A roundup of college athletics from around Arkansas.
UAM participates in Fan Day
MONTICELLO — Ryburn Motor Company and Commercial Bank are partnering with the University of Arkansas at Monticello for a fourth straight year to host the UAM Sports Fan Day on Aug. 27 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on the lot at Ryburn Motors on Highway 425 South in Monticello. Coaches and student-athletes from all of UAM’s intercollegiate athletics teams, as well as cheerleaders and the Boll Weevil mascot, will participate in the event. Fan Day is open to the public at no charge. Fans and members of the media are encouraged to stop by the dealership to visit with representatives of the UAM athletics department about the upcoming sports seasons. Picture opportunities will be available, as well as free food and drinks. There will also be giveaways, games and activities for all attendees. For those not able to come to Fan Day, the UAM Sports Network will be on hand throughout the day interviewing coaches and student-athletes from all of UAM’s teams. That broadcast can be heard locally at KHBM-FM 93.7 and online at UAMsports.com.
UCA to host celebration
CONWAY — The University of Central Arkansas athletic department will hosts its sixth annual “Bear Nation Celebration” on Aug. 24 at the Farris Center. The annual event brings together UCA’s 400+ student athletes and coaches, along with fans and supporters once a year to celebrate the Purple and Gray. Student-athletes will be recognized for the athletic and academic achievements throughout the night. Awards will be given for Player of the Year (male and female), Student-Athlete of the Year (male and female), Freshman of the Year (male and female) and Academic Achievement Award (highest team cumulative grade-point average). Each coach will present the team highlights of the past season The Bear Nation Celebration featured honoree this year will be the late Bill Stephens, former UCA coach and athletic director. The Purple Circle Member of the Year will also be recognized. Entertainment for the event will be provided by UCA alum and nationally acclaimed singer-songwriter Matthew Huff. All tickets/tables purchased automatically include a ticket to the reception, which begins at 5:30 p.m.
A-State hosts scrimmage
JONESBORO — The Arkansas State football team held its first scrimmage of fall camp Saturday morning as part of its ninth practice at Centennial Bank Stadium. The Red Wolves scrimmaged for almost two hours, and the outing featured big plays on both sides of the ball. Offensively, A-State got a pair of receiving touchdowns from tight end Blake Mack and production from its running back corps that consisted primarily of Johnston White, Warren Wand, Jamal Jones and Armond Weh-Weh. Mack, a 6-foot-3 junior tight end, caught the first touchdown of the morning on a 24-yard toss from senior quarterback Chad Voytik. The Cleveland, Tenn., native was also responsible for a 58-yard pass to Kendrick Edwards during the scrimmage. He also connected with junior wide out Christian Booker on a 35 pitch-and-catch, while adding a 37-yard run in early in the scrimmage. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Justice Hansen also connected with Mack for a 12-yard touchdown for the second score of the scrimmage. Hansen also had a 50-yard toss to Cameron Echols-Luper and found junior Booker on a 33-yard pass.
Henderson grabs Top 10 AFCA ranking
ARKADELPHIA — After claiming a third Great American Conference Championship in four years and advancing to the second round of the NCAA playoffs in 2015, Henderson State is ranked tied for No. 9 in the American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches’ Top 25 Poll released Monday. This is the fifth time since 2010 that the Reddies have been ranked in the AFCA preseason Top 25. The Reddies, picked to win the 2016 GAC title by the league’s coaches, return 15 starters and 51 lettermen from last year’s team including GAC Offensive Player of the Year Jaquan Cole. Cole rushed for 1198 yards in 12 games, averaging 99 yards per contest. The senior from Duncanville, Texas rushed for a HSU record 245 yards on 27 carries against Arkansas Tech. In addition to Cole, six additional all-conference players return including first-team center Cory Stitle. Defensively, two-time first-team All-GAC selection and All-American outside linebacker Josh Davis returns for his senior year. Davis is Henderson’s top returning defender having 103 tackles along with a team-best 15 tackles for lost yardage in 2015.
RB’s shine in Bears’ scrimmage
CONWAY — The University of Central Arkansas Bears lost their top three rushers from a year ago, but you could not tell it during Saturday’s scrimmage on “The Stripes” at First Security Field at Estes Stadium. The running backs shined on a cool, wet day, particularly a couple of young ones. “The older guys know there stuff and are good football players,” Steve Campbell said of his returning running backs that include seniors Kelton Warren and Antwon Wells and junior Darrien Daniels. “But some of those younger guys really showed some ability to make some plays today. I don’t know how many yards each one of them ran for, but (freshman) Kierre (Crossley) had a good day, and (freshman) Carlos (Blackmon). Both of those guys had some good runs.” Campbell was pleased with the scrimmage in general, but definitely not satisfied. Campbell had wanted a clean scrimmage for their second time out, and for the most part, got it Saturday.
UCA returns 10 starters
CONWAY — After a heartbreaking penalty shootout loss in last season’s Southland Conference Tournament, the Central Arkansas women’s soccer team looks to make consecutive tournament appearances for the first time in program history in 2016. The Bears, who finished 7-11-2 last season, will look to an experienced roster that returns 10 of 11 starters as they attempt a return to the Southland Tournament. That experience is on display in the Central Arkansas defense, which features juniors Stacia Carroll and Allie Moroney on the back line, and the duo of Anna Hughes and Lauren Mercuri in net. Carroll and Moroney helped anchor a UCA defense that limited opponents to 1.40 goals per game, while Hughes and Mercuri both ranked in the top ten in the Southland in save percentage and saves per game. If the Bears do have a question mark this season, it’s in the midfield, where Bishop must find a fill-in for graduated junior Kate Koch, who started 19 games last season. Easing the pressure though is senior duo Shelby Wilson and Allie Coleman, who each started all 20 games for the Bears last season, and rank seventh and eighth in program history in minutes played.