Appalachian State University men’s cross country was picked to finish second in the Sun Belt Conference, as selected by the league’s coaches and announced by the conference office on Tuesday.
“UT Arlington is certainly the team to beat as they return three of their top four runners plus a really good transfer from New Mexico State,” said head coach Michael Curcio. “At the same time though, it says a lot about our men’s program (returns three of top four runners) when the other teams in the conference think that highly of us.”
UT Arlington topped the poll with 71 points and four first-place votes, App State was one point and one first-place vote behind the Mavericks with 70 and three, respectively while South Alabama rounded out the top three with two first-place nods and a total of 70 points. UL Lafayette came in at fourth (52 points), Little Rock was fifth (43 points) and Arkansas State was ranked seventh with 37 points. The final three spots belonged to Texas State (32 points), UL Monroe (17 points) and Troy (13 points).
“We’re looking forward to another challenge in Georgia for the Sun Belt Championships,” said Curcio. “Aside from host Georgia State, the other teams in this conference aren’t really familiar with that course so it’ll be interesting to see how the league prepares for Nov. 1.”
The Mountaineers will begin their season on Friday, Sept. 4 when they host the Covered Bridge Open in Boone. As mentioned above, the Sun Belt Championships will be held in Hampton, Ga. on Sunday, Nov. 1.
Rank School (First-Place Votes) - Points
1. UT Arlington (4) - 71
2. Appalachian State (3) - 70
3. South Alabama (2) - 70
4. UL Lafayette - 52
5. Little Rock - 43
6. Arkansas State - 37
7. Texas State - 32
8. UL Monroe - 17
9. Troy - 13
One season after taking home second place at the Sun Belt Conference Championships, Appalachian State University women's cross country was picked to win the league as voted by the Sun Belt's coaches, the conference announced on Tuesday.
"We're excited that the rest of the conference thinks that much of our team and it's certainly nice to have that ranking heading into the preseason," said head coach Michael Curcio. "There's a lot of work to be done by all the teams between now and Nov. 1, but we have to stay healthy and get through the whole season to be ready for that date."
App State topped the poll with 115 points and six of the 11 first-place votes, UT Arlington came in at second with 113 points and the five remaining first-place votes while UL Lafayette concluded the top three with 85 points. The middle five spots were occupied by Arkansas State (84 points), Georgia State (82 points), South Alabama (63 points), Little Rock (60 points), and Texas State (52 points). The bottom three included Troy (34 points), Georgia Southern (22 points) and UL Monroe (16 points).
"We're looking forward to another challenge in Georgia for the Sun Belt Championships," said Curcio. "Aside from host Georgia State, the other teams in this conference aren't really familiar with that course so it'll be interesting to see how the league prepares for it."
The Mountaineers will open the season by hosting the Covered Bridge Open in Boone on Friday, Sept. 4. As mentioned above, the Sun Belt Championships will take place in Hampton, Ga. on Sunday, Nov. 1.
School (First-Place Votes) Points
1. Appalachian State (6) 115
2. UT Arlington (5) 113
3. UL Lafayette 85
4. Arkansas State 84
5. Georgia State 82
6. South Alabama 63
7. Little Rock 60
8. Texas State 52
9. Troy 34
10. Georgia Southern 22
11. UL Monroe 16
The Lenoir-Rhyne University Men’s Soccer Team was picked sixth in the 2015 South Atlantic Conference Preseason Poll, league officials announced this morning.
Wingate, the defending league regular season champion and an NCAA Division II playoff participant last year, was picked to win the title behind 10 first-place votes and 131 total points. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 22 in the nation.
The conference poll is voted on by the league’s 12 head coaches.
Lenoir-Rhyne sophomore midfielder Leon Mueller-Wiesen (Munich, GERMANY) earned second-team all-league preseason accolades. Mueller-Wiesen finished with three goals, three assists and nine points while starting 17 matches for the Bears last season.
