A fun ride: 2017-18 end-of-the-year M-S sports wrapup

A new sports season is just around the corner, but before that, The Mahomet Citizen wanted to pay tribute to last year's teams. It's time for an end-of-the-year wrapup.

Last sports season, by any measurement, the Mahomet-Seymour High School had many highlights. Here's an alphabetical look, by sport.

 

Baseball

M-S finished 17-9 overall and 6-6 in its first season in the loaded Apollo Conference. The Bulldogs struggled to find their footing throughout the first couple months of the season, but really picked it up down the stretch, winning eight of their last nine games as they headed into regionals. But Champaign Central ended M-S' run in the Class 3A Regional semifinals.

Brooks Coetzee finished off his outstanding prep career with numerous accolades. The Notre Dame commit was first-team All-Area by The News-Gazette, first-team all-conference by the Apollo Conference and first team All-State by Prep Baseball Report. To top it off, Coetzee was a Class 3A All-State selection by the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association. He was also recognized by USA Today.

Senior shortstop Austin Biehl (.359 batting average and five homers) and senior hurler Kyle Mumm (2-0, 1.22 ERA) also had huge seasons, as M-S baseball finished over .500 for the 10th year in a row.

 

Boys' basketball

M-S basketball won a regional championship for the third time in four years and finished with another 20-win season.

The Bulldogs knocked off Urbana 72-61 and were able to hold the regional plaque and cut down the nets in front of a raucous home crowd.

M-S finished with an overall record of 21-11 in coach Chad Benedict's final season. The 20-win season was the fourth in a row for the Bulldogs, the first time in school history for that achievement.

The Bulldogs' season ended at the Eisenhower Sectional in a heartbreaking loss to No. 2 state-ranked Springfield Southeast.

Record-setting senior Cory Noe was M-S' representative on The News-Gazette All-Area first team. He finished third in the area in scoring (21.1 average) and was third in free throw accuracy (85.8 percent). Noah Benedict was seventh in the area in assists per game (4.8) and led M-S in rebounding (6.6) while averaging 9.7 points per game.

Noe scored 1,615 points in his prep career, the third-best total in Bulldog history.

 

Boys' cross-country

The top highlight of the year for the Bulldogs was the boys' cross-country team.

For the second-straight year, the M-S Bulldogs took home the state championship Class 2A trophy from Detweiller Park in Peoria.

The Bulldogs scored a team low of 91, which was 23 points better than No. 1 state-ranked Normal University High.

"I was pleased the boys had such a successful year," M-S coach Neal Garrison said. "They worked so hard and they deserved it. It is always great to see nice guys do well."

Junior Mathias Powell, senior Riley Fortune and senior Ryan Hodge placed in the top 10 and earned all-state honors.

Despite a slow start, Powell took fourth place with a personal-record time of 14 minutes, 45 seconds to lead the Bulldogs. He improved on his best time by six seconds.

"Riley Fortune and Ryan Hodge went out from the start with the top runners in the state," Garrison said. "They worked together to hold on to the leaders and finished in the top 10."

Fortune ran a personal best 14:48 for sixth place, cutting 21 seconds off his previous best.

Hodge improved four seconds to run a season-best time of 15:02 for ninth place.

"This really set our team up," Garrison said, "but every team's No. 4 and No. 5 runner is really where meets are won or lost, as they have the most amount of points for any team."

To help secure the win, junior Bryson Keeble cut off 19 seconds from his season best, and Evan Burge gave "an incredible effort" as well, Garrison said.

"The payoff at state was unlike anything I've ever experienced," Burge said, "and it's the whole team that won state, not just the top seven; it was all 17 of us."

 

Boys' golf

The Bulldogs boys' golf team placed fourth with a score of 342 in the Class 2A Mahomet-Seymour Regional at Lake of the Woods.

M-S finished behind Champaign Central (309), Prairie Central (328) and Champaign Centennial (336).

Despite the team missing out on a trip to sectionals by one spot, the Bulldogs advanced three individual senior golfers.

