New Season Fresh Start

The Arkansas State Women’s basketball team started their season Thursday, November 2, 2017, at First National Bank Arena. They defeated Arkansas at Monticello in their exhibition game 83-52. Under Head Coach Brian Boyer, the team looks to be off to a good start for the season.

Last season the team had a few challenges with a few new players to the team made it difficult for them to find their rhythm after Tayton Hopkins and Akasha Westbrook missed many games in the 2016-2017 season. They ended the season 7-25 overall and 4-14 in the Sun Belt Conference.

Two returning players are Starr Taylor and Akasha Westbrook.

Starr Taylor had 22 starts last season for A-State and had an average of 6.3 points and 2.2 assists as a freshman. She attended Jonesboro High School in Arkansas where she led her team to their first state championship and was named the state championship Most Valuable Player award. Starr also ran track for Jonesboro High School and graduated with a 4.18 GPA.

Akasha Westbrook is a junior from Malvern, Arkansas majoring in exercise science. As a junior, she scored a career-high of 20 points at Iowa State and started in eight games at the beginning of the season before injuring her foot against South Florida. In high school, Akasha led her team to back-to-back championships in 2013 and 2014 and earned the Most Valuable Player award in 2013. She was also 2014 finalists for the KATV McDonald’s Full Court Player of the Year award.

A-State Women’s Opener Interview

A-State Women’s Basketball 2017-2018 Schedule

Women’s Basketball Roster

 

 

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A-State Track & Field

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The Arkansas State University Track & Field team had some great individual performances last year from athletes Jaylen Bacon, Tiaan Steenkamp, Erin Farmer, Calea Carr, and Christian Ravar Ladislau, all of which competed at the NCAA National Track Meet. Freshman, Hayden Hampton also had a stand out year, competing in the USATF Junior Olympics, which is restricted for athletes under 20 years old. Bacon, and Farmer competed for spots on the Team USA national team, Bacon secured a spot on Team USA’s 4×4 team.

While there were plenty of individual accomplishments, as a team A-State fell short of repeating as conference Champions during their outdoor and indoor seasons. Their first time in five years not winning a conference championship in either season. In order to figure out how the Red Wolves plan on getting back to their winning ways I got in contact with assistant coach, Jarius Cooper. When asked how he was going to capitalize off the great individual performances from last year, Cooper said he has a different approach, saying “One of the biggest things is to remember last year, and let it go”. Coach Coop said he wants his teams to focus on the future, and understand that last year is over. In order to become Sun Belt Champions again Cooper is looking forward to seeing his Women’s team build from their second place finish this year. On the Men’s team he is looking for them to function more as a cohesive unit, Cooper stated “The team allowed the injury of one of their premier male athletes to distract them from pushing the envelope, and accomplishing their goal”. The Assistant Coach also said that he was extremely excited about a change that came from head coach, Jim Patchell, giving him the green light to coach all sprinters and hurdlers. This move will give the group of sprinters, hurdlers, and relay teams a sense of “cohesion”, and will make them better as a group, said Cooper.

Coach Jarius Cooper at practice during the fall semester. Photo taken by Zachary Franklin Ramon Dantzler

 

The A-State track team has been hard at work during fall practices to get in shape and get back to their winning ways! Lookout for Cooper, and the Red Wolves to dominate on the track this season! Below is a link to the Track schedule so you can support your Red Wolves.

 

 

 

A-State Track Schedule

Behind The Scenes

Baseball Field

The Arkansas State baseball team has 35 players on their roster that are seen every day on campus, out in public, and of course on the baseball field. You also see the coaches out in the public, sometimes around campus, and on the field that get a lot of credit for getting their team ready to start a new season. The people that never get credit or are even well known around campus for what they do is the equipment managers on the baseball team.

The managers play a huge role on the team. They get the field ready every day before practice, they open the locker room for early morning lifting, and they do the laundry after weights and practice. If the baseball team did not have these guys than I don’t think they would know what to do. They do all of the stuff that none of the players want to do or what the coaches want to do.

