BASEBALL: Senior outfielder Chris Benson has been named the Great West Conference Offensive Player of the Week.
Benson hit at a .533 clip (8-for-15) in last weekend's three-game set against Southern Utah. He had multi-hit games in each contest during the series, going 3-for-5 with three RBI and two steals in the opener, 2-for-4 in second game and closing out the weekend with a 3-for-6 effort in the wild, come-from-behind 13-11 victory over SUU in 10 innings.
Benson helped UVU overcome an 11-1 deficit in defeating the Thunderbirds in extra innings by doubling with two outs in the 10th, raising his season average to .412.
SOFTBALL: Josi Summers and Samantha Telarroja have been named the Pacific Coast Softball Conference (PCSC) Mountain Division Players of the Week after outstanding performances at Loyola Marymount's Marina International Hotel Showcase last weekend. Summers was named the pitcher of the week while Telarroja was named the player.
The award is both athletes first weekly honor of their careers.
The freshman RHP Summers (Tremonton, Utah) went 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA (15.1 IP, 8 ER) in three appearances, including two starts, last week. Summers tossed complete games in her two starts against Loyola Marymount (W, 8.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 SO) and North Dakota (L, 6.0 IP, 8 H 8 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO). The nine strikeouts against the Lions was a season-high. For the season, Summers has made 11 appearances, including nine starts. She is 2-8 with a 6.26 ERA (46.1 IP, 41 ER) with five complete games.
The senior shortstop Telarroja (Claremont, Calif.) hit .417, going 5-for-12 with two HRs and three RBI in four games last week. She also scored three runs, stole two bases and walked three times to record a .500 OBA. Telarroja opened the week going 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBI in an 11-7 loss to Bethune-Cookman. In the Wolverines' 5-3 extra-inning win over Loyola Marymount, Telarroja went 2-for-4 with a big fly. For the season, she is now tied atop the team with three home runs.
TRACK: Cameron Levins garnered Summit League Athlete of the Week honors after setting a new school record in the 5,000-meter run at the Distance Carnival on Mar. 11.
Levins' raced to a first-place finish in the 5,000-meters with a time of 13:49.82, the fastest in the conference and nation. Levins' time also ranks first in Southern Utah's top-ten all-time records, shaving almost eight seconds off his own record of 13:57.60, set the previous week at the UNLV Invitational.
MEN'S VOLLEYBALL: The Cougars return to the Smith Fieldhouse after almost a full month away with two matches against eighth-ranked Hawaii on Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m.
The Cougars split their last weekend series with Cal State Northridge on a 0-3 and 3-0 score on Friday and Saturday, respectively, to bring them to their 14-7 overall record.
Junior Robb Stowell leads the BYU attack on 296 kills and an overall . 324 hitting percentage. Taylor Sander, Alex DaPron and Futi Tavana are also recording double-digit kills with 245, 129 and 163, respectively, while Tavana is currently the only BYU player to have recorded over 100 blocks this season with 110 total.
Setter Joe Kauliakamoa has recorded 635 assists this season as he paces the Cougar offense on an average of 9.48 per set. Setter Ryan Boyce has recently been splitting time with Kauliakamoa and has totaled 174 assists, and a 3.95 average per set.
The Warriors come to Provo with a six-match win streak in back-to-back- to-back sweeps over Pepperdine, Pacific and Long Beach State. Hawaii is currently 12-9 overall and 10-6 in conference with Jonas Umlauft leading the way on 397 kills in a .335 overall attack. Joshua Walker and Steven Hunt are also attacking in double digits with 267 and 164 kills, respectively.
BYUtv will broadcast both matches live with play-by-play from Jarom Jordan and color commentary from Steve Vail. The match is also available online at byutv.org/live.
SOFTBALL: Catcher Jessica Fitu has been named Mountain West Conference Softball Player of the Week for games played from March 14-20.
Fitu, a 5-9 senior from Walnut, Calif., was named the Hawaii Spring Fling Tournament Most Valuable Player for her performance over the six games. Three of the Cougars five wins were against Top 20 competition.
Fitu hit .400 (8 of 20) for the week with a slugging percentage of .900.
She started the tournament with back-to-back two-hit performances in wins over Iona (8-0) and Cleveland State (8-0 in five). Against Iona, Fitu drove in three BYU runs, while scoring two runs and driving one in against Cleveland State. Despite not reaching base in the Cougars' 4-2 loss to No. 9 California on Thursday, Fitu was solid defensively behind the plate with eight putouts. Later that day against No. 16 Hawai'i, Fitu put runs on the board in a 4-0 win with a two-run homer to go along with 15 putouts while guarding the plate.
