Softball season has now begun at the college level, with many teams taking southern or western trips to find some decent weather.
The Wabash Valley is represented by 38 players competing collegiately this spring, with six other area graduates serving as coaches.
Nearly all of those 44 people have remained in the Indiana and Illinois area, with only Terre Haute South’s Kelly Fougerousse (South Georgia College), South Putnam’s Amy Harris (Alabama-Huntsville), Riverton Parke’s Ashley Walters (Union University in Tennessee) and North Vermillion’s Annie Morgan (coaching at Lakeland College in Wisconsin) drifting away from the bi-state area.
Harris is off to a great start in her senior year at UAH, and was named Gulf South Conference East Player of the Week after leading the 14th-ranked Chargers to a 4-0 weekend at the GSC/Midwest Tournament in Tunica, Miss.
Harris batted .727 (8-for-11) with four doubles, six RBI and six runs scored. She was also 2-for-2 in stolen bases. She had a slugging percentage of 1.091 and a .786 on-base percentage. In the Chargers’ 15-0 win over Indianapolis, Harris was 3-for-3 with three doubles and four RBI.
For RP’s Walters, the season did not start so auspiciously.
Tornadoes ravaged the Union campus at Jackson, Tenn., on Feb. 5, destroying 40 percent of the buildings and damaging another 40 percent.
First-year Union Coach Heather Hall came to Union from Tennessee-Martin, located 52 miles north of Jackson, and was able to take her team there to work out while things settled down on what was left of the school’s campus.
Fortunately, the school’s softball field was undamaged and the Lady Bulldogs began their season on Friday by winning a pair of exhibition games over Jackson State.
Ironically, one of the nation’s other prominent tragedies this month also affected a Wabash Valley native.
Terre Haute North grad Megan Ciolli is in her first year as an assistant coach at Northern Illinois, the location of the latest school shooting tragedy involving multiple fatalities.
NIU suspended all athletic events for 10 days following the Feb. 14 shootings, including four softball games. The Huskies will now open their season on Friday by meeting Mercer at Fort Myers, Fla.
The early leader for clutch performances in the young season has to be Clay City’s Kari Bettenbrock, who provided the game-winning heroics in Indiana’s 7-6 win over Tulsa last Sunday in San Diego.
With her team trailing 6-5, IU’s Sarah Padove doubled with one out. After a strikeout, Bettenbrock stepped to the plate and hit her third career home run for the game-winner.
• Northview pair to college — Northview seniors Ashley Hull and Kaley Huffman will be joining classmate Lottie King in the ranks of college volleyball this fall, as Hull has received a full-ride scholarship to Lake Land College in Mattoon, Ill., and Huffman will join IUPUI’s team as a walk-on.
King earlier accepted a scholarship from Southern Indiana.
Hull, Huffman, King and the rest of Northview’s strong senior class helped the Knights to a school-record 31-4 record last year.
Lake Land Coach Jessica Hills, whose nationally-ranked team was 24-12 last year, is looking forward to having Hills to join her program.
“Ashley will come into the program with good experience and be able to offer an immediate impact,” Hills said. “I look for her to contribute on the outside and middle. She has great technique and will fit into the program very well.”
Hull has been told she will be an outside hitter, but knows she could play in the middle or wherever she may be needed.
Hull is good friends with Terre Haute North senior Casey Hayne, who has also signed with Lake Land. The two will be roommates, and Hull will be glad to have a familiar face around.
“That really helps that Casey is going there, too,” Hull said. “I made a campus visit and liked the size of the campus and liked the team too.”
Northview Coach Scott McDonald sees good things for Hull’s future at the college level.
“They are getting a Division I player,” he said. “She’s versatile and can hit from anywhere, and she was a great leader for us. Ashley will do very well there.”
Hull, who is playing this winter for the Circle City travel program in Indianapolis, played two varsity seasons for the Knights and was all-Western Indiana Athletic Conference in her junior year. She also considered Vincennes University, and hopes to move on to the Division I level after her Lake Land career.
“They have a lot of players who go on to play at Eastern Illinois,” Hull said. “I just want to help them keep their winning program going.”
Huffman will join a familiar face at IUPUI, as older sister Jenae is a student there.
“I also considered the University of Indianapolis, but I want to major in pre-optometry and IUPUI has a really good program,” Huffman said. “I know I won’t get to play much the first year, and their scholarships are given out for my first two years, but my hope is to be able to earn a scholarship by my junior year.”
Huffman started varsity all four years of her high school career, and was all-WIC the past three seasons. She hopes to eventually earn some playing time as a passer, defensive specialist or a libero.
Huffman has been a member of the Crossroads of America volleyball program based in Terre Haute.
“She is a great student, and will undoubtedly get some academic scholarships to help her,” McDonald said. “She was a great leader on the court for us, as well, and IUPUI is getting a scholarship-quality player without having to give out a scholarship. She will find a way to make an impact in their program.
“If she was six feet tall, she’d be big-time Division I.”
