The College Report: Earnest named All-American

Another one for the trophy case.

For Jessica Earnest, a Vandalia grad and Vanderbilt University bowler, it was another certificate for her wall. But, this one might mean more than most.

The Vanderbilt sophomore was named to the National Ten Pin Coaches Association All-American team. Earnest was named to the second team and was one of three Vanderbilt bowlers selected.

Earnest, who was the NCAA Division I Rookie of the Year in 2010, bowled in 48 games and finished with an average of 202.5 pins per game to earn the honor. Vanderbilt put one other athlete on the second team, and yet another on the third team.

In the national championships, Vanderbilt finished second overall. In the end, the only team that would top the Commodores was the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, which defeated them 4-2 in a best-of-seven format.

"We did what it took to win and just came up short," said John Williamson, Vanderbilt's head coach. "We battled and fought all week. I told our team that all we wanted was a chance to win, and we definitely had that chance. I am proud of the what this team accomplished."

Vanderbilt defeated the University of Nebraska, 4-1, to earn a spot in the title game. Along the way, the Commodores also vanquished the University of Central Missouri and Arkansas State University. They defeated previously unbeaten Nebraska in an earlier match during the double-elimination tournament.

"The atmosphere out there today was something," Earnest said. "It feels different than other tournaments. It is nerve-racking in the best way. We are having fun. I am so impressed with our bench. They were fabulous."

It was the second-highest finish for the Commodore bowling team. In 2007, the Commodores won the national title.

In the past two weeks, the Blackburn College Beavers have competed in two golf outings. Former Vandalia golfer Dallas Gray had his best outing in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships. He finished sixth in the league championships, shooting a 224 over 54 holes. He improved in each round, finishing with a low round of 71 in the final round. Blackburn finished fourth with a stroke count of 923. The SLIAC team title was won by Webster University, which shot an 886. The SLIAC Championships were held at Forest Park Golf Course in St. Louis.

MacMurray College's Zeke Asher helped the Saints take seventh in the SLIAC Championships. The St. Elmo grad finished 31st with a 266. Asher shot a low round of 82 in the second round. MacMurray finished with a stroke count of 1,053.

South Central grad Spencer Patton, a Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville pitcher, was the pitcher of record as SIUE defeated Murray State University, 4-2. Patton, who worked seven innings, allowed one earned run on six hits. He fanned six and walked four in the contest. In SIUE's 3-0 loss to Indiana State University, Patton, who worked seven innings, allowed two earned runs on two hits. He struck out eight batters and walked two. With the win and the loss, Patton is 5-3. SIUE is 18-20.

Logan Mahon, a St. Elmo product, picked up his third save of the year against St. Louis University. The Southeast Missouri State University senior worked two-thirds of an inning in the 6-4 SEMO win. Mahon fanned one hitter. SEMO is 25-15 overall and 9-5 in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Mulberry Grove graduate Rachel Brewer, a Greenville College softball player, had multiple-hit games against MacMurray and Fontbonne University recently. In Greenville's 17-4 win against MacMurray, Brewer was 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and one walk. Brewer drove home four runs and scored three times. In GC's 10-2 loss to Fontbonne, Brewer was 2-for-3 with a double. Brewer drove home both of Greenville's runs.

South Central graduate Ryan Gesell earned pitching time against Robert Morris University-Springfield and North Central College. Unfortunately for the Millikin Big Blue, they did not win either outing. In the 8-2 loss to the NCC Cardinals, Gesell, who worked one inning, walked one batter. In the 13-1 loss to Robert Morris University-Springfield, Gesell allowed one earned run on two hits in one inning of work. He walked two batters and fanned one. Millikin is 5-24 overall and 1-13 in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin.

Vandalia grad Paige Dodson, a Greenville runner, finished eighth in the 400-meter dash at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Twilight Meet, which was held at William M. Welch Track Complex in Terre Haute, Ind. Dodson finished the race in 1:03.65. She was also 14th in the 200-meter dash, crossing the finish line in 0:29.34. Fellow Greenville runner Ann Githinji took 13th in the 800-meter dash. The former South Central athlete finished the race in 2:29.13. Greenville finished fourth with 81 points. Washington University won the team title with 223 points.

Vandalia grad Rachel Bell finished 36th in the 1,500-meter run at the Jim Duncan Invitational, which was held at Drake University. The Iowa State University Cyclone senior finished the race in 5:21.68. Team scores were not kept.

Illinois College took 20th in the Illinois Wesleyan University Spring Fling, which was held at Ironwood Golf Club in Normal. IC finished with a 409 in the 18-hole tournament. North Central won the outing with a 315. IC's Meagan Wright, a Vandalia grad, finished 108th with a 116.

Kyle Hawkins, a Vandalia grad and a pitcher for the SIUE competitive club team, was recently named the national pitcher of the week by the National Club Baseball Association.

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