March 07, 2016

E-mail Questions

Stray thoughts about the e-mail FIU media relations sent out Thursday night regarding The Herald's stories detailing women's basketball captain Destini Feagin's claims that head coach Marlin Chinn was trying to have a sexual relationship with her.

What the e-mail did say that was new?

It placed Feagin's suspension at Feb. 23. Feagin said Thursday night when I contacted her that Chinn told her Feb. 24 she was suspended in the conversation she recorded. 

It stated FIU cops had an investigation open regarding Feagin and the teammate's Athletic Panther Bucks card since Feb. 15. The Herald already reported Feagin used the card to the tune of $350; that she admitted it; that she felt she deserved some consequences for her actions; and that her mother, Joi Nicholson, put that money back on the teammate's account (yes, I saw the receipt). Some readers missed all that amidst the salacious details Chinn's alleged sexual harassment.

But why bring up the police investigation? The misuse/theft/team violation already had been reported, acknowledged and addressed.

(One former FIU director of football operations -- there's about as many of those as former Yankees managers from George Steinbrenner's temperamental peak -- found the revelation of a police connection and putting it at back at Feb. 15 pretty convenient. He told me such card issues never make it to FIU cops.)

What didn't the e-mail say that was new? 

Why was Chinn allowed to coach in a game two days after FIU heard the allegations, THEN suspended two or three days after the game? And who made that call?

Did President Rosenberg hear Feagin's allegations that she was being harassed in a chance campus encounter or not? The Herald asked last Wedensday. Must have gone in the Pay No Mind folder along with some other e-mails we could name...

What really was the reason track coach Eric Campbell departed two years ago? (Whoops, wrong situation...)

What has FIU's investigation into Feagin's allegations found?

Because without those questions, you have to ask...

What was the e-mail's purpose?

 

 

February 23, 2016

Past, Present & Future

UPCOMING HOME GAMES/MATCHES

Tuesday -- Baseball vs. St. Thomas, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday -- Baseball vs. Missouri, 3 p.m.

Thursday -- Softball vs. Central Connecticut State, 7 p.m.

Friday -- Softball vs. Siena, 4:30 p.m.

Friday -- Softball vs. Central Connecticut State, 7 p.m.

Friday -- Baseball vs. Seton Hall, 6:30

Saturday -- Softball vs. Central Connecticut State, 4 p.m.

Saturday -- Softball vs. Deleware, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday -- Baseball vs. Seton Hall, 6:30

Sunday -- Baseball vs. Seton Hall, 1 p.m.

Sunday -- Softball vs. Siena, 12:30 p.m.

So, last weekend, men's basketball and baseball went 0 for 5 while softball (8-2) went 4 for 5.

Granted, baseball played Ole Miss, ranked in some polls, receiving votes in others. What's men's basketball's excuse for refunding a game to North Texas, then getting treated by Rice the way teenage George Foreman used to treat other Houston kids before somebody put boxing gloves on his hands?

Men's hoop gets the week off to practice before Saturday's run up the Glades Road exit to FAU. Baseball gets to build its confidence on St. Thomas during Tuesday's home opener. 

SWIMMING & DIVING

FIU goes into this week's Conference USA meet ranked second to Rice in CUSA according to CollegeSwimming.com. Expect FIU to crush all 'round in diving, led by sophomore Rebecca Quesnel. But it'll be swimming depth that decides the meet. 

INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD

The Conference USA meet, in Birmingham, 'Bama, starts Wednesday. FIU fans can binge watch Better Call Saul until 11 a.m. Thursday, the start time for the men's shot put and women's high jump. FIU's got the No. 3 seed in each. Freshman Clarissa Cutliff's 5-8 3/4 and two other jumpers are 1 3/4 inches under top seed Middle Tennessee State's Barbara Vilson's 5-10 1/2. Senior Luka Mustafic's school record set last year of 59-1/2 is about halfway between his best this year, 56-2 1/2, and the 61-8 1/4 best from Western Kentucky's Nick Demaline.

While all this is going on, junior Alton Eliphar (200 meters) and senior Cam'ree Jackson (60 meters) could be contending in their events.

 

 

February 15, 2016

The Weekend That Was

FIUphiles could save the Percoset and just gulp down this weekend's athletic results. Remember Steve Harvey's routine that "White people have wonderful weekends?" Almost that good.

