Category Archives: Newman

Newman baseball chasing school history


Here’s my feature on the Newman University baseball team from – it will run in Thursday’s Eagle. Interesting to watch the evolution of this team over the last two years under coach Zane Ehling, a Hutch native who also played for Butler Community College and Newman. Ehling’s grass-root recruiting efforts are paying big dividends for the Jets – 26 of the 32 players on the Newman roster have Kansas connections either via high school, the Jayhawk Conference or both. And their top guys – pitchers Brandon Droge (Topeka  Hayden/Johnson CC), Kyle Burkhardt (Topeka Highland Park/Highland CC) and catcher Ruben Marrero (Cowley) are all prime examples of that.

The Jets have a home game next Tuesday against Emporia State that should draw a pretty big crowd to McCarthy Field – where fans, for the first time, have real bleachers to sit in.

Also, here’s an article by Eagle correspondent Paige Feikert on the Newman women’s bowling team heading to the national tournament.



Newman women clinch share of Heartland Conference title

Amazing stuff from the Newman women’s basketball team – lose their best player in the first game of the year and then this …

Newman’s Alex Adekunle scored 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Jets rallied from 13 points down in the second half to beat Texas-Permian Basin 84-81 in Odessa, Texas, and clinch at least a share of the Heartland Conference women’s title in a battle of the league’s two first-place teams.

It’s the first women’s crown for the Jets since moving up to NCAA Division II.

Newman was playing without two injured starters in Bobbi Coleman and leading scorer Philicia Kelly.

“We worked pretty hard to get back in this one,” said Newman first-year coach Jaime Green. “The players are the ones that have to execute, though. Us coaches are just along for the ride.”

Tasha Cannon added 26 points and nine rebounds for the Jets. Celeste Key added 10 points and point guard Rhea Codio had 14 points and six assists.

“I thought Rhea did a great job of keeping us focused when we got down,” Green said.

The Jets improved to 18-7 overall and 8-1 in Heartland play. Newman’s final regular-season game is Thursday at Oklahoma Panhandle State in Goodwell, Okla., where they can clinch the title outright with a victory and the top seed in the league tournament.

“I’m a competitor so I’d rather win it straight out and be conference champs and then also win the conference tournament,” Green said. “I was really proud of our kids today.”

Newman sweeps Heartland Conference’s weekly awards


It was a huge week for the Newman men’s and women’s basketball teams, with both Jet squads going 2-0 in a crucial stretch of the season. The women have been pretty steady throughout league play, but the men really struggled at the start of the season and have found a way to turn things around. Tremendous work by Mark Potter and Jaime Green. Not to mention both teams also beat St. Mary’s on Monday.

And there’s some side perks, too, with men’s player Chip Steven being named the Heartland Conference player of the week and Newman’s Tasha Cannon picking up the same award for the women.

Steven, a Derby native who played at Barton CC before coming to Newman, scored 19 points in a win over Arkansas-Fort Smith and then went 11 for 11 from the free-throw line and scored 28 points in a win over first-place Texas A&M-International. Cannon, a junior transfer from Coffeyville CC, had 19 points and 16 rebounds in a win over Arkansas-Fort Smith (triple overtime win, that is) and then hit TAMI for 26 points in another win. She’s averaging 13.7 points and 8.6 rebounds this year.

The Jets will spend pretty much all tomorrow on the road, I’m guessing, to make it to Austin, Texas, for Thursday’s game against St. Edward’s. The men are currently in second place in the HC, and the women are tied for first.


Newman women’s basketball on national television


Big things going on at Newman tomorrow – the Jets’ women’s team takes on St. Edward’s at 12:30 p.m. in a nationally-televised game on CBS College Sports Network.

That’s Ch. 260 on Cox, Ch. 613 on DirecTV and Ch. 152 on Dish. Admission is free, which is awesome, and the first 1,500 fans get a free red t-shirt.

Still, there’s more. Newman is hosting a party at 10:30 AM that’s also free to the public.

The Jets are 11-7 overall and 2-1 in Heartland Conference play – in second after last night’s loss to Texas-Permian Basin – and have a really nice team. Here’s an article I wrote that came out Tuesday about their hot start and some of the adversity the Jets and first-year coach Jaime Green have dealt with this year. Newman has 3 big-time players in Tasha Cannon, Rhea Codio and Philicia Kelly that are all among the elite players in the Heartland right now. St. Edward’s has opened 1-2 in Heartland play.

I’m also pretty sure this guy will be there tomorrow, too. I’m working on a story for tomorrow’s paper on the game and hopefully it’ll be up tonight online … (UPDATE) and here it is.


