The Hutchinson Community College men’s track and field team was named the NJCAA Track National Coaches Association Academic Team of the Year this week. The HCC women posted the third-highest aggregate team GPA in the nation.
In addition to the team honors, 19 Blue Dragon track and field athletes earned Coaches Association Academic All-America honors for the 2014 season.
The team award was based on teams having a minimum of 10 academic nominations to be eligible for team consideration.
The Blue Dragon men posted an aggregate 3.742 grade-point for the 2014 season. Vincennes University was second at 3.512. Only six men’s teams met the team criteria this past season.
The Blue Dragon women were third in the nation academically in 2014 with a 3.589 team GPA. Cloud County was first at 3.784 and Iowa Central was second at 3.649. Seven women’s teams met team criteria in 2014.
Of the 19 Blue Dragons who earned individual academic All-America honors, three achieved 4.0 GPAs. Sophomore Kaitlin Henson was one of 16 women’s athletes to achieve 4.0, while Paul Cuellar and Takuya Haysaki were two of nine men’s athletes to achieve a 4.0 GPA.
(HCC Sports Information)
BLUE DRAGON TRACK AND FIELD ACADEMIC 2014 ALL-AMERICANS
Paul Cuellar – 4.00
Takuya Haysaki – 4.00
Jake Brinkman – 3.86
Helam Hernandez – 3.81
Andrew Pope – 3.79
Austin Vaden – 3.73
John Murphy III – 3.64
Steve Weibe – 3.63
Colton Butler – 3.53
Drew Hageman – 3.50
Kaitlin Henson – 4.00
Madison Schrock – 3.80
Kaylah Romine – 3.75
Ashlynn Lambert – 3.57
Breah Waldron – 3.56
Alex Griffin – 3.50
Michaela Golliher – 3.47
Nicole Kinser – 3.43
Janelle Hoheisel – 3.42
WICHITA – With plenty of key positions to fill from a sophomore-dominated team last season, the Hutchinson Community College football team continues to be held in high regard by the Jayhawk Conference football coaches.
The Blue Dragons were picked to finish second in the 2014 coaches’ preseason poll released at Jayhawk Conference Football Media Day on Friday at Newman University. It’s the fifth-straight season that Hutchinson has been chosen to finish second in the league’s preseason poll. The Dragons are looking for their first Jayhawk Conference football championship since 1995.
Blue Dragon head coach Rion Rhoades discussed his 2014 team’s prospects to a large contingent of statewide media. Rhoades also talked about the Jayhawk Conference’s new scheduling alliance with the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference. All eight Jayhawk teams will play the three ICCAC schools to fill out 10 of the allotted 11 regular-season games. All 11 teams have the option to fill the 11th date and there will no longer be Region VI playoff games.
“This is going to be exciting to see how this plays out,” Rhodes said of the scheduling alliance. “The level of football is going to be very good.”
In addition to the Jayhawk Conference coaches, ICCAC commissioner Thom McDonald spoke via Skype and Iowa Western coach Scott Strohmeier was in attendance to talk about his football team.
The Blue Dragons come off an 8-4 season in 2013. HCC tied for second in the Jayhawk Conference, was Region VI runner-up and won a fifth-straight Valley of the Sun Bowl. The Blue Dragons finished No. 18 in the final NJCAA football poll.
The Blue Dragons have nine starters (4 offense, 5 defense) and 19 lettermen (11 offense, 8 defense) returning from last season.
Offensively, HCC will have to replace record-setting quarterback Luke Barnes and eventual starter Frankie Seurer – he took over after Barnes was lost for the season in Week 8. The Dragons will also have to replace four offensive linemen – Jess Westmoreland and Teralle Johnson were two year starters – and the offensive backfield will be completely re-tooled.
Defensively, sophomore defensive ends Jeremiah Ledbetter and Marquavius Lewis are both being heavily recruited. Claude George and Darius Wright were starting linebackers last season. The biggest loss defensively came in the secondary, where All-American Jaylon Myers and All-Jayhawk performers Shattle Fenteng and Christian Goodlett have moved on.
“The turnover from last year is probably the most as we have had since I’ve been here,” Rhoades said. “This is probably the most talented team we have had coming in. It’s our job as coaches to mold this talent into a team, help them play together and allow them to use their talent.”
For the 12th consecutive season, the Butler Grizzlies were picked to win the Jayhawk Conference championship. After Hutchinson, Dodge City was picked to finish third. The Conquistadors had a breakout season in 2013 in which they won four games in the fourth quarter or later, including a regular-season overtime victory over Hutchinson in Week 3.
