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Florian Obst to represent Germany at 24th Thorpe Cup this weekend

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Texas A&M University-Commerce’s Florian Obst will represent Germany in the 24th Thorpe Cup, to be held at the University of Tennessee’s Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium this Friday and Saturday.

The Thorpe Cup is an annual decathlon and heptathlon meet between the United States and Germany that rotates between the two countries each year except 2004. Each nation sends seven qualifiers to the meet, with the top five scores counted. The United States has won 14 times to Germany’s nine. The United States team won in 2016, snapping a streak of six straight German wins.

Obst qualified for the Germany Zehnkampf Mannschaft (or decathlon team) with a score of 8,012 points at a meet in Ratingen, Germany, in June. He also would have qualified with his score of 8,005 points, which he scored to win his second consecutive NCAA Division II National Championship in Charlotte, N.C., in May. That score was the third-best in Division II history.

Obst has the third-highest qualifying score of the German team behind Manuel Eitel (8,121) and Tim Nowak (8,057). Also on the side are Felix Hepperle, Luca Dieckmann, Niklas Ransiek, and Lennard Biere.

Information from Knoxville will be available on the Lion Track and Field Twitter account at @Lion_Track.

 

 

 

Wilfredo Sanchez repeats as Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar.

NORMAN, Okla. – Texas A&M University-Commerce men’s golfer Wilfredo Sanchez has been named a Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar by the Golf Coaches Association of America, as announced Wednesday. This is Sanchez’ second consecutive year winning this award.

Sanchez was a first-team all-Lone Star Conference honoree as a senior in 2018, earning LSC Golfer of the Week honors twice during the season. He helped lead the Lions to the NCAA Division II South Central/West Super Regional for the first time in nine years. Sanchez competed in all 11 events and 30 rounds for the Lions, claiming the championship at The Classic at Firewheel. He was the runner-up at the DBU Classic and the UAFS Hardscrabble Invitational. In total, he had three top-five finishes and five top 10 finishes with a season stroke average of 72.67 and a career stroke average of 73.56.

In his junior campaign in 2016-17, Sanchez was named the Lone Star Conference Newcomer of the Year and was also a second-team all-LSC honoree. He had five finishes inside the top five, including a runner-up finish at the Newman Fall Invitational. He placed fourth at the LSC Championship, helping lead the Lions to the conference title. That LSC championship was the Lions’ first conference championship in 19 years and second in 53 years.

In addition to his strong on-course credentials, Sanchez met rigorous academic requirements for this award, while majoring in industrial engineering and earning recognition on the Lone Star Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll. To be eligible for Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar status an individual must be a junior or senior academically, compete in at least three full years at the collegiate level, participate in 50-percent of his team’s competitive rounds, have a stroke-average under 78.0 in Division II, and maintain a minimum cumulative career grade-point average of 3.2. A recipient must also be of the high moral character and be in good standing at his college or university.

 

 

 

Charlie Chitwood wins Jake Trussell Award as Lone Star Conference Sportscaster of the Year.

SAN ANTONIO – Texas A&M University-Commerce play-by-play announcer Charlie Chitwood has been named the winner of the Jake Trussell Award for the Lone Star Conference’s Sportscaster of the Year, as announced Tuesday at the LSC’s annual football media day.

Chitwood was the play-by-play voice of the Lions for the 2017 football National Championship, as well as a basketball playoff run not seen in Commerce for 13 years. He recently completed his sixth season as the play-by-play broadcaster for A&M-Commerce, joining the Lion Sports Network in 2012.

Chitwood called all 15 Lion football games in the National Championship season, including the weather-delayed opener at North Alabama and three consecutive playoff road games in Minnesota, Washington, and a return to Minnesota.

Following the National Championship win in Kansas City, Chitwood was in Laredo to broadcast the Lions’ men’s basketball game three days later. He continued broadcasting every Lion basketball game for the rest of the season. Both the women’s and men’s teams advanced to the Lone Star Conference Tournament semifinals, and the men’s team advanced to the NCAA Division II South Central Regional semifinals with their first NCAA Tournament win since 2005.

