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TAMUC – Sports


No. 25 Lions pick up a 3-1 win over Dallas Baptist.

COMMERCE – The No. 25 Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball team had four players earn double-digit kills in a 3-1 win over visiting Dallas Baptist University in The Field House on Tuesday evening. Set scores were 25-14, 21-25, 25-22, and 25-13.

With the victory, the Lions move to 10-4 overall on the season. A&M-Commerce hosts a pair of Lone Star Conference matches this weekend, taking on Cameron at 6 p.m. Friday and MSU Texas at 2:00 p.m. Saturday.

– Celeste Vela (Guadalajara, Mexico) notched her third triple-double of her freshman season, earning a team-best 16 kills along with 24 assists and 11 digs. She is only the third player in Division II this season to reach three triple-doubles.
– Jaryn Wacker (Austin – Vista Ridge) threw down 14 kills and a service ace, along with three blocks.
– Bina Njikam (Keller) hit .455 in the match with 11 kills and three blocks, and Shelley Chapron (Houston – St. Pius X) had a .500 hitting percentage with 10 kills and six blocks.
– Carolina Machado (Sao Paulo, Brazil) had 30 assists in the match and Savannah Rutledge (The Woodlands – College Park) had 15 digs to lead the team. Riley Davidson (Commerce) had 13 digs.
– The Lions hit .291 with 65 kills in the match and limited DBU to 35 kills on a .134 percentage.

The Lions jumped out to an early lead and rolled to the first set win. From a 10-6 Lion advantage, the lead was quickly extended to eight points at 18-10. A&M-Commerce scored seven of the final 11 points and a Jaryn Wacker kill put an end to the runaway set win. The Lions hit .438 in the set with 18 kills. Vela had five of the Lions’ 14 digs in the set and four players had at least three kills.

DBU went up early in the second set at 9-5, but the Lions regained the lead with five straight points. From a 15-all tie, the Patriots scored five straight points and were able to hold the Lions at arm’s length to tie the match. The set featured eight ties and six lead changes. The Lions had 12 hitting errors in the set, with six coming on DBU blocks.

The Lions were challenged in the third set but were able to keep the Patriots from taking a lead at a significant point in the set. From a 6-all tie, the Lions scored three straight points on two Vela kills and a Machado ace. Until the end of the set, the lead never extended to more than four points, but also never shrank below one point. An emphatic Wacker kill closed out the set. The Lions hit .268 with 15 kills and four blocks in the set.

With the chance to put the match away, the Lions jumped at the opportunity, roaring out to a 9-4 lead. From a 16-11 A&M-Commerce advantage, the Lions scored seven of the next nine points to put the match out of reach. Wacker’s service ace ended the match on a high. The Lions hit a whopping .455 in the final set with 16 kills and only one error. Vela had five errorless kills on six swings.



Lions finish fifth at RMAC Fall Preview.

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – Two Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s golfers shot 77 on Tuesday, as the Lions finished in a tie for fifth place in the team standings at the RMAC Fall Preview.

The Lions had a two-day total of 619 (306-313) on the 5,952-yard, par 71 layouts at Tiara Rado GC, competing well in a field with some of the region’s top teams.

Sarah Wongsinth (Udon Thani, Thailand) earned her second top 10 finish in as many events, placing ninth with a two-day score of 151 (74-77, +9).

Paige-Lee Garris (West Palm Beach, Fla.) was the only stroke behind her teammate, placing 13th with a 10-over par 152 (75-77).

Sophie-Charlott Hempel (Pirmasens, Germany) shot matching 79s to place 29th at 158 (+16), Makena Thomas (San Antonio – Reagan) placed 36th at 160 (78-82, +18), and Lauren Leslie (Fair Oaks Ranch – Clear Brook) placed 42nd at 161 (81-80, +19).

The tournament marks only the 13th time in school history the Lions have shot under 620 for a 36-hole tournament, including both events this season.

The Lions are off until October 8 & 9 when they will compete locally at the Dallas Baptist Women’s Classic.

