Scelfo Named To Watch List; Fico, Campbell Competing for Akron; Three Women Golfers Earn Academic Honors
Jaguar center Joseph Scelfo has been named to the 2015 Rimington Trophy Fall Watch List on Wednesday. The list includes 63 individuals, which included only three from the Sun Belt Conference, who were recognized by the Rimington Trophy Committee.
The award is presented annually to the most outstanding center in NCAA Division I-A college football. It is named after consensus first-team All-America center Dave Riminington at Nebraska in 1981 and ’82.
Scelfo was also named to the preseason all-Sun Belt team by Phil Steele publications and as a preseason second-team All-SBC by Athlon Sports this summer.
He is entering his second season as the starter for the Jaguars at center. He was one of two lineman to start all 13 games as the Jaguars earned their first bowl invitation to the inaugural Raycom Media Camellia Bowl.
Scelfo, a 6’1″ 295-pound junior from Bogart, Georgia graded out at 80 percent or better following six of the teams outings. He also earned the teams highest grade five times. He also earned an 88 percent after the Jags win over Troy, which was one of two games he earned the coaches offensive line award. He earned an 87 against Bowling Green in the Camellia Bowl. He also paced the team against SEC opponents when he earned an 83 against South Carolina and 81 against Mississippi State.
The finalist for the award will be announced on December 7 with the winner being announced at the Rococo Theater in Lincoln, Nebraska on January 16, 2016.
Three Jaguar women golfers were named to the 2014-2015 Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) All-American Scholars.
Elisa Axelsen, Ingrid Hagen and Madison Connell each earned their distinction after maintaining a 3.50 GPA and participated in half of the team’s tournaments.
This marks the fourth consecutive season Hagen has earned the honor, while it was the first time for both Axelsen and Connell. It is also the 10th consecutive academic year the Jags placed three or more students-athletes on the WGCA Division I All-American Scholor Team. In all 15 Jaguars have been honored 39 times as WGCA All-American Scholars since the 2005-2006 academic year.
Axelsen had one top-10 and two top-20 finishes this season while Hagen earned three top-20 finishes in her senior season. Connell competed in seven tournaments in her freshman season.
Jaguar assistant softball coach Rachelle Fico and former Jaguar Hannah Campbell, who is now a graduate assistant at USA, are competing with the Akron Racers of the National Pro Fastpitch this summer.
Currently Akron is third in the NPF standings with a 12-12 record trailing the league leading Chicago Bandits (17-6) and runner up USSSA Pride but the Racers have one eight of their last 12 games.
Fico is 1-0 in the circle in her only appearance this year when she faced Dallas Charge on July 1. She struck out four with only one walk while allowing one earned run on four hits in a complete game effort. The 9-1 win marked the largest margin of victory for the Racers this season.
Campbell is 0-2 with six strikeouts and a 6.24 ERA in four appearances. She has allowed 11 earned runs on 18 hits in 12 1/3 innings pitched. Her first appearance came on May 30 in Akron’s season opener against the Pennsylvania Rebellion when she entered a scoreless game in the fifth inning and allowed five earned runs on three hits in 2/3 of an inning before leaving the game. Akron would lose the game 6-3.
Fico finished the 2014 season with an 11-7 record with a 3.59 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 23 appearances. Campbell was 5-6 with a 5.78 ERA and a team-high three saves in 23 appearances.
The CBS Sports Network is broadcasting an unprecedented amount of coverage for the 2015 NPF season. They will also air the NPF Championship at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, AL on August 14-18. Additionally Jaguar fans can watch the Racers in action against the Rebellion on August 10-11 on CBS Sports Network.
South Alabama women’s golfer Kaeli Jones had a historic three day tournament on the Suncoast Ladies Tour tournament at Black Bear Golf Club in Eustis, Florida over the last three day.
Jones shot a three-round, 3-under par 213 to become the first champion and low amateur on the Suncoast Ladies Tour.
