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Rocket football to hold signing day event Feb. 7

The University of Toledo football coaching staff will host a special presentation of its 2018 recruiting class Wednesday, Feb. 7, beginning at 4 p.m. in Savage Arena.

Doors will open at 3:30 p.m. for the free event, which will be streamed live on ESPN3. Fans may park for free in lot 4 (enter off Douglas Road).

Head Coach Jason Candle and the coaching staff will review their 2018 recruiting class and show video highlights of each signee at the event.

Feb. 7 is the first day of the second signing period in which high school seniors are allowed to sign national letters of intent.

The Rockets announced the signing of 18 recruits during the early signing period Dec. 20.

The Rockets will open the 2018 season at home vs. VMI Saturday, Sept. 1. The seven-game home slate also features games with Miami (Fla.) and Bowling Green.

For season ticket information, call 419.530.GOLD (4653).

Former UT quarterback places second in accuracy competition at all-star challenge

Former Rocket quarterback Logan Woodside took second place in the accuracy competition at the 2018 State Farm All-Star Football Challenge Jan. 31 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Woodside’s performance helped the Wildcard Team win the overall team competition against five squads made up of players from the Power Five. The 20th annual event will air Friday, Feb. 2, at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.

Logan Woodside competed in the 2018 State Farm All-Star Football Challenge.

Each team consisted of four players from the same conference that competed for conference supremacy in a series of skills competitions. The conferences represented were the ACC, the Big Ten, the Big 12, the Pac-12, the SEC, and four of the best players outside of the Power Five called the Wildcard Team.

Each player individually participated in a timed event, and then finished with a full team event. Events were all timed and had individual winners that compiled into a cumulative score to determine the winning team. For example, the quarterbacks from each team all competed against each other to win their competition. But ultimately, their time was added to the times of the other competitors on their conference-designated team to determine a final team score.

Woodside completed the accuracy competition in 24.53 seconds, second only to UCLA’s Josh Rosen (22.54 seconds). Woodside and Rosen were far ahead of the other four quarterbacks, who took between 43 and 50 seconds to complete the competition.

Women’s swimming and diving team recognized nationally for GPA

The Toledo women’s swimming and diving program has been named to the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar All-American Team for the third consecutive semester.

During fall semester, the Rockets posted a combined grade point average of 3.49.

The UT women’s swimming and diving team made a splash in the classroom fall semester and was named to the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar All-American Team.

The association awards the honor to teams that achieve a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Freshmen Alida Ramden and Elayna Yoskovich, along with seniors Maggie Hack and Katrin Streicher, each recorded perfect 4.0 GPAs in the fall. Six others were above a 3.9 GPA with seven more above a 3.6.

In total, 688 teams from 430 institutions were honored by the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association.

The Rockets also received the award for fall 2016 and spring 2017.

UT to host National Girls and Women in Sports Day Feb. 3

The University of Toledo will host the third annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day Saturday, Feb. 3, as the women’s basketball team takes on Buffalo at 2 p.m. in Savage Arena.

National Girls and Women in Sports Day honors the accomplishments and hard work of female student-athletes in the classroom, in sports and in the community. The day will showcase UT’s female student-athletes, staff and coaches to thank them for their hard work.

The sports of soccer, volleyball, tennis and softball will be represented at the event on the concourses at Savage Arena between 12:30 and 2 p.m. prior to the start of the game. The teams will have their own stations to sign autographs, host an activity, and interact with fans.

There also will be videos and photos highlighting all nine UT women sports teams, as well as cheer and dance throughout the game to recognize their accomplishments in the community, in the classroom, and in their respective sports.

At halftime, there will be a live recognition of the women who work in the athletic department.

In conjunction with National Girls and Women in Sports Day, the Toledo Cheerleaders will host a cheer clinic. To register and for more information, click here.

Tickets for the game can be purchased online at utrockets.com, by calling 419.530.GOLD or at the UT Ticket Office. The ticket office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information about the National Girls and Women in Sports Day, contact Adam Simpson, UT athletic marketing, promotions and fan experience graduate assistant, at 419.530.5433 or adam.simpson@rockets.utoledo.edu.

Former UT quarterback to participate in football challenge Feb. 2

Former Toledo quarterback Logan Woodside will participate in the 2018 State Farm All-Star Football Challenge at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The 20th edition of the All-Star Football Challenge will air Friday, Feb. 2, at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.

