MC Chaps baseball team ends season at nationals

The Midland College baseball team (42-25) finished its season in a run-rule win by the number-three ranked Iowa Western (55-11). The game ended in six innings 11-1 at JUCO World Series at Suplizio Field in Grand Junction, Colo. on May 29.

The team experienced a season raucous ride after starting with a 2-14 record and almost making it to the end of the national tournament as champions.

The Chaps also lost to Iowa Western Monday, May 26, 9-0 in seven innings in earlier play. The Chaps lost in the second round of winner’s bracket after defeating Johnson County (Kansas) Community College  in first round.

The Chaps went 40-23 after winning the Western Junior College Athletic Conference’s Region V Tournament in Lubbock. It’s the team’s second straight national tourney.

 

Missing sports at MC due to lack of funding, support

More official sports opportunities at Midland College are unlikely even though neighboring University of Texas of the Permian Basin is adding football to its line-up, according to some MC students and officials.

MC athletics include baseball, volleyball, softball, golf and basketball, but sports such as track, soccer and swimming may be low-cost additions.

MC Professor and Sports Advocate Lee Almaguer said, “I don’t believe that MC should have any more sports. I love sports, but the money should go into construction.”

Funding isn’t the only problem keeping MC from expanding its athletic program. If more sports were to be added, the college would face the issue of a possible lack of support.

“Another problem is how many people would actually show up to these events?” Almaguer said.

MC Student Kayla Paschall agrees. “I have been to a few sports events throughout the semester and I’ve noticed that there’s not a lot of supporters,” she said. “If MC added another sport, I believe that it might lack fans as well.”

Another barrier to consider is equality and fairness among MC students.

“The Title Nine rule also has to be considered,” Almaguer said. “Due to gender equality and the majority of the students being female, more scholarships would have to be given to girls. The gender ratio is 59 to 41, so for every 10 scholarships given to boys 12 or 13 would have to be given to girls.”

The biggest concern with adding more sports to the athletic program is the new sport being able to sustain itself.

The sport would have to be able to financially support itself and benefit the college.

Would MC end up losing money by adding more sports?

“The most logical and cheapest sport to put in would be soccer, but could it sustain itself though?” Almaguer said.

Community colleges use their athletic programs to increase enrollment and expand their college, Almaguer said. “Is this the best way to increase enrollment though?”

MC Softball Player Taylor Daniels said promotion is the key to any expansion.

“I feel like softball isn’t advertised as much as the other sports are. If MC were to expand the athletic program, there would need to be better advertising in order to gain fans and financial supporters,” Daniels said.IMG_0545

Sports banquet honors athletes

After enduring hard practices, injuries and tough games, MC athletes were honored with a crowded room of fans, teammates and family to watch their shining moment. The athletes who have worked all season long received recognition from athletic staff and fans at the annual sports banquet in April.

Athletic Director Forrest Allen welcomed the well-dressed crowd with a speech honoring the hard work of the athletes, and also the team behind the scenes which keeps the program going. Gary McQuerry, MC athletics announcer for the past 10 years, gave the opening prayer and said he was blessed to have served for so long as the MC announcer.

Then a video featuring highlights of all MC sports began. Reta Mason, athletic secretary to Forrest Allen, and Barbara Willis, basics math teacher at MC, assisted attendees during the highlight reel.

The spirit squad was the first group up for awards, which were presented by its adviser and coach, Ty Solis. All but one of the spirit squad would be moving to other places after this semester, according to Solis.

Next Allen commended Head Athletic Trainer Sonya Mikeska.

“Sonya is one of the hardest working people I know. She does a phenomenal and thankless job,” Allen said before letting her have the podium.
“I just want my student trainers to know how appreciative I am and acknowledge their hard work,” Mikeska said. She had her student trainers stand up instead of approach the podium and named each trainer with the sports team he or she had worked with.

The MC golf team is still in season but was next up to be honored by its coach, Delnor Poss. “This year’s golf team is an outstanding group of young men,” Poss said. “They won the southwest junior college championship last week. They are the number one scoring team in the nation. I would say they are all the most valuable players.”

