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The Sun Belt Conference unveiled the 2019-20 women's basketball schedule on Wednesday.

The Mountaineers will play an 18-game schedule for a fourth consecutive season with App playing nine home games and nine away games.

The upcoming season's conference slate will keep a primary Thursday-Saturday format with league contests played against travel partners for two-game road trips to maximize rest, minimize travel times and limit missed class time.

The conference will once again employ a schedule format for its men's and women's basketball conference games to be played on the same days of the week but with games at different home sites per gender. Selected rivalry games may be played as doubleheaders if requested by the competing institutions.

App State will begin the season on the road against two of the Sun Belt record seven teams that made it to the postseason in 2018-19. Appalachian opens conference action on Jan. 2 against Sun Belt Tournament runner-up, South Alabama, before facing Troy on Jan. 4.

On the ensuing Thursday, the Apps host UT Arlington (Jan. 9) for their conference home opener followed by a Saturday contest against Texas State two days later.

The lone matchup against Arkansas State will be in Jonesboro on Jan. 16 before a Jan. 18 home bout against Coastal Carolina. After a Thursday bye, the Black and Gold will take on the Sun Belt regular-season and tournament champions in Little Rock on Jan. 25.

Georgia State (Jan. 30) and Georgia Southern (Feb. 1) will invade the High Country the following weekend. App State will play five of its home games in February, and will start playing teams for a second time, beginning with the Mavericks (Feb. 6) and Bobcats (Feb. 8) in the Lonestar State.

Four of the final seven games will be in the Holmes Center, starting with South Alabama (Feb. 13) and Troy (Feb. 15). App State wraps up its final road swing of the season in Georgia when it faces Georgia State on Feb. 20 and archrival Georgia Southern on Feb. 22. The final home weekend features games against Louisiana (Feb. 27) and ULM (Feb. 29).

App concludes the regular season against the Chanticleers on March 7.

The 2020 Sun Belt Women's Basketball Championship will once again see 10 vying for the tournament title and the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship. First-round games on Tuesday, March 10 and quarterfinal games on Wednesday, March 11 will be held on campus sites. The semifinals on Saturday, March 14 and championship game on Sunday, March 15 will be held at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds will receive byes directly to the semifinals, while the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds will each host a pair of first-round games and a quarterfinal game.

All App State home games will tip at 6:30 p.m. on weeknights and 2 p.m. on weekends.

2020 SUN BELT WOMEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

First Round at Campus Sites
Tuesday, March 10
Game 1 - No. 10 Seed at No. 3 Seed
Game 2 - No. 7 Seed vs. No. 6 Seed (at No. 3 Seed)
Game 3 - No. 9 Seed at No. 4 Seed
Game 4 - No. 8 Seed vs. No. 5 Seed (at No. 4 Seed)

Quarterfinals at Campus Sites
Wednesday, March 11
Game 5 - Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner (at No. 3 Seed)
Game 6 - Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner (at No. 4 Seed)

Semifinals at Smoothie King Center
Saturday, March 14
Game 7 - Game 5 Winner vs. No. 1 Seed
Game 8 - Game 6 Winner vs. No. 2 Seed

Championship Game at Smoothie King Center
Sunday, March 15
Game 9 - Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner

The Hickory Crawdads scored three runs in the top of the eighth inning to come from behind and defeat the Charleston RiverDogs on the road Wednesday night, 8-6 in the first game of the three-game set at Joe Riley Park.

Three eighth-inning runs did the trick for the Crawdads, tagging Charlie Ruegger in his third inning of work after relieving starter Luis Medina who had struck out a career high 10 batters. Ruegger cleaned up a mess left by Charleston's starter in the top of the sixth, entering with two on and one out. The righty induced a groundout from Miguel Aparicio and fanned Pedro Gonzalez to escape the jam, and then threw a perfect seventh before running into trouble in the eighth frame.

Two walks to the Rangers' top prospect Josh Jung and Tyreque Reed leading off the inning were his undoing, as catcher Melvin Novoa later plated Jung with a single to right field to bring Hickory to within a run. Matt Whatley came in to pinch run for Novoa, and scored along with Reed on a single by Pedro Gonzalez to give the 'Dads a 7-6 lead. Hickory added one more insurance tally on a groundout in the ninth to put a bowtie on the opener.

Hickory's relief corps stymied the Charleston lineup from then on, as Jesus Linarez and Hever Bueno (2-0, 1.55) combined for six innings of one-run ball, striking out seven Dogs.

Pedro Gonzalez was two-for-four on the night with two RBI, Josh Jung and Tyreque Reed each had a hit, two runs scored and two RBI.

