On Oct. 6, two college football quarterbacks with Terre Haute connections had big days as first-time starters replacing their team’s regular signalcallers.
Stanford’s Tavita Pritchard, the son of former Terre Haute resident Kelli Miller Pritchard, led the Cardinal to a stunning 24-23 win over then-No. 1 Southern California.
Closer to home, former Terre Haute resident Shaine Tierney saw his first extensive action for St. Francis and scored a pair of touchdowns as the Cougars defeated Marian 57-7.
Pritchard threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Mark Bradford on fourth-and-goal with 49 seconds left as Stanford won over the Trojans despite being a 41-point underdog. He completed 11 of 30 passes for 149 yards in that game, and completed 12 of 27 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s 38-36 loss to TCU.
Kelli Pritchard and her family — parents George and Jeannie and siblings Mike, George and Kathy — moved to Washington in the late 1970s. Tavita’s father, David Pritchard, was a starting center at Washington State who played in the 1981 Holiday Bowl. His uncle is Jack Thompson (”The Throwin’ Samoan”), legendary quarterback at Washington State.
The Pritchards still have relatives in Terre Haute. George Wright is Jeannie Miller’s brother, and he and his wife Marti are the parents of former Terre Haute North basketball player Mark Wright and Kristen Gauer, wife of North assistant football coach Greg Gauer.
Pritchard, a redshirt sophomore, became the Stanford starter when T.C. Ostrander suffered a seizure at a Palo Alto restaurant on Sept. 30 and was held out of the USC game for precautionary reasons.
Saint Francis quarterback Jeff Wedding sat out the Marian game due to a nagging injury, and Tierney took advantage of the opportunity.
Tierney completed 9 of 14 passes for 115 yards and scored Saint Francis’ first two touchdowns on runs of 1 and 15 yards. He finished with 57 rushing yards.
Tierney is a redshirt freshman, and shared quarterback duties on the day with true freshman Jordan Wise
“It was a concern when you have your No. 1 guy out, so that lies on the shoulders of a couple young freshmen that have never been in that situation in their college career,” SF Coach Kevin Donley told the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel. “I was really proud of both of them. They really stepped up and did an outstanding job.”
Tierney completed 9 of 12 passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns in last Saturday’s 69-29 win over Taylor.
He is the son of Leo and Deb Tierney.
• • •
In other news:
• Evinger shining for Canyons — Northview grad Joe Evinger has started every game at left guard for the College of the Canyons, and helped the Cougars to a 5-1 record going into this weekend’s game against East Los Angeles Junior College.
Cougar Coach Garett Tujague said he has seen a lot of improvement so far in the 6-6, 330-pounder and hopes to see that improvement continue.
“Joe has steadily improved from week to week, playing left guard for us through out the year,” Tujague said. “We saw film on him in high school, and you never know until they get here if guys like Joe are going to be able to adapt to the speed of the game.”
Tujague said that Evinger leads the team in “pancake” blocks, which drive defenders flat on their backs.
“Joe is getting better each and every day, and I think that all the big schools will come back around after the effort Joe has put in with our strength and condition coach,” Tujague added. “His overall speed and strength have greatly improved, not to mention his foot speed and his pad level. Joe has lived up to our expectations and then some.”
• Phegley regains stroke — The Indiana baseball team concluded its fall practice season last weekend, with the Cream team taking the intrasquad series 3-2. Sophomore catcher Josh Phegley of Terre Haute North led the Cream with a pair of home runs.
“Overall we had a strong fall practice season,” IU coach Tracy Smith said. “It was nice to see a good number of our players step up, particularly Josh [Phegley] and [pitcher] Matt [Bashore].”
Phegley hit .425 with his two home runs and 17 RBI for the fall scrimmage schedule.
Indiana returns 22 letterwinners, including seven starting position players and nine pitchers from the 2007 team.
• Hoosiers down Purdue — On Wednesday, the Indiana Hoosiers battled Purdue in a conference volleyball match televised on the Big Ten Network.
In that match, IU improved to 13-7 overall and 5-4 in the Big Ten with a 3-1 win.
Terre Haute South’s Lauren Ditteon had 15 kills on the night, second highest on the team.