In the tournament semifinals, BYU beat Hawai'i again, 2-1, getting one hit, an RBI and a run scored. BYU beat Cal in the finals, 7-2 with Fitu hitting 2-for-2 with three RBI, a run scored, a sacrifice, a double and a triple.
TRACK: Senior Oliver Whaley was selected as one of the Mountain West Conference Men's Outdoor track & field co-athletes of the week.
Whaley, a product of Kayenta, Ariz., won the hammer throw title at the SDSU Aztec Invitational last weekend in San Diego, Calif.
MEN'S BASKETBALL: The NAIA has announced that 59 Division I Men's Basketball student-athletes have been named 2011 NAIA Scholar-Athletes. For the second straight year Westminster led all institutions. This year the Griffins placed five student-athletes on the list.
Chris Cassity, Jeff Christensen, Tanner Gregory, Nick Hovda, and Ben Walker were all named to the squad from Westminster. This is the second time that Cassity, Gregory, and Walker have made the list. Christensen and Hovda made the team for the first time in their careers.
In order to be nominated by an institution's head coach, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved a junior academic status to qualify for this honor.
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: The team had three players named a 2011 NAIA Scholar Athlete the national office announced today. Dani Evans, Nicole Lynch, and Michelle Pace all were named to the squad.
This is the third time that each of the student-athletes has received this honor from the NAIA. This also marks the fourth straight season that Westminster has had multiple recipients.
SOFTBALL: Snow and wet field conditions have led to the postponement of Tuesday's Utah State softball's doubleheader with Weber State in Ogden. The Aggies and the Wildcats are looking to reschedule the games for some time in April.
FOOTBALL: Head coach Gary Andersen will be speaking at the USU Partners In Business seminar presented by the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business on Wednesday at 10:50 a.m. at the Eccles Conference Center on the USU campus. Andersen's presentation, "Leadership and a Plan to Win; Management of Players, Coaches and Self," is part of the day-long Principle-Centered Leadership Seminar.
The event will also feature a lecture by Andrew Cherng, founder and chairman of Panda Restaurant Group, Inc., Cherng opened the first Panda restaurant in 1973 with his father. He has been with the company ever since and has watched Panda Express become one of the most successful restaurant chains in North America. Panda Restaurant Group reports that it now employs nearly 18,000 associates and brings in more than $1.4 billion in sales.
FOOTBALL: The team opens spring camp on Wednesday, taking the field for the first of its 15 practices which culminates with the annual Blue-White Spring Game on April 23.
Head coach Gary Andersen is entering his third spring at the helm of the Aggie program, leading the squad into its first practice of the spring on the turf of Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium. Andersen and his staff will conduct spring camp on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday rotation, weather permitting. The lone exception is the Spring Game on Saturday, April 23, which is the final practice of the spring.
Andersen and his staff are anxious to get the spring season underway.
"We're excited and ready to start the second quarter of our season, which is spring practice. We expect a highly competitive battle for positions in all three phases, and every spot is up for grabs," Andersen said. "Our student-athletes have done a very nice job in their offseason workouts getting ready for the spring, and we're all excited and ready to get going."
All practices are scheduled for Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium, but will shift to the Stan Laub Indoor Facility if there is inclement weather. Practices are currently scheduled to be open to the public, but are subject to change.
"We won't be in pads for the first two days, using those practices to teach. We'll then put the pads on Monday and get into full action of spring practice," Andersen said.
All practices are tentatively open to the public, but they must remain off the field. When the Aggies are on Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium, fans must remain in the stands at all times. All open practices are subject to change.
The Spring Game will kick off at 2 p.m. at Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium. Admission will again be free to the public and further details along with events surrounding the Spring Game will be released at a later date.
USU Football Spring Practice Schedule
Wed., March 23 - 2:45 - 4:30 p.m.
Fri., March 25 - 2:45 - 4:30 p.m.
Mon., March 28 - 2:45 - 4:30 p.m.
Wed., March 30 - 2:45 - 4:30 p.m.
Fri., April 1 - 2:45 - 4:30 p.m.
Mon., April 4 - 2:45 - 4:30 p.m.
Wed., April 6 - 2:45 - 4:30 p.m.
Fri., April 8 - 2:45 - 4:30 p.m.
Mon., April 11 - 2:45 - 4:30 p.m.
Wed., April 13 - 2:45 - 4:30 p.m.
Fri., April 15 - 2:45 - 4:30 p.m.
Mon., April 18 - 2:45 - 4:30 p.m.
Wed., April 20 - 2:45 - 4:30 p.m.
Fri., April 22 - 2:45 - 4:30 p.m.
