Magazine Releases

Marshall Roundup: Tennis signs 2, Track at C-USA, APR good and 7 bowls for C-USA


Marshall, Conference USA releases, edited by Woody Woodrum for Herd Insider

Tennis inks Two for 2017-18

HUNTINGTON — The Marshall women’s tennis team has added a pair of players for the 2017-18 season, head coach John Mercer announced Wednesday. The Herd received national letters of intent from Anna Smith (Venetia, Pa.) and Ana Marhuenda (Almeri’a, Spain).

“Anna and Ana are two players who will immediately help our team both next year and throughout their careers at Marshall. Both have had successful prep careers and we believe that their game will transition well to the collegiate stage,” Mercer said.

Smith is a four-star recruit and is currently ranked 77th in the national recruiting rankings. She is the No. 2 recruit in the state of Pennsylvania.

Smith collected seven wins over blue-chip and five-star prospects in the past year. Smith was a doubles quarterfinalist at the Canadian Junior ITF tournament, a doubles finalist at the USTA National L3 tournament and won the backdraw of the USTA National L3. Smith’s sister Stephanie is a rising senior for the Herd.

Marhuenda currently plays for Club de Tennis El Ejido, where she has been a five-time regional club champion in Andalusia. She is a two-time regional champion and a two-time regional finalist in Andalusia.

Marhuenda was previously a finalist in the under-16 Mutua Madrid Open and was a finalist in the National Young Promises Open in Spain.

Marshall finished the 2017 season with a 14-10 record. The Herd defeated four opponents from Power Five conferences along with Big South Conference champion Winthrop. The Herd was ranked as high as 37th this season and featured a pair of ranked singles players (Maddie Silver and Derya Turhan) along with a ranked doubles team (Turhan and Anna Pomyatinskaya) for parts of the season. Turhan was also the runner-up in the singles and doubles brackets at the ITA Atlantic Regional.

MUTRK 2012 starting blocks

HerdTFXC Prepares for Conference USA Championships

HUNTINGTON — The Marshall University track and field team heads to El Paso, Texas for the 2017 Conference USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The meet takes place at Kidd Field-Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas-El Paso.

The four-day meet begins Thursday at 4:45 ET with the beginning of the multi-event heptathlon. Live results and video stream can be found at the “championship central” link, Championship Central.

A full performance list can be found here, Performance List. Below is a list of scheduled competitors for Marshall, and the meet itself is here, Meet Schedule. All times listed are in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).


Heptathlon (4:45 p.m.–Continues Friday at 6:30 p.m.) Sarah Bever, Torie Derrow


Hammer Throw (12:00 p.m.) Hasana Clark, Mercedes Dowell, Ericka Budd


Field Events

Discus Throw (3:00 p.m.) Elena Marchand

Long Jump (5:30 p.m.) Lauren George

Running Events—Prelims with finals taking place Sunday unless noted otherwise

1500 Meter Prelims (7:00 p.m.) Taylor Craigo, Madeline Armstrong, Meagen Carter, Samantha Graffius

100 Meter Hurdles Prelims (7:35 p.m.) Safiyyah Mitchell, Hannah Carreon, Danielle Wright

400 Meter Prelims (8:10 p.m.) Danere’a White, Breanna Hargrove

100 Meter Prelims (8:45 p.m.) Hope Julmiste, Kametra Byrd, Kayla Haywood

800 Meter Prelims (9:20 p.m.) Barkley Castro, Mary Zulauf

400 Meter Hurdles Prelims (9:50 p.m.) Christianna Dogan

200 Meter Prelims (10:25 p.m.) Andrea Chidester

3000 Meter Steeplechase Final (11:00 p.m.) Andrea Porter


Field Events

Triple Jump (5:00 p.m.) Antonique Butler, Denisha West

Javelin Throw (5:00 p.m.) Alexis Montes, Heidi Heiniger, Torie Derrow

High Jump (7:30 p.m.) Sarah Bever, Torie Derrow

Shot Put (7:30 p.m.) Elena Marchand, Hasana Clark, Ericka Budd

Running Events—Potential Qualifiers for finals from Saturday’s prelims not listed

4×100 Meter Relay Final (6:30 p.m.) Team of Kametra Byrd, Hope Julmiste, Safiyyah Mitchell, Kayla Haywood

5,000 Meter Final (8:50 p.m.) Meagen Carter, Andrea Porter, Samantha Graffius, Taylor Craigo

4×400 Meter Relay Final (9:45 p.m.) Team of Christianna Dogan, Breanna Hargrove, Safiyyah Mitchell, Danere’a White

“The girls are super excited to be headed to El Paso, Texas for the Conference USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships,” head coach Jeff Small said. “They are looking forward to competing in a historic stadium with great weather against some of the greatest track and field athletes in the world.”

Follow the team on Twitter @HerdTFXC for coverage all weekend long as the team travels to and competes in El Paso, Texas for the Conference USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.


