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|Local college athletes finish up seasons|
By Josh Brown
With collegiate sports now shut down across the country and high-school sports seemingly headed that way, it's time to highlight former Lawrence County high-school athletes that have been competing at the collegiate level.
Former Lawrenceville High School standout Brandt Cochran recently wrapped up a terrific career at College of the Ozarks.
Cochran finished his senior season at the NAIA School in Missouri with averages of 19.5 points, 5.1 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game in 33 games this season, 32 of which were starts. He also led the team with 90.5 percent shooting at the free throw line (105-116), while he also shot 43 percent from the floor (217-508), including 40 percent from three-point range (106-266). He scored over 30 points in a game three times, including season-high 36 against Bellevue (Neb.) Dec. 29 and reached double figures in all but two games. He posted a season-high 16 assists against Midland (Neb.) Dec. 30 and had a season-high 10 rebounds against Ecclesia Feb. 18.
In that final regular season game against Ecclesia, Cochran nearly recorded a triple-double, posting 26 points on 10-17 shooting (6-11 three-pointers), along with 10 rebounds, eight assists and two steals in a 116-85 win.
In the Association of Independent Institutions Tournament Feb. 28, Cochran totaled 34 points on 10-21 shooting (8-13 three-pointers) and 6-6 at the free throw line, in addition to three rebounds and three assists in a 90-76 win over Fisher (Mass.).
In the semifinals Feb. 29, Cochran contributed 21 points, three assists and one rebound in a 69-64 win over Lincoln Christian (Ill.), then collected 17 points, six assists, five rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot in a 72-71 loss to Lincoln in the championship game March 1.
Cochran's season did not end there, however, as College of the Ozarks received a berth in the NAIA Division II National Tournament as a No. 8 seed.
In their first round game against No. 1 seed Morningside (Iowa), Cochran finished with 25 points, four steals and two assists in a 99-58 loss.
Cochran finished his four-year career at C of O with 1,784 points, 423 assists, 390 rebounds and 123 steals, while shooting 46 percent and making 310 three-pointers.
He was also named National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) First Team All-Region, while also receiving the AII and NAIA Champion of Character awards.
Meanwhile, former Red Hill High School standout Kameron Vinsel put together a solid junior season at Greenville College.
Vinsel played in all 27 games this season, including six starts and averaged 9.8 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists and just under one steal per contest.
He shot 42 percent from the field (91-216), including 41 percent from three-point range (71-172), as well as 85 percent from the free throw line (11-13).
Vinsel posted a career-high 26 points in a 161-131 win over MacMurray Feb. 8, while also scoring 24 in a 133-126 loss at Carthage Nov. 16. He reached double figures in 11 games this season and was held scoreless just twice.
One of those came in the regular season finale against Eureka, where Vinsel went 0-4 from the floor in a 137-129 loss Feb. 22.
In the semifinals of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) Tournament Feb. 27, Vinsel posted 15 points on 5-7 three-pointers, along with seven rebounds and four assists in a 164-148 win over Fontbonne.
In the championship game Feb. 29, Vinsel totaled seven points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals in a 121-112 loss to Webster.
Vinsel also received a postseason accolade, as he was named to SLIAC's All-Sportsmanship Team.
Another former LHS athlete, Brianna Mefford, saw limited action in her junior season at University of Illinois-Springfield.
Mefford played in just six games and averaged one point and just under one rebound per game in an average of three minutes per contest.
Mefford scored just six points on the season and was 3-6 shooting, while she also collected five rebounds and one steal for the PrairieStars.
Another winter athlete had a rough freshman season on the mat, as LHS grad Nolan Tewell competed for the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse wrestling team.
Tewell finished his first collegiate season with a 1-9 record, with his only win coming in the season-opening Rochester Open Nov. 2.
On the diamond, there were several athletes who were just getting their seasons - and in some cases their college careers - started before the coronavirus outbreak caused their seasons to be cut short.
Former RHHS baseball player Landen Ray appeared in three games for Central Alabama Community College this spring, posting a 7.71 ERA in 2.1 innings of work.
Ray allowed two runs on four hits and walked six batters during his three outings.
Another pitcher, former LHS softball player Abby Gartner, also saw action in four games during her freshman season at Rend Lake College.
She tossed 8.1 innings over those three outings, recording an 0-3 record with a 15.12 ERA. She allowed 18 earned runs on 18 hits, while walking six and striking out three.
Yet another former LHS hurler, Morgan Parrish, was in her first season at Webster University after two solid seasons at Parkland College.
Parrish appeared in four games this season, posting a 1-1 record with a 3.60 ERA in 11.2 innings of work. She started three games, including one complete game, and allowed six earned runs on seven hits, while walking 13 and striking out 12.
She also spent a little time in the batter's box, posting a .250 average (2-8) with one run batted in.
Another former LHS spring sport athlete, Cole Sumner, also had his freshman season for the Vincennes University track team cut short.
During the indoor portion of the VU schedule, Sumner competed in the pole vault in five meets and placed in the top-five three times.
He started his season finishing second at the University of Indianapolis Collegiate Challenge Jan. 18, but was unable to place in the John Gartland Invitational at Indiana State University the following weekend. At the Greyhound Invite in Indianapolis Feb. 1, Sumner tied for fifth, then came in fourth at the Grand Valley State (Mich.) Big Meet Feb. 15 before finishing 10th in a meet at Eastern Illinois University Feb. 21.
At the NJCAA Indoor Nationals March 6-7, Sumner came away with a ninth-place finish.
Unfortunately, Sumner was unable to participate in an outdoor meet due to the NJCAA cancelling the remainder of the spring sports scheduled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Three more athletes competed this past fall on the gridirion, with two of them being teammates after being opponents in high school.
Former LHS football player Bryce Winningham and former RHHS player Drew Gognat both played at Illinois College this season.
In his junior season, Winningham finished with nine total tackles, including five solos and four assists, along with a half-tackle for loss while playing eight games.
In his freshman campaign, Gognat played in all nine games, recording nine total tackles. He recorded three solos and six assists, along with 1.5 tackles for loss.
Also, former RHHS standout Drew Moore spent the majority of his freshman season at DePauw playing with the junior varsity squad.
In three games, Moore rushed for 191 yards on 31 carries, while catching two passes for 24 yards and returning four kickoffs for 81 yards.
He also played in one varsity game, but did not record any statistics.
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