Archive for the ‘News & Events’ Category

Men’s Basketball Advances to NCCAA Semifinals

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

A fast break jam by Caleb Featherston put the exclamation mark on Grace’s men’s basketball team’s convincing 81-71 win over Colorado Christian in the first game of the NCCAA National Championships held at Grace.

The Lancers (19-14) will play in the national semifinals on Thursday 8:45 p.m. against No. 6 Roberts Wesleyan at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Greg Miller, Logan Irwin and Jared Treadway starred for Grace on Wednesday as Miller led all players with 24 points. Irwin tallied 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting and eight assists, and Treadway produced a double-double of 10 points and 12 boards.

Colorado Christian, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, ripped off 40 points in the first half as the Cougars (17-14) nailed 56 percent of their field goals. A 3-pointer from Michael Brown lifted CCU to a 36-25 lead with less than six minutes on the clock.

But the Lancers turned the game around over the final six minutes of the half. Grace’s 17-4 run to close the half turned an 11-point deficit into a 42-40 lead as the halftime buzzer sounded.

Midway into the second half, Grace used an 11-2 spurt to increase its lead to double figures. A 3-pointer from Niko Read and a three-point play from Miller sparked Grace’s charge.

The Cougars were unable to claw back into contention. A breakaway dunk by Caleb Featherston accentuated Grace’s strong second-half performance and sent the packed MOCC crowd into a frenzied state.

As a team Grace outrebounded Colorado Christian by eight. The Lancers also stifled the Cougars into 30-percent shooting after halftime, while Grace made 52 percent of its shots in the second half. Grace held a commanding 40-16 advantage in points scored inside the paint.

Brandon Vanderhegghen tallied 10 points and seven rebounds, Read added nine points off the bench, and Featherston chipped in seven points.

To follow Thursday’s semifinal action, click here to view the NCCAA Championship Central.

Additionally, Grace’s win gave head coach Jim Kessler 698 career victories at the helm of the Lancers’ program.

Lady Lancers Nearly Topple Top-seeded Lee at NCCAA Nationals

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Grace’s women’s basketball team gave top-seeded Lee (Tenn.) all it could handle on Wednesday night in the opening round of the NCCAA National Championships. But Lee staved off the upset of the tournament with a 66-58 victory at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Juaneice Jackson led all players with 27 points, including four 3-pointers, and Allison Kauffman added 20 points and eight boards. However, Grace struggled to find offensive production beyond Jackson and Kauffman as Chloe Pridgen was the next highest scorer with four points.

The Lady Lancers (17-16) played suffocating defense in the opening period, limiting the high-scoring Lady Flames (24-5) to 27-percent shooting and 29 points.

Grace, on the other hand, excelled with its shooting touch. The Lady Lancers hit a sizzling 56 percent from the floor. The team’s ball handling was less refined as Grace struggled to 13 first-half turnovers.

Juaneice Jackson drilled a pair of 3-pointers and slashed her way to 12 points in the opening period, and Allison Kauffman scored nine. Only one other player for Grace had more than two points (Kelsey Sule, 3).

Grace trailed 29-28 at the halftime break. Lindsey Schaefer scored the first points of the second half to lift the Lady Lancers ahead by one. But Lee’s Hollie German scored back-to-back hoops to put the Lady Flames ahead for good.

Lee held a slight cushion over the home team for the rest of the half, but Grace refused to fade in front of a rowdy MOCC fan base. Jackson’s basket with 4:59 on the clock cut the Lady Lancers’ deficit to three points at 51-48. But Grace lost much of its momentum down the stretch as three offensive fouls were whistled against the Lady Lancers in a five-minute span. Lee was able to ice the win with seven free throws in the final2:18.

After shooting 56 percent in the first half, Grace’s shooting dramatically shrank to 28 percent after halftime. The Lady Flames also benefitted with 24 points off of Grace’s 22 turnovers.

