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Archive for October, 2013

(West Plains) – A full slate of athletic events awaits fans of the Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball and Volleyball teams this weekend, Nov. 1 and 2, at the Joe Paul Evans Arena in the West Plains Civic Center.

The Grizzly Volleyball team (21-12) will host the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 16 Championship Tournament, and the Grizzly Basketball team will kick off its season with the Grizzly Tip-Off Classic.

The Region 16 championship tournament will get underway at 5 p.m. Friday when No. 2 seeded Jefferson College, Hillsboro, Mo., meets No. 3 Mineral Area College, Park Hills, Mo., in the semifinal match. The winner will face the No. 1 seeded Grizzlies at noon Saturday for the championship.

The Grizzly Tip-Off Classic will get underway at 2 p.m. Friday when Snead State Community College, Boaz, Ala., faces North Iowa Area Community College, Mason City. At 7 p.m., the Grizzlies will play Otero Junior College, La Junta, Colo. Saturday’s match-ups have North Iowa playing Otero at 5 p.m. and the Grizzlies facing Snead State at 7 p.m.

For more information about the Grizzly Volleyball team, visit wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/vb. For more information about the Grizzly Basketball team, visit wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/bb.

Six years ago, Michael Sorrell made a decision that threatened his reputation and maybe his job.

His tenure as president of Paul Quinn College started in 2007 and, shortly thereafter, he opted to cut football in an effort to save money.

The response on campus was not pleasant.

“Predictably, we had folks who were, I guess, the reaction was loud,” Sorrell says.

This was in football-nuts Dallas, only seven miles from the heart of the city. Sorrell was not anti-sports, either. He played basketball and loved football. He just felt the sport was “something economically we could not justify.”

Sorrell made an offer to the angry defenders of the sport: Raise $2 million to save football, and he would match it.

“To date,” Sorrell says, “no one has raised a dollar.”

College football is dealing with an emerging financial crisis. It’s plaguing programs as large as the University of Tennessee, which was a reported $200 million in debt over the summer, and as small as Grambling, which is begging alums for donations after poor facilities led to a player mutiny earlier this month. Escalating coaches’ salaries and declining attendance have led to real concern that the entire college football complex will become insolvent, leaving only a few schools with thriving programs.

“We are standing on the precipice of an economic day of reckoning in higher education,” Sorrell says. “I think there will be more schools to do this. I think we’re just early.”

Football was eating $600,000 of Sorrell’s budget, and Paul Quinn is a tiny school of only 250 students. How could he continue to educate when so much funding was going to something that wasn’t building an academic reputation?

He simply couldn’t. So the field sat vacant.

Sorrell moved on to a much bigger issue: his school is located in a food desert with neither a restaurant nor a grocery store nearby, and many of the students at the oldest historically black college west of the Mississippi are poor. Eighty percent of the students at Paul Quinn are Pell Grant-eligible. (There’s a “clothes closet” on campus where students can get business casualwear for free, and money had to be raised so students could afford eyeglasses to read.)

A year after the end of football, Sorrell was meeting with a real estate investor named Trammell Crow. They bandied about the idea of devoting a tract of land to producing food for the community. But where?

 Sorrell joked that they should just build a farm on the football field.

The jest quickly turned into a reality, and the school’s future was changed for the better.

Some of the produce grown in full view of the scoreboard would go to local food banks and the surrounding community. Some of it, eventually, could be sold.

Crow helped fund the farm, and slowly crops began to yield produce: kale, sweet potatoes, herbs, cilantro. In 2009, two years removed from the end of Paul Quinn College’s football life, a rather famous client struck a deal with the school for its food.

Cowboys Stadium.

Legends Hospitality is now Paul Quinn College’s largest buyer for the “WE over Me Farm,” and the school has run a surplus of six or seven figures in four of the past five years. The money budgeted for football now goes to academic scholarships. This is a school that had one month’s worth of cash when Sorrell took over in 2007.

A potential disaster has turned into one of the most inspired decisions made at the college level. It’s not like Paul Quinn is SMU – the NAIA school is smaller than a lot of Dallas high schools – but it shows life after football isn’t necessarily bleak.