Coffeyville was picked fourth. Garden City and Highland tied for fifth. Fort Scott was picked seventh and Independence was picked eighth.
The Blue Dragons open practice on August 7. Twenty-one days later, the 2014 season will open with the Bethany College Junior Varsity.
HCC will be at home for the first two weeks of the season, playing host to Fort Scott on Sept. 6. The Blue Dragons’ first road game comes at Butler on Sept. 13. It will be the earliest Hutchinson and Butler have played in a season since 1997.
The first Iowa matchup comes one week later when Iowa Central comes to Gowans Stadium on Sept. 20 for a 1 p.m. kickoff. The Dragons then go on the road for two straight games to Dodge City and Coffeyville before coming home in consecutive weeks against Garden City and Highland on Oct. 11 and 18.
HCC will have its two longest road trips of the season on Oct. 25 and Nov. 1 with back-to-back trips to Iowa to play Iowa Western and Ellsworth, respectively. HCC will close out the regular season at home at 1 p.m. on Nov. 8 against Independence.
(HCC Sports Information)
JAYHAWK CONFERENCE PRESEASON COACHES POLL
3. Dodge City
T5. Garden City
7. Fort Scott
Hutchinson Community College head coach Rion Rhoades will discuss the prospects of the 2014 Blue Dragon football team on Friday at the annual Jayhawk Conference Football Media day.
The annual event will begin at Noon on Friday at Newman University in Wichita. The KJCCC Football Media Day will be videostreamed live by the Blue Dragon Sports Network with the stream beginning about 11:50 a.m.
Rhoades, who begins his eighth season with the Blue Dragons will be one of eight Jayhawk Conference coaches to discuss their teams with media members from throughout the state of Kansas.
In addition to the coaches, the 2014 Predicted Order of Finish will be released as well as Jayhawk Conference commissioner Bryce Roderick discussing the new Kansas-Iowa scheduling alliance. In addition to Roderick, Iowa Community College Athletic Conference commissioner Thom McDonald will speak on the new alliance.
Also attending the news conference will be Iowa Western head football coach Scott Strohmeier.
In addition to the videofeed, the HCC Sports Information Department will be tweeting from onsite throughout the news conference.
The Blue Dragons will begin practice on August 7 and will open the 2014 season on Thursday, Aug. 28 against the Bethany College JV at Gowans Stadium.
(HCC Sports Information)
Hutchinson Community College softball catcher Sarah Rothe became the third Blue Dragon athlete in the 2013-2014 athletic season to earn National Player of the Year honors on Friday.
Rothe, a freshman from Hutchinson, was named the National Fastpitch Coaches Assocation’s NJCAA Division II National Catcher of the Year. The organization announced its entire list of the nation’s top catchers at all intercollegiate levels on Friday.
Rothe joins Kadeem Allen and Kyle Simonds as 2013-2014 National Players of the Year. Allen was both the NJCAA Division I and NABC National Junior College Player of the Year. Simonds was named the NJCAA Division I Pitcher of the Year in June.
Rothe was Hutchinson’s third-leading hitter in 2014, hitting .378 with 48 total hits. Rothe had a team-high 11 home runs and 12 doubles. She drove in 37 RBIs and scored 32 runs. Rothe amassed a .404 on-base percentage and had a .732 slugging percentage.
Defensively, Rothe turned in an eye-popping season for the 17-25 Blue Dragons.
Rothe had a .991 fielding percentage, committing only two errors in 218 total defensive chances. She threw out 35 percent of would-be basestealers. She threw out 14 basestealers, which was the third most in the nation this past season.
Earlier this season, Rothe was named the NFCA Division II First-Team All-American.
(HCC Sports Information)
2014 NFCA DIAMOND SPORTS CATCHERS OF THE YEAR
NCAA Division I – Taylor Edwards, Nebraska
NCAA Division II – Natalie Wideman, California University of Pennsylvania
NCAA Division III – Jo Clair, Tufts University
NAIA – Michele Rupard, Central Methodist University
NJCAA Division I – Amy Szymanowski, College of Central Florida
NJCAA Division II – Sarah Rothe, Hutchinson Community College
NJCAA Division III – Sammy Smaldone, Herkimer County Community College
Add one more superlative to Kyle Simonds’ spectacular All-America sophomore season at Hutchinson Community College.
