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SIUE - News - TheOArchive - 031604

March 16, 2004

K. Kirn Wins Faculty-Staff Kimmel Service Award

Kim Kirn, a volunteer with area organizations and her church, is recipient of the SIUE 2004 Kimmel Community Service Award for SIUE Faculty and Staff. An attorney, Kirn is associate general counsel for the university.

In her work with the Edwardsville chapter of the League of Women Voters, Kirn has led League efforts to improve recreational opportunities in the Edwardsville-Glen Carbon area, such as ongoing plans to establish an aquatic center. She also has served on several committees and has conducted workshops and acted as moderator for several candidate meetings and voters' forums in Edwardsville and Glen Carbon.

Kirn also has been involved in several other volunteer efforts including membership in the Edwardsville-Glen Carbon Junior Service Club, the Montessori School Parent's Organization, and SIUE's International Host Program for international students.

Last year, Kirn was nominated to the Glen Carbon Zoning Board of Appeals, and has been very active in fund-raising for St. Cecelia's Catholic Church in Glen Carbon.

Kirn will receive the award at the April 1 Kimmel Leadership Awards Banquet, sponsored by SIUE and the Belleville News-Democrat. She will join other volunteers from Southwestern Illinois, who will receive Kimmel awards in six categories.

The awards were established to recognize outstanding SIUE faculty or staff members, as well as others from the region, for dedication and contributions to volunteer service as exemplified by Carol Kimmel, a former member of the SIU Board of Trustees who for many years gave freely of her time and talent to volunteerism.

Kirn also believes in the concept of volunteerism as evidenced by her many activities in that regard. "I am a great believer in personal responsibility," she said. "I believe I am responsible for my successes and failures in life. Building on that philosophy, I believe I have responsibility for my community, my state, and my world.

"This extends into many areas, such as issues involving clean water, clean air, the education of my children, and the level of recreation offered to residents of my community, especially including the children and adolescents of this community," Kirn said. "While working in Springfield for more than four years, before moving to this region, I saw good works being discussed and sometimes being accomplished.

"This experience reinforced my idea that I could work for those issues I strongly believed in and really accomplish my goals," Kirn said. "I believe that I can make improvements in those areas where there is consensus within the community."

Tickets for the April 1 banquet, scheduled in Meridian Ballroom, are $30 per person. For more information about tickets or about ordering them, call the SIUE Office of Conferences and Institutes, (618) 650-2660, or, from St. Louis toll-free, (888) 328-5168, Ext. 2660.

Kimmel Community Award Winners Announced

Several Southwestern Illinois residents will receive Kimmel Community Service Awards at the April 1 Kimmel Leadership Awards Banquet.

The annual award was established to recognize outstanding community members for dedication and contributions to community volunteer service as exemplified by Carol Kimmel, a former member of the SIU Board of Trustees, who for most of her adult life has given freely of her time and talent to volunteerism.

This year there were six winners in the following categories: social service-social welfare, environmental and civic betterment, regional leadership, agency-organizational concerns, special populations, and education.

Those nominated must have demonstrated a variety of community service contributions for an extended period; demonstrated outstanding voluntary community service, as well as a commitment to the citizens of Illinois or Missouri; and must document leadership roles and responsibilities.

This year's winners are:

Agency-Organizational Concerns: Jewell Backs
Special Populations: Russell Krause
Regional Leadership: J. Terry Dooling
Social Service-Social Welfare: Percy McKinney
Environmental-Civic Betterment: Dennie Jacknewitz
Education: Connie Barre

Kimmel Scholarship Winner Announced

Cynthia Holesko of Gillespie, a senior majoring in Accounting at SIUE, has been named recipient of the university's 2004 Carol Kimmel Scholarship. The scholarship program is co-sponsored by the Belleville News-Democrat.

As a student senator in SIUE's Student Government, Holesko is required to volunteer in that office, attend student-funded events, and serve on at least two university committees. She currently is serving on three: Parking and Traffic, the Honorary Degree and Distinguished Service Award, the Resident Housing, and the Community Relations committees. She is a member of Beta Alpha Psi, a national accounting honor society, and the SIUE Accounting Club.