Another big role they have on the baseball team is getting the lockers stocked up with all the gear the team needs. You might think this is an easy task but they have to make sure each player has the correct size, the right number, and that they are not missing anything. They also make sure the gear is not damaged and if it is then they make sure a non damaged pair is in the locker and ready for the game or practice.

Their job is not something that goes unnoticed. They are rewarded every year for the job they do year round. The way they are rewarded is through a scholarship that is granted to them. The scholarship works differently for each manager based off of their year in school. Freshman are granted a 25 percent scholarship, sophomores get 50 percent, junior get 75 percent, and seniors receive a 100 percent scholarship. The benefits of this job are pretty good but their is an interview process that is involved, late nights and early mornings, and jobs that are not to fun a lot of the time.

The managers also get to travel with the team and miss class in the spring. This might seem like a vacation but it really isn’t. They still wash the jerseys every night and have the clothes ready the next morning for the team to play their next game. They also make sure the team has lunch every day and dinner every night. They have done a great job through the years doing this for the team so we will see if they can keep it up.

The baseball coaches and players know what these managers go through every day. They are treated just like every other player on the team and they know that. This is a big role in Coach Raffo’s eyes and he makes sure his players know that. He makes sure the managers are thanked as much as possible and he cares for them just as much as his players.

Arkansas State Baseball

Here’s to Senior Year

Volleyball season is officially under way. The Arkansas State volleyball team have 3-3 record in the Sun Belt conference. For two seniors on the team, they are ready to take on the season. Drew Jones and Jessica Uke teammates since 2014 and have even made SBC Freshman of the week during their freshman year.

Drew Jones is an accounting and finance major from Fort Smith, Arkansas. She is an outside hitter and has her own personal accomplishment in volleyball for collegiate and high school. In a previous game against UT Arlington, Jones was the lead player from the game with receiving her ninth double- double of the season, and including 13 kills on a .448 attacking percentage and 10 digs. Drew Jones was a three-time All-Conference and All-State player and named 7A State Tournament MVP as a senior. Jones was also able to lead her Southside team to a 34-3 record and 7A State Championship.

Jessica Uke is an exercise science major from Dallas, Texas. Her position is middle blocker who had a great season in 26 matched with 21 starts her junior year. That year she led the team with a .365 hitting percentage and was ranked second best in the Sun Belt Conference and fifth best in a season at Arkansas State University. Uke led her high school team, Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS), to the 2013 5A State Championship match and was also TAPPS honorable mention middle blocker as a senior.

Interview w/ Drew Jones and Jessica Uke

Drew Jones Bio

Jessica Uke Bio

A-State Volleyball 2017 Schedule

Coaching Carousel

The Arkansas State Men’s Rugby Club has been a perennial rugby powerhouse for over 15 years. However, much like the A-State football team, the rugby program has experienced five coaching changes since 2010. Even with the turnover, The rugby Red Wolves have experienced tremendous success, winning back-to-back national sevens titles in 2012 and 2013. With all of the change, there is one constant, The Pack.

IMG_1246“No matter which coach comes or what adversity the whole team goes through, we stick together. That’s what packs do” explained senior Dylan Boast from Atlanta, Georgia.

“We’re just a super tight-knit group of guys. That’s really what kept me here. There were other options, but I couldn’t turn my back on the boys” said Neil Maestri, a senior winger from Katy, Texas.

Speaking of tight-knit, the Red Wolves are not just from all over the country, but all over the world. This diversity of cultures also helps the boys become closer by sharing life experiences.  Imagine being a parent and sending your child overseas, just to learn that the coach who recruited him is no longer there. You would want you child to still succeed in the classroom and on the pitch and represent themselves in all aspects. That is another similarity between the five coaches; maintaining a good reputation and putting in the hard work it takes to succeed.

Fall 2017 Red Wolves Rugby Schedule:

Oct. 7 — Alumni Weekend (Curt Huckaby Field), 1 p.m.
Oct. 14 — Missouri (Columbia, Mo.), TBA
Oct. 28 — Lindenwood Belleville (Curt HuckabyField), 1 p.m.

