Sports (1098)

Monday, 26 August 2019 18:35

App State's Jones Earns Promotion

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Appalachian State Director of Athletics Doug Gillin announced Monday that staff member Joey Jones has been promoted to Senior Associate Athletics Director for Strategic Communications.

Jones has served as Associate AD for Strategic Communications since 2017. As the athletics department’s primary spokesperson, he directs all communications for the department and its 20 sports. He is the chief communications officer and media contact for the football program and acts as a member of the department's executive leadership team. He also oversees the sports productions department, radio affiliate relations and the newly formed creative services staff.

“Joey has done a great job during his time at Appalachian State,” Gillin said. “As our brand continues to see substantial growth locally, regionally and nationally, he will play an increased role in the strategic development and distribution of App State content. He will also oversee the emergence and development of our graphic design department."

Since Jones arrived in Boone, he has supervised communications efforts for back-to-back Sun Belt titles and bowl wins for the Mountaineer football program in 2017 and 2018. He and his staff were media hosts for the inaugural Sun Belt Football Championship Game on Dec. 1, 2018, which App State won 30-19 over Louisiana.

“I am thankful to Doug Gillin for the opportunity to continue serving Appalachian State Athletics, its student-athletes, coaches, staff, fans and the media,” Jones said. “This is a great time to be a Mountaineer. I’m excited to keep working with our talented team of communicators and visual artists to grow the App State brand locally, regionally and nationally.”

Jones worked in athletics communications at Ole Miss for the previous 12 years (2005-17) and at Georgia for two years (2003-04).

A 2004 graduate of the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism, Jones and his wife, Gwen, have two sons, JW and Gabe.

Appalachian State University field hockey received a tournament champion vote in the 2019 Mid-American Conference Field Hockey Preseason Coaches Poll that was released on Monday.

Appalachian joins Miami, 2018's regular season and tournament champion, and Kent State as the three schools to earn a tournament champion vote.

MAC coaches also selected the Mountaineers to finish fifth in the conference. App State finished sixth in the regular season in 2018 before making it to the semifinals in this past season's MAC Tournament.

Appalachian won its first two MAC Tournament games a year ago, defeating Central Michigan 5-2 and Longwood 2-0 in 2018's postseason run. The Black and Gold play both the Chippewas and Lancers on the road in October.

Miami, the MAC's back-to-back tournament champion, received the most regular season and tournament champion votes. The RedHawks earned five first place votes and five tournament champion votes. Kent State and Longwood finished second and third in total votes, respectively.

The Mountaineers open the 2019 season Friday with a road matchup at Towson at 3 p.m. Appalachian begins its conference slate at home against Ohio on Sept. 20.

Monday, 26 August 2019 18:28

Hickory Crawdads Playoff Tickets on Sale

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The Hickory Crawdads have put together a fantastic 2019 season and are on the verge of securing a playoff spot.

Tickets for all three potential playoff games at LP Frans Stadium are on sale now. The Crawdads would host game 1 of the Northern Division Championship series on Wednesday, September 4th. Games 2 and 3 will take place on the road in Delmarva.

The 'Dads would also host the first two games of the best of five Championship Series against the Southern Division Champion. The games are scheduled for Monday, September 9th and Tuesday, September 10th.

All playoff games would begin at 7pm and daily promotions will apply. Tickets are regularly priced. Undated vouchers and sweetFrog Claw Club memberships can be used. The Crawdads will also continue to offer up to two free tickets to active duty and retired military members thanks to Hendrick Honda Hickory.

What is needed to clinch? With eight games to play, the Crawdads magic number is four over the Greensboro Grasshoppers for the wild card. The magic number is the number of combined Crawdads wins or Grasshopper losses needed to secure a playoff spot. The Crawdads also have a chance to win the division, where they trail the Shorebirds by just a game. The playoff schedule and matchup would be the same regardless of whether the 'Dads win the wild card or the division.

But what if the games don't happen? Should any game not take place, hold on to your tickets, they will be good for a game next season! Just take your ticket to the box office and trade it in for the date you would like. An upgrade will be required for July 3rd and concert dates.

