Friday, May 6, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Diamond Cats Sweeping the Competition

RSU Baseball has kept brooms quite handy since the start of the season.

The Hillcats have swept victories away from the last five out of ten opposing teams while setting a new school record of 19 straight wins.

“We have the confidence now that we can play with anybody,” said junior catcher Lance Rymel. “With this strong start it just proves that we’re a really good team and all of our hard work has paid off from the off season.”

The early streak propelled the Cats to a solid third place standing in the Sooner Athletic Conference behind Oklahoma City and Oklahoma Baptist.

For head coach Ron Bradley’s ball club, favorable winning ratios will look to keep the Cats among the top seeds in the conference.

“This conference is so tough that you just feel like if you can win two out of three each weekend then you’re putting yourself in a situation where you’ve got a real good shot to go to the national tournament and that’s our goal,” said Bradley.

Earlier this month, the Diamond Cats traveled down to Texas winning two out of three games against No. 5 nationally ranked opponent Lubbock Christian. Bradley’s ball club repeated the same ratio during spring break claiming two 6-5 victories at home against Wayland Baptist.

RSU’s pitching staff has proven to be a driving force behind the Cats success.

The Cats are second in the conference with an earned run average of 3.45 percent.

Junior Tyler Garner earned SAC Pitcher of the Week for March 7-13 in the wins against LCU. The Poteau, Okla., native held the Chaps to three runs, one earned, on seven hits and two walks, while striking out six hitters. For the season, Garner holds a 4-0 record.

During the same period, Lance Rhymel received SAC player of the week. The Broken Arrow, Okla., native batted .500 for the week with five hits in 10 at bats with a home run, a double, four RBI and one run scored.

Going deeper into conference play the Cats are posing threats for teams in more ways than one.

Besides outstanding pitching, RSU is third in the SAC with a batting average of .340.

The Cats’ high speed offense ranks fifth in the nation in total stolen bases (78). Defensively, RSU is second in the conference allowing only 6.24 hits per game and 3.41 runs per game on average.

RSU baseball will look to keep their winning ratio alive as they square off in a three-game series against University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma beginning Mar. 31.


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A Tale of Two Seasons

RSU Men’s Basketball sets new records in the history books.

If you would have asked head coach Justin Barkley at the start of the 2010-11 basketball season if his program had the chance of making a deep run in the national tournament, the question probably would have been difficult to answer.

Maybe a little crazy.

Respectively, anyone who second-guessed the Rogers State men’s basketball team should have guessed again.

The Hillcats concluded their season reaching the Elite Eight round of the NAIA national tournament in Kansas City, Mo., going further than any team in program history.

“This team is very resilient,” said Barkley. “They’ve definitely raised the bar here at Rogers State.”

RSU men opened the first round of the national tournament in thrilling fashion knocking off No. 5 nationally ranked Texas Wesleyan 66-64.

The Hillcats battled back and forth with TWU trailing by as much as 13 points in the game, capturing their first lead of the second half with 13 seconds left on the clock.

All season, the men’s team experienced numerous double-digit deficits, pulling out slim victories including the wins against Southern Nazarene, Oklahoma Baptist and Lubbock Christian.

So the challenge against TWU was nothing new for RSU.

“We’ve been in those positions all year,” said junior point guard Maurice Rutherford.

After blowing past Carroll College in the second round 66-45, RSU men witnessed their historical season come to a close against No. 3 nationally ranked Mountain State University 69-62 in the quarterfinals.

Seniors John Boyd, Matt Kellogg, Chris Francis, Brandon Mims and Alburey Doss played their final game in a Hillcat uniform.

Barkley described his squad’s national run performance to the Elite Eight as the ultimate team production.

“Each and every night somebody different was stepping up,” said Barkley. “This wouldn’t have been able to all come together, if it wasn’t for a cast of characters.”

The Hillcats finished the season ranked No. 25 in the nation with a 22-12 overall record and are now 2-2 all-time at the NAIA Tournament.

This season, they knocked off four Top-25 teams with three of them finishing in the Top 10 in the final coaches poll.

