Six Bearcats earn preseason honors
LEBANON -- Six members of the McKendree University football team have been named to the 2014 pre-season NCAA Division II All-America teams for USA College Football. The honors were announced Monday by the organization, and selected by a national panel of head coaches, sports information directors, sportswriters and scouts from across the nation.
Seniors Ryan Herring (Belleville East) and Cameron Ford each collected second-team honors. Herring led McKendree in rushing during the 2013 season, gaining 575 yards on 99 carries with a team-high six touchdowns. Ford registered 26 total tackles from his nose tackle spot, along with six tackles for loss and one quarterback sacks.
Senior Dewayne Gatti, junior George Hill and sophomore Lucky Baar were all named to the third-team squad. Gatti set new McKendree team records with 64 receptions, 837 receiving yards and seven TD catches a year ago. He also set new team marks with 10 receptions for 201 yards in the Bearcats' 32-28 season-opening win over Tiffin University last September. Hill tied for the team lead in tackles with 64, including five for loss. He also had two pass break-ups while playing at an inside linebacker position. At defensive end, Baar posted 24 tackles last year, including six for loss with a trio of quarterback sacks. Baar forced two fumbles and recovered a pair during the first half of the 2013 campaign.
Junior Cameron James (Edwardsville) was also named to the squad as a kick returner. Last season, James was a special-teams standout for McKendree, averaging a whopping 40.1 yards on eight kick returns while posting a 12.9 yard average on 20 punt returns. James had a 97-yard kickoff return for a score at Henderson State University and added a 64-yard punt return TD later in the season versus Quincy University. In addition to his prowess in the return department, James caught 28 passes for 260 yards and gained 274 rushing yards in 2013.
McKendree will open its 2014 season on Sept. 4 at home against Ferris State University. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Leemon Field.
Lynx to play SWIC in Mayor's Cup tilt
BELLEVILLE -- The Lindenwood University-Belleville men's soccer team is set to host Southwestern Illinois College in the fifth annual Mayor's Cup to kick off the 2014 home season. The game will take place Aug. 17, at 4 p.m. on LU-Belleville's home field.
"It is hard to believe that we are hosting a fifth annual event on our campus with regards to the Belleville Mayor"s Cup," said Lynx head coach Dan Hogan. "It is a game that players on both teams really look forward to as they prepare for the regular season."
Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert will be attendance leading the pre-game ceremonies and flipping the official coin. The winning team receives a trophy, which is also displayed in the mayor's office. The first 100 fans at the game will receive a copper-finished coin commemorating the fifth annual Mayor's Cup.
Bearcats end inaugural season ranked 20th
LEBANON -- The McKendree University bass fishing team program closed out its inaugural season ranked 20th out of 209 schools in the final Association of Collegiate Anglers (ACA) Cabela's School of the Year standings, and may be featured on national television in August.
The School of the Year program is built to reward teams that compete with the ACA in the Cabela's Collegiate Bass Fishing Series, as well as select national Carhartt College B.A.S.S and FLW events. The respective championship events for each series will count towards the Cabela's School of the Year program as well. In addition to the three national collegiate fishing trails, the ACA will also award points for select ACA-sanctioned events throughout the season.
Film crews were present at various ACA-sponsored collegiate tournaments throughout the season and programming will be featured on the NBC Sports Outdoors network every Friday at 2 p.m. CDT from Aug. 1-Sept. 26.
"With McKendree's inaugural bass fishing season in the books, I am extremely pleased with the performance of our team," said head coach Jon Rinderer. "We had many outstanding performances and were fortunate enough to have several TV cameras in the boat with our anglers during the tournaments. My hat is tipped to Wade Middleton and his crew for all that they do for the collegiate anglers during their Cabela's BoatUS tournament series. The time, energy, and effort they put into the collegiate series is greatly appreciated by all those involved. We're looking forward to the national exposure that their upcoming television series will bring to our program. It is uncertain how much footage we will receive throughout the series, but we are looking forward to every second of it."
On Aug. 1 and 8, the program will feature coverage from day one and two of the ACA Collegiate Bass Fishing Open from March 15-16 on Lake Chickamauga in Dayton, Tenn. The Bearcats battled snow, high wind, and freezing temperatures, but came home with 40th and 58th place finishes out of 137 teams.
On August 15 and 22, coverage of the Cabela's Big Bass Bash from Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tenn., from April 5-6 will be featured. McKendree had a great finish in the tournament, placing fourth overall out of 140 boats. It's impressive showing at the event catapulted the Bearcats up 50 places into 12th place in the School of the Year standings.
On Aug. 29, the program will give a preview of collegiate national championship and take a look into the school of the year program.
Coverage on Sept. 5 and 12 will showcase the first and second days of the collegiate national championships held in Florence, Ala., on Pickwick Lake. All of McKendree's boats weighed-in five-fish limits at the events and finished in 92nd, 100th, and 104th place out of 154 teams.
"It was definitely been an incredible first season for our program," said Rinderer. "We competed in nine events overall, and brought home 13 top ten finishes and finished 18th overall. We had one senior angler graduate and we return the majority of our team, in addition to the nine fantastic new fishermen we're bringing onto the squad for the upcoming season. The team learned many things during this season and we're looking forward to traveling to some of the same lakes again this year and sharing their knowledge with the new members."
SIUE's Verschoore, Bednar play in all-star game
BALLWIN, Mo. -- Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's Austin Verschoore and Jared Bednar played in the recent St. Louis Metro Collegiate Baseball League All-Star game.
The duo both play for the Rebels under coach Kevin Moulder. The team earned the No. 3 seed for the Metro Collegiate Playoffs. The winner of the four-team tournament will qualify for the National Amateur Baseball Federation July 31-Aug. 3 in Toledo, Ohio.
Verschoore has been one of the top players in the league with a .396 batting average including two home runs and 12 runs batted in during 15 games. He also has a 1-0 record in three pitching appearances.
Bednar leads the Rebels pitching staff with a 3-0 record, a 2.24 earned run average and 28 strikeouts in 25 innings pitched.