 Rank   Team Scores  Total   Par 
1.  Tampa  304  301  605   +37
2.  Colorado State-Pueblo  304  311  615   +47
 Dixie State  309  306  615   +47
4.  Westminster  306  310  616   +48
5.  Colo.-Colorado Springs  313  306  619   +51
 A&M-COMMERCE  306  313  619   +51
7.  Regis  309  311  620   +52
8.  Colorado Christian  308  319  627   +59
9.  Colorado Mesa  318  314  632   +64
10.  Fort Lewis  320  320  640   +72
11.  Western New Mexico  330  314  644   +76
12.  Chadron State  327  319  646   +78
 Fort Hays State  324  322  646   +78
14.  Metro State  335  330  665   +97
15.  Black Hills State  346  331  677   +109
16.  Adams State  335  351  686   +118
17.  South Dakota Mines  361  353  714   +146

A&M-Commerce 306 313   619    +51   t-5th
Sarah Wongsinth 74 77   151    +9   t-9th
Paige-Lee Garris 75 77   152    +10   t-13th
Sophie-Charlott Hempel 79 79   158    +16   t-29th
Makena Thomas 78 82   160    +18   t-36th
Lauren Leslie 81 80   161    +19   t-42nd



Volleyball’s Jaryn Wacker, Celeste Vela named LSC Players of the Week.

RICHARDSON– Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball players Jaryn Wacker and Celeste Vela have been named Lone Star Conference Volleyball Players of the Week. Wacker was named the Offensive Player of the Week and Vela was named Setter of the Week. The awards were announced by the conference office on Tuesday.

Wacker– a senior outside hitter from Austin (Vista Ridge)­– had one of the best weeks of her collegiate career last week, hitting .361 in the No. 23 Lions’ two matches. She recorded a career-high 21 kills in the Lions’ four-set win over TWU. Wacker hit .419 in the match and had just three errors in 43 attacks. She also had three blocks and three digs against the Pioneers. Wacker followed that performance with 12 kills in A&M-Commerce’s sweep of Texas A&M-Kingsville. She hit .276 and added five blocks in the match.

Vela– a true freshman from Guadalajara, Mexico– led the Lions in assists last week in the team’s two-setter offense and did not record a ball-handling error. She made her presence felt all over the floor in the No. 23 Lions’ two LSC wins. The true freshman recorded her second triple-double of the season, tallying 14 kills, 17 assists and 12 digs in A&M-Commerce’s four-set win over TWU. Vela hit .345 in the match. Vela then had 18 assists to go with five kills, five digs, an ace and a block in the team’s sweep of A&M-Kingsville. She is second in the nation with two triple-doubles and is the only freshman to have recorded a triple-double in Division II this season.

Wacker, Vela and the Lions are the 25th-ranked-team in the nation. A&M-Commerce hosts Dallas Baptist on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. before returning to LSC play with home matches against Cameron on Friday at 6 p.m. and MSU Texas on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. Tickets to all Lion Volleyball home matches are available by visiting the box office in The Field House, visiting or by calling (903) 468-8756.

Aug. 28 – Madison Brabham, Texas A&M-Kingsville
Sept. 4 – Shelley Chapron, Texas A&M-Commerce
Sept. 11 – Audrey Fragniere, Angelo State
Sept. 18 – Jaryn Wacker, Texas A&M-Commerce

Aug. 28 – Sundara Chinn, Angelo State
Sept. 4 – Savannah Rutledge, Texas A&M-Commerce
Sept. 11 – Hannah McManus, Tarleton State
Sept. 18 – Hannah McManus, Tarleton State (2)

Aug. 28 – Rylie Fuentes, Texas A&M-Commerce
Sept. 4 – Rylie Fuentes, Texas A&M-Commerce (2)
Sept. 11 – Sundara Chinn, Angelo State
Sept. 18 – Celeste Vela, Texas A&M-Commerce



Women’s golf in striking distance of lead after opening round at RMAC Fall Preview

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s golf team sits only two strokes back of the lead after 18 holes of the RMAC Fall Preview, following strong all-around performances in the opening day of the event.

The Lions shot a 22-over par 306 and are tied for third in the standings with Westminster and Colorado Christian. Colorado State-Pueblo and Tampa are tied for the lead at 304.

Sarah Wongsinth (Udon Thani, Thailand) shot a 3-over par 74 in Monday’s round to lead the Lions. She had two birdies on the day and is in fifth place on the individual leaderboard.

Paige-Lee Garris (West Palm Beach, Fla.) is in 11th place with a 4-over par 75, carding a birdie and 13 pars. Makena Thomas (San Antonio – Reagan) shot a 7-over par 78 and is in 21st place.

Sophie-Charlott Hempel (Pirmasens, Germany) shot an 8-over par 79 and Lauren Leslie (Fair Oaks Ranch – Clear Brook) shot a 10-over par 81.

The consistent scoring for the Lions has them in striking distance of the tournament championship. The will close out the tournament as part of the leaders’ group with CSU-Pueblo and Tampa. The shotgun start of the final round will take place at 8:30 a.m. MDT.


