Athletics News
Braden announced as head swim coach at Hanover

Blake Braden headshot

HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover College Athletic Department has announce Blake Braden to lead the men’s and women’s swim programs.

The announcement was made back in April that the Hanover College Athletic Department would sponsor men’s and women’s swimming beginning in 2018-19. Braden’s hire will allow him a full academic year to recruit student-athletes in preparation to debut men’s and women’s intercollegiate squads during the 2018-19 academic year.

Swimming will return to Hanover after a 40-year absence, as it began as an intramural program in 1967. Using the former pool in the J. Graham Brown Campus Center, Hanover sported an intercollegiate club program from 1969-77, competing against such opponents as Louisville, Butler, DePauw and Berea (Ky.).

“I am honored and excited to be named the head men’s and women’s swim coach at Hanover College,” stated Braden. “The positive energy, the beauty, and the wonderful campus atmosphere really made it easy for me to commit to such a wonderful school.”

Braden will join the athletics staff at Hanover after spending the last four seasons as an assistant coach for the men’s and women’s swim programs at Millikin (Ill.), where he was also a three year letter winner for the Big Blue from 2006-09. During his time in Decatur, Braden also spent three years as the head swim coach for the Decatur Swim Club.

During his tenure at Millikin, Braden assisted with the implementation of workouts, while also dealing heavily with recruitment. Since 2013, he has assisted in the coaching of nine new school records at Millikin.

As the head coach of the Decatur Swim Club, Braden managed the team operations for the Age Level, Swim Lesson and Masters Level programs. At the Age Level, his new training program helped result in 40 new club records, while also producing four Speedo Sectional swimmers and three Illinois Swimming Zone qualifiers.

Braden began his coaching career at Franklin Central High School in Indianapolis from 2009-2013. In his four seasons with the Flashes, he was named Sectional Coach of the Year by the Indiana High School Athletic Association twice, while producing 12 new school records. Braden also sent 20 swimmers to the IHSAA State Championships, with five swimmers logging top 10 finishes.

“I want to thank Hanover College for presenting me with this opportunity to establish a strong culture and tradition for Panther swimming. Hanover has a strong commitment to excellence, which I will gladly continue with the swim program moving forward.”

Braden spent his first three years at Millikin before graduating from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in 2012, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in General Studies, adding advanced course work in Education, Sport Psychology and Sports Ethics.

Contact: Tyler Jester

2016-17 Top Moments No. 8: Women's golf wins fourth straight HCAC Championship

Allison Goodwin swinging



HANOVER, Ind. – Our No. 8 moment in the Top 10 Moments from the 2016-17 athletic year comes from the Hanover women’s golf team, as they picked up their fourth straight Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship back in the fall, earning a bid into the NCAA National Championship.

The 2016-17 athletic campaign was one to remember for the Hanover College Athletic Department, so over the next few weeks we will recall some of the top moments from the year that was. This week we announce the seventh and eighth best moments.

With three golfers among the top eight individually, the Panthers posted a conference tournament score of 693 (347-346) to hold off host Rose-Hulman by 12 strokes for the championship.

A duo of freshmen in Allison Goodwin (Lebanon, Ind.) and Maddie Cody (Brownsburg, Ind.) logged the top two scores for HC, with Goodwin reeling off a score of 169 (84-85) to place third overall and earn HCAC Freshman of the Year honors. Cody shot a two-round total of 173 (86-87), finishing fifth to earn all-conference accolades.

Senior Devan Smith (Depauw, Ind.) recorded a score of 175 (88-87) to tie for seventh overall. Smith became just the second women’s golfer at Hanover to earn all-HCAC honors in each of her four seasons. The senior later went on to become the first golfer in program history to appear in four consecutive NCAA National Championships.

Hanover’s conference championship earned them the automatic bid into the NCAA National Championship this past spring, which marked the team’s fourth straight appearance in the national event.

The Blue and Red finished 18th in the field of 22 teams in the four-day tournament this past May in Houston, Texas. Hanover competed in the first three rounds at the NCAA tournament, as only the top 15 teams advanced to the fourth and final 18 holes. Hanover logged two of its five lowest team rounds of the 2016-17 season in the national tournament, posting a final total of 1,020 (336-349-335).

Cody, Goodwin and Smith led the way again for the Panthers, with the two freshmen earning top 60 finishes in their first national championship competition.

