- Love & Basketball
Nerves run through former PSU basketball player Courtney Ingram as he proposes to his girlfriend Y’Cedria Devers at the senior recognitions after the basketball game against Washburn on Saturday, March 4. The announcer called Devers to the center of the court as her soon-to-be fiancé approached her with the question “Will you marry me?” She said yes. The proposal was posted on YouTube and made it on the local news that evening.
- Overtime loss ends men’s season
| Michael Bauer sports editor |
The Pitt State men’s basketball team knew it needed a victory to have a shot at making this week’s MIAA basketball tournament.
PSU fought for its season, but in the end it wasn’t enough as Washburn ended the Gorillas’ season with a 92-90 overtime victory, on senior day, at John Lance Arena on Saturday, March. 1.
A victory against the Ichabods was not only coveted, but needed, along with a victory of the Southwest Baptist Bearcats against Missouri Western Griffons. SBU kept up its end of the bargin with a win, but with PSU’s defeat, none of it mattered.
Pitt State trailed by 76-69 late in regulation before junior Devon Branch scored the Gorillas’ final 12 points, giving PSU a 81-79 lead with less than 10 seconds left.
Then Stephon Drane found his way into the perimeter and scored the tying basket, forcing overtime.
“Not being able to get stops when we needed to, that was the thing we did not do a very good job of,” said Kevin Muff, head coach.
The Gorillas took an 86-83 lead in overtime but could not make the shots needed for a win and the Ichabods came back to take the lead.
“I thought we had great opportunities,” Muff said. “I think the difference was at the end of overtime.”
Branch led the scoring with 34 points. Sophomore Jake Bullard had 12 points and eight assists for the Gorillas.
“It’s very tough,” Bullard said. “Season-ending. I mean, if you go back and do a couple things different, make a couple more shots, it’s tough to end the season like that.”
Junior Connor Kjer finished with 11 points and shot a 3-pointer in overtime. Junior Sam Pugh missed a 3-pointer with 50 seconds left in regulation.
“Both Connor and Sam had wide-open three looks,” Muff said. “You say we don’t let them shoot those. We’ve let them shoot them all year. We encourage them because they’re good 3-point shooters.”
Kjer went 3-8 on 3-pointers while Pugh went 2-5 from beyond the arc.
With all but two players on the PSU squad returning for next year, the Gorillas will now be looking to replace seniors Ethan Cordray and Terrell Eady.
“Terrell and Ethan aren’t going to be easy to replace,” Muff said. “Just because of so much of it is your mentality, your attitude and your work ethic. Both of those kids are just awesome. We’ll miss both of them.”
The Gorillas end the season in 13th place in conference standings with a 7-18 record. The Ichabods finished the regular season with a 17-9 record and will now look to next week’s MIAA Tournament.
- 3-game winning streak
| Dakota Smith reporter |
The Pitt State softball team won all three of its games at home this weekend, making its record 9-4 overall.
The tournament the Gorillas were supposed to play at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin was canceled, but that did not keep the Gorillas off the field. Pitt State played three games at home against other teams from the tournament.
The first game was against Wayne State (Neb.) on Feb 28. Pitt State took a 2-0 lead in the first on an RBI single by freshman Nicole Nease and an RBI double by junior McKenzie Rynard.
Wayne State tied the game in the second.
Pitt State took the lead in the third on an RBI single by Rynard. However, Wayne State also scored in the third to tie the game at three. Senior Tiffany Brown homered in the fourth to give the Gorillas the lead. Wayne State scored two in the bottom of the fourth to take its first lead of the game. Pitt State tied it in the fifth on an RBI groundout by sophomore Jordan Bradshaw.
The game went into extra innings tied at five. Pitt State scored two runs on bases loaded walks in the eighth and went on to win by a final score of 7-5. Samantha Grove got the win, improving to 5-0 on the year.
The Gorillas’ second game on Feb. 28 came against Sioux Falls. Pitt State scored early and often.
