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Tuesday, 09 December 2014 23:11

L-R's Botts Named to AFCA All-American Team

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Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Tanner Botts has been named to the 2014 AFCA NCAA Division II Coaches All-America Football Team. AFCA is the American Football Coaches Association.

Botts, a senior linebacker from Lawrenceville, Ga., led the Bears in tackles for the third straight year in 2014 with 89 and was named the South Atlantic Conference and Super Region II Defensive Player Of The Year by both Daktronics and the Beyond Sports Network (BSN).

Botts added 11.5 takedowns for a loss, 2.5 quarterback sacks and one fumble recovery this year and led a unit which allowed just 15.6 points per contest.

Botts is a three-time First-Team All-South Atlantic Conference honoree (2012-14) who earned All-American honors last year as well and finished with 385 tackles for his collegiate career.

Lenoir-Rhyne ended the year with a record of 11-1 this fall and was ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation. The Bears also won their fourth straight South Atlantic Conference Championship in 2014 and was the top seed in the region for the second straight season.

The AFCA has selected an All-America team since 1945 and currently selects teams in all five of its divisions. What makes these teams so special is that they are the only ones chosen exclusively by the men who know the players the best — the coaches themselves.

The AFCA’s Division II  All-America Selection Committee is made up of three head coaches from each of the AFCA’s nine districts, one of whom serves as a district chairman, along with another head coach who serves as the chairman of the selection committee.

The coaches in each district are responsible for ranking the top players in their respective districts prior to a conference call between the district chairmen and the committee chairman on which the team is chosen.

The AFCA has selected an All-America team since 1945 and currently selects teams in all five of its divisions. What makes these teams so special is that they are the only ones chosen exclusively by the men who know the players the best — the coaches themselves.

The AFCA’s Division II All-America Selection Committee is made up of three head coaches from each of the AFCA’s nine districts, one of whom serves as a district chairman, along with another head coach who serves as the chairman of the selection committee. The coaches in each district are responsible for ranking the top players in their respective districts prior to a conference call between the district chairmen and the committee chairman on which the team is chosen.

2014 AFCA NCAA Division II
Coaches’ All-America Team

WR - Darius Davis, 5-11, 210, Sr., Henderson St. (Ark.), Frisco, Texas (Wakeland)
WR - Vernon Johnson, 6-1, 190, Sr., Texas A&M-Commerce, Fort Worth, Texas (Brewer)
OL - Cole Manhart, 6-6, 310, Sr., Nebraska-Kearney, Highlands Ranch, Colo. (ThunderRidge)
OL - Isaiah Shelton, 6-2, 310, Sr., Shepherd (W.Va.), Temple Hills, Md. (Charles H. Flowers)
OL - Travis Hening, 6-5, 305, Jr., East Central (Okla.), Yukon, Okla. (Yukon)
OL - Mike Lorenzo, 6-2, 280, Sr., Chadron St. (Neb.), Oak Park, Calif. (Westlake)
OL - Andrew Muer, 6-3, 275, Sr., Minnesota-Duluth, Perham, Minn. (Perham)
QB - Jason Vander Laan, 6-4, 240, Jr., Ferris St. (Mich.), Frankfort, Ill. (Chicago Christian)
RB - Calvinaugh Jones, 5-9, 200, Jr., Concord (W.Va.), Glen Burnie, Md. (Meade)
RB - Terrell Watson, 6-2, 240, Sr., Azusa Pacific (Calif.), Oxnard, Calif. (Oxnard)
RB - Romo Westbrook, 5-10, 210, Sr., Harding (Ark.), Marion, Ark. (Bishop Byrne)

