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Local athletes participate in international competitions

Reinwaldís team takes third, Zurkamer
comes in sixth in competition abroad

[AUG. 28, 2001]  Lori Reinwald stole home for the only run to lead her team to third place in People to People Sports Ambassadors competition in Haarlem, The Netherlands, while Luke Zurkamer, 18, placed sixth in decathlon at the Deaflympics in Rome, Italy. Both international competitors are from Lincoln.

American teams took all three medals in the People to People softball competition. The Titans, Reinwaldís team, played two German, one Dutch and two American teams. She played center field in all five matches, clocking as much game time as any Titan.

Reinwald was chosen for the program in part for her bunting ability and used it to get on base and to move players around the bases. She was also the fastest runner on her team and stole several bases. In the match against Hamburg, Germany, for third place, she stole home for the only score in the game.


Although practices were less demanding than Reinwald expected, she said her coach, Bill Callaghan, was "really good" and she "actually learned a lot in five to six days." She improved her bunting range, with emphasis on drag, slap and left-handed bunts.

The German teams used slow pitch and Reinwald found it "harder to hit a slow pitcher." "There was good competition," she added; "the games were close." In fact, her first two games went into extra innings.


Zurkamerís best events in the Deaflympics decathlon were the throwing competitions and 1,500-meter run. In javelin he bested his qualifying time of a year ago by 30 feet to about 157. In discuss he improved from 96 to 110 feet and in shot put from 34 feet, 10 inches to 35-1. In the 1,500 he ran his lifetime best of 4:48.

Results are approximate because the Deaflympics, affiliated with the international Olympics, was slow to notify him of results. At the event about 5,000 athletes from 70 nations competed from July 21 to Aug. 1. The U.S. team had 290 members. The 70 in track and field won 12 gold and many silver and bronze medals.

In June 2000 when he qualified for the U.S. team, Zurkamer scored a total of 4,200 in the 10 events; in Rome he improved to 4,500. His coach, Nancy Benson of Maryland, also coached the womenís heptathlon. The teams practiced in Washington, D.C., beginning July 7.


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Overall, Reinwald rated hers a good experience and found it "neat to hang out with" the other American and European players. She experienced no communication problems because everyone spoke English. All 10 teams plus the boys in People to People Sports Ambassadors baseball competition attended a barbecue and disco party.

About half the 11-day trip (July 29-Aug. 8) was spent touring with a Dutch-born guide. Reinwald said the group took "lots of canal cruises and bus tours," saw the Anne Frank house and the World War II monument in Amsterdam and a mini Holland layout in The Hague, and viewed "cathedrals and neat old buildings" in Cologne and elsewhere. She was impressed with the amount of bicycle traffic. "The bikes will run you over," she said.


Zurkamer, 18, had only one free day to tour Rome. His father, Mark Zurkamer, said Luke had some trouble communicating because there are 14 sign languages, and the foreign athletes did not sign as he does. Still he enjoyed trading parts of his American uniform, including the coat to a German and the vest for a German hat. He also returned with a couple of international T-shirts. Mark and Carmen Zurkamer traveled to Rome to form the cheering section. 

Luke hopes to try out as a wrestler for the next Deaflympics, to be in Melbourne, Australia, in January or February 2005. His father said Luke is actually a better wrestler than decathlete but was recruited for the track-and-field team at the 2000 Central State Deaf Track Meet.

Zurkamer left Aug. 14 for Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., to practice for the football team. He is a freshman at the university.

[Lynn Spellman]


Soap Box Derby results

[AUG. 28, 2001]  Saturday was a great day at the races with 23 soap box cars and drivers testing their limits on the South Kickapoo Street hill. Sgt. Ken Greenslate and Chief Rich Montcalm from the Lincoln City Police Department lent their support, serving about 200 delicious grilled hot dogs from the DARE-Neighborhood Watch Wagon at the event site. Thanks to the work of Rod Steele, many area youth enjoyed a new adventure.

