Continuing their tradition of excellence, athletic teams at
The University of Texas at Tyler achieved significant milestones
in the 2008 spring season, earning championship
titles, national recognition and prestigious postseason
athletic and academic honors.
It was the Patriots’ first spring season as full-fledged
members of the NCAA Division III, after four years of
provisional membership. They became eligible for postseason
tournaments, national rankings and other benefits
of full NCAA membership in August 2007.
Highlights of the spring season included:
UT Tyler’s R.J. Cowan was selected as the American
Southwest Conference Men’s Track & Field Distinguished
Scholar-Athlete of the Year, after receiving the same
honor in the 2007 fall season for men’s cross country.
The ASC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete award is voted on
by the league’s sports information directors. To be
nominated, a student-athlete must participate in 50 percent
of his or her team’s events and have at least a 3.20
cumulative grade point average.
Also selected as UT Tyler’s Male Athlete of the Year and
Student-Athlete of the Year, Cowan had an outstanding
year in both cross country and track & field. The studentathlete
from Whitehouse won the Rhodes Invitational and
the NCAA South/Southeast Regional in cross country and
finished as the runner-up in the ASC Cross Country
Championships and 5K and 10K events at the ASC Track
& Field Championships.
The College Sports Information Directors of America and
ESPN The Magazine named Cowan to the 2008 Men’s
Cross Country and Track & Field Academic All-District
team. The health and kinesiology major has a cumulative
GPA of 3.81.
Other UT Tyler student-athletes named to their respective
sport’s Distinguished Scholar-Athlete team were Brett
Holland, baseball, 3.49 GPA; Kristen Akin-Henton, softball,
3.91 GPA; Brandon Ellis, men’s golf, 3.25 GPA;
Amber Grounds, women’s golf, 3.56 GPA; Nick Kreines,
men’s tennis, 3.93 GPA; Beth Launius, women’s tennis,
3.77 GPA; and Ashton Wells, women’s track, 3.46 GPA.
Cowan and Patriot softball player Kate Lightfield were UT
Tyler’s recipients of the ASC Scholar-Athlete award, given
annually to one male and one female graduating studentathlete
at each ASC institution. Recipients are those who
have compiled an outstanding record of academic, athletic
and leadership accomplishments over his or her collegiate
Lightfield, a nursing major from Houston, has maintained
a 4.0 GPA at UT Tyler. As a member of the 2008 UT Tyler
NCAA Regional qualifying softball team, she played in 32
games and batted .321 on the year with nine hits off of
14 runs and six RBIs. Lightfield is a two-time All-ASC and
All-West Region selection. She is a member of the UT
Tyler Fellowship of Christian Athletes leadership team.
Cowan has been active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes
and the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. He has volunteered
with Relay for Life, the Salvation Army, the Children’s
Cabinet, the Children’s Diabetes Association and local
nature trails and libraries.
ACADEMIC ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS
Thirty-five UT Tyler student-athletes and support staff
received ASC Academic All-Conference honors. Students
earning the honor must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA
through the spring semester. Honorees, including studentathletes,
student trainers and sports information assistants,
Baseball – Blake Booher Jr., Andrew Damewood,
Kody Evans, Brett Holland, Joe Towns and Andrew
Men's Golf – Brandon Ellis.
Women's Golf – Amber Grounds and Cynthia Sciba.
Softball – Kristen Akin-Henton, Lindsey Peters,
Julie Smith, Kara Turner and Nicole Willhoite.
Men’s Tennis – David Ashlock, Steven Campbell, Brad
Fenter, Nick Kreines, Will McDonald and Jordan Repsher.
Women’s Tennis – Nicole Barrett, Beth Launius and
Men’s Track & Field – Brendan Bierman, Michael
Colvin, R. J. Cowan, David Kelley, Kirk Hesse and Marc
Women’s Track & Field – Ashton Wells.
Athletic Training – Griffin Hawthorne, Shannon
Hinsley and Candace St. Julian.
Sports Information – Jarrett Hill and Arron Swink.
HIGHLIGHTS PER SPORT
UT Tyler finished he year at 36-9 (15-3 ASC), captured
its third ASC East Division Championship in five years and
clinched its first ever postseason berth. The Patriots
finished third in the conference and finished the season at
No. 15 in the final American Baseball Coaches Association
Division III poll.
