The Catawba Valley Community College Athletic Department has released its academic honors for the spring 2019 semester with 36 Red Hawks being honored.
A total of 10 student-athletes have been named to the President’s List for achieving a 3.75 GPA or higher. Of those 10 student-athletes, seven of them achieved a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
Also receiving honors are 26 student-athletes who were named to the Athletic Director’s List, which is for those student athletes who achieved a 3.74 to 3.2 GPA.
A total of 18 baseball players, nine volleyball players, six women’s basketball players and three men’s basketball players received academic awards for the spring.
Overall, Catawba Valley Community College student athletes posted a 3.058 cumulative GPA for the 2018-19 school year.
“We are excited to have another great year in the classroom for the Red Hawk student-athletes,” said Catawba Valley Athletic Director Nick Schroeder. “Through the support of our administration, faculty and academic services we have been able to create an environment at CVCC that promotes and expects excellence in the classroom.”
Below is a list of the President’s List and Athletic Director’s List recipients:
President's List (3.75 GPA or higher) - 10
R.J. Conner, baseball (4.0)
Vinny Consolo, baseball (4.0)
Abigail Gordon, volleyball (4.0)
Sage Harrington, volleyball (4.0)
Storm Mace, baseball (4.0)
Andrew Patrick, baseball (4.0)
Cody Strain, baseball (4.0)
Mac Beam, baseball
Austin Blevins, baseball
Jackson Brown, baseball
Athletic Director's List (3.74 to 3.2 GPA) - 26
Chris Banks, baseball
Logan Bender, baseball
Madi Bolch, volleyball
Sophie Brennan, volleyball
Cole Chapman, baseball
Anna Clarke, volleyball
Zach De La Cruz, men’s basketball
Rachel Delcamp, volleyball
Noah Eaker, baseball
Milequa Eason, women’s basketball
Ivy Eller, women’s basketball
Kevin Gonzalez, baseball
Willie Gordon, baseball
Tazah Hardin, women’s basketball
Ryan Healy, baseball
Cole Johnson, men’s basketball
Trent Jones, baseball
Drew Latham, baseball
Chesney Milsaps, volleyball
George Paul, men’s basketball
Macy Pope, volleyball
Deja Ross, women’s basketball
Paige Sizemore, volleyball
Diamond Steward, women’s basketball
Aniya Taylor, women’s basketball
Jacob Thompson, baseball
Lenoir-Rhyne sophomore shortstop Talon LaClair has been named CoSIDA Google Cloud Academic All-American Third Team as announced by the organization. LaClair earned a 4.0 GPA and was also named NFCA Second Team All-Region.
On top of leading the Bears in numerous offensive categories, LaClair is also a star in the classroom. The math major has been named to the South Atlantic Conference Commissioner's Honor Roll, earned a spot on the President's List, became a member of the Chi Alpha Sigma Honor Society and spends a lot of her time volunteering with various organizations.
On the field, LaClair was named to the Second Team All-Conference as well as Second Team All-Southeast Region. She finished her sophomore campaign with a team-high .414 batting average, including a conference-best .507 batting average in league play. The Statesville native recorded a hit in nine straight at bats and she finished in the top ten in five offensive categories. LaClair led the team with 44 RBIs and had 15 multi-hit games.
Appalachian State men's basketball head coach Dustin Kerns has announced the signing of R.J. Wilson (Raleigh, N.C./Leesville Road High School).
"We are super excited about adding R.J. to our basketball family," said Kerns. "He is a skilled big who is versatile and has great size combined with the skillset of a guard with his ability to pass and handle the ball."
Wilson (6-6, 240, F) earned four letters at Leesville Road High School. During his career, he scored over 1,000 points and pulled down over 1,000 rebounds. During his senior season, he was named First Team All-Cap 7 Conference and Third Team All-District.
"R.J. is a first class person and is a great addition to our program on many levels," added Kerns. "He comes from a wonderful mother in Pamela Harris. He played for a very good high school coach in Russ Frazier and the highly renowned AAU program in Garner Road. He is a great fit for App State, our program and the Boone community. R.J. is an exciting player we cannot wait to get him on campus. Please join us in welcoming R.J. and his mother Pamela to the Mountaineer family!"
