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Leathernecks honored for hot Georgia weekend

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Dan Dispensa and Rich Mascheri both collected Summit League honors for their play last weekend for the Western Illinois baseball team.

Although the Leathernecks went just 1-3 against host Georgia State,  Dispensa was named Player of the Week while Mascheri was named Co-Pitcher of the Week (along with North Dakota State’s Luke Anderson).

For Dispensa, it was his first career Player of the Week award. The junior outfielder batted .583 in the four-game set at Georgia State. In Game One, he went 3 for 3 with 3 RBI, 1 walk and 1 stolen base. He also had two hits in Game 4, along with 1 hit in each of the middle two games of the series.

For the week, Dispensa was 7 for 12 (.583) with 4 RBI, 3 runs scored, 3 doubles, 2 walks and 2 stolen bases. He also had 2 sacrifices with just 1 strikeout.

Mascheri also picked up his first career Summit League award after pitching 7 scoreless innings in the opening-game victory over Georgia State. The senior southpaw allowed 4 hits with 5 strikeouts to notch his first win and lead the Leathernecks to their first season-opening win since 2009.


Western track and field athlete junior Jamario Taylor has been named Summit League Men’s Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week, the league office announced Tuesday.

Taylor earned the award, the first of his career, after winning the men’s high jump competition at the Iowa Invitational last Friday. He picked up his fourth straight high jump victory by clearing a height of 7 feet-1/4 inches. Taylor owns seven wins this season and nine over his two-year career.

Taylor’s personal-best performance ranks second in the Summit League and 36th in the nation. Taylor, an Indoor All-Summit League performer last season, also ranks second in program history behind Lawrence Hardin’s personal best of 7 feet-1 inch, set in 2010.

Taylor’s honor marks the first time this indoor season that a Leatherneck has earned the Summit League’s Athlete of the Week award. The last Western track athlete to earn the league’s weekly honor was Jason Crisman during the outdoor season on April 26, 2011.

The last Leatherneck track athlete to earn a weekly indoor award was Nichole Manning on Feb. 22, 2011. Michael Hemming (Dec. 14, 2010) was the last Western male to earn the indoor honor.

Taylor and several other Western athletes will compete this weekend in the Summit League Indoor Championships at the Hilliard Gates Sports Center in Fort Wayne, Ind. on the campus of Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne.


Western concluded play in the 2012 Claud Jacobs Challenge presented by SCOR Golf on Monday and finished 11th out of 17 teams, recording a 978 score.

“Overall the team had a solid start for the beginning of the spring season,” said Leathernecks head coach Lia Biehl Lukkarinen. “Now that we’ve played in a tournament, we know what we need to improve on for the next one. These tournaments are training for the Summit League Championships in April so we still have a lot of time to improve.”

Invite host Texas State finished first after carding a three-round score of 901. Two golfers shared the first-place finish: Texas State’s Krista Puisite (77, 70, 77) and Louisiana Monroe’s Ali Lucas (75, 73, 76), who each tallied a 224.

Leading the Leathernecks individually and placing eighth overall was sophomore golfer Kristi Tschudin, who carded a three-round score of 228 (80, 77, 71). Tschudin’s 71 in the third round of the invite is a career-best for the sophomore.

“Kristi (Tschudin) had an awesome start to the spring season,” Biehl Lukkarinen said. “She really performed well these past couple of days.”

Freshman Ashley Jeffers finished next-best for the Leathernecks, tied for 33rd after finishing with a 242 (80, 83, 79). Finishing tied for 63rd individually was junior Alexa Arent, who turned in a 253 (87, 83, 83).

First-year Leathernecks Jessica Knepp and Nikki Tatham finished tied for 68th (87, 89, 81 – 257) and tied for 87th (98, 87, 92 – 277), respectively, to round out the Leathernecks’ scores.



Senior Kurt Slattery picked things up right where he left off last season.

Slattery picked up his fourth career top-20 finish for the Leathernecks in the Pat Hicks Thunderbird Invitational at the Sun Brook Golf Club in St. George, Utah, with a score of 147 (72/75) tying for 18th with four other athletes.

  As a team, Western’s men’s golf team finished tied with Dixie State for seventh out of 14 teams.

The two-day event was held Feb. 13-14.

Califiornia State-Fullerton won the team portion of the event, while California State-Northridge’s Chris Russo shot a 140 (70/70) to win the individual competition.

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Leathernecks honored for hot Georgia weekend