Sports (641)

Wednesday, 02 May 2018 22:54

Hickory Crawdads Late Rally Falls Short

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The Hickory Crawdads would try to rally in the ninth inning, but it was not enough losing on the road to Kannapolis 9-6 Wednesday evening.

Melvin Novoa continued his recent hot streak going three-for-five with a run scored. Novoa has had seven hits in his last 17 at bats. For the season, he is batting .355, good for third in the South Atlantic League.

Justin Jacobs added three hits and two RBI for the Crawdads.

Hickory drops to 8-16 on the season. They will play at Kannapolis again on Thursday before heading to West Virginia for a weekend series against the Power.

Wednesday, 02 May 2018 22:52

App State Baseball Shuts Out NC A&T

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Appalachian State's baseball team delivered a Boone blanking.

Playing a midweek home game on a 75-degree day at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium, the Mountaineers won 2-0 against North Carolina A&T thanks to a three-hit shutout from four pitchers, including starter Brandon Boone (3-4).

Boone, the starting pitcher in both of App State's shutouts this season, struck out six batters and allowed two singles (with one bunt hit) in six scoreless innings. Kaleb Bowman and Andrew Papp threw a scoreless inning apiece before turning the game over to senior closer Luke Watts, who allowed an infield hit while moving into seventh place on the school's single-season list with his seventh save of 2018. The Sun Belt Conference leader with 20 games finished this year, Watts has lowered his ERA to 2.43 by allowing no earned runs over 15.0 innings in his last 14 appearances.

Appalachian (13-31) broke a scoreless tie with two away in the fifth inning, when Alex Leshock hit an RBI triple to right-center to score Kendall McGowan, who had singled with one out, and CJ Brown drilled an RBI single to left to bring home Leshock.

"With one walk and two hits in six innings, Brandon was fantastic on the mound," App State head coach Kermit Smith said. "You tip your cap to Brandon, Kaleb, Andrew and Luke. They've all been really good for us this year, and that was on display for nine innings today. Runs were tough to come by, but we got two huge two-out hits when we really needed them."

Boone also pitched six scoreless innings in mid-March, combining with Bowman and Watts to strike out 12 batters in a 6-0 road win against North Carolina Central. With Papp joining the mix, App State's pitchers combined for eight strikeouts Wednesday while allowing just the one clean hit to the outfield by the Aggies (24-21).

App State gave up three hits or less in a shutout win for the first time since a 4-0 victory against Stony Brook in March 2016, and Boone is the first Appalachian pitcher to start two team shutouts in the same season since Taylor Thurber did so in 2015.

Boone recorded three perfect innings and twice stranded a runner at second base before the Mountaineers broke through with their two-run fifth. McGowan singled up the middle and later scored on a hit into the right-center gap from Leshock. Batting at the top of the order for the first time, Brown extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a line-drive single to left.

Boone again stranded a runner at second base in the sixth inning, posting back-to-back swinging strikeouts after North Carolina A&T's Greg White singled with one out and stole second. Bowman needed only seven pitches to complete the top half of the seventh inning, and Papp had one strikeout in a nine-pitch eighth.

Watts opened the ninth inning with a strikeout and allowed an infield hit, but shortstop Joel McDaniel, second baseman Bailey Welch and first baseman Conner Leonard combined on a game-ending double play. Watts hasn't allowed a run in 21 of his 24 appearances this season.

Leshock accounted for two of the six hits by App State, which could have moved ahead 4-0 in the seventh inning if McDaniel's two-out bloop hit down the left-field line had been ruled fair.

The Mountaineers return to action Friday with the start of a three-game Sun Belt series at UT Arlington (21-24, 11-10).

A release was posted today on, Newton-Conover's online newsletter for educators. It reads as follows:

Newton-Conover head football coach Matt Beam has announced his resignation as the head football coach at Newton-Conover High School.

Coach Beam has led the program at N-CHS for the past four seasons. Over the last four years, Beam’s commitment to the team has been unwavering.

