Thursday, March 22, 2018

Illinois Central College Awards Summer and Fall 2017 Graduates

Illinois Central College Awards Summer and Fall 2017 Graduates

Illinois Central College Awards Summer and Fall 2017 Graduates, Metamora Herald

EAST PEORIA, IL (03/20/2018)-- More than 700 graduates completed their respective program requirements at Illinois Central College during the Summer and Fall 2017 semesters.

Local students include:

Jack Dintelman of Germantown Hills, Ill. - an Associate in Arts Degree

Michael Keele of Germantown Hills, Ill. - an Associate in Arts Degree

Dylan Newbury of Germantown Hills, Ill. - an Associate in Arts Degree

Gabriel Taylor of Germantown Hills, Ill. - a Certificate

Rachelle Black of Metamora, Ill. - an Associate in Applied Science Degree

Kristina Brown of Metamora, Ill. - an Associate in Applied Science Degree

Melissa Butler of Metamora, Ill. - a Certificate

Courtney Callear of Metamora, Ill. - an Associate in Applied Science Degree

Katelynn Cotton of Metamora, Ill. - a Certificate

Jessica Cupples of Metamora, Ill. - three Certificates

Samuel Dale of Metamora, Ill. - a Certificate

Jodi Daniel of Metamora, Ill. - a Certificate

Caitlin Gillhouse of Metamora, Ill. - a Certificate

Elizabeth Hoover of Metamora, Ill. - a Certificate

Maria Kellenberger of Metamora, Ill. - an Associate in Science Degree

Chelsea Kern of Metamora, Ill. - an Associate in Arts Degree

Sarah Konecki of Metamora, Ill. - an Associate in Arts Degree

Alexander Miraski of Metamora, Ill. - a Certificate

Maci Murray of Metamora, Ill. - a Certificate

Erin Ryan of Metamora, Ill. - an Associate in Arts Degree

Jilian Sellner of Metamora, Ill. - a Certificate

Seth Tealbey of Metamora, Ill. - an Associate in Science Degree

Leah TerBush of Metamora, Ill. - an Associate in Arts Degree

Tayler Tipsword of Metamora, Ill. - a Certificate

Jordan Zimmerman of Metamora, Ill. - an Associate in General Studies Degree

Trevor Ford of Metarmora, Ill. - a Certificate

Nicole Harms of Roanoke, Ill. - an Associate in General Studies Degree

Located in East Peoria, Ill., Illinois Central College is a two-year community college that provides a high quality, affordable education to prepare students to enter the workforce or to transfer to a four-year college or university. For more information on ICC, visit
Dual Credit Programs Provide a Head Start for Students as Enrollments Swell

Dual Credit Programs Provide a Head Start for Students as Enrollments Swell

Dual Credit Programs Provide a Head Start for Students as Enrollments Swell, Metamora Herald

SPRINGFIELD – Students in high schools across the state are earning college credit and saving money thanks to a push by the community college system to increase access to dual credit opportunities. Over the last five years, enrollment in community college dual credit courses has increased over 16 percent. In the last year alone, over 57,000 high school student were enrolled in 11,000 dual credit courses.

Dual credit programs allow academically qualified high school students to explore various academic areas and experience the rigor of college-level coursework. Upon successful course completion, students earn both high school and college credit. In acknowledgment of this valuable educational opportunity, the Illinois Senate recently declared March 18 to 24 as “Dual Credit Week.”

“The community college system has long been a leader in the development and expansion of dual credit programs. The steady rise in dual credit enrollment reflects an understanding among secondary and postsecondary educators that early college experience is an integral part of preparing students for college and career success,” said Dr. Karen Hunter Anderson, executive director of the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB).

For students, dual credit programs mean savings on college tuition costs and a job start on college completion. “I would recommend taking dual credit to anybody” shared Tyler Behrends, a 2014 graduate of Sauk Valley Community College. “It worked out great.” After he graduated high school, Tyler was already done with his general education requirements and jumped right into classes at Sauk Valley.

