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Appalachian State seniors Josh Thomas and Desmond Franklin have both been named to the preseason watch list for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, which recognizes the best defensive back in college football, and senior Akeem Davis Gaither has made the preseason watch list for the Butkus Award, which is given annually to the best linebacker in college football.

App State is one of eight teams nationally with more than one candidate for the Jim Thorpe Award. Presented by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, it focuses on performance, athletic ability and character.

Thomas, a 2018 starter at strong safety, and Franklin, a 2018 starter at free safety, intercepted four passes apiece last season for a defense that ranked fourth nationally at 15.5 points allowed per game, set a Sun Belt Conference record with only 20 defensive touchdowns allowed and tied for first place nationally with only eight passing touchdowns allowed.

Last season, with Thomas, Franklin and then-senior Austin Exford taking most of the snaps at the two safety positions, Appalachian ranked No. 3 nationally with only eight passes of 30-plus yards allowed and No. 4 with one pass of 50-plus yards allowed. Those three players were the three highest-rated safeties in the Sun Belt Conference, according to PFF College.

Thomas also totaled 43 tackles during a 2018 season in which he was one of two junior captains for the Mountaineers. He intercepted passes in the New Orleans Bowl win against Middle Tennessee, the Sun Belt Championship Game win against Louisiana and two road victories in which App State didn't give up a defensive touchdown.

Franklin made 51 tackles, scored on a 26-yard interception return against Georgia State and had a 47-yard interception return to the goal line at Charlotte. He allowed just 0.31 yards per snap in coverage, according to PFF College, and his passer rating of 38.4 when targeted with a throw ranked No. 1 in the Sun Belt regardless of defensive position.

Davis-Gaither is one of only eight linebackers from a Group of Five program on the watch list for the Butkus Award, and he's the only Sun Belt Conference linebacker on the list.

Davis-Gaither already had been named to the watch list for the Bednarik Award that goes to the College Defensive Player of the Year. He amassed 105 tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss, seven pass breakups, 1.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and three quarterback hurries in 2018 for a defense that ranked fourth nationally in points allowed per game.

Davis-Gaither had the most tackles in the Sun Belt by a player from a bowl-eligible team, recorded three games with at least 14 tackles and had the eighth-most PBUs in the country among non-DBs.

The Butkus Award watch list includes 51 linebackers, mirroring the legendary "51" pro jersey associated with the award's namesake Dick Butkus, who was recognized by NFL Films as the best defensive player in football history.

Appalachian State senior Collin Reed is a repeat selection to the preseason watch list for the John Mackey Award, which is presented annually to the nation's best college tight end.

Reed leads active Sun Belt Conference tight ends with nine career touchdown catches, including eight during the previous two seasons. Only two players on the 2018 preseason watch list had more touchdown catches the previous year than Reed's five as an App State sophomore, and he added three more to his total as a junior.

All three of his TD catches in 2018 occurred in league play, including a road win in which he hauled in a 43-yard reception on App State's first play from scrimmage at Texas State. Reed also contributes as a blocker for a program that has ranked in the top 25 nationally in both rushing yards per game and fewest sacks allowed for five straight seasons.

The award is named after NFL Hall of Fame member John Mackey, who is considered to be the best tight end in football history. The 2019 winner will be announced Dec. 11.

Director of Men's and Women's Golf, Elliot Gealy has announced the hiring of Imkeleen Meyer as the new Graduate Assistant. Meyer comes to Lenoir-Rhyne after finishing a stellar career at Newman University in Wichita, Kansas where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a double major in Business Management and Marketing.

While at Newman, Meyer amassed several honors during her collegiate career. Her accolades include four individual tournament championships, four All-Conference award selections and a three-time participant in the NCAA DII West Super Regional. Academically, Imkeleen was a four year President's Honor Roll recipient while serving on the Student Alumni Board and the International Student Association. She also was a four year SAAC representative for the golf team as well serving as the Social Chair for the committee.

"I am very excited to have Imkeleen join the Men's and Women's Golf Programs at Lenoir-Rhyne," said Gealy. "Her international experience and positive energy will be an immediate asset to our program. I look forward to watching Imkeleen develop our student-athletes into successful young men and women on and off the golf course."

The Hickory Crawdads rallied for four runs in the ninth inning to upend the Hagerstown Suns 5-3 at Municipal Stadium Sunday.

Chandler Day (L, 2-3) entered in the ninth looking for his first save of the season with the Suns (42-58, 12-18) leading 3-1. Day was quickly greeted by back-to-back singles, and then Kole Enright delivered a three-run home run to right field to put the Crawdads (61-35, 20-10) on top. Josh Jung added an RBI single later in the frame to extend the lead.

