Not only did fans in attendance get to meet the new faces of Three Rivers during the annual Meet the Raiders event at the Bess Activity Center on Monday, they got to meet the new Voice of the Raiders as well. After 30-plus years working in education, which included time as the superintendent of Iron County C-4 School District and adjunct instructor at Three Rivers, as well as serving as an announcer for the Van Buren and Doniphan basketball teams, Tim Hager introduced himself as the new radio announcer for Three Rivers basketball. “When this job became open, I got a chance to talk to the booster club, and they made one of my dreams come true to get a chance to be able to broadcast the games,” Hager said at the event. Hager, a Neelyville native, attended Three Rivers as a student 35 years ago. He has developed close ties to the school ever since. He met his wife, Lana, when he was a student at Three Rivers, and the two have been married for 26 years. His daughter, Brittany Hager, played softball for the Raiders. “I came here about 35 years ago as a confused kid from Neelyville High School. I came here and kind of figured out where I needed to go academically,” Hager said at the event. “Three Rivers has been kind of a way of life for us.” Three Rivers women’s basketball coach Jeff Walk is already very familiar with Hager. “Tim and I went to college together in SEMO, so I’ve known Tim for 30-plus years,” Walk said. “Tim is one of the better radio guys in the area. … Tim knows the game. Tim’s just a great person all the way around. “I think he’s going to get more people listening. Tim has that tempo … and he’s got a great radio voice.” Added men’s basketball assistant coach Brian Bess, “I think he’s going to be a real professional, and he’s been a superintendent for I think 30 years. He likes kids, and this is going to be a fun thing for him,” Bess said. “You can tell he’s done radio.” When Hager’s introduction finished, the teams that would represent Three Rivers athletics this year were introduced. When the rodeo team held its introduction, coach Chad Phipps announced the Raiders would host their first home rodeo in three years in Sikeston, which will be held Oct. 11-13, during the fourth week of its season. “The biggest thing about this upcoming year so far is our home college rodeo. I mean that’s been the biggest buzz lately,” Phipps said. “We’ve gotten a lot of support for it so far in Sikeston, so I think it’s going to be a great event.” Three Rivers rodeo will be a young team made up of 10 freshmen, three sophomores, two juniors and one senior. Phipps expects sophomore Madison Steele, who is coming off a broken leg suffered in the summer, to have a big year for the Raiders. A team coming off a big year is Three Rivers softball. After the first trip to the College World Series in program history, head coach Jeff Null is expecting big things from his team this upcoming season.
The roster lists a relatively good split of experience and newcomers at nine sophomores and a dozen freshmen. “Talent-wise, we’re better than we were last year,” Null said. “Now we just have to put in the work and see if they can come together. These girls that are returning, they know what it takes, and they’ve been pushing the younger ones.” Last year’s First-Team All-American first baseman Allison Pingel will be a player to watch for Three Rivers as it starts its season. After a series of cancellations, the Lady Raiders will start their fall scrimmages against Dyersburg State and John A Logan on Thursday.
Nate Fields - Daily American Republic