Smith’s tournament was not only highlighted by her fourth straight appearance, but also competing on “Folds of Honor” Day. The senior, who will be entering the military service now that she has graduated, was asked in a national interview just how much the “Folds of Honor” day meant to her.

“Folds of Honor” day honored fallen service members during the second round of the NCAA Women’s Golf National Championship, as each golfer was playing in memory of a service member killed in the line of duty, and there were commemorative plaques honoring fallen service members on each hole as well.

Stay tuned later this week, as we announce our No. 7 moment in the countdown Thursday, June 29.

No. 10: Men’s Cross Country wins first team invitational since 1998

No. 9: Football’s late rally against Defiance

Contact: Tyler Jester

2016-17 Top Moments No. 9: Football's late rally against Defiance

Chase Lightfoot throwing


HANOVER, Ind. – Continuing our series of Top 10 Moments from the 2016-17 athletic year, we have Hanover football’s come-from-behind victory against Defiance coming in at No. 9.

The 2016-17 athletic campaign was one to remember for the Hanover College Athletic Department, so over the next few weeks we will recall some of the top moments from the year that was. This week we announce the 9th and 10th best moments.

Trailing by 13 points heading into the fourth quarter, Hanover rallied to knock off Defiance on Senior Day, 27-20, back on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016.

Junior Chase Lightfoot (Crestwood, Ky.) entered the game at quarterback on the second offensive possession for HC in the third quarter. Lightfoot proceeded to complete 11-of-21 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns.

The junior connected with sophomore Garrett Chesney (Kirkland, Ind.) in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter to pull the Panthers within six points, 20-14, with just under 13 minutes remaining. A stalemate between the two sides occurred and after forcing its third straight defensive stop, HC was left with possession on their own 29-yard line with 1:33 left to play.

Lightfoot helped guide the Panthers down the field, completing 6-of-10 passes, including a 27-yard touchdown to freshman Taylor Bleistein (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) with 32 seconds remaining. The point-after try from senior Adam Goepfrich (Jasper, Ind.) was successful, giving HC a 21-20 advantage.

The Hanover defense suffocated the Yellow Jacket offense in the next possession, as a sack and eventual fumble recovery resulted in a defensive score for the Blue and Red, giving them the 27-20 lead. Overall, the Panthers outscored Defiance 20-0 in the fourth quarter.

Hanover’s victory over the Yellow Jackets was its second of three straight near the end of the 2016 season, helping the Panthers complete Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play 4-4. The win also marked HC’s third Senior Day victory in the last five seasons.

The Panthers will kick off the 2017 campaign with a home contest against Centre (Ky.) at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 2.

Next week we will continue our countdown of top moments from the past year, as the No. 8 moment will be announced Monday, June 26.

No. 10: Men’s Cross Country wins first team invitational since 1998

Contact: Tyler Jester

2016-17 Top Moments No. 10: Men's Cross Country wins first invitational since 1998

Joe Rector running


HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover men’s cross country team kicks off our list of top 10 moments from the 2016-17 athletic year.

The 2016-17 athletic campaign was one to remember for the Hanover College Athletic Department, so over the next few weeks we will recall some of the top moments from the year that was. This week we will announce the 9th and 10th best moments.

In its first meet of the 2016 cross country season, the Panthers recorded the top two individual finishes en route to a team victory at the Sodexo Grizzly Invitational, hosted by Franklin College. The team victory was the first invitational win for the men’s cross country squad since winning the Bellarmine Invitational in 1998.

Junior Joe Rector (Aurora, Ind.) and sophomore Jacob Hedrick (Memphis, Ind.) led the way, finishing first and second respectively. The duo paced the lead runners from the beginning of the eight-kilometer race before distancing themselves from the pack over the last mile.

Overall, Hanover had seven of its eight runners place among the top 18 in the field of 48 runners, totaling 35 points to outlast Vincinnes (Ind.) for the top spot in the team standings.

The victory at the Sodexo Grizzly Invite jump-started a strong beginning to the 2016 campaign, as the Harriers went on to add a first place finish the following week in the home Hanover Invitational. Hanover add a third place finish in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship later in the fall, posting a top three mark for the second straight season.

On Thursday, June 22, we will reveal No. 9 in our “2016-17 Top 10 Moments” series.