Wilson joins Donovan Gregory, J.C. Tharrington and Kendall Lewis as newcomers for the 2019-20 season. App State will officially tip its season in November.
Quote from Russ Frazier – Head Coach at Leesville Road
"R.J. Wilson is a winner and a worker! He is a dedicated student-athlete who loves to compete. He has no ceiling and is going to continue to get better. App State is getting a big time player and an even better young man."
The Hickory Crawdads powered past West Virginia 5-1 on Wednesday to take the series two games to one.
Crawdads starter Tyree Thompson held the Power scoreless until the fifth inning when he gave up a solo homerun to put the 'Dads behind 1-0.
The 'Dads answered in the bottom half of the inning with a pair of runs. Jose Almonte hit his second homerun of the season for the inning's first run. Kole Enright gave the 'Dads ahead with a solo homerun of his own.
Thompson finished the afternoon after six innings pitched. He gave up two hits, walked three, and struck out six.
The 'Dads pushed their lead to four with three runs in the bottom of the seventh. Matt Whatley reached first on a throwing error. Jose Almonte drove him in with a double, his twelfth double of the season. Jax Biggers singled to bring Almonte around to score. Kole Enright hit another double to advance Biggers to third. Miguel Aparicio grounded out to second but Biggers dashed home to score the inning's third run as the Power recorded the force out at first.
The Crawdads start a four-game series against the Columbia Fireflies tomorrow night at 7pm. The 'Dads will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Woodstock with themed on-fields and music throughout the night. Fans who dress up in 1960s attire can get a discounted $5 ticket. It is also Thirsty Thursday presented by Sheetz and Focus News which means draft beers and Pepsi products will be on special.
Head men's soccer coach Jason O'Keefe and his staff have added one more to their 2019 signing class. A native of Ormond Beach, Fla., Hunter Sweat will join the Mountaineers this fall.
"Hunter is a versatile and athletic player with a high soccer IQ. He can play in the back line or midfield and is a winner," O'Keefe said. "His training through the years will make his transition very smooth. We expect Hunter to be an impact player during his time here in Boone and will continue to raise the level of our program."
A three-year letterwinner at Seabreeze High School in Daytona Beach, Sweat was named first-team all-conference as a sophomore. In addition to soccer, Sweat earned all-state football honors and was a member of the cross country and track & field teams, as well as the basketball team.
The defender played for the Florida Elite Soccer Academy under head coach Mike Johnson, and plans to study business while at Appalachian State. Sweat is the son of Kevin and Michelle Sweat.
The Mountaineers return to the pitch this fall after ending the 2018 season as the conference's top defensive team with 7 shutouts. The Black and Gold posted its highest finish in the Sun Belt and tallied seven All-Sun Belt selections The Mountaineers finished 8-5-3 in the regular season, marking O'Keefe's best record since joining the squad in 2016.
Appalachian State second baseman Luke Drumheller has received another prestigious national accolade.
Drumheller, who hit .337 with a team-leading 37 RBIs and 15 doubles in his first college season, was named to the 2019 Collegiate Baseball Freshmen All-American Team on Wednesday.
Drumheller is the fifth App State player to be a Freshman All-American, joining Hector Crespo (2010), Jamie Nunn (2012), Jaylin Davis (2013) and Tanner Mann-Fix (2016). Collegiate Baseball’s 2019 team, powered by Diamond, included two other Sun Belt Conference players.
A left-handed-hitting freshman from Olympic High School in Charlotte, Drumheller started in 50 of his 51 appearances, had 21 multi-hit games and earned an invitation to play this summer for the Wareham (Mass.) Gatemen of the Cape Cod League, which begins its schedule Monday. He tied an NCAA record while breaking school/league records against Furman on March 10 with a five-double game, which was voted the national Performance of the Week by the Golden Spikes Award.
Drumheller led the Sun Belt in hitting and ranked in the top five nationally among Division I freshmen for most of the year, as his average stood at .379 at the end of April. His average peaked at .468 following the record-setting Furman win 13 games into the season and was still at .400 after 29 games. In addition to his 15 doubles, he had two home runs and a team-best .401 on-base percentage.