Danelle Helton a freshman at Lake Land College took three dual credit classes in high school earning 13 credit hours. “You usually would get a little intimidated to be taking a college class in high school, but since I was taking college courses with my peers, I knew my teachers and I was comfortable going to my teacher and asking questions. When I transitioned here to Lake Land, I found myself feeling just as comfortable with my teachers and I knew the curriculum and what to expect.”

“It was great to get some of my credits out of the way and allowed me to cut down on the hours I had to take this year so I could keep my jobs,” said Helton who in addition to school was working three jobs.

Over the past five years, the ICCB has provided nearly $1 million to community colleges through the Dual Credit Enhancement Grant to support the development, enhanced delivery, and articulation of local dual credit programs and to expand student access. These grant dollars have allowed colleges to implement new dual credit offerings and utilize innovative instructional models including distance learning and competency-based education.

“The grants reflect the Board’s commitment to strengthen the pathway for students from high school into college,” said Anderson. “As we look ahead to the future, the Board is focused on expanding dual credit opportunities especially in rural and other underserved areas of the state.”

As the third largest community college system in the country and the leading public workforce development trainer in the state, Illinois community colleges serve over 600,000 residents each year in credit, noncredit, and continuing education courses. Illinois is home to 48 colleges in 39 community college districts which provide high quality, accessible, cost-effective educational opportunities to the entire state. The Illinois Community College Board is the state coordinating board for community colleges and has statutory responsibility for administering state and federal grants to community college districts and adult education providers and managing high school equivalency testing for Illinois.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Metamora High School Robotic Team Competition

Metamora High School Robotic Team Competition

               Metamora High School Robotic Team 4143  
                                   " MARSWARS "
                      (Metamora Area Robotics/Woodford Area Robotics)
  Compete in: * FIRST Robotics Competition 16-17  Mar  2018

Pit Crew: L-R Clay Barrow,Ryan Meyer, Cole Hunt, Joel Tobben,Sam Landau,Charlotte Wilkes, Grace Cushing, Autumn Salmon
  Photo by: Roedell/Herald
Friday matches winning score points: 340,377,235,434,329,178,415,430,284,371,390.
Saturday matches winning score points: 371,390,174.

Quarter Final Results:  Winning 2 out of 3 (match requirements):  374, 335.
Semi-Final Results:  Winning 1 out 3: 295(L) 340(w) 236(L).
Finals Winner goes on to World Competition in Detroit, Mi.
World Winner goes on to Faceoff one on one Competition in Manchester, NH. In
                          audience with Dean Kamen.  (An American engineer, inventor, and businessman. He is                                   best known for his invention of the Segway, as well as founding FIRST with Woodie Flowers.) 

* FIRST ROBOTICS COMPETITION teams compete with 120 pound robots of their own design.
Teams consist of a three team alliance.  Winning goals: Owning the Scale or their Switch.
Playing power ups with alliances by exchanging power cubes.  Climbing the scale tower.
Autonomous Period: Robots operate independently following preprogrammed instructions for
the first fifteen seconds of the match. Operators take control for the final two minutes and
fifteen seconds of the match.  Communications to the Robot is provided by the:
 (FMS)   Field Management System.
For more information on First Robotics visit:

Team History:
2015 Won Regionals - Breaking World High School Scoring Record with 506 points.
2017 Won Regionals - Winning Finals - with a score 332 to 305.  Record: 15 wins - 1 lose.
                                     Year consisted of building a ' Revolving Shooter ' style  Robot.
2018 - Competition involving building robots to fit the Scale and Switch competition technology.                    Robots are required to lift, place and carry boxes.

