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Tuesday Tidbits

October 19, 2010

Courtney Calka was named the MAC Runner of the Week last week.

Sophomore Courtney Calka was named the MAC Runner of the Week last week. Calka has led the EMU women’s cross country team in every outing since she arrived last year, has thrice finished in first place overall this fall, and set a personal record (5 km in 17:16.0) at the Michigan Intercollegiate on 10/8/10.

The EMU men’s and women’s cross country teams ran in the Penn State National Invitational on Saturday. The men finished in sixth place, led by Terefe Ejigu, who finished the race in first place, while the women finished in 11th place, led by — you guessed it! — Courtney Calka, who finished seventh overall. This race featured some of the top runners and teams in the country, including defending NCAA national champion Villanova (favored to repeat this fall), so a top-1o finish in this race is very respectable.

Next up for both the men and women is the EMU Fall Classic, this Saturday at Hudson Mills Metropark near Dexter.

Speaking of runners, former EMU runner Jordan Desilets won the Detroit Free Press Marathon on Sunday. At mile 22, Desilets was in second place, behind another former EMU runner, Boaz Cheboiywo, but Cheboiywo had struggled with cramps for several miles and, unhappy with his pace, withdrew from the race. Desilets’ time of 2:28:30 was the slowest ever for a men’s winner in this race. Jordan Desilets won the NCAA Division I 3,000-meter steeplechase in 2004, and Cheboiywo was the NCAA I 10,000-meters outdoor champion in 2002.

Arguably EMU’s most successful athletic team of this fall, the volleyball team, has landed a commitment for next year from Megan Crenshaw. Crenshaw, a senior middle blocker at Mattawan High School (32-9; 4-0 Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference) leads her team with 330 kills and 41 aces so far this year. According to her coach, Michelle DeGroote, “She has a different touch on the ball, which gives her opportunities…She’s tall, and she jumps very well. She contacts the ball at a higher point and does not necessarily has a lot of power, but her placement is excellent.” The volleyball team has just two seniors this year (Jenn Swartz, Joi McKenzie) and they both play middle blocker, so Crenshaw will fill an obvious hole and should enable the team to continue their winning ways into next year and beyond.

Friday, the EMU volleyball team defeated Miami 3-1, their first win over the RedHawks since 2005. Saturday they finished their five-game homestand with a 3-0 win over Bowling Green. With a 19-6 record, 6-2 in the MAC, and eight games remaining, the Eagles are in a three-way tie for second in the West Division (and second overall) with Ball State and Western Michigan. The Eagles will spend the next two weeks on the road. This weekend they’ll face Buffalo (14-10; 2-6 MAC) on Friday and MAC East leader Akron (13-7; 5-3 MAC) on Saturday.

In other volleyball news, EMU head volleyball coach Kim Berrington was inducted into the Concordia University Hall of Fame on Saturday. Prior to arriving at EMU as the head coach in 1996, Berrington was Concordia’s head coach for four years, during which time she established their program as a national power. In 1995, her team earned Concordia’s first-ever national ranking, and finished the season as National Christian College Athletic Association national runners-up.

The Oakland Post notes that EMU has the greatest number of international student-athletes of all “prominent Michigan universities”. Oakland University is second, with 29 foreign student-athletes in their 13 varsity sports, while EMU boasts of 41 in 19 varsity sports; on a per-sport basis, Oakland University has more.

After securing a MAC tournament spot with their win over Northern Illinois on Friday, the soccer team only managed a 1-1 tie with Western Michigan on Senior Day. With EMU in third place and Western Michigan in fifth place, a win Sunday probably have put EMU three games ahead with three games left, and all but ensured that EMU would play their opening round of the MAC tournament at home on October 31. Instead, the Eagles are ahead two games with three games left to play, and two of EMU’s three games are against Toledo (12-2-2; 8-0-0 MAC) and Central Michigan (11-3-1; 8-0-0 MAC). Also, Monique Budani managed seven saves, leaving her just one save shy of the EMU single season record of 126.

MAC wrestling pre-season polls have been released, and the EMU wrestlers are expected to improve slightly over last year. In the MAC wrestling championship in March 2010, EMU finished sixth of six MAC wrestling teams; the Eagles are expected to overtake Northern Illinois for fifth place. Seven individual EMU wrestlers are expected to finish in the top four for their classes. Central Michigan, who won the MAC last year with five individual champions and two runners-up, has been picked to repeat.

The EMU rowing team opened their fall schedule with a ninth and a 15th place finish among 18 boats at the Occoquan Chase in Lorton, Virginia. Their next competition will be the Head of the Hooch Regatta, November 6 and 7 in Roswell, Georgia.

In Jeff Sagarin’s latest ranking, EMU football ranks 117th out of the 120 FBS teams (ahead of North Texas, New Mexico, and Akron), and 178th out of the 245 Division I teams. In the intial BCS rankings, the Eagles are 114th out of 120 (ahead of Duke, Washington State, San Jose State, Western Kentucky, New Mexico, and Akron).

As expected, EMU’s first football win in nearly two years resulted in some individual awards. Collegefootballperformance.com named sophomore tight end Garrett Hoskins an honorable mention tight end of the week, while picking senior Ben Thayer as national tight end of the week. They also named Alex Gillett an honorable mention for quarterback of the week. Gillett was also named the MAC Player of the Week by rivals.com, and the conference designated him the MAC West Division Offensive Player of the Week.

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