Four Appalachian State cross country runners were tabbed as Runners to Watch by the Sun Belt Conference on Thursday.
On the men's side, Gable Dershem and Dakota Mendenhall were named Runners to Watch, while Izzy Evely and Samantha Kolor earned the honor on the women's side.
Dershem is a two-time All-Sun Belt honoree in cross country. He earned Second Team All-Sun Belt honors with an eighth place finish in 2017 and followed that up with Third Team honors and an 11th place finish at the Sun Belt Championships last season.
Mendenhall enjoyed a strong freshman season in 2018, competing in four races and placing in the top-15 each time. He was named Second Team All-Sun Belt after placing ninth at the Sun Belt Championships.
Evely played a large role in the Mountaineer women capturing their second Sun Belt title in three seasons in 2018. At the Sun Belt Championships, she finished fifth overall to earn First Team honors and Sun Belt Freshman of the Year accolades.
Kolor notched her first all-conference accolade in cross country last season, placing 13th at the Sun Belt Championship for Third Team honors. She also posted three top-10 finishes in 2018.
In voting done by the league's head coaches, the App State men were chosen to finish second in the conference, trailing UT Arlington for the top spot. The App State women were also picked to finish second behind Texas State. The Mountaineer men placed second last season, while the women captured the conference title.
The Black and Gold will open the 2019 season on Friday by hosting the Covered Bridge Open. The women's 5K race is slated for 5 p.m. followed by the men's 8K race at 5:45 p.m. at the Don Kennedy Trails.
Top 7 Women's Cross Country Runners to Watch
Izzy Evely, Appalachian State
Samantha Kolor, Appalachian State
Pauline Meyer, Arkansas State
Lisha Van Onselen, Coastal Carolina
Andonet Cheruiyot, South Alabama
Sydney Cole, Texas State
Leslie Romero, Texas State
Women's Cross Country Predicted Order of Finish
1. Texas State
2. Appalachian State
3. Arkansas State
4. Georgia State
5. South Alabama
6. Coastal Carolina
8. UT Arlington
9. Georgia Southern
10. Little Rock
Top 7 Men's Cross Country Runners to Watch
Gable Dershem, Appalachian State
Dakota Mendenhall, Appalachian State
Adriaan Wildschutt, Coastal Carolina
Nadeel Wildschutt, Coastal Carolina
Warno Potgieter, South Alabama
Justin Domangue, UT Arlington
Jared Lautenslager, UT Arlington
Men's Cross Country Predicted Order of Finish
1. UT Arlington
2. Appalachian State
3. Coastal Carolina
4. South Alabama
5. Texas State
8. Arkansas State
9. Little Rock
The U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced it's 2019 Southeast Region Women's Cross Country Preseason Poll.
Four teams from the South Atlantic Conference were represented in the poll. Lenoir-Rhyne is in ninth place in the polls.
Continuing South Atlantic Conference schools, the poll includs preseason favorite, Queens in the No. 1 spot. The Royals are coming off an exceptional season in 2018, where they finished first at regionals leading them to their third Division II NCAA National Championship top-10 finish.
Anderson checked in at No. 3 and No. 8 belongs to Catawba. Anderson finished second in last season conference championship earning a bid to regionals where they placed third, while Catawba finished fifth in the conference championship.
The Lenoir-Rhyne cross country season gets underway on Friday, Sep. 6 when they host the Lenoir-Rhyne Invitational.
Alexander Central: 3
East Burke: 3
West Lincoln: 0
St. Stephens: 3
A.C. Reynolds: 5
Alexander Central: 0
West Iredell: 0
East Burke: 2
North Lincoln: 2
North Iredell: 3
St. Stephens: 1
The Hickory Crawdads had 14 hits and the pitching staff allowed only four Firefly hits as they would defeat Columbia on the road, 7-0. With the win, the Hickory Crawdads are tied for the top spot in the Northern Division of the South Atlantic League and are only one win away, or one Greensboro Grasshopper loss, to clinch a playoff berth.
Hickory got on the board in the fourth inning when Melvin Novoa scored on a Ryan Anderson double. In the fifth, Jonathan Ornelas and Jax Biggers scored when Josh Jung hit a double.
The floodgates opened in the eighth inning when Hickory scored three runs. Pedro Gonzalez hit his SAC/Team high 22ns home run of the season with two aboard, giing the Crawdads a 6-0 lead.
Hickory wrapped up the scoring with an Ornelas single that drove in Ryan Anderson.
On the mound, Cole Winn pitched a gem of a contest to get his fourth win of the season. He pitched seven innings, allowed only four hits, and struck out five while walking none, throwing 80 total pitches. Hever Bueno took the final two innings, fanning two while not allowing another hit or issuing a walk.
