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Former Grizzly Volleyball standout Luiza Jarocka, second from left, was inducted into the Grizzly Hall of Fame by Missouri State University-West Plains and Grizzly Booster Club officials during the annual Grizzly Sports Banquet/Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Tuesday evening, April 8, at the West Plains Civic Center’s Magnolia Room.  She received her award from former Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Trish Knight, left; current Head Coach Paula Wiedemann, third from left; and Grizzly Hall of Fame Selection Committee Chairman Ron Shemwell.  (Missouri State-West Plains Photo)

Former Grizzly Volleyball standout Luiza Jarocka, second from left, was inducted into the Grizzly Hall of Fame by Missouri State University-West Plains and Grizzly Booster Club officials during the annual Grizzly Sports Banquet/Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Tuesday evening, April 8, at the West Plains Civic Center’s Magnolia Room. She received her award from former Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Trish Knight, left; current Head Coach Paula Wiedemann, third from left; and Grizzly Hall of Fame Selection Committee Chairman Ron Shemwell. (Missouri State-West Plains Photo)

(West Plains) – Officials at Missouri State University-West Plains inducted former Grizzly Volleyball standout Luiza Jarocka into the Grizzly Sports Hall of Fame during the annual Grizzly Sports Banquet Tuesday night, April 8, at the West Plains Civic Center’s Magnolia Room.

An estimated 140 family members, friends, Grizzly Booster Club members, students, faculty and staff attended the event.

Jarocka, a 6-foot setter/outside attacker from Warsaw, Poland, came to the Grizzlies in 2005 and immediately made an impact on the team. She frequently stood among team statistical leaders during both of her seasons and, in 2006, became the anchor of one of the best teams in the program’s history. After starting 6-5, the 2006 team went on to win 35 of the next 37 matches, including a stretch of 23 consecutive victories; won six tournament titles during the regular season – the most by any team in program history; and finished the regular season as the No. 2 team in the nation. The Grizzlies capped it off with their eighth consecutive Region 16 title and a third place finish in the national tournament.

Jarocka earned many individual accolades that season, as well. She was named to several all tournament teams and received most valuable player honors at two; she was named the NJCAA’s Division I Player of the Week following her performance at the Miami-Dade Invitational Tournament in October; she earned first team All-Region 16 honors and all-tournament team honors at the NJCAA Division I Women’s National Volleyball Championships; she was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s All-American team; and she received NJCAA first team All-American and Distinguished Academic All-American honors, becoming the first Grizzly athlete to receive both honors in the same season.

At the time of her departure, Jarocka was first in career attacking percentage (.337) for outside/right side hitters, fourth in career attacking percentage among all hitters (.338), fourth in career assists (2,205), fourth in single season assists (1,819 in 2006) and seventh in single season attacking percentage among all hitters (.405 in 2006). She remains first among outside/right side attackers in career attacking percentage and now places fifth in career attacking percentage among all hitters, career assists and single season assists and eighth in single season attacking percentage among all hitters.

Jarocka graduated from Missouri State-West Plains in May 2007 with an Associate of Arts in General Studies degree and transferred to the University of Missouri-Columbia where she played one season for the Tigers, helping them post a 17-13 record and reach the NCAA National Volleyball Tournament. She graduated from Mizzou in 2009 with two bachelor’s degrees and currently works in her hometown, Warsaw, as a manager for Citi Bank.

In accepting the award, Jarocka said West Plains had become a second home for her, and she thanked former Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Trish Knight, current Head Coach Paula Wiedemann, Strength and Conditioning Coach Keri Elrod, her teammates, her host family Pat and Linda Keefe, and her many friends for their support and giving her wonderful memories. “It’s not the place, but the people who make the difference,” she said.

And to the current players attending the ceremony, Jarocka shared “it’s after you leave West Plains that you start to appreciate how much your time here means to you and the importance of the relationships you make while you are here.”

In closing, Jarocka said, “I am honored to be selected into the Grizzly Athletics Hall of Fame and thank everyone who helped me achieve this honor.”

This is the 12th year of the Grizzly Athletics Hall of Fame. Grizzly Hall of Fame Selection Committee members include Chairman Ron Shemwell, Russ Gant, Bill Hutchings, Chuck Kimberlin, Carolyn Smith, John Williams, Missouri State-West Plains Dean of Student Services Dr. Herb Lunday and, as ex officio members, Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Yancey Walker and Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann.

