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Heather Verrill has consistently become one of the top players not only on the Lady Mustangs, but in the South Central Region. She showed her versatility as a junior moving positions and looks to have another strong campaign on the horizon her senior year. Coming into this year, the team has several new faces that will look to make an impact.
“I have a strong feeling that we will do really well this season. We have a lot of new girls that are extremely talented and are going to contribute a lot as well as a new assistant coach,” Verrill said. “Since it is our second year in the Lone Star Conference we know a lot more about our competition and I think that will lead to more successes during conference.”
For the second time in the past two months, WNMU's Calum Hill dismantled a talented field of professionals and top amateurs as the 22-year-old Western grad won the 74th Arizona Open Golf Championship by four shots at Troon Country Club. A model of both power and accuracy, the Mustangs' Assistant Coach never trailed in the 156-man field, firing rounds of 66-66-68 (-10) to claim the $12,000 first place check. Hill won the San Juan Open in June by an amazing nine-shot margin.
The Western New Mexico University cross country teams were picked to finish seventh on the women’s side and ninth on the men’s side in the Lone Star Conference preseason poll that was released Thursday.
The Lady Mustangs took home 80 points to land in seventh ahead of Texas A&M-Kingsville and UT Permian Basin. The Mustangs garnered 39 points, just behind UT Permian Basin to land in ninth.
Several new non-conference opponents show up on the 2017-18 schedule for the Western New Mexico University men's basketball team this coming season as the schedule was announced by head coach Matt Enriquez Thursday.
Of the new opponents on the slate for the season include former Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference opponent Fort Lewis, in-state NAIA school the University of the Southwest (WNMU will face them twice), Cal Baptist and Texas A&M-International.
After reaching the Lone Star Conference tournament a season ago in their first year in the league, the Western New Mexico University volleyball team is again slated to reach the conference tournament as they were tabbed seventh in the preseason poll that was announced Tuesday.
The Lady Mustangs garnered 153 points to land in seventh, 33 points clear of Texas Woman’s in eighth. Angelo State collected 21 first-place votes and is again the pick to win the conference with 340 points. Tarleton State came in second, followed by Texas A&M-Kingsville in third. Tarleton State (9), Texas A&M-Kingsville (1) and West Texas A&M (1) in fifth claimed the other first-place tallies.
Dominic Barry shined as a junior in 2016 rising to one of the top linebackers in the nation. His senior year is setting up to be even better.
He recently represented WNMU, along with fellow senior Javia Hall and Head Coach Adam Clark at the Lone Star Conference Media Day.
"Media Day was a unique experience for me. It was one of those things that every athlete has on their list of things to do before their career ends. It was shocking to see all of the cameras and microphones that were there waiting to hear you speak and see your face. All in all it was a blessing to represent WNMU and be considered an elite player next to all of the great athletes that were there."
Having been thrown right into the tough LSC last year, Barry is looking forward to having a second season in the conference after getting an up close look at what the conference was all about last year. Despite the tough odds stacked against the Mustangs, they showed they could play with anyone in 2016. WNMU fought back to within three of Tarleton State after falling behind by 21 points in the first quarter and the following week went toe-to-toe with at the time No. 9 Texas A&M-Commerce. A big victory over Angelo State came for the team at the end of October and after taking Texas A&M-Kingsville down to the wire, an improbable comeback by West Texas A&M in the season finale helped the Buffaloes escape Silver City with an overtime victory.
"The LSC was different to me, it was one of those conferences where one team did not just dominate the league. Every single week no matter what game you watched it went down to the wire! Take a look at every one of our games in the Lone Star last year, they were BATTLES!"
Every year gives both players and coaches a chance to review what worked and what didn't. Barry is looking forward to being able to analyze teams better and recognizing what each team's strengths are entering each contest.
"Going into year two there are a lot of hints that we are going to change. We will not just compete we will finish a lot of those games. We will fly to the ball more as a defense, we will cause more turnovers as a defense, as an offense we will finish a lot of drives, and continue to be a big numbers type of offense."
The WNMU offense proved it could pile up yards and points as the Mustangs averaged 26.5 points per game, but averaged over 400 yards per game. The Mustangs tallied up scoring games of 44, 68, 41 and 30 in four LSC games a year ago. In the win against Angelo State, it was a defensive battle with WNMU coming away with the 20-14 victory.
When Barry has a chance to reflect on everything, time has really flown by. Even though he spent his first season on campus as a redshirt, he is now entering his fifth and final season on the campus of WNMU and it is all coming full circle.
"Man time flew by. I remember yesterday I was just going into my first collegiate camp, scared and hungry all at once. I remember it was just my first collegiate start against the University of San Diego and I finished the game with only three tackles and a sack. The biggest thing that made me realize it is my senior season is that I will be having my senior day come this season, I will hear my name with a lot of recognition and thanks for my years here. I will be in tears not because my career would be over, but all of the friends and coaches that I have met playing at WNMU. I have a lot of pride being a Mustang and that will come to an end soon."
