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Local Sports Stories

  • Parent Category: Local Sports

Walker & Gentry Return from London Olympics

Rick Walker is a former Olympic hopeful who had his dreams of qualifying in the trials dashed when the U.S. boycotted the 1980 Games in Moscow.  The Kankakee Eastridge High graduate is now head coach for the Southern Illinois University swimming team.

He coached Egyptian distance swimmer Mazen Aziz, who swam collegiately for Walker at SIU. He finished 24th with a time of 1:54:33.

Matt Gentry, an Oregon native who married his college sweetheart and moved to Kankakee, finished fifth in the 74-kilogram freestyle wrestling event as a member of the Canadian wrestling team. He nearly forced a third and decisive period against heavily favored U.S. sensation Jordan Burroughs, who swept through four matches en route to winning the gold medal.

Gentry said before the meet that the Summer Games would mark an end to his competitive wrestling career,which includes a 2004 NCAA national championship.

  • Parent Category: Local Sports

WGFA Sports' Tom Conn is on JEOPARDY 10/11/12!

WGFA sports broadcaster and Saturday morning sports show host Tom Conn is FINALLY a contestant on the long-running TV quiz show "JEOPARDY!"  He has auditioned nearly every year since high school, but this past January, he did well enough on the 50-question online test to be invited to an in-person audition in Chicago in May.  One month later, Sony Pictures in California called him to come to an August 1st taping to compete!

While he is not allowed by Sony to reveal what happened, you can tune in to find out for yourself...on THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2012.  Check your local listings to watch Tom in action!  CONGRATULATIONS, TOM on finally making it on the show!

Listen to his announcement here!


  • Parent Category: Local Sports

Watseka HS football preview

Recently, Saturday morning sports show host Tom Conn talked to Watseka Warriors football coach Steve Lucas, to preview the 2012 team.

Braves scout Stu Cann

On a recent Saturday Morning Sports Show, host Tom Conn talked to Stu Cann, a Midwest scout for MLB's Atlanta Braves, about what baseball scouting is like:

  • Parent Category: Local Sports

Area athletes trying for London Olympics

On Sunday July 1, Amanda Croix, a swimming star at Bradley-Bourbonnais High and Carthage College, competed in the U.S. Olympic Team Women's Swimming Trials in Omaha, Nebraska. She finished the 50-meter freestyle preliminaries in 26.59 seconds, putting her in a tie for 105th place — out of 154 swimmers who began the day. Her time was just 1.01 seconds behind the 16th and final qualifying spot of the semifinals, also held Sunday.

A 2011 graduate of Carthage College, Croix became the school's first swimmer to win an NCAA Division III championship when she won the 50-yard freestyle as a junior in 2010. The 24-year-old former Bradley resident had a productive career at the Kenosha, Wis., school. She was an All-American 13 times (top eight finishes at the national meet) and was named the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Swimmer of the Year three times. Last season, Croix worked as an assistant coach for the Army swimming team at West Point, N.Y. She will return to that position this fall.

Former Olivet Nazarene University Tiger Mark Hollis competed for a spot on the U.S. pole-vaulting team June 28 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, failing to clear 18 feet-9.25 inches, which would have won him the national championship, and also put him given him a trip to the London Olympics. Hollis ended up finishing 5th. He cleared 18-4.5 on his third and final attempt at the height. Hollis passed when the bar moved to 18-7.25, the eventual winning height. He elected to jump at 18-9.25, which was the Olympic "A" standard height necessary to make the team.

Kankakee resident Matt Gentry did qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London by winning the 74-kilogram freestyle wrestling gold medal for Canada in the Pan American Olympic Qualifier Sunday in Orlando, Fla. back in March. The key match for Gentry was a narrow semifinal victory over Cuba's Yunierki Blanco, against whom Gentry was 0-2 lifetime entering the match. Gentry then earned gold with a dominating victory over Puerto Rico's Francisco Soler.

This is the second appearance in an Olympic Games for Gentry, a native of Oregon with Canadian heritage.

Kankakee County Board member Jim Vickery has a grandson, John Mann, who will be competing as a member of the 13-man USA water polo team. Mann was one of 2 alternates on the Beijing Olympic team in 2008. In college, he was the 2006 national player of the year and a 3-time first-team All-American at California.

The Summer Olympics will run July 28 - August 12 in London