(Missouri State-West Plains Photo)

(Missouri State-West Plains Photo)

(West Plains) – Five Grizzlies received individual honors Tuesday, April 8, during the annual Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Sports Banquet/Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the West Plains Civic Center’s Magnolia Room.

From left, Head Coach Yancey Walker; freshman Justin Jamison, Garfield Heights, Ohio, who received awards for leading rebounder (6.8 per game), best shooting percentage (60.6) and All-Region 16 team;

Sophomore Arroyo Edwards, Milwaukee, Wis., who received all-tournament team honors at the Three Rivers College Thanksgiving Classic and All-Region 16 team honors;

Sophomore Devaugntah Williams, Canton, Ohio, who received leading scorer (17.8 points per game), playmaker of the year (3.7 assists per game), Three Rivers College Thanksgiving Classic all-tournament team, and All-Region 16 team honors;

Freshman Jeremiah Jackson, Canton, Ohio, who received defensive player of the year (1.1 steals per game);

Freshman Jameel Moore, Richmond Heights, Ohio, who received best 3-point percentage (41.3) and best free throw percentage (76.9) awards.

 (Missouri State-West Plains Photo)

(Missouri State-West Plains Photo)

(West Plains) – Several members of the 2013-2014 Grizzly Cheer Team at Missouri State University-West Plains received individual awards at the annual Grizzly Sports Banquet/Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Tuesday evening, April 8, at the West Plains Civic Center’s Magnolia Room.

Front row from left, Leah Lehman, Bolivar, Most Spirit; Grizzly Cheer Team Coach Keena Simpson; Ashely Rieken, Ava, Most Improved-Female; Katie Land, West Plains, Team Player-Female; Whitney Watkins, Dora, Best Flyer; Haylea Rackley, West Plains, Best Overall-Female; Kendra Barnard, St. Charles, Coaches’ Award for Excellence; Samuel Dodson, West Plains, Grizz Appreciation; and Coordinator Rachel Peterson. Back row: Matt Johnson, Koshkonong, Crowd Favorite; Andy Hughes, West Plains, Most Improved-Male; Lance Parker, Dixon, Team Player-Male; Trey Turner, West Plains, Best Base; Dalton Stockton, West Plains, Most Coachable; and Kevin Calhoun, West Plains, Best Overall-Male.

Nick Pruitt served as assistant coach this season.

From left are Baleilekutu, Barrett, Aldag, Zebert, Novaes, Ioramo and Peric.  (Missouri State-West Plains Photo)

From left are Baleilekutu, Barrett, Aldag, Zebert, Novaes, Ioramo and Peric. (Missouri State-West Plains Photo)

(West Plains) – Seven members of the 2013 Grizzly Volleyball team at Missouri State University-West Plains received individual awards during the annual Grizzly Sports Banquet/Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Tuesday evening, April 8, at the West Plains Civic Center’s Magnolia Room.

Sophomore middle attacker Torika Baleilekutu, Palo Alto, Calif., received All-Region 16 first team honors; freshman middle attacker Leondra Barrett, Ooltewah, Tenn., received All-Region 16 first team honors and the blocking award (116 total blocks, .83 blocks per game).

Freshman defensive specialist Alyssa Aldag, Fort Worth, Texas, receive All-Region 16 first team honors, the defensive player award (666 total digs, 4.79 digs per game), and service reception award (2.56 passing rating).

Freshman setter Brianna Zebert, Pierce City, Mo., received All-Region 16 second team honors and the setter/assist award (1,457 assists, 10.48 assists per game).

Sophomore setter Laiz Novaes, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, received the Marvin Wheeler Academic Excellence Award. Sophomore middle/outside attacker Nella Ioramo, Union City, Calif., received the NJCAA All-American second team plaque, All-Region 16 first team honors, and the offensive player award (553 kills, 3.98 kills per game).

Sophomore outside attacker Helena Peric, Smederevo, Serbia, received All-Region 16 first team honors.

(West Plains) – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly basketball team is sending a third player from this year’s team to a division one school in the state of Texas.

According to social media outlets, Arroyo Edwards, a sophomore from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and all-region 16 player for this season, has made a verbal commitment to the University of Texas-San Antonio.

Edwards averaged 14 points per game this season. He will be joining former Grizzly Robert Guster, who is a member of the UTSA coaching staff.

Edwards will be the second Grizzly player to attend UTSA. Morris Smith was the first to do so six years ago.

Grizzly players Justin Jameson and Devaughntah Williams verbally committed to attend Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas, last month.

