TERRE HAUTE —
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.
Dickey scored more than half of Evansville’s points in the Purple Aces’ 50-49 loss at Saint Louis on Saturday, as she poured in 25 points by going 9 for 25 from the field, including a 3-for-9 effort from beyond the arc. Dickey also went 4 for 5 at the foul line, grabbed four rebounds and dished out an assist, making her biggest impact late in the second half.
Dickey scored UE’s final five points, including a game-tying 3-pointer with 2:49 remaining. In her last four outings, she has reached the 20-point plateau on three occasions.
Earlier this month, Dickey earned the same award after leading UE in scoring this week by averaging 21.5 points per game in the Aces’ split with IPFW and Troy. She scored 15 points in UE’s win over the Mastodons on Wednesday morning, including a 6-for-6 effort at the free-throw line. In addition, she grabbed three rebounds and recorded a trio of assists.
Against Troy, the freshman guard poured in a career-high 28 points by going 9 for 22 from the floor, including 4 for 7 from 3-point range. She also posted four rebounds, two assists and three steals in the defeat. For the season, Dickey has scored in double figures in her first 10 collegiate games.
Dickey is the third-leading freshman scorer in the nation among women’s players at 19.6 points per game. She trails only Chrishae Roe of Oregon and Kaela Davis of Georgia Tech.
For the season, Dickey is shooting .320 from the field, .284 from 3-point range and .785 from the free-throw line. She averages 2.1 assists and 3.9 rebounds.
O’Leary had one of the most productive games of his career in Loyola’s win over Campbell, scoring a career-best 15 points to go with five rebounds, five assists and two steals in 28 minutes off the bench. He hit 5 of 6 from the floor and knocked down all four of his free throws as his 15 points surpassed his previous best of 14, set most recently last month against SIU-Edwardsville.
Now in its 15th year of existence, The Valley’s Scholar-Athlete program honors its student-athletes for their athletic performance for a one-week period and academic success in the classroom.
For the season, O’Leary has been a major contributor for the Ramblers, averaging 7.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and is tied for the team lead with 33 assists.
Dickey and O’Leary will be playing in Hulman Center early next year as O’Leary’s Ramblers play ISU on Jan. 1 and Dickey’s Aces play at ISU on Feb. 16.
• • •
Berry verbals to ISU — Terre Haute South all-state lineman Junior Berry rescinded an earlier verbal commitment to Toledo and pledged on Saturday to sign with Indiana State early next year during the college football signing period.
Berry, a 6-2, 300-pounder, was named one of Indiana’s top 50 players this year by the Indiana Football Coaches Association and was a consensus choice on every all-state honor squad.
He had received other offers from Ball State, Kent State and Southern Illinois besides Toledo and ISU.
Berry is expected to be able to make an immediate contribution to a Sycamore team that struggled through a 1-11 campaign this fall.
McClain to be a Pomeroy — Following in the footsteps of former North Patriot softball standout Kelsey Rosselli, senior outfielder Jacklyn “Paige” McClain will join the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods softball program next fall upon completion of her North career.
Rosselli was a swift outfielder who covered a lot of ground and McClain has similar skills.
“I’m thrilled to have Jacklyn,” said SMWC’s Mark Feller. “The opportunity to bring a very good student and versatile softball player is going to help us all the way around.”
For the past two years, McClain was a member of the Indiana Attitude travel softball team. She was used as a utility player for her travel team, playing second base, third base, catcher, and the outfield. She most recently joined the Indiana Outkast travel softball team.
At North, McClain has been a three-year softball letterwinner and has been awarded the Academic Excellence honor the past three seasons. She has also played basketball for the Patriots as a freshman and sophomore.
“Paige is a very hard worker in the classroom and on the field,” North Coach Jack Kirchner said. “She is a great team player, very coachable. I think she will help SMWC in the outfield gets a great jump on the ball good speed and understands the game.”
