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The Lenoir-Rhyne University Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Teams were picked to finish fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 2015 South Atlantic Conference Preseason Coaches Poll.

The outdoor season continued last weekend at home when Lenoir-Rhyne hosted the PowerSox Invitational. Lenoir-Rhyne won the women’s competition while the men’s team placed second.

Several track and field athletes to watch out for this season for the Bears include juniors Kevin Baxter (Columbia, S.C.), Zach Millsaps (Statesville, N.C.) and Vertrice Wilson (Carrollton, Ga.) and sophomore Brooke Robinson (Vale, N.C.).

Baxter is a three-time All-American – twice in indoor, once in outdoor – and won the men’s 110-meter hurdles in last year’s league finals while Millsaps broke the school record in the men’s 5,000-meter run (15:10) two weeks ago at the Coastal Carolina Invitational.

Robinson won the women’s 400-meter dash at the 2014 SAC Championships and was named the conference women’s freshman of the year while Wilson is an indoor all-region selection and finished runner-up in the women’s 100-meter hurdles and discus throw at last season’s conference championship meet.

For the second straight year, Lenoir-Rhyne will serve as the host school for the 2015 South Atlantic Conference Track and Field Championships. The league finals will take place on Friday, April 17, and Saturday, April 18, at the Moretz Sports – Athletic Complex.

In last year’s championships, the men’s team took home second-place honors while the women’s squad placed fourth overall for the Bears. Wingate (men) and Queens (women) were the inaugural team champions. The Bulldogs were picked to win both the men's and women's league meets this spring.

The Lenoir-Rhyne Outdoor Track and Field Teams next compete in the VertKlasse Meeting on Friday, April 3, and Saturday, April 4, in High Point, N.C.

2015 South Atlantic Conference
Women's Track And Field Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Wingate (2) 66
2. Queens (7) 65
3. Anderson 58
4. Mars Hill 50
5. Lenoir-Rhyne 49
6. Carson-Newman 42
7t. Lincoln Memorial 24
7t. Coker 24
9. Brevard 20

2015 South Atlantic Conference
Men's Track And Field Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Wingate (5) 66
2. Mars Hill 57
3. Queens (3) 56
4. Lenoir-Rhyne 51
5. Carson-Newman 48
6. Anderson 47
7. Coker 27
8. Lincoln Memorial 26
9. Brevard 19

After leading Appalachian State University baseball to its first-ever Sun Belt Conference series victory, second baseman Dillon Dobson (Hamptonville, N.C./Starmount) and pitcher Taylor Thurber (Mooresville, N.C./Lake Norman) have been named the Sun Belt’s Player and Pitcher of the Week, the league office announced on Tuesday.

Dobson had a monster week at the plate hitting a .667 (10-for-15) with two doubles, two home runs, five RBI, eight runs scored, a .706 on-base percentage and a 1.200 slugging percentage in four games.

The junior was particularly impressive in Appalachian State’s three-game Sun Belt series versus UL Monroe, going 9-for-12 (.750) with two doubles, two home runs, five RBI and seven runs scored. He reached base in each of his first 10 plate appearances of the weekend (eight hits, a walk and reached on an error), including a 5-for-5 effort with two doubles, three RBI and three runs scored in Saturday’s 7-5 win. The five-hit game was the first by a Mountaineer since Daniel Kassouf also went 5-for-5 against Elon on March 23, 2012.

With the big week, Dobson raised his season batting average from .270 to .337. He ranks among the top 100 in the nation in home runs (6 - t-21st), total bases (54 - t-49th) and slugging percentage (.607 - 100th).

Thurber’s recognition came on the heels of throwing 10 scoreless innings over two appearances last week. The senior surrendered only four hits, did not issue a walk and struck out eight over the 10 shutout frames.

Thurber opened the week with a perfect inning out of the bullpen on Tuesday at UNC Asheville but earned the Sun Belt accolades with his performance as a starter three days later against ULM. Making the first weekend start of his career, Thurber twirled a four-hit shutout in Appalachian State’s 7-0 series-opening win.

