Summer 1998: Riff Ram
Summer 1998: Riff Ram
The Natural ending
Now, this was a ballgame: The score was tied 7-7, bottom of the ninth, two outs, two strikes and the Frog’s go-to slugger, senior right fielder Chris Connally was at the plate. And Mighty Casey didn’t strike out to end the annual April Battle at the Ballpark. Instead, as Texas Coach Augie Garrido put it, “Roy Dobbs” sent a 400-foot shot over the center wall, cinching the Frog’s victory and the Longhorn’s first losing season in 42 years. The Frogs headed to postseason play for the first time since claiming the SWC crown in 1994.
Banquet of champions
Senior Sarah Crawford, above with Athletics Director Eric Hyman, led TCU athletes on the diving board, and apparently in the classroom as well, earning her the Dutch Meyer Female Scholar-Athlete award at the 1998 Spring Sports Banquet, held in April. Other winners included senior swimmer and three-time All-American Jason Flint, Pop Boone Athlete of the Year; track seniors Khadevis Robinson and Giesla Jackson, Male and Female Athletes of the Year; senior second baseman Sam Lunsford, Dutch Meyer Male Scholar-Athlete; and Men’s Head Coach Bill Montigel, Coach of the Year.
The Frog’s foray into the NCAA Tournament last season (and a school-best record of 27-6, 14-0 in the WAC, a Top 25 ranking and the school’s first tournament bid since 1987) may not spill over into next season if a certain blue chip doesn’t fall into place. At press time, junior Lee Nailon announced his intention to leave school early when he declared for June’s NBA draft. Nailon could still return for his senior season; according to NCAA rules, Nailon can retain his eligibility as long as he does not hire an agent and drops out of the draft pool at least 48 hours before the June 24 draft. The Frogs also have signed nine new players for next year’s team. Women’s Head Coach Mike Petersen announced that he added two signees who will begin playing in the fall of 1998, 5-10 guard Diamond Jackson and 5-11 guard Zakiyyah Johnson.
Senior anchor Percy Spencer, senior Syan Williams and juniors Jarmiene Holloway and Bryan Howard burned up the Penn Relays 4×100-meter relay in 38.89 seconds, the fastest posted time this season. The Frogs had a chance to win the 4×400, but the foursome of freshman Roy Williams, senior Clayton Brookins, sophomore Johnny Collins and senior Khadevis Robinson finished less than a half-tick behind Georgia Tech. The women weren’t quite as successful, but senior Catoshia Lewis did finish first in her 100-meter event.
Aces at the hole
Despite being eliminated from the NCAA regionals at press time, the women golfers are still smiling, having laid claim to a No. 15 ranking and having knocked off top-ranked Tulsa in the WAC Championships‹the Frog’s most successful season since winning the national title in 1983. From left to right are junior Shannon Fisher, junior Susan Horton, junior Amanda Workman, Coach Angie Ravaioli-Larkin, sophomore Angela Stanford and freshman Brenda Anderson. The men looked to finish second at the WAC Golf Championships in April before fifth-year senior J. J. Henry led the men in a come-from-behind victory over UNLV. Among Henry’s feats was a 168-yard hole-in-one.
Freshman Esteban Carril stole the show upon release of the 1998 WAC Men’s Tennis Tournament All-WAC Teams. His name was mentioned for no less than four awards and honors including dual honors as Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year. Carril’s other notations include First Team All-WAC in individual play as well as Second Team All-WAC in doubles play with partner Martin Jirak.
The new FRANchise
The spring’s Purple-White game is the closest game-day situation the Frogs will encounter until the real games this fall, said Head Coach Dennis “Fran” Franchione. That being the case, “I thought the kids played hard, and they had a good time and were enthusiastic.” Numerous 250-pound “kids” dominated on the purple and white defensive squads, with the Purple finishing on top with a 10-7 victory. Former receiver Patrick Batteaux led the Purple and White teams to sevens and threw one interception. Showing his ability in TCU’s new option-oriented offense, Batteaux rushed for 78 yards on eight carries and ran effectively on the White’s touchdown drive. Two-year starter Jeff Dover remains the most consistent quarterback, connecting on five of 10 passes for 85 yards, with one interception.
Realignment and rivalry
Eric Hyman got what he wanted, he said, in regard to the fixed divisions proposed by the WAC Council this spring and set for final approval in early June. “If you take everything into consideration, TV, academics, [travel] time, economics, competitiveness and the opportunity for rivalries, it’s about as good a balance as we could get,” said TCU’s athletics director, a member of the council comprising athletics directors, senior women administrators and faculty representatives. If adopted, the new setup will end the controversial rotation of four-team quadrants to form new divisions. TCU, starting in 2000-2001, will be part of an East Division that includes Colorado State, winner of three of the last four WAC football titles. New Mexico, winner of the Mountain Division football title last season and a Top 25 basketball program, will be another yearly opponent. Take note of that last rival: New Mexico basketball coach Dave Bliss once coached at SMU, and Franchione came from New Mexico. Given the Frogs’ and Mustangs’ century-old grudge, the addition of New Mexico could make for a three-way war. TCU’s other division opponents include Rice, UT-El Paso, Wyoming and Tulsa.