Archive for the ‘Feature Stories’ Category

NCCAA Tags Graham as Prestigious Wheeler Award Winner

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Pictured are (left) Grace coach Jeff Raymond and Donovan Graham. Photo credit: Scott Huck, Cedarville University

Grace senior Donovan Graham was honored as the recipient of the 2015 NCCAA Wheeler Award for indoor track.

The Wheeler Award is the highest individual honor given to a sport by the NCCAA, recognizing one student-athlete for outstanding Christian character, athletic and academic achievement and community service.

Graham has qualified for the NAIA Indoor National Championships this year in both the 600 and 800-meter races. He took third place at Saturday’s NCCAA Indoor National Championships to be named NCCAA All-American.

For his career, Graham has racked up three All-American awards for indoor track and four All-American awards for the outdoor season.

“Donovan [Graham] has been a key contributor to our team since he arrived in campus. Over the past four years he has grown as a person, as a leader and as a competitor,” said Grace head coach Jeff Raymond. “He is well deserving of this prestigious award.”

Graham is the third Lancer to win the NCCAA Wheeler Award for track and field, joining Jonathan Rex (2014) and Tim Sprankle (2002).

Grace Racks Up All-American Honors at NCCAA Nationals

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Four All-American honors and one individual national championship highlighted Grace’s track and field teams at the NCCAA Indoor National Championships over the weekend.

Nathan Brown finished first in the heptathlon with a school-record 4,580 points. He became Grace’s first men’s track member to win an individual national championship since 2006 and has a strong chance at earning a spot at NAIA Indoor Nationals as a result of his performance.

Mya Brown was a double All-American (top-three finish) and placed in four events overall. The freshman was second in the triple jump at 35-feet-10 and third in the 55-meter hurdle race in a school-record 8.50 seconds. Brown also ran legs on the 4×200 and 4×400 relays.

The 4×400 relay of Brown, Katelyn McCullough, Jo Boren and Alicia Hertzler met the NAIA qualifying standard in the race and placed fifth on Saturday. They crossed the finish line with a school record of 4:04.53.

Donovan Graham earned the fourth All-American honor of the day for Grace. He placed third in the 800 run in a time of 1:58.49

“It was a memorable weekend for our team and our program. Many people contributed to the success of the meet, including several freshman which is exciting,” said Grace head coach Jeff Raymond. “It’s gratifying to see our athletes believe they can perform at a high level and then go out and do it.”

As a group, the men’s team placed 11th out of 22 teams and the women were 10th. On the men’s side, freshman Jacob Brown placed fifth in the weight throw, clearing 48-feet-2.5 for a new school record. The distance medley relay team of Tyler Houvener, Joel Zook, Graham and Nathan Lane missed qualifying for NAIA Nationals by less than seven-tenths of a second, placing sixth in the race.

For the Lady Lancers, McCullough had a personal-best time of 2:21.71 in the 800 to place sixth, and Boren finished fourth in the 400. The duo teamed up with Brown and Hertzler in the 4×200 to place sixth.

Paige Kindig also finished eighth in the pole vault at 9-5.75.

The final indoor meet of the season is the NAIA Indoor National Championships, held March 5-7 in Geneva, Ohio.

Lancers Falter in Second Half vs. No. 12 Bethel

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Pictured is Logan Irwin driving to the basket in the second half against Bethel on Saturday.

Grace’s men’s basketball team missed a chance to sweep archrival Bethel on Saturday, falling 74-70 in a nailbiting contest.

The Lancers (21-9, 11-7 Crossroads League) led by 13 points late in the first half, but strong shooting from No. 12 Bethel in the second half spoiled Grace’s upset bid in front of a frenzied, near-capacity crowd at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Grace led for all but two possessions in the first half in a balanced 20 minutes. Three straight jumpers from Niko Read spurred Grace’s offensive momentum midway into the half as the Lancers grabbed a 24-13 lead after 12 minutes of play.

The Lancers pulled ahead and were seemingly in control of the half with the score 34-21 on a 3-pointer by Chad Hoffer with4:30 remaining. But Grace went cold down the stretch. Grace did not score a point for the final 4:30 of the period, allowing the Pilots (25-5, 13-5 CL) to close the half on a 9-0 run.

Grace was still in front 34-30 at halftime. The Lancers made 44 percent from the floor and held the Pilots to 34 percent shooting, and Grace also capitalized on the Pilots’ miscues by scoring 13 points off Bethel’s six turnovers.