Freshman Kylie Guthier got things started in the first with an RBI double. Guthier then hit a two-run home run in the third to give the Gorillas a 3-0 lead. Pitt State started to pull away even more in the fourth, scoring five runs. Brown hit a three-run homer, then the Gorillas scored on a wild pitch and got another run on an RBI groundout by senior Breanna McCracken to put the Gorillas up 8-0.
Pitt State did even more damage in the fifth, scoring six runs. Freshman Bailey Letts got things started with an RBI double. Brown hit her second home run of the game, driving in two. Pitt State then scored on a fielder’s choice and got RBI singles from Bradshaw and senior Breanna George to bring its lead to 14-0. Sioux Falls scored two in the fifth, but the game ended there because of the run rule, giving the Gorillas a 14-2 victory.
Pitt State’s final game of the weekend came on March 1 against Sioux Falls. The Gorillas got the same result as the day before. Pitt State got off to a good start scoring two runs in the first inning on an RBI single by Letts and an RBI double from Brown. The score remained the same until the Gorillas scored two in the fifth on a home run by Brown and an RBI single by junior Cheslyn Mitchell. Sioux Falls scored one in the sixth. Mitchell had another RBI single in the seventh, and the Gorillas won by a final of 5-1. Grove got the win for the Gorillas, making her 6-0 on the year.
Pitt State travels on Saturday, March 8, to Joplin, Mo., for a double-header against Missouri Southern.
- Gorilla men win MIAA title; women fourth
| Michael Bauer sports editor |
One and a-half points. That’s all that separated the Pittsburg State men’s track team from second place at the conference indoor track and field title as the Gorillas claimed the championship on Sunday, March 2.
The Gorillas outdid the Lions of Missouri Southern State at the MIAA championship in Joplin, Mo.
PSU finished with 130.5 total points over MSSU’s 129. It was the Gorillas first indoor league title in 19 years and the program’s third MIAA indoor title overall.
The title ended a six-year run by Central Missouri University as the Mules took fourth with 77.2 points.
It all started with senior Adam Volkert, who won the mile run in a time of 4:16.21. He later picked up four crucial points in a fifth place finish in the 3,000 meter run, clocking in at 8:40.71.
Junior Andre Sanders captured the MIAA title in the 60 meter hurdles finishing in 8.07.
In the shot put freshman Bo Farrow placed second at 53-6.25. Senior Cody Holland was fourth in 52-2.75 and sophomore Garrett Appier took sixth with 51-8.5. Junior Luke Wilson placed seventh in 51-1.75.
Junior Jeff Piepenbrink won the MIAA title in the pole vault with a clearance of 16-10. He made the top mark in Division II this season. Junior Jordan Peters finished runner-up in the 600-yard run in a time of 1:14.11.
Junior Steven Mann earned All-MIAA honors in the long jump with a third-place finish in 23-8.75. Senior Kyle Utsey took sixth in the discipline at 22-11.
Senior James Carter III finished in fifth place in the 800 meters in 1:56.21. His three points gave PSU a crucial 125.5 to 102 lead at the time.
MSSU pushed a 15-point comeback in the 200 meters with Jeff Fraley winning the race and Erron Hailey claiming fourth for the Lions closing the gap to 125.5 to 117.
But Volkert kept the Gorillas in the winning position with a fifth-place finish in the 3,000 meters.
On Sunday the Gorillas got field event victories by juniors Luke Wilson and Marquise Cushon.
Wilson won the weight throw with a toss of 58-9.5 while Cushon won the triple jump with a jump of 49-7.
Piepenbrink also finished as the MIAA runner-up in the heptathlon. Holland took third in the weight throw with 55-9.25.
The victory added another trophy to PSU’s track and field program, along with the Gorillas’ two-time defending MIAA outdoor titles.
The Gorilla women finished fourth at the 2014 MIAA Indoor Championships.