Jones shot a 1-over par 73 in Monday’s opening round after playing her final six holes at 3-under which included an eagle at the par-5 16th and birdie on the par-four 17th.
She followed with a 3-under 69 on Tuesday to tie a career low, after playing the front nine at 1-under with a bogey-free back nine at 2-under par.
Entering the final round on Wednesday she held the lead and shot a 1-under par 71 which included a stretch of holes where she had birdied four out of five holes on the front nine.
She was unsure of her standing on the leaderboard after double bogey on the par-four 18th, her final hole of the tournament. But when she arrived at the clubhouse her mother was there to tell her she won the tournament.
Over the three-day tournament, Jones had 11 birdies while playing the par-five’s at 5-under par for the tournament and the par-threes at 2-under par.
Jones will turn her sights on preparing for the United States Golf Association Women’s Amateur qualifier at Kenwood Golf Club in Bethesda, Maryland on July 8. She needs to shoot par or better in order to qualify for the 115th US Women’s Amateur at Portland Golf Club in Portland, Oregon August 10-16.
Jones, a 5’5″ Sumterville, FL native, completed her freshman season with the Jaguars. Previously she lettered at IMG Academy while earning four top-five finishes in 2014.
South Alabama honored student-athletes Monday at the sixth annual Pete Tolbert Night of Champions at the Mitchell Center. The event recognizes the achievements, both in competition and academically, of the nearly 400 individuals who comprise the University of South Alabama athletics program.
Kaitlyn Griffith (Softball from Centre, AL) and Daniel Leitner (Men’s Tennis from Neiderfischbach, Germany) were named the Jaguar Female and Male Student-Athlete of the Year respectively, honoring the most outstanding Jaguars based on scholarship, athletic ability and citizenship.
Griffith, a senior shortstop for the softball team is hitting .296 with a team-high 11 home runs, with 38 RBI, 25 runs scored and helping the team to a 33-9 record thus far and a top-25 national ranking throughout the 2015 season. She is a three-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America Scholar Athlete and is set to receiver her degree in May in exercise science. She has a 3.82 cumulative GPA.
Leitner, a senior, is the reigning two-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year in men’s tennis. He earned the award this spring after amassing a 28-5 overall record in singles play and a 22-6 record in doubles play. He was named to the first-team All-SBC in both singles and doubles, and as the highest-rated individual in the conference, will earn a berth to the NCAA Singles Championships in May. He will graduate with a 3.89 GPA in exercise science in May.
A pair of Griffith’s teammates on the Softball team also earned awards.
Farish Beard was chosen at the school’s NCAA Woman of the Year Nominee with Blair Johnson earning the Jimmy Taylor Scholarship.
Beard, who currently has a 3.39 GPA, was selected as the nominee for that goes to a varsity letterwinner completing her intercollegiate eligibility by the end of spring sports season, who has excelled in academics, athletics, service and leadership with a minimum of a cumulative 2.5 GPA. She is also a finalist for both the Senior CLASS and 2014 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year awards. This season she is 9-3 with a 2.37 ERA with 87 strikeouts in 71 innings.
Johnson earned the award going to a student-athlete who holds a minimum of a 2.5 GPA, has completed their NCAA eligibility and with the assistance of the fund will graduate from USA within two consecutive semesters. She has earned All-SBC honors twice during her career and this year she is batting .254 with 12 extra-base hits, 25 RBI, and 14 walks to only eight strikeouts.
Sophie Haywood from Hull, England, earned the Auralia Crowell Freshman Scholar Athlete Awards given to the most outstanding freshman based on excellence in academics and athletics. She was named First-Team All-Conference after posting 19 points on seven goals and five assists in helping the Jaguar soccer team tow in the conference title and advance to the NCAA Tournament. She has a 4.0 GPA as an exercise science major.
