Junior center Marlena Schmidt of Eighty Four helped Southeastern reach the NAIA Division II women’s basketball national championship game in Sioux City, Iowa.

Southeastern won four games in the national tournament to reach the final before losing 67-59 to Concordia (Neb.). Southeastern finished the season with a 31-3 record.

In five tournament games, Schmidt, a Ringgold graduate, scored 66 points on 27-for-37 shooting, grabbed 51 rebounds and blocked 13 shots. She was named to the all-tournament second team.

For the season, Schmidt averaged 11.3 points per game, 7.3 rebounds and had a team-leading 98 blocked shots. Schmidt shot 60 percent from the field and 66 percent from the free-throw line.

Schmidt also excelled in the classroom as she was named an NAIA Division II Daktronics Scholar-Athlete.

Schmidt has completed her undergrad in Actuarial Studies with a GPA of 3.859 and has started her MBA in Executive Leadership.

In softball

Who has been the best hitter over the first month of the college softball season?

It might be James Madison sophomore shortstop Sara Jubas.

Through 24 games, Jubas, a McDonald native and South Fayette graduate, is batting a whopping .517 (31-for-60), which currently ranks second in NCAA Division I.

Jubas also ranks as the toughest player in the nation to strike out. She has not struck out in 73 plate appearances and is among the top 10 in the country in on-base percentage at .592.

A significant reason why James Madison has a 19-6 record and cracked the Top 25 rankings, Jubas leads the Dukes with eight doubles to go with four home runs and 18 RBI.

Freshman pitcher Dana Vatakis of Monessen has made an instant impact for Robert Morris.

Vatakis has been the winning pitcher in four of Robert Morris’ five victories. She has a 4-7 record and 4.10 ERA in 14 games (11 starts).

Perhaps Vatakis’ best game came in the Colonials’ 4-1 victory over Penn State. It was game in which Vatakis was matched against another former standout pitcher from the Mon Valley in Penn State’s Bailey Parshall. Vatakis got the better of Parshall on that day as the former Monessen standout allowed only one run and five hits. She struck out three to get the win.

Vatakis followed that outing with another strong performance two days later against Maryland Baltimore County. She allowed one run in a complete game and struck out six in a 1-0 loss.

In track and field

Zak Dysert, a senior at Baldwin Wallace, received a United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Great Lakes Region honor for the indoor season.

The top-5 individuals in each event from each region earned All-Region recognition.

A McDonald native and Fort Cherry graduate, Dysert won the weight throw event at five meets and successfully defended his title at the Ohio Athletic Conference Indoor Championships. Dysert also won the weight throw at the All-Ohio Championships when he hit a school-record mark of 63-9, ensuring a return to the Division III Championships.

At the national indoor meet that was held in Boston, Dysert placed 17th in the weight throw with a toss of 58-11½. It was his second trip to the national championships.

Dysert was also named the OAC Field Athlete of the Week twice this season, then carried his indoor success over to the outdoor season as he was named the OAC Field Athlete of the Week following his performance in the season-opening Rose-Hulman (Ind.) Institute of Technology Early Bird. He won three events with career-best marks of 197-8 in the hammer throw and 46-11 in the shot put. His toss of 154-3 in the discus also beat the competition. The hammer and discus marks currently rank second in NCAA Division III.

It was the fourth time in his career that Dysert received weekly honors from the OAC during the outdoor season.

Elizabeth Fleming, a redshirt sophomore at Wheeling Jesuit, received U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association all-region honors in both the shot put and weight throw during the indoor season.

A Washington native and Trinity graduate, Fleming established a personal mark of 44-7 in the shot put at both the Kent State Tune-Up and the Ohio Wesleyan Invitational. She also had a season-best 56-5¼ in the weight throw at the Armory Last Chance meet.

In basketball

Pitt-Johnstown junior guard Josh Wise was named first team All-PSAC West Division by the league’s coaches.

Wise, a Washington High School graduate, led the Mountain Cats in scoring at 17.9 points per game and was the team’s second-leading rebounder at 5.8 per game. Wise, who is in 19th place on Pitt-Johnstown’s all-time scoring list, also ranked third on the team in assists (70), steals (37) and blocked shots (12).

Wise was a three-time selection as PSAC West Player of the Week this season. He will enter his season season next year with 1,183 career points.

