Payton Curley's commitment on and off the court landed her a prestigious honor.
The Culver-Stockton College women's basketball player was named the Heart of America Athletic Conference recipient of the Emil S. Liston Award, which recognizes academic athletic excellence by junior student-athletes in men's and women's basketball.
Handed out since 1950, the award honors the memory of Liston, who was the NAIA's first executive secretary.
Curley, a senior guard from Salem, Mo., is eligible for the national award which will be announced Sept. 15 by the NAIA Council of Faculty Athletics Representatives from a field of nominees from other NAIA institutions. The winner of the national award will receive a $1,000 scholarship.
"What an honor," C-SC women's basketball coach Janette Burgin said. "I am extremely proud of her accomplishments as a student-athlete, and this award is well deserved. If you know her well, she is fun to watch on and off the court."
Curley has appeared in 94 games in her first three seasons with the Wildcats and made 41 career starts. She averages of 10.8 points and 3.5 rebounds and is coming off a junior season in which she averaged 12.4 points and 4.6 rebounds while helping the Wildcats qualify for the national tournament for the first time since 1995.
Curley also became the 25th player in program history to record 1,000 career points, and currently has 1,011 career points.
"Payton is a model student-athlete and represents Culver-Stockton College in a first class manner," C-SC athletic director Pat Atwell said. "She is a wonderful role model for our incoming young women on how to balance athletic and academic achievement."
Curley is majoring in health science and minoring in business administration and rehabilitation science. She has achieved several academic honors including President's List two semesters, Dean's List two times and honor roll one time. Curley was named a Heart scholar-athlete in 2020, and is nominated for the Daktronics/NAIA Scholar-Athlete list this fall.
Gronewold to helm JWCC softball
Andy Gronewold turned the Illini West softball program into one of the area's most consistent winners.
He's tasked with doing the same thing for the John Wood Community College softball program.
Gronewold was named Monday as the Trail Blazers' next coach, replacing Merle Jones, who stepped aside after three seasons at the helm. JWCC was 11-6 last spring when its season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Gronewold coached Illini West from 2012-16, compiling a 116-52 record. The Chargers won at least 20 games in each of Gronewold's five seasons and captured Class 2A regional championships in 2015 and 2016. The Chargers had a winning record in one of the three seasons before Gronewold took over and have won 20 or more games every season since.
Wildcats hires Baker to coach golf
Emma Baker is going to pull double duty on the C-SC campus.
Hired to be an admissions counselor at her alma mater, Baker also will become the Wildcats' women's golf coach. She replaces Tom Ernst, who was tragically killed in a car accident last month three weeks after being named head coach of the women's program.
A West Hancock product, Baker was a four-year member of the C-SC women's golf team from 2009-13 and served as team captain. She was the Wildcats' top finisher in the Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament in three of her four seasons, including a third-place finish in 2013 that earned her all-conference honors.
"Her enthusiasm and experience as a collegiate golfer make her a perfect fit for us," C-SC athletic director Pat Atwell said.