Adam Ballew of the baseball team was awarded the Denny-Gottfried Scholarship Award that is presented to the student-athlete who has exhausted their eligibilty, maintained an outstanding GPA and achieved athletic accomplishment. In his final season at USA, he has helped the Jaguar baseball team to a 29-16 record thus far while batting .275 with five extra-base hits, 26 RBI and eight stolen bases. He is an exercise science major with a 3.38 GPA.
Derek Westbrook from Diamondhead, MS, received a pair of awards. He arned the Shirley Holt Scholarship Award as well as the Male Jaguar Athletic Fund Award. The former is given to a student-athlete who exemplifies outstanding “Team Spirit” and who has shown great character and concern for his or her fellow student-athletes. The latter recognizes overall support of Jaguar Athletics. Both awards exemplifies Derek’s contributions to South Alabama Athletics and also marks the second-consecutive year that he has garnered the JAG Award honors.
Caroline Beebe earned the Female Jaguar Athletic Fund Award. Which marks the second consecutive year that both she has earned the JAF Award as well.
Hunter Colemani was awarded the Tom and Barbara Corcoran Scholar-Athlete Endowed Scholarship Award which is given to a USA Junior who most excels in sports while maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA. The right handed pitcher has a 4.0 GPA in biomedical sciences in the classroom while on the diamond he has a 1-0 record with a 0.59 ERA with 14 strikeouts and 15.1 innings of work.
Jimmie Gipson III was awarded the Wilson Durgin Memorial Scholarship Award which goes to a minority student-athlete who has excelled in both the classroom and competition. Nikki Gittens was awarded the Female Perseverance Award after she suffered a stress fracture in her tibia that forced her to redshirt in 2013, she then returned and ranked third on the volleyball team with 243 kills and led the team with a .250 attack percentage and 83 total blocks while helping the Jags qualify for the SBC tournament despite tendinitis in her knee and hitting shoulder.
Ucambre Williams earned the Male Perseverance Award after undergoing three separate surgical procedures and requiring over six months of rehabilitation. After surgery on his right knee in September he returned in just 15 days and would go on to start 11 consecutive games while posting a team-best 90 percent overall grade and being named to the second-team All-SBC and helped the Jaguars play in its first-ever postseason bowl game.
Brandon Bridge was awarded the Mayer Mitchell Quarterback Endowment Fund Award as the Jaguars starter last fall. Matt Bolger earned the Clifton Inge Endowed Baseball Award. David Knapp earned the Forrest W. and Beverly B. Crowder Endwoed Scholarship for baseball. Mark Watts earned the McKinney Family Endowed Scholarship Fund for Track and Field. Emily Newton earned the George Smith Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund for Track and Field as well.
Assistant Athletic Director for Ticket Operations Greg Keel was selected for the Matt Smith Award which goes to a member of the athletics staff who consistenly goes the extra mile, has the spirit of commitment, a strong work ethic, and a deep sense of pride in their job. The award is named in memory of former USA Sports Information Director Matt Smith who passed away in December of 2004.
Each sport program also presented awards at the event. The winners of those honors were:
- Eddie Stanky Award (baseball), Bolger
- Goldie Ungar Heart of Gold Award (men’s basketball), Dionte Ferguson
- Jaguar Women’s Basketball NCAA Award (women’s basketball), Breanna Hall
- Female Distance Award (women’s cross country), Nicole Durham
- Male Distance Award (men’s cross country), Christoph Graf
- Jim Yance Heart of a Jaguar Award (football), Jesse Kelley
- Heath Slocum Award (men’s golf), Tyler Klava
- Beth Barry Award (women’s golf), Ingrid Hagen
- Lindsay Rogers Award (soccer), Alyssa Mayer
- Extra Mile Award (softball), Stephanie Pilkington
- Lubel Family Award (men’s tennis), Leitner
- Marilyn Lubel Award (women’s tennis), Laura Matuskova
- Most Outstanding Women’s Track & Field Student-Athlete Award (women’s track and field), Kaitlyn Beans
- Most Outstanding Men’s Track & Field Student-Athlete Award (men’s track and field), Jan-Louw Kotze
- Jaguar Volleyball Award (volleyball), Gittens
Prior to the naming of the Jaguar Student-Athletes of the Year, 46 current and former student-athletes who will graduate at the conclusion of the semester received gifts from the department.
