Lenoir-Rhyne (14-4, 3-2) and Catawba (12-4, 4-1) split a South Atlantic Conference Baseball doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Bears Field. The Bears won the first game by a 6-2 score while the Indians salvaged the split with a 13-7 triumph in the nightcap.
Lenoir-Rhyne 6, Catawba 2
Lenoir-Rhyne senior Thomas St. Clair (Winston-Salem, N.C.) struck out 16 batters – one off his own school single-game record – and earned the complete game victory.
St. Clair, who leads the nation in strikeouts (62), improved to 6-0 on the year after allowing just one earned run in pitching his second straight complete game.
Lenoir-Rhyne was led offensively by sophomore outfielder Justin Dean (Mauldin, S.C.), who hit a two-run home run and finished with four hits and two runs scored.
For Catawba, Kyle Smith (Greensboro, N.C.) drove in a run while Russ Weiker (Albemarle, N.C.) (1-1) suffered the loss.
Catawba 13, Lenoir-Rhyne 7 (seven innings)
The Indians took control early, plating six runs in the second inning, and held off a Bears' rally while taking advantage of four Lenoir-Rhyne errors in splitting the doubleheader.
Lenoir-Rhyne cut the lead to 8-6 with a five-run fifth inning highlighted by a three-run home run from senior second baseman David Newcomer (Archdale, N.C.) but Catawba responded with a four-run seventh frame. Seven of Catawba's 13 runs were unearned.
The Indians' Luke Setzer (Salisbury, N.C.) and Chance Bowden (Salisbury, N.C.) both hit home runs while Nick Coble (Concord, N.C.) improved to 2-0 after picking up the win. Lenoir-Rhyne senior John Curtis (Lenoir, N.C.) (1-1) was tagged with the defeat.
The two teams wrap up the weekend series with a single game on Sunday beginning at 1:00 p.m., at Bears Field.
Appalachian State University baseball staged a furious comeback in the eighth inning, scoring six runs off three hits, two walks and a hit-by-pitch and benefiting from two throwing errors to down former SoCon rival Western Carolina, 7-3, on Saturday afternoon.
Dating back to last season, the win gives the Mountaineers (5-5) their 12th come-from-behind victory, while also being the ninth time they’ve scored the winning run in their final at-bat. It also gives the Black and Gold their 61st win over the Catamounts (4-5) all-time – having played them more than any other program at 152 times.
Appalachian actually put runs on the board first in the third inning when Chandler Seagle (New Bern, N.C./New Bern) singled through the left side before Matt Vernon (Advance, N.C./Davie County (Florence-Darlington Tech)) fired one to left field. Tyler Stroup (Thomasville, N.C./East Davidson) laid down a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt to advance both runners before Conner Leonard (Winston-Salem, N.C./Reagan) hit a sacrifice fly to center field to bring home Seagle.
Western Carolina finally plated a runner in the fourth on a double RBI before extending its lead to 3-1 in the seventh.
With one out in the eighth, the Mountaineers relieved Colin Schmid (New Bern, N.C./New Bern) from pitching and put him in to pinch hit. Schmid immediately produced, firing one through the right side to reach base and start the rally. Avery Jackson (Ether, N.C./East Montgomery) then drew a walk before Calev Grubbs (Lexington, S.C./White Knoll) was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Seagle then drew a four-pitch walk to bring home Schmid. Vernon then got the final of his game-high three hits on the day, lasering one to the shortstop who could only stop the ball from reaching the outfield, allowing Robert Langdon (West Palm Beach, Fla./Dreyfoos), who pinch ran for Jackson, to reach home. Firing one through the left side next, Stroup plated Grubbs before Leonard hit his second sacrifice fly of the day to center field to allow Seagle to tag and score.
The inning was then extended when Brian Bauk (Salisbury, N.C./Salisbury) pushed a ball to the Catamounts’ third basemen, who overthrew first base, allowing Bauk to advance to second and both Stroup and Vernon to be the final runs of App State’s comeback.
