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Tommy Myers named to Pitt State 2022 Hall of Fame class

PITTSBURG, Ks. – Pitt State athletics announced it’s 2022 Hall of Fame class and former PSU baseball player and coach, Tommy Myers, is one eight individuals selected.

“To be considered for the Hall of Fame is an honor, but to get in is something I wasn’t really expecting, but obviously I’ll cherish for the rest of my life,” Myers says. “Pitt State baseball is recognized in the MIAA and beyond, so it’s just part of coach Bever’s legacy and we’re all wanting to play for him.”

Myers earned all-region and all-conference recognition in the 1998 season. He set multiple school records including career runs scored (142), single season runs scored (72) and single season home runs (21). Myers also served as the head coach of the Gorillas from 2017 to 2018.

“When you’re involved with the players and coach Bever and the rest of the staff, you just get to build bonds and friendships that you’ll have for life,” Myers says. “I think more than anything that’s what Pitt State means to me. It’s just a place where you make lifelong friends and on the baseball team I got to to do some special things with them.”

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Farabi selected to enter Pitt State Hall of Fame

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Former Pitt State running back Caleb Farabi will enter the Pitt State Athletics Hall of Fame this fall.

“I’m super excited. It’s something I’ve been waiting for and something I had hoped for when I was a child,” Farabi says, “Finally, just one more dream came true.”

Farabi was a 2X All-American for the Gorillas, playing for Pitt State from 2005-2008.

He rushed for 3,292 yards in his college career, which is 7th most all-time for Pitt State football. He also racked up 46 total touchdowns, and was the MIAA’s Ken B. Jones Award winner for the 2008-2009 academic year.

“With an individual award comes sacrifice from other guys. I think of all the friends I made and the coaches and mentors that were there for me,” Farabi adds on playing at Pitt State, “My linemen Travis Greer, Shane McGinnis, Martin Burke, Marcus Nelson and our quarterback Mark Smith, who we all know… They could have thrown the ball a lot more, and they were asked to do different things sometimes. I’m just fortunate to have those guys on my team.”

Entering the Pitt State Hall of Fame means a little more to Farabi – who is a Pittsburg product – playing his high school ball at St. Mary’s Colgan.

“I was just so happy to have the opportunity to do it in my hometown. I’m happy for my parents and my family,” Farabi says, “I think I would speak for all of the guys on the team that it’s a grind every day. I’m just proud that I was able to make it through it, and in the end, I was able to meet my wife here, too.”

Farabi is one of eight individuals who will enter the PSU Athletics Hall of Fame this fall.

Pittsburg State’s 35th class of inductees will be honored at a special Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on Friday evening, Sept. 30. The group also will be honored at halftime of the Gorillas’ football game against Missouri Southern the next day (Oct. 1).

FULL RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

Pittsburg State University is pleased to announce its 2022 induction class into the Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame. The diverse group – comprised of eight individuals – will be formally inducted during ceremonies on campus the weekend of Oct. 1.

PSU’s Class of 2022 is headlined by a cast of decorated athletes and coaches:  Caleb Farabi (2005-08), a two-time NCAA Division II All-American running back in football; Chris Grantham (1981-84), an All-America offensive lineman in football; Steve High, the Gorillas women’s basketball coach from 1990 to 2007 and the winningest coach in program history; Kiara Jones (2008-12), an eight-time All-America performer in the horizontal jumps for the Gorillas in track & field; Tommy Myers (1996-98), an NCAA-II All-Region and record setting outfielder in baseball; and Sammie Williams (2005-08), the first two-time All-America performer in the history of the Pitt State volleyball program.

Ed Nealy (1956-57), a first-team All-CIC men’s basketball performer who helped lead Pitt State to a 27-2 record and a third-place finish at the 1956 NAIA National Tournament, and Dennis Watson (1963-66), an All-America offensive lineman in football for the Gorillas, will be inducted in the Hall of Fame’s “Legacy” category.

The Legacy category, created in 2005, focuses solely on individuals who completed their athletic eligibility 50 years from the current calendar year in an attempt to bolster the school’s rich heritage from earlier years.

“Once again PSU Athletics is blessed with the opportunity to pay tribute to a handful of elite individuals representing the proud history and tradition of Gorilla intercollegiate athletics,” said Dan Wilkes, associate athletic director/communications and chair of the PSU Athletics Hall of Fame Committee. “We are tremendously proud of this group that comprises the Class of 2022 and we are excited to honor and celebrate their stories and accomplishments on campus this fall.”