(West Plains) – The Grizzly Athletics program at Missouri State University-West Plains has reached an important milestone. Dr. Drew Bennett, the university’s chancellor, announced at Tuesday night’s annual Grizzly Sports Banquet that nearly $1.5 million has been generated from private donations and other contributions from area businesses and residents, as well as the accumulated earnings from those contributions, to go toward endowed scholarships for student athletes.

“The Grizzly Athletics endowment program began through the foresight and wisdom of the program’s founders,” said Tom Marhefka, a long-time member and past president of the Grizzly Booster Club Executive Board of Directors. “Within only a few years after Grizzly Athletics was established, the Grizzly Booster Club Executive Board of Directors decided to provide opportunities for Grizzly fans to establish permanent, named scholarship endowments. At the time, we believed we would never see the fruition of the endowment program, but it advanced more rapidly than we thought. We hope to take it to still another level.”

“Over 20 years ago, we knew we wanted men’s and women’s sports teams to contribute to the growth of the institution and to round out the full college experience for all students,” added Jerry Hall, a local businessman who was involved with Grizzly Athletics from its first mention in the early 1990s. “After launching the program with great fanfare and enthusiasm, we quickly discovered there’s a business side to college athletics. Looking back, it’s obvious the endowment program is one of the best answers to that particular challenge.”

Dr. Herb Lunday, dean of student services and director of Grizzly Athletics, said the endowment program began in 1997 when the board set aside $10,000 for a Grizzly Athletics endowed scholarship to honor outgoing chancellor Dr. Marvin Looney. Shortly thereafter, with their awareness of the Missouri State University Bears’ endowment program, board members decided to pursue additional endowments to enable businesses and individuals to support Grizzly Athletics in a perpetual way while receiving tax benefits.

“Local businessman Alan Ramseur established the next Grizzly endowment in a very interesting way,” Lunday recalled. “Alan won a bass boat and motor when he struck a hole-in-one at a golf tournament. He then auctioned the boat and gave the proceeds toward a scholarship. The Grizzly Booster Club was then off and running to pursue additional endowments. The goal that was often expressed was to get to $250,000 within 15 years, but with everyone’s hard work, we’ve met and surpassed that goal several times over.”

Although no fundraising and endowment statistics are kept by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), officials there have been very impressed with the athletics endowment program developed at Missouri State-West Plains, Lunday added. “I would estimate that the Grizzly endowment program at Missouri State-West Plains easily ranks in the top 1 percent of all NJCAA member institutions,” he said. “I would not be at all surprised if we were to learn that the Grizzlies are, in fact, THE national leader, and by a significant margin.”

What makes the endowment program so attractive to supporters of Grizzly Athletics is the endowment concept itself. Donors can contribute or pledge amounts of $10,000 or more to fully endow a scholarship fund, and the donor has the privilege of naming the fund and establishing the criteria for selecting a recipient. The amount may be paid in one lump sum or minimum annual installments of $1,000, not to exceed 10 years. Contributions are managed by professional financial consultants through the Missouri State University Foundation, a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent of the U.S. tax code and are never spent for any purpose. Instead, each year a portion of the earnings from the endowment is used for the scholarship award. Any remaining earnings are placed in the scholarship endowment fund to ensure capital growth.

“It is simultaneously beautiful and simple. Individuals or businesses set aside sums of money that are never spent for any purpose. The money is invested in the Missouri State University Foundation, and the earnings are used to help fund scholarships. This occurs annually and in perpetuity, giving the donors a lasting legacy of support for the program,” Lunday explained.

To date, there are 40 named scholarships, some of which are fully endowed and others that are maturing or restricted, Lunday said. All, however, go toward ensuring that student athletes receive the best education possible at Missouri State-West Plains, which is the thrust of the program, he stressed.

“Through the enthusiastic vision of early supporters, a foundation has been laid that, if finished, will ensure the funding security of Grizzly Athletics at Missouri State-West Plains from now on. It will take great effort, but who would have thought we could have come as far as we already have,” Lunday said.

One unique endowment opportunity is the Grizzly Commemorative Endowment, Lunday said. Area residents may contribute any amount to this fund in memory of or in honor of individuals they would like to recognize. The current market value of this particular fund exceeds $16,000, he said.

Although the endowment has reached a milestone, Missouri State-West Plains Chancellor Drew Bennett, who also is a member of the Grizzly Booster Club, said there are more goals to set and reach. “The cost of running our athletic program has always far exceeded the amount raised by donors and boosters. Fortunately, we have many supporters who realize that our athletic endowment must continue to grow or we will lose ground to the constantly rising cost of travel, tuition, room and board,” he said.

