New semester, new sports seasons

As the new semester and the new year starts off, the winter sports continue while the spring sports kick off. The women’s and men’s basketball teams will continue their seasons with the second half of conference. Just a few days away, the indoor track season will begin with the Texas Tech Invitational on Jan. 26. On Feb. 2 the Lubbock Classic will start softball pre-season as their conference season begins on Feb 16. The outdoor track season will start with the Texas Christian University Invitational on March 7.

Women’s Basketball

The women’s basketball team has a 9-5 record with 12 regular season games left. The 2016-17 season ended with a 8-18 record, and the team ranked ninth in the conference. Noel Johnson, head coach, has led the team for nine seasons and was just named the program’s all-time coaching wins leader with her 133rd win against Eastern New Mexico University on Jan 13. Following that, Johnson lead her team to victory against Texas Women’s University with a score of 79-65 on Jan. 18.

“To be in this profession, it is a great honor to be the all-time coaching wins leader. It is a tribute to the support MSU has for athletics, and I am blessed to be apart of something so special,” Johnson said.

The women’s basketball team has score 910 points with 182 assists. Whitney Taylor, forward and education senior, has made a total of 152 points. This is including 28 three-point shots. Micheline Mercelita, forward and kinesiology senior, leads rebounds with 41 offensive and 58 defensive rebounds.

“We definitely want to finish the second round of conference stronger than the first round. We were 7-3, and we really want to try to improve that this next round,” Kristin Rydell, guard and nursing senior said.

The women’s basketball team will return to D.L. Ligon Coliseum on Feb. 1 at 5:30 p.m. against Texas A&M Kingsville.

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Men’s Basketball

The men’s basketball team holds a 6-11 record, with 11 regular season games left to in the sixth season for Nelson Haggerty, head coach. The 2016-17 record was 14-14 and finished seventh in the conference.

“We’ve faced a lot of adversity as a team, and our strength has been being able to persevere and stick together throughout the season,” Brandon Neel, senior guard said. “We’ve dealt with some injuries, but getting everyone back healthy and getting ready for the second half of conference is only going to make us deeper and better moving forward.”

The team has scored 1,375 points with 204 assists. Logan Hicks, sophomore guard, has made 32 three-pointers and scored a total of 198 points. Brandon Neel, senior guard, is the scoring leader with 306 total points, meaning he scores, on average, 18 points per game. Devante Pullum, guard and business senior, has averaged 12.9 points per game with a total of 84 assists.

“My expectations are to keep practicing and working hard as a team and be the best leader I can for this basketball team,” Pullum said.

The men’s basketball team will return to D.L. Ligon Coliseum on Jan. 29 at 6 p.m. against St. Mary’s University.

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Indoor Track

The indoor track season will begin at the Texas Tech Invitational on Jan. 26. In the 2017 season, the track team finished seventh at the Lone Star Conference championship. This event took place in Alamosa, Colorado on Feb. 18 and 19. Bridget Reilly, criminal justice junior and 2016 LSC indoor mile champion, finished at second place in 2017 with a time of  5:29:37. Stefanie Blaine, chemistry junior, also competed in the mile and placed 10th with a time of 6:01:58.

All of the indoor track meets will take place at the TTU Sports Performance Center in Lubbock.

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Outdoor Track

The outdoor track season will begin on March 17 at the TCU Invitational. The team placed seventh in the LSC championships for outdoor track as well. Michelle Rieves, exercise physiology junior, finished in ninth for the 5,000 meter with a time of 18:58:56. Reilly competed in the 4×400 meter relay with 2017 graduates April Pena, Ana Lopez, and Maranda Rodriguez. They placed sixth with a time of 4:02:81 making a university program mark.

The outdoor track meets will all take place outside of Wichita Falls, starting in Fort Worth at the Lowden Track & Field Complex.

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Softball

The softball team will begin their 2018 season at the Lubbock Classic on Feb. 2. The 2017 season ended with a record of 19-27 and the team was ranked ninth in the conference. This is the Mark Ryal’s, head coach, second season with the softball team. He has taken the position of former head coach of thirteen seasons, Brady Tigert.

“Since I was here before I became head coach, I knew the girls, so it was an easier transition,” Ryal said. “I need to catch up on recruiting as well as, fill holes in defense and pitching. This season we have a lot more depth on the team, especially in pitching. Last season we got down to one or two pitchers at times, but we now have four pitchers and have some girls from D1 organizations coming on the team. As long as we get out of the gate fast we will be alright.”

Last season, the softball team had a total of 31 home-runs, 890 put-outs, and 166 runs batted in. Lauren Lindgren, outfielder and education sophomore, had a total of 54 home-runs and 33 complete runs. With a total of 70 put-outs and67 assists, Kelcee Thompson, third baseman and mechanical engineering senior, made the most assists for the team in 2017. Amanda Thomas, catcher and sports & leisure senior, totaled 171 put-outs last season.

“I feel really confident and excited because I feel that this year we have such a better team than all the years I have been here. We have stronger pitching, hitting, and all around a great talented group of girls,” Misty Muniz, infielder and exercise physiology junior, said. “Ryal is an outstanding coach. I loved that he got the position. He knows so much about the game and loves to teach it. I love how his passion for the game is transferred on to us, making it a much better vibe when we’re out there on the field.”

The softball team will play at Mustangs Park on Feb. 23 at 5 p.m. against Texas A&M Kingsville.

“The Maniacs hope to see everyone out to support the sports this semester,” Ariana Farris, junior tribe leader and social work sophomore, said.

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