Kirchner is glad he has one more spring to be able to write McClain’s name on his lineup card.
“We look for her to have a great season with the bat this year,” he said. “She has worked hard over the winter. It’s been a pleasure coaching Paige at North and we look forward to her playing at SMWC.”
Lifetime dreams don’t often come true, but in this case that’s exactly what happened.
“I’m so excited about joining the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods softball program,” exclaimed McClain. “Ever since I was a little girl, I1ve always wanted to go to SMWC. Now that I can play softball and go to school there, it’s absolutely amazing.”
Brush to leave Indiana — Terre Haute South grad Donny Brush, Indiana University’s associate head coach for men’s and women’s swimming, has resigned from his position after 81⁄2 seasons in Bloomington.
Brush will take a position with the Fishers Area Swimming Tigers in suburban Indianapolis. He recently received the promotion to associate head coach after spending four years as the ‘assistant head coach for the coordination of training and student athlete development.’
“Donny’s a really good friend of mine, and always will be,” IU coach Ray Looze told swimswam.com of his departed assistant. “He’s getting back into club coaching at Fishers with his friend and mentor Jay Chambers and will be one of the best club coaches in the country. … I’m confident that he’ll slip right back into that world and do a fantastic job. This was just good timing for him.”
Brush’s primary role this season is as the lead coach for the women’s program and working with the middle distance group, after spending the 2012-2013 season working with Indiana’s sprint group. That sprint group last season broke school records in the 50 free, 100 free, 200 free relay, 200 medley relay, and 400 medley relay, and was a significant contributor to the Hoosiers’ ninth-place finish at NCAA’s: their highest in over 30 years.
Prior to coming to Indiana, Brush was an assistant at Longhorn Aquatics from 2004-2005; as the head age-group coach and senior assistant for the famed Carmel Swim Club; as the head coach of the Newburgh Sea Creatures from 2000-2002; and as the co-head coach for the Terre Haute Aquatic Club from 1993-1996.
Brush will begin coaching with FAST officially Jan. 6.
Streaks come to end — Saturday saw the end come to a pair of streaks involving former Wabash Valley basketball standouts.
Wabash’s Ross Sponsler nailed a 3-point basket in the final minute of regulation, forcing overtime against Trine. The Little Giants outscored the visitors 5-3 in the extra session to take a 67-65 victory and their first win of the season.
Wabash trailed 62-56 with 2:37 left to play in the second period before mounting its comeback. Austin Burton found Sponsler in the left corner for the long-range shot with 36 seconds left in the period to tie the game at 62-62.
Trailing by one point, Sponsler once again answered the call for the Little Giants. He drove the lane and found space to get a shot away and scored.
“This victory was very important because it rewards the hard work everyone on this team has put in every day,” Wabash coach Antoine Carpenter said. “At this point in the season we just needed to get that monkey off our back. It’s even better to get a win against a very good basketball team like Trine.”
Wabash trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half before a 3-pointer by South Vermillion grad Andy Walsh cut the lead back to eight. Walsh came off the bench to score 16 points. He combined with a six-point effort from Burton to help the Little Giants’ bench outscore Trine’s subs 24-8.
“Andy Walsh played a huge role for us today, as did Austin Burton,” Carpenter said. “Both of those guys did a great job today. Andy’s been staying in the gym taking a lot of extra shots at practice and that paid dividends today by his ability to hit some key 3-point attempts.”
“It’s huge to get that first win,” Walsh said. “Now we can just go out and have fun on the basketball court. I think before we’ve been worried as players and trying to make too many corrections with that thought of not having won yet in the back of our minds. Today we made things simpler and played our game. We knew Trine had a lot of players who could really drive the ball and penetrate the defense. We focused a lot on help defense and keeping the man with ball in front of us. That gave us some big defensive stops when we needed them.”
Sponsler joined Walsh for high-point honors for the Little Giants with 16 points.