PSU finished with 59 points while Lincoln University captured its fourth straight conference crown with 153 points. MSSU took second with 123.5 points, followed by Central Missouri with 82 points.
Senior Jessica Macy finished MIAA runner-up in the 5,000 meters on Saturday, March 1, and followed it up with an runner-up finish in the 3,000 meters on Sunday, March 2, finishing the race in a time of 10:00.55.
Junior Ramie Grayson placed fifth in the long jump in 18-9.25 while taking sixth in the 60 meters in 7.68. She took sixth in the 200 meters in 25.44.
Freshman Hannah DeVries ended up taking seventh in the 3,000 meters in 10:19.35.
Freshman Heather Glenn captured the MIAA title in the pole vault. She had a clearance of 12-6.25. Sophomore Cassie Caswell was fourth in the weight throw in a toss of 55-8.5. Sophomore Darien Stancell took fifth in the discipline in 54-10.25. Freshman Deja Snell picked up a point with her eighth-place finish in the triple jump in 37-7.25.
The next meet for the Gorillas indoor track and field squads will be the NCAA Division II National Championships on Friday, March 14, and Saturday, March 15, in Winston-Salem, N.C.
- Dramatic Finish
baseball record 5-6
| Dakota Smith reporter |
The Pittsburg State baseball team split a four-game series against Emporia State at home Thursday and Friday, Feb. 27-28.
The series began with a double-header on Thursday, going down to the wire.
Spencer Booe singled home a run in the second inning.
The Hornets evened the game up in the fifth and remained tied until the bottom of the seventh when junior Cody Ball stepped up to the plate. Ball drove the first pitch out of the park for a walk-off home run to give the Gorillas a 2-1 victory. Pitt State got a great pitching performance from senior Tyler Thompson, who pitched a complete game giving up just one run on four hits.
The second game of the double-header was not in favor for PSU. Emporia State scored three runs in the second inning, four runs in the third and three in the seventh, keeping the Gorillas at zero for a Hornet victory of 10-0.
A second double-header on Friday, Feb. 28, ended the same as the previous day. The Hornets claimed its second victory; however, the final score was much closer. In the first inning ESU took a 2-0 lead. The Gorillas scored one run in the second on a RBI groundout from junior Ian Robinson.
Emporia State extended its lead to 5-1 in the top of the fourth. PSU answered with two runs of its own on a single by senior Evan Thomas. Senior Kyle Dickens evened the game up with a 2-RBI single in the bottom of the fifth. Emporia State hit a solo home-run in the seventh and took the victory 6-5.
Game two was another nail biter. Emporia State led 3-0 going into the bottom of the fourth, when junior Derek Hackney drove in a run on a sacrifice fly. Pitt State would take the lead in the bottom of the sixth with RBI singles by Dickens and Ball and the team scored a run on an error making the score 4-3. Emporia State pulled ahead in the seventh with three runs of their own. Pitt State scored on a balk in the seventh. Booe hit a single in the eighth to tie the game 6-6.
With one out in the bottom of the ninth senior Brad Foss came to the plate and did what Ball did the day before, hitting a walk-off home run to give the Gorillas the victory 7-6.
Pitt State’s game scheduled against Drury on March 5, has been canceled. The Gorillas will play a weekend four-game series against the Mules of Central Missouri on March 7-9.
- Post season bound
Jeronimus scores 20 in 62-49 win over Washburn
| Michael Bauer sports editor |
After avenging an earlier season loss to the Emporia State Hornets, the Gorilla women’s basketball team was able to avenge another previous defeat, this time against the Washburn Ichabods.
With a 62-49 victory Saturday, March 1, at John Lance arena on Senior Day, the Gorillas accomplished the feat just in time to close out the regular season.
Junior Lizzy Jeronimus finished with 20 points to lead PSU in scoring, and the Gorillas limited Washburn to 21-second half points.
“We did an outstanding job,” said Lane Lord, head coach. “In the first half, we were switching what we call dribble handoff, we were switching 1-2-3 positions and in the second half, we started 1-2-4 and it really seemed to disrupt their offense.”
