TERRE HAUTE —
There are many clear differences between high school tennis and collegiate tennis.
The ability level of the players is greater, there are more difficult academic demands, travel takes up much more of your time and the athletes play both a singles match and a doubles match every day.
Battles for roster spots are also much more competitive, with the strong influx of foreign players and the fact that many colleges do not field teams.
Terre Haute North grad Sarah Potter recently completed the fall season of her freshman year for Marian University’s women’s team, and seems to have figured things out pretty quickly.
Potter finished 11-1 at No. 4 singles and 14-4 at No. 1 doubles and was named to the all-Mid-Central College Conference team.
Marian Coach Cassie Mackell notes that only 12 people make the all-conference team from the nine schools, and Potter was close to extending her season beyond the regular schedule in just her first year.
“Sarah has had a fantastic fall season,” Mackell said. “Her only singles loss was in the regular season in which she came back and beat her in straight sets in the conference tournament.
“In doubles, she and her partner [Olivia Pursell of Westfield] made it all the way to the finals of the ITA Regional Tournament. Sarah has had a stellar freshman year so far.”
Potter is pleased with performance this fall, but knows she has things to improve on as her career progresses.
“Considering it is my freshman year, I believe that I played well,” she said. “At times I got nervous, but I was able to pull it out in the majority of my matches.
“This fall season was the first time I had actually played competitive doubles,” Potter added. “In high school, I always played singles, and when I got to college I earned the spot of one doubles. I need to improve on my doubles skills, but with the help of both my experienced coaches and talented team I feel I will be able to do this come spring.”
Earning all-conference honors so early in her career was also very exciting for Potter, and she also likes the opportunity to play at venues all over the Midwest.
“It is a great honor,” she said. “I have worked really hard in my tennis career and being named one out of the twelve conference women is very exciting.
“The atmosphere in college tennis is a lot different,” Potter added. “Personally, my college tennis experience has been a lot more fun because we get to travel as a team outside of the state and play better competition.”
Potter is majoring in nursing, and has earned the respect of her coach in a short time.
“Sarah is a hard worker in the classroom and on the tennis court and is a perfect example of what our team is about,” Mackell said. “At Marian University, we stress academic performance first and tennis second.
“The ladies on our tennis team have great heads on their shoulders and have a great competitive spirit which is hard to teach. Sarah is a great fit for our program, and I only hope to get more people like Sarah on the team in the future.”
Perhaps one of those could be Sarah’s younger sister, Anna — a junior at Terre Haute North who won the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference No. 2 singles title last spring. The Potter girls are part of a college sports family, as their father, Corey, was a two-year letterman kicker for ISU’s football team in his college years and hit 8 of 10 field goals in 1987.
I I I
n Bits and pieces — One player was omitted in last month’s recap of college football players.
Northview grad John Rollings is a freshman offensive tackle at Hope College in Michigan.
He has played on the JV team this season, but the 6-8, 270-pounder will undoubtedly get a future look at the varsity level for the NAIA school after numerous knee surgeries limited his high school career.
n Former local volleyballers continue to do well in college. Jessica Coombs of West Vigo and her Wallace State (Ala.) team have rolled on to a 24-0 record this year, while Terre Haute South grad Brittany Pugh and the Lincoln Memorial (Tenn.) Railsplitters are 13-4.
n Terre Haute North senior Ross Sponsler recently visited Hanover while still deciding upon his college basketball home. He has also had talks with Army about playing at West Point.
n South grad A.J. Reed is one of seven University of Kentucky signees who were chosen in the Major League Baseball Draft but chose not to sign and join the Wildcats. The recruiting class has been ranked as one of the top 25 in the country.
“We are excited to welcome a special group to Kentucky,” Coach Gary Henderson said. “This is an extremely talented a group of newcomers and we are really looking forward to working with them.”
Eight other returning players were also drafted in June but chose to return, giving Henderson a roster with half of its members having been previously drafted.
Reed hit a pair of home runs in an intrasquad game this fall, and is expected to see duty both on the mound and at first base next spring.
n Former Terre Haute North and Indiana State football standout Jamie Petrowski is continuing his professional career as a member of the Los Angeles Locomotives of the United Football League.
Recently, Las Vegas defeated Omaha 30-10 and Petrowski caught a 15-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.
Petrowski had been a member of the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad for several years, and that spot ironically now belongs to former Terre Haute resident James Kirkendoll — a former University of Texas standout.
n Former Indiana State woman’s basketball coach Cheryl Reeve was named the WNBA “Coach of the Year” in 2011 and last week led the Minnesota Lynx to the WNBA championship.
Another former ISU head coach has resumed his coaching career, as Jim Wiedie returned to his Ohio roots when he was hired in August as an assistant coach at Findlay College.
Wiedie spent last season as a volunteer assistant coach at Otterbein College and was the head coach at Indiana State University from 2000-2010, leaving as the program’s all-time leader in wins with 166.
Holding an overall coaching mark of 166-118, Wiedie guided the Sycamores to Missouri Valley Conference regular season championships in 2003 and 2006, and was named the conference Coach of the Year in both seasons. He also earned the WBCA Region VI Coach of the Year award in 2006.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
TERRE HAUTE —
There are many clear differences between high school tennis and collegiate tennis.
- 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