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Miners are on a winning streak

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The Gillespie Miners baseball team won against Marquette Catholic on Thursday, May 2, with a final score of 10 to 2.

Dawson Lancaster earned the win on the mound for Gillespie. Lancaster gave up only one hit on no runs, striking out three over five innings of work. Pruiit pocketed the loss for Marquette Catholic. Pruiit went five and one-third innings, giving up nine runs on nine hits. Daniel Wolber started on the mound for the Miners. Wolber gave up two runs on four hits.

The Miners collected a total of eleven hits on the night. The top of the lineup was sizzling for Gillespie, collecting eight out of the eleven hits. Tristen Wargo went 4 for 4 with 3 runs scored in the leadoff spot. Luke Shuckenbrock went 2 for 3 with 2 RBIs and 3 runs plated. Bryce Hohnsbehn went 2 for 4 at the plate with 2 RBIs and 1 run scored. Jesse Berry, Bryce Buhs, and Colin Griffith also had a hit in their winning efforts. Buhs had a triple and 2 RBIs on the night.

Gillespie had a watchful eye at the plate, drawing four walks. Buhs led the Miners with a total of two walks.

The Gillespie Miners stepped on the field against Hillsboro on Friday, May 3, coming out victorious 6-0.

Four of Gillespie’s runs came during the sixth inning, placing them well ahead of Hillsboro for the win. Wargo had another stellar performance, going 3 for 4 with 1 RBI and 1 run plated. Schuckenbrock went 2 for 2 at the plate with a total of 3 RBIs. Jack Kaylor and Jaydon Baker both went 2 for 3 in the victory.

Schuckenbrock earned the win for Gillespie on the mound, allowing four hits and no runs over seven innings of work. Shuckenbrock pocketed six strikeouts in his outing. Lentz took the loss for Hillsboro, giving up two runs on five hits. Hillsboro was only able to muster up a total of four hits against Gillespie’s pitching staff.

Gillespie will face off against Roxana on Monday, May 6.

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High School Sports

Gillespie’s season ends with heartbreaking narrow loss to Newton.

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In an emotional rollercoaster of a sectional final, Gillespie’s season came to a bittersweet end with a nail-biting 3-2 defeat at the hands of Newton this past Saturday, May 25.

Newton swooped in with a late-game rally, clinching the win over Gillespie. Tensions were high all game long. Newton made an explosive statement right out of the gates when Sally Mahaffey blasted a solo home run to right field. Gillespie’s response was swift, with a double from Emma Gipson in the bottom of the first to tie the game at one apiece.

The scoreboard remained unchanged as both teams dug in until the sixth inning, when Sadie Sholtis’ single sent a runner home, pushing Gillespie into the lead. A hit off the bat of Audrie Reich allowed Newton to tie the game up 2–2. Newton clinched the lead in the top of the eighth and held off Gillespie with three straight outs in the bottom of the eighth, taking the win. 

Emma Gipson led Gillespie in the hit column, going 2 for 4 with 1 RBI. Sholtis went 1 for 2 at the plate with 1 run, 1 RBI, and 2 walks pocketed. Lauren Bertagnolli went 1 for 3 with one run plated. Wrigley Releford and Laci Shuckenbrock both had a hit in their efforts. 

While this may not be the end that Gillespie hoped for, they still had a phenomenal season. Gillespie’s season record is a testament to their grit and tenacity, ending 29-5 on the season.

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High School Sports

Gillespie knocks out Breese Mater Dei in Sectional Semi Finals

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In a nail-biting victory over Mater Dei on Wednesday, May 22, Gillespie punched their ticket for a spot in the sectional finals. Gillespie snagged the win with a thin margin of 2-1. 

The semi-finals were an epic battle of the pitchers. The pitching staff for both teams was at the height of their craft. Emma Gipson, Gillespie’s ace in the circle, earned yet another win. Gipson gave up one run on four hits, striking out 10 Mater Dei batters. Emma Diekemper took the brunt of the loss for Mater Dei, giving up two runs on four hits over six innings of work. 

Hits were scarce throughout the game. Gillespie managed just four hits against Mater Dei’s pitching staff. Ava Parish was nothing short of dynamic in the leadoff spot, going 2 for 3 at the plate with 1 RBI and 1 run plated. Parish put Gillespie on the scoreboard first with a solo inside the park home run on a grounder to right field in the bottom of the first. Laci Shuckenbrock went 1 for 2 at the plate, with one run scored. Delaney Taylor also went 1 for 2 with 1 RBI. 

Gillespie will face off against Newton on Saturday, May 25, with a chance at snatching the sectional championship.

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CUSD 7 News

School board names new head football coach

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Members of the Community Unit School District 7 Board of Education on Monday night voted unanimously to appoint Cory Bonstead as the Gillespie High School head football coach for the 2024-25 school year, replacing Dalton Barnes, whose resignation was accepted last month. In other action, the board voted to dismiss Assistant Varsity Football Coach Donnie Allen, and to not renew Allen’s appointment as the high school track and field coach.

