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Appalachian State University has hired Doug Banks as an Associate Athletics Director for Development, Director of Athletics Doug Gillin announced Friday.

Banks is responsible for the annual solicitation of Yosef Club donors and prospects to grow financial support for Appalachian State Athletics. He will have a primary focus of engaging Yosef Club members and prospects with face-to-face meetings, outreach, group settings and events.

"We are excited to welcome Doug to the Appalachian Family," Gillin said. "He's had a distinguished and successful career with experience at every level of college athletics. With his primary oversight of giving to the Yosef Club, he will play an important role at App State as we continue to work to fully fund scholarships for all of our sports."

Banks came to Boone from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he was the Senior Director of Development. Prior to that, he was the Associate A.D. for Development at Kansas from 2011-18, an Associate Athletic Director for Development at Illinois State from 2005-11 and an Assistant Director of Development at Kansas State from 1999-2005.

"I'm excited to be at Appalachian State and look forward to meeting and working with our loyal Mountaineer supporters, near and far," Banks said. "It is exciting for me to be here in Boone after following App State from afar for over a decade. Passion, work ethic and vision are what college athletics is truly about, and it certainly exists here. The Yosef Club is our foundation, and we need to continue to grow our membership so our product continues to grow. With so many good things going on at App State, even greater heights can be reached collectively. Connecting with our people and providing a great experience for our student-athletes will always be at the forefront."

Before he began working on the development side of college athletics, Banks coached football at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, where he was also a Hall of Fame player. The school inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 2016 thanks to a career in which he set school records for career receptions (121), receiving yards (2,190) and touchdowns (20).

After his college career ended in 1990, Banks signed with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles and played professionally in Europe from 1993-95. He earned a bachelor's degree from Nebraska-Kearney and later returned to his alma mater to earn his Master's degree.

After posting a team GPA of 3.48, App State women's tennis earned the ITA All-Academic Team award. Sandra Anglesjö ((Norrköping Östergötland, Sweden/Fria Läroverken Norrköping), Jeannez Daniel (Port Charlotte, Fla./Florida Virtual) and María José Zacarias (San Luis Potosi, Mexico/La Loma Centro Deportivo) were named ITA Scholar-Athletes by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

Following its most successful season on the court, the Mountaineers were also impressive in the classroom with seven of the student-athletes boasting a GPA of 3.2 or better. All-Academic honors were awarded to 940 teams and thousands of scholar-athletes.

The trio of Anglesjò, Daniel and Zacarias were a key cog this season contributing to the Mountaineers' first conference title in program history and a 15-6 mark.

Anglesjö, who is majoring in building science, is honored for the second consecutive season after an impressive 3.65 GPA. She finished 9-4 with Teodora Sevo as the No. 2 tandem in the lineup, while the nine wins were tied for second on the squad. Anglesjö landed on the All-Sun Belt First Team for doubles with Sevo after their campaign. The rising junior tallied three wins in singles action.

Daniel is earning her master's degree at App State in applied data analytics and recorded a solid 3.76 GPA. In her lone season for the Black and Gold, she didn't disappoint. Daniel posted a 10-8 mark in singles with a team-best 7-1 record in Sun Belt action. Daniel's seven conference wins were tied for fourth in the Sun Belt and won nine of her last 12 matches. She earned the Sun Belt Women's Tennis Player of the Week award after going 2-0 in singles and doubles against Coastal Carolina and Arkansas State. In doubles, she led the team with 13 overall doubles victories and a 13-4 mark. With Rebecca Morse, she went 10-1 on top of an undefeated league record of 7-0. They were the only team in the conference to go unblemished in conference action.

Zacarias is majoring in exercise science and recorded a GPA of 5.3. She joins Anglesjö as a two-time recipient of the honor. She notched eight wins as the No. 3 in the lineup in singles with half of her wins coming in league competition. Zacarias won her final two matches of the campaign. In doubles, she played as the top duo with Heidi Swope. The pair won nine matches together and finished second on the team with five conference victories. Zacarias/Swope claimed their final four matches of the season.

App State men's tennis put forth a solid year inside the classroom, as it earned the ITA All-Academic Team award for the 2018-19 season. Three Mountaineers in Alex Brea (Charlotte, N.C./Providence Day), Blake Carter (Raleigh, N.C./Wakefield), and Zion Heaven (Ewa Beach, HI/Florida Virtual) were named ITA Scholar-Athletes by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

All-Academic honors were awarded to 940 teams and thousands of scholar-athletes. As a team, the Black and Gold registered a 3.27 GPA with six student-athletes reaching at least a 3.2 GPA.