The Crawdads are 25-13 on the second half of the season. They are in Charleston against Thursday and Friday nights.

Appalachian State Director of Athletics Doug Gillin announced Wednesday the promotion of Appalachian alum and veteran staff member Jonathan Reeder to Executive Associate Athletics Director.

“Jonathan is an incredibly valuable member of our executive team and provides excellent leadership for many areas of App State Athletics,” Gillin said. “As an alum and former student-athlete himself, he has a special dedication to the success and well-being of Appalachian student-athletes.”

Reeder, who has served as Senior Associate AD for Internal Operations since 2016, has been a member of the athletics department for the last 12 years. He will continue to serve as a member of the executive team and oversee the athletics business office, equipment room and various sports as a sport administrator. He also serves as the department’s Chief Financial Officer and is responsible for enhancing strategic, long-term financial and operational planning.

“To have been a part of the Appalachian State University family since the day I stepped on campus as a student-athlete has been an honor and a privilege,” Reeder said. “I am excited to continue to serve Appalachian State University Athletics.”

A former pitcher for the Mountaineer baseball team (2002-07), Reeder served as the Assistant to the Chancellor for Athletics and oversaw the athletics compliance office for four years (2013-16). He also spent five years in academic services (2008-13) and was a member of the baseball staff, working as the Director of Baseball Operations (2007-08).

Reeder graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems in 2007 and earned a master’s degree in higher education administration from Appalachian in 2009. He and his wife, Kindsay, have a son, Beckett, and a daughter, Collyns.

The Lenoir-Rhyne University Football Team was voted to finish first in the 2019 South Atlantic Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll as announced by the league today. The Bears won the league championship last year after going 12-2 with a perfect 7-0 mark in conference play, the eighth SAC championship in team history.

The Bears earned five first-place votes and 68 total points. LR edged out last year's preseason favorite, Wingate, who earned three first-place votes and 64 total points. The Bears handed Wingate a 31-24 defeat in Wingate during the regular season and pulled out a narrow 21-17 win over the Bulldogs in the Second Round of the NCAA Playoffs at Moretz Stadium.

Carson-Newman was picked to finish third with Tusculum getting the final first-place vote and predicted to finish in fourth place.

The Bears open the 2019 campaign, the 100th season of football in Lenoir-Rhyne history, on Sept. 7 when they host St. Augustine's at 6 p.m. SAC play opens for LR on Sept. 21 when Newberry comes to Hickory for a 6 p.m. kickoff.

2019 SAC Football Preseason Coaches' Poll

Rank   School                   Points (1st place votes)
1.         Lenoir-Rhyne        68 (5)
2.         Wingate                64 (3)
3.         Carson-Newman  55
4.         Tusculum             54 (1)
5.         Newberry             45
6.         Catawba              37
7.         Mars Hill              33
8.         Limestone           21
9.         UVa-Wise           19

The Sun Belt Conference has announced the men's basketball schedule for the upcoming 2019-20 season.

The conference moves back to a 20-game conference schedule for men's basketball for the first time since the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. The upcoming season's conference slate will keep a primary Thursday-Saturday format with league contests played against travel partners for two-game road trips to maximize rest, minimize travel times and limit missed class time.

App State opens conference play on the road in Alabama at South Alabama on Dec. 19 and Troy on Dec. 21.

The Mountaineers return to Boone for three straight contests on Jan. 2 versus Georgia State, Jan. 4 against Georgia Southern and Jan. 6 against Louisiana.

The Black and Gold head right back on the road for a pair of road games in Texas on Jan. 9 (at UT Arlington) and Jan. 11 (at Texas State), before returning to the Holmes Center to face Arkansas State (Jan. 16) and Little Rock (Jan. 18).

App State embarks on a three-game road trip, beginning at Coastal Carolina on Jan. 25. The Mountaineers also take on Arkansas State on Jan. 30 and Little Rock on Feb. 1.

February features five home contests for the Mountaineers, with meetings against UT Arlington (Feb. 6), Texas State (Feb. 8), South Alabama (Feb. 20), Troy (Feb. 22) and Coastal Carolina (Feb. 29) in the Holmes Center. App State makes a trip to Georgia in February to square off against Georgia State (Feb. 13) and Georgia Southern (Feb. 15).

Conference and regular season play concludes on March 3 with a contest at ULM.

