Archive for the ‘Feature Stories’ Category

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.


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

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.

Lancers Topple Foresters in Crossroads League Tournament

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

*pictured is Caleb Featherston taking a 3-pointer in the second half against Huntington on Wednesday

Grace shocked third-seeded Huntington on Wednesday night in the opening round of the Crossroads League Tournament, upsetting the Foresters 56-54 in dramatic fashion.

The Lancers (17-14) survive and advance to the CL Semifinals on Saturday 3 p.m. where they will host Spring Arbor, thanks to Spring Arbor’s upset of No. 2 St. Francis on Wednesday.

Grace played suffocating defense throughout Wednesday’s game, holding Huntington to 19-of-49 shooting from the field and 4-of-20 from the 3-point line.

In the opening half of Grace’s game, Caleb Featherston (nine points) and Greg Miller (six points, six boards) made key contributions. The Lancers’ stingy defense forced Huntington into calling three timeouts before halftime.

Grace took a 27-22 lead at halftime after Drew Perrin’s basket in the waning seconds. The Foresters (24-7) were stifled into 31 percent shooting over the first 20 minutes.

Grace’s tenacious defense continued in the second half as Grace built its lead up to 46-36 with 5:05 remaining in the contest. But Huntington decided to make its rally at that juncture of the game. The Foresters scored on four straight possessions to cut the gap to 46-44 with three minutes to play, sending the home crowd into a frenzied state.

After a Grace timeout by head coach Jim Kessler, the Lancers got a much-needed basket from Jared Treadway on a midrange jumper to stop the Foresters’ run.

On Grace’s next possession, Greg Miller buried a 3-pointer in the corner to put the Lancers on top by five with a little over a minute left.

Huntington responded with four quick points to trail by one with 40 seconds on the clock. Huntington then sent Logan Irwin to the line for bonus free throws with 14 seconds remaining. After Irwin made 1-of-2, Treadway soared up for an offensive board and was fouled. He made both ends of the one-and-one, giving Grace a four-point cushion.

The Foresters raced down the court and made a 3-pointer with six seconds left, but Niko Read responded with two more free throws at the other end. Grace alertly fouled Huntington to prevent a game-winning shot, holding on for the two-point upset.

Logan Irwin tied for scoring honors on the night with 15 points and a game-best seven assists. Miller and Featherston finished with 11 points apiece, and Brandon Vanderhegghen had five points and three boards.

The Lancers shot 46 percent as a team and nearly made half of their attempts in the second half (11-of-23).

Grace College & Seminary Calling on its Supporters to Inspire Students on Inaugural – Day to Make a Difference

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

On Tuesday, March 25, Grace College and Seminary is beginning a new tradition – Day to Make a Difference. This 24-hour online day of giving is a new opportunity in which Grace alumni and friends can come together and show their support for current and future students.

“By giving during this special day of fundraising, our alumni and friends can show students that they stand behind them and believe in their decision to seek a Grace education,” said event coordinator Jon Yeh.

The event is being held on Tuesday, March 25 to also give the community the opportunity to offer their support and inspiration to students prior to Grace’s annual Spring Day of Worship on Wednesday, March 26.

Day to Make a Difference will bring the Grace family and community together primarily on Facebook and other social media channels. It will feature fun and engaging challenges, as well as the opportunity for participants to receive special incentives throughout the day.

To learn more, visit http:/ or contact Jon Yeh at (574) 372-5100 extension 6126.

Brown, Boren Claim Weekly League Awards

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Pictured from left to right are Nathan Brown and Jo Boren

Sophomore duo Nathan Brown and Jo Boren were named Athletes of the Week by the Crossroads League for their performance at NCCAA Indoor Nationals.

Brown, the Male Indoor Field Athlete of the Week, broke two of his own school records for Grace at NCCAA Indoor Nationals. He cleared 6.84m in the long jump portion of the heptathlon, beating all other nine competitors. He then produced 4,416 points in the heptathlon totals, marking the 18th-highest total in the NAIA this year.

Boren, the Female Indoor Track Athlete of the Week, had three PR’s at NCCAA Indoor Nationals, including two school records for Grace. She ran a Grace-record time of 1:00.72 in the 400-meter race and helped the 4×200 relay team finish in 1:49.91 to shatter the previous record by over a second.

Her balanced week included a PR in the triple jump as well at 10.29m.

Brown and Boren’s awards are the fourth weekly honors from the Crossroads League in the indoor track and field season. Brown picked up his second CL honor, and Jonathan Rex was the Track Athlete of the Week last week.

The Lancers’ outdoor season kicks off with the Huntsman Relays in Crawfordsville, Ind., on March 22.