Archive for the ‘Feature Stories’ Category

Women’s Track and Field Wins Huntsman Relays

Monday, March 24th, 2014

In the outdoor track and field season debut, Grace’s women’s team took first place in the Huntsman Relays at Wabash College.

Grace won multiple events in the five-team meet, including two first-place finishes by Nathan Brown, Jo Boren and Katelyn McCullough.

“It was fun to see the women win the meet. We had several people produce very solid performances despite the cool conditions,” said Grace head coach Jeff Raymond. “This was our first meet in four weeks, so it was nice to get back to competition. I’m sure we’ll continue to see improvements in the coming weeks.”

Brown had a busy Saturday, winning the high jump and long jump competitions, placing in the javelin throw and even running in the 4×400-meter relay.

Boren won the 200 and 400 races, and Erin Jones was second in both. Jones also teamed up with Rachel Fehring, Lindsey Young and McCullough to win the 4×400 relay. McCullough also claimed the 400 hurdle title.

Donovan Graham came back on the home stretch to win the 800, Jonathan Rex won the 1500, and Lance Taylor was first in the 400. Taylor also placed in the 200.

Allison Zylstra (800) and Anna White (discus) set personal-best marks to win their respective events.

To see complete meet results, click here.

The Lancers’ next meet is the Defiance Invitational next weekend in Ohio.

Grace’s Championship Run Falls Two Points Short

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Grace’s memorable run through the 2014 NCCAA National Championships climaxed with a thrilling title game on Saturday against Point Loma Nazarene.

The Lancers nearly completed a fairly-tale run as the No. 7 seed to the championship but came up two points shy in a 75-73 defeat at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Playing in front of a packed home court, the Lancers (20-15) almost won the game on the final play. Grace erased a five-point deficit in the final 43 seconds thanks to baskets from Caleb Featherston and Greg Miller and a free throw from Logan Irwin. Irwin’s foul shot with nine seconds left cut the Sea Lions’ lead to two points, and Grace forced PLNU into a turnover on the ensuing inbounds play.

After a timeout by head coach Jim Kessler, Irwin took the ball at the top of the key and was unable to find a lane to penetrate or pass. He took a contested 3-pointer as the clock ran out, but his shot under pressure was off the mark, allowing the Sea Lions to take the championship banner.

Greg Miller ended his sterling career with a game-high 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. For his outstanding week, Miller was named the 2014 NCCAA Tournament Most Valuable Player. Miller and Irwin were named to the NCCAA All-Tournament Team.

Brandon Vanderhegghen finished with 19 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists with a trio of 3-pointers, and Niko Read also buried three treys for 11 points. Caleb Featherston added 12 points and five boards, and Irwin tallied seven points and five assists.

Although the Sea Lions made over 50 percent of their field goals in each half, Grace’s active defense forced PLNU into 18 turnovers. The Lancers tallied 25 points off those turnovers to keep the game within reach of their NCAA Division II foe.

Grace held a slight lead for the majority of the opening half, going on top by as many as six points. But eight straight points from the Sea Lions down the stretch helped the visitors claim a 38-35 halftime advantage.

The Sea Lions never led by more than nine points in the second half, and the Lancers stayed within striking distance with their long-range shooting. Grace buried six 3-pointers in the final 12 minutes of the game to fire up the fan base. Grace’s final trey – a 3-pointer on the left wing from Niko Read – cut the Sea Lions’ lead to 70-68 with 2:00 on the clock. But Grace was one more 3-pointer at the buzzer away from claiming its first NCCAA basketball championship.

Coach Kessler ends the 2013-14 season with 699 career coaching victories in his legendary career. He led the Lancers to a 20-15 record and runner-up finishes in the Crossroads League Tournament and NCCAA National Championships.

Dual Engineering Degree Through Grace College and Trine University A Continued Success

Friday, March 21st, 2014

*Pictured (center) is Professor Jerry Holland discussing engineering with students

Grace College continues to lead the way in providing innovative educational models, offering quality online education, and pursuing collaborative partnerships with other colleges. In 2011, Grace partnered with Trine University to offer several engineering degrees on the Grace campus, allowing students to reap the benefits of both a Grace education, as well as specialized, on-campus training in engineering through Trine University.

