Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

March 17, 2014

Sports briefs for Monday, March 17

Kokomo Tribune

---- — Wrestlers Loe, Miller win matches in All-Star Duals

DARIEN, Ill. — Peru’s Evan Loe and Kokomo’s Fletcher Miller each won matches Sunday in the All-Star Duals, a matchup of top seniors pitting Indiana against Illinois.

Wrestling in the small-school category at 145 pounds, Loe scored a technical fall victory over Seth Newkirk of Litchfield High School by a final score of 18-3. Litchfield had earlier placed third in the Illinois state tournament.

“Evan was awesome,” Peru coach Andy Hobbs said. “He got the first takedown and never let off the gas pedal.”

Miller defeated Luis Hernandez of McHenry High School 14-2 in the large-school competition at 220 pounds. Hernandez had been state runner up in the 3A class in Illinois.

“He went out and did his thing like he always does,” Kokomo coach Ryan Wells said. “He’s wrestled so much on the national level it was another match for him, but it was nice for him and myself to go up and coach him one more time and for him to put on a Kokomo singlet one more time. For him to get a win for his school and his state, and for them to get a win for the team was pretty cool too.”

On the team front, Illinois beat Indiana in the small-school matchup 38-18, and Indiana won the large-school matchup 28-21.

Indiana State to play Arkansas in NIT Tuesday

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas will return to the postseason for the first time since 2008 when it faces Indiana State in the National Invitation Tournament.

The Razorbacks (21-11), who last played in the NIT in 1997, are a No. 3 seed in the tournament and will host the sixth-seeded Sycamores (23-10) on Tuesday night.

Indiana State and Arkansas haven’t met since the 1979 NCAA tournament in a game that featured future NBA stars Larry Bird and Sidney Moncrief.

The Sycamores were second behind undefeated Wichita State in the Missouri Valley Conference this season, losing to the Shockers in the league’s championship game last week.

They lost their final three regular season games before rebounding to win two games at the Missouri Valley tournament, and three of their losses this season have come to Wichita State — the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament’s Midwest Region.

No other school from Indiana was named to the field.

Senden wins Valspar to end 7-year drought

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) — John Senden ended more than seven years without a victory by making two late birdies, including a chip-in from 70 feet on the toughest hole at Innisbrook, for a one-shot victory on a wild and windy Sunday at the Valspar Championship.

Senden, two shots behind going into the final round, closed with a 1-under 70 for his first PGA Tour win since the 2006 John Deere Classic. The timing couldn’t have been better. The victory sends the 42-year-old Australian to the Masters next month. Senden finished at 7-under 277.

Kevin Na had a long birdie putt on the final hole that would have forced a playoff, but it never came close. He closed with a 72.