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Jose Rojas traveled to Mexico this summer to compete in the Mexican Track and Field Nationals that took place in Monterrey, Mexico. Rojas came in 12th overall in the steeplechase. He entered the race ranked sixth overall.

“Competing at the Mexican Nationals was a whole new experience for me, if you would’ve asked me at the beginning of the season if I could see myself competing in the Mexican Nationals, I would probably have laughed and said no,” Rojas said. “But, with all the hard work, the help of my teammates and coach, that became a reality. I was hoping to place top-three at the Mexican Nationals, but that didn’t happen. It was probably one of the worst races I’ve ever had, but I take every race as a learning lesson. If everything goes as planned, I will be competing again in the Mexican Nationals next year and hopefully do much better than I did this year and put Western New Mexico University cross country out there.”

Considering that this was just the third steeplechase that Rojas has ever competed in, Head Coach Macario Campos is hopeful that they can work to improve for future results. “We weren’t expecting this to happen at the start of the season, so it was definitely a pleasant surprise,” Campos said. “He had some chances to pass a few people over the last 200 meters, but just wasn’t able to. With the experiences we gained, we will take that back with us and try to mimic the conditions the best we can to be ready next year.”

It was a banner year for Rojas, as after earning Lone Star Conference accolades for his 11th place finish at the LSC Championships in the fall, he added to the a record-breaking spring season. Not only did he set the program marks for the 1,500 and 5,000, he tried his hand at the steeplechase and was equally successful. In his first ever steeplechase, he went against 14 competitors in San Diego and won the event by nearly 13 seconds with a time of 9:10.25, which was also a provisional mark.

The Western New Mexico University volleyball team will be holding a summer youth camp from August 2-4.

The camp will take place in two sessions with grades 4-8 going from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. and then the second session will start at 1 p.m. and run until 3 p.m. for grades 9-12. The cost of the camp is $40 and will include a t-shirt.

To register or for more information, please see the attached flyer here or contact Head Coach Jim Callender via email: callenderj@wnmu.edu or by phone at 575-538-6225.

After serving this past season as the assistant coach, Elsa Cocker has been promoted to the head softball coach position following a national search.

“We are very happy to have Coach Cocker as our new head softball coach,” Director of Athletics Mark Coleman said. “She was a talented player and brings Lone Star Conference (LSC) experience and success to the program.”
Cocker helped lead the Lady Mustangs into their first season in the LSC in 2017 and prior to that she was the assistant coach at Trinity Valley Community College for two seasons. She began her coaching career as an assistant at Angelo State.

“I am beyond excited and blessed to be named as the head softball coach for the Lady Mustangs. It’s a great time to be a part of the Lady Mustangs program here at WNMU,” Cocker said. “I am honored to be part of one of the toughest conferences in the nation and play against a mentor of mine. I can’t explain how happy and excited I am to be a part of something bigger than myself. It’s an honor, a privilege and I can’t wait to lead the Lady Mustangs.”

Cocker brings an impressive playing career to the table as she was a standout player at LSC powerhouse Angelo State for two seasons. Her first season with the Rambelles came during the 2011 campaign as she compiled a .290 batting average, 12 doubles, three home runs and 33 RBI in starting all 59 games. It was a breakout senior season for her as she led the team with a blistering .424 batting average, along with 70 hits, nine home runs, 11 doubles and 52 RBI in starting all 59 games once again. Angelo State went 48-11 and advanced to the South Central Super Regional.

The honors poured in for Cocker as she was selected to the LSC First-Team All-Conference, LSC Player of the Year, First-Team All-American as a third baseman and LSC Female Athlete of the Year. Before finishing her career in San Angelo, Cocker played her first two collegiate seasons at Midland College where she was named a Two-Time First-Team All-Conference selection, All-Region Players, Team Defensive Player of the Year and in her final season she took home Third-Team All-American honors.

Three teams from WNMU were recognized for their accomplishments as student/athletes in the 2016-17 year. Earning Academic Champion Awards were the men's and women's golf teams and men's cross country teams.

The award winners are determined by a point system in which each team earns points for competing in a recognized NCAA Division II sport; that is the NCAA has a post season championship tournament or competition. Teams earn points for achieving certain benchmarks, such as having an overall team GPA in excess of a 2.0. They can also earn points for placing in the top 3 highest average GPA's in their respective sports in conference standings. Finally they can earn points for placing high in the NCAA average GPA standings in their sports.