Head volleyball coach Tammie Jimenez honored her players next with jokes and awards, and introduced her new assistant volleyball coach, Holli Reyna. She presented the award for most improved player to Megan Sanchez. Offensive player of the year went to Larissa Gomez while defensive player of the year was awarded to Marina Salazar. The most valuable player award was given to Gabby Neito, and the Lady Chap award went to Kristina Gafford.

“I want to give special thanks to Kathleen Leausa who was out with an ACL tear and worked as my assistant on the bench,” Jimenez said. She also gave thanks to her bus drivers, the Willis family, and the fans for their support.

“It was a year of ups and downs,” Head men’s basketball coach Jordan Dreiling said. “We have a phenomenal staff and I’m thankful to be here. We had an unbelievable seven guys that finished the season. You accomplished more than you think you did.”

Head women’s basketball coach Ron Jones said, “We were 18-12 this season. I’m not disappointed in the young ladies I got to coach.”

Katherine Kruschke and Mary Savoy were elected as all-conference players. Savoy was an all-region basketball player and also won awards for offensive player of the year and most valuable player. Defensive player of the year went to Gabriella Martins, most improved player was given to Tajenay Vega, and the Lady Chap award was given to Kruschke.

“We are a having a tough season and lots of injuries,” Head softball coach Tommy Ramos said. “I’m proud of the girls. We decided to have the girls invite their favorite teacher to the banquet as a token of appreciation. Thanks for your support.”

Head baseball coach David Coleman described his team’s season as a rollercoaster and spoke of the team’s rut when it lost four back-to-back games but said they were fighting out of it.

“I’m proud to experience this season with this group of guys,” Coleman said. “My coaching motto is ‘do what’s right.’ This group above all others have done what’s right.”

Academic Excellence awards were also given to students who had a 3.5 GPA or higher. Forty-seven athletes and student trainers were given this honor.

Injury-plagued Rangers start season slowly

Spring training has wrapped up for Major League Baseball. This spring and past winter trade season has seen lots of moves throughout the MLB. The biggest moves came from the New York Yankees, who acquired the premiere pitcher of the Japanese League, Masahiro Tanaka, for $155 million. Despite the price tag, he is projected to be the fourth pitcher in the Bomber’s rotation.

Along with the high-priced pitcher’s announced home in New York comes news that The Captain is retiring at the end of 2014.

Derek Jeter has decided to call it a career just a year after Mariano Rivera. He will be hanging up his spikes after playing his entire 20-year career at Yankee Stadium.

The other big moves in the Big Apple brought last year’s World Series rivals, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, to the team to help shore up the outfield and the departure of Robinson Cano.

Cano took his talents west this offseason and signed a 10 year deal with the Seattle Mariners for $240 million. Also coming to the Yankees is hard-hitting catcher, Brian McCann.

Other notable moves this offseason saw long time Atlanta pitcher, Tim Hudson, move to San Francisco and Curtis Granderson take his talents across town from the Yankees to the Mets.

Out here in Ranger country, the team has made several huge moves this offseason, but has been plagued by injuries throughout spring training. Toward the beginning of the off season came the biggest aquisition for the Rangers.

In a move that left both teams fan bases confused, but mostly happy, Texas secured a trade with Detroit that traded Ian Kinsler, arguably the face of the franchise, for Prince Fielder.

Another welcome addition to the team is center-fielder Shin-Soo Choo. The addition of Choo and Fielder will lessen the sting of losing right-fielder Nelson Cruz, who moved to Baltimore.

All of these moves combined have also made Elvis Andrus the longest tenured player on the roster. He has been with the team since 2009.
These moves could possibly be a moot point as the Rangers have been hindered with injuries all spring. Second baseman Jurickson Profar is out with a torn shoulder muscle and catcher Giovanni Soto is out while recovering from knee surgery. Along with these two is Engel Beltre who has a broken tibia.

