By Derek Gartee
Last updated: 12/05/13 8:06pm
McLane Baseball Stadium at Kobs Field, MSU’s baseball field, was named “2013 Field of the Year” by the Sports Turf Managers Association, or STMA. The Association is made of sports turf professionals who’s focus is “strengthening the sports turf industry and enhancing members’ competence and acknowledgement of their professionalism” according to their website.
Each year, the Association selects the best sports fields in professional, college, and school/park categories. The winners are picked by a panel of STMA members who judge based on, “playability, appearance of surfaces, utilization of innovative solutions, effective use of budget and implementation of a comprehensive agronomic program,” according to a press release.
The recipiants of the award are groundskeeper Jared Knoodle and Athletic turf manager Amy Fouty. Knoodle is an MSU alumnus accomplished groundskeeper who has worked as a groundskeeper with the San Fransico Giants. Knoodle also won the “Toro Turf Training Program”, which landed him a spot working with the grounds crew at the 2008 Superbowl.
MSU baseball head coach Jake Boss Jr. congratulated the two groundskeepers.
He told msuspartans.com, “many people claim to have the best field in the country, but now there is something tangible that definitively states that Kobs Field is the best collegiate field in the nation. We take great pride in our baseball facilities, especially our natural grass playing surface, and we are all extremely happy for Amy and her staff to have this honor and recognition bestowed upon them. It is well deserved.”
This is the first time MSU has won the award. MSU groundskeepers can accept the award at the 25th STMA Conference & Exhibition in San Antonio, Tex. on Jan. 21.
By Derek Blalock
Last updated: 11/13/13 6:39pm
Despite not reaching the Big Ten Tournament for the second straight year, the MSU women’s soccer team had two players receive honors from the Big Ten last week.
Sophomore defender Mary Kathryn Fiebernitz was named second-team All-Big Ten, and senior defender Kelsey Mullen received the Sportsmanship Award.
Fiebernitz’ play was crucial to the Spartans this season with a team-high six goals, as well as playing a key role for the Spartan’s defense. Her tough and physical play helped MSU through tough times.
Despite missing four games late in the season because of a knee injury, Mullen, the lone senior on this year’s team, was able to start in the final game against Penn State although it only was for 10 minutes.
Fiebertnitz along with a large crop of freshman and sophomores will only get better next season and will try and get back to their first Big Ten Tournament since 2011.
By Matt Sheehan
Last updated: 11/10/13 7:06pm
One goal is all Nebraska needed to win its first women’s soccer Big Ten Tournament on Sunday, as they topped Iowa 1-0.
At Illinois Soccer Stadium in Champaign, Ill., it was Jaycie Johnson who drove home the winning goal in the 29th minute of the game. The top-seeded Cornhuskers also had three players make the all-tournament team, with Johnson, Ari Romero and Jordan Jackson earning the honors.
MSU did not place in the top eight of the Big Ten after regular season play, and did not qualify for the tournament.
Nebraska beat the Spartans earlier this year, 1-0, to give MSU its first loss of the year.
By Micaela Colonna
Last updated: 11/06/13 8:31pm
MSU’s Athletes in Action, or AIA, will be heading to Colorado this Thursday through Sunday to help with disaster relief from the recent floods in Fort Collins and Estes Park.
Part of the nationally known Cru ministry, the interdenominational Christian fellowship uses a sports platform to answer questions about faith and help athletes build stronger religious beliefs.
At MSU, AIA works to help student-athletes reach their potential and grow in their faith by conducting bible studies and organizing social events and community service activities. According to Phil Gillespie, the campus director for the MSU chapter, the Colorado service trip will hit home for many of the athletes.
“AIA has sport camps that a number of our athletes attend out there, and the places that were flooded are near and dear to us,” Gillespie said. “We have a connection, and we want to show God’s love in a practical way to people out there.”
The service team of seven will be helping repair homes in one of the canyons as well as working on a home owned by a single mother. Gillespie said he hopes the trip serves as a bonding experience for the athletes and reminds them that they are only human.
“We need to be reminded that we are (in a way) helpless people and dependent on God,” Gillespie said. “It’s a good reminder that when a disaster happens, we are human and need the help of God and others.”
He added the goal of their trip is to not only serve the individuals out there, but also show God’s love to others in a practical way.
“Any way we can serve, we want God to get the credit,” Gillespie said. “We want these people to feel blessed that these students would donate their muscles and time in a time of need.”
By Matt Sheehan
Last updated: 11/05/13 4:54pm
After grinding at the tables for seven days in July, MSU alumnus Ryan Riess punched his ticket to one of the hottest seats in Las Vegas — the final table of the World Series of Poker’s Main Event.
Beating out more than 6,000 other hopefuls who paid the $10,000 entry fee, Riess ended the first seven days in fifth place. Reaching the “November Nine” gave him four months to recoup and study his eight opponents, and last night he took advantage of the opportunity in his young career.
