David Hagen
dmhagen@txwes.edu

Texas Wesleyan various sports teams have been busy over the last few weeks with some teams starting their respective seasons and other teams finishing their current campaigns.
The women’s basketball team got underway in early November and is currently 3-4 and in the last game Takoia Larry had a career high and a double-double to boast from Kashay Barnes to earn a 74-69 win at No. 22 nationally Wiley College.
The Lady Rams already have surprised a few teams early on in the season, and head coach Bill Franey has been impressed. “This win was a real team effort,” he said. “The girls just wouldn’t quit. It took both defense and execution to beat a well-coached ranked team that had a big crowd behind them. This is a win the girls will savor.”
The men’s team has also had a solid start at 3-1, the only loss came against Our Lady of the Lake by a tightly-fought 107-102 score. In their last game and a 71-60 win over Paul Quinn College, the Rams outshot the Tigers 50-35.6 percent from the floor and 52.4-28 from three-point distance.
Texas Wesleyan also dominated the glass 47-26, and Jones finished with a team-high 17 points to go with seven rebounds. Jorge Redmon posted 15 points, and Rilwan Bakare finished with nine points and nine boards.
Coach Brennen Shingleton’s motto: “Just play as hard as they can play and become a team has guided the Rams and gotten them and helped in the early season.
On the flip side of things, the Wesleyan women’s soccer team (12-5-2) suffered a 2-0 loss at 18th- ranked Oklahoma City University (15-4) in semifinal action of the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament Nov. 12 in near freezing conditions in Oklahoma City.
The Lady Rams came out as the aggressor in a game where OCU outshot Wesleyan 8-3 in the first half, but the score held at just 1-0 at the break.
“I’m proud of our girls,” said head coach Josh Gibbs. “We were shorthanded, but they kept fighting to the bitter end. It is so sad to say goodbye to two of the greats in Jess [Watton] and Leah [Valtman]. They are giants in this program and it has been a true honor to be their coach.”
The Texas Wesleyan men’s soccer (13-6-1) team had similar fortune in a Nov. 11 game as their season ended in the SAC tournament semi-final conference match with a 1-0 loss to St. Gregory’s University (10-7-1) at Martin Field. Earlier the Rams defeated Oklahoma City U. 3-0 on Nov. 8 in the first postsesason SAC event ever on the Wesleyan campus.
The two teams paid tribute Nov. 11 to U.S. veterans who served and continue to serve our country during the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner.”
The teams also played as evenly as any game at Martin Field all year, with Wesleyan controlling the ball and having clearer chances in the first half before the teams went into halftime tied 0-0.
But the second half started off poorly for the Rams as they conceded a goal just after the break that they never recovered from. Even with the Rams throwing everything forward on both sides, SGU emerged with a hard-fought 1-0 win.
The women’s volleyball team has finished the regular season strongly by making the field for the SAC tournament. The tournament was hosted by Oklahoma Baptist University Nov. 15-16.
Wesleyan (18-17 overall entering postseason, 10-6 SAC) was the third seed and took on sixth-seeded Southwestern Assemblies of God University (15-15) in the opening round Nov. 15. The Rams and Lions split a pair of meetings this season with both teams winning on their home floors. SAGU won 3-1 in Waxahachie on Oct. 10. The Lady Rams took a 3-1 Senior Night win in the Sid Richardson Center on Nov. 8. Texas Wesleyan also led the all-time series between the two programs 20-6 prior to the postseason match.
Moving on to the Texas Wesleyan women’s cross country team who, the group will make its fourth straight appearance in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national championship on Saturday, Nov. 23. The Association announced the field of 32 teams and qualifying individuals last on Nov. 11.
After a second-place finish in the Sooner Athletic Conference Championship on Nov. 9, the Rams fell to No. 19 in the NAIA Coaches’ Poll. That was enough to secure the eighth of nine at-large bids to the national meet.
In its fourth season, the Wesleyan program has never failed to reach the national meet. Yazmin Hernandez became the first Ram to run at the meet in 2011. The following two seasons, the Lady Rams qualified as the Red River Athletic Conference champion and finished 28th in 2011 and 24th in 2012 as a team. Jessica Davis posted the best individual finish for a Texas Wesleyan runner last season when she placed 30th among 320 runners with a time of 18:50.
This season, the Rams have posted six top-five finishes in seven meets, including three team wins. The lone anomaly was an eighth-place finish in the University Division of Oklahoma State University’s Cowboy Jamboree.
The 2013 championship field includes 32 teams and another 103 qualifying individuals. Three SAC squads will be making the trip. No. 10 Oklahoma Baptist received an automatic bid as the SAC champion while No. 16 Oklahoma City U. received an at-large bid. The meet will be held at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan. The women’s 5,000-meter race is scheduled to begin at 11:45 a.m.
The Rams’ men’s cross country also finished the season with a seventh-place team finish at its inaugural SAC championship Nov. 9 at Shawnee, Okla. Ryan Yazzie finished the 8K course in 27:28 for 23rd place as the Rams’ top competitor.
With the baseball season fast approaching the NAIA has released its 2014 Preseason Baseball Coaches’ poll, and the Texas Wesleyan squad checked in at No. 20.
The Rams are coming off a 42-18 campaign in 2013. The team finished as the Red River Athletic Conference tournament runner-up and advanced to the final of the National Tournament Opening Round before falling on the road to the No. 1 team in the country and eventual NAIA champion Faulkner. The Rams will be hoping to do just as well in the new SAC campaign.
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