Turning Pro – Following the Patriots’ impressive
season, right-handed pitcher Brett Holland (Lindale) and
baseman Clay Baker (Henderson) and were drafted into
Holland was taken in the 48th round by the Oakland
Athletics in the 2008 Major League Baseball First-Year
Player Draft in June. He is the fourth player in UT Tyler
baseball history to be taken in the first-year player draft
and 18th Patriot to be offered or sign a contract to play
Holland played three years for the Patriots and amassed
an impressive 18-0 record. He led the Patriots, along with
starting pitcher Blake Booher (Hurst), in career strikeouts
with 170. In 2008, Holland went 11-0, with 113 strikeouts
and a season ERA of 2.76.
Baker signed a contract in May to play professional baseball
with the 2007 Frontier League Champion Windy City
Thunderbolts. He joined former Patriots Brett Amyx, Phil
Grau and Kevin Noles on the Thunderbolts roster.
In Baker’s only season with the Patriots, he hit .401 with
57 runs off of 70 hits, nine doubles, four triples, 10
home runs, 47 triples with a .640 slugging percentage
and a .550 on-base percentage.
ASC Player, Pitcher of Year – Baker and Booher
headlined the ASC East Division baseball awards, receiving
Player and Pitcher of the Year honors, respectively.
Booher set a single-season ASC record for most wins with
11. He finished 2008 with an ERA of 2.06 and 84
Joining Baker and Booher on the All-ASC East First Team
were Patriots Joe Towns (Carrollton), Jeremy Harding
(Houston), Jared Hood (Marshall), Andrew Damewood
(Plano) and Beau Ziegler (North Wales, Penn.). Other
honorees were Holland and Kendall Fox (Carrollton),
Second Team; and Chris Goss (Waco) and Corey Farra
(Lewisville), Honorable Mention.
All-Region – Booher was named NCAA Division III West
Region Pitcher of the Year by Rawlings and the American
Baseball Coaches Association. Baker and Holland joined
Booher on the First Team. Other honorees were Harding
and Towns, Second Team; and Hood, Third Team.
All-American – Baker, Booher and Holland were
named NCAA Division III All-Americans byD3Baseballl.com.
Booher and Holland also were named All-Americans by the
American Baseball Coaches Association.
Academic All-America – Towns and Holland
received ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America
College Division District 6 baseball honors. Both were
named to the Second Team.
Teams are chosen from nominated athletes who are academic
sophomores or higher, have completed one full
year at their institution, have at least a 3.2 GPA and play
in at least 50 percent of their team’s games. Towns had
a 3.75 GPA. Holland’s GPA was 3.49.
In their first year of eligibility for postseason play, the
Patriot men’s and women’s teams made their presence
felt in the ASC. Both teams earned playoff berths and the
women had the special treat of hosting the ASC
Tournament by virtue of capturing the East Division
Championship. The men finished second in the East and
thus earned a berth in the ASC Tournament.
Men’s Honors – Coach Kenny Bizot was named ASC
East Division Coach of the Year and four of his players
received Eastern Division honors in the postseason
awards, voted on by the league’s 15 head coaches.
Bizot guided the Patriots to a 14-12 overall finish in his
first year as a head coach, including a 13-7 record in the
ASC East. The 14 wins overall were the most in program
history and the 13 conference wins tied the most ASC
wins in program history.
Brandon Weasby (Houston), Patrick Branche (Houston)
and Anthony Reese (Longview) were named to the ASC
All-East Division Second Team. Joining Reese on the All-
Defensive Team was Jeff Cotton (Allen).
Women’s Honors – Coach Terri Deike guided the
women’s team to its third East Division crown in the program’s
five-year history. They ended the year with a 17-
9 overall record and a 14-6 record in the ASC East. Kasey
Buggs (Lake Dallas) and Melissa Thomas (Austin)
received two of the top East Division honors in the ASC
women’s basketball postseason awards.
Buggs was honored as East Division Player of the Year
and named to the ASC All-Conference team and ASC All-
East Division First Team. Thomas was named as the ASC
East Co-Freshman of the Year, along with Tillisha Givens
of Louisiana College, and was named to the ASC East All-
Buggs finished her senior season by averaging 15.8
points and 7.6 rebounds per game. She ended her career
at UT Tyler as the Patriots’ second all-time leading scorer
with 1,219 points and as their all-time leading rebounder
with 675 rebounds. UT Tyler honored her as 2007-08
Female Athlete of the Year. She also received
D3hoops.com All-South Region 3rd Women’s Basketball
Thomas ended her inaugural season by leading her team
with 16.8 points per game, shooting 82.5 percent from
the free-throw line and 42 percent from 3-point range.