Lion Volleyball ranked 25th in latest AVCA Poll.

COMMERCE– The Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball team is the 25th ranked team in the nation in the latest coaches’ poll released by the American Volleyball Coaches’ Association. The poll was released Monday. It is the third consecutive week the Lions have been nationally ranked.

The Lions won both of their matches last week, defeating Texas Woman’s University in four sets and sweeping A&M-Kingsville. The Lions hit .253 on the week while holding opponents to a .080 hitting percentage in their first two home matches of the season. In the most current NCAA DII rankings (9/13), the Lions lead the nation in kills and assists and rank in the top-25 in both team digs and team blocks.

The Lions are one of two teams from the Lone Star Conference in the AVCA rankings. Tarleton State is ranked 20th. The Lions have faced five teams in the current top-25 rankings and have a record of 4-1 against top-25 ranked teams so far this season.

The No. 25 Lions host Dallas Baptist on Tuesday at 6 p.m. before returning to LSC play with home matches against Cameron on Friday at 6:00 pm MSU Texas on Saturday at 2:00 pm. Tickets to all Lion Volleyball home matches are available by visiting the box office in The Field House, visiting or by calling (903) 468-8756.



Lions carry No. 1 ranking in AFCA Coaches’ Poll for the fifth consecutive poll.

WACO – The Texas A&M University-Commerce football team is ranked No. 1 in the 2018 American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches’ Poll for the fifth consecutive poll, as announced by the AFCA on Monday morning.

The Lions earned a 21-11 victory over Eastern New Mexico in Portales last week, picking up the fifth straight win in the series. The Lions limited the potent Greyhound rushing attack and had five sacks and 13 tackles for loss in the game.

Three Lion opponents for 2018 are in the top 25 or receiving votes. MSU Texas is ranked No. 7, Colorado State-Pueblo is ranked No. 22, and Tarleton is receiving votes. The Lions picked up 22 of the 33 first-place votes in this week’s poll and have a 15 point lead over Minnesota State.

A&M-Commerce has been ranked in 43 consecutive AFCA polls, dating back to the 2015 preseason poll. This is A&M-Commerce’s 49th all-time appearance in the AFCA poll since its inception in 2000.

In the polls recognized by Division II as the top rating system, the Lions have been recognized as a nationally ranked team 98 times since joining Division II in 1981.

A&M-Commerce returns home for the CommUniverCity Day game against No. 22 Colorado State-Pueblo at 6 p.m. this Saturday, September 22. Tickets are available by visiting, calling (903) 468-8756, or visiting the Lion Sales & Service Box Office in the Field House.

2018 American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches’ Poll
September 17, 2018.

Rank School (1st votes) Rec. Pts. Prev.
1. A&M-COMMERCE (22) 3-0 804 1
2. Minnesota St. (6) 3-0 789 2
3. Indiana (Pa.) (4) 3-0 745 3
4. Northwest Missouri St. 3-0 702 4
5. Grand Valley St. (Mich.) 3-0 695 5
6. Ferris St. (Mich.) (1) 3-0 674 6
7. MSU Texas 3-0 645 7
8. West Georgia 3-0 560 10
9. Ouachita Baptist (Ark.) 3-0 499 14
10. West Florida 2-1 436 13
11. Minnesota-Duluth 3-0 431 16
12. Central Washington 2-1 361 15
13. West Chester (Pa.) 3-0 360 18
14. Colorado Mesa 3-0 352 19
15. Pittsburg St. (Kan.) 3-0 300 23
16. Valdosta St. (Ga.) 3-0 295 NR
17. Colorado School of Mines 3-0 247 NR
18. Fort Hays St. (Kan.) 2-1 245 17
19t. Harding (Ark.) 2-1 197 21
19t. Central Missouri 2-1 197 20
21. Southern Arkansas 3-0 180 25
22. Colorado St.-Pueblo 2-1 154 9
23. West Alabama 2-1 142 8
24. Azusa Pacific (Calif.) 3-0 132 NR
25. Indianapolis (Ind.) 1-1 106 22

Dropped Out: Winona St. (Minn.) (11), Ohio Dominican (12), Sioux Falls (S.D.) (24)
Others Receiving Votes: Winona St. (Minn.), 104; Sioux Falls (S.D.), 86; Florida Tech, 71; Notre Dame (Ohio), 47; Ohio Dominican, 40; Tarleton (Texas), 37; Fairmont St. (W.Va.), 25; Kutztown (Pa.), 20; Edinboro (Pa.), 16; Carson-Newman (Tenn.), 11; Ashland (Ohio), 10; Findlay (Ohio), 6; Hillsdale (Mich.), 3; Bowie St. (Md.), 1.