While Grace was still on top by seven in the early minutes of the second half, Bethel’s outside shooting cut into Grace’s cushion. The Pilots finally went ahead at 55-53 with 9:21 on the clock, and the Lancers never tasted the lead again.

The teams traded baskets over the final nine minutes, but Bethel always had the timely response it needed. The Pilots were especially clutch at the free throw line, hitting 15-of-18 for the game and seven foul shots over the last four minutes of the game.

Logan Irwin led Grace’s comeback, converting two tough driving shots to cut the margin to 71-68 with 3:13 on the clock. Grace then made two defensive stops in a row, but the Lancers came up empty on consecutive offensive possessions. Grace was then forced to foul, and the Pilots made their shots in the final minutes.

Bethel’s shooting struggles disappeared in the second half. The Pilots made 52 percent from the floor, 75 percent (6-of-8) from the 3-point line and 83 percent (10-of-12) from the foul line after halftime.

Grace was outrebounded by nine in the game and also took 10 fewer foul shots.

Irwin led Grace in scoring with 17 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Read added 15 points with a trio of 3-pointers, and Hoffer had 11 points off the bench. Dennis Williams tallied 10 points, 6 boards, 3 assists and 2 blocks, and Brandon Vanderhegghen chipped in nine points.

The Lancers will turn their attention to next week’s Crossroads League Tournament. Grace, the CL’s No. 4 seed, will host fifth-seeded Mt. Vernon Nazarene on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the first round.

Grace Secures Sweep of Rival Pilots

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Pictured is freshman guard Kelsie Peterson, who scored 11 points in Grace's win over Bethel on Saturday.

Five players scored in double figures for Grace’s women’s basketball team in a 78-61 victory over Bethel on Saturday.

The win secured Grace’s season sweep over its rivals and also moved the Lady Lancers into a tie for fifth place in the Crossroads League standings. The three-way tie means that Grace (16-14, 9-9 CL) will be the No. 6 seed in next week’s CL Tournament and will travel to third-seeded St. Francis on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Micah Pollard led all players with a career-high 16 points off the bench, hitting 7-of-9 from the floor and grabbing five rebounds in 25 minutes.

The Lady Lancers’ defensive focus and rebounding edge proved too much for the Lady Pilots (10-20, 4-14 CL). Bethel was stifled into shooting 36 percent for the game, and they were outrebounded by 13.

The game started Bethel’s way as the Pilots scored on the first possession. The Pilots went ahead 14-8 after six minutes of action and still led by seven a few minutes later.

Grace scrapped its way back in front by halftime, however. Sparked by second-chance points, the Lady Lancers went on a 14-1 run over a five-minute span. Eight of the 14 points in Grace’s spurt came off offensive rebounds, and JoEllen Fickel also drew two charges in that spurt.

After Kelsie Peterson hit a pair of free throws, Grace led 34-25 with less than three minutes to play. The score at halftime was 38-31. Nine of the 10 Lady Lancers to see the court in the first half scored a point. Although Grace had 12 turnovers in the first period, the hosts also made 47 percent of its field goals.

In the second half, Grace scored six quick points to open up a double-digit lead, but the game was not decided yet. A rebound putback from Lindsey Schaefer put Grace on top 48-35, but the Lady Pilots rattled off a 16-8 run to storm back to within five.

The game was still close at 60-55 with less than 11 minutes to play. But Grace effectively ended Bethel’s threat with 14 straight points over the next six minutes. Allison Kauffman had seven points during the 14-0 run, and Gabby Bryant added five.

The Pilots were held to just six points over the final 10:55 of the game as Grace eased away for the rout.

Grace’s plus-13 advantage on the boards helped nullify 17 turnovers and poor outside shooting (2-for-13). The Lady Lancers also had a strong day at the free throw line by making 16-of-21 (76 percent).

Kauffman notched her 26th game of the season in double-figure scoring, tallying 15 points with 10 rebounds. Schaefer also had a double-double for Grace with 10 points and a career-best 15 boards.

Bryant notched 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting, recording her third double-figure scoring game in the last four contests. Peterson had 11 points, Chloe Pridgen scored six points in eight minutes, and Heather House added three steals off the bench.

Grace/Bethel Rivalry Continues Saturday

Friday, February 20th, 2015

The greatest small-college rivalry will continue on Saturday when Grace College hosts Bethel for a women’s and men’s doubleheader at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

After the Lancers swept the Pilots in Mishawaka earlier in the season on Jan. 3, the Pilots now head to Winona Lake for the final regular-season games of the season.