Top 10 stories of 2010/Look ahead to 2011

1. Jeremy

Sept. 2, Newman golfer Jeremy Gant found out he needed a new heart or he would die. I wrote a column on what happened next, with some help from JG.

2. They didn’t kick

I’ll never understand why Butler coach Troy Morrell abandoned his kicking game in the national championship against Navarro. Neither will Grizzly fans. And then there was this disaster.

3. Forget 1998

The Emporia State women’s basketball team won the NCAA Division II title. Would’ve loved to have been there but I had an assignment in Salt Lake City.

4. MIAA expansion

The MIAA became NCAA Division II’s superconferencemegasupreme by expanding to 16 teams, bringing two Oklahoma schools into the fold in Central Oklahoma and Northeastern State along with Lindenwood (Mo.) and Nebraska-Kearney.

5. The KCAC falls flat in postseason … again … but they’re doing something about it.

It starts with football, where an undefeated McPherson team lost in the first round, but it extends to every other sport, where postseason success is a mythical thing in this conference.  Thanks to the KCAC’s Sports Regulation Initiative – an effort to bring the KCAC up to level with the rest of the NAIA – these postseason problems should be a thing of the past. Just one of many steps forward the league is taking behind KCAC commish Scott Crawford, who has done a lot for this league in just a short time in office.

6. ESU, PSU, Washburn, FHSU all terrible in football

It was the worst year for D2 football in Kansas that I can remember. Not one of our four teams was at all competitive in the MIAA, and that’s with WU as a preseason top 10 team in the nation.

7. Butler wins Region VI title in men’s basketball

It was a down year for Region VI basketball, sure, but the Grizzlies were still fun to watch because of how well they played the game and because you knew Mike Bargen had put together the team the right way.

8. Green pulls off miracle at Labette, bolts to Newman

Jaime Green brought a Region VI title to Labette Community College in women’s basketball and then got them to 3rd in the NJCAA Tournament. Parsons, my friends, is not an easy place to win. Newman AD Vic Trilli scored big when he landed her to come take over his program.

9. June sucked

The Jayhawk Conference got a double dose of tragedy in June, when former Garden City Community College defensive end Brett Spresser and Hutch CC outfielder Sean Banks both died in accidents at grain elevators in Kansas. Don’t know what else to say about this other than it sucked and their deaths left a big hole in a lot of peoples’ lives.

10. JPP

Former Fort Scott Community College defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul spent one year at South Florida and then was the No. 15 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft by the NY Giants. I think it’s the start of a trend – the talent coming out of the Jayhawk is skyrocketing and the NFL Draft is going to be dotted with these kids in the near future.

If I missed something, just let me know.

Now …


Just a few things to keep an eye out for in 2011 …

Steve Eck and his Blue Dragons - Hutchinson men’s basketball coach Steve Eck may have put together one of his best teams, ever, and he seems like he’s got a great shot at winning his first Region VI title and second JuCo national championship.

Estadio de Butler – Ground should break on the long-awaited football stadium for Butler Community College. And it’ll be a dandy. Should begin playing games there in 2012.

Clarence - Ottawa wide receiver Clarence Anderson will be a senior this fall, and he’s put up over 2,000 yards of all-purpose yards the last two years. His final act will be one to remember.

What will Newman do? – Newman is a terrible fit for the Heartland Conference, if only because it is completely disconnected from the rest of the schools in its league geographically. On the outside looking in at the MIAA, I think they need to come up with some type of long-term plan.

On a personal note, I got this beat and this blog late in 2008. If you’ve been coming here since the beginning or this is your first time … thank you. You rock.

I’m out. TA.

Bad news for Newman

Double bad news, that is.

First, the Newman women. And this one is devastating. Forward Kellindra Zackery is out for the year with an ACL tear. She hurt her knee in the first four minutes of last Friday’s opener against East Central.

“It is very tough to deal with, but we have to move forward,” Newman coach Jaime Green told me Wednesday. “And it’s scary for Kellindra, because she’s never had an injury like this, but she is a classy young woman who will rise above the situation.

Surgery hasn’t been scheduled yet for KZ, who was hands down Newman’s best player going into the season. Green told me the former South Carolina/Rutgers/Labette CC standout would try to obtain a medical redshirt.

“We’ve got a great compliance team, and I’m going to leave all of that to them,” Green said.

On the men’s side, point guard Bobby Wesley looks like he’s out for the year with a knee injury.

What’s it mean? A lot.

For the Newman women, it means it’s time to rework those expectations. With KZ, they were a team that was going to contend for the Heartland Conference crown. She had All-American capabilities. Now, they’ve still got a good team but it’s going to take some time to rewire that group to not have her around. They could still be good, it just might take a little longer.