The Hickory Crawdads bats broke loose to defeat the Greensboro Grasshoppers 10-4 on Sunday night. The 'Dads won the series two games to one and scored 28 runs across the three games. The win also cuts the Crawdads magic number to four.

Greensboro took an early 1-0 lead, putting a run on the board in the first inning.

The Crawdads rallied for a pair of runs in the sixth to pull ahead 2-1. Kole Enright began the inning with a bunt single and advanced to second on a ground out by Frainyer Chavez. Josh Jung drove a double to right to score Enright. Tyreque Reed hit an RBI single to put the 'Dads in front.

The Grasshoppers retook the lead in the top of the seventh with three runs.

The 'Dads quickly tied things back up in the bottom half of the inning. Ryan Anderson started the rally with a single. Pedro Gonzalez doubled to bring Anderson in to score and cut the deficit to one. Matt Whatley laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Gonzalez to third base. Enright and Chavez drew walks to load the bases for Jax Biggers. Biggers delivered a sacrifice fly to center to even the score at 4 runs each.

In the eighth the Crawdads broke the game open, putting up a six-run frame. Melvin Novoa singled and was lifted for pinch-runner Jonathan Ornelas. Anderson singled and Gonzalez was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Matt Whatley singled to score Ornelas and keep the bases full. Enright was hit by a pitch, bringing in Anderson. Chavez hit a bases-clearing double to put the 'Dads ahead by five runs. Jung, the ninth batter of the inning, singled to drive in Chavez and cap off the scoring.

The Crawdads hit the road tomorrow for four games with a chance to clinch the wild card. They return on Friday night for the last fireworks show of the season. It is also Wizard Night and fans that dress as their favorite wizard can get a discounted $6 ticket.

App State women's soccer fell to No. 23 Wake Forest, 2-0, on Sunday evening at Spry Stadium.

Appalachian faced its second opponent on the road that went to the NCAA Tournament in 2018, as Wake Forest went to the Sweet 16.

"Tonight was a huge test for us," head coach Sarah Strickland said. "Wake Forest went to the Sweet 16 last year and is ranked nationally. I'm so proud of how the girls battled tonight. We stayed extremely organized and defended like champions. I look forward to opening at home next weekend and welcoming all of App Nation to our new turf stadium."

The Mountaineers weren't able to find their rhythm on offense with a shot on goal by Hayley Boyles (Wake Forest, N.C./Heritage). Tess Cairney (Wilmington, N.C./Eugene Ashley) also tallied a shot for the Black and Gold.

Wake Forest's Ashley Frank scored the game's first goal at 25' to put the hosts up 1-0. It wouldn't be until the 86th minute when Ryanne Brown tacked on a late goal to give the Deacons a 2-0 edge.

Kerry Eagleston (Winston-Salem, N.C./West Forsyth) made her second consecutive start to the season, stopping four shots and playing all 90 minutes.

"Thank you to all of the fans and App State women's soccer alumni that traveled to Wake Forest to support us tonight," Strickland said.

App will face Duquesne in the first of back-to-back home matches on Friday at 2 p.m. in the home opener at Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex.

Lenoir-Rhyne University has announced the promotion of Kim Pate to the position of vice president for athletics. Pate, who has served as the director of athletics since March 1, 2016, will continue to provide leadership to the athletic department as well as serve on the president's leadership team to support the broader campus mission and strategic direction.

Under Pate's leadership, LR has had unparalleled success on the field, including:

The 2018-19 season marked LR's best finish in the Echols Athletic Excellence Award standings, finishing just 10 points out of first place. The Bears' 1,521 points were a program record, and the Bears were in first place after both the fall and winter seasons for the first time.

The football team advanced to the NCAA Playoff Elite 8 and finished the season ranked No. 8 nationally under first year head coach Drew Cronic. Cronic, whom Pate hired in December 2017, was named AFCA National Coach of the Year and the Bears were the most improved team in the nation, improving their win total by nine wins from 2017 to 2018.