In addition to other programming, Trine offers a Bachelor of Engineering with concentrations in mechanical, civil, and biomedical engineering; a Bachelor of Science in Design Engineering Technology, The Lou Holtz Master of Science in Leadership; and an online master’s degree in engineering. Both schools are independent colleges, and while Grace has traditionally held a more liberal arts focus, Trine has a long history in engineering, affording the best of both worlds for students.

“The dual engineering program has been a tremendous blessing to me,” said Jacob Goodman, a senior in the program. “It has allowed me to finish my career at Grace College without having to transfer. I really appreciated how I was able to have a lot of input on what direction I wanted to go with my majors and how I wanted to get there. I also enjoyed the individualized attention and guidance I received from my professors. I hope it helps open doors that lead to a successful career.”

Bill Katip, president of Grace, said, “The dual enrollment engineering program with Trine University is a bold example of the measures Grace has taken to be at the forefront in offering a quality, affordable education in a variety of majors. We greatly appreciate the opportunity we’ve been given to partner with a quality, like-minded school such as Trine. We are pleased at the progress of the program and hope to grow similar partnerships in the future to further expand our offerings.”

“Trine University is grateful for the benefit of partnering with Grace College, a well-respected school, to extend the reach of our nationally recognized engineering program,” said Earl D. Brooks II, Trine president. “Trine’s job placement rate for engineering graduates has exceeded the national average and this year is no exception. Ninety-five percent of our 2013 engineering grads were employed or in graduate school within six months of commencement while the national average is 63.6 percent.”

Irwin’s Game Winner Sends Grace to Title Game

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Thursday’s national semifinal game between Grace’s men’s basketball team and Roberts Wesleyan had all the ingredients of a game for the ages.

An electric atmosphere. A late rally. Clutch free throws. And, of course, a last-second game winner.

Sophomore Logan Irwin stepped into a 3-pointer off the dribble on the right side of the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center court, and his triple with 1.6 seconds remaining lifted the Lancers to a 65-62 victory over Roberts Wesleyan. Grace will now play for the NCCAA Div. I national championship on Saturday 5 p.m. against Point Loma Nazarene, who defeated top-seeded Southern Nazarene in the other semifinal.

The Lancers (20-14) only trailed for 23 seconds on Thursday and seemed to have the game under wraps in the second half. An and-1 from Greg Miller put the Lancers ahead 51-36 with 12:27 left in the game.

But Grace’s offense struggled mightily down the stretch as the Redhawks used a 13-2 run to erase the Lancers’ cushion with four minutes to play.

The teams traded points over the final minutes until a three-point play from the Redhawks’ Tyrel Dixon gave Roberts Wesleyan its first lead of the game at 61-60 with 1:31 remaining. Caleb Featherston made two free throws on Grace’s next possession to put the home team ahead by one, and the Redhawks (13-15) responded with one free throw to tie the game.

On Grace’s game-winning possession, Irwin caught the inbounds pass and dribbled to his right. After being unable to find an entry pass into the post, Irwin rose up and swished in the winning 3-pointer on the wing to send the home fans into bedlam.

The Redhawks could only muster a halfcourt heave that was well off the mark, securing Grace’s spot in the NCCAA championship game on Saturday. The Lancers will be playing in their fifth NCCAA title game in program history.

As a historical sidenote, head coach Jim Kessler picked up win No. 699 in his legendary coaching career with the Lancers. He will be playing for the historic No. 700 win in the NCCAA title bout.

Irwin led all players with 18 points, including 3-of-3 shooting from beyond the arc, to go along with five assists. Greg Miller added a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Jared Treadway totaled 14 points and nine boards.

Brandon Vanderhegghen pulled down a game-best 12 rebounds, and Niko Read had 12 points off the bench.

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.