By Don Chipman
Ben Dodds’ connection to Beardstown is that he is the grandson of Constance Tucker of Champaign, and Milton McClure III, formerly of Beardstown, and is presently a sophomore at the University of Illinois and is a member of the Illini track team, throwing the javelin.
As a sophomore at Illinois, Dodds qualified for the NCAA West preliminary round in the javelin event.
He also finished 10th in the Big Ten Championships, and threw the fourth-best mark in school history (61.75 meters) to win the Lenny Lyles/Clark Wood Invite.
Dodds continued to shine as he also recorded three top-three finishes in the javelin events in 2014, including placing second at the Tiger Track Classic.
When Dodds was a freshman he placed fourth at the Outdoor Big Ten Championships in the javelin with a personal best mark of 203.10 (62.13 meters), which is the fourth best throw in the javelin in Illinois history.
As a freshman, he continuied to improve his performances competing in six meets in wich Dodds threw the javelin and in five of the six meets he placed no worse than fourth in during the freshmen 2013 season.
As a member of the Illini track team he qualified for the academic All-Big Ten team as well as being an AUSTFCCA All-Academic Award winner.
He holds the high school record at St. Thomas Moore (Champaign) High School in the pole vault, and was a three-time state pole vault qualifier in the small schools state meet and made the state finals his senior year.
Dodds earned all-conference honors in track from his sophomore through his senior year, and won the small school state championship in golf his sophomore year, along with being a six-time IHSA Athletic Academic Achievement award winner.
He is a studying to be an Accounting Major (CPA) at the University of Illinois.
Dodds is the son of Alan and Meredith (McClure) Dodds of Champaign.