Tag Archives: sports

UWF football defeats Missouri S&T in first home game

Brooke Weber

Staff Writer

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Photo from Pensacola News Journal

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Photo by Brooke Weber

The University of West Florida football team remain undefeated after winning the inaugural home game, 45-28, against Missouri University of Science and Technology, Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Pensacola Blue Wahoos Stadium.

UWF’s offense started out with a gain of 33-yards after quarterback, Kaleb Nobles, connected with freshman wide receiver, Tate Lehtio. However, it was freshman kicker, Autsin Peffers, that first put the Argonauts on the scoreboard, following a 36-yard field goal.

Nobles completed a 14-yard pass to junior wide receiver, Ishmel Morrow, to give the Argos a 10-0 lead against Missouri S&T.

Following Morrow’s touchdown, Missouri S&T went four and out, giving UWF’s offense another chance to score with 1:10 left in the first quarter. Nobles completed a 28-yard touch down pass to senior wide receiver, Anas Hasic, giving the Argos a 17-0 lead against Missouri S&T.

Sophomore wide receiver, Antoine Griffin, put the Argos in a 24-0 lead when he completed a 40 yard pass from Nobles, 12:37 into the second quarter after Missouri S&T quarterback, Tyler Swart, was intercepted by sophomore defensive back, Blake Norwood.

“We know that we can never be content with being up 24 to nothing, so no matter the score, we could have 60 they could have 10, were going to keep pushing,” Griffin said. “Were going to go out there and dominate no matter what.”

Head Coach Pete Shinnick said the key to success was the guys kept believing, and kept playing hard the entire time.

Missouri S&T retaliated after Swart, rushed for one yard to get the Miners on the scoreboard. However, after the Argos went 23-yards in three plays, Andrew Bogaenko, punted the ball to the Missouri S&T seven-yard line, and Braxton Graham returned the ball for a 93-yard touchdown, making the score 24-13.

The Argos took a 31-13 lead 7:16 into the second quarter, when Nobles completed a 67-yard touchdown pass to Hasic.  At the end of the second half the score was 31-20. Nobles said it definitely was a close game.

“Coach Schinnick always tells us at half time that this is your chance to set a new identity for yourself, as far as coming out as a second half team, and dominating the third quarter,” Nobles said. “The third quarter is really when you can put the game away.”

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Photo by Brooke Weber

In the third quarter, Nobles completed two touchdown passes, the first to Griffin, a 35-yard pass, and the second to freshman wide receiver, Kevin Grant, a two-yard pass that made the Argos take a 25-point lead with a score of 45-20.

Missouri S&T put their final points on the scoreboard 10:48 into the fourth quarter, when Swart successfully completed a 2-point conversion to Graham, following a 10-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver, Logan Armontrout.

The ball went back to the Argos during the second to last series for Missouri S&T, when Norwood had his second interception of the game.

“We have been practicing that route all week,” Norwood said after two interceptions in the inaugural game. “I just had to stick my hand out, and get it.”

UWF had 24 first downs, 17 penalties and six fumbles in the game, three of which were lost. Missouri S&T had 19 first downs, 11 penalties and four fumbles, only one that was lost.

“No disrespect to Missouri S&T, but they are in the game because of us,” Shinnick said. “We have to go out and play smart, but I’m extremely impressed and proud of our guys for continuing to fight, it worked out well.”

The offense ended with 503 total yards. Hasic ended the game with two touchdowns, for a total of 137 receiving yards. Morrow had one touchdown with a total of 162 receiving yards. Griffin, had two touchdowns, for a total of 126 receiving yards, and Nobles had 503 passing yards.

Nobles said he does not ever recall ending a game with over 500 total passing yards.

“I don’t think he has played perfect yet, but he’s put us in a really good situation to be where were at right now,” Shinnick said. “Which is 2-0 and very satisfying.”

The Argos remain undefeated following the 45-0 shut out at Ave Maria, and after beating the Miners with a final score of 45-28.

“We know that we can never be content with being up 24 to nothing, so no matter the score, we could have 60 they could have 10, were going to keep pushing,” Griffin said. “Were going to go out there and dominate no matter what.”

 

 

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Photo by Brooke Weber

Antoine Griffin after game interviews on Saturday

 

 

Head Coach Pete Shinnick said the key to success was the guys kept believing, and kept playing hard the entire time.

