Sports (1081)

App State has hired Brad Bielaniec as Director of Athletic Performance to oversee the football program’s strength and conditioning.

“We’re excited to welcome Brad and Shelby back to App State,” head coach Shawn Clark said. “Brad will bring a detailed, disciplined approach, and his ability to motivate players with a focus on toughness will be a huge asset to our football program.”

Bielaniec returns to Boone after spending the 2019 season as the head strength and conditioning coach at Marshall University. He was an assistant strength and conditioning coach at App State in 2018, when he helped the Mountaineers win 11 games, claim the inaugural Sun Belt Championship Game trophy and win the New Orleans Bowl, 45-13, over Middle Tennessee.

“I am beyond excited for the opportunity to re-join Coach Clark and the rest of the App State football family back on the mountain,” Bielaniec said.

A veteran strength coach, Bielaniec has also previously served as an associate director of football strength and conditioning at Marshall, as well as stints at Massachusetts, Tulsa and South Florida.

In his three combined years at Marshall and App State, Bielaniec was a part of three winning seasons, three bowl appearances, two bowl victories and one conference championship.

In addition to helping student-athletes reach their potential physically, he has also directed Marshall’s nutrition program for all student-athletes and has overseen the department budget.

Bielaniec graduated from Central Michigan in 2011 with a degree in health fitness in preventative and rehabilitative programs and a minor in exercise science. He also earned his master's in physical education from South Florida in 2014.

A member of the NSCA-CSCS, Bielaniec is a certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is also certified in CPR/AED.

Bielaniec and his wife, Shelby, married in 2018.

App State track & field athletes Jordan Johnson and Peighton Simmons are ranked in the top-35 in the Preseason National Rating Index from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Johnson currently sits 22nd on the men's side in the long jump. His school record mark of 25-2.00 (7.67m) from the 2017-18 season earned the ranking. At the season opening Appalachian Invitational in December, Johnson captured the long jump with a leap of 24-3.50 (7.40m). Johnson's mark from this season currently sits ninth in the nation.

Simmons is ranked 35th in the triple jump. Her mark of 41-10.75 (12.77m) set at the Appalachian Invitational in December earned the ranking. Simmons' mark from this season was the fourth best in program history and is currently ranked fifth in the nation entering the weekend.

The Mountaineers will compete at the ETSU Track & Field Invitational on Friday and Saturday.

Wednesday, 08 January 2020 22:34

CVCC Men's Basketball Doomed by Late Shot

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Giving up a 3-pointer in the game’s final 10 seconds, the Catawba Valley Community College men’s basketball team dropped a difficult 92-90 Region 10 contest to host Guilford Tech on Wednesday night at the Mary Perry Ragsdale YMCA.

Sophomore guard Mac Hughes made the game-winning shot, lifting the Titans (9-3, 4-2 in Region 10) to the conference victory. Guilford Tech made 13 3-pointers in the contest, including a team-high six by Hughes.

Freshman John Bean paced CVCC (9-6, 4-4 in Region 10) with a career-high 18 points, including five made 3-pointers.

Tony Hauser (16 points) and Cam Walden (12 points) also helped lead the charge on offense for the Red Hawks, who were without a couple of key players in sophomore forward Sal-Bey Young and freshman guard Charles Bryson due to injury.

Catawba Valley trailed Guilford Tech 50-42 at halftime, but worked its way back to gain a 87-85 lead with just one minute, 50 seconds remaining in the contest.

Both teams traded the lead back and forth during the game’s closing minutes before Hughes’ shot in the final seconds lifted the Titans to the two-point win.

The CVCC men’s basketball team will attempt to return to the win column on Saturday when they host conference opponent Fayetteville Tech at the Tarlton Complex.

Tip of between the Red Hawks and Titans is set for 3 p.m. Admission is free.

Wednesday, 08 January 2020 22:13

Hawks 90 Percent Night Powers Bears to Home Win

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Mason Hawks went 9-of-10 shooting and seven-of-eight from three-point range as the junior had 25 points to lead the Lenoir-Rhyne men's basketball team to an 85-80 win over Carson-Newman at home Wednesday.

