Fame inductees under the IBCA’s Friends of Basketball category.
The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors met for a special virtual meeting on Thursday, November 19, 2020, where the Board provided an update on winter sports. To maintain compliance with the most recent mitigations issued by Governor Pritzker that take effect on November 20, the IHSA Board issued guidance to pause all IHSA winter sports and activities by November 20.
“All IHSA sports and activities will cease by November 20 for what we hope is a short-term pause,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “Given the rising COVID-19 cases in our state and region, we support the Governor’s mitigations and believe it is imperative for everyone in the state to do their part in following them so that we can return to high school sports participation as soon as possible.”
The Board will revisit the status of winter sports at their update discussion on December 2, and again at their regularly scheduled meeting on December 14 if necessary. “Taking into account the current state mitigations, the Board believes that early to mid-December will be the most reasonable target to review the status of winter IHSA sports and activities,” said Anderson. “The Board is sensitive to the scheduling difficulties these delays create for athletic directors and coaches. However, our experiences this summer and fall lead us to believe that setting arbitrary start dates hinders the process even more. We realize it may seem redundant, but we have to preach patience as we await more data and direction from the state. Despite the obstacles this unprecedented school year has presented, the Board’s vision to provide participation opportunities in all IHSA sports has not wavered.”
The Board was steadfast in their desire to remind all athletes and athletic programs that adhering to the mitigations is vital to the hopes of safely playing high school sports in Illinois as soon as possible.
The Illinois High School Association is inviting the governor or a designated representative to the next meeting of its board of directors. The hope is to bridge a gap between the governor’s position and that of the IHSA. Gov. J.B. Pritzker wants high school basketball pushed back to spring because of the coronavirus pandemic. The IHSA believes that games can be played in the traditional season with proper mitigations. The season starts Nov. 30, and the meeting is scheduled for Nov. 19, three days after the scheduled start of practices.
One more congratulations to Coach Mike Neisler and the Olympia High School cross country teams. Last Friday the teams ran in the final meet of the strange, yet spectacular 2020 season. Since IHSA chose to not host a state meet, ShaZam Racing (a timing company out of Peoria) organized a state meet at Three Sisters Park near Chillicothe. The girls’ team placed 6th and the guys were 5th.