“No disrespect to Missouri S&T, but they are in the game because of us,” Shinnick said. “We have to go out and play smart, but I’m extremely impressed and proud of our guys for continuing to fight, it worked out well.”

“I don’t think he has played perfect yet, but he’s put us in a really good situation to be where were at right now,” Shinnick said. “Which is 2-0 and very satisfying.”

Pete Shinnick, after game interviews on Saturday

 

 

“Coach Schinnick always tells us at half time that this is your chance to set a new identity for yourself, as far as coming out as a second half team, and dominating the third quarter,” Nobles said. “The third quarter is really when you can put the game away.”

Nobles said he does not ever recall ending a game with over 500 total passing yards.

Kaleb Nobles- after game interviews on Saturday

 

“We have been practicing that route all week,” Norwood said after two interceptions in the inaugural game. “I just had to stick my hand out, and get it.”

Blake Norwood- after game interviews Saturday

UWF men’s soccer team loses in overtime to Rollins

Brooke Weber

Staff Writer

The University of West Florida men’s soccer team fell to Rollins College 2-1 in overtime at home on Friday night’s matchup on Sept. 9.

After a scoreless first half, the Argos and the Tars were tied 0-0, but it didn’t take long into the second half before Rollins broke the tie. Senior midfielder Tosan Popo scored the first goal of the night on an assist by junior midfielder, Matt Volk.

The Argos redshirt sophomore Alik Morgan assisted Teague Coleman with a goal in the 81st minute. Coleman, a freshman midfielder from Winter Park, tied the game with his first career college goal.

“It was an electric feeling,” Coleman said after scoring the first time as an Argo. “Probably not a feeling that I could have ever again, but it was amazing.”

Rollins took 18 shots in the game, with four of those on the goal, and four saves. UWF made 11 shots, five of those on the goal, with two saves. The game ended 6:17 into overtime, when Volk scored the game-winning goal for the Tars, making the Argos season record so far 0-3.

“It was a well, hard-fought game that was miles better than last week,” Coleman said. “Now were just going to build on it.”

Sophomore midfielder, Kameron Bethell, one of three picked from the Argos for the league’s annual Preseason All-Gulf South Conference team, said team members’ biggest concern is their record, but in the Rollins game that today they didn’t play badly.

“Our concern is what position we’re in, but it’s not all negative,” Bethell said. “We haven’t played a conference game yet. Next week we come in playing a GSC game, and I feel if we play to our strengths we should be able to come up with results.”

According to GoArgos.com, the team lost 17 players from the 2015 season. However, it also gained 17 players, 13 of them freshmen.

“Its always tough to move from a lower level to a higher level, but our freshmen this year seem to be doing it very well,” Bethell said. “They are all coming in and playing to the best of their abilities, and today I was very proud of them.”

He said the team still has a 100 percent chance of making another run at the GSC Finals, but that the team needs to come out with the willingness and desire to win.

The Argos seek their first win of the season next weekend in their first conference games, Friday, Sept. 16 at 5 p.m. against Union University at home. Followed by a match Sunday, Sept. 18 at 12:30 p.m. against Christian Brothers University at home.

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

By Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

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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.

Are you tough enough to complete the Gulf Coast Mudder?

By Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

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UWF student Connor Wagner races through the obstacles during his first Tough Mudder in Orlando.
Photo courtesy of Tough Mudder.

For some, an 11-mile run with more than 20 obstacles through 5,000 gallons of mud sounds like a personal hell. Others see it as an opportunity to physically and mentally prepare themselves for a challenge many wouldn’t dare try.

The Tough Mudder race is coming to the Gulf Coast this weekend, on April 9 and 10, at the Ates Family Ranch in Milton. Many University of West Florida students have signed up for the challenge, hoping to prove they are prepared to complete one of the most physically enduring races in the world.

Registration for the race includes a headband, finisher T-shirt, a finisher beer and free photography along the race.

UWF graduate student Taylor Middlebrooks said he looks forward to taking on the challenge of the Tough Mudder this Sunday.

“I’ve never completed a Tough Mudder,” Middlebrooks said. “I am really looking forward to challenging my body and completing the course.”

