MSU (again) 1st team out - Nick Gholson, Times Record News
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Same song, different verse.
For the second straight year, Midwestern State was the first man out of the Elite Eight.
Last year it was Taylor Witt and St. Cloud State that sent the Mustangs packing much earlier than they wanted.
This year it was Justin Benedetti, Jeremy Kendle and Bellarmine University that sent them home.
Witt scored 43 a year ago. Benedetti and Kendle combined for 41 this time around.
"It hurts the same, no matter what," MSU coach Grant McCasland said after his team took a 70-64 tumble Wednesday afternoon at the MassMutual Center. "In the end, I feel for these guys because I know what they put into it. They worked hard to get here, and I care about them as people."
Tough bidding adieu to great season, seniors - Nick Gholson, Times Record News
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — When you've done this sports writing gig as long as I have, you really live out the old "Wide World of Sports" slogan.
The victories are joyful. The defeats are agonizing.
It was fun watching Midwestern State coaches and players cut down the net in Edmond a week ago.
It was heartbreaking to see these same guys lose 70-64 to Bellarmine University here Wednesday in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Elite Eight.
Hey, making the Elite Eight is great. But just one time I would like to see MSU reach the Elite One.
Bronchos Fall Short At MSU - UCO Tennis
CARDINALS OUTLAST NEWMAN 6-3 - UIW Men's Tennis
CARDINALS WIN THIRD STRAIGHT; GROUND JETS - UIW Women's Tennis
Howard Drives in Four Runs as Zias Split Doubleheader with Falcons - ENMU Softball
Mustangs move up to No. 3 in NFCA D2 Top 25 - MSU Softball
Pioneers sweep Henderson State, 10-2 and 8-0 - TWU Softball
#11 Lady Buffs Split Doubleheader with #25 Hornets - WTAM Softball
Baseball Beaten by Emporia in Finale - SWO Baseball
Wildcats begin spring drills - ACU Football
ABILENE – The ACU Wildcats began spring drills Tuesday on a warm, windy day at the Wally Bullington Practice Field, preparing for a 2011 season that they hope will see them extend their streak of NCAA Division II playoff appearances to six.
But to do that, seventh-year head coach Chris Thomsen and his staff will have to find replacements for several key performers on each side of the ball, including wide receivers Edmund Gates and Kendrick Johnson, offensive linemen Trevis Turner and Royland Tubbs, defensive tackles Marvin and Mike Jones, defensive end Fred Thompson, and linebackers Kevin Washington, Eric Edwards, Bryson Lewis and Courtney Lane.
"We've got some spots to fill, but I'm excited about the young guys in our program who have been waiting their turn to help this team," Thomsen said. "I know those guys are anxious to show what they can do over the next few weeks."
The Wildcats will be on the field at 4 p.m. at ACU each Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday for the next three weeks with scrimmages set for each Saturday at 10 a.m. at Shotwell Stadium. The Purple-White Spring Game will be played at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 9, at Shotwell.
The biggest question entering last spring was the quarterback spot, a job eventually won by Mitchell Gale. He went on to post one of the greatest seasons by a quarterback in ACU history, throwing for more than 3,500 yards and a single-season record 38 touchdowns while leading the Wildcats to the first 11-0 regular-season record in ACU history, a Lone Star Conference championship and an 11-1 final record.
"Mitchell has really taken his leadership of this team to a different level," Thomsen said. "He's done an outstanding job leading this team through the off-season and into spring training. I'm very confident in not only his on-field ability, but also in his ability to lead this team. He'll be very critical to the success of this team next fall."
And while the ACU coaching staff must find a backup to Gale (John David Baker would appear to have the inside track on that job), the biggest question mark on the offensive side of the ball is at wide receiver. With Gates, Johnson, Raymond Radway and Dudensing having departed, the Wildcats lost 163 catches, 2,367 and 28 touchdowns of production the quartet produced in 2010.
But Thomsen is confident in returning sophomore Taylor Gabriel, as well as Darrell Cantu-Harkless, who led the Wildcats in rushing last year but will move back to slotback in 2011. Also returning will be Austin Kessler, Darian Hogg and redshirt freshman Zack Agnew. ACU also added junior college transfer Jamaine Sherman from Scottsdale Community College in February, and the coaches are excited to see what he'll add to the offense. Also added to the receiving corps is defensive back-turned-receiver Kamaron Riley.
"Wide receiver is our biggest question mark," Thomsen said. "Taylor Gabriel is the only receiver back with substantial experience at the position. I'm excited to see how Cantu-Harkless develops in that other slot position. We've got to develop some guys on the outside, but we believe we've got guys in place who can do the job. The entire group has the potential to be really good. Now they've got to show it on the field."
At running back, the Wildcats return Daryl Richardson and Charcandrick West and will also get Reggie Brown back from a knee injury that cost him the entire 2010 season. Richardson (517 yards and seven touchdowns in 2010), West (350 yards and three touchdowns in 2010) and Brown (955 yards and seven touchdowns in 2009) will likely split carries again in 2011.
At the fullback slot, Justin Andrews will slide into the starting role vacated by three-year starter Dudensing. Andrews last year played in all 12 games, catching eight passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns.