Chitwood has previously won awards from the Texas Association of Broadcasters and was recipient of the inaugural American Southwest Conference Outstanding Media Service Award in 2003 while serving as the play-by-play broadcaster for East Texas Baptist.

Chitwood is the first winner of the Trussell Award from A&M-Commerce since Scott Garner won the award in 2002. Other winners from A&M-Commerce and KETR-FM 88.9 include John Hendry in 1992, Bill Powers in 1989, John Mark Dempsey and Dean Belcher in 1981, and Phil Ebensberger in 1976. Bill Rust of KGVL in Greenville was the 1972 winner. Chitwood is the eighth winner to represent the Lions.

Chitwood is slated to broadcast the play-by-play action of the Lions’ 11 regular season games this season on the Lion Sports Network and KETR-FM 88.9 FM.

Season tickets are available for the Lions’ six-game home schedule, which kicks off on Thursday, August 30 against Texas A&M-Kingsville in the annual battle for the Chennault Cup and Student Appreciation Night. General admission seating is available for $60 for the season, with limited chairback season tickets available for $80. Season tickets are available online at WeAreLionsTix.com or by calling Lion Sales and Service at (903) 468-8756.

All chairback season ticket holders are encouraged to consider philanthropic support of our 424 talented student-athletes with a gift to the Lion Champions Fund. For information on the LCF, please contact Taylor Phelps at (903) 886-5554.

 

 

 

National Champion Lions picked to win 2018 Lone Star Conference football title in the preseason poll.

SAN ANTONIO – The 2017 National Champion Texas A&M University-Commerce Lions football team is predicted to finish first in the Lone Star Conference in 2018, as announced in the preseason poll at the LSC’s annual media day Tuesday.

The Lions went 14-1 with five playoff victories to win their first NCAA National Championship in 2017. A&M-Commerce went 7-1 in Lone Star Conference play in the 2017 campaign. A total of 43 letter winners and 14 starters – five on offense and nine on defense – return for the Lions, who closed the season on a 10-game winning streak, which is the longest active winning streak in Division II.

The Lions are entering their sixth season under head coach Colby Carthel and are looking to make their fourth consecutive NCAA Division II Championship appearance and sixth straight postseason appearance. A&M-Commerce has a top 10 preseason national ranking in three publications, earning a No. 5 ranking from College Football America Yearbook, a No. 6 ranking from Street and Smith’s, and a No. 7 ranking from Lindy’s.

A&M-Commerce earned 201 points with 13 first-place votes in voting conducted across the league’s head coaches, sports information directors, and media members. MSU Texas was just behind the Lions with 200 votes and 10 first-place votes.

MSU Texas quarterback Layton Rabb was named the LSC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while Angelo State defensive lineman Markus Jones was named the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

Season tickets are available for the Lions’ six-game home schedule, which kicks off on Thursday, August 30 against Texas A&M-Kingsville in the annual battle for the Chennault Cup and Student Appreciation Night. General admission seating is available for $60 for the season, with limited chairback season tickets available for $80. Season tickets are available online at WeAreLionsTix.com or by calling Lion Sales and Service at (903) 468-8756.

All chairback season ticket holders are encouraged to consider philanthropic support of our 424 talented student-athletes with a gift to the Lion Champions Fund. For information on the LCF, please contact Taylor Phelps at (903) 886-5554.

2018 LONE STAR CONFERENCE FOOTBALL PRESEASON POLL

Rk Team (First) Pts
1 A&M-COMMERCE (13) 201
2 MSU Texas (10) 200
3 Eastern New Mexico 142
4 Angelo State 136
5 Tarleton State 130
6 Texas A&M-Kingsville 104
7 West Texas A&M 73
8 UT Permian Basin (1) 57
9 Western New Mexico 37

 

 

Brianna Wise signs with Serbia’s ŽKK Kraljevo basketball club.

COMMERCE– Texas A&M University-Commerce graduate and women’s basketball All-American Brianna Wise has signed with ŽKK Kraljevo, a professional basketball team in Kraljevo, Serbia. Wise signed her contract over the weekend and will report to training camp in August, with the season beginning in October.