Middlebrooks said he believes that the most challenging aspects of the race will be completing obstacles with heights.

Last year, more than 6,000 mudders participated in the one-day event. This year’s event is projected to attract more than 15,000 participants over the two days.

Even those who ran last year are in for some new surprises this time: The 2016 race includes classic obstacles as well as brand-new ones on the 10- to 12-mile course. Mudders must be prepared to get wet, dirty and even run through 10,000 volts of electricity in the electric field.

After volunteering at the Gulf Coast Tough Mudder last year, senior environmental science major Connor Wagner traveled to Orlando to complete his first Tough Mudder and is running his second this weekend in Milton.

“The most rewarding part of the race was being able to try obstacles that I never thought I would have the opportunity to complete,” Wagner said. “What I am most excited for this year is the chance to complete the course with all of my friends from UWF Rec. [recreation services] I also want the second time headband look.”

Many students who work in recreational services as well as those who frequent the fitness facilities plan to participate as well as volunteer for the event. Often seasoned mudders will wear the headbands from previous mud races.

Since many runners will come from out of town, Santa Rosa County is projected to bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes for the county. While alcohol sales on Sundays are illegal in the county, Santa Rosa has also permitted alcohol sales for Sunday on the Ates Family Ranch so that finishers can celebrate.

While it is still possible to sign up, on-site registration is based on space available on both event days. For more information, visit the Tough Mudder website.

UWF baseball’s winning streak is challenged through 11 innings

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Teammates high-five Robert Lopez and Nic Strasser as they head back to the dugout.
Photo by Grier Wellborn.

By Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

The University of West Florida baseball team’s longest winning streak since 2014 was challenged by the University of Montevallo Falcons in a mid-week series.

After dominating Montevallo 7-2 in the first of the non-conference two-game series on Tuesday night, the University of West Florida baseball team prepared to face them again on Wednesday afternoon.

In Tuesday night’s game, the Falcons took a quick 2-0 lead, and it was not until the bottom of the third that the Argos were able rally with three runs. It was a lead that would extend through the rest of the game.

The Argo win extended UWF baseball’s winning streak to six games, and the team looked for a seventh consecutive win on Wednesday.

Freshman Troy Brown made his fourth career start as the first pitcher on the mound for the Argos on Wednesday’s match at Jim Spooner Field.

Junior outfielder Jean Figueroa would be the first to score for the Argos in the bottom of the ninth after a hit from senior catcher Ben Emery sent Figueroa home.

Figueroa was named the Gulf South Conference player of the week after his outstanding performance over the last weekend. Figueroa batted .538 and also posted three home runs and a multi-home run game on Saturday.

“It was a great opportunity for me,” Figueroa said regarding his Player of the Week award. “We had a great week and weekend, and we’re going to have to keep working to keep having success in play on the field.”

The second inning ended with loaded bases and sent into the third with a 1-0 lead for UWF.

Leading off for the Argos, senior third baseman Jimmy Redovian was first to bat and first to score in the fourth after a hit from Figueroa scored Redovian before Figueroa was tagged out on first.

It wasn’t until the fifth inning that the Falcons broke their scoreless streak and put a run on the board.

Freshman pitcher Garrett Peek took over for Brown on the mound in the top of the sixth but was replaced by senior Jarrod Petree for the remainder of the inning. With Petree on the hill the Falcons would sit at one earned run until the ninth inning.

The Argos scored for a third time in the game when a low hit into left field by Figueroa resulted in a run by Redovian (his second). The inning would end with two Argos left on base.

Senior left-handed pitcher Sean Kennedy replaced Petree in the eighth inning. Kennedy was replaced my junior Steve McClellan in the ninth and final inning.

Just as it looked like the Argos would take another sweep the series, the Falcons scored twice in the top of the ninth, tying the game 3-3. The game headed into a 10th inning with McClellan back on the mound.

Montevallo took its first lead of the game in the top of the ninth when senior Chase Bryant took it home for the Falcons, advancing to 4-3. Freshman pitcher Cole Crowder took over the mound in the 11th.

The Argos began the bottom of the 11th hoping to break their run-less streak. With the bases loaded and Redovian up to bat, the Falcons’ pitch hits Redovian, scoring freshman shortstop Robert Lopez.

