Transition Year Sees Progress for Gents Basketball
The 2005–06 men’s basketball season was a rebuilding year under first-year head coach Rob Flaska. The Gents finished 4-23 while getting used to new offenses and defenses brought by Flaska, a former University of Arkansas assistant coach. However, to really understand how far along the team came throughout the season, look past the win-loss mark. The Gents lost 11 of their games by 10 points or fewer, including five by fewer than five points.
Newcomer Chris Watson led the team at 14 points per game. The junior from Mississippi enjoyed several outstanding efforts, including six games scoring over 20 points and a season-best 32 points against rival Northwestern State in a 76-74 loss. The 2005–06 squad featured only three returners from the previous team. Junior Jason Underwood was recognized for his work in the classroom as he was named to the Academic All-Conference Team by the Mid-Continent Conference.
Ladies Basketball Guard Breaks Four School Records
On April 22, Steve Curtis was hired as the fourth head coach of the Ladies basketball team since Centenary reestablished a Division I program in 1999. Curtis inherited a squad that finished 3-24 but returns second team honorable mention All-Mid-Con performer and honorable mention All-Louisiana guard Holli Wilkins.
Wilkins set school records in steals in a game, steals in a season, blocks in a game and three pointers made in a game. She also finished the season ranked sixth in the nation in steals per game.
Softball Team Garners Awards, Player Appears in Sports Illustrated
The Centenary softball team finished the 2006 campaign at 31-25, marking its third consecutive season with a winning record. The Ladies entered the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament as the No. 2 seed once again, but lost both of their games and were eliminated. It was the first time the Maroon and White missed out on the NCAA Tournament since 2003.
Several Ladies received postseason recognition for their hard work on the field. The awards began on the conference level where junior Micah Rhodes was named first team All-Mid-Con. Freshman Emerald Doria was named Newcomer of the Year while Doria, fellow freshman Ashley Lail and sophomore Jennifer Mango were selected to the second team. Lauren Flowers and Megan Hall were also recognized by the Mid-Con with spots on the All-Tournament Team.
The Louisiana Sports Writers Association also chose Rhodes as a first team member and tabbed Doria its Freshman of the Year. Doria and Mango were also named to the second team. Rhodes was also selected to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-South Region Second Team and appeared in the Faces in the Crowd portion of Sports Illustrated during the season.
In the classroom, nine Ladies were named to the Mid-Con Academic All-Conference Team. The Ladies honored include Dana Davis, Doria, Flowers, Jessica Ivins, Jennifer Martin, Allison McClain, Leslie Postles, Rhodes and Amy Wiedeman.
Gents Baseball Team Proves to be Diamond in the Rough
For the third time in as many years of Mid-Continent Conference play, the Gents qualified for the four-team postseason tournament. As the fourth seed, the Maroon and White took eventual champion Oral Roberts to the brink, falling 5-4 in 10 innings in the tournament opener. The Gents finished the season 23-30 with an even .500 record in Mid-Con play.
Three Gents earned first team All-Conference honors: third baseman Jimmy Baker, designated hitter Justin Darr and outfielder Tim Ryan. Darr and Ryan were also selected honorable mention All-Louisiana by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, and nine Gents earned Academic All-Conference honors.
Accolades Earned by Centenary Golfers On and Off the Green
Both the Centenary men’s and women’s golf teams qualified together for their first Mid-Continent Conference postseason play since joining the league three years ago. Ladies freshman Jessica Garza won her first collegiate tournament en route to three Top 10 finishes and a second team All-Mid-Con award. Four Ladies golfers and a pair of Gents earned Academic All-Conference accolades.
Gymnasts Leap to the Top for Sixth Consecutive Season
It seems every April the Ladies gymnastics team is making another trip to the USA Gymnastics National Championships, and this year was no different. The Ladies qualified for the event for the sixth straight season and finished fifth in the competition. Sophomore Meredith Smith scored a 9.750 on the vault to become the USA Gymnastics National Vault Champion to highlight the journey to Ithaca, N.Y.
Julia Cornelius, Smith and Kristina Menne each earned USAG All-America awards by finishing in the top eight of their respective events on the opening day of the competition. Cornelius’ effort came on beam, Smith’s on vault and Menne garnered All-America status on both the floor exercise and in the all-around. Menne was also named Midwest Independent Gymnast of the Week during the season after winning the all-around at the Midwest Independent Championships.
Tennis Players Outmatch Opponents in Classroom
The men’s and women’s tennis teams landed a total of six players on the Mid-Con Academic All-Conference Team. Seva Kostelanetz and Arthur Okura represented the Gents while Kristina Collins, Heather Kelley, Christine Majchrowicz and Versha Sharma were the chosen players from the Ladies side.
On the court, Kelley led the Ladies with seven individual wins, including three in Mid-Con play. Courtney Myers matched Kelley’s production, also posting three wins within the conference. The Ladies were 3-5 as a team within the league and finished 5-14 on the season.
The Gents did not manage a victory in Mid-Con play despite playing several close matches. The men did finish 3-13 overall, led by Matt Shoptaugh’s eight individual wins. Playing primarily in the fifth singles slot, Shoptaugh also recorded a 4-1 mark against Mid-Con opponents.