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Patriot Athletics: Season Highlights

UT Tyler Patriots earned championship titles, national recognition and many other prestigious honors to cap off an athletic season full of milestone victories. Highlights for UT Tyler’s 2008 fall season and Patriot basketball’s winter season included:

Graduate student R.J. Cowan (Whitehouse, Texas) and senior Julianne Armstrong (Tashkent, Uzbekistan) of the UT Tyler men’s and women’s cross country teams were selected as the 2008 American Southwest Conference Distinguished Scholar-Athletes for their respective sports.

The honor recognizes student-athletes who achieve a higher level of academic achievement, a 3.20 GPA or better, while competing as a starter or important reserve on their team.

Three other Patriots were nominated for the award and were named to the Distinguished Scholar-Athlete team for their respective sports.

Graduate student Adam McAlpine (Kingwood, Texas) of men’s soccer, senior Kelly Buchanan (Houston, Texas) of women’s soccer and sophomore Whitney Clements (Flint, Texas) of volleyball served as UT Tyler’s nominees for the honor in their sport.

Thirty-two student-athletes representing the five UT Tyler fall sports earned Academic All-Conference honors from the ASC for the fall 2008 season. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must have completed at least one full academic year at their institution and carry at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA.

UT Tyler Academic All-ASC honorees were:
Men’s Cross Country – R.J. Cowan, Kirk Hesse, Corey Kellam, David Kelley and Ross Renfroe.
Men’s Soccer – Travis Fletcher, Adam McAlpine, Mark Oliphant, Billy Plasket, Jared Taylor and Brandon Warren.
Women’s Cross Country – Julianne Armstrong, Rachel Carroll, Lindsey Moore, Nancy Palencia and Bethanie Unger.
Women’s Soccer – Katelyn Albert, Kelly Buchanan, Ashley Crawford, Morgan Dux, Taylor Estes, Chelsea Fiscus, Lauren Hufham, Kasey Kemp, Kendall Kramer, Jessica Pierce, Brenda Salinas, Leah Solomon, Lauren Thomas and Summer Werner.
Volleyball – Whitney Clements and Ashley Montalvo.


The Patriot men’s team ended its 2008-2009 season at 12-14 overall and 12-8 in the ASC East. The women finished the season at 15-10 overall and 12-9 in league play. Both teams qualified for the ASC Tournament for the second consecutive season.

All-ASC East – Senior Anthony Reese (Longview, Texas) and junior Hakeem Kareem (Houston, Texas) received All-ASC East Division honors in the league’s annual post-season awards. Reese was named to the All-ASC East first team and All-ASC East defensive team, while Kareem was named the to the All-ASC East Honorable mention list.

Reese ended his senior season by averaging 17.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.5 steals per game. He finished the year third in the ASC in scoring and fourth in rebounding. The three-year letter-winner ends his career at UT Tyler as the school’s all-time steals leader with 166. He is also second on the program’s career scoring and rebounding lists.

Kareem had a break-out season in 2008-2009 by averaging 14.2 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.0 steal per game. He also led the team in field goal percentage by shooting 52.4 percent from the floor on the year.

Players of the Week – Both Reese and Kareem were named ASC East Division Players of the Week. Reese won the award three times during the season.

All-ASC East – Junior Becky Taylor (Bullard, Texas) and senior Marzetta Shepard (Atlanta, Texas) received three of the top ASC East Division women’s basketball honors in the league’s annual post-season awards.

Taylor was one of just five players from both divisions to be named to the prestigious All-ASC team. She was also named to the ASC East first team and received the first ever ASC East Sportsmanship Athlete of the Year award. Taylor started every game for UT Tyler this season and averaged team-highs of 17.5 points and 13.3 rebounds per game. She finished the season second in the ASC in rebounding and third in scoring. Taylor also broke the ASC single-season rebound record during the year; she finished the season with 346 total rebounds.

Shepard was named as the East Division Defensive Player of the Year, received ASC East honorable mention honors and was selected to the ASC East Defensive team. Shepard averaged 13.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 2.5 assists per game on the year.

Sophomore Melissa Thomas (Austin, Texas) was named to the ASC East second team. Sophomores Lindsay Eaton (Austin, Texas) and Marci Trogus (Houston, Texas) were also picked as ASC East Honorable Mention selections, while Lindsay Hausmann (Austin, Texas) was named to the ASC East All-Freshman team.

Players of the Week – Taylor was honored twice as ASC East Division Player of the Week, in addition to being named to the D3hoops.com National Team of the Week. Shepard and Thomas also received East Division Player of the Week honors.

The UT Tyler men’s cross country team won its fourth straight ASC title. The women’s team turned in its bestever finish at the ASC meet, finishing second, just seven points behind winners Mississippi College. Senior Warren Brown (Lindale, Texas) won the individual title in a time of 26:06.

Coach Bob Hepler took home his fourth straight Men’s Coach of the Year honor, while senior R. J. Cowan (Whitehouse, Texas) was named as the inaugural ASC Men’s Cross Country Sportsmanship Athlete of the Year.