Lenoir-Rhyne went 6-8-5 overall in 2014 but finished fourth in the South Atlantic Conference standings with a 6-4-1 mark and advanced to the SAC Championship Semifinals last November.
Lenoir-Rhyne opens the season on Thursday, September 3, against Belmont Abbey in Belmont, N.C., beginning at 4:00 p.m. The Bears’ first home contest takes place on Saturday, September 5, versus Lander at 7:00 p.m., at the Moretz Sports – Athletic Complex.
2015 South Atlantic Conference
Men’s Soccer Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Wingate (10) 131
2. Carson-Newman 109
3. Mars Hill 106
4. Tusculum (2) 98
5. Lincoln Memorial 94
6. Lenoir-Rhyne 87
7. Anderson 70
8. Queens 58
9. Coker 57
10. Catawba 50
11. Newberry 36
12. Brevard 23
2015 South Atlantic Conference Men’s Soccer
Preseason All-Conference Teams
F – Charlie Machell, Wingate
F – Leonardo Da Silva, Lincoln Memorial
F – Andre Carle, Anderson
F – Andreas Kvam, Tusculum
MF – Aksel Juul, Wingate
MF – Shaun Gadsby, Wingate
MF – David Fairgrieve, Wingate
MF – Marc-Kevin Schwenk, Queens
D – Alex Nelson, Wingate
D – James Scott, Wingate
D – Christan McArthur, Mars Hill
D – Guillermo Lazcano, Tusculum
GK – Jorge Alvarez, Tusculum
F – Marius Staalby, Carson-Newman
F – Jonathan Spicher, Tusculum
F – Connor Norton-Baker, Coker
F – Lucas Ferreira, Newberry
MF – Amine Merdjett, Mars Hill
MF – Rurik Pereira, Carson-Newman
MF – Leon Mueller-Wiesen, Lenoir-Rhyne
MF – Sindre Welo, Carson-Newman
D – James Ward, Carson-Newman
D – Nathaniel Johnson, Lincoln Memorial
D – Ricardo Da silva, Tusculum
D – Phillip Hollenhorst, Catawba
GK – Kyndle Cobb, Coker
Due to great demand, Appalachian State University athletics’ Hall of Fame breakfast has been moved to the Holmes Center, Appalachian State athletics announced on Tuesday.
The once-in-a-lifetime event, which will feature the induction of legendary football coach Jerry Moore (1989-2012), football stars Armanti Edwards (2006-09), Chip Hooks (1991-94) and Daniel Wilcox (1999-2000) and women’s cross country/track and field standout Leigh Cooper Wallace (1988-92) into the Appalachian Athletics Hall of Fame, is set for 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 5.
Originally slated to be held at the Plemmons Student Union’s Blue Ridge Ballroom, tickets for the annual Hall of Fame breakfast sold out quickly. Plans were finalized late last week to move the event to the Holmes Center in an effort to meet the still-great demand for tickets.
With the move to the Holmes Center, tickets for the event cost $25 and can be purchased by calling Yosef Club donor relations coordinator Natalie Harkey at (828) 262-3108.
Appalachian’s star-studded 41st Hall of Fame class will also be recognized during the Mountaineers’ football season opener versus Howard, which is set for 3:30 p.m. at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Tickets are still available and can be purchased online at appstatesports.com/tickets, by phone at (828) 262-2079 or in person at the Appalachian State athletics ticket office, located at the Holmes Center.
Appalachian State University football junior inside linebacker John Law (Atlanta, Ga./Grady) was one of 33 student-athletes added to the official watch list for the 2015 Rotary Lombardi Award, the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority announced on Tuesday.
Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to down linemen, end-to-end, either on offense or defense, who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball, or linebackers who set up no farther than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage. The award was established in 1970, shortly following the death of its namesake, legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi. In addition to performance on the field, a player’s leadership, courage, desire, respect for authority and discipline are criteria for the award.
Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright III was the 2014 honoree.
