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Milligan athletes stay busy in off-time

Dave Ongie • Dec 23, 2015 at 4:31 PM

It’s the day before Christmas, and all through Steve Lacy Fieldhouse, not an athlete is stirring, because school is out.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to write about. Let’s start with a pair of athletes who certainly earned a spot on Santa’s nice list this year.

Karley Sommerfield, a junior on the Milligan women’s soccer team, was recently honored for her hard work in the classroom by being inducted into the Alpha Chi National Honor Society. Alpha Chi is a national organization that honors students who display academic excellence and possess exemplary character.

Sommerfield, a junior defender, had to post a GPA in the top 10 percent of her class in order to be eligible. As for her character, Sommerfield said that is a trait that has been instilled in her by Milligan women’s soccer coach Lisa Buckley.

“Lisa has been a coach who has the philosophy that sports are not about wins and losses, but more importantly, the lessons we learn from them,” Sommerfield said. “If we show respect and belief in our teammates, it will be reflected in our performance on the field.”

Sommerfield added that Buckley’s high expectations for all of her players has been a driving force in Sommerfield gaining membership into Alpha Chi.

“I would argue that Lisa expects more from her players than any other coach on campus,” Sommerfield said. “The core value that has had the most impact on me at my time in Milligan is ‘We seek excellence in all that we do, not just soccer.’ ”

Meanwhile, Sarah Walsh, a member of Milligan’s swim team, spent last summer working as an intern for Christian Missionary International.

Walsh spent eight weeks in Nairobi, Kenya, working with an organization called Mission of Hope International, which runs 16 schools and two medical clinics that serve 13,000 students and their families.

Walsh, who is planning to go into public health when she graduates, spent much of her time filling prescriptions, but she said the impact of building relationships with people on another continent made a lasting impression on her.

“The amount of work was little compared to the relationships built,” Walsh said. “I grew such an appreciation for the way other cultures do things. Kenyans are so relational and I walked away with best friends halfway around the world from where I sit today.”

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Coming off a tough loss to Pikeville, which is ranked nationally in the NAIA Division I women’s basketball poll, Milligan’s women will get back into the swing of things on Dec. 30 on the road at Campbellsville. The game is slated to tip off at 7 p.m.

Despite the loss of leading scorer Hayley Wyrick, who is out with a knee injury, the Buffs managed to regroup and entered the Christmas break with a 12-2 record.

Wyrick was averaging 16.8 points per game through eight contests, but her teammates have shouldered the scoring load by committee since Wyrick was helped from the floor after hurting herself in the first half of a game against St. Andrews.

Freshman Sarah Robinson has been a pleasant surprise for the Buffs by scoring 12.7 points and pulling down 9.4 rebounds per game. Allison Jones has averaged 11.1 points while Kelly Barnett (8.1), Lindsee Price (5.9), Callie Cox (5.2) and Morgan Gose (5.1) have also upped their scoring output when given more playing time by Milligan coach Rich Aubrey.

The Milligan men will be back in action inside Steve Lacy Fieldhouse on Jan. 2 against Union College in a key Appalachian Athletic Conference matchup. The women will play Union at 2 p.m. with the men’s game set to follow at 4.

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