A decade-old indoor track school record fell when senior Brandon Ballard burned through a 400 in 48.19 seconds at the Grand Valley State Big Meet, knocking off Alonzo Phillips' 2006-set record of 48.31. Ballard's time tied for 183rd in the nation this indoor season. 

In Marlin Chinn's first year, defense and rebounding remain areas of deficiency for the women's basketball team. Getting 6-2 Brianna Wright back from injury helps with the latter, obviously. After she grabbed 20 rebounds Saturday afternoon in the Panthers' 59-54 win at UTSA, FIU's 2-2 in Wright's four games after going winless in the first nine Conference USA games. In case you were wondering, the school single game record is 26, set by Barbara Howell against Tampa, Jan. 26, 1980.

That's one of the few significant FIU women's basketball moments for which Cindy Russo wasn't present. She was in the second of two years as Lamar's head coach. (If you've been around FIU long enough to know off the top of your head that Mary Ellen Fiske headed FIU's women's hoops program that season, we keep the Metamucil on the second shelf of the pantry). Saturday at halftime of the noon game against Rice, FIU will honor Russo and former assistant/associate coach Inge Nissen, the two women who recruited, coached, pushed and tugged the women's program to success over three decades.

The men's basketball team broke their five-game losing streak by doing what they should against UTSA's men. FIU's most consistent scorer this season, Daviyon Draper, scored exactly his conference game average of 18, grabbed seven rebounds and played all but the last 30 seconds. But the most interesting aspect of the game jumped out as the five Panthers starters took the floor. Still planted on the bench for the first time in his FIU career: center Adrian Diaz. Too much statistical invisibility for one so large prompted FIU coach Anthony Evans to try benching Diaz for motivation. A roused Diaz scored 17 points and pulled down nine rebounds before fouling out.

Softball opened the season with a late big-inning 7-1 loss to No. 10 Florida State, but did so in front of a full house at FIU Softball Stadium. The Panthers won their remaining four games at the Juiceblendz Invitational. More on softball from second-year head coach Gator Rebhan in the next post.

 

August 26, 2015

Getting It Together

UPCOMING HOME GAMES/MATCHES

Women's soccer -- Friday vs. No. 17 UCF, 7 p.m.

Volleyball -- Panther Challenge, Friday vs. North Florida, 7 p.m.

Volleyball -- Panther Challenge, Saturday vs. Alabama A&M, noon

Volleyball -- Panther Challenge, Saturday vs. South Florida, 6 p.m.

Now, you can walk the walk between FIU Arena and the soccer "stadium" without fear of getting conked by a wayward shot put or discus. North of the International Hurricane Research Center and south of the ROTC area, there's a field in front of a hammer throw cage and two discus/shot put circles.

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Over in FIU Stadium, there's a dry land diving board -- I can't help but think it looks like a prop out of High-Diving Hare -- to help Swim & Dive keep cranking out its run of dominant divers.

The new softball locker room is running behind, but is running.

Meanwhile, eight football players got to play Santa Claus/UPS Guy/Jesse/Whatever Delivery Man Brings You Happiness by bringing season tickets to fans on campus while wearing jerseys to stand out among their fellow students (like they blend anyway). These pictures courtesy FIU Athletic Department.

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That's Provost Kenneth Furton.

ADMINISTRATION

The replacement for Compliance Director Hank Harrawood, the best thing to happen to that department in a while, is Jessica Reo. Reo also gets "Special Projects" attached her "Senior Associate Athletic Director for Compliance" title. Hey, mon, when a dollar needs to be stretched, it's all about how many jobs you can do. Reo worked in compliance at the other Division I/FBS school in town for seven years, but the spent the last seven years as director for student services in Central Florida's athletic department.

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Need to grab some water. These crackers are making me thirsty.

July 01, 2015

Whistle Blowers

When Cindy Russo retired after seemingly a century as FIU women's basketball head coach, she already counted as something of a dinosaur -- a female head coach at FIU. The hiring of Marlin Chinn as her replacement cemented Russo's brontosaurus status.

This article puts FIU's dearth of female head coaches in perspective. Only 29 of the 138 schools with FBS football or Big East basketball have a lower percentage of women coaching women than FIU's 30 percent. Of the 10 women's sports at FIU, only three have female head coaches and the school's getting three sports for two women -- Rita Buck-Crockett is the head coach for volleyball and sand volleyball. Katarina Petrovic coaches the tennis team.