DL - Josh Gordon, 6-2, 250, Jr., Minnesota St.-Mankato, Milwaukee, Wis. (Wisconsin Lutheran)
DL - Matt Longacre, 6-3, 270, Sr., Northwest Missouri State, Omaha, Neb. (Millard West)
DL - Alex Markarian, 6-4, 275, Sr., Humboldt State (Calif.), Chino Hills, Calif. (Reuben Ayala)
DL - Darius Allen, 6-4, 250, Sr., Colorado St.-Pueblo, Pueblo, Colo. (Pueblo East)
LB - Tanner Botts, 6-2, 215, Sr., Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.), Lawrenceville, Ga. (Peachtree Ridge)
LB - Nores Fradi, 6-1, 215, Sr., Wayne St. (Mich.), Dearborn Heights, Mich. (Dearborn)
LB - Grant Singer, 6-1, 225, Sr., Mary (N.D.), Turtle Lake, N.D. (Turtle Lake-Mercer)
DB - Jordan Shaw, 6-2, 215, Jr., Shorter (Ga.), Jasper, Ga. (Pickens County)
DB - Will Brown, 6-1, 190, Sr., Missouri S&T, Hazelwood, Mo. (Hazelwood West)
DB - Michael Jordan, 6-0, 200, Jr., Missouri Western State, Hazelwood, Mo. (Hazelwood Central)
DB - Solomon St. Pierre, 5-11, 170, Jr., Sioux Falls (S.D.), Wagner, S.D. (Wagner)

P - Tom Obarski, 5-11, 185, Sr., Concordia-St. Paul (Minn.), Burnsville, Minn. (Apple Valley)
PK - Brent Wahle, 6-2, 175, Jr., Ohio Dominican, Pataskala, Ohio (Bishop Hartley)
AP - Isaiah Davis, 5-10, 185, Jr., Central Washington, Bremerton, Wash. (South Kitsap)

Tuesday, 09 December 2014 11:31

App State Women's Golf Signs Two

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Appalachian State University women’s golf head coach Heather Brown has announced the signing of two golfers for her 2015-16 roster.

“I am excited about the addition of Joliana Elias and Patricia Thompson to our program. Both players bring a great work ethic and positive mindset to the mix,” said coach Brown “I look forward to both athletes adding more depth to the line up, but most especially their enthusiasm for App State.”

Elias, a native of Jamestown, N.C, attended Penn-Griffen School for the Arts in High Point, N.C. and was named all-conference all four years. Elias earned Player of the Year awards her junior and senior season. Elias was also a participant in the NCHSAA 4A Central Regionals and NCHSAA 4A State Championship. She was the runner-up at regionals her junior season and won the regional competion in her senior season. Elias posted a scoring average of 37 in her senior season.

Thompson is a native of Granite Falls, N.C. and attended South Caldwell in Hudson, N.C. where she was named to the all-conference team all four years. Thompson was also named conference and Caldwell County Player of the Year in 2013. As a junior and senior, Thompson earned most
valuable player of her high school team. During her senior campaign at South Caldwell, Thompson recorded a scoring average of 38.

Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Jazmine Charles has been named the AstroTurf South Atlantic Conference Women’s Basketball Player Of The Week, league officials announced this afternoon.

Charles, a senior All-American guard from Lexington, N.C., averaged 24.5 points and 10.0 rebounds in leading the Bears to a pair of home wins over North Georgia (77-65) and Brevard (58-50) last Tuesday and Sunday, respectively.

Charles also hit five three-pointers and connected on 10-of-11 free throw attempts for the week.

Charles led all scorers with 30 points on 10-of-16 shooting in handing the Nighthawks their first loss of the season before tallying a double-double – 19 points and 13 rebounds – in the league victory over the Tornados.

Charles, the 2013-14 South Atlantic Conference and Southeast Region Player Of The Year, currently leads the Bears in scoring (16.4 ppg), rebounding (8.3 rpg), assists (11) and three-pointers made (10) this year.

Charles also ranks 11th on the Bears’ all-time scoring list with 1,229 points. Charles has earned league player-of-the-week accolades for the fourth time in her collegiate career as well.