The 2020 Sun Belt Men's Basketball Championship will once again see 10 vying for the tournament title and the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship. First-round games on Saturday, March 7, second-round games on Monday, March 9 and quarterfinal games on Wednesday, March 11 will be held on campus sites and hosted by the higher seeds. The semifinals on Saturday, March 14 and championship game on Sunday, March 15 will be held at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds will receive byes directly to the semifinals, the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds will receive byes and host the quarterfinal games, the No. 5 and No. 6 seeds will host the second-round games and the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds will host the first-round games.

All App State home games will tip at 7 p.m. on weeknights and 4 p.m. on weekends.

Wednesday, 31 July 2019 08:06

CVCC's Rainey Signs With Mount Olive

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Catawba Valley Community College sophomore guard Danielle Rainey has signed to continue her academic and athletic career at the University of Mount Olive.

“It’s a blessing to go on to the next level to continue to play,” Rainey said. “I am thankful to have gotten the opportunity to play from (Mount Olive) coach (Wendy) Lee. I think it’s going to be a great opportunity and a great program. I am just excited about it.”

Rainey averaged 6.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game this past season for the Red Hawks, helping the program finish 24-6 overall and 17-3 in Region 10 play — winning its second-ever regular-season conference championship in program history.

“We worked hard all season,” Rainey said of her team’s success this past winter. “To end up where we did was amazing. At the beginning, no one would have thought we would have gone as far as we did. Just to be able to be a part of that — it’s history. We broke so many records academically, and then athletically we came out as champions. It’s great feeling to know we’ve left our mark here.”

Also excelling in the classroom, Rainey was also one of seven Red Hawk women’s basketball players who were named to the Region X All-Academic team, which is comprised of student athletes who attain a 3.7 GPA after one semester of academic coursework or a 3.6 GPA with two or more semesters.

“Dani came in and put the work in,” said CVCC women’s basketball head coach Tisha England. “She worked hard academically to get her credits where they needed to be. Once she got on track academically wise, I knew it was going to come naturally basketball wise. I am proud of Dani.”

Rainey is the second Red Hawk to sign with Mount Olive, joining teammate Sherry Johnson.

England believes both athletes will excel by being together at a new school.

“It feels good to have someone you know and a familiar face with you,” England said. “There is someone you have a lot of great memories with, and you can create new memories with a new team. I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing great things from both ladies.”

Rainey, Johnson and teammate Milequa Eason, who has signed with Saint Augustine’s University, are the three members of the 2018-19 CVCC women’s basketball team who have signed so far to play and study at four-year institutions this fall.

Being at Catawba Valley Community College and playing for England and assistant coach Tyra Carver have all been life changing for Rainey.

“Being a part of this program was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life,” Rainey said. “I’ve grown so much as a person and as a player. It’s amazing to have been here. Every day coach England wants nothing, but the best from us academically and athletically. She wants us to be better every day. I can’t do anything, but appreciate that.”

Recent App State women's tennis graduate Jeannez Daniel (Port Charlotte, Fla./Florida Virtual/Colorado) was selected as an NCAA Women Athlete of the Year nominee.

Daniel is one of two athletes from the Sun Belt (South Alabama - Hannah Godfrey) to earn national recognition. Nationally, 149 conference-level honorees are nominated for the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year, while a record 585 women were nominated from NCAA member schools.

"This is a great honor for Jeannez to be nominated for NCAA Woman of the Year," head coach Blake Mosley said. "She has been a great asset to our program and the University. Jeannez represents what being a student-athlete is all about. We're very proud of her accomplishments on and off the court."

Daniel will graduate at the end of the summer with her master's degree in data analytics and holds a 3.76 GPA. The Port Charlotte, Fla., native finished her final season of eligibility with the Black and Gold, where she tied for third with 10 wins on top of a 10-8 mark with nine of her victories coming at the No. 2 spot. Daniel led the team with an impressive 7-1 record in Sun Belt play and fourth in the conference in wins. She finished the season 5-1 over her last six matches, highlighted by a women's tennis Sun Belt Player of the Week award following a 2-0 showing in singles and doubles against Coastal Carolina and Arkansas State.

In doubles, Daniel posted a team-best 13 overall doubles victories and a 13-4 mark. She did the majority of her damage by going 10-1 with fellow senior, Rebecca Morse, leading the team in doubles wins. Her and Morse were the only undefeated duo in league action with a 7-0 record. In her lone season in the High Country, the Apps went 15-6 and 9-1 in conference play, which led to their first conference title in program history after claiming the outright regular-season Sun Belt championship.

Daniel helped with Operations Christmas Child for Samaritan's Purse and the tennis ball donation at Green Valley Elementary School. She was named to the Academic Honor Roll twice while at App State and four times at her previous school, Colorado. She was the Vice President of Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) with the Buffs and participated in the Tennis Marathon for Breast Cancer.

