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Year in review

Submitted by Kolton Rutherford on April 26, 2017 – 5:01 pmNo Comment

By: Kolton Rutherford

As the spring semester winds down, Little Rock (LR) athletics is finishing up its year as well. While the year didn’t feature any stunning upsets in the NCAA tournament  like Trojan fans enjoyed last year, the 2016-17 LR athletes and teams did have their achievements, highlighted by LR women’s basketball’s 25-9 regular season record and Sun Belt conference regular season title.

In the fall, LR soccer finished 12-8-1 and notched a victory in the Sun Belt tournament versus Louisiana-Monroe. The team played especially well at home, posting a 7-2-0 record at Coleman Sports Complex.  Senior defender Hali Long took Trojan soccer to the international stage with her multiple appearances for the Philippines National Soccer Team, most recently on April 9 versus Bahrain. Just two days earlier, she scored a hat-trick versus Tajikistan. Also in the fall, the Lady Trojans volleyball team finished a disappointing 12-18 overall but did break even in conference play.

In golf, the Trojan men notched two victories at the Memphis Intercollegiate and the First Tee Classic, while the women placed second at the LR/A-State Invitational in Maumelle and finished fourth at the Lady Red Wolf Classic.

Swimming and diving won 6 of 8 meets, including their only meet on the LR campus. Diver Samantha Gray competed at the Missouri Valley Conference Championship and finished 41st in the tournament.

Track and field’s season is ongoing, but to date the women’s team’s best finish has been third at the Little Rock Invitational. The men’s best finish also came at the Little Rock Invitational, where they placed second.

Trojan baseball still has a fair portion of the season to play, but at time of writing, the team is 14-23.

LR men’s basketball followed up their unexpected NCAA Tournament appearance last year with a 15-17 record. Despite losing several players and the coach from last year’s team, the Trojans had a 9-6 record in front of the home crowd at the Jack Stephens Center and appeared on ESPN on January 2 versus Louisiana-Lafayette.

Of the various Trojan athletic teams, women’s basketball had the most successful season, posting a 25-9 record overall and 17-1 in conference play. In one stretch, the women posted 12 consecutive wins, and closed the regular season on a 5-game win streak, winning the Sun Belt conference title. Despite losing to Louisiana-Lafayette in the second round of the conference tournament, the women appeared at the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) and notched a win in the first round versus Southern Miss. They narrowly lost 55-53 in the second round versus Alabama.

Trojan alumni also made news during the year. Former Trojan basketball player Josh Hagins played in Europe for Bosnian basketball team Bosna Royal and signed with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Developmental-League (D-League) in January. Hagins has played well for Maine and is looking to get an invite to an NBA Training Camp this summer. Fellow basketball alumnus Roger Woods played for BBC Lausanne in Switzerland, and former LR baseball player Ryan Scott, drafted by the Boston Red Sox last year, made his debut in their minor-league system. To date, he has a .256 batting average and seven homeruns.

The Trojans and Lady Trojans alike will be looking to apply the lessons learned during the 2016-17 athletic year when they return in the fall. The Forum will be there to cover all the twists and turns along the way.

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