Brea is honored for the second straight season after putting forth a stellar GPA of 3.86 for the academic year. He graduated in May with a degree in finance and banking. The recent graduate led the team and won a career-high nine doubles contests, seven of which came with fellow senior, Campbell Stone. His best stretch came over six matches, as he went 5-1, while he put together a season-long three-match win streak.

Carter is recognized for his work in the classroom for a second straight season. The rising junior earned a 3.56 GPA for the year. Also, the Raleigh native was named a Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar. On the court, saw action at No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 singles for the Black and Gold, while also appearing in two doubles matches during the 2018-19 campaign. He tallied three singles wins, all in straight sets.

In his first year with the Black and Gold, Heaven boasted a team-high 3.87 for '18-19. He finished second on the team in singles wins with six including a pair of victories in Sun Belt play. In doubles action, he was third on the team with six doubles wins.

Teams must earn a team GPA of 3.20 or higher, while ITA scholar-athletes must meet the following criteria: 1.) be a varsity letter winner, 2.) have a grade point average of at least 3.50 (on a 4.00 scale) for the current academic year, and 3.) have been enrolled at their present school for at least 2 semesters (including freshman through senior year).

Monday, 22 July 2019 07:14

Hickory Crawdads Fall Late to Hagerstown

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The Hickory Crawdads fell Friday night to the Hagerstown Suns, 9-8 on the road.

The Suns' Ryan Williamson was trying to hold on to a 7-6 lead in the ninth, but the Crawdads (61-33, 20-8) but together three consecutive singles with one away. The third one off the bat of Jonathan Ornelas tied the game. The next batter was Josh Jung, and his RBI groundout scored Matt Whatley and gave Hickory an 8-7 lead.

Christian Vann (W, 2-1) came on with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth and retired Melvin Novoa to keep the Suns (41-57, 11-17) within one.

The Suns had a 3-1 lead heading into the fith, but the frame started with a solo home run from Pedro Gonzalez, his team-best 18th of the season. Miguel Aparicio then followed with a long ball of his own as the Crawdads went back-to-back to tie the game. A Jonathan Ornelas RBI double later in the frame gave Hickory the lead, and then a two-out bunt RBI single from Jax Biggers made it 5-3 and chased Schaller from the game.

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) announced its 2019 All-Academic Teams and Scholar-Athletes and Lenoir-Rhyne Men's and Women's Tennis each were awarded as All-Academic teams and 12 individual players earned Scholar-Athlete distinctions.

On the women's side, Sophia Aguilar Di Camillo, Marta Escanero Funes, Ally Garofoli, Sanne Janssen and Iulia Ponomareva were selected as Scholar-Athletes. The men had Alex Ayguavives, Hamed Gandouz, Josh Lazenby, Paul Lenz, Tales Miranda, Shane O'Dea and Lewis Scott earn Scholar-Athlete status.

All-Academic teams boast a team GPA of 3.20 or higher. ITA scholar-athletes must meet the following criteria: 1.) be a varsity letter winner, 2.) have a grade point average of at least 3.50 (on a 4.00 scale) for the current academic year, and 3.) have been enrolled at their present school for at least two semesters (including freshman through senior year).

The ITA is committed to serving college tennis and returning the leaders of tomorrow. As the governing body of college tennis, the ITA oversees men's and women's varsity tennis at NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College divisions. The ITA administers a comprehensive awards and rankings program for men's and women's varsity players, coaches and teams in all divisions, providing recognition for their accomplishments on and off the court.

The Hickory Crawdads scored four runs in the fourth inning and added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth to win on the road against the Hagerstown Suns, 6-3 to open a weekend road trip against the Hagerstown Suns.

Each team was able to muster one big inning, but the four-run fourth for Hickory (60-33, 19-8) outgunned Hagerstown's (40-57, 10-17) three-run third as the Crawdads took the series opener. Hickory is 6-2 against the Suns on the season.

The four deciding Hickory runs came in the fourth against Suns starter Jake Irvin (L, 5-7). Miguel Aparicio started the frame with his 10th home run of the season, and then the Crawdads offense followed with four-consecutive singles, with the third one off the bat of Melvin Novoa bringing home a run. A Jonathan Ornelas sacrifice fly tied the game, and then Novoa scored on a passed ball that gave the Crawdads the lead 4-3.