Herd, national APR scores are up

By Marshall Athletics/NCAA/C-USA

HUNTINGTON — The NCAA has released Academic Progress Rates from the 2015-16 year. According to the NCAA, APR scores have improved for a 12th straight year, setting another all-time Academic Process Rate of 981. The score is up two points from the four-year rate announced by the NCAA one year ago. Baseball and football saw the biggest jumps, each sport improved its score by three points. Baseball finished with a 973 four-year score while football increased its score from 959 to 962. The NCAA also noted an increase in scores by limited-resource schools and HBCUs. Despite the overall increase in APR scores, 17 Division I teams face penalties and will not be eligible for postseason play. In addition to being ineligible for postseason play, the NCAA hands out Level One and Level Two penalties. Level One penalties take away four hours and one day of practice per week in season. Level Two penalties remove a team’s non-championship season or spring football.

“I am so pleased that the Academic Progress Rates continue to rise, but I am more excited about what those numbers mean: Thousands of college athletes continue to make real progress toward earning their degrees,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “A college degree, combined with the skills they learn while participating in sports, will provide countless opportunities for them later in life.”

Marshall University had eight athletic programs earn a perfect single-year (2015-16) APR (Academic Progress Rates) score, the NCAA announced Wednesday afternoon (and reported by’s Chuck McGill). Eight programs also improved their multi-year APR score from last year, four of which set a program record for best APR since it became a metric for Division I academic performance in 2003.

The Thundering Herd programs with a perfect single-year APR of 1,000 were men’s cross country, women’s basketball, women’s cross country, women’s golf, women’s soccer, swimming and diving, track and field and volleyball. Men’s cross country, swimming and diving and volleyball recorded a perfect 1,000 APR for the second consecutive year, and Marshall doubled the number of programs with a perfect APR – from four to eight – from the 2014-15 year to 2015-16.

Eight programs – men’s cross country, football, men’s golf, women’s basketball, women’s cross country, women’s soccer, swimming and diving, and track and field – have a multi-year APR average higher than the national average. The multi-year scores cover the academic years 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16.

The multi-year APR scores for women’s basketball (986), swimming and diving (1,000) and volleyball (984) are the highest ever for those programs at Marshall, respectively. The women’s cross country team repeated its multiyear score of 995, a record-tying performance for the program.

“I am blown away and proud of the success our student-athletes in the classroom,” Marshall Director of Athletics Mike Hamrick said. “These results confirm that our student-athletes are benefiting from the addition of the state-of-the-art Buck Harless Student-Athlete Academic Center. Their performance, academically, is unprecedented since the inception of APR.”

The APR announcement comes on the heels of Marshall having 64 academic medal winners in Conference USA, which was second most in the league (MU athletics is tops in the league in that category the past two academic years combined). Marshall also finished with 211 student-athletes on the Commissioner’s Honor Roll, also good for second place in C-USA.

Marshall’s swimming and diving program was honored by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America for its team grade point average of 3.65, which ranked in the top five nationally.

According to the APR, Marshall had four athletic programs finish in the top five within their sport in Conference USA: football, women’s basketball, women’s cross country and women’s soccer.

Overall, Marshall’s athletic programs have a collective 980 APR, which matches last year’s performance. That is sustained success.

“The credit goes to the student-athletes who are putting in the work, the coaches and assistants who underscore the importance of academics here, and the staff at ‘The Buck’ who go to great lengths to make certain our student-athletes excel,” Hamrick said. “This is what we envisioned when we built the Chris Cline Indoor Complex and the attached academic center. We made it loud and clear we wanted to emphasize academics here, and our student-athletes have listened and elevated their performance accordingly.”

On a sport-by-sport basis, the football program’s multi-year score of 968 is above the national average of 966. Men’s golf is at 985, above the 984 national average. Women’s basketball is at a program-high 986, which is well above the national average of 980. The men’s cross country, with a perfect score, is 21 points above the national average of 979 and 8 points better than its performance in 2014-15. The women’s cross country program had a score of 995 for the second consecutive year, which is well above the national average of 988. Women’s soccer, which is second among C-USA teams in that sport, had a score of 997, 11 points above the national average of 986. The swimming and diving program set a new program record with a perfect score, which is obviously above the national average, which is 991. The track and field team increased its score again, from 994 to 995, and now sits 13 points above the national average.

The NCAA Division I academic progress rates system was implemented in 2003 as part of “an ambitious academic reform effort,” according to the NCAA’s website. The APR holds institutions accountable for academic progress of student-athletes through a team-based metric that accounts for the eligibility and retention of each student-athlete for each academic term.

The NCAA announced Wednesday that its initiative has resulted in 12 consecutive years of improved academic performance based on the four-year academic progress rates. The overall score of 981 is at an all-time high, and an improved of 2 points from the announced rate from the 2014-15 academic year.

Three-point improvements from baseball (970 to 973) and football (959 to 962) helped the NCAA achieve its record score. Overall, eight of Marshall’s programs performed above the national average, including Doc Holliday’s football program.

MUFB 2014 Game-14, Dec. 23, 2014 both Herd trophies

C-USA Bowl Partners Announce 2017 Dates

Irving, TEXAS — ESPN and Conference USA’s 2017 bowl partners have announced the dates and sites for their games this season.  The league has six guaranteed bowl spots in 2017, as well as one secondary selection.

