The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois on July 10, 2016 · B6
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The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois · B6

Bloomington, Illinois
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 10, 2016
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B6 | SUNDAY, JULY 10, 2016 THE PANTAGRAPH M 1 Softball From B1 Combining for 14 no-hitters — seven of which were perfect games — have been Adams’ daughter, Madison (20-0), Kyndal Shively (17-0), Payton Brown (15-0), Kylan Arndt (7-0) and Kylee Isaac (5-0). “Nobody is going into a game tired, which is very helpful,” said Bartels, whose team has an earned run average of 1.60 and a batting average of .538. “At fi rst, everyone thought we were a bunt-only club and then some of our bigger hitters started stepping up, pounding the ball to the fence,” Coach Adams said. Bartels’ daughter, Kelsey, tops the team in average (.741), hits (117) and runs (117). Others chipping in mightily are Payton Brown (81 RBIs, .612), Madison Adams (80 RBIs, .576) and Heidi Humble (79 RBIs, .490). “We attack on the bases and that’s what a lot of the 10-U teams aren’t used to seeing,” added Coach Bartels. Rounding out the hitters are Kallista Hammer (.522), Isaac (.518), Shively (.500), Kenna Trower (.476), Emily McCandless (.439) and Arndt (.409). They hail from Tri-Valley, Prairieland, Clinton, Cornerstone and Fisher schools. Their coaches hope to have nearly the same roster next season at the 12-and-under level. The team began with three tournaments last fall before taking November and December o . They practiced three times a month January through March before resuming games in April. “We encourage them to do other sports,” Bartels said. “It just makes them better competitors and athletes.” A better mix of coaching personalities would be hard to fi nd even though Adams and Bartels are opposites. “I get a little fi ery sometimes and she calms me down and keeps the team calm,” Adams said. “It’s a good combination.” Bartels grew up in a sports family. Her father, Ron Goodwin, was athletic director at Normal Community and Clinton. “He comes to almost all our games,” said Bartels, who credits her players’ parents for allowing the coaches to do their job. “The parents do a good job with the team-bonding stu ,” she said. “The parents are super supportive.” After the state tourney concludes on Sunday, the Chaos will end the season at a national tournament in Pekin later this month. Bartels hopes her players see the journey wasn’t about searching for perfection. “It’s the memories you make and learning to be a competitor,” she said. “It’s been an amazing experience so far.” Follow Randy Sharer on Twitter: @pg_sharer KEVIN CLEINMARK , COURTESY HEARTLAND CHAOS Kelsey Bartels helped the Heartland Chaos 10-under travel softball team to a 64-0 record entering Saturday by leading their potent o ense in average (.741), hits (117) and runs (117). BRADLEY LEEB , ASSOCIATED PRESS Illinois defensive end Dawuane Smoot puts a hit on Western Illinois quarterback Trenton Norvell during a nonconference game last season at Memorial Stadium in Champaign. W hen Lovie Smith is hired as your football coach, you wince when he looks you in the eye and says you’ve got to get stronger. It stings if he pulls you aside and tells says you’ve got to become quicker. It hurts when he pencils you in as third team. But when Lovie Smith, a two-time NFL head coach, says you have what it takes to be a fi rst-round draft choice, you snap to attention, swell with pride and your confi dence soars. You also become the target of local and national media, who track you down when they hear similar glowing assessments from NFL scouts and coaches. Dawuane Smoot can feel his life changing now that Illinois’ new head coach has told him he has what it takes to be called on the fi rst night of the 2017 NFL Draft. A senior defensive end, Smoot was recently informed that he’s on the watch list for the Bednarik Award, which honors the best defensive player in college football. He was recently shown a list of the Top 100 players in college football put together by Pro Football Focus. Smoot’s name turned up at No. 20. And in their 2017 NFL mock draft, they have Smoot going No. 18 overall to the New York Giants. “I was shocked,” Smoot said. “It’s pretty cool.” Smoot will join Wes Lunt and Ke’Shawn Vaughn as the players who will represent Illinois at the Big Ten Conference media day event in Chicago later this month (He’s very concerned about fi nding a suit and tie worthy of this honor). For good measure, Smoot has been assured by former Illini teammate Jihad Ward, who three months ago became a second-round pick of the Oakland Raiders, that he needs to do just two things to get rich playing the game he loves. “He stays very close to us defensive linemen,” Smoot said. “He calls us every week and he reminds me to stay humble and keep grinding.” Smoot had just one other Big Ten scholarship o er coming out of Groveport, Ohio (population 5,300) as a football and track athlete. Indiana and some Mid-American Conference schools were intrigued by a 6-3, 220-pounder who also ran hurdles. But Smoot chose Illinois and last season he emerged as a difference-making defender on the rise. His eight sacks and 15 tackles for loss were the most since Illini All-American Whitney Mercilus had 22.