“I was glad that I got to wear that pitch and get the tying run in,” Redovian said. “That was a tough pitcher. He was throwing hard but I just wanted to do anything I could to get the run in.”

A grounder by senior catcher Kyle Hamner and an error by Montevallo allowed sophomore second baseman Nic Strasser to score from second base, resulting in a walk-off win for the Argos. The 5-4 win for the Argos extended the winning streak to seven consecutive games.

“The crazy thing about baseball is that you can never let up,” Redovian said. “You have to keep the foot on the throat because that’s a good team over there and they did a good job fighting back in the ninth.”

UWF baseball looked to extend the streak even further when they took on Union University on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, the Argos beat the Bulldogs in both games 8-4 and 17-4, respectively. The Argos continued their streak on Sunday with a 7-2 victory over the Bulldogs to sweep the three game series.

UWF is now 24-11 (16-5 GSC) on the season. The Argos will return to The Spoon on next weekend, April 9 and 10, to take on The University of West Alabama.

For the complete baseball schedule visit goargos.com

UWF baseball shaves heads to save lives

By Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

 The UWF baseball team gathers for a picture after shaving their heads to support the Vs. Cancer Foundation. Photo courtesy goargos.com.

The UWF baseball team gathers for a picture after shaving their heads to support the Vs. Cancer Foundation.
Photo courtesy goargos.com.

Teammates who work together on the field are strong. Teammates who work together off the field are stronger.

The University of West Florida baseball team shaved their heads Friday, March 18, at Jim Spooner Field to support national childhood cancer research. The event, while short, has had a lasting impact on the team.

The Vs. Cancer Foundation is a nonprofit organization that uses a half-and-half model to fund the cause; they donate half of their proceeds to cancer research, and the other half directly to children battling the life-threatening disease. The Vs. Cancer Foundation empowers athletes and communities to come together in efforts to save lives.

First to step up to shave his head was senior catcher Ben Emery. Emery battled pediatric lymph node cancer as child and has been cancer-free for the past five years.

“As a five-year pediatric cancer survivor, I am constantly motivated to raise awareness, fundraise, and support the fight against cancer, especially in children,” Emery said. “When we were told that we would be fundraising for and working with kids battling cancer, it hit close to home.”

When they learned they would be raising money for cancer, Emery and a few other players decided to shave their heads to provide moral support for the children. The decision by a few players turned into an event for the entire team.

Even Head Coach Mike Jeffcoat got in on the action and shaved his head with the team as well as the entire coaching staff.

“Fighting for something bigger than baseball has given some perspective on the importance of cohesion to achieve a common goal,” Emery said. “Each member of the team shaving their heads signifies that we are all in this season together and will always have each others’ backs.”

Emery’s battle with cancer inspired his teammates to follow in his footsteps. The players also plan to visit Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital to show their support.

So far, the baseball team has raised more than $2,200 for the Vs. Cancer Foundation.

After shaving their heads, the Argos went on to win the series against the University of West Georgia while also recording the fifth shutout of the season on Sunday’s game. UWG Wolves had not been shut out since spring of 2013.

The Argos recorded the sixth shutout of the season when they traveled to Memphis to face Christian Brothers this weekend. After winning both games in the doubleheader on Friday, the Argos swept the series on Saturday when they shut CBU out 5-0. The Argos now lead the Gulf South Conference in shutouts.

Maybe the Argos successful streak is all thanks to those team head rubs for good luck.

For more information on how to contribute to the Vs. Cancer Foundation, visit vs-cancer.org.

For the complete UWF baseball schedule visit goargos.com

UWF baseball defeats Spring Hill with walk off in the 10th

By Grier Wellborn
Sports Editor

The Argonaut baseball team congratulates Brandon Tyler after his walk-off single breaks a time game against Spring Hill College.
Photo by Grier Wellborn.

The University of West Florida baseball team took on the Spring Hill College Badgers Wednesday night for the second time this season.

The Argos and the Badgers last met on Feb. 24 when the Argos walked away with a 3-2 win. UWF’s long history with the Badgers is one of success. With three wins of the past four matchups and an overall record 45 wins and 14 losses against Spring Hill, things looked promising for the Argos.