Among those supporters are Bennett; former chancellors M.O. Looney, Kent Thomas and the late Fred Marty; and KY3 Sports Director Ned Reynolds, who established the Chancellors’ Grizzly Basketball Endowed Scholarship in August 2012 following the recording of their video “Grizzly Athletics: Securing the Future.” The scholarship demonstrates their personal commitment to the athletics program, Bennett said.

Area residents or business owners who would like to establish their own endowment, contribute to an existing endowment, or obtain more information about Grizzly Athletics, the Grizzly Booster Club or the Grizzly Endowment Program can contact Lunday at 417-255-7225 or HerbLunday@MissouriState.edu.

From left to right: Heather Mulford, Darren Petrus, Ron Murray, John Coleman, and Seth Huddleston. (Provided)

From left to right: Heather Mulford, Darren Petrus, Ron Murray, John Coleman, and Seth Huddleston. (Provided)

(West Plains) – The 1st Annual Zizzer Golf Tournament benefiting the West Plains High School Girls and Boys Golf teams was a sellout event, raising over $6000.

Heather Mulford, WPHS Girls Golf Coach, called the event extremely successful and thanked everyone for the support.

“We had a great team of sponsors, donors, and volunteers; without them, the level of success we received would not have been possible,” said Seth Huddleston, WPHS Boys Golf Coach.

The winners of the Championship Flight were John Coleman, Darren Petrus and Ron Murray with a score 57.

The event was held March 29 at the West Plains Country Club.

(St. Louis) (AP) – Tony Cingrani’s second straight start against the Cardinals was nothing like the first.

Cincinnati’s young left-hander quickly fell behind by three runs and lasted just four innings in a 5-3 loss to Michael Wacha and the St. Louis Cardinals in their home opener Monday.

“The difference was stuff and command,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “Tony was electric in his last start, he had great stuff, including a breaking ball that was more reliable than it was today.

“And he wasn’t down 3-0 in the first – that certainly can affect your intensity.”

The Cardinals altered their game plan with more patient at-bats, and the 24-year-old lefty might have been bothered, especially early, by the adverse weather conditions.

“The baseball was slippery,” catcher Brayan Pena said. “He’s a competitor and he won’t make excuses but I know that was one of the reasons that he couldn’t throw his breaking ball.”

Cingrani (0-1) allowed two hits over seven innings last week in Cincinnati’s 1-0 victory against St. Louis. He gave up three hits and a walk to the first five hitters Monday, the big hit a three-run double by Yadier Molina.

“I had no fastball. I was trying to throw other things in there,” Cingrani said. “Made too many mistakes.”

The Reds didn’t have a lot to show for 10 hits and have totaled 18 runs in seven games.

“We’re running our guys out there,” Price said. “The core guys, these are the guys that when the season is over, they’re going to have their numbers.”

A standing-room crowd of 47,492, the largest at 9-year-old Busch Stadium, braved daylong rain and temperatures in the 40s to greet the National League champions and take a look at the new Ballpark Village. Hundreds milled about the attached complex, which features five sports bars and rooftop seating.

The Cardinals went 1 for 18 after Molina’s hit before adding RBIs from Matt Holliday and Allen Craig off Trevor Bell in a two-run seventh.

St. Louis ended a three-game losing streak on opening day, including a blowout loss to the Reds last year.

The 22-year-old Wacha (1-0) hadn’t allowed a run in 21 career innings against the Reds before back-to-back doubles by Pena and pinch-hitter Roger Bernadina in the fifth cut the Cardinals’ lead to 3-1.

The NL championship series MVP benefited from two double-play balls in six stingy innings and has permitted one run in 13 2-3 innings his first two starts.

Cingrani needed 31 pitches to get through the first and finished with five strikeouts and four walks. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said before the game that his hitters had been a “click off” with timing against Cingrani the first time and should benefit from another chance so soon.

Peter Bourjos moved up to second in the order and got his first two hits of the season after an 0-for-13 start. Craig got his third hit and third RBI of the season after entering 2 for 22.

Seeing Wacha once again didn’t do the Reds any good.

The start of the game was delayed 12 minutes after the inclement weather combined with pregame ceremonies that featured the traditional grand entrance with players, coaches and Hall of Famers touring Busch Stadium on the back of convertibles and trucks. A team of Clydesdales was kept in the stable due to concerns the field might be damaged.

