AACC Volleyball, Cross-country seasons wrap up

Dan Elson, Sports Editor

The Riverhawks women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s cross-country teams ended their fall seasons on Oct 22.


The women’s volleyball team lost 3-0 in the Region 20 tournament to the Butler County Community College Pioneers to end their campaign. The squad finished with two wins and 11 losses with a .154 win percentage—the worst since 2017 when they won one game and lost 18 with a .053 win percentage.

“The main weakness is the time it took to get 10 players in place,” women’s head volleyball coach Tanecha Rice said. “So we had five to begin with and [we added throughout the season] so it was just getting them together to have more time on the court.”

Rice said a lesson for next year is to “recruit earlier.”

We need to get players “eligible and be able to get them on the court as soon as possible,” Rice said.

Setter Megan Helinski and outside hitter Sabrina Sheppard were named to the Region 20 All-Tournament team.

Libero Nieshia Downs said she had fun in her first year playing college volleyball.

“It’s very competitive and so a lot of dedication and practice to get better and just get better as a team,” Downs, a first-year art and communications student, said.

Still, Rice said the women gave “a really good effort throughout the season.”

Women’s Cross Country

Women’s head cross-country coach Susan Noble said this “wasn’t the year I expected.”

“I thought we would capitalize on last year’s success and it felt more of a rebuilding year,” Noble said.

Still, Noble said the women on the team were “great.”

“The women that I have were so committed and dedicated,” Noble said of her five-runner squad. “[They] never missed a day of practice, showed up every day ready to go race. They were awesome [with] great team unity.”

First-year runner Bailey Healy said her goal next year is to reach regionals.

“I really want to be first in the region next year because I missed it by a little bit,” Healy, a first-year transfer studies student, said.

Healy finished second in the 5k National Junior College Athletic Association Division III championship meet with an approximate time of 23 minutes. Nhaikyia Smith of Howard Community College finished first with an approximate time of 21 minutes.

Still, Healy earned All-Region status. 

Men’s Cross-Country

The men’s cross-country team finished fourth in the NJCAA Division III championship meet to end the season.

Second-year engineering student Spencer Woodbury was the top finisher for the Riverhawks and came in 11th in the meet. 

“It was great to get back out there with a couple of … teammates from last year and [we] had some good races,” Woodbury said.

Head coach Keith Bigelow said the team was short of a couple of players during the season.

“Missing one or two people made it tough for us but I couldn’t expect anything else out of the guys that were on the team,” Bigelow said. “We definitely ran … well [even though] we needed a couple more bodies.”

The team had six runners.