How To Draft Well, A Primer: It was announced on May 10, 2011 that two signees for the 2011 men’s soccer squad have both been named the Gatorade Player of the Year in their respective states. Representing Texas is Aaron Simmons, a 6′ 1″ senior midfield and defender from Mansfield High School, who recorded 16 goals and 10 assists this season. He has served as team captain for two seasons. Simmons comes in as the No. 38 recruit in the nation, and follows current SMU midfielder Zach Barnes as the Texas winner. Six-foot forward Will Smith won the Gatorade Player of the Year award for the state of Oklahoma, where he is leading the Timberwolves of Norman North High School to the Class 6A semifinals with a shocking 27 goals and 7 assists. Smith has also maintained a 4.0 G.P.A. in the classroom and was named the Oklahoma Offensive Player of the Year in 2010.
Traveling after college, indeed: The SMU men’s golf team has been selected for the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf San Diego Regional, which will take place May 19-21 at The Farms Golf Club in Rancho Santa Fe, California. First-Team All C-USA senior Kelly Kraft (pictured) will return to California with the team, where they won the San Diego Intercollegiate tournament in March, besting 12 other teams. SMU is the tenth seed out of 13 teams for this tournament; other notable competitors include No. 2 Texas and No. 7 UNT.
SMU awards, postgrad edition: Last week, two SMU swimmers received a few more NCAA honors for both their academic and athletic victories. Diver Audra Egenolf and swimmer Sascha Van den Branden, both seniors, were awarded postgraduate scholarships for their future academic careers on May 4, 2011. Egenolf, a four-time All-American with honors in both three-meter and platform diving, will be pursuing a Master of Science in Accounting at the University of Indiana. In April 2011, Egenolf (pictured) was one of three students to receive the Presidential Award of Excellence, and she was also selected as the Cox School of Business’s Outstanding Accounting Major for 2011. Van den Branden, a six-time All-American with distinction in the 200-, 400-, and 800-yard freestyle relays, will be returning to her home country of Belgium to study international business management. Van den Branden is also a four-time C-USA Academic Medal recipient and a four-time C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll member.
Sophomore Marta Lesniak was named 2010 Conference USA Women’s Tennis Player of the Year, and Shahzoda Hatamova was selected C-USA Freshman of the Year, the league announced May 6. Lesniak (28-5) is the highest ITA-ranked singles player in Conference USA at No. 28. The four-time C-USA Player of the Week and October 2009 Player of the Month also received the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Singles Championship beginning May 26 in Athens, Georgia. Hatamova is 27-8 on the season with 19-4 dual match mark and went 7-1 against C-USA competition.
The No. 31 SMU women’s tennis team led C-USA with five All-Conference honorees. Lesniak and fellow sophomore Aleksandra Malyarchikova (left to right in photo right) each made the first team for the second straight season. First-year players Hatamova and Edyta Cieplucha each made the second team. Senior Pavi Francis was selected to the third team. The team (23-4) plays Pepperdine (12-1) in the first round of the NCAA Team Championship May 14 in Stanford, California, at 1 p.m. CT. Read more.
Junior Kelly Kraft has been named the 2010 C-USA Golfer of the Year, as chosen by the league’s 11 head coaches, as announced by the conference office May 4. Kraft was ranked as high as No. 41 in the nation this season by Golfweek magazine when he entered the 2010 C-USA Championship, where he finished 9th overall. He was also named a first-team All-C-USA performer. The men’s golf team awaits word on a 2010 NCAA Tournament berth, scheduled to be announced May 10. Read more.
Junior men’s tennis player Artem Baradach (left) received a selection to the 2010 NCAA Singles Championships, as announced by the NCAA May 5. Currently ranked No. 59 in the ITA, Baradach tallied a 16-7 record this season at the No. 1 slot and earned a 4-3 spot against nationally-ranked opponents. Of his 16 wins, 12 were won in straight sets. Read more.
The men’s golf team carded a tournament-low round of 278 and jumped up to 3rd place in the final round of the 2010 National Invitational Tournament March 18 at Omni Tucson National Golf Resort. With a final score of 865, SMU finished just three shots behind No. 7 Texas (862) in second; TCU won the tournament at 852. Three Mustangs broke 70 on Thursday, with junior Kelly Kraft (left) shooting a 68 and sophomores Matt Schovee and James Kwon carding 69s. Senior Draegen Majors shot an even-par 72. Read more.
