Thursday, March 22, 2018

Men's Baseball: UIS baseball team hits national rankings for first time

The University of Illinois Springfield baseball program has climbed into the national rankings in its eighth season of existence.

UIS is ranked 25th in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Division II poll released Wednesday.

It is 19th in the Perfect Game national rankings. Hero Sports has the Prairie Stars No. 13 out of 262 teams in its ratings. UIS received votes in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper national poll. It also is No. 9 in the 10-team Midwest Region.

The Stars have had a red-hot start to the season after losing their first three games. Their overall record is 17-4 and they’re riding a nine-game win streak.

They have the most wins of all 15 Great Lakes Valley Conference teams. So what got them here? 

“We’ve taken a good pitching staff and taken a good offense, and added impact players to that,” UIS fifth-year coach Chris Ramirez said.

“The big jump has been our pitching staff,” Ramirez said. “Those guys have been unhittable. It’s been the starting pitchers, then we go to the bullpen and those relievers have been just as tough. The story is when you take all those good players that we had coming back and add in Justin Revels, Andrew Dean and Alec Altmeyer to the pitching staff. All three went Division I out of high school.”

The Stars also have the conference’s best batting average. UIS is hitting .318, no other GLVC team is above .298.

“We knew we had Michael Rothmund, last year’s Division II home run leader, back and Cole Taylor, the All-American, back, and we had Myles Hann and John Sechen,” Ramirez said. “We’ve added Jack Schaff and Nick Stokowski.”

This spring could be shaping up to be UIS’ best with seven weeks remaining in the regular season.

The Stars set the school-record for wins at 33 last season. They also won a record-setting 19 GLVC games.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 21, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

UIS to host Easter egg hunt

The University of Illinois Springfield baseball team will host its annual Easter egg hunt on March 31.

UIS plays Robert Morris University in a nine-inning game at 2 p.m. at UIS Field. The hunt begins immediately after the game.

Children 10 and younger can participate in the hunt with the baseball team. Children age 5 and younger will be divided into a different group.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 21, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Men's Baseball: DII rankings: Mar. 21

A new team was added to the D-II rankings mix as the University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars made their Perfect Game Top 25 debut.

Their inclusion comes on the heels of UIS’ nine-game winning streak, which has been punctuated with a pair of shutout wins. Had it not been for an unfortunate ninth-inning error, the Prairie Stars may be riding an amazing 17-game winning streak as they’ve only lost one contest since dropping their first three.

The pitching for UIS has been flat-out phenomenal.

While several players have been upping their game, a big reason for UIS’ dramatic pitching improvement has been the addition of Justin Revels and Andrew Dean to the rotation.

Revels, who began his career at Grand Canyon, has only allowed three earned runs in his five starts and has a sub 1.00 WHIP with his 0.93 ERA.

Dean, who also formerly played D-I ball at Texas Southern, is putting up similar numbers. In his last outing, a complete game road shutout against Rockhurst, he was still reaching the 90s with his fastball.

The team is batting .318 with Nick Stokowski and Michael Rothmund looking like All Americans in the making.

This article appeared on the website, on March 21, 2018.

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Monday, March 19, 2018

Women's Softball: Stars sweep Drury

Lakyn Wagoner’s RBI single tied the game in the seventh inning and Haley Inman hit the game-winning RBI to lift the University of Illinois Springfield to a 3-2 victory against Drury.

UIS won the the second game of the Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheader 11-7.

Bree Derhake was 4-for-5. Inman also had four hits.

The Stars have a 16-9 overall record and are 3-1 in the conference.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 18, 2018.

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Friday, March 16, 2018

University of Illinois student health insurance premiums to go up

University of Illinois trustees have voted to increase student health insurance premiums for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Springfield campus students will see a 3 percent increase and pay $530 a semester.

The health insurance provided by United Healthcare is optional.

School officials tell The (Champaign) News-Gazette that the Urbana-Champaign campus saw a 26 percent increase in student claims for outpatient visits, prescription drugs, maternity care and mental health services.

They say the insurer paid $1.06 for every $1 collected in premiums.

This story was reported by the Associated Press on March 15, 2018.

Read the entire story online.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Women's Basketball: With many returning, UIS women’s basketball already looking at next season

It’s spring break for University of Illinois Springfield students. The women’s basketball players better enjoy it because when they return to campus, coach Mark Kost will begin putting them through spring workouts.

Kost is allowed eight hours a week to work with them.

UIS made gains as a program during the 2017-18 season and all involved are ready to take it up a notch.

The Prairie Stars should have the majority of their squad back since they’re only losing three seniors. 

“We had end-of-the-season individual meetings last week,” Kost said. “It’s time for some players to step up, take on new roles and improve. That’s going to be the key to how good we are next year and if we keep this positive momentum going. We have made progress. We are getting better. We are beating some teams that we didn’t beat in the past. Now we’ve got to make that next step.”