Other Patriots receiving ASC East Division honors were
Alyssa Ploof (Plano), Honorable Mention Team; Becky
Taylor (New Caney), All-Defensive Team; and Lindsay
Eaton (Austin), All-Freshman Team.
All-Academic – Patriots receiving ASC All-Academic
honors were Buggs, Ploof, Taylor, Matt Riccardi (Plano),
Alyse Bell (Soldotna, Ala.) and Erica Aguilar (Plainview).
To qualify for the honor a student-athlete must be an
academic sophomore or higher and maintain a minimum
cumulative GPA of 3.0.
CROSS COUNTRY/TRACK & FIELD
Academic All-American – Cowan was the first student-
athlete in UT Tyler history to be named Academic All-
American by the College Sports Information Directors of
America and ESPN The Magazine. Receiving the honor for
both cross country and track and field, Cowan was just
one of 45 honorees out of more than 300 finalists representing
over 160 NCAA Division II, Division III and NAIA
To be eligible, a student-athlete must be at least a sophomore
with a 3.20 cumulative GPA, a varsity starter or key
reserve and be nominated by his or her sports information
director and named to the first team in his or her CoSIDA
In addition, Cowan and cross country runner Corey Kellam
(La Grange, Ky.) were named Academic All-Americans by
the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches
The award honors student-athletes who have succeeded
both academically and athletically. To be eligible, a student-
athlete must carry a minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA
and finish in the top 25 percent of the field at their respective
NCAA regional meet.
Cowan led the Patriots to their third consecutive ASC
men’s cross country championship last fall and was the
top individual finisher at the NCAA Division III
South/Southeast Regional Championship. Kellam, a junior
economics major, also helped lead the Patriots to the
conference title and finished 20th in the regional meet.
All-Academic Team – The men’s and women’s cross
country teams were named USTFCCCA All-Academic
Teams. For a team to be considered for the USTFCCCA All-
Academic Team award, it must have competed and compiled
a team score at an NCAA Regional Meet. The team
must also have a minimum 3.10 team cumulative GPA.
First Track Season – UT Tyler’s inaugural men’s and
women’s track teams took third and fifth places, respectively,
in the ASC Track & Field Championships in Abilene.
The highlight for the women came in the 10,000-meter run
as Sarah Hankla (Tyler) missed the podium by just seconds
to come in fourth in the event. On the men’s side, Bojan
Kajtaz (Kakanj, Bosnia) was just five hundredths of a
second from third place in the 800-meter run.
Warren Brown (Lindale) won the 5,000- and 10,000-meter
events, while Cowan finished second in both events.
Chauncey Deller (Gladewater) finished third in the 10,000
to complete the podium sweep for the Patriots. Dellar also
finished third in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
The UT Tyler men’s 4x100 team of Marc Vestal (North
Richland Hills), Zach Costlow (Mabank), Paul Metzner
(Whitehouse) and Marc Randle (Edgewood) finished third in
the event. The other men’s relay team of Michael Colvin
(Jacksonville), Ben Donnan (Paris), Brendan Bierman
(Cedar Hill) and Corey Daniel (Deer Park) placed third in the
The UT Tyler men’s golf team won the Mary Hardin-Baylor
Spring Invitational, UT Dallas Spring Classic and
LeTourneau Spring Classic. In women’s golf, UT Tyler’s
Samantha Humphrey (Flower Mound) came out on top in
scorecard playoff to finish as the top individual in the
LeTourneau Spring Classic.
The men’s and women’s golf teams finished third in their
respective tournaments in the ASC Golf Championships.
Humphrey won the ASC Women’s Individual
All-Tournament – Humphrey received All-Tournament
First Team honors for the women, while Brian Jennings
(Bullard), Matt Stephens (Mt. Belvieu) and Jacob Walsh
(Lewisville) received Second Team honors for the men.
National Qualifier – Jennings became the first-ever
Patriot golfer to compete for a national championship
when he qualified for the 2008 NCAA Division III Men’s
National Golf Championship as an individual.
Finishing in the top half of the 120-player field at the
national championships, Jennings was named to the
NCAA Division III PING Men’s All-West Region Team by the
Golf Coaches Association of America.
The Patriots finished the season with a record of 43-9, the
most wins in the history of the program and the third best
record of the season in all of Division III softball. They
came in second in the ASC Softball Championship tournament,
received an at-large bid into the NCAA Division III
Softball Championships and hosted their very first regional
The team finished the season at No. 11 in the final
National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III poll. UT
Tyler was the highest ranked team from the West region
in the poll.