Season starts on 6 Jan. upon receiving sealed instructions and details of robot build and
 competition. Six weeks of building the robot only allowed. After the six week deadline
 the robot, finished or not finished, is wrapped and sealed not allowing any further mods.
Every team has a $4,000 cost limit not to be exceeded. Funds acquired from Sponsors:
Caterpillar, Metamora Industries, PTC-DAR Tech inc, Innovative LED stage & DJ lighting,
NVIDIA and Parsons.
 During St. Louis Regional's in Quarter finals, robot (named: "Waka Blocka" after the sound it made while running)  broke a zip-tie  resulting in a lose.  A redesign of arms and motor followed.
Waka Blocka has an estimated speed of 18 feet/sec.

                     Ryan Meyer(L)   Cole Hunt(R)

Interview with Captain Team Driver Ryan Meyer and C++ Coding programmer Cole Hunt.
"Our strategy for this competition today is to make great alliances, control the 'Scale' and exchange Force Boxes for 30 points with our alliances.
Note: Alliances were made with Peoria Robot Casserole, team members Chris Gerth, Parker Collins, Dallas Goodwin, Braden Gersich.  CIA Robotic Big Furious George, team members                                                                   Kayi Pepple, Regan Swain, Trenton Gramlish, Maddy Glueck.


Mentor: John Gardner-Planning/Strategy/Admin/Design/Modeling.
Mentor: Amy Gardner
Students: Aubrey Wyman, Jacob Schertz, Ryleigh Hickman, Danielle Dominy, Joey Pfister,                                 Joseph Koenig.
Mentor: Ryan Shoff
Students: Sam Landau, Joel Tobben, Ben Poling, Brody Webster, Andrew Kamp.
Mentor: Brian Stoecker-Mechanical/Programming/Vision/Design/Modeling/Electrical.
Mentors: Ray Tealbey, Nathan Kaufman, Sheridan Ray, Justin Pfister, Neil Hess.
Students: Derek Ayers, Isaac Adams, Dillon Wernsman, Jaycob Foster, Keegan Hartnett, Clay Barlow, Charlotte Wilkes, Ryan Meyer, Kyle Barker, Evan Charlier, Ryan Shapland, Grant Hammer.
Mentors: Jon Salmon, Nick Sikema
Students: Chris Hahn, Crew Matthews, Cole Hunt, Merrick Watkins, Ann Doyle.
Mentors: Kevin Meyer, Nathan Funk
Students: Katie Meyer, Logan Schmidt, Madilyn Ayers, Austin Kasap, Brooke Barlow, Hunter Kasap.
Mentors: Jim Dattilo, Dave Yergler
Students: Makenna Yergler, Owen Cushing, Grace Cushing, Lane Hess, Autumn Salmon

Saturday, March 17, 2018

PREVIEW | (8) ICC Women's Basketball vs. (9) Ancilla

PREVIEW | (8) ICC Women's Basketball vs. (9) Ancilla

HARRISON, AR -  A year-long dream becomes reality for the ICC Women's Basketball team. The eighth-seeded Cougars (26-7) begin National Tournament play Tuesday, taking on the ninth-seeded Chargers from Ancilla College (25-5). 

The Chargers and Cougars met once back on October 7th, just part of a exhibition jamboree, so no official score was kept. However, these two teams do have similar opponents. Danville Area, a team that ICC beat by 48, the Chargers won by 39. Another even more frequent opponent are the Lake Michigan Redhawks. Ancilla split with the Redhawks, losing by 4 on the road, then winning by 5 at home. ICC beat Lake Michigan by 9 on the road, snapping the Redhawks' 23-game home winning streak. 

Both teams haven't lost in awhile. In fact, the last loss for ICC and Ancilla is on Valentine's Day, with the Chargers on an eight-game win streak since a loss to Mid-Michigan, and the Cougars are on a seven-game win streak since a loss to Parkland in Champaign. 