The right-hander tallied seven strikeouts and no walks and needed only 103 pitches to record the first complete game of his career. He shattered his previous career high of 6.0 innings pitched.

Behind Dobson and Thurber, Appalachian State went 2-2 on the week, including taking 2-of-3 conference games from ULM. The duo’s honors are the first weekly awards garnered by Mountaineers as members of the Sun Belt.

Appalachian State returns to action on Tuesday evening with a 6 p.m. contest at North Carolina, followed by a home date on Wednesday versus Wake Forest. Wednesday’s contest versus WFU is set for 5 p.m. at App State’s Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium.

Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Sarah Kenley has been named the AstroTurf South Atlantic Conference Softball Player Of The Week, league officials announced today.

Kenley, a sophomore catcher from Charlotte, N.C., batted .444 (12-of-27) with five doubles, two home runs and nine runs batted in to lead the Bears to five victories last week.

Kenley had at least one hit in six of the team’s eight games last week including a four-hit, two-RBI performance against Brevard in a 10-3 win in the second game of a doubleheader sweep Saturday on the road.

Kenley, a 2014 Second-Team All-South Atlantic Conference honoree, is second on the team in batting average (.408) this year and leads the squad in hits (40), doubles (12), home runs (seven), runs batted in (38), total bases (73) and slugging percentage (.745).

Carson-Newman’s Sarah Howard has been named the AstroTurf South Atlantic Conference Softball Pitcher Of The Week.

Lenoir-Rhyne (23-10, 3-3) returns to action on Thursday when the Bears host Wingate (16-10, 5-1) in a South Atlantic Conference doubleheader beginning at 3:00 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for Wednesday but was moved due to the threat of rainy weather.

The Lenoir-Rhyne Softball Team’s home South Atlantic Conference doubleheader, scheduled for tomorrow, has been moved to Thursday due to the threat of inclement weather.  First pitch is set for 3:00 p.m.

South Mountain Athletic:
Crest: 14
East Burke: 0

Fred T. Foard: 11
Hickory: 0

Southern District 7:
Bunker Hill: 13
Newton-Conover: 3

Girls soccer:
North Piedmont:
Lake Norman: 9
Alexander Central: 0

Hickory: 2
St. Stephens: 0

South Caldwell: 5
Freedom: 1

Appalachian State University men’s basketball forwards Rantavious Gilbert (Albany, Ga./Monroe) and Milos Kostic (Belgrade, Serbia/IMG Academy) will not return to the team for the 2015-16 season, head coach Jim Fox announced on Monday.

Both student-athletes will remain enrolled at Appalachian State for the remainder of the 2014-15 academic year. Gilbert averaged 4.7 minutes per game in 17 appearances while Kostic averaged 7.0 minutes per game in 21 appearances.

The Mountaineers will return 11 players in 2015-16, including four of their top five scorers from this past season. Appalachian State finished sixth in its inaugural season in the Sun Belt Conference despite being selected to finish 11th in the preseason coaches poll.

Appalachian State University women’s tennis dropped the doubles point and was unable to keep up with nationally ranked Wake Forest in a 7-0 loss on Sunday at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex.

The Mountaineers (6-10) lost their seventh-straight match in the process while the Demon Deacons (12-7) bounced back from a 7-0 loss to No. 1 North Carolina in a match that was played earlier in the day.

Wake Forest did not drop a single set on the day as Appalachian dropped to 0-6 on the road and 3-6 against ITA Carolina Region opponents this year.

Appalachian State’s No. 1 doubles team of Clare Cox/Mackenzie LaSure lost by a 6-1 score, as did the No. 2 duo of Megan Mullen/Melissa Machado. At No. 3 doubles, the Mountaineer tandem of Olivia King/McKayla Zupan trailed 4-3 in a match that went unfinished after Wake Forest clinched the doubles point.

