News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 7, 2009

Valley athletes join SIU-Edwardsville softball team

By Joey Bennett

TERRE HAUTE — Southern-Illinois Edwardsville made its debut as a Division I softball program on Friday in the Centenary Tournament at Shreveport, La., by splitting a pair of games.

The long-time Division II power, coached by Casey-Westfield grad Sandy Montgomery, is moving up to the bigtime this year and lost a 4-2 decision to the host team before routing Bryant 14-0.

A pair of former Wabash Valley area standouts keyed the win over Bryant.

North Vermillion grad Whitney Davis got the start at first base and had a breakout debut, going 3 for 3 at the plate with two RBI and two runs scored. She also walked once.

Former Casey all-stater Megan Murphy, who attended Illinois in the fall semester but transferred to SIU-E over the Christmas break, came into the game as a substitute at shortstop and went 2 for 2 at the plate with a run scored and an RBI.

Both players had key roles in a nine-run sixth inning for the Cougars.

Davis drew a leadoff walk and Murphy followed with a single. Both runners advanced on an illegal pitch, and both then moved up on a wild pitch with Davis scoring. Murphy then scored on a single.

In college recruiting news:

• Avon’s Austen Stoelting, a second-team all-state soccer performer for the Orioles last fall, will continue her career at Jacksonville State (Ala.).

She is the daughter of Terre Haute native Traci (Russell) Stoelting and granddaughter of Dean Russell of Terre Haute, both famous for softball umpiring. Traci Stoelting umpired in the Beijing Olympics last year.

Austen was the Avon team captain last year and earned first-team all-district honors, the Top Team Player Award, Mental Attitude Team Award, second-team all-state honors and was honorable mention academic all-state. She has a 4.0 GPA.

She played center mid and forward until her junior year, when her high school coached moved her to defense.

“He said I was a natural defender,” Stoelting wrote in her profile on “I didn’t agree at the time, but it was the best move ever for me. My size and speed make me a tough defender.”

As the sweeper, Stoelting helped her team record 12 shutouts.

Jacksonville State is a Division I school that competes in the Ohio Valley Conference.

• Rockville’s Laura Payne has signed a national letter-of-intent to play collegiate volleyball at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, Ill.

She led the Rox to a 23-5 record last fall and a sectional championship.

Odds and ends

• Terre Haute South grad Brooke Daugherty had a nearly perfect night recently for Indiana-South Bend in a 106-76 rout of Purdue-Calumet.  Daugherty, a junior, hit 11 of 11 field goals with two 3-pointers and added 1 of 2 free throws to wind up with 25 points in 26 minutes of action.

She added 12 rebounds, two steals and an assist.

• Wendell Mardis of Terre Haute North had a collegiate high of 24 points and added three steals as Southwest Baptist defeated Northwest Missouri last month. Mardis hit 8 of 14 shots from the field, including 6 of 11 3-pointers.

SBU is 17-3 and ranked No. 6 nationally among NCAA Division II teams.

• Anna Pigg of Terre Haute South was one of 47 IUPUI athletes named to the Academic All-Summit League team for fall sports. The sophomore soccer player, who is enrolled in the School of Nursing, qualified for the honor by posting higher than a 3.0 GPA in the fall semester.

• Butler’s Derek Guggenberger earned second team All-Pioneer Football League academic honors this year.

• Northview’s Julia Whitted was selected as the IUPUI Female Student-Athlete of the Month for January.

Whitted averaged 15.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, tallying six double-doubles in nine games.  From Jan. 5 until Jan. 19, the 6-foot-5 center strung together five consecutive double-doubles.

Whitted’s sixth double-double of the month came on Jan. 26 at Oakland, when the junior matched her career high with 27 points while grabbing a season-high 14 rebounds in the Jaguars’ defeat.

For the month, IUPUI went 4-5.

The honor is the second student-athlete of the month selection for Whitted, who also won the award in February 2008.

Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter and copy editor who now teaches and coaches at Northview High School in Brazil. He can be reached at