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Layne pleased with Buffs' NAIA performance

Dave Ongie • Updated Nov 23, 2016 at 4:19 PM

Coming off a trip to the NAIA National Championships, Milligan cross country coach Chris Layne is pleased with the journey his program concluded at the finish line in Elisah, Illinois, last Saturday.

Despite a touch of injury and illness, Milligan’s women finished 15th in the nation thanks in part to a runner-up finish by Hannah Segrave. Meanwhile, the men came home 24th as a team behind an All-American performance by senior Taylor Tafelsky.

“I think the biggest pressure comes from being able to have our crew ready to go on the biggest stage,” Layne said. “I think Saturday they delivered. I’m extremely proud of both squads. For us to walk out of there with a national runner-up and a lot of personal bests, it’s a good feeling as a coach.”

Segrave somehow scored a runner-up finish despite competing with bronchitis while JJ Robinson was working through a knee injury she suffered in the Appalachian Athletic Conference meet. On the men’s side, Tafelsky ran a smart race to finish 15th and allow the men to sneak into the top 25.

Layne said the leadership provided by Tafelsky and fellow senior Brandon Ellis helped the men’s squad reach new heights.

“Taylor has never been in love with cross country,” Layne said. “It’s something that’s a necessary evil in his mind. It gives him a foundation to do what he does on the track, but he’s a team player and he was proud of what the boys were able to accomplish. He stepped up.”

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The women’s basketball team extended its winning streak to five straight on Tuesday night with an 80-72 win over AAC foe Truett-McConnell.

The Lady Buffs are now 3-0 in league play and 5-2 overall, and Milligan coach Rich Aubrey credits defense and rebounding for his team’s early success.

“All-in-all, I’m really pleased with our progress,” Aubrey said. “We’ve been doing the dirty work all along the way, and that makes the rest of the game easier. It gives you more margin for error.”

All the hard work on the boards and on defense has helped pull Milligan through a few sub-par shooting performances this season. The Lady Buffs have also been able to weather an injury to a starter as Courtney Wilson has missed time with an ankle sprain.

Mackenzie Raizor has filled in nicely, however, scoring in double figures in every game she’s started. The 6-foot sophomore post scored 11 points and pulled down eight rebounds in Tuesday’s win.

“The nice thing that’s happened now is that it’s really added to our depth,” Aubrey said. “Mackenzie has played really well.”

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The Milligan men have hit their offensive stride, averaging just a shade under 90 points over their last three games.

The Buffs blew past Truett-McConnell 89-61 on Tuesday night to score their second AAC win in a row to move to 2-1 in league play. Tyler Nichols continued his exceptional start by pouring in 16 points. Freshman Daxton Bastian added 14 points, five rebounds and five assists while David Casaday (14), Will Buckner (11) and Bo Pless (11) also scored in double figures.

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