SMU’s 2010 football schedule will feature three home games in September and two to be broadcast on ESPN. The full regular-season slate was announced March 16.
The ESPN games include the season opener at Texas Tech at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 5, and the SMU-TCU Battle for the Iron Skillet in Ford Stadium at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24. The team opens conference play against UAB Sept. 11. The Conference USA Championship is slated for Dec. 4.
More television selections may be made in the coming weeks. Kick-off times, except those set by ESPN, are yet to be announced. Read more.
Senior guard Derek Williams (right) has been selected by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) to its Division I All-District 11 second team, recognizing the nation’s best men’s collegiate basketball student-athletes. Williams, an anthropology major, led the Mustangs in scoring and was fourth in Conference USA at 16.6 points – the highest rank for a Mustang since SMU joined the conference. He also led SMU and was in the league’s top 10 for assists (3.7), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5) and minutes (36.4). This season, he led SMU in scoring 20 times and in assists 24 times. Read more.
Junior Kelly Kraft (left), the Conference USA Golfer of the Week for the week of Sept. 14, is the nation’s No. 1-ranked college golfer according to the GolfWeek/Sagarin Performance Index released the week of Sept. 21, 2009. As a team, SMU men’s golf ranked No. 12. Sophomore Marc Sambol also made the individual rankings at No. 126.
The SMU golfers picked up their second straight win at the 16th annual Adams Cup Sept. 22 in Providence, Rhode Island. (Read GolfWeek‘s coverage.) The Mustangs’ next match will be the 2009 Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate Oct. 12-13 at the Old Overton Golf Course in Birmingham, Alabama. Kraft enters the competition as reigning champion; the team placed third in 2008. Read more.
Senior wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has been named the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 21, 2009. Sanders had career-highs of 18 receptions and 178 yards at Washington State, and his receptions set new C-USA and SMU single-game records. In addition, Sanders now owns the Mustang career receiving record with 2,844 yards, passing Emanuel Tolbert‘s 2,784 from 1976-79 and putting Sanders in 10th place in C-USA history. Read more.
SMU Assistant Coach Frank Gansz passed away on April 27, 2009. He was 70. Considered perhaps the top special-teams coach in NFL history, he was starting his second season on the Hilltop.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my good friend,” said SMU Head Coach June Jones. “Frank has been a second father to me for the past 30 years and he has touched the lives of many, both at SMU and throughout the National Football League. I was lucky to have known Frank, and not only was he a wonderful person, but he was a father to everyone he has ever coached. He will live on with us.”
Gansz was a veteran of 38 seasons of coaching, 24 in the NFL and 14 in the collegiate ranks. “He was the guru of special teams,” former Kansas City Chiefs Vice President Lynn Stiles told the Kansas City Star. Gansz coached for the Chiefs throughout the 1980s and was special-teams coach for the St. Louis Rams during their Super Bowl-winning season in 1999. Read more.
The No. 23 women’s tennis team will face No. 38 Texas A&M in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Championships at 11 a.m. May 9 at the Baylor Tennis Center in Waco. The Mustangs received an automatic bid for winning the Conference USA title. Head Coach Lauren Longbotham-Meisner (left) was named Conference USA Coach of the Year after leading SMU to its best season in program history First-year player Marta Lesniak was named Freshman of the Year and C-USA Singles Player of the Championship, as well as Outstanding Doubles Team of the Championship with freshman partner Aleksandra Malyarchikova. Read more.
Men’s golf team members Kelly Kraft and James Kwon have been selected as All-Conference USA performers for the 2008-09 season. Kraft was named to the first team for the second consecutive year, while Kwon was selected for the second team and the All-Freshman squad. The awards were voted on by the league’s 11 head coaches. Read more.
Senior punter Thomas Morstead (right) was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the 5th round of the 2009 NFL Draft April 26. Morstead becomes SMU’s first NFL draft pick since 2007, when Justin Rogers, now with the Dallas Cowboys, was chosen by the New England Patriots. As the 164th overall selection, Morstead is SMU’s highest draft pick since the Saints took SMU linebacker Chris Bordano 161st overall in 1998. Read more.