Hickory wraps up the series Thursday at Columbia for heading home to take on the Lexington Legends Friday through Labor Day Monday to close the regular season.
The fifth-ranked Catawba Valley Community College volleyball team dominated in its home opener on Tuesday night, knocking off Southwest Virginia in straight sets at the Tarlton Complex.
Set scores were 25-11, 25-14 and 25-10.
Catawba Valley head volleyball coach Shannon Hudson was pleased with her team’s performance despite a slow start.
“We started off the first few points kind of rocky with playing on the big court, which we hadn’t done yet this year. The first few points I think they were getting familiar with everything, but then they just took off,” Hudson said. “We played really well on our side of the net and clicked as a team, which I was hoping we would be able to do early in the season. It was a nice win. It was nice to see the girls play together so well.”
Sophomore Meredith Patterson led the Red Hawks (1-0) on the offensive attack with 10 kills and eight digs. Fellow sophomore Emma Clark added four kills, a team-high six blocks and three aces for CVCC, and another sophomore — Anna Clarke — had five kills and two blocks.
Defensively, Red Hawk libero Bre Myers recorded a team-high 10 digs and added three aces.
Freshman setter Amber Barker made a team-best 16 assists and five digs for Catawba Valley, while captain Macy Pope chipped in 10 assists and a team-high four aces.
As a team, the Red Hawks recorded 12 aces — something Hudson has worked on daily with her players in practice.
“We work hard on serves,” she said. “That’s just one of those things we try to push is consistency and putting a lot of pressure on the ball. I think we did that tonight.”
With a win under its belt, the Catawba Valley volleyball team returns to action this weekend at the Owens Invitational in Perrysburg, Ohio.
The Red Hawks play two matches each on Saturday and Sunday, including a top-five nationally ranked match up against No. 2 Parkland, which has won its first eight matches this season without giving up a single set.
“Our real test will be this upcoming weekend in Ohio when we face some really tough competition,” Hudson said. “It was nice to get this win under our belts and see the girls play well together. We’re looking forward to a great weekend of competition for sure.”
Bunker Hill: 3
Avery County: 0
East Burke: 3
Fred T. Foard: 3
St. Stephens: 0
Community School of Davidson: 2
West Caldwell: 0
The Hickory Crawdads fell to the Columbia Fireflies 3-2 on the road Tuesday night.
Hickory struck first in the fourth inning. With one out, Frainyer Chavez doubled. Josh Jung would follow up with a double of his own, putting Chavez to third. Tyreque Reed singled, scoring Chavez, but Jung would be stranded on third.
Hickory added a run in the fifth inning. Miguel Aparicio tripled and would score two batters later when Kole Enright singled.
The Fireflies would add two in the sixth inning and a seventh inning solo home run was the difference of the game.
Hickory would make noise in both the eighth and ninth innings without scoring. With one away, Reed would double on a line drive to left field, but Melvin Novoa flied out to center field and Ryan Anderson popped up in foul territory.
In the ninth inning, Miguel Aparicio struck out swinging, but advanced to first with a wild pitch on the third strike. He would advance to second with a sacrifice bunt by Pedro Gonzalez. Kole Enright worked a seven pitch count and lined out hard to first base. Jonathan Ornelas then went down with three strikes stranding the tying run on second base.
Reed had two hits and an RBI.
The loss drops Hickory to 38-25 on the second half of the season. The Crawdads did not clinch a playoff spot, however, their magic number to clinch a postseason berth remains at two. Hickory remains at Columbia through Thursday and will host Lexington to end the regular season for four games starting Friday.
Appalachian State head football coach Eliah Drinkwitz opened his first weekly press conference Monday with a newsworthy update: the team has three permanent captains for the 2019 season.
A team vote has led to seniors Josh Thomas, Victor Johnson and Jordan Fehr being named permanent captains. There will be two additional game day captains who rotate throughout the season.
The announcement came five days before Drinkwitz makes his official debut as App State's coach with a season-opening home game against East Tennessee State. Kickoff at Kidd Brewer Stadium is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, and tickets are available to purchase online, by phone at 828-262-2079 or in person at the App State athletics ticket office located in the Holmes Center.
"We're very excited to kick off the 2019 football season," Drinkwitz said. "Obviously, it's a very strong opponent and a very good opponent that has our entire team's focus."
ETSU went 8-4 last season, claimed a share of the Southern Conference title and appeared in the first round of the FCS playoffs. App State returns 10 of 11 offensive starters and six defensive starters from a 2018 team that went 11-2, won a third straight Sun Belt title, improved to 4-0 in bowl games and attained a Top 25 ranking for the first time in the program's brief FBS history.
Johnson, an offensive tackle, and Thomas, a safety, were also captains last season as juniors along with departed seniors MyQuon Stout and Jalin Moore.