Lenoir-Rhyne (3-4, 2-2) travels to Jefferson City, Tenn., to face Carson-Newman (7-0, 4-0) in a South Atlantic Conference game Wednesday night at 6:00 p.m.

Sports Illustrated recognized Madison Bumgarner as the 2014 Sportsman of the Year on Monday.

The South Caldwell grad will be featured on the cover of the December 15 issue of Sports Illustrated with a featured article written by Tom Verducci.

According to Sports Illustrated, Bumgarner is the first San Fransico Giant and seventh Major League Baseball pitcher to earn the award that has been handed out annualy since the magazine's inception in 1954.

Sunday, 07 December 2014 22:41

Lenoir-Rhyne Men's Basketball Edged Out by Brevard

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The Brevard Men’s Basketball Team (1-6, 1-3) picked up its first win of the season, 59-56, over Lenoir-Rhyne (3-5, 1-3) Sunday afternoon at Shuford Memorial Gymnasium in a South Atlantic Conference game.

The Tornados’ Darius Moose (Salisbury, N.C.), the league’s leading scorer, finished with a game-high 32 points to go along with nine rebounds as Brevard rallied from an 11-point deficit late in the first half to take the win.

Lenoir-Rhyne junior guard Will Perry (Wake Forest, N.C.) scored a team-high 18 points to go along with four three-pointers – all in the first half – despite the loss.

Trevon Shaw (St. Helena Island, S.C.) added 14 points for the Tornados, who limited the Bears to just 32 percent shooting (seven-of-22) and 19 points after halftime in the win.

Lenoir-Rhyne junior forward Rob Noyes (Morganton, N.C.) added 11 points in the losing effort. The Bears hit seven three-pointers in the game but none after intermission.

With the score tied at 54 with 1:28 left, Brevard’s Jaylon Debardlabon (Childersburg, Ala.) hit the game-winning lay-up as Tornados reeled off five straight points to ice the game. Debardlabon (10 points) finished in double figures as well.

Lenoir-Rhyne faces Carson-Newman in a South Atlantic Conference game on the road Wednesday at 8:00 p.m., in Jefferson City, Tenn.

The Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Basketball Team (3-4, 2-2) earned its second straight victory with a 58-50 triumph over Brevard (0-6, 0-4) Sunday afternoon in a South Atlantic Conference game at Shuford Memorial Gymnasium.

Lenoir-Rhyne senior All-American guard Jazmine Charles (Lexington, N.C.) led the way once again with 19 points and 13 rebounds including 16 points before intermission while sophomore forward Brooke Robinson (Vale, N.C.) tallied a double-double as well – 11 points and 14 rebounds – as the Bears improved to 18-0 all-time against the Tornados.

Chelsea Turner (Hickory, N.C.) added a team-high 16 points including four treys off the bench as the Tornados rallied from an 18-point deficit to tie the game late in the second half but the Bears were able to overcome the Tornados.

Lenoir-Rhyne held a 31-13 edge late in the first half but Brevard rallied to tie the contest at 47-all before Charles gave the Bears the lead for good with a free throw with 5:56 left in the contest.

The free throw was the first point of a 9-0 run by the Bears which put the contest away. Lenoir-Rhyne also limited Brevard to just 30 percent shooting (17-of-57) for the game.

Madison Lenox (Raleigh, N.C.) also finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Tornados, who continue to search for their first win of the season. Lenoir-Rhyne held a 48-40 advantage in rebounding as well and forced Brevard into 15 turnovers.

Lenoir-Rhyne travels to Jefferson City, Tenn., to face Carson-Newman on Wednesday in a South Atlantic Conference game at 6:00 p.m.

Buoyed by a late 16-5 run, Hofstra defeated Appalachian State University men’s basketball, 68-51, on Sunday afternoon at the Holmes Center.