Congratulations to all the award winners as well as all of the student-athletes who will earn their degrees. Thank you for representing the University in each of your respective sports with honor and character. Once a Jaguar, always a Jaguar.
Here is the weekend roundup of South Alabama Sports, despite the weather wreaking havoc with several sports in the Gulf Coast Area.
Junior Michaela Meszarosova was able to pull out a marathon three-set match to give her team a 4-3 win over Texas-Arlington and its first Sun Belt Conference title since 2003. It is their 17th title overall, the most in conference history, and will receive the SBC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with a 21-2 overall record.
The Men’s team did not fare as well as the women. After making their way into the SBC Finals and facing top-seed Troy, the Jags fell 4-1 to the Trojans.
The Jags fall to 16-9 on the season as they are ranked 69th in the nation. Troy improves their record to 25-6 as they are ranked 60th in the nation.
USA started off strong as Daniel Leitner and Gerhard Gruindelingh took the first doubles match 8-5, but that would be the only match the team won as Troy would win the next four.
The #22 ranked Jaguar softball team was supposed to host Texas State for their final conference home series of the regular season, however the rescheduled doubleheader for Sunday was cancelled due to field conditions which were made unplayable by heavy rains in the area throughout the week.
No make up date will be scheduled.
The Jaguars will travel to Hattiesburg, MS on Wednesday to face Southern Miss. They defeated the Eagles 9-1 in six innings in Mobile on March 18.
The opening day of the Sun Belt Conference Championships were called off on Sunday due to course conditions at the Sandestin Golf Resort Raven Course.
Weather permitting, the tournament will begin monday morning at 7:30am and will consist of 36 holes. The final round would still be played on Tuesday.
The Jags traveled to Evansville, Indiana to face the Evansville University over the weekend.
In game one on Friday, it was Ben Gann’s grand slam in the third inning that led the Jaguars to a 7-3 win.
EU took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a two-out two-run home run.
The Jags answered with four runs in the top of the third on the Grand Slam. But Evansville would cut the lead to one run in the bottom of the fourth inning on a two-out RBI single to center field.
In the top of the fifth, USA answered with a run to regain their two run lead. They would add two more insurance runs before the end of the game.
Kevin Hill (6-0) allowed three runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts against three walks for his sixth consecutive win.
Evansville then swept a Saturday doubleheader to take the series from the Jags. They won the first game 6-5 then took the series with a 9-5 win in the finale.
USA will host Jacksonville State to a two-game series this week with the first game on Tuesday night starting at 6pm and the second game on Wednesday slated to start at 3pm.
The Women’s golf team turned in a final-round score of 311 at the Sun Belt Conference Championship at Steelwood Country Club in Loxley, AL on Wednesday. Due to inclement weather, only two rounds of the tournament were able to be completed as the Jags concluded with a two-round event with a total score of 617 (306-311).
“The weather finally cooperated, and I thought the girls gave it a really good effort,” South Alabama head coach TJ Jackson said. “All year we’ve been working on getting mentally tough, and they showed that today even though the score doesn’t reflect it. I saw a lot of improvement in that area. Ingrid had a really rough front nine, but came back with four birdies on the back nine, that was indicative of the whole team and their effort. I was pleased with that part of it, but we’d like the scores to be lower obviously.”
Ingrid Hagen, who led the team in the first round, posted a 78 in the second round to finish the tournament tied for 15th out of 40 participants with a total score of 153.
