UFC may lead charge against drug violations in sports

Change is really scary for a lot of people, but when there is a possible change in the professional sports world, sports junkies go completely insane.   However, there are some changes that need to be made, but seem to be constantly overlooked by major sports organizations, such as constant drug violations.   Finally, a professional sports organization has stopped ignoring the drug violations and has chosen to deal with one of the most prominent problems in sports.   The Ultimate Fighting Championship has set their strict drug policy in motion after the most recent drug testing failures by light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones, as well as middleweights Nick Diaz and Anderson Silva.   On Feb. 18, UFC president Dana White announced an increase in testing until the organizations new plan takes affect on July 1.   The changes include in and out of competition testing for all fighters via urine and blood samples, as well as suspensions that could possibly be two to four years long. Along with longer suspensions and more testing, the UFC will commit several million dollars to fund the policy, as opposed to the around $500,000 that they have committed now.   Meanwhile, organizations like the National Football League and Major League Baseball continue to have countless players committing drug violations because of lenient policies.   The MLB only uses one sample per player and have soft punishments, when it comes to cheating the game, such as 50-game and 100-game suspensions. The NFL policy is so moderate that it begins punishment with a four-game suspension.   Sure larger suspensions have been handed out, such as the Yankee’s Alex Rodriguez, who was suspended for 162 games, as well as the Brown’s Josh Gordon who was suspended for a year, but these cases did nothing to create drastic changes in policies.   I applaud the UFC for realizing that they need to crack down on drug violations and I hope that other organizations, like the NFL and MLB, will follow the UFC’s lead and protect their respective sports and its athletes.   As a sports fan, this is one change that won’t make me want to pull my hair out, but will instead make me proud that the sports I love want to protect the integrity of their game.  

Western aims for top of pack at UCO Invitational

“Experience the Elegance, Live the Tradition.”

That’s the motto of the Gaillardia Country Club, and that’s the site of the Griffon Men’s golf’s next tournament in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: the Broncho Invitational.

No, that’s not a spelling error.

The Griffons probably won’t experience too much elegance, but hopefully they can live a new winning tradition.

Greg Dillon is in his second year as head coach. He said that his goals don't differ much from last season to now.

"The goals have not changed, but I feel we are getting closer to getting there," Dillon said. "[First] Get to a postseason regional tourney, [Second] Win Conference and [Third] Compete at the highest level of Division II, the National Golf Championship."

Half the battle in the game of golf is beating the other teams – the other is beating the course.

The stats on Gaillardia Country Club are a 72 will get you a par, it measures 7,340 yards, has a slope of 128 and has a rating of 74.7.

The Griffons look to make the jump to a top five finish in a tournament as the Griffons have been stuck between sixth and eighth in every tournament this season.

In the previous tournament, “The Dave Falconer Classic” in Danville, Arkansas, Missouri Western golfer Corey Knight finished tied for seventh overall at -1 under par.

He shot 75 in round one and had an amazing second round, dropping a whole five strokes and finishing with 70. Finishing at 145 only put him four strokes away from tying for first, which was set at 141 strokes by a Henderson State golfer.

If Knight can keep that momentum rolling into the Broncho Classic, it would be a huge boost for Missouri Western.

Dillon knows that Knight are on the verge breaking into that first place finish.

"[Corey] is a very aggressive player and a very confident player," Dillon said. "He is not afraid to hit a challengeing shot, or a tricky putt or chip. He needs to maintain that aggressiveness and confidence. Those traits will carry him to a win."

Also, if Griffon golfer Ryan Hand can pick up where he left off in the first semester, this could be a breakout tournament for the Griffons.

Hand scored 146 at the St. Joseph Country Club, which is one of the more challenging courses on the Missouri Western schedule.

The men’s golf team has struggled with getting all the golfers on the same page this season. If they can get Knight, Hand and Jacob Rudosky going together, we could see our first top five of the season, and that would be a huge step in the right direction for Dillon.

"We always try to prepare to win each tournament we play in," Dillon said. "Our team only finished 14 strokes off the lead. I feel that we can find those 14 strokes...The more times that we can get ourselves in a position to win, the more we are going to be comfortable to be in that position and pull off a win. That is what I am expecting at UCO."

