Sometimes change can be a good thing. Just ask Portage’s Tori Bliss.
The former Times Female Athlete of the Year and LSU sophomore changed from the glide to the rotation technique in the shot put following the indoor season.
It proved lethal at the Battle of the Bayou when she launched a lifetime personal-best toss of 55 feet, 11 inches to win the shot put crown and nab the NCAA’s No. 8-ranked shot put performance in 2013.
Bliss did more than just steal the show. She also broke LSU’s 19-year-old school record in the shot put, and beat Arizona State All-American Anna Jelmini (55-4 3/4), who took the silver.
“It’s been frustrating at the beginning while trying to get it to click,” Bliss told LSUsports.net. “We had a breakthrough week at practice. I’ve been using the glide technique since I was a freshman in high school, so it’s been a pretty big jump for me.”
Bliss, who entered the meet with an outdoor PR of 51-7 and indoor PR of 52-11, shattered former LSU and two-time NCAA discus champion Danyel Mitchell’s school record of 54-6 1/2 by 16 ½ inches.
Texas A&M’s Mel Dumezich (Whiting) picked up her 100th career victory recently in a 3-2 win over LSU, but Dumezich also suffered a shoulder injury. She only served as a designated hitter in Friday’s loss to Georgia and did not play at all on Saturday.
The senior All-American is 23-6 this season and has pitched 174 innings.
Lewis University’s Michael Schroeder (North Newton) has been tearing it up this spring. The senior was recently named the Great Lakes Valley Conference’s Baseball Player of the Week.
In weekend wins over Kentucky Wesleyan, Schroeder went 10-for-14 (.714 average), including a 4-for-4 effort with a double and home run. For the week, he had two doubles, a homer, five RBIs, eight runs, and also had a 1.071 slugging percentage. He even pitched six innings.
This season Schroeder is hitting .323 with 21 runs, 10 doubles, three homers, two triples, and 26 RBIs.
* Scott Donley (Crown Point) leads Indiana University with 42 RBIs. He is batting .380 with two triples, 11 doubles, three homers, and 24 runs. Teammate Dustin DeMuth (LaPorte) is hitting .361 with 25 runs, 11 doubles, 24 RBIs, and two homers.
* Notre Dame’s Adam Norton (Andrean) lost his first game of the season in a 4-2 setback to Pittsburgh recently, but the senior righty bounced back in a big way Saturday.
Norton (8-1) tossed a complete-game five-hitter in a 6-0 victory over Quinnipiac. Norton had a career-high nine strikeouts and only walked one. The effort lowered his ERA to 1.63. He has pitched a team-high 74 innings with 48 strikeouts and 11 walks. In Saturday’s win, Norton retired 17 of the last 18 batters.
* Toledo’s Ryan Wilkinson (Munster) continues to pitch well despite a struggling team behind him. The southpaw standout is 3-2 on the season with a 2.98 ERA. He has started nine games and completed two. The junior has pitched 60 1/3 innings with 30 strikeouts and nine walks. Toledo is 13-23.
Redshirt freshman Ryan Cutter (Chesterton) set an IUPUI school record in the 800-meter race at Saturday’s Dave Rankin Invitational at Purdue.
Cutter, who already holds the school records in the 1,500 and 5,000, added another accomplishment to his resume, with a time of 1 minute, 55.20 seconds. Cutter broke the IUPUI record in the 1,500 last weekend at Bowling Green. He ran a 3:53, beating the old record by almost eight seconds.
Elsewhere, freshmen Jacob Baranowski (Highland), Mitch Hubner (LaPorte) and Max Zmija (Portage) all ran PRs in the 5,000 at Purdue.
The Times welcomes information about local athletes for inclusion in Region Collegians. E-mail Brian Waddle at firstname.lastname@example.org.