Cox/LaSure fell to 5-6 on the season while Mullen/Machado dropped to 8-5. King’s appearance in doubles was her first doubles action of the season and marked just her second appearance overall.

In singles play, the Demon Deacons rolled to straight set wins at every position. Cox fell to Kimmy Guerin, the reigning ACC Player of the Week, by a 6-1, 6-0 tally at the No. 1 spot. LaSure suffered a 6-2, 6-2 loss at No. 2 while Brianna Armellino was downed by a 6-1, 6-1 final at No. 3.

Machado put up perhaps the best fight of the day at No. 4 as she was topped by a 6-0, 6-4 score. Gabrielle Wreder was downed by a score of 6-2, 6-2 at No. 5 and Zupan suffered a 6-0, 6-0 loss at the No. 6 position.

Appalachian State returns to action on Thursday when it travels to Charlotte in the first of three weekend road matches against in-state opponents. The Mountaineers will face UNCG on Saturday and Western Carolina on Sunday.

#61 Wake Forest 7, Appalachian State 0
Mar 22, 2015 at Winston-Salem, N.C. (Wake Forest Tennis Complex)

Singles competition
1. Kimmy Guerin (WF) def. Clare Cox (APP) 6-1, 6-0
2. Xue Zhang (WF) def. Mackenzie LaSure (APP) 6-2, 6-2
3. Samantha Asch (WF) def. Brianna Armellino (APP) 6-1, 6-1
4. Luisa Fernandez (WF) def. Melissa Machado (APP) 6-0, 6-4
5. Kasey Gardiner (WF) def. Gabrielle Wreder (APP) 6-2, 6-1
6. Karen Forman (WF) def. McKayla Zupan (APP) 6-0, 6-0

Doubles competition
1. Andrea Retolaza/Xue Zhang (WF) def. Clare Cox/Mackenzie LaSure (APP) 6-1
2. Kimmy Guerin/Kasey Gardiner (WF) def. Megan Mullen/Melissa Machado (APP) 6-1
3. Karen Forman/Luisa Fernandez (WF) vs. Olivia King/McKayla Zupan (APP) 4-3, unfinished

Match Notes
Appalachian State 6-10
Wake Forest 12-7; National ranking #61
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (6,1,4,5,2,3)
T-1:30 A-101

Lenoir-Rhyne (23-10) and GRU Augusta (19-5) split a softball doubleheader Sunday afternoon at Bears Field. The Bears took the first game in eight innings, 3-2, before the Jaguars salvaged the split with a victory in the nightcap, 5-3.

Game One – Lenoir-Rhyne 3, GRU Augusta 2 (eight innings)
Lenoir-Rhyne freshman pinch runner Christina Walker (Roxboro, N.C.) scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning on a wild pitch.

Junior Maryann Hoskins (Havelock, N.C.) improved to 12-3 on the year after earning the complete game victory.

Hoskins scattered five hits to go along with four strikeouts while junior designated player Lauren Elder (Taylorsville, N.C.) and junior third baseman Jordin Phillips (Hampstead, N.C.) drove in runs for the Bears.

For GRU Augusta, Caitlyn Glenn (Watkinsville, Ga.) hit a two-run home run in the second inning while Haley Birkle (Gainesville, Fla.) fell to 8-4 with the loss in relief.

Game Two – GRU Augusta 5, Lenoir-Rhyne 3
The Jaguars scored five runs in the top of the seventh inning to rally from a 3-0 deficit to stun the Bears and salvage the split.

In the frame, GRU Augusta’s Hannah Wilson (Thomas, Ga.) cut the lead to one with a two-run home run before Brooke Stephens’ (Gibson, Ga.) game-winning, three-run home run.

Lenoir-Rhyne was led offensively by sophomore first baseman Sydney Landreth (Disputanta, Va.), who hit a solo home run and added a RBI double despite the loss.

