AMERICAN SOUTHWEST CONFERENCE TRACK & FIELD ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
Competitions: March 14-16, 2019
MEN’S TRACK ATHLETE OF THE WEEK – Aaron Martinez, Fr., Hardin-Simmons
Hardin-Simmons freshman Aaron Martinez (Big Spring, Texas) placed fourth in the 800 meters at the UIW Spring Break Invitational with a time of 1:55.49, ranking third in the nation in NCAA Division III. Martinez also placed 17th in the 200-meter dash in 22.98 seconds. This is Martinez’ second Athlete of the Week award of the year.
MEN’S FIELD ATHLETE OF THE WEEK – Collin Jones, Fr. , LeTourneau
LeTourneau freshman Collin Jones (Harmony, Texas) set a school record in the decathlon at the Wes Kittley Invitational in Abilene, Texas by finishing with 5,606 points. His total ranks second in NCAA Division III. During the event, he won the pole vault by clearing 4.55 meters (14 ft.-11 in.), which ranks fifth in the country.
WOMEN’S TRACK ATHLETE OF THE WEEK – Tia Steen-Baker, So., East Texas Baptist
East Texas Baptist sophomore Tia Steen-Baker (Pflugerville, Texas) ran the 100-meter dash in 12.64 seconds, placing ninth at Rhodes Invitational in Memphis. She was the top Division III runner in the race, and her mark ranks 22nd in the nation. Steen-Baker was also a part of the 4×100 relay team that finished fifth in 49.84 seconds, which is seventh in the country.
WOMEN’S FIELD ATHLETE OF THE WEEK – Natalie Decker, Fr., UT Tyler
UT Tyler freshman Natalie Decker (Houston, Texas) broke her own school record in the high jump, placing fourth at the South Alabama Jaguar Opener in Mobile. She cleared 1.59 meters (5 ft.-.25 in.), ranking fifth in NCAA Division III. Decker also was 17th in the long jump at 4.95 meters (16 ft.-3 in.), which is 43rd in the country, and placed 12th in the javelin at 17.97 meters (58 ft.-11 in.)
OTHER TOP MEN’S PERFORMANCES
UT Tyler sophomore Daulton Coleman (Apple Springs, Texas) placed third in the hammer throw with a mark of 51.44 meters (168 ft.-9 in.) at the Jaguar Opener in Mobile, Ala. The distance ranks eighth in the nation in Division III. Coleman also was fourth with a javelin throw of 46.18 meters (151 ft.-6 in.), which ranks 49th in the country.
UT Tyler sophomore Matthew Cecotti (Lindale, Texas) took third in the 1,500 meters in 3:59.95 at the Jaguar Opener in Mobile, Ala., which is the 12th-best time in NCAA Division III.
East Texas Baptist senior Zack Biles (New Caney, Texas) won the pole vault at the Rhodes Invitational by clearing 4.42 meters (14 ft.-5 in.). Biles set the best mark in the country in the pole vault last week.
East Texas Baptist sophomore Mack Broussard (Hankamer, Texas) improved his personal best in the 10,000 meters by two minutes with a time of 31:49.01, placing third at the Rhodes Invitational in Memphis. His mark ranks sixth in NCAA Division III.
Ozark’s sophomore Michael Harris (Elkins, Ark.) ran a 16:21.12 in the 5,000 meters to place third at the Oklahoma Baptist Early Invitational. He also finished fourth in the 10,000 meters in 34:03.60, which ranks 34th in the country.
OTHER TOP WOMEN’S PERFORMANCES
UT Tyler junior Tristin Salem (Tomball, Texas) finished 12th in the 800 meters at the Jaguar Opener in Mobile, Ala. With a time of 2:27.55.
Ozark’s senior Hannah Smith (Blue Eye, Mo.) ran a 5:20.36 in the 1,500 meters to place 15th at the OBU Early Invitational.
