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Sports briefs for Wednesday

LOCAL

LAMAR XC RUNNER HAILED AS SOUTHLAND ATHLETE OF WEEK

BEAUMONT — Lamar women’s cross country runner Verity Ockenden was named as the Southland Conference’s Women’s Athlete of the Week after her second-place finish at the Texas A&M Opener, the league announced on Tuesday.

She led the Cardinals with a 13-minute, 57.6-second time in a 4.1-kilometer race in the opening meet of the 2015 campaign. She finished in second among 32 combined racers from Texas A&M, Lamar and UTSA, only behind the Aggies’ Karis Jochen at 13:33.9.

“The end result was because of her good execution of the race plan that we set up earlier in the week,” said new LU cross country coach Tony Houchin. “She and Evelyn (Chavez) worked well together throughout the race, and ended at the front together.”

Chavez was fourth in the meet on a 14:06.7 mark.

Ockenden’s time was a personal best that beat her 4.1-K time of 14:27.1 at the Texas A&M Invitational in 2014. LU will take part in that race again on Sept. 26, but before then it competes at the Rice Invitational on Friday.

AVILES HONORED AS TOP OFFENSIVE PLAYER IN SLC

BEAUMONT — Lamar sophomore Alexus Aviles has been named the Southland Conference Women’s Soccer Offensive Player of the Week for her efforts against UTEP and New Mexico State over the Labor Day weekend.

Aviles had two goals, including the game-winner, in a 3-2 win over UTEP on Friday, and followed that up with two more goals in a 4-3 loss at New Mexico State on Sunday. For the season, Aviles leads the Southland Conference with five goals, which is good for 14th in the nation.

“Alexus deserves the award. She had a tremendous week,” LU coach Orlando Cervantes said. “She has really picked up her game and is playing with a lot of confidence.”

The native of Lakewood, Calif., leads the Cardinals with 16 shots and 10 shots on goal. For her career she has 14 points on six goals and two assists.

It was the first player of the week award for Aviles.

The Cardinals return to action at 7 p.m. Friday with a nonconference game at North Texas..

CASTRO ELEVATED TO HEAD STRENGTH COACH AT LAMAR

BEAUMONT — Lamar University Director of Athletics Jason Henderson announced on Tuesday afternoon that Cory Castro has been named LU’s strength and conditioning coach.

“We’re happy to name Cory as our head strength and conditioning coach,” Henderson said. “Since he arrived on campus he has developed great relationships with all of our coaches. That, to go along with his experience, made this a very easy decision.”

Castro, who is in his second year at LU, spent last season with the Cardinals as the assistant strength and conditioning coach after serving two years as a graduate assistant coach at Louisiana-Monroe.

Castro, a 2011 graduate of John Carroll University in Ohio, was a four-year letterman in football for the Blue Streaks, earning all-conference honors in 2011. He served as an intern at Kent State and as an assistant at Texas before heading to Louisiana-Monroe, where he earned a Master of Science degree in 2012. While at Louisiana-Monroe, he also did a six-month internship with the Gayle Hatch Weightlifting Club.

In addition to managing the development of LU’s football program, Castro also oversees a strength staff responsible for designing and implementing scientifically based strength and conditioning programs for the university’s Olympic sports.

NATIONAL

FORMER CARDINALS ACE ANDUJAR DIES AT 62

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Joaquin Andujar, a star pitcher with the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1980s who called himself “One tough Dominican,” has died in his native Dominican Republic. He was 62.

The team said he died Tuesday. Leonardo Matos Berrido, president of the Dominican Baseball League, said the cause was diabetes complications.

Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano, who like Andujar is from San Pedro de Macoris, wrote on his Instagram account that Andujar’s death was a “big pain for all baseball fans, especially all Dominicans, but even more so for all of us who had the chance to know you and learn from your example.”

The Cardinals planned a tribute to the fiery right-hander, who threw as hard to first base as to the hitters, before playing the Cubs.

Andujar was a two-time All-Star during five seasons with the Cardinals from 1981-85. He had 20-win seasons in 1984 and ‘85, led the National League in victories in ‘84 and was a 15-game winner on the Cardinals’ World Series title team in ‘82, also winning Game 7 of the Series against the Brewers.

He won 21 games in 1985 for an NL championship team and was ejected from Game 7 of the 1985 World Series against the Royals for arguing balls and strikes.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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