TERRE HAUTE —
The Rose-Hulman men’s basketball team has been selected to finish second in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference this season, according to a preseason poll of league coaches released Wednesday.
Transylvania, ranked No. 16 nationally by d3hoops.com in the organization’s preseason poll, was picked to win with seven first-place votes and 97 poll points.
Rose, which also received votes in the d3hoops.com national poll, earned three first-place votes and 92 poll points to place second overall.
Hanover was picked to finish third, with Defiance, Franklin and Bluffton rounding out the top six. Manchester, Anderson, Mount St. Joseph and Earlham rounded out the poll.
The top six teams will qualify for the HCAC tournament in February. Last season, Rose-Hulman earned its first NCAA Division III tournament appearance since 1999 by winning the HCAC tournament at Transylvania.
Rose features the return of four starters and 11 letterwinners from the 2011-12 squad this winter. Returning all-conference players include junior Julian Strickland and senior Austin Weatherford, who were the team’s top two scorers last season.
The Engineers finished 20-9 overall for the fourth 20-win season in program history last winter.
Rose-Hulman opens its 2012-13 season with a trip to the Milwaukee School of Engineering Tip-Off Tournament on Nov. 17.
• ISU men picked to win MVC, women tabbed for 5th — The Indiana State men’s team has been picked to win the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference men’s cross country championship, according to a pre-championship poll of Valley coaches released this week by the league office.
The Sycamore women’s team was picked to finish fifth.
The MVC men’s and women’s championships will take place at the Weibring Golf Course in Normal, Ill., on Saturday with the women’s 5,000-meter race at 11:30 a.m. EDT and the men’s 8,000-meter race at 12:30 p.m.
“Actually in the last eight years, it has basically been a dual meet between us and Southern,” ISU men’s coach John McNichols said. “Looking at the meet on paper, it looks the same. The difference this year is that there are several individuals from other teams that could play a role. The key will be how Southern and Indiana State match up in the back half of the teams with those other individuals mixed in.”
ISU received seven first-place votes and 78 points to be the pre-championship favorite, while Southern Illinois received the other two first-place votes and scored 73 points for second. There is a slight drop-off to third where Wichita State earned 60 points with Drake fourth with 53. Rounding out the poll were Northern Iowa in fifth (47), Bradley sixth (36), Illinois State seventh (27), Evansville eighth (19) and Creighton ninth (12).
“It is going to be very tight again and too close to call,” McNichols noted. “The fact that we were picked to win is just the result of coaches going straight down the list and scoring the meet. The race is really too close to predict if everyone races as they should.”
The Sycamores won the 2011 championship on the LaVern Gibson Championship Course with 34 points. Jeremiah Vaughan led four Indiana State runners into the top 10 with a second-place finish with Craig Padgett placing fourth, Dustin Betz sixth and Al Escalera seventh. Tyler Kent rounded out the ISU scoring with a 15th-place finish. Southern Illinois was second with 48 points.
Meanwhile, the Indiana State women were picked to finish fifth in the 2012 women’s championship with 53 points. Illinois State was chosen to defend its 2011 championship as the Redbirds received six first-place votes and 96 points. Wichita State, which had won six straight titles until being dethroned a year ago, received three first-place votes and 86 points, while Bradley had the other first-place vote but tied Southern Illinois for third with 75 each.
Rounding out the poll were Northern Iowa in sixth (45), Drake seventh (40), Missouri State eighth (30), Evansville ninth (28) and Creighton 10th (17).
“We have had a little bit of an up-and-down year,” ISU women’s coach John Gartland admitted. “We started off pretty well and ironically beat Illinois State in a scored meet in our first meet of the season. We finished third in the Indiana Intercollegiate, but it has been a little bit rougher in our last two meets.”
Gartland has a solid group at the top led by Jessica Zangmeister, who finished 11th in the 2011 MVC championships when the Sycamores placed sixth as a team. The unknown quantity comes from the fifth runner on down.
“I think that we can finish higher, but this is a pretty objective pick by the coaches,” Gartland said. “I personally picked Wichita State as good as they looked in the Pre-Nats and, of course, they have an outstanding individual. But it may end up being pretty close among the teams for those top five positions. We will see what happens this weekend.”
n Volkers Group back at it — At Phoenix, the Terre Haute Volkers Group 65-plus team — managed by Larry Roesch — has begun its annual participation in the Senior World Series.
Terre Haute lost its first game Monday to Detroit 8-2, then played San Diego evenly Tuesday before losing 9-8.
Volkers Group defeated Chicago 6-4 Wednesday afternoon to stay alive in the tournament. It must now win its remaining two qualifying games to advance into the playoffs.
Terre Haute 000 302 210 — 8 9 5
San Diego 100 150 02x — 9 8 2
Boyer, Ingalls (5) and Appling; Dev, Kelleher and Briggs, Bennett (7).
Highlights — San Diego began the game with three perfect innings before Frank Volkers drew a walk in the 4th and scored on Terre Haute’s first hit, an infield single by Larry Weaver, followed by singles from his brother David Weaver and Danny Robinson, giving the local team a 3-1 lead. Then 3 errors in the 5th allowed San Diego 5 unearned runs. Hits in the 6th by Volkers, both Weavers and Lew Ingalls scored 2 runs and cut the deficit to 2. Then Terre Haute tied the game in the 7th with 2 walks, a sacrifice fly by Dave Cundy and a San Diego error. Larry Weaver single handedly manufactured the go-ahead run with a walk, stolen base and two overthrown balls. Despite Weaver’s heroics, San Diego was able to score two more unearned runs in the 8th.