Tag Archives: UWF 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.

New coach has high expectations for 2016-2017 cheerleading team

By Sara Agans
Staff Writer

 The 2016-2017 UWF cheerleading team had tryouts and was announced April 9. Photos courtesy of Kathleen Mills.

The 2016-2017 UWF cheerleading team had tryouts and was announced April 9.
Photos courtesy of Kathleen Mills.

Tryouts for the 2016-2017 UWF cheerleading team, which were held on Saturday, April 9, involved a lot of hard work, dedication, and even tumbling and flying.

Kathleen Mills, head cheer coach, said she had high expectations for tryouts this year because the women had already done well in the clinic. Mills said they were at the same level, if not better, than the past team was when she came to UWF last fall.

“I’m expecting this to be a much better team right off the bat than UWF has probably seen before, which is pretty exciting,” Mills said.

“I expected there to be a wide variety of talent,” said Mallory Webb, a judge at the tryouts and a former cheerleader for the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “I did expect Kathleen would find the individuals she was looking for to represent the university. I love getting to see all the talent that comes in to the school each year. It also brings back bittersweet memories of when I went through the process myself.”

Kaylee Scott, a UWF junior majoring in pre-med and a returning UWF cheerleader, said, “Before tryouts, my expectations were that this team can only get better from here. Our previous team had already come so far from where we started. I knew we had a long way to go, but we were getting there with time.”

Many factors came into play for the judges when selecting the team members. “We first went through all the scores to see who had the highest raw scores,” Webb said. “We also had to go through and make sure there was a good ratio of top girls, bases, backspots, and guys. You can’t have a team with all top girls or all bases. Someone has to be at the top of the pyramid just like someone has to hold it up. We also took tumbling, grades and overall appeal into consideration when making a final decision.”

“After hearing what the coach is expecting for next year and knowing what it takes to accomplish the coach’s goals, I made my final decision based on who has the overall package,” said LaToya Williams, head cheer coach at the University of Montevallo, a former cheerleader for the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a judge at tryouts. “Grades, skills, versatility, attitude and drive to succeed.”

cheer leaders

The 2016-2017 UWF cheerleading team had tryouts and was announced April 9.
Photos courtesy of Kathleen Mills.

Along with the cheerleading tryouts, warm-up stunts with groups, and standing and running tumbling warm-ups, there were also mascot tryouts for the next Argie.

“The way the mascot tryouts are going to work this year is that they are going to be more laid-back,” Mills said. “I have a couple people trying out for it, so while the girls are warming up and doing their dances and everything, we’ll have each mascot got through and interact with the cheerleaders so that we can see how Argie is going to interact with people.”

A new Argie was selected and the team is still in search of two more candidates for the position.

A lot of people think it is an all-female team, Mills said, but the tryouts were for both male and female, as in previous years. This year they had several men try out and make the team, so the team will be co-ed this upcoming year.

Scott described this year’s tryouts as being very organized. “Kathleen had everything set up like it should have been from the very beginning. Prior to tryouts our team hosted a college prep clinic where any potential people who wanted to try out came and attended the clinic to learn what our team is all about. It was a great turnout and very beneficial to those who had come and tried out because everything we taught from a dance and stunts was used in tryouts.”

“Kathleen and the judges made it a comfortable environment throughout the entire tryout, which was very appreciated,” Scott said. “Since the atmosphere was not as intense at tryouts, everyone was helping and encouraging each other. Don’t get me wrong, though; everyone was still nervous.”

“After judging UWF tryouts, I witnessed a lot of the new members show determination and excitement,” Williams said. “I hope they use that to be the best they can throughout the year and grow together as a team.”

Mills said the team will be more involved in the community and the university events next year. “People that have never seen us before will definitely see us at something, whereas we haven’t done too much in the past, so that’s exciting,” Mills said.

Scott said a lot of things have changed since the last year. “Our team received a new coach. Before Kathleen became our new coach, we did not have a coach, and our team was patiently waiting for one. We were not going to all the events on campus and we almost felt like the cheerleaders were not wanted. A lot of things were unorganized and not up to college-level expectations.”

“Since Kathleen has taken over the team, we have been introduced to endless possibilities. We get invited to all the events on campus, people know that there is a cheer team here at UWF and we perform at college level.”

