The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) announced its 2019 All-Academic Teams and Scholar-Athletes and Lenoir-Rhyne Men's and Women's Tennis each were awarded as All-Academic teams and 12 individual players earned Scholar-Athlete distinctions.

On the women's side, Sophia Aguilar Di Camillo, Marta Escanero Funes, Ally Garofoli, Sanne Janssen and Iulia Ponomareva were selected as Scholar-Athletes. The men had Alex Ayguavives, Hamed Gandouz, Josh Lazenby, Paul Lenz, Tales Miranda, Shane O'Dea and Lewis Scott earn Scholar-Athlete status.

All-Academic teams boast a team GPA of 3.20 or higher. 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 two semesters (including freshman through senior year).

The ITA is committed to serving college tennis and returning the leaders of tomorrow. As the governing body of college tennis, the ITA oversees men's and women's varsity tennis at NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College divisions. The ITA administers a comprehensive awards and rankings program for men's and women's varsity players, coaches and teams in all divisions, providing recognition for their accomplishments on and off the court.

The Hickory Crawdads scored four runs in the fourth inning and added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth to win on the road against the Hagerstown Suns, 6-3 to open a weekend road trip against the Hagerstown Suns.

Each team was able to muster one big inning, but the four-run fourth for Hickory (60-33, 19-8) outgunned Hagerstown's (40-57, 10-17) three-run third as the Crawdads took the series opener. Hickory is 6-2 against the Suns on the season.

The four deciding Hickory runs came in the fourth against Suns starter Jake Irvin (L, 5-7). Miguel Aparicio started the frame with his 10th home run of the season, and then the Crawdads offense followed with four-consecutive singles, with the third one off the bat of Melvin Novoa bringing home a run. A Jonathan Ornelas sacrifice fly tied the game, and then Novoa scored on a passed ball that gave the Crawdads the lead 4-3.

The four runs turned out to be enough for Hickory, but they added two more for good measure in the eighth. After a leadoff walk, Tyreque Reed hit one in the air to left field that looked to hit off the wall, but it was a called a two-run home run that extended the Crawdads advantage.

Hickory is at Hagerstown over the weekend. The Crawdads return to L.P. Frans Stadium on Tuesday.

Appalachian State men's basketball head coach Dustin Kerns has announced the non-conference schedule for the upcoming 2019-20 season.

The non-conference slate features a total of 11 contests, including four at the Holmes Center.

"We are excited to release our non-conference schedule filled with several quality programs, coaches and teams," said Kerns. "Our goal is to enhance our profile with the App State brand regionally and nationally. It is very important to renew and play local and regional opponents for our recruiting, but also for our fans and parents."

The Mountaineers open the Kerns era on Nov. 5 with a road contest at Michigan. The Wolverines have made eight consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament, including two appearances in the national championship game (2013, 2018).

"We wanted to open the season with a national power and playing Michigan certainly does that with the excitement surrounding their program," added Kerns. "I will be taking Coach Moore out to lunch in October to pick his brain."

App State will have a quick turnaround and return to Boone for its home opener on Nov. 7 against Ferrum. The Mountaineers follow with another home contest against East Carolina on Nov. 12.

The Black and Gold then play three games in four days in a tournament hosted by UNC Greensboro. The Mountaineers open play in the tournament on Nov. 15 against Tennessee Tech and then battle Montana State on Nov. 16. App State closes out play in the tournament on Nov. 18 against host UNC Greensboro.

Following the tournament, App State returns to the Holmes Center on Nov. 21 and welcomes Charlotte to the High Country for the first time since the 2015-16 season.

The Mountaineers return right back to the road to renew their rivalry with East Tennessee State on Nov. 26. The matchup between the two squads will be the first meeting since the 2011-12 season.

The Black and Gold host St. Andrews on Dec. 3 in its non-conference home finale, followed by two consecutive road games to end the non-conference season. On Dec. 14, the Mountaineers travel to Washington D.C. to face Howard and close out non-conference play on Dec. 29 at N.C. State.

"Our non-conference schedule has been reduced by two games this season with the Sun Belt moving to a 20-game schedule. We wanted to give our team a balanced schedule not only for this season, but for the future as well," remarked Kerns. "This schedule is challenging and will prepare us for play in the always tough Sun Belt."

The Mountaineers welcome back eight players from last season and will begin practices in October.

A league-best eight first-team selections from Appalachian State highlighted the preseason All-Sun Belt football teams announced by the league office Thursday.

The release comes in advance of the conference's Media Day festivities, which begin Sunday and continue Monday in New Orleans. Preseason all-conference awards were voted upon by the Sun Belt's 10 football head coaches and selected media representatives.

