Former Riverton Parke standout Sara Dickey was named the Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week for her efforts over the weekend.
The University of Evansville freshman guard scored a game-high 30 points in Evansville’s loss at Southern Illinois.
Dickey finished 12 for 18 from the field, 5 for 8 at the free-throw line and accounted for UE’s lone 3-point field goal. Dickey put the Evansville offense on her back late in the midway through the second half, as she scored 11 straight points to help the Aces overcome a four-point deficit and give UE a three-point lead with eight minutes left in the contest.
On the season, Dickey is averaging 18.1 points per game and has scored 20 or more points in seven contests.
• Engineers tabbed for fifth — Rose-Hulman has been picked to finish fifth in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference this season, according to a preseason poll of league coaches released Tuesday.
Rose’s Jeff Jenkins looks for a bounce-back season in his 25th year as head coach this spring. The Engineers finished 15-24 last season after winning the HCAC regular-season championship in 2012. The recent string of success also has included trips to the NCAA Division III tournament in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Overall, Jenkins has a career mark of 646-433-2, including a 601-368-1 record at Rose-Hulman. The Engineer run of postseason success has included five NCAA Division III tournament appearances, four conference tournament championships and three regular season league titles over the previous 24 years.
Rose-Hulman received 61 poll points to place fifth in the preseason poll. The top four teams will ultimately qualify for the HCAC baseball tournament May 8-10.
Anderson was a slight favorite in the poll, edging Manchester 88 points to 87. The Ravens had four first-place votes to three for Manchester. Anderson finished 22-21 last season but returns the majority of last year’s squad.
Manchester won the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional at Rose’s Art Nehf Field to advance to the World Series in Wisconsin last spring. The Spartans are ranked No. 7 nationally in the D3baseball.com preseason poll.
Franklin was selected to finish third in the league with 81 points and the remaining three first-place votes. Transylvania received 68 points, followed by Rose-Hulman at 61. Rounding out the poll were Defiance, Earlham, Bluffton, Hanover and Mount St. Joseph.
Rose looks to rely on an experienced pitching staff for success this spring. The Engineers return their top four starting pitchers, their top closer and 10 total members of last year’s staff. Junior Ben Menich and sophomore Karson Nixon have been HCAC selections during their careers.
Offensively, the Engineers return five starters — led by two-time all-HCAC honoree Hank Akard. The center fielder topped the team in hitting (.333), doubles (12), runs (35), hits (51), on-base percentage (.417) and stolen bases (14) last season.
Rose-Hulman opens the 2014 season against Coe on March 2 as part of the team’s spring trip to Florida. The home opener is scheduled for March 14 against Concordia Chicago.
• Darland wins again — At Peoria, Ariz., Dave Darland was a double winner in U.S. Auto Club sprint-car racing Sunday at Canyon Speedway Park.
Darland led all the way to win the 30-lap feature race — winning twice for the second day in a row in the Winter Challenge. Charles Davis Jr. was second.
Heat winners — Tye Mihocko, Colby Copeland, Dave Darland.
Feature — Darland, Charles Davis Jr., Josh Pelkey, Ryan Bernal, Casey Shuman, R.J. Johnson, Aaron Reutzel, Stevie Sussex, Josh Hodges, Mike Martin, Nic Faas, Brady Bacon, Mihocko, Michael Curtis, Jason Grady.