Reed Howell (Goldsboro, N.C./Reagan) provided relief in the final inning as WCU popped up to left field and then grounded into a 3-6-1 double play to end the game. Schmid would receive the win, striking out seven batters in eight innings.
Stroup and Leonard both finished with strong offensive outings. Stroup ended with a double as part of a 2-4 outing and Leonard had a team-high two RBI on 1-3 batting. Grubbs and Seagle also drew two walks in their efforts.
App State also protected the bases well on the day, catching three of four would-be base stealers, including two in the top of the fifth by catcher Seagle.
The Mountaineers return for the final day of the Keith LeClair Classic on Sunday, March 5 when they go toe-to-toe with host-team No. 9 East Carolina.
Appalachian State University women's basketball (11-18, 6-12 SBC) fell to Coastal Carolina (13-15, 8-10 SBC) on Senior Day, 56-53, inside the Holmes Center in the regular-season finale.
App honored its five seniors, Jasmine Ogunjimi (Chicago, Ill./Hutchinson CC), Mia Marshall (Lilburn, Ga./Parkview), Joi Jones (Duluth, Ga./Duluth), Bria Carter (Spotsylvania, Va./Spotsylvania) and Ashley Bassett-Smith (Pickerington, Ohio/UT Martin). Also, App State recognized its head manager, Morgan Cook, and videographer, Topher Abbott.
The trio of seniors of seniors in Bassett-Smith, Jones and Carter all played well in their final home game. Bassett-Smith and Jones led the Apps with 13 points apiece and combined to shoot 10-for-19 from the field to along with 11 boards. Carter notched seven points and five boards for the Black and Gold. All three combined for 33 of the 53 points scored.
Madi Story (Maiden, N.C./Bandys) tied a game-high with 10 boards for her seventh double-digit rebounding game of the season and scored eight points.
The game was tied or in App's favor for 37:54 while Coastal wouldn't take its first lead of the game until there was 2:06 left, 55-53. App couldn't find the bucket with chances to tie on several different occasions. Coastal would take a three-point lead with 28 seconds left before Jones and Q. Murray (Baltimore, Md./George) had clean looks to tie, but fell short.
App State sprinted to a 17-10 lead after the first quarter thanks to excellent play on both ends of the floor. The seniors scored 10 of the first 13 points en route to a 13-5 lead in the first 4:29 of the game.
App shot 47.1 percent in the first frame, assisted on seven of eight-made field goals and held Coastal to 30.8 percent shooting.
The Mountaineers continued the strong play in the second quarter stretching the seven-point lead to as much as 18 (32-14) thanks to a 9-0 run in which Story scored five of the points. Coastal did go into the with four quick points in the final 1:19 to slice the deficit to 32-18.
When the game was in total control for the Apps, leading 40-22 with 6:42, the Chanticleers outscored the hosts, 22-14, in the third quarter to close the App lead to six, 46-40.
With Coastal getting to within one point early in the fourth quarter, 46-45, App responded with scores from Murray and Carter before a free throw from Bassett-Smith gave Appalachian a 50-45 lead.
The Mountaineers kept the lead until Coastal finished the game on an 11-3 to pull out the win. App shot just 3-for-8 from the foul line in the fourth quarter after hitting seven of its first 10 from the charity stripe.
After not attempting a single foul shot in the first half. Coastal went 12-for-15 from the line, and outscored App from beyond the arc, 18-3. Appalachian also committed 11 of its 18 miscues in the second half, while Coastal only made six mistakes in the second stanza (12 in the first half.).
It won't be long for the two foes to face each other again, as the Apps and Chanticleers will face off for the second-straight game on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. (ET) in the first round of the 2017 Sun Belt Tournament in New Orleans, La. at Lakefront Arena. App will enter the tournament as the No. 9 seed while CCU will be slotted in the eighth spot. The winner will move on to play No. 1 seed Little Rock.
