Rex Wins Prestigious NCCAA Wheeler Award

May 5th, 2014

Pictured is a filed photo of Jonathan Rex.

Senior Jonathan Rex became Grace’s second NCCAA Wheeler Award winner, announced at the NCCAA Outdoor National Championships.

The Wheeler Award recognizes the outstanding NCCAA Division I men’s track and field student-athlete who excels in competition, skill, academics and Christian service during his career.

Rex follows Tim Sprankle (2002) as Grace’s winners of the NCCAA Wheeler Award.

“Jonathan [Rex] has been a consistent and valuable performer in competition, but more importantly, has been a quiet leader who is liked and respected by everyone on our team,” said Grace head coach Jeff Raymond. “Some of his contributions are hard to quantify, but he has nonetheless made an impact during his time in our program and around campus.”

Rex has earned two NCCAA All-American honors during his career with the 4×800-meter relay teams in 2012 and 2013. He was also part of the 4×800 squad that set the school record in indoor track in 2013.

He has been heavily involved in campus life at Grace as well, serving in various dorm leadership positions.

Graham Named All-American, Two School Records Fall

May 5th, 2014

Pictured is Donovan Graham (left) running for the Lancers.

ROME, Ga. – Donovan Graham’s All-American performance highlighted Grace’s track and field team’s final two days at NCCAA Outdoor Nationals.

Graham finished second in the 800-meter run in 1:56.83 to earn NCCAA All-American status (top-three finish). His first lap was slow and tactical, but he made his burst late to place second nationally.

Grace also set two new school records over its final two days at the national meet. Sabrina Whitaker cleared the high jump at a Grace-record mark of 5-feet-3.75, finishing sixth overall. Jo Boren shattered her own school record in the 400, placing fourth in a time of 58.22.

“This trip has been a great experience as we were able to compete against some very good competition in a championship atmosphere,” said Grace head coach Jeff Raymond. “We set three new school records and posted some other season-best performances. With a large group of underclassmen, we look forward to the future of the Grace track and field program.”

Lance Taylor, who qualified for NAIA Nationals earlier in the season, ran a 48.83 in the 400 to finish sixth nationally. Jonathan Rex closed out his Lancer career by competing in the 800 and 1500.

Erin McPherson placed eighth in the hammer throw, reaching the mark in the final throw of her collegiate career. The women’s 4×800 relay team of Allison Zylstra, Jenna McClellan, Katelyn McCullough and Rachel Fehring also placed eighth.

Other notable standouts included Jesse Feitz’s PR in the javelin, Drew Perrin’s ninth-place finish in the triple jump, Brandon Smith’s 10th-place finish in the 3000 steeplechase, Matthew Lee’s PR in the 800.

The Lancers will have one last chance to qualify athletes for NAIA Nationals at the Dr. Keeler Invitational on Friday.

Trio of Lancers Named All-League

May 5th, 2014

Pictured is former Warsaw Tiger standouts Jacob Bloom (left) and Joey Hickerson. Both players were named All-Crossroads League for Grace.

Grace’s baseball team under head coach Bill Barr hauled in several All-Crossroads League awards, released on Monday.

The Lancers placed three players on the All-CL Team in Jacob Bloom, Joey Hickerson and Sammy Wilkerson. Bloom was also named the league’s Gold Glove winner for right field.

Jacob Bloom completed his final regular season with the Lancers by pacing the team in nearly every offensive category. Bloom hit .381 for the season, leading the team with 45 hits, 29 runs, 9 doubles and 3 home runs. He also stole eight bases and did not record a fielding error in 41 games patrolling Grace’s outfield.

The senior outfielder ranks highly among Grace’s career leaders, including No. 2 in hits, No. 3 in runs, No. 9 in RBIs, No. 4 in doubles, No. 5 in triples and No. 5 in walks.

Joey Hickerson was elected as the CL’s top designated hitter in 2014. The speedy outfielder led Grace with 4 triples, 21 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. He batted .349 in the regular season, notching 44 hits with seven doubles and a homer.

Sammy Wilkerson was named the CL’s best relief pitcher in his freshman campaign. He posted a team-low 4.71 ERA on the season, striking out 35 batters in 49.2 innings. Wilkerson earned a 4-1 record, appearing in 14 games on the mound.

The Lancers earned a spot in the CL Tournament and will face top-seeded Mt. Vernon Nazarene on the road Saturday at 2 p.m. The double-elimination tournament continues through Wednesday.

Shell, Knight, Adams Earn All-League Honors

May 2nd, 2014

Pictured are (left) Hannah Adams and Brooke Shell

A trio of Lady Lancer softball players picked up All-Crossroads League awards for their performance in the regular season.