On paper, the Chargers have the edge. They lead the Cougars in field goals attempted, threes made and attempted, free throws made and attempted, turnovers, and steals, and total points scored. The Chargers are paced scoring-wise by freshman LaRae Roscoe, who is averaging 16.4 points per game (493 total points). Sophomore Brynda Krueger is also averaging double figures, dropping 12.1 points per game (363 total points). The Cougars and Chargers both have two players with 10 or more points per game, for the Cougars, those being Madison Faulkner (team-high 10.4 ppg) and Bailey Larsen (9.1 ppg), and freshman Abby Coates (291 pts / 8.8 ppg) is also approaching 300 points. On the Ancilla side, Roscoe and Krueger are the 300+ point scorers.

Tuesday's game features two quality rebounding players. For the Chargers, Roscoe, who on paper is practically a do-it-all type of player, leads Ancilla with 264 rebounds (8.8 per game). Coates is bringing in a team-high 224 rebounds (6.8 per game). Coates is also the game's leading blocker, swatting 44 shots on the year to Ancilla sophomore Karson Williams' 34 blocks. 

The game will be broadcasted live on NJCAA TV. Tipoff from the Pioneer Pavilion on the campus of North Arkansas College is scheduled for 8:00 pm central.

Click HERE to view 2017-2018 Season Statistics for the Illinois Central College Cougars and Ancilla Chargers.

Click HERE to view the NJCAA D2 Women's Basketball Tournament Bracket.

Click HERE to view the broadcast of ICC - Ancilla.

Click HERE or HERE to get live updates on Twitter for ICC - Ancilla.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Metamora High School  3A Mens Varsity Basketball Team loses in Super-Sectional Championship in OT   46 - 49

Metamora High School 3A Mens Varsity Basketball Team loses in Super-Sectional Championship in OT 46 - 49

                Metamora  vs  Marian Catholic

                3/13/18 6:00pm at NIU Convocation Center
                                    Dekalb,  Illinois
Metamora Collin Dietz (24) underhand attempt to score.           Photo by: Mike Roedell/Herald
Click here for direct link to all game photos.

 Stats provided by NIU Official Basketball Box Score.
NIU Convocation Center - Dekalb, Il.

Comments from independent sports photographer Chris Lee:

The Redbirds had the upper hand for the majority of the game vs a good Chicago Heights Marian team. The Redbirds came ready to play and mixed the shooting/scoring around creating and maintaining a small lead going into all 4 quarters. The Redbirds capitalized on all but a couple of free throws this evening. The Redbirds created a 9 point lead early in the 4th quarter but it quickly eroded and Marian tied up the game taking it into overtime play. A very controversial () call by the referee in the final 6 seconds of the game caused a 3 point play to be scored as a 2.  Even when Thomas (Hall) was clearly behind the college 3 point line.
They stopped the play after the 3 and even marked it on the scoreboard. We are all used to video replays in almost every sport and the large screens clearly showed everyone in the hall that it was a 3. The referees decided it was only a 2 and then added back additional time now giving Marian time to get down the court and set-up a 3 point game-ending shot sealing the win. As coaches, we tell the players that the referees do not decide the games and you need to score more during the this controversial case the referees were clearly wrong and it changed the outcome of the game. With all of that said, the boys played great and led the majority of the game. The regular season was not at this same level of play. Making this an even more spectacular story,(however) the playoffs were fantastic! The team and fans represented the area well and the many hours of practice and coaching prep all came to a crescendo this evening. Thank you for the fun ride and all the best to the 3 x seniors and for finishing in the Final 8 in the State!

MY Views and Comments:

Should instant review be instituted into High School level games ?  Especially in State Championship
games where camera coverage is readily available ?  Should this be the next item brought to the 
Illinois High School Association board ?  Definitively, a decision the Coaches Association should make
before the next IHSA rule meeting.   In this journalist view, yes, institute the video replay in at least State Championship games.  
  Take the pressure off the referees, coaches and players knowing and living with the  knowledge:            " I made a good/bad call and can be corrected if proven or I won/lost the game because of my play and not because of a call ".   

What goes through the mind(s) of the coach(es) that are rewarded by a wrong call ?  Answer the question;  Can you live with the fact of winning State Championship knowing and seeing the call
was wrong ?  Seeing the Trophy mounted in your school knowing ?
One would only wonder what the Marian Catholic Coach, after seeing the video immediately after the 
call was thinking.  ("Do I say something or just consider it part of the game"?)
His comments were unavailable at end of game time.