Adam Woller shot an 80 to advance and Skylar Slade carded an 83. Corbin Neef's sectional appearance ended with a score of 88.

Woller qualified for state and ended his prep career in a tie for 30th in Class 2A.

Boys' soccer

The M-S boys' soccer season ended with a tough 2-1 double-overtime loss to Mattoon in the Class 2A regional championship at Middletown Field.

The Bulldogs finished their season with a 16-5-3 record, which tied for the most wins in program history.

Junior midfielder Ethan Mansfield was the Bulldogs' representative on The News-Gazette's All-Area first team. He totaled 12 goals and 15 assists.

 

Boys' swimming

The Mahomet-Seymour boys' swim team placed fourth with a score of 129 at the swimming and diving sectional at Urbana.

Champaign Centennial won the sectional meet with 263 points.

The Bulldogs' relay teams collected the bulk of M-S' points.

The 200-medley relay team of Dante Waters, William Larson, Colin Schable and Evan Herriott placed fourth with a time of 1:53.67.

The 200-freestyle relay team of Larson, Ryan Whitehouse, Tucker Antonacci and Herriott placed fourth with a time of 1:39.52.

The 400-freestyle relay team of Antonacci, Herriott, Gavin Groff and Waters placed fourth with a time of 3:41.51.

Waters also placed fifth in the 100 freestyle with a time of 53.42 and seventh in the 100 backstroke at 1:02.01.

Dalton DeMay and Jackson Collins placed second and third, respectively, in the 1-meter dive with scores of 309.50 and 272.30.

 

Boys' track & field

The M-S boys' track and field team placed second in the Class 2A State Track and Field meet at Eastern Illinois University's O'Brien Field in Charleston.

The Bulldogs scored 40 points to return with the runner-up trophy as well as two individual state champions.

"We have been talking about finals day at the state meet since the first day of practice on Jan. 16," M-S coach Todd Lafond said. "It has always been our goal to get as many guys to the state meet as possible and set ourselves up to score as many points as possible, and it all came together for us."

The two state champions were senior Callan Whitehouse and sophomore Hunter Hendershot.

Whitehouse, who had been battling a back injury all season, tied his own M-S school record with a pole vault of 16 feet.

Hendershot placed in two events.

He took home the shot put state title and placed third in the discus.

In the finals, Hendershot's first throw moved him up to first place, and in his last throw he exploded with a throw of 60 feet, 3 inches to win the title. He is only the second Bulldog ever to eclipse the 60-foot mark in the shot.

Junior Mathias Powell was the state runner-up in the 3,200 meters. Senior Brandon Bretz finished sixth in the 400 meters. Senior Riley Fortune earned a ninth-place state medal in the 800 meters.

 

Football

For the second straight year, the M-S football team made the Class 5A state playoffs.

For the second straight year, the Bulldogs suffered a first-round loss to a talented, well-coached team.

On a cold, sleeting Saturday afternoon in Glenwood, the Bulldogs lost 29-8 to Chatham Glenwood.

For the second-straight year, the loss ended the Bulldogs' season with a 6-4 record overall.

Two seniors received prominent mention on The News-Gazette's All-Area team. Lineman Ben Stahl was a first-team choice and receiver/defensive back Josh Johnson was a second-team pick.

Senior Lucas Morgan led the Bulldogs in rushing and tackling. Johnson was the leading receiver. Senior Tanner Kirts had the most interceptions. Junior Dawson Finch passed for 893 yards. Junior Jordan Veldman was the leader in points scored.

 

Girls' basketball

The M-S girls' basketball team knocked off Mattoon in the second round of the IHSA Class 3A Charleston Regional, but could not carry that momentum into the championship game against Charleston.

Against the Green Wave, the Bulldogs defeated Mattoon 50-37 to avenge an earlier season 51-49 loss at Mattoon.

In the championship game against Charleston, the Bulldogs ended their season with a 72-35 loss to the No. 7 ranked Trojans.

