QND opens season No. 2
To make their three-year reign complete, the Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball players will have unseat the No. 1 team in the state -- Lombard Montini.
The Lady Raiders open the season ranked No. 2 in Class 3A, one spot behind Montini. QND received two of the seven first-place votes and sit just nine total points behind Montini.
QND, which won the last two Class 2A state championships, is the only Illinois area team -- boys or girls -- to find itself in the first state rankings of the season.
The QND boys team received one vote in Class 3A, while the Payson Seymour boys received two votes in the Class 1A state poll.
Lady Raiders add to schedule
The Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball team will know what it's like to battle tested before the postseason begins thanks to the addition of a marquee game.
The Lady Raiders, who are the No. 2-ranked team in Class 3A, added a game against Nashville in the Coaches vs. Cancer Shootout to the schedule. The event will be held Jan. 31 at the ScottTrade Center in St. Louis with the Lady Raiders playing at 1 p.m. in the third of seven games.
QND will follow up with games Feb. 1 and 2 in the Subway SuperFan Shootout at The Pit. The Lady Raiders will face Springfield on Feb. 1 and Rolling Meadows on Feb. 2. Nashville is ranked fifth in the Class 2A poll, while Springfield is tied for fourth in the Class 4A and Rolling Meadows is receiving votes.
"It's a great three-game stretch," QND coach Eric Orne said.
QND lost a scheduled game with Lombard Montini, ranked No. 1 in Class 3A, when the IBS Shootout was canceled because of financial reasons.
Ehrhart signs to golf at UNI
Jamie Ehrhart won't want to forget her cold-weather golf gear when she starts her freshman season for the Northern Iowa women's golf team next fall.
"I'm going to have to dress warm," Ehrhart said.
Ehrhart's performance in high school indicates she'll be able to handle the conditions just fine. A senior at Quincy Notre Dame, Ehrhart participated in a signing day ceremony Nov. 21 to announce her plans to play for the Division I Panthers. Ehrhart said she also received some interest from Drake and had offers from several schools below the Division I level. However, she held out for UNI, located in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Ehrhart said she received the scholarship offer from UNI a few weeks ago after another recruit the program had targeted turned down an offer.
It's exactly where Ehrhart wanted to be.
"It's a really great environment," she said.
Ehrhart said she didn't really start considering the possibility of playing Division I golf until her senior season started.
"During the summer, I was still looking at quite a few D2 schools, quite a few D3 schools," she said.
Battling cold and damp conditions, Ehrhart placed fifth at the Class A state tournament at Red Tail Run Golf Course in Decatur, Ill., in October. Ehrhart carded a 36-hole score of 10-over 154, and she helped lead QND to a third-place team finish, marking the Lady Raiders' best finish in program history.
Ehrhart was a four-time state qualifier. After tying for 31st her freshmen season, she compiled three straight top-14 finishes.
Fairley signs with Lindenwood
Mason Fairley wanted to be around a coaching staff and players who had as much passion as he does for baseball.
That made Lindenwood the obvious choice.
"The way they run their program is so professional," said Fairley, the Quincy High School senior catcher who recently signed a national letter of intent with the Lions.
That shouldn't come as a surprise to those who know Lindenwood coach Doug Bletcher. A former head coach at Culver-Stockton College, Bletcher continues to reap the benefits of the relationships he fostered during his time at the Canton, Mo., school. One of those relationships was with Fairley's older brother, Mitchell, who pitched for the Quincy American Legion Post 37 team when Bletcher coached it.
Fairley said knowing Bletcher and his approach helped.
Moreso, Bletcher's possesses a winning attitude. Fairley latched onto to that.
"The coaching staff has a goal with what they want to do and where they want to get to," Fairley said. "I like that so much. Their commitment in incomparable to any other place I went. They're full-time baseball. That's what I was looking for."