Things are going swimmingly for Mavs

Freshmen jump at chance to swim in college

QUICKREAD

MAV WATCH

Women’s Soccer

The Mavericks found their offense last week, but their defense slipped as Mesa split a pair of games.

Mesa State (7-5-0, 4-4-0 RMAC) will need to be on its game on both ends when it hosts sixth-ranked Metro State (11-1-0, 8-0-0 RMAC) at 7 p.m. on Friday at Walker Field. Defender Marissa Cascio received a red card in Mesa’s last game and will not play.

The Mavericks are ranked seventh in the first NCAA Division II Central Region poll of the season, but could move into the top six with victories over Metro and Adams State (3-9-0, 1-7-0 RMAC) at 2 p.m. Sunday in Alamosa. Mesa hosts Fort Lewis at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

The Roadrunners have won nine consecutive matches, including two in overtime. They are led by Becca Mays, who has 15 goals in 10 games. The top six teams in the region receive NCAA playoff berths.

MEN’S SOCCER

Mesa State (2-8-1, 2-4-0 RMAC) plays its two toughest road matches of the season this weekend when it visits Metro State (3:30 p.m., Friday) and 8th-ranked Fort Lewis (noon, Sunday).

Metro State (6-4-1, 3-2-1 RMAC) is ranked third in the first NCAA Central Region poll and the Skyhawks (9-1-0, 6-0-0 RMAC) are ranked first. Mesa is not ranked.

The Mavericks head into the matches getting more offensive production with three goals in their last two matches after scoring three goals in the previous eight matches.

VOLLEYBALL

THE MAVERICKS (9-8, 7-1 RMAC) ARE HEADING INTO THEIR TOUGHEST STRETCH OF CONFERENCE MATCHES, WITH THREE ROAD MATCHES THIS WEEK. TODAY, MESA STATE PLAYS AT REGIS UNIVERSITY (9-7, 7-1), WHICH IS IN SECOND PLACE IN THE EAST DIVISION AND EARLIER THIS SEASON KNOCKED OFF NATIONALLY RANKED METRO STATE. FRIDAY, MESA PLAYS AT COLORADO CHRISTIAN (4-13, 1-7) BEFORE TAKING ON METRO STATE (12-4, 5-3), WHICH IS RANKED 18TH IN THIS WEEK’S AMERICAN VOLLEYBALL COACHES ASSOCIATION POLL, SATURDAY EVENING. FIFTH-RANKED NEBRASKA-KEARNEY COMES TO GRAND JUNCTION ON OCT. 16.

MIDDLE HITTER LINDSEY JEFFERSON IS GETTING CLOSER TO RETURNING TO THE FLOOR — A HIGH ANKLE SPRAIN HAS HAD THE 6-FOOT-2 JUNIOR OUT SINCE THE FIRST MATCH OF THE SEASON. SHE RETURNED TO PRACTICE LAST WEEK AND SUITED UP LAST WEEKEND BUT DID NOT PLAY.

CROSS COUNTRY

THE 10TH-RANKED MAVERICKS GO FOR THEIR THIRD TEAM TITLE IN FOUR RACES SATURDAY IN THE TOM STRANDT MEMORIAL HOSTED BY FORT LEWIS COLLEGE IN DURANGO.

MESA STATE WON THE WESTERN STATE OPEN TWO WEEKS AGO AND THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SHOOTOUT SMALL COLLEGE DIVISION LAST WEEK. COACH GIG LEADBETTER IS GIVING SOME OF HIS RUNNERS THE OPTION TO COMPETE OR TAKE THE WEEKEND OFF SINCE THIS IS THEIR THIRD CONSECUTIVE WEEK WITH A MEET. THE TOM STRANDT MEMORIAL IS THE MAVERICKS’ LAST MEET UNTIL THE RMAC CHAMPIONSHIPS ON OCT. 24 IN DENVER.



Alex Rogers and Kelly Hogan knew they liked Colorado.

An opportunity to go to college and compete in an intercollegiate sport helped them decide to enroll at Mesa State College.

The two freshmen are among 29 new faces competing on the Mesa State men’s and women’s swimming teams this season. The Mavericks compete against Colorado School of Mines at 6 p.m. on Friday in Golden. Mesa competes in the University of Denver Relays on Saturday.

Rogers came out to visit a friend who moved to Grand Junction, met a girl and decided to move to River City.

“I didn’t come here with the goal of swimming,” he said. “I enrolled in school, found out they had a men’s team in its first year. I decided ‘let’s give it a try.’ “

The 23-year-old from Aiken, S.C., admitted he joined the team out of shape, but is motivated to compete to make him a better coach one day. He swims the individual medley and breaststroke.

“I want to coach and competing in college adds clout to what I say,” Rogers said. “Hopefully, I’ll get down to where I was. If I go beyond that, it will be amazing.”

Hogan, 18, of Crystal Lake, Ill., wanted to go to college in Colorado.

“I’ve been coming here with family skiing since I was 4 years old,” she said. “I wanted to swim, but I didn’t want to go Division I.”

Hogan received some athletic scholarship money, making it an easy choice.

“That’s what brought me here,” she said. “I like it here. I don’t want to leave Colorado. I love snowboarding.”

The middle-distance freestyler is one of eight freshmen on a Mesa team with 11 returning swimmers from last year’s RMAC runner-up, including 200-yard individual medley RMAC champion Katie Wedel. The others are Jessica Cort, Denby Gardiner, Sarah Hagerstrom, Gina Panacci, Madeline Morris, Kristen Peterson, Alex Delegeane, Brittany Linder, Jaclyn and Jordan McMillen.

Megan Takakura and Karoline Fry return, but are redshirting this year with knee and shoulder injuries, respectively.

“We have six or seven swimmers faster than our second person last year,” Mesa State coach Brian Pearson said. “Katie was overlooked a bit (on the RMAC preseason team), but I’m confident she’ll be one of the top swimmers in the RMAC.”

Freshmen Rebecca Reed, Rachel Bailey, Samantha Bright and Danielle Shabelski could make significant contributions as well.

The women are picked to finish third, but Pearson believes they can compete for the title with freshman divers Annie Rhoades and Kaci Winemiller.

“It will be a barn-burner,” Pearson said. “If we can keep Annie Rhoades on board, we have a legitimate shot. It will come down to relays and depth. If we’re third with lifetime bests, so be it.”

The men are picked to finish last in the RMAC by the coaches, but Pearson is confident they can do better, even with 21 freshmen on the 25-man roster.

“The men are a work in progress,” he said. “There are several other guys with untapped talents.

“I think we can make a run for third. I think we can give Texas-Permian Basin a run and, because of our depth, can beat Grand Canyon.”

Juniors Marshall Thurmon and Randy Fred bring some leadership and experience to the team. They competed in several meets last year as club status.


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