On Thursday, the NJCAA named Simonds as the Division I Baseball National Pitcher of the Year, topping off the most accomplished season by any Blue Dragon baseball player in program history.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound sophomore right-handed starting pitcher from Grand Island, Nebraska, became Blue Dragon baseball’s first NJCAA First-Team All-American on Tuesday after racking up Jayhawk West Pitcher of the Year, first-team All-Jayhawk West and All-Region VI honors being named the Region VI Gold Glove winner as a pitcher this season.
Simonds becomes the second Blue Dragon student-athlete to be named a national Player of the Year this season. Men’s basketball player Kadeem Allen was named by the NJCAA and KABC National Player of the Year in March.
Simonds finished the 2014 season as the national leader in pitching wins posting a 13-0 record in 13 starts. He becomes 11th Blue Dragon starting pitcher to post an undefeated season (record of 5-0 or better). He set a team season record for wins and best start to a season by a starting pitcher.
The Blue Dragon ace finished with a season earned-run average of 2.20. He set team records for strikeouts in a season with 103 (sixth in the NJCAA) and tied team season records for complete games (9) and shutouts (3). Simonds was second in the nation in complete games and fourth in the nation in shutouts.
In a team season record 94 innings pitched, Simonds allowed just 75 hits, 32 runs, 23 earned runs and walked just 12. Opponents hit just .210 against Simonds in 2014.
Simonds had six games of 10 or more strikeout, including a career-best 13 against Allen in Game 1 of the Region VI Tournament opening-round series at Hobart-Detter Field.
The future Texas A&M pitcher finished his Blue Dragon career with a 15-4 record and a 3.02 earned-run average. He is tied for fourth with Craig Reed (1999-2000) and Lewick (2009-10) for fourth on the career wins list. His ERA is 13th best in team history.
He threw 128 career innings (ranks seventh on HCC’s career list). His 123 career strikeouts rank sixth best in HCC history. His 10 complete games rank No. 5 on the career list and his three shutouts tie for fourth best in a career.
The Jayhawk Conference earned two of the three major national Division I awards this season. Garden City shortstop Tyler Alitz was the National Defensive Player of the Year. Alitz tragically lost his life in an automobile accident on May 21.
(HCC Sports Information)
KYLE SIMONDS’ 2014 SUPERLATIVES
+ National Leader in Pitching Wins – 13
+ 13-0 Record, 2.20 ERA
+ 9 Complete Games; 3 Shutouts
+ Team Record for Wins - 13
+ Tied Team Record For Complete Games/Shutouts
+ Team record 103 strikeouts (6th in NJCAA)
+ Six Games of 10 Or More Strikeouts
+ Career-High 13 Strikeouts vs. Allen
+ Jayhawk West Pitcher of the Year
+ First-Team All-Jayhawk West/Region VI
+ Region VI Gold Glove winner
+ First 1st-Team NJCAA All-American in HCC Baseball History
+ NJCAA Division I National Pitcher of the Year
SIMONDS BECOMES FIRST HCC 1ST-TEAM NJCAA BASEBALL ALL-AMERICAN
SEVERE WEATHER FORCES POSTPONEMENT OF HUTCH-COWLEY REGIONAL GAME
BLUE DRAGONS SURVIVE SAINTS’ RALLY IN REGION VI OPENER
BLUE DRAGONS, SAINTS LOCK UP IN CENTRAL DISTRICT OPENER ON FRIDAY
KADEEM ALLEN TO PLAY IN NJCAA COACHES ASSOCIATION ALL-STAR GAME
BLUE DRAGONS WRAP UP SPRING DRILLS WITH SCRIMMAGE AT GOWANS
HCC SOFTBALL PLACES 3 ON ALL-JAYHAWK, 4 ON ALL-REGION TEAM
BLUE DRAGONS OPEN WITH WEST RIVAL SEWARD COUNTY FRIDAY IN WICHITA
BLUE DRAGONS SWEEP ALLEN TO ADVANCE IN CENTRAL DISTRICT TOURNAMENT
SIMONDS RE-WRITES RECORD BOOKS AS BLUE DRAGONS TAKE SERIES OPENER
POPE’S REPEAT IN POLE VAULT LEADS DRAGONS AT REGION VI TRACK CHAMPIONSHIPS
DRAGONS SET FOR CENTRAL DISTRICT TOURNAMENT SERIES WITH ALLEN
BLUE DRAGON GOLFERS FINISH TIED FOR 11TH IN FINAL NJCAA D-I POLL
HCC TRACK TEAMS SET FOR REGION VI OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
HCC ATHLETICS HONORS 103 STUDENT ATHLETES FOR ACADEMIC SUCCESS