In the community, Holesko has served on the Prison Committee in Gillespie, helping the city's economy by working toward bringing a state prison facility to her hometown; served on the Make-A-Wish Foundation last fall in Edwardsville, helping to develop a budget and serving on the advertising committee; volunteering with Habitat for Humanity last year, helping to rehab a home in St. Louis.

In April, she will help chaperone the Gillespie High School Chorus on a trip to Memphis and is currently working with SIUE's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance through the School of Business, helping low-income residents prepare and file income tax forms.

In nominating Holesko for the Kimmel Scholarship, various community and university leaders commented on her maturity level and willingness to volunteer despite her work load as a student. "I have been very impressed with Cindy's ability to process the intricacies of the Parking and Traffic Committee," said Robert Vanzo, director of Administrative Services at SIUE.

"That she manages to balance her academic life, volunteer activities, and student employment is quite amazing, particularly considering the degree to which she excels at each."

Gillespie Mayor Dan Fisher, in support of Holesko's nomination, said she works "diligently" on a variety of community projects. "In regard to her Prison Committee service, Cindy did an exceptional job and she has continued to help us on similar items involving reaching out to the young people of our community," Fisher said. "She is an exceptional young woman."

Holesko said she believes in the concept of community service. "Ever since I can remember, my parents have been giving back to the community and I've learned a lot from their example," she said. "The community is the place where you grow up and it shapes the individuals that we become. In that regard, I believe it's only fair to give back what you've gained.

"Sometimes it's not easy to give up your free time, but bringing happiness to others makes it all worthwhile.

"As for service at SIUE, I take my leadership role as a student senator seriously to help insure every student has someone to come to with questions or to look to for guidance," she said. "I believe the best definition of a leader is a person to whom others go for guidance."

Admission Deadlines Approach For Incoming SIUE Freshmen

SIUE's nine-year growth trend is expected to continue in the fall; freshmen hoping to be admitted should submit complete applications no later than May 31. The deadline for all other undergraduates is August 2; students wishing to live on campus should apply for housing by May 1.

"Although fall semester is still five months away, the deadline for freshman admission-May 31-is approaching," said Boyd Bradshaw, assistant vice chancellor for Enrollment Management. "The university is experiencing an unprecedented number of freshman applications for fall 2004 and may consider closing admissions prior to the May 31 deadline. Early projections indicate that our enrollment growth will continue in the fall, as will the demand for on-campus housing."

SIUE has grown from 10,938 students in 1994 to 13,295 last fall, an increase of about 22 percent.

Bradshaw said three new residence halls built since 1994 have served to draw even more attention to the quality education offered at SIUE. "More and more students and parents view SIUE as their first choice for a quality, affordable education," he said.

"A strong faculty, small class sizes, community service opportunities, an active campus life, and some of the newest residence halls in the state continue to fuel SIUE's growth."

Bradshaw said the quickest and easiest way for students to apply for admission and pay the $30 application fee is to go online at Students interested in living on campus can download an application from The housing application and a deposit of $300 must be submitted by May 1.

Hays Named Chief; Takes Over After Harrison Retires

Except for that eight-year hiatus when she ran a tavern and operated a financial services business, Gina Hays has been in law enforcement since 1976.

That time frame includes two years as a dispatcher with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department and making local history as the first female officer on the Edwardsville police force, where she served as a patrolwoman and as an officer in the department's juvenile division.

After her foray into the private sector, Hays returned to law enforcement and joined the SIUE police squad, where she became a captain in 1999.

Now she's making history again. Hays is not only the first police chief for SIUE but also is only the second woman to hold the top enforcement position on a college campus in Illinois.

"Women in law enforcement are becoming much more prevalent then when I started out," Hays said. "Now, around the country, there are quite a few women who are police chiefs. Granted, it's a nontraditional role, but more and more women are choosing to become part of law enforcement and proving themselves in the ranks."

