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The Next Level: Graduated athlete roundup (Jan. 31)

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By Andrew Harner

Many athletes who spent their high school years in Fayette County have moved on to play for college or professional teams. Below are the athletes who recently made headlines.

Jessica Earnest • Senior • Vanderbilt

•Jan. 25-27 – Earnest, a Vandalia graduate, was the Most Valuable Player of the Kutztown Invitational in Reading, Penn. It was Earnest's first MVP award at the college level. She averaged 236 over six games on Saturday, rolling a high game of 269, which was the second-best individual score on the day. Her other games were: 224, 199, 247, 224 and 254. "She has shown she's as good as they come when it comes to making quality shots," said coach John Williamson on Vanderbilt's athletic website. As a team, the Commordores placed second in the event, falling 4-1 to the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore in the finals. Vanderbilt had beaten UMES, 4-2, in the semifinals, but UMES came back through the loser's bracket to set up a rematch. The Commodores (11-4) will travel to Prairie View A&M in Arlington, Texas, this weekend.

Laura Hobbie • Senior • Greenville

•Jan. 26 – Hobbie, a Vandalia graduate, started for Greenville in 69-65 overtime win against Blackburn. She scored a team-high 15 points, and added four rebounds, four steals and an assist. Greenville is 10-8 on the season and 5-4 in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
•Jan. 23 – Hobbie started for Greenville in 67-64 overtime win against Belleville-Lindenwood. She scored 20 points, and had seven rebounds, one steal and one assist.

Quenten Austin • Freshman • Carthage

•Jan. 25 – Austin, a Vandalia graduate, participated in three events at the Tadd Metzger Indoor Invitational at Carthage College. His best finish came in the 55-meter hurdles, with fifth-place in 8.47 seconds. He also placed 12th in the high jump (5 feet, 9 1/4 inches), and 17th in the 1,000-meter run (2:58.4). Carthage finished second with 112.5 points, and travels to the Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington this weekend for the Bob Keck Invitational.

Isaac Grapperhaus • Senior • Illinois College

•Jan. 26 – Grapperhaus, a South Central graduate, started and played 18 minutes for Illinois College in a 72-52 loss to Carroll University. He scored three points, and had one rebound, steal, assist and block. The Blueboys are 8-9 (5-7 Midwest Conference) on the season.

Marty Johnson • Sophomore • Illinois College

•Jan. 26 – Johnson, a Vandalia graduate, played four minutes for Illinois College in a 72-52 loss to Carroll University. He grabbed one rebound. The Blueboys are 8-9 (5-7 Midwest Conference) on the season.

Abby Hill • Sophomore • Greenville

•Jan. 26 – Hill, a St. Elmo graduate, finished in a tie for 14th in the weight throw at the NAIA/NCAA Division III Challenge at Olivet Nazarene University. Her throw went 11.21 meters.