The Lenoir-Rhyne Women's Lacrosse Team (2-2, 0-1) was handed a 10-4 loss to Coker (3-1, 1-0) Saturday afternoon on the road in the South Atlantic Conference opener.
The Cobras, winners of three straight games, were led by Claudia Jenkins (Keedysville, Md.) with three goals and a pair of assists as Coker reeled off eight straight goals over both halves in the victory.
Lenoir-Rhyne was led by freshman attacker Cathleen Gaffney (Allentown, Pa.) with three goals but the Bears couldn't muster much offense – only scoring twice in each half – and losing just their fourth league contest in four years.
Coker's Marabeth Durden (Orlando, Fla.) totaled two goals and two assists while goalkeeper Cassie Williams (Rockledge, Fla.) picked up the victory in goal after making 12 saves.
Lenoir-Rhyne junior All-American Ines Flueck (Coppell, Texas) suffered the loss in goal despite making nine saves on the day. Coker held the edge in shots taken – 29-22 – as well.
Lenoir-Rhyne remains on the road to take on Pfeiffer in Misenheimer, N.C., on Wednesday beginning at 5:00 p.m.
South Mountain Athletic Conference:
East Rutherford: 10
East Burke: 3
R-S Central: 7
Alexander Central: 5
St. Stephens: 4
Ashe County: 4
North Lincoln: 7
West Iredell: 6
West Lincoln: 1
Fred T. Foard: 0
South Mountain Athletic Conference:
R-S Central: 8
Alexander Central: 4
Wilkes Central: 0
North Iredell: 4
Bunker Hill: 14
South Iredell: 3
South Caldwell: 5
West Iredell: 8
South Mountain Athletic Conference:
R-S Central: 9
Bunker Hill: 7
North Wilkes: 4
East Burke: 0
Fred T. Foard: 4
Ashe County: 1
Bessemer City: 0
North Iredell: 9
The Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s Track and Field Team won four individual events and finished second overall at the 2017 Braves Outdoor Classic Friday at the Dick and Lenore Taylor Track.
The Bears totaled 108 points on the day while UNC Pembroke, the host school, won the meet with a total of 321 points.
Lenoir-Rhyne was led by sophomore C.J. Williams (Oakland, Tenn.), who won both the 100-meter (10.86) and 200-meter (22.30) dashes.
Lenoir-Rhyne freshman Jaquay Mitchell (Middlesex, N.C.) won the triple jump with a 47’6”, just off an NCAA Division II provisional mark. Meanwhile, senior Myles Braswell-Sample (Durham, N.C.) placed first overall in the shot put (49’1”) as well.
Lenoir-Rhyne next hosts the Southside Power & Fitness Invitational on Saturday, March 18, on campus at the Irwin Belk Track and the Moretz Sports – Athletic Complex.
2017 Braves Classic
Friday, March 3
Dick & Lenore Taylor Track
UNC Pembroke, host institution
1. UNC Pembroke 321
2. Lenoir-Rhyne 108
3. Augusta 90
4. Coker 64
5. St. Andrews 20
6. Methodist 11
7. Southern Virginia 10
8. Francis Marion 1
Appalachian State University softball dominated Day One of the Fairfield Inn and Suites Camel Stampede in Buies Creek, N.C. on Friday shutting out Norfolk State 10-0 in five innings and downing Campbell 5-2 thanks to a four-run seventh inning.
“I am really proud of our guys, we grew a lot today,” said head coach Janice Savage. “Our freshman showed up and played really well, and our pitchers threw really well. Defensively, we made a couple of mistakes, but overall we did what we needed to do and came out with two Ws. It was a big day for us to come out and get the sweep. I would like to finish going 4-0 on the weekend, that would be really exciting.”
Appalachian State (9-7) totaled 18 hits at the Amanda Littlejohn Stadium, and five Mountaineers crashed out more than one. Ally Walters (Orange City, Fla./University) had a fantastic Friday, going 2-for-3 in the morning and afternoon, and she was responsible for three runs and two RBI.