“We turned our football field into an organic farm,” Sorrell says. “It’s made us a national leader on this issue. There are no regrets. We didn’t have the resources necessary to change and really build a football program in the way we wanted to do it. This is what was right for us.”

Students who work on the farm are paid $10 an hour for overseeing the project, which will produce 17,500 lbs. of food for Cowboys fans this season.

“I’m in love with what we’re doing with the field,” says Shon Griggs, Jr., a legal-studies major who played football at his Atlanta high school. “It’s exciting and I’ve learned so much. I’ve personally gotten more out of the farm than the football field.”

Griggs spends 12 hours a week on the farm, and he considers it “a workout” that has benefits beyond sports.

“When I played football, I was able to strengthen my body,” he says. “Here, we’re impacting community, changing lives, teaching kids, and learning about nature.”

View gallery

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Crops grow on Paul Quinn College’s old football field.

 

Griggs says the only downside is the coyotes that come around at night and try to break into the chicken coop.

The goalposts are still up at Paul Quinn College, and so are the scoreboard and the ticket booth, but nobody misses the sport much anymore. The treasure everyone guards most is that farm. Asked what would happen if those two acres were razed again, Griggs doesn’t hesitate.

“We would have a problem,” he says. “There would be a revolt. This is big.”

It is big. Those who work on the farm not only have experience and some take-home pay, but a built-in connection to one of the most famous buildings in America. The director of food and beverage at Legends Hospitality at Cowboys Stadium is George Wasai, who went to Paul Quinn College. He played football there.

We all know about fields of dreams and if you build it, they will come.

Sometimes tearing it down works just as well.

The Lady Grizzlies just re-entered the NJCAA National Poll as one of the nation’s best…

The rankings are listed below.

nationalPoll

Click for Larger Image

(Boston) – Boston is partying tonight like it’s 1918.

The Boston Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 in Game 6 of the Series Wednesday night for their 8th World Series Championship and the first Red Sox championship clinched at Fenway Park since 1918.

Boston started the scoring in the bottom of the third inning with a double from Shane Victorino scoring Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz and Jonny Gomes. The Red Sox added three more runs in the fourth inning for a 6-0 lead.

Cardinals rookie pitcher Michael Wacha lasted just 3.2 innings, giving up six runs and on five hits. Wacha, 22, entered Game 6 with a 4-0 record and a 1.00 ERA in the 2013 postseason.

The Cardinals stranded nine runners in Game 6.

It’s going to be a fabulous Grizzly Sports Weekend at the Joe Paul Evans Arena in the West Plains Civic Center.
 
Friday, November 1

·        2:00 p.m. – Snead State (AL) vs North Iowa Area CC basketball game

·        5:00 p.m. – Jefferson College vs Mineral Area College (Region 16 semi-final volleyball game)

·        7:00 p.m. – Grizzlies vs Otero Junior College (CO) basketball game

 
The game sponsor for Grizzly Basketball is Holiday Inn Express.
The community service theme for the basketball game is the West Plains Boys and Girls Club.  Donations of winter clothes are not required, but will be accepted.
 
Saturday, November 2

·        12:00 noon – Lady Grizzlies vs Semi-Final Winner (Region 16 championship volleyball game)

·        5:00 p.m. – North Iowa Area CC vs Otero Junior College (CO) basketball game

·        7:00 p.m. – Grizzlies vs Snead State (AL) basketball game

 
The game sponsor for Grizzly Basketball is Holiday Inn Express.
The community service theme for the basketball game is Ozark Independent Living.  Donations of hygiene or household cleaning supplies are not required, but will be accepted.
 
Ticket Prices
NJCAA REGION 16 POSTSEASON VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT
Daily Tickets: Adults – $5.00; Students – $2.00; Children 5 and under – Free
 
BASKETBALL GAMES
Daily Tickets: Lower level – $6.00; Balcony level – $4.00

(Boston) (AP) – Michael Wacha had a funny way of preparing for his World Series start that’s supposed to save the season for the St. Louis Cardinals.