Billy Hamilton doubled to start the game and the Reds put the leadoff man on base in the first four innings but were undone by two double plays.

Zack Cozart broke an 0-for-22 slump to start the season with a bloop RBI single, and pinch-hitter Neftali Soto had a sacrifice fly for his first career RBI in the ninth against St. Louis closer Trevor Rosenthal.

The Cardinals opened the first with singles by Matt Carpenter and Bourjos, and Holliday walked to load the bases with none out. Craig struck out before Molina cleared the bases with a drive to left-center on a 1-2 pitch.

(Kansas City) (AP) – This one could be a costly victory for the Kansas City Royals and an expensive loss for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Jason Vargas took a shutout into the ninth inning, Alcides Escobar hit a three-run double and the Royals beat the Rays 4-2 Monday night in a game that included two significant injuries.

Rays starter Matt Moore (0-2) came out in the fifth inning with a sore left elbow. The All-Star lefty grimaced after throwing a pitch to Norichika Aoki and was immediately removed by manager Joe Maddon.

Two innings later, Royals second baseman Omar Infante was hit in the left jaw by a pitch from Heath Bell. A bleeding Infante walked off the field under his own power.

Moore won 17 games last year, but missed 31 games with an elbow injury. He threw 78 pitches Monday and was replaced by Cesar Ramos.

“It has to be checked,” Maddon said. “There will be tests tomorrow. We don’t know what’s going on yet. We’ll get an update later. He tried to talk me out of taking him out but I said I didn’t think it’s a good idea. I went out there and I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. I like to communicate with our guys. He just felt something on a pitch. We knew we can’t take any chances on anything.”

Moore said his final pitch was a changeup.

“There was no particular pain,” he said. “It really came out of nowhere. I felt it when I was pitching to Escobar, on a changeup, and then I threw two more changeups to Aoki and I felt it. I actually threw a curveball to Aoki to see if I would feel it then, too, but I didn’t. It may have something to do with changeups in that situation.”

Moore, who will have an MRI exam Tuesday, went on the disabled list last July 31 with a sore elbow and did not return until Sept. 3.

“It’s the same pitch and the area is pretty much the exact same spot,” Moore said.

Infante was spitting blood as trainers held a towel to his face.

“They put a number of stitches in there to close the cut,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “They are going to go scan it and see if his jaw is fractured. We’ll know more later. I’m not going to make any decisions (on roster moves) until we find out what’s going on with Omar and we’ll move forward from there.

“He was bleeding tremendously from the cut. I didn’t know until they had taken him upstairs that he got hit on the jaw. When we got there they had the towel (over his head) and there was blood all down his shirt. There was no cut on his forehead that I could see.”

Danny Valencia ran for Infante, who signed a $30.25 million, four-year contract with the Royals in December after hitting .318 last season for Detroit.

“He was smoked. We’re worried about a concussion, too. It shakes you for sure because it’s a very ugly sound for somebody to be hit in the face,” Yost said. “It was a cool night, but I noticed I broke out in a sweat real quick, so it definitely affected me. Of course, you have a lot of worry about it.”

Vargas (1-0) allowed four hits, walked one and struck out two in eight-plus innings, lowering his ERA to 1.20 in two starts. He lost his shutout bid when Ben Zobrist homered on his second pitch in the ninth.

Greg Holland replaced Vargas and earned his third save, but not before giving up an RBI single to pinch-hitter Matt Joyce.

Escobar was 1 for 19 before his bases-loaded double off the left field wall on a 2-2 pitch from Bell with two outs in the seventh. Escobar’s three RBIs matched his career high. Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez and Lorenzo Cain singled to load the bases before Escobar’s first extra-base hit of the season.

Eric Hosmer singled home Aoki, who tripled, in the first inning.

The Rays, who have lost seven straight at Kauffman Stadium, have scored three runs in their four losses this year while going 2 for 33 with runners in scoring position during those defeats.

Evan Longoria had three of the Rays’ six hits.

(Kansas City) (AP) – Omar Infante of the Kansas City Royals has been hit in the face by a pitch from Tampa Bay reliever Heath Bell.

Infante immediately left Monday night’s game against the Rays in the seventh inning, walking off under his own power with Royals trainers Nick Kenney and Kyle Turner. Infante, hit in the left cheek, was spitting blood and had blood on his forehead as trainers held a towel to his face.

Danny Valencia ran for Infante, who signed a $30.25 million, four-year contract with the Royals in December after hitting .318 last season for Detroit.