Local Sports News: November 22, 2023

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#21 Indiana University Women’s Basketball heads to Fort Myers Florida for Thanksgiving
The #21 Indiana Hoosiers headed to South to Fort Myers Florida to play in the Elevance Health Fort Myers Tip Off Tournament at the Suncoast Credit Union Arena on the Campus of FloridaSouthwestern State University. The Hoosiers will face #19 Tennessee on Thursday Night at 6pm in a nationally televised game on FOX as part of the network’s full day of Thanksgiving sports action. The Hoosiers will take on Princeton at 11am on Saturday Morning and that game will be available on-line www.FSWBucs.com.  #21 Oklahoma is the fourth team in this tournament and will face Princeton on Thursday at 3pm and Tennessee on Saturday at 1:30pm as part of the Island Division. The Shell Division will tip off Friday at 2 PM with Wisconsin taking on Arkansas followed by Boston College and Marquette at 4:30pm. Friday’s winners will meet at 5pm Saturday in the Championship game followed by the Third Place Game at 7:30pm.

The Hoosiers will face Tennessee for the third time since 2020. The Volunteers beat the Hoosiers 66-58 on December 17, 2020, in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in front of family and friends due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Indiana beat Tennessee 79-67 at Thompson Boling Arena in Knoxville on November 14, 2022 and the only other matchup between the two teams came back on November 27, 1987, when Tennessee dominated Indiana 91-59 in Cincinnati, Ohio as Tennessee leads the all-time series 2-1.  Greenfield, Tennessee native Chloe Moore-McNeil will be facing her home state team for the third time her career along with her high school teammates in Senior Tess Darby and her younger sister Edie who is a sophomore. Greenfield HS won The Tennessee Class A State Title in 2018 and were 34-0 in 2020 when the state tournament was shut down and were runner ups in 2019. Sophomore Sharneece Currie-Jelks is from Jackson, Tennessee and transferred to IU from UT-Martin.

Indiana is 3-1 after home wins over the weekend against Murray State and Lipscomb. Sara Scalia leads the team with 18.5 points per game and was named the Big Ten Player of the Week Mackenize Holmes is averaging 17.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game and is second on the schools all time scoring list with 1,967 points. Yarden Garzon is averaging 10 points along with 4.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Chloe Moore-McNeil averages 8.5 and with 1.5 steals per game. Lexus Bargesser is averaging 8 points per game and is providing a spark of the bench for the Hoosiers with her defensive intensity. Sydney Parrish and Freshman Lenee Beaumont are averaging 7.5 points each followed by Lilly Mesiter at 5.5, Freshman Juliana LaMendola at 2.0, Sophomore Henna Sandvik at 1.3 along with Arielle Wisne and Sharneece Currie Jelks at 1.0 per game.

Tennessee is 3-1 on the season with wins over Florida A&M 93-64, Memphis 84-74 and Troy 100-73. Their only loss game on November 9, at Florida State 92-91. The Lady Vols is led by Rickea Jackson who has scored 22 points per game in the first two games of the season but has missed the last two games.  The Lady Vols has six players who average double figures and featured a two-post system like the Hoosiers face against Stanford in which the Hoosiers fell to the Cardinal by 32 points in Palo Alto on November 12.  Kellie Harper is the head coach of Tennessee in her 5th season in Knoxville with a 90-40 record and three NCAA Tournament Appearances. Harper has an overall record of 375-248 in her 21st season as head coach with stops at Western Carolina, NC State and Missouri State. When she played for the legendary Pat Summitt from 1995-99, she was Kellie Jolly and won three straight NCAA Championships from 1996-98. Her Husband Jon Harper is one of her assistant coaches and they got Married after her college career ended in 1999.

Six Indiana University Women’s Soccer players named to CSC Academic All-District Team
Indiana Women’s Soccer saw six student-athletes Anna Bennett, Sofia, Black, Natasha Kim, Sydney Masur, Olivia Rush, and Paige Webber were named to the College Sports Communicators (CSC) Academic All-District Team, the organization announced on Tuesday afternoon. These six student-athletes helped lead the Hoosiers to a 12-4-4 record on the year and their first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2013. Bennett, Masur and Webber were named to the list for the second year in a row.

Bennett, a Senior Midfielder, scored four goals and season-high nine assists ranking second most in a single-season. Bennet earned her second CSC nomination after totaling 17 points on the year and played over 1015 minutes on the pitch. The Holland, Mich., native finished the season with 40 shots and .525 shots on goal percentage. Bennett is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a Big Ten Distinguish Scholar and is majoring in Elementary Education. Black played in all 20 matches earning five starts in her final season. She scored two goals on the year with four points and played over 580 minutes on the pitch. The Alpharetta, Ga., native totaled 22 shots with .545 shots on goal percentage. Black is majoring in Finance at the Kelley School of Business.

