News and notes from Grace College on Monday, May 3.
O’Connor Leads Weekly Honors
Grace’s track and field team picked up three more Player of the Week awards on Monday.
Gracious O’Connor was named the NCCAA National Field Athlete of the Week for the women, and Abbott Joy won the same award for the men. Additionally, O’Connor was also the Crossroads League Field Athlete of the Week.
O’Connor broke a school record in Grace’s home meet on Saturday. Her time of 12.01 seconds in the 100-meter dash won the race and was also an NAIA “B” standard. O’Connor also teamed up with Nordia Campbell, Julia Malson and Lyne Camara to win the 4×400 relay at 4:01.20.
Joy impressed in the men’s javelin at the Lancer Invitational. His heave of 173-feet-9 was a personal record and is currently the top mark in the NCCAA this year.
The Lancers will remain at home this week for the Crossroads League Championships, Grace’s first time hosting the conference meet. The meet will be held Thursday and Friday at the Key Track and Field Complex.
Men’s Tennis Aims For NAIA Nationals
For the first time in the modern era, Grace’s men’s tennis team has earned a berth to the NAIA National Championships.
The Lancers, ranked No. 16 currently by the NAIA, received an at-large bid to the national tournament.
Grace boasts a 21-5 record, already setting Grace’s record for most wins in a season. The team’s 21 wins are the second-most in the NAIA under head coach Andy Lewis.
The 2021 NAIA National Championships will be held at the Mobile Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala., from May 18-22. The tournament is comprised of 24 teams — 12 automatic bids, 1 host berth and 11 at-large selections. The at-large teams were determined by the NAIA Tennis National Selection Committee.
Grace’s first match in the tournament will be against No. 17 Southeastern (Fla.) on May 18 at 2:30 p.m. (Eastern time). The winner of that match will take on No. 1 Georgia Gwinnett on May 19. Georgia Gwinnett is the six-time defending NAIA national champion.
Grace has played against four of the 24 NAIA-qualifying teams this year, including Asbury, Cumberlands, Indiana Wesleyan and Northwestern Ohio.
The Lancers are likely headed for a lengthy stay in Mobile, Ala. The team is poised to receive a bid to the NCCAA National Championships, held at the same site a week before the NAIA tournament (May 11-14).
Women’s Golf Fourth After First Day
Grace’s women’s golf team enjoyed a stellar beginning to the 2021 Crossroads League Championships on Monday.
The Lady Lancers finished the day in fourth place in the league standings. The gap is narrow with just nine strokes separating fourth-place Grace from ninth-place Spring Arbor.
The tournament is being played on the Jack Nicklaus signature design Harbor Shores Golf Club. It has hosted four Senior PGA Championships in the past decade.
Grace played two rounds on Monday with the final round scheduled for Tuesday.
“I was really pleased with our performance today. We did not play our very best golf, but we were solid from top to bottom,” said Grace head coach Denny Duncan. “Carolyn Pacocha was very good, and Lucy Young was sensational down the stretch to recover from a rough start. Rebecca Hawes had a nice afternoon, and Rachel Harvey showed her senior leadership with another solid score.”
Carolyn Pacocha was Grace’s top performer. The sophomore shot 80 in the opening round, tying with Lucy Young and Rebecca Hawes for the team’s lowest score in the opener. Pacocha then produced a 78 in the second round, finishing the day 12th on the individual leaderboard.
Young and Hawes each carded a second-round 82 to tie for 19th place, and Rachel Harvey was steady with an 86-85.
Abby Slabaugh and Abigail Fishel each played a round for the Lady Lancers.