“What’s important to me has changed. I was chasing football wins every day. To be a very good head coach, you have to chase that to be successful. If you do it right, you take them to camp, to 7 on 7s, do spring workouts, summer workouts, and so on. Ultimately, Football is a 365 day a year job. But for example, as my son is the Quarterback at Kings Mountain Elite, I’ve missed games because I give everything to my team, but you can’t get that time back,” Beam said.

Beam will continue through the end of the school year before transitioning into his new venture: Beam Boys Bargains.

“The next step for me is going to Lincolnton to pursue my dream and start a new business, Beam Boys Bargains. We will be opening our business to resell overstocked products from retailers at a wholesale liquidated price. I’m excited and very nervous about this opportunity, but it happened so quickly. This isn’t just a coaching change, it is a whole career change,” Beam said.

For Beam, this decision provides him with the opportunity to focus on his family.

“When I started head coaching thirteen years ago at North Lincoln, I had no kids and just was married. I’ve been here [at N-CHS] for four years, and they have been a great four years. This is very hard because I have put my life into this team, and being without that is a total life change. I’ve enjoyed my time here at N-CHS. I took over a program that was 1-10 in 2013, and our kids really accepted me and were willing to work. They have worked hard, they have been diligent in what they did on the field and in the weight room,” Beam said.

Mr. Chris Penley, Principal of Newton-Conover High School, reinforced Beam’s work ethic and relationships with his players and his peers.

“Matt Beam is a tireless worker. He is as student-centered as any head coach I’ve ever been around. He is tirelessly advocating for students with college coaches to give them an opportunity to play at the next level. He builds tremendous relationships with players and their families. He’s had kids stay in his home, he’s provided transportation, and so much more. These are all things that help to drive him to being a good coach. He’s one of the best in strength and conditioning that I’ve been around. I want to thank Matt Beam for everything that he has done for our program and wish him the best of luck in all of his future endeavors,” Penley said.

Moving forward, a familiar face will be standing in as the Interim Head Coach of the N-CHS Football Team: Darren Ponder.

“I’m extremely excited. I get to pursue a goal that I’ve always had, being a head coach at a very reputable football program. The most important thing for me right now is our boys. Right now, my main focus is to get our kids together and fighting together as one team. For me in general, it’s always been about the kids. I still love kids. I love to see them get better, stronger, successful, and play in college,” Ponder said.

Ponder has served N-CHS as the Defensive Coordinator since 2016. He started teaching and coaching career in 1998 at Mitchell High School. During his time at Mitchell, Ponder served as Baseball Coach, Wrestling Coach, Assistant Athletic Director, the Western Highlands Conference President, Strength and Conditioning Coordinator, Defensive Coordinator, Assistant Head Football Coach, and Athletic Director until 2007. After Ponder’s departure from Mitchell High, he served as head football coach and Athletic Director at Madison High School, after which he was named Defensive Coordinator at West Lincoln High School. Ponder served as the Athletic Director and Defensive Coordinator at Burns High School following his tenure at West Lincoln, where he returned to serve as the Assistant Head Coach before coming to Newton-Conover High School in 2016.

Ponder’s goals for the team are built upon a strong belief in dedication, trust, and hard work.

“We have got to build a team that trusts each other first, who trusts their coaches. My goals are just like everyone else’s: conference championship and state championship, and I believe that can be attained here, with all sincerity. My philosophy is that we are going to outwork and outhit whomever we play and will be better prepared. As far as school, I want the kids to graduate with a college degree if that is their pathway, or a reputable job. I want them to be productive citizens of our community,” Ponder said.

Mr. Penley shared his excitement for Coach Ponder to transition into this new role providing leadership to the N-CHS Football Team moving forward.

“I think Darren is energetic. He is getting ready to start his third year in our program and he has built relationships that will continue to swing the N-CHS Football pendulum in an upward manner. He is student-centered. He’s got twenty years of experience, the last two in Newton-Conover. His dedication is second-to-none. We look forward to him leading our Red Devil Football Program,” said Penley.

Athletic Director Mr. John Echerd shared his appreciation for both Beam and Ponder, their positive outlook and their dedication to students.