The four runs turned out to be enough for Hickory, but they added two more for good measure in the eighth. After a leadoff walk, Tyreque Reed hit one in the air to left field that looked to hit off the wall, but it was a called a two-run home run that extended the Crawdads advantage.

Hickory is at Hagerstown over the weekend. The Crawdads return to L.P. Frans Stadium on Tuesday.

Appalachian State men's basketball head coach Dustin Kerns has announced the non-conference schedule for the upcoming 2019-20 season.

The non-conference slate features a total of 11 contests, including four at the Holmes Center.

"We are excited to release our non-conference schedule filled with several quality programs, coaches and teams," said Kerns. "Our goal is to enhance our profile with the App State brand regionally and nationally. It is very important to renew and play local and regional opponents for our recruiting, but also for our fans and parents."

The Mountaineers open the Kerns era on Nov. 5 with a road contest at Michigan. The Wolverines have made eight consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament, including two appearances in the national championship game (2013, 2018).

"We wanted to open the season with a national power and playing Michigan certainly does that with the excitement surrounding their program," added Kerns. "I will be taking Coach Moore out to lunch in October to pick his brain."

App State will have a quick turnaround and return to Boone for its home opener on Nov. 7 against Ferrum. The Mountaineers follow with another home contest against East Carolina on Nov. 12.

The Black and Gold then play three games in four days in a tournament hosted by UNC Greensboro. The Mountaineers open play in the tournament on Nov. 15 against Tennessee Tech and then battle Montana State on Nov. 16. App State closes out play in the tournament on Nov. 18 against host UNC Greensboro.

Following the tournament, App State returns to the Holmes Center on Nov. 21 and welcomes Charlotte to the High Country for the first time since the 2015-16 season.

The Mountaineers return right back to the road to renew their rivalry with East Tennessee State on Nov. 26. The matchup between the two squads will be the first meeting since the 2011-12 season.

The Black and Gold host St. Andrews on Dec. 3 in its non-conference home finale, followed by two consecutive road games to end the non-conference season. On Dec. 14, the Mountaineers travel to Washington D.C. to face Howard and close out non-conference play on Dec. 29 at N.C. State.

"Our non-conference schedule has been reduced by two games this season with the Sun Belt moving to a 20-game schedule. We wanted to give our team a balanced schedule not only for this season, but for the future as well," remarked Kerns. "This schedule is challenging and will prepare us for play in the always tough Sun Belt."

The Mountaineers welcome back eight players from last season and will begin practices in October.

A league-best eight first-team selections from Appalachian State highlighted the preseason All-Sun Belt football teams announced by the league office Thursday.

The release comes in advance of the conference's Media Day festivities, which begin Sunday and continue Monday in New Orleans. Preseason all-conference awards were voted upon by the Sun Belt's 10 football head coaches and selected media representatives.

In tying Arkansas State for first place with 11 all-league picks overall, App State's eight first-team selections included five offensive players in quarterback Zac Thomas, running back Darrynton Evans, receiver Corey Sutton, offensive lineman Victor Johnson and offensive lineman Noah Hannon. The first-team selections on defense were linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither, linebacker Jordan Fehr and defensive back Desmond Franklin.

The Mountaineers, who have been picked by the league's coaches to win another Sun Belt title during head coach Eliah Drinkwitz's first season in Boone, possess three second-team selections in defensive back Josh Thomas, tight end Collin Reed and Evans as a return specialist.

Arkansas State ranked second in the Sun Belt with five first-team choices, while the Preseason Players of the Year were Troy running back B.J. Smith (Offense) and Georgia Southern defensive back Kindle Vildor (Defense).

Zac Thomas completed his first season as an App State starter in 2018 with 2,039 passing yards, 504 rushing yards and a combined 31 touchdowns (21 through the air). Evans rushed for a league-leading 1,187 yards even though he didn't become App State's primary back until Game 5, and Sutton tied for first place in the Sun Belt with 10 touchdown catches.

Johnson, a starting tackle for the previous three years, and Hannon, the starting center during each of his first two years, helped App State rank in the top 25 nationally in both rushing yards per game and fewest sacks allowed for the fifth straight season. At tight end, Reed has a combined eight touchdown catches in the last two seasons.