Hays said there are five women out of 35 officers on the SIUE force. "That's very close to the national average," she said. "Many women with families struggle with whether or not to join because it's not a 9-to-5 job. So, how do you juggle things like daycare if the husband also works?"

Hays' husband has been a staunch supporter of her career. "We went through the same problems early on when the kids were younger, but we worked it out. Now, they're all older, so things are easier."

Two of her children are students at SIUE, which provides an added bonus in her work, Hays said. "I get the students point of view every day. It gives me insight into what the students are thinking."

Hays took over as chief in February after Rich Harrison retired. He had been with the force for more than 25 years, the last five of which as chief. "I am continuing the community policing spirit that was established by my predecessors as a customer service aspect," Hays said. "I'd also like to continue to forge partnerships with the Office of Student Affairs and University Housing because in most cases these are the offices that we have to work with.

"Rich used these ideas all along during his tenure as chief and always involved me in the processes. I plan to continue that kind of communication with my officers."

In addition to her work as chief, Hays is very involved in several statewide law enforcement organizations. And, she has held several leadership positions within the organizations. She also is chairman of Cops for Kids, the local chapter of officers in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois.

One of the few women graduates of the FBI's National Academy, Hays also joins and exclusive group of FBI-trained female police chiefs around the country.

But there seems to be one "blemish" on Hays' record. She's a Saluki. "I earned a bachelor of science in Administration of Justice with a minor in Psychology from SIU Carbondale," she said with a smile. "I also got an MPA from SIU Edwardsville."

Yet, that Carbondale thing still lingers. "Hey, I love the Cougars, but I'm a Saluki first."

Board Approves Robert Remini For Honorary Doctorate At Commencement

Robert Vincent Remini, a history professor emeritus at the University of Illinois-Chicago and official historian for that campus, will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters during SIUE's May 8 commencement, according to action taken recently by the SIU Board of Trustees at its regular monthly meeting conducted in February at SIUE.

Honorary degrees have been awarded for more than 40 years at SIUE commencement exercises to those who have made significant contributions to cultural, educational, scientific, economic, social, or humanitarian fields, or other worthy fields of endeavor.

Remini is regarded as America's premier historian of the Jacksonian political era and of Andrew Jackson himself. In addition to his definitive works on Jackson, Remini, an award-winning author, has written biographies of John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, Mormon leader Joseph Smith, Martin Van Buren, and Daniel Webster. In 2002, Remini was honored by the Library of Congress with an appointment to write a narrative history of the U.S. House of Representatives.

A member of the faculty at the U of I-Chicago since its inception in 1965, Remini earned a bachelor's at Fordham University and went on to receive a master's and a doctorate from Columbia University. He taught at Fordham for 18 years before joining the U of I history faculty at the Chicago campus, where he has served as a teacher and administrator.

In other business at the February meeting, the SIU Board approved a new fee for all predoctoral students at the SIU School of Dental Medicine to cover maintenance and updating of clinical training facilities, associated dental and sterilization equipment, and classroom and laboratory equipment.

The new fee-$1,600 each for fall and spring semesters and a pro-rated $711 fee for summer clinic sessions preceding years three and four of the curriculum-will go into effect in fall 2004.

BOT Approves J. Baricevic For Distinguished Service Award At Commencement

John Baricevic, who has been chairman of the St. Clair County Board for the past 14 years, will receive a Distinguished Service Award during SIUE's May 8 commencement, according to action taken last week by the SIU Board of Trustees at its regular monthly meeting conducted this month at SIU Carbondale.

Distinguished Service Awards have been given for more than 35 years at SIUE commencement exercises to those who have performed outstanding or unusual service to the university, the region, or the state.

After earning a juris doctor from SIUC, Baricevic served as the St. Clair County state's attorney from 1980-1990 and was named county board chairman in 1990. He is retiring this year from the board. Baricevic also is in private practice specializing in family law, criminal law, and personal injury litigation.

