Watch now: Crabtree, Becker, Coffman represent area on IHSA All-State Academic Team | High School Sports

The last four years have not left Adriana Crabtree of University High School, Central Catholic’s Megan Becker and Carter Coffman of Lexington a lot of free time.

Not that the three Pantagraph area seniors would want it any other way.

Crabtree, Becker and Coffman have exceled both in the classroom and in their respective athletic endeavors. They were among 26 student-athletes across the state named to the IHSA All-State Academic Team and received their recognition during a dinner earlier this month at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Bloomington.  

“I never know what to do when I have free time,” said Crabtree, who has participated in cross country, basketball and soccer all four years. “It’s good for me to have a schedule and holds me accountable what I have to do.”


Ridgeview-Lexington quarterback Carter Coffman talks to his team after losing to Lena-Winslow in the Class 1A State semifinal game. The Lexington senior was named to the IHSA All-State Academic Team.

Coffman said being “a planner” has helped him in school and football, basketball and track.

“You’ve got to manage your time. If you’re not managing your time well, you’re just going to waste a lot of it,” he said. “If a lot of people stepped back and looked what they did in a day, they would find a of time they could put towards something else.”


Central Catholic’s Megan Becker won the 400-meter dash during last year’s Class 1A Girls State Track and Field Meet at O’Brien Field in Charleston. Coffman was named to the IHSA All-State Academic Team.

Jim Benson

One of the keys for Becker is to make sure she does all her class work as soon as she possibly can. 

“Most days when I have a meet or something it goes really late,” said Becker, who has done track and basketball four years and swimming for the last two years when the program began at Central. “I try to get what I can done in school so after school I can just worry about my sports, and if I have to I don’t have a ton of (school) work to do. I try to do stuff over the weekends and work ahead when I can so during the week I don’t have as much to get done.”

Every IHSA member school was invited to nominate one female student and one male student by the February deadline. Nominees needed to possess a minimum 3.50 grade-point average on 4.0 scale after their seventh semester, participated in at least two IHSA sponsored sports or activities during each of the last two years and demonstrated outstanding citizenship.

The nominations were evaluated by a committee made up of IHSA principals, representatives of the Illinois Activities Directors Association and representatives of the Illinois Athletic Directors Association. One male winner and one female winner from each of the seven IHSA Board of Directors Divisions were selected initially, while the final 12 spots (six male, six female) on the team were then rounded out with at-large candidates from anywhere in the state.

Crabtree helped the Pioneers take sixth in the Class 2A State Cross Country Meet in the fall. She was a basketball starter as the Pioneers advanced to the Class 2A super-sectional before losing by two points to eventual state champion Quincy Notre Dame. Now she’s on the soccer pitch hoping the Pioneers can advance a step further than last spring’s Class 1A super-sectional appearance.

“It’s a lot of hard work. I definitely couldn’t do it without the teachers, coaches and all my friends who help, too,” said Crabtree, who will attend Illinois Wesleyan and run cross country and track. “They help me so much to balance everything. Teachers are understanding about sports and leaving early and being able to make stuff up. That definitely helps me in everything I’ve been able to do.”

Coffman was the quarterback for the Ridgeview-Lexington co-op that surprised everyone in the Class 1A playoffs by advancing to the semifinals before losing at Lena-Winslow, which went on to win the state. Lexington kept up that magic in basketball season as Coffman played a key role in the school’s first super-sectional appearance in 23 years. Now he’s hoping to make the Class 1A State Track Meet, capable of running any of the four relays.

“This year is nothing like I’ve ever experienced sports-wise, but it’s also the end. It’s an interesting year,” said Coffman, who will attend West Point Academy and reports in late June. “It’s awesome we were able to come out of a lot of losing sports seasons and things and not only have success, but ending on a good note.” 

Becker was the Class 1A state champion in the 400 last spring. She suffered a stress reaction during basketball that curtailed that season and any indoor track action. She’s back on the track and trying to build herself back up to defend her 400 title next month in Charleston.

“It (being Academic All-State) meant a lot because I’ve worked so hard in all my school work and all my sports,” said Becker, who will run track at Saint Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. “It meant a lot to show everything I’ve been doing is getting recognized.”

Both of Olympia’s selections, Neil Alford and Grace Castleman, received All-State Academic honorable mention status. 

West soccer prevails

Peyton Cornejo’s goal lifted Normal West to a 1-0 victory over Peoria Notre Dame in a key Big 12 Conference girls soccer match on Monday.

The Wildcats (8-6-1 overall) have already claimed at least a share of the Intercity Tournament title and now are in good position to add the Big 12 Conference crown. Beating the Irish lifted West to 6-0-1 in the league.

Title for Pontiac softball

Freshman Elana Krause fired a no-hitter as Pontiac downed host Washington, 2-0, in the championship game to capture the 19th Panther Invitational last Saturday.

The Indians posted a 4-0 record in the tourney, allowing five runs behind the pitching of Krause and Makayla Metz. 

Slack signs with ISU

Lincoln middle distance runner Garrett Slack has signed a national letter of intent to run track for Illinois State.

Slack finished eighth in last year’s Class 2A State Track & Field Meet in the 400 (50.28 seconds). He won the Illinois Indoor Top Times Meet at Shirk Center in late March in the 800 in 1:59.12.

“It is close to home and offers many different programs for whatever I decide to pursue,” said Slack, who also was a soccer standout with the Railers. “The track team will also challenge me to be the best that I can be.”

Contact Jim Benson at (309) 820-3404. Follow him on Twitter: @Pg_Benson