Sunday, July 24, 2016

XULA Gold Nuggets introduce three new distance runners

NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana announced Thursday the addition of three student-athletes to its women's cross country program for the 2016-17 academic year. Signed to scholarships were:

Alexis McDaniel of Biloxi, Miss., and Biloxi High School.
Taylor Price of Missouri City, Texas, and Ridge Point High School.
Imani Walker of St. Louis and Parkway North High School.

All will be freshmen and also will compete in outdoor track and field during the spring.
McDaniel was Biloxi's fastest finisher at the 2015 Class 6A state meet. She finished 38th overall and helped her team finish 17th in the team standings. As a junior in 2014, McDaniel placed 56th at the state meet and helped Biloxi finish 12th. She will be a pre-pharmacy major at Xavier.

Price was a national champion at the 2014 USATF Junior Olympics, winning the 3,000-meter run in the 15-16 age group for her club team, the Houston Visions. At Ridge Point she was sixth in the 1,600 at the 5A state outdoor track meet this year, and this past fall she was the Region III-5A individual champion in cross country. Price's best 5K time is 18 minutes, 8.72 seconds, a school record she set while winning the 2014 district meet. Price's XU major will be biomedical science.

Walker was a four-time conference outdoor track champion in the 800 and holds the school record at 2:19.97. She has produced a pair of top-six finishes at the AAU Junior Olympics, including fifth place in 2012. Walker will major in kinesiology

Also joining the cross country roster will be sophomore Maliya Vaughan, who competed in track this past season. There will be three returning letterwinners: Chinyere Jones, Dionysia Love and Brianna Pace. The Gold Nuggets will run their first meet of the season in late August. Xavier will release the 2016 schedule soon.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Larry Smith set to represent Alcorn in MS Sports Hall of Fame

JACKSON, Mississippi -- Larry Smith wasn’t gifted with natural-born scoring ability, so he knew there were other things he had to do in order to stay on the basketball court.

“It was a situation where if I wanted to get playing time, I needed to find a way to acquire playing time,” Smith said. “I felt if I pound the glass, rebound the ball and play great defense and did those little things, the playing time will come.”

Those little things added up to a stellar career, which stretched from Simmons High School to Alcorn State and a 13-year career in the NBA for the Rolling Fork native.

The next stop for Smith is the BancorpSouth Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame where he’ll be inducted Saturday night at 7 p.m. at the Jackson Convention Center.

“I think he’s one of Mississippi’s all-time basketball greats,” Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame historian Rick Cleveland said. “By any definition he should be in there. He was a great basketball player in college, and was a really solid player in the pros.”


Alcorn State Athletics Names Robbie Kleinmuntz Director of Sports Information

Robbie Kleinmuntz, SID 
LORMAN, Mississippi -- Robbie Kleinmuntz comes to Alcorn after spending three seasons as assistant director of Media Relations at the University of Louisiana Monroe. He publicized a men's basketball program that shot up to the top of the Sun Belt Conference standings after back-to-back 20-win seasons and a pair of postseason appearances.

In June 2016, Kleinmuntz's 2015 Women's Soccer Media Guide won first-place in the state of Louisiana for Olympic sports by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA) and second-place nationally in the Women's Soccer University category by the Collegiate Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Kleinmuntz also finished second in the CoSIDA Spring-At Large category for his 2015-16 Track & Field Media Guide, and second for Feature Story of the Year in 2014-15 by the LSWA.

Prior to ULM, Kleinmuntz served as communications assistant at the Sun Belt Conference office, and sports information graduate assistant at Northwestern State University. He experienced working as the primary contact for soccer, volleyball, softball, tennis and swimming and diving during those stints. Kleinmuntz also worked as an athletics media relations student intern at the University of Pittsburgh for two years.

While in Pittsburgh, Kleinmuntz wrote for the school newspaper, The Pitt News, as a sports writer and interned for the Pittsburgh Sports Report newspaper. He worked in the Media Relations Department when the men's basketball team was ranked No. 1 in the nation on two separate occasions.