“I will miss the way that Matt was able to motivate students not only on the field but in the classroom. His weight room is the best I’ve ever seen because of what he gets out of kids in the room. His ability to motivate on the football field is second-to-none. The students are going to miss him here, but the staff will too, here at Newton-Conover High School. I’m excited that Coach Ponder is going to take over the program. He has a great rapport with the athletes in our school and works really well with the staff. I truly believe that our athletes will come out and be ready to play for him,” Echerd said.

South Fork Athletic 2A Conference:
Lake Norman Charter: 9
Newton-Conover: 0

Freedom: 6
Draughn: 1

Wednesday, 02 May 2018 21:55

App State Wrestling Receives Large Gift

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As part of a Mountaineer Impact initiative to make Varsity Gym an even better home to Appalachian State's wrestling program, App State wrestling Hall of Famer Wayne York has contributed an $85,000 gift, head coach JohnMark Bentley announced Wednesday.

With York's contribution and the generosity of many others, the wrestling program is now $106,580 toward its goal of $150,000 to make desired facility improvements connected to the wrestling room, locker room and seating area in Varsity Gym.

York, who helped the Mountaineers raise more than $50,000 toward wrestling scholarships with the "Pin to Win" campaign in 2016, wrestled for Appalachian State from 1949-51 and was a member of the undefeated 1950 squad that went 13-0 while setting a national scoring record with 368 points. He had a 32-3 record as a senior, competed in the Olympic Trials in 1952 and was inducted into the Appalachian State University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1997.

Earlier this year, App State's wrestling program won its third consecutive Southern Conference regular-season championship and also captured the SoCon tournament title. Four wrestlers competed at the NCAA Championships in Cleveland, and Bentley was one of eight finalists for National Coach of the Year.

The Mountaineers have a 20-1 record in SoCon dual meets since the start of the 2015-16 season, and they climbed to as high as No. 16 in the national polls with a 13-2 start to the 2016-17 season.

During the same three-year stretch, they're 29-1 against non-Power Five Conference opponents with five victories against teams from Power Five leagues.

The Catawba Valley Community College women’s basketball program has announced the addition of Chapel Hill standout Aniya Taylor to its 2018-19 line up on Wednesday.

Catawba Valley head women’s basketball coach Tisha England is excited to have Taylor join her program.

“Aniya is hand down an athlete,” England said. “She can play. She can dribble. She has ball-handlings kills. She can shoot. I’m looking forward to helping her become one of our next All-Americans. She’s excited. She’s one of the one of the most highly recruited players coming out of the state of North Carolina, and I’m honored that she chose CVCC to be her next journey.”

During her final season at Chapel Hill, Taylor averaged 9.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 22 assists and 3.4 steals per game.

Taylor also played varsity basketball for the Tigers as a junior, averaging 3.2 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.

England had a chance to see Taylor in action in several high school games this past season and liked what she saw out of the speedy 5-foot-8 senior guard.

“We just continued to communicate,” England said. “When I met her, I was straight forward with her. I let her know how I am and what my program is all about. I think she did a little research herself. We communicated later on down the road, and she came up for another workout. She just fell in love with our facility, and she fell in love with our players.”

Taylor is the second member of the Red Hawks’ 2018-19 recruiting class, joining Alexander Central standout KeyKey Miller.

Catawba Valley is coming off one of its best seasons in program history, recording a 27-5 overall record and 20-2 mark in Region X play.

Fifty years ago, Appalachian State University field hockey broke ground as the first-ever women's intercollegiate sport in Black and Gold history to give women the opportunity to excel in collegiate athletics.

Since 1968, field hockey has paved the way for future student-athletes, and 10 women's sports were implemented, providing a chance for over 175 student-athletes to achieve their goal of earning a scholarship and playing a collegiate sport at a high level.

During the 2018-19 athletics calendar year, the Department of Athletics will recognize all women's sports to celebrate this milestone with special events and reunions.

The celebration will start with an opening weekend dinner Friday, Sept. 21, in Appalachian's Roess Dining Hall from 6-7 p.m. The cost is $20 per person. Special recognition for the Appalachian Trailblazers will be held at 7 p.m.