Baricevic has been instrumental in promoting regionalism in the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan Area, investing enormous amounts of time energy in a variety of projects to insure that the interests and welfare of Metro-East residents-one-quarter of the St. Louis region's population-will be provided for in planning decisions regarding the wider metropolitan area.

Some projects with which Baricevic has been involved include: expansion of Metro Link, development of MidAmerica Airport, maintaining Scott Air Force Base in the face of an uncertain economy, and helping secure funding for a new Mississippi River bridge.

He also lends his time and expertise to several regional organizations including Civic Progress, Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois, the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association, the East-West Gateway Coordinating Council, for which he is immediate past president, and the Greater St. Louis Economic Development Council.

Jackson Middle School Student Wins District TRIO Competition At ESTL

Deverica Spraggins, of A. M. Jackson Middle School in East St. Louis, won applause and Best in Show for her project, "What's in the Atmosphere?" at the East St. Louis Center's TRIO Programs' 20th Annual District-wide Science Fair.

Conducted last month at the Gateway Center in Collinsville, Spraggins won the competition and will go to the regional competition on the SIUE campus later this spring.

She was one of 510 competitors from four school districts throughout the Metro-East. "It was a good turn out," said Richard Binder, TRIO program director. "There was a lot of parent and student support during the awards ceremony."

Awards were given for first, second, and third place, as well as outstanding and special categories, which included Scientific Impact, Visual Display, Originality and Scientific Research Paper.

"Next year we are looking into exploring other subject areas besides math and science," Binder said. "While math and science is our [TRIO] focus, we understand that students excel in other areas as well."

This year's participating districts included Cahokia School District No. 187, Brooklyn School District No. 188, East St. Louis School District No. 189, Venice School District No. 3, the East St. Louis Charter School and the St. Clair County Head Start program.

TRIO programs help individuals from low-income families, first-generation college students, or students with disabilities continue an education beyond high school.

Nursing Offers Programs For Nurses Seeking To Enhance Management Skills

Two new certificate programs in the School of Nursing will benefit nurses looking to move into management positions, and nurse managers who wish to enhance their management skills. Most of the course work will be offered online.

"The new programs are a response to an expressed need in the health care community for professional development opportunities," said Marcia Maurer, dean of the school. "Our new nursing management education effort is designed to meet the needs of nurses with different educational backgrounds."

The nursing management option is open to RNs with an associate degree in nursing. RNs with a minimum of a bachelor's degree in nursing or another discipline may enroll in the professional development sequence in nursing. About 20 students will be admitted annually to each of the options.

Beginning in fall 2004, the new certificate programs will offer 12 credit hours in four online courses, with a focus on nursing management. Each course will offer at least 80 percent of the course work online.

"These programs can be completed within two semesters," Maurer said, "providing a foundation in management skills for nurses who work as nurse managers, and for nurses interested in pursuing a career in nursing management in acute care, primary care, long-term care and community agencies."

Interested nurses may call the SIUE School of Nursing, 618-650-3956 or 800-234-4844, for more information.

Community Forum To Explore Landmark Brown v. Board Of Education Case

A community forum will explore the history of the landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education-and its relevance to today's social issues-from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, March 24, in the Hickory-Hackberry Room, in the Morris University Center.

The forum-moderated by attorney Dennis Orsey and co-sponsored by SIUE Student Legal Services, the Illinois Judge's Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Madison County Bar Association-will first explore Brown v Board itself and the impact it had on subsequent cases, and then will discuss current issues, such as race as a factor in school admissions, sex as a factor in marriage, and the interaction of the law and social issues.

Orsey, a past president of the Madison County Bar and a member of the Board of Governor's for the Illinois State Bar, will be joined on the panel by Alton attorney Lee Barron, Troy attorney James Drazen, Alton attorney Elizabeth Carrion, Edwardsville attorney Victoria Vasileff, and Madison County Associate Judge Barbara Crowder.

Admission is free and the public is invited; complimentary parking will be available in the Visitor's attendant lot behind the Morris Center.

