Football

Tech faces Southern Nazarene

RUSSELLVILLE — The Arkansas Tech football team will square off against the only Great American Conference member it has never faced in football, when the Wonder Boys kick off against Southern Nazarene in Bethany, Okla. on Saturday. A 6 p.m. kickoff is scheduled.

Tech enters the game at 1-1 after a season-opening win at Northwestern Oklahoma and last weekend’s loss to Southwestern Oklahoma, while the Crimson Storm seeks its first win after dropping lopsided contests to Ouachita Baptist and Henderson State.

The Wonder Boys will look to rebound with a win after a tough loss in their home opener, when Southwestern Oklahoma used four plays of 35 yards or more to score all 28 points in a 28-17 win over Tech. However, despite the big plays, there were several bright spots on defense for the Wonder Boys.

The game marks the first in a three-game road swing for Arkansas Tech, as the Wonder Boys will head to Nicholls State for the team’s lone nonconference matchup on Sept. 28 before resuming GAC play at Arkansas-Monticello on Oct. 5.

Cross Country

Lions ready for MSSU Stampede

FORT SMITH — It’s been two weeks since the UAFS men’s cross country team made its season debut in the University of Central Oklahoma Land Run, and first-year Lions coach Justin Bailey has been pleased with the progress his team has made in that span.

The Lions finished fifth in the Land Run and had two runners – twin brothers TaBaris and TaTaris Earnest – post Top 20 finishes. Bailey has challenged his runners to improve on that performance each and every day, physically and mentally.

UAFS will face a tough challenge this weekend when it competes in the annual Missouri Southern State University Stampede in Joplin, Mo., on Saturday morning. It’s one of more difficult races on the Lions’ schedule each season. The Lions tied for 14th in last year’s 8k event with TaBaris Earnest leading the team with a 67th-place finish.

Lady Lions show improvement going into stampede

FORT SMITH — Now two weeks into the regular season, first-year UAFS women’s cross country coach Lauren Unger continues to see improvement from her Lady Lions each and every day.

UAFS finished sixth in the season-opening University of Central Oklahoma Land Run on Sept. 7 at Santa Fe High School in Edmond, and the Lady Lions placed three runners in the Top 25. Junior transfer Kelsea Geschwentner led UAFS with an 11th-place finish in the 94-runner field.

The Lady Lions have been idle since then, focusing on their rigorous practice routine in preparation for Saturday’s Missouri Southern State University Stampede in Joplin, Mo.

The work that the runners have put in during practice has centered on building speed, and Unger can already tell the positive effect it’s having on her runners.

The MSSU Stampede is one of the more competitive meets on the Lady Lions’ schedule each season and attracts many of the top NCAA Division II programs in the region. Last year, then-freshman Carlee Rodriguez covered the 5k course in a time of 19:55.06 to lead the Lady Lions to a 16th-place finish.

HU races at Southern Stampede

JOPLIN — Harding’s cross country teams will compete in their second meet of the season Saturday at the Southern Stampede in Joplin, Mo.

The women’s 5k race starts at 8:30 a.m. at the Robert W. Plaster Sports Complex followed by the men’s 8k race at 9:45 a.m.

Harding’s season began last weekend at the Gulf Coast Stampede in Pensacola, Fla., where the women finished first of 12 teams with junior Ewa Zaborowska finishing first overall.

Senior Andrew Evans led the men’s team to victory as well. Evans and the Bisons defeated nine other schools.

The last time Harding ran in the Southern Stampede was in 2010. The Bisons finished third of 34 teams that season, and the Lady Bisons placed 12th of 36 teams.

Golf

UALR set for Golfweek challenge

LITTLE ROCK — The UALR women’s golf team will play in its second event of the fall season with the Golfweek Conference Challenge on Monday, Sept. 23-25 in Wolcott, Colo. The 18-team event will be played on the 6,262-yard, par-72 layout at Red Sky Golf Club.

The three-day event will include 18 holes per day with a shotgun start for Wednesday’s final round. Live scoring will be available through GolfStat.com.

In addition to UALR, Ball State, Boston College, Central Arkansas, Denver, East Tennessee State, FIU, Harvard, Illinois State, Indiana, James Madison, Morehead State, Northern Arizona, Pepperdine, San Jose State, SMU, TCU and UC Davis will also be competing.

Last week in UALR’s season opener, the Trojans finished second of six teams at the 18th annual Chris Banister Golf Classic in Glencoe, Ala. Junior Sofia Berglund led the way by finishing fifth after a three-over 75 in her final round that moved her to 11-over par for the tournament. Two newcomers were next in line for the Trojans. Junior Sofie Kvarnstrom, a transfer from Western Carolina, received sixth-place honors after finishing at 12-over. Sophomore Stina Resen placed seventh overall (+15) in her first event as a Trojan after transferring from Lamar.

Softball

HU hosts Ecclesia in exhibition on Sept. 28

SEARCY – Harding will unveil its 18th intercollegiate team Sept. 28 when the Lady Bison women’s softball team makes its debut in an exhibition game against Ecclesia.

Head coach Phil Berry’s team will play its only fall exhibition at home beginning at 10 a.m.

It will be the first fast-pitch softball game ever at Harding. The university sponsored a women’s slow-pitch softball team from 1981-85.

Harding will also play exhibition games at the University of Memphis on Oct. 6 and at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway on Oct. 19.

Tennis

Suns open season at USTA/ITA regional

RUSSELLVILLE — The Arkansas Tech Golden Suns tennis team opened the fall portion of its 2013-14 schedule on Friday as they traveled to Springfield, Mo. for the 2013 USTA/ITA Central Regional Tennis Championships.

The Golden Suns return three players from last season’s Great American Conference regular season co-championship squad, including GAC Player of the Year Bohdana Sardak, who posted a 14-4 record overall, including a 12-3 mark at No. 1 singles.

The event, hosted by Southwest Baptist University, features 64 of the top singles players in the central region, and 32 of the top doubles teams in the region. Sardak and junior Olga Leyshyna are the seventh doubles seed, while Leyshyna is seeded sixth in singles and freshman Nozomi Matsuoka is seeded 16th.

The event will conclude on Saturday.