A case-by-case look at FIU's women's teams coaches reminded me of the 1980s Boston Celtics, which often included three white guys among five starters. The bombastic declarations that this melanin split demonstrated racism in the Celtics organization were countered with, "OK, who do you not want to start? Perennial All-Star Larry Bird, perennial All-Star Kevin McHale or Danny Ainge, for whom every NBA coach would find a spot?"

Similar situation among FIU's women's teams. Randy Horner's turned FIU's swimming and diving team from what one former swimmer called "a glorified high school team" into one of the best mid-major programs in the nation. Before the last two disappointing seasons, FIU's most consistent winners played soccer under the direction of Thomas Chestnutt. Joe Vogel coaches golf. That covers FIU's last three conference championship programs before the baseball team battered Conference USA into submission in May.

Softball coach Gator Rebhan came recommended by some of his current players. Track & field and cross country's Ryan Heberling ascended to head coach of both programs off convenience and his work with FIU's women's throwers, the strongest part of the track program in recent years. As has been noted here often, the women's teams consistently perform well academically despite so many FIU female athletes growing up with English as a second or third language.

In the overall athletic department, coaches who have shown progress but yet to prove definitively they can get it done consistently -- football's Ron Turner, men's basketball's Anthony Evans, men's soccer's Scott Calabrese -- occupy jobs women's coaches won't get as things stand now.

And that's the legitimate beef women's coaches and their advocates have with the steady stream of men into jobs coaching women's teams. Nobody's truly an equal opportunity employer.

Pat Summitt racked up 1,098 wins over 38 years as Tennessee's women's basketball coach. If you sat on a pile of her credentials and honors, you do your best Mongo Santamaria on Shaq's head. Handling the Tennessee program from the days when she had to drive the van and wash the uniforms herself, Summitt's knowledge of running a successful college basketball program is oceanic. Tennessee reportedly twice approached Summitt about coaching the men's team.

Yet, you never heard of, say, Louisiana Tech, nosing around Pat Summitt about coaching its men's hoop team. But Tyler Summitt with two years as an assistant at Marquette and 23 chromosomes from his mother gets the women's basketball job at La Tech, where all the coaches of women's teams have a Y chromosome.

Can you imagine one of Mike Krzyzewski's daughters doing two years as an assistant men's coach at Butler then applying to be the head coach at FIU? Can you imagine one of Mike Krzyzewski's daughters getting the chance even to be an assistant at Butler?

Though I'm a black man with a daughter, I don't get crazy about the gender/race role model thing. It's too limiting. There's too much to be learned from too many people of all skin tones and genitalia. And if nobody who looks like you has achieved something before, I say to that person what my mother used to say to me: "Guess you'll have to be the first."

But what about when you don't even get the chance to be the first? Because there's too much to be learned from diverse voices, the reduced volume of female coach voices matters at FIU and elsewhere.

 

June 14, 2015

Phillicia & Phil

Long jumper Phillicia Fluellen officially finished FIU's 2014-15 athletic year when she sailed to 14th in this week's NCAA Championships.

Fluellen's leap of 20 feet, 4 1/2 inches was her third best this season and second best among the mid-majors at the meet behind 10th place Texas State's Allie Saunders (I'm not counting 11th place Tennessee State's Clairwin Dameus as being from a mid-major -- that track program's been good longer than half the coaches at that meet have been alive.)

FOOTBALL

The premier college football preview publication, by information tonnage and accuracy, Phil Steele's College Football 2015, is now online if not newsstands.

Steele ranks FIU 103rd overall and fourth in Conference USA East. One of the common problems when turnovers become the manna you turn into victory, as in FIU's five wins over the last two seasons, is that's not consistent sustenance. Steele lists the Panthers as one of the teams with a positive double-digit turnover margin, a statistic that precedes a dropoff in wins the following year for 65 percent of such cases since 1991.

But, Steele points out FIU was four plays from being 8-4 last year instead of 4-8 and expects this year's model to be the best of the three Ron Turner FIU teams.

So, there's that.

 

 

May 18, 2015

Gaines All-Academic; FIU Has C-USA's Fastest Man

Yeah, I know this comes late. After dealing with the major job changes now customary when I cover the Marlins and get a lightning fast game, I exhaled into vacation mode (it's late May).

