November 08, 2014

#SummitMBB Exhibition Scoreboard (Nov. 8)

Oral Roberts 78, Rogers State 60 (Exhibition) | Box Score
TULSA, Okla. – Oral Roberts concluded its exhibition schedule with its second victory, a 73-60 win over Rogers State Saturday night. The Golden Eagles open the regular season Nov. 15 with a date against crosstown rival Tulsa.

Korey Billbury led all scorers with 18 points and tied with teammate Denell Henderson for a game-high seven rebounds. Obi Emegano scored 13 second half points for 15 total in the contest.

The Golden Eagles held a 43-30 advantage on the glass.
Western Illinois 82, Cornell College 48 (Exhibition)
MACOMB, Ill. – Western Illinois never trailed and cruised to an 82-48 victory over Cornell College in its exhibition contest Saturday. The Leathernecks raced to a 32-6 lead and never looked back.

Mike Miklusak led WIU with 14 points while Garret Covington (12) and J.C. Fuller (10) also scored in double figures. A total of 11 different players scored for the Leathernecks.

WIU outrebounded its opponent 46-28 as Miklusak and Tyson Reynold led the way with eight apiece.

The Leathernecks open the season Nov. 14 at home against Pacific.

November 07, 2014

#SummitWBB Exhibition Scoreboard (Nov. 7)

North Dakota State 100, Bemidji State 47

The North Dakota State women's basketball team opened the 2014-15 season and the Maren Walseth Era with a convincing 100-47 exhibition victory over the Division II Bemidji State Beavers on Friday evening, Nov. 7, at the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse. The game was the first basketball contest played in the "BBF" since 1970.

Junior Holly Johnson posted a double-double and led three Bison in double figures in the contest with a game-high 24 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Brooke LeMar nearly tallied a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds, while junior Kahla Becken tallied 15 points on 5-for-10 shooting.

#SummitWBB Exhibition Scoreboard (Nov. 6)

Omaha 61, Rockhurst 55
The Omaha women’s basketball team tipped off the 2014-15 season on a positive note,
defeating Rockhurst 61-55 in an exhibition game Thursday evening at the Sapp Fieldhouse.

Mikaela Shaw had a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds.  Madi Robson chipped in eight points, while Cat Cox and Taijhe Kelly each had seven points.  Robson dished out four assists, while Kelly grabbed eight rebounds in the win.  Felicia Anderson and Victoria Trowbridge each had six points off the bench for the Mavericks.
Western Illinois 71, William Jewel 63
The Western Illinois women's basketball team hosted William Jewell in its lone exhibition game of the season Thursday night (Nov. 6). Junior Ashley Luke recorded a double-double, while two other players scored in double figures, as the Western Illinois defeated William Jewell, 71-63.

Fort Wayne 98, Goshen 65
The IPFW women's basketball team led from the opening tip of its exhibition game, defeating Goshen 98-65.

Haley Seibert led all players with 32 points on 12-of-15 shooting, including 6-of-8 from beyond the arc. She also made a game-high four steals and dished out three assists. Brett Green scored 16 points off the bench for the Mastodons on 7-of-11 shooting. In her first college game, Keanna Gary added in 12 points and tied for the team lead with six rebounds.

November 06, 2014

#SummitMBB: IUPUI, NDSU Cruise to Exhibition Victories (Nov. 5)

IUPUI 80, IU South Bend 60 (Exhibition)
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -Behind 18 points and 10 rebounds from DavRon Williams and 16 points, nine rebounds and five steals from Marcellus Barksdale, IUPUI cruised to an 80-60 victory over IU South Bend. The exhibition game marked IUPUI's first contest at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

Josh James also scored in double figures, adding 12 points for the Jaguars, who shot nearly 52 percent and out rebounded their opponent 47-24.

IUPUI opens the Fairgrounds Coliseum officially with the first regular season game Nov. 14 against Indiana State.

North Dakota State 81, Minot State 69 (Exhibition) | Box Score
FARGO, N.D. - Defending Summit League champion North Dakota State won its exhibition opener, 81-69, over Minot State Wednesday night at Scheels Arena. The game was the first for the Bison in their temporary home during construction on the Sanford Health Athletic Complex.

