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Appalachian State University women’s basketball is set to begin practice for the 2014-15 campaign this Sunday, Oct. 5 at 3 p.m.

The Mountaineers will start their inaugural Sun Belt season with an entirely new coaching staff, led by head coach Angel Elderkin.

Sunday’s practice will be open to the public as Elderkin mentioned in her press conference, but will be changed to 3 p.m. in the Holmes Center. Fans are welcome to stop by and meet the team and new coaching staff, while getting an inside look at the team’s preparation for the season.

“Our staff is extremely excited to take the court on Sunday,” said Elderkin. “We are one of the few teams in the country to take the court for the first time and we are hungry to start practicing together.

We invite our fans to stop by and experience the energy and excitement surrounding the program.”

The Apps return 11 players to the 2014-15 squad and only lose three after going 13-16 during the 2013-14 season. The Mountaineers finished fourth in the Southern Conference, going 10-8 in conference play and losing to Elon in the quarterfinals of the SoCon tournament.

The Mountaineers return senior forward Maryah Sydnor (Radford, Va./Radford), who led the SoCon in scoring all season long, while earning first-team All-SoCon honors and NCCSIA All-State honors. Sydnor had one of the highest scoring averages in the country last season, recording 19.4 points per game and also grabbing 8.7 rebounds per game.

Sydnor is on track to become one of Appalachian’s all-time leading scorers after hitting the 1,000 point mark last season against Radford.

Appalachian will also return junior center KeKe Cooper (Spartanburg, S.C./Dorman) this season. Cooper had a breakout sophomore season, averaging 10.9 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game. She is joined by junior guard Bria Huffman (Clover, S.C./Clover), who ended the 2013-14 season with 8.2 points per game.

Despite having mulitple lineups last season, the Mountaineers return at least five starters this year including sophomore point guard Joi Jones (Duluth, Ga/Duluth), senior guard Katie Mallow (Snellville, Ga./Brookwood), junior guard Farrahn Wood (Kernersville, N.C./Forsyth Country Day) and sophomore post player Mia Marshall (Lilburn, Ga/Parkview).

The Apps are joined by Ashley Bassett-Smith (Pickerington, Ohio/UT Martin) this season, a transfer from UT-Martin who sat out last year due to NCAA transfer rules. Bassett-Smith is an athletic 6-2 forward who is expected to make an immediate impact, especially with her talent for blocking shots.

Vernessa Hinnant (Selma, N.C./Miami Dade), a 5-10 guard, joins the Mountaineers this season after transfering from Miami Dade Junior College. The Mountaineers also added two freshmen for the incoming season, including 5-10 guard Madi Story (Maiden, N.C./Bandys) and 5-10 guard Katelyn Doub (Asheboro, N.C./Southwest Randolph).

App State will play an exhibition game against Lees-McRae on Saturday, Nov. 8 at the Holmes Center before opening the season against Kentucky on Friday, Nov. 14 in Lexington, Ky.

High school golfers will have a chance to play with Champions Tour professionals during the 12th annual Greater Hickory Kia Classic at Rock Barn. The Champions Tour event is hosting its 11th annual Greater Hickory High School Classic presented by Frye Regional Medical Center at 2 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 13, and new this year, the tournament will begin a ladies’ version of the event, the tournament announced today. The Champions Tour event begins in two weeks at Rock Barn Golf & Spa.

Founded in the tournament’s second year, the Greater Hickory High School Classic features two golfers from multiple Western North Carolina high schools playing a nine-hole, stroke-play tournament on the front side of the Jackson Course at Rock Barn Golf & Spa. The top individual finishers will play in the Dale Jarrett Shootout the next day; each high school golfer will be paired with a Champions Tour player, a sports celebrity and a tournament VIP for Tuesday’s Dale Jarrett Shootout.

New this year, the tournament introduces its Ladies’ High School Classic in conjunction with the existing men’s event. Top finishers from the ladies’ event will also play in the Dale Jarrett Shootout; the number of high school golfers that gain admission into the Dale Jarrett Shootout will be determined by the number of groups in the Tuesday event. Tournament admission is free of charge on Monday.

Schools that have confirmed participation in this year’s High School Classic so far are Alexander Central High School, Bunker Hill High School, Draughn High School, East Burke High School, Fred T. Foard High School, Hickory Christian School, Hickory High School, Lake Norman High School, Maiden High School, Newton-Conover High School, South Caldwell High School, St. Stephens High School, Tri-City Christian School, University Christian School, West Caldwell High School and West Iredell High School.