So I didn't get up last night that junior Alton Eliphar, the fifth-seeded finalist, provided FIU's highlight of the Conference USA track & field championships by winning the 100 meters in 10.38. Or that junior Jaylaan Slaughter's 1:00.97 in the 400-meter hurdles got her a second, the weekend's best placement for the FIU women. Phillicia Fluellen's 20-foot, 2 1/2-inch long jump was good for third.

FIU coach Ryan Heberling confirmed what the results sheet suggested when they didn't include, among others, junior long jumper/triple jumper Marcus Ghent, throwers junior Miriam Pierre and senior Raqurra Ishmar -- injuries hit some FIU strengths. Both men's and women's teams finished last in their respective team standings.

BASEBALL

FIU senior leadoff hitter and shortstop Julius Gaines' 3.63 grade point average put him on the Conference USA All-Academic Team, announced Monday.  Gaines finished the regular season hitting .266 with 22 RBI.

The baseball team faces No. 1 seed Rice in the first round of the Conference USA baseball tournament Wednesday.

 

May 16, 2015

FIU Track & Field at C-USA Meet: Day 2, Points 6

FIU's best events, including most of the throws, launch today and Sunday. Friday featured the 10Ks, hammer throws and the finish of the decathlon and heptathlon.

The men picked up its four points in the decathlon from junior Chris Sullivan's sixth (6,551 points) and sophomore Pablo Espitia's eighth (5,759 points). The women's two points came from Tetisheri Menna's 164-foot, four-inch hammer throw, seventh best.

 

April 10, 2015

172 FIU Athletes Make C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll

(Thought I posted this last night. Apparently, I only saved it. A face-down-on-the-keyboard mistake.)

A 3.0 GPA gets you on the Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll, which 172 FIU athletes have done this year. FIU ranks eighth most among Conference USA's full membership schools. That's an improvement after 154 and tied for 12th last year.

The names are submitted to the conference by the schools.

Baseball (16): Brandon Cody, Charles Cormier, Cody Crouse, Ian Exposito, Julius Gaines, Evan Holland, David Lee, Spencer Levine, Dominic LoBrutto, Carlos Lopez, Andres Nunez, Mitchell Robinson, Austin Rodriguez, Jack Schaaf, Eduardo Silva, Zack Soria.

Men's Basketball (3): Larry Dennis (Huh? He transferred to a junior college at midseason), Kris Gulley, Hassan Hussein.

Women's Basketball (13): Jade Cheek, Jerica Coley (Say what? Everybody's happy she's still around campus doing graduate work, but how is she counting for this year? Was somebody just throwing names in there to see if C-USA was paying attemtion?), Marita Davydova, Arielle Durant (Uh, director of basketball oerations this year, not a player), Katrina Epnere, Aajah Hawkins, Amari Hawkins, Zsofia Labady, Tynia McKinzie (dismissed from the team at midseason), Taylor Shade, Nikolina Todorovic, Ciera Wheatley, Brianna Wright. 

Football (17): Chris Ayers, Richard Burrows, Christopher Cummins, Akil Dan-Fodio, Ricky Fernandez, Chris Flaig, Adrian Francois, Cody Hodgens, Yousif Khoury, Jose Laphitzondo, Fred Porter, Anthon Samuel, Donald Senat, Yohan Soares, Delmar Taylor, Scott Wade, Cory White.

Golf (8 -- the entire team): Coralia Arias, Sophie Godley, Carla Jane, Katerina Krasnova, Meghan MacLaren, Camila Serrano, Ashley Shimmel, Jasmine Wade.

Sand Volleyball (9): Marina Boulanger, Anna Budinska, Morgan Crawley, Aren Cupp, Alexa Diaz, Alexandria Johnson, Giovanna Pasos, Darija Sataric, Tina Toghiyani.

Men's Soccer (10): Quentin Albrecht, Roberto Alterio, Luca Giovine, Marvin Hezel, Nicholas Midttun, Deshawon Nembhard, Nico Pasquariello, Adam Sibiski, Robin Spiegel, Jesse Wear.

Women's soccer (16): Shelby Bowden, Ellen Crist, Marie Egan, Cyan Jean-Baptiste, Talia McMurtrie, Ryann Ramirez, Nikki Rios, Alyssa Robinson, Ashleigh Shim, Marlena Stablein, Sara Stewart, Nevana Stojakovic, Pat Tomanon, Johanna Volz, Madlen Weinhardt, Ashley Westberry.

