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Sports editor

Les Winkeler is sports editor and outdoors writer for The Southern Illinoisan.

Streams of unconsciousness from the world of sports:

Saluki softball: For the second year in a row Kerri Blaylock’s softball Salukis reached the Missouri Valley Conference softball tournament championship game.

The Salukis struggled a bit in the last weeks of the season before righting the ship prior to the MVC tournament. The amazing thing about the back-to-back appearances is the youth of this team. The Salukis start just two seniors – left fielder Savannah Fisher and third baseman Sydney Jones. Savanna Dover, starting pitcher for the second games of doubleheaders, is the only other senior to see regular action.

Ace pitcher Brianna Jones is the lone junior while the other regulars are sophomores and freshmen.

Great race: The 100 meter dash at Thursday’s Black Diamond Conference boys track meet had to be one of the greatest races in the 80-year history of the conference.

Two runners eclipsed the conference record in the event.

Carmi’s Bryce Northcott crossed the line in 10.78 seconds, just 0.02 before Hamilton County’s Jake Whipple. What’s more, Vienna’s Dilynn Roper was less than a half-stride behind those two.

Both Northcott and Whipple broke Daniel Farmer’s record of 10.93 established in 2012.

The best part of the race, the trio burst out laughing an instant after crossing the finish line thanks to Whipple’s play-by-play commentary.

“Man, that was close,” Whipple said as the three runners decelerated.

If it ain’t broke: There is nothing wrong with prep basketball as it is being played in Illinois.

However, it appears as if Illinois will succumb to national pressure and add a shot clock in the near future.


Few teams hold the ball for more than 35 seconds on a regular basis. When they do, it’s usually at the end of a quarter to get the last shot. I suppose some people think that’s boring. I prefer to think of it as smart basketball.

And, if a coach feels his team’s best chance to win a game is to minimize possessions and run a deliberate offense, more power to him or her. That’s not easy to do.

What I foresee happening with the shot clock is more bad shots. Players will see the shot clock about to expire and throw up a prayer.

What I don’t foresee happening is increased scoring, which is what everyone seems to want. The shot clock will have negligible effects on the game, except it will complicate game management by officials and the scoring bench.

It ain’t broke. Leave it alone.

Yadier Molina: My eyes are still watering.

SIU soccer: I’ve got to admit, the possibility of watching collegiate soccer has piqued my interest.

Soccer isn’t a sport I grew up with. I never played. I have a vague understanding of the rules.

However, as popular as the sport is at the lower levels, including high schools, I’m shocked SIU didn’t adopt it as an intercollegiate sport earlier. I’m guessing the state’s financial difficulties had a lot to do with it.

And, the advent of a new sport is always an exciting time.

LES WINKELER is sports editor for The Southern Illinoisan. Contact him at, or call 618-351-5088 / On Twitter @LesWinkeler.


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