• Rehmel to be redshirted — Sophomore guard Jared Rehmel of Shakamak will not play basketball this season for Olney Central College after suffering serious injuries in a car accident in August.
OCC Coach Mike Burris said last weekend that Rehmel, an all-Region performer last season, is being redshirted with hopes of returning next year.
“He’s lucky to be alive,” Burris said. “If he hadn’t been wearing a seat belt, he wouldn’t have made it. He’s been cleared for some light shooting, but he still has a long way to go. He’s a hard worker and we’re hopeful he makes a full recovery.”
Rehmel is one of two former Shakamak Lakers who will sit out due to injury at OCC this year, as baseball standout Ridge Inman is sidelined after having Tommy John surgery.
Burris said that Terre Haute South grad J.T. Hatfield is performing extremely well in preseason workouts and should be a big contributor this year.
• Russell getting back on track – Terre Haute North grad Mike Russell had his best game of the season last Saturday as 14th-ranked Wabash College remained unbeaten by defeating defending North Coast Athletic Conference champion Wittenberg 24-17.
Eight different Little Giants caught passes, led by Russell’s 9 receptions for 110 yards.
“It’s great to be back,” Russell said. “The guys are always awesome but to be able to get out there and play my best ball, and definitely against Witt, it’s good again.”
Russell also remembered last season’s tough 19-17 Wittenberg come-from-behind win and offered up his own redemption.
“Last year I left two interceptions on the field that were my fault,” he said. “I definitely felt like I needed to pay the team back. I took a lot of responsibility for last year and it feels good to get that off my chest.”
• Shiflett sets PR — Freshman Robert Shiflett of North Central ran second for Purdue in the men’s open division of the Pre-Nationals cross country race at the Lavern Gibson Course east of Terre Haute on Oct. 13.
Shiflett completed the course in a career-best time of 25:41.0.
• Trivia question — Name the person who fits the following description:
• Was a member of the Fort Wayne Northrop baseball team that defeated Terre Haute North 4-2 in the 1983 Indiana high school state championship game.
• Went on to star at a Missouri Valley Conference school.
• Is currently a major-league manager.
See the answer at the end of this column.
• Chagnon to VU — Sullivan senior setter Alyssa Chagnon has made a verbal commitment to play volleyball at Vincennes University next fall.
Chagnon was recently named to the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association academic all-state team. She is Sullivan’s career leader in assists with more than 2,100, and earlier this season she broke the school record for serving aces with 77.
Chagnon also ranks among the state leaders in kills, aces and assists.
Northview senior Lottie King has attracted interest from many schools, and has made an official visit to Southern Indiana.
Both Chagnon and King were members of the Crossroads of America 18 Red team that went 8-3 and finished third in the 18 Club Division of AAU Nationals last summer at Orlando, Fla.
• Blank retires – Luke Blank of Terre Haute North has transferred from Lindenwood to Indiana State to complete his degree requirements.
Blank attended the University of Indianapolis for three years and played two seasons there before going to play at the Missouri school last season.
Andre Dickson, another former North standout, is on the roster for Lindenwood Coach Ryan Cherepkai’s team.
• Woodason to ISU — Andrew Woodason, a 2007 Terre Haute North grad, had intended to play baseball at Indiana Wesleyan but has had a change of plans and is now a member of the team at Indiana State.
• Trivia answer — Eric Wedge, who was a freshman at Northrop in 1983 and went on to Wichita State before leading the Cleveland Indians to the American League Championship Series this year.
Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter who now teaches at Northview High School. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Oct. 6, two college football quarterbacks with Terre Haute connections had big days as first-time starters replacing their team’s regular signalcallers.
- College Report
College report: Valley softball pair help Ball State start off with 12-2 record
Two Wabash Valley products have helped the Ball State softball team get off to a 12-2 start, including five straight wins last weekend to capture the Louisville Slugger Invitational at Arizona State.
College Report: Valley pair square off in softball pitching duel
Administrators and coaches long ago scheduled the East Tennessee State and Indiana University softball teams to both compete in the Georgia State Panther Invitational in Atlanta last weekend. Little could they have realized, however, that a Sunday afternoon pitching matchup between the two teams would pair two successful, blonde, and versatile performers from western Indiana in a head-to-head clash.