Softball 10): Isabelle Barnes, Rachel Dwyer, Krystal Garcia, Samantha Green, Dominique Grossman, Jessica Hallett, Corinne Jenkins, Marisa McGregor, Michaela Mills, Rebekah Sanchez.

Swimming & Diving (20): Klara Andersson, Sabrina Beaupre (she's been off the eligibility clock since the 2014 NCAA's), Jessica Chadwick, Jenny Deist, Nadia Farrugia, Valerie Inghels, Anna Jonsson, Lily Kaufmann, Maria Lopez, Jean Madison, Alex Mayhew, Melissa Moreno, Sonia Perez-Arau (oh, come on! the only C-USA swimmer to score at the 2014 NCAAs. Lazy times in ), Valeriia Popova, Rebecca Quensel, Silvia Scalia, Alaina Smith, Kayley Tepe, Courtney VanderSchaaf, Becky Wilde. 

Tennis (6): Giulietta Boha, Valentina Briceno, Nerma Caluk, Yana Koroleva, Nina Nagode, Carlotta Orlando.

Men's cross country (7): Brandon Ballard, Ronny Greenup, Andres Magliano, Eli Monzon, Leonel Pozo, Daniel Puentes, Orlando Rodriquez.

Women's cross country (4): Adrienne Gerzeny, Katarina Rodriguez, Brittany Wasserbeck, Desmika White.

Men's track (10): Dylan Cook, Pablo Espitia, Garry Louima, Tyshawn Lytle, Desmond McGill, Luka Mustafic, Daniel Neptune, Wisdom Offor, Julian Santiago, Traivon Smith.

Women's track 12): Brittany Corbett, Phillicia Fluellen, Chandra Fulwood, Adrienne Gerzeny, Chelsea Gobourne, Anesha Gordon, Anna Heinzman, Tiffani Hernandez, Sharniece King, Symone Lindsay, Celine Murton, Lexis Shields.

Volleyball: Lucia Castro, Tia Clay, Maria Coukolis, Briana Gogins, Gloria Levorin, Anja Licka, Natalie Martinez, Kristine Monforte, Kari Peterson, Jovanna Santamaria, Anabela Sataric, Tina Toghiyani (wait, she already got counted back at sand volleyball...)

 

 

 

March 03, 2015

Building Stuff

Funny what you can learn sitting around the arena on a Friday afternoon.

Executive director for sports and entertainment Pete Garcia passed with Senior Associate ADs Julie Berg and Heath Glick and invited me along to look at the choice of new chairs for FIU Arena.

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At least all the lower bowl chairs in the arena will be replaced. That's the "Bleacher Project" referred to in the pre-Miss Universe e-mail to Glick as "likely scrapped." 

The other project mentioned as "likely scrapped" in that e-mail, the softball/golf locker room, should be started after FIU hosts Conference USA softball championships, according to Garcia and Berg. The new practice area for the track and field throwers, also part of the Women's Sports Initiative, should be done before the year's out. Garcia said a major upgrading of the baseball stadium will be coming in the next year or two. 

A major donation should be announced soon that'll pay for the baseball stadium and arena seat replacement. The other projects should be covered under what's been collected for the Women's Sports Initiative.

Recently, I heard again from someone close to the situation, as I did last fall, that the long-awaited soccer/track stadium will become a reality once FIU takes over the Youth Fair land. Don't confuse this with any drive to get Major League Soccer as a temporary FIU tenant. This pitch would be for FIU and youth teams.

Considering the amount of time we've been waiting on this project, all skepticism until dirt gets disturbed is warranted.

 

February 26, 2015

Field Work; Felsberg Invitational Familiarity; Manhattan Holiday; Coaching Matters

The City of Birmingham, quivering like Rock Ridge before Mongo, closed all public facilities Wednesday in fear of what places in the former Confederacy consider major snowfall. This condensed the Conference USA Indoor Track & Field Championships to a one-day event.

Not so condensed were the throws of FIU junior Raquarra Ishmar, who turned today into Throw Forward Thursday by winning the women's weight throw and finishing second in the shot put.