Reliever Lucas Jacobsen (W, 1-2) stayed on in the ninth for Hickory and shut the door on the Suns. The lefty allowed a back-to-back two-out singles to Jackson Cluff and Justin Connell, but got the final out to close it out. Jacobsen worked 2.1 scoreless innings overall and struck out three batters.

Jackson Stoeckinger worked 5.2 strong innings, allowing just one run on three hits and striking out three. The 5.2 innings makes it the longest appearance of the season for the Suns lefty. The only run he allowed was a Jung RBI single in the third.

Jacob Howell entered after Stoeckinger and continued to cool off the Crawdads bats on a hot day in Hagerstown. The righty tossed 2.1 scoreless frames while allowing only one hit and striking out one batter. Howell has now thrown 4.2 consecutive scoreless innings over his last three appearances.

After back-to-back games with at least 14 hits, the Suns offense also cooled off a bit Sunday. Hagerstown started fast in this one, with a run in the first inning. After Cluff doubled to start the frame and got to third, Jacob Rhinesmith drove him in with a sacrifice fly.

The Crawdads tied it in the third, but the Suns struck right back in the bottom half of the inning. Connell singled with two outs, went to second on a balk and then scored on a Drew Mendoza RBI single.

One more run came across in the sixth for Hagerstown. Rhinesmith led off the frame with a double and went to third with a flyout. After Hickory starter Tyree Thompson left the game and reliever Hever Bueno entered, Tyler Cropley came through with a sacrifice fly to make it a 3-1 game. Thompson ended up allowing three runs on six hits over 5.2 innings.

Appalachian State junior Noah Hannon has been named to the watch list for the Rimington Trophy, which is given annually to the nation's best college center.

Hannon started at eventual national runner-up Georgia in his collegiate debut as a true freshman and has made 26 consecutive starts at center for the Mountaineers, who ranked in the top 25 in both rushing yards per game and fewest sacks allowed during each of those two seasons. Based on his grade, he was named All-Sun Belt first team by the PFF College site in 2018.

The 17-year-old Rimington Trophy is named after Dave Rimington, who was an All-America center at Nebraska from 1981-82, and the award has raised more than $4.2 million for the Boomer Esiason Foundation that is committed to finding a cure for cystic fibrosis.

The Rimington Trophy committee uses the All-America teams from the Walter Camp Foundation, the Sporting News and the Football Writers Association of America to determine a winner.

Hagerstown piled up 14 hits in its 9-2 victory over the Hickory Crawdads at Municipal Stadium Saturday.

Hagerstown (42-57, 12-17) used two big innings to put the Crawdads (60-35, 19-10) away. The Suns offense put up three runs in the third against Hickory starter Cole Winn (L, 1-4) and then scored three more in the fifth against reliever Jesus Linarez.

Before those big innings, the Suns got one run in the second when Cole Daily crossed home plate on a wild pitch. In the third, an Israel Pineda RBI gorundout made it a 2-0 game, and the Suns started a two-out rally. Kyle Marinconz came up with an RBI single and then Phil Caulfield's RBI double made it 4-0 and chased Winn from the game. The Hickory starter went only 2.2 innings and allowed four runs while walking four.

Linarez took over for Winn in the third and was solid until the fifth when Hagerstown got to him. After Pineda walked and Marinconz singled, Caulfied came up with another RBI double to extend the lead. Marinconz scored on a balk later in the inning, and then an Armond Upshaw sacrifice fly gave the Suns a 7-0 lead.

The final rally for the Suns came in the eighth against Hickory reliever Kelvin Gonzalez. After Drew Mendoza singled for the second time on the night, Jacob Rhinesmith drove him home with a double that gave him 50 RBI on the season. Marinconz followed with his second RBI single of the night to make it a 9-1 scoreline.

The hitters stole the show for Hagerstown, but the perfomance by the pitching staff wasn't too shabby either. Joan Adon (W, 8-3) put together five scoreless innings while allowing five hits and striking out two. The righty got himself into a few jams, but was able to work out of them.

Gabe Klobosits relieved Adon in the sixth to make his 2019 Suns debut and worked two strong innings. The right-hander struck out two and allowed only one hit. Alex Troop followed him out of the bullpen and closed out the victory. Troop did allow a solo home run to Tyreque Reed in the eighth, and a sacrifice fly to Kole Enright in the ninth, but neither run made a difference.