Freshman pitcher and Gulf Breeze native Gray Dorsey made his first collegiate start on Wednesday night when he took the hill first for the Argos. Dorsey made his collegiate debut last Wednesday against Stillman College.

“I was a little nervous at first,” Dorsey said. “But after the first inning, I settled down a little bit and knew I had a good defense behind me.”

The bottom of the first inning was filled with excitement for the Argos. First up for UWF was sophomore second baseman Nic Strasser, who hit a double. Next, senior shortstop Alex Greene took first base. A hit by Justin Ambrosino far to left field would send Strasser past home plate with Greene on third and eventually home. After Greene’s run, Ambrosino scored next for the final run of the inning. With the bases loaded, a UWF strikeout sent the game into the second inning.

The Badgers would remain scoreless in the second while the Argos would put two more points on the board with runs by Strasser and Greene. The Argos would enter the third inning with a score of 5-0.

Neither team scored in the next three innings with freshman pitcher Cole Crowder, replacing Dorsey on the mound in the top of the fourth.

Spring Hill overcame its scoreless start by putting one point on the board in the top of the fifth.

The third freshman pitcher of the day, Garrett Peek, a Gulf Breeze native, made his second collegiate debut when he replaced Crowder in the seventh. A few errors by the Argo basemen in the seventh would lead to another run by the Badgers. With only one hit in the bottom of the seventh, the Argos extended the scoreless inning streak to five.

Junior lefty pitcher Sean Kennedy posted up on the hill in the top of the eighth for the Argos. Kennedy struck out the first three batters. The Argos’ dry spell was extended to six innings by the end of the eighth. The Argos lead 5-2 heading into the ninth.

Junior Steve McClellan replaced Kennedy in the ninth to close the game at The Spoon. The Badger offense was on fire in the ninth, by completing three runs.

What seemed like a promising lead for the Argos heading into the ninth turned into a tie game leading into the bottom.

Unfortunately, the Argo offense could not turn up the heat in the ninth, and the seventh consecutive scoreless inning would extend the game into a 10th inning.

The Argos put in the big guns when Kyle Hamner took bat for UWF. Hamner has not struck out in his last 59 at bats, making him the toughest player in NCAA Division I, DII and DIII to strike out.

A low hit into left field from Hamner and the Argos would take both first and second base. Next at bat was senior Brandon Tyler with a walk-off single, sending junior outfielder Ladeavon Matthews home, thus winning the game for the Argos 6-5.

“We came out with a 5-0 lead and we all thought we had it in the bag,” Tyler said. “All of a sudden they crept back up in that last inning, and it felt good to finish it off in the 10th.”

While the offense came out hot in the first and second innings, the seven-inning dry spell made an seemingly easy win lead to a 10th inning.

“We just got a little complacent after the second inning, “ Strasser said. “They have a good team with good arms, but we had some good guys come off the bench in big situations to get the job done.”

The UWF baseball team played No. 9 Alabama Huntsville this weekend where the Argos split a double header on Saturday, losing the first game 4-2, and winning the second, 4-3. In the third game on Sunday, the Argos defeated UAH 13-6.

The Argos will return to Jim Spooner Field on at 6 p.m. March 15 and 3 p.m. March 16 to face Embry Riddle University.

For a complete schedule, visit goargos.com

UWF baseball defeats nationally ranked Valdosta State in three-game series

By Grier Wellborn
Sports Editor

The UWF Argos exit the field after dominating Valdosta State 8-0 in the first game of this weekend’s three-game series on Saturday.
Photo by Grier Wellborn.

The University of West Florida baseball team faced off against the No. 19 Valdosta State Blazers this weekend at Jim Spooner Field. The Argos continued Gulf South Conference play in a double-header on Saturday.

In the first game, junior pitcher Walker O’Connor took the mound for the Argos. O’Connor was named GSC player of the week after shutting out No. 1 Tampa two weeks ago in the third game of the series. O’Connor shut out Valdosta state while he pitched in the first seven innings. O’Connor now has pitched 21 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run.

“It feels good,” O’Connor said. “Just going to keep working and taking it one game at a time.”

O’Connor is 3-0 as starting pitcher for UWF and is currently ranked fourth in UWF All-Time ERA Records (2.34).

