Special to the Tribune-Star
TERRE HAUTE —
Beth Mahurin made a verbal commitment to play volleyball at Indiana State in the fall of her junior year, which would have put her close to home and at the same school as her brother, R.J., who is a freshman on the men’s basketball team.
She was hoping for a situation where she could also play basketball, though, and when Murray State provided such an opportunity, Mahurin had a change of plans. She signed this week to compete in both sports for the Racers.
“I really like the coaches, the campus, and the girls on both of the teams,” Mahurin said. “I was looking for the opportunity to play both sports, once Murray State offered me, I went down and visited the school and I just fell in love with the school.”
Mahurin led the Rox to three straight volleyball sectional titles, and may be even more highly regarded on the basketball court.
As a junior she averaged 17 points, 15 rebounds (third in the state), six blocks (first in the state) and a 63-percent field goal average. She is the top returning player in Indiana in rebounds and blocks. Her 63.0 shooting percentage was third among Indiana players in 2009-10 and her 17 points per game rank her 13th among returners for Indiana.
Mahurin is getting a basketball scholarship, so that will be her “main sport.”
“But I love both sports,” she said. “The two coaches really worked hard together to make me feel comfortable. It’s going to be very tough, but the coaches are going to work hard to make it possible.”
Murray State women’s basketball head coach Rob Cross is excited to get the talents of Mahurin at the Ohio Valley Conference school located in the western part of Kentucky.
“We are thrilled to sign a student-athlete like Beth,” Cross said. “Her athleticism and strength will add a lot to our team. The character and personality that Beth brings will be a great fit for the Racers women’s basketball family.”
Cross likes the fact that Mahurin is not exclusively a basketball player.
“The fact that she is a multi-athlete says a lot about her work ethic and commitment,” added Cross. “She was a top volleyball recruit nationally and we feel very fortunate she has chosen to be a part of our Racers family.”
During her junior season Mahurin was named the Indiana Fever Player of the Week following a 34 point, 24 rebound, and eight block performance. The two-time All-Wabash River Conference selection is also a standout in the classroom and is an honor roll student.
“Murray State is getting the best post player in the state of Indiana,” said Rockville head basketball coach Jeff McCoy. “She has been irreplaceable for Rockville, is a fantastic player and works hard every day. We are very proud of her signing with the Racers because it is a great fit for her.”
Mahurin had a very productive junior season that led her to being named to the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Junior All-State team and was a member of the Indiana Class All-Star 3/4A game participant. She was named a Pre-Season Hoosier Basketball Magazine All-State second team member as a junior and was recently elevated to the Pre-Season Hoosier Basketball Magazine All-State first team for her senior season as well as being a McDonald’s All-American nominee.
I I I
n Higgins to VU — Lynsey Higgins of Clay City became another recruit from the Wabash Valley to join the Vincennes University volleyball program when she signed this week to become a Trail Blazer.
VU currently has played from Bloomfield, Linton, Terre Haute South and Owen Valley and frequently taps into the local area for talent.
Higgins finished the 2010 season with a team-high 358 kills as an outside hitter and added 74 solo blocks for a sectional runner-up team.
VU Coach Tina Miller, whose team finished 19-20 this fall, feels it is important to get nearby players in her program.
“There is the opportunity for parents and family to come and see their kids play without traveling extremely long distances and that's always a plus,” Miller told the Brazil Times. “We always feed on that support when we travel to away matches where sometimes if parents aren't there then we don't have hardly any fans. It's an opportunity for them to continue to see their kids play.
We have pockets of talent in this area that go untapped especially with the smaller schools where you might have an outstanding player like Lynsey (Higgins) that sometimes get overlooked. We seek that out [at Vincennes].”
Higgins’ father, Kevin, was a standout athlete at Terre Haute North in the early 1970s and Miller likes her “natural athletic ability.”
“She's got a pretty heavy swing for someone, especially her size,” Miller said. “She's going to be competing for a starting spot as a freshman.”
Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter and copy editor who now teaches at Northview High School in Brazil. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.