SIUE Students Took Alternative Spring Break To Cherokee Nation

Rather than participate in the stereotypical spring break trip to an ocean coastal region for fun and games, 18 Southern Illinois University Edwardsville students traveled to Tahlequah and Kenwood, Okla., last week on an alternative spring break to work on reservations of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma tribe.

The students learned about social, economic, and cultural issues by participating in the tribal community in various projects. Before leaving for Oklahoma, the students took part in two orientation-training sessions in preparation.

The students helped in construction and clean-up at the elders' homes, and also worked at tribal headquarters as well as at the Loyal Shawnee Ceremonial Stomp Grounds.

Members of the Cherokee Nation prepared traditional meals and provided educational programs about tribal history, social issues, culture, and community development. The students also visited the Cherokee Nation's principal chief and deputy chief, as well as the elders.

The experience provided students with a hand-on experience to learn about outstanding community leaders who have been developing vision and affecting social change for tribal members.

The alternative spring trip was co-sponsored by the SIUE Student Leadership Center, the United Campus Ministry and the Shurtleff Baptist Ministries, both headquartered at the SIUE Religious Center.

Softball Prepares For GLIAC Challenge

Despite just starting Great Lakes Valley Conference play and coming away with four consecutive victories, the SIU Edwardsville softball team must now take a break from league play.

The Cougars, 16-7 overall and 4-0 in the GLVC, will travel to East Peoria, Ill., for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC)/GLVC Challenge.

The tournament pits 10 GLVC schools against 10 GLIAC teams. Each team will play five games in a span of three days.

SIUE opens play in the tournament on Friday (3/26) when it faces Ashland. It has games with Wayne State, Findlay and Grand Valley State on Saturday (3/27). It will wrap up the tournament on Sunday (3/28) in a game with Gannon.

Although these are not league games, they do have regional implications that could help SIUE's chances of qualifying for the NCAA Regional at the end of the season. "It is obviously an important weekend," Coach Sandy Montgomery said. "But

since it is so early, it's not necessarily a make-or-break scenario. If we play well, it will definitely help us fight for a regional spot."

SIUE swept Saint Joseph's and Indianapolis last weekend in the GLVC opener. That was after the Cougars dropped both games of a doubleheader to Winona State on Friday (3/19).

"We did a nice job of handling adversity," Montgomery said. "The entire team bounced back after those two losses on Friday."

The Cougar pitching staff allowed only one run in all four games. Ashlea Hoheimer (Walton, Ind.) picked up two victories on the weekend. Missy Koenig (Mapleton) and Jessica Finch (LaSalle) each pitched complete-game shutouts.

SIUE's offense showed strides as well, banging out 33 hits in the four games. Jenny Esker (Steeleville) leads the team with a .338 batting average. Shannon Evans (Manhattan) and Alicia DeShasier (Carrollton) are close behind with .333 and .329 averages, respectively.

Baseball Returns To League Play

After a short break from Great Lakes Valley Conference play, the SIU Edwardsville baseball team will get back at it this week by playing six conference games.

The Cougars travel to Quincy for a Wednesday (3/24) doubleheader. Lewis will then come to town for doubleheaders on Saturday (3/27) and Sunday (3/28). At 4-15 overall and 1-5 in GLVC play, the Cougars need to find a way to win some games this week. "We need to play a lot better these next two weeks to get back into the conference race," Coach Gary Collins said.

SIUE's rescheduled game against Lincoln, which was to be played on Tuesday (3/23), has been postponed. The teams will try to hook up Wed., Apr. 28, for a 1 p.m. doubleheader at Roy E. Lee Field at SIUE.

The Cougars are coming off a weekend in which they took two of three games from non-conference foe Wayne State (Mich.). The Cougars were an offensive juggernaut on Saturday (3/20), plating 26 total runs in the two seven-inning games.

But the Cougars dropped Sunday's (3/21) nine-inning game 3-2 in a pitcher's dual. "It looked as though we were coming out of our offensive slumber," Collins said, "but Sunday we fell right back into it."