The 23-year-old Riess wasted no time building his chip count last night, and now will play tonight against amateur player and Las Vegas club promoter Jay Farber for the title tonight at 9 p.m. on ESPN. The winner will walk away from the table with more than $8.3 million and the holy grail of all WSOP bracelets. Whoever comes up just short will leave with $5.1 million. Riess will start as the underdog with just over 85 million chips, while Farber will start with 105 million.
At last night’s final table play, Riess was the first to knock out a player as his off-suit ace/king hit a pair of kings on the flop, enough to beat professional poker player Mark Newhouse’s pocket nines.
Taking out the first man at the table wasn’t enough, as Reiss also delivered the final knockout of the night hours later. Professional player and Israel-native Amir Lehavot went all-in with pocket sevens against Riess’ pocket 10s, and when all five cards on the board were flipped, the man in the Calvin Johnson jersey walked away a winner.
The final day of action at the table will start at 8:45 p.m., but will be on a 15-minute tape delay to comply with Nevada gaming restrictions.
Follow updates at @thesnews_sports for updates on Riess’ venture for the Main Event title tonight.
By Micaela Colonna
Last updated: 10/29/13 9:36pm
For the first time, the College of Communication Arts and Sciences will host informational talks between an ESPN team and students Monday, Nov. 4.
Jill Ann Bouffard and MSU alumnus Chris Maier comprise the ESPN team that will travel to East Lansing to spend the day with MSU students in media, entertainment and business sports-related programs.
L.A. Dickerson, a journalism professor at MSU who helped coordinate the event, sees this event as an opportunity for today’s MSU students.
“ESPN has never been here before, so I love that they’re reaching out to a new community of students,” Dickerson said. “Our sports journalism program has grown tremendously over the past couple of years, and our students are working in top sports-related jobs across the country.”
120 qualified students have been selected to participate in small-group career conversations comprised of five students each.
The event also will be opened up to all MSU students at 5:30 p.m. for a Q & A session with Maier and Bouffard.
“Any information they tell you about qualities, number of internships, etc., puts you ahead of anyone else who doesn’t go to the session,” Dickerson said.
The ESPN team also will be speaking with student group leaders from the Future Leaders in Sports and Entertainment and the Michigan State Chapter of the Association of Women in Sports Media.
Kim Popiolek, communications manager for the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, hopes the event will bring positive outcomes for the future.
“ESPN is coming here because of the quality of our education and students,” Popiolek said. “We are hoping it will be a good experience for both them and the students, and that they will return next year.”
By Micaela Colonna
Last updated: 10/28/13 9:44pm
On June 11, 2012, the trial accusing former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky of sexually assaulting more than a half-dozen young boys began and implied that other university officials allegedly covered up the scandal.
One year later, the number of victims has significantly increased, and a settlement was made on Monday.
It was decided by the Board of Trustees of Pennsylvania State University that $59.7 million dollars funded by the University will be split between the 26 victims.
The settlements, along with other defense claims, will be funded through the University’s many liability insurance policies, not through student tuition, donations and taxpayer funds.
“We hope this is another step forward in the healing process for those hurt by Mr. Sandusky, and another step forward for Penn State,” said Penn State President Rodney Erickson in a university release. “We cannot undo what has been done, but we can and must do everything possible to learn from this and ensure it never happens again at Penn State.”
Taking into consideration recommendations from the Pennsylvania Auditor General, Penn State University Faculty Senate and the Freeh Report, Penn State has made more than 115 modifications within the past year. These changes, imposed by the Board of Trustees, faculty and administration, include, but are not limited to, safety, security, human resources and governance.
“We have made great strides, but a great deal of work remains,” Erickson said. “Our university is a better institution today as a result of the work and dedication of our trustees, administrators, faculty, staff and students.”
By Olivia Dimmer
Last updated: 10/21/13 12:47pm
Women’s cross country
The women’s cross country team placed fourth at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational over the weekend. Amidst 37 teams, the No. 9 MSU women’s cross country team was led to their strong finish by RS junior Leah O’Connor, who came in at 20:13 for 22nd overall, the best time of her career.
Four other Spartans clocked a career-best time, including redshirt freshman Rachele Schulist (20:18) who finished in 25th place, sophomore Katie Landwehr (20:36) and sophomore Lindsey Clark (20:37) who came in at 44th and 46th, respectively. Redshirt freshman Shelby Jackson also had a career-best time of 20:47 and finished 63rd.
The Spartans will close out their regular season as they travel to Dexter, Mich., on Friday, Oct. 25th for the EMU Fall Classic.
Three Spartans will be participating in the final stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament, slated for Dec. 4-8 in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Christine Meier, along with former All-Americans Laura Kueny and Caroline Powers, all placed in the top 80 in the second stage, advancing them to the third and final round.
Powers, MSU’s all-time record holder for career scoring average (74.26) and single-season average (73.53), was tied at 18th place with a 2-under-par 286 (74-70-71-71). Tied at 80th was Meier with a 6-over 294 (71-73-77-73), qualifying for the final stage as an amateur.