Running game carries No. 1 Lions to 21-11 win at Eastern New Mexico.

PORTALES, N.M. – The No. 1 Texas A&M-Commerce football team used three rushing touchdowns to earn a 21-11 victory over Eastern New Mexico University at Greyhound Stadium on Saturday night.

The Lions move to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the Lone Star Conference, while the Greyhounds fall to 0-3 overall and 0-1 in the LSC. The win also extends the Lions’ winning streak to 13 games, which is the longest in the nation.

A&M-Commerce returns home for the CommUniverCity Day game against nationally-ranked Colorado State-Pueblo at 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 22. Tickets are available by visiting, calling (903) 468-8756, or visiting the Lion Sales & Service Box Office in the Field House


– The Lions outgained ENMU 294-212, and the A&M-Commerce defense limited the Greyhound rushing attack to 206 yards on 65 rushing attempts.
– Carandal Hale (Greenville) had 14 carries for 101 yards and a 32-yard touchdown, while E.J. Thompson (Cypress – Cy Ranch) had 17 carries for 85 yards and a touchdown. Kane Wilson (New Orleans, La.) scored a rushing touchdown for the third consecutive game.
– Brucks Saathoff (San Antonio – Reagan) flew around the field from his linebacker position, notching 17 tackles with four tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Despite the Greyhounds’ proclivity to run, the Lions earned five sacks. Jalon Edwards-Cooper (Spring – Westfield) had two sacks with three tackles.
– Pierre Leonard (Tyler – John Tyler) had 10 tackles. The Lions had 13 total tackles for loss.
– Preston Wheeler (Austin – Bowie) completed 11-of-30 passes for 103 yards. Matt Childers (Henderson) and Chance Cooper (Leander – Rouse) each had three receptions.
– Tristan Perry (Mineral Wells) was exceptional in the punting game, averaging 43.6 yards on seven punts with a long of 68 yards. He had two punts inside the 20-yard line and two punts over 50 yards.
– The win is the Lions’ fifth consecutive victory over the Greyhounds, which is the longest winning streak for either side in the series.


After the teams exchanged punts on their opening drives, the Lions got on the scoreboard first with a 12-play, 57-yard drive over the span of 3:44. Wheeler had three first down pass completions, and Hale had an 18-yard rush. Those plays set up Wilson’s 1-yard touchdown carry.

Garrett Blubaugh (Keller) forced and recovered a fumble at the Greyhound 39 to give the ball back to the offense. Marquis Wimberly (Duarte, Calif.) came down with a tightrope 30-yard reception down to the Greyhound 5-yard line. Thompson immediately punched the ball into the end zone, giving the Lions a 14-0 lead with 2:11 left in the first quarter.

From there, Eastern New Mexico held on to the ball for nearly the entire second quarter, as the Lions had the pigskin for 2:06 and eight plays. Michael Onuoha (Edmond, Okla.) blocked a 31-yard field goal attempt, and the Greyhounds scored their opening points on a 29-yarder with 21 seconds left in half.

ENMU outgained the Lions by 34 yards (165 yards to 131 yards), though the Greyhounds had the ball for nearly 22 minutes and ran 43 plays to the Lions’ 29.

Both sides traded short drives early in the third quarter before the Lion defense forced a turnover. ENMU quarterback Wyatt Strand was obliterated as he flung a ball downfield that was picked off and returned by Alex Shillow (Pflugerville). The 32-yard return set the Lions up in scoring territory, but Martinez’ 40-yard field goal attempt went wide right, and the score went unchanged halfway through the third quarter.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Eastern New Mexico got back within one score, as a long interception return put the Greyhounds at the Lion 5-yard line. Paul Terry punched it in from 5 yards out and also converted a two-point conversion, cutting the Lion lead to 14-11 with 14:01 left to play.

Following an exchange of punts, the Lions put the capper on the night, as Hale’s 32-yard touchdown carry with 10:53 to play made it a 21-11 game. Eastern had the ball three more times after their touch down, but the Greyhounds were held to three-and-outs with punts on all three chances.



Lion Soccer vs. Harding canceled

COMMERCE – Persistent poor weather conditions in the area forced the cancellation of the women’s soccer match between Texas A&M University-Commerce and Harding University on Saturday afternoon.

