- Bros before foes
Maselera brothers reunite as Gorillas
Michael Bauer | reporter
The rain beat down on the players’ helmets. The drizzling conditions soaked Brandenburg Field at Carnie Smith Stadium.
On one sideline, in the red PSU uniform, was cornerback Israel Maselera, a fifth-year senior in communication, who goes by the nickname Izzy.
On the other sideline, in white, playing at safety, was his younger brother Isaac, a junior transfer from Oklahoma State who is majoring in physical education.
This was a rare time in which Izzy and Isaac were playing against each other on separate teams.
But this wasn’t a regular football game. This was the Spring Game, a glorified practice within the Pittsburg State Gorillas football team between the Red and White teams in front of a small Saturday morning crowd of 1,000.
The Maselera brothers have been reunited at Pittsburg State for the upcoming season. It’ll be the first time since their high school playing days at Glenpool High School in Tulsa, Okla., that they will be lining up on the same team.
“It’s good to get to work with my brother every day, which is what I like to see, because we get to work on the small things that nobody gets to see,” Isaac said. “Like working on each other’s character and everything that involves football.”
The brothers are inseparable and their schedule helps explain.
The first thing Isaac does in the morning is get dressed, climb into his car and pick up his older brother Izzy.
The duo rendezvous at PSU with the rest of the Gorilla football team to prepare for practice. After a morning of running and workouts, the brothers will often go back to Izzy’s place for much needed sleep and relaxation until it’s time for class.
“Sometimes he’ll sleep at my place until practice,” Izzy said.
During the Spring Game, a taunt of “you’re looking a little slow there, 15!” came from the Red sideline, directed at Isaac.
Isaac responded to the joke from his teammates with a merciless collar tackle on a receiver.
For the record, it’s not Izzy who shouted it.
Just like with most siblings, the two have had their share of teasing each other, fighting for who is momma’s favorite and trying to outdo one another while playing football as kids.
“If I scored a touchdown, (Izzy) would be mad because I was the younger one,” Isaac said. “I always wanted to play, but I was young. We pretty much mocked each other.”
But those days have passed, and Isaac and Izzy keep the rivalry mutual.
“We compete against each other but apparently, we’re both good, so we don’t like to compare,” Izzy says.
It also helps that both are defensive players at different positions so it’s unlikely that they will have to line on opposite sides of the football.
However, it’s not impossible to find ways of scoring the two when it comes to playing on the field.
“I’m sure we want to make plays more than the other one,” Isaac said.
But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been any comedic moments when it comes to football between the Maselera brothers.
In high school, they used to have nicknames for each other. Izzy would refer to Isaac as “giraffe” because of the younger brother’s height and weight. That was before Isaac became 6 feet tall and weighing 183 pounds.
“Now he’s big and buff so we can’t say that now,” Izzy says, who is smaller at 5 feet, 8 inches, weighing 158.
But being the older sibling doesn’t stop Izzy there.
“Since I’m the bigger brother, I can still give him a few moves,” Izzy says, laughing.
Late in the Spring Game, White team quarterback Will Harrington attempted a pass to the endzone to receiver Austin Daniel.
But Daniel was covered by Izzy and the pass fell incomplete. Izzy, it turns out, can show his brother’s team some moves, too.
Winning Runs in the Family
The Maselera brothers last played on the same squad in 2008, for the Glennpool Warriors. Izzy was a senior while Isaac was a sophomore. That season, the Warriors won the school’s second state championship.
The two are aiming for similar success for the Gorillas in 2013.
“I feel real good about it, because we’ve always had suc
cess playing together and we’re hoping to transfer it to the college level,” Izzy said.
The Pittsburg State coaches are hoping for the same thing.
“Both of them are really good kids, that’s the first thing,” said head coach Tim Beck. “They’re super nice kids and Isaac will be a nice addition to our team.”
Winning championships is nothing new to Izzy and Isaac. Izzy helped the Gorillas to a national championship in 2011, where he made 14 tackles. He can show off his national championship ring to Isaac, but the younger Maselera can always say he’s played at the Division I level.
Upon arriving at OSU in Stillwater, Okla., Isaac saw playing time in every game as a freshman in a historic 2011 campaign for the Cowboys that featured the first conference championship since 1976 as well as an appearance in the Fiesta Bowl.