The Lady Lancers will continue tournament action in the consolation bracket against No. 4 seed Oklahoma Christian tomorrow at 8:30 a.m.

Applied Learning Program at Grace College an Astounding Success

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Pictured is Grace College freshman and Applied learning student, Savannah Balluch

Grace College continues to prioritize and pursue innovative educational experiences for its students. One of their widely successful initiatives is the Applied Learning program, launched in January of 2011. The program has since allowed 205 students to gain earned credit through hands-on experiences in a variety of settings and positions including work with a great number of churches, business, and institutions in the local community. This spring semester, 58 students are earning such credit, the largest number to date.

The program emphasizes commitment to analytic inquiry, active learning, real-world problem solving, and innovation.  Students may experience applied learning through both traditional and non-traditional assignments.  The goal is to link knowledge and/or skills acquired in work, community, and/or research activities with knowledge acquired in the classroom and through traditional schoolwork.

“Applied Learning is making a difference for our students,” said Randy Polston, program director. “We have had students hired by a number of different companies after they logged hours to earn applied learning credit. Applied Learning experiences also provide employers the opportunity to observe students while on the job.  Students are sharing with me that experiences within the AL program are helping them see what God has planned for them and their careers.”

As of March 5, 2014, Grace College now offers 163 applied learning experiences for their students. “Businesses, agencies, and churches are welcoming our students with open arms,” explained Polston.  “Many are now contacting me to ask, ‘How can we be a part of this program?’”

“I am so impressed with and blessed by the Applied Learning program,” said Savannah Balluch, a freshman studying communications and psychology at Grace. “I think it is so crucial for students to spend time learning hands-on in their career of choice. I think it is amazing that Grace has taken the time to make so many of these opportunities available. It is so clear that the program cares personally for each student and wants to work to make sure students are comfortable in these environments.”

If you are a business or organization that would like to become involved in the Applied Learning program, please contact Randy Polston at polstorw@grace.edu or by phone 574.372.5100 ext. 6416.

Grace Basketball Eyes Up First-Round Opponents at NCCAA Nationals

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Pictured is Greg Miller (left) and Juaneice Jackson (right)

The brackets have been set and the opponents drawn for Grace’s men’s and women’s basketball teams at this week’s NCCAA National Championships.

The Lancers and Lady Lancers – playing together at NCCAA Nationals for the first time – tip off on Wednesday night at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center. The eighth-seeded Lady Lancers will face top-seeded Lee (Tenn.) at 5:15 p.m. The men’s team (No. 7 seed) will play No. 2 Colorado Christian at 7:30 p.m.

NCCAA TOURNAMENT INFORMATION HERE

The 2014 men’s and women’s tournament field is loaded with talent from NCAA Div. II, NCCAA and NAIA levels. Teams come from as far as New York, California, South Carolina and Oklahoma to the MOCC fromWednesday to Saturday with national championship aspirations.

The Lady Lancers’ first-round opponent Lee was last year’s NAIA Div. I national runner-up. The high-scoring Flames are led by Hollie German, who has scored over 2,000 points in her career. Lee averages 70 points per game and outscores its opponents by over 10 ppg.

Juaneice Jackson headlines Grace’s women’s team, who is coming off its best Crossroads League season (12-6) in program history. Jackson became Grace’s all-time scoring champion in January and leads the Lady Lancers with 18.3 points, 2.7 assists and 2.5 steals per game.

In the men’s bracket Grace will square off with Colorado Christian, winners of six of its past nine games. The Cougars rip off 85 ppg offensively, but they also give up over 82 points defensively. Colorado Christian averages 10 made 3-pointers per game, hitting 40 percent as a team from beyond the arc.

The Lancers are enjoying an eighth consecutive national tournament appearance. After losing their first five league games, the Lancers recovered to win eight of their final 13 contests. Grace nearly won the CL Tournament as the No. 6 seed, coming up five points short to Bethel in the championship.