In tying Arkansas State for first place with 11 all-league picks overall, App State's eight first-team selections included five offensive players in quarterback Zac Thomas, running back Darrynton Evans, receiver Corey Sutton, offensive lineman Victor Johnson and offensive lineman Noah Hannon. The first-team selections on defense were linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither, linebacker Jordan Fehr and defensive back Desmond Franklin.

The Mountaineers, who have been picked by the league's coaches to win another Sun Belt title during head coach Eliah Drinkwitz's first season in Boone, possess three second-team selections in defensive back Josh Thomas, tight end Collin Reed and Evans as a return specialist.

Arkansas State ranked second in the Sun Belt with five first-team choices, while the Preseason Players of the Year were Troy running back B.J. Smith (Offense) and Georgia Southern defensive back Kindle Vildor (Defense).

Zac Thomas completed his first season as an App State starter in 2018 with 2,039 passing yards, 504 rushing yards and a combined 31 touchdowns (21 through the air). Evans rushed for a league-leading 1,187 yards even though he didn't become App State's primary back until Game 5, and Sutton tied for first place in the Sun Belt with 10 touchdown catches.

Johnson, a starting tackle for the previous three years, and Hannon, the starting center during each of his first two years, helped App State rank in the top 25 nationally in both rushing yards per game and fewest sacks allowed for the fifth straight season. At tight end, Reed has a combined eight touchdown catches in the last two seasons.

Davis-Gaither, Fehr, Franklin and Josh Thomas were key members of a 2018 defense that ranked No. 4 nationally at 15.5 points allowed per game and set a Sun Belt record by allowing only 20 touchdowns.

Davis-Gaither amassed 105 tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss, seven pass breakups, 1.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and three quarterback hurries, while Fehr recorded a team-high 5.5 sacks and 86 tackles. Franklin and Thomas shared second place in the Sun Belt by intercepting four passes apiece from their safety positions in 2018, when they combined for 94 tackles.

In addition to his production at running back, Evans averaged 32.7 yards per kickoff return, a mark that ranked No. 2 nationally among players with at least 1.2 returns per game. His second career return for a touchdown covered 100 yards at Penn State last season, and he also had a 97-yard return in the Sun Belt Championship Game.

2019 Sun Belt Conference Preseason Football Teams

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: B.J. Smith (Troy, Senior)
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Kindle Vildor (Georgia Southern, Senior)

First Team Offense
QB - Zac Thomas (Appalachian State, Junior)
RB - Darrynton Evans (Appalachian State, Junior)
RB - B.J. Smith (Troy, Senior)
WR - Corey Sutton (Appalachian State, Junior)
WR - Kirk Merritt (Arkansas State, Senior)
WR - Ja'Marcus Bradley (Louisiana, RS-Senior)
TE - Javonis Isaac (Arkansas State, RS-Junior)
OL - Noah Hannon (Appalachian State, Junior)
OL - Victor Johnson (Appalachian State, Senior)
OL - Kevin Dotson (Louisiana, RS-Senior)
OL - Robert Hunt (Louisiana, RS-Senior)
OL - Kirk Kelley (Troy, Senior)

First Team Defense
DL - William Bradley-King (Arkansas State, RS-Junior)
DL - Forrest Merrill (Arkansas State, Junior)
DL - Raymond Johnson (Georgia Southern, Junior)
DL - Tyree Turner (South Alabama, Senior)
LB - Akeem Davis-Gaither (Appalachian State, Senior)
LB - Jordan Fehr (Appalachian State, Senior)
LB - Bryan London II (Texas State, Senior)
DB - Desmond Franklin (Appalachian State, Senior)
DB - Jerry Jacobs (Arkansas State, Junior)
DB - Monquavion Brinson (Georgia Southern, Senior)
DB - Kindle Vildor (Georgia Southern, Senior)

First Team Special Teams
K - Tyler Bass (Georgia Southern, RS-Senior)
P - Brandon Wright (Georgia State, RS-Senior)
RS - Tra Minter (South Alabama, Senior)

Second Team Offense
QB - Caleb Evans (ULM, Senior)
RB - Elijah Mitchell (Louisiana, Junior)
RB - Trey Ragas (Louisiana, RS-Junior)
WR - Omar Bayless (Arkansas State, RS-Senior)
WR - Kawaan Baker (South Alabama, Junior)
WR - Tray Eafford (Troy, Junior)
TE - Collin Reed (Appalachian State, Senior)
OL - Jacob Still (Arkansas State, RS-Junior)
OL - Hunter Atkinson (Georgia State, RS-Senior)
OL - T.J. Fiailoa (ULM, RS-Junior)
OL - Aaron Brewer (Texas State, Senior)
OL - Tristan Crowder (Troy, Senior)

