Clarksville, TN – With the calendar changing from 2016 to 2017 this week let’s look back at the past 12 months and the accomplishments of the Governors Athletic Department this past year.
Things got rolling at the end of February when the men’s and women’s basketball teams both made the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament.
Earning a stop in the tournament ended a three-year postseason drought for the men’s basketball team.
But making the tournament didn’t end there for the men’s team, as they made conference history by becoming the first eighth seed to win four straight games in four days to come away with the tournament title and the automatic berth into the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
Although they lost their opening-round game to the tournament’s top-seed Kansas, 105-79, the point total scored by the Govs was the fourth most given up by the Jayhawks last season in 38 games.
Heading the basketball individual honors was senior center Chris Horton, who was named to the All-OVC First Team and All-OVC Tournament Team as the tournament’s MVP.
He was joined on the all-tournament team by Jared Savage and Josh Robinson, who was named to the All-OVC regular-season Second Team.
For the women’s team, senior point guard Tiasha Gray was named to the All-OVC First-Team for the second straight season.
The women’s indoor track and field team had two gold-medal efforts in the OVC championships, with Kymmalett Ross winning the 55-meter dash and Dascha Hix winning the pole vault.
Moving into the spring sports, APSU’s baseball team returned to the postseason after a two-year hiatus under new head coach Travis Janssen – finishing with a 34-23 overall record, including a 21-9 mark in OVC play.
The Govs men’s and women’s tennis teams also reached the postseason, with the women’s team ending a two-year run of not making the OVC Tournament.
Heading individual honors for the tennis teams were the twin sister Lidia and Claudia Yanes Garcia – who were named First-Team All-OVC – with Lidia becoming the first women’s tennis player in OVC history to also be named the conference’s Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year in the same season.
Almantos Ozelis was a Second-Team All-OVC selection on the men’s side.
The Govs women’s golf team and softball team both placed athletes on All-OVC squads, with golf’s Jessica Cathey named all-conference, Taylor Goodley to the all-newcomer team and Morgan Kauffman to the all-tournament team.
Softball would have two players earn conference honors, with Danielle Liermann becoming the first APSU softball player to earn both All-OVC First-Team honors, while being named the OVC Freshman of the Year; while Kacy Acree was named to the all-newcomers team.
The women’s outdoor track and field team posted a solid third-place finish at their championships, with the 4×400 meter relay team and Savanah Amato (pole vault) winning gold in their events.
Finally, the spring semester saw the athletic department announce the addition of its 16th sport, with the university starting a beach volleyball team which will play its opening season in the Spring of 2017.
And finally wrapping up 2016 in the recently finished fall semester, the Govs soccer and volleyball teams made returns to the postseason, with volleyball advancing to the semifinals, while soccer lost in the opening round of their tournament to the eventual soccer champion SIUE on penalty kicks after playing to a scoreless tie.
Soccer’s Mary Ruth Locastro was named to the All-OVC First-Team, Kristin Robertson to the Second-Team and Pamela Penaloza to the all-newcomer team.
Volleyball would put together a historic season with 24 wins — the fourth most in school history — and post the fifth-best improvement in NCAA Division I by going from 10-22 in 2015 to 24-11 this fall.
And finally, football showed much improvement on the offensive side setting a school record for all-purpose yards, with 5,382, and the most points scored in nine years with 259.
The Govs also had four players earn All-OVC honors, with Jared Beard (wide receiver), Gunnar Scholato (linebacker) and Kyran Moore (return specialist) taking Second-Team honors, while Kentel Williams (running back) was recognized with a spot on the All-Newcomer Team.