Jerry Butcher knew the decision he had to make.
That didn't make it any easier.
After 21 seasons of guiding the Carthage and Illini West girls track and field team, Butcher retired last week from the position to focus on his administrative job as the principal at Carthage Middle School.
"I really didn't want to," Butcher said. "I know when the season rolls around, it's really going to bother me."
Butcher's crowning achievement was seeing the Chargers win the Class 1A state championship in 2015. During his tenure, he had 266 athletes qualify for state and had 129 state medalists. Nine of those medalists were state champions -- seven in individual events and two relays -- and nine top-10 team finishes at state. Butcher's teams also won nine conference titles and eight sectional titles.
What makes it more enjoyable was remembering where the state of the program was when he first started.
"I remember way back, probably 16 years ago, when we got a trophy for the first time at a track meet," Butcher said. "We spent the first four years in the program never having a chance (to compete for a trophy). The girls were yelling and hugging cause we finally got a trophy.
"Now we have so many of the dang things we don't know what to do with them."
He wants to see that success continue. He knows it's time for someone else to make that happen.
"It made it harder for me to give everything the program deserves," Butcher said. "I don't want to keep cheating the girls."
QND swimming competes in first postseason
Quincy Notre Dame had a girls swimming team for the first time this year.
Seven girls participated, including Alexis Krogman, who's been a competitor in the annual Titan Firecracker Classic at the Sheridan Swim Club. QND plans to field a boys team this winter.
"It's kind of neat we're the first sponsored team," Raiders coach Tom Strieker said.
In the Illinois High School Association, teams can register to compete as teams or as individuals. QND went the individual route, which meant the Raiders didn't compete in meets during the season.
That meant this past weekend's sectional meet at United Township was the only one QND competed in this fall. No QND girls qualified for the state meet.
Krogman finished fourth in the 100-yard butterfly in 1 minute. 0.57 seconds. She was five seconds behind Dunlap's Emma Theobald, who won in 55.32. Krogman also finished fourth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:10.75.
Strieker hopes the program can continue to grow.
"There always will be some (interest)," he said. "We hope to have additional freshmen come in every year. It's a vision to do this every year.
"But we also don't want to compete with QND sports, which is why we don't offer a full season. We don't want someone to choose tennis over swimming because maybe then they won't have enough tennis players and have to cancel tennis."
Changes made to Brown County tournament
A few changes have been made to the schedule of Brown County's Lady Hornet Classic basketball tournament.
The original schedule had West Prairie competing, but the school will not field a varsity team this year because of low numbers. Beardstown Christian Academy, a non-IHSA school, was then slated to fill in the slot.
Beardstown Christian Academy then decided not to play in the tournament, leaving a void again. The Brown County junior varsity team was penciled into the open spot.
A final change was made Monday as Peoria Central will join the tournament.
Brown County will play Beardstown at 9 a.m. Saturday in the high school gym, and Unity will play Liberty in the junior high school gym at the same time to start tournament play.