Isaac recorded three tackles that season and says he had the privilege of going up against Heisman Trophy runner-up and eventual NFL first-round draft pick Andrew Luck of Stanford University.
“It was fun; getting to play in the Fiesta Bowl was a big accomplishment,” Isaac said. “Also, getting to beat OU since they’re our rivals.”
Isaac’s 2012 season once again featured only three tackles in fewer games. But problems unrelated to football are what made him leave and join Izzy in Pittsburg.
“I got into off-the-field issues,” Isaac said. “I thought I’d just come here since my brother will keep me out of trouble.”
The Right Move
So far, Isaac has been looking promising for the Gorillas this off-season, as the coaches say he’s been developing well but still has more to give.
“There’s a time period where you have to get comfortable, and he’s (Isaac) not there yet, but he’s getting there,” Beck said.
Isaac and Izzy had near identical performances in the Spring Game. Izzy finished the day with two tackles.
Isaac ended up getting three tackles, with two of them unassisted. That’s about the best he’s performed in a single game. He seems to be transitioning well at PSU.
“Like a lot of people that come from different programs, it’s like learning a whole new language,” said Dave Weimers, defensive coordinator. “There may be things that we coach different than they did (at OSU) but for the most part, he’s doing a really great job of picking up on the system.”
Isaac ultimately got the bragging rights over Izzy as White won 19-7.
The celebrations from the White team quickly died down as the players from both sides joined at midfield, all of them exchanging high-fives and congratulations, with the Maselera brothers doing the same.
One advantage to being on the same team is that the two brothers can help keep each other out of trouble. Also, having two players from the same mother can also help when it comes to team chemistry.
“We ask them a lot about that,” Weimers said. “We want that to be a major part of our team. We want them to be brothers and in this case they really are. You can’t beat family.”
Moving Forward, Together
Izzy might graduate this December while Isaac still has two more years, but the two are already making blueprints on the future.
They plan to live close to each other in the Lone Star state after graduation. The two hope to one day be football coaches and to add a new chapter to their sibling rivalry.
“We’ve already talked about moving to Dallas,” Izzy said. “We want to coach together in high school.”
Why Dallas? Tulsa may be their hometown, but Dallas is where they were born.
As the spectators leave the stadium, the football players soon left the field and headed over to the Weede Athletic Complex.
“I think that day, they were on separate teams, so they were going to be rivals, but it’s more of a working relationship,” Weimers said. “They’re out there standing next to each other so they’ve got to work together just like the rest of the players.”
Opposing offenses will have to watch out this season for Pitt State’s defense, especially those Maselera brothers as they look to anchor the Gorilla D.
“Izzy’s a fantastic person, a good kid, a good man,” Weimers said. “Because of that, we feel like we’re getting the same thing from Isaac.”zp8497586rq
- Sights set on postseason
Michael Bauer | reporter
In their final warmup before the conference championship meet, the Pittsburg State track and field teams competed on Sunday, April 27, at the Missouri Southern State Bill Williams/Bob Laptad invitational in Joplin, Mo.
While the conditions may not have been so favorable, the Gorillas came away with three individual wins on the men’s side while the women had two.
“I thought we got through it, nobody got hurt the weekend before conference,” said Russ Jewett, head coach. “We had a few bright spots.”
Pittsburg State came in second in the javelin, with Derek Base’s throw of 170 feet, 4 inches.
Justin Ballock was also runner-up in the 400-meter hurdles, with a time of 54.97. The 400-meter relay team of Jason Crow, Keenan Soles, Greg Wright and Kyle Utsey placed second.
The 400-meter relay team came up short to Missouri Southern State by .0001 second to finish as runner-up.
In the field events, Cody Holland took third in the shot put with a toss of 52 feet, 4.5 inches.
“Cody Holland showed good slings in the shot put,” Jewett said.
John Talbert was the victor in the discus with a toss of 174 feet, 8 inches. He also took second in the hammer.
Garrett Cantrell was first in the javelin with a throw of 185 feet, 7 inches, while James Carter III was also first in the 400-meter with a time of 49.94.
With the conference championships next week, Jewett says it is tough to compete well the week before: Avoiding injury is extra crucial for each player.
“It’s tough to psychologically get excited to race before conference,” Jewett said. “But we kept everybody healthy. We improved a little bit.”