2022 Hall of Fame Inductee Profiles

Caleb Farabi, Football, 2005-08
~ NCAA-II All-American, 2007-08 (3rd, AP, FB Gazette, ’08; HM, RB, FB Gazette, ’07)
~ MIAA All-Conference, 2007-08 (1st, RB, ’07-08)
~ Rushed for 3,292 yards & 43 TDs – 7th highest rushing total in PSU history;
   also caught 101 passes for 945 yards & 3 TDs
~ A two-time CoSIDA Academic All-America selection (2007-08)
~ 2008-09 MIAA Ken B. Jones Award Winner (Male Student-Athlete of the Year)

Chris Grantham, Football, 1981-84
~ NAIA All-American, 1984 (1st, OL)
~ CSIC All-Conference, 1982-84 (1st, OL, ’82-84)
~ Member of 1981 NAIA National Runner-up Team
~ Joined the U.S. Navy in May 1985, retired Petty Officer First Class, 1991

Steve High, Women’s Basketball Coach, 1990-2007
~ Served for 18 years as the Gorillas head coach, compiling a 296-201 (.596) overall record
~ Led PSU to the school’s first MIAA title in 1992 – won MIAA titles in 1992 & 1996
~ Led the Gorillas to the school’s first NCAA National Tournament appearance in 1992,
   and five overall berths in the national tournament
~ The longest-tenured and winningest women’s basketball coach in PSU history

Kiara Jones, Track & Field, 2008-12
~ Seven-time NCAA-II All-American in the triple jump:
   3rd, 51-7.25 (O), 2012; 6th, 48-6.25 (I), 2011; 2nd, 51-8.5 (I), 2010; 5th, 49-11 (O), 2010;
   3rd, 50-1.75 (I), 2009; 3rd, 50-4.5 (O), 2009; 7th, 49-3.25 (O), 2008
~ NCAA-II All-American in the long jump (4th, 23-6.75 indoor, 2011)
~ 10-time All-MIAA performer; two-time MIAA Champ, triple jump
~ Set PSU record in the indoor triple jump (51-11.25), currently 2nd
~ Set PSU record in the outdoor triple jump (52-2), currently 2nd

Tommy Myers, Baseball, 1996-98
~ NCAA-II All-Region, 1998 (1st team, OF, ABCA, ’98)
~ MIAA All-Conference, 1997-98 (H.M., OF, ’97; 1st, OF, 98)
~ .340 career batting avg. with 21 HRs and 121 RBIs in 126 games
~ .405 BA with 72 runs scored, 14 HRs and 59 RBIs in 1998
~ Set PSU record for career runs scored (142), single-season runs scored (72, ’98),
   single-season HRs (21, ’98); ranked 2nd in career HRs, 21 (now 7th); ranked 2nd
   in career stolen bases, 42 (now 3rd); ranked 2nd in career walks, 85 (now 2nd);
   ranked third in career RBIs, 121 (now 6th)
~ Served as PSU head coach, 2017-18

Sammie Williams, Volleyball, 2005-08
~ Two-time NCAA-II All-America:  2007, HM, AVCA; 2008, 3rd, AVCA
~ PSU program’s first two-time All-America performer
~ Four-time All-MIAA selection (2005-08)
~ 2005 MIAA Freshman of the Year
~ Set PSU career record for kills (1825), currently 2nd

Legacy Category

Ed Nealy, Men’s Basketball, 1956-57
~ CIC All-Conference, first-team, 1956-57
~ Scored 663 points in 53 career games (12.5 ppg)
~ Scored 375 points in 24 games his senior year (15.6 ppg)
~ Helped PSU to a 27-2 record and a third-place finish in the NAIA Nat’l Tourn. in 1956
~ Also a member of PSU’s 1957 NAIA National Champion football team

Dennis Watson, Football, 1963-66
~ NAIA All-American, 1966 (H.M., end)
~ CIC All-Conference, 1966 (1st, end)
~ Baseball squad member, 1964-67
~ Long-time high school teacher & coach at Pittsburg HS (1968-98), Frontenac and Girard

2022 Hall of Fame Ceremonies
Pittsburg State’s 35th class of inductees will be honored at a special Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on Friday evening, Sept. 30. The group also will be honored at halftime of the Gorillas’ football game against Missouri Southern the next day (Oct. 1).

