The YellowJacket men’s basketball team made the trip to Huntsville on Saturday for an exhibition matchup with NCAA Division I member Sam Houston State.
While the game had no impact on LeTourneau’s season record, the Bearkats were hosting their regular season opener and the grand opening of the newly renovated Johnson Coliseum. Sam Houston was picked to win the Southland Conference in preseason polls as they returned all five of its starters and their top seven scorers from the 2015-16 season.
They YellowJackets got out to a great start as the game was tied at 15-15 at the 12-minute mark before SHSU scored eight straight and would push the lead to 51-25 at the half.
Sophomore CJ Bird and freshman Nate West led the LeTourneau scoring as the duo poured in 12 points each. Junior Sam Talbert added 10.
The YellowJacket front court battled foul trouble all game long but got six points and five rebounds from junior transfer Caylab Herrera.
“Our team gained invaluable experience tonight. Sam Houston is picked to win the Southland for a reason and getting to play them in their season opener will only make us tougher,” said head coach Dan Miller after the game. “There were some definite positives from tonight and other things that stood out that we need to improve. I am excited to take that and get back to work as we have big goals in ASC play this year and this experience will help.”
LeTourneau will open the regular season on Tuesday as they take on Austin College in Sherman, Texas at 7 p.m.
MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
The LeTourneau men’s cross country team made their sixth consecutive appearance at the NCAA DIII South/Southeast Regional Championships on Saturday and had the best team performance in school history finishing 15th among the field of 29 teams and 208 individual runners.
“Our men had a great meet today at Berry College and competed well in a very competitive field,” said head coach Britton Koestler after the race. “I couldn’t be happier with how we performed improving from last year’s 18th place finish and this team was deserving of the best finish in school history.”
Senior Taber Miyauchi ran the best race of his career in his final meet for the YellowJackets. His 27:18 time was a personal best as he pushed hard with the full field of runners at the regional meet. Miyauchi’s 51st place overall finish is the best performance by any men’s cross country runner at the NCAA Regional Meet. The Grand Lake, Colorado native was the leader all season long for the YellowJackets and was out front in the ASC Championship race before collapsing with under 1,000 meters to go.
Taber Miyauchi and, fellow senior, Jason Saler became the first LeTourneau runners to compete at four NCAA Regional Championships during their careers.
Michael Field finished his sophomore season with an 82nd place finish, just four seconds off his career best 8K time as he crossed the line in 27:58.
Senior Daniel Moses ran a personal best in his final race in a LeTourneau uniform. The Bellevue, Nebraska native completed the course in 28:03 and placed 88th overall. Moses ran three seasons for the YellowJackets including three consecutive regional championship appearances. Daniel has been a strong spiritual leader for the team throughout his career.
Jason Saler was just behind his fellow senior as he completed his fourth regional championship race in 28:13. Saler did not run during the 2014 season as he traveled to South Korea to study abroad. The Calistoga, California native came back to the team and was a strong runner for the YellowJackets for four years.
Junior Austin Coblentz wrapped up the scoring for LeTourneau as he crossed the line in 29:49 and 165th overall. Coblentz was also running in his third consecutive NCAA regional race as the Stayton, Oregon product will now be asked to lead the LETU squad next season as a senior.
Conrad Deller set a personal record as the freshman out of Longview High School completed the course in 30:12 and placed 174th overall. Deller looks to be an emerging runner for the YellowJackets over the next three seasons.
Senior Blake Redwine was able to don the blue and gold one last time for LeTourneau, and he made it a day to remember as he posted a career-best time of 30:52 and helped the YellowJackets to the best team finish in school history. Redwine joined the team in 2015 and had been an incredibly hard worker. The Haslet, Texas native battled through multiple injuries but was able to overcome late in the season and complete his career with a personal record.
“Our seniors (Taber Miyauchi, Daniel Moses, Jason Saler, and Blake Redwine) were very motivated today and helped give our team the confidence to go out there and compete,” said Koestler. “It will be hard to see these four young men leave us, but they will always be a part of the YellowJacket cross country family.”