Sat., April 23 - 2 p.m. - Spring Game
TRACK AND FIELD: Senior Eric Larson and junior Joe Canavan were named the Western Athletic Conference Men's Outdoor Track and Field Athletes of the Week. This is the first honor for Larson and the second-career outdoor honor and third-overall honor for Canavan.
Larson, a native of Missoula, Mont., won the 1500m at the Willie Williams Classic in Tucson, Ariz. over the weekend. Larson posted a WAC-leading time of 3:51.84 that currently ranks 17th in the nation and 12th in the NCAA West Region. He also placed third in the 800m with a time of 1:53.76.
Canavan, a native of Palm Desert, Calif., won the shot put with a WAC seaon-best throw of 17.59m (57-08.50) at the Willie Williams Classic last weekend. The mark leads the WAC by over eight feet, and currently ranks fifth in the nation. Canavan redshirted the 2011 indoor season.
SWIMMING: Lisa Pursley has been hired as an assistant swimming coach, beginning in the 2011-12 season.
Pursley previously swam under head coach Greg Winslow while attending Coronado High in Colorado Springs before becoming a three-time All-American at the University of Arizona. She was also named an Academic All-American, earning the Mary Roby Academic Achievement Award as well. In 2006, the Olympic Trials qualifier helped the Wildcats to the Pac-10 championship. She graduated from Arizona with a B.A. in elementary education in 2007 and has worked as a swimming coach at the Phoenix Swim Club while pursuing her Master's degree at Arizona State.
During the summer of 2008, Pursley worked for the Auburn Tigers swim camp where she helped create and coach dry land and swimming workouts for high school athletes. The following summer, she was an assistant coach for the Pine Crest swim team in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., under the direction of the head coach Mark Zmuda.
Last year, Pursley was an assistant swimming coach at Rutgers University in New Jersey under head coach Phil Spiniello.
Pursley's whole family has a swimming background. David Pursley, her brother, is a record-holding former Ute swimmer. Her father, Dennis Pursley, is the former Director of USA Swimming and is currently the Director of Swimming for Great Britain.
SOFTBALL: At Fairfax, Va.,b ehind stellar pitching performances by Generra Nielson and Naomi Amu, the University of Utah softball team swept a doubleheader with a pair of shutouts at George Mason, 4-0 and 6-0, on Tuesday at the GMU Softball Complex.
Utah (14-15) outscored George Mason 10-0 between the two games and held an 18-5 edge in hits.
Three Utes posted .500 batting averages for the day, led by freshman Chalese Fankhauser. She went 3-for-6 at the plate with four RBI. Brooke Olson posted a team-high four hits in eight at-bats, while Tara Glover was 3-for-6 with four runs scored from the leadoff spot. Sophomore shortstop Kelsi Hoopiiaina tied Fankhauser for team-high honors with four RBI off a grand slam in the third inning of game two.
Game 1: Utah def. George Mason, 4-0
In the first game of the day, Nielson earned her 10th victory of the season after 6.0 innings and not allowing a run on four hits with only one walk and 11 strikeouts. The Blanding, Utah native improved to 10-10 this season.
Senior pitcher Brittany Parker came on to nail down the win with a perfect seventh inning that included a pair of strikeouts.
The Ute offense bookended two-run innings to claim a 4-0 win over the Patriots in the first game of the day.
Game 2: Utah def. George Mason, 6-0
Amu threw six no-hit innings before GMU's Rachael Davies led off the bottom of the seventh with a single to left field. The one-hitter was the first complete game shutout of her career as she struck out seven and only walked two Patriot batters.
MEN'S GOLF: At Tucson, Ariz., the team wrapped up play at the University of Arizona National Invitational Tournament today on the Omni Tucson National Catalina and Sonoran courses. Following a two-round score of 614 (312-302), the Utes posted a third round mark of 300, their lowest of the tournament. Senior Derek Adams led Utah, swinging a 223 (76-77-70) to tie for 26th.
Senior Jeff Kitches (79-72-78) and freshman Ben Bankhead (79-75-75) were the next to finish on theUte roster, posting scores of 229 to tie for 51st place. Senior Mike Branca tied for 84th place with a mark of 238 (78-83-77), while fellow senior Chase Hite finished in 91st with a score of 243 (84-78-81).
The Utes return to action at the San Diego State University Barona Cup, held at Barona Creek Golf Club in Lakeside, Calif,. Thursday and Friday. The tournament is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m.
WOMEN'S TENNIS: The Utes' (5-8) match against 63rd-ranked Oregon (7-7, 1-4 Pac-10) has been moved up and will now be played at 11 a.m. Wednesday instead of the previously announced 1 p.m. The match will still be held at the George S. Eccles Tennis Center.