One personal story I experienced many years ago while photographing a varsity baseball game
between Metamora High and Peoria Notre Dame High.  Notre Dame batter was called safe at first
base after hitting the ball.  The ND player looked at the base ref and said: "I'm sorry, I was out".
The player returned to the dugout and was called out.  During his interview with me he said: " I could
not go to school tomorrow knowing I had helped win the game and knowing the call was wrong". 
The Coach quickly commented: "He's a good Catholic boy with high morals".
A life lesson we should all live by.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Bradley Women’s Basketball wins First Round MVC Game

Bradley Women’s Basketball wins First Round MVC Game

Bradley's Shareece Burrell attempts a free throw in the fourth quarter of Bradley's MVC Tournament opener against Evansville. Burrell would finish with 5 points and the Braves would win the game, 77-49. PHOTO / ALEX STAAB
Moline, IL – A loss on Senior Day back on March 3rd gave the Bradley Braves (13-17) (6-12) a 7th seed headed into the Missouri Valley Conference tournament Thursday night against 10th-seeded Evansville (3-27) (0-18).

Things did not start off as planned for the Braves, as the Aces lead 9-8 at the first media timeout in the first quarter. Yet Bradley Head Coach Andrea Gorski said they weren't phased.

"I just thought that if we can keep the pace up, if we can score and get into our press and wear them down, it would be okay. Not really panicked at all at that point. Just stick to the game plan and we'll be fine."

The Braves would go on to close the quarter on a 16-2 run. The first ten minutes of play belonged to Gabi Haack. The freshman from Elk River, Minnesota had 15 of her team-high 20 points in the first. Emily Marsh (Fr. – Superior Township, MI) hit her first three of the season in the first as well. Bradley would maintain a 24-11 lead over Evansville.

As good of a quarter as it was for Haack, she was quick to credit the team, but did add that it helped her confidence as the game went on.

"It was a team effort. We moved the ball a lot. I just happened to be open. Definitely boosted the confidence."

Coach Gorski believed that her bench players played a big role in getting things started offensively, praising her starters as well.

"I thought that next wave of players that came off the bench really got us rolling. This one right here (nodding to Gabi Haack) really got us going. That really opened the game up for us."

The second quarter saw Bradley keep their foot on the gas, holding Evansville to their only single digit-scoring quarter of the game. The Aces would not find their way to the free throw line in the period, only three shots total, while the Braves would go 4-4 from the line, with Haack and Vanessa Markert (Jr. – Mt. Sterling, IL) making two apiece. Haack would pace the Braves scoring for yet another quarter, scoring the last five of her 20 in the second. Madison Dellamuth (Sr. – Cedar Rapids, IA) and Markert both added four-point quarters. Shareece Burrell (Sr. – Des Moines, IA) had the three-ball working, hitting one in the second. That would all lead to a commanding 42-19 lead for the Braves headed to the halftime locker room.

Coming out in the second half, the third quarter may not have gone to Chelsea Brackmann (So. – New Berlin, WI) scoring-wise, but she certainly made a difference on the boards. Brackmann would bring in five of her team-high 13 rebounds in the third quarter, seven shy of her career high of 19 rebounds. The Braves would have their worst scoring quarter of the game, just eclipsing a dozen points in the third. No Bradley player made more than one shot, unless one makes a slight exception for Danielle Brewer (Sr. – Coatesville, IN), who made a two-pointer as well as a free throw. Despite the tapered-off offense in the third period for Bradley, they would still find themselves in front of the Aces by 27, 56-29, with just one quarter to go.