Kim, a sophomore midfielder, played in all 20 matches earning 14 starts in her second season with the Hoosiers. She totaled over 1200 minutes on the pitch and took 10 shots. She tallied her first career assist in the win over Illinois. Kim is majoring in Finance. Masur is also a two-time recipient of the award after she ended her junior season with over 1370 minutes on the pitch. She played in 20 matches and earned 18 starts this season. Masur scored her first career goal and the game-winner in the 3-0 shutout win against Morehead State. The Montclair, N.J., native totaled 12 shots with two points on the year. She is majoring in Finance at IU.

Rush started in 17 matches for the Hoosiers this season. She held .571 shots on goal percentage with four shots on goal. A native of Troy, Mich., Rush played over 1054 minutes on the pitch in Indiana’s outstanding season. She is majoring in Sport Marketing and Management. Webber had her best season with the Hoosiers scoring 12 goals and totaled 28 points. In the Big Ten, she was third in goals (12), second in game-winning goals (5), fourth in shots (64) and points (28). She also set the single-game record with four goals in a match and set the all-time single season record in game-winning goals and moved into third in points and goals. The Grand Blanc, Mich., native was also named to the All-Big Ten First Team, NCAA Player of the Week, Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week and earned TopDrawerSoccer Team of the Week. Webber is also a two-time CSC All-District nominee and Academic All-Big Ten honoree. She also earned the Big Ten Distinguished Scholar award last season. Webber will finish her degree in Human Biology this spring.

Academic All-District® honorees advance to the CSC Academic All-America® ballot. First-, second and third-team Academic All-America® honorees will be announced December 20. The CSC Academic All-District® teams include the student-athletes listed at the links above. Voting for the Academic All-America Women’s Soccer team begins today, Nov. 21, at Noon (ET) and closes Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 11:59 PM (ET). All CSC members are eligible to vote on the ballots in their division. To vote, click here.

Indiana University Men’s Soccer Alum Pat Noonan named the 2023 Major League Soccer Coach of the Year
FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan has been named the 2023 Sigi Schmid MLS Coach of the Year, a recognition that follows their on-field transformation under his leadership. Noonan, during his second year since taking the reins in the Queen City, led Cincy to unprecedented heights in 2023. The Eastern Conference club won their first-ever Supporters’ Shield, completing their turnaround from three straight last-place finishes (2019-21) upon joining MLS to being the league’s top regular-season team.

Under Noonan’s direction, Cincy tied for the fourth-most points (69) in a single MLS season and carved out a 13W-2L-2D home record at TQL Stadium. They also became just the ninth team in league history to win at least 20 games in a single season (excluding the shootout era). FC Cincinnati excelled during close games in 2023, leading MLS with 14 wins in one-goal games – the third-highest single-season total in league history. Additionally, they closed matches better than any other team in MLS this season, capturing the most points after the 75th minute (12) while being the only team not to drop any points after the 75th minute.

The 2023 MLS Sigi Schmid Coach of the Year award honors the best head coach in MLS during the 2023 regular season. The award was voted on by MLS club technical staff, media and current MLS players. Noonan beat out Bradley Carnell of St. Louis CITY SC and Wilfried Nancy Columbus Crew for the honor. Noonan scored 41 Goals and 31 assists in 98 Games for Indiana University from 1999-2002 and won the 1999 NCAA Championship his Freshman Season.

Indianapolis Colts release Linebacker Shaquille Leonard
The Indianapolis Colts have waived Shaq Leonard. According to multiple reports, the former Pro Bowl and All-Pro linebacker was released on Monday. Colts’ owner Jim Irsay confirmed the roster move in a post to X, formerly known as Twitter, Tuesday afternoon. “Colts Nation will always remember The Maniac’s palpable energy on the field with each tackle, interception, punchout, and fumble recovery,” Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay said of Leonard. “Off the field, he’s a servant leader and assisted numerous families in both his hometown and the Indianapolis community. We’re thankful for Shaq and the contributions he made to our organization. We wish him and his beautiful family the best moving forward.”

Leonard was drafted by the Colts in 2018. He had totaled just 34 solo tackles in nine games in 2023. Before he was waived, much had been made of Leonard’s performance and the number of snaps he played this season. “Shaq is the ultimate competitor and has been a fan favorite since he arrived as a rookie in 2018,” Colts general manager Chris Ballard said in a release. “We are incredibly grateful for his contributions to the team and the city of Indianapolis over the last six seasons. We wish him the best and he will always be a valued member of the Horseshoe.”

