News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 24, 2011

RAMBLIN' RECK: Prep tourneys, MVC action and 500 make for booming week

Tom Reck
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — With changes in the Indiana high school tournament schedules, this week will be one of the busiest of the entire year for Tribune-Star staffers and others in the state.

We have tennis and track regionals, a semistate for tennis, and softball and baseball sectionals on the prep level. We have Indiana State beginning play in the Missouri Valley Conference baseball tournament, and we have the Indianapolis 500 to end the week.

Alex Tagliani will lead the way in Sunday’s race, joined by Scott Dixon and Oriol Serva on the front row.

Qualifying became dramatic the first day in the Fast Nine Shootout, with Tagliani needing to beat a solid average by Dixon — who topped Servia’s mark — to win the pole for the second time on Saturday. He had been fastest in the regular qualifying that set the first 24 spots in the field.

Some of the race regulars did not make it the first day but made it on Sunday, with Marco Andretti getting in on the final attempt of the day after having been bumped just before 6 p.m. He then bumped Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay in the process.

It was good to see that Hunter-Reay will be in the race after some finnagling, taking Bruno Junqueira’s place in the lineup. Hunter-Reay was the first alternate for the race.

Rain held up qualifying both days. Hopefully, it’ll stay away Sunday for the race.

Five former winners, five rookies and four women will be in the lineup for the race, with the field separated by 2.5399 seconds — closest in history.

Who do we like? We’ve picked him before including the year he won and will go with Scott Dixon.

• Tom-Cattin’ It — Former Brazil/Indiana State pitcher John Howes is the new pitching coach for the Terre Haute Rex. He won 29 games for the Sycamores, ranking second on the wins list for the school.

He was drafted by the Montreal Expos after graduation and played pro ball before joining his father in the insurance business.

• Laura Mauer of Terre Haute North is one of several athletes to make college choices. She will play volleyball at Marietta.

Craig Bell of North Central will play baseball at Lake Land College in Illlinois.

Olivia Trimble of Sullivan will compete in track at IPFW. She has been a sprinter and long jumper in high school.

• Indiana sophomore Bobby Capobianco says he will transfer to another school. The minutes of the 6-foot-9 player were cut last season.

• Southern Indiana has added two players to its men’s basketball roster. One is Kenyon Smith, a transfer from Illinois State, and the other is Isiah Simelton, a 6-7 player from John A. Logan College.

Evansviille has lost 6-8 junior college recruit Dustin Clements.

• Billy Kennedy has left Murray State to be the new men’s basketball coach at Texas A&M. He had a top mark in five seasons at MSU and formerly had been an assistant at A&M.

Bryce Drew will succeed his father, Homer, as the coach at Valparaiso. He had been an assistant at the school for six years after playing in the NBA for six seasons. Homer coached the Crusaders 22 years.

Tom Weeks is the new boys basketball coach at Frankfort High School. He had a 98-51 mark in six years at Princeton and guided the Tigers to a Class 3A state championship.

Dee Ann Ramey is the new girls basketball coach at Indianapolis North Central. She has been on the staff at NC and previously was the Richmond coach.

Oties Epps is the new women’s basketball coach at Evansville. He had been an assistant at Wisconsin for three seasons.

Andre Thomas, who was a standout athlete at Evansville Harrison, is the new football coach at Evansville Bosse. He has been coaching on the high school level in Florida.

• Belmont will leave the Atlantic Sun Conference to join the Ohio Valley.

• No Indiana team was in the USA Today Top 25 list for high school baseball teams last week. Penn was sixth in the Midwest Region and Carroll (Allen) was 10th.


Tom Reck may be contacted by telephone at (812) 232-3231, by email at or by mail at 4284 South 5th Street, Terre Haute, IN 47802.