Appalachian State (3-3) took a 37-36 lead on a slam dunk by Jacob Lawson (Reidsville, N.C./Oak Ridge Military Academy [Purdue]) with 12:34 to go but Hofstra’s 16-5 run over the next eight minutes gave the Pride a commanding 52-42 advantage with 4:36 to go in the ballgame. Hofstra (6-2) made 10-of-10 free throws down the stretch to seal the win and snap Appalachian’s three-game winning streak.

Turnovers were the story of the game, as Appalachian State committed 15 compared to just four for Hofstra. The Pride outscored the Mountaineers, 21-5, off turnovers.

In a highly-entertaining first half, the Pride was able to grab a nine-point lead (19-10) with 10:08 to play thanks to a 12-2 run. With Hofstra trailing 8-7, Juan’ya Green hit a jumper and the Pride scored on each of its next to trips to help push its lead to 14-8.

After Appalachian answered on Lawson’s layup on the ensuing possession to make it 14-10, Hofstra scored five-straight, including a three by Jamall Robinson, to push the lead to nine points.

The Mountaineers battled back, reeling off an 8-0 run of their own to draw within one on a Frank Eaves (Greensboro, N.C./Page) foul shot five minutes later. The Pride responded with another 5-0 run to take a 27-20 lead with 3:08 remaining in the half, but Appalachian ended the half on a 6-2 run and trailed just 29-26 at the break.

With Appalachian leading by one following Lawson’s dunk at the 12:34 mark, Hofstra scored 16 of the next 20 points to take its first double-digit lead of the game (52-42) with4:36 to play and put the game completely out of reach.

Eaves led the Mountaineers in scoring for the fifth-straight game with 13 points while Griffin Kinney (Delaware, Ohio/Fork Union Military Academy) and Tommy Spagnolo (West Jefferson, N.C./Ashe County [Radford]) each poured in eight. Dustin Clarke (Newland, N.C./Avery County [Hartford]) finished as the team’s leading rebounder with eight boards and Jake Babic (Oakville, Ontario/The Kiski School) tied for a game-high with three assists.

Hofstra saw five players score in double figures, led by Green’s game-high 17. Ameen Tanksley scored 13 points while Dion Nesmith had 11. Brian Bernardi and Malik Nichols added 10 each and Nichols led all players with 10 rebounds.

On the day, Appalachian shot just 34.0 percent (18-of-53) from the floor, including a 3-of-17 mark from beyond the arc. The Mountaineers did look good at the free-throw line, connecting on 75.0 percent (12-of-16) from the charity stripe.

Hofstra, which entered the game shooting an impressive 47.7 percent, was held to just 40.4 percent on 23-of-57 shooting. In addition, the Pride connected on just 33.3 percent (6-of-18) from deep, despite entering the contest ranked sixth nationally in three-point shooting (43.3 percent).

The Mountaineers pulled down 41 rebounds to Hofstra’s 34 but dished out just six assists and turned the ball over 15 times.

Appalachian State returns to action when it heads to Georgia Tech on Dec. 15. The trip to Atlanta will be followed by road contests at Charlotte (Dec. 18) and Alabama (Dec. 21) to round out the calendar year.

NOTES: Appalachian State fell to 0-1 all-time against Hofstra and 79-78 against current members of the Colonial Athletic Association ... Eaves has now scored 47 of his team-leading 102 points from the free-throw line ... App State held Hofstra 12 points under its season average (80.1) ... Clarke’s eight rebounds were a career high ... Appalachian State head coach Jim Fox’s brother, Jeff, played at Hofstra from 1997-2001 and was a member of two NCAA Tournament teams ... Tab Hamilton (Winston-Salem, N.C./Fishburne Military Academy) scored three points and needs just 89 shy of scoring 1,000 for his career.

The Lenoir-Rhyne University Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Teams opened the 2014-15 indoor season by setting several school records Saturday at the JDL Kickoff Classic.