The injuries, unfortunately, are not limited to the batting order. The pitching staff has had it’s issues as well. Derek Holland is out while he recovers from knee surgery and Matt Harrison is still not 100 percent after his injuries from last season.

More recently, ace pitcher Yu Darvish was also scratched from his Opening Day start because of stiffness in his neck.

These injuries have left the team scrambling to find players to fill in the gaps while the starters heal. One gap that is partially filled is the spot at second base. The team picked up Donnie Murphy from the Chicago Cubs on waiver.

The start of the season hasn’t been as bad as the expectation was for the Rangers after the injuries started piling up.

After losing a high scoring game to open the season, the team has gotten back on track and managed to stay competitive with the rest of the division. At the time of this writing, the Rangers are 4 – 3.

MC Baseball players commit to OU

Midland College baseball players Chris Shaw and Thomas Mcllraith will be playing for the Oklahoma Sooners this fall.

The players are finishing out the season at MC and are preparing for their transfer to the University of Oklahoma.

Mcllraith and Shaw signed with the OU last fall. Both players were presented with playing offers from other universities, but after their visit to OU, the players said it was an easy decision.

Mcllraith and Shaw visited the campus together in October of 2013, prior to making their decision.

Mcllraith and Shaw watched the OU baseball team practice, hung out with the players, and learned more of what the OU baseball program had to offer.

“I love what they are doing with the baseball program,” Mcllraith said. “I really enjoyed the weekend I got to spend with them.”

“I chose OU because it is a great place to go. It has an atmosphere that is bred for excellence,” said Shaw, who is originally from Canada.

Their time spent interacting with the current OU baseball players increased their excitement.

During their visit, the MC players became impressed with the new OU coaches.

“They have brought in a couple of new coaches who are looking to make a positive impact on the program,” Shaw said.

Both players are excited to see how the new coaches will benefit the Sooners baseball program.

“The new coach was focused on a national championship, and that’s what it’s all about,” Mcllraith said.

The players are anticipating the future competition between OU and other teams in the Big 12 conference.

Playing at the Division I level will bring in competitors like the University of Texas, Kansas State University and OU’s top rival, Oklahoma State University.

“The OU baseball program has had a lot of success in the past. We hope to help the team maintain that success,” Shaw said.

Mcllraith and Shaw are both in their second year of Chaps baseball.

Mcllraith will continue to play pitcher at OU, and Shaw will continue playing catcher.

Both players are planning to make the best of their baseball season at MC.

Both Shaw and Mcllraith said they intend on working as hard as possible to help bring the Chaps to the Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado on May 25.

Lady Chaps end season with loss

Lady Chaps

The Lady Chaps basketball team ended their season with a 97-77 loss against Weatherford College at the Regional Tournament on March 6.

What should have been a great game against the number 18 ranked team started in a tough competition for the women of MC. The women stayed down the entire game and the closest they got was within five points. By the end of the half Weatherford was up 55-25 with no signs of fatigue.

When the women returned to the court after the half, they seemed less enthusiastic than they had been. Shot after shot, the girls seemed to be losing their passion. With five minutes left in the game, the women looked defeated on the bench. In those five minutes Weatherford ran with the ball and destroyed any chance MC had for a win by pulling ahead by twenty points.

“We just got out-played, especially in the first half,” MC coach Ron Jones said. “That’s kind of the way this team has been. It’s been feast or famine. When we turn the ball over, we don’t shoot it very well and we struggle. I’m disappointed we went out that way.”

Leading scorer for MC was freshman guard Ellyn Avery with 20 points. She made six three pointers and seven field goals. The next lead scorer was freshman guard Tajanay Viega with 17 points. Overall team shooting percentage was 38.7 percent.

MC women’s basketball finished with 18 wins and 12 loses in season and looks forward to getting better in the upcoming season.

Mascot experience leads to cheerleader opportunity

In his first year at Midland College, Eddie Tavarez decided to do something out of the ordinary.

Going from a long-distance runner in high school to a mascot and cheerleader his freshmen year of college, was quite the adjustment.

“I had already known most of the cheerleaders and they told me that they needed a mascot, so I was like ‘all right!’

