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February 10, 2012

Kickin It Ol’ School (Former Centennial Greats)

by The Centinal

By: Chelsea Cross Staff Writer

Champaign Centennial is known for not only their awesome current athletes, but also their successful alumni. The following students are currently enrolled in college for sports and/or graduated with an athletic scholarship. Below The Centinal took the liberty of asking some “old school athletes” about their experiences and what they miss most.

Jeff Johnson (Basketball – Eastern Kentucky University)

What is your experience like in college (sports wise)? “My experience has been very good so far in college. I have gotten a lot of playing time in my first two seasons, and I have a great relationship with all of my teammates. It is definitely a lot more work than playing in high school, but all of the hard work pays off!”

What was your favorite high school memory? “My favorite high school memory has to be winning the state championship during my junior year. All of the support the school and our community gave us was so amazing and that whole experience is something that I will never forget.”

What do you miss most about high school? “The thing I miss about high school the most is probably getting to hang out with my best friends every weekend. I only get to come home a few times every year so I miss all of high school friends a lot.”

Is there any advice you would give an upcoming freshman? “The advice I would give an upcoming freshman playing any sport is to never be complacent with yourself. College sports aren’t like high school because in college every single player is very talented and deserves to play. What separates the people who play and don’t play is the amount of work you put in on and how dedicated you are. Take advantage of the opportunities in front of you and have fun while you’re at it!”

Morgan Kay Leach (Volleyball – Indiana University)

What is your experience like in college (sports wise)? “College is awesome. I love it here at Indiana and know that I made the right decision to come here and play. It’s such a pretty campus and I love my dorm. The team is all really close and I really like how close the athletes are how Indiana ’s sport logo is 24 sports one team. The workouts are really hard and challenging and a lot different from high school but it still is really good because I feel like I’m getting better every day.”

What was your favorite high school memory? “My favorite high school memory was when I was in the chemistry when our bombs blew up in class and it was so crazy. I just loved telling everyone the stories about it afterwards, it like didn’t feel real.”

What do you miss most about high school? “What I miss most about high school is probably seeing all my friends and knowing lots of people in my classes because there are so many more people here, you are constantly meeting new people everyday which is kind of cool.”

Is there any advice you would give an upcoming freshman?  “I would tell an upcoming freshman to choose a school you fall in love with and love being there it makes it so much easier to get good grades and just be happy there. And once you get here just be friendly and talk to lots of people you have some many chances to make friends, it’s a fresh start from high school.”

Cori Nicole Harris (Volleyball – SIU-Edwardsville)

What is your experience like in college (sports wise)? “Being a student athlete is a lot of work. I have to be at the gym ready to train every morning at 6:30am! On top of that, you still have classes, homework, and tests to study for. It’s a lot of work and responsibility, but if you love your sport then it’s worth it!”

What was your favorite high school memory? “My favorite high school memory is winning Homecoming Queen. My favorite high school volleyball memory is beating Burlington Central in the championship match at one of our tournaments.”

What do you miss most about high school? “I miss the teachers and my friends! Fortunately, my friends and I stayed close and still spend time together over the breaks!”

Is there any advice you would give an upcoming freshman?  “My advice is to make sure you balance your time! It’s important to make friends and have fun in college, but make sure you leave time to get your school work done!”

Lawrence “Micci” Kinney (Basketball – Wabash Valley College)

What is your experience like college in (sports wise)?  “For basketball it’s pretty fun it’s WAY more physical then high school and everyone is much bigger but its still pretty fun.”

What was your favorite high school memory? “My favorite high school memory was my junior year on how we made it to state it was a very good experience, and lots of fun also.”

What do you miss most about high school? “Hanging out with my friends, and acting goofy all the time with them in the hallways.”

Is there any advice you would give an upcoming freshman?  “Yeah, just do good in high school, go to class, keep up with the grades and do not let anyone tell you what you cant do, just have fun and meet new people”.

Josh Piper (Basketball – Eastern Illinois University)

What is your experience like college in (sports wise)?   “My first experience with college basketball really opened my eyes. I never realized how much time and effort you have to put in. Every day is busy with class and something basketball related. It has been really cool traveling to different places. We had a trip where we flew to Houston and another where we flew to Maine . It has always been my dream to play college basketball and now I’m living it.”

What was your favorite high school memory? “My favorite high school memory has to be winning state. That whole season was exciting and then being able to win it all really topped it off. I will always remember playing for that team and all of the things we were able to accomplish.”

What do you miss most about high school?  “What I miss most has to be the Centennial vs. Central games. Those games were always packed. They always seemed to come down to the very end too. The student sections made the game more exciting than any other. It also helps never losing to them throughout my years on varsity.”

Is there any advice you would give an upcoming freshman?   “One thing that I would tell upcoming freshmen is that they should try not to put off assignments. You might get multiple days to do an assignment, but you should not wait until the last night to do it because you could find yourself staying up all night or not being able to get it done.”

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