Birkle (9-4) went the distance and earned the win while junior Brandi Hole (Sandy Ridge, N.C.) fell to 11-7 after taking the loss for the Bears.

Lenoir-Rhyne remains at home to host Wingate in a South Atlantic Conference doubleheader on Wednesday beginning at 3:00 p.m.

Appalachian State University women's golf finished the second and final round of the Low Country Intercollegiate on Sunday afternoon. The Mountaineers shot a second round 319 as a team for a total of 636 for the tournament. Appalachian finished in seventh place.

The Mountaineers top performer this weekend was Emily Stinson (Charlotte, N.C./Ardrey Kell). Stinson fired a 5-over 77 in the second to finish in tied for tenth place. Madalyn Davis (Marion, N.C./McDowell) was two shots back of the pace set by Stinson with a 79 and finished with a score of 157 for the tournament. Davis finished tied 14th.

Haley Zagoria (Atlanta, Ga./Woodward Academy) moved five spots up the leader board into a tie for 15th during the final round of play with a 7-over 79. Hannah Craver (Winston-Salem, N.C./Reagan) shot an 84 on day two to finish at 20-over for the tournament. Craver ended the day tied for 38th.Savanna Wood (Boone, N.C./Watauga High School) carded an 87 to finish tied for 53rd.

Competing as an individual, Lily Yatawara (Salisbury, N.C./Salisbury) shot a second round 89 after carding an 81 on day one. Yataware's total 171 left her in 59th place.

Appalachian was in seventh place after the first round of play on Saturday.

The Mountaineers were led by Davis and Stinson who both shot 78 in the opening round of the tournament. Davis and Stinson were tied for 11th place. Craver finished two shots behind Davis and Stinson with an 8-over 80, leaving her tied for 24th.

Coming off a first place finish at the Cape Fear National Intercollegiate last weekend, Wood shot a 9-over 81 in the first round. Wood was tied with teammate Zagoria, who also shot 81, for 30th place.

App State is back on the course on Sunday Mar. 29th for John Kirk Panther Intercollegiate hosted by Georgia State.

Appalachian State University softball dropped its ninth-straight conference game and the series finale at South Alabama, 8-0 in five innings on Sunday.

The Mountaineers (9-16, 0-9 Sun Belt) generate just two hits of offense and couldn’t recover from a Jaguar five-run first inning.

In the first, the Jaguars (21-6, 5-3 Sun Belt) put up five runs on an RBI single, sac fly and a three-run homer to stake themselves to the early 5-0 advantage.

The best opportunity for Appalachian came in the fourth inning when Pepper Butler (Delray Beach, Fla./Boca Raton Community) singled on a bunt to lead off, which was followed by a Sarah Warnock (Jamestown, N.C./Southwest Guilford) single up the middle.

After both Butler and Warnock stole bases and give the Mountaineers runners on second and third base with no outs, App State didn’t get a ball to leave the infield in three at-bats.

For the series, the Apps finished 1-for-17 with runners in scoring position. However, with the bases empty the Mountaineers went 10-for-34.

With a 5-0 lead in the fifth, South Alabama got what they needed to close out the game. Jaguar pinch hitter Kristian Foster drove a double to the left-center field gap to score two runs, while the game-ending run came home on a throwing error.

Vanessa Ciocatto (La Habra, Calif./La Habra/Delaware State) started the game and pitched one inning, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits. Katherine Johnson (Alameda, Calif./Alameda/Wichita State) entered the game in relief and pitched one inning, allowing just one hit and walking one.

The remainder of the shortened contest was covered by Alissa Schoelkopf (Sewell, N.J./Washington Township/Monmouth) who pitched 2.1 innings. The senior gave up three runs (two earned) and five hits to go with two walks and two strikeouts.

The Mountaineers will return to action for a mid-week doubleheader on Wednesday, March 25 at Campbell University. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. with the second game immediately following.