Local sports events

Four Western New Mexico University volleyball seniors all took home Lone Star Conference accolades Wednesday.

 Senior Kelli McGhiey landed on the All-Academic Team, while seniors Heather Verrill, Kalie Lyle and Ashley Mataele earned All-Conference accolades.

Verrill was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Year, while also being named to the First-Team. Lyle landed on the Second-Team and Mataele garnered Honorable Mention.

It’s the second straight year that the Lady Mustangs have earned Defensive Player of the Year as Shannon Rich claimed the honor last season.

Mandeep Yadav, a former Division I tennis player and head coach at McKendree University, has accepted the position of Head Tennis Coach at Western New Mexico University.

"I am excited to announce our new head men's and women's tennis coach, Mandeep Yadav," Director of Athletics Mark Coleman said. "He will be a great addition to the department and we look forward to him carrying on the successful tradition of the tennis programs."

Yadav spent the previous three years with McKendree, with the last year serving as head coach of the men's team. He helped the team finish fourth in the conference, along with posting consecutive winning seasons and the fourth straight postseason berth into the conference tournament. His student-athletes earned the Great Lakes Valley Conference Council of Presidents' Academic Excellence Award for outstanding performance on and off the court. They also claimed the Brother James Gaffney Distinguished Scholar Award for perfect GPA.

"I am really happy and excited to be a part of the Mustangs' family," Yadav said. "I would like to thank Dr. Shepard and Mr. Coleman for giving me this great opportunity. I'm looking forward to helping the student-athletes at WNMU to achieve their goals and take the tennis programs to greater heights."

McKendree went 11-10 last season, after going 13-12 in 2015-16 when he was a graduate assistant. During the start of his coaching career, the Bearcats went 16-8 in 2014-15. In addition to helping the men's team as a graduate assistant, he helped with the women's squad that went 13-12 in 2014-15 and nearly claimed another winning record in 2015-16 at 10-11.

Before his time at McKendree, Yadav served as a tennis pro at Weston Tennis Center in Weston, Fla., for one year. While at Weston, he served as the academy director, the camps director and tournament director.

He had previous experience as an assistant coach as he got his start at Lynchburg College as an assistant coach and also was a volunteer assistant coach at Liberty University, his alma mater. During his time as a player at Liberty, he went 18-12 in singles and 21-9 in doubles from 2010-12 and was an All-Conference honoree at No. 5 singles.

A native of Chandigarh, India, Yadav had previously earned a top-20 ranking in India and was ranked 495th in the ITF junior rankings.

The Western New Mexico University football team took home a multitude of honors Friday as 10 players were named to the Lone Star Conference list for their performances this year.

Leading the honorees on the First-Team were D'Angelo Bowie (Virginia Beach, VA/Landstown) and Ian Davis (Grass Valley, CA/Nevada Union). Leo Marin (Carlsbad, CA/Carlsbad) and Dominic Barry (Moreno Valley, CA/Vista Del Lago) highlight the Second-Team, while Iverson Moana (Pago Pago, American Samoa/Fagaitua), Evan Beebe (Chula Vista, CA/Mater Dei Catholic), Javia Hall (Dallas, TX/Skyline), Sean North (Corona, CA/Santiago), Connor Mowat (Lahaina, HI/Lahainaluna) and Joe Tito (Las Vegas, NV/Cimarron-Memorial) earned Honorable Mention.

Following an eight-year run in which he leaves as the third-winningest coach in program history, Head Football Coach Adam Clark made the decision to resign his position this week. Offensive Coordinator Chris Buckner and Offensive Line Coach Andrew Faaumu will oversee the program during the transition.

“It is with mixed emotions that we announce the resignation of Coach Clark,” Director of Athletics Mark Coleman said. “Adam has worked extremely hard in the time he’s been here and to finish his last six games with four wins was a testament to his dedication to the program. We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”

Behind a first quarter in which Newman University outscored the Western New Mexico University women’s basketball team 29-7, that would end up being the difference in the game as the Lady Mustangs stayed even with the Jets over the final three quarters before Newman claimed the 76-54 victory during the final game of the Conference Challenge Saturday.

 WNMU (0-2) had a big third quarter in which they outscored Newman (2-0) 19-10 and pulled back to within 15 before the Jets were able to tally the victory.

The Western New Mexico University women’s basketball team fought back to take a lead early in the fourth quarter before Rogers State University was able to regain the lead and hold off the Lady Mustangs for the 65-56 victory Friday in the season opener for both teams.

Trailing 40-37 entering the final frame, the Lady Mustangs opened the fourth quarter putting in the first four points to snag the lead. Junior Megan Looney hit a pair from the foul line and then junior Takiyah Lopez added a layup for the 41-40 lead 40 seconds into the fourth.

Late in the game, West Texas A&M had the ball at the Mustangs’ 27 and 15-yard line, but were stuffed both times coming up with no points as the Western New Mexico University football team captured the 21-17 win over the Buffs Saturday in Lone Star Conference action.

The defense responded when needed, as after a West Texas A&M (3-8, 1-7 LSC) touchdown brought them back to within four midway through the fourth quarter, the Mustang defense made sure that would be the last score they would allow.

Although No. 25 Angelo State University won in straight sets, the Western New Mexico University volleyball team made it anything but easy. Angelo State fought off a set point in the second set and then held off the Lady Mustangs for the 3-0 (18-25, 25-27, 17-25) Lone Star Conference victory Saturday afternoon.

With results from the final day of the regular season, WNMU ends up tying with Eastern New Mexico for seventh. Based on tiebreakers, WNMU ends up as the seventh seed and will play the second seed Texas A&M-Commerce in the first round of the Lone Star Conference Tournament. Tarleton State is the top seed and host and will face eighth seed Eastern New Mexico. In the other two matchups, three seed Angelo State against sixth seed Texas Woman’s and fourth seed Texas A&M-Kingsville versus fifth seed West Texas A&M.

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Editor's Note

The Grant county Beat continues to bring you new columnists. New this past week are the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.

The second is a business-centered column—Your Business Connection by the New Mexico Business Coalition. The group works to make policy in the state of New Mexico better for all businesses, large and small.

The Beat has a new column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

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