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Pitt State’s Winn, Caldwell shine at USATF U20 outdoor championships

EUGENE, Ore. – A pair of Pittsburg State freshmen shined at the USATF U20 outdoor championship on Friday in Eugene, Oregon.

On the women’s side, Blakelee Winn finished in 1st place in the heptathlon, scoring 5,473 points.

Winn finished 1st in the 100m hurdles, 5th in high jump, 2nd in shot put, 1st in the 200m, 1st in long jump, 1st in javelin and 4th in the 800m to bring home the heptathlon title.

On the men’s side, TJ Caldwell finished in 2nd place in the 110m hurdles, posting a time of 13.34 seconds.

“It’s kind of mixed emotions right now,” Caldwell said to KVAL’s Hayden Herrera following his 2nd-place finish, “I’m getting to represent today, but now I also get to see what I need to work on and what I need to do better as an athlete.”

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Former Pitt State players Bonnel, Carr pursue coaching careers

Former Pitt State baseball players, Austin Bonnel and Caleb Carr, are pursuing careers in coaching.

“I’ve learned a lot throughout playing that I want to instill with these younger guys,” Bonnel says. “I wish what I know now, I knew four or five years ago when I was playing.”

The duo has joined the Joplin Outlaws coaching staff for the summer.

“Sharing my knowledge with these kids is awesome,” Bonnel says. “I just want them to play hard. That’s the only way to play this game. If they play hard and we make mistakes going hard, 100 percent, I’m completely fine with that. I want to see these guys get better. It’s not about me, it’s about these guys.”

After the summer, Bonnel will be a volunteer assistant at Butler Community College, while Carr is heading back to Pitt State to join head coach Bob Fornelli.

“When coach Fornelli called me about [transferring] to Pitt State, I talked to him about becoming a coach and wanting to coach and he told me he’d help me out,” Carr says. “He’s given me an opportunity to help out Pitt State next year. I’m just grateful that he’s given me that opportunity and taken me under his wing. I hope I can give some of my knowledge off to the players. I’m hoping we can achieve something that we never got to achieve at Pitt State: a conference championship and a regional. I think that’d be awesome for the program to get there.”

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Pitt State football hosts over one hundred athletes for a prospect camp

PITTSBURG, Ks. – Pitt State football hosted a prospect camp this afternoon. Over one hundred high school athletes were in attendance.

“I think we saw some future gorillas out there today,” says Pitt State head coach Brian Wright.

The athletes had the opportunity to showcase their skills and learn new ones.

“That’s a big thing that I increased on today was definitely my technique and my form as well as running routes hard,” says Webb City tight end Trey Roets. “I really feel like I got better today.”

And, the coaching staff evaluated the local talent.

“Obviously, we’re looking for good athletes. We’re looking for guys that are strong and that can move and run and change direction,” Wright says. “And then guys that love football and they work hard and they finish the drills out here. They pay attention to details and they are coachable.”

“Our offense, at Girard, is not going to throw the ball 30 times a game, so to get out here and try to spread it out and throw a little bit is always good,” says Girard quarterback Luke Niggemann. “It’s good to just to get out and showcase what I’ve been working on the past couple months and get out and see some competition and feel the coaches out and see what they think.”

These in person interactions are a key part of the recruiting process.

“We want to see guys live too, not just on film, and we want to be able to work with them in a live situation,” Wright says. “It’s really important for me, coaching the quarterbacks, to see how the ball comes out of a guys hand and so forth and our coaches at other positions get the same kind of evaluation live.”

“The energy here is different,” says Webb City wide receiver Dante Washington. “That’s one thing that I like about Pitt State. All the coaches, no matter how their day is going, right when these players get out here, their level of intensity just goes straight through the roof.”

Today is not only about what you can do on the football field. It’s also about creating relationships.

“First of all, it’s important to get them here on campus and show them our beautiful facilities and what we have to offer,” Wright says. “Even more than that, it’s important to make that connection with the coaches and getting to know the guys.”

“My biggest thing of playing at the next level is connection and that’s what I feel like Pitt State has the most,” Washington says.

Brian Wright and the coaching staff will host a second and final prospect camp on July 15th.

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MSSU softball hosts “Little Lions” camp

JOPLIN, Mo. – (WATCH) Missouri Southern softball hosts it’s annual “Little Lions” youth camp.

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Joplin Outlaws host two-day youth baseball camp

JOPLIN, Mo. – The Joplin Outlaws hosted day one of their two-day youth baseball camp on Monday morning.

