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EAGLE Insider

Grace Brown Summer Sanders

Right On Target

Brown, Sanders Fuel National Championship Program UNIVERSITY OF THE OZARKS

SPRING 2017


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CONTENTS

uofoathletics UOFOATHLETICS.COM

2-3 Women’s Clay Target

Brown and Sanders Making Their Mark In Shooting Sports

@UofOAthletics

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EAGLE Insider 9 Wrestling

Wrestling Team Competes in NCAA III Regional

19 Basketball

Women’s and Men’s Basketball Team Provide Assist To Local Students

is a biannual publication of the Sports Information Office. U of O Sports Information Office, U of O Marketing Office, Zach Thompson /// Print Production: U of O Marketing Office /// Eagle Insider

/// Photography:

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Brown, Sanders Flourish In National Championship Caliber Program

T

he talents of University of the Ozarks clay target shooters Grace Brown and Summer Sanders were on full display at the Association of College Unions International Collegiate (ACUI) National Tournament recently as Brown captured a national championship and Sanders posted a top-5 finish. The two student-athletes had successes in other events at the tournament, but it was in international bunker trap that the sharp-shooting duo made the 2

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biggest splash. The first and fourth place feat was even more remarkable considering the two competed against much larger schools. Brown’s title was the first for the program. “We have two of the best female shooters in the country,” said head coach Caleb Hemphill. “They are fantastic. They were already the best collegiate Arkansas shooters in trap. I’ve not known them to ever miss


EAGLE Insider two birds in a row. For both of them, it is more like counting the ones they miss rather than the ones they hit.” The duo receives considerable attention at statewide competitions, but will now be nationally known. “Everywhere we go, opponents feel like they are already beat when they see Grace and Summer walk up,” said Hemphill. Hemphill believes Brown and Sanders are not intimidated competing in a sport typical dominated by male shooters. In fact, they view it as a challenge. “They don’t back down, they accept the challenge,” said Hemphill. “They have made many put their foot in their mouth. When my girls are crowned at events, some guys roll their eyes.” Hemphill says each shooter has distinguishing features that make them special. “Grace brings a lot of knowledge to the table,” said Hemphill. “She has a great mental attitude. Summer has had an impact as a freshman and has been everything I have needed her to be. They are the foundation of the program. This program will grow and remain a force because of Grace and Summer.” Brown, a junior from Booneville, Arkansas, received a place on the USA Shooting/ACUI Collegiate Team for her national championship. Sanders, a freshman from Greenwood, Arkansas, came to Ozarks as one of the top high school shooters in Arkansas. “Summer had an outstanding high school career and was being recruited by several schools,” he said.

“Her name was out there as being one of the top shooters in Arkansas. She has continued to work hard at the sport.” Sanders uses a Beretta DT 10, while Brown prefers a Krieghoff K-80 Parcour. “Summer shoots a very heavy gun,” said Hemphill. “Grace shoots a very light gun. It is just the shooter’s preference.” Hemphill is a perfect fit for the program having been a member of the clay target and baseball team at Ozarks. He has seen first-hand the support from the university. He believes the university’s commitment to the shooting program has not only helped Brown and Sanders, but the entire program. The program has flourished in just a few seasons of collegiate competition. “There is tremendous support for our program,” said Hemphill. “We are set up to succeed. We have our very own facility to practice regularly. We are sponsored by Under Armour and Fiocchi shot gun shells. Our ultimate goal is to bring home a team national championship.”

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Softball Team Making Progress Under Second-Year Coach In just his second year as head softball coach at University of the Ozarks, Roland Rodriguez has seen both progress and enthusiasm increase within his team. “Our level of enthusiasm has risen significantly,” he said. “They are excited because they see progress. The overall approach on how we do things is better. The environment is different.” The Eagles made substantial strides from the previous season under the veteran coach and aim for even more success this season. 4

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Fueling that improvement are seniors Krysten Shavers, Laken Gray and Kayla Gray. Shavers led the team in homers (5) and total bases (52) while batting .294. Laken Gray hit .281 with four doubles. Kayla Gray recorded 24 hits, including two doubles, one triple and one home run. All-Conference designated player and pitcher Hannah Oler returns for her junior season. Oler led the team with 23 RBI and ranked second in batting (.354). In the circle, she went 5-8 in 89.1 innings with 26 strikeouts on the year.