Women's golf tallied a team GPA of 3.90 lead by Bobbi Pierson and Shelby Turner who each earned 4.0 marks for the year. Brenda Dominguez earned a 3.90 whle Adrianna Grijalva earned a 3.89 average.

Men's cross country held a team GPA of 3.66. Sascha Brechtel and Vladimir Gnilozubov (both also WNMU tennis team members) lead the team with 4.0 averages. Xavier Perez was next with a 3.88 GPA for 2016-17.

Men's golf was lead by Harry Wetton's 4.0 average followed closely by Ross White with a 3.91 GPA. Pedro De La Vega added a 3.81 as the team tallied a 3.41 overall GPA.

Four Western New Mexico University women’s golfers collected top honors for their work both in the classroom and on the course Wednesday in being named to the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) All-American Scholar list. In order to be selected for the award, student-athletes must hold a minimum of a 3.50 cumulative GPA.

Seniors Bobbi Pierson and Adrianna Grijalva landed on the list, along with sophomore Shelby Turner and freshman Brenda Dominguez. It was a strong 2016-17 year overall in the classroom for the Lady Mustangs as they collectively held a 3.68 GPA. Both Pierson and Turner scored perfect 4.0 GPAs this past year, while Dominguez had a 3.9 GPA and Grijalva at 3.89 GPA. 

Pierson has already taken home several honors including Lone Star Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year, CoSIDA Academic All-District and Lone Star Conference Academic Team. Last year she took home the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Summit Award each of the past two seasons for having the top GPA in her sport. In addition to that, she was also tabbed the RMAC Academic Golfer of the Year each of the past two seasons. She earned All-RMAC honors for her play the past two seasons as well. This season she saw action in 19 rounds with a low round of 76 and an 82.74 scoring average. Pierson tallied one top-10 finish and fired her low round of 76 at both Embry Riddle and WNMU Fall Intercollegiate, as her top finish came at Embry Riddle in which she tied for ninth 

Turner was tabbed to the Lone Star Conference honorable mention squad for her play this year. She played in 19 rounds this season posting a low 36-hole score of 144 (best on the team) and the second-best 18-hole tally of 81. Her low round of 71 is tops on the team and she has two rounds under par. Turner’s .659 (521-270) winning percentage is second on the team and she holds a 78.47 scoring average. Turner compiled two top-10 finishes as she won the Embry Riddle Invitational and placed in a tie for seventh at the WNMU Fall Intercollegiate.

 Dominguez had a first collegiate season to remember as she led the team in top-10 finishes with four, top win-loss percentage of .748 (592-199), scoring average (77.58) and lowest 18-hole score of 80. In addition she was second on the team in both 36-hole score (149) and lowest round of 73. In just her second collegiate tournament she placed in a tie for sixth at the Ranger Invite. Her top finish came at the Western Washington Invite where she carded a tie for fifth. Dominguez added a tie for sixth at the Embry Riddle Invite and placed seventh at the Lone Star Championships. Her low round score of 73 came at the WNMU Fall Intercollegiate and her best 36-hole score occurred at the Mustang Intercollegiate.

Grijalva saw action in 15 rounds this season and posted a low round of 79. She also added low 18-hole score of 89 and 36-hole score of 160. She finished the season with an 84.67 scoring average and compiled top results at Embry Riddle in which she placed 18th with her best 36-hole score of 160 and her low round of the year of 79. Along with Pierson, Grijalva also landed on the WGCA list a season ago. She took home All-RMAC First-Team Academic accolades the past two seasons.

Western New Mexico's all time best golfer, Callum Hill is getting better. The 22-year-old 2016 graduate crushed the field in the San Juan Open en route to a $10,400 payday after posting rounds of 66-67-65-65--265 (21 under par) and a nine-shot victory over Steven Kupcho. There were 59 pros in the event, as well as numerous sponsors that have seen young players take the road to the PGA Tour via Farmington. Last year's champ, Colorado School of Mines former top player Jim Knous, is now on the Web.com tour, the tour just below the PGA Tour.

The San Juan is the top prize in New Mexico for professionals, but more importantly, its a terrific place to network and meet people that can help young pros like Hill get to the next level of competition, PGA Tour Qualifying School. Fellow Scot Martin Laird won the San Juan as a young player and is a PGA Tour winner these days.