The trio of Knights will join 2006 graduate Christy Fulk (Indianapolis) and 2007 grad Brianne Arvin (Stephens College) in the college volleyball ranks.
• Witt to Grand Valley — Shakamak cross country standout Anthony Witt, who finished third in the 2007 Indiana state high school meet, will continue his career at the collegiate level with Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich.
Witt also considered St. Joseph’s and Indiana State.
“Ultimately I choose GVSU over the other two because of their strength in their overall athletic program and the class sizes,” he told the Greene County Daily World. “I’ll get more attention academically yet still have the strong competition on the athletic side.”
Grand Valley State competes at the Division II level and is considered a powerhouse in both cross country and track and field. This past season, the cross country team finished fourth at Nationals and eighth at Track and Field Nationals.
Witt, who plans to major in biochemistry, said one of his goals before he graduates from GVSU is to be an All-American.
“Obviously everyone wants to be a National Champion,” Witt said. “But then you start running into the Kenyans at the collegiate level so I definitely want to be an All-American.”
• College notes — Sullivan graduate Shane Noble got his senior baseball season at Bellarmine College off to a good start last weekend as the Knights kicked of their season with a three-game series at North Alabama.
While the Knights returned just 1-2, Noble looked like he was in mid-season form. The senior left fielder went 5-for-10 on the weekend with two home runs and a double. He led the team with six RBI and finished the trip with a whopping 1.200 slugging percentage.
Bellarmine defeated North Alabama 4-1 in the opener as Noble blasted a pair of home runs while going 3-for-6 with four RBI for the afternoon.
Noble blasted his first home run, a fourth inning solo shot, to give the Knights a 2-1 lead in the first game. His round-tripper proved to be the game-winning RBI. He also added an RBI single in the first inning. In the second game, Bellarmine managed just three hits, although Noble’s third-inning home run gave the Knights an early 3-0 lead.
Noble went 2 for 4 with two RBI in an 8-4 loss in the series finale.
• Northview’s Julia Whitted scored 26 points and hauled in 14 rebounds as IUPUI defeated Oral Roberts 69-66 last Saturday. Whitted had 14 points in the final 12:54 of the game. The 6-foot-5 center finished the game 10-of-16 and hit a career-high 6 free throws in a career-best 10 attempts.
Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter and copy editor who now teaches at Northview High School in Brazil. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Denny Throneburg, head coach, Lake Land
Dara (Throneburg) Updegraff, assistant coach, Lake Land
Sandy Montgomery, head coach, SIU-Edwardsville
Tasha Wilhoit, sophomore, Lake Land
Chelsey Sullivan, freshman, Lake Land
Kari Bettenbrock, senior, Indiana
Chelsee Gerber, freshman, St. Mary-of-the-Woods
Stevie Woodall, sophomore, Franklin
Casey Simmons, junior, St. Mary-of-the-Woods
Kayla Parsley, freshman, Lincoln Trail
Danielle Austin, senior, St. Joseph’s
Jacilyn McClain, freshman, Lincoln Trail
Annie Morgan, assistant coach, Lakeland (Wisc.)
Kayla Raderstorf, freshman, Rend Lake
Stefanie Jonson, freshman, Indiana State
Brittany Searing, freshman, Indiana State
Whitney Haase, junior, St. Mary-of-the-Woods
Lindsey Nugent, sophomore, Danville Area CC
Katie Meagher, freshman, Danville Area CC
Sarah Snyder, freshman, Danville Area CC
Ashley Loomis, senior, St. Mary-of-the-Woods
Ashley Walters, senior, Union University (Tenn.)
Amanda McGlone, sophomore, St. Mary-of-the-Woods
Jamie Lytle, sophomore, Olney Central
Julie Nichols, freshman, Shawnee (Ill.) CC
Morgan Wheeler, junior, Indiana Wesleyan
Chelsea Baker, freshman, St. Mary-of-the-Woods
Amy Harris, senior, Alabama-Huntsville
Megan Robinson, freshman, Hanover
Brian Shearer, head coach, Rose-Hulman
Ally McKinley, junior, Southern Indiana
Reva Ledune, freshman, Indiana State
Terre Haute North
Megan Ciolli, assistant coach, Northern Illinois
Katie Iocoangeli, senior, Indiana State
Alicia Hayes, sophomore, Lake Land
Selina Roman, freshman, Olney Central
Terre Haute South
Jessica Ketner, senior, St. Mary-of-the-Woods
Ashley Sankey, junior, St. Mary-of-the-Woods
Racheal McCleary, sophomore, Indiana State
Kylee Anderson, sophomore, Danville Area CC
Kelly Fougerousse, freshman, South Georgia College
Chelsea Hanner, freshman, Hanover
Sasha Stanton, sophomore, St. Mary-of-the-Woods
Kea Silcock, junior, St. Mary-of-the-Woods
Softball season has now begun at the college level, with many teams taking southern or western trips to find some decent weather.
- 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