Tabbed as a first-team preseason all-Sun Belt Conference selection last month, Law led Appalachian State and was tied for 12th in the Sun Belt with 91 total tackles as a sophomore in 2014. He also tied for second on the team with six tackles for loss and four pass breakups, tied for third on the squad with two takeaways (one interception, one fumble recovery) and finished fifth on the team with five sacks a season ago, en route to second-team all-conference recognition.
Despite only entering his junior campaign, Law is already Appalachian State’s career leader with 164 tackles in just 27 games and 21 starts (6.1 tackles per game, 7.8 per start).
Law joins Appalachian State senior defensive end Ronald Blair (Greensboro, Ga./Greene County) among the 175 total student-athletes on official watch list for the 2015 Rotary Lombardi Award.
The 46th-annual Rotary Lombardi Award ceremony will be held on Dec. 9 at the Bayou Music Center in Houston. Proceeds from the Rotary Lombardi Awards benefit the American Cancer Society, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centers/Children’s Cancer Hospital and Texas Children’s Cancer Center.
Law and the Mountaineers open the 2015 campaign on Sept. 5 versus Howard. Kickoff for the Hall of Fame Day contest is set for 3:30 p.m. at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Festivities will include recognition of the newest inductees to the Appalachian State Athletics Hall of Fame, highlighted by legendary coach Jerry Moore and quarterback Armanti Edwards.
South Mountain Athletic Conference:
East Burke: 3
Alexander Central: 3
Bunker Hill: 3
St. Stephens: 1
West Caldwell: 3
West Wilkes: 1
Lake Norman: 7
Fred T. Foard: 0
East Burke: 0
North Iredell: 5
West Caldwell: 0
The Lenoir-Rhyne University Women’s Soccer Team was selected by the head coaches to win the 2015 South Atlantic Conference Regular Season Championship for the sixth straight year, league officials announced this afternoon.
The Bears, who return 10 starters this season, received seven of the 12 first-place votes in the league preseason poll for a total of 127 points.
In addition, a league-high seven players earned All-South Atlantic Conference Preseason honors including three on the first team: senior midfielder Garcelle Alequine (Wilmington, Del.), senior forward Casey Marlin (Floyd Knobs, Ind.) and senior defender Brianna Belsky (Egg Harbor Township, N.J.).
Alequine is a two-time NCAA Division II All-American (2013-14) who led the squad in goals scored (14), assists (six) and total points (34) in 2014 while Marlin was an all-league pick last year after scoring six goals to go along with 13 total points.
Belsky is a two-time All-SAC and All-Southeast Region First-Team pick (2012 and 2014) who anchored a defense which limited its opponents to just 25 goals in 23 matches last season. In addition, Belsky scored four goals in 2014 and was named a Capital One First-Team Academic All-American.
Senior forward Leah Mullins (Kissimmee, Fla.), senior midfielder Emmi Dunn (Reading, Pa.), senior defender Amber Madriaga (Wailuku, Hawaii) and sophomore goalkeeper Alayna Morris (Westminster, Md.) garnered second-team preseason all-conference accolades for the Bears.
Mullins (three goals and seven points last fall) has earned all-conference honors the past three years while Dunn is a two-time All-SAC selection (2013-14) who ranked third on the team in goals (five) and points (10) last fall.
Madriaga was named to the 2013 All-SAC First Team while Morris was 12-0-2 as the team’s primary goalkeeper last year to go along with a 0.70 goals-against average, 43 saves and 7.5 shutouts.
Lenoir-Rhyne, ranked No. 12 in NCAA Division II, opens the season at home on Thursday, September 3, against Lees-McRae beginning at 7:00 p.m., at the Moretz Sports – Athletic Complex.
Lenoir-Rhyne was 16-4-3 overall last season including a 10-1 mark in South Atlantic Conference play and advanced to the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Finals. The Bears are coached by first-year mentor Gary Higgins.