The Aces were not going down without a fight. They would finish the fourth quarter with their best quarter by far, scoring 20 points. They were paced in the final frame by Hannah Noe, who dropped 14 of her game-high 23 points in the last 10 minutes of play. Bradley was able to get significant minutes from their bench in the late going of this one, as Missy Adrian (Fr. – Rolling Meadows, IL), a walk-on from Fremd HS, entered with just under two minutes to go. Adrian was able to bring down a rebound and dish out an assist in her playing time. Not only that, Adrian hit a three and was fouled, a play which got the bench and the Braves faithful on their feet. Although Adrian was unable to convert the free throw, it was just her second three made all season. Kellee Clay (Jr. – Naperville, IL) also made good use of her time off the bench, not scoring, but getting two rebounds as well as a block in the closing minutes. 

Chelsea Brackmann said that Adrian's three was a fun moment for the team, saying they've even kept an eye on her three-point shooting numbers.

"It was awesome to see that, because she was 1-1 on the year from the three point line, so we had a big thing going about her being 100% on the year, having the best three point shooting percentage in the country."

By the final buzzer, the Braves would be walking away with a first round victory in the MVC Tournament, beating Evansville by a score of 77-49.

The win gives Bradley their 13th of the 2017-18 season and snaps a four-game losing streak. Evansville finishes the season on a 21-game losing streak, with their last win coming back on December 14th of 2017. Nyjah White (Fr. – Columbia, MO) would finish in double figures for the Braves, totaling 10 points. Anneke Schlueter (Sr. – Ulm, Germany) led the team in assists with five. Brackmann was able to swat three shots. 

After the game, Coach Gorski was very pleased with Brackmann's rebounding efforts, saying that she "did a great job on the boards for us."

All in all, Gorski said they're ready for the next game.

"It was well-balanced. Now we're just going to turn our attention towards Missouri State."

With the win, the Braves advance to the Quarterfinal round of the MVC Women’s Basketball Tournament. They’ll face the Bears of Missouri State tomorrow evening at 6:00 pm in the TaxSlayer Center in Moline. Ed Hammond will have the radio call on WIRL 1290 AM, with pregame expected to start around 5:40. The game will also have a live web stream via “The Valley on ESPN3”. 

Bradley Women’s Basketball Scoring:
Gabi Haack (20), Nyjah White (10), Madison Dellamuth (7), Chelsea Brackmann (6), Vanessa Markert (6), Shareece Burrell (5), Shunseere Kent (4), Danielle Brewer (3), Missy Adrian (3), Jailynn Lawson (3), Emily Marsh (3), Anneke Schlueter (3), Ryan Wilkins (2), Amber Bozeman (2)

Bradley Women’s Basketball Statistical Leaders:
FGs | Gabi Haack (6 for 10 / 60%)
3's | Gabi Haack (5 for 9 / 55.6%)
FTs | Gabi Haack (3 for 4 / 75%)
Rebounds | Chelsea Brackmann (13)
Assists | Anneke Schlueter (5)
Blocks | Chelsea Brackmann (3)
Steals | Chelsea Brackmann (4)

Bradley Women’s Basketball Team Stats:
FGs | 29-71 (40.8%)
3's | 9-20 (45%)
FTs | 10-13 (76.9%)
Rebounds | 47
Assists | 19
Turnovers | 7
Blocks | 7
Steals | 11

Next Bradley Women’s Basketball Game:
2017-2018 Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament
Quarterfinal Round
vs. (2) Missouri State
6:00 pm tipoff
@ TaxSlayer Center – Moline, IL
Radio | WIRL 1290 AM (Ed Hammond)
Web | The Valley on ESPN3 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

"Aggressive" Metamora Baseball ready for 2018 season

"Aggressive" Metamora Baseball ready for 2018 season

Kyle Bartman throws it over to first in a photo from last season. The junior shortstop is one of three returning full-time starters for Metamora in 2018. PHOTO / MIKE ROEDELL
Metamora, IL - The Metamora baseball program is just six days from their 2018 season opener and home opener against the Pontiac Indians. The Redbirds are one season removed from a year in which they went (16-14) and lost in the Regional Semifinal to Bloomington, 2-0. Eric Stone is in his 17th season at the helm of this program, and according to the IHSA website, needs just 11 wins for win number 300 at Metamora, standing at a current record of (289-268-1). The last one to do that is his predecessor, Bob Schlemmer, who went (301-258) in 18 years. Stone thinks his sport is in "an interesting transitional period", citing new rules that came up last season.

