Taylor Koeth wasn’t sure she had enough stamina to succeed as a college cross-country runner. Not after battling covid-19 for the second time.

But last spring, after looking in the mirror, she went to work.

“My first two years were interesting with covid,” Koeth said. “I had covid two years in a row. My first year it wasn’t really a big deal, because we weren’t going to meet. But my second year I had a bad case of covid It destroyed all the fitness I had built, I basically had to start over.

“Last year was not a great year.”

A year later, Koeth and his Lady Tiger teammates won their first-ever Great American Conference Cross Country Championship on Nov. 5 in Shawnee, Okla.

“I never expected to be back where I was in high school,” she said. “I settled for maybe I won’t go any faster.”

Koeth didn’t just come back, the former Greenwood star shattered most of his expectations.

“After the last track season, I was like, no, that’s not how I’m going to be,” Koeth said. “I increased my mileage and started going to the gym. This season, seeing it pay off surprised me.”

Koeth posted a stunning third place time of 18:20.05 in the women’s 5k. His team placed first overall with 42 points, 14 points ahead of second-placed Arkansas Tech.

“We won the first [state title] in Greenwood when I was in high school,” Koeth said. “We won the first [GAC title] in Ouachita too.” Koeth (pronounced “Keith”) said there were 35 girls on the team.

“We took 59 athletes to the conference, and 35 were girls,” she said. “We have a great team.”

Koeth became interested by accident. Her parents, Frank and Cindy Koeth, encouraged her to run when she was younger.

Taylor Koeth didn’t like it.

“My parents were runners and I used to date them,” she said. “I actually hated it. [But] it has become my favorite thing to do. Run with the [teammates] is one of the reasons I love him.”

Running also helps calm him down emotionally.

“By getting away from technology, I’m able to think, and getting away from school, it’s a good time to think,” Koeth said. “It’s a way to push myself, to see what I can do and how to improve.”

Koeth ran a school-record 5k 17:54.76 on September 17 while placing 29th out of 251 runners at the Missouri Southern Stampede. “I felt really strong that race,” Koeth said. “[But]obviously as a team winning the conference was a really big deal.”

Holland named all conferences

UAFS middle tackle Hannah Holland has been named to the All-Lone Star Conference second-team squad, the LSC announced last week.

This season, Holland led the Lions in hit percentage at .317 while ranking third with 211 kills. She also leads the UAFS with 82 total blocks this season.

Holland recorded a record 16 decisive wins in the Lady Lions’ final game of the season on November 5. She finished the regular season with five double-digit wins.

In Thursday’s tough 25-23, 25-15, 19-25, 22-25, 16-14 loss to Dallas Baptist, Holland finished with four kills, five blocks and two digs.

Holland also led the team with 37 aces and recording seven aces in a win over UT Permian Basin earlier this season. She ended her career with 114 aces.

McGhee scores 11 for NorthArk

Former Alma star Zoie McGhee scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds in North Arkansas’ 68-65 win over Fort Scott (Kan.).

McGhee also had two assists and a block for the Lady Pioneers (2-1).

McGhee was averaging 6.3 points per game heading into this weekend’s Crowder Classic tournament. She averaged 4.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.

McGhee appeared in 21 points in 2021-22, averaging 4.8 points per game. She had a career-high 14 points in a Feb. 10 win over the University of Arkansas Cossatot.

Gleason fires 4 TD passes

Braden Gleason and the fiery Emporia State Hornets took a big lead over struggling Lincoln University on Nov. 5 before claiming a 35-24 victory, the team’s sixth straight victory.

ESU (8-2) wrapped up the regular season Saturday with a home game against Northwest Missouri.

Gleason threw for 322 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s win. He also threw a career-high three interceptions.

This season, Gleason has passed for 2,953 yards and 28 touchdowns while throwing just four interceptions. Gleason’s career numbers include 6,889 passing yards and 63 touchdowns.