The 22-year-old October ace spent Tuesday afternoon on the tarmac at the St. Louis airport when the team plane got grounded by mechanical problems.

It took all day before the Cardinals finally arrived in Boston, trailing the Red Sox 3-2 going into Game 6 on Wednesday night. Their flight took off about 9:10 p.m. EDT after a delay that appeared to last around 6 hours and landed shortly after 11 p.m.

“Everyone is just watching movies,” Wacha said from the plane, a couple of hours into the delay. “They’ve got dinner on here for us and stuff. Everyone is just walking around. Nobody is in a bad mood or anything like that. The attitude is pretty good.”

His teammates were probably confident, too, considering what the rookie has done this postseason. He’s 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in four starts, including a win over John Lackey and the Red Sox in Game 2. Lackey will again oppose the tall right-hander.

“I don’t think anything will be much different,” Wacha said. “I just try to approach every game the same. I don’t think it’s going to be too much different. We know the next two games are must-wins. It all starts with me tomorrow night.”

Heady stuff for a guy who was pitching at Texas A&M less than a year and a half ago, a guy who began this season in Triple-A.

Then again, look at what he’s done.

He came within an out of a no-hitter against Washington in his final start of the regular season, only to give up an infield single. With the Cardinals facing a 2-1 deficit in the best-of-five division series, he took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning to win at Pittsburgh.

He twice outpitched Cy Young Award favorite Clayton Kershaw to win MVP honors in the NL championship series, then beat Boston with his family in the seats at Fenway Park.

Quite a run, by any standards.

“I think it’s been one of those that’s been fun for us to watch,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said from the idle plane. “Taking everything into consideration, how this kid was in school, in college 18 months or so ago, and watch the maturity, and watch the progress, too.”

“Not just Michael, but a group of other young players that have been able to do something very similar. But Michael’s done a nice job. We just want him to really not focus on the big picture of what exactly is going on. What we want him to do is go out, make one pitch at a time. There’s time for summations later.”

Lackey said he could appreciate what Wacha is going through. The Red Sox righty was a rookie with the Angels in 2002 when he started Game 7 of the World Series and beat the San Francisco Giants.

“Probably similar to the way I was feeling. I think I was 23 or whatever that year,” Lackey said. “I don’t know what kind of guy he is. But personally, I was more excited about it than anything else as far as nerves.”

The Red Sox are trying to clinch a World Series title on their own field for the first time since 1918. Anticipation is high in Boston, and prices on the secondary market for even a standing-room ticket were approaching $1,000.

“I imagine it’s going to be crazy, but I’m not going to pay any attention to it,” Wacha said. “I’ll keep going about my business the way I have been in all my starts this year. And not worry about the crowd, and just get locked in with Yadi behind the plate and just make my pitches.”

Star catcher Yadier Molina helped settle down Wacha in Game 2. Wacha matched a season high with four walks, but allowed only three hits in six innings. David Ortiz did the most damage against him, sending a two-run homer over the Green Monster.

The big-hitting Ortiz was ready for a rematch with Wacha, provided the plane problems got resolved.

“I thought I saw them leaving last night. That’s crazy. Everything happens for a reason,” Ortiz said. “Me, normally, when I have a delay on a flight, I don’t get mad. You don’t play around with that stuff. Hopefully they get here safe.”

(Boston) (AP) – Ted Williams never did it. Not Carl Yastrzemski. Not Carlton Fisk. Not even Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling, who ended The Curse nearly a decade ago but did it on the road.

Practically no one alive can remember seeing such an event unfold: The Boston Red Sox could win a World Series title on the celebrated green grass at Fenway Park.

When the Red Sox last won a World Series at home, Babe Ruth, Carl Mays and Harry Hooper were the stars in September 1918, a season cut short by World War I. Ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2, this year’s Red Sox have two chances to reward their faithful.

“It would be awesome,” said John Lackey, who starts Game 6 on Wednesday night against Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha.

Fenway was just a kid the last time the Red Sox took the title there, a modern 6-year-old ballpark. A crowd of 15,238 watched the Red Sox defeat the Chicago Cubs 2-1 to win the Series in six games.