A team that was looked upon as having a rebuilding season shook up the Sooner Athletic Conference and left their mark in the NAIA national tournament exceeding everyone’s expectations, including their own.


Photo courtesy of Ryan Weaver

A Thrill Ride to Remember

RSU Women's Basketball reach new heights in 2010-11 season.

If you missed your chance to catch the Rogers State women's basketball team in action, then you've missed out on a special season.

RSU women knocked off four Top 25 teams during the 2010-11 season, making their first Sooner Athletic Conference championship and NAIA national tournament appearance while tallying the most wins in program history with a 23-10 overall record.

The Hillcats finished the regular season on a strong run, winning the last nine of ten games claiming sole possession of the fourth seed in the Sooner Athletic Conference.

Heading into the SAC tournament, RSU sought revenge in their third meeting with John Brown with a 60-55 victory. After falling twice to JBU, the payback was more bitter than sweet.

"We didn't really celebrate," said senior forward Candice Stewart. "That win was expected."

The Hillcat women stayed focused as they pounced on Oklahoma Baptist for the third time this season, wiping the Lady Bison from the tournament 74-59.

Yet, RSU were unable to topple Southern Nazarene in the SAC Championship falling 52-48.

The Hillcats post-season efforts earned themselves their first bid into the national tournament in Jackson, Tenn.

The Rogers State women put forth one of their best defensive performance in their national tournament debut but could not find similar success on the offensive end. RSU controlled the opening 33 minutes but Westminster College was able to fight back as the Hillcats had one of their worst shooting nights of the season.

The Hillcats reached the end of their season ride, falling to Westminster College 60-56.

"I think our players know that we played well enough to win the game, we just didn't shoot well enough to win the game," said Williams. "It's tough when you lose a game like that but we're still proud of everything we've accomplished."

Seniors Hunter Peterson, Andrea Miles, Cortney Crockett including Stewart completed their college careers as a Hillcat.

Though a tough season-ender, RSU women reached their ultimate goal of making a national tournament appearance leaving their mark in school's history.

"This was a really good team this year," said Stewart. "Once we finally figured out our chemistry, we were special together."


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RSU Golf Aiming for Progression

The Sooner Athletic Conference is known for having one of the most competitive leagues in the NAIA across the country.

With a few spring tournaments under their belts, the Rogers State Men’s and Women’s golf teams are looking to make a name for themselves in the conference.

“The teams have continued to make progress,” said Randa Fay, RSU assistant head coach. “We have to elevate our performance to be competitive at this level.”

Earlier this month, the men’s team captured their highest placing of the season finishing fourth in the Crawford-Wade Invitational played in Pottsboro, Texas. The Hillcats held their own amongst a host of NCAA Division II schools.

Sophomore Tanner Owens led the Hillcats tying for 12th with a three-day score of 233. Freshman Landon Morgan followed closely behind finishing 15th with a total score of 234.

During spring break, RSU faced stiff competition at the UST Mamiya Texas Intercollegiate tournament finishing 13th out of 15 teams.Five SAC schools, including RSU, competed in the tournament with four of those teams finishing in the top 10 of the 15 team tournament.

RSU women are also facing a high competitive field. Earlier this month, the Hillcats teed up in Dallas, Texas at the Audible Closed Championship finishing eighth in team play.

Freshman Whitney Hocutt led the way for the Cats finishing 39th with a two-day score of 257. As the season progresses, Coach Fay senses great potential from both golf teams.

“We must believe in the ability that is there and feed off of the drive and passion that it takes to be a leader and competitive athletes,” concluded Fay.

RSU Golf will return to the Oklahoma links Mar. 27-29 at the OWU Spring Invitational Golf Tournament in Bartlesville Okla., and Apr. 3-5 at the OBU Invitational in Shawnee, Okla.


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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Wren Baker Special

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Check out my special I put together on Wren Baker. Filmed about a week before his last day at RSU.

Blue Up Commercial

Check out the commercial I put together in my Advanced Broadcast Practium class. Special thanks to RSU students in Student Activities! Oh and Hunter the Hillcat :)