The teams had played seven minutes of action when storms hit Commerce. The thunderstorms did not relent, forcing the early abandonment of the match. This is the Lions’ second match to be canceled because of weather conditions in the last week.

The Lions start Lone Star Conference play next weekend, playing at Eastern New Mexico on Friday night and at West Texas A&M on Sunday.



Offense leads Lions to sweep of Javelinas.

COMMERCE – The No. 23 Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball team started off hot and rolled to a sweep of Texas A&M University-Kingsville in The Field House on Saturday afternoon. Set scores were 25-10, 26-24, and 25-20.

The Lions move to 9-4 overall and 2-2 in the Lone Star Conference with their second straight win. The Javelinas fall to 7-5 overall and 2-2 in LSC play.

A&M-Commerce plays the third of five consecutive home matches on Tuesday at 6:00 pm, hosting Dallas Baptist in the final non-conference game of the season.

– The Lion offense hit .277 in the match and held the visitors to a paltry .011 percentage.
– The Wacker twins were the primary offensive weapons for the Lions. Jaryn Wacker had 12 kills on a .276 hitting percentage, while Jaslyn Wacker had 11 kills on a .318 hitting percentage.
– Celeste Vela (Guadalajara, Mexico) had a team-high 18 assists, while Carolina Machado (Sao Paulo, Brazil) passed out 15 assists.
– Daniela Santos (Caracas, Venezuela) led the team with 14 digs and three of the Lions’ eight service aces.
– The Lions threw up 11 blocks, with Shelley Chapron (Houston – St. Pius X) in on six of those.

The Lion offense came out of the gates firing and threw down 13 kills with a .526 hitting percentage in the first set. Jaryn Wacker (Austin – Vista Ridge) had five kills in the game and teamed up with Chapron for three of the Lions’ four blocks in the set. The Lions scored the first four points of the match and were quickly up 10-2. Chapron stayed on serve for six consecutive points, and the Lions were then up 16-4. A Jaslyn Wacker (Austin – Vista Ridge) kill closed out the runaway set.

The second set was much tighter, as the Lions had multiple unforced errors. Despite hitting only .163 in the game, A&M-Commerce was able to hold off the visitors down the stretch, as the Javelinas hit just .026. The Lions had 19 digs in the set, as Santos had two aces and six digs. TAMUK had taken an 8-6 lead early before the Lions scored five straight on Vela’s serve. After the set was tied at 18-all, the Lions got to set point at 24-22, but the Javelinas scored twice consecutively to force extra points. A Chapron kills, and a block from Bina Njikam (Keller) and Santos have the Lions their second set win.

Santos’ serve run in the middle of the third set put the Lions in position to close out the sweep, thought the Javelinas did not make it easy. The Lions led 15-7 before A&M-Kingsville fought back to tie the set at 17-all. Santos threw down two kills out of a timeout, a Lion block was thrown up, and Riley Davidson (Commerce) notched a service ace to give the Lions a 21-17 lead. In the final points, Chapron scored an ace, and Njikam hammered down two kills to wrap up the sweep.



Lion cross country starts the season at Missouri Southern Shootout.

JOPLIN, Mo. – The Texas A&M University-Commerce cross country team started the 2018 season at the Missouri Southern Shootout on Saturday, with the men’s team placing 22nd and the women’s team placing 30th.

Sergio Marcuello (Cuenca, Spain) was the Lions’ top finisher in the men’s race, completing the 8-kilometer course in 27:26.4 for 85th place in the 277-man race. Evan Luecke (Forney) was right behind Marcello at 27:31.8 for 91st place.

Garvin Chilton (Katy) completed the course in 28:31.3, Mason Boswell (Katy) crossed the line in 28:36.9, and Steeven Martinez (Mesquite-Poteet) rounded out the Lions’ point scorers at 28:42.1.

Brandi Stalder (Sanger) was the Lions’ top women’s finisher, running the 5-kilometer course in 19:32.7, placing 98th in the 323-woman field. Mikayla Maldonado (Irving – Nimitz) ran the race in 20:42.8.

Freshman Taylor Jones (Garland – North Garland) completed the course in 20:48.7, Maddie Shubert (Rowlett) ran the race in 21:24.3, and Ruth Leach (Whitesboro) rounded out the Lion scorers in 23:19.5.

The Lions are next in action on Saturday, September 22, at the Chile Pepper Festival in Fayetteville, Ark.


Josh Manck

Associate Athletics Director for Marketing and Communications | Texas A&M University-Commerce