Friday, 03 October 2014 12:11

High School Football Schedule Changes for Week 7

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All games to kick off at 7:30pm Friday, unless otherwise noted:

North Piedmont Conference:
North Lincoln: 21
Alexander Central: 9, Thursday

Northwestern Conference:
Fred T. Foard at Watauga
Freedom vs. Hickory, 7pm (1290 WHKY, whky.com on air at 6:30pm)
Hibriten vs. St. Stephens
Patton vs. South Caldwell, 6:30pm

South Mountain Athletic Conference:
Draughn at Kings Mountain
East Burke vs. Shelby, ppd. to Monday, 7pm

Southern District 7:
Bandys vs. West Caldwell
Bunker Hill at West Lincoln
Maiden at Newton-Conover, ppd. to Saturday, 7pm

Southern District 7:
Bandys: 3
West Lincoln: 1

Bunker Hill: 3
West Caldwell: 0

Maiden: 3
Lincolnton 0

Newton-Conover: 3
East Lincoln: 0

Thursday, 02 October 2014 10:20

High School Football Schedule Changes Due to Weather

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Alexander Central at North Lincoln, moved to tonight, 7:30pm

Hickory at Freedom, kickoff moved to 7pm Friday.

Thursday, 02 October 2014 09:23

Alexander Central Football Game Moved to Tonight

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Due to the threat of weather Friday evening, Alexander Central will be playing tonight. The Cougars are taking on North Lincoln in North Piedmont Conference play. Game time tonight is at 7:30 at North Lincoln High School.

For any further postponements of Friday night football games, we will post those here at whky.com.

Northwestern Conference:
Fred T. Foard: 3
Patton: 0

Hickory: 3
St. Stephens: 0

South Caldwell: 3
Freedom: 0

Watauga: 3
Hibriten: 0

South Mountain Athletic Conference:
East Burke: 3
Draughn: 0

North Piedmont Conference:
Lake Norman: 9
Alexander Central: 0

Northwestern Conference:
Fred T. Foard: 5
Patton: 2

Freedom: 6
South Caldwell: 1

Hibriten: 4
Watauga: 4

Hickory: 4
St. Stephens: 3

South Mountain Athletic Conference:
East Burke: 7
Draughn: 2

Southern District 7:
Bandys: 7
West Lincoln: 0

Lincolnton: 3
Maiden: 0

Newton-Conover: 2
East Lincoln: 0

Wednesday, 01 October 2014 21:51

Lenoir-Rhyne Men's Soccer Ties North Georgia

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The Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s Soccer Team (3-4-2) picked up a 3-3 tie with North Georgia (1-6-1) after two overtimes Wednesday evening in a non-conference match.

Lenoir-Rhyne junior defender Mattias Thompson (Lahaina, Hawai’i) scored with one second left in the second half off a deflection to force overtime.

Neither squad was able to score in two 10-minute overtimes despite the Nighthawks holding a 25-11 edge in shots taken.

Eric Carrion (Suwanee, Ga.) scored twice for North Georgia, who couldn’t hold a 3-1 lead in the second half and remained without a victory in five straight contests.

Senior defender Conor Doherty (Howell, N.J.) and sophomore midfielder Avery Robinson (Asheboro, N.C.) picked up their first goals of the year for the Bears as well in a contest were five of the six scores came after intermission.

In goal, Lenoir-Rhyne freshman goalkeeper Zach King (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) and North Georgia’s Victor Ohlin (Angelholm, SWEDEN) both played 120 minutes and allowed three goals. King tallied seven saves in the match while Ohlin stopped three shots.

Lenoir-Rhyne returns home to host Carson-Newman in a South Atlantic Conference match on Saturday beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Angel Elderkin, a longtime assistant coach in the Southeastern Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference and Big East, has been named the eighth head coach in Appalachian State University women’s basketball history, interim director of athletics Rick Beasley announced on Wednesday.

“Angel Elderkin is the perfect person to lead Appalachian State’s proud women’s basketball program,” Beasley said. “Her resume speaks for itself as to her ability as a coach and recruiter but she is also an ultra-prepared, caring person with great energy and integrity that will be a positive influence to young ladies in our women’s basketball program on and off the court.”

Elderkin comes to Appalachian State from LSU, where she spent two of the last three seasons (2013-14 — assistant coach; 2011-12 — director of video operations). She has also served on the staffs at St. John’s (2012-13), Virginia (2007-11), Tennessee (2005-07), Siena (2001-05) and East Tennessee State (1999-2001).

