From the sidelines column April 8

Here’s a soccer program with a special kick.

This month, the South Central Soccer Academy in Bargersville is offering a free special training and team-placement opportunity for athletes with special needs.

The program, called TOPSoccer, is designed for players ages 7 and older with mental or physical disabilities.

An outreach initiative of Indiana Soccer and U.S. Youth Soccer, TOPSoccer was established in an ongoing effort to wholly fulfill a joint mission statement that reads, in part, “to foster the physical, mental and emotional growth and development of America’s youth through the sport of soccer at all levels of age and competition.”

TOPSoccer will be offered at the South Central Soccer Academy six consecutive Saturday mornings, from April 18 through May 30. Although the program is free, registration is required.

To register, visit

Besides seeking athletes, the club also is accepting applications for high school and adult volunteers to assist with TOPSoccer.

Benkert gets invitation

Center Grove’s Michael Benkert is the latest local athlete to draw attention from Hoosier Basketball Magazine.

The Daily Journal’s 2014-15 Johnson County Player of the Year, Benkert has been invited to Sunday’s 28th annual Hoosier Basketball Magazine Top 60 Senior Boys Workout at Marian University in Indianapolis.

A 6-foot-4 guard, Benkert scored 1,177 career points at Center Grove and ranks fifth on the school’s all-time scoring list. He averaged 15.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists his senior year.

He will continue his career at NCAA Division I Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Last month, three members of the Center Grove girls team — Bri Gliesmann, Regan Wentland and Jessica Norris — received invitations to Hoosier Basketball Magazine’s Top 60 Senior Girls Workout.

On a roll

Talk about a good week at the plate.

Davis Carter, a freshman on the Taylor University softball team, has been named the Crossroads League Player of the Week after a torrid offensive stretch in which she batted .585 in eight games.

A Greenwood graduate, she was 14 of 24 at the plate with eight RBIs, a double and a home run. She posted a .792 slugging percentage, scored four runs and had an on-base percentage of .615.

Upwardly mobile

Another week, another ranking.

Already the top team in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, the Franklin College women’s track and field team is ranked ninth in this week’s Great Lakes regional rankings.

The rankings are assigned by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCA).

Rankings are based on a point value system in each event that will be part of the NCAA Division III Track and Field Outdoor National Championships. A team’s ranking is based on its cumulative point total.

Franklin, which compiled 133.13 points, is the only HCAC team in the poll.

Rick Morwick is sports editor of the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2715.