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Steve Paska, the longest-tenured head coach in Illinois State swimming and diving history, will coach his final home meet on Saturday as the Redbirds meet Nebraska-Omaha at noon at Horton Pool.

Paska, who last month announced he will retire effective July 31, has been head coach since 1985. Eleven senior swimmers and divers also will compete in their final home meet. ISU then will travel to the Butler Invitational on Sunday for an 11 a.m. meet.

“These seniors are fantastic student-athletes,” Paska said. “I have been blessed to watch these girls mature into one of the most decorated senior classes in terms of their achievements in the pool, on the record board and in the classroom.

“We’re expecting a large crowd to witness the seniors perform in their last home meet, and special is an understatement. For me to share the spotlight with this senior class is truly a memory that I will remember for a long period of time.”

Seniors to be honored at 11:45 a.m. are Cecilia Holmes, Kristin Horney, Keely Hunt, Valerie Jones, Emily Langlotz, Alexis Nash, Katherine Nelson, Samantha Schuckles, Allison Soper, Marissa Yontz and diver Wenting Zhang, the only All-American in program history.

Admission is free. The meet will be streamed live at


Millikin hires ex-GCMS wrestling coach: Former GCMS wrestling coach Ryan Birt has been named the head coach at Millikin University. The Big Blue program has been dormant since 2008 but will return to competition for the 2015-16 season.

Birt, who spent the past three seasons as an assistant at Loras College, In his nine years at GCMS, Birt coached two state champions among 11 individual place-winners and guided the Falcons to a runner-up finish in the 2010 Class A state dual team meet.

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Sports Editor

Sports editor for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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