Winners by age and division:

7- to 9-year-olds


1. Tyler Hartman, Mount Pulaski

2. Justin Knauer, Mount Pulaski

3. Ryan Amieon, Mount Pulaski

Super stock

1. Cole Awe, Mount Pulaski

2. Charles Aylesworth, Mount Pulaski

3. Caleb Painter, Lincoln


1. Mackenzie Oberreiter, Mount Pulaski

2. Will Wernsing, Mount Pulaski

3. Jonathon Oberreiter, Mount Pulaski


1. Nathan Lilly, Mount Pulaski

10- to 15-year-olds


1. Ethan Taylor, Latham

2. Nathan Treuthart, Lincoln

3. Ryan Gibbs, Mount Pulaski

Super stock

1. Kelsey Oglesby, Lake Fork

2. Christine Presswood, Lincoln

3. Jonathon Clevenger, Mount Pulaski


1. Mary Jane Letterle, Mount Pulaski

2. Kody Letterle, Mount Pulaski

3. Ethan Taylor, Latham


1. Kody Letterle, Mount Pulaski

[Click here for an earlier report on the derby]



Skyís the Limit 5K results

[AUG. 28, 2001]  At the Skyís the Limit 5K run hosted by the Lincoln Park District on Saturday morning, Jackson Johnson, 20, was the overall first-place runner in the male division. Barb Bowlby, 40, was the overall first-place runner in the female division. Runners and their times in order of finish are listed below.

Jackson Johnson, 15:16.91

Greg Collingwood, 17:53.58

Rob Flatner, 19:29.16

Bob DeHart, 20:15.62

Barb Bowlby, 21:10.18

Jeff Schleder, 21:32.57

Ryan Seggelke, 21:45.26

Jim Winter, 21:48.79

Kent Birmingham, 22:08.08

Doug Ebelherr, 22:19.26

Rod Lewis, 22:40.82

Stacey Douglas, 22:42.71

Jim Stahl, 23:00.22

Chuck Bernardes, 23:24.88

Don Johnson, 23:41.62

Lanny Lobdell, 23:41.62

Roy Ballinger, 25:00.74

Earl Thayer, 25:03.86

Don Shull, 25:11.83

Tom Phillip, 25:52.66

Kate Ruggless, 25:54.74

Steve Barmes, 26:03.07

Sheri Taylor, 26:41.14

Brenda Phillis, 26:14.41

Amy Madigan, 26:43.44

Amy Zachary, 27:18.33

Anne Saggins, 27:48.66

Marsha Perring, 28:25.86

Kelly McCraith, 29:40.54

Dawn Lanning, 29:40.54

Dave Hawkinson, 32:29.33

Beth Thomas, 33:51.63

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Great turnout for downhill derby

[AUG. 27, 2001]  The second day of the Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival kicked off with the balloon festís first derby organized by the Lincoln Soap Box Downhillers. This peculiarly American tradition thrives on our universal passion for anything that goes fast, even when driven by gravity.

Spectator Henry Johnson of Lincoln stated, "This is really nostalgic for me. My brother and I made our own soapbox car out of milk crates and old wheels many years ago, but it looked nothing like these."

A group of area 7- to 13-year-olds, their family and friends, gathered at 9 Saturday morning on South Kickapoo Street to try their luck. Drivers were divided into a 7- to 9-year-old age category and a 10- to 13-year-old category. Each age group was further divided into three classes: stock, super stock and custom.


[Looking like a pro, Mackenzie Oberreiter from Mount Pulaski focuses on the course before her.]

The stock division is designed to give the first-time builder a learning experience. These simplified cars are built from kits that assist the derby novice by providing a step-by-step layout for construction of a basic lean-forward style car. The super stock division gives competitors an opportunity to expand their knowledge and build a more advanced model. Both of these beginner levels make use of kits and shells available from the All-American Soap Box Derby Association. Many of the cars racing Saturday had been purchased second-hand from a supplier in Rockford who recycles cars that have already appeared in two national competitions, the limit for an individual car.

The third class is intended for custom-built racers designed using other materials. Mike Oberreiter from Mount Pulaski said that his sonís custom car was "built from plywood and stuff we already had in the garage!"



[to top of second column in this article]

Every builder has his own theory on the best style, fastest color of paint and most efficient wind design. Some builders go so far as to take cars to wind tunnels to experiment with a better aerodynamic design.

Oberreiterís speed theory was more basic. He directed his son to continue spinning the racerís wheels while waiting for his turn to race, stating: "Itís all in the wheels. If you keep spinning the wheels, the bearings stay warm and the car runs faster."

The sport has certainly come a long way since Johnson and his brother pushed each other up and down the block.