College report: Versatile Vicars set to help VU baseball program
Chris Barney knew what qualities he wanted as he was searching this winter for a new assistant baseball coach at Vincennes University. He wanted someone familiar with his program and his coaching style, someone from the Wabash Valley area who understood the state’s high school and American Legion programs, someone who had played several different positions in the field and also someone who had made a successful transition from junior college to Division I baseball. It didn’t take him long to realize that Cole Vicars was his man.
College report: Terre Haute pair Berry, Comer to boost Sycamores’ lines
While many people have varying opinions on the most important position on a football team, most old-school gridiron veterans would consider strong line play as a necessity for anything else to work — kind of like pitching in baseball and guard play in basketball.
College report: Wabash Valley hoops pair earn MVC weekly honors
Two Wabash Valley natives picked up big honors this week from the Missouri Valley Conference for their excellence on the basketball court. Evansville freshman Sara Dickey of Riverton Parke earned the league’s Newcomer of the Week for the third time while Loyola sophomore Matt O’Leary of Terre Haute North was chosen as the league’s Scholar-Athlete of the week.
College Report: Mahurins playing major role for Indiana Wesleyan
R.J. Mahurin, a senior at Indiana Wesleyan, was selected as the Crossroads League’s Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the period of Nov. 24-30.
The fifth-year senior from Rockville led Indiana Wesleyan, then ranked No. 2 in NAIA Division II, to an 88-82 win over No. 9 Bethel last month in the Crossroads League opener.
Mahurin scored 33 points on 12-for-18 shooting from the field, including 7 of 10 from 3 point range. He also recorded seven rebounds and two assists while knocking down both free throws in the contest.
COLLEGE REPORT: Former WRC football standouts playing key roles for No. 1 Mount Union
It’s a huge jump from the Wabash River Conference, one of the smallest leagues that plays high school football in Indiana, to Division III national powerhouse.
But two Wabash Valley standouts have made that leap and are significant contributors for top-ranked and defending national champion Mount Union (Ohio).
College Report: North grad enjoying sophomore season at Virginia Tech
A.J. Hughes had an admittedly up and down freshman season as the punter for Virginia Tech’s football team, but the sophomore from Terre Haute North High School has elevated his game like one of his long, hanging left-footed punts.
Hughes ranks first in the Atlantic Coast Conference in punting with a 44.8-yard average per punt, a 4.7 increase over last year and a lofty number that ranks him ninth nationally.
College Report: South graduate becomes Wabash College swim coach
Brent Noble’s climb up the collegiate swimming coaches has taken another big step, after the Terre Haute South grad was recently named the new head swimming and diving coach at Wabash College in Crawfordsville.
Noble joins the Wabash program after serving for a year as the women’s head swimming coach at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn.
College Report: People with Valley ties getting up-close look at top-ranked Crimson Tide
Trivia question: What do Trent Miles, A.J. Hughes and Johnny Manziel have in common?
Maybe nothing right now, but after Saturday they will all have played against the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide already this season.
Manziel has no known local ties, but was involved in the most-hyped game of the year last month as Texas A&M fell just short in a late comeback against Alabama.
Hughes, a sophomore punter for Virginia Tech from Terre Haute North, did his part in the Hokies’ 35-10 season–opening loss to the Tide.
Turner hoping to prove himself in junior college
Jeffrey Turner hopes a couple of years at junior college will do for his basketball career what it did for Derek Shouse.
COLLEGE REPORT: Watson, Seliger move on in strength and conditioning careers
Three members of the Indiana State athletics strength and conditioning staff, including two from Terre Haute, have advanced their careers and moved on to other opportunities.
Daniel Watson, former graduate assistant from Terre Haute North, has been hired by Rocky Mountain College to serve an assistant football coach and the head strength and conditioning coach.
Matt Seliger, also a former graduate assistant and North Patriot, has been hired by Athletes’ Performance in Frisco, Texas, to serve as an intern.
Longtime Butler assistant stays loyal to new job
Matthew Graves waited patiently for nine years as a member of the Butler men’s basketball staff for his chance to be a head coach.
