Tag Archives: Athletics

UWF spring sports teams, all in top 25, could sweep all conference titles

By Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

sports

It’s no secret the University of West Florida’s spring sports are a force to be reckoned with. After the men’s golf team, women’s golf team and women’s tennis team won their respective Gulf South Conference Championships this week, spring sports now hold 56 of UWF’s 86 all-time championship titles. Currently, all six UWF spring teams are ranked in the top 25 of the NCAA DII national rankings.

 

Men’s golf

Ranked highest is men’s golf. After the fall season, the UWF men’s golf team was ranked No.1 in the nation. The men’s team battled 10 other teams in the GSC to win the championship. After sitting in second place for the first two days, they came out on top on the final day to win its 14th consecutive GSC Championship title. Men’s golf now is ranked No. 2 in the nation heading into the NCAA South/Southeast Regionals to be hosted in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida.

 

Men’s tennis   

UWF Men’s Tennis, possibly the most successful and decorated team at the university, follows closely behind in its respective polls at No. 4. After a close match with Valdosta State at the GSC Tournament, the Argos lost 4-5, dropping them to No. 2 in the South Region. Ranked No. 4 in preseason national polls, the Argos held on to its spot in national rankings as they head into the Regional Tournament May 7 with the location to be determined.

 

Women’s tennis   

Women’s tennis follows closely behind the men’s team at No. 6. The women’s team victory over Valdosta State landed the GSC Championship over the weekend. Despite adding six new players to its roster of 13, the women continue to be successful and challenge each other to win its sixth consecutive GSC title (16th overall). The women’s team will head into the South Region Tournament from May 2 with a 22-5 overall record.

 

Women’s golf   

The women’s golf team proved it is worthy of the No. 8 national ranking last week by winning the GSC Championship title. Though they sat on an eight-shot deficit leading into the final day, they bounced back to win the fifth consecutive GSC title for UWF women’s golf. Head coach Bryan Clarke has high hopes for the team in the NCAA Tournament, but they must first make it past the NCAA South/Southeast Regional, which will be in Pensacola May 2-4.

 

Baseball   

Next in the corresponding rankings, formerly No. 17-ranked UWF baseball’s split-series win over No. 12 Delta State University last weekend earning them the No. 11 spot in national rankings. Currently ranked No. 1 in the GSC, the baseball team still has seven regular season games before it enters the GSC Tournament beginning on May 7.

 

Softball   

Last, but certainly not least, the softball team moved up in national rankings after sweeping No. 21 Delta State, earning them its 14th consecutive win and the No. 21 national ranking. With an overall record of 35-11 and a GSC record of 21-8, the softball team’s conference record is the best since 2006. UWF softball still has three regular season games against Shorter University before heading into the GSC Tournament held from April 28-30 as No. 2 in the conference.

With three of six of the 2016 GSC tiles already won, UWF’s potential to nearly sweep the conference championship titles look promising heading into the end of the season.

For information on all UWF sports teams, visit goargos.com.

Clock runs out on UWF Women’s basketball season

By Kenny Detwyler

Contributing Writer

 UWF women’s basketball team was eliminated from the GSC Tournament after a close game with the Lee Lady Flames. Photo by Kenny Detwyler.

UWF women’s basketball team was eliminated from the GSC Tournament after a close game with the Lee Lady Flames.
Photo by Kenny Detwyler.

The University of West Florida women’s basketball faced off against Lee University’s Flames in an intense Gulf South Conference tournament match-up Tuesday night at the Field House.

Ultimately, the Lady Argos fell to Lee by one point, with a final score of 63-62, thus ending the Lady Argos’ season.

The battle for victory was one that was hard-fought by both teams, with neither team taking more than six-point lead at any point in the second half.

The Lady Argos’ scoring drive was led by sophomores Toni Brewer and Courtney Meyer, who put up 12 and 11 points, respectively. Junior Katie Bobos put up 10 points. UWF led in rebounds, 47-32; but was edged out in field goal percentage 40.3-37.3.

Lee’s victory was no blow-out by any means, and was heavily contested up until the end. In the final minute of play, the Lady Argos, down by four points, scored a three-point field goal. There was a foul on UWF; then, to UWF’s satisfaction, Lee went on to miss both free throw attempts in the final seconds of the game.

That stroke of luck made a Lady Argo victory seem a lot more feasible. Junior Alex Coyne took possession when the game resumed; however, her distance from the goal and pressure from the clock turned what could have been a game-winning shot into a season-ending miss.