Fehr is a senior linebacker who had 86 tackles and a team-high 5.5 sacks for a 2018 defense that ranked fourth nationally by allowing just 15.5 points per game. He averaged 8.6 tackles during the seven Sun Belt Conference games in which he was fully available last season, highlighted by a three-sack game at Coastal Carolina and a 15-tackle performance at Arkansas State.
Johnson started at left tackle in each of the previous three seasons and made the All-Sun Belt Conference first team each of the last two years. Named the league's best pass blocker by Lindy's, he's the most experienced member on an offensive line that has ranked in the top 25 nationally in both rushing yards per game and fewest sacks allowed for the last five years.
Thomas intercepted four passes last season for a defense that also set a Sun Belt Conference record with only 20 defensive touchdowns allowed and tied for first place nationally with only eight passing touchdowns allowed. He finished the year with 43 tackles.
The demolition of the home side stands in Moretz Stadium and installation of temporary bleachers was completed with the final inspection confirmed. The project, which was completed by InProduction, was finished and has a seating capacity of 3,306.
The temporary bleachers feature 10 sections with four middle sections reserved for Bears Club members and corporate sponsors. All Bears Club members will receive their seats in the mail by the end of the week. Access points include ramps on both sides and stairs along the back of every few sections. ADA access has been improved with a section at the top of the stands for access and ease of view. The brick wall that had previously served to encase the stands was able to be retained and thus preserves the look and feel that fans and student-athletes have come to appreciate when playing Between the Bricks.
"We are appreciative of everyone involved with this project who worked quickly to address the demolition and installation of temporary bleachers," said VP of Athletics Kim Pate. "This was certainly a tight turnaround and we couldn't have pulled it off as smoothly if it were not for great partners like David E. Looper Construction and our friends at InProduction. I've heard a lot of positive feedback from our coaches, alumni, and members of the community on how the temporary bleachers turned out with most people stating that you'd hardly know they were temporary."
The temporary bleachers will be in place for the duration of the 2019 football season. Currently, the development of a more comprehensive design plan for permanent seating and other key stadium renovations are underway with the goal of permanent seating being installed by summer 2020.
"We are excited to embark on planning for a permanent solution with the opportunity to enhance other aspects of the facility to position Moretz Stadium as one of the top venues in Division II," stated Pate. "We look forward to seeing all of our students, alumni, and fans out to cheer on our Bears football team this year as we celebrate 100 Years of LR Football."
Moretz Stadium opened in 1924 and is named for Helen and Leonard Moretz. It is the fourth-oldest stadium in continuous use in NCAA Division II and one of the oldest in the country. In 1960, Moretz Stadium was the site for the NAIA national semifinal football game, which Lenoir-Rhyne won on its way to the only national championship in school history. Moretz Stadium was also home to a 1962 NAIA national semifinal game and a NCAA Division II semifinal game in 2013. The stadium, which has a capacity of approximately 7,500, has hosted seven NCAA football playoff games in its history, including two from the memorable 2018 season, as well as three NCAA men's lacrosse playoff games, including a national semifinal game in 2018.
The season-opener for the Bears Football team is set for Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. against St. Augustine's inside Moretz Stadium, but fans can get an earlier look at the facility Wednesday at the 828 day which will serve as host to the community. The event is free to the public and will be full of family-friendly activities and include an autograph session with student-athletes, spirit squads, and coaches. The evening event will be capped by a visit from the Spirit of LR Marching Band and Joe Bear, LR mascot.
The Division 2 Athletics Directors Association (D2 ADA) has announced the 2018-19 recipients of the D2 ADA Academic Achievement Awards and Lenoir-Rhyne tied a school record with 123 recipients. The Bears have had 123 award winners in each of the last two years, nearly doubling the mark of 74 from 2016-17. The total of LR Academic Achievement Award winners is the 12th highest number in all of NCAA Division II.
The Academic Achievement Awards is a program that recognizes the academic accomplishments of student-athletes at the Division II level. In total, 11,660 student-athletes from 185 institutions were recognized for the 2018-19 Academic Achievement Awards.
In order for a student-athlete to receive an Academic Achievement Award, the athletics director of the Division II institution MUST BE a CURRENT dues-paying member of the D2 ADA.
Also, the student-athlete must:
have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale
have attended a minimum of two years (four semesters) of college level work
have been an active member of an intercollegiate team during his/her last academic year
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.
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
Fred T. Foard: 3
North Iredell: 1
North Lincoln: 2
Alexander Central: 3
West Caldwell: 1
East Burke: 3
Fred T. Foard: 4
Wilkes Central: 1
South Caldwell: 3
Bessemer City: 2
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.
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.