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Openly gay player wins top award in women’s junior college basketball

Taylor Emery helped her team win a national title. Plus, LGBT sports roundup.

Taylor Emery
Photo by Liz Kasey/Gulf Coast State Photo

When Taylor Emery left the Tulane women’s basketball program after the 2015-16 season, she wanted to join a junior college program that would make her attractive to major Division I programs.

She accomplished that mission with a year at Gulf Coast State College, which is in Panama City, Fla.

Emery earned the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association player of the year award for junior/community college, and she led Gulf Coast State to its second consecutive NJCAA national title.

In the national championship game, Emery had 11 points, two rebounds, and two assists in Gulf Coast State’s 87-63 win against Trinity Valley on March 25 in Lubbock, Texas.

“I hadn’t really experienced winning a championship like that,” said Emery, who first shared publicly she is a lesbian in 2015. “To be able to know that I worked so hard for it and our team worked so hard for it, it was just an amazing feeling.”

In her year at Tulane, Emery was named to the American Athletic Conference all-freshman team, and she was twice named AAC freshman of the week. But Emery didn’t feel Tulane’s style fit her.

“My confidence level was very low [after the year at Tulane], so it took a lot for a coach to be able to pull back [out of me] what I had in me [as a basketball player] coming out of high school,” Emery said.

As Emery’s self-confidence grew at Gulf Coast State, so did her scoring. In the regular season, Emery averaged 18.1 points per game, and in the postseason, she scored 22.7 points a game — 159 points in seven games.

“[Gulf Coast State coach Roonie Scovel] really believed in me, and she said that, ‘No matter what happened last year, it’s a new year, and I believe that you have what it takes to help us,’” Emery said. “My confidence is back to where it was in high school. If I work for it and if I put in the work, you can’t stop me.”

Emery feels ready to return to Division I, and her three finalists are Mississippi, Oklahoma State, and Virginia Tech. She is making campus visits this month, and her final visit is Virginia Tech on April 29. Emery said she plans to make her choice during the first week of May.

That all three of her finalists are in conservative-leaning regions is not a concern for her.

“When you’re in athletics, it’s a lot different than being in society,” Emery said.

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

Division I

Chase Boyle (senior, Mount St. Mary’s men’s track & field) won the hammer (173 feet, 9 inches), finished 29th in discus (121-3 3/4), and recorded no distance in shot put Saturday at a 20-team meet hosted by George Mason. He took eighth in hammer (182-10 3/4) and did not record a distance in discus March 31-April 1 at High Point.

Tim Cox (senior, Yale men’s track & field) ran the 800 meters (1 minute, 58.65 seconds) as an exhibition Saturday in the biennial Harvard-Yale Oxford-Cambridge meet.

Drew Davis (redshirt senior, Limestone men’s volleyball) suffered a right ankle injury March 29 in the first set against North Greenville, a match Limestone won. Davis did not play the three most recent matches as the Saints (11-10 overall) went 1-2 without him.

Kyle Decker (sophomore, DePaul men’s track) took fourth of 15 hurdlers in the 110 meters (15.20 seconds) at Southeast Missouri on April 1 in his first outdoor meet of the year.

Konrad Eiring (sophomore, Illinois men’s track & field) claimed second in the 800 meters (1:52.59) at the EIU Big Blue Classic on April 1.

Chandler Frumin (junior, Tennessee women’s rowing) rowed in the first varsity-eight boat Saturday near Oak Ridge, Tennessee, at the Big 12 Double Dual — Tennessee is in the Big 12 for women’s rowing. The Volunteers’ 1V8 rowed Saturday’s best time of 6:39.2 in session two against West Virginia, and Tennessee rowed 6:44.4 in session one. On April 2, Frumin helped Tennessee’s 1V8 to second place behind Stanford at the San Diego Crew Classic.

Emmonnie Henderson (senior, Louisville women’s track & field) took second in shot put (57-5), third in discus (166-8), and ninth in hammer (170-8) on Friday and Saturday at the Crimson Tide Invitational. Her shot-put performance broke a school record of 57-0 3/4 set in 2012 by Chinwe Okoro. This weekend was also Henderson’s first time competing in hammer, according to Louisville.

Bree Horrocks (women’s basketball) announced April 5 through the team that she intends to transfer from Purdue, according to the Lafayette Journal & Courier. After playing the first two games, Horrocks missed the rest of the 2016-17 season due to a knee injury, and she later had hip surgery, too. She plans to graduate in May and will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

Mason Johnson (junior, Quinnipiac women’s rugby) helped Quinnipiac go 4-0 in the 7’s competition April 2 at American International College. His best match was a 48-0 win against Springfield College, where Johnson made two tries. On Sunday, Quinnipiac went 5-0 to win the Brown 7’s competition.

Jake Leffew (sophomore, Yale men’s golf) opened the spring season March 24 by shooting 74 and 75 in a 36-hole match play competition against UC-Santa Barbara. Leffew shot an 8-over-par 221 to tie for 26th individually during the 54-hole Princeton Invitational on Saturday and Sunday, and he helped Yale take fifth in the 14-team competition.

Justice Lord (sophomore, Barton men’s volleyball), Michael Tyler (sophomore, Barton men’s volleyball), and Juan Varona (redshirt senior, Barton men’s volleyball) helped the Bulldogs (19-5 overall, 15-2 Conference Carolinas) go 4-0 the last two weeks. Lord played in all four matches, and his best match came against King on April 1 with nine blocks, eight kills, and three digs. Varona’s only match in the four was March 28 against St. Andrews, and he had four digs and one assist. Tyler did not play in the four matches. Barton is tied with King for first in the conference with one regular season match remaining.

