Morton halts Redbird’s reign

Adam Larck
Megan Nguyen of the girls tennis team was one of the many Metamora players to have success in the postseason this year.

Metamora’s nine-year streak has come to an end.

Morton topped the Redbird’s this year for the Ron Fahnestock Mid-Illini Conference All-Sports Award.

Last year, Metamora outscored the Potters by 100 points, but Morton took the crown this year by 450 points.

All-Sports points are awarded in 17 varsity sports through three seasons. When all members of the conference participates in a sport, the champion gets 800 points and the last team gets 100.

This crown marks the 17 that Morton has won in the Mid-Illini’s 30-year history.

Fall sports

Metamora was first after the first season, with the rankings for eight varsity sports as follows:

1 Metamora 4,700

2 Morton 4,650

3 Dunlap 4,500

4 Washington 4,250

5 Pekin 3,900

6 Limestone 2,400

7 East Peoria 2,150

8 Canton 650

The Redbirds finished the fall season only 50 points ahead of Morton.  

However, a much improved Dunlap kept close in the competition by finishing 200 points behind.

The Pat Ryan-coached football team shared first place honors in the conference with Washington by finishing 6-1.

The lone loss for the team came when the Redbirds traveled to Pekin during the middle of the season, losing by a point.

In the playoffs, Park Forest (Rich East) knocked Metamora out in the first round.

Senior defensive lineman Brandon White was also selected to play in the Illinois Coaches Association/Shrine All-Star football game.

Karla Bartman’s volleyball team went undefeated in the conference, compiling 14 wins.

The team also repeated their success from 2010, capturing both a regional and sectional title before losing in the Elite 8.

The girls cross country team, coached by Gene Jones, took the conference meet with a low score of 50.

Danica Dragoo advanced to the Illinois High School Association State Finals.

On the boys side, the runners took third at the conference meet with 84 points. Only Pekin and Dunlap topped them.

In boys soccer, the team finished 5-2 to be tied with Dunlap for second.

The Redbirds took the regional final from Washington, 2-1, before losing to Morton in the sectionals, 5-1.

The girls tennis team, coached by Brad Boeker, also took second in the conference behind Morton.

Morton also topped Metamora in the conference tournament by a point.

At sectionals, both Megan Nguyen and the pair of Laurel Christ/Brittany Brinkman advanced to state.

Both the boys golf and girls golf teams finished sixth in the conference.

The Todd Cheek-coached boys took sixth at the tournament, while the Charlie Danner-coached girls took seventh.

Both teams finished sixth in the regular season.

Dunlap improved in 7-of-8 sports to generate an 800-point increase over ’10-11.

Metamora (minus-500) and Canton (minus-450) both posted significant declines in the fall.

Winter sports

Metamora slipped into a second-place tie with Washington after the second season, with the rankings for 11 varsity sports as follows:

1 Morton  6,400

2  (tie) Metamora, Washington 6,000

4 Dunlap 5,200

5 Pekin 5,100

6 Limestone 3,900

7 East Peoria 2,950

8 Canton 1,650

The winter saw Metamora slip again, losing 300 points compared to last year, while Washington and Morton finished the winter with 1,750 points.

The wrestling team, coached by Steve Schroeder, took fifth in conference behind a fifth place finish in meets and the tournament.

Sophomore Kyle White was the highest finisher for the Redbirds, taking fifth in the 120 pound division at sectionals.

In boys basketball, first-year coach Danny Grieves led the team to a third place finish in the Mid-Illini.

The team also went to the regional finals, before losing to Washington, 48-34.

The girls basketball team, coached by Riley Gardner, took fifth in the regular season before being knocked out in the first round of regionals by Washington.

Canton’s 600-point gain compared to the previous winter easily was the best of anyone in the M-I.

Spring sports

Metamora added 4,000 more points in the spring, but couldn’t catch up to Morton, who added 50 more than the Redbirds:

1 Morton 10,450

2 Metamora 10,000

3 Washington 8,500

4 Dunlap 8,000

5 Pekin 7,700

6 Limestone 6,200

7 East Peoria 4,700

8 Canton 2,450

While the Redbirds won two conference titles, the Potters added three of their own to help solidify their position.

The Chuck Danner-coached boys track team had one of its most successful years ever. After winning the Mid-Illini Conference meet, the team also won the sectional title while advancing seven individuals and three relay teams to state.

At state, Jake Armburst took second in discus and ninth in shot put, while Charles Fenner tied for fifth in the pole vault.

Fenner was also part of the 4x400 team, along with Adam Parr, Nick Danner and Sam Ryan, that took seventh.

Parr also took ninth in the 400.

In boys tennis, Kelly Willard’s squad suffered only one loss in duals against Morton, its first loss since 2008.

However, a first place in the tournament allowed the Redbirds to retain the top spot.

At sections, Metamora walked away with the title by 15 points over Dunlap and Washington, who tied for second.

At state, Mitchell Nguyen was knocked out of the third round of consolation, while Will Koehrsen lasted until the fifth round of consolation.

The doubles pair of Quinn Vaughn and Christoph Goettler was knocked to consolation in the fourth round, and knocked out completely in the sixth round by Trent and Grant Reiman of Morton.

The softball squad, coached by Deric Linder, had another successful year, tying for first in the standings with only one loss to East Peoria.

The postseason play saw the Redbirds walk away from Peoria Notre Dame in the regional final with a 10-0 win before beating LaSalle-Peru 5-0 in the sectionals.

Metamora was ousted in the sectional championships by Geneseo, 5-4.

Danny Driscoll led the girls soccer team to a second place finish with a conference record of 5-1-1.

Only Morton, with a perfect 7-0 conference record, did better.

The Redbirds were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by Washington.

The girls track and field team took third at the conference meet in Dunlap by earning 83 points.

Only the 4x800 team of Raven Gutierrez, Ashlyn Rulis, Caitlin Husted and Danica Dragoo, and Lindsey Wille in the 100 dash advanced to the state preliminaries.

Eric Stone’s baseball team tied for fourth in the conference with Pekin with a 6-8 record.

The Redbirds were knocked out in the first round by Streator.

Washington and Canton (eighth place) were the only schools to remain in the same place.