Alliance area sports briefs: Mount Union men's basketball ranked No. 2 by

Mount Union ranked No. 2

The Mount Union men's basketball team is ranked No. 2 in this week's poll. The Purple Raiders (5-0) own victories over Whitworth (Wash.), Maryville (Tenn.), Penn State Behrend, Juniata (Pa.) and Wooster. They picked up five first-place votes and trail only Christopher Newport (R.I.) in balloting by coaches, sports information directors and media across the country.

Mount Union visits Heidelberg on Saturday to open Ohio Athletic Conference play.

Sebring Hall of Fame inductions in January

The Sebring McKinley High School Athletic Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2022 — Matt Johnston (1979) for basketball, track, football and golf, and Jillian Faudree Schleuder (2009) for softball, volleyball and cheerleading.

The induction ceremony will be held on Jan. 13, 2023, between the JV and varsity games when the Trojans' boys basketball team plays host to Western Reserve.

Tannenhauf hole-in-one

Paul Kaboth of Canton had a hole-in-one at Tannenhauf Golf Club on Nov. 10. He used a 7-iron to ace the 141-yard No. 4 hole. The shot was witnessed by Larry Parks, Jim Reinhard and Dave Warner. This was Kaboth's third career ace.

Mount Union lands eight on academic team

Mount Union football had eight players recognized as Academic All-District honorees by College Sports Communicators (formerly CoSIDA).

They are senior defensive back and communications studies major Aaron Hawk (Lakewood, Calif./Gahr), senior defensive lineman and civil engineering major Matt Lilja (Ashtabula/Edgewood), junior linebacker and marketing major Mason McMillen (Wadsworth), senior running back and sport business major DeAndre Parker (Crystal River, Fla.), senior kicker and sport business major Thomas Piccirillo (Findlay/Van Buren), senior safety and sport business major Ian Sexton (Dover), junior linebacker and biology major Jordan Stancovich (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway), and senior offensive lineman and mathematics major Davis Ward (Hendersonville, Tenn./Beech).

Plunk is semifinalist for Gagliardi Trophy

Mount Union senior quarterback senior Braxton Plunk is one of 15 semifinalists for the 2022 Gagliardi Trophy given to the nation's top all-around football player in NCAA Division III.

Plunk leads the Ohio Athletic Conference and is among the top five nationally in every major quarterback statistical category, including second in passing touchdowns (41), passing yards (3,440), and points responsible for (270).

Currently, Plunk ranks fifth all-time in both career passing touchdowns (116) and career passing yards (10,482) in the rich program history. Also a semifinalist for the Gagliardi Trophy as a junior, Plunk has been the OAC Bob Packard Offensive Back of the Year and All-OAC first team for three consecutive years.

Off the field, Plunk has a 3.4 cumulative grade point average as a marketing major with a minor in entrepreneur. Braxton is a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. He has volunteered for multiple organizations and functions, including Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, a domestic violence awareness event, Be the Match, to encourage students and staff to sign up for the Be the Match Registry, Read with a Raider, reading to a local elementary school, and volunteered at a local library.

The Raiders have seven Gagliardi Trophy winners since the award was first given in 1993. Quarterback and College Football Hall of Famer Jim Ballard won the inaugural trophy in 1993. Quarterback Bill Borchert claimed the honor in 1997 while running backs Chuck Moore and Dan Pugh won the award in 2001 and 2002, respectively. Quarterback Greg Micheli took home the trophy in 2008 while quarterback Kevin Burke, the only two-time winner of the award, won it in 2013 and 2014.

Three Mount Union volleyball players selected for academic recognition

Mount Union seniors Mollie Thomas (Perry), Alyssa Kasaris (North Royalton) and grad student Maria Ellesin (Marlington) have been named to the College Sports Communicators Academic Volleyball All-District Team.

Kasaris started in 26 matches for the Purple Raiders while leading the team in digs with 537 and was named the Ohio Athletic Conference Scholar Athlete of the Month in October and was named All-OAC second team. Kasaris has a 3.566 grade point average and is a Exercise Science major.

Ellesin started 25 matches and played in all 27 matches for Mount Union. She led the team in kills with 281 while finishing fourth in blocks with 42 and was an All-OAC second-team selection. Ellesin is in grad school for her Master's in Education in Athletic Coaching and has a 3.853 GPA.

Thomas started all 27 matches for Mount Union while leading the team in assists with 608 and was second in service aces with 34. Thomas is a Middle Childhood Education major with a 3.843 GPA.

This article originally appeared on The Alliance Review: Alliance area sports briefs for November 30