It’s possible to divide the Stars’ season into two simple parts: pre-injuries and post-injuries. They finished with a 13-13 overall record and were 7-11 in the conference.

”As a result, the Stars earned their first NCAA Division II regional ranking in program history at the beginning of December. Just before Christmas, they moved their record to 8-1 with an 18-point win against NCAA Tournament qualifier Embry-Riddle, which had received votes in the national poll at the time.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 14, 2018.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Men's Tennis: Stars’ Clarke earns GLVC award

University of Illinois Springfield junior Sam Clarke has been named the Great Lakes Valley Conference Men’s Tennis Player of the Week.

Clarke, a native of England, is the first UIS men’s player to earn the award.

Last week, he helped UIS beat No. 10 Lindenwood for the first time in the Prairie Stars’ NCAA Division II era.

Clarke and teammate Tommy Martinez won 9-8 in a pair of No. 1 doubles matches against Lindenwood and Missouri-St. Louis.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 13, 2018.

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Women's Golf: UIS’ Ocean Pangan second out of 47 golfers

University of Illinois Springfield freshman Ocean Pangan finished second in a playoff at the Embry-Riddle Invitational on Tuesday.

She finished with an 8-over-par 154.

Pangan posted rounds of 76 and 78 at LPGA International Jones Course. She placed second out of 47 golfers.

 UIS finished second out of eight teams with a 635.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 13, 2018.

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Monday, March 12, 2018

Men's Basketball: UIS men’s basketball to return core group next season with Williams and Stallworth back

During the last four weeks of the University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball season, forward Collin Stallworth and guard Aundrae Williams ran out on the court during player introductions. 

The freshmen made their first college starts on Jan. 27 in a win over Indianapolis.

Williams, who attended Lanphier, collected eight starts. He played 610 minutes, third most for the Prairie Stars. He finished as UIS’ third-leading scorer with 8 points per game and was second in steals averaging 1.1 per game.

“If you look at his assist to turnover ratio, it was really good for a freshman,” UIS coach Bill Walker said. “It was over 2 to 1, which is pretty good. He’s a very good defender. He’s got some tangibles and intensity that are just good for the team. He really gave us that spark.”

Stallworth eased his way into the season. The Rochester product started nine contests, played 488 minutes and averaged 3.9 points. He was third in rebounding with 3.8 per game and second with 0.5 blocks per game.

“Collin had some very good games against some high level talent,” Walker said. “He kind of flipped a switch midway through the (Great Lakes Valley Conference) season. It wasn’t a dominating season, but he showed flashes of why everyone around this area kind of knows his ceiling and how good he can be.”

Wins were much easier for the Stars to come by in the first 2 ½ months. They opened with a 12-5 record. After that, they won just two of their last 12 games.

One of those victories was huge. UIS upset powerhouse Southern Indiana 79-70 on Feb. 8 at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

UIS finished 14-14 overall and 6-12 in the GLVC.

This article was published in The State Journal-Register on March 10, 2018.

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Friday, March 9, 2018

Study the night sky

On Friday, March 9, celebrate the return of University of Illinois Springfield’s Friday Night Star Parties, hosted by John Martin, UIS associate professor of astronomy and physics.

Friday Night Star Parties take place at UIS Observatory, located on the roof of Brookens Library, and will continue on Friday nights from 8-10 p.m., weather permitting, through March 23.

Friday Night Star Parties include a presentation about galaxies, the stars and the sun, followed by the use of the observatory’s telescope to view of the moon, the great nebula in Orion, as well as additional double stars and star clusters as available.

Friday Night Star Parties are free to the public, and participants are able to come and go as desired between 8 and 10 p.m.

This article appeared in the Illinois Times on March 8, 2018.

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Students, Staff Prepare For Active Shooter Situation At UIS

The University of Illinois Springfield trained students and staff on how to respond in an active shooter situation at an hour-long training session this month.

During the session, UIS police showed a video by the Center for Personal Protection and Safety that demonstrated the many responses to an active shooter situation on campus. While colleges are all about learning, it’s a sign of the times that this subject is being taught.

"It's increasing all the time," said UIS Police Captain Brad Strickler. "You hear of all the active shooters and school shootings and workplace violence ... so we want to train everybody here on campus what to do, how to prepare for these things."

Later in the semester, the university plans to have its first active shooter drill with no advanced warning. Police say real life shooter situations can happen any day, any time – and students and staff should remain vigilant.

UIS graduate student Rebekah Lange attended the training.

The session was held as news broke that a shooting at Central Michigan University left two people dead.

Lange was inspired by recent events, including the shooting at Central Michigan, to learn more. "It makes you feel a lot more vulnerable," she said. "Nobody woke up this morning thinking that was going to happen. We just had Parkland down in Florida happen, so you had one incident happen, what, like two, three weeks ago, one this morning, and it just really makes it real."