Entering 2018-19, LR had two National Coaches of the Year in school history, but Cronic along with head men's lacrosse coach Greg Paradine doubled that total in one season as both picked up national COTY honors

Women's outdoor track and field and men's soccer each won their first South Atlantic Conferences championships in program history and six teams/individuals advanced to NCAA competition last year.

In addition, Pate has lead improvements to facilities, including the completion of a successful $3.25 million fundraising campaign for the Neill McGeachy Sports Performance Center. The facility features 14,000 square feet of new and enhanced space, a weight room, nutrition bar and indoor turf training area, dedicated team meeting rooms, additional coaches' offices, and an enclosed pavilion and outdoor courtyard for Bears Club hospitality and engagement space. Announced in August 2018, the fundraising and construction were completed in just 12 months.

Other athletic facilities experienced marked improvement with the renovation of Shuford Memorial Gym Lobby, and the addition of air-conditioning in Shuford Gym, Moretz Gym, and numerous locker rooms. Another notable upgrade was the addition of grandstands at the Moretz Sports Complex soccer and track facility and the installation of a new state-of-the-art Mondo track surface. Additionally, a new video board was installed at the baseball field.

Pate has helped the Bears excel off the field as well. Over her first three years, Lenoir-Rhyne has led the SAC with a combined 579 student-athletes on the SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll.

The Bears also posted a record-high number of Athletic Directors Association Academic Achievement Awards (123) which tied for the most representatives in the SAC and was the eighth-most recipients in Division II. During the 2018-19 season, LR boasted four Academic All-Americans and four Elite 20 award winners. Pate also added an emphasis on community service since starting in Hickory and the Bears ranked in the top 20 of NCAA Division II athletic departments last year with 6,029 community service hours. Also, the SAAC raised more than $6,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which ranked No. 17 in Division II.

Prior to LR, Pate served as director of athletics at the University of Illinois Springfield for five years, where she was responsible for the administration and oversight of a 16-sport NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics program in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. Before that, she worked at Brevard College in Brevard, North Carolina, as the director of athletics for more than three years (2007-11). She oversaw 18 NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs in the SAC.

During her tenures at the two previous institutions, Pate led several initiatives including transitioning Brevard College from NAIA to NCAA Division II status, implementing multiple new sports programs including football, establishing a new 500-member booster club while more than doubling fundraising contributions, and leading multiple capital facility improvements including the development of a new baseball facility, golf driving range, and numerous other facility renovations.

While at Brevard, Pate also gained collegiate coaching experience serving as the assistant softball coach for three years. She helped lead the team to a program-record winning season of 28-22, during her first year of coaching.

Pate's experience also includes more than six years of active involvement on numerous national athletic committees and organizations. In 2019, she was selected to be an officer on the Division II ADA board of directors as the third vice president. Also, Pate was selected to serve on the National Association of Collegiate Director of Athletics executive committee in spring 2019. She has served as a representative on the NCAA Division II legislative committee, chair of the NCAA Division II interpretation subcommittee, vice chair of the NCAA Division II membership committee, as well as a member of both the NCAA diversity and inclusion fellows design team and the SAC strategic planning committee. In 2015, Pate was recognized by the Springfield Business Journal as a Woman of Influence honoree.

Pate received her Master of Business Administration from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. Her undergraduate studies were completed at Brevard, where she received her bachelor's degree in business and organizational leadership, graduating summa cum laude.

Sunday, 25 August 2019 21:08

L-R Volleyball Picked to Finish Sixth in SAC

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The Lenoir-Rhyne Volleyball Team was predicted to finish sixth in the South Atlantic Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll as announced by the league. Additionally, LR's Taylor Prall and Jackie Denny earned Preseason Second Team All-Conference honors.

The Bears finished in a fourth-place tie in the SAC standings a season ago, going 11-9 in league play and 17-11 overall. The Bears won their first seven games of the season before a handful of late season injuries brought the season to an abrupt finish in the SAC Quarterfinal.