Ishmar (63 feet, 4 inches), junior Chelsea Goburne (59-1/4) and sophomore Chandra Fullwood (56-3 1/4) gave FIU its strongest team performance of the day, a 1-4-6 finish, in the weight throw. Going into the last two throws, the 61-2 from Western Kentucky's Janessa Jackson held the lead. Ishmar cranked off a 62-footer to take the lead, then muscled out the 63-4 on her last throw to hammer home who the alpha female was in this event.

Ishmar finished a solid second in the shot, her 50-8 3/4 being 1-8 1/2 ahead of third place Rachel Polk of Southern Miss and 8-2 behind Rice blowout winner, Claire Uke.

In the men's triple jump, junior Marcus Ghent reached 50-2 3/4 to finish second by 4 3/4 inches behind Western's Cyrus Johnson. Ghent also picked up points with a sixth place long jump of 22-8 1/2. 

The team standings found the women finishing ninth of 13 and the men finishing ninth of nine. 

SOFTBALL

Jake Schumann, FIU's coach the last three seasons, knows the way to Felsberg Field. So does former FIU pitching assistant coach Sharon Palma.

So, the Ole Miss bus shouldn't get lost on the way to Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium for Friday's opening of this weekend's Felsberg Invitational. The 8-4 Rebels are scheduled to play Bethune-Cookman at 2. Bethune will rest while FIU and Ole Miss get it on at 4:30. FIU plays Bethune at 7 p.m.

Last week, FIU saw the fourth member of last year's coaching staff (current FIU head coach Gator Rebhan was an assistant last year), current Texas State assistant coach Kelly Kretschman. It wasn't a happy reunion for the Panthers, losing 8-0. 

BASEBALL

Manhattan comes down for its four-game winter beating from FIU. Two years ago, the Jaspers got bombed in the first two games and outscored 40-17 for the three-game series.

By the way, did you know that FIU got back from last week's tournament in South Carolina around 7:30 a.m. after a 13-hour bus ride and some players had to hit class immediately? That's unfair to the student-athletes.

There should be a rule that teams have to fly if the road trip ends over a set number of hours away from the main campus and the team has class the next day. 

Break time...

 

SWIMMING & DIVING

FIU coach Randy Horner's contract is up at the end of April, two months after FIU won the Conference USA women's swimming & diving title. That's producing when the time's right.

Horner makes just over $57,000 in a contract that began when FIU wasn't close to competitive in the Sun Belt and ends with FIU being one of the nation's best mid-major teams. They've also been the top academic team on campus three of the previous four years.

That's the kind of work that'll attract attention if a Power Five school with manatees in the pool wants someone who can transform the team into motorboats. And that school will offer a significant raise. Just as an example, Michigan State clearly doesn't care about its swim program. The Spartans annually finish in the bottom two at the Big Ten meet and have for two decades. Yet, head coach Matt Gianiodis has held that job since October 2003.

All those signs of department apathy toward a sport and Gianiodis still gets paid over $76,000 while living in East Lansing, Michigan, a cheaper market than Miami. They might be paying Gianiodis extra for staying in East Lansing, which one Michigan State graduate I talked with Thursday called "Siberia" and about which Sports Illustrated writer Dan Jenkins quipped, "It looks like Stalingrad."

Anyway, that's just an example of why FIU might want to give Horner more than a little bump when it puts rings on the swimming & diving women's fingers.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

Some might wonder if former FIU assistant coach Desma Thomas Bateast, now an assistant coach at South Florida, might want to come back to rebuild the program. Putting the hard hat on to deal with this catastrophe takes a relatively young, energetic coach and she's familiar with the place.

That doesn't always work in the school's favor, understand...

 

February 24, 2015

C-USA Indoor Track Starts Wednesday, Golf Wins & Other Stuff

We know at least one FIU winter sports team will head for the Conference USA championship gathering in Birmingham.

Women's basketball? Nope. Men's basketball? Probably. The indoor track team's already in Birmingham for its conference meet, which runs Wednesday and Thursday.

FIU brings the most muscle in the field events, such as the women's weight throw, where junior Raquarra Ishmar has the top seed throw at 19.01 meters and junior Miriam Pierre ranks second at 18.26. Ishmar's also got the No. 2 seed throw, 15.35 meters, in the shot put. Junior Phillicia Fluellen's 6.13 meter long jump has her as the top seed. Tikiera Relaford, third in the high jump last year, should be in the mix again this year.

