Sports (1284)

After being picked to finish first in the South Atlantic Conference Coaches' Poll, the Lenoir-Rhyne Football Team is ranked No. 8 in the NCAA Division II Preseason Poll as announced this afternoon. The Bears finished the 2018 campaign ranked No. 8 and are coming off a 12-2 season, including a 7-0 mark in league play.

"You obviously want to be ranked high, it means people are taking notice of your program," said reigning AFCA National Coach of the Year Drew Cronic. "At the same time, we don't talk about that much with our guys. We talk about always having something to prove and trying to show people we aren't just a flash in the pan. We have to focus on playing well week in and week out because this league is tough and we have to prepare for people's best shot."

The Bears placed a school-record 13 players on the South Atlantic Conference Preseason Team including a pair of 2018 All-Americans in Jason Poe and Kyle Dugger. Poe, the SAC Jacobs Blocking Trophy award winner, earned Don Hansen Second Team All-American accolades in his first year with the Bears for his work at guard. Dugger was an Honorable Mention All-American as a return specialist after a season that saw him break the school record for most punt return yards in a season. Dugger finished second in Division II in punt return yardage and punt return TDs.

Additionally, Dugger (also All-Conference as a DB), Drake Starks, Dan Louba and Sherrod Williams were Preseason All-Conference First Teamers with seven more being second-team selections.

The previous record for most preseason all-conference selections was 11 which was done twice, most recently in 2013.

The Bears 9-win improvement from 2017 to 2018 represented the biggest turnaround in all of Division II and LR would go on to the National Quarterfinals before falling to eventual champion Valdosta St.

Conference foe Wingate cracked the preseason poll at No. 21, giving the SAC two top 25 programs. The Bears swept the Bulldogs a year ago, winning a pair of one-possession games including a 21-17 victory in the Second Round of the NCAA Playoffs.

The 100th season of Lenoir-Rhyne Football kicks off on Saturday, September 7 at 6 p.m. inside Moretz Stadium when St. Augustine's comes to Hickory. This will be the first matchup in history between the two squads.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019 09:21

Hickory Crawdads Win, Magic Number Down to Two

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The Hickory Crawdads continue to gets closer to a playoff spot when they defeated the Columbia Fireflies, 4-2 Monday night on the road. With the win, the Crawdads drop their magic number to clinch a playoff spot to two.

Hickory started off with two runs in the third inning. Kole Enright singled to lead off the inning. Two batters later, Jax Biggers reached on an error. Two batters after that, Tyreque Reed hit a double, clearing the bases and scoring two. Columbia would score two to tie in the bottom of the third

In the sixth inning, Hickory added a run to retake the lead. Matt Whatley doubled to lead off the inning. A passed ball would advance Whatley to third. Two batters later, Jonathan Ornelas would ground out, but Whatley would score.

In the top of the ninth inning, Enright would hit a solo home run.

Enright finished with three hits, two runs scored, and the solo home run. Whatley had two hits and a run scored. Reed drove in two runs.

Hickory is now 38-24 on the second half of the season. They are tied with Delmarva for the top spot in the Northern Division of the South Atlantic League second half standings. Hickory continues their series against Columbia through Thursday and return home to end the regular season Friday through Labor Day Monday.

Ashe County: 3
Hibriten: 0

Fred T. Foard: 3
North Iredell: 1

Maiden: 3
Draughn: 2

Hickory: 2
North Lincoln: 2

Alexander Central: 3
West Caldwell: 1

East Burke: 3
Freedom: 1

Fred T. Foard: 4
Wilkes Central: 1

Hibriten: 5
South Caldwell: 3

Maiden: 7
Bessemer City: 2

Newton-Conover: 3
Statesville: 1

Tuscola: 3
Patton: 1

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.

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