National Qualifiers – Although the men's team fell short of its goal of reaching nationals, Brown and senior Ben Donnan (Paris, Texas) qualified for the NCAA championship race as individuals. At the national championships, Brown turned in a personal best time of 25 minutes and 37 seconds. He finished 102nd out of 278 runners. Donnan was forced to withdraw a little over two miles into the race due to injury.

Brown finishes his career as the UT Tyler record-holder for most individual wins in a season with three in 2008, while Donnan ends his tenure with the Patriots as the school’s all-time leader in career individual wins with six.

Runners of the Week – Donnan earned his second ASC men’s cross country Runner of the Week honor for the season after his record-breaking finish at the NCAA Division III Pre-National Meet. Donnan set a new school record in the 8K with a 25:34 at the meet.

Brown earned his second ASC Male Runner of the Week on Sept. 22, after winning his second straight race at the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawk Invitational. Brown set a new personal best at the meet with a time of 25:53.81.

Freshman Kamie Lynn Cook (Whitehouse, Texas) of the women’s team was named ASC Runner of the Week on Sept. 30. She was the top ASC finisher in the 2008 Division III Texas State Championships meet with a time of 25:18 and helped lead her team to a second-place finish.

Sophomore Sara Hankla (Tyler, Texas) won her second ASC Cross Country Runner of the Week award Sept. 8, after helping lead her team to a first-place finish at the 2008 UT Tyler Invitational. Hankla came in second in her 6K race in a time of 24:52.90.

The Patriot men ranked seventh in one national poll and eighth in another after winning three of four tournaments in the fall. The UT Tyler women took home two top-three finishes during the season.

National Rankings – The men’s team climbed to No. 8 in the final GolfWorld/NIKE Golf Division III Coaches’ Poll of the season. This marked the highest ranking ever for the Patriots in the poll. The men ranked seventh in NCAA Division III Head-to-Head Rankings published by Golfstat on Oct. 1. The women’s team came in 48th in their rankings to lead all ASC teams.

Winning Tournaments – The men’s team picked up its first win of the season in Alexandria, La. They won the Louisiana College Tournament with a score of 572 (- 4), 16 strokes ahead of second-place finishers and defending ASC Champions Mary Hardin Baylor.

Sophomore Matt Stephens (Mt. Belvieu, Texas) and senior Patrick Palmer (Longview, Texas) led the way for the Patriots, each shooting a 142 (-2) over the two day tournament. The duo finished tied for third.

The team won its second straight tournament at The Cascades in Tyler. The Patriots shot a 580 in the 36-hole tournament and won a score card play-off with Lon Morris College. UT Tyler took home second and third place individually. Junior Brandon Ellis (Village Mills, Texas) shot a one under par in round one and a three over par in round two to finish with a 142. Junior Coy Beck (Canyon Lake, Texas) finished just two strokes behind Ellis with a 144, which was good enough for third place. Beck shot a 71 in round one and 73 in round two to finish at four over.

The men won their third consecutive tournament in the Schreiner Fall Classic at the Scott Schreiner Golf Course in Kerrville. They finished the two-day tournament with a 566, beating second-place and NAIA-member Texas- Brownsville by two strokes. The Patriots also picked up wins over four ASC schools and one Division II program. Palmer finished under par for the second time of the year and became the first Patriot to shoot under 140 in the season. Palmer finished the Par 70 course by shooting a 72, making his two-day total a 139. He finished second overall in the 44-golfer field. Senior Spenser Ellis (Tyler, Texas) and Brandon Ellis finished tied for third place, as each shot a 141.

Top-Three Finishes – The UT Tyler women finished third in the Shreiner Fall Classic, beating all ASC schools in the field. Freshman Jennifer King (Victoria, Texas) was the top finisher for UT Tyler, as she shot a 157 to finish in fourth place. Sophomore Kasey Boykin (Bryan, Texas) was next in line for the Patriots in seventh place with a 161. Junior Amber Grounds (Whitesboro, Texas) shot a 169 to finish in 15th, while freshman Ali Murdock (Austin, Texas) tied for 20th place with a 173. Sophomore Jordan Woodruff (Gladewater, Texas) shot a 180 to finish in 22nd, while sophomore Lisha Nigh (Mesquite, Texas), who competed as a medalist, finished with a 171 for 16th place.

The women finished the first day of the Shreiner Fall Classic in second. The team shot a season-low, a 322, to finish 12 strokes behind Division II Angelo State. The Patriots held a seven stroke lead over third-place Texas- Brownsville. Boykins (Bryan, Texas) finished the day in fourth place with a 78, while King finished in seventh by shooting an 80. Murdock was next in line for UT Tyler, as she tied for eighth place with an 81. Grounds and Woodruff wrapped things up for the Patriots by shooting an 83 and an 87, respectively. Competing as an individual, Nigh shot an 89.

The UT Tyler men’s soccer team won its first-ever NCAA Championship tournament game in the fall, after capturing the 2008 ASC tournament championship and their third ASC regular season title in four years. It was the first NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship victory by any team from the ASC. The Patriots finished 12-4-4, 9-1-3 in the ASC.