Contact: Tyler Jester

Panthers to host elite youth lacrosse camp

men's lacrosse team huddle



HANOVER, Ind. – With the help of the Hanover men’s lacrosse program, the Trilogy Lacrosse Future Aces Midwest Camp will return to Hanover College this summer.

Trilogy Lacrosse Future Aces Midwest will feature the best 6th to 8th grade players from across the region. Top instruction, competition and exposure help players prepare for the rigors of high school lacrosse and the recruiting landscape they will face.

This year’s camp will take place at Alumni Stadium on the campus of Hanover College from Tuesday, July 18 through Friday, July 21.

Camp instruction will have five training sessions led by the Trilogy National Directors and staff, including position-specific individual training, group strategies, team concepts and film review. Players will also compete in three game sessions and have the opportunity to qualify for future Trilogy Aces events and the Intensive Club Experience.

For complete information on this summer’s Trilogy Future Aces Midwest Camp visit the link above. Also, visit the Hanover Summer Camps page to see all of the opportunities offered by the Panther athletic programs this summer.

College adopts test-optional admission policy

Beginning July 1, high-school students will have the option to apply to Hanover College without submitting SAT or ACT scores. The policy will affect students entering for the 2018-19 academic year.

Aerial photo of Hanover's campus quad

This alternative to the traditional admission pathway will expand access and ensure a more-diverse and sizeable applicant pool. The test-optional model has proven to open doors for high-achieving students, but particularly students of color, first-generation college students or those from low-income households. Meanwhile, the risk to retention and graduation rates has proven to be minimal.

“Like many colleges and universities in the nation, we have found that a student’s high school GPA and careful review of academic preparation are better determiners of future academic success,” said Jon Riester, vice president for enrollment management. “We remain committed to the high academic standards for which Hanover is known and believe this new policy will provide opportunities to more highly qualified future students.”

The College will continue to utilize a holistic review of all application materials, including an applicant’s grades and coursework, as well as involvement in school and community activities. The increased focus on these metrics will better identify those who are capable of handling the rigors of a Hanover education.

The decision to adopt a test-optional policy was made after four years of campus discussion and is based on a recommendation from the Enrollment Management Task Force as part of the development of Hanover's 2020 Clear Vision strategic plan.

The College now joins more than 900 institutions in the U.S. that have begun to assess their own data in admission decisions.

Prospect Camp dates set for women's soccer

women's soccer team huddle


HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover women’s soccer program will offer two girls’ soccer camps this summer.

Under the direction of the head coach Jim Watts and his coaching staff, the 2017 Hanover College Prospect Camp will be an intense, one-day experience that will expose participants to a typical preseason training day with Hanover’s intercollegiate team. The first camp date is schedule for Sunday, June 25, while the second session is slated for Saturday, July 1.

The Panther women’s soccer program has been the one of the best in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, compiling a 115-38-8 overall record since the start of the 2009 season. Since 2009, Watts has helped guide the Blue and Red to six HCAC regular season (2009, 2011, 2013-2016) and five tournament (2011, 2013-2016) championships, while also appearing in the NCAA National Tournament each of the last four seasons.

Overall, the Panthers have had 52 all-conference selections in the past eight years, while also recording 17 all-region and 5 all-American picks. The Hanover women’s soccer program has also achieved multiple individual honors for their work in the classroom, including 48 academic all-HCAC selections, 18 academic all-region and 3 academic all-American honorees.

Hanover is coming off a 2016 campaign which saw them finish 14-6 overall and 8-1 in HCAC play, earning a share of their fourth straight conference regular season title. The team added a HCAC Tournament Championship as well, while also notching its second victory all-time in the NCAA National Tournament, defeating Illinois Wesleyan in overtime, 2-1.

For more information and online registration for summer camp opportunities at Hanover College, visit the link above.

McKinney named HCAC male athlete of the year

Wes McKinney headshot and action photo graphic



GREENWOOD, Ind. – Behind a career season on the hardwood, junior Wes McKinney (Batesville, Ind.) of the Hanover men’s basketball team was announced as the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Male Athlete of the Year Monday afternoon.

The prestigious conference award is in its fourth year of existence, with McKinney’s award being the first honor for Hanover on the men’s or women’s side. McKinney was named HCAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year as well back in February.