Freshman Adam Tallman (Gillespie) leads the Cougars with a .333 batting average. He joined Jared Brueggeman (East Alton) and Luke Humphrey (Rantoul) as the only Cougars to hit safely in all three games against Wayne State. "I've been real happy with Tallman," Collins said. "I think he'll be a heck of a player for us."

The Cougars also got quality performances on the mound. Jared Rettberg (Divernon) pitched a one-hit shutout in game one of the doubleheader on Saturday (3/20). Kyle Jones (New Baden) and Pat Evers (St. Louis) combined to top the Wayne State offense in game two. Ryan Spurgeon (Bethalto) and Ron Jones (Kankakee) threw the ball well in Sunday's (3/21) game. "Our pitching has been good enough that we should be better than 4-15," Collins said.

Women's Golf Readies For Two Tournaments

In search of its second consecutive NCAA Regional appearance, the SIU Edwardsville women's golf team will open the main portion of its schedule this weekend.

The Cougars will play in the NKU Spring Invitational on Saturday (3/27) and Sunday (3/28). It will then enter the Bellarmine Invitational, which will be played next Monday (3/29) and Tuesday (3/30). "Both tournaments should be a good test for us," Coach Larry Bennett said.

"Most teams we are jockeying with for a position in the region should be there. If we put a solid effort in these next two tournaments, we should be in good shape to qualify for regionals."

The Cougars began the spring season at the Lady Emerald Invitational. Kallie Harrison (Decatur) finished the tournament tied for third. Katie Farrell (Princeton) finished one stroke back and tied for fifth. "We just needed to get out and play," Bennett said. "I knew we would have some rust, and we accomplished the goal of shaking it off before the heart of our schedule starts this weekend."

Men's Tennis Opens GLVC Play

The SIU Edwardsville men's tennis team opens Great Lakes Valley Conference competition this week.

The Cougars have prepared for league play by playing in eight non-conference events to begin the year. "We are ready to start conference play," Coach Bill Logan said. "I've been pleased with the team and the individual efforts of all the players."

After its final non-conference match with Northwest Missouri State on Monday (3/22), the Cougars play host to Quincy on Tuesday (3/23) at 3 p.m. in the GLVC opener. It then takes to the road for matches with Bellarmine and Southern Indiana on Friday (3/26) and Saturday (3/27), respectively.

Matt Warner (Arlington Hts.) and Justin Free (Danville) have been welcome additions to the team this year. They are the only newcomers to a team consisting of five returnees, including senior captain Doug Kummer (Fenton, Mo.) "Matt and Justin have really added strength to the team," Logan said. "Our returning letterman make it even stronger."

Chris Rigdon (Glen Carbon) has a team-high nine wins this season. Warner and Free are close by with eight each.

Women's Tennis Ends On Positive Note

The SIUE women's tennis season ended last Friday (3/19) on a positive note. The Cougars defeated Webster to cap a 3-0 spring season and a 13-5 overall record.

The Cougars nearly qualified for the NCAA Regional, but one-point losses to schools such as Lewis, Southern Indiana and Indianapolis hurt their cause. "We were just a breath away from qualifying for the regionals," Coach Bill Logan said. "I'm happy with what the women were able to accomplish."

The Cougars will hope to build on this year's success when it returns next fall. SIUE will welcome back six players currently on their roster, including Chrissy Yingst (Belleville) and Gina Wohltman (Effingham).

Men's Soccer Signs New Cougars For 2004 Season

SIUE men's soccer coach Ed Huneke bolstered his lineup with fresh faces eager to continue the Cougars' success.

SIUE has signed Grant Landon (St. Louis), Jarius Holmes (O'Fallon), Robert Ridder (Quincy) and Nicholas Frasca (St. Charles, Mo.) to national letters of intent. Huneke said he also expects to add transfers Tim Collico (St. Louis) from Missouri-Kansas City and Mike Zaegel (St. Louis) from Michigan State, both of whom have enrolled at SIUE. "In addition to winning, I enjoy attractive soccer, and these players will help bring that about," said Huneke.