Tomorrow, Hagerstown concludes its four-game set against the Hickory Crawdads at 2:05 p.m. The Suns toss LHP Jackson Stoeckinger (1-2, 3.86 ERA), while Hickory will send RHP Tyree Thompson (4-5, 2.98 ERA) to the mound.

Hickory Motor Speedway Results 7/20/19 (Unofficial)

Late Model Race #1
1 #17 Taylor Gray
2 #1 Nolan Pope
3 #12 Austin McDaniel
4 #18 Connor Mosack ( r )
5 #31 Thomas Beane
6 #28H Chris Hudspeth
7 #25 Kevin Leicht
8 #25V Ryan Vargas
9 #4 Todd Gilliland
10 #18M Bradley McCaskill
11 #57 Justin Carroll
12 #2 Dan Moore
13 75 Quincy Adkins
14 #71 Curtis Pardue

Late Model Race #2
1 #17 Taylor Gray
2 #12 Austin McDaniel
3 #31 Thomas Beane
4 #28 H Chris Hudspeth
5 #1 Nolan Pope
6 #25V Ryan Vargas
7 #25 Kevin Leicht
8 #4 Todd Gilliland
9 #18 Connor Mosack ( r )
10 #22 Dan Moore
11 #18M Bradley McCaskill
12 #75 Quincy Adkins
13 #57 Justin Carroll
14 #71 Curtis Pardue

Limited Late Model
1 #12 Mason Ludwig
2 #18 Cody DeMarmels
3 #44 Josh Kossek
4 #71 Nathan Lineback
5 #21 Toni Breidinger
6 #33 Kosma Guznyakov ( r )
7 #27 Justin Austin

Street Stocks
1 #7 Jeff Sparks
2 #64 Marshall Sutton
3 #31 Derek Fowler
4 #77 Mark Whitten
5 #5 Jesse Clark
6 #2 Ethan Johnson
7 #21 Drew Cox
8 #03 Kevin Eby
9 #69 Trey Buff

4 Cylinders
1 #6 Brian Mundy
2 #17 Curtis Pardue
3 #9 Cody Combs
4 #21 Ashton Trivette
5 #98 Robbie Lewis
6 #99 Colin Trivette
7 #11 Robert Trivette

Hickory Vintage Racing Series
1 #16 Bill Webb
2 #71P Bill Powell
3 #16 Mackie Webb
4 #6 Robert Webb

Appalachian State University has hired Doug Banks as an Associate Athletics Director for Development, Director of Athletics Doug Gillin announced Friday.

Banks is responsible for the annual solicitation of Yosef Club donors and prospects to grow financial support for Appalachian State Athletics. He will have a primary focus of engaging Yosef Club members and prospects with face-to-face meetings, outreach, group settings and events.

"We are excited to welcome Doug to the Appalachian Family," Gillin said. "He's had a distinguished and successful career with experience at every level of college athletics. With his primary oversight of giving to the Yosef Club, he will play an important role at App State as we continue to work to fully fund scholarships for all of our sports."

Banks came to Boone from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he was the Senior Director of Development. Prior to that, he was the Associate A.D. for Development at Kansas from 2011-18, an Associate Athletic Director for Development at Illinois State from 2005-11 and an Assistant Director of Development at Kansas State from 1999-2005.

"I'm excited to be at Appalachian State and look forward to meeting and working with our loyal Mountaineer supporters, near and far," Banks said. "It is exciting for me to be here in Boone after following App State from afar for over a decade. Passion, work ethic and vision are what college athletics is truly about, and it certainly exists here. The Yosef Club is our foundation, and we need to continue to grow our membership so our product continues to grow. With so many good things going on at App State, even greater heights can be reached collectively. Connecting with our people and providing a great experience for our student-athletes will always be at the forefront."

Before he began working on the development side of college athletics, Banks coached football at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, where he was also a Hall of Fame player. The school inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 2016 thanks to a career in which he set school records for career receptions (121), receiving yards (2,190) and touchdowns (20).

After his college career ended in 1990, Banks signed with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles and played professionally in Europe from 1993-95. He earned a bachelor's degree from Nebraska-Kearney and later returned to his alma mater to earn his Master's degree.

After posting a team GPA of 3.48, App State women's tennis earned the ITA All-Academic Team award. Sandra Anglesjö ((Norrköping Östergötland, Sweden/Fria Läroverken Norrköping), Jeannez Daniel (Port Charlotte, Fla./Florida Virtual) and María José Zacarias (San Luis Potosi, Mexico/La Loma Centro Deportivo) were named ITA Scholar-Athletes by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

Following its most successful season on the court, the Mountaineers were also impressive in the classroom with seven of the student-athletes boasting a GPA of 3.2 or better. All-Academic honors were awarded to 940 teams and thousands of scholar-athletes.