Freshman guard Paul Miller led NDSU with 19 points. Senior Lawrence Alexander poured in 18 and A.J. Jacobson added 14 points.

The Bison begin the regular season Nov. 14 at nationally-ranked Texas.

November 05, 2014

My Championship Experience – 2014 Men’s Cross Country Edition

My Championship Experience is a diary blog written by Summit League student-athletes detailing their experiences at each of the 19 Championships.

Fort Wayne sophomore Ryan Curtis writes about his experience at the 2014 Summit League Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships:

The postseason is always an exciting time in the world of cross country.  It’s late in the fall, the weather gets a bit chillier, and the stakes get a little higher.  This year the title of conference champion would be awarded in Fargo, N.D.  Seven teams would all compete their hardest to earn the Men’s Cross Country Championship.  It didn’t matter who was favored to beat who.  Past times and races meant nothing.  It would all come down to one race.  Eight Kilometers.  One man against another.  It is what all runners dream about.

To best explain what a Cross Country Championship is like in The Summit League, I will take you through my own experience as part of the Fort Wayne Men’s Cross Country Team.  Last year, we hosted The Summit League Championships.  Due to a barrage of injuries among other circumstances, we stumbled to a last place finish on our home course.  For those of us that ran last year, it gave us an extra fire in our chests.  We were waiting all year for redemption.  We may not have the talent of say, IUPUI or South Dakota State, perennial contenders for the championship, but we knew we were better than our performance last year.  We looked forward to this weekend all season.  After some last minute arrangements were made on Thursday night, we got up at 5:30 a.m. on Friday, to head to the Fort Wayne airport.  The plane departed around 7:30 a.m. After a couple safe flights and a layover in Minneapolis, Minn., we arrived in quaint Fargo, N.D.  We grabbed lunch, checked into the hotel, and then drove to the beautiful Rose Creek Golf Course that would tomorrow turn into the battleground for seven fierce cross country teams. We, along with North Dakota State, South Dakota, and South Dakota State had previously run a 6k on this very course at the Bison Invitational, so the course was familiar.  After a shakeout run and some strides we headed back to the hotel to shower get ready for the banquet.

The banquet was held in a beautiful little hall on North Dakota State’s campus.  All of the gorgeous men and women of The Summit League Cross Country teams were dressed to impress.  Happily for many of the runners, the introduction speeches were quick and to the point.  Food is generally the only thought on the minds of runners.  And access to a free buffet of alfredo pasta, lasagna, green beans, salad, and a mountain of rolls for a college cross country athlete is just too overwhelming.  However, everyone kept their manners and waited their turn to dump a few pounds of pasta on their plate.  After dinner, the athletes took pictures while the coaches had their own meeting.  Once we got back to the hotel, we had a short meeting about the meet the next day.  I’m sure every coach handed their team specific goals, as ours did.  We knew our goal.  We went off to bed early and dreamt of how good it would feel to accomplish that goal.

The next day was race day.  The day we had all been waiting for.  Conditions were not ideal by any means.  Wind gusts of nearly 35 miles per hour were present all day.  The girls raced first, at noon.  We warmed up while we cheered on our teammates.   It was particularly inspiring for us to see Brittany Beard, an IPFW sophomore earn All-League honors.  However, the only thing any of us could focus on was our own race.  We followed the same routine we always had.  We warmed up, did some strides, and some stretches, put our spikes on and headed to the line.  Just like always.  But today was different.  It was possibly the most important meet of the season.  Nerves were at an all-time high.  We huddled up at about 12:50, 10 minutes before the race.  Coach Fruchey fired us all up as he always did and even led us in the chant.  Before we knew it, our sweats were off and we were standing at the line.  The gun went off and so did we.  Coach Fruchey may have pumped us up a little too much as I believe IPFW held the first 7 positions heading into the first turn.  It wasn’t too long after that however, that we all found our groove.  About 1K in I could tell we were all exactly where we needed to be.  We just needed to hold on.  The wind was absolutely brutal. Gusts coming straight at you would slow you almost to a stop, even though you’re putting everything you’ve got into this race.  The important thing that I tried to remember was that everyone has these same conditions.  There is no advantage.  I just pushed myself as hard as I could and didn’t let a silly gust of wind bother me.  The competition was fierce, no matter where you were in the race.  No one gave an inch.  Everyone was focused.  Each 2K loop of the course seemed to get harder and harder.