Landon, a forward, set the career record for points at Marquette High School. Landon scored 13 goals, added 13 assists and won the "Best Offensive Award" two years in a row. "Grant has a good combination of deception and aggression," said Huneke.

Holmes, who played at O'Fallon High School under former Cougar defender Jason Turkington, was the Belleville News-Democrat Player of the Year and a two-time All-State selection in soccer. Holmes scored 20 goals and added 12 assists in his senior season for the Panthers.

"Jarius is fast, dynamic and recognized as one of the best in the state of Illinois," said Huneke.

Ridder, was an All-State forward at Quincy Notre Dame High School. He finished second all-time in points and goals for Quincy Notre Dame, which averaged 18 wins over the past three seasons. Ridder also is a two-time state qualifier in tennis. "Robert has flair coupled with statistical impact," said Huneke.

Frasca, a 5-foot-10-inch goalkeeper from St. Charles West High School, recorded 101 saves and a 0.78 goals against average in his senior season. A member of the 2003 Olympic Development Program, Frasca also an All-State selection.

"Nick is technically superior and is fun to watch," said Huneke.

The Cougars finished last season 16-4-1 with a school-record three All-Americans. SIUE has averaged more than 15 wins a season over the past three years.

Men's Basketball Looks To Build On Success

After qualifying for the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament for the first time in five years, SIUE men's basketball coach Marty Simmons and his players have a reason to be optimistic.

The Cougars, who finished 16-12 overall and 11-9 in GLVC play, entered the year with many new faces. Three of the Cougars' top four scorers were new to the team this year. Newcomer Tyler Hackstadt (Okawville) led the team in scoring, followed by junior college transfer Calvin Sykes (Chicago). Joel Jaye (Chicago), another junior college transfer, gave the Cougars an extra lift by coming off the bench. Nebraska transfer Dan Heimos (Waterloo) gave the Cougars a much-needed presence inside. All are slated to return for the 2004-2005 campaign.

"All those guys bring something different to the table," Simmons said. "It will be nice to have these guys come back."

One reason for SIUE's success this season was the execution of its defense. The Cougars finished first in the GLVC and 31st nationally with 65.2 points per game.

"Playing good defense takes a lot of effort," Simmons said. "Our guys did a great job of accepting our game plans and carrying them out."

The Cougars also came on strong late in the season, winning seven of their last nine regular season contests. But after being eliminated by Indianapolis in the first round of the GLVC Tournament, the Cougars were forced to look toward next year. "All the guys coming back all have areas they need to improve," Simmons said. "As coaches, we will help them define those areas and help the guys get better in the off-season."

Track And Field Excited About Two All-Americans

The 2004 SIUE indoor track and field season came to a close last weekend at the NCAA Championships. Jamie Thomas (Blue Island) and Richard Skirball (Granite City) each claimed All-American honors, making it a good ending to a record-breaking season.

Thomas, a freshman, entered both the triple jump and 60-meter hurdles. She came away with a sixth-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles to earn All-American honors. "Jamie was a very talented athlete in high school," Frerker said. "We knew she'd be a major contender and that nationals would be a possibility for her."

Skirball, a senior who has competed in several NCAA Championships, finally earned All-American status after finishing sixth in the 800-meter run. "Richard's experiences gained from previous national championships attributed to the positive result," Frerker said.

This all capped an indoor season where both the men and women's teams were crowned Great Lakes Valley Conference champions. The Cougars will now prepare for the outdoor season, which kicks off April 2 at the SEMO Invitational.

"The combination of the conference championships and having two All-Americans proves it has been a great year," Frerker said, "and we are showing no signs of slowing down."

Softball Back On Track

SIUE's softball team got back to its winning ways last week, taking eight of 10 contests at the Rebel Spring Games in Orlando. "We are playing well," Coach Sandy Montgomery said. "But we have been a little inconsistent and still have to work some bugs out."