“They started to make good shots, and we couldn’t score on the other end, then we lost our momentum,” Brewer said.

This game marked the Lady Argos 14th appearance in the GSC tournament and the fourth straight appearance under head coach Stephanie Lawrence Yelton.

“We didn’t play a perfect game, but we played pretty close to one,” Yelton said. “We played well defensively. Lee has a very strong offense with a lot of scoring threats, and I thought we did a good job of shutting them down. I looked at this game as a win, even though it didn’t show up that way on the scoreboard.”

Although this loss closes the books on a 17-10 season, the Lady Argos are excited about what lies for them next season.

“I’m very excited, if you think you saw something tonight, just wait for the future,” Brewer said. “I feel like we’re going to do even better things.”

“I’m looking forward to getting this young team in the gym,” Yelton said. “They have to have some tenacity to improve themselves individually, and if they don’t, then we’re going to be sitting here next year saying the same thing.”

For detailed game statistics and more information on women’s basketball, vis

International student athlete Peggy de Villiers overcomes challenges while breaking records

By Tom Moore
Contributing Writer

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UWF swimmers Theresa Michalak (left) and Peggy de Villiers (right) celebrate their individual and team wins in last week’s NSISC Swimming and Diving Championships.
Photo courtesy UWF Athletics.

University of West Florida swimmer Peggy De Villiers started swimming at age 12 and has always been a strong athlete. Her parents urged her to get into swimming because she had always had a natural talent for it.

In addition to swimming in her native South Africa, De Villiers also competed in water skiing, horse riding, motor biking and hockey; but in high school, she found she loved swimming so much that she to committed herself to it exclusively and went on to not only set school records, but break world records. Now UWF claims the senior as our own.

But De Villiers is different from other UWF swimmers – she has only about 30 percent of her hearing.

“I got bacterial meningitis when I was 6 months old,” De Villiers said. “After I finally recovered, I had lost 80 percent of my hearing.” She said she never really paid any attention to it, and never considered it a disability. “It was just part of who I am,” she said. “I never really thought of it more than that.”

De Villiers wears a hearing aid and has developed efficient communication skills with it on. She said she currently has about 30 percent of her hearing without the use of a hearing aid.

But regardless of this challenge, she was able to not only break many of her high school swimming records; she also competed in club swim teams. De Villiers lettered all four years at Somerset Collegiate High School while recording a time of 22.98 in the 50 freestyle. She also set five individual Provincial Junior Swimming Records during this time. At age 15 she tried out for the Summer Olympic Games, missing the qualification speed by a mere .36 seconds.

Once she graduated high school, she reviewed her options. She wanted to continue swimming, but South Africa didn’t offer any scholarships for student athletes. She packed up in search of better academic opportunities and left for the United States in 2013.

Arriving in the United States in the dead of winter, her first stop was Drury University in Springfield, Missouri.

“I absolutely hated it,” she said. “It was cold, flat, grey and snowy. Not my climate at all.  And nowhere to swim.”

She started a serious online quest for a university that offered a well-balanced curriculum, was reasonably priced, had a good athletic program, was warm and on the coast, with welcoming people who wanted her to be there. “I found it all here at UWF,” De Villiers said.

“I fell in love with UWF as soon as I saw it,” she said. “Ultimately it was my future coach, Andrew Hancock, that drew me to the school. He treated me like he cared a lot about each individual’s needs not just as a swimmer, but also as an athlete and a person. I really need that kind of personal care to reach my full potential.”

That personal care and De Villiers’ own drive, hard work and determination, as well as a dose of raw natural talent, has led her to dominating the sport of swimming, not only at UWF or the state of Florida, but nationally as well. Twice she has broken the world record for the women’s 50 fly: first with a 28.40 in prelims, and second with a 28.28 in the medal final. That takes nearly a full second off the record, which stood at 29.16 from Pernilla Kile in 2009.

Additionally, De Villiers has been a member of the South African Deaflympics team since 2007 and holds the deaf world swimming record in the 50 backstroke at 31.11.

“Peggy’s is an inspirational story,” said UWF swimming and diving Head Coach Andrew Hancock. “It’s been an incredible learning opportunity for our team to see her focus every day on the opportunities that she has rather than what she doesn’t have.”

Maintaining this level of extreme athleticism is intense, and when she’s not in class, she’s at the pool.