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Men’s Tennis Team Aims For Fourth Straight Post-Season Appearance The men’s tennis team advanced to the American Southwest Conference Championship Tournament for the third straight time a year ago and now aim for even greater success in 2017. “The guys have set even higher goals this season,” said head coach Cullen Dees. “They want to improve on what they accomplished last year. They want to make some noise at the conference tournament. We are still young so there is a little bit on the unknown.” Seniors Dillon Murray and Sebastien Ricard lead the way for the Eagles. Murray posted a team-best six

singles wins in 2016. Junior Jacob Organ joins Murray in doubles where they had seven wins last season. Junior Spencer Turner is also back, but the rest of the team is made up of freshmen. “Our men’s team has a perfect mix of leadership and young guys who are hungry,” said Dees. A boost to the program will be a state-of-the-art facility set to open next season. “The team is excited to see the final facility,” said Dees. “I think everyone will be impressed. It will be the nicest place in the conference.” UOFOATHLETICS.COM

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Baseball Team Eyes Improvement In Year Two Under Gentry The Eagles baseball team is aiming for continued improvement with six position starters returning under second-year head coach Aaron Gentry. “My expectations are the same every year, and that is to get the most out of the players,” said Gentry. “We want to refine their skills in way that translates into being more competitive in this conference.” The Eagles had five or six freshmen in the lineup nearly every game last season. Gentry’s focus in the preseason has been on fundamentals. “Specifically, our pitchers need to come in and 6

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throw strikes. Our defense needs to get outs and our offense needs to make consistent contact. As those things improve, we believe it will have a direct affect on wins. A lot of that goes back to the focus and mental toughness of the team.” Sophomore All-Conference right-hander Brady Taylor is back. He posted a 2-4 record with a 4.89 ERA. Right-hander Jacob Barker returns for his junior season after posting four saves. Dynamic senior outfielder Andrew Beck leads the offense bringing his .429 batting average back from a year ago.


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Track Team Excited For Season The women’s and men’s indoor and outdoor track team will compete in its second season under head coach Jeremy Provence. The team will travel to seven events this season, starting with a meet at Missouri Southern University. Provence is excited about the potential of both the women’s and men’s team. On the women’s side, numerous runners received valuable experience last season and are back to make an even greater impact. The trio of Stephanie Alderson, Caitlyn Bell and Hannah Smith are expected to flourish in distance events this season.

That group guided the cross country team to the NCAA III Regionals, where Smith was the team’s top finisher. On the men’s side, junior Jacob Williams leads the team’s group of sprinters, while several others compete in distance events. Freshman Jonathon Wood is coming off an outstanding season in cross country and will compete in distance events for Provence. By the end of the regular season, Provence believes his teams will be more than ready for the American Southwest Conference Championships in late April. The national championships will be held in May. UOFOATHLETICS.COM

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Women’s Tennis Team Builds On Post-Season Appearance The women’s tennis team qualified for the postseason a year ago under first-year head coach Cullen Dees and now aim for even greater success in 2017. “The program has set higher goals this season,” said Dees. “They want to improve on what they accomplished last year. They want to make some noise at the conference tournament.” The women’s team advanced to the post-season American Southwest Conference Tournament last season for the first time since 2007. “The women’s division is just as tough if not 8

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tougher than the men’s side. I believe we will grow as a team together this year.” Maggie Johnson is the lone senior, while Imani Doyle and Olivia Allard return for their sophomore seasons. Madison Sieber, Karlee Hart and Kirsten Endicott make up the freshmen class. A boost to the program will be a state-of-the-art facility set to open next season. “The team is excited to see the final facility,” said Dees. “I think everyone will be impressed. It will be the nicest place in the conference.”