Lenoir-Rhyne junior All-American Kevin Baxter (Columbia, S.C.) won the men’s 60-meter hurdles with a time of 7.96 seconds, just .03 seconds of his own school record. The time, however, was good enough to qualify as a provisional for the 2015 NCAA Division II National Championships which take place on March 14-15 in Albuquerque, N.M.

Lenoir-Rhyne junior Zach Millsaps (Statesville, N.C.) finished seventh in the men’s 3,000-meter run with a school-record time of 8:55 while freshman Jacob Hall (Lenoir, N.C.) placed third in the men’s 300-meter dash in 36.36 seconds, also a new program mark.

In the men’s weight throw, sophomore Anthony Downs (Chapin, S.C.) finished third with a school-record toss of 51’8.25” for the Bears.

On the women’s side, Lenoir-Rhyne junior Vertrice Wilson (Carrollton, Ga.) ran the 60-meter hurdles in a school-record time of 9.44 seconds while sophomore Domonique Jones (Greensboro, Ga.) placed 16th overall in the shot put (a program-best 34’9”).

Finally, sophomore Sina Livingston (Greenwood, S.C.) and senior AnQuinette Crawford (Winston-Salem, N.C.) set new women’s indoor team marks in the 60-meter and 300-meter dashes with times of 8.09 and 47.94 seconds, respectively. Livingston placed 32nd overall while Crawford finished 45th for the Bears.

Appalachian State University women's basketball fell to old Southern Conference foe Furman on Saturday afternoon with a score of 84-79.

Led by Maryah Sydnor's 32 points, the Mountaineers (3-3) rallied late in the game to trail by just three points with five minutes to play, but time ran out for Appalachian as the Paladins (6-3) took the game in the remaining minutes.

The Mountaineers immediately trailed as Furman opened the game up with a three-pointer from Whitney Bunn. The Apps stayed with the Paladins, tying the game at 13 and then taking the lead by one point off a free throw from Joi Jones at the 15:45 minute mark.

The Paladins began to pull away with 9:08 to play in the first half, going on a 11-0 run to lead 35-24. App State attempted to catch up but could not stop Furman's point guard Bunn, who led the Paladins with 19 points in the first 20 minutes as the Mountaineers trailed 46-33 at halftime.

Sydnor led the Apps with 14 points in the first as the Mountaineers shot 33.3 (11-33) percent from the floor. Furman was led by Bunn's 19 points, while the team recorded a 50.0 (18-36) percent field goal percentage.

Katie Mallow opened the second half with a three-pointer to cut Furman's lead to ten points, but the Paladins continued to shoot well, stretching the lead to 19 points to make the score 65-46 with 14:22 to play.

Things looked dim for Appalachian until Mallow's three-pointer at the 13:43 minute mark started an amazing Mountaineer rally. The Apps went on a 17-4 run over the next six minutes to cut Furman's lead to just six points with a score of 69-63 and 8:25 to play.

Furman's Holli Wilkins hit two layups to put the Paladins up by ten points, but Appalachian would not back down, as Bria Huffman and Madi Story each scored two points to put the Apps down by six points.

Ashley Bassett-Smith would get a steal on Furman's next possession, giving the ball to the Mountaineers and helping Maryah Sydnor to a huge shot from behind the arc to make the score 73-70 with 5:21 to play.

Furman's Wilkins responded with five points to put the Paladins back up, but Appalachian scored five of their own, trailing 82-79 with 1:06 to play.

The Mountaineers needed a three-pointer on their last possession to tie up the game, but could not convert as their exciting rally fell short and Furman took the game, 84-79.

Sydnor led all players in the loss with 32 points and nine rebounds, while Mallow followed with 15 points. KeKe Cooper helped the Apps on the boards, also recording nine.

Appalachian shot 38.8 percent from the field, tallying 44 rebounds and 17 turnovers.

Furman was led by Bunn's 26 points and Wilkins' 24. The Paladins recorded a 45.1 percent field goal percentage, while notching 42 rebounds and 17 turnovers.