Kaitlyn Slagus was named Most Valuable Player of the Patriot League women’s tournament after leading Bucknell to the championship and a spot in the NCAA tournament.

In the championship game, a 66-54 victory for Bucknell over American, Slagus scored 23 points grabbed seven rebounds and blocked four shots. She averaged 15 points and 6.7 rebounds for the tournament, which included wins over American, Holy Cross and Loyola (Md.).

Slagus is the second Bucknell player to be voted Patriot League tournament MVP in the last three seasons.

Slagus was dominant from the start of the championship game as she scored seven points in Bucknell’s 12-2 run to open the game, and she finished 9-for-14 from the field, 2-for-4 from three-point range and 3-for-4 from the foul line.

Slagus also received her third career All-Patriot League honor when she was voted to the first team on the all-conference list. She ranked first in the Patriot League in field goal percentage (.583). She was third in the conference in three-point field goal percentage (.402).

In the NCAA tournament, Bucknell lost in the opening round to Florida State 70-67 despite 13 points from Slagus.

Slagus is Bucknell’s all-time leader in rebounds (931) and scored 1,438 career points.

In baseball

Sometimes one swing of the bat can end a slump. Ohio University’s Tanner Piechnick hopes that is the case.

Piechnick, a junior catcher for the Bobcats and a solid player over his first two seasons, has gotten off to a slow start with the bat this spring. But when Ohio need a big hit Saturday against Central Michigan, it called upon Piechnick, a Canonsburg native and Canon-McMillan graduate, who delivered in a clutch situation.

Piechnick hit a walkoff grand slam to give Ohio a 12-11 victory.

The Bobcats were down 11-7 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning. They managed to push across one run and load the bases when Piechnick was sent to the plate as a pinch-hitter and he delivered in dramatic fashion.

“Right off the bat I knew it,” Piechnick said. “It felt great. I got a fastball. I got it in the right spot and put a good swing on it.”

Ohio head coach Rob Smith also knew it was a no-doubt-about-it homer.

“I saw it go off the bat and at that point you knew, there was no way that ball was coming back,” he said. “Everybody was going crazy as soon as he hit it. He is a guy who has the ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark. When you get in the position to win or tie a game, and you have him sitting the bench, he always has the potential to do something like that.”

Frankie Jezioro, a senior outfielder at Slippery Rock, was named the PSAC West Division Player of the Week for Feb. 25-March 3, during which Jezioro led The Rock to a doubleheader split at West Virginia State.

A McMurray Native and Peters Township graduate, Jezioro hit .625 (5-for-8) with three runs, two RBI, one double, a home run and one walk. After going 3-for-4 with a run and double in an opening game loss, Jezioro went 2-for-4 with two runs, two RBI and a homer in a 9-2 victory.

For the season, Jezioro is batting .295 for the season with three home runs, 10 RBI and a team-best three stolen bases.

Sophomore outfielder Tor Sehnert of McMurray is the leading hitter for Polk State College.

The Peters Township graduate leads the Eagles with a .345 batting average and .471 on-base percentage and .575 slugging percentage. A transfer from Coastal Carolina, Sehnert also leads the team with three triples, five home runs and ranks second with 10 stolen bases in 32 games.

Polk State is a junior college located in Winter Haven, Fla.

Phil Mary of Venetia is off to a strong start in his senior season at Mount Union. The right-handed pitcher has a 3-0 record, one save and a team-best 3.09 ERA in five outings (four starts) for the Purple Raiders, who have an 11-5 record.

A Peters Township graduate, Mary has not allowed more than two runs in each of his last four outings and twice had 10 strikeouts in a game, in a 10-1 win over Concordia-Moorhead and in an 8-1 victory over Knox. He needed only five innings to record the 10 strikeouts against Knox.

In wrestling

Pitt-Johnstown’s Brendan Howard, a Jefferson-Morgan graduate, made the most of his first trip to the NCAA Division II Championships that were in Cleveland by placing eighth at 125 pounds.

Howard (23-8) opened up the tournament with a 9-6 decision over Upper Iowa’s Maleek Williams, who was a national finalist last season. Howard then dropped a 10-6 decision to eventual national champion Carlos Jacquez of Lindenwood in the quarterfinals.

Howard came back in the consolation bracket with an 11-6 decision over Bellarmine’s Brandan Lucas to guarantee All-American status.

Compiled by Chris Dugan

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