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Wrestling Team Makes Splash At Conference Championships The men’s wrestling team continues to make major strides in just its third year of competing. Under firstyear head coach LeRoy Gardner, the Eagles finished fourth at the Southeast Conference Wrestling Tournament. The Eagles totaled 47 points in its debut at the Conference Championships. Seven wrestlers finished in the top-4, while two finished as runner-ups. Devon Jackson, Siaygnoun Hnamnhouane, Corey Muniz, Ny’Trell Dean, Sergio Nugent, Mario Vasquez, Jesus Perez, Joey Schenck, Miguel Baray, Adolfo Sotolongo, Montre Blade, Jameer Anderson and Zackery Wintz

all posted wins during the championships. Dean (141) and Vasquez (149) advanced to the finals in their respective weight divisions. Two weeks later, Dean made history when he became the program’s first-ever winner at an NCAA III Regional. Dean, in the 141-pound division, won his first round match with a pin fall in :46 over his opponent from Augustana. The Eagles finished 12th as a team, its best finish in the NCAA III regional. Also posting wins at the regional were Jackson (125), Schneck (174) and Sotolongo (197). UOFOATHLETICS.COM

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Josh Ferrell Named ASC Sportsmanship Athlete of the Year Senior guard Josh Ferrell was named the American Southwest Conference Sportsmanship Athlete of the Year for the second straight season. Ferrell, a 6-foot-1 native of West Fork, Ark., ranked second in the league in steals (2.0) and averaged 5.4 points per game in 25 starts. He hit 36 three-pointers and averaged 2.2 assists per game. He hit five three-pointers to score 16 points against Louisiana College January 19. He finished his career hitting 135-of-403 (33.4%) threepointers and recorded 208 career steals. Ferrell also dished out 237 assists as a four-year starter. 10

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Jace Richardson, a 6-foot junior point guard from Fort Smith, Ark., was named to the All-East Division Second Team, while Josh Berard, a 6-foot-3 senior guard from Fort Smith, Ark., was named to the Honorable Mention Team. Richardson finished fifth in the league in scoring (19.6), and fourth in assists (5.8). Richardson became the school’s all-time leader in assists in January. Berard led the league in scoring for the second straight season averaging 22.6 points per game. He ends his career ranked third at Ozarks in scoring with 1,642 points.


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Women’s Cross Country Team Competes In NCAA III Regional The 2016 women’s cross country team posted a successful year competing in seven races, including strong finishes at the American Southwest Conference Championships and NCAA III Regional. Ozarks finished sixth at the ASC Championships, one of its best performances in program history. The 2016 team had four runners in the top-40, with Hannah Smith posting the team’s highest finish at 21st place. At the NCAA III Regional, Smith was the first to finish for Ozarks running a 25:30.15 in the 6K for 103rd. It was the second fastest 6K time in program history.

Ozarks hosted three races in 2016, highlighted by the annual 3-mile Arkansas D-III Championships. Ozarks came within two points of winning the race, instead finishing second. Smith, who was the team’s top finisher in each race during season, was named the ASC Runner of the Week for her performance at the race. She finished third overall with a time of 19:55.3. Ozarks also competed in the prestigious Chile Pepper Festival held in Fayetteville every year. Bell, Smith and Madison Sherrer were named to the ASC All-Academic Team following the season. UOFOATHLETICS.COM

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Women’s Basketball All-Conference Awarded Women’s basketball players Bryanna Moltz and Delanei Stephens received honors from the American Southwest Conference following the 2016-2017 season. Moltz, a 6-foot-2 senior forward from Sheridan, Ark., was named to the All-East Division Second Team, while Stephens, a 5-foot-9 freshman forward from Coal Hill, Ark., made the East Division All-Freshman Team. Moltz finished seventh in the league in scoring (15.2), sixth in field goal percentage (38.2%), sixth in blocked shots (1.5) and first in minutes played (35.4). She also 12

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averaged 6.2 rebounds and hit 78 percent from the free throw line. She ends her career as a three-time All-Conference player and achieved ASC All-Academic status three times. For her career, she has 1,173 points, 639 rebounds and 174 blocks. Stephens finished seventh in the conference in rebounding (7.5) and averaged 10.4 points per game. For the season, she hit 58-of-76 (76%) from the free throw line and averaged 1.0 steals per game. She posted five double-doubles during the season. She made the Rocky Mountain Thanksgiving All-Tournament Team in Colorado.