“I work out three to four hours a day, nine times a week. Three times a week I work out with a special weight training regimen adjusted to the swim specialty. Then I work out six times a week in the pool. The pool training varies. I do mostly sprint swim workouts, then sometimes my coach has me do longer, but slower, ‘recovery’ workouts.” All this is coupled with the requirement of maintaining at least a 2.6 GPA and not missing more than three practices a week.

“I feel really fortunate to be able to do this,” De Villiers said. “I get a full ride, including a housing allowance to go to school, and I get to do what I love while I do it.”

De Villiers said the most important thing for maintaining and increasing her skills is simple.

“Consistency is the key. Once you start, you don’t ever stop. You may be tired, you may feel sick, but you can’t ever stop or it’s that much harder to get back to your peak level. In the end, it’s better stay a little lower on the performance curve, and maintain consistency, than to do a whole lot one day and a lot less the next. Your body needs slow, steady, but constant progress. At least mine does.”

When asked what her ultimate dream competition is, she said, “I want just one more shot at the Olympics. If I win Nationals [March 8 and 9 in Indianapolis], I’m going to do one more tryout for the 2016 World Olympics. There would be no greater honor than compete in the Olympics. After that, I would hang up my swimsuit and focus on my career.”

Most recently, De Villiers traveled with the Argos swim and dive teams to Cleveland, Mississippi, Feb. 17-20 to compete in the New South Intercollegiate Swim Conference Championships. The team placed first in the entire meet, and De Villiers took first in both the 100 freestyle and the 4×100 freestyle relay.

After she graduates, she said she wants to pursue her Master’s Degree.

“I am going to transfer to University of San Diego, and study Public Relations with a minor in Abnormal Psychology. Upon graduation, I want to work in Public Relations as a Sports Agent.”

See more of De Villiers’ swimming stats and records on goargos.com. To see a video of de Villiers reflecting on life as a student-athlete with a hearing impairment, click here.

 

Argos baseball wins home opener against Mobile

By Spenser Garber

Contributing Writer

 Ladeavon Matthews hit his Gulf South Conference-leading third home run of the season. Photo courtesy of UWF Athletic Communications.

Ladeavon Matthews hit his Gulf South Conference-leading third home run of the season.
Photo courtesy of UWF Athletic Communications.

The University of West Florida baseball team took on the University of Mobile Rams at home on Tuesday, Feb. 9. With 12 hits and 6 runs, the Argos dominated the game, beating Mobile 6-4.

Pitcher Troy Brown, a freshman at UWF, made his first collegiate start against Mobile. Brown started the game strong with three up and three down in the first inning. In the second inning, he gave up a single, and three consecutive walks followed shortly after, resulting in a run for Mobile. Jarrod Petree replaced Brown in the fourth inning.

“He’s got good stuff,” Head Coach Mike Jeffcoat said when asked about Brown’s performance. “He has pitched well in the fall and early January leading up to the season.” Jeffcoat said he believes the cold weather could have affected Troy’s game, as he comes from further south, in Lakeland.

The game started picking up for the Argos in the fifth inning when junior Ladeavon Matthews hit a three-run homer to give the Argos a 4-2 lead. This was followed by a two-run homerun by freshman Robert Lopez in the sixth inning, bringing the Argos’ lead up 6-2.

Matthews is a transfer from Lawson State Community College in Birmingham. He was an all-star at LSCC who led the team in at bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples, RBI, stolen bases, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. “This (UWF) is the most talented team I’ve ever been on,” Matthews said. “It just makes me want to compete even more.”

The eighth inning saw two runs from the Rams, but ultimately did not affect the outcome of the game. The game ended with a 6-4 win for the Argos, bringing the home win-loss total to 73-13 over the past 3 seasons.

For the complete season schedule, visit the UWF baseball team’s website.

 

 

6th Annual Blizzard Bash: Coming Jan. 28

Sara Agans

Staff Writer

blizzard bash

Food, drinks and music are just a few things that the sixth annual Blizzard Bash will have to offer while kicking off the 2016 spring semester.

Blizzard Bash is a celebration with campus organizations giving students the opportunity to interact and learn more about groups that may be of interest to them.

This event is open and free to all current UWF students and will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday in front of the Field House.

“Blizzard Bash is designed for organizations to recruit new members to become a part of their respected organizations through music, games and a good time,” said Brandon Robinson, Blizzard Bash coordinator and a UWF senior majoring in communications. “Our organizations are given the chance to interact with each other on a whole different level. It’s sort of like our winter version of Argopalooza. It’s quite the experience.”

