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Runner to coach a smooth path

By NANCY MORGAN
Published May 20, 2007


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The decision to transition from competitor to coach was an easy one for Lou Snelling (Seminole/UCF) while attending graduate school at Indiana.

Following three years at Indiana pursuing a master's degree in public affairs and serving as the school's volunteer assistant cross country coach, Snelling is now in his fourth year as Stephen F. Austin University's cross country coach.

"During that experience I figured it out, " said Snelling, 29. "It was a great combination at Indiana with school and coaching. Moving into coaching was really kind of natural for me with the background I had, even though there are definitely challenges in all you do. I felt pretty prepared, though, because of my background and the time at Indiana."

Snelling's first taste of competitive track was at Seminole Middle School. He had success, liked it and decided distance running would be his specialty.

After graduating in 1995, Snelling selected UCF because he liked the setup of the team and knew some of the runners, including Seminole graduate Eric Lipham. Snelling was a decorated student-athlete, four-year letter winner and earned all-conference and academic all-conference honors all four years.

Since arriving at Stephen F. Austin in 2003, Snelling's cross country squads have collected four conference titles and 20 individual conference honors in cross country and track. Snelling was chosen Southland Conference cross country coach of the year four times.

"I feel my best strength is that I have a larger grasp on what the head coach job requires, " Snelling said. "Plus, I have a huge work ethic and a vision of where the program is going. A lot has to come together to be successful, plus there's certainly some luck involved."

BASEBALL: First baseman Marc Sawyer (Canterbury) completed his college career at Yale, setting four all-time career records, including hits (230), doubles (54), at-bats (621) and putouts (1, 287). Sawyer was chosen team MVP his first three seasons and received the Paul Sortal Award his final for "maximizing his ability to the fullest." As a senior, Sawyer posted 61 hits on a .394 batting average and scored a team-high 40 runs.

- Rollins starting shortstop Ryan Luker (St. Petersburg) is averaging .274 at the plate. The freshman is second on the team in doubles (11), fourth in runs (31), tied for fourth in hits (54) and fifth in RBIs (26).

- In 10 appearances, freshman left-hander Ian Thompson (Boca Ciega) is 1-1 for Stetson with a 9.64 ERA.

- Stetson left-hander David Burns (St. Petersburg Catholic) is 1-0 with a 5.06 ERA in 13 appearances.

SOFTBALL: Freshman catcher Maggie Allen (Gibbs) started 25 of the 28 games she played for Seminole CC. Against Palm Beach last month, Allen connected for a single in the fourth and scored to add to the 6-1 win.

BASKETBALL: Gabe McMillen (Indian Rocks Christian) completed his career at Stetson as the all-time leader in games played with 117. The senior guard was second on the team in scoring average (10.8) and third in total rebounds (107).

- With 23 seconds left in Saint Anselm's final game, senior forward Greg Cummings (East Lake/West Point Prep) connected for a 3-pointer in a 77-43 loss to Bentley.

TENNIS: Freshman Nick Gallauer (St. Petersburg) posted a 4-8 singles record in the No. 5 and 6 positions and was 6-9 in doubles for Austin Peay.

[Last modified May 19, 2007, 20:35:38]


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