At the start of the last loop, I had passed my main competitor for most of the race, and began to zone out until I saw a teammate in need.  Our senior Captain, Paul Smith, had fallen way off of his pace and soon was the next guy in front of me.  I heard Coach Fruchey yell to me that Paul needed my help.  That was all I needed.  I got my second wind and caught up to him as quickly as possible.  I pushed him for a while before I got around him.  Paul was clearly in a lot of pain as I heard him groaning as I passed.  But he knew that the team needed him.  He surged past me one last time.  He gave it all he had.  I was not sick, so I passed him back around the 7K mark, but with that surge I knew, no matter how much pain he was in, he was not letting another opponent past him.  And he didn’t.  He stood his ground.  Jordan Holloman broke out of his year-long slump and rocketed out to the best finish on our team, freshman Gabe O’Keefe ran his heart out staying with Jordan.  Senior Garrett Gleckler ran the race like a senior leader in his last league meet, just like we needed him too. The freshman twins, Kurt and Brett Unger ran like seasoned four-year vets to give us great finishes at the four and five position. 
We accomplished our goal.  It was a sensational feeling.  There is no greater feeling than that of putting everything you’ve got on the line and coming up with a victory.  Everyone on every team poured their hearts onto that course, fighting the wind, and the cold, and racing each other.  Every coach had to be proud of their men fighting for each other like that.  Cross Country is a beautiful sport and Saturday was the perfect example of why. 

IUPUI ended the day by taking the crown from defending champs South Dakota State for their first ever Men’s Cross Country Championship.  Despite the conditions and the slow times, many runners came out triumphant.  No matter how each runner finished though, they could all go back home or to their hotel knowing that they gave it their best shot, and their teammates will always be there for them, through the highs and lows.

The rest of the weekend for Fort Wayne consisted of a couple trips to the very nice Fargo mall, some relaxation in the hot tub and pool at the hotel, some studying, a movie,  and some wonderful meals, including dinner at Texas Roadhouse where we ran into the IUPUI Men’s team.  Then, we headed back to the airport to fly back home to Fort Wayne.  It was an incredible weekend for the whole team.  Everyone who attended this weekend’s festivities: athletes, coaches, athletic directors, race coordinators, and volunteers alike, helped make this year’s Summit League Cross Country Championships a success.  Running and competing at this level, in such a competitive conference is a privilege to all of us and I am truly honored to be a part of such a wonderful event.

Ryan Curtis

Don’t forget to check out the next edition of My Championship Experience as it follows the Women’s Soccer Championship, Nov. 6/8 and throughout the 2014-15 season for coverage at each of The Summit League Championships.

My Championship Experience – 2014 Women’s Cross Country Edition

My Championship Experience is a diary blog written by Summit League student-athletes detailing their experiences at each of the 19 Championships.

Western Illinois senior Lydia Smith writes about her experience at the 2014 Summit League Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships:

Thursday, October 30th 

6:00 a.m.
As usual being an athlete means an early morning workout before traveling! I woke up ready to tackle this run and get ready to take off to North Dakota. All the girls came in groggy to Western Hall for the run; needless to say they were not as enthusiastic to be up as I was. 

9:00 a.m.
It’s finally time to depart for North Dakota!! Being a small team we only took six girls to the league race. We were all getting the vans loaded, when the ladies decided to pull out a present and presented it to me. It was my senior conference gift! I was floored for them thinking of me and honored to be blessed with an amazing team, so naturally I cried the whole time opening it. I knew this was going to be an emotional weekend as my final cross country season comes to an end, but my lovely teammates decided the tears should start early. Once I put myself together and we finished packing up the two vans we departed for the grueling twelve hour trip. We didn’t get ten minutes down the road when Alyssa (Johnson) figured out she forgot her phone at home! Hopefully this wasn’t an omen of how the trip was going to go!!

