As the 2014-15 school year reaches its halfway point and the new year begins, it is time to take a look back on what the Pittsburg State sports as done in review from this past year.
Coming off a conference championship season in 2014 which also included an appearance in the NCAA Division II Playoffs, the Gorillas faced a rebuilding season which included a few injuries in 2015.
The Gorillas finished the season with a 6-5 overall record.
Pittsburg State began the season with a new quarterback in freshman John Roderique Jr., who transferred from Sam Houston State. Roderique began his PSU career by rushing for 91 net yards and throwing for 122 yards in the Gorillas’ 38-14 win over Northeastern State to get things started on a high note.
Unfortunately, a season-ending foot injury after the Gorillas’ 46-42 loss to Emporia State would sideline him indefinitely. He finished the year with 1,264 yards passing and went 94 for 157 with nine touchdowns.
Thomas LePage would take over at quarterback, going 56 for 125 for 574 yards and five touchdowns.
Northwest Missouri State would play at Carnie Smith Stadium for the first time in four years, and the Bearcats left with a 31-14 victory. The Bearcats, who shared the 2014 MIAA title with the Gorillas, won the conference championship outright in 2015 as well as the national title with an undefeated record.
Pittsburg State got one back seven days later with a 24-19 road win over Nebraska-Kearney.
The Gorillas defeated rivals Missouri Southern State 41-14 on Halloween but that would be their last win of the season. PSU closed out 2015 with a 34-6 loss to Central Missouri and a 49-31 loss to Central Oklahoma.
Running back Jeff Seybold Jr. led the team in rushing with 696 net yards from 151 carries. And six touchdowns.
Wide receiver Levi Copelin had 503 yards of receptions from 31 catches and four touchdowns, while wide receiver Marquise Cushon had 483 yards from 40 catches.
PSU MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
The PSU men’s cross country team came up just one place short of qualifying as a team for the National Championship Meet in Joplin, Missouri, but Austin Bogina would still close out his PSU career at nationals as an individual.
Bogina placed 108th overall at nationals, finishing the 10 kilometer race in 31 minutes, 32.4 seconds at Tom Rutledge Cross Country Course. It was the second consecutive year that Bogina qualified for nationals.
At the NCAA Central Regional Meet, the Gorillas finished outside of the top five teams by one place and one point of qualifying. PSU put up 188 points, one point behind fifth-place Minnesota State Moorhead. Bogina earned an individual berth to the national championships with an eighth-place finish in 30:55.06.
The Gorilla men compiled 77 points at the MIAA Conference Championship in Hays to finish in third place. Bogina, Connor Stark, Colby Kromminga and Ren Bean all posted top 20 finishes.
Prior to the conference meet, the Gorillas took fourth at the Fort Hays State Open.
At the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the Gorillas finished as the runner up among the 33 teams in the college division.
PSU opened up the season with a third place finish at the Missouri Southern State University Stampede.
PSU WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
The PSU women’s cross country team opened up their 2015 season with a sixth place showing at the MSSU Stampede.
They followed it up with a 10th place showing out of 33 college division women’s teams at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival, where Hope Manning led the Gorilla women with a 22nd place finish in a time of 18:08.07.
Pittsburg State placed sixth at the FHSU Open with 152 points. Paige Denton finished 18th overall with a time of 18:41.50.
At the MIAA Championships, the PSU women compiled 95 points to finished fourth.
Four members would receive honorable mention including Paige Denton, who finished 12th in 22:48.70.
Ashton Henson and Hope Manning both placed 16th and 17th, respectively. Henson finished 22:53.70 while Manning clocked in at 23:01.80.
Christina Metzger was 19th in 23:12.30 and Carlin Greene rounded out the Gorillas scoring positions with a 32nd overall placing in 23:54.80.
The Gorilla women finished the season with a ninth overall placing at the NCAA Divison II Central Regional, compiling 240 points. Henson led the Gorillas with a 32nd overall placing in 22:12.09.
It was a tough year for the PSU volleyball team. The Gorillas finished the year with a 2-27 overall record and a 2-16 showing in conference play.
PSU began the season with 16 straight losses before getting its first win with a 3-1 victory over Southwest Baptist.
The Gorillas lost nine more games before beating rivals Missouri Southern State 3-0 at John Lance Arena.
Pittsburg State fell to Washburn and Emporia State to close out the season.
Taylor Unke had 170 kills and led the Gorillas in points with 212.5 while Maggie Highberger had 185 kills.
Lana DaSilva had 149 kills while Lauren Regier had 140. Hayley Hansford had 464 aces while Schwartz had 462.
Head coach Jenny Muller resigned at the end of the season.
New head coach Jen Gomez will lead the Gorillas in 2016 after coaching five seasons at Colorado State Pueblo.
Michael Bauer is a sports reporter for the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on twitter at @michaeljohn391.