According to the UWF website, organizations will have the opportunity to compete for prizes while participating in the annual sled race, as well as a snowman-building contest.

Tara Kermiet, assistant director of the University Commons and Student Involvement, said there will be up to 75 student organizations at this event. She said it will be a great opportunity to discover what student organizations are on campus, considering that there were a few new organizations that were started in the fall.

“This is a traditional tabling event where student organizations stand at a table and try to sell their student organization to potential members and to students on campus,” Kermiet said.

“There is a lot of people, so even if you’re not looking to join a student organization, it’s a great opportunity to meet new students and interact with different groups on campus.”

Michael Krueger, UWF senior majoring in public relations, said, “Coming to any event put on by this school gets you more acclimated to the campus culture that happens at UWF, which is very unique. I think that by going to these events, it expands your mind with more about what an Argonaut is: not just a school representation, but also a way of life.”

The women’s basketball game vs. Lee University will conclude Blizzard Bash, starting at 5:30 p.m. in the Field House, followed by the men’s basketball game at 7:30 p.m. The Athletics Department will be giving away free t-shirts to UWF students while supplies last.

The Argos sports teams look forward to the spring 2016 seasons

Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

With the spring sports season just around the corner, the University of West Florida hosted a Spring Sports Media Day and Luncheon to spotlight men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf, baseball and softball teams. UWF currently holds 83 championship titles, 53 of which were won by spring sports teams. Head coaches and two athletes from each sport attended to answer questions in the Argonaut Athletic Club on Wednesday afternoon.

MEN’S TENNIS

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From left to right: Senior Kenny Brasil, Head Coach Derrick Racine and senior Alex Peyrot address the media regarding their nationally ranked tennis team.

 

 

 

Men’s tennis took the podium first. Head Coach Derrick Racine brought senior Kenny Brasil and junior Alex Peyrot to share the spotlight. Racine has been coaching for UWF tennis for 18 years with a career record of 409-89 and three NCAA National Championship titles alongside the men’s tennis.

Both Brasil and Peyrot were on the National Championship Team in 2014 and are nationally ranked in the top 22 players in the singles rankings. UWF men’s tennis is ranked No.4 in NCAA DII preseason rankings. With such high standards set for the tennis team in the preseason, the players approach the season with confidence.

“We have the same team we had last year,” Brasil said. “Everybody is back, were confident, we’re practicing hard and we’re hoping for good things this year.”

The men’s tennis program lost only one player off last year’s roster and has not added any new players to this year’s roster. The men’s tennis team is extremely confident going into the spring season with the same roster as last year, but with more experience. The UWF men’s tennis will begin its season at Columbus State University on Saturday, Feb. 6. For the complete schedule, see the men’s tennis page.

 

WOMEN’S TENNIS

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From left to right: Senior Nina Bubelova, Coach Racine and senior Katarina Dikosavljevic were all smiles in anticipation for their spring tennis season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s tennis, also coached by Racine, followed the men. Senior Nina Bubelova and senior Katarina Dikosavljevic attended. Racine has also coached the women’s team for 18 seasons and has a record of 375-124.

While the men have made little changes from last year’s team, the women have made drastic changes to its roster after losing multiple top players. They have added six new players to the 2016 roster. Despite the personnel losses, UWF women’s tennis is ranked No.6 in NCAA Division II preseason rankings. Both Bubelova and Dikosavljevic are ranked in the top 42 players in national singles rankings.

Spirits are high as the UWF women’s tennis team heads into the regular season. They are confident that its 13-player roster has strengthened from challenging each other to be the best players they can be.

“I think that having a lot of girls at the same level creates a really competitive environment,” Dikosavljevic said. “We know what happens on the court, stays on the court, and we just all try to push each other every day and try to be the best that we can be.”

The women’s team said it believes that this year will be a battle for the top spot and it plans to treat every point as such. UWF women’s tennis will also open at Columbus State University on Saturday, Feb. 6. For the complete schedule, visit the women’s tennis page.

 

BASEBALL

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From left to right: Senior Kyle Hamner, Head Coach Mike Jeffcoat and senior Brandon Nagem address the media after news of their second place pre-season ranking in the Gulf South Conference.

 

 

Head Coach Mike Jeffcoat brought along senior catcher Kyle Hamner and senior pitcher Brandon Nagem. Coach Jeffcoat, a former UWF baseball player, has been coaching baseball for 15 years. In his 10 seasons at UWF, Jeffcoat’s 356-190 record includes the NCAA National Championship in 2011.