The Mountaineers return to action when they travel to Chapel Hill, N.C. to take on no. six-ranked North Carolina on Sunday, Dec. 14.

The Appalachian State University men’s track and field team enjoyed much success in its indoor season opener. The Mountaineers finished second at the Appalachian Open, which they hosted on Friday, Dec. 5 and Saturday, Dec. 6. App State finished with 109.5 points.

Senior William Buckley (Durham, N.C./East Chapel Hill) had a tremendous day on the track for the Mountaineers. Buckley broke App State’s indoor 200m dash record at Holmes Center with a second-place time of 21.77. The senior also placed first in the 55m dash with a time of 6.45 – also a personal-best.

Freshman Kimani Hoffman (Raleigh, N.C./Knightdale) also began the season on a high note. Hoffman finished fourth in the triple jump behind senior teammate Henry Bustle. Hoffman jumped 48-4.75, while Bustle jumped 48-5.25.

Hoffman also clinched the long jump with a first-place jump of 24-1.50. The freshman also third in the 55m dash with a time of 6.46, while also a member of the Mountaineers’ second-place 4x300m relay team who finished in a time of 2:22.78.

Two other first-place finishes for the Mountaineers came in the mile and 800m runs. Freshman Ariel Shores (Greensboro, N.C./Southeast Guilford) finished first in the mile with a time of 4:38.69, edging second-place by nearly two-tenths of a second. In the 800m run, freshman Ryan Hastings (Matthews, N.C./Porter Ridge) nipped his second-place opponent and won with a time of 1:56.38.

The Apps got a third-place finish in the pole vault with sophomore Matt Layne (Wilkesboro, N.C./West Wilkes) clearing 15-1.00, while earning 5.50 team points.

In the shot put, the Black and Gold earned a second and fourth-place finish with Nathan Milch (Longwood, Fla./Lake Brantley) and John Leonard (Fayetteville, N.C./Terry Sanford). Milch threw a distance of 50-6.25 and Leonard threw 49-11.25 – both indoor personal-bests.

App State will return to action on Saturday, Jan. 10 when they travel to Winston-Salem, N.C. for the Wake Forest Invitational.

Appalachian State University women’s track and field opened up its indoor season on Friday, Dec. 5 and Saturday, Dec. 6 when it hosted eight other schools at the Appalachian Open from Holmes Center. Appalachian placed second with 118.64 points.

The Mountaineers earned four first-place finishes over the two-day event. Senior Brianna Tate (Summerfield, N.C./Grimsley) won the shot put with a throw of 48-0.00 feet. Tate won the shot put at last year’s Southern Conference indoor and outdoor championships.

After enjoying a successful cross country season, Shelby Howell (Wilmington, N.C./New Hanover) won the one mile run with a time of 5:29.01, topping the second-place finisher by over 30 seconds.

Freshmen Kaytlyn Gill (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian) and Hunter Welborn (Booneville, N.C./Starmount) also placed first for the Apps. Gill finished atop the women’s triple jump with a jump of 39-6.50 to earn 10 points for App State. Meanwhile, Welborn won the high jump by clearing 5-7.25.

Micah Hanks (Yorktown, Va./Tabb) enjoyed a nice day with a second-place finish in the 55m dash, while also finishing fourth in the 200m dash.

The Mountaineers also garnered four student-athletes who posted personal-bests on the afternoon. In the 400m dash, sophomore Brooke Brekke (Neillsville, Wis./Neillsville) posted a PR with a time of 1:01.02.

In field events, Sydney Cook (Boone, N.C./Watauga) posted a PR in the pole vault by clearing 12-0.00 and sophomore Krystal Clarke (Frederick, Md./Tuscarora) was able to top her mark in the long jump by notching 18-5.25.

The Black and Gold will now have until Saturday, Jan. 10 when they travel to Winston-Salem, N.C. for the Wake Forest Invitational.