Woodside finished his Toledo career as the school’s all-time leader in passing yards (10,514), passing touchdowns (93), and passing efficiency (162.87 percent). His 93 touchdowns are fifth-most in MAC history, and his passing efficiency rating is 12th-highest in Football Bowl Subdivision history.

As a senior this past season, he led Toledo to a Mid-American Conference Championship, earning MAC Offensive Player of the Year honors and the Vern Smith Award as the league’s MVP. Woodside led the Rockets to a 29-9 record as starting quarterback, including an 11-3 mark in 2017.

The six teams in the competition will consist of four players from the same conference that will compete for conference supremacy in a series of skills challenges. The conferences represented are the ACC, the Big Ten, the Big 12, the Pac-12, the SEC, and four of the best players outside of the Power Five that will be called the Wild Card team.

Joining Woodside on the Wild Card team will be University of Texas at San Antonio defensive end Marcus Davenport, University of Texas at El Paso guard Will Hernandez, and Boise State wide receiver Cedric Wilson.

Each player will individually participate in a timed event and then finish with a team event. Events will all be timed and have individual winners who will compile into a cumulative score to determine the winning team.

Men’s seven-game streak equals $7 basketball tickets purchased by midnight Jan. 29

With The University of Toledo’s men’s basketball team riding a season-high seven-game winning streak, tickets for its matchup vs. Ball State Tuesday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m. can be purchased for $7 (plus parking/processing fees) until midnight Monday, Jan. 29.

The seats available for the specially priced tickets are in the A and B sections of Savage Arena’s upper east side.

Senior guard Tre’Shaun Fletcher scored a team-high 26 points in UT’s big 101-75 win over Bowling Green Saturday night in Savage Arena.

To purchase the tickets, go to Men’s Basketball Ticket Central on utrockets.com and use the promo code FlashMB.

The Rockets (15-6, 7-1 Mid-American Conference) are alone in first place in the MAC’s West Division and hold a three-game lead over the Cardinals and Western Michigan. UT posted a 101-75 victory over Bowling Green Saturday before a season-high 6,812 fans.

Toledo’s seven-game conference winning streak is tied for the sixth-longest in program history with the last time the Rockets winning seven in a row in league play coming during their 2006-07 campaign.

Tickets going fast for UT-BGSU game Jan. 27

A red-hot Toledo squad (14-6, 6-1 Mid-American Conference) brings a season-high six-game winning streak into Saturday’s Battle of I-75 matchup vs. Bowling Green (12-8, 3-4 MAC). The Rockets’ contest with the Falcons will be the lone meeting between the two schools this season.

UT is coming off a hard-fought 85-81 victory at Western Michigan, while BGSU dropped its second straight decision with a 93-62 setback at Northern Illinois.

Tip-off time from Savage Arena is set for 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, with the game being streamed on ESPN3.

Tickets for the contest are going fast, and fans are encouraged to buy their tickets ahead of time and arrive 20 to 30 minutes before tip-off to avoid long lines at the turnstiles.

As a reminder, UT faculty and staff can purchase tickets for half-price (limit two) at the UT Ticket Office or by calling 419.530.GOLD (4653). Faculty/staff tickets are available for $9 in the Upper East A section and $6.50 in the Upper East B section.

UT students are admitted free with ID.

The Rockets will be offering a few special promotions for the game, as well. A “whiteout” is being planned, and all fans are encouraged to wear white.

The first 500 UT students will receive a free white T-shirt, as well as free Fuzzy’s tacos while they last.

In addition, a special halftime show will take place with the popular Pop Rocks from Troy, Ohio, performing their high-energy choreographed routine that features jump rope, tumbling and elements of dance.

Tuesday’s victory in Kalamazoo gave the Rockets a three-game lead in the Mid-American Conference’s West Division over Western Michigan (11-9, 3-4 MAC) and Ball State (12-8, 3-4 MAC). Toledo and Buffalo (15-5, 7-0 MAC) are the only two teams in the MAC with fewer than three defeats.

The last time the Rockets won six games in a row in MAC play occurred Jan. 24 through Feb. 10, 2015.