The Wildcats must replace two starters along the offensive line in Turner (right tackle) and Tubbs (left guard). Blake Spears will get the first shot at Turner's spot, but who gets Tubbs' spot is still up in the air. ACU returns three starters on the offense line: center Matt Webber, left tackle Neal Tivis and right guard Josh Perez.
Defensively the Wildcats lost a host of experienced players in the two Jones', Thompson, Lane, Washington, Edwards and Lewis. The Wildcats do return defensive end Aston Whiteside as well as Donald Moore to the other starting end spot, giving the Wildcats perhaps the best defensive end combination in the LSC.
Ryan Smith will fit into the tackle rotation, along with Sam Houston State transfer Rob Boyd, Brandon Dornak and Kolby Rowe. At linebacker, Thomsen expects to see players like Nathan Baggs, Derek Odelusi, Thor Woerner, Cy Wilson, Blake Rudd, Tony Battie, Chris Jones, Nick Richardson and Chris Summers step into the lineup and rotation and provide the production the Wildcats have gotten out of the linebacker spot for the last two seasons.
Baggs will be a starter on the outside, while Odelusi is slated to start in the middle. Worner and Wilson will vie for the other spot inside, while the other outside spot is up in the air as well.
"We've got a lot of good quality guys at the linebacker position that have been in our program for a while," Thomsen said. "The linebacking corps will obviously be an entirely new crew, but I believe those guys are ready to play."
The secondary returns both starters at safety in L.B. Suggs and Darien Williams and backup safeties Richard Havins and Nate Bailey, but the coaching staff will be looking to replace both starting cornerbacks. David Lamour, who played cornerback last year, returns as does Bobby Chalk, who has been out for a couple of seasons.
ACU will have to find a new punter after Mark Sprague completed his eligibility in 2010, but placekickers Morgan Lineberry, Spencer Covey and Ryan Owens will all return in 2011.
The Wildcats will go through nine practices and three scrimmages with the final scrimmage on Saturday, April 9, serving as the annual spring game. That contest will begin at 10 a.m. at Shotwell Stadium. Here's the Wildcats' spring schedule:
Wednesday, March 23 – Practice, 4 p.m.
Friday, March 25 – Practice, 4 p.m.
Saturday, March 26 – Scrimmage, 10 a.m. (Shotwell Stadium)
Tuesday, March 29 – Practice, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, March 30 – Practice, 4 p.m.
Friday, April 1 – Practice, 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 2 – Scrimmage, 10 a.m. (Shotwell Stadium)
Tuesday, April 5 – Practice, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, April 6 – Practice, 4 p.m.
Friday, April 8 – Practice, 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 9 – Spring Game, 10 a.m. (Shotwell Stadium)
Both Sides Progressing After Second Spring Practice - ASU Football
SAN ANGELO – Post practice opinions were split evenly as Angelo State wrapped up its second spring practice session at the LeGrand Sports Complex Wednesday. The offensive players in white seemed to think they stole the show, while the defensive players in blue thought they had the upper hand. Such is football practice before pads, but contact is on its way and both sides appear ready for it.
Regardless of your affiliation, the Rams produced some incredible plays during their two hours on the field Tuesday. The defensive unit came away with two interceptions for touchdowns – one by defensive back Terrance Preston, then another after defensive end BJ Bradley swatted the ball up in the air at the line, then caught it and rumbled into the end zone.
Angelo State's new look offense also found its way to the end zone, the most majestic coming by way of a long pass over the top of the defense from Aqura Brown to CJ Akins. The catch capped a solid day by the junior-to-be wide receiver from Harker Heights.
Angelo State continues spring drills on Friday night at 8 p.m.
Field strong for ASU meet, even sans ASU - Nathan Wright, San Angelo Standard Times
Over the past few years, some of the best heptathletes in the country have converged on the Angelo State University campus in March for the annual ASU Spring Break Multi-Events meet.
Only the heptathlon and decathlon are contested, but that hasn't stopped the flow of quality talent from finding its way to San Angelo.
In recent years, though, the top talent hasn't had to travel far. Both Aisha Adams and Chrystal Ruiz, from ASU, reached national meet qualifying scores over the past couple of years at the LeGrand Sports Complex.
Those two went on to finish first and second in the heptathlon at the national meet last spring.
They have moved on, however, and ASU won't even have an entry in the heptathlon at this year's meet, which begins today and concludes on Friday.
Golf Weekly Release: WT's Hargis, Tarleton's Cooper pick up weekly awards - LSC Office
West Texas A&M's Ben Hargis and Tarleton State's Carla Cooper were tabbed Lone Star Conference Golfers of the Week for their efforts, league officials announced today.
Click here for the complete release
GOLFERS OF THE WEEK
Ben Hargis, West Texas A&M University, JR, Amarillo, Texas, Amarillo HS
Hargis tied for sixth place at the Midwestern Invitational out of 84 individuals this week. He shot 223 (74, 74, 75) for the 54-hole tournament. Hargis led the par four scoring and finished with nine birdies.
Carla Cooper, Tarleton State University, SR, Arlington, Arlington Bowie HS
Cooper sank an incredible putt up hill and around a slope to tie for the individual title at the Lumberjack Shootout at Wigwam in Litchfield Park, Ariz. Cooper shot a one-under 215 after tallying a 71-70-74 at the three-day tournament hosted by Northern Arizona. After day two at the mostly Division I event, the TexAnn led the tournament by herself with a two-under par performance. She has now won three individual titles this season.