The Bulldogs' season ended with a 15-12 overall record and a 5-7 mark in their first year in the Apollo Conference.

Junior Amanda Franklin, who eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her career during the season, was an All-Area second-team pick by The News-Gazette. Senior Erin Lenschow, also a 1,000-point scorer, was a special mention choice.

Franklin (11.6) and Lenschow (10.8) were the team's top scorers. Lenschow (73.6 percent) was the team's most accurate free throw shooter, the rebound leader and hit the most three-pointers. Franklin was the team leader in steals.

 

Girls' cross-country

The M-S girls' cross-country team placed fourth with 162 points in the IHSA Class 2A State Meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria.

The Bulldogs finished behind Vernon Hills' 111 points, Belvidere's 95 and state champion Dunlap's 72.

The score of 162 was the Bulldogs best score at state, and the fourth-place finish ties the Bulldogs' best state finish with the 2007 team, which scored 170 points.

Junior Brisa McGrath earned all-state honors. She ran a personal-best time of 17:55 for 24th place. Jessica Franklin also ran a personal-best time for 31st with a time of 18:13.

Megan Churm, in her last meet with the Bulldogs because of a mid-year move, ran a season-best time of 18:17 for 34th.

 

Girls' golf

One Bulldog, junior Sarah Amjad, advanced out of regional competition and qualified for the Class 1A sectional.

 

Girls' soccer

The M-S girls' soccer team set a new team record in season wins with 21 and won its third-straight regional title to solidify itself as one of the area's top teams.

The Bulldogs defeated Normal University High School in the Class 2A Champaign Centennial Regional in an overtime penalty shootout.

"It feels really good to get three and it feels really good to get it against a great team like Normal U-High," said M-S head coach Joey Gruner, who retired at season's end. "I'm proud of what the girls have done and their body of work these last three years."

In the first round of the shootout, senior Erin Lenschow kicked first and scored, and U-High followed with its own goal.

Junior Maddy Wade made the second kick and after the Pioneers missed the following shot, M-S took a 2-1 lead.

In the next round, both teams missed shots, but then senior Melissa Singleton made her shot helping the Bulldogs take a 3-1 lead.

In the final round of kicks, Hohenstein made her second save of the shootout to ensure the victory.

She totaled nine saves for the match.

Four seniors (Cassidi Collins, Hohenstein, Meredith Monfort-Johnson and Lenschow), who have started all four years, ended their season and careers with lofty numbers.

In the last six years, M-S has won four Class 2A regional titles.

The Bulldogs season ended with a 21-3 record.

Monfort-Johnson repeated as The News-Gazette Area Player of the Year, amassing school-record totals of 43 goals as a senior and 117 for her career. The UI recruit was joined on the All-Area first team by senior goalkeeper Hohenstein and junior defender Maddie Louis, anchors on a defensive unit that yielded just 17 goals in 24 matches.

 

Girls' swimming

The Mahomet-Seymour girls' swim team placed 11th out of 32 teams in the girls' swimming and diving sectional hosted by Champaign Central at Centennial High School.

The Bulldogs scored 31 points. Centennial High School won the sectional meet with 219 points.

Despite not advancing as a team or sending any individuals to state, 12 out of 17 Bulldog athletes performed their personal bests.

Payton Turk set a school record with 238.25 points and a seventh-place finish in diving.

Natalie Heaton swam the 200 freestyle in 2:40.23, the 200 IM in 3:20.04 and the 100 backstroke in 1:20.14.

Rebekah Gonzalez finished the 50-yard freestyle in 29.98 and the 100-yard free in 1:08.35.

Andrea Penrose swam the 100 fly in 1:37.04 and Isabella Davenport swam the 500 freestyle in 7:41.72.

Olivia Ross rounded out the Bulldogs' times with a 1:29.66 in the 100 breaststroke. Ross also earned All-Area honorable mention recognition from The News-Gazette. She had the team's top times in both the 100-yard freestyle and the 100-yard breaststroke.