The equestrian team competes in the 2009 Varsity Equestrian National Championships against No. 6 seed Oklahoma State April 16 at the Heart of Texas Fair Complex in Waco. The Mustangs earned the No. 11 seed in the Hunt Seat division, which begins with fences at 9 a.m. followed by equitation on the flat at 1:30 p.m. Junior Kristen Collins (right) will lead the Mustangs as the only rider in the lineup to compete in both fences and equitation. Read more.
Sophomore Darren Walsh (below left) has been named to the 2009 Conference USA All-Academic men’s tennis team for excellence in the classroom and on the court. A computer science major with a 3.93 G.P.A. in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering, Walsh also was named to the C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll and achieved an ITA doubles ranking of No. 33 with fellow sophomore Adham el-Effendi, posting a 15-4 overall record. Read more.
Meanwhile, senior Natalia Bubien has been named to the 2009 Conference USA All-Academic women’s tennis team. Bubien, who has a 3.86 G.P.A. and is ranked 1st in C-USA at No. 1 singles, is a psychology major with a minor in biological sciences in SMU’s Dedman College. A 4-time C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal and Honor Roll winner, Bubien was the 2007 Scholar Athlete of the Year. This her 3rd consecutive All-Academic Team honor. Read more.
Sophomore Kelly Kraft was named the Conference USA Golfer of the Week on April 15, 2009, based on his performance at the UMB Bank/Tiger Intercollegiate. Kraft shot an 8-under-par 208 (68-69-71) to medal at The Club at Old Hawthorne in Columbia, Missouri, on April 14. This is Kraft’s 5th career weekly honor and 3rd of the 2008-09 season. Read more.
Punter/kicker Mike Loftus and cornerback J.R. McConico, both incoming first-year football players, have been selected to play for USA Football’s 2009 Junior National Team, which will compete in the sport’s first junior world championship this summer. The 8-nation, 4-continent 2009 International Federation of American Football (IFAF) Junior World Championship will take place June 27-July 5 in Canton, Ohio. Read more.
The Conference USA champion women’s basketball team (20-11 overall, 12-4 in C-USA games) tips off against Louisiana Tech in the first round of the 2009 WNIT Tournament – the team’s 2nd consecutive postseason appearance. The action begins at 7 p.m. March 19 in the Thomas Assembly Center in Ruston, Louisiana, and can be heard live in the North Texas area on KAAM (770 AM). Read more.
Two Mustang divers – junior Britney Yancey and sophomore Audra Egenolf (right) – qualified for the 2009 Women’s NCAA Championships with their performances in the NCAA Zone D Qualifying Meet, held March 13-15 at the University of Missouri. Both divers qualified for the one-meter springboard event; Yancey also qualified for the three-meter springboard, while Egenolf qualified for the platform competition. The 2009 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships take place March 19-21 at Texas A&M. Read more.
The women’s tennis team has been ranked No. 24 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll – its highest ranking in 20 years. The Mustangs (18-2) extended their recent winning streak to 7 with their defeat of the No. 28 TCU Horned Frogs at Turpin Tennis Stadium March 18, 2009. Read more.
Sophomore Kelly Kraft (left) became the 2nd consecutive member of the men’s golf team to win Conference USA Golfer of the Week honors. Kraft shared the honor March 11, 2009 with Michael Whitehead of Rice; the two tied for 6th place in the 2009 Louisiana Classic March 9-10 at the par-72 Oakbourne Country Club in Lafayette. This is Kraft’s 4th career weekly honor and 2nd of the 2008-09 season. Read more.
Senior Kate Ackerson took the title in the 2009 Baylor Spring Invitational at Twin Rivers Golf Club March 17, carding a three-round total of 223 (74-74-75) for a two-stroke win. The SMU women’s golf team placed 7th overall. Read more.
Sophomore golfer Kelly Kraft (left), Conference USA’s 2007 Freshman of the Year, has been named C-USA Golfer of the Week for the period ending Oct. 14. Kraft received the honor after winning the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate in Birmingham, Alabama, with a six-under-par 204 for three rounds. Read more.
First-year tennis player Marta Lesniak reached the quarterfinals of the Fidelity-Southlake Women’s Pro Classic after winning the event’s qualifying tournament the previous week. The Mustangs return to action Oct. 17 in Houston as play begins in the 28th Annual Rice Classic. Read more.