In the circle, three different pitchers saw action on the mound and collectively allowed two earned runs, walked five batters and struck out seven.
Game One: App State 10, Norfolk State 0 (5)
App State jolted out to a 7-0 lead in the second inning which set the stage for the Mountaineers to snatch the shutout victory.
Haley Stewart (Belmont, N.C./South Point) started things off in the second by dropping the ball between the shortstop and the right fielder to pave the way for Jenny Dodd (Mocksville, N.C./West Forsyth) to knock in the first RBI of the game. Right after that, Cara Parker (Valdosta, Ga./Lowndes) crushed one in front of the right field fence to bring home Dodd to take the early 2-0 lead. Then, Keri White (Hampstead, N.C./Topsail) continued the scoring stream driving the ball to middle infield to open a lane for Heather Josey (Statesville, N.C./North Iredell), who reached on an error, to dash home.
The Mountaineers were not done riding the scoring train and tacked on four more runs after back-to-back two-run RBI from Sidney Russell (Lincolnton, N.C./North Lincoln) and Dodd.
After neutralizing the Norfolk State offense for two more innings, the Mountaineers pulled away with the win in five innings thanks to a two-run triple by Russell and a throwing error that brought home the North Carolina freshman to silence the Spartans 10-0.
Five ladies spearheaded the App State offense pounding out two hits apiece including Walters (2-for-3), Russell (2-for-4), Stewart (2-fo-3), Dodd (2-for-2) and Parker (2-for-2).
On the mound, Annaleise Kennedy (Kents Store, Va./Fluvanna) (2-2) pitched her first shutout victory this season in five innings holding the MEAC school to six hits and striking out three batters.
Game Two: App State 5 , Campbell 2
After taking the early lead and falling in the third, the Mountaineers rallied back with four runs on back-to-back two-run RBI in the seventh to outlast Campbell 5-2.
Appalachian opened the first inning capitalizing off a Campbell error to give App the one-run advantage.
At the bottom half of the inning, the Fighting Camels threatened App State’s lead with loaded bases and two outs on the board, but Kenzie Longanecker (Sanford, Fla./ Winter Springs) came in relief and struck out the last batter on her first three throws. Although CU was stopped twice in the first two innings, the Camels found two opportunities in the third scoring off a ground-out RBI and a RBI single to take the 2-1 advantage.
After three scoreless innings, the Mountaineers were focused on rallying back in the seventh to stay in the game and steal the victory away from the Camels. In the first three at-bats, Parker, White and Natalie Orcutt (Peachtree City, Ga./Starr’s Mill) smacked out three-consecutive singles to load the bases with no outs. Up next was Walters who answered the call and knocked in a two-run RBI to snatch back the lead. Soon after that, Katie Mathewson (Hickory, N.C./Hickory) pinched in at the number four slot and mirrored Walters slamming the second-straight two-run RBI of the inning to extend App’s lead to 5-2.
Once the top of the seventh concluded, App State sensed that a victory was on the horizon. After the first CU batter had walked to first, which gave the home team hope, the Mountaineers stopped the next three batters in their tracks with a trio of putouts, and the Apps took the ballgame 5-2.
For 6.1 innings, Longanecker (6-3) held off the Camels to set App up for their comeback victory. The Floridian gave up only two earned runs and two walks and struck out four batters.
Walters highlighted the Mountaineer offense going 2-for-3, knocking in two RBI and scoring one run.
The Black and Gold will stay in Buies Creek, N.C. for Day Two of the Fairfield Inn and Suites Camel Stampede on March 4. At 10 a.m., the Mountaineers will play Rider University, and right after, the Apps will take on Norfolk State for a rematch at 12:30 p.m.
The Lenoir-Rhyne University Women’s Track and Field Team finished second at the 2017 Braves Outdoor Track Classic Friday afternoon at the Dick & Lenore Taylor Track.
The Bears finished with 113 points while UNC Pembroke, the host school, won the meet with 218 points.