The four seniors have been crucial in the success over the past four seasons and will leave a legacy of hard work and determination that helped put LeTourneau cross country on the map in the American Southwest Conference as well as the NCAA DIII South/Southeast Region.
Thank you Taber, Daniel, Jason, and Blake from everyone at LeTourneau Athletics.
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
The LeTourneau women’s cross country team competed as a team at the NCAA DIII South/Southeast Regional Championships for the second time in school history on Saturday. The first being in 2011 when the YellowJackets traveled to nearby Seguin as TLU hosted the regional meet.
The YellowJackets have been represented by individuals on multiple occasions including Nicole Leman who finished 10th at the regional race and moved on to the DIII National Championships in 2012.
This season the South/Southeast Regional was hosted by Berry College in Mount Berry, Georgia an hour west of Atlanta. It was the first regional appearances for all seven YellowJackets and the team finished 19th among the field of 27 teams and over 200 individual runners.
“The progress we have had this season has been outstanding,” said head coach Britton Koestler after the race. “Every meet they have fought and come out with personal bests and have given it everything they had. Today was yet another one of those days. We may not have had as many PRs, but we competed in a great field of women.”
Alexis Segura had the second-best regional performance in school history as she crossed the line in 30th overall with a time of 23:44, the third fastest time for the YellowJackets at the championship meet. Segura will find out on Sunday if she is invited to the NCAA National Championship Meet which would take place in Louisville, Kentucky on November 19th. The Austin, Texas native was a dual-sport athlete this season as she started eight games for the women’s soccer team this fall.
Senior Elisa Hamm was running in her final race for LeTourneau, and she finished 60th overall with a 6K time of 24:37. Hamm joined the team after the coaches recruited her from a treadmill in Solheim Center. The San Diego native completely bought into the team and had worked incredibly hard over the past two seasons as she became an All-ASC runner for the YellowJackets this year.
Joining her fellow freshman, Allison Fuller was the third YellowJacket across the finish line with a time of 28:41 and coming in 188th place. The Crandall High School product has emerged as a solid runner for LeTourneau and will be someone to watch for the next three years.
Hwimin Kim was next to finish for LETU as she crossed the line in 29:43 and 198th place. The international student from South Korea has been a great asset for the YellowJackets this season and helped the team to their best regional finish in school history.
Lizzie Duffy was the final scoring runner for LeTourneau as she ran a 30:41 6K and finished 204th overall. This run was the last meet for Duffy as she will graduate with a Child Development degree in May. The senior from Fountain Valley, California joined the team last fall recruited by her teammates who saw her running around campus. Duffy has become a leader for the team and embraced the challenges of the sport and consistently improved her times from race-to-race.
Sophomore Faith Williams (205th, 31:58) and junior Olivia Stine (210th, 34:10) were the last YellowJackets to complete the course with Stine posting a personal record in the final meet of the season. Williams will now turn her focus to a different kind of course as she competes for the women’s golf team.
Senior Whitney Judd made the trip to Georgia but was not able to compete as she sat out a majority of the season with a back injury. Judd had made three consecutive individual appearances at the NCAA Regional Championships in 2013, 2014, and 2015. The Azle, Texas native has been a team leader for the YellowJackets as they have improved each season and she leaves the program as one of the most accomplished runners in school history.
“Our senior class (Whitney Judd, Lizzie Duffy, and Elisa Hamm) were vital to our success this year,” said Koestler. “They always brought a positive attitude and pushed our young ladies to that next level. We are going to miss them very much come graduation day, but they will always be a part of our YellowJacket cross country family.”
All three seniors have left their mark on the program for years to come, and the future is bright for LeTourneau women’s cross country. Thank you, Whitney, Elisa and Lizzie for your hard work and dedication from everyone at LeTourneau Athletics.