Davis-Gaither, Fehr, Franklin and Josh Thomas were key members of a 2018 defense that ranked No. 4 nationally at 15.5 points allowed per game and set a Sun Belt record by allowing only 20 touchdowns.

Davis-Gaither amassed 105 tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss, seven pass breakups, 1.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and three quarterback hurries, while Fehr recorded a team-high 5.5 sacks and 86 tackles. Franklin and Thomas shared second place in the Sun Belt by intercepting four passes apiece from their safety positions in 2018, when they combined for 94 tackles.

In addition to his production at running back, Evans averaged 32.7 yards per kickoff return, a mark that ranked No. 2 nationally among players with at least 1.2 returns per game. His second career return for a touchdown covered 100 yards at Penn State last season, and he also had a 97-yard return in the Sun Belt Championship Game.

2019 Sun Belt Conference Preseason Football Teams

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: B.J. Smith (Troy, Senior)
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Kindle Vildor (Georgia Southern, Senior)

First Team Offense
QB - Zac Thomas (Appalachian State, Junior)
RB - Darrynton Evans (Appalachian State, Junior)
RB - B.J. Smith (Troy, Senior)
WR - Corey Sutton (Appalachian State, Junior)
WR - Kirk Merritt (Arkansas State, Senior)
WR - Ja'Marcus Bradley (Louisiana, RS-Senior)
TE - Javonis Isaac (Arkansas State, RS-Junior)
OL - Noah Hannon (Appalachian State, Junior)
OL - Victor Johnson (Appalachian State, Senior)
OL - Kevin Dotson (Louisiana, RS-Senior)
OL - Robert Hunt (Louisiana, RS-Senior)
OL - Kirk Kelley (Troy, Senior)

First Team Defense
DL - William Bradley-King (Arkansas State, RS-Junior)
DL - Forrest Merrill (Arkansas State, Junior)
DL - Raymond Johnson (Georgia Southern, Junior)
DL - Tyree Turner (South Alabama, Senior)
LB - Akeem Davis-Gaither (Appalachian State, Senior)
LB - Jordan Fehr (Appalachian State, Senior)
LB - Bryan London II (Texas State, Senior)
DB - Desmond Franklin (Appalachian State, Senior)
DB - Jerry Jacobs (Arkansas State, Junior)
DB - Monquavion Brinson (Georgia Southern, Senior)
DB - Kindle Vildor (Georgia Southern, Senior)

First Team Special Teams
K - Tyler Bass (Georgia Southern, RS-Senior)
P - Brandon Wright (Georgia State, RS-Senior)
RS - Tra Minter (South Alabama, Senior)

Second Team Offense
QB - Caleb Evans (ULM, Senior)
RB - Elijah Mitchell (Louisiana, Junior)
RB - Trey Ragas (Louisiana, RS-Junior)
WR - Omar Bayless (Arkansas State, RS-Senior)
WR - Kawaan Baker (South Alabama, Junior)
WR - Tray Eafford (Troy, Junior)
TE - Collin Reed (Appalachian State, Senior)
OL - Jacob Still (Arkansas State, RS-Junior)
OL - Hunter Atkinson (Georgia State, RS-Senior)
OL - T.J. Fiailoa (ULM, RS-Junior)
OL - Aaron Brewer (Texas State, Senior)
OL - Tristan Crowder (Troy, Senior)

Second Team Defense
DL - Kevin Thurmon (Arkansas State, RS-Senior)
DL - Tarron Jackson (Coastal Carolina, RS-Junior)
DL - Zi'Yon Hill (Louisiana, RS-Sophomore)
DL - Jarvis Hayes (Troy, Senior)
LB - Jacques Boudreaux (Louisiana, Senior)
LB - Nikolas Daniels (Texas State, Senior)
LB - Carlton Martial (Troy, Sophomore)
DB - Josh Thomas (Appalachian State, Senior)
DB - B.J. Edmonds (Arkansas State, Senior)
DB - Darreon Jackson (Arkansas State, RS-Senior)
DB - Michael Jacquet III (Louisiana, RS-Senior)

Second Team Special Teams
K - Tyler Sumpter (Troy, Junior)
P - Cody Grace (Arkansas State, RS-Senior)
RS - Darrynton Evans (Appalachian State, Junior)

After securing a third straight Sun Belt Conference football title in 2018 with a victory in the league's inaugural championship game, Appalachian State has been picked to win another Sun Belt championship in 2019.