“It was a ball game that nobody who was present will forget. It left too many lasting impressions,” Edward F. Martin wrote the following day in the Boston Globe.

That was so long ago that Woodrow Wilson was president of the United States, television hadn’t been invented and the designated hitter didn’t exist. There were 16 major league teams – none west of St. Louis – all games were played in the daytime and the NFL was 23 months from formation.

Now, Fenway Park is a centenarian, the oldest home in the majors and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The last time a World Series Game 6 was played between Lansdowne and Van Ness Streets was in 1975, the night Fisk sent Pat Darcy’s second pitch of the 12th inning high down the left-field line and waved his arms three times, urging the ball fair, before it clanked off the yellow foul pole atop the Green Monster.

“I was just wishing and hoping,” Fisk recalled in 2005. “Maybe by doing it, you know, you ask something of somebody with a higher power. I like to think that if I didn’t wave, it would have gone foul.”

Boston needed that 7-6 win to force a seventh game against Cincinnati, and the Red Sox went on to lose the following night.

Now, they are one win from setting off a Boston Glee Party.

“With no disrespect to history or to Carlton, you know, it’s an iconic video and a highlight that is shown repeatedly, and one of the more memorable swings that probably has taken place in this ballpark,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said Tuesday, “but hopefully there’s somebody tomorrow night that can wave their arms just the same.”

Boston swept the Series in 2004 and `07, starting at home and winning titles at St. Louis and Colorado. Given the length of time since the last championship clincher at Fenway, there is a seemingly insatiable demand for the just over 38,000 tickets.

As of early Wednesday, the cheapest of 1,200 or so ducats for sale on Stubhub.com was for standing room on the third-base side at $997.50. A dugout box seat was available for $12,322.

“I don’t know what happened in 1918, but tomorrow we’re going to try and make it happen, make people proud and happy in the city of Boston and New England,” David Ortiz said. “I guarantee it’s going to be wild.”

Ortiz’s performance in the World Series has been better than Ruthian. He’s batting .733 (11 for 15) with two homers, six RBIs, four walks and a sacrifice fly, and has one-third of Boston’s hits.

“That’s why we call him `Cooperstown,’” Game 5 star David Ross said, “because he does Hall of Fame stuff.”

While the Red Sox went through a light workout at Fenway Park on a cool autumn afternoon, the Cardinals tried to maintain their cool as they got stuck in St. Louis, joined by their families on a charter flight delayed several hours by mechanical difficulties.

“Fortunately we have plenty of food, snacks for the kids, lots of entertainment with on-board movies, and everybody travels with all their high-tech stuff,” manager Mike Matheny said. “Most of these kids are pretty happy that they’re not in school right now, and it’s a great way to spend a day.”

The plane took off about 9:10 p.m. EDT after a delay that appeared to last around 6 hours and landed shortly after 11 p.m.

Farrell made a bit of news, saying Ross will get his fourth Series start behind the plate in place of slumping Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

“David has given us a spark offensively out of the position,” the manager said.

Shane Victorino is expected to return to right field after missing two games due to a bad back, and Game 4 star Jonny Gomes will start in left over Daniel Nava. With the shift back to the American League ballpark, Mike Napoli returns to first base and Ortiz to designated hitter.

Playing with a foot injury, Allen Craig will be the DH for St. Louis. Trying for their second title in three seasons, the Cardinals have high confidence in Wacha, a 22-year-old rookie who has won all four of his postseason starts, allowing three earned runs in 27 innings.

“I imagine it’s going to be crazy, but I’m not going to pay any attention to it,” Wacha said.

Boston doesn’t want the Series to reach a seventh game on Halloween night, which likely would be started by Jake Peavy, who has a 7.11 ERA in this postseason. St. Louis would start Joe Kelly, who pitched well in Game 3 but didn’t get a decision.

Ortiz, the last remaining veteran from the 2004 title, wants to make sure fans can start the hullabaloo.

“Hopefully this will get over tomorrow, and they’ll get to enjoy it like they always do,” he said. “Party time.”