In addition to the three Oberreiter drivers, many of Saturdayís racers were Mount Pulaski youngsters who are pursuing a renewed interest in the sport triggered by local competitions in their community since 1998.

The Lincoln competition was based on double elimination, guaranteeing each racer at least two chances to fly down the wide sloping street in their gravity-powered creations.

[Judy Rader]

[Click here for race results]

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Todd Spellman new LC soccer coach

[AUG. 22, 2001]  Lincoln College Athletic Director Allen Pickering has named Todd Spellman as the new womenís soccer coach at Lincoln College for the upcoming season. Spellman replaces Jeven Muenzer, who coached the varsity the past two seasons.

Lincoln College is beginning its third season as a varsity program. The Lynx won one game during the first season and last season posted a 6-8-3 record. Spellman has served as the assistant coach under Muenzer the past two seasons.

Spellman, a graduate of Lincoln Community High School in 1989, is the son of Ben and Vickie Spellman of Lincoln.  He graduated from Lincoln Christian College in 1994 and from Lincoln Christian College Seminary in 1998.   He has been teaching computer science classes at Lincoln College since 1998.

At the present time, Spellman is seeking an assistant coach to help with at least 16 prospects. The Lynx return six players from last year, and Spellman has commitments from 10 players thus far. Three others have indicated an interest in playing for the Lady Lynx.


Spellman said, "We will have open tryouts once school starts, and hopefully we will have a few players show up that we donít know about. In past years we have always had one or two players at open tryouts that were not anticipated.  We have had some ladies become very successful in the program.  Ideally I would like to have 20-25 players on the squad; however, we can compete with the 16 we have confirmed.  


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"I got a rather late start on the recruiting; however, I was familiar with the local girls.  Jeven was taking care of recruiting in the Peoria and surrounding areas.  I feel that the freshman class we have coming in will be the deepest since the program started. Last year the freshman class was very talented, and we will build around the five returning letter winners."

Three of the returnees are Lincoln High School graduates: Jackie Maddox, Lindsey Pickering and Angela Smith.  The other two returning are Francie Noreiul and Kacinda Wyman, both from Pekin.  Kelli Dehm, from Pontiac, is another sophomore who is competing this season, although not playing last season.

Spellman said the team will begin practice with three-a-day sessions. "We are going to need to push hard to get in playing shape," he said. "Part of the time will also be spent on individual skills, both offensively and defensively.  Hopefully we will have some additional ladies join us when we have the open tryouts, Aug. 30, after school begins."

The Lynx will be playing a competitive schedule, with Merrimac College, Lewis & Clark and Florrissant Valley as the top teams. Merrimac finished fourth last season, while Lewis & Clark has won the national championship in the past.  Florrissant Valley is generally ranked in the top 20 nationally.

[Bill Martinie,
Lincoln College sports information director]

Area Cub fans enjoy view from the top

By Jeff Mayfield

[AUG. 2, 2001]  As I talk with area baseball fans, I find that many are disappointed with the White Sox and the Cardinals, while others are thrilled with the success of the Cubs. Of course we here at the LDN have been telling anyone who would listen that we felt that this could be the Cubsí year. That prediction is looking better every minute, especially after they went down to Houston and came away with the split. That was HUGE!

Why did we feel so good about Chicagoís chances this year? It started with their off-season front office moves. Everything they did seemed to make sense to us, and ó without being too offensive ó that has rarely happened. Shoring up their pitching staff first and plugging their lineup deficiencies next is the type of thing that will not only help them to stay in the race this year, but it will also enable them to compete for the immediate future as well. Isnít this what all good teams do consistently? They donít mortgage the future for a chance to finish .500.

As a baseball fan, I applaud the moves they made. I know it wasnít easy. They had to be crying in their cold frosty ones when they let Mark Grace slip away to Arizona. But isnít it interesting that theyíre having one of their best years ever without him. That may not be just a coincidence. In an upcoming story, the LDN hopes to prove how the addition of even one player here or the subtraction of another player there can sometimes make all the difference in the world.

We knew the Cubs meant business when they acquired Bill Mueller from the Giants and Matt Stairs from the As. These guys were not just good players, they came from "winning" organizations. Mueller carried the Cubs for almost two months, and when he went down he was hitting .317 and playing terrific defense. Stairs has contributed 10 home runs, and his 41 RBIs are second in the ball club. And although he wonít make you forget Gracie down at first, heís certainly been solid.