Anthony Hobbs was third in the high jump, as was Jeff Piepenbrink in the pole vault. Holland finished third in the shot put and Will Livingston was also third in the 100-meter dash.
On the women’s side, Shanise Rice took first in the javelin with a throw of 128 feet, 5 in
ches, while the 1,600-meter relay team of Emily Ballock, Lauren Ouderkirk, Hilary Dickey and Ramie Grayson placed first with a time of 3:51.38.
Aime Orton took second in the javelin, and behind her was Amber Kloster. Larissa Richards took second place in the hammer throw and shot put. Sarah Talbert and Randi Pierce were second in the discus and high jumps, respectively.
The Gorilla track teams were originally supposed to compete at the Drake Invitational the day before going to Joplin.
But because MSSU rescheduled the meet a day earlier, Pittsburg State decided to forego the Drake Invitational.
The last-second scheduling did not force any major changes to the track squad, Jewett says.
“No matter what the year, the weekend before conference is the weekend to get ready for the conference meet,” Jewett said.
Now, turning their attention to the MIAA championships in Hays, the Gorillas are going to face some stiff competition from both sides. The women will have to watch out for what could be a powerful Lincoln University squad.
“On the women’s side, nobody’s going to beat Lincoln,” Jewett said. “Unless they just don’t show up, literally. It’s a matter where everybody is competing for second. I think we can compete for a runner-up spot. I think our women’s team is in position to do that.
The Gorilla men are the defending conference champions but should face a battle from five other schools.
“It’s going to be a dog fight. There are four teams, maybe five that have a chance to win it,” Jewett said. “We have the target on our backs and so does Missouri Southern and Central Missouri.
Jewett says MSSU also improved tremendously over the weekend and should be added to the mix as contenders.
“They’ve got a beloved head coach who is retiring after this season so that emotion might help them win the conference championship,” Jewett said.
The meet will take place Friday, May 3, through Sunday.zp8497586rq
- Red team fizzles in second half
Michael Bauer | reporter
The White team emerged as the victors over the Red team, 19-7, in the 2013 PSU Spring Football game on Saturday, April 27, at Carnie Smith Stadium.
The exhibition game was played on a rainy, drizzly morning. Team captains divided the football team into Red and White sides.
It was a game in which defense would rule the field, though quarterbacks for both teams got to show off their skills.
White quarterback Ramsey Hamilton had two rushing touchdowns on runs of two and 12 yards, respectively. He finished the day with 12 carries for 63 yards and completed four of seven passes for 48 yards.
Red quarterback Darrack Harger completed five of 17 passes for a total of 71 yards, and one touchdown pass.
“We had some good competition, and luckily, we got through without getting anybody injured,” said Tim Beck, head coach. “That’s kind of the main thing you worry about as a coach on this last day, but we had some guys playing hard and running to the ball well.”
Red took an early lead, 7-0, with
Harger connecting with receiver Gavin Lutman for a 45-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
“Darrack Harger, Ramsey Hamilton and Todd Freeman made some nice plays,” Beck said. “They just need a little time to develop and understand what we’re doing. It takes time. We’ve got to be patient with them. They’re talented young men and they work hard and hopefully, they’ll continue to get better.”
White battled back to take the lead, 12-7, after Hamilton’s touchdowns.
Hamilton’s favorite target was Marquise Cushon. The receiver caught four passes for 53 yards.
“We played fairly fast, our execution wasn’t real good at times but sometimes when you draft teams like that, you have offensive linemen playing next to somebody they don’t normally play with and that makes it a little bit difficult,” Beck said.
Solomon Watkins rushed for 34 yards off of six carries for Red.
The game’s deciding play came off a 74-yard fumble return by Aries Herrion in the fourth quarter that led to a White touchdown to put the icing on the cake.
When asked if the game was an upset, Beck says it was for the Red team.
“They’ve been talking a lot the last couple days,” Beck said, smiling. “White didn’t talk as much. They just listened and took care of business today.”
PSU starting quarterback Anthony Abenoja did not suit up for the game as the Gorillas were looking to give the backup quarterbacks a chance to play.
“We held Anthony out today because we know what he can do and where he’s at,” Beck said. “It was important to get the rest of them some reps.”