Lenoir-Rhyne was led by junior All-American Haylea Salamon (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CANADA), who finished first in both the discus throw (137’7”) and javelin throw (113’9”) and second in the shot put (37’4).
The Bears’ dominance in the field events continued with the performance of senior Domonique Jones (Greensboro, Ga.), who won the hammer throw (144’3”) and finished second in the discus throw (126’8”).
In the running events, Lenoir-Rhyne sophomore Paiton Fair (Newton, N.C.) won the 400-meter dash (58.32) and finished second in the 800-meter run (2:26.82) while redshirt freshman Audra Yarber (Abingdon, Va.) place first overall in the women’s 5,000-meter run with a time of 18:26.29.
The Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Track and Field Team next hosts the Southside Power & Fitness Invitational on Saturday, March 18, at the Irwin Belk Track and the Moretz Sports – Athletic Complex.
2017 Braves Classic
Friday, March 3
Dick & Lenore Taylor Track
UNC Pembroke, host institution
1. UNC Pembroke 218
2. Lenoir-Rhyne 113
3. Augusta 103
4. Coker 101
5. Methodist 20
6. Southern Virginia 16
7. Meredith 14
8. Francis Marion 11
9. St. Andrews 9
Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Thomas St. Clair has been named the NCBWA NCAA Division II National Pitcher Of The Week. NCBWA is the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
St. Clair, a senior from Winston-Salem, N.C., is coming off a record-breaking performance last Friday night in a 9-0 road victory over Anderson in the South Atlantic Conference opener.
St. Clair struck out a school-record 17 batters – two off the league mark – while throwing a three-hit shutout.
St. Clair has already won AstroTurf SAC Pitcher-Of-The-Week honors twice and currently sports a 5-0 record with a 1.38 earned run average and leads the nation in strikeouts with 46. Behind St. Clair, the Bears rank fourth in the nation in strikeouts per nine innings (12.0).
Quincy’s Jake Walters was named the NCBWA National Hitter Of The Week.
Founded in 1962, the NCBWA is dedicated to the advancement of college baseball. Membership is open to writers, broadcasters and publicists of the sport. Members receive a membership card, directory, newsletter updates and official votes in the Howser Award Player of the Year, Regional Player of the Year and NCBWA All-America voting. The NCBWA also sponsors preseason All-America awards, publication and writing contests.
Lenoir-Rhyne (13-3, 2-1) returns to the field on Saturday to face Catawba in a South Atlantic Conference doubleheader at Bears Field beginning at 1:00 p.m.
Appalachian State University baseball scored runs in three of the final four frames to try to rally, but wouldn’t be able to overcome its cold start in the 7-3 loss to 22nd ranked St. John’s in the first game of the LeClair Classic on Friday.
The Mountaineers (4-5) were held hitless for five innings to start the game as the Red Storm’s (9-0)’s Kevin Magee would allow just one hit in 5.2 innings.
But once the ice was broken, the Black and Gold rattled off five hits to close the final four frames and put a run on the board in the sixth, seventh and ninth.
Calev Grubbs (Lexington, S.C./White Knoll) walked to start the sixth and then was able to advance to second on a wild pitch before Tyler Stroup (Thomasville, N.C./East Davidson) broke the no-hit bid with a shot to left center to bring him around. Brian Bauk (Salisbury, N.C./Salisbury) was the next Mountaineer to get a hit, firing one to right center in the seventh before Drake Zupcic (Waxhaw, N.C./Cuthbertson) followed up right after with a shot through the right side. With Bauk and Zupcic at the corners, Grubbs singled through the right side to bring home Bauk and push Zupcic to third.
Appalachian made things interesting in the top of the ninth when Dylan Hamel (Lenoir, N.C./Hibriten) and Grubbs reached on hits-by-pitches and Avery Jackson (Ether, N.C./East Montgomery) was walked to load the bases. Chandler Seagle (New Bern, N.C./New Bern) then chipped one to right center to bring home Hamel and advance everybody a base.