Second Team Defense
DL - Kevin Thurmon (Arkansas State, RS-Senior)
DL - Tarron Jackson (Coastal Carolina, RS-Junior)
DL - Zi'Yon Hill (Louisiana, RS-Sophomore)
DL - Jarvis Hayes (Troy, Senior)
LB - Jacques Boudreaux (Louisiana, Senior)
LB - Nikolas Daniels (Texas State, Senior)
LB - Carlton Martial (Troy, Sophomore)
DB - Josh Thomas (Appalachian State, Senior)
DB - B.J. Edmonds (Arkansas State, Senior)
DB - Darreon Jackson (Arkansas State, RS-Senior)
DB - Michael Jacquet III (Louisiana, RS-Senior)

Second Team Special Teams
K - Tyler Sumpter (Troy, Junior)
P - Cody Grace (Arkansas State, RS-Senior)
RS - Darrynton Evans (Appalachian State, Junior)

After securing a third straight Sun Belt Conference football title in 2018 with a victory in the league's inaugural championship game, Appalachian State has been picked to win another Sun Belt championship in 2019.

A vote by league coaches in advance of Monday's Sun Belt Media Day in New Orleans tabbed App State the East Division favorite and Louisiana the West Division favorite. Those two programs met for the Sun Belt title last year, with the Mountaineers claiming a 30-19 victory in Boone, and Appalachian has been picked to repeat as the championship game winner.

The 2019 championship game will be held Dec. 7 at the home venue of the division winner with the highest winning percentage in conference play.

The Mountaineers are entering their first season under the direction of head coach Eliah Drinkwitz. Only five of the 22 primary offensive and defensive starters from a record-breaking 11-2 season in 2018 are gone, and the return of nine All-Sun Belt performers from last season has added to the excitement.

App State received 46 points and seven first-place votes to rank ahead of second-place Troy (39 points with one first-place vote) and Georgia Southern (35 points with two first-place votes) in the East Division poll. Coastal Carolina and Georgia State rounded out the East side. With 46 points and six first-place votes, Louisiana was picked to win the West Division ahead of Arkansas State (42 points with three first-place votes), ULM, South Alabama and Texas State.

App State will open the 2019 season with an Aug. 31 home game against East Tennessee State.

The rest of the home schedule at Kidd Brewer Stadium involves matchups in Boone with Charlotte (Sept. 7), Coastal Carolina (Sept. 28), ULM (Oct. 19), Georgia Southern (Thursday, Oct. 31) and Texas State (Nov. 23). The road games are at North Carolina (Sept. 21), Louisiana (Wednesday, Oct. 9), South Alabama (Oct. 26), South Carolina (Nov. 9), Georgia State (Nov. 16) and Troy (Friday, Nov. 29).

The Sun Belt Media Day is being held Monday in New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Drinkwitz and two App State players (quarterback Zac Thomas, safety Josh Thomas) will participate in interviews throughout the day, as Monday's media schedule begins at 9:30 a.m. ET with Sun Belt Commissioner Keith Gill giving his "State of the Conference" address.

2019 Sun Belt Football Coaches Predicted Championship Game Winner
Appalachian State

2019 Sun Belt Football Coaches Predicted Order of Finish
First-place votes in parentheses

East Division
1. Appalachian State (7) - 46 pts
2. Troy (1) - 39 pts
3. Georgia Southern (2) - 35 pts
4. Coastal Carolina - 17 pts
5. Georgia State - 13 pts

West Division
1. Louisiana (6) - 46 pts
2. Arkansas State (3) - 42 pts
3. ULM - 27 pts
4. South Alabama (1) - 19 pts
5. Texas State - 16 pts

A pair of Hibriten players were on the East-West All Star Football game in Greensboro Wednesday night. Josh Baker and Marqwone Jones both represented the Panthers on the West squad roster. Baker started as a guard on the offensive line and Jones was a starting running back. He ended up with one carry for six yards. The East defeated the West 20-8.

The Hickory Crawdads defeated the Kannapolis Intimidators 7-5 on Wednesday night to finish off the three-game sweep.

The win puts the 'Dads in first place for the first time in the second half.

The Intimidators scored three runs in the top of the second inning off Crawdads lefty Grant Wolfram.

The 'Dads answered with a pair of runs to cut the score to 3-2. Miguel Aparicio walked and Jonathan Ornelas singled to put two runners on. Jonathan Ornelas hit a grounder that forced Whatley out at second but Aparicio came in to score.

Kannapolis got two more runs on the board in the fourth inning to pull ahead 5-2.

Miguel Aparicio hit his ninth homer of the season and second of the series to put the 'Dads within two runs.