Hawks had a career high in points, field goals made, and 3-point field goals made.

L-R shot 45 percent from three-point land, going 15-of-33 for the night, and 48.5 percent from the field as a whole. Four players scored in double figures for the Bears, including Darrius Simmons with 20 points and Darrius Bradford and Tyson McClain with 10 points each.

With the win, the Bears improve to 7-5 overall, 3-4 in the South Atlantic Conference. Lenoir-Rhyne hosts Newberry on Saturday.

Carson-Newman jumped out to a 30-10 at the end of the first quarter and never relinquished the lead as the Eagles defeated the Lenoir-Rhyne women's basketball team, 82-60 Wednesday night at home. The Bears were down by 30 at the half, 49-19 and never got closer than 17 points the rest of the way.

The Eagles shot 50 percent from the field in the first quarter, including six-of-eight from the three point line. Conversely, L-R shot 29 percent in the first quarter, and were a combined 8-of-33 in the first half (24 percent).

For the Bears, Madeline Hardy fell a rebound shy of a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds. Ashley Woodroffe added 14 points in 31 minutes of playing time.

The loss drops Lenoir-Rhyne to 4-9 overall, 2-5 in the South Atlantic conference. The Bears are back in action Saturday, hosting Newberry at 2pm.

Northwestern 3A/4A Conference:
Hickory: 41
South Caldwell: 38

Alexander Central: 55
St. Stephens: 42

Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference:
Draughn: 59
West Caldwell: 37

East Burke: 69
Fred T. Foard: 54

Patton: 65
Bunker Hill: 53

West Iredell: 53
Hibriten: 39

South Fork Athletic 2A Conference:
Bandys: 47
Lincolnton: 30

Maiden: 55
Lake Norman Charter: 41

Newton-Conover: 67
West Lincoln: 21

Northwestern 3A/4A Conference:
South Caldwell: 64
Hickory: 51

Alexander Central: 70
St. Stephens: 44

Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference:
East Burke: 63
Fred T. Foard: 51

Hibriten: 59
West Iredell: 32

Patton: 73
Bunker Hill: 57

West Caldwell: 81
Draughn: 54

South Fork Athletic 2A Conference:
Lincolnton: 62
Bandys: 41

Lake Norman Charter: 76
Maiden: 37

Newton-Conover: 63
West Lincoln: 28

App State men's basketball dropped a 81-73 contest to Louisiana on Monday evening in the Holmes Center.

Justin Forrest eclipsed the 20-point mark for the fifth time in the last six games with a team-high 21 points, to go along with four assists.

Adrian Delph had 14 points off the bench and Isaac Johnson also reached double figures with 12 points on a career-high four made three-pointers.

Michael Bibby drained a trio of three-pointers to finish with an App State career-high tying nine points. O'Showen Williams had a solid all-around game with seven points, a season-high tying six rebounds and a season-best seven assists and Hunter Seacat tallied six points, eight rebounds and two blocks. Seacat has now recorded a block in seven consecutive games.

Leading 20-19 in the first half, the Mountaineers (9-7, 3-2 SBC) used a 14-0 run, with three triples coming from Johnson, to open a 34-19 lead. Louisiana (7-9, 2-3 SBC) used a 8-0 run later in the half to trim the App State lead to 36-29. The Mountaineers pushed their lead back to double digits at 42-32 and took a 46-39 lead into the intermission.

In the second half, the Ragin' Cajuns used a 9-2 run to tie the score at 52-52. App State came right back with baskets by Seacat and Delph to push its lead back to 56-52 with 11:51 remaining. Louisiana battled back to tie the score at 61-61 and scored eight consecutive points to expand its lead to 69-61 with 7:31 left. The Ragin' Cajuns pushed their lead to 12 points at 76-64, but the Mountaineers countered with a three from Bibby and Delph to pull within 76-70. Louisiana put the game away with a pair of free throws down the stretch en route to the win.