During its current six-game winning streak, Toledo possesses an average margin of victory of 13.5 points per game and has trailed for just 19 minutes and nine seconds (8:17 vs. Kent State, 7:27 at Western Michigan, 2:17 at Ohio University and 1:08 vs. Akron).

As a team, as of Jan. 23, Toledo ranks 12th nationally with its 41.4 three-point field goal percentage and also tops the MAC with its 47.1 field goal percentage and 10.2 three-point field goals per game. The Rockets are also second with 80.2 points per game, 15.6 assists per game, and a 1.3 assist/turnover ratio.

Bowling Green possesses a 6-3 win-loss mark on the road this season and has split its four road contests in league play. The Falcons rank third in the MAC in scoring with 78.9 points per game, but are last in scoring defense allowing an identical 78.9 points per game.

Toledo leads its all-time series against Bowling Green by an 89-80 margin and has won six of its last seven meetings against its archrival. The schools split last year’s two meetings with the Rockets notching an 85-73 win in Savage Arena and the Falcons coming away with a 104-100 triumph in double overtime in the Stroh Center.

UT Cheerleaders to hold kids’ clinic Feb. 3

Registration is open for The University of Toledo’s 2018 Cheerleading Clinic for Kids that will be held Saturday, Feb. 3.

Registration can be completed online here, by calling the UT Ticket Office at 419.530.GOLD (4653), or in person at the ticket office.

The UT Cheerleaders will hold a clinic for kids Saturday, Feb. 3.

Participants will learn a routine to be performed at halftime of the Feb. 3 women’s basketball game against Buffalo.

The clinic registration fee is $30 and includes a T-shirt, ticket to the game and a post-performance snack. 

In order to guarantee your child receives the requested T-shirt size, registration must be received by Sunday, Jan. 28.

An approximate timeline of the clinic day’s activities will be:

• 11:30 a.m. — Registration.

• Noon — Clinic in the Fetterman Center Gym.

• 2:15 p.m. — Move to Savage Arena.

• 2:45 p.m. — Halftime performance.

Fans can purchase additional tickets for $7 by using the promo code “CHEER” here.

Women’s volleyball coach named

Jason Oliver, who has more than 20 years of experience as a coach and a player on the court, has been named the head women’s volleyball coach at The University of Toledo.

Oliver comes to UT from Indiana University, where he spent two years as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the Hoosiers. Prior to that, he was the head coach at High Point University in North Carolina from 2009 to 2016.

“We are very pleased that Jason Oliver has agreed to lead our women’s volleyball program,” Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien said. “Jason is a proven winner with a highly successful tenure as a head coach at High Point and impactful stops as an assistant coach at Indiana, Dayton and West Virginia.

“Jason has all the qualities we desire in a head volleyball coach,” O’Brien said. “His teams have a history of academic success, and he has a track record of recruiting high-end talent. He will be a terrific teacher and leader for our young women.”

“My family and I are ecstatic to be coming to The University of Toledo,” Oliver said. “I want to thank Mike O’Brien, [Senior Associate Athletic Director] Kelly Andrews and [Deputy Director of Athletics] Dave Nottke for giving me the opportunity to be the head women’s volleyball coach. I think this program has huge potential, and I’m excited to roll up my sleeves and get after it. It’s a great move for me and my family, and we’re excited to be a part of a great city like Toledo.”

Oliver’s stint as the head coach at High Point was the most successful in school history. He led the team to a record of 118-103 during his tenure, both the highest win total and winning percentage in program history. He led the Panthers to a Big South Conference Tournament title and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2010. Oliver helped his student-athletes achieve 17 all-conference honors, two Big South Freshman of the Year awards, and seven all-freshman team honorees.

Off the court, his teams averaged a 3.1 grade point average over seven years, reaching a high of 3.52 in 2015. Two of his former student-athletes were named College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-Americans, two were named Big South Scholar Athlete of the Year, and eight earned Academic All-Big South distinctions.

Most recently at Indiana, Oliver assisted in leading the Hoosiers to a 21-3 mark in non-conference play over two seasons and coached Jazzmine McDonald to All-Big Ten honors in 2016. As the team’s recruiting coordinator, he helped put together a 2017 class that was ranked in the top 30 by PrepVolleyball. Oliver’s 2018 recruiting class at Indiana was the most highly regarded in program history, with three top 150 players and the 54th best player in the nation.