Junior Luka Mustafic holds the top seed in the men's shot put, 18.01 meters. In the long jump, junior Marcus Ghent should contend for second or third. 

GOLF

A rained out final round left FIU as the winners of the Amelia Island Collegiate event. Junior Meghan MacLaren's 11-under 133 got her medalist honors.

SWIMMING & DIVING

FIU's new butterfly queen, Valerie Inghels, has a 3.92 grade point average as a communications arts major in addition to her Conference USA third in the 200 butterfly, fifth in the 100 fly and place on the second place 400 medley relay, all via school records. Which is how Inghels is on the Conference USA All-Academic swimming team.

SOFTBALL

The Sunday, Mar. 8 home game against Marshall will be televised nationally on Fox Sports.

FOOTBALL

FIU announced what The Herald reported first last week: Tim Harris Jr. will coach the running backs this year.

Harris Jr., son of "Ice" Harris, served as Booker T. Washington High's offensive coordinator for several years before taking over the head coaching job last year when his father went to Coral Gables to be the Hurricanes' running backs coach.

 

 

 

 

January 12, 2015

Who The Heck Is Luka Mustafic?

He's the new FIU and UAB Blazer Invite shot put record holder after shoving the shot 18.01 meters (59 feet, 1 inch) to win the event by a fat 1.7 meters (about 5 feet, 7 inches) in his first FIU meet this weekend.

Here's also who Mustafic is:

A 22-year-old junior from Croatia whose U.S. college career began at Virginia Tech, where he finished fourth in the 2012 ACC outdoor championships in the shot and third in the 2012 indoor championships. He made All-ACC for the latter and Academic All-ACC, so he's something the track team needs in the circle and in the classroom.

From there, Mustafic transferred to Florida, where he finished ninth in the 2013 SEC Indoor Championships. He threw for Croatia in the Under 23 European Championships in 2013.

 

 

July 14, 2014

Heberling gets the title; golfers get academic thumbs up

Having saved head track and field coach money by assistant coach Ryan Heberling spending the 2013-14 indoor and outdoor track season as de facto head coach, FIU gave Heberling the actual title last week. Presumably, that means a bump from around $33,000 Heberling was making as an assistant. Former track coach Eric Campbell was making around $53,000.

Heberling, a former FIU javelin thrower, handled the throwers the last five years as an assistant and it's the women's throwers who have accomplished the most over the last few years.

GOLF

The Women's Golf Coaches Association named senior Shelby Coyle, sophomore Meghan MacLaren and freshman Coralia Arias as All-American Scholars. That's four golfers whose academic prowesss received notice last season -- Ashley Shimmel earned the Conference USA Commissioner's Academic Medal.

June 17, 2014

Scholarship for La'Shae White

Track sprinter La'Shae White got some scratch toward her graduate degree tuition when she received one of the 15 Jim Castaneda Postgraduate Scholarship Awards from Conference USA, the league announced Tuesday.

White, who made the Dean's List seven times in her eight FIU semesters, graduated in April with a degree in physical education-sports and fitness and is going for her master's at the University of Tampa in exercise and nutrition science. The award is a $4,000 scholarship.

 

May 28, 2014

This 'n' That

Central defensive back Olin Cushion, a 2013 Second Team All-Dade selection as a junior, has committed to FIU for 2015. Cushion, 5-10, 175, had five interceptions for the state champion Rockets.

First college football preview mag out or, at least, the first one I saw: Lindy's. Lindy's ranked FIU 126th out of 128 FBS teams. In answer to the obvious question, The Terrible Two were New Mexico State and UMass. Then again, for the second consecutive year, Lindy's contained a blunder concerning FIU that whacks at its credibility. It missed FIU's 2011 bowl appearance under "Last Bowl."

If they're not already on the stands, Athlon's, Phil Steele, The Sporting News and USA Today should be out by the end of next week.

TRACK AND FIELD

Last week, FIU finally listed the head track abd cross country coach job on the NCAA's job search website. The department left the position vacant as a money-saving measure after Eric Campbell resigned in January.

 

 

May 19, 2014

Women 4th, Men 11th in Conference USA Track & Field

Strong placings by the throwers and points from the sprinters on the last day of the Conference USA Track & Field Championships allowed FIU's women to hold onto fourth in the team standings. East Carolina took the title with 140 points. Texas-El Paso came home second with 88 points, Rice in third with 74 points and FIU in fourth with 66.5 points.