Jeronimus became the fifth all-time leading scorer in school history with 1,566 points, and her 596 career rebounds tie her for fourth with Jenny Pracht.
As if that weren’t enough, Jeronimus was perfect from the line with 10 free throws.
“That really helps,” Lord said. “Lizzy’s pretty good from the foul line. Last time we were up at Washburn, she struggled quite a bit. I thought she let the game come to her today.”
It was the last home game for PSU seniors Alex Muff, Y’Cedria Devers and Alexa Bordewick.
“Each year you have a senior class, but this one’s pretty special,” Lord said. “We’ve got Alexa who’s been here for four years. She makes big shots in big games. She’s had a great career for us.”
Bordewick hit a pair of 3-pointers and scored six points, while Devers and Muff added two points apiece.
“Alex Muff’s a great leader for us,” Lord said. “Just plays her heart out. (Devers) will always give us a great effort and she had a big steal at the end for us.”
Sophomore Cathy Brugman finished with 13 points and shot a 3-pointer at the end of the first half to give PSU a 32-28 lead at the break.
Junior Antqunita Reed produced 12 points in 17 minutes off the bench. Sophomore Kylie Gafford had two steals and two blocked shots.
Pittsburg State ends the regular season with a 23-6 overall record and a 15-3 record in the MIAA.
The Gorillas will head into this week’s MIAA Tournament with a third seed, behind Central Missouri and Emporia State, and will face Southwest Baptist in tonight’s quarterfinal match-up at 8:15 p.m. in Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo.
The Gorillas are currently on an 11-game winning streak and are thinking beyond the conference tournament as they look to get back to the NCAA Division II Tournament after missing out last year.
“I don’t think we’ve ever thought, ‘Oh, if we lose the win streak,’” Bordewick said. “It would be nice to win the conference tournament, but we’re also in the regional tournament. We’re still excited to be able to move on after that. I don’t think the streak is really what’s important to us right now.”
- Brown wows NFL
Star wide receiver performs well at Combine
| Val Vita reporter |
Four years ago, John Brown felt he had lost everything. Now, he’s got a serious shot at pro-football fame.
On the night when Brown’s older brother, James, was shot three times outside a Miami nightclub, in July 2010, Brown’s cell phone was dead.
“And I left it dead,” said Brown, 23, who played as a wide receiver for the Pittsburg State Gorillas until 2013. “When I turned it on, there were a lot of voice mails and text messages. I called my mom and cried, but I didn’t believe. I just believed when I saw him.”
Brown went back to Homestead, Fla., right after he got the bad news, just in time to say goodbye to James, who eventually died.
“I thought about giving up on school, on life,” Brown said. “It was the end of semester and I didn’t want to come back.”
Brown recovered and performed well at Coffeyville Community College, before coming to Pitt State in 2011 after he was recruited by Tim Beck, head football coach.
Three years later, after a stellar career as a Gorilla, where, among other great achievements, he scored 32 touchdowns, Brown got the chance to compete at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium in the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine.
Though Pittsburg State is a renowned NCAA Division II school, this was still a remarkable event on its own: Brown is only the third Gorilla to go to the Combine in 25 years.
There, Brown came alive.
He posted the second-fastest time in the 40-yard dash, and won broad praise from sports journalists and league observers. It seems certain that Brown will have a place on some NFL team.
“The NFL has always been a dream of mine,” Brown said. “The Combine has been a great experience for meeting some of the biggest legends of coaches and players from the best college teams. I feel really good. I am a hard worker and I’m willing to help the team in the best way I can.”
Brown is considered an incredibly quick and versatile athlete, known at Pittsburg State as a runner, return man and wide receiver, who regularly challenged Midcontinent Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) records.
At the Combine, Beck says, Brown has performed “extremely well, like we thought he would do.”