Colts coach Shane Steichen, who only worked with Leonard during the 2023 season, said he is appreciative of the contributions the linebacker during his time in the Circle City. “I’m thankful for the energy Shaq brought to our team on a daily basis,” Steichen said in a release. “He’s a competitor, a leader, and is respected among his teammates. I wish him all the best.” Leonard released a statement of his own on social media, thanking the city of Indianapolis for its support. “Indy, I want to thank you for accepting me and my family with open arms,” Leonard wrote. “These past six years has been nothing but incredible! Through the good times and the bad times, y’all stood by my side. I apologize for not bringing that trophy back to the 317. “The energy in Lucas Oil has been nothing but amazing, and I thank you for every memory. I’m thankful to play for such an amazing fan base. I love you guys and wish the Colts nothing but the best. Maniac out.”

Indiana University Women’s Golf announces the signing of Cara Heisterkamp
Indiana Women’s Golf Head Coach Brian May announced the signing of Cara Heisterkamp. “We are very excited to welcome Cara to our Hoosier Women’s Golf family,” May said. “In recruiting, we are looking for competitive and passionate players and Cara excels in both of those categories. She has been battle tested at the highest level of the sport and her game is trending upwards at a rapid pace.”

Cara Heisterkamp-Westlake, Ohio- Magnificat High School
Four-year letterwinner for head coach Daniel Gallagher at Magnificat High School … owns over 30 tournament victories at the high school level … made the Elite 8 in both the 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship and the 2023 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship … participated in six USGA championships: 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, 2022 U.S. Women’s Four-Ball Championship, 2022 U.S. Girls Junior Championship, 2022 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, 2023 U.S. Women’s Four-Ball Championship, exempt for 2024 U.S. Women’s Four-Ball Championship … 2021 Ohio Girl’s Junior champion … top-ranked JGS girl in the state of Ohio for the class of 2024 … four-time team MVP … three-time team captain … All-Ohio first team in 2020 and 2021 … All-Ohio second team in 2022 … three-time sectional title winner … 2022 Ohio State High School district champion … holds school records for lowest 9-hle round (29), lowest 18-hole round (64), and lowest season scoring average (70.6) … two-time Rosemary Saas Leadership Scholarship winner … member of the National Honors Society, Spanish National Honors Society, and Mu Alpha Theta National Honors Society … top 10 in the Magnificat academic class of 2024 with a 4.43 GPA … helped led Magnificat to four-straight sectional titles, three district titles, and a runner-up trophy in the 2023 Ohio State High School Girls Division I State Championship … represents Magnificat as the team mascot, Blue Streak … also competed in track and basketball … intends to major in entrepreneurship and corporate innovation … daughter of Michael Heisterkamp and Patricia Nugent … has two brothers, Nick and John … born on Oct. 5, 2005.  

Indiana University Rower Ariana (Ara) Cowper named 2023 Rose Bowl Game Keith Jackson Postgraduate Scholarship Recipient
The Tournament of Roses® announced the recipient of the 2023 Rose Bowl Game Keith Jackson Postgraduate Scholarship. Ariana (Ara) Cowper (Indiana University) will be awarded a $10,000 scholarship toward her postgraduate education in addition to receiving a unique and specialized work-study experience at the 2024 Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Prudential. The scholarship recognizes its recipient for exceptional undergraduate achievement at a Big Ten or Pac-12 university who plan to also pursue a career in the sports industry. The application process was open to senior-level undergraduate students and first year graduate students who submitted a personal essay and academic records along with the other application materials. This is the fourth year that the scholarship has been awarded.

Cowper is a senior Sports Marketing and Management major at Indiana University with plans to graduate in May of 2024. She is a varsity rower for the Hoosiers and has worked as a social media and digital intern for IU Athletics. Cowper served on Indiana’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Executive Board and volunteered as a Hoosier Hero Mentor, in Read Across America, Hoosiers Out Loud and Women Impacting Others. Ariana plans to pursue a masters in Sports Administration and completing a graduate assistantship within an athletic department after graduation. “Ariana has proven that she has an unwavering commitment to excellence in the classroom, in athletics and in volunteering, and is a deserving recipient of the Rose Bowl Game Keith Jackson Scholarship,” said Alex Aghajanian, 2024 President of the Tournament of Roses. “The Tournament of Roses, along with our partners at the Big Ten and Pac-12, are thrilled to honor her for all her hard work and help her on her journey to graduate school and beyond.”

The scholarship is named on behalf of Keith Jackson, who was the voice of college football for several generations. Jackson was a man of many catchphrases, including “Whoa, Nellie” and “Big Uglies”, but was also credited with popularizing the Rose Bowl Game’s nickname as “The Granddaddy of Them All”. He was on the call for the Rose Bowl Game on 15 occasions, among the most by any broadcaster, from 1989 to 2006. His final game in the broadcast booth was the 2006 BCS National Championship at the Rose Bowl Game. The Keith Jackson Postgraduate Scholarship is funded by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses. For more information, including details on eligibility and how to apply, please visit www.rosebowlgame.org/scholarship.

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