“They told the coach and he basically told me that I was going to be the mascot one night and people were going to observe me and see how I do,” he said.

Tavarez set out to be the MC mascot, but within one practice and two basketball games, the decision was made that Tavarez would soon be taking the mascot uniform off, and putting on a cheerleading uniform.

“I switched over real quick,” he said. “It wasn’t really my choice; it was more of the instructor at Legacy, which is the place we practice at.

“I went to the first day of practice and they told him [Legacy coach] ‘Hey, he’s going to be the mascot’ and he said, ‘No this is nonsense. Let’s try him out as a cheerleader and see if he can do that.’”

Tavarez then tried out as a cheerleader, and got positive feedback from the Legacy coach. He said, ‘You’ve got a lot of potential. We’ll start you off as cheerleader.’”

From there, Tavarez went ahead and tried out as the role of the mascot as well.

The head cheer coach Ty Soliz had Tavarez try out as mascot the first game against New Mexico Junior College as well as the game against Odessa College.

It was the game in which the final decision was made as to what position Tavarez would be filling.

“He told me ‘you’re suiting up as a cheerleader the next game.’ And ever since then that’s what I’ve been doing!” Tavarez said.

When asked if he liked being a cheerleader better than being the mascot he said, “I actually do like it! I like cheerleading better because that mascot costume is hot.”

Going from a long distance runner to a cheerleader, Tavarez said that the scholarship money the program offered was a significant reason to join, as well as getting involved at MC.

“It’s something to get involved with within the school. I go to all the school sporting events anyway because I’m a sports enthusiast, so I thought why not do something and get paid doing it,” Tavarez said.

“We cheer for volleyball, women’s and men’s basketball, and we’re going to the girl’s regional tournament,” he said. “I also just got word that we’re going to baseball and softball home games for support.”

The cheerleaders support the athletes by obviously cheering for them at the games, but like the athletes they also have to prepare for the games.

“We have practice every Tuesday night at 7:30 at Legacy,” Tavarez said.

“It’s a pretty cool place, they have some impressive trophies and banners everywhere.”

When asked if he thought the sport of cheerleading was hard, he said: “Now that I’m doing it— yes! It’s way harder than what most people think of it; there’s a lot of interesting things about it.”

Taking on this new sport given him more “motivation to work out and do better in school,” he said.

When asked if he recommended this program to anybody else, Tavarez said: “You’re representing Midland College along with the athletes; If you want to get involved and have school spirit I recommend it!”

The MC mascot position is currently available. For information, contact Ty Soliz, or visit http://www.midland.edu/students/clubs_cheerleading.php

MC golfers self-driven

IMG_1112The second semester of a year-long golf season is always the most rigorous, according to Midland College golf team members. The players attribute much of their motivation to MC golf coach Delnor Poss.

With the help of Poss and the determination of the players, the Chaps intend on going far. Delnor Poss has been coaching golf at MC since 1978.
His experience in the sport is definitely beneficial to the players,” said team member Jacob Boggus.

MC golf has maintained winning records throughout the past 15 years. The team has held titles such as NJCAA champions in 1992, 1995 and 2008, with several years of second and third place national victories as well.

Team member Russell Lara said, “The season has gone pretty well so far; hopefully we can get better and reach our ultimate goal of a national championship.”

Nationals is considered the biggest tournament of the year. This years’ national tournament will be held in Burlington, Iowa, May 11-16.
Word of MC golf hasn’t only reached local golfers. The team consists of eight members, with players from Texas as well as foreign countries, including England, Scotland and South Africa.

Oswin Schlenkrich, team member from South Africa, was put in touch with coach Poss with the help of a former MC golf player.

So far this season, the golf team has had three second-place finishes, two third-place finishes and two fiisrt-place wins.

Team member Trace Morrow said, “There are seven to eight teams on average participating in the tournaments.

The competition is close, but we have been able to place in every tournament so far.”
The teams’ next tournament is the Ronnie Black Invitational held in Lovington and Hobbs, New Mexico, March 2 and 3.