The Washburn football team will get the longest road trip of the season out of the way in Week 1, making the nearly five-hour trek to face Northeastern State in Tahlequah, Okla.
Game time is set for 7 p.m. Thursday at Doc Wadley Stadium.
“Obviously going down to Northeastern State is going to be tough,” Washburn coach Craig Schurig said. “They’ve done a really nice job, you can tell, with the staff they’ve put together and how they improved last year. They’re going to be a tough game, particularly at home. It’s going to be a challenge.
“We’ll go down there on Wednesday and get ready to play an evening game. So you’ll be in the hotel all day waiting for that game to take place.”
Washburn is coming of a 7-5 season and Mineral Water Bowl appearance while NSU went 2-9 a year ago. Former WU offensive coordinator Rob Robinson is entering his fourth season as NSU head coach.
WU sophomores Logan Twehous and Blake Peterson are both expected to see time at quarterback. Twehous is listed No. 1 on the QB depth chart.
VOLLEYBALL TO HOST WU INVITATIONAL: The Ichabod volleyball team will open the season by hosting the Washburn Invitational on Friday and Saturday in Lee Arena.
The Bods will play Arkansas Tech at 1 p.m. on Friday before facing East Central at 7 p.m. WU will then face Western State Colorado at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Missouri-St. Louis at 5:30 p.m.
Emporia State, Pittsburg State and Drury will also take part in the tournament.
WU went 28-6 last year but will have to replace several key players, including All-Americans Alyssa Carney, Sarah Vicory and Leanna Willer.
“The expectation here shouldn’t change, but at the same time, I have to have a little more patience than I’ve had in years past,” WU coach Chris Herron said for MIAA virtual media day. “The last few years we’ve had a returning All-American and a lot of experience back. This is just simply not the case this year with all these new faces – nine new faces in the program and transfers and freshmen. So we are anticipating much patience out of me.”
SOCCER OPENS AT HOME: The Davy Phillips era officially begins Thursday as Washburn soccer plays host to Upper Iowa at 5:45 p.m. in Yager Stadium.
Phillips was hired at Washburn last month after guiding Baker to a 44-16-6 record in three seasons as women’s head soccer coach.
The Ichabods will play again at 11 a.m. on Saturday against Southwest Minnesota State at Yager. WU also has two nonconference games on the road (Northwest Oklahoma State on Sept. 7 and Newman on Sept. 10) before opening MIAA play against Emporia State on Sept. 15 at home.
“I’m excited to start it at home and show the local fans the new product and what it looks like under Davy Phillips,” Phillips said.
CROSS COUNTRY STARTS AT SBU INVITE: The Washburn men’s and women’s cross country teams will open their second season of competition at the Southwest Baptist Invite on Saturday in Bolivar, Mo.
Sophomore Jacob Klemz headlines WU’s returners after making the Division II cross country nationals last year.
“He obviously had a great year for us; did some things you never really expect freshmen to do,” WU track and field and cross country coach Cameron Babb said for MIAA virtual media day. “Having spent a year around him and knowing his approach to training and his approach to wanting to be the best, it’s infectious. All the kids that are coming in, and the kids that were here last year and learned with the first initial group, they’ve all taken the task head-on and they’re pushing for some high finishes this year.
“I think the group that we brought in is going to add to this team so much this year.”
Kaylee Snell is the top returner on the women’s team after finishing 36th last year in the conference meet.