The team hosting the tournament, the University of Central Oklahoma, is a very tough opponent and ranked tenth in the nation, but just fell from seventh in the nation.

They look to be favorites in their home derby. The last time the Griffons met up with the Bronchos was at Northeastern Oklahoma’s tournament in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, on September 22-23.

The Bronchos dominated the tournament by nine strokes under second place West Texas A&M and a solid 37 below Missouri Western.

Western looks for a top five finish as they head to Edmond, Oklahoma on March 23 and 24 for the UCO Invitational.

Griffons hope to improve against Lopers

The Griffon Women’s tennis team grabbed its first MIAA win of the season in a 6-3 victory over Lindenwood. The Griffons are 4-2 overall and 1-1 in MIAA play, already matching last season’s MIAA win total and the overall win total from a season ago. The Griffons take on 10-2 Nebraska-Kearney Thursday at 2 p.m. Nebraska-Kearney has been consistent in wins the past few seasons, but the Griffons have certainly put themselves in a position to beat them. The Griffons plan to come in with the same confidence and preparations as they would any other team. “We prepare the same way no matter what the teams record is,” Ceara Boldridge, senior, said. “We can’t let a 10-2 record scare us.” Boldridge went 6-3, 6-0 in singles and 8-5 in doubles. She believes that confidence played a big part in the ways she played. “I personally have more confidence in doubles match, and if I keep the confidence, that will help me get better and better; confidence is what I struggled with in doubles match,” Boldridge said. The Griffons haven’t had much success against Kearney, but coach Chris Canady and his team know it’s going to take a lot more effort to come out with a win. “It’s always hard in tennis to know anything about any team because we can’t do much scouting or anything, but based on their record and some of their wins they’re definitely one of the better teams in our conference, so it’s going to be a tough match... but we don’t really have any mutual opponents so it’s hard to see where we gage, but they’re definitely a good team,” Canady said. Canady also hopes that his team will find a way to keep building after both wins and losses. “I feel like they kind of took it easy a little bit, so hopefully this will fire something more and give us a little more confidence going into this week,” Canady said. As the Griffons continue to show improvement, Kayla Dysart, senior, will make sure they approach each game with the same confidence, energy and mentality. “You never know what’s going to happen,” Dysart said. Dysart and Denise Chiao were down in doubles 7-1 and came back and won that match. Canady says she is one of the players that does well most of the time, but to see her come back from 7-1 was really impressive and he hopes to see her continue to improve. “She played in singles against a girl she has never beat before and beat her 6-2, 6-1, so she really stepped up, which is really good cause she struggled against Rockhurst and it’s good to see her bounce back against Lindenwood like that,” Canady said. The Griffons understand that this game against Nebraska-Kearney will be a tough battle, but playing at home should help add some excitement to this game. “We think we’ll probably have a good amount of people to come and watch, and that helps us play better,” Boldridge said. Dysart believes her team is playing really well right now. “Nebraska-Kearney is a team that continues to grow,” Dysart said. “But, I think everyone’s out there trying their hardest; even when we lose we always fight as hard as we can, so we hope to carry that into this game.”