Sophomore Raqurra Ishmar, who finished fifth in the hammer throw, pushed her way to second in the shot put with a throw of 52 feet, 2 inches, 4 feet 2.5 inches behind winner Claire Uke from Rice. In the javelin, another sophomore, Tiffani Hernandez, threw the spear 143-3 to finish third.

Out on the track, sophomore Cam'ree Jackson finished third in a 100 meter final that saw the first four places within nine hundreths of a second. Earlier, Jackson ran the second leg in the fourth place 4x100 relay team led off by sophomore Phillicia Fluellen and closing with sophomore Oriel Anu and senior T'Keyah Dumoy. They ran a 45.2, .15 behind third place UTEP and .82 behind champions East Carolina.

Sophomore Jaylaan Slaughter, in 1:01.45. picked up five points for her fourth in the 400 meter hurdles.

 

May 17, 2014

Track (Oh, No) & Field (OK) Day 3

The hammer throwers put FIU's women into the lead going into Saturday's events at the Conference USA Track & Field Championships. Saturday, the jumpers got points while the throwers got disappointed.

Sophomore Phillicia Fluellen's long jump of 20 feet, 5 3/4 inches brought home eight points for second in the long jump behind Louisiana Tech junior Charla Craddock's 20-10 3/4 leap. In the high jump, junior Tikiera Relaford finished tied for fourth with Middle Tennessee State's Barbara Vilson at 5 feet, 7 1/4 inches. East Carolina senior Tynita Butts popped a 6-3 1/4 jump to take her fourth C-USA high jump title and join University of South Florida's 2002-05 shot put queen Chandra Brewer as the only four-time C-USA women's champions.

In the discus, hammer throw winner Kayla Padgett picked up another 10 points for East Carolina. But what allowed East Carolina to extend its lead was FIU recording zero points. Among the nine throws of sophomores Miriam Pierre, Alysha Lewis and Raqurra Ishmar, only Ishmar's final throw, 109 feet, 3 inches, counted as legal. That got her 22nd place. Sophomore Chelsea Goburne's 139-7 got her 12th, four spots out of the points.

FIU's relative strength is in the field events, a fact demonstrated by the women's track finalists limited to being Cam'ree Jackson in the 100 meters and sophomore Jaylaan Slaughter in the 400 hurdles. 

Ditto for the men. Three quarters of an inch, 25-7 1/4 to 25-8, separated FIU senior Aubrey Smith from winner Cameron Hudson of East Carolina. Sophomore Marcus Ghent finished eighth with a leap of 24-1 1/2.

The men have nobody in Sunday's individual event track finals.

 

 

 

May 16, 2014

FIU's Women Throw The H

The Conference USA Track & Field Championships don't figure to yield much for FIU. With the Texas-El Paso African pipeline dominating the distance events and other solid programs, an FIU team lacking a head coach all season and facilities all program history doesn't have the raw talent to overcome the deficit handed them by such a setup.

So give it up for FIU's hammer throwing sophomore women, who compiled 18 points in that event Friday. Behind easy winner Kayla Padgett of East Carolina (192 feet, 5 inches), FIU's Miriam Pierre finished second with a throw of 179-7 and Chelsea Goburne was third at 177-10. Raqurra Ishmar's best fling, 176-10, got her a fifth place. 

FIU also got points, six of them, from freshman Caroline Reiser for her third place in the 10,000 in 36:12.64.

On the men's side, Chris Sullivan finished the decathlon in sixth with 6,277 points.

May 15, 2014

Baseball clinches tournament berth; Sullivan 3rd in decathalon

FIU's 9-1 spanking of Tulane Thursday night gave the Panthers 16 wins, thus guaranteeing ninth-in-Conference-USA FAU can't catch the Former Sunblazers in the standings no matter what FAU does this weekend against UAB. So, FIU's clinched a spot in the Conference USA tournament next week at Southern Mississippi.

TRACK & FIELD

The Conference USA Track & Field Championships began Thursday at Rice with Day 1 of the decathlon and heptathlon. Sophomore Chris Sullivan sits in third with 3,651 points. Charlotte sophomore K'vonte Scott reached 3,877 points to take a 153-point lead on East Carolina's Alexander Mobley-Hollie, who passed Sullivan for second during the last event, the 400 meters.


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