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LGBT athlete roundup: Tennis player at Texas Lutheran fitting into role as team's No. 1

Ryan Beene improves his game. Plus, a roundup of LGBT athletes and coaches around the country.

Ryan Beene
Ryan Beene
Texas Lutheran

Texas Lutheran men's tennis player Ryan Beene started Spring Break by ending his stretch of seven consecutive singles losses. He then won his second match, too.

On March 16 during his third match of the Spring Break trip, Beene felt a turning point for his season when he beat Hendrix College's Ian McVinney 6-4 in the first set.

"The guy was a real big hitter, and that match could have gone badly if I wouldn't have held it together," said Beene, who announced publicly he's gay in 2014. "Eventually after I got the first set, he exploded and went crazy."

McVinney threw his racket several times and hit a ball into the bleachers during their second set, Beene said. Beene won the second set 6-1 to complete the victory, and he used what he learned from that triumph into six consecutive singles victories.

Beene won one more singles match that week, which accompanied by going 4-0 with doubles partner Adrian Balderas that same stretch, earned Beene the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference men's tennis player of the week honor March 22.

He continued his strong singles play in the week since the honor by going 2-0, though doubles went 0-2. These six wins raised Beene's season record to 7-7, all at No. 1 singles.

The 5-foot-8, 135-pound Beene credits his recent success to improved returning, which he feels is the best part of his game.

"I wasn't really playing my game the first part of the season," Beene said. "I'm playing line one and all these guys are massive hitters. ... I was trying to play that game with them. I was trying to return that way as opposed to using their pace against them. ... It just wasn't working out for me."

Beene, a junior and team captain, received a promotion to the team's No. 1 singles position at the end of the fall season. His first two seasons, he went a combined 20-9 playing primarily No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 singles for Texas Lutheran, an NCAA Division III school in Seguin, Texas.

Now, he has fixed his return approach and feels his teammates can rely on him for wins again.

"Being a captain and being No. 1, I feel like I have double duty. I really have to be on my game at all times and make sure everyone can count on me for a win," Beene said. "It's a lot easier once you kind of embrace the Line 1, and now, I'm more excited about playing the matches and less scared of them."

Names in bold are people that have announced publicly they identify as LGBT.

Division I

Taylor Emery (freshman, Tulane women's basketball) helped the Green Wave (23-12) reach the third round of the Women's NIT. After beating Alabama and Georgia Tech, Tulane's season ended March 23 with a 73-61 loss to Florida Gulf Coast, and Emery contributed four points and three rebounds in 17 minutes. She played all 35 games, scoring 216 points and grabbing 119 rebounds.

Derrick Gordon (senior, Seton Hall men's basketball) scored 10 points to go with four rebounds and two steals in a season-ending 68-52 loss to No. 11 seed Gonzaga on March 17 in the first round of the NCAA tournament. After winning the Big East tournament, The Associated Press ranked Seton Hall No. 20 entering the NCAA tournament, marking the Pirates' first time being ranked this season. This season, Gordon played 34 games, including starting four times, for Seton Hall (25-9), and he finished with 272 points, 111 rebounds, 56 assists and 35 steals. He announced March 22 via Twitter that he's entering the NBA draft.

Fred Hartville (senior, Illinois men's gymnastics) fell as he landed his vault and scored 14.100 to finish 10th during his Senior Day competition March 19 against No. 1-ranked Oklahoma, which beat No. 5 Illinois 444.750-433.050.

Bree Horrocks (sophomore, Purdue women's basketball) played seven minutes and contributed four points and three rebounds in a 61-45 loss to No. 6-seeded Oklahoma on March 19 during the NCAA tournament's first round. Horrocks played 30 games, including seven starts, for Purdue (20-12) and finished with 132 points and 87 rebounds.

Lauren Miranda (senior, Duke women's rowing) helped the Blue Devils' No. 2 varsity-eight boat beat North Carolina and Clemson on March 19 with a time of 6 minutes, 37.6 seconds. Their performance earned them ACC Crew of the Week. On Saturday, Duke's 2V8 boat finished behind UCLA and Stanford in a the Pac-12 Challenge.

Jazmine Sosa (senior, UCLA softball) and Kirk Walker (assistant coach, UCLA softball) helped the No. 14-ranked Bruins go 2-2-1 the last two weeks.

Gavin Studner (senior, Lafayette men's tennis) earned wins at No. 2 singles and No. 2 doubles Saturday against Holy Cross but went through a tough week prior to that losing his four preceding singles and doubles matches.

Tanner Wilfong (junior, Miami men's diving) competed at the NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championships on Saturday in Atlanta, and he finished 26th in the platform competition with a score of 339.45.

Tanner Williams (senior, Oklahoma men's track and field) opened outdoor season with a personal-record performance of 17 feet, 3/4 inches and a third-place finish March 19 at the Baldy Castillo Invitational in Tempe, Arizona. At the time, his performance ranked ninth in the country.

