Conque finalist for Eddie Robinson award

UCA SPORTS INFORMATION

University of Central Arkansas football coach Clint Conque was named Monday as one of 20 finalists for the 25th Eddie Robinson Award, which honors the national coach of the year in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision.

Conque, in his 12th season at UCA, led the Bears to an 8-3 overall record this season and to their first berth in the FCS Playoffs in their second year of eligibility.

“It’s certainly very humbling for me to be on this list with such an elite group of coaches,” Conque said. “This honor is due to the tireless efforts of our players and coaches. Our players have responded to our message and plan throughout the entire season and heading into the Division I championships.

“I feel we have a great coaching staff. The sacrifice made by these men and their families say so much about their commitment to our players and the Central Arkansas football program. I am eternally grateful.”        

Conque has an 88-50 overall record at UCA and is the winningest football coach in school history. He was also a finalist in 2008, finishing seventh in the final voting.

Conque, a member of the Sports Hall of Fame at his alma mater, Nicholls State, took the Bears to a second-place finish in the Southland Conference with a 6-1 record this season. Their only losses were to No. 1 Sam Houston State and two FBS schools, Sun Belt champion Arkansas State and Western Athletic Conference champ Louisiana Tech.

The Bears open the postseason at Tennessee Tech on Saturday in Cookeville, Tenn. Kickoff is 2 p.m. on ESPN3. Tennessee Tech Coach Watson Brown is also one of the finalists.

Sugar Bears’ Herbert earns SLC honor

UCA SPORTS INFORMATION

University of Central Arkansas junior forward Megan Herbert has been named Southland Conference Women’s Basketball Co-Player of the Week, sharing the honor with Lamar guard Kalis Loyd, the league announced Monday.     

Herbert earned her first Southland weekly award of the season and eighth of her career after posting her 48th career double-double with 17 points and 18 rebounds in the Sugar Bears’ 58-46 win over Alabama last Tuesday. Herbert accounted for nearly 40 percent of UCA’s rebounding total, playing a major role as the Sugar Bears outrebounded the Crimson Tide by 10 and scored 21 second-chance points in what was the program’s first-ever win over a Southeastern Conference opponent.    

Herbert shares this week’s award with Loyd, who had 10 points and five rebounds in the Lady Cards’ win over Ole Miss along with a 17-point, 10-rebound effort in a 70-68 win over Louisiana-Monroe.    

UCA signs 8 new players for softball

UCA SPORTS INFORMATION

University of Central Arkansas coach David Kuhn has announced the addition of eight signees to the Sugar Bear softball program.

The class includes two in-state prospects, three prospects from the state of Oklahoma and one each from Texas, Oregon and Virginia.     

The two Arkansas signees include players that possess a lot of versatility — Jesse Taylor a catcher/first baseman from Bryant and Allie Seaton, a first baseman/designated player from North Little Rock.     

Taylor helped the Hornets to back-to-back state championships in 2010 and 2011 and a runner-up in 2009. During all three years she was selected to the all-tournament squad. She is a three-time all-conference and all-state selection. Taylor’s ability to hit the long ball is something that made her a very attractive recruit for Kuhn and his staff.    

While at NLR, Seaton helped her team to one state title in 2009 and another state runner-up in 2011. She is a three-time all-conference selection and has been named all-state once.

Outfielder Sam Forrest, catcher/outfielder Lauren Kruse and outfielder Amy Gunnells make up the Oklahoma portion of the signing class. Forrest is another left-handed hitter who will come to UCA from Broken Arrow High School. In 2009, Forrest was named Second Team All-Conference and Second Team All-Metro. She repeated as an all-conference selection in 2010 and then received all-state, all-district and all-metro honors in 2011.  Kruse, a Haskell, Okla. product out of Morris High School, should add depth to the Bear outfield and behind the plate in the future.  While at Morris, Kruse has been selected to the all-conference team four different times and was named to the 2011 all-state squad.     

Gunnells, the final Oklahoma signee, comes out of Tulsa Union High School and is another switch-hitting outfielder. Her ability to run is something that could enhance to Bears capability on the base paths in the future. Gunnells has lettered all four seasons at Union and has been a two-year starter. Like the other recruits, Gunnells is excited to be a Bear and has high hopes for the future of the program. The Bears went almost 2,200 miles away to find more middle infield and outfield help when they signed Sarah Bigej from Happy Valley, Ore. Bigej is a two-time time all-state selection and a three-time all-conference selection at Clackamas High School.     

Kelsie Barker is out of North Stafford High School in Stafford, Va.     

In 2010, Barker was a First Team All-District Virginia AAA Commonwealth selection. She was also a Virginia AAA All-Region honorable mention and a 2010 Washington Post All-Met honorable mention. In 2011, the right-hander was an all-state honorable mention selection, an All-Northwest Region First Team and First Team Commonwealth All-District selection. For the second straight year, she was also recognized by the Washington Post as an All-Met Second Team pitcher.     

Lindsey Elliott, of Mansfield Texas, has played for Texas Elite-Bell the past two seasons and currently plays for Texas Glory-Shelton. The eight signees will join a UCA program that has seen vast improvement over the past three seasons, including winning a school record 26 games in 2011.

Correction

The Log Cabin Democrat, in Monday’s editions, erroneously listed one of the co-sponsors for the volunteers who helped furnish the pregame meal for the Conway Wampus Cats for the game against Fayetteville. Farm Bureau insurance was one of the sponsors along with Smokehouse Barbecue, First Security Bank and Linn’s Auto.