On Saturday, Sept. 22, when Appalachian State football takes on Gardner-Webb inside The Rock, all alumnae from women's sports will be recognized during the game. Every former female student-athlete will receive a ticket to the game, while a guest ticket is $30.

Capping off the exciting weekend will be a special ribbon-cutting ceremony for field hockey and their brand-new field hockey facility on Sunday, Sept. 23, against ACC foe Louisville at 11 a.m.

Former female student-athletes planning to attend the weekend's festivities, you can register by going HERE.

For more information, please contact Senior Associate Athletics Director, Brittney C. Whiteside at

Wednesday, 02 May 2018 21:42

CVCC's Wilson to Play at Mars Hill

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Catawba Valley Community College sophomore forward Joyous Wilson has signed to continue her academic and athletic career at Mars Hill University.

Wilson made her signing official earlier this week during a ceremony held at CVCC’s Tarlton Complex.

“I’m very happy to be going to the next level,” Wilson said of signing. “I’m excited and ready to see the new beginnings. I really enjoy Mars Hill. I didn’t think I was going to like the mountains, but I really loved the atmosphere up there and their coach. He’s really nice. I’m just ready to play, and I’m glad to be graduating from Catawba Valley.”

After averaging 4.2 points and 4.3 rebounds during her first season at Catawba Valley, Wilson made tremendous strides from her freshman to sophomore season.

The 5-foot-8 forward from Charlotte, N.C. averaged 9.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game in 31 games this past season for the Red Hawks, leading them to a 27-5 overall record and 20-2 mark in conference games.

CVCC head women’s basketball coach Tisha England said Wilson’s growth from year one to year two was the product of her hard work.

“Joy has came in and done a total turnaround from last year and just impacted the team overall with her inside and outside game,” England said. “I’m proud of Joy. We sat down over the summer and talked about what she needed to work on to contribute to the team, and she totally bought into it. She lost weight and got up and down the court and did what she needed to do to be successful.”

Wilson becomes the third member of the 2017-18 Red Hawks women’s basketball team to sign with a four-year school, joining teammates Shaniya Lester (UNC Pembroke) and Tanisha Wall (Montreat College).

Wilson said her sophomore teammates, which also includes guards Nikkyana McCaskill and Tory Agrusa, hold a special place in her heart.

“I’m going to miss the sophomores,” Wilson said. “I’m going to miss everyone. The sophomores share a special bond. Our season was great. It was sad it ended early. I wished we could have gone on, but we had some great outcomes.

“Some of us are far away, but some of us are just 45 minutes away,” Wilson added of her sophomore teammates. “I’m glad some of us are close so we can keep in touch and not just by phone.”

England believes that Wilson will be successful moving forward and that she is a great fit in the Lion’s women’s basketball program.

“Joy had a lot of great workouts this year, and Mars Hill was one of her best workouts,” England said. “She just fit into their system, and she can play as both a guard and as a post player as a small forward. I think any program Joy goes to she is going to contribute big time to them.”

Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference First Round:
East Burke: 3
West Iredell: 2

Fred T. Foard: 5
Patton: 1

Hibriten: 2
Draughn: 0

Northwestern 3A/4A Conference First Round:
Alexander Central: 4
Watauga: 3

Freedom: 9
Hickory: 2

McDowell: 3
St. Stephens: 2

South Caldwell: 15
West Caldwell: 4

South Fork Athletic 2A Conference Second Round:
Bandys: 9
Lake Norman Charter: 1

Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference:
Bunker Hill: 9
Patton: 1

East Burke: 1
Draughn: 0

Northwestern 3A/4A Conference Tournament Second Round:
Alexander Central: 3
McDowell: 2

South Caldwell: 10
West Caldwell: 0

South Fork Athletic 2A Conference First Round:
West Lincoln: 8
Bandys: 3

East Lincoln: 20
Newton-Conover: 7

South Fork Athletic 2A Conference Second Round:
Maiden: 12
West Lincoln: 2

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