The actions bring to an end several weeks of controversy related to the former head coach and assistant coach. Barnes resigned last month as both a high school physical education and social studies teacher as well as the head football coach after parents alleged he and Allen engaged in verbal and physical abuse of student-athletes. An online petition garnering more than 630 electronic signatures accused Barnes and Allen of “child abuse,” citing alleged “verbal abuse, physical abuse, influencing and coercing student-athletes to act against other student-athletes that have spoken out against the abuse, and attempting to limit the First Amendment rights of student-athletes with threats and manipulation.”

While Barnes submitted his resignation, Allen did not step down, precipitating Monday night’s actions to sever him from the district.

Bonstead was hired in July 2022 as a high school resource teacher. He has served as an assistant football coach for the past two years. Before coming to the school district, he was an assistant football coach for Galesburg’s Knox College, where he earned his degree. As a formality, the board also officially accepted Bonstead’s formal resignation as assistant freshman football coach and posted a vacancy for that position.

The actions to hire a new head coach and dismiss the assistant coach took place following a one-hour executive session to discuss personnel issues and other concerns. Upon returning to open session, the board voted unanimously to rehire a roster of certified staff members discussed in executive session.

The board accepted “with regret” the resignation for purposes of retirement of long-serving district custodian Jerry Balzraine, effective May 31, 2025.

Custodian Neil Balzraine, representing non-certificated employees, read a statement thanking Supt. Shane Owsley, Board President Mark Hayes and other board members for coming to an agreement with the union for a new contract covering non-certificated employees.

“Through night and weekends, we worked hard and got a lot done,” Balzraine said. “These meetings were most professional, cordial and productive.”

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Later in the meeting, the board voted unanimously to accept the new contract, which reportedly was ratified by union members Monday morning.

In other personnel action, the board reappointed winter coaches, including Casey Sholtis as GHS head boy’s basketball coach, Jake Kellebrew as assistant high school boy’s basketball coach, Anthony Kravanya as an unpaid volunteer assistant boy’s basketball coach, Jarrod Herron as scholar bowl coach for high school as well as seventh and eighth grade, Andrea Williamson as high school dance coach, Elizabeth Thackery as seventh-grade volleyball coach, and Celia Jubelt as eighth-grade volleyball coach.

Board members unanimously voted to accept the resignation of middle school paraprofessional James Bryant and to post a vacancy for the position. The board also approved a maternity leave request for BenGil Elementary School paraprofessional Kristin Schoen.

The board voted unanimously in separate actions to accept the resignation of Celia Jubelt as head high school women’s volleyball coach and post a vacancy for the position, and to appoint Matt Brawner as a GHS assistant women’s basketball coach.

Also in separate actions, the board voted to post job openings for a district head cook and a district kitchen employee. Board member Amanda Ross who moved to approve both actions pointed out the openings represent existing positions. “I want to be clear that we are not creating new positions,” she said.

SAFETY PROJECTS

On a motion by Peyton Bernot, seconded by Ross, the board green-lit three safety projects to be funded with proceeds of a COPS Federal Safety Grant.

PASS Security of Fairview Heights was the sole bidder for adding door access security for entry to the middle school/high school complex at a cost of $81,210.

Barcom Security with base offices in Springfield, Swansea and St. Louis, submitted the sole bid of $113,000 for an updated fire alarm system for the middle school/high school complex.

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Commercial Telephone Systems, Collinsville, also the sole bidder, will install an updated intercom system at the middle school at a cost of $62,769.

“The companies we hoped would submit bids did submit bids and the prices were what we expected,” Supt. Owsley told the board. The contracts call for the work to be completed by two days before the start of the 2024-25 school year.

FISCAL 2024 BUDGET

The board voted to place on file for public review an amended budget for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. Owsley advised that some numbers in the tentative amended budget are likely to change for the board’s final approval next month. State law requires a 30-day review period, however, even though some data to be reflected in the budget is still being collected.

“I can tell this will change,” Owsley said. “I will have final numbers and a presentation for the board in June.”

Last month, the board directed Owsley to begin work on a tentative fiscal 2025 budget authorized operational expenditures for the period between July 1 and whenever the new budget is approved. Typically, the district finalizes a budget for the current fiscal year in September.

SURPLUS PROPERTY

Upon Owsley’s recommendation, the board declared two buses and one truck as surplus property. The three vehicles will be advertised for sale to the highest qualified bidders.

OTHER ACTION

In other words action, the board:

  • Approved a high school course description book for the 2024-25 school year. GHS Principal Jill Rosentreter said there are no major changes from the course description document the district used last year.
  • Approved a revised school calendar. Supt. Owsley said the only change is setting 12:45 p.m. as the dismissal time on days that have early dismissal. Previously, early dismissal times were staggered at 12:30 and 1 p.m. The change is precipitated by the district’s decision to start the school day as the same time for all three attendance centers.
  • Approved a district-wide job description list.
  • Approved a corrected school fees schedule. Owsley said the action was needed because the schedule approved last month was inaccurate due to a computer error resulting from merging fee schedules from the district’s three attendance centers.

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