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Valley harriers compete at nationals

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- Two Missouri Valley College cross country runners competed Saturday in the 57th NAIA Championships at Vancouver, Wash.

Junior Matt Leonard of Higginsville completed the eight-kilometer course at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in 27:03 to finish in 203rd place and junior Alex Avilez of Escondido, Calif., posted a time of 27:47 to come in 260th in a field of 320 runners.

Senior John Gilbertson of The Master's (Calif.) clocked in a 24:56 for a 10-second victory over College of Idaho senior Greg Montgomery, finishing the season undefeated as the Mustangs first national champion.

St. Francis (Ill.) took its first team title by a margin of 138 to 153 points over Southern Oregon. Heart of America Conference champion Baker placed 10th with 314 points.

The Vikings were represented in the NAIA meet for the first time since 2005.

Men's Basketball

MC KENZIE, Tenn. -- The Valley men's basketball team split a pair of games over the weekend in the McDonald's Classic at McKenzie, Tenn.

The Vikings took a two-point lead into halftime Friday, but cold second-half shooting resulted in their fourth straight loss, 66-57 to Tennessee Temple. Valley was out-gunned after the break, 46.4 to 29.4 percent from the field.

The Crusaders also enjoyed a hefty advantage from the bench, 31-2. The Vikings' reserves missed all 14 shots from the floor in 52 combined minutes.

Junior Hampton Mack led Tennessee Temple (3-2) with 16 points and six rebounds.

Valley got 17 points, four assists and four steals from senior Michael Connor.

The Vikings recovered Saturday with a 79-65 victory over Ohio Mid-Western behind 21 points from sophomore Kevin Stander.

Valley was a season-best nine of 20 from three-point range, Stander sinking five from beyond the arc. It added to an eight-point halftime lead by shooting 48.4 percent from the field during the second half.

The Rams (0-6) got 19 points from senior Greg Howard.

Freshman Jordan Epps contributed 20 points and 11 assists and senior James Pope added 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Vikings (2-5), who play at 10th-ranked Columbia today.

Women's Basketball

MARYVILLE -- The Valley women's basketball squad dropped both games in the Winstead-Reeves Classic at Maryville during the weekend, a late charge in the second contest coming up short.

The Lady Vikings were beaten Friday by former Heart of America Conference rival William Jewell, 75-47. The Lady Cardinals, now an NCAA Division II member, led by 19 points at halftime and didn't allow Valley to get closer.

Jewell (1-1) got a combined 21 points from senior Katlyn Wood and junior Cassy Nicolay, a former Salisbury standout.

Senior Gaby Morales had 10 points and six points for the Lady Vikings.

Valley had a three-point halftime lead Saturday against Southwest Minnesota State, but a poor start to the second half led to a 59-56 loss.

Junior Bree Holleman knocked down a three-pointer and junior Rebekah Rolling hit a pair of jumpers as the Lady Mustangs opened the second period with a 10-0 run. The Lady Vikings twice pulled to within a point and trailed by only three after junior Alexis Sweet scored with 10 seconds remaining.

Holleman missed the front end of a one-and-one from the free-throw line, but Sweet's three-point try with two seconds left was blocked by junior Hannah Beeler.

Southwest Minnesota State (1-3) got 24 points off the bench, including a team-high 13 points from sophomore Hope Bonlander.

Senior Sami Jackson had 16 points and Sweet added 15 for Valley (2-4), which hosts Missouri Baptist today.

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