(ORN Photo)

(ORN Photo)

(Summersville) – Winona won the class 1 district 6 tournament Tuesday night.

The team defeated Eminence in the finals in two sets,  25-16 25-16 .

(West Plains) – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team finished its regular season on a high note, defeating the Indian Hills Community College Warriors in three straight sets.

The 25-11, 25-19, 25-20 victory ups the Grizzlies’ season record to 21-12 and gives them a 12-game winning streak going into this weekend’s National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 16 Championship Tournament Friday and Saturday, Nov. 1 and 2, in the Joe Paul Evans Arena at the West Plains Civic Center.

The Grizzlies, seeded first in the tournament, will meet the winner of Friday’s 5 p.m. semifinal match between No. 2 seed Jefferson College, Hillsboro, Mo., and No. 3 seed Mineral Area College, Park Hills, Mo., in the championship match at noon Saturday.

Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann said Monday night’s win over Indian Hills was “an excellent way to finish up the regular season. We had a fantastic crowd, the atmosphere was wonderful, and the ‘Dig for a Cure Night’ was a great event. The girls were focused and ready to play, and they didn’t get caught up in the distractions around them.”

That was evident in the first set of the game when the Grizzlies put the Warriors on their heels early. “Indian Hills seemed really out of sync, and we just pounded the ball, which is what we needed to do. In fact, we pounded the ball the whole game. They did make runs here and there, but we always try to put ourselves in a situation where we don’t get down in the middle of the game, and we did that,” Wiedemann said.

The Warriors made a lineup adjustment in the second set, which helped them create a better and more diverse offense, but the Grizzlies’ firepower proved just too much for the Warriors to contain.

Sophomore outside/middle attacker Nella Ioramo and sophomore outside attacker Helena Peric led the offensive charge with 15 and 12 kills, respectively. Both also were very efficient with the ball, keeping the errors to a minimum and hitting .483 and .667, respectively.

“Nella and Helena took very good care of the ball, and when you get that kind of production out of a couple of players, it’s hard for another team to bring it back,” Wiedemann said. Ioramo also led the team in service aces with three, in points earned with 19 and in passing rating with 2.71.

Defensively, freshman libero Alyssa Aldag paced the Grizzlies with a team-leading 11 digs. Ioramo and freshman setter Brianna Zebert each had one block, and Zebert led the team in assists with 32. Complete statistics for all Grizzly matches can be found at http://stats.njcaa.org/sports/wvball/2013-14/div1/teams/MissouriStateUniversityWestPlains.

“We’d like to give a huge ‘thank you’ to the crowd and to Physical Therapy Specialists Clinic for their continued support of Grizzly Volleyball and the ‘Dig for the Cure’ event,” Wiedemann said. “Everyone looks forward to ‘Dig for the Cure’ each year, and we’re happy we can be a part of it.”

Saturday’s region championship game will be the last time area residents have the opportunity to see this year’s Grizzly Volleyball team in action at home. This year’s NJCAA District N match will be held at Harford Community College in Bel Air, Md., and the NJCAA Division I Women’s National Volleyball Championship Tournament, which had been held in West Plains for the past three years, has moved to Casper, Wyo., for the next three seasons.

“We really hope everyone comes out to the game. We love the energy of our home crowd,” Wiedemann.

For more information about the Grizzly Volleyball team, visit the team’s website at http://wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/vb/.

MalcolmHenderson

Malcolm Henderson

(West Plains)  With the opening of the college basketball season just days away, the Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzlies suffered a body blow when sophomore center Malcolm Henderson suffered a knee injury which will sideline him for the entire season.

Henderson, a 6-7 sophomore from Chatequguay,  Quebec, Canada, sat out most of last season after breaking his foot at the Elite Eight Tournament at Coffeyville, Kansas.  He sustained an A.C.L injury to his knee during  scrimmages at Overland Park, Kansas, last week.

Henderson was leading the team in rebounding in the preseason.

The Grizzlies will open the season Friday night at 7 pm at the West Plains Civic Center when they take on the Rattlers of Otero Junior College of La Junta, Colorado.