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Women’s Soccer Team Helps With Operation Christmas Child The women’s soccer team volunteered its time and resources to assist in Operation Christmas Child. The Operation Christmas Child project involves packing a shoebox full of toys, hygiene kits, clothing and other needed items for impoverished children around the world. The team provided their own resources to purchase the items and accounted for eight shoeboxes that were sent overseas. Sophomore defender Olivia Allard has been involved with the project for several years and

appreciates the opportunity to give. “The whole team was excited to be given the opportunity to give to someone else,” she said. “You may never see this child, but to know you’ve made a difference in their life feels good. The project has changed my view on what it means to give to others. While the items may not be much to us, it is a lot to others. These are children who may not be getting a lot for Christmas.” Operation Christmas Child is managed by Samaritan’s Purse. UOFOATHLETICS.COM

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Wood Leads Men’s Cross Country Team To Successful Year The 2016 men’s cross country team posted a successful year competing in seven races, including a strong finish at the American Southwest Conference Championships. Ozarks finished sixth at the ASC Championships. It was the team’s highest finish since 2013. Freshman Jonathon Wood represented the Eagles at the NCAA III South/Southeast Regional race in Georgia. Wood posted a time of 29:59.84 in the 8K to finish 168th overall. There were 208 runners at the highlycompetitive event. 14

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Wood was named the ASC Runner of the Week once during the season. A native of Berryville, Ark., he ran a 26:17.8 in the 4.1-mile Arkansas D-III Championships race to finish as the team’s top runner. Wood placed fifth overall. He was the Eagles’ top finisher in each race during the 2016 season. Ozarks hosted two other races in addition to the Arkansas D-III Championships and competed in the prestigious Chile Pepper Festival held in Fayetteville every year. Cole Smith and Spencer Turner were named to the ASC All-Academic Team following the season.


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Competitive Cheerleading/STUNT Team Spreads Christmas Cheer The competitive cheerleading/STUNT team spent the final two weeks of the 2016 semester collecting Christmas gifts for Johnson County’s Helping Hands Women’s Shelter and Family Service Center. The team adopted a local family of seven to assist during the Christmas season. Executive Director Mea Armstrong-Miller presented the student-athletes with a wish list, and under the direction of head coach Frances Mills and assistant coach Samantha Campbell, the team collected toys, clothing, baby items and even a crib.

According to Armstrong-Miller, the team made the family’s Christmas wishes come true. “This group of young people at University of the Ozarks made a personal connection with this family,” she said. “They came over and interacted with the kids and played with them. The U of O students made their Christmas wishes come true. A group of young people can project hope into a community. They are touching the lives of the children. We are so grateful for them and the other donations of the community. I believe God is in charge of this whole process.” UOFOATHLETICS.COM

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Women’s Swimming Completes First Season Of Competition The women’s swim team completed its inaugural season at the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championships to finish the year and saw significant improvement from its first meet. Head Coach David DeGeus was pleased with his team’s effort at the conference championships. “All of our swimmers dropped massive amounts of time in every race,” he said. “The team represented our school well with good sportsmanship. The SCAC directed a great championship and we are proud to be part of this conference. I am excited to return next year 16

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with a bigger roster and build on the success of this season”. DeGeus believes the 2016-2017 team gained valuable experience at all of its races, including the competitive SCAC championships, and will build upon the successes earned entering next year. Ozarks swam in eight other meets in addition to the SCAC Championships. Ozarks hosted two meets during its inaugural season at the impressive Clarksville Aquatics Center, making marked improvement in each meet.