Senior Greg Miller paces the Lancers offensively, averaging 17.7 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Logan Irwin (13.1 ppg) and Niko Read (11.0) also average double-digit scoring.

Ticket information and live video coverage of the tournament games can be found at www.GCLancers.com/NCCAA.

Lady Lancers Win NCCAA Midwest Title

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Pictured is Grace's women's basketball team celebrating its NCCAA Midwest Regional Championship on Thursday

Grace’s women’s basketball team earned its first championship of any kind on Thursday with an 84-66 victory over Oakland City, claiming the 2014 NCCAA Midwest Regional Championship.

The Lady Lancers will enter next week’s NCCAA National Championships, held at Grace College, as the Midwest champ. The team’s first-round opponent will be released late Saturday night with the announcement of the official tournament field. Both Grace’s men’s and women’s teams will participate in NCCAA Nationals for the first time this year. The tournament is held from March 19-22.

Juaneice Jackson dazzled her way to 22 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists in 31 minutes of action. Allison Kauffman added 22 points and six boards.

Grace led for all but 28 seconds of Thursday’s title game. A basket from Darian Patton gave Grace the lead for good at 4-3, and the Lady Lancers maintained a slight lead for the rest of the half. Jackson and Lindsey Schaefer scored quick baskets in the final minute of the half to lift Grace to a 39-33 halftime advantage.

Kelsey Sule was a spark off the bench offensively, scoring seven points to help break down Oakland City’s 2-3 zone defense.

The Lady Lancers opened the second half on a 27-13 run, pulling away from the Oaks. A basket from Micah Pollard lifted Grace to a 66-46 lead with 10:46 remaining.

Oakland City made its strongest push of the game after Pollard’s shot, ripping off 12 points in less than two minutes to trim Grace’s cushion to eight points. But Grace retaliated with 10 unanswered points to effectively end the Oaks’ threat.

Juaneice Jackson’s 22 points came on 10-of-18 shooting, and Allison Kauffman’s 22 points came on 10-of-14 shooting. Lindsey Schaefer pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds, and Chloe Pridgen tallied six points and six boards.

Grace shot 49 percent from the floor while holding Oakland City to 33 percent. The Lady Lancers also dominated the rebounding battle, outrebounding the Oaks 54-23.

Shell Earns CL Player of the Week Honors

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Junior Brooke Shell’s impressive offensive week landed the outfielder as the Crossroads League Player of the Week.

The former Blackford High School standout batted .500 over eight games in Florida last week, racking up 14 hits and eight runs. The speedy right fielder swiped seven stolen bases in eight attempts. Additionally, her 2-for-4 performance from the plate nearly led Grace to an upset of No. 5 St. Xavier (1-0).

Over Grace’s first 14 games, Shell has posted a sizzling .620 batting average to rank sixth in the nation. Her 13 steals is 13th in the NAIA as well.

The Lady Lancers hope to continue action with a tournament at Indiana Wesleyan on Friday and Saturday. Grace is scheduled to play Judson and Cornerstone on Friday and Grand Valley and Calumet St. Joseph on Saturday.

Grace Hosts Inspirational Sportsmanship Summit Northern Lakes Conference

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

*pictured are the Northern Lakes Conference student-athletes and athletic directors at the 2014 NLC Sportsmanship Summit

Grace College and Director of Athletics Chad Briscoe welcomed student-athletes from the high schools of the Northern Lakes Conference for a Sportsmanship Summit on Tuesday.

Ten student-athletes from seven NLC schools attended the conference, which was designed to educate student-athletes about sportsmanship and character training in athletics.

Students from Concord, Elkhart Memorial, Goshen, Northridge, NorthWood, Plymouth and Warsaw high schools spent the day together working in groups to discuss and challenge one another in sportsmanship and character-building in the athletic realm. The students worked in team-initiative opportunities to build camaraderie among the schools in the conference.

“We are pleased to be a part of building character at the high-school level through the Sportsmanship Summit,” Briscoe said. “We hope it served as a great opportunity to educate and reinforce character education and to help promote the importance of sportsmanship for each student-athlete.”