For the team, it’s a chance to pass along their love for the game and gain some new, young fans in the area.

“I just hope they fall in love with the game, and they learn one little thing. Whether it’s about base-running, hitting or pitching – we want them to start thinking about the game a little bit,” says Outlaws head coach Gonzalo Gonzales, “Hopefully they take something away and they fall in love with someone on our team and they come back to watch some more games.”

“It’s a big part to have all the fan support, especially the little kids coming up to you and asking you for autographs and stuff like that,” says Outlaws pitcher Edrian Rangel, “It makes you feel special in a way.”

While the camp teaches young kids the fundamentals of baseball, the Outlaws players also take something away from the day.

“I really do hope they take away a sense of joy from being with these kids,” Gonzales says of his players, “They fell in love with the game at this time, too. I hope they take this seriously and I hope they help these kids out. The city of Joplin does a great job of supporting us, and we have to do our part and give back.”

Day two of the camp will be Tuesday morning, beginning at 9 AM at Joe Becker Stadium in Joplin.

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Milton aims to stay unbeaten at “Rumble in the Heartland” in Neosho

NEOSHO, Mo. – Tulsa’s Jeremiah Milton has a chance to get to 5-0 in his professional boxing career this weekend in Neosho, Missouri.

“I feel great. I had an excellent camp. Coach and I came back and we sharpened up on what we need to do,” Milton says, “I got my whole team here and there’s a lot of love in the building already. I’m ready to execute and get the ball moving.”

Milton, who trains in Las Vegas and is signed with promoter Tony Holden out of Tulsa, will fight Carnell Giles at the “Rumble in the Heartland” event the Neosho Civic Center Saturday.

Giles is also undefeated, heading into the weekend with a 2-0 record.

“Every fight is my biggest fight,” Milton says when asked if he views Saturday as his biggest fight yet, “As we step up, that’s just part of the game. The key to my game plan is to just be myself. I’ve been working with the best, so I just have to do what I naturally do. Not too much on his part is going to be brand new to me.”

Milton was a silver medalist at the 2020 US Olympic Trials.

The undefeated heavyweight is also a former college football player.

He played defensive end in the MIAA at Northeastern State in Tahlequah, Oklahoma – before turning his attention to boxing.

“I never go in to something thinking I’m going to half-step it,” Milton says when asked if he’s surprised at his quick success in boxing, “I dabbled in boxing, but I never competed. Football was a different sport, but…boxing was always something that was in my heart. It’s a one-on-one sport. End of the day, it’s you and another man stepping in the ring. You find out a lot about yourself.”

Below is the full fight card for Saturday in Neosho. Doors open at 6 PM, with fights starting at 7 PM. (Card subject to changes)

PRO BOXING:

Robert Bartley (Grove, OK) vs. Frankie Sparks (Aurora, MO)

Albert Leyva (Azusa, CA) vs. Juan Hollingsworth (Winfield, KS)

Jody Linthicum (Joplin, MO) vs. Kris Renty (Oklahoma City, OK)

Jeremiah Milton (Las Vegas, NV) vs. Carnell Giles (Kimball, MI)

Cesar Marquez (Rogers, AR) vs. Eric Skylar Thompson (Conway, AR)

MMA:

Edward Ibarra (Joplin, MO) vs. Austin Swinney (Foyil, OK)

Kyle Davis (Galena, MO) vs. Case Ramirez (Foyil, OK)

Tyler Morgan (Rogers, AR) vs. Tykem Jackson (Foyil, OK)

Gaven Long (Rogers, AR) vs. Peyton Colbert (Foyil, OK)

James Roach (Grove, OK) vs. Kelly Bacon (Joplin, MO)

Lane Gaines (Fairland, OK) vs. Tyler Haines (Vinita, OK)

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Pitt State football names 2022 captains

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Pittsburg State football has named its captains for the 2022 season.

The Gorillas have picked eight players as captains for the fall, including five who played at local high schools.

WR Elijah Harris (Pittsburg HS)

OL Kory Woodruff (Sioux City West HS)

WR Bryce Murphy (Neosho HS)

LB PJ Sarwinski (Galena HS)

LB Morgan Selemaea (Harrisonville HS)

S Brandon Mlekus (Frontenac HS)

DL Zeke Wall (Carl Junction HS)

OL Trase Jeffries (Broken Arrow HS)

The Gorillas are scheduled to open the regular season on September 1st, at home against the University of Central Missouri.