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Brueckner Guides Men’s Soccer To 14th Playoff Appearance The men’s soccer team advanced to the American Southwest Conference Championship Tournament under first-year head coach Aaron Brueckner for the 14th time in school history. Ozarks finished the regular season as the No. 5 seed and took on Concordia University Texas in the quarterfinals. Ozarks dropped the match and finished with a 10-6-3 overall record. “It is a great feeling to be able to contribute to the program’s history,” said Brueckner. “The guys have a good understanding that the playoffs are expected

here.” Seven members of the team received All-Conference honors following the season. Senior midfielder Thomas Mills earned a spot on the All-ASC First Team. Junior forward Bryce Young earned a spot on the AllASC Second Team, while junior defender Alex Ross and sophomore defender Matt Samaniego were named to the All-ASC Third Team. Senior midfielder Stewart Mena, junior midfielder Johnson Cijulus and junior goalkeeper Luis Mena earned Honorable Mention AllASC honors. UOFOATHLETICS.COM

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Jeff Proctor Wins Trap Championship Clay target team member Jeff Proctor won the 2016 USA Shotgun Championship in Olympic Trap at the Olympic Shooting Complex in Colorado Springs. Proctor, a junior Elementary Education major from Hector, Ark., hit 226 clay targets out of 250 to win the title in the Class B Division. He shot a perfect score in round eight to help fuel his championship. According to Proctor, his accomplishment didn’t hit home until the drive back to Arkansas. “It didn’t really hit me until I was about half way home from Colorado,” he said. “It was pretty surreal 18

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just having that opportunity and winning.” Proctor’s championship is even more impressive considering his competition. “I shot next to guys who competed at the London Olympics,” he said. “Legendary Coach Lloyd Woodhouse was there watching, so for the first few days I was in awe of the experience.” Proctor has set his sights on the 2020 Olympics. “I’m setting my sights on the Tokyo summer Olympics in 2020,” he said. “My next goal is to make the Olympic team or national team.”


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Basketball Teams Assist With Local Youth In All-Star Classic The men’s and women’s basketball teams partnered with more than 25 students from the Clarksville and Lamar school districts for a morning of basketball and fun October 28 in the All-Star Classic. U of O players helped the elementary and junior high students from self-contained classrooms in a variety of drills related to shooting and ball handling. Additionally, everyone participated in relay races and a full-court basketball scrimmage. Head Men’s Basketball Coach David Ferrell introduced each student to the crowd, and the cheerleading team enthusiastically

cheered every participant prior to the activities. Student-Athlete Advisory Committee members also teamed up with both basketball teams in helping with the drills and relay races. Senior center Pete Barber noted the day’s experience was enjoyable. “Today put a bright spot in my week, and I think for everyone else’s too,” he said. “It was very cool and fun.” In addition to the high fives and positivity that filled the day, each student took a picture with a U of O player in a photo booth session and had a group lunch. UOFOATHLETICS.COM

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Men’s Swimming Finishes Inaugural Season Strong The men’s swim team completed its inaugural season at the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championships in February and saw significant improvement from its first meet. Head Coach David DeGeus was pleased with his team’s effort at the conference championships. “All of our swimmers dropped massive amounts of time in every race,” he said. “The team represented our school well with good sportsmanship. The SCAC directed a great championship and we are proud to be part of this conference. I am excited to return next year 20

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with a bigger roster and build on the success of this season”. At the SCAC championships, Jake Sawyer was the first men’s swimmer to put points on the board for Ozarks, advancing to the first ever individual consolation finals for the Eagles. Ozarks swam in eight other meets in addition to the SCAC Championships. Ozarks hosted two meets during its inaugural season at the beautiful Clarksville Aquatics Center, making marked improvement in each meet.


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Summer Sanders

Grace Brown

UNIVERSITY OF THE OZARKS

SPRING 2017

2017 Spring University of the Ozarks Eagle Insider  
2017 Spring University of the Ozarks Eagle Insider  

2017 Spring University of the Ozarks Eagle Insider

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