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Vote: CSM Spring Athletes of the Week, presented by Dominos, April 29-May 5, 2024

Updated: May 8

There were not one, but two perfect games thrown in the Central Illinois area last week, and both pitchers find themselves as nominees for CSM Spring Athletes of the Week, presented by Dominos, alongside conference champions in track and field, softball standouts, and other athletes who delivered a clutch performance or two in big games. 

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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: Shelby Finchum and Keagan Uphoff, both of Olympia, won CSM Spring Athletes of the Week. Voting closed at 8 PM on Wednesday.

Girls Athlete of the Week nominees

Lena Jackson, Richwoods girls track and field

Jackson was a three-time Big 12 Conference champion on Friday for Richwoods, who finished in fourth place as a team at the conference meet. The junior won the 100 meters in 12.50 seconds, as well as the 200 meters in a season-best time of 25.50 seconds. Jackson also helped Richwoods finish first in the 4x100 meter relay, running alongside Brianna Johnson, Jessy Tran and Madi Franklin.

Shelby Finchum, Olympia softball

Finchum was a crucial part of delivering two wins for Olympia against strong opponents that helped keep the Spartans’ lengthy win streak alive. In a Monday showdown with Normal U-High, she hit a solo home run in a 3-0 win and delivered another blast when it mattered most against East Peoria on Friday, driving in three in a 5-1 victory. She tacked on three hits in four at-bats in two games during the middle of the week, including two with three RBIs in a 10-0 win over Sangamo Conference foe Athens. 

Karlie Young, Dunlap girls lacrosse

Young helped propel the Eagles to a pair of big wins last week that doubled their season win total as she doubled her previous total of 10 goals on the season as well. The senior captain netted four goals in a 17-4 win over Plainfield’s co-op team on Monday and upped the ante with six goals in a 14-4 win against Edwardsville the next day. 

Sara Finn, Illini Bluffs softball

Finn has been on a heater for the Tigers, who are one of the only remaining undefeated teams in the state at 18-0. In five wins last week, she totaled nine hits in 14 at-bats, 11 RBIs and two doubles, two triples and two home runs. Finn’s tear was highlighted by going 4-5 with five RBIs, a triple and a home run against Havana on Thursday and going 2-3 with four RBIs, a double and a homer in a big game against Tremont the day prior. 

Meg Uhren, Bloomington Central Catholic girls soccer

Uhren helped Bloomington Central Catholic finish its regular season with a flourish, winning three games last week by a combined score of 18-0. Uhren tallied three goals and an assist in a 9-0 triumph over Decatur St. Teresa on Monday and followed up with two goals in a 7-0 win over Champaign St. Thomas More on Tuesday. Uhren and the Saints clinched the Illini Prairie Conference title with a 2-0 win over Monticello on Thursday. 

Boys Athlete of the Week nominees

Josh Vaughn, Illini Bluffs baseball

Vaughn’s 21-strikeout perfect game performance on Friday took Central Illinois by storm and took second place all-time on the IHSA leaderboard for consecutive strikeouts. The Bradley commit threw 67 of his 87 pitches for strikes. If that wasn’t enough, he drove in two runs on two hits against Tremont on Saturday.

Drew Rader, Normal U-High baseball

Rader also threw a perfect game last week, helping Normal U-High blow by Decatur Macarthur 15-0 in five innings on Thursday and helping the Pioneers extend an impressive win streak. Rader struck out six in the effort, throwing 34 of his 51 pitches for strikes. 

Masyn Burke, Washington baseball

Burke didn’t start in either game he pitched last week, but he came in clutch in both appearances and was a big reason behind Washington’s two-game sweep of Dunlap. The senior came on in the ninth inning during a 1-0 game and ensured a Panther win by retiring the Eagles side and earning the save on Tuesday. The next day, he appeared out of the bullpen again and took the win in three innings of relief, striking out three batters and limiting Dunlap to one run. 

Keagan Uphoff, Olympia boys track and field

Uphoff shined at the Sangamo Conference Meet on Tuesday helping the Spartans to a fourth-place finish and placing top-3 in multiple events. The senior won the 300 meter hurdles in a personal record clocking of 40.08 seconds, as well as the high jump with a mark of 6 feet, 1.5 inches. Uphoff also took third in the 110 meter hurdles and ran on Olympia’s 4x400 meter relay team that took third. 

Jude Strahm, Brimfield/Elmwood baseball

Brimfield/Elmwood’s leadoff hitter set the tone in a busy week for the Indians, where they won four out of their five games. He began the week going 2-2 with two RBIs and a home run in a 12-2 win over ROWVA/Williamsfield, notching two hits and a pair of RBIs again in a 10-0 win over LVC the next day. He drove in runs in games against Stark County and Delavan and went 2-for-4 in a win over Macomb on Saturday.

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