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Vote: CSM Spring Athletes of the Week, presented by Dominos, April 22-28, 2024

Updated: May 1

The number of athletes that did big things in spring sports across Central Illinois continues to be staggering and 10 more of them are contenders to win the honor of CSM Spring Athletes of the Week, presented by Dominos.

This week’s nominees include baseball and softball players who racked up more than a handful of hits, track stars who put up some of the best times across the whole state this season, and more. 

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

UPDATE: Morton's Tanner Spangler and Dee-Mack's Byrkleigh Kraft won voting for CSM Spring Athletes of the Week. Voting closed at 8 PM on Wednesday.

Boys Athlete of the Week nominees

Max Wille, Normal U-High baseball

Wille was nearly perfect in the batter’s box for the Pioneers last week as they won two out of three games. The outfielder’s best showing came in a 13-3 win over Pekin on Thursday where he went 3-for-3 with five RBIs and a triple. Wille had a hit in each at-bat against Mahomet-Seymour on Monday, driving in two runs and went 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs to put his RBI total for the week at 10. 

Isaiah Hill, Elmwood boys track and field

The Elmwood senior had another monstrous week in the twilight of his high school career, as he won five different events and put up some of the best times across all of Class 1A this season. At the Roger Washburn Invite on Friday, his 800-meter time of 1:52.76 was tops in Class 1A and the third-fastest outdoor time in the state this season. Hill threw down two more top 10 times in the class, winning the 400 meters at the Trojan Invite on April 22 with a personal-best mark of 50.96 seconds and won the 3200 meters at the Morton Distance Gala on Saturday with another PR of 9:29.28. He also won the 1600 meters at the Washburn Invite and helped the Trojans take first in the 4x800 meter relay at the Trojan Invite. 

Kaileb Hackman, Normal Community baseball

Hackman and the Ironmen won three Big 12 games by eye-opening margins and added a win over Plainfield North on Saturday, where Hackman earned the save and struck out four batters in two innings. At the plate, he went 7-for-11 with 11 RBIs, two doubles and two home runs throughout the course of the week, with his best game being a 3-for-3 performance with four RBIs in a 17-0 victory over Richwoods on Monday. 

Tyler Dowling, Bloomington baseball

Dowling helped lead Bloomington extend its win streak to seven games before a defeat to Chicago Brooks on Saturday. He started the week strong by striking out 12 in six innings with two walks and three hits allowed, along with going 3-for-4 with three RBIs in a 13-2 win over Urbana on Monday. He added a two-run home run in a big win over Peoria High on Wednesday and went 2-for-4 with an RBI against Brooks on Saturday. 

Tanner Spangler, Morton baseball

The Potters have won six straight and Spangler has been one of multiple reasons why, as he led Morton to a 7-2 win over Limestone on Wednesday behind a complete game with 14 strikeouts and no walks. Spangler allowed only three hits and both runs surrendered were unearned. In the same game, he went 2-for-3 with three RBIs before driving in another run in a 7-1 victory over Streator on Saturday. 

Girls Athlete of the Week nominees

Lexi Brinkman, Illini Bluffs softball

Brinkman delivered multiple big games for the Tigers last week, beginning on Monday when she hit a walk-off two-run home run in the 10th inning against ICAC rival Brimfield/Elmwood on Monday. Her home run parade was just getting started though, as the Illinois State commit socked two more and finished with four RBIs in a 13-6 win over North Fulton on Wednesday. 

Ali Ince, Normal Community girls track and field

Ince put her top-tier talent on display at two meets last week, including an Iron championship at the Intercity Meet on Tuesday. There, she won the 1600 meters in 4:54.03, the top time in Class 3A so far in the outdoor season, as well as the 400 meters in 58.72. The Oregon commit also helped Normal Community win the 4x400 and 4x800 meter relays at the event. 

Sutton Centoni, Dunlap softball

Centoni finds herself as a nominee again after throwing two no-hitters for Dunlap last week, bringing her season total to four. In a 10-0 win against Limestone on Monday, she struck out 10 and walked one in the five-inning affair while also collecting two hits and an RBI. The Eagles won by the same score against Pekin on Thursday behind 14 strikeouts from Centoni, who was a hit batter away from a perfect game. She added two hits and two RBIs at the plate against the Dragons as well. 

Byrkleigh Kraft, Dee-Mack softball

The Chiefs’ sophomore first baseman helped ignite their offense as they scored 38 combined runs in a trio of wins last week. Kraft was nearly perfect at the plate all week and put up a massive game against LeRoy on Monday by going 4-for-4 with five RBIs, including a walk-off three-run dinger. She went 4-for-4 again on Tuesday with a pair of doubles and RBIs as Dee-Mack beat Peoria Notre Dame 17-0 and added two more RBIs in a 10-0 win over Heyworth on Wednesday. 

Eden Cole, Pekin girls soccer

Cole had a good week for the Dragons, who took a trip to the Tournament of Champions at TBK Sports Complex in Bettendorf, Iowa for three games against high-level competition. There, she scored both goals in a 2-1 Pekin win over Jacksonville on Saturday. Cole also netted a goal and assisted on another in a 9-0 romp over Canton on Monday.

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