Each game has implications on next week’s Crossroads League Tournament and potential national tournament qualification. The women’s game will tip off at 1 p.m. with the men’s game to follow at 3 p.m.

 

WOMEN’S GAME

Coverage: Video | Stats

Grace is seeking its fourth straight win over Bethel in the final game of the Crossroads League season. Both teams have secured a berth in the CL Tournament with the Pilots locked in as the No. 8 seed. Bethel will face conference champion Indiana Wesleyan in the opening round.

Grace, on the other hand, could be the No. 6 or 7 seed. The Lady Lancers need a win over the Pilots and a loss by Taylor (vs. Huntington) to grab the 6th seed.

The Lady Lancers knocked off the Pilots 87-57 in Mishawaka. Grace shot 50 percent from the field and forced Bethel into 22 turnovers in the convincing win. The Lady Lancers ripped off 50 first-half points and were led by a career-high 20 points from Darian Patton. Chelsea Ward’s 12 points led Bethel.

 

MEN’S GAME

Coverage: Video | Stats

The Lancers and Pilots will play for the 125th time on Saturday. Bethel holds a slight 63-61 advantage in the all-time series although Grace holds the latest victory 62-57 on Jan. 3 in Mishawaka. Logan Irwin scored a team-best 14 points for Grace, and Matt Schauss had 19 for the Pilots.

No. 20 Grace and No. 12 Bethel have both secured a first-round home game in the CL Tournament. What hasn’t been decided, however, is the seeding. Bethel can rise as high as the No. 2 seed if St. Francis loses (vs. Goshen) or sink to the No. 4 spot.

For Grace, the scenario is much simpler. With a win over the Pilots, Grace would leapfrog Bethel as the No. 3 seed. A loss would slot Grace as the No. 4 seed with a first-round matchup against either Mt. Vernon Nazarene or Goshen.

Elite Defense Keys Senior Night Victory

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

pictured is junior point guard Gabby Bryant defending the ball on Wednesday night

A suffocating defensive display lifted Grace’s women’s basketball to a convincing 63-32 win over Mt. Vernon Nazarene on Wednesday.

The Cougars (4-22, 1-16 Crossroads League) were held to 25 percent shooting in the game. Grace also forced Mt. Vernon into more turnovers (20) than made field goals (14) on Senior Night.

The Lady Lancers (15-14, 8-9 Crossroads League) have one regular season game remaining. Grace will host archrival Bethelon Saturday for a women’s/men’s doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. The Lady Lancers will either be the sixth or seventh seed in the upcoming CL Tournament based on Saturday’s league results.

Grace’s defense was lights-out from the opening tip on Wednesday. Mt. Vernon missed its first 10 shots and turned the ball over seven times over the first 10 minutes. It took the Cougars 9:48 of game time to get on the scoreboard.

Grace, meanwhile, jumped out to an 11-0 lead and eased away to a 29-11 advantage at halftime. Allison Kauffman’s 11 points and Kelsie Peterson’s nine points led Grace’s offense in the first period.

Although the Lady Lancers only made 27 percent of their field goals in the half, their defense nullified the poor shooting. The Cougars were frigid from the floor over the first 20 minutes, making 4-of-25 (16 percent). Additionally they turned the ball over 14 times. Grace was just off the pace for a historic defensive effort after the first half – the record for fewest points allowed in a game in program history was 21.

Grace steadily built up a 30-point lead after eight minutes of play in the second half and cruised to the 31-point win. Grace’s shooting touch was greatly improved after halftime with a 54-percent performance from the floor.

Kauffman was the only player in double-digit scoring with 20 points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes. Peterson’s nine points came with three boards and three steals.

Gabby Bryant notched 8 points, 7 boards, 3 assists and 2 steals, Lindsey Schaefer had seven points and seven boards, and JoEllen Fickel finished with four points and six rebounds.

Overall the Cougars hit just 25 percent of their shots for the game, including 1-of-19 (5 percent) from the 3-point line. Both teams turned the ball over 20 times, and Grace had a commanding 45-25 advantage in rebounding.

Grace’s senior class of Allison Kauffman, Lindsey Schaefer, Heather House and JoEllen Fickel have racked up 71 career victories after Wednesday’s win. Only last year’s graduated senior Juaneice Jackson had a better four-year span in program history with 73 wins.