The video shown at the training demonstrates various ways to maneuver when in an active shooter situation. According to the video, the important question to ask is “What if?” and to always keep in mind how to survive a shooter situation, both on campus and off.

UIS alerts students and staff of emergencies with alarms throughout campus, announcements over speakers, text messages, emails and through campus landlines. Students and staff can use the online reporting system to offer tips on the whereabouts of a shooter rather than having to call, which could create noise that attracts the shooter.

This story aired on NPR Illinois on March 8, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

UIS offering free shuttle to the polls for students

The University of Illinois Springfield is offering a service for its students to get out and vote in the Illinois primary election.

A free shuttle service will take students every 15 minutes to and from the polls on March 20. 

Officials said it’s important for students to be able to vote while they're away from home and this service ensures they're able to do it.

“This is something we've been doing for a while, because we have a number of students who don't have transportation of their own on campus so it's an opportunity for them to vote and not worry about how they're going to get to the poll,” said Connie Komnick who is the assistant director of volunteer and civic engagement center at UIS.

Students will have the service again for the general election in November.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on March 7, 2018.

Watch the story online.

Alternative Spring Break trades sun for service

Like many of his classmates at the University of Illinois Springfield, Eric Loera is already looking ahead to his big spring break trip.

“It’s going to be the farthest I’ve gone, personally, to Texas,” Loera said.

But while his classmates are soaking up the sun on the beach, Loera is going to be gutting homes that soaked up a little too much water.

“We’re going to be doing demolition,” he said. “Tearing down the houses that were ravaged by the hurricane.”

Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast more than six months ago. The storm then dumped torrential rains on southeast Texas — including more than 32 inches in Beaumont alone. The winds have died down. The flood waters have receded. But the storm’s impact remains.

But those in need were not forgotten by the team in charge of the UIS Alternative Spring Break trip. 

“When the hurricane was happening, there wasn’t that much we could do,” said organization president Hailey Hawkins. “I knew [our trip] would be a great opportunity for students to go to Texas and really help these people.”

The ASB crew plans to leave early Sunday morning and return late on March 17.

This story aired on WAND TV on March 7, 2018.

Watch the story online.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Men's Baseball: Stars’ Revels earns GLVC award

University of Illinois Springfield junior Justin Revels has been named the Great Lakes Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week.

He struck out eight, walked one and allowed two hits in a 9-0 win against William Jewell on Saturday.

His record is 2-0. UIS teammate Colton Hale won the same award last week.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 6, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Men's Baseball: UIS edges William Jewell

Jack Schaaf had three hits in the University of Illinois Springfield’s 8-6 win against William Jewell. 

Michael Rothmund scored on a fielding error in the sixth inning and the Prairie Stars took a 6-5 lead in their home opener, then Schaaf scored and UIS was up two runs.

Cole Taylor’s home run in the eighth put UIS ahead 8-6. Taylor, Rothmund, Nick Stokowski and Troy Cantu had two hits each for UIS.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 2, 2018.

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Women's Softball: UIS softball beats No. 24 Saginaw Valley

Bree Derhake hit a three-run triple in the University of Illinois-Springfield’s 6-1 win over No. 24 Saginaw Valley State Friday.

The Sacred Heart-Griffin High School graduate hit the triple in the five-run, third inning of the Prairie Stars’ home opener and UIS led 4-1.

UIS’ Calla Wickenhauser drove in Derhake to make it 5-1. Ali Haesele’s RBI triple scored Wickenhauser and the Stars were up 6-1.

UIS scored two wins over nationally ranked teams in the first 10 games.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 2, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Samuel K. Gove Illinois Legislative Internship Hall of Fame inducts new members

Four people who have successful careers in and around government are being inducted into the Four people who have successful careers in and around government are being inducted into the Samuel K. Gove Illinois Legislative Internship Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Mark Denzler, Marcilene Dutton, DeShana Forney and David Joens will be inducted in a ceremony March 12 at the Old State Capitol.

Gove was founding director of the internship program.

With the four new members, the hall, established in 1990, will include 68 people. Their names are inscribed on a plaque on the fourth floor of the Statehouse.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 28, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

UIS Professor Unpacks 'Toxic Masculinity'

Google searches for the term "toxic masculinity" reached their peak following the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida earlier in February, according to the search engine's analytics.

Social scientists and psychologists use the concept to explain why men are more prone to violence, for instance.

But there are also real-world, negative consequences for men who might feel pressured to maintain the social status quo when it comes to presenting their gender identity. So says professor Michael Murphy who teaches gender theory at the University of Illinois Springfield.

His new book, which will be released in April, is called "Living out Loud: An Introduction to LGBTQ History Society and Culture."  Murphy recently spoke with us about masculinity and why some are calling it "toxic."

This story was part of an interview on National Public Radio Illinois on February 27, 2018.

Listen to the full transcript online.