Team captains and All Americans Nate Dreiling and John Brown also did not suit up for the game.zp8497586rq
- Shelbourn lifts Gorillas to victory
Trent Johnson | reporter
The Pittsburg State softball team (22-20, 10-12 MIAA) earned a split against MIAA foe Missouri Southern State University (22-22, 9-13 MIAA) on Tuesday, April 16, at the Pittsburg State Softball Complex.
The Gorillas’ Kyndel Shelburn (8-7) paced the team to a victory in the first game. Shelburn threw a complete game for the Gorillas, allowing just one unearned run, one hit and striking out six.
The Gorillas got on the scoreboard early in the first inning on an unearned run of their own as Kreslee Ketcham reached on an error to score Brenna George from second base.
The Lions tied the game in the third inning, scoring their lone run on a bases loaded walk by Shelburn. Shelburn struck out the next batter to end the inning to keep the scored tied, 1-1.
Pittsburg State answered quickly in the bottom half of the third inning. Samantha Grove hit a two-RBI single, which turned out to be the game winning hit for the Gorillas.
After a scoreless top of the fourth for the Lions, the Gorillas tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fourth to make the score 5-1. Shelburn cruised through the final three innings to secure the victory, 5-1, for the Gorillas.
Game two saw a slugfest between the two rivals with Missouri Southern coming out on top. The Gorillas lit up the scoreboard first, when George crossed home plate off a Ketcham sacrifice fly.
The Gorillas held on to the lead, 1-0, until the top of the third inning.
Then, the Lions got a sacrifice fly of their own off the bat of Dawn Grass, scoring Brooke Swadley. Pittsburg State quickly got the run back after Katelyn Birchfield was walked with the bases loaded giving the Gorillas an advantage, 2-1.
The Gorillas added to the lead in the fifth inning when Ketcham hit a two-run homerun to right field.
Missouri Southern put together their big inning in the top of the sixth, trailing 5-1. The Lions pounded out seven runs on eight hits in the sixth to take the lead, 8-4.
Pittsburg State answered with one run in the bottom of the sixth on a Kayla Sears solo home run. The Lions went scoreless in the seventh.
Trailing 8-5 heading into their final at bat, the Gorillas put together a rally to send the game to extra innings.
Sears singled to score two runs after Tiffany Brown had already scored on a wild pitch. In the eighth, the Lions scored three runs off of a K Goins double to deep left center field.
The Gorillas were out of clutch hits in the final inning, going down in order. Sarah Williams (6-6) of the Lions notched the win, Shelburn (8-8) took the loss for Pittsburg State. Sears went 2-4 with 3 RBI’s for the Gorillas.
The Gorillas’ next action will be at home this Saturday, April 20, as they welcome the Lincoln Blue Tigers to the PSU Softball Complex.zp8497586rq
- Splittin' again
Gorillas split with ESU as Lindenwood looms
The Pittsburg State baseball team was hard at work Tuesday, April 16, playing in a double-header against the Emporia State Hornets.
The Gorillas split the two-game series against the Hornets at Al Ortolani Field with a winning score, 5-0, in game one while losing in game two, 2-9.
In game one, Pitt State scored off a failed pickoff attempt, giving Tory Stoffregen the go-ahead score.
Then things heated up in the bottom of the second for the Gorillas, as they scored four runs off of three hits. Luke Bordewick scored off a Ryan Ventura single before Tanner Carpenter, Austin Lastimado, and Ventura all ran home off a Stoffregen single.
The Gorillas used Brandecker’s season-best 10 strikeouts to help secure the victory in game one.
In game two, things didn’t go as well for the Gorillas, as they couldn’t hold off the Hornets and secured only three hits in the nine-inning contest.
ESU came out swinging in the top of the third, scoring four runs to help gain the lead after Pitt State went up, 2-1, early on.
In the top of the sixth, Emporia State scored two more runs off a Dalton Piecukonis double to left field. Piecukonis would himself score after Blake Sturgeon singled up the middle.
That helped earn the win, 2-9, and even things out in the double-header.
Next up for Pitt State is a road trip to St. Charles, Mo., where they face off against fellow MIAA conference opponent Lindenwood University.
The Gorillas will take part in a three-game stint against the Lindenwood Lions with a double-header starting things off at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 20, as well as a single game Sunday, April 21.zp8497586rq