“He is a natural,” Beck added. “His moves are very smooth and he is confident in his ability. He has already proved he belongs there. I think he will be drafted. Now it’s a just a matter of time.” The NFL draft will be held from May 8 to May 10.
Brown’s talent as a football player first came into being when he was 5 years old. His brother James first introduced him to the sport, in a suburb of Miami.
Challenges lay between Brown and the pros, however.
“My childhood was rough,” he said. “Growing up where there are a lot of gangs and violence, the only way to make it was playing sports.”
Of course, football wasn’t the only part of Brown’s plans.
“I want to be able to help kids back home that I know are going through the same things I did,” he said.
One kid in particular is important to him: his daughter, Caia, born in 2012.
The Pitt State legend and rising football star has a solid career ahead of him, with the support of his family behind him.
“I remembered what (James) always told me,” Brown said. “‘If I don’t make it, my little brother will.’”
- Upset against ESU, 84-76
| Michael Bauer sports editor |
The Pittsburg State Gorilla men had finally ended its seven-game losing streak with a 84-76 victory against the Emporia State Hornets at John Lance Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 26.
“It feels good. We’re still alive: a wins a win, and we’ll take it,” Bullard said.
Bullard led the scoring, finishing with 24 points, while junior Devon Branch had 19.
For PSU (8-17, 4-14 in MIAA), the victory, coupled with Missouri Western’s loss to Central Missouri keeps the Gorillas’ hopes of playing in next week’s MIAA tournament alive. Pitt State is second-to-last behind Missouri Western, but if PSU wins on Saturday, March 1, and Western losses to Southwest Baptist, Pitt State will make the final spot in the tournament.
But as far as PSU is concerned, it’s treating these last two games like the tournament has already begun.
“If we lose, we’re done,” said Kevin Muff, head coach.
Junior Sam Pugh played his first game since being sidelined with a head injury.
“It feels good to be back,” Pugh said. “It felt good to get a win.”
The Gorillas shot 80 percent from the line while the Hornets were 63 percent. Pitt State shot 48.3 percent on field goals and ESU shot 43.3.
In three-pointers the Gorillas shot 37.5 percent while the Hornets shot 43.8 percent. ESU slightly out-rebounded PSU 36-35.
The Gorillas took an 18-17 lead before the Hornets cruised in front for the majority of the first half.
A lay-up by Branch closed the gap to 36-34 but Josh Pedersen of Emporia used a tip-off to put ESU ahead 38-34 at halftime.
Bullard hit an inside jumper in the second half putting PSU in the lead followed by two shots from the line making the score 44-41 PSU with 17:00 remaining.
After a travel was called on freshman Josiah Gustafson, the Hornets took the lead. Bullard responded with a slam-dunk to put the Gorillas back on top, and junior Alex Williams hit a lay-up after a defensive rebound from freshman Trevor Gregory.
“Trevor had a great game and did a good job of guarding inside,” Muff said.
A 4-0 run by PSU put it ahead by seven with 7:24 on the clock.
At 4:58 Emporia trailed by one but the Gorillas managed to keep the lead.
“We put them on the foul line,” Muff said. “We switched to a zone, and they kept missing.”
The Gorillas will face the Washburn Ichabods in another do-or-die game for the regular season finale on Saturday, March 1, at John Lance Arena.
“We’re taking one game at a time,” Pugh said. “As far as we’re concerned, we still have five games to go.”
- Split conference opener
| Dakota Smith reporter |
The Gorilla baseball team played a four-game weekend series against Fort Hays State from Feb. 21 to Feb. 23.
Pitt State’s first game did not go its way. The Gorillas started with a lead 3-1 after a three-run homer by senior Tory Stoffregen.
Those were the only pointss PSU would get in the game. Fort Hays put up four runs in the bottom of the fifth and one in the sixth, taking the victory of 6-3.
Senior Tyler Thompson took the loss for the Gorillas, pitching five innings and two outs, allowing six earned runs on seven hits.