Castillow records 27 digs

Senior Lexie Castillow had 27 digs in Thursday’s hard-fought 27-25, 25-20, 16-25, 23-25, 15-12 victory over East Central in the first round of the Great American Conference tournament.

The Lady Tigers (19-12) lost to Harding in Friday’s semifinal.

Castillow’s 27 fetch effort was her fourth-highest production in 2022. She had 34 digs against Texas Women’s University earlier, and 33 (Harding) and 28 against Alabama-Huntsville.

Castillow leads the Lady Tigers with 561 digs (5.67 digs per set). She has 2,276 career digs, spanning five seasons.

Castillow is currently third all-time in career digs at OBU with 2,012 digs behind Becky Cunningham (2,429) and Allison Frizzell (2,226).

Presley and Hendrix end the season

Camryn Presley and the Hendrix Lady Warriors closed out the 2022 season with a tough loss to the Center on Nov. 4 (20-11, 25-20, 25-27, 25-21) in the Southern Athletic Association Conference Tournament.

The Lady Warriors finished the season with a 10-13 record.

Presley had a big junior campaign, averaging 3.34 kills and 3.31 digs per set. She led Hendrix with 241 kills, 232 digs and 26 aces. Presley also contributed 23 blocks.

For his career, Presley has 644 kills, 66 aces, 94 blocks and 741 digs in just 59 career games.

Presley had a school-best 29 takedowns and 11 recoveries in a Sept. 24 loss to Sewanee, Tennessee. Presley also had 21 eliminations in a 2021 game.

Mann throws a dunk

Cejay Mann made just one field goal in a 103-82 rout of Dallas Christian College.

But the Oklahoma University of Science and Arts freshman star passed a defender for his first collegiate dunk.

The house broke.

The 6-foot Mann, a former Alma standout, transferred to USAO from Arkansas Tech. He averages 4.2 points per game. Next, the Drovers Evangel Christian.

The Drovers compete in the Sooner Athletic Conference with, among others, John Brown University.

Ennis hits 3 PAT

Grant Ennis completed all three of his PAT kicks and had a career-best five touchdowns in Harding University’s wild 37-29 win over Southwest Oklahoma on Nov. 5.

The Bison (8-2) were scheduled to wrap up the regular season Saturday with a game against Arkansas Tech.

Ennis is now 43 of 44 in PAT kicks and second on the team (52) behind running back Will Fitzhugh’s 54 points (nine touchdowns). For his career, Ennis is now 155 of 161 in PAT attempts. His five touchbacks give him 18 for the season.

Harding’s Scott Cameron had 16 touchdowns in 2021.

Bonus points

Ozark University’s Makya Perryman (Roland) scored 15 points in the team’s season-opening win over Hendrix University on Wednesday night. … Megan Gray (Greenwood) had three points in Hendrix’s loss to Ozark University. … Slate Stanton (Northside) had a touchdown in Hendrix University’s 6-0 victory over Rhodes, Tenn., Nov. 4 at War Memorial Stadium. Stanton’s two kickoffs averaged 57 yards. … Madeline Freeman (Hackett) had a dig and appeared in a set in Central Baptist’s 3-2 (20-25, 25-22, 27-25, 26-28, 17-15) loss to Harris- Stowe. The Lady Mustangs were 4-18 in 2022. … Hayden Rofkahr (Greenwood) won by a major decision over Thomas Viens of Missouri Valley last week at the Kaufman Brand Open in Missouri on Nov. 4.

volleyball Camryn Presley Hendrix
Photo Grant Ennis
Photo Volleyball Hannah Holland UAFS
Photo Taylor Koeth, OBU cross-country skier
Photo Taylor Koeth, a former cross-country standout from Greenwood, battled adversity at Ouachita Baptist University. Koeth helped his OBU team to the Great American Conference championship earlier this month. (Submitted Photo/Ouachita Baptist University Sports Information)
Photo Zoie McGhee
Photo Basketball Cejay Mann Arkansas Tech

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