Caroline Beebe (76-78) and Carianne Wright (77-78) each shot 6-over par 78’s with total scores of 154 and 155 respectively. Beebe tied for 18th place overall while Wright and freshman Madison Connell (78-77) shot a two-round score of 155 after a 5-over par 77 in the second round to finish tied for 21st. Fellow freshman Kaeli Jones (79-80) posted a two-round total of 159 and finished 31st overall.
Troy won the tournament with a team score of 593 (301-292) while Arkansas-Little Rock’s Stina Resen (72-70) won medalist honors with a two-under par total of 142.
Hagen, the Jags lone senior, completed her final event for the Jaguars and was quoted after the round. “I started off a little rough with a lot of bogeys, but I made the turn determined to finish strong,” she explained. “I made up my mind to go low and everything rolled in from there.
“I hit some iron shots that came in close. I made a birdie on No. 2, and I chipped in on the next par three, which was a clutch up-and-down there. I had some putts that finally rolled in that didn’t fall on the front nine.”
“Ingrid is a senior and she knows what to do,” Jackson commented. “She didn’t get down on herself, she played that ‘one-shot-at-a-time’ cliché that we’re always talking about and made some birdies coming in. That’s what it’s all about, and I think the team as a whole did that well this week.
“We made some strides in the mental game, and that’s what we were wanting to do,” Jackson said. “These girls are very talented — they can hit any shot out there — but it’s how we’re thinking around that golf course that makes the difference. I feel we’ve made strides there, so going into next year I’m really excited. We’ve got some young players who can play, I’m ready for next year already.”
The final team results:
1. Troy +17
2. Texas State +29
3. Arkansas-Little Rock +31
4. Appalachian State +36
5. Georgia State +40
6. South Alabama +41
7. Arkansas State +44
8. Louisiana Monroe +47
South Alabama was able to complete their first round of play in the Sun Belt Conference Championship at Steelwood Country Club, they are one of only two schools who started on Monday and completed their first round on Tuesday due to multiple stoppages because of inclement weather.
Senior Ingrid Hagen led the the Jags with a 3-over par 75. She opened the round with a birdie at the par-five 10th but moved back to even-par after a bogey at the par-four 15th. She would then birdie the par-four 16th to move back under par. However a double-bogey on the par-five 18th would put her at 1-over par, but a birdie at the par-four 1st would again put her at even-par on the round.
Consecutive bogey’s on holes 5 and 6 put her at 2-over par and she would close the round by playing the final four holes at 1-over par.
Caroline Beebe posted a 4-over par 76 after playing the front nine at even par, including pars on seven of her final eight holes.
Carianne Wright posted a 5-over par 77 while Madison Connell carded a 6-over par round and Kaeli Jones added a 7-over par.
The Jags completed the round with a team score of 18-over par score of 306. Louisiana-Monroe was the only other school to finish their first round of play on Tuesday with a 21-over par score of 309. Again inclement weather halted the continuation of round one for the rest of the field as well as round two for USA and ULM.
Officials have yet to determine when the tournament will continue on Wednesday. Visit GolfStat.com for living scoring when the tournament continues as well as full coverage on SunBeltSports.org.
South Alabama Sophomore Carianne Wright was named to the Second-Team All-Sun Belt Conference for Women’s Golf the league office announced on Monday.
Wright’s selection marks the third consecutive year that a Jaguar student-athlete has earned all-conference honors. Ashleigh Ryals (2014) and Kristen Golightly (2013) earned the honor over the previous two seasons.
Wright ranks 13th in the conference, and second among sophomores in the conference, with a 77.21 stroke average entering the SBC Championship at Steelwood Country Club in Loxley, Alabama.
She has two top-10 finishes and earned a spot in the top-20 in two additional tournaments this year. She posted a career low 1-under par 71 twice this season and posted her lowest three-round total of the season at the MSU Ocala Spring Invitational with a 7-over-par 223.
