State Colleges

Mother-daughter connection historic for Friends volleyball

A couple of months ago, Friends volleyball player Courtney McCune was digging around in the basement at her mother's house and found a jacket, which isn't really unusual in itself.

But this was no normal jacket.

"It was the jacket they gave us at Friends when we went to nationals in 1984," said McCune's mother, Rhonda Navarre. "She said 'I have to wear this,' and took it. I haven't seen it since, although I've gone and bought some new gear since then."

McCune, a first-team all-KCAC right side/outside hitter, is one of two current Falcons with a mother who played on the 1984 Friends team that made it to the NAIA national playoffs — the last team from Friends to make it to the national tournament before this season. Jessica Mullen's mother Jana played on that team and is a member of the Friends athletics Hall of Fame.

The Falcons open national tournament play today at No. 14 Bellevue (Neb.).

"It's really a cool feeling," McCune said. "The banner that our moms won is the last one they have up on the wall in the gym, so it's always kind of neat to look up and think about what they accomplished."

Both McCune and Jessica Mullen are prime examples of sixth-year coach Martin Ayin's recruit-at-home philosophy.

Twelve of the 17 players on the Friends roster are from Kansas, including seven from the Wichita area. The Falcons' other first-team all-KCAC selection, junior middle hitter Chandra Slates, is from Haysville, along with younger sister Lorielle Slates, a freshman outside hitter who earned honorable mention all-league honors this season.

"It took awhile to get it this way," Ayin said. "We had to recruit a lot more out of state and from the junior colleges before the kids from around here began to take notice. Now, we're seeing those in-state and local players come here more."

Southwestern at cross country nationals _ Coming off a 30th consecutive conference championship, the Southwestern men's cross country team will compete in the NAIA championships today in Vancouver, Wash.

The Moundbuilders were not the favorite to win the KCAC meet, but did and jumped into the NAIA rankings at No. 23. Coach Jim Helmer, who has coached all 30 champions, will send out a team led by Andrew Topham, who won the KCAC meet for a second straight time.

Friends' Matt Ditzler and Dan Neidlinger will run as individuals in today's race.

KCAC champion Kansas Wesleyan is in today's women's race, as well as individuals Amy Pierson of Southwestern; Jordan Arnold, Karissa Cominator and Taylor Doll of Friends, and Tabor's Christina Addison.