2015 South Atlantic Conference
Women’s Soccer Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Lenoir-Rhyne (7) 127
2. Wingate (5) 126
3. Lincoln Memorial 103
4. Newberry 95
5. Catawba 90
6. Tusculum 89
7. Queens 77
8. Anderson 62
9. Carson-Newman 56
10. Coker 35
11. Mars Hill 33
12. Brevard 31
2015 South Atlantic Conference Women’s Soccer
Preseason All-Conference Teams
F – Casey Marlin, Lenoir-Rhyne
F – Brooke Howell, Wingate
F – Lyssa Engle, Anderson
F – Taylor Lewis, Tusculum
MF – Garcelle Alequine, Lenoir-Rhyne
MF – Mikayla Gregg, Carson-Newman
MF – Caitlyn Rodrigues, Queens
MF – Kaitlyn Brunworth, Wingate
D – Macy Franklin, Wingate
D – Faith Johannes, Anderson
D – Brianna Belsky, Lenoir-Rhyne
D – Helen Seed, Carson-Newman
GK – Bethany Davis, Catawba
F – Leah Mullins, Lenoir-Rhyne
F – Michelle Hunter, Lincoln Memorial
F – Payton DeHart, Tusculum
F – Taylor Leyble, Wingate
MF – Emmi Dunn, Lenoir-Rhyne
MF – Gabrielle Whitt, Tusculum
MF – Naomi Matley, Wingate
MF – Alex Hulsey, Catawba
D – Erin Feldman, Catawba
D – Ashley Osiecki, Queens
D – Amber Madriaga, Lenoir-Rhyne
D – Olivia Kilgore, Tusculum
GK – Alayna Morris, Lenoir-Rhyne
Brian Tracy, a college athletics veteran with 10 years of experience as a lead fundraiser at NCAA Division I institutions, has been named Appalachian State University’s senior associate athletics director for development, athletics director Doug Gillin announced on Monday.
Tracy comes to Appalachian State after five years as director of athletics development at his alma mater, the University of Dayton. At Appalachian, Tracy will oversee all athletics fundraising operations, serve as a member of the athletics department’s management team and be the administrator for selected sports.
“We are excited to have Brian join the Appalachian family,” Gillin said. “His experience in fundraising and in North Carolina will be great assets in helping us reach the aggressive goals that we have for our program. Brian will be an instrumental part of assisting us in achieving our vision at Appalachian State. We welcome Brian and his family to Boone and Appalachian State.”
At Dayton, Tracy oversaw the fundraising operations that supported 400-plus student-athletes across 17 varsity sports and was the architect of a comprehensive program that led to a 136-percent increase in unrestricted annual giving over a three-year period. He led Dayton’s fundraising program to three all-time highs over the past five fiscal years and secured the two largest planned gifts in university history.
Tracy served on the senior management team at Dayton, a Division I athletics department best known for its nationally prominent men’s basketball program that reached the NCAA Elite Eight in 2014 and ranks No. 23 nationally with adjusted revenues of $16.6 million (highest among all men’s basketball programs in a non-football conference).
As a member of UD’s management team, he strategized with coaches and administrators to identify departmental priorities and funding needs. He also collaborated with advancement personnel at the university level to maximize donor intentions across athletics and academic programs and complete capital initiatives.
Prior to returning to his alma mater in 2010, Tracy spent five years at Elon University, first as the director of Elon’s Phoenix Club (2005-08) and later as associate athletics director for external affairs (2008-10).
At Elon, he spearheaded several prominent fundraising campaigns, including the comprehensive funding and solicitation plan for a new $7 million fieldhouse facility and implementation of the annual “Night of the Phoenix” event, which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to benefit athletics scholarships over three years. He also oversaw all revenue-generating operations (fundraising, ticketing, marketing, events, radio and website) in his two years as associate A.D. and was responsible for initiatives that led to school-record totals for donors, dollars raised and home football attendance.
“I’ve known Brian since I joined Appalachian’s athletics administration in 2006 and have been a fan of his work both at Elon and Dayton,” former Appalachian State deputy A.D. for development Rick Beasley said. “He is a great friend and an incredible addition to the Appalachian family. I’m excited to watch him lead a great athletics development team and provide much-needed resources for our student-athletes.”