AMERICAN SOUTHWEST CONFERENCE TENNIS PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Matches: March 12-18, 2019
WEST DIVISION WOMEN’S PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Alexis Popovich, Sr., Concordia Texas
Concordia Texas senior Alexis Popovich (Austin, Texas) earned a 6-3, 7-6 win at No. 1 singles against Saint Mary’s (Ind.) in the Tornados’ 6-3 loss.
EAST DIVISION WOMEN’S PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Maddison Brackenreg, Jr., LeTourneau
LeTourneau junior Maddison Brackenreg (Melbourne, Australia) helped the YellowJackets to a pair of wins to close out their spring break trip in Hilton Head Island, S.C. by winning all four matches she was a part of. Against Gordon, Brackenreg would play at number one singles and earn a 6-0, 6-1 win and would take a 6-2, 6-3 win at number two singles the next day against Washington (Md.). Both doubles match with partner Katharine Waldthausen would be played at number one doubles and result in 8-2 wins. This is Brackenreg’s second Player of the Week award of the season and third of her career.
WEST DIVISION MEN’S PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Alex Mackellar, Sr., Mary Hardin-Baylor
Mary Hardin-Baylor senior Alex Mackellar (Belton, Texas) was unbeaten in singles and went 3-1 in doubles play in leading the Cru men to a 3-1 record over spring break. He split the week between #5 and #6 singles, went 3-0 at #3 doubles with Brian Martin and fell 8-3 at #2 doubles at Austin. Mackeller earned wins against Louisiana College, Ozarks, Hendrix and Austin.
CO-EAST DIVISION MEN’S PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Christian Farris, Jr., LeTourneau
LeTourneau junior Christian Farris (El Paso, Texas) picked up two points in each of the two matches that YellowJackets played to close out their spring break trip in Hilton Head Island, S.C. Against Gordon, Farris would make quick work of his opponents by earning a 6-0, 6-1 win at number two singles and 8-0 victory at number one doubles with partner Jimmie Henson. Farris would then make a come-from-behind 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 14-12 marathon at number two singles against Washington (Md.) after earning an 8-5 win at number one doubles. This is Farris’ second Player of the Week honors of the year and third of his career.
CO-EAST DIVISION MEN’S PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Melle Van Duijn, Jr., Ozarks
Ozarks junior Melle Van Duijn (Nelson, New Zealand) posted a win at No. 1 singles and a win at No. 1 doubles for the Eagles against Mary Hardin-Baylor. He teamed with Jonah Martinez for an 8-2 victory and won 6-4, 6-3 in singles. This is Van Duijn’s fourth career Player of the Week award.
OTHER WOMEN’S PERFORMANCES
Hardin-Simmons freshman Emily Shaffer (Southlake, Texas) won her match at No. 5 singles, 6-3, 3-6, 10-7, in the Cowgirls’ 6-3 loss to Connecticut College.
OTHER MEN’S PERFORMANCES
Hardin-Simmons freshman Joshua Lopez (Mansfield, Texas) won the deciding match 6-3, 6-2 at No. 6 singles in the Cowboys’ 5-4 victory against Connecticut College. Lopez also teamed with Christopher Beavers to go 2-0 at No. 3 doubles, picking up 8-5 wins at Cal Lutheran and Connecticut College.
AMERICAN SOUTHWEST CONFERENCE BASEBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Games: March 12-17, 2018
HITTER OF THE WEEK – Graham Welch, CF, Sr., UT Tyler
UT Tyler senior center fielder Graham Welch (Plano, Texas) recorded a pair of multi-home run games as the Patriots took two out of three from UT Dallas on the road. He hit .750 (9-of-12) with two doubles, four home runs and five RBI for 23 total bases, four runs scored and a 1.917 slugging percentage.
CO-PITCHER OF THE WEEK – Andrew Robinson, RHP, Jr., Louisiana College
Louisiana College junior right-hander Andrew Robinson (Shreveport, La.) became the first Wildcat to throw a nine-inning complete game shutout since Louisiana College joined the NCAA in 2000. He allowed just four hits in the game, striking out six, and faced only three batters more than the minimum in a 7-0 win against Belhaven. Robinson faced just three batters in six of the nine innings.
