Two Wabash Valley area tennis standouts were honored this week as the Summit League players of the week.
West Vigo freshman Joel Modesitt has been named the conference’s Men’s Tennis Athlete of the Week, while Terre Haute South freshman Hunter Bullock was named the conference’s Women’s Tennis Athlete of the Week.
It was the first such honor for each athlete.
Modesitt went 1-1 in singles play last week while going 1-0 in doubles action, helping IUPUI pick up two of its three points in a 4-3 loss to Wisconsin-Green Bay on Jan. 31.
IUPUI Coach Brandon Currie has been pleased with Modesitt and his improvement in his developing college career.
“Joel has been very impressive since he has arrived on the IUPUI campus,” Currie said. “He has an absolute passion for the game and is extremely competitive. He works extremely hard and hates losing.”
Currie predicts good things for Modesitt in the future, both short and long-term.
“He has had an immediate impact on our program, and he will play an important role in helping our team win a conference title,” Currie said. “I believe he is going to have a lot of success at the collegiate level, and has been a great addition to our program.”
Modesitt dropped his first singles match of the week on Jan. 30, falling in straight sets at No. 5 to Marquette’s Niko Boulieris. The following day, Modesitt controlled his match at No. 6, winning in straight sets over UWGB’s Gilles Cornelis, 7-5, 6-3.
He helped the Jaguars clinch the doubles point against Wisconsin-Green Bay as well, teaming with Taylor Tunis for an 8-6 win at No. 3 doubles.
Bullock went 3-0 in singles play last week, picking up three of IUPUI’s four points over the weekend. She was 2-0 at No. 1 singles and 1-0 at No. 2.
For her efforts, Bullock was also named the school’s female Athlete of the Month for January.
The former Brave standout opened the weekend with a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 win over Butler’s Molly Casperson on Saturday morning at No. 2 singles. Moved to No. 1 singles for the Jaguars’ evening match versus Marquette, Bullock took down the Golden Eagles’ Paola Calderon at No. 1, 6-3, 6-7(0), 11-9.
Bullock capped her undefeated singles play on Sunday, defeating Illinois State’s Aniko Kiss in a super tie-break, 6-4, 1-6, 10-8.
Coach Cameron Benjamin is equally as pleased to have Bullock in his program.
“Hunter has been a great addition to the Jaguar family,” he said. “With one of the youngest teams in the Summit League with mostly freshman and sophomores, Hunter has become a great leader and a positive figure for the other girls to look up to.”
Bullock’s work ethic is one specific area that has pleased Coach Benjamin.
“She is one of the hardest workers on the team and is always putting in the extra time outside practice to continue to bring her game to its fullest potential,” he said. “She has gotten off to a great start and I am excited for what’s to come!”
I I I
n Liffick to ISU — Terre Haute South defender/midfielder Kayla Liffick was one of 13 student-athletes signed by Indiana State’s women’s soccer program last week.
Liffick was a four-year varsity starter who earned all-county honors after each season and was named to the all-Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference team twice.
“Kayla is a home-grown player from Terre Haute and immediately caught our attention with her pace and sheer athleticism,” Coach Erika True said. “Kayla strikes a fantastic ball with both feet and will likely play wide for the Sycamores in 2010. We are happy to see local talent develop to a level that is capable of helping our soccer program create success.”
• Mason continues tradition — Northview senior baseball standout Caleb Mason will continue a school tradition next fall when he joins the Olney Central College program under Hall of Fame Coach Dennis Conley.
A hard-throwing right-handed pitcher, Mason will join a long line of ex-Knights who went from Brazil to Olney that includes Brad Pierce, T.J. King, Brady Shoemaker, Bowie Johnson and current Northview Coach Scott McDonald.
Basketball standout Austin Akers is also a freshman at OCC this winter and is one of the top junior college players in Illinois.
Last year, Mason appeared in 11 games and pitched 26 2/3 innings with 37 strikeouts, a 3.41 ERA and 15 walks.
“Obviously he’s going to head the staff, he’s got great stuff, probably the best stuff of any pitcher we’ve had in 20-25 years at Northview,” McDonald told the Brazil Times. “He’s got a great curveball, his fastball just explodes, but more than anything, I think it’s his work ethic that is going to help lead us. He works his butt off in conditioning and the kids really respect and look up to him.”
Mason had Tommy John surgery that caused him to miss his sophomore season.
“Obviously I had a lot of time to think about what I want to do and how I want to do it,” he told the Brazil Times. “I wanted to stay closer to home so I did a lot of work to get that offer, the best offer I could get. I’m pretty sure that I’m going to come in as a starter, pitching at least once a week and then maybe some third base.”
• Hutson up for top honor – Indiana State senior Kylie Hutson of Terre Haute North, the defending NCAA champion in the indoor pole vault and the outdoor pole vault, is one of 10 collegiate women’s track & field athletes from across the United States that have been named to the 2010 Bowerman Watch list by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
“This is very exciting for Kylie and for the program,” John Gartland, Indiana State women’s track & field coach, said. “She has been linked with the very elite track and field collegiate athletes from across the nation.”
The Bowerman was established in 2008 to annually recognize the most outstanding collegiate men’s and women’s track and field athlete and is administered by the USTFCCCA. It is named in honor of track and field pioneer Bill Bowerman, long-time coach at Oregon.
“This is the Heisman of track & field,” John McNichols, Indiana State cross country and track & field coordinator said.
In her junior season, Hutson won NCAA crowns during both the indoor and outdoor seasons with the pole vault, claiming personal bests in both championship meets to take the titles. During the outdoor championship, Hutson needed a clearance of 14’-5.75” (4.40m) to win the competition as with a first-attempt miss at 14’-1.75” (4.30m) placed her second going into the height. Hutson was the only athlete to clear 14’-5.25”, doing so on her first attempt and, before bowing out of the competition, she went on to attempt an NCAA-meet record height of 14’-6” (4.42m).
Hutson holds the Indiana State and Missouri Valley Conference records of 14’-3.25” (4.35m) indoors and 14’-5.25” (4.40m) outdoors. She is a three-time All-American and has competed in the NCAA indoor and outdoor championships as a freshman, sophomore and junior. She also competed in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials and the 2009 U.S. Championships.
Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter who now teaches and coaches at Northview High School in Brazil. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.