Prall, an Honorable Mention All-Conference selection in 2018, led LR with 287 kills as a sophomore and added 15 service aces, 187 digs and 38 blocks. Prall finished 10th in the league in kills and had six double-doubles on the year including a monster 22-kill, 18-dig effort in a 3-2 win over Queens.

Denny was also an Honorable Mention All-Conference performer a season ago after finishing the season with 82 total blocks. Denny added 154 kills and was second on the team with a .236 hitting percentage. The senior had a pair of 13-kill performances and notched a double-double with 10 kills and 11 blocks against UNC Pembroke on Aug. 31.

Lenoir-Rhyne opens the season on September 6 when they take on Francis Marion at 3 p.m. at Queens University.

2019 Volleyball Preseason Coaches' Poll
Rank School (First Place Votes) Points
1. Wingate (10) 131
2. Anderson (2) 121
T-3. Lincoln Memorial 104
T-3. Carson-Newman 104
5. Queens 90
6. Lenoir-Rhyne 87
7. Mars Hill 67
T-8. Tusculum 51
T-8. Catawba 51
10. Coker 49
11. Newberry 46
12. UVa-Wise 23

First Team
Emily Conlin, Anderson
Rachel Alles, Wingate
Rylee Storms, Lincoln Memorial
Taylor du Bray, Coker
Casey Tarvin, Queens
Sally Anne Johnson, Mars Hill
Hailee Wilhelm, Anderson
Morgan Ballard, Carson-Newman (L)

Second Team
Megan Oldenburger, Carson-Newman
Zoe Dinkins, Newberry
Taylor Prall, Lenoir-Rhyne
Regan Duty, Anderson
Logan Witt, Queens
Jackie Denny, Lenoir-Rhyne
Emily Walter, Lincoln Memorial
Ciara Kain, UVa-Wise
Jaycee Jones, Queens (L)

Sunday, 25 August 2019 21:07

Hickory Crawdads Doubled up by Grasshoppers

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The Hickory Crawdads fell 4-2 on Saturday night to the Greensboro Grasshoppers to even the series at one game each. The 'Dads magic number remains at six with nine games to play.

Greensboro got a pair of runs across in the fifth inning to take a 2-0 lead. Crawdads starter Tyree Thompson finished his evening after five innings, giving up two runs (only one earned) on five hits and one walk.

The 'Dads tied the game up at two in the bottom of the sixth inning. Pedro Gonzalez drew a walk with two outs to get things started. Gonzalez stole second and took third on a throwing error by the catcher. He came into to score on a double by Matt Whatley. Kole Enright drove a double off the right field wall to even the score.

The Grasshoppers pulled ahead 4-2 in the seventh inning on a hit batter and walk with the bases loaded.

Racing returned for a great cause this weekend at Hickory Motor Speedway for Pink Heals Night at the Races presented by Dickinson Service Center.

Leading off the evening’s events would be the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Models for 40 laps in race one of their doubleheader. Travis Swaim in the #21 would take the top spot in qualifying with Matt Leicht in the #2 starting to his outside. Row two would be made up of Hickory Motor Speedway points leader Thomas Beane in the #31 and Zach Bruenger in the #55. The green flag would see Swaim and Leicht side by side for the top spot until Leicht would get loose off of turn two on lap two giving the spot to Swaim. Beane would use the opportunity to move under Leicht and complete the pass five laps later. Leicht would shadow Beane for several laps until lap 26 when he would move around for the second spot. Swaim would have his racer on cruise control setting a blistering pace early in the race and drive on to the win. Leicht would close the gap late but have to settle for 2nd with Beane extending his points lead and finishing 3rd. Mike Darne in the #6 would finish 4th and Bradley McCaskill in the #18M finishing 5th.

Next up would be the Renegades for their 20 lap feature. Justin Austin in the #1 would set fast time in qualifying and start from the top spot with the #6 of Spencer Dickinson to his outside. Dickinson would get a great start on the outside, but Austin would take the top spot back coming off of turn two. Brian Larkin in the #7 would move up to third, but pull to pit road with mechanical issues on lap 5. Austin and Dickinson would make it a two car battle for the top spot over the remaining laps. Austin would hold on and take the win and extend his series points lead. Dickinson would finish 2nd with Gary Ledbetter in the #8 coming home in 3rd. Kyle DiVanna in the #71K would finish 4th and Robbie Hollifield in the #51 would round out the top five in 5th.