Drumheller also came through in the clutch, as he delivered a two-run single in the ninth inning to turn a 5-4 deficit into a one-run lead in a 6-5 road win against Louisiana one night after scoring the tiebreaking run in the ninth inning of a 6-5 victory to open that important Sun Belt series. With series wins against the two Louisiana schools, a home sweep of then-first-place UTA and an 18-6 win at Coastal Carolina, the Mountaineers posted a program-record 13 Sun Belt victories and appeared in the Sun Belt Championship tournament for the first time.
Lenoir-Rhyne Director of Athletics Kim Pate has announced that Chris Ramirez has accepted the position of head baseball coach. Ramirez comes to Hickory from the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS), where he was named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Division II National Coach of the Year in 2018. He will become the 20th head coach in Lenoir-Rhyne baseball history.
At UIS, Ramirez inherited a program that won 30 games in the three years prior to him taking over and built it into one of the top programs in the nation. The Prairie Stars reached back-to-back NCAA Division II Regionals and secured a spot in the Super Regional this year. The 2018 team was ranked as high as fourth in the nation and its 47-9 mark was the best in team history. In 2019, the Prairie Stars were ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation and LHP Austin Dean became the programs fifth All-American in the past three seasons. In his final three years at UIS, Ramirez posted a 121-47-1 record, including a 29-game winning streak in 2018. He leaves UIS with 199 wins, the most in program history.
"I couldn't be more excited for Chris Ramirez to join our Bears family and head up our LR baseball program," said Pate, who hired Ramirez while she was the Director of Athletics at UIS. "It's certainly a unique and rare opportunity to get to work with a talented coach like Chris not just once but twice. I had the special privilege of watching Chris develop a program from its infancy to a national contender. Chris is an incredible coach, visionary leader, and most importantly will build a program of character that our players, faculty, alumni, and community will take great pride in. What excites me the most is the opportunity for our players to experience a coach who is going to develop them, inspire them, and help them to be successful both on and off the field."
"I'd like to thank President Dr. Fred Whitt and Athletic Director Kim Pate for the incredible opportunity to be the head baseball coach at Lenoir Rhyne," said Ramirez. "Their commitment to do what it takes to be one of the best athletic departments in the country is undeniable and it shows by the energy surrounding every team and coach on campus. I'm truly honored and extremely excited to lead this program. My family and I are looking forward to joining the LR Family as well as the Hickory community."
Ramirez led UIS to countless program milestones, including winning the first Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) Division Championship Title in 2018, contending for a GLVC Tournament Championship in 2019, hosting NCAA Regionals in both 2018 and 2019, garnering the programs first All-American honors, and posting the first national ranking for the program.
Coming into the 2019 season, Ramirez coached 29 all-conference players, including 13 first team selections, eight all-region performers and four All-Americans. His 2018 team boasted the best offense in the country, leading Division II with 1.86 home runs per game, a .581 slugging percentage and 9.4 runs per game. Additionally, they led the nation in hits allowed per nine innings and led the GLVC in ERA, strikeouts per nine innings and strikeouts-to-walks ratio.
On top of his National Coach of the Year, Ramirez was awarded Conference and Regional Coach of the Year honors. In addition, Ramirez coached Cole Taylor who went on to sign with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, becoming the first UIS player to sign with an MLB-affiliated organization.
Along with success on the field, Ramirez was instrumental in developing the UIS Baseball stadium into one of the best in the region. Prior to Ramirez's watch, the team competed at local high schools and community parks. Within the first year, Ramirez spearheaded an initiative to develop an on-campus facility that eventually expanded to include new dugouts, a new backstop, scoreboard, state-of-the-art batting cages and a turf infield.
Prior to UIS, Ramirez spent six seasons as a Division I assistant coach at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. He served as the recruiting coordinator and ran the offense as the third base coach and helped turn the program around. The Islanders made their first-ever Southland Conference Tournament in their first season as a program and Ramirez coached two freshmen All-Americans and 10 of his recruits were selected in the MLB Draft.