Mylik Wilson paced Louisiana with a game-high 30 points, while Jalen Johnson tallied a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

App State will return to the road for two games in Texas. On Thursday, the Black and Gold battle UT Arlington at 8 p.m. EST, followed by a meeting with Texas State on Saturday at 5 p.m. EST.

Monday, 06 January 2020 21:35

Jacobs Adds Five From Prior Staff to Lenoir-Rhyne

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Lenoir-Rhyne Football Coach Mike Jacobs has announced the addition of five assistant coaches to his staff. Each of the five were on staff with Jacobs at Notre Dame (Ohio) and led the Falcons to become one of the best Division II programs in the nation.

Jahmal Brown - Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers Coach

Brown led the Notre Dame defense the past two seasons and produced back-to-back All-American accolades for DL Sha'haun Williams. In 2019, opponents ran for just 2.6 yards per carry and his defense produced 23 takeaways. Williams finished 2019 with 18 tackles for loss and 10 sacks after leading the nation with 20 sacks in 2018. In 2019, LB Guam Lee and LB Nathan Moore became the first set of teammates in program history to each top 100 tackles in a season. Seven of his players were named All-Conference in 2019 and Bryce Sheppert was MEC Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Brown, who was named the College Assistant Coach of the Year by the Norheast Ohio chapter of the National Football Foundation, played four years at Bowling Green where he aas a four-year starter as a safety. As a senior, he was named the team's most valuable defensive back and was selected to participate in the Detroit Lions Rookie Mini-Camp.

Anthony Soto - Offensive Coordinator / Offensive Line Coach

There was no offensive player in the nation better than NDC's Jaleel McLaughlin over the past two seasons and Soto had a big hand in that. As a freshman, McLaughlin rushed for an NCAA Division II record 2,421 yards, the most ever by a first-year player. During his sophomore campaign, McLaughlin led the nation with 2,316 yards and 30 touchdowns. McLaughlin was a Harlon Hill finalist each of those two seasons and finished as the runner-up for the award in 2019.

Soto's run game produced a staggering 3,352 yards in 14 games (239.4 per game) and found the end zone 42 times. He coached a pair of offensive linemen to First Team All-Conference honors and two more were Honorable Mention selections. Jimmy Burchett and Brandon Nicholson were First Team All-Region linemen and Burchett earned D2CCA Second Team All-American honors.

In 2018, Soto led the Falcons to an average of 264.6 yards on the ground per game. His offensive line played a key role in the success in the passing game as well as they allowed only 12 sacks in 14 games, which ranked 13th in NCAA DII. Offensive lineman Austin Treneff was named a finalist for the Gene Upshaw Award, which is given to the best lineman in NCAA DII. Treneff finished fourth in the voting. In 2017 and 2018, Treneff was named Academic All-American.

Shawn Chaffee - Defensive Line Coach / Recruiting Coordinator

Chaffee helped the Falcons to back-to-back MEC Championships and NCAA Playoff appearances. In 2018, the Falcons advanced to the NCAA Semifinal and captured a Region 1 Championship, and appeared in the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2019.

Chaffee coached one of the best players in the nation and helped lead Sha'haun Williams to back-to-back All-American selections. In 2018, Williams led the nation with 20 sacks which ranks third in NCAA DII for a single season. Williams finished second in the nation with 24.5 tackles for loss and joined fellow DL Derrick Brumfield who each ranked fifth in forced fumbles with four apiece.

Not to be outdone, Williams would go on to post 18 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in 2019 to go with a team-high 10 quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.

Chaffee also coached 2018 MEC Defensive Freshman of the Year Jack Kosko. Kosko went on to be named Second Team All-Conference in 2019 and ranked in the top 10 in the league in sacks.

Devin Figaro - Wide Receivers Coach

Figaro comes to Hickory after spending a year at Valparaiso. In his one season at Valpo, Figaro helped numerous wide receivers make clear strides over the course of the season. He guided juniors Ollie Reese and Deuce Larose to 2019 All-PFL Honorable Mention status.
Several Valpo wide receivers had career days on Nov. 9 vs. Morehead State as Larose made six catches for 112 yards, surpassing 100 yards for the first time in his career. Oscar Lopez hauled in nine grabs for 78 yards, both personal bests. Larose had Valpo's highest single-game receiving total since Nov. 10, 2018, while Lopez was the first Valpo player with nine or more receptions in a game since Nov. 14, 2015. Larose (48.4, ninth) and Reese (45.4, 10th) both finished in the Top 10 in the PFL in receiving yards per game. Reese also finished sixth in all-purpose yards per game with 110.7.