Next up, a double-header on Saturday, Feb. 22. Pitt trailed 2-0 after the first inning in game one.
Junior Andrew Kreiling was the first Gorilla to score a run with an RBI single. Stoffregen had two RBI triples and junior Derek Hackney added an RBI single, putting the Gorillas up at 4-2.
The gap widened when senior Kyle Dickens hit a three-run home run and Pitt State added another run in the fourth, taking the victory in the end with a final score of 8-7.
Game two of the double-header started well, with the Gorillas scoring twice in the first inning.
Stoffregen hit his second home-run of the series in the second inning to put the Gorillas up 3-0.
The Tigers tied the game with a sacrifice fly in the seventh, going on to take the win 6-5.
Looking to split the series with a win, Pitt State took to the field Sunday, Feb. 23, for the final game of the series.
The Gorillas put the first run on the board with an RBI groundout by Hackney. Dickens hit a solo home run in the second to widen the lead 2-0.
An RBI single from senior Evan Thomas in the third inning put the Gorillas up 3-1. Both teams scored one run in the sixth. Dickens hit his second home-run of the game, giving PSU the lead and final score of the game: 7-3.
Next up for Pitt State is a home double-header against Emporia State at 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27.
- Track athletes compete at Nebraska Tune-up
| Michael Bauer sports editor |
The Pittsburg State men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams competed at the Nebraska Tune-up Meet on Friday, Feb. 21, in Lincoln, Neb.
It was the final preparation for the 2014 MIAA (Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association) indoor championships.
In the men’s action, freshman Bo Farrow placed second in the shot put with a toss of 53 feet, 5.75 inches. Sophomore Garrett Appier finished third in the discipline at 50-8.75, while junior Jeff Piepenbrink took third in the pole vault with a clearance of 16-9.5.
Christian Sanderfer of Nebraska was first in the pole vault with a clearance of 17-1.50. Craig Driver of Nebraska was ahead of Piepenbrink with a clearance of 16-9.50.
Freshman Jayce Phillips was 12th with a clearance of 14-10.00.
Junior Marquis Cushon took third in the triple jump with 46-10.25. He finished ahead of Wayne Northover of South Dakota State, while Davon Clark of Nebraska finished first with a jump of 47-6.25.
Sophomore Anthony Yates finished 29th in the 1-mile run in a time of 4:30.75.
Sophomore Luke Norris and junior Ryan Ramler were 15th and 16th, respectively, in the 60-meter hurdles. Norris finished in a time of 8.62 while Ramler was three seconds behind.
In the weight throw, junior Garrett Cantrell took fifth with a toss of 48-7.25.
Junior Joseph Talbert was sixth with a toss of 48-7.25.
For the Gorilla women, freshman Heather Glenn was third in the pole vault with a clearance of 12-2.75.
Paula Andrie and Tess Merrill of Nebraska were first and second, respectively, in the pole vault.
Senior Ashley Bowman was eighth in the pole vault with a clearance of 11-3.00.
Sophomore Cassie Caswell took third in the shot put with a throw of 46-10.75.
Caswell was fifth in the weight throw with a toss of 50-0.5. Sophomore Darien Stancell took fourth in the weight throw, throwing a distance of 51-7.
Veronica Grizzle of Nebraska was first in the weight throw, going 64-09.25.
In the triple jump, freshman Deja Snell was eighth with a jump of 37-0.50. She was followed by freshman Conner Schultz who had a jump of 34-9.00.
The next meet for the men’s and women’s indoor track squads will be at the Conference Championships, in Joplin, Mo., at Missouri Southern State University. The meet will run from Friday, Feb. 28, to Sunday, March 2, at MSSU’s Leggett & Platt Athletic Center. It’ll be the third time for a few of the PSU athletes to compete in Joplin, this season after participating in the MSSU Invitational and the Lion Invite in January.
Those who qualify will advance to the National Indoor Championships in Winston-Salem, N.C., Friday and Saturday, March 14 and 15.