The team usually cheers at basketball games, some volleyball games, and at least one soccer game, Mills said. With the inaugural football season fast approaching, the cheerleaders will now also be cheering at all the home games, which will definitely be something new for them.

The evening of tryouts, the names of the students who made the team were released through Mills’ Facebook and Instagram page. The team consists of: Shelbie Andrews, Emalee Bush, Taylor Carrington, Zach Devore, Alexis Downs, Faith Doyle, Collin Edwards, David Franklin, Ashlyn Howell, Abbie Huff, Kirsten Hunt, Alexia Kenney, Nicole Morrill, Rachel Neal, Dewanna Norton, Kennedy Porter, Kendal Rosebrock, Kaylee Scott, Rebecca Slattery, Ashley Stefka, Crystal Thompson, Shaina Thompson, Marissa Walker and Alex Wallerstein.

Their first practice as a new team was held on Sunday, April 10, in the Pedagogy Gym. “I think UWF has potential to be a great team,” Webb said. “I hope to see the program grow because I know they have a great leader in Kathleen.”

“The new 2016-2017 UWF cheerleading team has incredible talent,” Scott said. “I know as a returning cheerleader, it makes me happy to see how far this cheer program has gone and how it continues to keep building. Kathleen as a coach and the new additions to the team are going to take UWF cheer to a whole other level. There is amazing potential throughout the team this year, so I am very excited. Go Argos!”

Donors to use priority point system to obtain football tickets for fall

By Sara Agans
Staff Writer

football

Graphic courtesy of UWF Athletics

UWF’s inaugural football season will soon be here, and fans already are scoping out ways to get tickets.

The University of West Florida’s Argonaut Athletic Club (AAC), the fundraising division of the UWF Athletic Department, has developed a priority points system, designed to rank all athletics donors fairly and to involve them in the selection of their football season tickets, according to a football season ticket information brochure.

The intent of this policy is to reward those who have been loyal supporters of UWF Athletics while allowing new donors to secure seating options. All priority points are based on the donor’s previous and current support of West Florida Athletics, and each donation helps build up priority points. Argonaut Athletic Club members will have access to season tickets based on their priority points and contribution level.

April 16 is the deadline to earn priority points and the opportunity to buy football season tickets for the 2016 home games, which will be played at the Blue Wahoos stadium downtown. All donations must be turned in to the Argonaut Athletic Club, or made online, by this deadline. Season tickets must be paid for, in full, by July 1, 2016.

Luckily for students, they don’t have to be big spenders to get tickets to see the Argos play.

“All football tickets for this coming season will be free. Students don’t have to buy them,” said Brett Berg, UWF Athletics Development Director. However, “We do have a limited number of about 1,000 seats for students. Our process in place is through our Argo Armada, which is our student booster club where they can download an app on their phone. It is the way that we will distribute tickets for next season. We encourage all students to download the app now and start becoming familiar with it so they can have an idea of how they are going to get tickets,” Berg said.

If students attend any UWF home sporting events, and they check in on the Argo Armada app, they will earn points. The more points students earn, the more prizes they can win, such as Publix gift cards, free sandwiches, etc.

“The way it’s going to work for football tickets is the top 200 students who have the most points will get guaranteed tickets for football, and the other 800 will be put into a lottery system and students will be drawn as a lottery,” Berg said. “We’ve never done this before, so we aren’t sure how many students are going to apply, but we are trying to make it fair and to where students have access to tickets.”

“I plan to attend the football games for this upcoming season because it’ll be something different to do that’s high-energy,” said Keilani Hernandez, a UWF senior majoring in archaeology. “So you can assume I’m pretty excited for it. I haven’t begun plans for tailgating, but I’m sure there will be some on the horizon when the time gets closer.”

One thousand tickets will be exclusively for current students, Berg said. About 3,500 seats will remain to buy outside of the student tickets, and this is where the priority points system comes in to play. Not everyone is guaranteed to get season tickets, because there is more demand than supply of season tickets. A person will receive season tickets based on how many priority points he/she has accumulated. Someone with 10 priority points is going to get the chance to buy tickets before someone who has nine priority points, for instance.