A vote by league coaches in advance of Monday's Sun Belt Media Day in New Orleans tabbed App State the East Division favorite and Louisiana the West Division favorite. Those two programs met for the Sun Belt title last year, with the Mountaineers claiming a 30-19 victory in Boone, and Appalachian has been picked to repeat as the championship game winner.

The 2019 championship game will be held Dec. 7 at the home venue of the division winner with the highest winning percentage in conference play.

The Mountaineers are entering their first season under the direction of head coach Eliah Drinkwitz. Only five of the 22 primary offensive and defensive starters from a record-breaking 11-2 season in 2018 are gone, and the return of nine All-Sun Belt performers from last season has added to the excitement.

App State received 46 points and seven first-place votes to rank ahead of second-place Troy (39 points with one first-place vote) and Georgia Southern (35 points with two first-place votes) in the East Division poll. Coastal Carolina and Georgia State rounded out the East side. With 46 points and six first-place votes, Louisiana was picked to win the West Division ahead of Arkansas State (42 points with three first-place votes), ULM, South Alabama and Texas State.

App State will open the 2019 season with an Aug. 31 home game against East Tennessee State.

The rest of the home schedule at Kidd Brewer Stadium involves matchups in Boone with Charlotte (Sept. 7), Coastal Carolina (Sept. 28), ULM (Oct. 19), Georgia Southern (Thursday, Oct. 31) and Texas State (Nov. 23). The road games are at North Carolina (Sept. 21), Louisiana (Wednesday, Oct. 9), South Alabama (Oct. 26), South Carolina (Nov. 9), Georgia State (Nov. 16) and Troy (Friday, Nov. 29).

The Sun Belt Media Day is being held Monday in New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Drinkwitz and two App State players (quarterback Zac Thomas, safety Josh Thomas) will participate in interviews throughout the day, as Monday's media schedule begins at 9:30 a.m. ET with Sun Belt Commissioner Keith Gill giving his "State of the Conference" address.

2019 Sun Belt Football Coaches Predicted Championship Game Winner
Appalachian State

2019 Sun Belt Football Coaches Predicted Order of Finish
First-place votes in parentheses

East Division
1. Appalachian State (7) - 46 pts
2. Troy (1) - 39 pts
3. Georgia Southern (2) - 35 pts
4. Coastal Carolina - 17 pts
5. Georgia State - 13 pts

West Division
1. Louisiana (6) - 46 pts
2. Arkansas State (3) - 42 pts
3. ULM - 27 pts
4. South Alabama (1) - 19 pts
5. Texas State - 16 pts

A pair of Hibriten players were on the East-West All Star Football game in Greensboro Wednesday night. Josh Baker and Marqwone Jones both represented the Panthers on the West squad roster. Baker started as a guard on the offensive line and Jones was a starting running back. He ended up with one carry for six yards. The East defeated the West 20-8.

Thursday, 18 July 2019 09:17

Hickory Crawdads Complete Sweep of Kannapolis

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The Hickory Crawdads defeated the Kannapolis Intimidators 7-5 on Wednesday night to finish off the three-game sweep.

The win puts the 'Dads in first place for the first time in the second half.

The Intimidators scored three runs in the top of the second inning off Crawdads lefty Grant Wolfram.

The 'Dads answered with a pair of runs to cut the score to 3-2. Miguel Aparicio walked and Jonathan Ornelas singled to put two runners on. Jonathan Ornelas hit a grounder that forced Whatley out at second but Aparicio came in to score.

Kannapolis got two more runs on the board in the fourth inning to pull ahead 5-2.

Miguel Aparicio hit his ninth homer of the season and second of the series to put the 'Dads within two runs.

The Crawdads completed the comeback in the sixth inning with four runs. Aparicio and Whatley hit consecutive singles and Jonathan Ornelas brought the first run in with a double. Two more runs came in on Frainyer Chavez's single. Pedro Gonzalez drew a walk and Josh Jung singled to load the bases. Tyreque Reed hit a sac fly to score a run and cap off the scoring for the inning.

The Crawdads return on Tuesday night to begin a seven game homestand. It is Dollar Dog Tuesday which means hot dogs are $1 thanks to Hebrew National and WHKY 1290AM and 102.3FM and fans can bring their dogs for $1 courtesy of Cody Law Firm. Craft pints will also be on sale for $2 thanks to Lowes Foods.

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