“I never really thought at the beginning of my career that I could make it this far,” Wise said. “I had injuries and a lot of setbacks. But I always came back from adversity and fought through. I’m just happy that I had the mindset and the strength to push myself that far and that I can continue to play. I played against a lot of great competition [in my time at A&M-Commerce]. They say European basketball is different, but I am ready to learn and get adjusted.”

In her two seasons with the Lions, Wise showed her versatility and skill every time she stepped out onto the court. She played in 59 games in her career, averaging 13.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.7 blocks per game. During her junior season, she was named to the Lone Star Conference All-Defensive team and led the league in free throw percentage, helping lead the Lions to their second 20-win season in school history. Wise then took her game to new heights in her senior year. She became the first Lion player in 10 years to be named an All-American (WBCA) and was both a First Team All-Region selection and a First Team All-LSC selection. She averaged 17.1 points during the season, which was second in the LSC, and she finished fifth in all of Division II with 172 made free throws, the second most free throws of any player in program history in a single season.

Wise was the Swiss Army knife of the team, playing multiple positions and for nearly half of her games, she was the sixth player off the bench to provide the Lions with scoring, defense, and versatility. She scored in double figures in 37 games in her career and reached 20 or more points in 16 different contests, 14 of which came in her senior year. She set the school record with 19 free throws in a game and finished her career as the third-best free throw shooter in program history (80.3 percent) and the fourth-best three-point shooter (35.2 percent). She also is ninth in program history in free throws made and 10th in blocked shots. Wise scored more than 800 points in her two-year Lion career, helping lead the Lions to two of their best seasons in program history.

“It’s incredible to see the journey that Brianna Wise has taken and exciting to see where she will go,” said A&M-Commerce head women’s basketball coach Jason Burton. “She went from barely being recruited out of high school and again barely recruited out of junior college to be one of the best players in Division II this year. A&M-Commerce Women’s Basketball enjoyed two of its program’s best years because of Bri. Her versatility allowed us to play her all over the floor. She consistently played wing, forward and point guard for us, and that is what her new team is Serbia likes.

“For them, she will primarily play the point and be shooting guard position. I think by now everyone knows Bri can score the ball at a very high level, but her ability to create for others and guard multiple positions is something she does just as well. I couldn’t be more happy for her or more proud of her. This is her moment, and she is going to embrace it and excel in it like she always does.”

Burton also thanked former Lion men’s basketball player Scooby Johnson for his help in making Wise’s dream a reality.

“I coached him in my first year here when I was on the men’s side,” Burton said. “He’s been a professional basketball player ever since he left here and he is the one who got us connected with Bri’s agent. If it weren’t for a former Lion helping out, this might not have happened.”

The ZKK Kraljevo club plays in both the First Women’s Basketball League of Serbia (ZLS) and the WABA League. The ZLS is a 12-team league comprised of Serbia’s top teams and is the highest professional basketball league in Serbia. The WABA League is a top-level regional basketball league featuring 12 teams from Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Slovenia, and Macedonia. Kraljevo finished with a 17-5 record during the 2017-18 ZLS season, which placed them third in the league. The team finished with a 2-8 record in the WABA.

 

 

 

Lions ranked No. 5 in College Football America Yearbook preseason poll; Saathoff named to CFAY Starting Lineup.

COMMERCE – The 2017 National Champion Texas A&M University-Commerce football team has been ranked No. 5 nationally in the College Football America Yearbook Preseason Poll. Lion linebacker Brucks Saathoff has been named to the Division II Starting Lineup, CFA’s version of an All-America team.

The Lions went 14-1 with five playoff victories to win the national title over preseason No. 1 West Florida. A total of 43 letter winners and 14 starters – five on offense and nine on defense – return for the Lions, who closed the season on a 10-game winning streak, which is the longest active winning streak in Division II.

The Lions are entering their sixth season under head coach Colby Carthel and are looking to make their fourth consecutive NCAA Division II Championship appearance and sixth straight postseason appearance. This is A&M-Commerce’s third preseason top 10 ranking in 2018 after earning a No. 6 ranking from Street and Smith’s and No. 7 ranking from Lindy’s.