As for the players, Hamner was named to American Baseball Coaches Association’s South Region Gold Glove Team for his performance in 2015. Nagem was selected last year as the 2015 Gulf South Conference Pitcher of the Year, and ABCA South Region Pitcher of the Year. UWF baseball was selected to finish second behind the University of West Alabama in the GSC this year in preseason polls. Nagem, senior Alex Greene, senior Chase Kiefer and junior Jarrod Petree were selected on the preseason All-GSC Team.

According to Jeffcoat, because the preseason polls are based on last season, they are insignificant to the performance of the players this upcoming season.

“The ranking are kind of subjective, opinionated and really based on what you’ve done in the past,” Jeffcoat said. “Where we start is definitely not indicative of where we finish.”

Jeffcoat will coach alongside other former Argonaut baseball players Kyle Brown and Justin Bennett. The UWF baseball team will start its 2016 spring season at Florida Southern College on Saturday, Feb. 6. See the baseball schedule.

 

MEN’S GOLF

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From left to right: Freshman Bryce Geraghty, Head Coach Steve Fell and senior Talin Rajendranath are optimistic about their spring season due to fall successes.

 

The UWF men’s golf team followed the baseball team. Head Coach Steve Fell was joined on stage by freshman Bryce Geraghty and senior Talin Rajendranath. Fell has coached the UWF men’s golf team for 22 seasons with two NCAA National Championship titles in 2001 and 2008 as head coach. The golf team came out of its fall season as the No.1-ranked team in the nation.

Both Geraghty and Rajendranath finished in the top three players at fall tournaments. Players said that on a team of 13 players, team chemistry is key to success as a team and for the players’ individual achievements. Geraghty, a freshman from Gulf Breeze, said he feels he is adjusting well to the transition from golf at the high school level to college level.

“I’ve known these guys for a semester and I feel like I’ve known them my whole life,” Geraghty said. “We help each other on and off the course, we hang out together all the time and it’s things like that which make the transition really easy.”

The UWF men’s golf team will begin its spring season at the Matlock College Classic hosted by the Slammer and Squire course at the World Golf Village on Monday, Feb. 8. Find the schedule here.

 

WOMEN’S GOLF

woman's golf

From left to right: Senior Daisy-May Kenny, Head Coach Bryan Clarke and senior Fanny Starzmann address their fall season as well as their upcoming spring season.

Head coach Bryan Clarke addressed the media with seniors Daisy-May Kenny and Fanny Starzmann. Clarke, a UWF graduate, has coached the women’s team for four seasons. Both Kenny and Starzmann have been on the team since Clarke’s inaugural season as head coach.

Over the fall season, the women had the opportunity to go to the NCAA preview in Denver to practice on a high-altitude course. They hope to return in May for the NCAA Championship tournament. Because a team from the southern region has won the NCAA Tournament every year, except for last year, Clarke said she believes that if the women’s team can be successful in the southern region, they have a great chance at Nationals.

“We’ve got a lot of depth on our team, and we’ve got a couple new players,” Kenny said. “We’re fighting against each other but at the same time, we’re pushing each other, and I think that’s important to have a strong team.”

With nine women on the team, only five are selected to play in any particular tournament over the course of the season.

The women will start its spring season at the World Golf Invitational at the Slammer and Squire course at the World Golf Village on Feb. 7. Find the complete schedule here.

 

SOFTBALL

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From left to right: Senior outfielder Emily Pettigrew, Head Coach Melissa Paul and senior pitcher Kalyn Chapman hope their momentum from last season carries on into the spring.

 

Last to address the media was the softball team. Head Coach Melissa Paul brought along senior outfielder Emily Pettigrew and senior pitcher Kalyn Chapman to represent the team. This season is Paul’s second season with the team and fifth as a head coach.

After losing all but one starter, the Lady Argos did not start its season the way it wanted. The Lady Argos finished with a lot of momentum and hope it carries into its 2016 spring season. With experienced players such as Pettigrew and Chapman returning this season, the team hopes to improve its record.

“This year has changed because we’ve really focused on building our culture,” Pettigrew said. “I think that this year that is our focus; being good teammates and playing hard and holding each other accountable more.”

Paul said they are trying out a new, creative system this year in order to develop skills and improve play. The UWF softball season will commence on Feb. 5 at Tuskegee University. Find the complete schedule here.