Hoopeston Area School District saw many achievements in sports in 2019.
An early achievement in 2019 was the success of the Hoopeston Area High School Lady Cornjerkers bowling team.
The team advanced to sectional competition after placing third at regionals. The Lady Cornjerkers were led by Kayla Goble, who placed second overall with a 1,134 overall score. She was followed by Jaylyn Linder, who placed fifth overall with a 1,084.
As has been the case for the last few years, Hoopeston Area saw several wrestlers advance in postseason competition this year.
Ezra Elliott, Anthony Colunga, Abel Colunga, Gage Kenner, Ethan Larkin, Justin Jones, Jonathon Herron, Jose Resendez and Ethan Schwartz all competed at regionals with Elliott, Abel Colunga, Anthony Colunga and Kenner all advancing to sectionals.
Elliott and the Colungas would reach the state finals and advanced from the first round with wins under their belts. Abel Colunga and Anthony Colunga would fall in the second round of competition.
Elliott was no stranger to this level of competition, having reached the state finals previously. This year was his triumphant return to the top stage and he wasn’t leaving without a first place win.
Elliott, who went undefeated during the season, wrestled his way to victory and won first place in the 138 pounds weight division at the state finals.
Also in wrestling achievements, three members of the Hoopeston Area Wrestling Club advanced to the Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation state finals in Rockford.
Charley Flores, Aiden Bell and Talen Gredy-Nelson all advanced to the state finals after qualifying at sectionals. Gredy-Nelson competed in the Senior Division while Flores and Bell competed in the Novice Division.
Mason Swartz, 9, of Hoopeston, earned first place in his weight division in the Illinois Midget wrestling championships March 16-17 at the David S. Palmer Arena in Danville.
Two Hoopeston Area basketball players stood out with individual achievements in 2019.
Ali Watson advanced to the IHSA state three-point contest preliminaries but fell short of moving onto the finals.
Graham Eighner would go on to win the Class 2A state three-point contest after succeeding at the regional and sectional levels. He advanced to state by scoring 11 three-pointers in the preliminary state round and won the competition by putting up 10 three-pointers in the finals.
Eighner was cheered on by family, friends and teammates from the Hoopeston Area High School baseball team who traveled to Peoria to support him.
Hoopeston Area High School’s soccer team had a reinvigorated spirit heading into this season and it showed in the season record of 21-5-1. The Cornjerkers were undefeated for much of the season.
Unfortunately, the Cornjerkers were unable to advance in the postseason past the regional championship, falling to Herscher after defeating St. Anne in the first round of regionals. Hoopeston Area, missing a few of its talented players, couldn’t stand up to Herscher’s offense and fell 6-0.
Several Hoopeston Area High School cross country runners were recognized for their abilities this year.
Allison Pickett took second place in the Vermilion Valley Conference meet, earning all conference honors in the process, and would go on to advance to sectionals after placing 38th with a time of 21:19:34 at regionals.
Michael Helmuth placed sixth at the VVC meet and earned all conference honors. Helmuth also advanced to sectionals, placing 47th with a time of 18:49:63.
Middle School Basketball
The Hoopeston Area Middle School seventh grade girls basketball game earned their first regional title this year and advanced to the sectional championship against Beecher.
Hoopeston Area kept pace with Beecher in the first quarter, but Beecher pulled away in the second and went into halftime with a 12-7 lead.
The Lady Cornjerkers attempted to keep pace with Beecher in the third quarter, but couldn’t pull ahead. Beecher focused on maintaining control of the ball and running down the clock, denying Hoopeston Area the chance to climb out of the hole they got into in the first half. Hoopeston Area didn’t let up, however, and continued to push for the basket. Unfortunately, the Lady Cornjerkers were unable to convert many of their attempts into points.
Beecher continued their in the fourth quarter focus on maintain ball-control in the fourth quarter and held Hoopeston Area to only two points during the final few minutes. Beecher came away with the 28-13 victory over Hoopeston Area.