CO-PITCHER OF THE WEEK – Matthew Williams, RHP, Jr., Concordia Texas
Concordia Texas junior righty Matthew Williams (Austin, Texas) earned his third consecutive Pitcher of the Week award and fourth of his career by blanking No. 2 Rowan 2-0 in a four-hit, nine-inning shutout. He allowed just four hits and a walk while punching out eight batters for his third consecutive complete game shutout. Williams extended his scoreless inning streak to 23 and moved to 5-0 on the season.
NOTABLE PERFORMANCES AT THE PLATE
Louisiana College junior left fielder Brady Atkins (Montgomery, La.) had two hits in each of the three games of the Wildcats’ sweep of Belhaven. He went 6-for-13 (.462) on the weekend, driving in five runs with a double. He reached base four times in the second game of the series with three RBI.
Sul Ross State sophomore first baseman Tim Johnson (Santa Fe, Texas) paced the Lobo offense with a .600 batting average (6-for-10) over a three-game conference sweep of visiting McMurry. Johnson finished with a 10-base tally and recorded a double and a triple with five RBI, three runs scored and reached base three times via the walk. He also posted a .900 slugging percentage against the War Hawks.
Ozark’s junior designated hitter Chase Edwards (Chandler, Ariz.) helped the Eagles sweep Mary Hardin-Baylor with four hits and three RBI over the series.
Concordia Texas junior center fielder Bret Leiferman (Round Rock, Texas) had a five-RBI game in the No. 13 Tornados’ slugfest against St. Scholastica on Friday, winning it 15-7. Leiferman went 3-for-4 from the plate, with a double and a triple, scoring twice and driving in five. He would also work two walks in the game, and with the triple, Leiferman took over as the program’s career triple leader. Leiferman would also record three hits total during CTX’s doubleheader against Washington-St. Louis on Saturday. For the week, he hit .462 (6-for-13) with five RBI.
UT Dallas freshman third baseman Zach Jordan (Highland Village, Texas) went 4-for-11 (.364) from the plate with three extra-base hits as he made his first collegiate starts in the Comets’ home series against UT Tyler. Jordan was 3-for-4 with a double and a homer on Friday in UTD’s 12-3 loss to the defending national champion Patriots in the first game of the series. He would later go 1-for-4 with a second long ball in the series finale, a 5-1 Comet loss.
East Texas Baptist senior catcher Casey Combs (Southlake, Texas) scored six times with a .917 slugging percentage, recording six RBI as ETBU took the Hardin-Simmons series. In game three, with the Tigers up 2-1 in the seventh, he hit a two-run home run to make it 4-1 as the ETBU went on to win 4-2. Combs had two hits in two of the three games with a home run in game two and game three. He also scored two of the four runs in the 4-2 win in game three.
NOTABLE PERFORMANCES ON THE MOUND
UT Tyler junior right-hander Austin Schneider (Keller, Texas) went seven innings in the Patriots 5-1 win at UT Dallas Saturday. He struck out 10, allowing three hits, four walks, and a run.
LeTourneau freshman righty Raul Martinez (Tyler, Texas) picked up his second victory of the year by throwing seven shutout innings in a 7-0 win over Wartburg in the series finale. He struck out three while scattering six hits over the seven innings he pitched, and did not allow an extra-base hit to the Knights.
Ozark’s senior right-hander Dalton Spurgeon (Lee’s Summit, Mo.) threw a three-hit complete game to lead the Eagles to a 6-0 shutout win against Mary Hardin-Baylor on Friday. Spurgeon pitched a hitless second, fourth, fifth and seventh inning to keep the shutout intact. Spurgeon mowed down five Cru batters in the seven-inning outing. He faced 27 batters and walked three en route to his first shutout of the season.