The Paramount Auto Group Limited Late Models would roll off next for 35 laps of exciting racing action. The front row would be made up of the current top two in points for the division with Cody DeMarmels in the #18 on the pole and Josh Kossek in the #44 to his outside. Mason Ludwig in the #12 and Chase Janes in the #47 would make up the second row. As the green flag would fly DeMarmels would spin the rear tires and give Kossek the opening to move to the top spot. The battle for the top spot would see DeMarmels move back around to the point on lap 11, but Kossek wasn’t going to give up quite yet. The duo would battle side by side until Kossek would finally make the pass once again on lap 18. The lead duo would be alone nose to tail until Ryan Rackley in the #1 would move up to their bumper in 3rd. Lap 28 would see the caution fly as Josh Stark in the #32 would spin on the front stretch. The restart would see Kossek and DeMarmels in row one and Rackley and Mason Ludwig in the #32 making up row two. Kossek and DeMarmels would take back up where they left off before the caution flew with a hard battle for the top spot. Kossek would hang on for the win. DeMarmels would finish 2nd with Rackley finishing 3rd. Chase Janes in the #47 would make the most of his return to Hickory by finishing 4th and Ludwig would finish 5th.

25 laps would be the plan for the 4-Cylinders who would hit the track next. Brian Mundy in the #6 would be the fastest in qualifying and start from the pole position with Curtis Pardue in the #17 to his outside. Mundy would move to the early lead with Pardue close in tow. Robert Trivette in the #11 would give chase and keep the leaders within striking distance while running third. Cody Combs in the #9 and Ashton Trivette in the #21 would have a spirited battle for fourth. Mundy would drive on to the win. Pardue would finish 2nd With Robert Trivette finishing 3rd. Ashton Trivette would finish 4th while Combs would round out the top five in 5th.

The Street Stocks would roar to life next for their 30 lap battle. Jeff Sparks in the #7 would take the point in qualifying with Drew Cox in the #21 to his outside. Jesse Clark in the #5 and Derek Fowler in the #31 would make up row two for the green flag. Sparks would take the early lead with Cox in his tire tracks. Sparks would set a blistering pace with Cox peddling hard to reel in the leader. Sparks would drive on to the win. Cox would finish 2nd with Clark finishing 3rd. Fowler and the #77 of Mark Whitten would have a furious battle off of turn four on the final lap for position. Whitten would take the spot and finish 4th and Fowler would end up 5th.

Closing out the night’s action would be the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Models for 40 more laps in race two of their doubleheader. With the invert of the finishing order from race one Gracie Trotter in the #2 would start from the top spot with Bradley McCaskill in the #18M to his outside. The #18 of Connor Mosack and the #31 of Thomas Beane would make up the second row for the start. Trotter and McCaskill would battle door to door for the first several laps until Trotter would start to nose ahead. As Trotter would take the top spot Beane would move by for second. Beane would quickly look under Trotter and take the top spot on lap six. 2015 Hickory Motor Speedway Track Champion Matt Piercy in the #25 and Charlie Watson in the #9 would work their way from the rear of the field to third and fourth by lap 15. Lap 21 would see the caution fly with debris present on the backstretch. The restart would see Beane and Trotter in row one and Piercy and Watson in row two. Beane would pull ahead on the start and Piercy would follow to second. Watson would work his way to third and bring Matt Leicht in the #2 with him to fourth. Lap 35 would see Leicht move around Watson for third. Piercy would look for the lead, but Beane would prove too strong on the night and drive on to the win. Piercy would finish 2nd with Leicht finishing 3rd. Watson would finish 4th and Swaim would finish 5th.

Next week will see the prestigious Paramount Auto Group Bobby Isaac Memorial roll into the Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars for its 43rd running.

The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series will be in action the following two weeks as they wind down the 2019 points battle.