For the men, losing Wesley hurts. He was the best point guard on the floor when they lost their exhibition game to WSU a couple of weeks ago and Mark Potter has said since he signed BW that he thought he could be one of the better PGs in the Heartland. That’s killer.


What the new MIAA could look like

So it looks like 2012-2013 will be the first year with the MIAA in its much-rumored 16-team format. And I thought it might be interesting to take a look at one way the conference might break up. I’m assuming they’ll go into East-West divisions, with all the Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma schools in the West and all the Missouri school. I think once this thing comes together that it will be hands-down, the best NCAA Division II school in the country.

And Newman University, right here in Wichita, must be kicking itself for not putting in football sometime in the last decade. You have to think that, with football, they’d be a better option than Southwest Baptist or Lincoln in the East and you could make an argument to having the Jets over either of the Oklahoma schools or Nebraska-Kearney in the West.


Pittsburg State

Fort Hays State

Emporia State


Northeastern (Okla.) State

Central Oklahoma




Central Missouri

Northwest Missouri

Missouri Western

Missouri Southern

Lindenwood (Mo.)

Truman (Mo.) State

Southwest Baptist (Mo.)

Lincoln (Mo.)

So that’s my thinking as far as realignment. As far as football scheduling, right now all the MIAA teams play 11 games, and everybody plays each other, so that means two non-conference games. In the new version, the league will likely still play the two non-conference games, all 7 opponents in-division and then get to play two opponents from the opposite division. This is where you have problems. Do you let a team like Pitt State play rivalry games against Missouri Southern and NW Missouri every year or do you make everybody rotate opponents? I don’t envy new MIAA commish Bob Boerigter in trying to get this figured out, but don’t feel too bad for dude because in a couple of years he could be the most powerful guy in all of D2, with his mega-conference and all.

I’m out. TA.

Want to name Newman’s new mascot?



…then you’ve come to the right place.

The picture you’re looking at is a sketch of the new Newman University mascot — they’re the Jets — and he needs a name. NU is having a contest to find that name, and it’s open to the entire Wichita community and runs through Sept. 19. The mascot — dude in the aviator gear — will make his first appearance on Sept. 27 at halftime of a women’s soccer match at Newman. They’ve also got a female aviator that is supposed to debut in 2011. No word on whether or not they’re a couple.

To submit a suggestion, visit Newman will also solicit suggestions for the mascot’s name at the Newman Booth in the Meadowlark Building at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson, starting tomorrow. They’ll decide the winner on the 20th. For questions or more information, contact Kelly Snedden at 316-942-4291, ext. 2164, or

I think the winner gets a new IPad, but the wording in the Newman release is kind of convoluted — I can’t tell if it goes to the winner or the 3 finalists draw for the IPad or what. Call Kelly.

Good luck naming.


Newman golfer Jeremy Gant needs heart transplant



Sad news today out of Newman University. Sophomore golfer Jeremy Gant found out this afternoon that he’ll need a heart transplant in order to live, and was headed to St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., tonight in order to get on a transplant list and begin 2-3 days of testing. Here’s the link to my story about Gant and what he’s facing.

I talked to three people Thursday — Newman AD Vic Trilli, Newman golf coach Kent Notestine and Jeremy’s mother, Lisa. When I spoke to Lisa the family had just heard the news that Jeremy’s only option was to get a heart transplant. That, my friends, is one strong woman. She was emotional, of course, but she was keeping her wits about her and wanted to ask that people pray for her son and thanked everyone for their support the last few days. Notestine, who has known Jeremy since he was 4, was also shook up. Lisa said he looks at Jeremy like a son or a grandson and had been having a hard time dealing with it, too.

Best wishes to Jeremy and his entire family in this tough time.

Out. TA.

Kellindra Zackery headed to Newman



…and the final piece (and biggest piece, IMHO) of Jaime Green’s first recruiting class at Newman University is none other than the same player who helped her win a Region VI title and finish third at the NJCAA Tournament  last season at Labette Community College — do-it-all forward Kellindra Zackery, arguably the best junior-college player in the nation last year. And for my money, the moment she steps on the floor for Newman she’s already the best player in the Heartland Conference.

Zackery, who has already had stints at two Division I schools (Rutgers and South Carolina), can play three positions and handles the ball well. She averaged 15.1 points and 9.5 rebounds last year on the way to first-team all-Jayhawk and third-team All-American honors.

Great recruit. Dominant recruit. With what Green has already signed so far, Jets could win Heartland this year. Seriously.