In Oliver’s three years at the University of Dayton, the Flyers posted an 80-24 record and earned two NCAA Tournament berths. In 2007, Dayton went 33-2 and achieved a No. 12 national ranking from the America Volleyball Coaches Association, advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Dayton spent 14 weeks in the top 25 and grabbed a national rating percentage index ranking as high as No. 8 in the country. In 2005, the Flyers set school records in kills (2,143), total attacks (5.523) and assists (1,965). During his tenure, Oliver helped train two Atlantic-10 Players of the Year, two Atlantic-10 Setters of the Year and two Atlantic-10 Rookies of the Year, as well as 11 all-conference performers.

During Oliver’s time at West Virginia University, the Mountaineers recorded their single largest win total in 13 years, improving from a 6-21 record during the 2003 season to an 18-13 record in 2004. Oliver coached two Big East All-Conference players, two academic All-Americans and three All-Big East Academic performers.

Oliver played volleyball at George Mason University, where he was a co-captain and starting setter during his senior year. He led the team in assists and digs per game in 1997. Oliver set a school record of 99 assists in a match and tallied 1,638 assists in a season.

The Thousand Oaks, Calif., native received his bachelor’s degree in communications from George Mason in 1998 and a master of science degree in athletic coaching education from West Virginia in 2005.

Oliver and his wife, Kelly, recently had a baby boy, Miles.

UT Dancing Rockettes to compete at nationals this weekend

Seventeen University of Toledo students will leap, kick and plié as the Dancing Rockettes compete in the College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship this weekend.

The team arrived early Thursday in Orlando, Fla., and practiced at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney Resort in Bay Lake.

The UT Dancing Rockettes posed for a photo last year in the Glass Bowl.

“What’s really exciting for us this year is they built a new arena specifically for cheer and dance competitions, and college nationals is the first competition they’re having at this complex,” Devon Hays, coach of the Rockettes, said.

UT qualified to hit the floor at nationals by attending a four-day camp last summer at East Tennessee State University.

“Any college or university is welcome to register to compete at nationals,” Hays said. “We are in NCAA Division 1-A, so we compete against teams from across the country that are also Division 1-A schools.”

Presented by the Universal Cheerleaders Association and Universal Dance Association, the national competition will feature jazz, hip-hop and pom dance categories. In addition, cheer and mascot contests will take place.

“Pom is what we compete; it’s a mixture of jazz dancing with cheer or pom motions,” Hays said.

Rockette Kaylee Hull executed a jump in the Glass Bowl.

The Dancing Rockettes are scheduled to perform their two-minute routine Saturday, Jan. 13, at 7:42 a.m.

“It’s the most jam-packed two minutes that you can imagine,” Hays said and laughed.

“We have a couple skills we’ve really been working on, drilling down so we nail them at competition,” she said. “We have some aerial cartwheels — that’s a no-handed cartwheel that a handful of our girls do that they’ve really been working hard on. And we have a big team turn sequence that we’ve been spending a lot of time making sure everybody is hitting their spot exactly on time.”

Hays said the Rockettes will be among some 20 teams in their Division 1-A category.

“We’re the third team to go in the prelims Saturday morning, so there’ll be a lot of teams after us that we’ll be able to watch and see our competition,” she said.

Teams will find out Saturday afternoon if they advance to the finals, which will take place Sunday.

Founded in 1961, the Rockettes were among the first recognized collegiate dance teams in the country.

“That’s a very cool piece of history we have. It’s crazy because we’ve been around so long, but we’re so new to the competition world. This is only our third year competing,” Hays said.

“I want the team to be proud of what they’re putting on the competition floor. Being on that competition floor is a chance for us to have fun and showcase everything we’ve worked really hard for this year,” she said. “We have so much talent. I want them to be proud of everything they’ve achieved. On top of that, I want them to understand they’re paving the way for the future and legacy of this program.”

In her third year as coach of the Rockettes, Hays graduated from UT in 2012 with a bachelor of business administration degree in marketing and entrepreneurship. The former UT cheerleader helps run her family’s Mini Motions Dance Center in Toledo.

“It’s been exciting for me to come back and grow the dance team,” she said.

Affiliated with the UT Rocket Marching Band, the Rockettes step it up at football games during fall semester and also perform at Mid-American Conference home basketball games in spring semester.