SENATOBIA, Miss. -- Although already firmly in command of the NIRA Ozark Region race, the Missouri Valley College men's rodeo team locked up its fourth straight title last week by winning the Northwest Mississippi Community College Rodeo.
The Vikings claimed its sixth championship in eight outings, and fourth in a row, by a margin of 610 to 550 points over Southern Arkansas. They now have 5,008.33 points on the season, Tennessee-Martin second at 3,130 with only its meet this weekend remaining in the shortened nine-meet schedule.
Valley scored big in bareback riding with 330 points, junior Tanner Aus of Granite Falls, Minn., taking first place followed by senior David Clapp third and senior Will Crain sixth. The Vikings also got a win in steer wrestling from sophomore Cody Metsker of Taylorville, Ill.
Although it didn't count toward the team score, freshman Ben Runyon of Tullula, Ill., was the heeler of the top duo in team roping, paired with SAU header Justin Johnson.
The Valley women finished third with 280 points, as freshman Shyanne Masters of Leon, Iowa, won in goat tying, freshman Charity Howk placing second.
A 1-2 finish by senior Jessica Brown and freshman Taylor Magrath in the long "go" of breakaway roping added 100 points.
Senior Jessie Pratt of Stoutville was first and junior Brett Caldwell came in second in barrel racing, but didn't count toward the team total.
The Valley softball team won four out of six games, three on shutouts, in a three-day span this week to climb up the Heart of America Conference standings.
It didn't begin well Sunday, as William Jewell scored seven runs in the last two innings for a 7-2 win at Liberty, senior Lauren Cain and junior Taylor Brown each driving in three runs.
The Lady Vikings won the nightcap 1-0 in eight innings, senior Jackie Kragel going the distance by blanking Jewell (31-12, 8-6 HAAC) on six hits and sophomore Jennifer Palmatory smacking a walk-off single with two outs in the eighth.
Freshman Katelyn Nill and sophomore Shianne Busch had two-run singles during a six-run rally in the top of the seventh Monday for Benedictine (15-12, 6-6), which pulled out a 7-3 decision in the Lyon Bowl.
Valley again answered with strong pitching from Kragel, allowing only one hit for a 7-0 win. Senior Jacqueline Valli went four for four, knocking in three runs, while sophomore Esperanza Rothwell scored three times and drove in a pair of runs while banging out three hits.
Tuesday's opener against visiting Culver-Stockton (5-26, 1-13) went to the ninth inning before junior Jamie Jungermann drew a bases-loaded, two-out walk to force in the winning run in the Lady Vikings' 2-1 victory.
Jungermann fired a three-hit whitewash in the late game, Valley winning 10-0 in five innings. The Lady Vikings (10-17, 5-7) scored seven runs in the first inning, junior Marisol Espinoza and Rothwell each singling in a pair of runs.
After sweeping a men's and women's doubleheader at Missouri Baptist on Wednesday, April 6, the Valley tennis teams couldn't find a win in a pair of weekend duals.
The William Jewell men came back after dropping two of three doubles matches Friday for a 5-4 Heart of America Conference decision at Valley. Senior Derek Gillilan and junior Jason Rolle won 8-4 at No. 1 and freshmen Daniel Velasquez and Luiz Moura claimed an 8-5 victory at No. 2 to get the Vikings off to a good start, but only Moura and Velasquez won in singles.
McKendree (Ill.) swept three doubles matches Saturday at St. Louis during a 7-2 non-conference win, Moura and Velasquez getting the only wins for Valley (9-5, 1-2 HAAC) in singles.
The Lady Vikings fell to 20th-ranked William Jewell, 6-3, juniors Elanqua Griffin and Tershelle Burrows claiming an 8-6 victory at No. 1 doubles and Valley getting singles wins from junior Juliana Doyle and sophomore Courtney Henley of Marshall in the Nos. 3-4 singles spots.
McKendree blanked the Lady Vikings (8-3, 2-1), 9-0.
FAYETTE -- Eight members of the Valley track and field team medaled Saturday in the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Awareness Invitational at Central Methodist.
The Lady Vikings were 14th among 21 women's teams with 12 points. Junior Sara Stafford was fourth in the shot put (12.74 meters), freshman Gabby Lovelace placed fifth in the high jump (1.55) and senior Sheena Carter came in sixth in the hammer throw (43.02).
The top performer for the Valley men was freshman Dwayne Williams, who accounted for 5.5 of the team's 11.5 points -- good for 17th place -- by finish fourth in the 100-meter dash (11.07 seconds) and sharing eighth in the long jump (6.63).
Through two meets, the Vikings don't yet have any qualifiers for the NAIA Outdoor Championships.