Ramirez played at the Division I level, spending two seasons as an outfielder at High Point University and earning a spot on the Big South All-Academic Team in 2005. Ramirez graduated from High Point in 2005 with a degree in business administration.
The Hickory Crawdads fell to the West Virginia Power 4-2 on Tuesday night. With a Crawdads win last night, the series is now even at one game each.
The Power scored three runs in the third to take a 3-0 lead. Crawdads starter Cole Winn pitched 2.1 innings, giving up three runs. He struck out five batters and walked two.
Righty Abdiel Mendoza came into the game in relief of Winn, pitching 4.2 innings. He allowed a run in the sixth but held the Power to three hits. He struck out four batters and walked none. Sean Chandler pitched a scoreless eighth inning before handing the ball over to Nick Starr in the ninth. Starr struck out the side to bring the staff's total to 14 punchouts on the evening.
In the bottom of the ninth, the 'Dads closed the gap to two on a two-run homerun by Sherten Apostel. Apostel also homered in last night's game.
The series wraps up tomorrow morning at 10:30am with an education and senior day. The homestand continues through Sunday as the Columbia Fireflies come to town for a four-game series.
Lenoir-Rhyne Head Cross Country and Track and Field Coach Danny Williamson has announced his resignation to take the same position at UNC Asheville. Williamson led the Women’s Track and Field program to its first ever South Atlantic Conference Championship in April and was named the Conference and Regional Coach of the Year.
“This is an opportunity for me to get closer to my family and spend more time with them,” said Williamson. “I am so appreciative of my time at Lenoir-Rhyne and I think we laid the foundation for success for years to come. I can say that these past two years have been very rewarding and I am thankful for all the support from the administration.”
During his stint as Head Coach, Williamson helped P.J. Lotharp to back-to-back All-American accolades in Indoor Track and Field as well as qualifying for Nationals in Outdoor in May. Williamson also led the 4x100m relay team to Nationals and helped build the roster to the largest in the SAC. In his first year, Williamson’s track squad broke over 80 individual records and followed that with 60 broken records this year.
Williamson coached Domtila Kiplagat to SAC Runner of the Year honors in Cross Country and a spot at the NCAA National Meet in December where she placed in the top third of all Division II runners.
“We want to thank Coach Williamson for all he did at Lenoir-Rhyne,” said Athletic Director Kim Pate. “Danny took our cross country and track programs to new levels and his teams broke multiple records along the way. We wish him the best in his future and appreciate his effort in building successful programs.”
Pedro Gonzalez, Jonathan Ornelas, and Curtis Terry were named to the 2019 South Atlantic League All-Star Game, League President Eric Krupa announced Tuesday morning. The three will represent South Atlantic League's Northern Division, which will take on the Southern Division on June 18th in Charleston, West Virginia.
Pedro Gonzalez has accumulated a .269 average this season. The outfielder has been dominant against lefties this season, hitting .444 with a .778 slugging percentage against southpaws. Gonzalez has smacked 10 homeruns and driven in 27 while stealing 6 bases. Gonzalez is tied for sixth in homeruns in the South Atlantic League and ranks 10th with a .489 slugging percentage.
Infielder Jonathan Ornelas leads the team with a .283 batting average and a .355 on base percentage. He has flashed power with five homeruns while also displaying quickness on the base paths with eight steals. Ornelas also had a team-long hit streak of twelve games in which he hit .385. He has hit .442 through 52 at bats when he leads off an inning this season.
Curtis Terry ranks second with 46 RBIs. He is also tied for second with 15 homeruns and 20 doubles. The first baseman paces the SAL with 35 extra base hits and 121 total bases. Terry has put together a .275 average through his first 54 games.
The 2019 SAL All-Star Game will take place in Charleston, West Virginia on June 18th at 7:35pm at Appalachian Power Park, home of the Power. All stars from the seven Northern Division teams will be taking on the best of the seven Southern Division teams in the 60th annual SAL All-Star Game.
The Hickory Crawdads rode a six run fourth inning to a 7-2 victory over the West Virginia Power in Monday night's series opener.
