JALC sports teams surpass 3.0 GPA


CARTERVILLE – The fall semester proved to be a good one for John A. Logan College student-athletes. All seven teams surpassed a “B” average with a 3.0 grade-point-average or better on a 4.0 scale.

Two-thirds or 62 of 94 total student-athletes scored 3.0 or better. Twenty-four of the 94 posted a GPA of 3.5 or greater and were named to the Vice President’s List. Eight of the 94 earned a perfect 4.0 GPA to make the President’s List.

Breaking it down by teams, the seven-member women’s golf team had the highest GPA at 3.54 collectively. Volleyball was second at 3.395 followed by men’s golf (3.186); women’s basketball (3.103); softball (3.073); baseball (3.044); and men’s basketball (3.000).

The baseball team had the most 4.0 GPAs with three, including sophomores Chris Hunt and Derek Repking and freshman Tyler McGowan. Volleyball had two student-athletes with an “A” average in sophomore Kelsey Bailey and freshman Morgan Mueller.

Other 4.0 GPAs were awarded to Sydney Skeel (softball); Dana Kaufmann (women’s golf); and Marissa Nix (women’s basketball).

JALC Athletic Director Jerry Halstead was impressed with the numbers.

“This isn’t the norm to have all seven sports score 3.0 or better,” he said. “This was a very strong semester for us academically. I’m extremely happy with the effort put forth by our student-athletes and hope that it will carry over into the spring semester.”

Halstead said athletes met with coaches and administrators at the start of the semester.

“We told the kids that our goal was for each team to reach 3.0 and we accomplished that goal. There is always room for improvement, however.”

JALC Foundation plans Italian dinner fundraiser

By JOHN D. HOMAN, Logan Media Services

The John A. Logan College Foundation will host its 37th Annual Italian Dinner fundraiser from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 23 in the college cafeteria.

The dinner includes spaghetti, salad, garlic bread sticks, cookies and a soft drink at a cost of $8 for adults or $3 for children 10 and under. The price for JALC students is $5. Carryouts will be available. Advance tickets are also available at the Foundation office (B33) or by calling the college at 985-2828, X8355.

Monies raised from the dinner benefit the Foundation, which provides scholarships for students.

As an added bonus, the Logan women’s and men’s basketball teams will play host to Lewis & Clark College. As it is “Carterville Night,” the high school band, cheerleaders and poms are scheduled to perform.

“We are looking forward to this year’s dinner,” said JALC Foundation Executive Director Staci Bynum. “While it is a fundraiser for scholarships, it is also a great opportunity for our board of directors to meet with Foundation supporters. We really enjoy talking with people in the community who are as interested in seeing John A. Logan College students succeed.”

Bynum said about 400 meals are served each year at the fundraiser.

“And we hope to see that number grow,” she said. “We hope folks will dine in and then go upstairs to watch the games – make an evening of it.”

JALC President, Dr. Mike Dreith said he is looking forward to the dinner.

“I understand this is a wonderful tradition for the college,” he said. “My wife (Carol) will attest that I am a huge fan of Italian food and so can my waistline. The funds are important, but not as important as the camaraderie within the campus community and the communities we serve.”

Bynum said the fundraiser wouldn’t happen without the support of the college’s extended family, student ambassadors and Foundation board members.

“We really do have a great group of people supporting the Foundation and we are grateful for them all,” she said.

John A. Logan angel tree helps 300 area children

JALC Student Senate member Ty Nance of Carterville and Adrienne Barkley Giffin, Director of Student Activities and Cultural Events, showcase donated Christmas presents that are to be distributed to 166 children in Southern Illinois thanks to the generosity of Logan students, employees and the general public. (Logan Media Services photo)

BY JOHN D. HOMAN, Logan Media Services

Another Angel Tree project coordinated by the Student Senate at John A. Logan College is in the books. And thanks to the generosity of students, college employees and the general public, 300 children in Southern Illinois enjoyed a brighter Christmas.