Rondell White and Ricky Gutierrez havenít been chopped liver either. Ricky is tied for second in RBIs with Stairs at 41, and White has banged out 13 dingers (second behind Sosa) to go along with his .302 average and 36 RBIs. Ron Coomer, Eric Young and Gary Matthews have all had their moments too. In fact this Cub conglomerate is a true epitome team. One guy does the damage today and another guy comes through tomorrow.

And what can you say about Sammy? Can you say "one of the most underrated superstars in professional sports"? All we know here at the LDN is that the guy bats over .300, hits a million homers and drives in a few million runs. For you purists, Sammyís numbers are actually .302 with 34 taters and 98 RBIs. Not to mention a few great plays in the outfield on a pretty regular basis.

As a matter of fact, Iíve only been watching baseball for 41 or 42 years, and the kind of defense that the Cubs have displayed so far this year has been as good as Iíve seen. If Iím wrong, would you agree that it has helped get them this far, so far?

And the pitching staff has been downright amazing. Their miniscule 3.72 ERA is second only to the "best pitching staff money can buy" ó that of none other than the Atlanta Braves. Cub pitchers are first in wins, third in saves, and first in runs allowed and in strikeouts. Iím not too smart about sports, but arenít these the most important categories out there? Tom "Flash" Gordon has 19 saves. Area product Jeff Fassero has 11, and most of those were big, while the Cubbies were waiting for the Flashman to return. Kerry Wood, Jason Bere and Kevin Tapani have made major contributions and at times have probably deserved a better fate. Kyle Farnsworth and Todd Van Poppel have been better than anyone hoped for, except for maybe Greg Taylor. And Jon Leiber has simply been unhittable most of the time.


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Some fans were waiting for the Cubs to collapse in June while others were expecting a July swoon. Now I hear some talking about the wheels coming off in August. The LDN doesnít think so. We still see the Cubs in the playoffs. How far they go may be the real story.

Some concerns still do remain. Their hitting woes at times have reached the anemic stage. Theyíre in the bottom half of most team hitting stats. If they could really pull off the trade for Fred McGriff or some other slugger, that would really improve their chances of going deeper into the playoffs. Donít hold your breath for Jason Giambi. While many of us would like to see him hitting some bombs for our favorite team, his Oakland As have snuck back into the wild-card race. I donít see the Cubs landing him this season.

It probably wouldnít hurt to add maybe one more pitcher to the mix either. Maybe someone who could eat up a lot of innings in long relief and maybe deliver a respectable spot start here and there the rest of the way.

But anyway you slice it, if youíre a Cubs fan, you gotta be loving this season. The LDN encourages you to stop with the gloom and doom. Part of the enjoyment of any achievement is the journey. The Illini hoopsters had a great year even though they lost in the Elite Eight, but it was a great ride. A few years ago when our Railer hoopster teams went to state, we didnít win the championship, but they were the adventure of a lifetime.

On behalf of the LDN: Cub fans, enjoy the ride!

[Jeff Mayfield]



While yesterdayís one-run loss, 4-3, due to late-game errors against the San Diego Padres, left the Cubbies stinging, it was only their fourth loss in 11 games. It still leaves northern Illinoisí favorite National League ball team in first place in the Central region.

National League, Central Division standings

L Pct. GB
Chicago 62 44 .585  0
Houston 58 49 .542  4.5
St. Louis 54 51 .514 7.5
Milwaukee 45 60 .429 16.5
Cincinnati 43 63 .406 19
Pittsburgh 41 65 .387 21




3-on-3 basketball at Delavan Fall Festival

[JULY 17, 2001]  A 3-on-3 basketball tournament will be part of the Delavan Fall Festival on Saturday, Sept. 1.

There will be numerous divisions for males and females age 8 and up. This is a double-elimination tournament with awards to first-, second- and third-place teams in each division. Each player will also receive a T-shirt.

The tournament will include 3-point contests and free-throw contests throughout the day, with prizes awarded.

For more information or to obtain an entry form, call Jack Wheeler at (309) 244-9881 or Dennis Moehring at (309) 244-9241. Entries must be received by Friday, Aug. 17.

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