In her 12 seasons as an assistant coach, video coordinator and graduate assistant, Elderkin’s teams have advanced to postseason play 10 times and won five conference championships. As an assistant coach, she has worked directly with two all-Americans and four student-athletes that have gone on to play in the WNBA. She has also been responsible for landing four classes ranked among the nation’s top 20 as a recruiting coordinator.

Most recently, Elderkin helped LSU to the Sweet 16 of the 2014 NCAA Tournament. The Tigers finished with a 21-13 overall record and ranked No. 24 nationally in the final USA Today women’s basketball poll of the 2013-14 season. She also helped LSU to an NCAA Tournament berth as the program’s director of video operations in 2012.

In between her two one-year stints at LSU, Elderkin was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at St. John’s. In her lone season at St. John’s, the Red Storm went 18-13 overall, 11-5 in Big East play and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

Prior to going to LSU, Elderkin spent four seasons (2007-11) on the staff of Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Debbie Ryan at Virginia. As an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at UVa, Elderkin helped lead the Cavaliers to four-straight postseason berths (NCAA in 2008, 2009 and 2010, WNIT in 2011) and oversaw the signing of four-consecutive recruiting classes that were ranked among the top 20 nationally, including top-10 classes in 2010 and 2011.

Elderkin’s first taste of the SEC came from 2005-07 when she served as a graduate assistant (2005-06) and video coordinator for legendary coach Pat Summit at Tennessee. In her two seasons with the Vols, UT won the 2007 national championship and advanced to the Elite 8 of the 2006 NCAA Tournament.

Her first job as an assistant coach came at Siena, where she also served as recruiting coordinator from 2001-05. In her four seasons at Siena, the Saints won three Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular-season titles (2002, 2003 and 2004) and played in two WNITs (2002 and 2003).

Elderkin began her career as a special assistant to the head coach while earning a master’s degree at nearby East Tennessee State (1999-2001).

As a guard at the University of Southern Maine, Elderkin was a four-year letterwinner (1995-99) and helped lead the Huskies to three Little East Conference championships and an astounding 104-15 record over four seasons. USM reached the NCAA Division III Tournament all four seasons and was the national runner-up in 1998.

A two-time recipient of the William B. Wise Scholar-Athlete Award, Elderkin also lettered three times in softball. She was inducted into the New England Hall of Fame as a member of the 1997-98 Southern Maine basketball squad in 2004.

Elderkin earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Southern Maine in 1999 with a minor in education and received a master’s in physical education from ETSU in 2001.

“I’m extremely grateful and humbled to join the Appalachian State family,” Elderkin said. “I learned a lesson in life that you win with people and it is the people at Appalachian State that makes this the right opportunity for me at this time. I am truly excited for the opportunity to inject my spirit in the terrific women in our program and inspire them to succeed on and off the court.”

Birthdate: August 18, 1977
Age: 37
Hometown: East Providence, R.I.

Bachelor’s: Southern Maine, 1999 (Sociology)
Master’s: East Tennessee State, 2001 (Physical Education and Exercise Science)

Coaching Experience
2013-14: LSU (Assistant Coach)
2012-13: St. John’s (Assistant Coach)
2011-12: LSU (Director of Video Operations)
2007-11: Virginia (Assistant Coach)
2006-07: Tennessee (Video Coordinator)
2005-06: Tennessee (Graduate Assistant)
2001-05: Siena (Assistant Coach)
1999-2001: East Tennessee State (Special Assistant to the Head Coach)

Playing Experience
1995-99: Southern Maine

“Angel Elderkin is going to be a great head coach for Appalachian State. She possesses the leadership qualities that are necessary to run a successful program. Angel is very dedicated and committed to the overall success of the student-athlete on and off the basketball court. She understands how to motivate people while maintaining a positive relationship with her players. Angel has a love and passion to grow the game and fully understands the importance of giving back to the community. “
— Nikki Caldwell, Louisiana State University head coach

“Appalachian State has stolen a gem right from under the entire Women’s Collegiate Basketball World. Angel will bring extensive basketball knowledge, an infectious motivational spirit, and an incredible level of integrity to the program at Appalachian State. She is prepared to do whatever it takes to lift the program to a Championship level both on and off the court. This will prove to be an extraordinary day in the history of Appalachian State athletics in the very near future. Angel will be an amazing leader coach and positive role model for the entire Appalachian State Community!”
— Debbie Ryan, former University of Virginia head coach, Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

“What a fantastic hire for Appalachian State. Angel is an outstanding, experienced young coach who knows how to build relationships and work very well with players. She’s extremely knowledgeable about the game and knows what it takes to win, and I am excited that Angel has been given this opportunity to demonstrate what she can do as a head coach.”
— Holly Warlick, University of Tennessee head coach