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage in 2011. “It all started to click for me last year in the o season,” Smoot said. “Just knowing I’d be stepping up as a starter got me going.” Smoot was a bright spot on a 5-7 Illini team that in less than 12 months has had three head coaches. Tim Beckman was replaced by Bill Cubit, who was replaced by Smith. And while Smoot was excited to be playing for a former NFL head coach, it was the reaction of Smoot’s father, Darrell, that opened his eyes. “My dad went crazy,” Smoot said. “He was jumping up and down. He said this was a great fi t for me.” Darrell Smoot, who never fails to make the 4½-hour drive to an Illini home game, was right. Soon after he was hired, Smith looked at enough game tape to know what he had in Smoot. “He told me I could be a fi rst-rounder and when he said that I just though, ‘Yeah, I can do it.’ It con- fi rmed some things to me.” Smoot follows Ward’s advice and tries to stay humble. But that won’t stop him for setting some high personal goals. He’s aware that the Illini school record for sacks is shared by a pair of former NFL fi rst-rounders. Simeon Rice and Whitney Mer- cilus each recorded 16 sacks in a single season. “I’m chasing records, honestly,” Smoot said matter-of-factly. “I think 16 is very realistic,” especially on a defense run by Smith and coordinator Hardy Nickerson, who have a special a ection for pass rushers. To prepare, Smoot has spent this summer lightening his load. His weight has gone from 270 to 255 pounds. “Around here, it’s all about lowering body fat. The coaches want us to be leaner and quicker. That’s what the pros want.” Those same preseason publications — the ones now trumpeting Smoot as someone special — don’t think much of Illinois’ chances in the Big Ten West Division. Most pick the Illini fi fth or sixth out of seven teams. And while Smoot would like more attention for his team, he doesn’t mind that Illinois has a chance to sneak up on people. He feels the defense is vastly underrated. “People don’t see the storm that’s coming,” Smoot said. “They don’t see what’s going to happen. But we know.” If the Illini defense thrives, many will call it a surprise. But don’t be surprised if Smoot makes noise. Lovie Smith has already told Dawuane Smoot what he expects. He’s already told him to play like a fi rst-rounder. Mark Tupper covers Illini sports for Lee News Service. Contact him at Smoot aims to realize potential under Lovie TIM REYNOLDS ASSOCIATED PRESS MIAMI — Dwyane Wade still isn’t totally ready to leave Miami. He felt he had no choice. The soon-to-be Chicago Bulls guard o ered his side Saturday of the process that led to the end of his 13 years with the Miami Heat and deciding to play for his hometown team. Wade insisted he has “the utmost respect and admiration” for Heat President Pat Riley — who drafted him in 2003, coached him to his fi rst title in 2006 and now played a role that led to him leaving a franchise that’s clearly in transition. And despite his anger about the breakup, he made clear that he will never bash the Heat or Riley. “I love Pat Riley,” Wade said. “He’s been someone who’s been a fi gure- head in my life since I got drafted here at 21. But at the same time, he has a job to do. He has a di erent hat to wear. That hat sometimes is not to be my best friend. That hat is to be the president of an organization and to be a businessman. And it sucks. You know somebody so well, you guys love each other, but the business side comes out. “I’m not saying that we’ve hugged and cried and shed tears at this moment. But I love Pat. And I will always love Pat. And, you know, I know he feels the same way about me.” Since Wade announced Wednesday that he’ll sign with the Bulls, he’s felt countless emotions. He went past the arena the Heat call home Friday, blown away by the tribute the team was paying to him on external video screens. He couldn’t believe how many people were lined up to buy merchandise with his name and number on the back. He choked up when he saw the full-page ad the Heat took out for him in South Florida newspapers. “Moments like this, it sucks,” Wade said. “The business side of the sport, sometimes it just sucks. That’s what we’re dealing with.” Miami o ered just over $40 million for two years with hopes he stayed. Chicago landed him with a contract worth about $47 million for two years. Wade was in a hotel room in New York when he made the decision to leave Miami, and before long he started seeing the video montages of his Heat career coming across screens. It seemed funereal. “They started playing tribute videos and I’ve assumed that’s what it’s going to be like when I’m no longer on this Earth,” Wade said. “That’s what it felt like. It felt like it really was the end of life. “And I guess in a sense it’s the end of life in Miami — as of now.” Wade won three titles with the Heat, leads the franchise in plenty of stat categories, was a 12-time All- Star in a Miami uniform. And there will be undoubtedly be speculation about a return one day, which is not out of the question. The Heat’s ad thanking Wade included these words: “We’ll leave a key under the mat for you.” “This ain’t the ending of this book, but we got through a lot of chapters of this book,” Wade said. “And this is a best-seller, for sure.” As of now, the plan is for the Bulls to introduce him July 29. So that will be Hello, Chicago. If Wade gets his way, there will never truly be a Farewell, Miami. “This is never goodbye to South Florida,” Wade said. “The words, ‘Heat Lifer,’ I’m a Heat for life. I’ll always be a Heat.” New Bull Wade: ‘I’ll always be a Heat’ SPORTS Wade MARK TUPPER “This is never goodbye to South Florida. The words, ‘Heat Lifer,’ I’m a Heat for life. I’ll always be a Heat.” Dwyane Wade, Former Miami Heat player, future Chicago Bulls player

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