Park notebook: Pirates adding beach volleyball

PARKVILLE, Mo. — Park University is expanding, again, adding collegiate beach volleyball for the 2018-19 academic year. The team will be coached by head men’s and women’s volleyball coach Mike Talmantes and the season begins in the spring of 2019.

 “The opportunity to further expand our already elite volleyball program is something we’ve been looking forward to being able to do for some time,” Park University director of athletics Claude English said. “We have that opportunity with the right leadership in the program. We know that (Mike) has succeeded each time he’s been asked to step up to a new challenge, and this will be no different. I’m excited to see this program begin and to see it grow.”

 Collegiate beach volleyball contests consist of a series of five two-player matches. Each match accounts for one point in the final score, and each match inside the five contests is a best-of-three series of sets, with sets one and two played to 21 points, while deciding third sets are played to 15.

 “I’ve never coached beach volleyball before, but I have an incredible resource in (Nada Meawad), who played it in the Olympics for Egypt,” Talamantes said. “Beach volleyball is all about chemistry, with only two players on the court at a time. You have to find your pairings that really work and go with them. We’ve got talented players, but we’re looking for more to really build this program right.”

 The Pirates will have one natural rival, as Missouri Baptist University was one of the first NAIA schools to offer the sport, which is still mostly played at the NCAA Division I level. As of the 2017 season, 93 schools sponsored beach volleyball, including 54 NCAA Division I institutions, 11 in NCAA Division II, three in NCAA Division III and two NAIA schools — Missouri Baptist and Benedictine University-Mesa (Ariz.).                                                                         

Park will play its matches at English Landing Park and the Pirates will be one of three schools sponsoring the sport in Missouri, in addition to MBU and Missouri State. The University of Nebraska also presents a potential nearby opponent, while five schools in Texas sponsor the sport, as well as Principia College in western Illinois.

 “I’m not 100-percent sure who we will fill a schedule with at this point, but we do know there’s already interest from potential opponents,” Talamantes said. “Having a quality facility to play in later in the year will be important for us, but we know we’ll be able to find matches. I’m excited to get this program up and running and see what we can do in the 2019 season.”

 Talamantes expects for a portion of his current women’s volleyball roster to compete for the collegiate beach volleyball team, but recruiting is already underway for players designated for the beach team. Potential student-athletes interested in playing collegiate beach volleyball for the Pirates should contact Talamantes at or by phone at 584-6490.


Park competes in AMC championships

The Park men’s and women’s track and field team took part in the American Midwest Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships this past weekend in Greenville, Ill.

The men placed third and the women’s took fourth.

Junior Nicholas Rotich was named the AMC men’s newcomer of the year as he won the 1,500-meter run (3:56.06), as well as the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:35.79). He was part of the winning 4x800-meter team with William Henry, Sebastian Keditukei and Joshua Goodloe (7:48.26).

Henry was the 800 champion.

Odail Todd won the 100- and 200-meter dashes in 10.47 and 21.37, respectively. Todd, Zachary Beck, Zachary Graham and Jonathan Hair were on the 4x100-meter relay team that took second.

Aaliyah Brown won the shot put championship for the third straight year for the Pirates with a throw of 13.13 meters, beating teammate Michela Lemons, who was second at 13.03.

Jerosan Fletcher won the 200-meter dash (25.75) and Rachel Franklin won the 1,500 (4:57.69).

Fletcher took third in the 400 with a time of 59.94, coming in behind teammate Emma Kasap (59.50) and ahead of teammate Areka Hanson (1:00.39)

The women’s team finished with 128 points to earn 4th place overall.


Tattan earns honors

Park freshman Ryan Tattan was the American Midwest Conference golfer of the week for the second time this season last week. Tattan helped the Pirates take first for the sixth time this season and fifth overall by winning the Virginia McCoy Intercollegiate at The Deuce in Kansas City, Mo.

The Essex, England native shot 143 in the two-day event that spanned 36 holes, coming in second place overall in a field of 56 golfers. He was joined on the all-tournament team by teammate West Buntenbach, who tied for fifth at 151. \The Pirates took first by seven strokes ahead of Columbia College.

On the women’s side, Leeah Shipley was fourth and Rachel Huffman tied for fifth for Park. Gen Stelmacovich also added a top-ten finish by taking eighth.

The women beat College of Saint Mary, but finishing six shots behind tournament winner Missouri Baptist.


Softball team adds 2

The Pirates inked a player that comes from a high school that doesn’t have softball.

Deanna Clayton comes from Craig High School in Craig, Mo., so her softball experience came playing for the Trojanettes, a famed organization in Northwest Missouri.

Clayton competes in high school sports for Mound City and helped the Class 1 school to state titles in 2016 and 2018. She was part of the Panthers’ Class 1 state title in track and field in 2016 as well.

Joining her will be Alyssa Ramirez from Staley High School in Kansas City North.

Ramirez hit .459 this past fall with eight home runs for the Falcons, earning all-conference, all-district and all-region honors. She helped her team win three straight conference titles and twice has been to state — winning the title in 2015 and taking third this past fall.


Additions keep coming

Women’s basketball coach Kenneth Cooper continues to retool his roster, as the signing class is up to seven newcomers.

The latest additions are both from the junior college ranks.

Forward Sarah Lamp comes from North Central Missouri College in Trenton, while guard Jade Winter will arrive from Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College.

Lamp, 5-foot-11, averaged 15.5 points per game this season for the Pirates, while tallying 16.8 per game as a freshman. She hit 56.6 percent from the field this year and 34.7 percent from the 3-point line, both numbers up around three percent from her freshman year. Lamp, who is from Kirksville, Mo., was named to the first-team All-Region team twice in her career while at North Central.  

Winter, 5-9, averaged 8.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.8 assists per game this year for the Greyhounds. The Derby, Kan., native played only one year at FSCC.


Volleyball team earns honors

Andrea Maggio, a junior from Vasto, Italy, was named to the AVCA All-American honorable mention team on Monday, April 16.

He had 218 kills, 176 digs, 42 blocks and 36 service aces in his first season with the Pirates.

He was a first-team Midwest Conference All-Conference pick, along with teammate Leandro Sodre. Felipe Santos was a second-team all-league pick.

Sodre had 160 kills and had 44 blocks this year. Santos was second on the team in kills with 195 and had 51 blocks.