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Last year, Clarence Heath made a name for himself as one of the top rebounders in the NAIA.

The Purdue North Central center averaged 10.3 rebounds per game and was seventh nationally in NAIA Division II. Heath said he has no intention of slowing down his rebounding production.

"I love rebounding, more than ever," Heath said. "I know that is my job,  and I love my job. I know if I can be successful on the boards. We can be successful. My goal is to get everything that comes off the rim."

The Panthers were 10-20 last year and Heath, a senior, said they want to turn it around in the program's final season. The school will unify with Purdue Calumet on July 1.

"We have a lot of talent, a lot of guys Coach (Matt) Bush brought in," Heath said. "We want to have a great year with this being the last year for us."

He also added another dimension to his game as he has developed an outside shot, something that Bush said will make him even a batter player.

"He needed that because he is 6-foot-5, and he is playing inside against a lot taller players," Bush said. "Clarence worked quite a bit over the summer, and the fact that he can knock down an outside shot will keep defenses honest and be a plus for us."

Heath said he has put a lot of time in both areas.

"I know I have to go against bigger guys, so I worked a lot on positioning, boxing out and just being aggressive," Heath said. "My shot, I think it will help my team and give us another scoring threat."

Mosser back in action: A year after sitting out, Valparaiso High School product John Mosser is back in action.

Mosser, a 2013 Valparaiso grad, played one year at Southern Nazarene in Oklahoma then came home. He went to Purdue North Central last year, but did not play basketball.

"I really missed it," Mosser said. "Quentin Palmer, who also played at Valparaiso, said he was going to IUN and for me, I just wanted to get back on the court. I realized how much I missed hoops, especially when the NCAA started and the high school tournament (played)."

RedHawks coach Kris Schnatz has been impressed so far. Mosser had 12 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two blocks against Indiana South Bend and 16 points, eight rebounds, two assists and a block against Indiana Kokomo.

"He is just a great team guy," Schnatz said. "He really brings that energy to the team. There is a huge difference when he is on the floor."

The RedHawks were 9-19 last year, but Mosser said the team is excited about turning things around.

"We are playing well as a team," Mosser said. "There was a good group here. They are experienced and we all want to win."

VU volleyball has successful road trip: Valparaiso finished 3-1 on its recent road swing, losing only to Horizon League foe Milwaukee.

The Crusaders (23-7, 9-5) concludes the regular season with a pair of home conference matches: 5 p.m. Friday against Youngstown State and 4 p.m. Saturday against Cleveland State. The Crusaders are trying to secure a seed for the conference tourney.

Record setters: St. Joseph's College men's cross country runner Justin Hays was 18th recently at the NCAA regional in Terre Haute.

Hays earned All-Region honors and broke the program's record for a 10,000 meters (31 minutes, 35.7 seconds).

On the women's side, Nikki Theide set the program's record for the 6,000 meters (22:15). She was 43rd. The team was 20th.

Good year on the pitch: Both Calumet College and Purdue Calumet men's soccer teams finished with winning records.

Purdue Calumet won a program-high 12 matches since soccer was reinstated in 2012.

Calumet College was 9-8-2 and coach Justin Olson said he hopes to build off the success.

"We have two of out top scorers in Joaquin Peluffo and Nick Barango (Chesterton) back so that is encouraging," Olson said. "We are happy to win nine, but we are not satisfied. We want to work to improve next season."

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Sports Copy Editor

Jim is a copy editor for The Times who works out of Valparaiso. A South Central High School (1984) and Ball State ('89) grad, he’s covered preps most of his career. He received the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association’s Media Award in 1997.

Jason is a sports copy editor and avid traveler whose goal is to see and do everything before he expires from this mortal coil. Also, mosquitoes find him delicious.

Sports Director

Hillary has covered prep, pro and college sports -- and even a Dixie Baseball World Series -- for newspapers north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line since 1995.