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Vote: CSM Spring Athletes of the Week, Mar. 11-17, 2024

Updated: Mar 21

The first week for every spring sport except indoor track and field provided a litany of huge performances for Central Illinois athletes across the board. 

The nominees for our first CSM Spring Athletes of the Week award impressed with dual-threat performances on the diamond, multiple titles in indoor track and field and hat tricks in soccer. 

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The following athletes are our nominees for CSM Winter Athletes of the Week with information on their standout performances. There are polls for Boys Athlete of the Week and Girls Athlete of the Week below.

UPDATE: RJ Duncheon of East Peoria baseball and Justice Krus of Dunlap softball won CSM Boys and Girls Athletes of the week, respectively. Stay tuned for a story about our winners!

Boys Athlete of the Week nominees

Eli Michanicou, Dunlap baseball

Michanicou kicked off his freshman season by making an immediate impact for Dunlap, who went 4-0 in its opening week. His strongest contributions came on Saturday when he had two hits and three RBI’s plus earning the save in a narrow 10-9 win over Mt. Vernon by striking out the side. He went 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of RBI’s to help the Eagles in the other game of their doubleheader, a 6-2 win over Bethalto Civic Memorial. 

Darrin Dussett, Richwoods boys track and field

A state qualifier last year, Dussett added two more championships to his name at the Big 12 Indoor Conference Championship on Tuesday at Illinois Wesleyan. The senior ran a 7.90 seconds to capture the 60-meter dash title and won the 200 meters with a time of 22.91 seconds. 

RJ Duncheon, East Peoria baseball

Duncheon led a strong week on the diamond for the Raiders where they went 3-0 to open their season. During the week, Duncheon plated a pair in a 9-5 win over IVC and went 2-for-2 with a double, home run, four RBIs and two walks in a 15-1 win over Farmington. He started the game on the mound and was solid with four strikeouts, one hit and no runs allowed in two innings. 

Charlie Vercruysse, Normal U-High baseball

Normal U-High started its season in a favorable environment at the Florida League Classic and Vercruysse stood out by becoming the undisputed king of triples in the area. The senior and Notre Dame commit helped the Pioneers to their first win of the season with a double, triple and two RBI’s in an 8-3 win over Ponte Vedra (FL) and went 2-for-3 with another triple and an RBI in a 9-2 win over South Fork (FL). He added an RBI triple in a 9-5 loss to Eustis (FL) along with a double and a run in an 8-3 loss to Barron Collier (FL). 

Brayden Morse, Farmington boys track and field

Morse continued to shine in the field for Farmington by placing on the podium twice in the pole vault last week for the Farmers. The senior won the Titan Indoor Invitational at Monmouth College by clearing the bar at 3.97 meters and was runner-up at the Silver Streaks Invitational with a mark of 3.49 meters.

Girls Athlete of the Week nominees

Danika Frazier, Olympia girls softball

Frazier’s play in the first week of the season was remarkable to behold. In the Spartans’ season debut against Tri-Valley, she went 3-for-4 with five RBIs and two doubles while throwing six innings with 16 strikeouts in an 18-3 win. The rest of the week, which included wins over Bloomington Central Catholic, Brimfield and Dee-Mack, she went 5-for-9 with 5 RBIs and threw 12 innings with 24 strikeouts, no walks, two hits and one run allowed. 

Ranaisha Howard-Dunigan, Limestone girls track and field

Howard-Dunigan was a dominant force on the track for Limestone at the Galesburg Silver Streak Last Chance Indoor Invite, winning two races and taking second in another. The senior won the 60-meter dash in 7.73 seconds, as well as the 400 meters in 1:00.65, both personal-bests. She nearly took a triple crown by finishing second in the 200 meters in 25.58 seconds, less than two-tenths of a second behind the winner. 

Nora Johnson, Metamora softball

Johnson didn’t miss a beat in the circle to start the season for Metamora, hurling the Redbirds to a pair of opening-week victories. The senior threw a complete game against Class 3A state contender Pontiac with eight strikeouts while allowing just one run in a 2-1 victory. She earned another win on Saturday against Galesburg that featured 14 strikeouts and just one hit allowed. 

Zoe Kormah, Pekin girls soccer

Kormah helped Pekin get out to a lightning-fast start to the season that included three shutout victories. In a 9-0 victory over IVC on Thursday, she found the back of the net three times. However, she wasn’t done yet and repeated with another hat trick in a 9-0 triumph over DePue on Saturday. 

Justice Krus, Dunlap softball

Krus tore the cover off the softball on Saturday with strong power-hitting performances in a pair of Dunlap victories. She went 3-for-3 with a home run, a double and five RBIs in a 13-3 win over Chicago Payton. The St. Ambrose commit followed it up with two more dingers and another five-RBI game in a 12-2 victory over Ottawa Marquette.

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