Jax Biggers reached on a fielding error to lead off the fourth inning. Curtis Terry smashed his fifteenth homerun of the season to left to put the 'Dads ahead 2-0. Pedro Gonzalez singled and advanced to second on another fielding error. Matt Whatley hit a single to bring Gonzalez in to score. Melvin Novoa followed up with a double, driving in Whatley. Jose Almonte doubled to put to runners on for Jonathan Ornelas. Ornelas drove both runners in with his ninth double of the season.
The Power surged back for two runs in the top of the fifth but still trailed the 'Dads 6-2. Crawdads starter Ronny Henriquez finished the evening after five innings, giving up two runs, striking out nine and walking one.
Sherten Apostel added a solo homerun in the eighth to put give the 'Dads a five run lead.
Grant Wolfram and Kelvin Gonzalez each pitched two scoreless innings of relief for the Crawdads to seal the victory.
The series continues tomorrow night with Dollar Dog Tuesday. Hot dogs are $1 and fans can bring their dogs for $1 as well thanks to Hebrew National, Cody Law Firm, and WHKY 1290AM and 102.3FM. Craft beers will be on special for $2 thanks to Lowes Foods. The first pitch will be at 6:30pm and gates open at 5:30pm.
Hickory City Manager Warren Wood has hired Mark Seaman to serve as the City of Hickory’s new Recreation and Sports Tourism Director.
“After an extensive, nationwide search, the City received over 150 applications and conducted multiple interviews for this position. Throughout the process, it became clear that Mark Seaman was the best candidate to join the City of Hickory team in this new role,” said Wood. “As we continue to craft a stronger future for our community with our bond projects and public/private partnerships, Mark’s expertise in collaboration and ability to foster strong community relationships will help us to showcase City facilities and recreational amenities, and take advantage of growing opportunities for sports tourism in Hickory.”
Effective June 17, Seaman will replace Parks and Recreation Director Mack McLeod, who retired on June 1 after more than 37 years of service. On July 1, the Hickory Parks and Recreation Department will transition to the Recreation and Sports Tourism Department, with the goal of increasing sports tourism in the City of Hickory. Similarly, in late 2017, the City of Hickory reorganized several City departments to form the Office of Business Development with the intent to better concentrate efforts on driving economic development.
“Mark brings a wealth of experience in the recreation and sports marketing fields,” added Wood.
For the past 12 years, Seaman has worked in partnership with the City of Hickory and many community organizations as the General Manager of the Hickory Crawdads baseball team, an affiliate of the Texas Rangers. He currently serves as the President of the Hickory Metro Sports Commission, a group dedicated to furthering the quality of life through the development, promotion, and recruitment of sporting events and activities to the Greater Hickory area. He also serves as a board member for the Hickory-Conover Tourism Development Authority and YMCA of Catawba Valley.
Prior to his tenure with the Hickory Crawdads, Seaman worked as Director of Marketing and Sales of Front Row Motorsports for three years and as Assistant General Manager for the Tennessee Smokies baseball team for nearly 11 years. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Private and Commercial Recreation from the University of Tennessee - Knoxville.
“We have excellent parks and facilities in Hickory. I look forward to working with the staff to maximize their usage while continuing to offer quality athletics programs and recreation activities to Hickory residents. There are tremendous opportunities within the sports tourism market to attract visitors to our area. I’m excited to get started,” said Seaman.
Seaman lives in Hickory with his wife, Jennifer.
Meanwhile, the Hickory Crawdads announce that Douglas Locascio has been promoted to General Manager. Skip Moser will assume the role of Assistant General Manager, a position previously held by Locascio.
Locascio will take over for Mark Seaman who held the role of General Manager for eleven seasons. Seaman is joining the City of Hickory as the Recreation and Sports Tourism Director.
As General Manager, Locascio will oversee the team's day-to-day operations, corporate sales, communications with the Rangers, as well as many other responsibilities.
"I am grateful for this opportunity and am excited about this next chapter with the Crawdads," Locascio said. "Thank you to Mark for his guidance over our ten seasons together and for his dedication to the team."
