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FACES IN THE CROWD

May 28, 2012
May 28, 2012

Table of Contents
May 28, 2012

GOLF PLUS
LEADING OFF
THE MAIL
Inside: THE WEEK IN SPORTS
LA LA PALOOZA
HORSE RACING
SOCCER
  • The hero of Chelsea's historic Champions League final victory, Ivorian striker Didier Drogba is a man of the world whose intellect and impact extend far beyond the pitch

MOTOR SPORTS
  • His final-lap crash in the Indy 500 last year could have been a career-defining moment, for all the wrong reasons. But JR Hildebrand handled the heartbreak of letting a sure victory slip away with grace. Now he's focused on closing the deal at the Brickyard

INDY 500
  • Since the first daredevils took to the bricks 101 years ago, the race has been on at Indy to find that balance of handling, safety and, above all, speed needed to prevail over 500 miles. Decade by decade, there have been both incremental advances and breathtaking leaps in automotive evolution—concluding with (for now) this year's wholly reimagined supercar

THE TRANSGENDER ATHLETE
  • Playing fields have long been segregated on the basis of sex. But what happens to the athletes whose physiology doesn't match their gender identity? Against whom do they compete? What obstacles do they face? And how are they being treated by sports' governing bodies?

POINT AFTER
Departments

FACES IN THE CROWD

BERNIE MONTOYA

This is an article from the May 28, 2012 issue

YUMA, ARIZ. > TRACK AND FIELD

Bernie, a junior at Cibola High, won his second consecutive Division 1 state title at 1,600 meters (4:14.69) after losing his shoe midrace for the second straight year. In 2011 he kicked off his loose left shoe and injured his foot, ending his season. After being clipped from behind heading into the second lap this year, he stopped to put his shoe back on and closed a 50-meter gap to win. Bernie, who has the nation's top time in the 3,000 meters this season (8:18.81), also won the 800 and 3,200 titles.

STEPHANIE CANFIELD

ST. JOSEPH, ILL. > SOFTBALL

Stephanie, a senior centerfielder at St. Joseph--Ogden High, scored three total runs in back-to-back wins against Peotone High (7--2) and Prairie Central (4--2) to lead the Spartans to a perfect regular season and become the state's alltime runs leader (227, now 230). It was her second Illinois record this year: A week earlier she returned from a torn hamstring injury and set the career hits mark (254, now 268). Through Sunday, Stephanie was batting .671. She will play at Arkansas next year.

MARVIN KIMBLE

MILWAUKEE > GYMNASTICS

Marvin, a sophomore at Hamilton High who competes for Swiss Turners Gymnastics Academy, won the all-around Level 10 title for ages 14--15 at the men's Junior Olympic National Championships in Cincinnati. He won the high bars and parallel bars and was second in the rings to finish with a combined total of 176.300 points. Marvin was a member of the gold-medal-winning Pacific Rim Championships team and won his second straight Wisconsin title in March. He took the Region IV crown in April.

RYAN SKOMIAL

HARTLAND, MICH. > LACROSSE

Ryan, a junior center at Hartland High, had her ninth six-plus goals performance this season with six scores and two assists in a 22--9 win over Flint Powers for the state's No. 1--ranked Division 1 team. She topped all Michigan players with 138 total points; she also led the state in assists, with 56. Last year she was named all-state with 63 total points, despite missing five games because of a hip injury. Ryan is orally committed to Grand Valley State.

DAVID PLESS

ATLANTA > TRACK AND FIELD

Pless, a junior at Bates College, swept the shot put, hammer throw and discus at the New England Division III championships to remain unbeaten in D-III competition this season. A week earlier he won the same three events and was named most outstanding men's performer at the NESCAC championships, where he led the Bobcats to the team title. The only D-III athlete to make it to the Penn Relays discus and shot put finals this year, Pless is the division's reigning indoor shot champ.

CAITLIN RACICH

SUMMER ROSS

SANTA BARBARA, CALIF.

CARLSBAD, CALIF. > SAND VOLLEYBALL

Racich, a 6'1" junior at Pepperdine, and Ross, a 6'2" freshman, won the inaugural collegiate sand volleyball championships' pairs title with a 2--1 win over Tara Roenicke and Caitlin Ledoux of Long Beach State. A day earlier the duo led the Waves to the team title with a 5--0 shutout over LBS, earning the first women's championship in school history.

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NCAA BASEBALL

Plucky Plunkees

For one college team, the hits (by pitch) just keep on coming

According to their uniforms, the Delaware State Hornets' colors are red and blue. But if you go by the record book, they should be black and blue. The Hornets broke the NCAA team hit-by-pitch season record this year, getting plunked a collective 152 times in 58 games. It's no fluke that they lead the nation in this scrappiest of statistics. Coach J.P. Blandin, with the help of new hitting coach Russ Steinhorn, set out to instill a "get on base at any cost" mentality this year. "We're not teaching them to lean out in front of pitches; we're just teaching them not to get out of the way," Blandin says. The Hornets have been hit more than twice as many times as they were last season, and that helped them earn a team OBP of .423—second in D-I—and their best winning percentage (.690) since Blandin took over the program in 2001. Though getting walloped by a fastball doesn't carry the same glory as, say, belting a home run, Delaware State's players wear their bruises as badges of honor. Senior infielder Scott Davis (above), who tops the NCAA in this punishing stat this season, having been hit 37 times (tying the alltime record), is proud of his mark—and his marks. "It shows you'll do what it takes," he says.

PHOTORODNEY ADAMS/DELAWARE STATE UNIVERSITY (DAVIS)PHOTOBETH RUTZEBECK (MONTOYA)PHOTOUSA GYMNASTICS (KIMBLE)PHOTOAARON SKOMIAL (SKOMIAL)PHOTOAL FERESHETIAN (PLESS)TWO PHOTOSRON HALL/PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY (RACICH AND ROSS)PHOTO