Before making his way to Porter County in 2019, Figaro had been the wide receivers coach at Notre Dame College in Cleveland, Ohio since the spring of 2017.

Figaro coached two players to all-conference honors during his time at Notre Dame College. He previously served as a graduate assistant/assistant wide receivers coach at the University of San Diego and helped lead the Toreros to the first undefeated season in Pioneer Football League history. He was on staff as San Diego became the first non-scholarship FCS program to win an FCS playoff game in 2016.

Figaro played at Tulane University (2009-2011) and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (2011-2013). He was the captain of the wide receivers in 2013.

Tony Baldesare - Special Teams Coordinator / Tight Ends Coach

Baldesare joined the Notre Dame coaching staff in the summer of 2015. In 2016, he was promoted to Tight Ends Coach and Director of Football Operations. Prior to the 2018 season, Baldesare became the team's Special Teams Coordinator.

In his four three seasons coaching the tight ends, NDC has seen three different players reach the marks of at least 25 receptions, 450 yards and five touchdowns. In 2019, Zaire Mitchell finished second on the Falcons with 42 grabs for 573 yards and six touchdowns on his way to being named First Team All-Region.

Tight end B.J. Baldwin was named First Team All-Mountain East and First Team All-Region in 2016 while Mitchell earned All-MEC honors in 2018.

In his second season in charge of Special Teams, Marvelle Ross was named Don Hansen Football Gazette Regional Special Teams Player of the Year after finishing with 637 kickoff return yards and three touchdowns. Ross added 167 punt return yards for 804 total return yards in 2019.

In his first year as Special Teams Coordinator, Baldesare led a unit that ranked highly in the NCAA DII in several categories. The Falcons ranked second in punt return touchdowns (4), fifth in blocked punts (4) and sixth in punt return yards (460). In 2018, Ross was named All-MEC after scoring on three punt returns. Ross's three punt return touchdowns tied for the most in the country.

Baldesare came to Notre Dame after two years with Hiram College, where he served a number of different roles.He was the Director of Football Operations with the Terriers from Jan. 2013, until he left in May of 2015. In addition to his duties as the Director of Football Operations, he was also the Linebackers Coach. In his time with the Terriers, they had their best season in over 30 years, and had a top-8 ranking in defensive takeaways.

Prior to coaching at Hiram, Coach Baldesare was an assistant with Ohio University back in 2006, when they won the Mid-American Conference Eastern Division.

Monday, 06 January 2020 21:34

App State Softball Adds Brazile to 2020 Roster

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Appalachian State softball has signed Camryn Brazile to the 2020 roster.

"We are excited to add Camryn to our already strong pitching staff. She's a proven winner that comes from a championship program," head coach Shelly Hoerner said. "Camryn will give us a different look than our other pitchers, which will only enhance us as a staff."

A standout pitcher at Paxton High School, Brazile was a second team All-State member as a freshman, and a first team All-State member as a junior and senior. Brazile was also named Player of the Week as a freshman and junior.

The pitcher played travel ball for High Intensity, FL Elite-Gold and the West FL Crush. As a member of High Intensity, Brazile helped her team to a 2017 USSSA National Championship. She also earned the Most Outstanding Pitcher Award.

Brazile joins the Mountaineers from Chipola College, a junior college in Marianna Fla. The freshman spent one semester at Chipola, making the President's list as a rookie.

App State is coming off a historical 2019 season, notching a 31-25 record and tying the win total set by the 2013 team that won the regular-season Southern Conference title. The team earned its first Sun Belt Tournament berth as the No. 5 seed and its first postseason berth to the NISC. With a strong group of returners and eight newcomers, the Mountaineers look to continue building the program as they set their sights on the 2020 season.

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