Updated: Nov 10
Fall sports are winding down, with state cross country and soccer now in the books.
Multiple area teams stood out, including Elmwood boys and PND girls cross country taking home top-3 finishes in the state. In soccer, Normal U-High and PND took second in Class 1A and 2A, respectively, while Peoria Christian ended the year with a fourth place finish in Class 1A.
Four football teams around the area made their way into the quarterfinals: Washington, Olympia, Bloomington Central Catholic and Normal Community. Additionally, sectional swim meets resulted in multiple area qualifiers.
The following athletes are our nominees for CSM Fall Athletes of the Week, presented by Jake Weston State Farm, with information on their standout performances. There are polls for Boys Athlete of the Week and Girls Athlete of the Week.
UPDATE: Tommy Davis of Normal Community football and Kenna Malinowski of Normal Community girls swim and dive won their respective polls for CSM Fall Athletes of the Week. Voting ended at 5 p.m. on Friday
Boys Athlete of the Week nominees
Tommy Davis, Normal Community football
The electrifying Ironmen running back clutched up in overtime as Normal Community beat Bradley-Bourbonnais 31-30 to advance. Tied at 24 heading into the extra frame, Davis ran in for what was eventually the game-winning touchdown before Bradley-Bourbonnais found the end zone, but did not convert the two-point attempt.
Isaiah Hill, Elmwood boys cross country
Hill ran the course at Detweiller Park in a blazing 14:48.95 to take fifth overall in the Class 1A boys State Championship. The mark was a personal best for the senior and helped Elmwood finish third overall.
More from cross country state finals at Detweiller: Exhaustion and emotions aplenty for local runners at IHSA state cross country
Thatcher Hogan, PND boys soccer
Although the Irish fell one game short of repeating as Class 2A state champions, Hogan helped PND get to that point. He netted both goals in PND’s 2-0 state semifinal win over Burbank St. Laurence on Friday and ended the year with 21 goals and 16 assists.
Colin Hayes, Bloomington Central Catholic football
Hayes did his usual damage in BCC’s second-round playoff game as the Saints beat Farmington 27-12 to move on to the Class 2A quarterfinals, where they will take on Maroa-Forsyth. The senior quarterback ran for 167 yards, passed for another 108, and accounted for three total touchdowns in Saturday’s win.
Yonas Wuthrich, Morton boys cross country
Wuthrich was the top local finisher in the Class 2A boys State Championship, crossing the line in 14th with a time of 15:00.89. Wuthrich, along with senior teammate Josh Weeks who finished 19th, helped the Potters to a fourth-place team finish.
Girls Athlete of the Week nominees
Katie Unger, Dunlap girls swim and dive
Unger and the Eagles competed at the East Moline United Sectional on Saturday and will get the chance to hit the pool on more time at state this weekend. The sophomore diver put up the highest score of the meet at 409.5, just four points ahead of sophomore teammate Annie Yingling. Both divers qualified for state with their respective marks.
Meghan Zopel, PND girls cross country
The Irish stood out at the Class 1A State Finals on Saturday with a third-place finish. Zopel led the PND girls running crew with a time of 18:44.76, good enough to cross the line in 44th.
Graci Junis, Morton volleyball
The senior outside hitter boosted the Potters in sectional semifinal, sectional and super-sectional wins last week to help Morton qualify for state for the first time since 2006. Junis had eight kills in Morton’s super-sectional win over Providence Catholic in two-sets and added nine earlier in the week when the Potters beat LaSalle-Peru in the sectional semifinals. Junis also earned second team all-state honors by the IVCA earlier in the week.
Inside the Potters' run to state: Morton volleyball’s postseason run defined by a comeback year, a few falls and lots of fun
Kenna Malinowski, Normal Community girls swim and dive
Malinowski found herself in the winners’ spot more often than not at the Normal Community sectional, qualifying for state in four different events. The junior won both 50 and 100-yard freestyle races and was part of a pair of winning Ironmen relay teams in the 200-yard freestyle and 400-yard freestyle.
Natalie Bierbaum, Normal U-High girls cross country
Bierbaum separated herself from a large contingent of runners in the Class 2A girls State Championship race on Saturday, finishing fourth. Her time of 16:41.45 was 27 seconds clear of the next finisher, fellow Pioneers runner Zoe Carter. The U-High duo helped the team finish in 16th as a team.