Purdue's Erika Beeler
Purdue's Erika Beeler
Several Howard County high school graduates earned honors playing at the collegiate level. 

Leading the way was Western graduate and Purdue University sophomore pitcher Erika Beeler. A walk-on who transferred after one season at Anderson University, Beeler was Purdue’s recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award and earned the Purdue softball GFDF Award.

The conference honors one student-athlete from each Big Ten school who displays exceptional sportsmanship and ethical behavior with good academic standing and has demonstrated outstanding citizenship off the field. 

The GFDF Award is given to the student-athlete that exemplifies the program’s core values of Grit, Family, Discipline, and Fortitude. Beeler was presented the award for her passion for the game and dedication to the program.

“Every team needs a teammate like Erika,” head coach Boo De Oliveira said. “She is selfless, genuine, and supportive. She will continue to work to develop in the bullpen, as well as pinch run for us. Erika makes every person on the team better through her commitment to the program and her love of Purdue. She has been a great addition to the team this season.”

Beeler has volunteered or been a part of Boys and Girls Club, March of Dimes, Relay for Life, and Walk-A-Mile in My Shoes. She also has supervised a Daddy & Daughter Dance at a local YMCA, donated and volunteered at local women’s shelter, assisted with peer tutoring, and assisted with BINGO at local nursing home.

Beeler appeared in eight games this season at Purdue, scoring two runs as she adjusted to the NCAA Division I competition. She is an agriculture and marketing major. This summer, she was selected by the Purdue Athletics Department as one of eight student-athletes to serve as an intern in various areas. Beeler will serve her internship in marketing and promotion.

The fourth-year internship program, coordinated by Laura Schnell, assistant director for academic support services, aims to provide student-athletes real-world experience working within a university athletics department and help them in their desired career paths. They will be working 150 hours between May and August and will be paid $1,500 for their service.

Armstrong earns Gold Glove in Crossroads League

The Maple Leafs’ regular right fielder, Northwestern graduate, and Goshen freshman Quinlan Armstrong earned a Crossroads League Gold Glove Award for his work in the outfield. Armstrong, who had Tommy John surgery last spring, recorded 1.89 putouts per game in 55 games and threw out 11 runners, taking part in six double plays. Armstrong ended one game this season, a 7-6 win over Lourdes, by throwing the would-be tying run out at the plate with two outs in the final inning. The Crossroads League selects all-conference teams annually in each of the league’s 15 sponsored sports. In each sport, the awards were determined either by a vote of the league’s coaches or by performance at the conference meet.

Barnes is All-River States Conference in baseball

Taylor High School graduate and Indiana University Southeast senior was named All-River States Conference First Team after helping to lead the Grenadiers to a 45-13 season and a berth in the NAIA National Tournament. NAIA No. 21 IU Southeast will travel to Kingsport, Tenn., for the opening round of the tournament against No. 10 Tennessee Wesleyan College on May 15 at 2:30 p.m. IU Southeast is the No. 3 seed and TWU is the No. 2 seed. 

Barnes, who played for the Kokomo Jackrabbits last summer, hit .377 in 48 games. He had 57 hits, 14 doubles, one home run, 35 RBIs, and struck out just 12 times in more than 175 plate appearances. After transferring from Danville Area Community College for his junior season, Barnes finished his two-years at IU Southeast with a .346 career average and 50 RBIs in 86 games played.

O’Neal twins earn honors for basketball

Western High School graduates Caitlyn and Carley O’Neal were each presented awards as Goshen College Women’s Basketball Academic All-American. To earn the award, student-athletes must be a junior with a grade point average of at least 3.5.

Story by Dean Hockney and the listed colleges