A home run in the bottom of the first inning by senior Jean Figueroa gave the Argos the first lead in the game, a lead they would carry on throughout the next eight innings. Freshman Robert Lopez hit his third home run of the season in the second inning. Lopez was named GSC player of the week this past week for his stellar performance against Mississippi College.

Big plays from Figueroa, sophomore Nic Strasser, junior Justin Ambrosino, and senior Alex Greene in the bottom of the fifth allowed the Argos to score three more runs to reach a 5-0 lead.

The Argos went on to score two more runs in the sixth and one last run in the eighth to win game one 8-0.

Senior pitcher Josh McLaney made his sixth appearance of the season by relieving O’Conner in the eighth inning and closing Game 1 for the Argos.

The Argos went from shutting the Blazers out in the first game to being shut out by the Blazers in the second game of the day.

Junior JT Granat took over the mound to start the second game for the Argos. Granat gave up three runs in the first five innings of the game.

While the Argos offense came out with vigor in the first game, they were no match for the Blazers’ senior pitcher Kellan Baily and lost heat in the second. Baily played all seven innings, only allowing the Argos four hits and zero runs.

“We came out with all intensity in the first game,” Ambrosino said. “We came out fired up, but by the second game we didn’t have it and they did.”

Junior Jared Petree relieved Granat and pitched the last two innings of the game. While the Argos lost the second game 0-3, a night’s rest would give the Argos the time the needed to finish the series on Sunday.

Junior Anthony Mazzurco took the mound in the start of Game 3 on Sunday afternoon. A slow start to the game resulted in a scoreless tie game until the bottom of the fifth when Greene hit a single to allow senior catcher Kyle Hamner to score for the Argos.

The Blazers would also score in the next two innings to take their first lead of the game. The Argos tied the game back up in the bottom of the seventh when Ambrosino brought it home after a single hit by junior Michael Savas.

Senior pitcher Brandon Nagem took over for Mazzurco in the sixth inning and pitched through the seventh. While he allowed one run, he recorded abutting strikeouts against the Blazers.

Junior pitcher Steve McClellan relieved Nagem in the eighth inning, leaving the Blazers scoreless in the eighth, ninth and 10th. Senior pitcher Sean Kennedy took the mound in the 11th inning to close for UWF. Just when it looked like game three might head into 12th inning, a walk-off single by Hamner allowed junior Ladeavon Matthews to score at the bottom of the 11th to win the series for the Argos 3-2.

Beating Valdosta State marks a huge triumph for the UWF baseball team, as the Blazers were ranked No. 3 in the South Region and No. 18 nationally. UWF now has extended its nine-game winning streak at Jim Spooner Field against the Blazers.

The UWF baseball team will return to The Spoon to face off against Stillman College at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 2.

For a complete season schedule, visit goargos.com.

All in the Laatsch family

By Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

Second in a series on Siblings in Sports

Sports

Jason, (left) and Josh Laatsch have played basketball together since their high school days in Birmingham.
Photo courtesy of Jason and Josh Laatsch.

 

Often, siblings share similar interests, especially when it comes to sports. The NBA has had 61 pairs of brothers in its history. The University of West Florida also is home to many athletic siblings, but only one duo in the sport of basketball.

For the Laatsch family, basketball is a family affair. Junior guard Jason Laatsch and his freshman guard brother, Josh Laatsch, have joined forces on the UWF men’s basketball team. The Laatsch brothers have played on the same basketball team since Josh’s eighth grade year and Jason’s sophomore year in high school. Both brothers attended Briarwood Christian High School in Birmingham, Alabama and played for the school basketball team under their father and head coach, Chris Laatsch.

Jason’s outstanding basketball skills earned him a four-year career on the varsity team in high school where he set numerous records: 1,404 career points, 197 career three-pointers, 73 three-pointers in a single season. Jason was named Most Valuable Player for three seasons, Offensive MVP for two seasons, and served as a team captain his senior year.

Two years behind Jason, Josh followed closely in his older brother’s footsteps. Josh was a five-year varsity letterman for the basketball program, named team MVP for two seasons, and was selected to the All-Shelby County team for two seasons.

Following his prodigious high school career, Jason decided to continue his basketball career at UWF. He became the only freshman to see significant play time in every game of the 2012-13 season, averaging about 18 minutes per match. Unfortunately, he only recorded time in three games of his sophomore season after sustaining a shoulder injury.