The Sportsmanship Summit featured sessions from IHSAA Assistant Commissioner Sandy Searcy, Grace College Vice President Jim Swanson and Briscoe. The students also heard a 60-minute panel from former collegiate student-athletes about their high school and college playing experiences.

Grace College & Seminary Announces Winners of Presidential Scholarship Competition

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

During the weekend of Feb. 14-15, Grace College hosted 147 high school students for its Presidential Scholarship Competition. The competition, held annually, brings finalists to campus to compete for scholarships ranging from $1,000 – $25,000 per year. This year’s winners included (listed in order of scholarship and alphabetically within each category):

 

President’s Scholarship:
>>Ian Ross of Oswego, IL

 

Trustee Scholarship:
>>Macie Brown of Hart, MI
>>Bailey Gerber of Bluffton, IN

 

Faculty Scholarship:
>>Nina Dubois of Byron Center, MI
>>Kari Feddema of Kalamazoo, MI
>>Sarah Landfair of Troy, OH
>>Aleena Sallot of Lagrange, IN
>>Callie Tucker of Mansfield, OH

 

Achievement Scholarship:
>>Lilia Arroyo of Carmel, IN
>>Macey Bickford of Kokomo, IN
>>Joshua Dille of Bartlett, IL
>>Alyssa Gibbas of Aurora, IL
>>Ryley Hoekert of Woodland Park, CO
>>Jonathan McCrorie of Indianapolis, IN
>>Kirstin Spohn of Indianapolis, IN
>>Morgan Swanson of Wanatah, IN
>>Amanda Torres of Plainwell, MI
>>David Wesner of Indianapolis, IN

 

McClain Scholarship:
>>Katrina Bell of Kenosha, WI
>>Julie Bender of Shipshewana, IN
>>Stevan Bennett of East Peoria, IL
>>Danielle Benthem of Colorado Springs, CO
>>Krystyna Borkowski of Goshen, IN
>>Alexandria Brown of Caro, MI
>>Caleb DeBoest of Warsaw, IN
>>Natalie Dufresne of Williamston, SC
>>Eric Jagger of Winona Lake, IN
>>Theresa Krystaponis of Louisville, KY
>>Mariah Lee of Libertyville, IL
>>Eleanor McArdle of Bloomington, IN
>>Kate Mull of Ypsilanti, MI
>>Hannah Remington of Warsaw, IN
>>Juliana Romano of Livonia, MI
>>Samuel Shick of Sheffield Lake, OH
>>Isaac Thompson of Lizton, IN
>>Marina Tolczyk of Warrenville, IL
>>Marissa Vesey of Mt Morris, IL
>>Stephen Yoder of Bellflower, CA

 

 

Lancers Charge into CL Championship Game

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Pictured is Niko Read on Saturday

Grace’s run through the 2014 Crossroads League Tournament will continue to the championship game thanks to the Lancers’ 68-67 win over Spring Arbor on Saturday.

The Lancers (18-13) sit one game away from an automatic berth to the NAIA National Championships. Grace will travel to archrival Bethel on Tuesday 7 p.m. for the CL Tournament title.

Four players reached double figures in scoring for Grace on Saturday, led by Greg Miller’s stat line of 19 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocks.

Although Grace led from start to finish, Saturday’s result was far from a guaranteed win for the Lancers.

The Lancers got off to a blazing start, ripping off a 14-0 run after tipoff. Niko Read buried two 3-pointers, Caleb Featherston hit another, and Jared Treadway finished an old-fashioned 3-point play to spark Grace’s run.

Grace’s offense could not maintain that rate of production, however, as the Lancers scored just two points over the next six minutes. Spring Arbor rallied late in the period with nine unanswered points, but Grace still earned a 30-24 lead at halftime.