Behind McKinney, who averaged a team high 18.7 points per game, as well as a conference high 8.3 rebounds per game, the Panthers enjoyed one of their top five overall seasons since the end of World War II. Hanover finished 26-4 overall, advancing to its first ever NCAA Tournament “Elite Eight” and winning both the HCAC regular season and tournament titles. The Blue and Red also finished seventh in the final 2016-17 D3Hoops.Com National Top 25 Poll.

To go along with his two yearly conference awards, McKinney also earned a pair of All-American accolades. At the end of February, the junior was named a second team Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) and later added a fourth team All-American selection by D3Hoops.

McKinney totaled more points during the 2016-17 season than any other player in the HCAC, accumulating 560 points. During his breakout season, the junior also surpassed the 1,000-career point plateau, moving into the top 30 all-time in Hanover’s 117-year history.

The sharpshooter did a lot of his damage from behind the three-point line, where he made 74 attempts, falling just two makes shy of tying the school’s single season record. McKinney made just under 2.5 three pointers per game, which was among the top five in the conference.

The two-time 2016-17 HCAC Player of the Week also led the conference in double-doubles with 11, while adding top five conference statistical marks in blocks per game (1.6), field goal percentage (.522) and points per game (18.7).

Highlighting the 2016-17 campaign was McKinney’s buzzer beater at No. 18 Hope (Mich.), in front of a sellout crowd in the NCAA Tournament “Sweet 16”. The Panthers erased an 11-point halftime deficit as McKinney’s jumper from the left baseline as time expired gave the team a 79-77 victory.

The HCAC has given out both male and female athlete of the year awards since 2014 with the conference’s sports information directors nominating and voting on the winners. Transylvania’s Jordin Fender was named the 2016-17 HCAC Female Athlete of the Year.

Contact: Tyler Jester

Fundamental Skills Camp, High School Shootout set for women's basketball

Allison Nash shoots during warm ups


HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover women’s basketball program will host its annual Girls’ Fundamental Skills Camp and High School Shootout later this month.

Hanover will open the summer by hosting the Girls’ High School Shootout Saturday, June 17, followed by the skills camp on Sunday, June 18, through Wednesday, June 21.

The Panthers are coming off a six-win improvement in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play under second year head coach John Jones. Hanover returned to the HCAC Tournament as they finished the regular season in a tie for fourth.

Former Hanover women’s basketball coach and current assistant athletic director Molly Jones, along with her husband John, will co-direct the summer events. Molly amassed a career record of 405-296 through 28 seasons as a collegiate head coach, including a 271-175 mark at Hanover. John just finished his second year as the head coach of the Panther women’s basketball program and spent the prior 10 years as an assistant on the staff.

The skills camp will be for girls entering grades 3 through 9 for the 2017-18 academic year. The campers will be grouped according to age and ability and the daily schedule will provide excellent instruction of fundamentals while also creating ample time for 5-on-5, 3-on-3 play and individual contests.

Hanover finished the 2016-17 season with a 13-13 overall record and 11-7 mark in HCAC play. The Blue and Red have appeared in two of the last four HCAC tournament championship games, while also winning the 2014-15 conference tournament championship and advancing to the NCAA National Tournament. As a program, Hanover has appeared in four NCAA National Tournaments, with the last three entries all coming since the 2010-11 season.

For complete information on all of this summer’s camps at Hanover College, visit the link above.

Men's soccer's Prospect Camp set for June 15

men's soccer team huddle


HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover men’s soccer program has announced the date of its summer Prospect Camp.

The Blue and Red will host high school athletes Thursday, June 15, for a one-day experience, which will expose participants to a typical preseason-training day with Hanover’s intercollegiate team.

Under the guidance of Hanover head coach Matt Wilkerson and his staff, athletes will experience two training sessions and lunch, while campus tours provided by the admissions office will also be available.

The Panthers is coming off one of their best seasons in program history, as they won the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Championship to earn the team’s first ever NCAA National Tournament bid. Hanover set a new program record with 16 wins in 2016, as the victory total was the most of any men’s soccer program in the state of Indiana. The team also compiled a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 and graduated 12 student-athletes.

For more information on the one-day camp, plus online registration, visit the summer camps link above. Questions about the Prospect Camp should be directed to Coach Wilkerson’s email,, or by phone at (859) 699-0038.