Hickory Motor Speedway Results 8/24/19 (Unofficial)

Late Model Race #1
1 #21T Travis Swaim
2 #2 Matt Leicht
3 #31 Thomas Beane 
4 #6 Mike Darne
5 #18M Bradley McCaskill
6 #18 Connor Mosack ( r )
7 #9 Charlie Watson
8 #2T Gracie Trotter 
9 #55 Zachary Bruenger
10 #34 Pat Rachels ( r )
11 #83 Chris Honeycutt
12 #26 Joey Trent
13 #75 Quincy Adkins
14 #25 Matt Piercy
15 #71 Nathan Lineback
16 #28 Danny Chafin
17 #25L Kevin Leicht - DNS

Late Model Race #2
1 #31 Thomas Beane
2 #25 Matt Piercy
3 #2 Matt Leicht
4 #9 Charlie Watson
5 #21T Travis Swaim
6 #2T Gracie Trotter
7 #18M Bradley McCaskill
8 #34 Pat Rachels ( r )
9 #18 Connor Mosack ( r )
10 #55 Zachary Bruenger
11 #6 Mike Darne
12 #83 Chris Honeycutt
13 #26 Joey Trent
14 #71L Nathan Lineback
15 #28 Danny Chafin
16 #75 Quincy Adkins
17 #25L Kevin Leicht - DNS

Limited Late Model
1 #44K Josh Kossek
2 #18D Cody DeMarmels
3 #1 Ryan Rackley
4 #47 Chase Janes
5 #12 Mason Ludwig
6 #71 Nathan Lineback
7 #32 Josh Stark ( r )
8 #13 Mark Johnson
9 #33G Kosma Guznyakov ( r )
10 #42 Ricky Bruce ( r )

Street Stocks
1 #7 Jeff Sparks
2 #21C Drew Cox
3 #5 Jesse Clark
4 #77 Mark Whitten
5 #31 Derek Fowler
6 #64 Marshall Sutton
7 #2 Ethan Johnson
8 #03 Kevin Eby
9 #32 David Harrell

4 Cylinders
1 #6 Brian Mundy
2 #17 Curtis Pardue
3 #11 Robert Trivette
4 #21 Ashton Trivette
5 #9 Cody Combs
6 #98 Robbie Lewis
7 #1 Mark Chapman

1 #6 Spencer Dickinson ( r )
2 #8 Gary Ledbetter
3 #71K Kyle DiVanna
4 #51 Robbie Hollifield
5 #71 Robert DiVanna
6 #95 Rodney Elkins ( r )
7 #72 Zachary Mullins
8 #69 Megan Campbell
9 #81 Matthew Chambers
10 #7 Brian Larkin
11 #1 Justin Austin – DQ

The South Atlantic Conference Cross Country Coaches Preseason Poll was released and the Lenoir-Rhyne Men were selected to finish sixth, while the Women selected to finish in third.

The men placed sixth at the 2018 South Atlantic Conference Championships, with the women bringing home a third-place finish. New Head Coach Kevin Paterson looks to continue to build on the Bears success.

Queens was picked to finish first on both the men's and women's side, with each team garnering 11 of the 12 first place votes.

2019 Men's Cross Country Preseason Coaches' Poll
Rank School (First Place Votes) Points
1. Queens (11) 132
2. Anderson 115
3. Wingate (1) 110
4. Lincoln Memorial 98
5. Catawba 94
6. Lenoir-Rhyne 81
7. Tusculum 73
8. Carson-Newman 68
9. Mars Hill 54
10. Newberry 38
11. Coker 36
12. UVa-Wise 25

2019 Women's Cross Country Preseason Coaches' Poll
Rank School (First Place Votes) Points
1. Queens (11) 132
2. Anderson 113
3. Lenoir-Rhyne 107
4. Wingate (1) 97
5. Catawba 94
6. Carson-Newman 93
7. Tusculum 77
8. Lincoln Memorial 63
9. Mars Hill 48
10. Newberry 40
11. Coker 33
12. UVa-Wise 27

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