The spring break trip helped the Cougars improve its record to 10-5 overall. They will stay busy with eight games scheduled for this week.

The Cougars travel to Missouri-Rolla for a doubleheader on Tuesday (3/16), then will play host to a doubleheader with Winona State on Friday (3/19) at 1 p.m. The Cougars then open Great Lakes Valley Conference play with two games against Saint Joseph's on Saturday (3/20) and two with Indianapolis on Sunday (3/21). First pitch for both days is scheduled for noon.

Missy Koenig (Mapleton) hurled SIUE's 20th all-time no-hitter in a 2-0 victory against New Haven last week. She has started four games for the Cougars and boasts a 2-0 record and a team-low 0.90 earned run average. Jessica Finch (LaSalle) leads the pitching staff with a 4-0 record.

Offensively, Jenny Esker (Steeleville) leads the team with 20 hits and 10 RBI. Shannon Evans (Manhattan) came up big during the Rebel Spring Games and lifted her batting average to .353. Shanna Waldo (Peoria) sports a .349 average and Alicia DeShasier (Carrollton) is off to a good start with a .327 batting average.

"We are going to get better as the season progresses," Montgomery said." We are not yet as good as we are going to be. We are going to take it one game at a time and keep plugging along."

Baseball Gears For KWC, Wayne State

After a Great Lakes Valley Conference matchup at Kentucky Wesleyan on Wednesday (3/17), the SIU Edwardsville baseball team will play host to Wayne State (Mich.) in a three-game series at Roy Lee Field this weekend.

The Cougars travel to Owensboro, Ky., on Wednesday (3/17) to meet the Panthers of Kentucky Wesleyan in a Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. The Cougars then play Wayne State (Mich.) in a doubleheader on Saturday (3/20) and a single game on Sunday (3/21). Both weekend games begin at noon.

SIUE will try to rebound from a weekend series against Saint Joseph's in which the Cougars dropped three of four. SIUE got quality innings from its starting pitchers in the series, but was unable to hold leads as the Cougars fell victim to Saint Joseph's timely hitting.

Coach Gary Collins said he has been impressed with the play of starting pitcher Jarad Rettberg (Divernon). "Rettberg has pitched well," Collins said. "He's been giving us quality innings all year."

The Cougars are struggling offensively, hitting only .246 as a team. Leading the team is Robert Rahn's (Wood River) .333 batting average. "Our starting pitching has been pretty good this year," Collins said. "We just need to score more runs."

Men's Tennis Continues GLVC Preparation

In preparation for the Great Lakes Valley Conference schedule, coach Bill Logan and his men's tennis team will play four non-conference matches this week. It is the last full week of non-conference matches before the Cougars open GLVC play next Tuesday (3/23).

The Cougars will play host to Rockhurst on Wednesday (3/17) in a 3:30 p.m. match. The Cougars play Webster on Friday (3/19) at 3 p.m. before hosting matches with Brandeis and Saint Francis at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., respectively, on Saturday (3/21). All matches will be played at SIUE's outdoor tennis courts.

The Cougars are 2-3 on the season after picking up against Illinois College and Illinois-Springfield. SIUE dropped a close 5-4 decision to Lindenwood. "These are all good matches in preparation for the GLVC season," Logan said. "We hope to keep improving as the conference season draws near."

Chris Rigdon (Glen Carbon) leads the team with seven wins. Matt Warner (Arlington Hts.) and Justin Free (Danville) follow with six wins each.

Women's Tennis Closes Against Webster

The SIU Edwardsville women's tennis team will close its 2003-2004 season Friday (3/19) when it plays host to Webster at SIUE's outdoor tennis courts. First serve is scheduled for 4 p.m.

The Cougars, 12-5 overall on the season, have won all three of its matches during the spring season. "We hope to finish on a positive note," Coach Bill Logan said. "It will be something to build on for next year."

Gina Wohltman (Effingham) leads the Cougars with 14 wins on the year. Chrissy Yingst (Belleville) has gone 5-1 in singles play during the spring to move her overall record to 12-6.

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