The Mustang defense had to deal with a lot last year with the size and ability of the LSC, but a fairly young defense had the chance to learn and grow together which should help the season with several key players back.
"I feel as if our defense can definitely contend to be the top defense in the conference, if not the nation. Our front seven especially, because we have a lot of guys coming in with a lot of football games under their belt. Not to say that our defensive backs will not be a threat, because they are far from untalented. Our defensive backs can fly. Last year as a passing defense we were ranked fairly high in the conference and that was because of them. I've seen guys that can do just about anything physically, but the only thing is that the experience is not there. The more and more games we play they will add to the arsenal of things they can do, and they will only get better. I'm excited to see what we can accomplish as a defense to set the tone for years to come."
The defense as a whole was opportunistic, forcing key turnovers when needed. The Mustangs tallied 12 forced fumbles, recovering 11, while adding 14 interceptions and 17 sacks. Each week, Barry was targeted by other teams as one of the players to stop on the WNMU defense. Yet, he was able to pile up staggering numbers that included 103 tackles, 39 solo, along with 7.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, four passes broken up, five quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles. He had 11 or more tackles in all but four games during the 2016 season, going for a high of 14 against Tarleton State.
"It was well deserved and hard fought for (being one of the top linebackers in the nation). I can't take all of the glory, if it was not for my defensive backs playing such great coverage, teams would not be forced to run the ball. My defensive line, who keeps me clean as I'm making my read, I would not be able to make all of those tackles. I was devastated when I came out of the Eastern New Mexico game after the first drive because of injury. That is a linebackers dream as they run the ball over 100 times, and I wanted to be on the field helping my team to come through with the win. But to be considered one of the top tacklers in the nation was one of those feelings that drives you to wake up every morning."
With just one last summer to prepare in his career, Barry made sure to just focus on the basics to make sure he was ready for one last ride as a Mustang.
"There was nothing in particular that I worked on, I took things back to the basics. I wanted to completely start over and make the smaller things better so I can make more tackles and help put us in situations to win games. I also dropped a lot of my body fat percentage so that I can move better and run faster."
A usual question always comes up when the start of the season is imminent and that is goals that each player has heading into the season. For Barry, the opportunity and chance to win and compete for a championship always remain the top focus.
"I want to be the number one tackler in the nation this season. I want to go undefeated every single week we play. I want to be considered the best in my position. I want to be the Lone Star Conference Linebacker of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and I want to be named a First-Team All-Conference Linebacker. I have a lot of personal goals, but none of those trump how I want us to play as a team week in and week out. We will be the best we've ever been this year."
One thing is for certain is that Mustang fans can count on Barry being one of the top players week in and week out, helping WNMU try to achieve the highest goals possible by the end of the season.
The Western New Mexico University women's basketball team released their 2017-18 schedule as announced by second-year head coach Lauren Unger.
The Lady Mustangs will travel to Arizona, Oklahoma and Texas during the non-conference portion of the schedule, before returning home for their first game in Silver City right before Thanksgiving.
Having been one of the top Division I men’s volleyball players over the past few years, Jabarry Goodridge recently finished up his playing career at New Jersey Institute of Technology, will now become the new assistant volleyball coach as announced by Head Coach Jim Callender.
“Jabarry is a tremendous addition to our volleyball program. His resume speaks loud and clear of what success, hard work and dedication can bring to you in sport,” Callender said. “I wanted a high level player that wanted to get more involved with coaching. He is a shining star. He is passionate about the sport of volleyball and wants success for the program. His ability to demonstrate skills and the dedication needed to achieve high goals will be prevalent. Our present and future players will grow to amazing levels with him as our new assistant coach.”
For his career, Goodridge, originally from Bridgetown, Barbados, compiled 1,259 kills, averaging 3.98 per set, along with 104 service aces, 366 digs, 122 blocks and 1,450 total points over his four-year career. He posted career-highs in kills during his senior year with 407, after collecting a solid junior year with 390 kills. He sent back 56 blocks his junior year and he accounted for over 400 points both his junior (452.5) and senior year (472.5).
The honors rolled in for Goodridge as he was tabbed the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American second-team as a senior, after becoming NJIT’s first Division I-II player to claim AVCA All-American honors as a junior landing on the second-team. He also took home Uvaldo Acosta Memorial Player of the Year in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. Goodridge ranked second in the nation in kills per set (4.43) and points per set (5.15) while sitting in the top-5 in attacks per set (9.08). He led the conference in overall kills (407), service aces (0.50) and ranked third in hitting percentage (.329).
In addition, Goodridge is a member of the Barbados Men’s National Team and is a coach for the Women’s Junior National Program in Barbados, while working with the U23 Women’s Program this summer.
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