Adrienne Barkley Giffin, Director of Student Activities and Cultural Events at Logan, said representatives with the Neighbor to Neighbor and Adolescent Health Center agencies in Williamson and Jackson counties collected the donated gifts for 166 children.

Barkley and Student Senate members then spent $4,800 in donated cash to purchase gifts for another 134 children in the region for a total of 300 children served.

“That comes out to about $36 per child,” Barkley Giffin said. “Of course, we’d always like to do more, but every little bit helps.”

Barkley Giffin said the project touches lives in ways more than one can imagine.

“Just last week, we had a Logan student and three of her best friends, who are attending other colleges, decide they would pool their money, and instead of spending it on each other for gifts, would adopt a little girl from the Angel Tree and got everything on her list. They then bought the gifts together and wrapped them together. That was really sweet.”

Barkley Giffin said students have bills to pay, including tuition, books and fees, yet still think of others who are less fortunate.

“Even during Finals Week…to take the time to participate in Angel Tree..is special.”

There was another instance of a woman who recently attended the Holiday Hop musical on campus and picked a child’s name from the Angel Tree.

“She said the Angel Tree is a blessing to her because she and her husband lost their daughter last spring and this was a way for them to take the time and money they were going to spend on their daughter for Christmas and apply it to this other child. It helps them deal with their grief during this holiday season.”

Barkley Giffin said some JALC employees help teach their own children about the joy of giving through projects like Angel Tree.

“It’s a way of teaching young people about a need in the communities in which they live,” she said. “It’s really amazing the response their children have, too. I know of one child who saved all of her allowance money throughout the year to spend on another child. Children are very generous. And so are our Logan employees. A lot of people have stopped me in the hall the last few weeks and asked me how they can help. It’s something fun for them to do. I also want to stress that this project is not just about the gifts. It’s about letting these kids know that they are worthwhile and are cared about.”

John A. Logan College holds first lifeguard competition

By DEANA SMITH, Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – The John A. Logan College aquatic center lifeguard team participated in the first Logan Lifeguard competition Saturday, Dec. 1. The five-event competition was designed to refine lifeguard skills throughout the fall semester, foster teamwork, and provide a fun outlet for the guards.

The first half of the fall semester was devoted to skills practice through formal in-service training provided by Aquatics Coordinator Chris Georgantas. During the second half of the semester, teams were randomly drawn by three team captains and lifeguard competition criteria was announced and posted.

One month was provided to allow all guard teams to prepare for battle. Several guard-directed practice sessions took place with as many as four guards at a time getting together to ready themselves for competition day. A high level of cross-team cooperation was notable during this preparation period.

Aquatic Center faculty Curt Caldwell and Tricia Ely assisted with judging and result tabulation. The Chlorine Machine, a team consisting of Chris Georgantas, Josh Lannom, Miki Ness, and Derrick Snider, came out on top with 19 points. The Lochness Monsters with Mike Giovanni, Kinsley Rausch, Bailey Cook, and Alex Taylor were the runners up with 16 points. The PiranhaCondas with Sophie Hooker, Zack Essex, Collin Murrie, and Tomi Hamlin placed third with 13 points.

The first Logan Lifeguard competition was a great success, providing the groundwork for even better Logan competitions in coming semesters.

“The training and competition plan really encouraged lifeguard training, and brought the team together in new ways.” Georgantas said.

Georgantas plans to use the competition format every fall and spring and hopes for a Southern Illinois regional competition in the near future.

JALC Trivia Team is on a roll

By TERI CAMPBELL, Logan Media Services

The John A. Logan College trivia team has been on a roll lately. The team racked up three victories in November and those wins are part of a long history of success.

Dr. Jane Bryant, professor of political science at JALC, has been a member of the team since its inception.

“Russ Williams, who used to be a part-time faculty member here, started the team in 2006 to participate in a fundraiser for the Lighthouse Shelter in Marion,” Bryant said. “We won that event in 2006 and 2007. Once we got a taste for the competition, we started looking for other contests to play in. Now we do about eight to 10 fundraisers a year.”

Bryant believes diversity is one of the team’s strengths.