UT Dallas freshman left-hander Ryan Vera (Friendswood, Texas) picked up his first collegiate shutout Saturday as he tossed the Comets to a 3-0 win over reigning NCAA Division III National Champion UT Tyler in the second game of a three-game weekend series. Vera scattered just three hits over 7.0 innings of work, collecting three strikeouts without a walk. He retired the Patriots in order in four of seven frames as he improved to 2-1 on the young season.
East Texas Baptist freshman righty Alan Underwood (Port Arthur, Texas) went six innings for the 4-2 win against Hardin-Simmons. He allowed one walk, five hits, and one run while fanning four.
AMERICAN SOUTHWEST CONFERENCE SOFTBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Games: March 11-16, 2019
CO-HITTER OF THE WEEK – Melissa Livermore, CF, Sr., UT Dallas
UT Dallas senior center fielder Melissa Livermore (Frisco, Texas) was 6-for-6 on the base paths over the Comets’ three-game home set with Howard Payne over the weekend, moving her into the top spot on the NCAA Division III career steals list. The three-time NFCA All-American now has 178 swipes in her four-year career with the Comets, surpassing the previous NCAA D-III career mark of 176 steals, set by Suffolk’s Erin Pagel (2002-05). She went 4-for-12 from the plate with a walk in the Comets’ sweep of HPU, matching a UTD single-game record with four steals in the second game of the series. She was 2-for-5 with two runs and a pair of steals in the series-opening 13-6 win for the Comets before going 1-for-3 with two more runs scored and an RBI in game two, a 6-4 UTD victory. She officially broke the NCAA D-III career mark with her 177th swipe, that coming in the 5th inning of the second game against HPU. Livermore closed the sweep with a 1-for-4 performance with a run scored and an RBI in a 7-6 win for the Comets. This is her second career Hitter of the Week award.
CO-HITTER OF THE WEEK – Abby Sterling, 1B, Sr., Louisiana College
Louisiana College senior first baseman Abby Sterling (Beaumont, Texas) had a least one hit in each of the Wildcats’ five games this week, including a monster series at Ozarks. For the week she was 9-for-17 (.529, 1.176 SLG%) with three homers, a pair of doubles, and eight RBI. She hit a home run in each of the games against the Eagles, including a three-run bomb in the second game of the series.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK – Leigh Luker, RHP, Jr., LeTourneau
LeTourneau junior right-hander Leigh Luker (Huntsville, Texas) led the YellowJackets to a 6-0 victory against Belhaven, tossing a complete game shutout in game two. Luker held the Blazers to a .125 batting average and allowed just three hits through seven innings of work while adding six strikeouts and no walks.
PERFORMANCES AT THE PLATE
UT Tyler sophomore catcher Ashley Perez (Pflugerville, Texas) hit .667 (6-for-9) with three doubles, four RBI and three-run scores as the Patriots won the series against Mary Hardin-Baylor. She was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and three RBI in the series finale, 10-4 win versus the Cru.
LeTourneau freshman shortstop Taylor Nichols (Center, Texas) led the YellowJackets to a series win over Belhaven, hitting .6667 (6-for-9), slamming a double and a home run for a 1.111 slugging percentage, while collecting 10 total bases, two RBI and a stolen base.
Mary Hardin-Baylor senior second baseman Kasi Cummings (Grandview, Texas) hit .438 over five games for the Cru last week. She went 7-for-16 from the plate with one double and one home run. Cummings scored two runs, batted in two more and recorded a walk. Against No. 23 Transylvania, she went 1-for-3 with one double and one run scored. She followed that going 4-for-10 against UT Tyler, hitting a home run and scoring one run. Cummings totaled 13 bases with a .688 slugging percentage.
Ozark’s freshman shortstop Paige Lee (Jerusalem, Ark.) hit .500 and drove in seven runs over three games against Louisiana College. Lee was instrumental in a dramatic 9-7 come-from-behind win in game three as she had three hits and drove in two key runs.
