Former metro-east athletes making their marks at colleges

News-DemocratMarch 6, 2014 

Freshman Malcolm Hill's playing time has increased in recent games as he and a talented group of freshmen try to build a stronger basketball program at Illinois.

Averaging 4.2 points and 2.3 rebounds, the Belleville East graduate played 27 minutes Tuesday in an 84-53 loss to 12th-ranked Michigan. Before that, Hill has posted back-to-back 10-point games in wins against 18th-ranked Michigan State and Nebraska.

Hill's season high of 11 points came Feb. 9 during a 60-55 Big Ten Conference victory over Penn State.

Hill and fellow freshman Kendrick Nunn from Chicago Simeon made their first collegiate starts in early February.

* Austin Peay State senior forward Will Triggs (Edwardsville) recently surpassed the 1,000-point total for his career with the Governors.

Triggs averaged 12.1 points and 5.2 rebounds for Austin Peay, which finished 12-18 overall and 6-10 in the Ohio Valley Conference. Triggs passed the 1,000-point plateau Feb. 13 with a basket against Eastern Illinois, becoming the 33rd player in school history to reach that point total.

Triggs' season-high was 17 points, which he reached six times.

Sophomore guard Cory Arentsen (Mater Dei) went off for a career-high six 3-pointers and 21 points on a 7-for-10 shooting night Dec. 21 against East Tennessee State. The 6-5 guard averaged three points this season and had 22 3-pointers, starting three games and playing in 27.

*Western Illinois freshman guard Garret Covington was named second-team All-Summit League and also was named the conference's Newcomer of the Year,

The 6-5 guard is the top scorer for WIU at 14.3 points per game and his 4.7 rebounds per game rank second. He started 26 games and also leads the Leathernecks in 3-pointers (67), field goals (125) and free throws (91), knocking down 38.3 percent of his shots beyond the 3-point arc,

WIU (10-19) opens the Summit League Tournament on Sunday against South Dakota State.

* Senior guard Devin Griffin (Althoff) is the top scorer for Columbia College, the nation's fourth-ranked NAIA team with a 28-2 record.

Griffin is averaging 16.5 points for the American Midwest Conference regular-season champs and also is tied for the team lead with 40 3-pointers. He recently was named AMC Conference Player of the Week after a 21-point outing against Freed-Hardeman.

* Former Central High and Southwestern Illinois College standout David Wiegmann is averaging 1.7 points for Albany (15-14).

Wiegmann also is one of 75 players in Division I basketball nominated for the Allstate National Association of Basketball Coaches Good Works Team.

The Good Works team honors student athletes from around the country for their community service.

College Baseball

* Former O'Fallon High catcher Nick Tindall is hitting .420 through 16 games at the University of Tampa with a team-leading four homers and 16 RBIs. Tampa is the nation's top-ranked Division II team and the defending national champion.

The junior transferred from Quincy University, where he was a second-team All-American last spring. He has five doubles and 15 runs scored.

Tindall was drafted by the Minnesota Twins out of high school and is considered to have a solid opportunity of being drafted again in June.

*Former Central High junior left-hander Bryant Holtmann is 2-0 as a reliever for second-ranked Florida State (10-1). Pitching in the same bullpen with Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, Holtmann has appeared in five games and has a 1.08 ERA in 8 1/3 innings, striking out seven and allowing one earned run.

The Albers native was 3-0 with a 4.00 ERA in 12 relief appearances last spring as a sophomore, striking out 23 in 36 innings.

* Junior infielder Kane Sweeney (Belleville West) is hitting .302 though 11 games for Morehead State with four doubles, two home runs and seven RBIs. Sweeney was named to the preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference second team.

* Freshman Keaton Wright (Triad) is off to a torrid start in his college baseball career, currently leading Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (2-7) in hitting at .406. Through nine games, Wright has two doubles, one home run and five RBIs.

Devin Caldwell (Civic Memorial) is SIUE's third-leading hitter at .314 with three doubles, one triple, home homer and six RBIs.

* Used as a starter in seven of the nine games he's played in this season, Missouri State freshman Aaron Meyer (Belleville West) is hitting .200. Edwardsville High graduates Blake Graham and Cole Hagen also play for the Bears (7-3).

* Right-hander Alex Siddle (Belleville East) is 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA in five relief appearances for Southeast Missouri State (6-6).

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