Jenny Allard (head coach, Harvard softball) watched her team go 2-6 the last two weeks with wins against Fairleigh Dickinson and San Diego.

Galen Dodd (assistant coach, Southern California men's volleyball) saw the Trojans (6-16 overall) go 2-2 the last two weeks.

Patrick Jeffrey (diving coach, Stanford men's and women's diving) coached women's diver Gracia Leydon-Mahoney to a Division I national title in the platform competition with a score of 346.15. She also earned All-America honors in the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard, and her teammate Lilly Hinrichs took sixth on platform to become an All-American, too. Stanford's women's swimming and diving team earned national runner-up with 395 points to Georgia's 414 points. On the men's side, Ted Miclau became an All-American by placing sixth on platform, and his teammate Bradley Christensen earned honorable mention All-American by finishing 14th on 1-meter springboard. The men's team came in 14th.

Randy Lane (assistant coach, UCLA women's gymnastics) helped the No. 9-ranked Bruins capture their first Pac-12 Championship title since 2012. UCLA scored 197.250 points and five Bruins were named all-Pac-12. The team starts the NCAA postseason April 2 at the Salt Lake City Regional.

Ryan Mizner (graduate assistant coach, Central Michigan men's basketball) ended the season with a 76-73 home loss to Tennessee-Martin during the the opening round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament on March 16. Central Michigan finishes 17-16.

Simon Thibodeau (head coach, UC Santa Barbara women's tennis) guided his team to a 3-1 record the last two weeks, including a 4-1 win against No. 24-ranked Fresno State.

Division II

Alanna Carvalho (sophomore, Erskine women's lacrosse) did not play as the team's three games were canceled the the past two weeks. The website also lists three of the team's remaining seven games as being canceled. The athletics website did not list a reason the games were canceled and an athletics spokesman did not respond to an email inquiry.

Ian Davies (freshman, Shippensburg men's track and field) finished 12th in both the 800 meters (2 minutes, 2.24 seconds) and 1,500 meters (4:09.45) during the Fred Hardy Invitational at Richmond, Virginia, on Friday and Saturday.

Division III

Michael Drougas (sophomore, Oberlin men's tennis) went 3-0 playing at No. 2 doubles during a spring break trip to South Carolina, but he struggled at No. 1 singles with a 1-3 record. His team went 2-2, including a loss to No. 16-ranked Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Ben Larison (senior, Coe baseball) saw rain and cold temperatures wipe out all six games scheduled the past two weeks.

Ryan LaVigne (sophomore, Lewis & Clark women's rowing) competed March 19 for the first time since announcing publicly in January that she is transgender. LaVigne helped the varsity-four boat win in 7:47.61, and she rowed the varsity-eight boat that finished second in 6:48.17. Portland's NBC station profiled her ahead of the competition: 0

Michael Martin (freshman, Wilson men's volleyball) played in all three matches as the Phoenix went 0-3 the last two weeks.

Nathan Matthews (freshman, Wittenburg men's volleyball) made 10 digs in his team's 3-1 win over Greenville on March 18 as the Tigers (14-9 overall) went 2-1 the last two weeks. Matthews is third on the team with 110 digs this season.

Chandler Whitney (junior, Mitchell baseball) continues to be one of the top Mariners (13-3 overall) hitters with 19 hits, 16 runs and 14 RBIs in 15 games. His .413 average and .525 on-base percentage are second on the team for everyday players. On March 19, Whitney went 1-for-3 with two RBIs in a 9-7 win over Southern Vermont.

T.J. Greggs (head coach, Agnes Scott women's tennis) guided the Scotties (4-7 overall) to a 2-6 record the last two weeks.

NAIA

Jack Strickland (junior, Friends men's track and field) took second in the 110-meter hurdles (15.59 seconds) and third in the 400-meter hurdles (1:00.66) at Friday's four-team Friends University Open.

Nick Clark (head coach, Clarke men's volleyball) led his team to a 2-1 record the last two weeks.

Lauren Lappin (assistant coach, Roosevelt softball) saw the Lakers (3-15 overall) go 1-5 the past two weeks. Roosevelt's 18-9 victory over Viterbo on March 19 included a 16-run inning.

Upcoming televised competitions involving LGBT college athletes and coaches that have announced their sexuality publicly. (All times are Eastern.)

Friday, April 1

Fred Hartville, Illinois men's gymnastics at Big Ten Championships; Columbus, Ohio, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)

Saturday, April 2

Fred Hartville, Illinois men's gymnastics at Big Ten Championships; Columbus, Ohio, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)

Jazmine Sosa and Kirk Walker, UCLA softball at Oregon; Eugene, Ore., 10:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

Erik Hall can be reached via email at hallerik7@gmail.com or on Twitter @HallErik or on Facebook. If you are an out LGBT athlete or coach and want your accomplishments recognized, email Erik.