LU tennis sweeps Southland’s top honor

LU tennis sweeps Southland’s top honor

For the third consecutive season, Lamar University senior Michael Feucht has been named the Southland Conference Tennis Male Student-Athlete of the Year, while senior Katya Lapayeva earned the Southland Conference Female Student-Athlete of the Year.

Feucht highlights a 2017 Academic All-Southland Conference team that features four Cardinals, including three first-team selections.

Joining Feucht on the first team are classmates Nikita Lis and Juuso Laitinen, while sophomore Sebastian Santibanez garnered second-team honors. It is the third time in their careers that Feucht, Lis and Laitinen have been named to the Academic All-Southland teams, while Santibanez is making his first appearance (true freshman and first-year transfers are not eligible).

“I’m very proud of Michael for receiving this honor three years in a row,” said head coach Scott Shankles. “He has worked every bit as hard in the classroom as he has on the court. He is very deserving.”

To be eligible for the academic all-conference teams, a player must maintain at least a 3.0 grade-point average, have completed one full academic year at the institution prior to nomination and play in at least 50 percent of the team’s matches.

The Cardinals won their second consecutive Southland regular-season title in 2017, finishing the year in a three-way tie for the title with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Abilene Christian. It marked the first time since the 1975 and 1976 seasons that Big Red has won back-to-back conference titles.

“I think we’re a well-rounded program,” said Shankles. “These guys have recorded a lot of honors on the court with all the wins and conference titles, but they have been just as successful in the classroom. These players are high academic guys who graduate on time. I’m very proud of all of them.”

Joining Lapayeva on the Academic All-Southland squad was classmate Anna Spengler. A native of Essen, Germany, Spengler garnered second-team honors. It is the first selection to the all-academic squad for both players. LU was one of just three schools to have multiple players named to the academic all-conference teams.

“I’m really proud of both of these young ladies,” said coach David Wong. “They not only got results on the court but got the job done in the classroom as well. That is something that we stress here at Lamar. I’m very proud of how they have represented Lamar University on court, in the classroom and in the community.”

Lapayeva swept the league’s two highest individual honors after being named Southland Player of the Year following the conclusion of the regular-season. Lapayeva led the league with 19 singles victories. She ended the year with a 19-4 (.826) singles record, including a near perfect 10-1 mark in Southland matches. The Mogilev, Belarus, native closed out the year winning seven of her last nine matches.

Track & field

Jannika John, Tylen Guidry, Brian O’Bonna and Thai Williams from the Lamar University track and field program will all make their bid for the NCAA Division I National Championships after they were selected to the NCAA West Preliminaries, Williams for the second-straight season.

The prelims will run this weekend from Thursday, May 25, through Saturday, May 27, at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, and qualifying athletes will move on to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, June 7-10. Athletes who rank among the top 48 in their respective event earn berths in to the preliminary rounds, and the top 12 at their sites advance to Eugene.

This season, Williams hit 20 feet, 7.75 inches in the long jump, breaking a 36-year old school record at Lamar.

“For Thai, last year was a good experience for her, and the great performance she put up is invaluable,” said coach Trey Clark. “There are nerves that go into the first year, and her making it to a postseason meet already will help her focus on the task at hand.”

John locked up a spot in the preliminaries in the first 3,000-meter steeplechase she ran in her Lamar career, at the Southland Conference Outdoor Championships.

O’Bonna and Guidry took gold and silver in the men’s triple jump, respectively, at the Southland Conference Outdoor Championships, and each locked up their spots in the preliminaries on those jumps.

“I’m very excited for those guys. They it did at the Southland meet, which is exactly what you want to do. They didn’t chase marks; they just went out and did what they needed,” said Clark. “We preach that to them: If you compete, you will hit the marks. They’ve had a good season, and I’m proud of what they’ve done.

Seven athletes from the Lamar University track and field program garnered nine All-Southland Conference awards for their performances at the SLC Outdoor Championships.

Women’s golf

Junior Olivia Le Roux was named to the Southland Conference Women’s Golf All-Academic Team.

It is the second time that Le Roux, a native of Brackenfell, South Africa, has been named to the all-academic team. The biology major carries a perfect 4.00 GPA.

Le Roux has achieved success on the links as well. A second-team All-Southland Conference selection this season, she finished eighth at the Southland Conference Championships. Le Roux posted five Top 10 finishes in nine events this season, earning medalist honors once with three top-five finishes. She averaged 76.20 strokes per round over 25 rounds with a low round of 72.

“Nobody is more deserving of this award than Olivia,” said coach Jessica Steward. “She works very, very hard to be successful in the classroom. On top of that, she manages to keep lowering her golf scores. I’m very proud to have her on our team.”