As a football student-athlete at Dayton (1997-2000), Tracy was a two-year starter at center and helped lead the Flyers to three Pioneer Football League championships. He earned honorable-mention all-conference recognition and was named the Stan Kurdziel Memorial Award winner as UD’s top offensive lineman as voted by his teammates.
He graduated from Dayton with a bachelor’s degree in communications management and psychology in 2001. He went on to serve as a graduate assistant football coach (tight ends coach) at his alma mater for two years (2002-04) while earning a master’s degree in higher education administration.
He spent one year at the Southern Conference as an external affairs assistant, gaining experience in events management and public relations before beginning his career as a fundraiser at Elon in 2005.
“I am very grateful and excited for the opportunity to join the Appalachian family,” Tracy said. “It is a privilege to be a part of a University and an athletics department that has enjoyed so much success and I look forward to the opportunity to help Mountaineer student-athletes achieve even greater success in the future.”
A native of Lima, Ohio, Tracy and his wife, Meredith, have two daughters: Paige and Claire.
The Hickory Crawdads pitching staff was unable to avoid giving up the long ball Sunday night, as the 'Dads hurlers allowed three home runs resulting in a 9-6 loss to the hometown Greensboro Grasshoppers at NorthBridge Bank Park.
The three homers allowed tied a season high for the Hickory pitching staff, which also gave up three long balls to the Grasshoppers in a 5-0 defeat on July 7th. The normally dominant group scuffled through most of the Crawdads series in Greensboro, as the hurlers allowed at least 7 runs in three of the four games and 25 total tallies while the 'Dads dropped three of four games to their in-state neighbor.
The Hickory hitters jumped out to an initial lead for the 4th straight night with two runs in the 2nd, as Jose Trevino reached on an infield single and Luke Tendler doubled down the left field line before Jairo Beras delivered an RBI single to left and a fielding error by 'Hoppers catcher Felix Castillo allowed another run to score. The 'Dads tacked on to their advantage in the top of the 4th, when Beras lined a solo home run to left to put Hickory on top 3-0.
Crawdads starting pitcher Yohander Mendez began the night facing the minimum number of batters while tossing three scoreless innings. Everything changed in the 4th however, as the Greensboro lineup sent eight men to the plate while rallying for three runs on five hits, including a solo homer by Mason Davis, to tie the game at 3-3. The Grasshoppers kept their foot on the gas in the over the next two frames, with an RBI groundout by Justin Twine in the 5th and an RBI base knock from Ryan Aper in the 6th combining to put the home team ahead 5-3.
The 'Dads bats came through with a rally of their own in in the top of the 7th, with a leadoff single by Beras, a walk from Eduard Pinto, and a line drive, 2-RBI single off the left field wall by Jonathan Myer combining to tie up the game at 5-5. The 'Hoppers bats quickly responded with their biggest inning of the night in the bottom of the frame though, with 2-run home runs by both Twine and Arturo Rodriguez putting Greensboro back on top 9-5.
Hickory put together one last tally in the 8th with a 2-out, RBI double by Pinto to make the score 9-6, but the Grasshoppers bullpen shut the Crawdads down from there to finish off the game.
'Hoppers reliever James Buckelew (5-4) earned the win despite initially blowing the save, as the left-handed hurler allowed two runs on two hits, one walk, and one strikeout over one inning pitched. 'Dads bullpen arm Shane McCain (1-2) took the loss after giving up five runs on six hits and two walks during 1.1 IP, while Greensboro closer Kyle Fischer (11) picked up his third save of the series by throwing a scoreless 9th.
Beras led the Crawdads offense with a 3-4 game including a home run, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored, while Myer finished 2-4 with 2 RBI.
The Crawdads (74-50/30-26) will have an off day on Monday before starting a 4-game series against the Charleston RiverDogs on Tuesday. First pitch for game one on August 25th is scheduled for 7:00 pm.