Junior outfielder Brooke Shell and freshman Clarissa Knight were named First Team All-CL, and freshman Hannah Adams was an honorable mention for All-CL in her first season.

Additionally, Shell won a place on the CoSIDA Academic All-District team, which honors both academic and athletic achievement.

Brooke Shell highlighted Grace’s outstanding year with one of the best offensive seasons in team history. She led the Crossroads League in batting average and stolen bases for much of the regular season and currently boasts a .444 average with 37 steals.

She has already broken three single-season records for the Lady Lancers in 2014, including most hits (79), most runs (57) and most steals (37).

Clarissa Knight has impressed in her first collegiate season, batting .373 with 56 hits, 32 runs, 10 doubles, 2 triples and a team-best 43 RBIs. Knight led Grace in CL games with a .394 batting average. She also swiped 13 bases.

Hannah Adams displayed a variety of skills in her freshman campaign, batting .331 with 44 hits, 20 runs, 11 doubles, 2 homers and 36 RBIs. She also topped Grace’s pitching staff with 98.2 innings on the mound, posting a team-low 2.54 ERA in league play.

The Heather Johnson-coached Lady Lancers wrapped up the 2014 regular season with their most league wins (20) and highest finish (fourth) in team history. They also topped 20 wins in a season for the first time since 1997.

Grace will next try to qualify for the NCCAA World Series at the Midwest Regional Tournament starting May 5 in Oakland City, Ind.

Lancers Take Seventh at League Championships

April 30th, 2014

Pictured is senior Caleb Rovenstine

Playing their final tournament of the year, Grace’s golf team placed seventh at the 2014 Crossroads League Championships.

The three-round tournament was held at Harbour Trees Golf Club on Monday and Tuesday.

Grace’s team score of 953 tied with St. Francis for seventh place. The Lancers’ best round came on Monday with a second-round 310. Grace struggled to a 321 in the opener and a 322 in the third round.

Senior Trey Stoll paced the Lancers with a 230, including a team-low 73 during the second round. He tied for 11th place on the individual list.

Taylor Fanning carded a tournament total of 239 (77-80-82) to finish second for Grace. Caleb Rovenstine concluded his Lancer career by improving every round with an 83-80-78 scorecard. Kyle Condon rounded out Grace’s scoring with a total of 245, including a second-round 78.

Zachary Allyn played as an individual, firing 84-79-91.

Stoll finished a strong year with a pair of medalist honors and two second-place finishes during the 2013-14 season. He was an NAIA Third Team All-American in 2013.

Winget Nabs League’s Player of the Week Award

April 29th, 2014

Pictured is Olivia Winget at bat for Grace (photo credit: Patrick Stukkie)

Olivia Winget’s standout performance last week was honored when she won the Crossroads League Player of the Week award on Monday.

Winget became the fourth Grace softball player to win a player of the week award from the Crossroads League, joining Brooke Shell, Samantha Johnson and Hannah Adams.

Winget pounded out 11 RBIs on a .462 batting average last week to help the Lady Lancers secure their highest league finish (4th) in program history. The senior first baseman/pitcher homered twice in Grace’s series with IWU, tying the score each time with her homer. She tallied a hit in seven of the team’s eight games this week and scored eight runs.

She is the program’s all-time leader in hits and home runs with a handful of postseason games remaining in her sparkling career.

The Lady Lancers open up the CL Tournament on Wednesday against fifth-seeded Mt. Vernon Nazarene. The double-elimination tournament will continue through May 2.

Area Businesses Contribute to Mock Interview Night for Grace Students

April 28th, 2014

Pictured is Grace College student, Miles Barber.

A mock interview event for Grace College juniors and seniors was hosted last week by the Center for Career Connections at Grace College. On Wednesday, April 16, more than 50 Kosciusko County employers gathered at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center to give students an opportunity to practice their interview skills. Set up in “speed dating” style, mock interviews were conducted in two shifts with a networking session and dinner in between sessions.  Freshmen and sophomores from the Millennial Scholar Academy and the Orthopaedic Scholar Institute were also privileged to attend.

“The feedback we received from employers and students was exceptional,” said Denise Terry, director of the Center for Career Connections at Grace. “Everyone was impressed with how well the event flowed and how valuable this experience was for both our students and the employers.  Several employers are pursuing the students they met with for actual employment opportunities within their companies.”