Griffons prepare to turnaround program

The Griffon Women’s Tennis team went 2-0 in the preseason. With those two wins, they’re looking forward to a great opportunity at qualifying this year. The Griffons were joined by a new full-time head coach, Chris Canady, and have already seen some great improvements all around. Senior Ceara Bulridge played in all 15 matches last year, finishing with a team high 6-9 overall record in singles play. She is looking to improve that record this upcoming season. “I really want to win as many single matches as possible. There are so many things that Coach Canady has taught me that if I knew last year, I would have done better,” Bulridge said. Bulridge has some high hopes for her team and is hoping for a great outcome her senior year. “I think we will get very far in the MIAA tournament, but qualifying is the first step and I think we will qualify this year,” Bulridge said. The Griffons have struggled a bit over the past years, but the players really feel like Coach Canady has helped them improve in many ways. “If you compare last year to this year, I feel like I’ve improved a lot just with Coach Canady,” Bulridge said. Junior Denise Chiao played in all 15 matches last year for the Griffons, going 2-12 in singles. She has also seen some improvement playing under Coach Canady. “I feel like I’ve improved a lot so far, during the preseason and even now; knowing that I can do better during matches is exciting,” Chiao said. Some of the Griffons have played under three different coaches in the past year but they seemed to find a way to adjust to each one of them. “I don’t think going from coach to coach was really that bad, I think it was really adjustable. I think the biggest thing is just change, but it wasn’t too big of a change,” Chiao said. Coach Canady gives an outlook on his team and shares some excitement about the little time he’s been here at Western. “I think with the first two matches of the fall season is certainly nice to start off 2-0. We beat William Jewel. I wasn’t here yet, but I can see from afar that they had gotten better because that was the first time they beat William Jewel in a while,” Canady said. “Against Baker, that was kind of one of those matches where we were better than them, but we did a really good job of coming out and beating them. We didn’t really mess around, so it’s a good start, its been awhile since they’ve had that." This team is looking for a complete turnaround, but understands that it’s going to take some improving starting in practice. Canady tells us what he expects this season. “Our expectations are not to set any goals when it comes to match wins, but we’re trying to improve upon what we do on a daily basis, especially coming into this situation. The fact they haven’t had much success over the last several years, I really didn’t want to focus on winning matches but I want to focus on just improving the team, our environment and really teaching them how to work and take pride in what they’re doing and being a Griffon,” Canady said. Canady believes that all his players play some key role on this team because in tennis, you have to win at every position. “Having a really good player doesn’t matter that much. Your number six player winning is worth the same amount as your number one player winning,” Canady said. Canady has high hopes for Ceara Bulridge. He believes she has improved dramatically since he’s been here and thinks that having a senior that has developed like she has will be big. The Griffons face Maryville this weekend for their season opener. Maryville has only one returning player. The Griffons lost to them 0-9 last year. Canady says that he really doesn’t know what to expect because they have only one returning player and a whole new lineup. “We’re going to just have to find out because in tennis, there is no way to scout or anything like that, so I have no concept of how good they’re going to be,” Canady said. “We’re excited though, the girls are excited and it’s going to be a fun year.”

Wilson bring dedication and accountability to Western

The junior from Hermantown, Minnesota, Callie Wilson, is looking to do big things this upcoming season for the Missouri Western women’s golf team. With her work ethic and great attitude, Wilson hopes to have a breakout year this upcoming season. Last year she played in 10 events and 20 rounds with an average score of 85.2. She also finished in the top ten three times with her best finish being ninth at the Holiday Inn MWSU Invite. She finished tenth at the MIAA Championships and the Northwest Missouri State Bearcat Fall Invite. Coach Greg Dillon likes how dedicated Wilson is and how she continues to work on her game. “She works hard on her game,” Dillon said. “If she has a chance to practice she is out there working on and learning her game, and then tries to take that work ethic and make it reality on the golf course.” Wilson feels that she has improved her swing mechanics since she has came to college. “I feel like my swing mechanics have come a long way,” Wilson said. “When I was a freshmen I was kind of out to grind, but I feel like mechanically I have been trying to work harder on my swing so I can come out in the clutch a lot better when I am in that position.” During Wilson’s freshman season, she placed third in the Central Missouri Invitational after she recorded a 181 (91-90) and placed fourth in the Bearcat Classic with a score of 166 (80-86) Coach Dillon also likes how mentally strong Wilson is and how she doesn’t hold on to things. “If she has a bad round she is going to be the first one to try and find out what went wrong, and learn from her mistakes,” Dillon said. “That’s one of the biggest things with Callie: if she has a bad round she’s not afraid to let it go. She’ll learn from her mistakes and come back even stronger.” Wilson says that some of her favorite things about playing here at Western is playing with her teammates. “Bonding with my teammates is one of my favorites because at the end of the day, they are who you have to cheer you on and be your support system,” Wilson said. Coach Dillon also thinks that Wilson is a good teammate. “Callie is an easy girl to coach and an easy girl to have as a teammate,” Dillon said. “She’s going to go out and put her numbers up, and when she puts up a good number she is expecting the other girls to do the same.” Wilson will look to continue her success from last season during the 2015 season opening Holiday Inn Express Invitational on Sunday, March 22.