“The members of the team have changed a little bit over time, but a few people have stayed the same, and everyone is affiliated with Logan in some way,” Bryant said. “One of the things that makes us strong is that we’re from all different departments on campus. We all have our areas of expertise and that helps make us a winning team.”

Rebecca Bostian, a reference librarian at JALC, joined the team in 2008 and sometimes serves as the captain.

“When I started working here four years ago, I became part of the team and took on the responsibility of finding events for us to play in and getting everything organized,” Bostian said. “We have a good time and we do pretty well. I believe we win between 80 and 90 percent of the fundraisers we play in, and we always donate the money we win back to the charity. We just play for the fun of it.”

Bostian said the team members can be superstitious.

“We had come in second at two contests in a row, and we were pretty bummed out about it. Then someone brought Fritos to the next event, and we won it,” Bostian said. “So we brought Fritos to the next one, and we won again. So now someone has to bring Fritos to every competition we play in.”

Kenneth “Fog” Gilbert, instructor of English at Logan, has been a long-time member of the team.

“I enjoy getting together with my colleagues outside of work and these contests give me the opportunity to do that,” Gilbert said. “This team is a lot of fun. I like the camaraderie and the challenge of the competitions.”

Along with Bryant, Bostian and Gilbert, the other regulars on the team are Mark Rogers, assistant professor of computer information systems; Tom Bell, associate dean for learning resources; Tom Carroll, professor of history; Jennifer Jeter, assistant professor of mathematics; Charles Rudolph, instructor of English; and Dr. Rick Gardner, instructor of music.

“The regular players can’t always make it to every contest so we’ve had many substitutes join us and fill in over the years,” Bostian said. “We welcome anyone at the college to play with us if they are interested in trivia and like to have a good time.”

The JALC trivia team will be back in action on Dec. 8 when it participates in a fundraiser for the Marion High School Library Club.

Lady Vols come up short at SWIC

By JOHN D. HOMAN, Logan Media Services

All-American candidate Jannelle Cannon poured in 32 points Wednesday night to lead the Southwestern Illinois College Blue Storm to a 61-54 Great Rivers Athletic Conference home victory over John A. Logan College.

Cannon, who was leading the nation in scoring at 25 points per game prior to Wednesday’s match, knocked down 9-of-22 shots from the field and 13-of-14 free throws in tallying her 32. She also had four rebounds and four steals. No other SWIC player reached double figures.

JALC sophomore transfer Autumn Miller goes up for two of her team-high 18 points Wednesday night at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville. It marked Miller’s highest offensive output of the season. (Photo courtesy Jonathan LeBlond)

Logan was led by sophomore guard Autumn Miller’s 18 points (5-of-8 from the field, including 4-of-6 from three-point land) and 4-of-6 at the charity stripe. Freshman post player Ashley Yateman contributed 10 points for the Vols, who fall to 7-3 overall, 1-1 in the conference. Adding eight points each were Kyra Navarrete and BreAnn Denny.

Logan trailed 26-24 at the half thanks to an 11-2 run to close out the first 20 minutes. The Vols had led by seven at 22-15 as Yateman scored four consecutive lay-ins off feeds from her teammates.

The Vols pulled within two in the second half at 37-35 on a jumper by Navarrete, but would get no closer. Cannon scored the next four points to give the Blue Storm a more comfortable spread.

The Vols shot poorly overall, converting 20-of-60 shots, including 6-of-18 from long range.

Logan head coach Marty Hawkins took the loss in stride.

“Once we got behind in the second half, it was hard for us to catch up, especially with all the free throws they were making (17-of-22),” Hawkins said. “I thought Autumn rose to the occasion and Ashley gave us a good run there in the first half. But we did a poor job against their 2-3 zone in the second half, throwing the ball away – a lot of high school floater passes.”

The Vols close out the first half of the season Dec. 15 with a 1 p.m. game against Mineral Area College in Carterville.

Vols’ Thompson signs with Illinois State

By JOHN D. HOMAN, Logan Media Services

John A. Logan College sophomore pitcher/outfielder Derek Thompson has signed a letter of intent to play baseball on scholarship next fall for Illinois State University.

JALC sophomore Derek Thompson signs a letter of intent to play baseball on scholarship at Illinois State University next fall. A native of Teutopolis, Thompson was recruited as a lefthanded pitcher. He also plays outfield for the Volunteers. (Photo courtesy Jonathan LeBlond)

A native of Teutopolis, the former prep All-Stater turned in an amazing freshman season for the Volunteers last spring, going 8-2 with a 1.92 earned-run-average and four shutouts. The lefthander struck out 103 and walked only 29.

Thompson was also a force to be reckoned with limited playing time on offense, batting .299 with two home runs and six runs batted in. He had 20 hits in 67 at bats and scored 11 runs. And defensively, he was nothing short of outstanding with several diving catches in the postseason.

Thompson was instrumental in Logan winning the Great Rivers Athletic Conference with a mark of 23-5 and posting a 41-22 overall record, which included a second straight Region 24 championship and advancement to the Northern District championship game against Iowa Western, also for the second straight year.

“Derek is a definite impact player,” said Vols head coach Jerry Halstead. “I expect him to be our No. 1 starter next spring and will start in the outfield when not pitching.”

Halstead said Thompson possesses an above-average fastball and sharp curve. He is still working on developing a better change up.

“Simply put, he’s a special player. It’s quite a coup for Illinois State to keep him here in the state considering Derek was being recruited by some schools in the Southeastern Conference. When he fills out and matures at 6-foot-4 and 220 to 230 pounds, he’s going to be something out. Probably the only reason we got him was because he was about 180 when he got here and needed time to mature.”

Thompson said coming to Logan was the right choice for him.

“Last spring was great and I’m very much looking forward to next spring,” he said. “I think we have a lot of depth on this team and am excited about our chances within the conference and then again at the regional at the end of the season.”

Thompson said that while he enjoys playing multiple positions, he realizes that pitching is probably his strong suit.

“I just need to keep focused and make sure my mechanics are OK. As long as I can do that, as well as add a few miles-per-hour to my fastball and locate my pitches, I should be fine.”

Thompson said he also looks forward to competing at Illinois State next fall.

“Believe me, I’m excited about it. Just one step at a time, though. We have some unfinished business here at Logan first.”

John A. Logan College presents “The Holiday Hop”

By TERI CAMPBELL, Logan Media Services

The John A. Logan College Choral and Chamber Ensembles will bring to life the chart-topping hits of the 1950s and 1960s with a musical production of “The Holiday Hop.” Two evening performances are set for Friday, Dec. 7, and Saturday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. in Logan’s O’Neil Auditorium.

Nathan Arnett, a music instructor at JALC, wrote the script and is directing the show.

“We’ve done these tributes to rock ‘n’ roll before and this year we will be doing much more holiday-themed music, as well popular hits from the 1950s and ‘60s,” Arnett said. “We have a new set design, and there will be lots of singing and dancing. We also have a live rock band made up of Logan students and faculty, and they are doing a super job. It’s going to be a fun show.”

Arnett said he enjoys reprising the holiday shows.

“Over the last few years, I’ve started a rotation of popular themes during the holidays,” he said. “We generally rotate among a rock ‘n’ roll show, ‘A Dickens Dinner,’ and a 1940s radio show, and this is the year for the rock ‘n’ roll show. Our audiences seem to appreciate the recurring themes.”

Arnett said the shows are also wonderful learning opportunities for his students.

“The students are taught these popular styles of music and we prepare for this show during the semester,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for the audience to see what we do in class.”
In addition to the evening performances of “The Holiday Hop,” a matinee, also in O’Neil Auditorium, will be held on Thursday, Dec. 6, and will begin at 10 a.m. Tickets for the evening shows are $12 for general admission and $7 for JALC students and children 12 and under. Tickets for the matinee are $2 for the general public and free to Logan students and staff.

Adrienne Barkley-Giffin, director of student activities and cultural events at JALC, said tickets are going fast.

“We are almost sold out of tickets for both evening performances,” Giffin said. “Anyone wanting to see the show should contact my office as soon as possible.”

For more information on “The Holiday Hop” or to get advance tickets, contact the Office of Student Activities and Cultural Events at Logan, at 618-985-2828 or 618-457-7676, Ext. 8287.

Logan men win thriller

By JOHN D. HOMAN, Logan Media Services

Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

While Mandela was not referencing a sporting event, his words certainly fit the situation at hand Wednesday night in Robinson as the John A. Logan College men’s basketball team overcame a 21-point second-half deficit to defeat Lincoln Trail, 72-68.

Vols’ freshman guard DeVaughn Johnson penetrates the lane in game action Wednesday. Johnson finished with four points. (Logan Media Services)

Erasing a 21-point deficit seemed like an impossible task, especially on the road. But this Vols’ team refused to lose. Led by freshman forwards James Williams and Jay Johnson, Logan slowly began hacking away at the point spread.

By the 12-minute mark, Logan had pulled to within seven at 56-49. At 8:22, the Vols were within one at 56-55 following a pair of free tosses by Julian Hernandez. And with 6:46 to play, the Vols took the lead at 57-56 on a tip-in basket by Johnson.

The host Statesmen valiantly tried to restore order with a basket by Jesse Tesmer at 58-57, but JALC freshman forward Sondell Conner answered with a stickback. A made shot in the lane from freshman transfer Connor Wheeler gave the visitors a three-point lead at 61-58.

Tesmer responded again with a tip-in to trim the Logan lead to one. The Vols, however, would not relinquish the lead again, hitting just enough free throws late to secure the victory.

“It was an unbelievable effort,” said Vols first-year head coach Kyle Smithpeters. “We very easily could have stopped playing when we got down 21, but we didn’t. We kept battling and that’s what I really like about this group of kids. Despite being a young team, we fought back hard. That’s what we preach to them every day in practice – not to give up because sometimes things aren’t going to go your way.”

Williams, who was the team’s second-half spark with nine of his 11 points, said his mindset was simple – to keep playing hard.

“I appreciate the fact that my coaches and teammates trust me, so I want to reward them by playing as hard as I can to help us win,” he said. “Tonight was tough. We were down 21 and had to dig ourselves out of that hole. Fortunately, we kept our composure and ended up getting the ‘W.’”

Sophomore post player Aaron Adeoye led the Vols in scoring with 17 points. Jay Johnson checked in with 14. Williams was the only other Logan player in double digits with 13. Wheeler and Hernandez contributed seven each. Conner finished with six, including a thunderous first-half dunk. DeVaughn Johnson netted four and Michael Schmidt and Pierre House had two.

Caleb Begle led the Statesmen with 30 points. He was 6-of-12 from long range, including five of his first six.

The Vols made 28-of-59 shots, but were only 1-of-12 from beyond the three-point arc. Logan owned the boards to the tune of 44-to-28 with Jay Johnson tops with 12 rebounds, eight of which came on the offensive end. Conner had eight rebounds. Wheeler led in assists with eight.

It was Conner who was assigned to Begle in the second half and the 6-foot-5 Chicago native used his size and wingspan to shut down Lincoln Trail’s top shooter. Begle only connected on two of his last 10 shots.

Now 6-1 overall and 1-0 in the GRAC, the Vols return home Saturday to take on undefeated Shawnee in a 3 p.m. match.

John A. Logan College scholarship awarded

A Murphysboro woman has been announced as the winner of a prestigious scholarship at John A. Logan College. Theresa Heern is the recipient of the Dr. Fred Nolen Scholarship.
Money for the award is made by family, and friends through an endowment that they have set up.

Through his Orthodontic practice, Dr. Nolen was well known and beloved by hundreds of Southern Illinoisans.  As a long time member of the John A. Logan College Foundation Board of Directors, Dr. Nolen contributed of his time, energy, and resources to support John A. Logan College and its students.

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