The month of October featured several spectacular performances. From regional champions to state berths, both Mattoon and Charleston fall sports programs had some nights that they will never forget. These seven performances particularly rise up.
7. Mattoon’s Madden Johnson
This one sort of blends across two months. Mattoon freshman Madden Johnson captured the Apollo Conference boys golf championship on Sept. 27, helped the MHS boys advance from a regional match on the last day of the month and then rallied from a tough front nine at the sectional tournament by recording six pars and a birdie to earn a playoff qualifying opportunity. Johnson won won a playoff hole to advance to the state tournament along with Blaine Powers, who himself had to recover from a 4-over score across the first four holes to finish fifth.
6. Mattoon captures Apollo tennis championship
The Mattoon Green Wave girls’ tennis team won the Apollo Conference championship after winning three of six singles titles. Mattoon had won two of the three doubles flights. Caroline Davis and Annelise Overmyer captured the No. 1 doubles title while teammates Lily Gregory and Avery Boyer took first at No. 2 doubles and Lanie Butler and Avery Gill finished fourth.
Davis, seeded third in No. 1 singles, posted an upset victory over Effingham, 6-0, 6-0, and the defeated the previous No. 1 seed in the championship, Mount Zion’s Allison Bradford, 7-6 (5), 6-1. Bradford had previously upset another former No. 1 seed, Charleston’s Maggie Goetten, 6-0, 6-2. At No. 2 singles, Overmyer upset top-seeded Eden Wendling, 6-3, 6-1. Gregory claimed the third championship with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Effingham’s Madison Mapes. Among others, Boyer and Butler claimed third at Nos. 4 and 5 singles, respectively, while Gill placed second at No. 6 singles in a three-set loss, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, to Mahomet-Seymour.
5. Derrius White makes an acrobatic catch to lead Wave to Clash victory
With less than a minute after Derrius White let a go-ahead touchdown pass go off his hands in the endzone, Jackson Spurgeon fired another pass to his No. 1 receiver. White tapped the pass in the air, grabbed it over a CHS defender, and came down in the left corner of the endzone with 5:35 left in the game to give Mattoon a 32-27 lead.
The Green Wave then stopped the Trojans on three plays and ran out the clock to win the Coles County Clash at EIU’s O’Brien Stadium in front of an announced crowd of more than 7,000 people.
4. Charleston wins unofficial Apollo Conference swim meet
Angela Coe captured two individual events and swam legs in two winning relays to lead the Charleston High girls to the unofficial Apollo Conference swim team championship at the Ray Padovan Pool on Eastern Illinois University’s campus Saturday.
Teammates Mackenzie Erixon, Ava Zheng, and Molly Weber each captured an individual event and teamed with Coe, a junior, on two victorious relays to help the Trojans compile 190 points, 43 more than runner-up Mahomet and more than double Lincoln’s score of 77.
3. Brock Davee qualifies for state XC
Mattoon senior Brock Davee finished seventh in last weekend’s IHSA sectional meet to qualify for Saturday’s Class 2A state meet at Peoria’s Detweiller Park.
Davee, the regional champion, took seventh in 16 minutes, 22.79 seconds across a sloppy, muddy three-mile course around Hickory Point Golf Course – only 11 seconds from third place. Carbondale senior Alex Partlow ran a blistering 14:57.02 to capture the sectional title.
2. Charleston girls golf advance to state as a team
Charleston was coming off a poor regional performance but went into the following week of practice with a positive attitude. That momentum carried over into the sectional tournament while Charleston placed second by just one stroke over Quincy Notre Dame to guarantee their spot in the state tournament. After leading the Trojans at the regional with the top score, Delainey Meister fired a 95 for the third-best score.
Stacey Zerbst rebounded with a team-low 88, while Madeline Sanders was second-best for the second straight match. The three seniors of Zerbst, Taryn Pearson, and Rileigh Babbs had been consistent all season, helping the Trojans win their second straight Apollo Conference championship and earn their second straight trip to the state tournament, if you count last year’s qualifier during COVID.
1. Mattoon volleyball wins 3-set thriller to earn regional title
The third-seeded Green Wave volleyball team upended No. 2 Marion, 25-15, 23-25, 25-16, to post their 20th win and earn the team’s first regional championship since 2017. The match started great for the Green Wave as they only trailed once, 5-4, and took the lead for good on two points, including an ace by Averie Smith and a tip by Holly McReynolds. Neveah Laster served four points, including an ace for a 12-6 lead.
Marion, hoping for its first regional since 2012, didn’t get closer than five the rest of the way. Faith Niebrugge served the final two points for the 10-point triumph. The second set featured 10 ties and three lead changes. Mattoon led 21-20 after a service error – one of eight by Marion in the match. It was tied at 22 when Mattoon had its service error fall behind 23-22, while another service error made it 24-23 before the team lost the second set.
In the third set, Marion was within 14-11 when Mattoon went on a 5-2 run that included a kill by Laster for a 19-12 advantage. The Wildcats didn’t get any closer than five the rest of the way. Faith Niebrugge, Bella Smith, and Averie Smith had three aces apiece, Niebrugge led Mattoon in digs with 22 while McDaniel had 20 and Chloe Jobe added 15. Averie Smith had four block assists and nine kills to lead the Green Wave. Mattoon finished in the round of 32 after a sectional loss to Waterloo.