With two outs and bases juiced, Matt Vernon (Advance, N.C./Davie County (Florence-Darlington Tech)) at the plate gave App a chance to pull a rabbit out of its hat on a game-tying grand slam. The senior would try to mimic his game-tying, three-run home run from Tuesday and got a good look at the ball, but with the wind blowing inward, the ball flew too high for a fly out to end the game.
Despite the lack of hits in the first five innings, the Mountaineers would have several players reach bases, but were just unable to bring any around once runners were in scoring position. St. John’s scored six runs through four innings, but were held to just one in the second half of the game.
The Mountaineers return for Day 2 of the Keith LeClair Classic on Saturday, March 4 when they battle against long-time SoCon foe Western Carolina. First pitch is scheduled to take place at 12 p.m.
Wells Fargo, along with the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, has announced the final standings in the Wells Fargo Conference Cup competitions for the 2017 winter sports season.
The Wells Fargo Cup award, sponsored by Wells Fargo and the NCHSAA, recognizes the schools that achieve the best overall interscholastic athletic performance within each of the state’s four competitive classifications.
The Wells Fargo Conference Cup is a companion to the Wells Fargo Cup and recognizes schools with the best overall interscholastic athletic performances within individual conferences. Wachovia, and now Wells Fargo, has sponsored the conference awards program since 1980.
In most conferences, points are awarded based on participation and standings in conference play. Each conference determines its own method of awarding points. OF the four conference with team represented in the Hickory Metro:
Southern District 7 2A: In first place is East Lincoln after the winter sports season thanks to championships in women’s swimming, women’s basketball and a second-place finish in men’s swimming. Newton-Conover is in second place with men’s swimming and wrestling championships along with second-place finishes in women’s basketball and women’s swimming. In third place is Lincolnton with a men’s basketball championship. Conference Standings: East Lincoln 71.5, Newton-Conover 66.5, Lincolnton 62, Maiden 54.5, West Lincoln 52, West Caldwell 45, Bunker Hill 38, Bandys 27.5.
South Mountain Athletic 2A/3A: South Mountain Athletic Conference 2A/3A: Kings Mountain is in the lead after the winter sports season thanks to a women's swimming championship, a second-place finish in wrestling and a third-place finish in men's basketball. East Burkes is in second place with a women's basketball championship and a second-place finish in men's swimming. In third place is Shelby with a men's swimming championship and a second-place finish in men's basketball. Conference Standings: Kings Mountain 85.5, East Burke 65.5, Shelby 64.5, Draughn 59.5, Crest 57, R.S. Central 51.5, East Rutherford 45.5, Chase 39, Burns 21.
North Piedmont 3A/4A: Lake Norman jumps out in front after the winter sports season thanks to a men’s basketball championship and second-place finishes in men’s and women’s swimming. In second place is Mooresville with a wrestling championship and a second-place finish in women’s basketball. South Iredell is in third place with championships in men’s and women’s swimming. Conference Standings: Lake Norman 525.5, Mooresville 462.5, South Iredell 435, Alexander Central 415, North Iredell 382.5, Statesville 342.5, North Lincoln 320, West Iredell 240.
Northwestern Athletic 3A/4A: Hickory takes the lead after the winter sports season with a second-place finish in women's swimming and third-place finishes in men's and women's basketball. Watauga is in second place thanks to a second-place finish in women's basketball and a fourth-place finish in women's swimming. South Caldwell takes home third place thanks to a men's swimming championship and a third-place finish in wrestling. Conference Standings: Hickory 131.5, Watauga 122, South Caldwell 114.5, St. Stephens 113, Freedom 111.5, Patton 105, Hibriten 101.5, Fred T. Foard 92.
The outside temperature is warming up and this is the sign that spring is coming which will bring an annual tradition to the Greater Hickory Metro that fans are excited to get started once again – NASCAR racing at Hickory Motor Speedway.