While there were many contributing factors to Josh’s decision to also come play for the UWF basketball program, the idea of playing alongside his older brother again had the greatest influence.

“Coming out here, you’ve got the beach, I loved the coaching staff, and of course Jason,” Josh said. “We’ve been best friends since the day I was born, so coming down here, following him, was the best decision for me.”

Josh’s first season at UWF was cut short. He saw court time in two games and was then given a medical redshirt for an arm injury.

Jason, a starter, has seen play time in every game this season and is averaging seven points per game. Coming off his injury, Josh has played in eight games of the 2015-2016 season.

As with any sibling pair, the brothers often get asked who the better player is. Jason and Josh replied that neither can be distinguished as the better payer because they play differently from each other.

Jason and Josh both elaborated on each other’s strengths on the court.

“Josh is a really good shooter,” Jason said. “He rarely misses and he’s also a good ball handler; he rarely ever turns the ball over.”

While Jason elaborated mostly Josh’s skills, Josh expounded on Jason’s basketball IQ.

“Jason is basically a game manager,” Josh said. “He’s good at everything and has the career to prove it. He’s a playmaker and is very knowledgeable about the game.”

While playing on the same team with a sibling often brings out the competitive spirit in many, the Laatsch brothers’ competitive edges push each other to be better every day. Playing alongside each other also serves as an inspiration to play up to their potential.

For a complete men’s basketball schedule, visit the team’s page on goargos.com.

To read our first Siblings in Sports article, click here.

 

 

de Paula twins travel more than 4,000 miles to make a splash at UWF

By Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

 Mariana de Paula, left, and Ana are one of three sets of siblings on the UWF Swim and Dive teams. Photo courtesy Mariana de Paula.

Mariana de Paula, left, and Ana are one of three sets of siblings on the UWF Swim and Dive teams.
Photo courtesy Mariana de Paula.

Most siblings are accustomed to sharing clothes. But for a few student athletes at the University of West Florida, sharing a uniform also has become routine.

UWF is home to 15 different sports teams, and a few have pairs of siblings who have excelled at a shared sport. These athletes owe their success in sports not only to their parents, but to their siblings who may have had the greatest influence on their achievements in sports.

The women’s swimming and diving team has three sets of siblings. Mariah and Marissa Constantakos are freshmen divers from Tate High School. Julia and Karisa Kostecki are now in their junior year on the swim team from Lithia, Florida. Lastly, juniors Ana Christina and Mariana de Paula are twin sisters who came all the way to Pensacola from Santos, Brazil.

For the de Paula twins, coming to the United States together meant everything for their swimming careers. They began swimming together when they were 11 years old and have not separated since. The sisters attended the Colegio Universitas in Santos where they excelled on the swim team.

After a stellar high school swimming career, they knew they wanted to pursue swimming even further for a university in the United States. The twins knew that if they wanted to reach college coaches in not only another country, but another continent, it would be up to them to contact coaches. They sent more than 100 emails to college coaches that included their times, their strengths, and often a short video.

Their freshman year of college was spent at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. After their first year at UNF, the twins heard about the new swimming program at UWF, a program that would be able to offer them more scholarship money.

They contacted Head Coach Andrew Hancock, but he was only able to offer one spot on the team. But the de Paulas were a package deal and refused to split up. Luckily for them, a second spot opened up on the team and they were able to come to UWF as a pair.

“We have a lot of strength from coming to the United States together,” Ana Christina said. “It is not like I came here by myself, I came with family.”

They explained that while being more than 4,000 miles away from their family is hard, having each other makes it all worthwhile.

While Mariana’s strengths are in freestyle sprints and relays, Ana is best at backstroke and breaststroke distance.

“We get asked a lot about which one is better, stronger – even though we swim completely different events,” Mariana said. “That in itself is a funny aspect, because we have the same body type and went through the same conditions of training our whole lives, and still, race in very different events. But I believe that, as an athlete, you will be successful in whatever you dedicate yourself to.”

While some siblings have their own individualities such as the events they prefer to swim, they also embrace their depiction as a “dynamic duo.”

Next week, read about Jason and Josh Laatch, two brothers from Birmingham, who are both spending their collegiate basketball careers at UWF.