WINONA LAKE – News and notes for Grace College as it wrapped up its spring sports season with awards and accolades, along with a staff hiring for cheerleading.
Grace College closed the NCCAA National Championships with eight All-American finishers, including a pair of national champions. Overall, both squads finished in the top 10. The men placed fourth as a team, marking the best finish in program history, and the women were 10th.
Walker Hobbs nailed a personal best in the shot put, winning the national title with a heave of 50-feet-8.25. His mark also qualified for NAIA Nationals and broke a school record.
Dylan Felger earned a national championship in his freshman season. He ended the 400-meter hurdles race in a time of 55.32 seconds to beat his closest competitor by less than two-tenths of a second.
Felger had shattered his own school record earlier in the prelims in a time of 53.67. He later was named both the Crossroads League and NCCAA Athlete of the Week.
Isaac Brown and William Shafer both placed third to grab All-American recognition. Brown was third in the high jump at 6-6.25, and Shafer was third in the hammer throw at 167-10 which met the NAIA B standard.
The meet ended with yet another All-American honor for Grace. The men’s 4×400 relay team of Paul Brawner, Felger, Kyle Smith and Martin Schiele were the national runners-up in a time of 3:21.58.
Grace’s baseball team enjoyed one of its most successful seasons in recent memory this spring. The squad was honored accordingly with four awards by the Crossroads League.
Chris Griffin was named the league’s Newcomer of the Year as a standout freshman, and Xavier Harris was named All-League. Mitchell Enyart and Houston Haney were both honorable mention for All-League.
Harris and Griffin were Grace’s two most dangerous hitters this year. Harris led Grace in batting average (.336) and produced 46 hits, 25 runs, 8 doubles and 23 RBIs in 44 games.
Griffin batted .333 as the everyday starter at first base. He finished second on the team in runs (28), doubles (8) and RBIs (27). He also led Grace with five triples and five home runs.
In league contests, Griffin took his play to an even higher level. He hit .390 and tallied 32 hits, 4 triples, 4 homers and 18 RBIs in 26 league games.
Haney produced strong numbers for Grace both at the plate and on the mound. He became Grace’s ace on the staff, posting a 3.64 ERA across a team-high 54 1/3 innings pitched. Haney struck out 48 batters and threw three complete games.
Haney also batted .289 with four home runs. He led Grace’s team with 32 RBIs as well as a team-leading nine doubles.
Enyart, who hit .299 for the season, impressed particularly in conference games. He produced a batting average of .352 against league opponents, ranking No. 12 among all Crossroads League players in that span.
The Lancers earned a spot in the league tournament for the first time since 2014. Grace crashed the bracket, upsetting three straight teams to reach the tournament championship before finally bowing out.
Two members of Grace’s softball team made an appearance on the postseason All-Crossroads League Team.
Sam Heim earned a spot on the All-Crossroads League Team, while Britney Young was named honorable mention All-League. The pair repeated those same honors from the 2018 season.
Heim enjoyed a dominant season at the plate. She hit .439 for the season, ranking in the top 15 of the NAIA in both hits and triples. Her eight triples this season ranked fourth in the NAIA.
Heim led Grace in at-bats (173), runs (31), hits (76) and stolen bases (18). She wraps up her career with 204 hits, sixth-most in team history. Additionally her .394 career batting average places her seventh all-time for Grace and her 67 stolen bases ranks third.
Heim was also Grace’s most-used pitcher. She posted a 4.24 ERA in 107 1/3 innings of work, racking up 76 strikeouts to go along with six complete games.
Young was second offensively in nearly every category during her sophomore season. She tallied 50 hits in 48 games for a batting average of .329. She scored 20 runs, had 16 doubles and a team-leading 34 RBIs.
Both players also were honored to the NCCAA All-Region Team.
Noah Wright was honored for his standout freshman season by the Crossroads League.
Wright was named honorable mention All-League for Grace’s men’s golf team. He was one of just three freshmen to receive mention on the All-Crossroads League Team.
He was consistent throughout the fall and spring, averaging a team-best round of 77.17 for the season. At the Ackerman-Allen Shootout at Purdue University’s course, he tied for the team’s lowest round of the year with a second-round 69.
Emily Mast capped off a memorable junior season by being named NCCAA First Team All-American.
Mast is the first recorded women’s tennis player at Grace to achieve All-American status from the NCCAA. She went a combined 23-6 for the fall season while playing at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles.
Mast posted a 12-2 mark at No. 1 doubles, the second-most doubles’ wins for a single season in program history. She also went 11-4 while playing as Grace’s top singles’ player.
In just two years as a Lady Lancer, Mast already ranks No. 9 in both career singles’ wins and doubles’ wins. She was also named to the All-Crossroads League Team during the fall.
Additionally, Carrie Copeland was named to the Google Cloud CoSIDA Academic All-District Team. CoSIDA honors student-athletes for both academic and athletic accomplishments.
Molly Fitzpatrick and Jenna Jackson, along with Mast and Copeland, were also named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes. Grace’s four Scholar-Athletes tied for the fourth-most in the nation. To become a Scholar-Athlete, a player must have achieved upperclassman status and post a GPA of at least 3.5.
The Lady Lancers won a program-record 14 matches under head coach Marcus Moore in 2018-19, advancing to the semifinals of the CL Tournament.
Grace College’s Athletic Department has hired Tim Williams to be the school’s next cheer head coach.
Williams has an impressive coaching resume that he brings to the Lancers’ sidelines. He helped Carroll High School win its first state championship in program history as an assistant coach in 2018.
“Tim brings an extensive background in coaching cheer. He has a passion to impact lives for Christ through the cheer platform,” said Grace Director of Athletics Chad Briscoe. “His local cheer connections will serve him well as he takes over the program. We look forward to him joining our family here at Grace College.”
Prior to Carroll, Williams served as the head coach at East Noble from 2013-18. He has also coached the Noble County Special Olympics cheer team for the past year.
Williams will be married to his wife Schamberle for 24 years this August, and they have three sons: Kaleb, Kolin and Kamron.
“I would like to thank Grace President Dr. Bill Katip, AD Chad Briscoe and the rest of the search committee for this amazing opportunity to lead the cheer program here at Grace College,” Williams said. “I look forward to taking this program to the next level by building on the skills the team already has and developing the program to its highest potential. I am also excited to work with our fantastic student section (The Red Zone) and building relationships with the rest of the Winona Lake community.”