EDINBURG — UTRGV men’s cross country runner Abraham Chirchir was tabbed the Western Athletic Conference’s Athlete of the Week for Aug. 26-Sept. 1, the conference office announced Tuesday.
Chirchir — a native of Iten, Kenya — set a personal record and registered the fourth-fastest 6K time in program history. The sophomore won the Incarnate Word Opener on Saturday, finishing the event in 18 minutes, 17.9 seconds.
His time helped the UTRGV cross country team clinch second place out of seven teams at the meet. This marks the third career weekly award for Chirchir, who was named the WAC Freshman of the Year in 2018.
The Vaqueros cross country team will return to action at the Texas A&M Invitational beginning at 8 a.m. Sept. 13.
UTRGV WOMEN’S HOOPS SIGNS SEVEN PLAYERS
Women’s basketball head coach Lane Lord announced the addition of seven high school recruits and college transfers to the team for the 2019-20 season, joining a signing class of 11 incoming players.
The bevy of transfers and incoming freshmen coming to UTRGV includes forwards Jordan Agustus, Iva Belosevic, and Desirae Buerge; guards Payton Hicks, Zhane Templeton, and TreLynn Tyler; and center Burcu Soysal.
“I think experience is the number one thing with this group,” Lord said in a news release. “With signing four freshmen in the early period, we were trying to balance out the signing classes and I think we did a great job with that. Our staff really went to work signing 11 new players. It takes a lot of hard work and I am really proud of our staff for that. I am pretty excited about this group.”
Among the team’s most high profile signings are Augustus, Buerge, Belosevic and Soysal.
Augustus joins the program after starting her career at St. John’s and most recently Virginia Commonwealth. She ranked as the No. 100 recruit in the class of 2015 by ESPN after leading St. Mary’s High School to a championship in her junior season.
Buerge comes to UTRGV after shining at Missouri Southern State, leading her team with 19.1 points and 8.4 rebounds per game in 24 games as a junior. She starred as a three-year basketball and track and field — where she was a three-time NJCAA All-American — athlete while there.
Belosevic and Soysal join the team as two international prospects after having played for the Croatian and Turkish U20 international teams, respectively. Belosevic averaged 12.5 points and 9.4 rebounds last season at Lamar Community College, while Soysal comes over from UMass where she tallied 4.6 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.
Tyler and Templeton are another pair of college players transferring to UTRGV from Tyler Community College and UT-Arlington, respectively. Tyler registered 10.5 points, 6.4 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game as a sophomore, while Templeton averaged 4.3 points and shot 41.9% from 3-point range last season while leading her team to the NCAA Tournament.
Hicks was a four-year varsity player at Plano Prestonwood and led the team to four straight TAPPS 6A state playoff appearances. The seven join a recruiting class that already included Tiffany McGarity, Halie Jones, Sydney Cajero, and Sara Bershers.
CASTNER HIRED AS DEPUTY AD, SENIOR WOMAN ADMINISTRATOR
The UTRGV athletics department announced the hiring of Molly Castner as the deputy athletic director and senior woman administrator in a statement Tuesday.
Castner served in the same role under new UTRGV Athletic Director Chasse Conque at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock.
“I am excited to welcome Molly Castner to UTRGV,” Conque said in a news release. “As a former student-athlete herself, Molly is someone who cares deeply about the student-athlete experience and brings a comprehensive understanding to this important position within our administration.”
Castner, who was a track and field athlete as an undergraduate at Florida State, has previously worked in the athletics departments at Boston University.