The Crawdads completed the comeback in the sixth inning with four runs. Aparicio and Whatley hit consecutive singles and Jonathan Ornelas brought the first run in with a double. Two more runs came in on Frainyer Chavez's single. Pedro Gonzalez drew a walk and Josh Jung singled to load the bases. Tyreque Reed hit a sac fly to score a run and cap off the scoring for the inning.

The Crawdads return on Tuesday night to begin a seven game homestand. It is Dollar Dog Tuesday which means hot dogs are $1 thanks to Hebrew National and WHKY 1290AM and 102.3FM and fans can bring their dogs for $1 courtesy of Cody Law Firm. Craft pints will also be on sale for $2 thanks to Lowes Foods.

Appalachian State junior Darrynton Evans has been named a preseason candidate for the Doak Walker Award, which is presented annually to the nation's best college running back.

Evans rushed for a league-leading 1,187 yards last season even though he didn't become App State's primary back until Game 5, and his nine touchdowns included a 100-yard kickoff return against Penn State. He averaged 6.6 yards per rush and totaled 1,764 all-purpose yards.

Evans extended App State's 1,000-yard rusher streak to seven consecutive years, the second-longest active streak in the nation, as a big-play threat who had six runs of 50-plus yards (No. 3 nationally) and 16 runs of 20-plus yards (No. 4 nationally).

The award is named for SMU's three-time All-America running back Doak Walker. It is the only major collegiate award that requires all candidates to be in good academic standing and on schedule to graduate within one year of other students of the same classification, and Evans was an Academic All-America nominee last season.

The PwC SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will name 10 semifinalists in November.

After reaching the Third Round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs last season, the Lenoir-Rhyne Football Team has been selected as the preseason No. 3 team according to the College Football America Yearbook. The Bears are coming off a 12-2 season that saw them post a perfect 7-0 record in SAC play.

Additionally, OL Jason Poe and punt returner Kyle Dugger were named to the CFAY's Preseason Starting Lineup, the organizations version of an All-American team. Poe is coming off an outstanding sophomore campaign that saw him bring home the Jacobs Blocking Trophy which is awarded to the best offensive lineman in the conference. Poe would go on to be named First Team All-Conference, First Team All-Region and a Don Hansen Second Team All-American. Dugger proved to be one of the best returners in the nation, finishing second in the nation in punt return yardage (534) and third in punt returns for touchdowns (2). Dugger was named the National Special Teams Player of the Week when he became the first player in program history to return two punts for touchdowns in the same game in LR's 34-21 win over Newberry.

The 2019 College Football America Yearbook features more than 930 college football teams from the United States and Canada in more than 250 striking, full-color pages. That includes every team from the NCAA (FBS, FCS, Division II and Division III), NAIA, NJCAA, CCCAA and U Sports (Canada). It also includes updates on club football, one-year postgraduate prep/sports academies and Mexican college football, along with dozens of action shots and stadium photos taken by the CFAY staff.

2019 College Football America Division II Preseason Top 30
1. Valdosta State
2. Ferris State
3. Lenoir-Rhyne
4. Notre Dame (OH)
5. Minnesota State
6. Ouachita Baptist
7. Northwest Missouri State
8. Slippery Rock
9. Colorado Mines
10. Minnesota Duluth
11. Grand Valley State
12. Indianapolis
13. Tarleton State
14. Fort Hays State
15. Wingate
16. Hillsdale
17. CSU-Pueblo
18. Harding
19. West Georgia
20. Midwestern State
21. New Haven
22. Texas A&M-Commerce
23. Azusa Pacific
24. West Alabama
25. Bowie State
26. Indiana (PA)
27. Fairmont State
28. Florida Tech
29. Kutztown
30. Virginia Union

2019 College Football America Division II Starting Lineup

Pos. Name School
WR SHANE ZYLSTRA Minnesota State
OL JASON POE Lenoir-Rhyne
C GRANT STEWART Colorado Mines

Pos. Name School
DL CHRIS GARRETT Concordia-St. Paul
DL HEATH WILLIAMS Saginaw Valley State
DB O'SHAY HARRIS Central Oklahoma

Pos. Name School
PK DANTE BROWN Fort Hays State

The North Carolina East-West All Star Games in Greensboro continued Tuesday with the women and men's soccer games.

In the women's soccer game, Lauren Hayes and Jess LaFrancis of Hickory competed along with Abby Walker of Fred T. Foard for the west squad who fell 3-2 to the East. Hayes and LaFrancis both started for the west squad, with LaFancis picking up an assist. Walker came on as a reserve and had two shots.

In the men's soccer game, Dillan Esperilla of Newton-Conover started for the west squad in their 1-0 win over the east.

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