Kleinmuntz earned his bachelor's degree as a double major in journalism and history from Pittsburgh in 2010, and his master's degree in sports administration from Northwestern State University in 2012.

He is the son of Ira and Leslie Kleinmuntz and has two younger brothers, Michael and Sam. Kleinmuntz is an avid Pittsburgh sports fan.


Grambling’s dominace in question this season

GRAMBLING, Louisiana -- The dominance that Grambling displayed in the Southwest Athletic Conference in 2015 is somewhat in question at the start of this season.

Grambling, which ran the table through its league schedule last year and then reached the SWAC championship game, has a quarterback issue and a need to improve a defense that allowed 35 points per game, a matter which helped the Tigers finish last in the conference in pass defense.

Coaches and league sports information directors have picked Grambling to finish second in the West Division behind Prairie View A&M. The Tigers received 35 points, six behind Prairie View and three in front of third-place Southern.

The Tigers finished 9-3 overall in 2015 behind quarterback Jonathan Williams, who passed for just over 3,000 yards, an accomplishment that was second best in the SWAC.

There’s quarterback potential help on the way however, as Grambling has Ole Miss transfer
Devante Kincade as a replacement. Kincade injured his foot last year and was not available for any of the Tigers’ spring football workouts.


Southern looks to break out of the pack this season

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana -- It could be somewhat of an enigmatic 2016 football season for Southern University.

The Jaguars have plenty offensive experience returning including running back Lenard Tillery, the preseason Southwestern Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

There is also a new synthetic turf that will grace the Jaguars’ playing field at 28,500-seat A.W. Mumford Stadium for the start of 2016. The turf, paid for by the SU System Foundation, Baton Rouge Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Louisiana Superdome Management and UBU Sports, will be unveiled at the home opener Sept. 17 against Alabama State.

Those factors should be enough to encourage the Jaguar Nation, as Southern enters this year picked third in the West Division behind projected leader Prairie View A&M and second place Grambling.

That’s the same place the Jags finished last season, despite having one of the nation’s best offenses.

However, for the second straight season, Southern begins a regular season with a problem, as league sanctions due to academic issues prevented the Jaguars from having spring football.


Ellenwood ready to tackle FAMU athletics issues after joining leadership team

Joyce Ellenwood,
 Associate Athletic Director for Academics and Compliance Services


TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Joyce Ellenwood is ready to take on the challenges that come with being the head of compliance in Florida A&M’s athletic department.

Ellenwood, who last month was named associate athletic director for compliance and academic services, has a list of things she wants to tackle while on the job.

First, she wants Florida A&M’s entire community to know compliance isn’t 100-percent an athletics issue.

“Ensuring our documents are in place, ensuring we’re following rules and regulations, ensuring we’re educating the university community,” she said.

“Compliance with NCAA rules is a FAMU community effort. It’s a campus-wide effort. It’s not just an athletic focus. Of course, we have our student-athletes, we have our coaches, we have our athletics staff that is responsible for knowing and abiding by NCAA rules, but we also want to make sure the campus community is also educated.”



UMES Hawks Add JUCO Point Guard Michael Chambers To Recruiting Class

PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland -- The University of Maryland Eastern Shore men’s basketball program rounded out the roster with a final piece by signing junior college guard Michael Chambers.

Chambers, a 6-foot-3, 186-pound guard spent last season at Cape Fear Junior College in Wilmington, N.C., where he averaged and helped the squad to a 24-8 overall record.

“Mike is a prolific scorer,” Hawks head coach Bobby Collins said. “He has proven that he can score at the collegiate level. He also has a very high basketball IQ and is always thinking a play ahead.”

The Sea Devils advanced to the Region 10 Tournament Championship game falling 75-72 to Spartanburg Methodist. Chambers had 33 points, 11 rebounds and three assists in that contest.

Before playing last season with Cape Fear, Chambers spent the 2013-14 season as a freshman at Division II Lees-McRae where he averaged 18 points His season highlights included 21 and 29 points against Division I High Point and Appalachian State respectively.

The team has awarded its full compliment of scholarships for the 2016-17 athletic year.