Top Awards – Senior Lindsey Peters (Shreveport) and
junior Megan “Roo” Richardson (Platteville, Colo.)
received two of the top East Division awards offered by
Peters ended her 2008 season just as she began it, as
ASC East Player of the Year. The second baseman led UT
Tyler with a .432 batting average, to go along with 53
runs off of 67 hits with 15 doubles, three triples, seven
home runs, 51 RBIs, 24 walks and eight stolen bases.
Peters also was named to the ASC All-Tournament team.
Richardson had a .362 batting average, 37 runs off of 50
hits, 13 doubles, three triples, 13 homeruns, 21 walks
and four stolen bases for 2008.
Joining Peters and Richardson on the All-ASC East First
Team were Sara DeStefano (Franklin), Julie Smith
(Huffman), Carly Collins (Ennis) and Kelsey Harrington
Other honorees were Amanda Busby (Elysian Fields),
Kate Bell (Forney) and Stacy Shepherd (Houston),
Second Team; and Brittanni Hanna (Mesquite) and
Kristen Akin-Henton (Longview), Honorable Mention.
All-Region/ASC – Peters, Richardson and DeStefano
were named to the Second Team All-East Region by the
National Fastpitch Coaches Association. Harrington,
Collins and Busby were named to the Third Team. All six
Patriots also received All-ASC East softball honors.
Academic All America – Akin-Henton and Peters
received ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America College
Division District 6 softball honors. Akin-Henton (3.91 GPA)
was named designated player for the First Team. Peters
(3.28 GPA) was named to the Second Team.
Sportsmanship Award – Peters won the 2007-
2008 ASC Fred Jacoby Sportsmanship Award. The
league’s athletic directors presents the award to a male
and female student-athlete who best displays the
attributes of sportsmanship, leadership, citizenship and academic
integrity in their athletic, academic and life pursuits.
All-Star Team – Peters and Richardson were chosen
for an American Softball Association regional All-Star team
to play against Team USA Softball.
Coming off their most successful season in school history,
UT Tyler men’s and women’s tennis teams both finished
2008 ranked in the top 25 by the Intercollegiate Tennis
Association. The men finished the year at No. 22 and
ranked sixth in the West region, while the women ended
their season at No. 25 and ranked fifth in the West.
During the season, both teams won their first ASC titles
and received bids to the NCAA National Team Tournament.
The men and women each won a match during the tournament,
with the women going to the second round and
the men advancing to the third round. The season came
to a close with the Dustin Phillips (Houston) and David
Ashlock (Arlington) qualifying for the NCAA National
Singles and Doubles Tournament.
Men’s Honors – The UT Tyler men received 15 ASC
awards with Phillips leading the way as East Division
Newcomer of the Year and head coach Chris Bizot named
East Division Coach of the Year.
Receiving All-Conference Team honors were Phillips,
Ashlock, Steven Campbell (San Angelo), Robert Sajovich
(Austin), Will McDonald (Houston), Nick Kreines
(Houston) and Jordan Rephser (Friendswood).
In the division honors, Phillips, Ashlock and Campbell
were named to the First Team, while Sajovich and
McDonald received Second Team honors. Kreines received
East Division Honorable Mention.
Sajovich and Bizot also were named region Rookie of the
Year and region Coach of the Year, respectively, by the
Intercollegiate Tennis Association, the sports governing
Sajovich went 9-7 in singles play and 14-3 in doubles
play during his first year as a collegiate tennis player.
Bizot led UT Tyler to its fifth consecutive American
Southwest Conference East Division title.
Women’s Honors – The women’s team garnered 14
year-end awards with junior Rachel Anders (Lindale) and
Bizot receiving two of the top honors. Anders was named
East Division Newcomer of the Year and Bizot was named
Co-East Division Coach of the Year.
Bizot led the women to a team record of 17 wins in the
2008 season and their third consecutive ASC East title.
His Co-Coach of the Year was his college coach, David
Boteler of Mississippi College.
Named to the All-Conference team were Anders, Nicole
Barrett (Allen), Beth Launius (LaGrange), Brittany Ude
(Corpus Christi), Michelle Hagler (Austin) and Lauren
In East Division honors, Anders, Launius and Hagler were
First Team selections, while Barrett and Ude received
Second Team honors. Giovannini received All-East Division
Academic All-District – Kreines and Launius were
named to the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine College
Division At-Large Academic All-District men’s and women’s
teams, respectively. Kreines is a business major with a
3.95 GPA. Launius, a mechanical engineering major, has
a 3.81 GPA.