Track & Field/Cross Country
Kacie Kaufman and Conner Killian earned spots on the 2017 C-USA Men’s and Women’s Cross Country All-Academic Teams. Louisiana Tech was one of only two schools (along with Charlotte) in the league to have a student-athlete named to both the men’s and women’s all-academic team.
As a junior for the Lady Techsters, Kaufman made the team for the second year in a row. She has a 4.0 GPA as a communications major and was the program’s top finisher in all four meets she competed in. She also defended her first-place finish at the 2017 Louisiana Tech Mook Four Triple-Duals.
A redshirt freshman, Killian posted a 3.86 GPA as a forestry major. In five meets this season, he recorded three top 10 finishes and was Tech’s top finisher twice. He and fellow Bulldog Austin Ballow represented Tech at the NCAA South Central Regionals.
In track and field, student-athletes brought home a trio of medals and made a dent in the record books at the C-USA Outdoor Championships. True freshman Cole Courtois won the men’s pole vault competition and set a school record with a mark of 17-7.25 (5.37m); he’d done the same thing at the 2018 Indoor Championships in February. Denzel Harper medaled with a second-place finish in the men’s long jump with a 25-10.75 (7.89m) effort, sixth best in school history. Elia Nero took home bronze in the women’s 800m run with a time of 2:10.08.
Melody Korie and Shelby Smith (long jump), Harper and Jelaani Davis (long jump), Tyler Griggers (javelin) and Sharone Johnson (400m hurdles) represented the University in the NCAA East Preliminary Championships at the University of South Florida Track and Field Stadium in Tampa.
Kaufman, who broke two long-standing school records this outdoor season in the 3,000m run (1st – 10:34.70) and 10,000m run (39:25.92), and also set two school records during the indoor campaign in the 3,000m run (10:29.05) and the 5,000m run (18:17.48), made the C-USA Track and Field All-Academic Team, as did Killian, Nero, and Morgan Keesee, a four-year letter winner for the Lady Techsters in throwing events. Keesee finished with a perfect 4.0 GPA in kinesiology and health promotion, and Nero earned her spot with a 3.9 cumulative GPA in political science.
The Bulldogs finished 11th at the Conference USA Championship this spring at the Texarkana Country Club in Texarkana, Ark. Karsten Green led the team with a three-round total of 227, 11-over-par. Hayden Frederick, Ryan Alford, Peyton Coursey, and Max Kettler were the five Bulldogs who represented Tech at the league championship.
Coach Matt Terry will work to get the program, winners of the C-USA Tournament just two springs ago, back into the short grass. He came to Tech in July of 2017 after 15 years of building highly successful men’s and women’s programs at Troy University. Under his leadership and vision, Troy golf reached its pinnacle in 2015 as both the men’s and women’s teams competed in the NCAA Regionals. That started a three- year stretch for the Troy men’s program in which the Trojans competed in the NCAA Regionals; the Troy women advanced to the NCAA Regionals in 2014, 2015, and 2017.
Terry is as committed to excellence in the classroom as he is to excellence on the course. His men’s team earned six straight Troy Athletics Academic Team Awards (highest team GPA) and two of the most recent four Sun Belt Academic Awards.
Tech’s young bowling team was on a roll this season.
Under second-year head coach Matt Nantais, the squad was ranked nationally (No. 20) for the first time in program history, earned six top-10 finishes, set a record for the highest game in school history (287), and knocked off the No. 1 team in the nation.
Freshman Kaitlyn Eder was honored as a National Tenpin Coaches Association (NTCA) All-America Honorable Mention and recognized as the NTCA Division I Rookie of the Year. She and Nantais traveled to St. Louis so Eder could pick up her hardware at the end-of-season awards presentations.
“Kaitlyn is the type of student-athlete that every coach looks for,” Nantais said. “She gives 100 percent in everything she does: in the weight room, practice, and during competition.”
Eder led the team in strikes (338) and strike percentage (49.2 %). Her overall average of 20.27 pins per frame ranked 19th best in the nation and led all freshmen. The Lithia, Fla., native competed in 100 percent of the team’s frames.
Signees for next year include Sara Howell of Slidell, selected as one of two Youth Ambassadors of the Year by the International Bowling Campus Youth Committee. The annual award recognizes one male and one female United States Bowling Congress Youth bowler for academic accomplishments, community involvement, and exemplary contributions in the sport of bowling outside of league or tournament play.
A 2018 graduate of Salmen High, Howell was president of the National Honor Society, editor of the yearbook, and a freshmen mentor. She maintained a 4.5 grade-point average and took five Advanced Placement courses and several honors classes. She volunteered with the Alzheimer’s Association, was named a Junior Ambassador for the Arthritis Foundation, and participated in the national campaign to provide additional healthcare options to children with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.
On the lanes, Howell was named the New Orleans district Most Valuable Player and is a two-time all-district selection. At Tech, she plans to major in political science with a concentration in pre-law.
The star of the 2018 spring season was Sonia Chen. The junior from Taiwan posted a team-best 13-4 singles record, including a program record-tying 12 straight victories. She also went 12-4 in doubles; 11 of those doubles victories came when Chen was teamed with Claudia Oravcova.
In the Conference USA Tournament at Old Dominion in Norfolk, Va., Chen and Oravcova won their match convincingly, 6-2. But overall, the Lady Techsters, the No. 10 seed, fell to 9-12 on the season in a loss to No. 7-seed Western Kentucky.
Seniors Jacie McClure and Marta Monne paced the Lady Techsters volleyball team, both on the court and in the classroom. Their accomplishments representing both the University and the program are lengthy and impressive.
- Among 13 volleyball student-athletes named to the 2017 All-Academic Team, the third straight season of conference academic honors for the Baton Rouge native. Among the 43 nominees, McClure was the only senior with a perfect 4.00 GPA;
- A kinesiology and health promotion major, McClure has made the President’s List in every quarter during her time at Tech;
- Selected to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District 6 team, she’s the first Lady Techster in program history to earn recognition on the All-District squad;
- As one of just 21 members named to the 2017 Academic All-America Division I volleyball team, McClure is only the 15th student-athlete in Tech history to earn Academic All-America honors and one of only 14 student-athletes sporting a perfect 4.0 GPA of the 21 members around the country;
- One of only 14 student-athletes in Conference USA to earn the Conference USA Fall Spirit of Service Award, which recognizes the community service efforts of the league’s student-athletes, based upon significant public service, good academic standing, and participation in their elected sport.
- Tech’s first volleyball student-athlete since 2014 to earn All-Conference USA postseason honors;
- The first Lady Techster in program history named to the First Team All-Louisiana team, Monne was a first-teamer in both her junior and senior seasons;
- A native of Milan, Italy, and an interior design major, she earned prestigious distinction for her work in the classroom in being named a 2018 Academic Excellence Honoree of the School of Design;
- Worked her way back from a season-ending knee injury early in her career to become a staple in the Tech record book and an example for current and future student-athletes at Tech.