On the other hand, Huntington College had compiled a 12-0 record and No. 14 national NAIA ranking before falling 71-61 to Cincinnati Christian.
Shakamak freshman Brodie Crowe is a reserve guard for the Foresters and did not see action on Saturday. He averages 3.0 points per game, and had a high game of 12 against Ohio State Mansfield.
Davis has great prep season — Terre Haute North grad Lee Davis is attending U.S. Military Academy Prep School on the campus of West Point, the service academy method of “red-shirting” recruited athletes without using up their collegiate eligibility.
The Army’s prep football team compiled a 7-1 record this fall against other prep schools, junior colleges and Division III teams.
Davis played both inside and outside linebacker this year. Season highlights for him included recording 41⁄2 sacks against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and 17 total tackles against Navy.
He also plans to compete in track and field for Army.
Bertoli race ends with surgery — Terre Haute South senior Jackson Bertoli, who will continue his standout running career at Indiana next fall, traveled to San Diego earlier this month for what he thought would be a memorable performance in the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships.
The race definitely turned out to be memorable, as Bertoli broke his right fibula while running and was unable to finish the race.
He had endured leg pain to win the Indiana state title last month, and has no regrets about running in San Diego.
“People are asking me do you regret starting the race,” Bertoli told runnerspace.com. “I would never recommend that anyone run on a stress fracture. But I think this was a fairly unique situation. It was the last race of my high school cross country career and it’s at Foot Locker, which is the pinnacle. … What if I was OK and able to compete with those guys? I figured I’d give it a shot. I figured anything was possible and I was trying to be optimistic.”
Bits and pieces — If the name “Gregory Newton” seems familiar to basketball fans, it’s not surprising.
Terre Haute South’s 6-4, 200-pound junior center by that name is the son of former Duke University center Greg Newton. The elder Newton’s career spanned from 1994-97, and the 6-10 post player was the Blue Devil team captain his senior year.
He later played professionally in several overseas leagues, and represented his home country of Canada in the 2000 Olympics.
The younger Newton is a key member of South’s team, and came to Terre Haute after his mother married a local resident.
• Mount Union finished as the NCAA Division III national runner-up in football after losing to Wisconsin-Whitewater in the championship game. Rockville’s James Kent concluded his football career in the defeat, while Lane Clark of North Vermillion and Hank Spencer of North Putnam will each have two seasons remaining.
• Saint Mary-of-the-Woods is accepting applications for a volleyball coach. The school will be expanding its athletic offerings in the fall of 2015 when its new student recreation center opens.
TERRE HAUTE —
Two Wabash Valley natives picked up big honors this week from the Missouri Valley Conference for their excellence on the basketball court.
- College Report
College Report: Haley Chambers making noise in OVC softball circles
Two Wabash Valley natives are again making big news for the Southern Illlinois-Edwardsville softball team.
Former Riverton Parke and Cascade standout pitcher Haley Chambers was recognized for a string of dominant performances in the circle by being named Ohio Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week on Monday.
College Report: Valley athletes helping Wabash College
Two Wabash Valley hurdlers helped the Division III Wabash College track and field team go head to head against talent from NCAA Division I schools in the Vanderbilt University Black and Gold Invitational this past weekend.
The Little Giants produced several quality times, including a first-place finish by Northview grad Joel Whittington in the men’s 400-meter hurdles. The junior captured the title with a top time of 54.4 seconds, the fourth quickest recorded for NCAA DIII men this season. Cole Seward, a freshman from Terre Haute North, took third place, crossing the finish line in 55.7.
College report: Former Terre Haute South player Conrady returns to coaching
Former Terre Haute South and Furman University basketball standout David Conrady has re-entered the coaching world after a short hiatus. Conrady was recently named head coach of the boys team at Chattanooga Christian, a prep school in eastern Tennessee.
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.
- More College Report Headlines
- College Report: Haley Chambers making noise in OVC softball circles