With the fall and winter sports seasons at SSU officially summarized, the final wrap-up will be over the spring sports season.
Outdoor Track and Field
The Shawnee State outdoor track and field program sent three members of the squad to the NAIA National Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala. Anna Havranek (JR/Sugarcreek, Ohio) was SSU’s top competitor at the event, being named an All-American by finishing second in the 10,000-meter run.
Havranek put the cherry on top of what was an outstanding season for the junior by becoming the Mid-South Conference champion in both the 5000-meter run and the 10,000-meter run, while Shawnee State’s 4-by-800 meter relay team of Brooke Smith (SO/Wheelersburg, Ohio), Ashley Hackworth (FR/West Union, Ohio), Lindsey Krause (FR/Pickaway County, Ohio) and Alyssa Taylor (SO/Georgetown, Ohio) won the conference championship. Megan Ashton (SR/Proctorville, Ohio) was the Mid-South champion in the 3000-meter steeplechase, and Brooke Smith won the gold in the 1500-meter run.
Meanwhile, Shawnee State’s men sent two competitors to the National Championships. Seth Farmer (SO/Waverly, Ohio) qualified for the Gulf Shores meet in the 1500-meter run, while Adrian Ross (SR/Chillicothe, Ohio) finished 11th in the 3000-meter steeplechase. Shawnee State’s men also had multiple conference champions this season. Farmer won the 1500-meter, Parker Blain (JR/Marietta, Ohio) won the 3000-meter steeplechase, Owen Reeher (FR/Kinsman, Ohio) won the 10,000-meter run, and the Bears’ 4×800 meter relay team of Ross, Farmer, Blain, and Ethan Richter (JR/Chillicothe, Ohio) were league champions.
Shawnee State also brought in a load of academic awards as well, as nine men and nine women were named Academic All-MSC. Ashton, Cara Dillon, and Havranek all won the Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athlete award for the women, and Ross, Chad McComas (JR/Proctorville, Ohio), Andrew Polanco (JR/Woodbridge, N.J.), and Mark Scout (SR) did so for the men.
After a poor 2016 season, Shawnee State softball took a huge step forward in Steve Whittaker’s second year at the helm. The team went 24-24, a 13-win improvement from the previous season, including a 12-12 mark in the Mid-South Conference.
SSU started the season with a 6-3 record at the Cocoa Beach Spring Training Tournament in Florida. Despite a four game home sweep by Campbellsville, SSU continued the good start by splitting a home doubleheader with Georgetown, followed by winning three of four from Cumberlands (Ky.). Shawnee State continued to hover around .500 for most of the year. The Bears ultimately finished in fourth place in the Mid-South, three spots better than the predicted seventh place finish. The season would feature season sweeps of Pikeville and Cumberland (Tenn.).
The Bears had two players named first team All-Mid-South Conference, as Marisa Brown (SO/Liberty Township, Ohio) and Ashtyn Saunders (FR/Lancaster, Ohio) would earn the honors for their play over the course of the season. Kayla Koch (JR/Lucasville, Ohio) and Brooke Blevins (FR/Frankfort, Ohio) were named to the second team.
In addition to those awards, Shawnee State also had a team record nine players named as Academic All-MSC selections. Of those nine, Brianna Brewster (JR/Springboro, Ohio), Kayla Koch JR (Lucasville, Ohio), Miranda Melvin (SR/Oak Hill, Ohio) and Miranda Pauley (SR/Portsmouth, Ohio) were all named Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athletes at the end of the season.
Shawnee State baseball battled youth and inconsistency throughout the course of the 2017 season as the Bears would finish 14-35, with a 6-12 mark in the Mid-South Conference to finish sixth in the league. SSU obtained wins over Missouri Baptist, Faulkner, Lindsey Wilson, Georgia Gwinnett, and Cumberlands (Ky.) over the course of the 2017 campaign.
SSU’s Derek Moore (SR/Wheelersburg, Ohio) was honored with the Mid-South Conference’s Champions of Character award. The senior pitcher from Wheelersburg wrapped up an outstanding career for the Bears, leading Shawnee State baseball’s career lists in multiple categories, and added to that excellence in both the classroom and in the community. Tyler Straley (JR/Uniontown, Ohio) was named second team All-Mid-South Conference, and Brandon Reaman (SR/Dayton, Ohio) was a recipient of a MSC Gold Glove for his play in the outfield.
Shawnee State also set a team record with nine players named Academic All-MSC this past season. Of those nine, JT Boggs (JR/South Shore, Ky.) and Casey Claflin (JR/Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio) earned Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athlete awards.
Shawnee State saw the beginning of a new era as Dave Hopkins took over the golf program for his first season, and also took over the reins of the Shawnee State women’s golf program as they entered their first season of competition.
Dagan Abdon (SO/Greenup County, Ky.) was the standout individual for Shawnee State this year. The sophomore from Greenup County won two home tournaments this year and led the Shawnee State men to a tournament championship in the Roger Merb Spring Invitational at Elks Country Club. Abdon was named second team All-Mid-South Conference at the end of the season.
Both the men’s and women’s golf programs had two Academic All-MSC honorees, as Marshal Hall (JR/Zanesville, Ohio) and AJ Hamilton earned those honors for the men, and Margot Current (JR/Circleville, Ohio) and Victoria Walker (SO/Meigs County, Ohio) earned them for the SSU women.
The Shawnee State tennis programa also had a first year head coach as Steve Boone took over the program in time for the 2017 season to guide the Shawnee State men’s tennis program into a new era, while the SSU women showed marked improvement under the direction of the Mason native.
The SSU men got the program off to a good start by winning its first match against Mount Vernon Nazarene on February 18. The team followed that win up with a second win against Ohio Christian on March 22, and then defeated Alice Lloyd (Ky.) for their third win of the year as the group ended the season 3-11 overall.
Shawnee State’s women also opened the season well, getting three straight wins to open the year, including a 5-4 victory over Pikeville (Ky.). SSU, however, would struggle down the stretch, and also finished the season with a 3-11 mark.
Shawnee State’s women put six players on the Academic All-MSC list, with Abby Brinkman (JR/Troy, Ohio), Kendi Congrove (SR/Chillicothe, Ohio), Mykalley Detty (JR/Washington Court House, Ohio), Adrianna Johnson (FR/Clarksville, Ohio) (SO/Clarksville, OH), Caleigh O’Neal (SO/Greenup, Kentucky) and Kathleen Singer (JR/Minford, Ohio) earning honors this season. Congrove, Detty, and Singer also obtained Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athlete awards to round out their fantastic efforts in the classroom. SSU’s men had Brian Burcheck and Matthew Bryant (JR/Asheville, Ohio) earn MSC All-Academic awards, with Bryant also being named as a NAIA Scholar-Athlete.