It was a busy month of April – football, soccer, volleyball, baseball, softball, track, and even basketball and track at the middle school level.
Let’s take a look at the top Coles County Sports Performances of April.
Honorable-Mention: Blair Powers Walk-Off
Blair Powers hit a buzzer-beater 3-pointer from the right corner to give the Mattoon Middle School eighth grade basketball team a 23-20 victory over Teutopolis Junior High. Powers scored 10 points to lead Mattoon.
5. Charleston softball plays rare tripleheader
Can you remember the last time you saw a high school tripleheader? Karah Moore allowed only one earned run in 12⅓ innings while Ashlyn McPeak drilled a home run during her six-hit day. Charleston split with Normal University and took a win over Arcola. McPeak finished the day 6-for-12 while Moore struck out 13 batters.
4. Charleston wins Coles County Clash
For the first time since 2012, Charleston defeated Mattoon in the Coles County Clash football game. In the 27-7 victory, Sam Schuette caught two 47-yard touchdown passes, while Cory Spour added a 25-yard touchdown passes as part of quarterback Jack Nelson’s three touchdown evening. Nelson threw for 205 yards and rushed for another 80 yards in the first half alone.
3. Megan Garrett sets a new school record
Garrett is on her way to an All-State track season. While those events are unknown for now, Garrett has etched her name into the record board after running a 58.97 time in the 400-meter dash to set a new school record. Garrett’s time eclipsed Hope Griffin’s school record time of 1:00.40 set in 2016.
2. Lake Land softball wins 29 in a row
Lake Land’s softball team won 29 games in a row, a winning streak that stretched from March 5 to April 13. Out of all the victories, only two games were decided by three runs or less. The Lakers rose to as high as No. 12 in the national rankings.
1. Lake Land women win national championship
Mattoon is the home of a national champion. With a sophomore-laden lineup, the Lakers used last year’s tragedy into this year’s success story. The Lakers had a successful regular season that turned into a District Championship. The team earned the No. 2 overall seed in the national tournament and never looked back.
Lake Land started the tournament off by disposing of Lackawanna College 75-53. Then, the team managed to hold USC Salkethatchie to without a field goal for the final 6-minutes and 23 seconds of the game to hang on for a 61-55 victory to set up a Final Four date with Parkland College.
Lake Land used 10 three-point shots to run away with a 68-47 win over Parkland to set up the NJCAA Division II National Championship game with Johnson County. In the title game, Lake Land’s defense stepped up in a back-and-forth contest, holding their opponent to 1-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc and forcing 18 turnovers. While hitting 18-of-20 free throws at the line, Lake Land held onto the 53-49 victory.
Tri-County’s Harley Barry was named the Tournament MVP. Local products like Sullivan’s Josie Orris and Avery Still, Effingham’s Abigayle Wise, Paris’ Karrington Krabel, Casey-Westfield’s Jaelynn Riggleman, and T-Town’s Olivia Niemerg were key members on the roster. Plus, Coles County’s very own Elizabeth Buescher, 2019 CHS grad, was a key contributor.