Belhaven freshman infielder Allie Gordon (Macon, Ga.) hit .500 (5-for-10) with a run scored in the Blazers’ series against LeTourneau.
Concordia Texas senior shortstop Haley Dennett (Edinburg, Texas) went 3-for-5 from the plate in Friday’s 14-4 win over McMurry. She finished the weekend with a pair of doubles, scoring twice and driving in two. For the series, she hit .417 (5-for-12).
East Texas Baptist senior third baseman MacKenzie Anderson (Hawley, Texas) went 4-for-7 (.571) with a triple, RBI and a run scored as the No. 6 Tigers split a doubleheader at Texas Lutheran.
Hardin-Simmons freshman first baseman/pitcher Camille Scott (Abilene, Texas) was clutch for the Cowgirls coming up with two RBI in the final game of the series against Sul Ross State to lead the rally win. She also had two RBI in the second game of the series and tossed a complete game allowing just one earned run to win a game in the series. In the series sweep, Scott hit .500 (4-for-8) with four RBI and a double.
Howard Payne junior catcher Kayla Hill (Maypearl, Texas) went 7-for-11 (.636) against UT Dallas, posting a 1.273 slugging percentage with two home runs and four RBI.
PERFORMANCES IN THE CIRCLE
UT Tyler junior righty Miranda Leal (San Antonio, Texas) went 1-0, allowing just a walk and three hits of shutout relief in two appearances against Mary Hardin-Baylor.
Louisiana College junior right-hander Madison Dykes (DeQuincy, La.) was called upon three times this week to start for the Wildcats, getting a pair of wins and a no-decision. She threw 19.0 innings, only allowing four earned runs for a 1.47 ERA. She pitched two complete games, including a 2-1 midweek win over Centenary.
Mary Hardin-Baylor freshman right-hander Kat Reed (Axtell, Texas) went 2-1 in the circle last week, pitching wins against No. 23 Transylvania and UT Tyler. She threw five shutout innings in a 4-1 win over Transy on Monday, allowing just one hit with five strikeouts. Reed followed that with a 3-1 win over UT Tyler, allowing only five hits and one-earned-run. Reed walked four, struck out one and pitched out of two bases-loaded jams to secure the win for the Cru. On Saturday, Reed threw 1.1 innings against the Patriots, giving up six hits and two earned runs with three strikeouts. She ended the week giving up just three earned runs and two extra-base hits in 50 at-bats.
Ozark’s senior right-hander Abby Mork (Aurora, Colo.) struck out seven in 12.2 innings of work over two games against Louisiana College.
Belhaven senior righty Jordan Self (Lanett, Ala.) threw a complete game 6-2 victory at LeTourneau in the series finale, not allowing an earned run.
UT Dallas senior right-handed hurler BriAnna Young (Farmers Branch, Texas) pitched in all three games against Howard Payne over the weekend, collecting a pair of victories. Young tossed 9.0 total innings, striking out five, as she went 2-0 with a 2.33 earned run average in the Comets’ sweep of HPU. She picked up her first win of the series in game one with 3.2 innings of relief in a 13-6 rout by the Comets. Young then tossed 2.2 relief innings with two strikeouts in a 6-4 win by UTD in the second game of the series.
Concordia Texas sophomore righty Heather Casiano (Killeen, Texas) remained perfect on the season, throwing her first career complete game shutout in a 4-0 win over McMurry on Friday. She would go the distance, spreading out five hits over seven innings and striking out four in the win to move to 5-0 on the year.
East Texas Baptist freshman right-hander Beatriz Lara (Orange Grove, Texas) earned another shutout with a 1-0 win at Texas Lutheran. She allowed four hits and four walks with two strikeouts over seven frames.
Hardin-Simmons sophomore right-hander Gabby Ortega (Abilene, Texas) threw a four-hit, one-run complete game in the Cowgirls’ 3-1 series-opening win over Sul Ross State. For the series, she was 1-0 with a 1.11 ERA and nine strikeouts over 12.2 innings.