C-Span to Air Lecture by Grace College’s Dr. Jared Burkholder

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Dr. Jared Burkholder

This Thursday, February 19 at 12:30 p.m., public affairs cable network  C-Span will be airing a lecture by Dr. Jared Burkholder,  chair of the history and political science department and director of faith, learning & scholarship at Grace College. As part of Burkholder’s class on Colonial and Revolutionary America, he will be lecturing on the experience of religious pacifists and members of the peace churches during the American Revolution. The lecture, titled, “Religious Pacifists and the American Revolution,” will be recorded in Room 135 in the sports management wing of the Gordon Recreation Center on the Grace College campus.

“This is a topic that interests me and I’ve published on it,” explained Burkholder. “One reason I like the topic is because we don’t often think about the fact that many colonists, who were Christians, did not necessarily see the American Revolution as a righteous cause, like we do today. It is true that most Christians did believe God was on the colonial side. But some, including members of the Brethren, believed it was wrong to fight in the military as well as wrong to rebel against the civil authority that God had set in place. So in the midst of all the patriotic enthusiasm, members of the peace churches were really put in a difficult situation. Their churches were divided over the issue. Some fought, some did not.”

The lecture will air several weeks after the recording as a part of C-Span’s regular program called “Lectures in History” that airs each Saturday evening as part of “American History TV.” It will become available on http://www.c-span.org/series/?lecturesInHistory after it is aired.

Mt. Vernon Takes Late-Season Win Over Lancers

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

Grace’s men’s basketball team began its final week of the regular season with a 77-70 defeat at Mt. Vernon Nazarene on Tuesday. The Lancers (21-8, 11-6 Crossroads League) could not complete the season sweep of the Cougars (17-12, 8-9 CL) as a late-game rally came up short.

The Lancers scored the first points of the game on a pair of free throws from Kyle Fillman. But the home team ripped off 12 unanswered points after those free throws to jump ahead 12-2 early. Grace did not make its first field goal until Dennis Williams’s shot after five minutes of play.

The Lancers’ offense picked up steam soon after and cut the Cougars’ lead to one possession at 16-15. Irwin eventually tied the score at 21-21 on a driving and-one layup with less than eight minutes left in the half.

The Cougars pulled away late in the half thanks to a pair of 3-pointers and led 38-31 at the break. The Lancers’ shooting touch was off in the first period, making 33 percent from the floor and 20 percent from the 3-point line.

Grace struggled to cut into Mt. Vernon’s cushion in the second half. The Cougars opened up an eight-point lead at 63-55, but Grace responded with six straight points to cut the gap to two with less than six minutes to play.

Mt. Vernon notched five quick points to bump up its lead to seven and still led 73-66 with less than two minutes left. Logan Irwin led a valiant comeback attempt for Grace with a jumper and a pair of free throws to make the score 73-70 with 35 seconds remaining. The Cougars hit a pair of foul shots on their next possession, and Grace missed a jumper on the next play to allow Mt. Vernon to hold on for the win.

Irwin tied for scoring honors in the game with 20 points and added 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Williams connected on 7-of-12 field goals for 16 points to go along with eight boards.

Chad Hoffer was a spark off the bench with 13 points, and Fillman and Caleb Featherston notched six points apiece.

For the game, Grace shot 40 percent from the floor compared to 46 percent for Mt. Vernon. The Lancers hit just 1-of-11 from the 3-point line, but they did have a 19-9 advantage in made free throws.

Grace ends the regular season with one of the biggest games of the year. Grace will host archrival Bethel on Saturday at 3 p.m. for the women’s/men’s doubleheader at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center. Grace can jump Bethel for third place in the CL standings with a win over the Pilots. The game will also be “Senior Day” to honor graduating seniors Niko Read, Dennis Williams and Adrian Makolli.

Memorable Day for Grace Track at IWU

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Grace’s track and field team had one of its finest days in indoor competition on Saturday at the Indiana Wesleyan Invitational.

The Lancers had three NAIA National Indoor qualifiers, four school records and four new NCCAA qualifiers in an action-packed meet.

“This was an awesome day for us. Having three NAIA qualifiers in one day is a great accomplishment for our program and probably has not happened before at Grace,” said Grace head coach Jeff Raymond. “When you add in the additional school records and new qualifiers for the NCCAA meet next week, we couldn’t ask for much more.”

