No way to sugarcoat it: The 1997 Illinois football team was the worst in school history. The only one to finish 0-11. Outscored 368-119. No games decided by fewer than 10 points.
CHAMPAIGN — Rantoul senior Demarius Smith’s eyes were glassy as he stared ahead on the second-place step of the podium.
His finish was the best in Rantoul history for the second straight year, but his loss by a 1-0 decision in Saturday’s Class 2A 152-pound state championship match stung.
CHAMPAIGN — Griffin Meeker’s coaches at St. Joseph-Ogden have dissuaded him from utilizing the cradle move he used often throughout middle school.
Before Saturday’s Class 1A 182-pound state championship match, the nation’s No. 1 195-pounder, Jacob Warner of Washington, also told him the move wouldn’t work.
CHAMPAIGN — Urbana sophomore Luke Luffman was anxious Saturday morning after his weigh-in for the Class 2A 220-pound state championship.
So he began walking laps around the State Farm Center concourse as he went through the previous days’ matches in his mind.
Finally, Tigers coach Charles Trabaris caught him mid-lap.
CHAMPAIGN — Late in his Class 2A 106-pound state championship match Saturday, Centennial junior Justin Cardani picked up opponent Kyle Schickel of Lemont, rotated a few steps to his right and looked toward the edge of the mat where photographers sat.
ACSI Mid-America Tourney
■ Victory (Ind.) 59, Arthur Okaw Christian 55. In the third-place game in Kankakee, AOC (19-17) was led by Benny Lee (23 points) and Trevor Beachy (10).
■ Arthur Okaw Christian 68, Sycamore Cornerstone Christian 50. Robby Tucker just missed a double-double (14 points, nine boards) for the Conquering Riders.
CHAMPAIGN — Cam Barnard reached double figures Saturday.
By qualifying in four events for the state swimming meet, the Champaign Central senior raised his career participation total at state to 12 events.
And, for the seventh year in a row, the Maroons won team honors in a 24-school boys’ sectional at Centennial High School.
Thirty-four years ago today, Illinois’ men’s basketball team defeated Michigan State 69-61, as Derek Harper went 11 of 11 from the field and scored 27 points.
Harper’s backcourt teammate Bruce Douglas established a single-season record for steals, pick-pocketing the Spartans three times.
Other memorable Illini events on this date in history: