OBU women's cross country team earns third-straight GAC title

ARKADELPHIA, Ark. – Led by Freshman of the Year Jana le Roux, the Oklahoma Baptist women's cross country team blew the doors off the competition and were crowned the Great American Conference champions for a third consecutive year.

  Le Roux, Allison Derry, Tesa Potter, Berkley Price and Kayla McGruder were all named First Team All-GAC after the race. Head coach Matt Kennedy was named GAC Women's Coach of the Year for the third straight time.

  All five of the Bison's top five runners placed in the top, scoring 28 points in the process to outstrip second place by 22 points. More impressive, the top five for OBU all finished within 37.1 seconds of each other, the best mark by any of the top five schools by nearly 30 seconds.

"It's been the theme all year," said Kennedy. "The strength of our core allowed us to pack inside the top 10. To win conference three times isn't an easy feat and I'm really proud of how the team has stepped up and executed since the Chile Pepper Festival."

Le Roux crossed the line in third place with a time of 18:29.0, beating her best time of the year by seven seconds. Derry was right behind Le Roux, clocking in at 18:30.8 to claim fourth overall. Potter claimed fifth in a time of 18:50.2, her best time of the season. Price was next across the line, completing the course in 18:52.8 for sixth. McGruder was OBU's final scoring runner, crossing in 19:06.1 to take home 10th overall.

Displacers for OBU were Alexzandria Jaimz in 34th with a time of 20:24.3 and Zoe Jennings in 36th with a time of 20:27.7.

Also running at the GAC Championship for OBU were Shane Rinner (20:36.2, 47th), Caitlin Mertz (20:39.6, 48th), Maddie St. Cyr (20:56.2, 50th), Kaylee Russell (21:47.7, 72nd), Allie Morton (22:02.7), 78th), Ashley Ellis (22:37.7, 86th) and Ashley Scrivner (23:31.2, 102nd).

Oklahoma Baptist returns to action on Saturday, Nov. 9 when they make the trip north to Joplin, Missouri for the Central Region Championships to fight for a third-straight berth at the NCAA Division II National Championships.

Bison capture first GAC men's cross country championship in DII era

ARKADELPHIA, Ark. – For the first time in Oklahoma Baptist's Division II era, the men's cross country team has laid claim to the Great American Conference crown.

  The Bison, who initially won on a tiebreaker, narrowly edged Harding by two points after OBU won their individual matchups. In particular, Blake Cope was shown to have beaten Zach Reed by a miniscule .2 seconds after video review, handing the Bison the outright victory..

"It came down to individual battles," said head coach Matt Kennedy.” After ours and Harding's top two runners, the next three guys were head-to-head and it shows the toughness of our team and the will to win."

Eskew led OBU with a time 25:29.0 to claim third overall. Steven Clark was next across the line for the Bison, completing the course in 26:01.1 to take home seventh place, while DeAngelo Robles placed 10th in a time of 26:05.3. All three runners were named First Team All-GAC.

  Jarrett Ellis clocked in at 26:17.2, good for 14th overall and Second Team All-GAC honors. The final scoring runner for the Bison, Blake Cope, completed crossed the line in 26:24.9 to claim 16th overall.

  Serving as displacers for OBU were Parker Ables in 26th with a time of 27:02.1 and Cameron Mills in 35th in a time of 27:44.9.

"It was awesome to have a contingent of family members and fan there to support us. They really helped assist and encourage throughout the race,” Kennedy said.

  As a result of his team's performance, Kennedy was named the GAC Coach of the Year after the meet.

  Also running for the Bison were Caleb Dyer (28:47.6, 53rd), Avery Hanna (29:24.1, 60th), Connor Heath (29:27.1, 61st) and Colton Martin (30:20.0, 66th).

Oklahoma Baptist will look to carry their momentum into the NCAA Central Region Championship on Saturday, Nov. 9 in Joplin, Missouri.

OBU volleyball pair honored by GAC

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – After leading Oklahoma Baptist to a pair of victories over Harding and Arkansas Tech last weekend, Malia Leatherland and Rylen Moore have taken home Great American Conference weekly honors.

Leatherland, a junior from Broken Arrow, claimed Offensive Player of the Week after averaging 5.86 kills/set and 6.21 points/set while swinging .423. With 19 kills in a three-set sweep of Harding, Leatherland tied the OBU Division II-era record for kills in a three-set match. Additionally, her 24 kills against the Golden Suns are the most by a conference player in a four-set match this season. It's the second time this season for Leatherland to win the award.

  Moore, a freshman from Edmond, was named Setter of the Week after handing out 10.43 assists/set. She set a career high for a three-set match with 34 assists against Harding before turning around the next day to produce a 39-assists performance against ATU. Moore also contributed on the defensive end with 2.29 digs/set and two block assists. This is the first time this season that Moore has taken home a weekly honor.

  Oklahoma Baptist has now produced five weekly award winners, including a GAC-leading three Offensive Players of the Week.

  The Bison (21-4, 10-1 GAC) are back in action with a road test against Southwestern Oklahoma State on Thursday, Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. in Weatherford.

Bison volleyball team secures GAC Tournament berth

Powered by the tandem of Malia Leatherland and Hayley Daniel, the Bison dropped Arkansas Tech, 3-1 (25-16, 19-25, 25-15, 25-8), to clinch a trip to the GAC Championships in Hot Springs, Arkansas next month.

Leatherland led the way with 22 kills while swinging .333 for the match, while Daniel was no slouch with 17 kills on 33 attempts for a team-best .394 hitting percentage.

Oklahoma Baptist took a 1-0 lead after a quick start proved insurmountable for the Golden Suns. Though the offense struggled, recording as many kills as errors, in the second set, the Bison made quick work of ATU in the third and fourth sets to secure the victory.

As a team, the Bison laid down 55 kills while hitting .237 for the match, paced by Leatherland and Daniel’s combined 39 kills. Rylen Moore finished with a match-high 39 assists. Diana Carranza led OBU with 17 digs, followed by Daniel and Leatherland with 15 and 13, respectively.

OBU men's soccer team falls to Northeastern State, 3-2

Luis Romero and Alejandro Castillo scored a goal apiece but Oklahoma Baptist dropped a 3-2 decision Monday to visiting Northeastern State.It was Romero's third goal on the season. The goal ties him with David Estrada for third on the team.

Castillo's goal came on a late penalty kick. This was his sixth goal on the season. He now leads the team in goals and overall points with 14.

Dominic Gibson led the team with two shots, with one coming on goal. He also recorded the assist on Romero's goal. This was Gibson's first assist on the season.

Monday's loss came after the Bison fell at home to Rogers State, 2-0, Saturday.

Up next for OBU is a Friday night match against the Southern Nazarene on the road at 7 p.m.