Jeremy Mullins, commercial manager at Louis Dreyfus said, “This event was a great opportunity for different business owners to see what kind of talent we have in our own back yard. It also gave students the opportunity to see the businesses that are in their community. No matter what industry you are in, it pays to have those personal connections.”

Participating employers included: 1st Source Bank, ABC Industries, Best Schotz Productions, Big Brother/Big Sister, Biomet, Brandpoet, Cardinal Services, Center Street Partners, Kosciusko/Warsaw Chamber of Commerce, the City of Warsaw, Crowe Horwath, DePuy, Egg Innovations, EnPak, Grace College, Grace Village Retirement Community, Hand Industries, Harrison Elementary, Helvey and Associates, Jefferson Elementary, Lake City Bank, Leesburg Elementary, Louis Dreyfus, Maple Leaf Farms, Pierceton Elementary, Royal Blue, Smith Academy for Excellence, Silveus Insurance, Spherion Staffing Services, Star Bank, SYM Financial, Tree of Life Bookstore, uLead, United States Army, Warsaw Community Schools, Winona Lake Police Department, Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church, Zimmer, and Zing! Recruiting.

Tim Minear, chief operating officer at Silveus Insurance, said, “As an employer in our community, this event was a great opportunity for us to team up and support the local college and students. The college is vital for our community, and the mock interviews event gave us the chance to jump in there and help.”

$350,000 Donation to Make Major Enhancements for Grace Soccer

April 28th, 2014

included is a visual rendering of the new soccer field by Design Collaborative

A comprehensive project is set to revamp Grace’s Miller Athletic Complex this summer, transforming the soccer complex to install lights, bleachers, team bench areas and a press box among other improvements.

A donor has pledged $350,000 anonymously to fund the soccer field improvements. Construction will be ongoing throughout the spring and summer and is scheduled to be completed by the start of the fall 2014 soccer season.

“These improvements to Miller Athletic Complex are a part of the college’s strategic plan to serve the needs of the entire Grace community,” said Grace President Dr. Bill Katip. “We’re creating valuable facility enhancements that will meet the needs for campus and varsity athletics and also attract members of the Grace community and prospective students. We cannot thank the donor enough for the commitment and passion to the continued growth and success of Grace College & Seminary.”

New lights installed at the soccer field will allow Grace men’s and women’s soccer games to be played at night for the first time. The teams will also enjoy upgraded team bench areas and a team meeting room at the field.

The soccer field itself will undergo a makeover with the pitch to be widened. The soccer complex will add 1,000 new bleacher seats, meeting the capacity requirement to host NAIA Opening Round matches.

Other upgrades to the soccer complex include a new scoreboard, fencing around the perimeter of the complex and a press box complete with wireless Internet to enable live video streaming of home matches.

The groundbreaking ceremony, held at the soccer fields, took place on Friday.

“We are very excited and thank the Lord for this gift that will enhance the soccer facility at Miller Athletic Complex,” said Grace Athletic Director Chad Briscoe. “We are humbled by the support from the donor who made this project a reality for our student-athletes, coaches, campus and community. This project will continue to impact the overall growth of the Miller Athletic Complex and make it an important part of campus life for the entire Grace community.”

According to Drew Flamm, Vice President for Advancement, the donor is an avid supporter of Grace College and the athletic programs. “We praise God for this gift. The family that made this gift loves Grace College and Grace College Athletics,” Flamm said. “They have invested their time, talent, and treasure to make the athletic program and our whole institution better. We have big plans for Grace College and Seminary, and so do our donors. We pray this is the one of many transformational gifts that makes a lifelong impact on students.”

Grace’s men’s soccer head coach Matt Hotchkin added: “We are extremely excited about this project. This is a huge deal for Grace soccer and Grace College. This will deepen the relationship with Grace and the community and will help us recruit the best of the best to Grace. Speaking for all of our former coaches and players, we are humbled with this great gift and are excited with how God will use this stadium to further His kingdom.”

Grace’s women’s soccer head coach Michael Voss remarked: “This is absolutely fantastic! I am super stoked for this renovation of our facility. The ceiling of possession-attacking futbol has been raised immeasurably. This positions Grace to host amazing matches and to exponentially increase the ability to live out our mission of loving God and being a baller. This is a fantastic time to be a Lancer!”

Five School Records Crumble at CL Championships

April 28th, 2014

Grace’s track and field teams had one of its strongest showings of the season at the 2014 Crossroads League Championships.

The Lancers broke or tied five school records and had one runner (Lance Taylor) qualify for NAIA Nationals. The meet was hosted by Marian University.

