MidAmerica Nazarene was picked second in the 2013 Heart of America Athletic Conference preseason coaches’ poll.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
The Pioneers, who went 8-3 last season and have reached the NAIA playoffs six consecutive seasons, received two first-place votes and check in behind reigning Heart champion Missouri Valley.
Running back Greg Gates, a senior who rushed for 1,455 yards and 16 touchdowns last season, and senior wide receiver LaDon Hudson, who led MidAmerica in receiving yards (487) and receiving TDs (11), return to lead the offense.
Senior safety JD Wood, who finished with 49 tackles and a team-high four interceptions, and senior linebacker Joe Camacho, who was second on the Pioneers with 83 tackles and averaged a team-best 9.2 tackles per game, headline the returners on defense.
Vasquez heads to Iola
Former Kansas Class 4A state cross country champion Angel Vasquez signed with Allen County Community College in Iola, Kan.
Vasquez, a 2013 De Soto High School graduate, has lived on his own the last few years, paying his own rent and other bills by working in addition to school and distance training. His graduation was something of a community effort.
One that paid off with several scholarship offers.
After finishing up his time with the Red Devils, Vasquez hopes to transfer for UMKC and continue his cross country and track careers.
East grad inks with Hannibal-LaGrange
Olathe East graduate Austin Matters signed with Hannibal-LaGrange for cross country and track last month.
Matters finished 69th at the Kansas state cross country championship last fall. He plans to major in biology (pre-veterinarian).
Golfers win Fore State title
For the second time in the Fore State Championship’s 18-year history, Kansas claimed the title.
Rallying from a first-day deficit, a 10-player team of all-star Kansas golfers topped teams from Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas during the Ryder Cup-style event Aug. 1-2 at Twin Hills Golf & Country Club in Joplin, Mo.
The Kansas team, which also won in 2010, included St. Thomas Aquinas graduates Ali Kruse and Gianna Misenhelter along with SM East graduate Anne Willman.
Kruse, Misenhelter and Willman won match-play rounds on the second day as Kansas overcame a two-point hole and totaled 12.5 points, which topped Missouri and Oklahoma by 2.5 for the crown.
Misenhelter also was the runner-up at the Kansas Women’s Golf Association Amateur Championship on July 18 at Auburn Hills Golf Course in Wichita.
Misenhelter’s three-round total of 222 put her five strokes behind grand champion Lauren Falley of Topeka (217).
Kruse finished fourth (226) at the tourney with another former Saints golfer, Baile Winslow, snagging seventh (239).
Willman won the first flight (242) in a playoff against yet another St. Thomas Aquinas graduate, Alexa Osbourn.
Shain nominated for NCAA’s Woman of the Year
Central Missouri and Olathe Northwest graduate Kayla Shain is among 30 finalists nationwide for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
Shain, who was MIAA’s Ken B. Jones Award as the top female student-athlete, helped the Jennies soccer team win three straight conference titles (going 34-0-2 during that span) and reach the NCAA Division II Sweet 16 twice.
Shain, who graduated with a 4.0 grade-point average in speech pathology, was the 2012 MIAA soccer player of the year and graduated as the program’s all-time leader in assists.
Miege grad signs with French pro team
Former Bishop Miege volleyball player Kate Van Dyke signed with the Laon Volleyball Club in France.
Van Dyke graduated from Georgia Southern in May as the program’s all-time leader in assists (5,348) and is the only Eagles player in history to be chosen first-team All-Southern Conference four times.
She was the conference’s player of year last fall.
SKC Academy squad qualifies for national league
Sporting Kansas City’s under-14 boys qualified for the U.S. Youth Soccer 2013-14 National League, while three local girls made the cut among the nation’s top 160 teams ages 14-18 nationwide.
Futura Academy Forte will compete in the under-15 girls division, Futura FC 96/97 Academy Premier qualified for the under-17 division and Sporting Blue Valley Supersport 94/95 are among 16 under-18 girls teams.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.