6:00 p.m.
We had all been sleeping off and on so the van was pretty quiet, all of us were trying to catch up on sleep and homework. Everyone knows all too well that any free time a student-athlete can get is nap time!! We stopped at this small diner in Minnesota, like most times when a team walks into the door they give us the “you got to be kidding me” look. Once everyone ate, it was time to hit the road for the final leg of the trip.

11:30 p.m.
Finally arrived!! I was so excited to be here, after long trips all I want to do is sleep!! I get paired up with one of the little munchkins Kelsey (Capovilla) and we made our way into our room, settled in and passed out.

Friday, October 31st (HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!)

8:00 a.m.
Time to start the new day with a wonderful breakfast provided by the generous Best Western Double Wood Inn! Breakfast is my favorite time of day, you get to stuff your face and it doesn’t matter because its breakfast and you need the calories. Plus, you can come to breakfast with your hair looking like Cruella de Vil with last night’s makeup and no one will care, because it is just way to early. Everyone has been really chatty and talking about the upcoming events for the day. We all decided to study then do a little shopping. Of course the girls’ team came back with bags full of cute dresses, and sweaters. And the best buy of the day was all six of us bought matching tanks that say “I HATE RUNNING”, as we all know it is a love/hate relationship.

3:00 p.m.
I was ready to get out on the course to start pre-meet. We had to wait till three to get onto the course due to frost on the golf course. It was a gorgeous day out besides the cold, and while running I was trying to envision what my mind set should be during the race. At which points should I stride out, stay conserved, where should I stay mentally tough. So much goes through your head trying to prepare for a 6k race. And I was determined to stay positive throughout the pre-meet. It helped to have my teammates by my side. We were all talking and laughing, it helps to take the edge off. When everyone felt good and finished we headed out to get ready for the banquet. In the girls van we were singing and yelling at the top of our lungs to the radio. Jessica (Burke) was doing her classic impersonations of the staff and coaches that have everyone rolling. Not to mention her laugh is probably funnier than all of her jokes combined. I can honestly say there is never a dull moment with us.

6:00 p.m.
The banquet has always been my favorite part of the conference trips. I love seeing everyone from the different teams and my own dress up and not look like they just came out of a Nike or Adidas catalog with all their running gear. You get to really see everyone’s personal style, where some of us are conservative, others flashy, some punk rock and others girly. The boys were all in their sophisticated get up suits as usual looking super classy. Personally I am the “wear the most sparkly dress I can find and leave a trail of gold sparkles wherever I go type of style”. No matter what everyone looked fabulous!! Dinner was delicious as always, pasta and carb-loading at its finest. Once dinner was over we all took pictures and headed back to the hotel. When we got back to the hotel we waited till our team meeting and the girls, of course, had to take more pictures than our iPhone memories could possibly hold!! 

9:00 p.m.
I knew going into this last meeting I was going to get asked to say some words of wisdom. Being the only girl senior it was all on my shoulders to lift up my fellow teammates. As I sat there listening to the coaches give us our instructions all I could think was how this was it, no more fun or goofing off, it’s time to make it or break it. When all the instructions were given our head coach went into our motivational speeches. I swear my heart was aching and completely full of sorrow because in less than 24 hours it will all be over. Coach Stevenson nailed the speech with saying how we want to be remembered, do we want to be remembered as the family who never shows up to perform? Or the family who looks strong and is about to show the conference that we are moving up! My favorite quote I took from his speech was “You may win an individual championship but the team can still get last. What legacy are we about to leave?!” Then Mark (Holt) the boys’ captain and senior went saying how grateful he is to be a part of this team; how we are about to build and make one of the biggest changes in the upcoming years. At this point I’ve completely lost it. I’m crying like a crazed white girl who just spilt her Starbucks coffee! It’s my turn to go and I’m at a loss for words. How do I trail those two uplifting speeches! I start off with how blessed I am to be here and be a part of a group that has always been my home away from home, everyone there has truly touched my heart and changed my life for the better in so many ways. And all I could do was thank every last person that was racing with me tomorrow and sitting in that circle with us. Afterwards we all went to bed and patiently awaited the race.

Photo by Tyler Ingham
Saturday, November 1st (RACE DAY!!!!)