The second half was much of the same as the Lancers held a 5-12 point lead until the final minutes. A basket from Miller lifted Grace to a 60-53 advantage with 2:28 remaining, but the Cougars (12-20) sliced the Lancers’ cushion to three points a few possessions later.

Treadway scored three big points in the final minute, hitting a rebound putback with 50 seconds on the clock and a free throw with 25 seconds left that each time pushed Grace’s lead to two possessions.

Although Grace largely struggled from the free throw line in the second half – hitting just 11-of-22 from the line – Brandon Vanderhegghen and Miller sealed Grace’s semifinal win by going 4-for-4 in the last 12 seconds.

A desperation 3-pointer from the Cougars’ Rob Hogans brought Spring Arbor to within one point with one second left to play, but Grace inbounded the ball deep down the court to run out the clock. Hogans led all players with 28 points in his final collegiate game.

Treadway finished with 12 points, 12 rebounds and 3 assists in a strong showing, and Read buried four 3’s for 14 points. Vanderhegghen scored 12 points off the bench, and Featherston added eight points.

As a team the Lancers outrebounded the Cougars by nine. Grace also held Spring Arbor to 39 percent shooting for the game.

Grace Baseball Ready to Hit the Diamond in 2014

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

In their second full season under head coach Bill Barr, Grace’s baseball team has transformed its identity. The Lancers are characterized by hard work and fundamentals – two traits that Barr is hoping will translate to success in the 2014 season.

A long, snowy winter has only increased the team’s excitement for baseball season, and Grace is ready to prove itself on the diamond in March.

“I am excited about the culture that is now being formed within our program. The expectation for working hard has become a staple during our fall and preseason practices,” Barr said. “Even though we have had a long winter, our players have handled the demands exceptionally well. They have demonstrated a resolve regardless of the circumstances.”

The Lancers will be powered by a plethora of big bats. Grace returns 75 percent of its production from last season’s lineup and the team’s top four hitters. Jacob Bloom headlines the Lancers’ returners as he led the team in batting average (.389), hits (49), doubles (13), triples (2) and RBIs (37) among other categories.

Joey Hickerson, the leadoff hitter in 2013, scored 36 runs on 45 hits, including six doubles and six home runs. He drove in 25 runs and stole 15 bases in 17 attempts.

Additionally, CJ Swartz posted a .377 batting average and a .441 on-base percentage, and Tyler Weber hit .325 last season.

On the mound, Grace will lean heavily on Tim Weber and Hickerson in the starting rotation. The duo combined to hurl 53 innings last year and have each improved during the offseason. Hickerson held opponents’ batting average to .250 last spring.

Dellos Schabel returns as the steady arm in Grace’s bullpen. He posted a staff-low 2.61 ERA in 14 appearances. In league play he allowed just five earned runs in 21.1 innings. Other arms among Grace’s arsenal include freshmen Joe Dougherty, Austin Green, Logan Grigsby, Jason Stevens, Jared Mitzelfelt, Andy Kochel and Sammy Wilkerson as well as Swartz.

“Our pitchers have worked very hard, and they are ready to go this spring,” Barr said. “Our staff will be deeper than we were a year ago even though we had to replace half of our pitching wins.”

To do well as a team, Grace will need to play solid defensively. Barr noted outfielder Wyatt Clemens, shortstop Paul Blankley, first baseman Aaron Christenberry and catcher Jared Lemler among others as impressive defensive additions to the team.

They will be joined by seasoned veterans Brook Vosler, Frank Rocchio and Steven Hovermale to form a strong defensive core for the Lancers.

“We have a very fast team overall as a squad. I’m expecting us to hit the ball well this spring. To play to our potential, we will need to play well defensively to do damage in the Crossroads League,” Barr said. “Athletically we have good arms all over the field, and I expect that we will lead the conference defensively. Our players have taken this on as a challenge.”

After having their first three matchups cancelled due to weather, the Lancers will travel to Winterhaven, Fla., to kick off the season on their spring break trip. Grace’s home opener is scheduled for March 18 against Trinity International.