The trio of Anglesjò, Daniel and Zacarias were a key cog this season contributing to the Mountaineers' first conference title in program history and a 15-6 mark.

Anglesjö, who is majoring in building science, is honored for the second consecutive season after an impressive 3.65 GPA. She finished 9-4 with Teodora Sevo as the No. 2 tandem in the lineup, while the nine wins were tied for second on the squad. Anglesjö landed on the All-Sun Belt First Team for doubles with Sevo after their campaign. The rising junior tallied three wins in singles action.

Daniel is earning her master's degree at App State in applied data analytics and recorded a solid 3.76 GPA. In her lone season for the Black and Gold, she didn't disappoint. Daniel posted a 10-8 mark in singles with a team-best 7-1 record in Sun Belt action. Daniel's seven conference wins were tied for fourth in the Sun Belt and won nine of her last 12 matches. She earned the Sun Belt Women's Tennis Player of the Week award after going 2-0 in singles and doubles against Coastal Carolina and Arkansas State. In doubles, she led the team with 13 overall doubles victories and a 13-4 mark. With Rebecca Morse, she went 10-1 on top of an undefeated league record of 7-0. They were the only team in the conference to go unblemished in conference action.

Zacarias is majoring in exercise science and recorded a GPA of 5.3. She joins Anglesjö as a two-time recipient of the honor. She notched eight wins as the No. 3 in the lineup in singles with half of her wins coming in league competition. Zacarias won her final two matches of the campaign. In doubles, she played as the top duo with Heidi Swope. The pair won nine matches together and finished second on the team with five conference victories. Zacarias/Swope claimed their final four matches of the season.

App State men's tennis put forth a solid year inside the classroom, as it earned the ITA All-Academic Team award for the 2018-19 season. Three Mountaineers in Alex Brea (Charlotte, N.C./Providence Day), Blake Carter (Raleigh, N.C./Wakefield), and Zion Heaven (Ewa Beach, HI/Florida Virtual) were named ITA Scholar-Athletes by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

All-Academic honors were awarded to 940 teams and thousands of scholar-athletes. As a team, the Black and Gold registered a 3.27 GPA with six student-athletes reaching at least a 3.2 GPA.

Brea is honored for the second straight season after putting forth a stellar GPA of 3.86 for the academic year. He graduated in May with a degree in finance and banking. The recent graduate led the team and won a career-high nine doubles contests, seven of which came with fellow senior, Campbell Stone. His best stretch came over six matches, as he went 5-1, while he put together a season-long three-match win streak.

Carter is recognized for his work in the classroom for a second straight season. The rising junior earned a 3.56 GPA for the year. Also, the Raleigh native was named a Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar. On the court, saw action at No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 singles for the Black and Gold, while also appearing in two doubles matches during the 2018-19 campaign. He tallied three singles wins, all in straight sets.

In his first year with the Black and Gold, Heaven boasted a team-high 3.87 for '18-19. He finished second on the team in singles wins with six including a pair of victories in Sun Belt play. In doubles action, he was third on the team with six doubles wins.

Teams must earn a team GPA of 3.20 or higher, while ITA scholar-athletes must meet the following criteria: 1.) be a varsity letter winner, 2.) have a grade point average of at least 3.50 (on a 4.00 scale) for the current academic year, and 3.) have been enrolled at their present school for at least 2 semesters (including freshman through senior year).

Monday, 22 July 2019 07:14

Hickory Crawdads Fall Late to Hagerstown

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The Hickory Crawdads fell Friday night to the Hagerstown Suns, 9-8 on the road.

The Suns' Ryan Williamson was trying to hold on to a 7-6 lead in the ninth, but the Crawdads (61-33, 20-8) but together three consecutive singles with one away. The third one off the bat of Jonathan Ornelas tied the game. The next batter was Josh Jung, and his RBI groundout scored Matt Whatley and gave Hickory an 8-7 lead.

Christian Vann (W, 2-1) came on with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth and retired Melvin Novoa to keep the Suns (41-57, 11-17) within one.

The Suns had a 3-1 lead heading into the fith, but the frame started with a solo home run from Pedro Gonzalez, his team-best 18th of the season. Miguel Aparicio then followed with a long ball of his own as the Crawdads went back-to-back to tie the game. A Jonathan Ornelas RBI double later in the frame gave Hickory the lead, and then a two-out bunt RBI single from Jax Biggers made it 5-3 and chased Schaller from the game.

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