Bits and pieces from the local sports scene.
Fielder awarded for her leadership: Drake University junior women’s soccer player Melanie Fielder — a Burbank High graduate — has been named one of the top juniors at the college as part of the Leaders and Luminaries luncheon held recently.
“Melanie is very deserving of being honored as a top junior,” Bulldogs head Coach Lindsey Horner said in a press release. “She earns impressive grades and is very involved in broadcast news activities outside of the classroom, which is difficult to balance while being a Division I athlete. Most importantly, she has developed into a confident leader who puts a lot of energy and passion into everything she pursues.”
The award is presented annually to third-year students who have demonstrated leadership abilities and involvement in the campus community that are scholastically in good standing with the university.
Fielder, who boasts a 3.47 grade-point average and is majoring in journalism, also received her team’s Academic Excellence Award. The team honor is given to the player who earned the highest grade-point average in a calendar year. Fielder earned a 4.0 in the spring and a 3.75 in the fall for a team high 3.88 for 2010.
Fielder, a defender, also had a fine year for Drake this past season. For her efforts, she was given the most improved player award. The honor is bestowed upon the player whose contributions on the field have shown the most improvement from the previous season, as well as through the course of the fall season.
Fielder made strong contributions to a Drake defensive unit that posted nine shutouts, tying a school record.
Last season, the Bulldogs posted a 10-6-3 mark, including 3-3 in the Missouri Valley Conference. The 10 wins marked Drake’s first double-figure win campaign since going 12-6-2 during its NCAA Tournament season in 2006.
Arkansas, Tubert place forth in SEC tournament and make it to NCAA event: Burroughs High graduate Emily Tubert and the 11th-ranked University of Arkansas women’s golf team were selected to participate in the NCAA Central Regional as a four seed, as the tournament pairings were released Monday.
The Razorbacks are making the program’s 10th NCAA Regional appearance and their ninth consecutive appearance. Arkansas travels to the Warren Golf Course in South Bend, Ind., at the Notre Dame-hosted event.
“We are obviously very excited to be selected as a fourth-seed in the Central Regional,” Arkansas Coach Shauna Estes-Taylor said on the Arkansas website. “It is indicative of how well we have played all year. But our mission is in front of us. We are looking forward to going in to Notre Dame all firing and to put ourselves in a position to win a championship.”
The Razorbacks will continue to practice this week for the tournament scheduled for May 5-7.
The Razorbacks are making the program’s 10th NCAA Regional appearance in the 16-year history of the program. Arkansas’ first appearance came in 2000 when there were just two regional sites — East and West. Arkansas was sent east under the direction of former head coach Ulrika Belline where they finished 23rd in the program’s only East appearance.
The Razorbacks have been to four West and four Central Regional Championships, making three consecutive trips west (2008, 2009, 2010).
Arkansas has advanced out of the Regional Championship to the NCAA Championship three times as a team and once with an individual. The Razorbacks came out of the West twice in 2006 and 2008, the Central once in 2005 and former Razorback Stacy Lewis advanced in 2007 out of the Central. Lewis went on to win the NCAA Individual title that year.
The top eight teams from each of the three NCAA Regional sites will advance to the NCAA Championship May 18-21 in Bryan, Texas.
The Razorbacks have settled into a lineup and are expected to travel seniors Kelli Shean and Corinna Rees, sophomore Victoria Vela, redshirt freshman Emma Lavy and Tubert, a true freshman.
The Warren Golf Course is a familiar venue for the Razorbacks. Tubert has several championship rounds under her belt there, winning the Public Links title last summer. Lavy has also played the course.
“Emily won the Public Links there and Emma has also played the course,” Estes-Taylor noted. “Our men’s team has played championship golf there as well so we will learn all we can about the course before we get there.”
In a recent tournament, Arkansas moved up and down the leaderboard, rallying late to finish fourth at the 2011 Southeastern Conference Women’s Golf Championship April 21 at the Auburn University Club in Auburn, Ala.
Tubert recorded five pars and birdied 18 to tie for fourth place as an individual. Tubert opened the tournament with a 69 followed by rounds of 72-74 for a one-under-par 215 for the three day event. Tubert was five strokes off the lead.
Lavy, also playing in her first SEC Championship, finished tied for 12th overall with a 221. Lavy, a Fayetteville, Ark., native, was solid throughout the tournament shooting 74-73-74 for 221.
As a team, Razorbacks finished with a 298 in the third round of the windy event. Arkansas finished 28 over with an 892 with rounds of 289-305-298. It was as low as seventh late in the scoring on the final day, but the strong finish on the last three holes made a big difference in the team finish.
Host and No. 17 Auburn won the event on its home course, finishing with an 864 in the narrow, challenging venue. Third-ranked Alabama hung on for second. It was 11 strokes off the lead, finishing with an 875. LSU, ranked eighth, edged into third with 887, followed by Arkansas with 892.
Arkansas’ best team finish in the event came in 2008 with a second-place showing. The Razorbacks have won two individual titles, both by Stacy Lewis in 2005 and 2008 during her freshman and senior seasons, respectively.