“We had an awesome weekend with school records falling and numerous season and personal bests. I’m very proud of how the ladies competed. The guys had a great weekend and even exceeded my expectations in some areas,” said Grace head coach Jeff Raymond. “Lance [Taylor] qualifying for NAIA in the 400 was a huge accomplishment, and Donovan just missed the qualifying mark in the 800. He will hopefully get it next week.”

Lance Taylor made his mark in the 400-meter race, placing second in a school-record time of 48.21 seconds. His finish met the NAIA national qualifying standard.

The men’s team had three other All-League finishers (top-three finishes are All-League). Donovan Graham had a personal-best finish in the 800 at 1:54.32 for second place, and Drew Perrin was third in the triple jump at 42-feet-4.

The men’s 4×400 relay team of Taylor, Graham, KeJuan Leek and Matt Lee took third place in the CL meet at 4:21.93.

Micah Pollard had a part in two school records. She tied the 100-meter school mark in a time of 12.45 during the preliminary race, going on to finish third in the 100. Pollard broke Grace’s record in the 200, crossing the finish line in 25.52 for third place. Both marks earned All-League recognition.

Sabrina Whitaker earned All-CL honors in the high jump, clearing 5-feet-2.5 for second place.

Jo Boren placed fourth in the 400 with a new school-record time of 59.23. She also placed fifth in the 200 with a personal-record time of 25.89.

The 4×800 relay squad of Allison Zylstra, Jenna McClellan, Katelyn McCullough and Rachel Fehring set Grace’s fifth school record of the meet in 9:49.51.

McCullough had a busy weekend, also placing fifth in 100 hurdles (16.35), seventh in the 400 hurdles (1:08.29) and ran on the fifth-place 4×100 relay and fourth-place 4×400 relay. Others in 4×100 were Boren, Erin Jones and Pollard. The 4×400 included Jones, Alicia Hertzler and Boren.

Other strong finishes for the Lancers included Brandon Smith’s fifth place in the 3000 steeplechase, Heather House’s sixth place in the 100 hurdles, and Jesse Feitz’s seventh place in the javelin. Erin McPherson finished fifth for the shot put and eighth in the hammer throw. The men’s 4×800 (Jonathan Rex, Taylor, Smith, Graham) and the 4×100 (Evan Kilgore, Leek, Niko Read, Ben Hutton) squads each placed sixth.

The Lancers’ next meet is the NCCAA National Championships. Grace will have 17 athletes competing in the meet in Rome, Ga.

Walk-off Thriller Seals Sweep of IWU

April 28th, 2014

Pictured is Olivia Winget being congratulated after a home run on Saturday against Indiana Wesleyan

Senior Olivia Winget starred on Senior Day for Grace’s softball team on Saturday, and freshman Samantha Johnson’s walk-off single in the ninth inning secured the Lady Lancers a sweep of Indiana Wesleyan.

Winget homered twice to propel the Lady Lancers (23-25; 19-13 CL) to 8-7 and 3-2 victories over IWU at Miller Field.

The Wildcats (28-22; 16-16 CL), sparked by a first-inning home run, jumped ahead 3-0 early in the opening game. Grace had the answer in the bottom of the third, however. After Brooke Shell and Tiffany Featherston led off the inning with singles, Winget parked a game-tying, three-run home run over the center field fence.

Grace added three more runs in the fourth. Clarissa Knight provided a clutch two-out, two-run single, and Winget had another RBI single.

Indiana Wesleyan made a late rally, scoring three runs in the top of the seventh to trail by one. Allison Franklin ended the Wildcats’ threat on the mound, however, coming in to record the final three outs of the game.

Winget finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs, Brittany Melzoni and Knight notched three hits apiece, and Shell and Featherston each scored twice.

In the second game, superb pitching from Hannah Adams and timely hitting by Winget and Johnson lifted Grace to a 3-2 extra-innings win.

Shell opened the scoring in the third inning with a sacrifice fly ball to plate Paige Petrone. The Wildcats countered with runs in the fourth and fifth inning to claim a 2-1 advantage.

In the bottom of the sixth, Winget blasted her second home run of the day to tie the game. In the top of the seventh, Featherston and Johnson made a pair of fantastic defensive plays in the outfield to keep the score tied.

The game was not decided until the bottom of the ninth as the daylight was in its final minutes. Melzoni doubled down the left field line, and Johnson drove her in with a game-winning, walk-off single to right field.

Adams tossed all nine innings from the mound, allowing four scattered hits and two runs. She struck out 10 batters.

Johnson had three hits in the win, and Winget notched two hits.

The Lady Lancers’ next games will take place in the Crossroads League Tournament, starting April 30.