"I was 5 under on the par fives, so that helps a lot," said Hill after the round. "But i missed two 2-footers, so that was bad ... all in all i played the same as the other days and tried to keep the golf course in front of me. I just played quite well," said Hill.

Currently the Mustangs' Assistant Golf Coach, Hill is currently entering his final year of an MBA program at Western after breaking virtually of the school records as an undergraduate. Of course, success in this Fall's grueling three-stage PGA Tour school could put all of that on hold. He just needs the right opportunities to make that dream a reality.

Hill is scheduled for the Sun Country Pro-Pro Championship with another former Mustang, Eric Chavez. The two-day event is Monday and Tuesday in Albuquerque at Sandia Golf Club. The two WNMU grads should be among the favorites to win.

The 2017 Lone Star Conference Male and Female Athletes of the Year included three league standouts as West Texas A&M's Rellie Kaputin and Marshall Kasowski, and UT Permian Basin's Daeshon Francis were recognized. The awards were announced Wednesday following a vote of the league's sports information directors.

WT's Kaputin earned LSC top female athlete recognition following an exceptional track and field career, while UTPB's Francis and WT's Kasowski shared the honor of top male athlete after tremendous basketball and baseball seasons, respectively.

Kaputin was the top female in front of Tarleton State volleyball standout Hailey Roberts in a close vote.

Francis and Kasowski claimed the men's award just ahead of Texas A&M-Commerce track and field star Florian Obst.

Kaputin was named US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Women's Field Athlete of the Year after she won the triple jump and scored 21 points at the 2017 NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships becoming the first Lady Buff in program history to win an individual title. The Papua New Guinea native finished second in the long jump and became the first Lady Buff to earn three All-America honors at the same indoor championship. Kaputin earned LSC Indoor Female Field Athlete of the Year acclaim after leading WT to the LSC Championship for the fourth straight year.

In the outdoor season, Kaputin was a member of the 2017 NCAA Division II National Champion Lady Buffs scoring a school-record 22 points, including a national title in the triple jump and a runner-up finish in the long jump. In the triple jump, her mark of 43-7 (13.28m) not only shattered her own school-record, but ranks second in NCAA Division II history. Kaputin earned USTFCCCA All-Region honors in the jumps and earned back-to-back conference titles in the long jump and triple jump and a runner-up finish in the high jump as WT claimed its second straight LSC Championship.

Francis led UT Permian Basin to a 26-6 record while capturing the LSC Men's Basketball Championship and Tournament title in its first season in the league. The junior earned LSC Player of the Year and D2CCA South Central Region Player of the Year honors after scoring 18.2 points per game with a .559 field goal percentage.

The Indianapolis, Indiana native helped the Falcons lead the league and rank 13th nationally in scoring this season, averaging 88.3 points per game. Francis scored in double-figures in 30 of 32 games this season with a season high 34 points. The LSC Tournament MVP scored at least 20 points 11 times in 2016-17. Francis paced the team with 48 steals and was second in rebounding (6.6 per game) and assists (3.1).

Kasowski led the nation in strikeouts breaking the school and LSC record for K's in a season with 165 as the Buffs won the LSC Baseball Tournament Championship. He also topped the nation in strikeouts per nine innings at 15.91. Kasowski became the highest drafted player in WT Baseball history as the 400th overall pick in the 13th round of the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Conroe, Texas native was named LSC Pitcher of the Year, first team all-LSC, NCBWA and CCA Region Pitcher of the Year and was a multiple All-America honoree in his first season in a Buff uniform. Kasowski, who is a finalist for the prestigious Brett Tomko Award, went 9-5 with a 2.22 ERA ranking third in the LSC and 34th nationally. He pitched a team-high 93.1 innings, allowing 50 hits, 27 runs (23 earned) and walked just 50 as opponents hit a team-low .156 against him. Kasowski tallied 11 games of double-digit strikeouts, including a school-record 17 on March 24.

Here is a closer look at the voting breakdown for each award, along with the honorees since 1999:

LSC MALE ATHLETE OF YEAR (Name, School, Year, Sport, Points): Daeshon Francis, UT Permian Basin, Jr., Men's Basketball, 12; Marshall Kasowski, West Texas A&M, Jr., Baseball, 12; Florian Obst, Texas A&M-Commerce, Jr., Track & Field, 11; Nils Fischer, Angelo State, Fr., Track & Field , 7; Akoakoa Paleka-Kennedy, Midwestern State, Sr., Football, 6; Brandon Jones, Texas A&M-Kingsville, So., Football, 5; Cody Bower, Cameron, Sr., Baseball, 3; Cody Burtscher, Tarleton State, Sr., Football, 3; Alex DeLaCruz, Eastern New Mexico, Sr., Baseball, 1; Jean-Laurent Pageault, Western New Mexico, Sr., Tennis, 0.