During his time in Hickory, Locascio has been an active member of the community. He is an ambassador to the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce, serves on the Hickory Metro Sports Commission, Catawba County Partnership for Children, and Hickory Young Professionals. He was selected as one of HYP's Top 10 Under 40 in 2016.
Locascio joined the Crawdads organization in March 2010 as an interim Ticket Operations Manager but was hired on full-time following the season to become the Director of Ticket Operations and Merchandising. After the 2014 season, he was promoted to Executive Director of Sales and Merchandising. In January of this year, Locascio was named Assistant General Manager.
Moser joined the Crawdads full time prior to the 2018 season after working at the Hickory Soup Kitchen for ten years. He will continue to oversee stadium operations and be a key member of the group and corporate sales team.
After filling every role imaginable as a full-time reliever, Appalachian State senior Kaleb Bowman finished the 2019 season as the official Sun Belt Conference ERA champion.
A player must pitch at least one inning per team game to be eligible, and Bowman led the league with a 3.05 ERA over 62.0 innings for the Mountaineers (22-31). Those innings came in 27 appearances out of the bullpen, as he had a 6-2 record with four saves to finish his two-year career in Boone with an 8-2 mark.
The second-place ERA among eligible Sun Belt pitchers was a 3.47, and Bowman was the only full-time reliever to qualify for the ERA title. In league play, he had a 2.97 ERA, 4-1 record and three saves in 36.1 innings spread over 15 appearances.
Bowman's most dominant stretch of the season occurred from March 5 to April 13, when he allowed one run over the course of 26.1 innings that included him earning back-to-back road wins against Louisiana and back-to-back saves against ULM.
Bowman's 62.0 innings appear to be a school record for a full-time reliever — Josh Fish made one start and pitched 69.1 innings for App State in 2005 — and the last year a full-time Sun Belt reliever won the ERA title was 2014.
Bowman recorded an average of seven outs per outing in 2019, notably closing the season with 4.2 innings of scoreless relief to earn a win at Coastal Carolina and 4.2 more innings in the Sun Belt tournament against Louisiana. He took over in the second inning of a close game and held Louisiana scoreless for his first four innings of work.
Other highlights included 4.0 scoreless innings to earn a win against Michigan State and five strikeouts in 3.0 sharp innings during a road win at NCAA Regional No. 2 seed FAU.
After serving since January 2018 as the Marketing and Promotions Graduate Assistant at Lenoir-Rhyne, Leah Clayton has been promoted to the position of Director of Marketing. Clayton will work to plan over 100 athletic events during the course of the academic year, while working with every department on campus and the local community to maximize involvement.
"We could not be more excited that Leah will be staying at LR as our new Director of Marketing," added Senior Associate Athletic Director/Director of the Bears Club Aaron Bessey, "She has proven to be a great addition to our athletic department over the last 18 months and will do an awesome job in this full-time role."
In her new role, Clayton will lead the Bears Supporting Bears Club which is a way for her to interact with students and provide a sense of Bear spirit at all events. She will also oversee student-athlete Community Service which ranks inside the top 20 of all NCAA Division II programs in the nation in terms of service hours. Clayton will provide support to the Bears Club and ticket operations as well as community relations.
In her time as a Graduate Assistant, Clayton helped to create one of the best gameday atmospheres in the region for LR athletic events and increased attendance and fan engagement for soccer, basketball, baseball and lacrosse home games. Additionally, she formed a Marketing Internship program and created various promotions throughout her 18 months. Clayton also helped with planning events and fundraisers for the Bears Club.
Prior to coming to Hickory, Clayton served as a Marketing Intern in the Appalachian State Athletic Department. At App. St., Clayton helped to plan and execute gameday promotions and community outreach initiatives and was the lead intern for baseball. She also wrote scripts and executed in-game promotions.
Clayton graduated from Appalachian State in 2016 and was a four-year member of the Mountaineer Cheerleading team. Clayton was the team MVP as a senior and also handled media relations for the team.
Clayton earned her MBA in Non-Profit Management and her bachelor's in Communications, Public Relations.