Kueny, who won her first pro victory with the Symetra Classic on May 11 in Charlotte, N.C, will be joining the two at the Champions and Legends courses when the tournament is set to take place.
The MSU men’s tennis team finished out their weekend at the ITA Midwest Regional Championships in Columbus, Ohio with a loss. Last Spartan standing senior Aaron Pfister moved on to Sunday’s competition after beating Alex Jesse of Illinois 6-1, 7-6, and winning in the third round against Ohio State’s Kevin Metka 6-4, 6-4.
Although Pfister advanced, he lost in straight sets to Ohio State’s Peter Kobelt on Sunday.
MSU junior Harry Jadun lost to Western Michigan’s Nadin Indre 6-2, 6-4 in the second round. Senior Drew Lied beat Cleveland State’s Matt Kuelker 7-6, 6-3 but then lost to Indre in the third round 7-5, 6-0.
In the doubles main draw, Pfister and junior Gijs Linders defeated Cleveland State’s Ali Shabib and Joe VanMeter in the second round 8-3, but were defeated by Tim Kopinski and Ross Guignon from Illinois in the third round 8-6.
The Spartans hopefully will recoup their losses as they head to the Big Ten Indoors on Friday, Oct. 25 in West Lafayette, Ind.
By Omari Sankofa II
Last updated: 10/16/13 12:41pm
Following two key performances in MSU field hockey’s weekend sweep, junior back Jenni Smith has been named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week.
Smith scored her first two goals of the season in Friday’s 3-2 double-overtime thriller over then-No. 16 Michigan and contributed an assist in the 8-0 shutout of Ball State on Sunday.
Smith was a key member of MSU’s defense in the dominating Sunday performance that held Ball State to four shots and zero goals scored.
Last weekend, the field hockey team (7-7 overall) won two straight games in one weekend for the first time this season and improved to 3-0 in Big Ten play with the win over Michigan.
Smith shares the honor with Penn State’s Brittany Grzywacz.
Smith is the first MSU field hockey player to earn the honor since then-junior Molly Cassidy accomplished the feat on Oct. 9, 2012.
The reigning Co-Defensive Player of the Week honorees will face each other Saturday, when the field hockey team travels to Penn State to take on the Nittany Lions (10-3 overall, 3-0 Big Ten). The Spartans and Nittany Lions are currently the last two undefeated teams left in Big Ten play.
By Derek Blalock, Olivia Dimmer
Last updated: 10/14/13 1:54pm
The MSU women’s tennis team participated in the ITA Midwest Regional Championship in Ann Arbor, Mich. over the weekend, but the Spartans were knocked out early in the six-day tournament.
Senior Marina Bohrer received a first-round bye, but lost in the second round of the singles tournament. Bohrer was the last hope for the women’s tennis team as sophomore Emily Meyers, freshman Athena Trouillot and senior Olga Chernova all lost in the singles qualifying round Thursday.
As a doubles pair, Meyers and junior Julianne Gruber lost in the second round of the doubles tournament. Trouillot and Bohrer also lost in the second round of the doubles tournament on Friday.
The Spartans will return on Oct. 26 to East Lansing when they will host the Green and White Invitational.
The MSU women’s golf team tied at 13th place at the Tar Heel Invitational in Chapel Hill, N.C., over the weekend. The Spartans had a total score of 890 spanning the three rounds.
Two players graced the top 20, senior Liz Nagel was tied at 14th place with a total score of 217 and freshman Kelly Grassel tied at 19th place with a total score of 218.
At the start of the three-day tournament, the Spartans were tied at 15th place. The team then moved up the ranks to 14th place on Saturday and ended the competition tied at 13th place with Mississippi.
Nagel has been the top golfer for the Spartans so far this year. She won the first tournament of the year in mid-September and placed fifth at the Mason Rudolph Championship in Franklin, Tenn., on Sept. 22.
With no tournament this weekend, MSU will travel back to North Carolina on Oct. 25 to compete in the Landfall Tradition in the team’s final competition of the fall.
Both the women and men’s cross country teams had another strong showing Saturday at the Michigan Intercollegiate Championships hosted by Hillsdale College.
The women finished second at the meet with 63 points. The men also finished second in their field and had 75 points for the day.
Sophomore Andrew Cusmano finished second in the 8,000-meter run with a time of 25:56.77.
Redshirt freshman Joe Oehrli and sophomore Reed Payant were the other Spartans to finish in the top 20 in the fourth meet of the fall. Oehrli finished with a time of 26:51.42 and Payant finished in 27:05.15.
The women placed four in the top 20. Freshman Natalie Smith placed second in the women’s 5,000-meter run with a time of 18:30.60. Freshman Molly Jeakle came in shortly after in 10th place with a time of 19:07.94.
Senior Meggan Freeland placed 14th with a time of 19:12.24 just ahead of junior Devan John who finished with a time of 19:13.75.