Ben Stubbs, UWF associate director of Student Involvement, said he is excited that outside donors and the university community have an opportunity to be involved in this way and will get to attend football games. “I personally don’t have very many points accumulated myself, but I have some friends who do, and I think that they’re excited about seeing some benefit from being involved and contributing to the university, and I think that the football tickets are appropriate for that. It creates some excitement and an incentive for people to invest back into UWF. This is definitely something that I’m looking forward to and will take advantage of,” Stubbs said.

“We want the experience to be a great collegiate football experience for our current students, former students, alumni and all of our community,” Berg said.

For more information regarding season tickets, visit GoArgos.com/FootballTix, which has a 12-page football season ticket information brochure. You can also call 850-474-ARGO.

 

Single-score game results in a win for UWF baseball

By Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

 Senior third baseman Jimmy Redovian races around the bases to his teammates after scoring a home run in the ninth to win the game for the Argos on Wednesday night. Photo by Grier Wellborn.

Senior third baseman Jimmy Redovian races around the bases to his teammates after scoring a home run in the ninth to win the game for the Argos on Wednesday night.
Photo by Grier Wellborn.

After posting the third shutout of the season against No.18 Valdosta State, and defeating the nationally ranked Blazers with a walk-off hit in a close three-game series, the University of West Florida baseball team sought to beat Stillman University on Wednesday night. The Argos have won nine one of the last 10 games against the Stillman Tigers, but have not faced them since 2011.

The Argos’ 8-6 record seemed to give them the upper hand against Stillman, who started the game against UWF with a 2-14 record. But for a game in which the Argos seemed to have a major advantage, both teams remained scoreless until the ninth inning.

The all-freshman pitching lineup dominated the mound for the Argos in Wednesday night’s game. Troy Brown recorded his second start of the season by pitching the first three innings only yielding one hit, leaving the Tigers scoreless. UWF also ended the third inning scoreless.

“I started the season kind of rough, but I’m finally getting back into things,” Brown said.  Brown said he felt the freshmen pitchers did well by not allowing Stillman any runs. “There’s always stuff that we can work on, so we’ll only get better from here.”

Freshman Garrett Peek took the mound at the top of the fourth and recorded two more scoreless innings. The Argo offense was unable to score in the fourth and fifth.

Freshman Gray Dorsey followed Peek at the hill at the top of the sixth. With the Tigers on both first and second base and only one out, it seemed as though Stillman would score. Dorsey escaped trouble by striking out the next two batters. The score remained 0-0 at the bottom of the seventh.

Following Dorsey, freshman pitcher Cole Crowder entered the game at the top of the eighth, and would close the game for UWF. Again, the Argos seemed to be in trouble in the eighth when the Tigers took third base with only one out. Crowder struck out the next batter, and a fly ball was caught by junior outfielder Jean Figueroa for a third out.

Both teams went into the ninth inning, still scoreless. Crowder held the Tigers in the top of the ninth recording the ninth strikeout of the game by freshman pitchers. The Argos were given another chance to score in the bottom of the inning.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, it seemed as though the game might extend into a 10th inning. Senior third baseman Jimmy Redovian’s time at bat decided the game. Redovian hit his first home run of the season (the second in his UWF career) in the bottom of the ninth, to help win the game for the Argos 1-0.

“Luckily I was able to get a pretty good swing on the pitch and get it out of here,” Redovian said. “But we’re definitely going to need to play better this weekend; come out stronger, come out faster but it does feel good to get a win here.”

Though the game resulted in a win, Redovian was not pleased overall with the offensive play throughout the match.

“We have got to be ready to go from the start no matter who we are playing,” he said. “Especially this week in conference play, we have to be ready from day one.”

The Argos, now 11-7 in the season, continued conference play over the weekend at North Alabama where they swept the Lions in the double header on Saturday, but lost the third game in the series on Sunday.

The UWF baseball team will return to Jim Spooner Field on Wednesday, March 9, to face off against Spring Hill College for the second time this season.

For a complete season schedule, visit goargos.com.

International student athlete Peggy de Villiers overcomes challenges while breaking records

By Tom Moore
Contributing Writer

sports

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.

 

 

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

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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

softball

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.