The speedway will kick off its 66th season of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series competition this Saturday with the Cosmo Motors Spring Classic.
Classic is an appropriate name for the event for Americas Most Famous Short. From NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers Ned Jarrett, Dale Jarrett, Bobby Isaac, Jack Ingram and Junior Johnson to current NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series regular Matt DiBenedetto – many legendary names in NASCAR either called Hickory Motor Speedway home or won races or championships at the .363-mile track.
The next future NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series star could be competing at the track this weekend as Lee Faulk Racing brings their development program back to Hickory Motor Speedway this week. Also, NWAAS Late Model Stock Car driver Ty Gibbs, grandson of Monster Energy Cup Series owner Joe Gibbs will be driving for Greg Marlowe Motorsports.
Headlining Saturday’s season-opening schedule will be the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Bojangles Late Model division in Twin-50 lap features. Other divisions in action include a 50-lap feature for the Paramount Auto Group Limited Late Models and a 35-lap feature for the Super Trucks. The Cosmo Motors Street Stocks will battle for 30 laps and the Renegade division will also have a 20-lap race.
The Cosmo Motors Spring Classic will also feature a new starting time of 7:30 p.m. with gates opening at 5 p.m.
For the fourth consecutive season the track will also feature the Paramount Kia “Big 10” Challenge, however 2017 will bring a change as the Challenge has been moved to the Paramount Auto Group Limited Late Models. This is a special 10-race series featuring special purse amounts and bonus awards for drivers who compete in the special series to highlight the Limited Late Model drivers.
“We’re very fortunate to have a well-known and established company like Paramount Auto Group to step up and partner with the track to give our competitors a prestigious series and give the fans a great show during this 10-race challenge,” said HMS track promoter Kevin Piercy. “Paramount’s support allows us to give Limited Late Model drivers from across the state and region an opportunity to race for respectable purses and the prestige that comes with being a feature race winner at Hickory Motor
Since Gwyn Staley won the first race held at the track in 1951, the legendary facility has not only served as a proving ground for up and coming drivers, it also helped some of today’s sharpest minds in the sport hone their skills either behind the wheel and /or applying that knowledge as a crew chief or pit crew member.
Several former track champions have made that a reality with 2004 Hickory Motor Speedway Track Champion Matt McCall now serving as crew chief for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jamie McMurray. Shane Huffman (1999) calls the shots for Timothy Peters in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with Mark Setzer serving as an integral part with Richard Gdovic’s NASCAR Xfinity Series team and twotime
champion (1987 & 1988) Robert Huffman serving as a truck chief in the NCWTS for former NSCS champion and team owner Brad Keselowski.
Brothers Andy and Marty Houston won track titles in 1994 & 1997, respectively and both currently work for Richard Childress Racing with Andy currently serving as spotter for NSCS driver Austin Dillon. “Hickory has a proud tradition of producing talent throughout the world of NASCAR and fans can expect to see that on track at Hickory Motor Speedway this season,” said Piercy. “Josh Berry has already made starts for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and Shane Lee is coming off a recent 3rd place finish at Daytona International Speedway in the ARCA race and I don’t see this pipeline of talent from
Hickory stopping anytime soon.”
DiBenedetto, who competed in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Bojangles Late Model division at Hickory when he was a student at Fred T. Foard High in Newton, has progressed to a full-time ride in NASCAR premiere division and has proven once again if you can compete and win at Hickory Motor Speedway you are likely talented enough to climb the NASCAR ladder and make it to one of NASCAR’s
“We work hard to produce a family oriented atmosphere for our fans when they choose to come watch a race at this legendary track and we’re going to continue in our efforts to make sure their experience at Hickory Motor Speedway lives up to their expectations when they come to a race,” Piercy said.
Ticket prices for the Cosmo Motors Spring Classic Season Opener are only $12.50 for adults; teen and seniors are just $10.50 with kids 10 and under free. The track is also offering for a limited time a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series 20 race ticket pack for just $200.