The NCAA Woman of the Year program honors the academic achievements, athletics excellence, community service and leadership of graduating female college athletes from all three divisions. To be eligible, a nominee must have competed and earned a varsity letter in an NCAA-sponsored sport, must have completed eligibility in her primary sport, and must have earned her undergraduate degree by Summer 2019.

Eligible female student-athletes are nominated by their member school. Each conference office then reviews the nominations from its core member schools (and sponsored sports) and submits its conference nominee(s) to the NCAA. The NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee then identifies the Top 30 – 10 from each division – and from there selects three finalists from each division. The Committee on Women's Athletics then selects the winner from the nine finalists.

All 30 Woman of the Year honorees will be recognized, and the 2019 Woman of the Year announced, at an awards dinner at the Westin Indianapolis on Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019.

The East-West All-Star Games have announced their coaching staff for the 2020 games held in Greensboro in July. The games are a part of the North Carolina Coaches Association Coaching Clinics, held annually in Greensboro.

Three coaches from the Greater Hickory area will represent the western half of the state. In the girls soccer game, Hibriten head coach Shea Bridges will be the west squad head coach. In the girls basketball game, West Caldwell head coach Brad Mangum will be in charge of the west.

In addition, St. Stephens head football coach Wayne Hicks will be one of the assistants on staff.

Bridges is the first coach from Hibriten to lead a soccer team in the East-West All-Star game. Five players have represented the Panthers since the first East-West All-Star soccer game in 1992, most recently, Jule Picton in 2010.

Mangum is the first representative for West Caldwell in basketball since Derek Hood, now an assistant for the Warriors, played in 2003.

Hicks represents St. Stephens in football, the first time since Marcus Byrd played for the west squad on the 2010 roster.

The Hickory Crawdads fell to the Asheville Tourists 4-1 in Monday's series finale. The teams split the four game set with two wins a piece.

'Dads righty Abdiel Mendoza pitched six scoreless innings before yielding three runs in the seventh inning. He struck out seven hitters, walked one, and allowed five hits. Lefty Lucas Jacobsen gave up a run of his own to put the Crawdads in a 4-0 hole in the seventh.

Melvin Novoa got the Crawdads on the board with a solo homerun in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Crawdads slugger Tyreque Reed went 3-4 at the plate with a double. Novoa also had a multi-hit night, collecting a single in addition to the homerun.

The Crawdads start a road trip to Charleston and Augusta on Wednesday night. They return on Thursday, August 8th for Thirsty Thursday. The annual Battle of the Bags Cornhole tournament will also be held during the game. Thursday will be another Llamas de Hickory night as the 'Dads wear their specialty uniforms.

For the 24th time in program history, the Catawba Valley Community College women’s basketball team has sent a student athlete on to the four-year level.

Red Hawks guard Milequa Eason signed to play at Saint Augustine’s University during a special ceremony held Monday afternoon in the Tarlton Complex.

“It’s a really good feeling,” Eason said of signing. “Putting in all the hard work, getting up at 5 o’clock and doing all of the strength and conditioning and all of the classes — it just feels like all of my hard work has paid off.”

Eason averaged 7.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists this past winter for the Red Hawks, helping lead the team to a 24-6 overall record and 17-3 mark in Region 10 play. Catawba Valley also won its second-ever Region 10 regular-season championship in program history.

Best known for her tenacious defense, Eason led the Red Hawks this past winter in steals (77) and steals per game (2.6), and she finished second on the squad in total blocks (17) and blocks per game (0.6).

“She’s probably the second-best defensive player I’ve ever coached since I’ve been here at CVCC,” said Red Hawks women’s basketball head coach Tisha England. “She’s quick and can move her feet. She came in and did what she needed to do academic and athletic wise.”

A standout in the classroom as well, Eason was named a member of the Region 10 All-Academic team and was also named a third-team NJCAA All-Academic Student-Athlete.

Eason was also a part of a CVCC women’s basketball team that was named a 2018-19 NJCAA Academic Team for carrying a team-wide GPA of 3.0 or better — only one of 82 teams in the country to earn that distinction.

“Coming to CVCC was the best decision I feel like I ever made,” Eason said. “It was great. Being under coach England helped me mature and grow. She taught me that it’s more than basketball. It’s about life and you as a person. That made me want to play hard for her and go harder for myself.”

Eason is the third member of the 2018-19 Red Hawks to sign with a four-year institution, joining forward Sherry Johnson and guard Danielle Rainey, who both signed with the University of Mount Olive earlier this summer.

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