Southwest Baptist University no longer has to feel like a rented mule.
The Great Lakes Valley Conference announced it was adding Southwest Baptist as a full member beginning with the 2019-20 school year. The Bearcats had been a part of the GLVC since 2014 as a football-only member, but the former Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association member sought to join the GLVC as a permanent member.
Those details finally have been worked out.
"After careful analysis, the decision to apply for membership in the GLVC was made because we believe that the GLVC is a better fit for our student-athletes, and the GLVC institutions are more similar to SBU," Southwest Baptist President Dr. C. Pat Taylor said in a press release. "We are thankful for the confidence that the GLVC has placed in SBU, and it is our goal to be an exemplary member of the GLVC."
SBU's addition gives the GLVC 15 full members with Lincoln University remaining a football-only member.
The GLVC was as big as 16 schools before Saint Joseph's College shut down operations in 2017. Wisconsin-Parkside is leaving the GLVC effective June 30 to join the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The GLVC's intention is to get back to 16 teams.
Southwest Baptist is in Bolivar, Mo. It sponsors 18 of the 22 sports the GLVC sanctions, while also sponsoring eSports programs.
"In Southwest Baptist, we have found a like-minded institution within our geographic footprint that we feel will be a wonderful addition to the GLVC," GLVC commissioner Jim Naumovich said.
Markway joins SLU staff
Former Quincy University women's soccer player Haylye Markway has joined the staff at Saint Louis University as an assistant coach.
Markway, a 2016 graduate of QU, spent the past two seasons with the Billikens as a graduate assistant. The Billikens were 29-7-4 overall and 14-3-3 in the Atlantic 10 Conference the past two seasons.
"Haylye Markway is one of the brightest young coaches in the country," SLU coach Katie Shields said in a press release. "As Haylye moves into the assistant coach role, she will make an immediate impact in recruiting as she is outstanding at building relationships and relentless in her work rate to attract top talent to our program."
Markway played midfield for the Hawks from 2012-15, starting all but three games in her career. As a senior, when the Hawks went 14-4-4 and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, she was a third-team All-Great Lakes Valley Conference and third-team All-Midwest Region selection. She scored nine goals in her career, including four game-winners.
Two Wildcats earn all-region honors
The Culver-Stockton College softball team had two players named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Region VI team.
Junior outfielder Avery Johnson and junior first baseman Cassie Burris were each named to the second team.
Johnson, a Highland product who was the 2015 Herald-Whig Player of the Year, batted a team-high .399 with 71 hits, 48 runs and 45 RBIs. She had nine doubles, one triple and seven home runs, while leading the team with 15 stolen bases. Her 71 hits are the fifth-most in school history for a single season.
Burris, who is from Indianola, Iowa, was named as an at-large selection after registering a .329 batting average with team-highs in doubles (14), home runs (13) and RBIs (60), which ranked sixth in the NAIA. Her 60 RBIs were second most in a single season in school history.
Burris became the school's all-time leader in RBIs with 152, and she led the NAIA with 446 putouts and 464 chances.
Birdsong adds All-American honors
Quincy University junior second baseman Cody Birdsong was named a third-team All-American by the National College Baseball Writers Association.
The D2 College Commissioners Association and the American Baseball Coaches Association both did him one better.
Birdsong, who hit .353, was named a second-team All-American by both the D2CCA and ABCA/Rawlings, which has named All-America teams since 1949. He was a first-team All-Midwest Region selection by all three awards panels.
A transfer from John A. Logan Community College, Birdsong led the Hawks with 84 hits, 14 home runs and 57 RBIs as they won the GLVC Tournament championship and qualified for the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional for the fourth straight year.
Fulton earns NAIA All-American honors
Monroe City product Kyle Fulton was named a second-team NAIA All-American after a sterling junior season with the Central Methodist University baseball team.
The left-handed pitcher went 10-0 with a 1.09 ERA. He struck out 98 batters in 82 1/3 innings and was named the Heart of America Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year. He ranked No. 2 in the NAIA in ERA and total runs allowed (14), sixth in hits allowed per nine innings (5.68) and seventh in opponent batting average (.183).
"He was the leader of our team and always gave us a chance to win the game," CMU coach Nate Breland said. "He's a great competitor with a strong poise. He will have to continue to work hard in the upcoming year to continue his progress."