The 2017 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl will kick off on Saturday, Dec. 16, at 12 p.m. CT, marking the debut of the FBS bowl season. The game will be televised on ESPN and broadcast on ESPN Radio. Celebrating its 17th anniversary, the New Orleans Bowl will host teams from Conference USA and the Sun Belt Conference at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The Gildan New Mexico Bowl will play its 12th edition on Saturday, Dec. 16 at 2:30 p.m. MT (3:30 p.m. CT). The game will be played in Dreamstyle Stadium at the University of New Mexico and will air on ESPN and ESPN Radio.  C-USA is scheduled to face an opponent from the Mountain West Conference in the game for the fourth time in the last eight years.

The 2017 Boca Raton Bowl will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 19.  The game will be televised on ESPN and broadcasted on ESPN Radio at 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT) from FAU Stadium, located on the campus of Florida Atlantic University.  The Boca Raton Bowl will have primary tie-ins for teams from Conference USA and the American Athletic Conference for the second year in a row.

Conference USA returns to the St. Petersburg Bowl this season as that bowl returns to prime time with an 8 p.m. ET (7 p.m. CT) kickoff on Thursday, Dec. 21. The game will air nationally on ESPN.  This will be the fifth time the St. Petersburg Bowl is being played at night and the first time since 2014. This season’s bowl rotation is scheduled to match up teams from Conference USA and the American Athletic Conference.

The fourth annual Bahamas Bowl has been set for Friday, Dec. 22 at 12:30 p.m. ET (11:30 a.m. CT).  The game, held in Nassau’s 15,000-seat Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, will be broadcast in the United States for the fourth consecutive year by ESPN.  For the second straight season, the game date falls at the start of a long holiday weekend in the Bahamas, allowing for an early Friday afternoon game.  As with the first three editions, the 2017 Bahamas Bowl will feature teams from Conference USA and the Mid-American Conference.

The eighth annual Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl will be played on Tuesday, Dec. 26, at the historic Cotton Bowl Stadium.  The Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl is the first bowl game in the country to honor First Responders. Representatives to be honored during the game include firefighters, police and EMS personnel.  The 2017 Heart of Dallas Bowl is part of the 88th year of games being played at Cotton Bowl Stadium on the grounds of Fair Park.  Conference USA is scheduled to face an opponent from the Big 12 Conference in this year’s game with the kick time to be determined.

The league maintains its secondary agreement with the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana.  Conference USA can fill a spot in the game if it has seven bowl-eligible schools and either the ACC or SEC do not have enough teams to send to the bowl.  The 42nd annual Independence Bowl will be televised on ESPN, marking the 27th consecutive year an ESPN network will televise the event, with kickoff scheduled for 12:30 p.m. CT.

C-USA’s 22nd football season is scheduled to begin on Friday, Sept. 1.  The league’s 13th annual football championship game is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 2.

Bowl — Date — Time — Matchup — Network

R+L Carriers New Orleans, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Saturday, Dec. 16, 1 p.m. EDT, C-USA vs. Sun Belt, ESPN

Gildan New Mexico, Saturday, Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, N.M., Dec. 16, 4:30 p.m. EDT, C-USA vs. Mountain West, ESPN

Boca Raton, Tuesday, FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, Fla., Dec. 19, 7 p.m. EDT, C-USA vs. American, ESPN

St. Petersburg, Tropicana Field, Tampa, Fla., Thursday, Dec. 21, 8 p.m. EDT, C-USA vs. American, ESPN

Bahamas, Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, Nassau, The Bahamas, Friday, Dec. 22, 11:30 am EDT, C-USA vs. MAC, ESPN

Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas, Cotton Bowl Stadium, Dallas, Tex., Tuesday, Dec. 26, times TBA, C-USA vs. Big 12, ESPN

*Independence, Independence Stadium, Shreveport, La., Wednesday, Dec. 27, 1:30 p.m. EDT, C-USA possibly vs. ACC or SEC, ESPN

*secondary agreement if ACC or SEC cannot fill the either spot in bowl

About Woody Woodrum

Senior Editor and columnist/writer for Herd Insider since 2003, with Kindred Communications on radio for Marshall football/men's basketball pregame and postgame shows since 1996 and with First Sentry Bank Sportsline (Also Scott on Sports, Sideline Sports and Herd Insider Sportsline) since 1997. Married to Liz (12-22-1990) and one son, Tre' (11-7-1997). National Sportswriters & Sportscasters West Virginia Broadcaster of the Year winner for radio, 2000; won W.Va. Broadcasters Best Talk Show in 2013 with co-host Paul Swann and W.Va. Broadcasters Best Play-by-Play in 2015 with Jason Toy (Huntington at South Charleston, state AAA semifinals). Member of (College) Football Writers Association of America, (College) Basketball Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Color commentator for Marshall football (1999-2000), for Marshall basketball (2004-2016) and Marshall baseball (2004-2016). Color for high school football at Spring Valley (1999-2008), Cabell Midland (2009-2012) and Huntington (W.Va.) High School (2013-2016).

Recommended for you