Inclement weather that caused poor conditions halted the first round of the SBC Women’s Golf Championship. The start of the tournament was delayed until 11am on Monday due to several inches of water on the course during the night. After heavy rains passed through the area Monday, it forced officials to suspend the first round.
South Alabama will resume round one at 5-over par and only three shots back of Arkansas-Little Rock according to the scoring posted at GolfStat.com
USA’s lineup of Ingrid Hagen, Kaeli Jones, Carianne Wright, Madison Connell and Caroline Beebe will return to complete the first round on Tuesday though the time has not yet been determined.
Jaguar Men’s Golfer Tyler Klava equaled his best finish this season while helping the Jaguars finish fourth at the Auburn Tiger Invitational presented by Jason Dufner.
The redshirt senior posted an even-par 72 in the last three rounds for a 54-hole total of 3-under-par, his lowest total of the season by four strokes, to tie for ninth individually. This is his second time in the last three events he has finished in the top-10.
Auburn won the team title with a 25-under-par score of 839 and finished 22 strokes ahead of Troy who finished second. Georgia State finished third place with an 873 total. The Jaguars finished three-strokes behind with total of 876.
South Alabama Men’s Golf finished the Mobile Sports Authority Intercollegiate with a second consecutive round under-par but it was not quite enough to hold off the top-ranked team in the field as USA finished second.
Daniel Jansen, Michael Garretson, and Tyler Klava led the Jaguar team to their best finish of the season.
Jansen finished with a 4-under 68 and finished one shot behind the individual winners of the tournament with a 4-under-par 212 total. Garretson carded a 70 while Klava carded a 72 to join Jansen in the top 10.
The Jags finished eight strokes behind #22 Auburn, who earned the team title for the third consecutive year. Ole Miss finished five shots behind South Alabama with Michigan State and Louisiana Tech rounding out the top 5.
Jaguar Men’s Golf hold One-Shot Lead Going Into Final Round of Mobile Sports Authority Intercollegiate
The South Alabama men’s golf team improved by 16-strokes from their first-round total to take a one-shot lead heading into the final day of the Mobile Sports Authority Intercollegiate.
Daniel Jansen, Michael Garretson and Tyler Klava each shot 70 or better over the second 18 holes on Monday with Matt Sheehan and Ally Purdy both shooting a 74 as the jags posted a 5-under-par 283 in the second round.
The Jags are one shot ahead of 22nd ranked Auburn and Ole Miss with the three schools scheduled to play together in Tuesday’s final round at Magnolia Grove Crossings Golf Course. They will begin at 10am with a shotgun start, two hours later than originally scheduled.
1) South Alabama 299-283—582 (+6);
T2) Auburn 291-292—583;
T2) Mississippi 292-291—583;
4) Memphis 302-285—587;
5) Louisiana Tech 294-294—588;
6) Michigan State 302-288—590;
7) Middle Tennessee 300-296—596;
8) Texas State 303-294—597;
T9) Davidson 307-298—605;
T9) Southern Mississippi 302-303—605;
T11) Mississippi State 309-298—607;
T11) Kentucky 309-298—607;
13) Western Kentucky 318-294—612;
14) Belmont 311-303—614;
15) Illinois State 321-302—623.
1) Tyler Saunders, TXST 72-66—138 (-6);
2) Matt Gilchrest, Aub 74-67—141;
3) Blake Morris, Miss 73-69—142;
T4) Ben Robinson, Tech 71-72—143;
T4) Thomas Perrot, Mem 74-69—143;
T6) Daniel Jansen, USA 75-69—144;
T6) Mitch Rutledge, Mich St 76-68—144;
T6) Ashton Van Horne, BU 74-70—144;
T9) five individuals with 145.
South Alabama Scores:
T6) Daniel Jansen 75-69—144 (E);
T9) Michael Garretson 75-70—145;
T9) Tyler Klava 75-70—145;
T34) Matt Sheehan 74-77—151;
T40) Ally Purdy 78-74—152.