LSC FEMALE ATHLETE OF YEAR (Name, School, Year, Sport, Points): Rellie Kaputin, West Texas A&M, Sr., Track & Field, 20; Hailey Roberts, Tarleton State, Jr., Volleyball, 19; Nicole Nordie, Texas Woman's, Sr., Softball, 8; Mallory Blauser, Angelo State, Sr., Volleyball, 7; Vicky Back, Texas A&M-Commerce, Sr., Soccer, 7; Breezy McComas, Cameron, Sr., Softball, 3; Kaina Martinez, Texas A&M-Kingsville, Sr., Track and Field, 1; Lauren Frye, Eastern New Mexico, Sr., Volleyball, 1; Destinee Williamson, Midwestern State, Jr., Soccer, 0; Shannon Rich, Western New Mexico, Sr., Volleyball, 0.

Angelo State's Kami Norton and Texas A&M-Commerce's Turner Pool were selected as the 2017 Lone Star Conference Fred Jacoby Academic Athletes of the Year. The awards were announced Tuesday following a vote of the league's sports information directors.

ASU's Norton and A&M-C's Pool are the 10th recipients of the award bearing the name of Jacoby, the long-time LSC commissioner who passed away in March 2008. The nominees included the Academic Player of the Year in each sport as selected during the year.

Norton captured LSC top female academic athlete honors; followed by Rambelle soccer star Demi Tsambasis, Tarleton State golf standout Casey Wild and West Texas A&M softball star Kilee Halbert.

Pool was the top choice for male academic athlete honors in front of ASU baseball standout Matt Waller and Cameron golf star Dario Gabriel.

Norton, a kinesiology major, earned LSC Academic Player of the Year acclaim for both indoor and outdoor track and field with a perfect 4.0 GPA. The junior from Albany, Texas was the national runner-up in the heptathlon and earned All-American honors in the 400-meter hurdles at the NCAA Division II outdoor meet. She scored 10 points and helped ASU to its best team finish since 2013. At the indoor championships, Norton was the national runner-up and an All-American in the pentathlon with a school record 4,067 points. It is the ninth best mark in Division II history. She also placed 15th in the long jump to help ASU achieve a top-25 finish for the seventh consecutive season.

Pool made history by claiming three LSC Academic Player of the Year awards in 2016-17. He took home top honors in Cross Country, Indoor Track & Field, and Outdoor Track & Field. A native of Frisco, Texas, Pool is a finance and accounting major with a 3.9 GPA. The junior won the bronze medal at the LSC Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the 10,000-meters, and finished fourth at the LSC Cross Country Championships in October. He set personal bests in five track events this season - the indoor mile and 3,000-meters, and the outdoor 1,500-, 5,000-, and 10,000-meters.

Here is a closer look at the voting breakdown for each award, along with the all-time honorees:

LSC MALE ACADEMIC ATHLETE OF YEAR (Name, School, Sport, Points): Turner Pool, Texas A&M-Commerce, Cross Country, Indoor/Outdoor Track & Field, 21; Matt Waller, Angelo State, Baseball, 14; Dario Gabriel, Cameron, Golf, 10; Ramon Toyos, Midwestern State, Tennis, 7; Zed Woerner, Tarleton State, Football, 6; Nemanja Krtolica, Midwestern State, Basketball, 2.

LSC FEMALE ACADEMIC ATHLETE OF YEAR (Name, School, Sport, Points): Kami Norton, Angelo State, Indoor/Outdoor Track & Field, 29; Demi Tsambasis, Angelo State, Soccer, 10; Casey Wild, Tarleton State, Golf, 7; Kilee Halbert, West Texas A&M, Softball, 7; Greta Lazzarotto, Midwestern State, Tennis, 5; Courtney Lawson, Eastern New Mexico, Volleyball, 4; Bailey Wipff, Tarleton State, Basketball, 2; Terra Truitt, Texas A&M-Commerce, Cross Country, 2.

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