"You have the pitch count rule that was introduced last year. I think that's changed the mindset of some of the coaches and some of the programs, looking at their scheduling, looking at the structure of their pitching staff."

Another challenge that Stone thinks is present is the travel baseball teams, while also adding that there are both pros and cons to the situation.

"In years past, you'd have your guys play together in the summer and form some continuity and build chemistry. We have guys that played on five, six, seven different teams. Sometimes that's a challenge when a group comes back together in the spring and how well they mesh. The good is that some of them are playing at higher levels and getting opportunities that they wouldn't otherwise get."

Stone believes that his, along with numerous other programs, have solved the problem with open gyms. He says that it "gives the opportunity for guys that intend to try out for the varsity level to be in the gym working out together and just be around each other."

According to Stone, the attendance has been great in these open gyms at MTHS, while talking about another quality that has blossomed amongst his players.

"Into the first week of the season, where practice began, you're in that routine where you're together every day. To our pleasant surprise, the chemistry has been very, very good."

Coach Stone thinks there's three returning full-time starters that stick out for him.

Logan Hadfield (Sr. C - Signed with ICC)
- "Had a nice year for us as a junior. He's going to be leaned on heavily to provide leadership on the field."
Michael Blough (Sr. P/3B)
- "One of our top returning guys on the mound. A full-time starter, did a lot of really good things for us last year."
Kyle Bartman (Jr. SS)
- "Started for two years and is now a junior. He looks really comfortable. Has gotten a lot stronger. He's done a lot of really good things over the summer. I know he has high ambitions and goals to play beyond the high school level. Confident that he'll be playing college baseball at some point."

Ryan Vogel, a junior for the Redbirds, was also a name that Stone mentioned. Vogel was recognized by Prep Baseball Report as a "top middle infielder".

Stone has a lot of praise for the junior.

"He's done a lot of great things on the summer circuit. We look at him as being a guy that can really help."

The Mid-Illini, to Stone, has Morton and Dunlap as teams that "jump out". He says "they have all-conference type players back.

Stone thinks Morton and Dunlap will match up quite well, with their pitching staff being the reason behind that.

The non-conference schedule is something that Stone thinks will test the Redbirds.

He thinks games like traveling to O'Fallon on March 17th to play Plainfield North, who is "loaded" according to Stone. Also that day, the Redbirds will play Harrisburg, another quality team.

Stone also thinks games like Peoria Notre Dame and Galesburg are also of significance on the non-conference schedule. The Redbirds will host the first annual Central Illinois Showcase on March 30th and 31st. It features teams like Normal U-High, Chicago Solorio Academy, O'Fallon, and Oak Lawn Richards, who is a 4A program. Again, all those games are happening before the March portion of the baseball season is complete.

Stone agrees that the past success of the program has helped draw in these quality programs.

"If we e-mail Oak Lawn Richards or O'Fallon, then they read those coming from Metamora, they have a little more interest in playing because of the level that we've played at."

Past success is one thing, but Stone believes that there are new strengths with this years team that will hopefully turn into success, going on to say that defense will be a plus. Depth on the mound will also be a strength for the Redbirds.

Metamora opens the season in six days (March 12th) on a Monday, hosting the Pontiac Indians.

Next Metamora Baseball Game (Season Opener):
Monday, March 12th - 4:30 pm
vs. Pontiac Indians (L in Regional Quarterfinal in 16-17)
@ Al Mulberry Field - MTHS

Twitter Follows:
Metamora Baseball (@MTHS_Baseball)
Metamora Athletics (@MTHSAthletics)
Alex Staab (@StaabAlex)