Portsmouth, Ohio – Shawnee State athletics completed the 2016-17 competition season this past weekend. Throughout the course of the next three days, we will recap the year's accomplishments. Our final wrap-up is over the spring sports season.
Outdoor Track and Field
Shawnee State outdoor track and field sent three members of the squad to the NAIA National Championships in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Anna Havranek (JR/Sugarcreek, Ohio) was SSU's top competitor at the event, being named an All-American by finishing second in the 10,000-meter run.
Havranek put the cherry on top of what has been an outstanding season for the junior. Havranek was the Mid-South Conference champion in both the 5000-meter run and the 10,000-meter run. Shawnee State's women also saw their 4x800 meter relay team of Brooke Smith (SO/Wheelersburg, OH) (SO/Wheelersburg, Ohio), Ashley Hackworth (FR/West Union, OH) (FR/West Union, Ohio), Lindsey Krause (FR/Pickaway County, OH) (FR/Pickaway County, Ohio) and Alyssa Taylor (SO/Georgetown, OH) (SO/Georgetown, Ohio) win the conference championship. Megan Ashton (SR/Proctorville, OH) (SR/Proctorville, Ohio) was the Mid-South champion in the 3000-meter steeplechase, and Brooke Smith won the gold in the 1500-meter run.
Meanwhile, Shawnee State's men sent two competitors to the National Championships. Seth Farmer (SO/Waverly, Ohio) qualified for the Gulf Shores meet in the 1500-meter run, while Adrian Ross (JR/Chillicothe, Ohio) (SR/Chillicothe, Ohio) finished 11th in the 3000-meter steeplechase. Shawnee State's men also had multiple conference champions this season. Farmer won the 1500-meter, Parker Blain (JR/Marietta, Ohio) won the 3000-meter steeplechase, Owen Reeher (FR/Kinsman, Ohio) won the 10,000-meter run, and the Bears' 4x800 meter relay team of Ross, Farmer, Blain, and Ethan Richter (JR/Chillicothe, Ohio) were league champions.
Shawnee State also brought in a load of academic awards as well. Nine men and nine women were named Mid-South Conference All-Academic. Megan Ashton, Cara Dillon, and Anna Havranek all won the Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athlete award for the women, and Adrian Ross, Chad McComas (JR/Proctorville, Ohio), Andrew Polanco (JR/Woodbridge, N.J.), and Mark Scout (SR) did so for the men.
After a poor 2016 season, Shawnee State softball took a huge step forward in Steve Whittaker's second year at the helm. The team would go 24-24, a 13 win improvement from the previous season, including a 12-12 mark in the Mid-South Conference.
SSU would start the season with a 6-3 record at the Cocoa Beach Spring Training Tournament in Florida. Despite a four game home sweep by Campbellsville, SSU would continue the good start by splitting a home doubleheader with Georgetown, followed by winning three of four from Cumberlands (Ky.). Shawnee State would continue to hover around .500 for most of the year. The Bears would finish in fourth place in the Mid-South, three spots better than the predicted seventh place finish. The season would feature season sweeps of Pikeville and Cumberland (Tenn.).
The Bears would have two players named first team All-Mid-South Conference. Marisa Brown (SO/Liberty Township, Ohio) and Ashtyn Saunders (FR/Lancaster, Ohio) would earn the honors for their play over the course of the season. Kayla Koch (JR/Lucasville, Ohio) and Brooke Blevins (FR/Frankfort, Ohio) were named to the second team.
In addition to those awards, Shawnee State also had a team record nine players named Mid-South Conference All-Academic. Of those nine, Brianna Brewster (JR/Springboro, Ohio), Kayla Koch, Miranda Melvin (SR/Oak Hill, Ohio) and Miranda Pauley (SR/Portsmouth, Ohio) were all named Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athletes at the end of the season.
Shawnee State baseball battled youth and inconsistency throughout the course of the 2017 season as the Bears would finish 14-35, with a 6-12 mark in the Mid-South Conference to finish sixth in the league. SSU would get wins over Missouri Baptist, Faulkner, Lindsey Wilson, Georgia Gwinnett, and Cumberlands (Ky.) while those teams were ranked as signature wins in the campaign.
SSU's Derek Moore (SR/Wheelersburg, Ohio) was honored with the Mid-South Conference's Champions of Character award. The senior pitcher from Wheelersburg wrapped up an outstanding career for the Bears, leading Shawnee State baseball's career lists in multiple categories, and added to that excellence in both the classroom and in the community. Tyler Straley (JR/Uniontown, Ohio) was named second team All-Mid-South Conference, and Brandon Reaman (SR/Dayton, Ohio) was a recipient of a MSC Gold Glove for his play in the outfield.
Shawnee State would also set a team record with nine players named Mid-South Conference All-Academic this past season. Of those nine, JT Boggs (JR/South Shore, Ky.) and Casey Claflin (JR/Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio) earned Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athlete awards.
Shawnee State saw the beginning of a new era as Dave Hopkins took over the golf program for his first season, and the beginning of Shawnee State women's golf as they entered their first season of competition.
Dagan Abdon (SO/Greenup County, Ky.) was the standout individual for Shawnee State this year. The sophomore from Greenup County won two home tournaments this year and led the Shawnee State men to a tournament championship in the Roger Merb Spring Invitational at Elks Country Club. Abdon would be named second team All-Mid-South Conference.
The Shawnee State men and women would both have team members named Mid-South Conference All-Academic. Marshal Hall (JR/Zanesville, Ohio) and AJ Hamilton earned those honors for the men, and Margot Current (JR/Circleville, Ohio) and Victoria Walker (SO/Meigs County, Ohio) earned them for the SSU women.
Shawnee State tennis also had a first year head coach as Steve Boone took over the program in time for the 2017 season and the beginning of the Shawnee State men's tennis program.
The SSU men would get the program off to a good start by winning their first match against Mount Vernon Nazarene on February 18. The team followed that win up with a second win against Ohio Christian on March 22. Shawnee State would later defeat Alice Lloyd (Ky.) for their third win of the year and would end the season 3-11 overall.
Shawnee State's women would also open the season well, getting three straight wins to open the year, including a 5-4 victory over Pikeville (Ky.). SSU would struggle down the stretch to finish the year 3-11 overall.
Shawnee State's women would have six players named Mid-South Conference All-Academic. Abby Brinkman (JR/Troy, Ohio), Kendi Congrove (SR/Chillicothe, Ohio), Mykalley Detty (JR/Washington Court House, Ohio), Adrianna Johnson (FR/Clarksville, Ohio) (SO/Clarksville, OH), Caleigh O'Neal (SO/Greenup, Kentucky) and Kathleen Singer (JR/Minford, Ohio) all earned the honors this season, with Congrove, Detty and Singer all earning Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athlete awards as well. SSU's men had Brian Burcheck and Matthew Bryant (JR/Asheville, Ohio) earn MSC All-Academic awards, with Bryant also being a NAIA Scholar-Athlete.