COLLEGE REPORT: Several Valley standouts busy with baseball
Several of the Wabash Valley area standouts now in college baseball are busy with summer league teams.
COLLEGE REPORT: Kentucky baseball star Reed earns All-SEC
Kentucky sophomore baseball standout A.J. Reed of Terre Haute South Vigo High School earned first-team All-Southeastern Conference honors in voting by the league coaches for the recently completed season.
- COLLEGE REPORT: Wabash College All-American relay team has TH flavor
Catching up as the school year winds down
Odds and ends from here and there as the school year quickly winds down. For starters, high jumper Nick Jaeger of Terre Haute South was named the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference’s male track & field newcomer of the year:
College Report: Lively earned collegiate upgrade with strong play
Hillary Lively signed to play Division II basketball at Maryville (Mo.) during her senior year at North Vermillion, but those plans changed and she would up at nearby Danville Area Community College — where she recently concluded an outstanding two-year career.
Lively was impressive enough to earn a Division I scholarship to Southeast Missouri State of the Ohio Valley Conference, and both her future and past college coaches think she will continue to succeed there.
“She fits what we need,” SEMO coach Ty Margenthaler said. “She has college experience, she is strong and physical and plays well around the basket and moves well.
“Her strength, rebounding and touch around the basket will be a big help. On the defensive end, she’ll be able to guard a true center.”
COLLEGE REPORT: Valley prep athletes getting ready for next level
The NCAA “regular” signing period begins Wednesday for all sports except football, field hockey, soccer, track and field, cross country and men’s water polo.
COLLEGE REPORT: Conferences honor Valley softball players
Several Wabash Valley area college softball players have been honored by their respective conferences for outstanding play this spring.
COLLEGE REPORT: Jake Newton makes big impact for Lincoln Trail College
Jake Newton had a long time between playing in competitive basketball games, a span of about 18 months, and used the frustration from that long dry spell to produce a stellar freshman season for Lincoln Trail College this winter.
COLLEGE REPORT: A.J. Reed earns SEC Player of the Week honors
After belting three home runs during a five games last week, Kentucky sophomore left-handed pitcher/first baseman A.J. Reed was named Southeastern Conference Player of the Week.
COLLEGE REPORT: Spring newcomers making marks
Several freshman baseball and softball NCAA Division I players from the Wabash Valley have already made immediate impacts at their new schools, while others are waiting for their turns to shine.
COLLEGE REPORT: A.J. Reed named third-team preseason baseball All-American
Two-way sophomore standout A.J. Reed was one of three University of Kentucky players named third-team preseason All-America by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
COLLEGE REPORT: Sponsler honored after big week for Wabash men's hoops
Wabash College freshman Ross Sponsler of Terre Haute North was named the North Coast Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for the period ending Jan. 6.
COLLEGE REPORT: North grad Hughes finds success after facing preseason adversity
A.J. Hughes knew he was in for a battle as he competed with three other walk-on punters in the preseason for the lone starting job on the Virginia Tech football team.
Etling, Meggs enjoying great year
It’s been a great year so far with more to come for a pair of longtime friends and St. Patrick’s School classmates.
Former Terre Haute resident Jack Meggs quarterbacked the Bellevue Wolverines football team to the Washington Class 3A state championship this fall, culminating with a 35-3 win over Sammamish Eastside Catholic — Bellevue’s fifth straight crown.
Danny Etling, meanwhile, has completed graduation requirements at Terre Haute South and is preparing for an upcoming high school all-star game and his first college classes in a couple of weeks.
COLLEGE REPORT: Valley’s women’s college hoops players start strong
Several women’s college basketball players from the Wabash Valley have gotten off to good starts this season on the hardwood. Highlights:
COLLEGE REPORT: Mayhew, Mascari provide fall highlights
Several dozen Wabash Valley athletes enjoyed successful fall seasons collegiately in cross country and tennis this year.
COLLEGE REPORT: Former North teammates start strong in college
Former Terre Haute North teammates Ross Sponsler and Matt O’Leary made their college basketball debuts last week and had outstanding initial performances.
- More College Report Headlines
- College report: Valley softball pair help Ball State start off with 12-2 record