The Patriot women’s team also had a superb season, racking up an eight-game winning streak in league play and earning their second consecutive ASC tournament berth. The team finished the season with an overall 14-4-1 (10-3 ASC), setting a record for the most wins in program history.

CoSIDA Honors – Seniors Adam McAlpine (Kingwood, Texas) and Kelly Buchanan (Houston, Texas) of the UT Tyler soccer teams were each named to their respective ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District teams by the College Sports Information Directors of America. The award recognizes those student-athletes who excel both athletically and academically. McAlpine was named to the first team, while Buchanan received second-team honors.

McAlpine is a graduate student in business administration with a 4.0 GPA. A four-year letter-winner, he had three goals and one assist on the year, including the game-winner over Ozarks that sealed the regular season championship for UT Tyler.

Buchanan is a kinesiology major and with a 3.44 GPA. The four-year letter-winner helped lead a defensive unit that allowed just 12 goals and posted 12 shutouts on the season, while scoring four goals and netting five assists as well.

All-South Central Region – Junior forward Tony Guillen (Longview, Texas) and senior forward Michael Kendall (Houston, Texas) each received All-South Central Region honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Guillen received first team honors, while Kendall was named to the second team.

ASC Postseason Awards – Freshman T.J. Romaguera (Arlington, Texas) and head coach Kenny Jones led eight Patriot honorees in ASC postseason awards. Romaguera was named ASC Defensive Freshman of the Year, while Jones was named ASC Coach of the Year.

In the All-Conference awards, Romaguera, Guillen, Kendall and McAlpine all received first team honors. Sophomores Mark Oliphant (Bedford, Texas) and Brandon Warren (Duncanville, Texas) each earned third team All-ASC honors. Sophomore Daniel Kanu (Dallas, Texas) was named All-ASC honorable mention.

Players of the Week – ASC honorees were Tony Bowles (Mesquite, Texas), Co-Defensive Player of Week; Guillen, Offensive Player of the Week; McAlpine, Offensive Player of the Week; and Oliphant, Co-Defensive Player of the Week.


All-ASC – On the 2008 All-American Southwest Conference lists, Buchanan (Houston, Texas), junior Sam Fraser (Lindale, Texas) and sophomores Kasey Kemp (Colleyville, Texas) and Lauren Thomas (College Station, Texas) all received first team honors.

Seniors Jessica Pierce (Mesquite, Texas) and Sonya Gomez (Tyler, Texas) were the Patriot representatives on the second team. Rounding out the UT Tyler honorees was sophomore Lauren Daily, who was named All-ASC honorable mention.

Players of the Week – Buchanan and Fraser received ASC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

The Patriot tennis teams won 19 of 25 flights at the 2008 ASC Singles and Doubles Tournament in September. The men’s team won 12 of 13 flights on their side of the bracket, capturing all four of the doubles flights and eight of nine singles flights. On the other side of the bracket, the women captured seven of a possible 12 titles, including three of the four doubles flights and four of the eight singles flight.

Both teams sent players to their respective Intercollegiate Tennis Association regional tournaments

Senior Beth Launius (LaGrange, Texas) and sophomore Michelle Hagler (Austin, Texas) advanced to nationals after winning the ITA Southwest Doubles Regional. The pair finished sixth out of eight pairs in the Division III doubles bracket of the ITA Small College Nationals in Mobile, Ala. The Patriot duo went 1-2 over two days of play.

Sophomore Robert Sajovich (Austin, Texas) advanced to the 2008 Wilson/ITA Southwest Region Championships at Trinity University in San Antonio. He was the second Patriot in program history to make it to the regional finals.

In the first set of national and regional ITA rankings of the 2008-09 season, the Patriot men’s team ranked sixth in the region and 21st in the nation. The women’s team ranked fifth in the region and 29th in the nation.

The UT Tyler volleyball team earned its first trip to the ASC Championship tournament in program history. The Patriots ended the season with a record of 13-17 and finished third in the ASC East.

Newcomer of the Year – Sophomore Aerial Longino (Alvarado, Texas) was one of five Patriots to receive an ASC postseason award. Longino, who led the Patriots with 25 solo blocks on the season, was named ASC East Newcomer of the Year.

All-ASC East – On the All-ASC East lists, senior Megan McCarty (Kaufman, Texas) joined freshmen Liz Bartelson (Burlington, Wis.) and Amanda Hanson (Spring, Texas) on the East division second team.

McCarty, UT Tyler’s all-time dig leader, once again led the Patriots in that category, this time with 492. Bartelson started her UT Tyler career with a bang by recording a team-high 211 kills on the season. Meanwhile, Hanson led UT Tyler in total blocks on the year with 77.

Freshman Danika Waldrep (Arlington, Texas) rounded out the honors for the Patriots by being named All-ASC East honorable mention.

Waldrep turned in what was perhaps the Patriots’ most well-rounded performance of the season. Waldrep led her team in service aces with 43, and finished second in both kills and digs with 189 and 297, respectively.

Player of the Week – McCarty was named ASC East Division Player of the Week twice during the season.

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