Nov. 4 — Arkansas (Little Rock), TBA
Nov. 11 — Davenport (Grand Rapids, Mich.), TBA
Nov. 18 — Texas (Curt Huckaby Field), 1 p.m.

A-State Coaches (since the 2010 season)

  • Matt Huckaby
  • Alex Houser
  • NeMani Delaibatiki
  • Shaun Potgieter
  • Blake White

For more information, please check out the following links:

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Womens Rugby In Jeopardy.

Although the college rugby season is just about over Arkansas State women’s rugby has little to show for it. The teams lack of success is not due to a lack of effort but a coach that has gone AWOL.

Without a coach the women’s team has been unable to practice and compete this past season. This all started about six months ago when women’s rugby coach Andrea Street quit coming to practices and eventually quit the team all together.

The problems didn’t stop there however. When Street left she allegedly took off with both the team jerseys and funding raised by the student athletes.

Hannah Malone was enthusiastic to play this season until she heard about what had happened with her coach. She had been brought into the rugby pack during her freshman year and was expected to do well this season.

Hannah described what had happened saying “It felt like we lost all of our structure and everything we worked for was pointless.”

Now without a coach, jerseys or money the Arkansas State Women’s Rugby team is in jeopardy of becoming non existent.

For more information about A-States Women’s Rugby check out:

https://www.astate.edu/a/campus-recreation/club-sports/

https://www.facebook.com/astatewrc/

https://www.gofundme.com/astatewrc

Track and Field: Comfortable Indoors

The Arkansas State Track and Field team literally “hit the ground running” this past weekend at the annual A-State Kickoff Klassic at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro. The two day event consistently featured strong showings from ASU athletes in a variety of events. Seeing the Kickoff Klassic is the only event of the indoor season for this semester, it is not only a great motivator to get the athletes through the long holiday break, but also serves as a barometer for what to expect in the spring semester.

If one is to judge how the bulk of season will go by this event, they would have to be more than encouraged from the results. With 13 Red Wolves’ winning the top spot in their respective events, ASU made their presence felt early in the indoor season. Erin Farmer, a senior from League City, Texas obliterated her own record set last season in the shot put competition. Extending her record from 15.93 to 17.19 meters, Farmer obviously did not take much time off in the “offseason.”Furthermore, the women’s shot put team swept the podium with junior Calea Carr taking second and freshman Danielle Lorenze claiming third.

Not to be outdone, the men’s hurdlers also made it a clean-sweep in the 55 meter hurdles. Jamil Peeples won the race, followed by Nick Hilson and Clarence Simpkins to make it all Red Wolves in the top three spots. Additionally, Jaylen Bacon grabbed the top spot in the 55 meter dash, and Elijah Ross finished just nine-tenths of a second behind him in second. These are but a few of the players on the men and women’s side that proved to be the best in their events.

Going forward, the Arkansas State Track and Field team looks forward to five more indoor competitions on its way to the Sun Belt Conference Indoor Championships beginning on February 20th. Next up, the Red Wolves set out to prove their performance recently was more than home field advantage as they travel to Lexington, Ky, Jan. 13-14 for the Kentucky Invitational. Then it’s on to Bloomington, Ind. Jan.20-21 for the Gladstien Invite, and returning home the following weekend Jan.27-28 for the A-State Invitational. Finally, the final two stops before the conference championships is in Carbondale, Ill. Feb.3-4 at the SIU Invitational and Feb.10-11 in Albuquerque, N.M. at the Don Kirby Elite.

That’s right, there is not one weekend off for the Red Wolves Track and Field team when they return from break. It goes without saying, the commitment and sacrifice these athletes make to compete at the collegiate level is highly commendable. So, if you find yourself with the weekend off next semster, go and support your track and field athletes. These champion athletes represent the university with respect and hard work. What is more, they win while they do it.

Track and Field/XC page

NCAA men’s indoor site

NCAA women’s indoor site

Upcoming schedule