Cavender Salvadori (redshirt junior, William & Mary men’s track & field) finished 13th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:26.93) and helped the distance medley relay take 13th at the 45-team Colonial Relays in Williamsburg, Virginia, on March 31 and April 1. Also at the Colonial Relays, Austin Shupp (redshirt sophomore, Shippensburg men’s track & field) ran three relays and contributed to finishes of fourth (4x100 relay), fifth (sprint medley relay) and 12th place (4x400 relay).

Jaron Thomas (senior, Colorado men’s track & field) won the 400-meter hurdles (50.94 seconds) and took third in the 110 hurdles (14.12 seconds) on Saturday at the CU Invite, Thomas’ final home meet. “The two guys in the 400 hurdles [Jaron Thomas and Trenton Stringari], those marks will get them into the regionals, and they're personal bests for them,” Colorado head coach Mark Wetmore said in a press release.

Taylor Tvedt (senior, Lehigh women’s lacrosse) made 32 saves in three games as the Mountain Hawks (9-3 overall) went 2-1 the last two weeks. Her 13 saves April 1 in a win against Boston set a career high. Tvedt ranks 21st in the country for save percentage through April 6.

Jenny Allard (head coach, Harvard softball) guided the Crimson (11-14 overall) to a 3-5 record the last two weeks.

Colin Christiansen (assistant coach, Maryland-Baltimore County softball) saw the Retrievers (16-20 overall) go 2-4 the last two weeks.

Randy Lane (assistant coach, UCLA women’s gymnastics) helped the No. 5-ranked Bruins qualify for the NCAA Championships by winning the Champaign (Illinois) Regional on April 1. UCLA scored 196.800 points. The NCAA Championships begin April 14 in St. Louis, and competition begins at 1 p.m. ET and is scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN2. On March 27, UCLA had five gymnasts named regular season all-Americans by the National Association of College Gymnastics Coaches.

Nich Lee Parker (head coach, Columbia men’s lightweight rowing) saw his No. 7-ranked Lions open the season by losing three races to Princeton on April 1 and losing three races to Navy on Saturday. After the Princeton competition, Parker said in a press release, “Our guys raced very hard. We had some moments where we could have done things differently and improved our performance, and that’s where we will look to get better as the season goes on.”

Simon Thibodeau (head coach, UC Santa Barbara women’s tennis) led the Gauchos (11-9 overall) to a 4-1 record the last two weeks.

Kirk Walker (assistant coach, UCLA softball) saw the No. 9-ranked Bruins (28-10 overall) go 4-2 the last two weeks. From Friday to Sunday, UCLA went 2-1 against No. 1-ranked Oregon.

Division II

Alanna Carvalho (junior, Alabama-Huntsville women’s lacrosse) helped the Chargers (11-4 overall) go 2-1 the last two weeks. Carvalho scored twice in Sunday’s 16-11 loss to Young Harris.

Kylon Drones (junior, West Texas A&M men’s track & field) took third in the decathlon (6,065 points) at the West Texas Classic on Friday and Saturday, and he also finished third in the open 110-meter hurdles (14.89 seconds). This was Drones’ first time competing in the decathlon for West Texas.

Lauren Lappin (assistant coach, Missouri-St. Louis softball) watched the Tritons (28-12 overall) go 7-3 the last two weeks.

Tony Nicolosi (head coach, Cal State East Bay men’s & women’s track & field) saw runner Pedro Cruz earn a NCAA Division II provisional qualifying time in the 10,000 meters at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival on March 31 and April 1. At the Chico State Distance Carnival on Friday and Saturday, Cecilia Carretero won the 1,500 meters (4:54.29).

Division III

Michael Drougas (junior, Oberlin men’s tennis) went 4-2 in singles and 1-3 in doubles matches the last two weeks. Five of his six singles matches were in the No. 2 spot with the other at No. 3 singles.

Zach Greenawalt (freshman, Juniata men’s track & field) took third in pole vault (11-5 3/4) and 10th in the 400 meters (59.30 seconds) at the Frostburg Invitational on April. 1.

Jason Hadley (sophomore, Mount Union men’s track & field) took 20th in the 800 meters (2:01.68) and Josh Thorne (sophomore, Mount Union men’s track & field) finished 23rd in the 800 (2:02.06) during Saturday’s 15-team home meet.

Sam Knollmeyer (freshman, Hamilton men’s lacrosse) saw the Continentals (3-8 overall) go 1-3 the last two weeks. Knollmeyer, a goalie, did not play in the matches.

Chance Wheeler (freshman, Wilson men’s volleyball) had seven digs against Penn State-Altoona and three digs against Lancaster Bible College in an April 1 doubleheader. That concluded the season for Wilson at 8-21 overall and 5-11 in the Northeastern Athletic Conference. Wheeler finished fifth on the team with 126 digs.

T.J. Greggs (head coach, Agnes Scott women’s tennis) guided the Scotties (9-5 overall) to a 4-0 record the last two weeks. Sunday’s 9-0 win against Salem clinched the No. 3 seed for Agnes Scott in the USA South postseason tournament, which starts April 13.

NAIA

Jack Strickland (senior, Friends men’s track & field) took sixth in the 110-meter hurdles (15.26 seconds) and ninth in the 400 hurdles (58.78 seconds) at Saturday’s Friends University Invitational, which was his final home meet.

Nick Clark (head coach, Clarke men’s volleyball) saw the Crusaders (18-10 overall) lose their final two regular season matches. On Friday, Clarke won its opener of the Heart of America Conference tournament against Graceland, but the same day, Clarke lost in the second round to Grand View.

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, please email Erik.