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Vote: CSM Winter Athletes of the Week, Jan. 15-21, 2024

Updated: Jan 25

After another week of high school sports standouts doing their thing, CSM has our nominees for our next CSM Winter Athletes of the Week.

Among last week's highlights, multiple boys and girls basketball teams continued unbeaten stretches with impressive wins, Dee-Mack girls and Fieldcrest boys won their respective Heart of Illinois Conference Tournaments and wrestling matches picked up before the postseason.

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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: Ava Wenger of Canton girls basketball and Wes Gudeman of Morton boys basketball won CSM Girls and Boys Athletes of the Week, respectively. Voting closed at 6 PM Wednesday.

Girls Athlete of the Week nominees 

Ava Wenger, Canton girls basketball

Wenger and the Little Giants had a busy week last week with four games and won all of them. The senior guard dropped in a team-high 20 points and four 3-pointers in a 61-32 win over Chicago Orr on Monday and added another big game in a 75-42 win over East Peoria on Friday where she scored 17. In that game, Wenger went a perfect six-for-six from the field with five of those shots being threes. 

Macy Gochanour, Fieldcrest girls basketball

Gochanour had a record-setting week for the Knights at the Heart of Illinois Conference Tournament, making 18 triples over the course of four games which beat the previous record of 13 made 3-pointers. Fieldcrest finished fifth at the tournament with a one-point loss to runner-up Eureka before beating Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley and El Paso-Gridley to clinch fifth. Gochanour finished with 18 in the 39-35 win over GCMS and added 19 in the win over the Titans.

Kennedy McMenimen, East Peoria girls wrestling

McMenimen won the 110-pound championship at the Mid-Illini Girls Wrestling Invite on Friday and advanced to 9-1 on the year. She defeated opponents from Pekin and Canton via falls in under one minute in the round-robin format to clinch the title. The next day, she won the Richwoods Lady Knights Wrestling Scramble at 110 pounds as well.

Dalia DeJesus, Dee-Mack girls basketball

DeJesus accomplished multiple milestones last week, starting by scoring her 1,000th career point –in her sophomore season– in a 22-point showing against El Paso-Gridley in the HOIC Tournament quarterfinals. Following the 50-37 Dee-Mack win, DeJesus helped her team charge on to the conference tournament championship with 14 points in a semifinal win over Tri-Valley and 11 more in the Chiefs’ 45-34 title victory over Eureka.

Christina Lenard, Bloomington girls basketball

The Purple Raiders gained momentum with a pair of Big 12 victories that extended their win streak to four before a loss to Canton on Saturday and Lenard’s consistency played a big role in each game. She scored 15 and 16 points in wins over Champaign Central and Manual before notching 16 more in the loss to Canton. 

Boys Athlete of the Week nominees

Cooper Koch, Metamora boys basketball

The Iowa commit had another strong week for Metamora in three wins and scored his 1,000th career point in the process. Koch reached the milestone with a 27-point game against Hinsdale South on Monday, then led Metamora to a 72-69 win over previously undefeated Mt. Zion on Friday at the Redbird Roundball Classic. The senior added 21 points and nine rebounds in a blowout win over Downers Grove South on the second day of the event on Saturday. 

Jackson Carroll, Illini Bluffs boys wrestling

Carroll was part of a successful trip for Illini Bluffs to LeRoy for the Randy Bowman Invitational and was the 144-pound champion. The top seed in his weight class, Carroll won four matches to win the title and advanced his record to 39-2 on the year. 

Wes Gudeman, Morton boys basketball

Gudeman went nuclear on Saturday in an 80-57 win over Niles North at the Redbird Roundball Classic in Metamora, scoring a season-high 37 points for the Potters. Morton also added a conference win on Friday night against Canton, where Gudeman was red-hot again with 22 tallies in the scorebook. 

Brady Ruestman, Fieldcrest boys basketball

Fieldcrest defended its Heart of Illinois Conference Tournament championship from last year with a 50-45 win over El Paso-Gridley in the title game on Saturday. Ruestman led the Knights in scoring in both their semifinal and final games, finishing with 21 points against EPG and 18 against Tri-Valley in the game prior. 

Teagan McLaughlin, Eureka boys basketball

McLaughlin and the Hornets rebounded strongly after a loss to Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley in the quarterfinals of the HOIC Tournament as the freshman drained seven 3-pointers and scored 25 in Eureka’s 49-45 consolation semifinal win against LeRoy on Saturday. McLaughlin and the Hornets went on the consolation championship over Ridgeview, a game where he scored 11.  

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