Saathoff – a senior linebacker from San Antonio’s Reagan HS – has led the Lions in tackles for the last two seasons. In 2017, Saathoff was the Lion leader with 101 tackles, averaging 6.7 stops per game. For his career, Saathoff has 209 tackles, which is the leading mark for the Lions. His 12.5 career tackles for loss is the second-leading returning mark on the squad. Saathoff and safety Chris Smith are the only two returning defensive players to have played in all 39 games in the last three seasons.

Saathoff was a first-team all-Lone Star Conference selection at linebacker in 2017 after earning honorable mention all-LSC in 2016. Don Hansen’s Football Gazette honored Saathoff with second team all-region honors and honorable mention All-America. Saathoff was also one of 30 Division II finalists for the Cliff Harris Award, which is presented to the top defensive player in the country representing Division II, III and NAIA colleges and universities.

Saathoff is one of three Lion student-athletes who will represent the Lions at the annual Lone Star Conference Media Day in his hometown of San Antonio on Tuesday.

The Lions are slated to play two teams in the College Football America Yearbook Preseason Top 30 in the regular season. The annual CommUniverCity Day game will be played on Saturday, September 22, against No. 11 Colorado State-Pueblo. The Lions will play No. 13 Midwestern State on the road on Saturday, October 6.

Season tickets are available for the Lions’ six-game home schedule, which kicks off on Thursday, August 30 against Texas A&M-Kingsville in the annual battle for the Chennault Cup and Student Appreciation Night. General admission seating is available for $60 for the season, with limited chairback season tickets available for $80. Season tickets are available online at WeAreLionsTix.com or by calling Lion Sales and Service at (903) 468-8756.

All chairback season ticket holders are encouraged to consider philanthropic support of our 424 talented student-athletes with a gift to the Lion Champions Fund. For information on the LCF, please contact Taylor Phelps at (903) 886-5554.

2018 College Football America Division II Preseason Top 30

Rk Team 2017 Record
1. West Florida 11-4
2. Indiana (Pa.) 13-1
3. Harding 11-4
4. Minnesota State 13-1
5. A&M-COMMERCE 14-1
6. Central Washington 11-1
7. Fort Hays State 11-1
8. Ferris State 11-2
9. Northwest Missouri State 9-3
10. Ashland 11-2
11. Colorado State-Pueblo 9-3
12. West Alabama 10-3
13. Midwestern State 10-1
14. Assumption 11-2
15. Indianapolis 11-1
16. Shepherd 10-1
17. Ouachita Baptist 9-3
18. Winona State 10-2
19. Virginia State 10-1
20. Shippensburg 10-2
21. Findlay 10-3
22. Delta State 9-4
23. Central Missouri 9-3
24. Wingate 9-2
25. West Georgia 9-4
26. Sioux Falls 9-3
27. Bowie State 9-2
28. Grand Valley State 8-3
29. West Chester 9-4
30. California (Pa.) 9-3

2018 College Football America Division II Starting Lineup
Offense

Pos. Name School Yr.
QB Amir Hall Bowie State Sr.
RB Marcus Jones Gannon Sr.
RB Cole Chancey Harding So.
WR Weston Carr Azusa Pacific Jr.
WR Austin Ryan Bentley So.
TE Seth Hebert Central Missouri Sr.
OL Justin Gooseberry Ouachita Baptist Jr.
OL Samuel Antoine West Florida Jr.
OL Frank Tranzilli West Chester Jr.
OL A.J. Roland Midwestern State Sr.
OL Brandon Anderson West Alabama Jr.
PK Casey Bednarski Minnesota State Sr.
KR Deonte Harris Assumption Sr.

Defense

Pos. Name School Yr.
DL Davondrick Lison Southern Arkansas Sr.
DL Tershawn Wharton Missouri S&T Jr.
DL Adonis Davis Florida Tech Sr.
DL Markus Jones Angelo State Sr.
LB Brandon Payer Colorado State-Pueblo Sr.
LB Brucks Saathoff A&M-COMMERCE Sr.
LB Sam Blankenship Harding Sr.
DB J.R. Stevens Indiana (Pa.) Jr.
DB Darius  Williams Colorado State-Pueblo Sr.
DB Zuril Hendrick Edinboro Sr.
DB Marvin Conley West Florida Sr.
P Zach Davidson Central Missouri So.
PR B.J. Muckelvene Wingate Jr.