11:00 a.m.
Shake out was complete, breakfast has been demolished, and uniforms were on!!! I’ve got my hair in a braid, with my makeup done up, and a Leatherneck cheek sticker to top off the uniform! LOOK GOOD, FEEL GOOD, PLAY GOOD!! It was race day and I couldn’t be more excited!! After getting lost and going to the wrong golf course, we finally made it out there. I had just about every amount of clothing I owned on over my uniform considering the wind was piercing through everything I was wearing. No amount of clothes seemed to keep me warm. With warm ups finished the girls and I were in our final huddle before going back to the line to start the race. I told the girls how honored I am to be racing with them, I will never forget this day for the rest of my life. I get to race with my sisters and I couldn’t ask for anything more! We broke as a family and do our final stride to the line. Our sweats were off and it was go time!

12:00 p.m.
The gun went off! My feet took off without me even having to think about it. Arms swinging, my long hair hitting me in the face from the forceful winds, and my legs racing down the course!! ONE TWO ONE TWO ONE TWO!! You wouldn’t think that all these innocent looking girls can be vicious but we are all elbowing and scratching to get up to the leaders. (Never underestimate the will of a cross country girl to win) After a few minutes everyone was in there rhythm, passing girls and getting passed, no one is ever safe. The race is completely unpredictable!! I kept trying to barrel through! Telling myself to stay with every pack that is in front of me and match their rhythm, to power up every hill, and push through the straight-aways. By the time I hit the 3k I could feel myself getting tired, with the wind hitting you like a brick wall and no one close enough to easily catch in front I felt my motivation dwindle. But then I saw one of my teammates Madison (Lefler) coming around the turn. It reminded me that I’m not only running for myself I’m running for her. She could have every excuse to quit but she doesn’t she is one of the strongest girls I’ve ever had the pleasure knowing, and there she was fighting for her team and for me. It gave me a new perspective and I started fighting harder. Fighting for my team and fighting for myself. The finish was in sight and I crossed it with a wave of relief. I just finished my last cross country championship. I waited for my whole team to cross the finish line before starting the water works (I’m one of those girls who will cry at anything and everything). I am so proud of my team, everyone stuck it out and did what they had to, I couldn’t have asked for anything better. The boys were up next and they did just the same, everyone was strong and looked amazing as they were crossing the finish line. When everything was all said and done, we got as many layers of clothes on as possible, watched the awards, and headed to the vans to start the 12 hour journey home.

4:00 p.m.
The journey seemed slow to start and everyone was pretty restless. Naturally, the girls van was singing and dancing to “shake it off” by Taylor Swift, (pretty sure we had cabin fever at this point). We all wanted to get out of the vans and just be home! Everywhere we stopped to eat we took it to go to save time, and of course Kelsey spilled her drink in the seat and it ran down all over Jaclyn's (Finney) feet. GET US HOME PLEASE!!!

1:30 a.m.
WE MADE IT!! The trip was over and I have never been so relieved to be back at WIU, the Leatherneck Country! My home where everything is bleeding purple and gold! It has been a whirlwind of a trip but it will be a trip I will never forget!

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me through my career as a Leatherneck. I want to especially thank my dad (Rick Smith) who never misses a race and is my biggest cheerleader, my little sister (Emelia) who teaches me to be strong and to never give up, and to my grandparents who are always there to pick me up when I fall. To my coaches who have helped build me into the strong athlete I am today, to the academic department for helping me succeed in the classroom, and to my teammates who push me day in and day out and are there to help make the bad times more tolerable. Thank you to the entire WIU athletics department and Summit League for making this weekend and my career here the most memorable time of my life. I will miss everything about this sport and the mental struggle that comes with the benefit of overcoming the obstacles.

My whole time here at WIU I have been asked “what does it mean to be a leatherneck?” I simply say this “It means being part of a family” A family of determination, a family of strength, a family of hope, a family of love, a family of one!  Leatherneck athletics is my family and I am blessed to be a part of it!


Lydia Smith

Don’t forget to check out the next edition of My Championship Experience as it follows the Women’s Soccer Championship, Nov. 6/8 and throughout the 2014-15 season for coverage at each of The Summit League Championships.