The 200-medley relay team of Heaton, Gonzalez, Ross and Turk finished in 2:25.86

The 200-free relay team of Gonzalez, Davenport, Andrea Penrose and Turk combined for a time of 2:10.49.

The 400-free relay team of Gonzalez, Lydia Schable, Davenport and Heaton finished in 4:54.51.

 

Girls' tennis

Eleven of last year's 12 squad members were underclassmen. The lone senior was Allison Love.

The M-S girls' team placed tied for sixth out of nine teams with two points in the Class 1A tennis sectional at Champaign Central.

 

Girls' track & field

The M-S girls' track and field team placed 15th with 17 points in the IHSA Class 2A State Track and Field Meet at Eastern Illinois University's O'Brien Field in Charleston.

The Bulldogs sent senior Jessica Franklin and sophomore Mara Pletcher, as well as two relay teams, to compete in the state meet.

In her first year participating in track and field, Franklin became a Class 2A state champion in the 300-meter low hurdles.

She earned 10 points and won the event with a time of 43.45.

The first-place finish re-broke M-S' school record she had just set in the sectional meet with a time of 43.79.

Pletcher pole vaulted 12 feet, earning her six points and a fourth-place finish at state. Her season-best height was 12-1.

The Bulldogs' 1,600-meter relay team of junior Lakeida Nichols, Pletcher, sophomore Destiny Pryor and Franklin placed ninth with a time of 4:04.74 to earn one point.

The Bulldogs' 400-meter relay team of Stacey Irwin, Pryor, Sylvia Byron and Nichols missed scoring by one spot, placing them 10th with a time of 49.47.

 

Softball

M-S softball exploded this year, doubling its wins from the previous season. With a young roster and a tough schedule, the Bulldogs still managed to finish 16-15 on the season.

M-S used late-game heroics from senior Kameryn Brotherton to notch a 6-5 walk-off win over Rantoul in the Class 3A Regional semifinals.

The Bulldogs followed that up a couple days later with a dominating 9-3 win over softball powerhouse Rochester in the regional championship game.

Aubrie Shore had an outstanding freshman year, leading the team in almost every offensive category while doubling as the ace of the staff. Shore unloaded a school-record 13 home runs and finished with 49 RBI to go along with a sparkling .456 batting average. Shore also finished with a team-high 11 wins with a 3.35 earned run average in the circle. She struck out 127 in her 144 innings. Shore will return for her sophomore season along with six other starters. The future is bright for M-S softball, as it hopes to build off a solid 2018 campaign.

 

Volleyball

After winning in the first round of the Champaign Central Class 2A Regional against Tolono Unity, the M-S volleyball team lost in the championship game against host Central.

The Bulldogs' season ended with an overall record of 18-15 in Stacey Buzicky's first year as head coach.

Junior Savannah Matthews averaged 4.90 kills and 4.38 digs per set last season. She was also named first-team All-Area by The News-Gazette.

 

Wrestling

The M-S wrestling team won its 33rd overall and fourth-straight IHSA Class 2A Mahomet-Seymour Regional title.

The Bulldogs won the 10-team regional with a score of 162.5, topping Danville's 150 and Centennial's 116.5.

Three M-S wrestlers (David Spencer, Ben Stahl and David Griffet) made the trip to the IHSA individual state wrestling tournament at the State Farm Center in Champaign. Two of them earned all-state status.

Griffet was the Bulldogs' top finisher, making it all the way to the championship match in the 285-pound division.

"This year for the state meet I wasn't as nervous as I have been because I knew I had nothing to lose," Griffet said. "I just went in ready to do what I needed to do to get to the finals and sadly the last match didn't turn out the way I wanted it to, but overall I think I had a great tournament."

To earn all-state status in the 220-pound weight division, Stahl placed sixth.

 

Coaches

The News-Gazette named three M-S coaches as All-Area Coach of the Year.

Girls' soccer coach Joey Gruner, boys' track and field coach Todd Lafond and boys' cross-country coach Neal Garrison all earned the honor.

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