The 2009-10 Newman University athletic season has drawn to a close, and will go down in history as “A Year of Firsts.” This year marked one of post-season appearances, player and coach of the year honors, and the dawn of a new era for the Jets.
The Newman Bowling Team once again maintained its tradition of excellence through the 2009-10 season. Led by 2008-09 National Coach of the Year Billy Murphy, the Jets men’s squad notched top-10 finishes in eight of its 12 tournaments, including a second place finish at Wichita’s Midstates Championships, and a third place finish at the team’s regional tournament in Peoria, Ill. That finish allowed the Jets to qualify for the national tournament for the fourth time in the program’s seven-year history.
While the Jets took an early exit from the national championships, finishing tied for 13th, the trip was well worth the drive, as senior Derek Hartnell was honored as the National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association’s “Most Valuable Player.” Hartnell became the first Newman bowler to be named national MVP. The Jets will lose Hartnell to graduation this May, but seven freshmen and four sophomores stand ready to take his place next season. The same is true on the women’s side, where 11 of the 14 student-athletes on the roster were freshmen or sophomores.
The 2010-11 season promises to be an exciting one for Newman bowling.
Sophomores Blake Fisher and Mitch Arnold became Newman’s first-ever NCAA National Championship qualifiers in any sport, representing the Jets at the NCAA Div. II National Wrestling Championships March 12-13 in Omaha, Neb. Arnold made sure his time in the tournament was well-spent, knocking off West Liberty State’s Mitch Smith, who entered the tournament as the No. 2-ranked 149 lb. wrestler in the nation, in the first round of the tournament. Both Newman wrestlers bowed out of the tournament with a 1-2 record.
The Jets also received a gift off the mats, moving into a new practice facility in January. The facility is located on the grounds of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ’s Wichita Center, adjacent to the Newman University campus, and will provide much-needed additional space and safety features.
Head Coach Ryan Smith has already received three letters of intent from high school state championship placers, and has received several more commitments. Expect the Jets to emerge as a force to be reckoned with through the 2010-11 season and beyond.
With only some minor hiccups along the way, the Newman men’s golf team opened strong and never looked back. The Jets won its first tournament of the season at the Charles Cody West Texas Intercollegiate, defeating Abilene Christian, the top-ranked team in the South Central Region, in the process. Newman never finished lower than fifth in the fall season, and overcame minimal practice availability over the winter to post top-10 finishes in four of its six tournaments in the fall. After finishing fourth at the Heartland Conference Championship in Edmond, Okla., the Jets were awarded an at-large bid to the NCAA Div. II Regional Tournament in Duncan, Okla., marking the first NCAA Div. II Regional appearance for the Jets.
Head Coach Kent Notestine’s job will be an easy one this fall, as four of the five members on the Jets’ regional scorecard will return to the squad next season.
For many golf coaches, filling a line-up sheet with five freshman is a recipe for disaster. For Newman head coach Don Farquhar, it was a recipe for success. The Newman women’s golf team had a record-breaking season, which concluded with a third place finish at the Heartland Conference Golf Championship in Edmond, Okla., the team’s highest Heartland Conference finish ever! Golf coaches around the conference took note of Newman’s rising stars, as Linzi Allan was named to the All-Heartland Conference First Team, while Alyssa Balding and Andrea Martires earned Second Team All-Heartland Conference honors. Allan made her presence known for the Jets in her first season, one that was highlighted by a tournament win at the Lady Buff Stampede in September, and a tie with teammate Andrea Martires at the Heartland Conference tournament.
Look for more firsts from the Newman women’s golf team in 2010-11.
Wichita State transfer Laryssa Ferreira almost instantly became Newman’s most decorated women’s tennis player. As she dominated the Heartland Conference on her way to an unblemished 5-0 conference record at Newman’s No. 1 singles position, Ferreira earned four Heartland Conference Player of the Week honors, became Newman’s first-ever regionally ranked singles player (debuting at No. 8 in the March 30 ITA South Central Region poll), and capped her season by becoming Newman’s first-ever Heartland Conference Tennis Player of the Year. Ferreira finished her first season as a Jet with a 16-1 record in singles play.
Ferreira has one more season left, and head coach Shella Augspurger is hard on the recruiting trail hoping to take another step toward becoming a Heartland Conference contender next season.
After posting a winning conference record for the first time as a Heartland Conference member, and knocking off perennial powerhouse St. Edward’s on a penalty kick in the second overtime period, Head Women’s Soccer Coach Derek Nichols was honored by his peers as the Heartland Conference Women’s Soccer Coach of the Year, becoming the first Newman head coach to earn conference Coach of the Year honors. Nichols and the Jets finished fourth in the Heartland Conference with an 8-7-4 overall record, and a 6-4-2 mark in Heartland Conference play.
A mid-season coaching change couldn’t stop some Newman baseball players from setting records this season. Ryan Peterson became one of just 10 players in NCAA Div. II history to record three hits in a single inning as part of Newman’s 21-2 win over Oklahoma Panhandle State on April 23. The next day, Brandon Cox broke a Newman record by becoming the first player to record four doubles in a single game as part of the Jets’ 14-6 win over OPSU on April 24. As a team, the Jets broke a long-standing home run record, by drilling eight long balls in a 26-3 win over Lincoln on April 2 in Jefferson City, Mo. The eight home runs is the most ever hit by a Newman squad, breaking the previous record of seven that was set in 1998 against Kansas Wesleyan.
The Newman men’s basketball squad made what it hopes is a new home in the top tier of the Heartland Conference this season. The Jets finished as the Heartland Conference runners-up with an 18-10 overall record, and an 11-5 mark in conference play. Newman also made its first-ever post-season appearance as an NCAA Div. II member, earning the No. 2 seed at the Heartland Conference Championship tournament in San Antonio, Texas. Notable wins along the way included a 68-46 dismantling of Pittsburg State in Fugate Gymnasium, an 80-77 road win at Emporia State, and an 86-81 win over Dallas Baptist. The Jets also dropped a 72-65 decision to Midwestern State, who advanced to the NCAA Div. II Elite Eight. Newman’s season also started with a first, as the Jets traveled across town to take on Wichita State in its first-ever exhibition game against a NCAA Div. I opponent. Jaray Mathews was honored for his defensive work by being named Newman’s first-ever Heartland Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
With the addition of Head Women’s Basketball Coach Jaime Green, Newman Athletic Director Vic Trilli is hopeful that 2010-11 will be another year of firsts for the women’s basketball program. Green came to Newman after spending three seasons as the Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Labette Community College, where she led the Cardinals to an 81-21 record, capped by a third place finish at the NJCAA National Tournament, falling only to the eventual tournament champions from Gulf Coast Community College. During her time at Labette, Green produced 17 NCAA Div. I and II signees, five all-Region VI selections, five Junior College Academic All-Americans, two Jayhawk Conference Players of the Year, two Jayhawk Conference MVP’s, and four Region VI All-Tournament Team selections. She was also the Jayhawk East Coach of the Year last season. Green and her staff (assistants Andy Hamilton and Gayla Soyez) have hit the recruiting trail hard in preparation for what they hope to be a banner year for Newman women’s basketball.