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Vote: CSM Spring Athletes of the Week presented by Dominos, April 8-14, 2024

Updated: Apr 17

The second week of April was one of the first of the spring sports season to be virtually untouched by Mother Nature, leading Central Illinois' best prep athletes to showcase their stuff all week long.


Some of the best track and field athletes in the area reached new highs, more Herculean two-way performances in softball were had, and a few baseball players brought their A-game every day of the week in multiple wins.


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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: Fieldcrest's Jordan Heider and East Peoria's Meadow Terry won CSM Spring Athletes of the Week in their respective poll.s Voting concluded at 8 PM on Wednesday.


Boys Athlete of the Week nominees


Braden Vanderheydt, Washington baseball


The Panthers senior had an incredibly high-level and consistent week, which started by hitting a go-ahead double in the sixth inning in a 4-2 win over Pekin on Monday. He helped Washington finish off the sweep on Saturday by earning the win on the mound in five innings of work, allowing just two hits and a run. He added a three-run homer as part of a four-RBI day in a 16-0 win against Metamora on Friday and finished it off by hitting two doubles and driving in three runs in a 14-4 victory against Streator on Saturday.


Melvin Jenkins, Peoria High boys track and field


Jenkins and the Lions went to the Urbana Boys Track Open on Saturday and the Peoria High sophomore turned in a blazing-fast time of 10.98 seconds to win the 100 meters, a mark that would’ve placed him second at the IHSA Class 2A state finals a year ago. Jenkins also took second in the 200 meters with a personal-best time of 22.75 seconds and ran on the Lions’ 4x100 meter relay team that finished third. 


Bennett Summers, Bloomington Central Catholic baseball


Summers went 10-for-18 at the plate over the course of five games for BCC last week, highlighted by a performance against conference foe Champaign St. Thomas More on Thursday where he had three hits, five RBIs, two runs and stole two bases. He turned in another 3-hit game the next day against another Illini Prairie opponent in Paxton-Buckley-Loda, including a double and triple while. That same game, he earned the win on the mound with four strikeouts and one run allowed in three innings of relief. 


Jordan Heider, Fieldcrest baseball


The Knights multi-sport standout delivered a clutch Heart of Illinois Conference win for his team with a walk-off two-run home run against Dee-Mack on Friday to win 12-10. The dinger helped his own cause as he picked up the win in three innings of work, surrendering one hit and two unearned runs while striking out three. Heider contributed two more multi-hit games in a loss to Ridgeview on Monday and a win over Putnam County on Saturday. 


Trae Brickner, Peoria Christian boys track and field


Brickner took home three Inter-County Athletic Conference titles at the conference meet on Tuesday. The hurdles specialist won the 110-meter hurdles with a PR of 15.60 seconds and the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 42.70 seconds. His personal-best high jump of the year at five feet, 10 inches gave him gold in the high jump as well. 


Girls Athlete of the Week nominees


Cora Ellison, Illini Bluffs softball


Ellison dominated on both sides of the ball for the undefeated Tigers in four games last week with her best game coming in a 12-0 win over Lewistown on Wednesday where she threw a five-inning no-hitter with 11 strikeouts and a walk. She fired two more complete-game wins against Delavan on Monday and Athens on Saturday, giving up three hits to go with no earned runs and 17 strikeouts all combined. She had four RBIs during the week, two of which came on a two-run home run on Saturday. 


Meadow Terry, East Peoria softball


The East Peoria star threw a combined 17 innings without allowing a run in three games for the Raiders last week, including complete-game blankings in Mid-Illini wins over Dunlap on Tuesday and Limestone on Saturday. Terry’s weekly pitching total included 19 strikeouts and one walk. At the plate, she went 3-for-3 with 2 RBIs against East Moline United on Monday and 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two doubles against Limestone on Saturday. 


Mya Strahm, Elmwood girls track and field


The University of Tennessee-bound standout took home three titles over the course of two meets last week. The reigning Class 1A state champion in pole vault set a new personal-best height of 13 feet, 6.5 inches to win the John Levingston Invitational at Havana on Saturday. She won the 300-meter hurdles at the Inter-County Athletic Conference Meet with a PR of 46.70 seconds on Tuesday before winning the event again on Saturday. 


Danika Frazier, Olympia softball


The Spartans star continued to mash at the plate and perform well in the circle as Olympia moved to 13-1-1 on the season. Frazier went 8-for-11 in three wins with four hits against St. Joseph-Ogden on Monday, two home runs against Williamsville on Tuesday and three RBIs against New Berlin on Friday. She won each game in the circle too, striking out a total of 28 batters. 


Lola Kaiser, Morton girls soccer


Kaiser helped Morton awaken late in a notable Mid-Illini clash on Tuesday against Pekin, scoring twice and assisting on a goal from Sophia Davila all in the span of just over eight minutes as the Potters won 3-0. Kaiser also helped the Potters defeat previously unbeaten Richwoods on Saturday.


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