Jo Boren, Mya Brown and Donovan Graham highlighted Grace’s efforts by qualifying for the NAIA National Indoor Championships. Boren was first place in the 400-meter run, crossing the finish line in a school-record time of 59.42 seconds. Brown was also first and set a school record in the 60 hurdles, finishing in 9.23.

Graham met the NAIA standard in the 800 race, finishing in 1:56.59.

Additionally, Jacob Brown set the school record in the weight throw at 47-feet-7. Nathan Brown also bettered his own school record in the long jump at 22-9.

Four members of the Lancers’ squad also qualified for next week’s NCCAA Indoor Nationals. Joel Zook (400m), Jacob Brown (shot put), Macallister Seitz (shot put and weight throw) and Emma Mitchell (800m) each met the NCCAA standard in the final chance before next Saturday’s national meet.

Three members of the men’s team also had personal-best finishes. Brandon Smith (4:33.57) and Tyler Houvener (4:35.32) each had their best times in the mile, and Bennett Parker cleared 6-2.75 in the high jump.

For the Lady Lancers, three student-athletes had their PR’s. Katelyn McCullough finished 2:23.47 in the 800, Megan Gast had a 5:41.38 in the mile, and Hannah Treadway heaved the shot put 37-4.5.

For complete race results, click here.

“I give the athletes a lot of credit. They continue to work hard every day and it’s paying off,” Raymond continued. “We have a long season in front of us, though, so no one’s going to be satisfied.”

Between 16 and 18 Lancers will make the trek to next week’s NCCAA Indoor Nationals at Cedarville University, held on Fridayand Saturday.

Grace Sweeps Series with No. 19 Foresters

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Grace’s women’s basketball team got the better of No. 19 Huntington for the second time this season, upsetting the Foresters 60-54 on the road.

The Lady Lancers (14-14, 7-9 Crossroads League) broke out of a three-game shooting slump, connecting on 48 percent of their field goals in the win.

Chloe Pridgen was a spark off the bench, leading Grace with 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting in just 12 minutes of play, and Gabby Bryant tallied 10 points with a pair of 3-pointers.

Grace led by as many as eight in the first half and also trailed by as many as eight in the second half. But late defensive stands lifted Grace to the season sweep of the Foresters.

The first half saw a series of small runs by each team in a tightly contested period. With the score knotted at 13-13, Grace made a small run to gain separation. Over a four-minute span, Grace used a 10-2 spurt to open up a 23-15 lead with three minute left in the half. Five players scored during the run.

Grace used that momentum to go into halftime ahead 25-20. The Foresters (19-7, 10-6 CL) were held to 22 percent shooting in the opening half, making 6-of-27 from the floor and 1-of-10 on 3-pointers.

The Lady Lancers led by six early in the second half, but the Foresters were about to find their rhythm. Huntington ripped off a 20-6 charge to turn a six-point deficit into a 42-34 lead. Huntington scored its 20 points in just eight minutes.

Grace had a game-changing run of its own, however. The Lady Lancers battled back thanks to key production from Chloe Pridgen and Heather House, cutting Huntington’s lead to 47-46 with less than seven minutes to play. House then put Grace on top by one with a spinning floater in the lane a minute later.

The game remained a nailbiter until the final buzzer. A pair of free throws from Allison Kauffman put Grace ahead 53-52 with2:38 on the clock. After a defensive stop, Micah Pollard scored in the lane to put Grace ahead by three.

Huntington turned the ball over on its next possession, and Sarah Feasby made them pay with a basket as Grace led 57-52 with 1:21 remaining. The Foresters hit two free throws to trim Grace’s cushion to three, but Bryant provided the dagger with a 3-pointer on Grace’s next play to effectively end any thoughts of a comeback.

Grace’s defense held Huntington without a made field goal for the final 3:10 of the game, helping the Lady Lancers end the game on a 9-2 run.

The Lady Lancers, who struggled mightily with their shot the last three games, shot 48 percent in both halves. Grace also held Huntington to 32 percent shooting, including 18 percent from beyond the arc.

Kauffman and Kelsie Peterson notched nine points apiece, and Pollard added five points and four assists.

The Lady Lancers wrapped up a six-game road stretch with the win over Huntington. Grace will end the regular season with two home games next week. Grace hosts Mt. Vernon Nazarene on Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Bethel on Feb. 21 at 1 p.m. in a women’s/men’s doubleheader at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.