Tom is a freelance journalist and has contributed to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Baltimore Sun among others. He is the author of three books.
Locally, he's a regular contributor to the Asheville Citizen-Times and Blue Ridge Outdoors
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (February 14, 2019) – The UNC Asheville men’s basketball team defeated USC Upstate last night in Spartanburg, S.C., 57-53. It was the second time the Bulldogs (4-22) defeated the Spartans this season and also gave the visitors their second Big South win of the season. The Bulldogs received 17 off the bench from freshman Taijon Jones.
With four games remaining, the season will go down as a rebuilding campaign for UNCA with its top four players in minutes (DeVon Baker, Taijon Jones, Coty Jude, and Cress Worthy) all freshmen. The four also lead the team in points scored.
Furman remains the top area NCAA DI team, while Montreat is the winningest among the Mountain Five teams.
College Baseball– Among NCAA DI teams, UNCA opens its 2019 campaign with a three-game weekend series at the College of Charleston. Furman hosts Morehead State for a three-game set beginning on Friday. The Paladins went 24-28 in 2018.
The WCU Catamounts open their 2019 season by hosting Oakland (Mich.) on Friday in Cullowhee.
Next: area indoor track, women’s college basketball, and college lacrosse
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (February 4, 2019) – Men’s Lacrosse – It was opening weekend in NCAA men’s lacrosse and Furman drew a formidable opponent in the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday in Greenville. The Paladins (0-1) were stymied on offense, scoring three in the first but following it with two goals in each of the next three quarters in a 17-9 defeat. The nine Paladin goals were spread out among seven scorers.
In men’s lacrosse, Furman is the only NCAA DI entry in the Fieldhouse region. The “Mountain Five” (Brevard, Mars Hill, Lees-McRae, Montreat, and Warren Wilson) narrows to four in both men’s and women’s lacrosse as Warren Wilson does not field teams in either sport.
Mars Hill defeated Lees-McRae, 19-18, in a season-opening matchup of regional men’s teams. Spencer Andrews scored five goals for the Lions (1-0), while Alec Molander had six goals and five assists for the Bobcats (0-1).
Brevard handily defeated DII Belmont Abbey, 13-3, in an impressive preseason win on January 30, while Montreat scrimmaged and fell to the University of Tennessee’sMCLAentry on Saturday, 16-15. The Cavaliers will host the Tornados on Wednesday at 5:00 p.m.
Women’s Basketball – The UNCA Bulldogs are currently on a six-game winning streak in the Big South after defeating Winthrop on Saturday, 70-36.Senior Zip Scott had 14 points to lead the Bulldogs, while teammate Sonora Dengokl leads the team on the year with a 15.1 ppg average.
In the Mountain Five, Warren Wilson had won six straight before falling to Johnson & Wales (N.C.) on Saturday, 73-57. The records of all area teams as of Sunday included:
Furman (12-10, 3-3 SoCon)
UNCA (11-9, 6-3 Big South)
Western Carolina (4-17, 0-6 SoCon)
Warren Wilson (11-12, 3-2 USCAA)
Brevard (9-13, 5-10 NCAA DIII)
Montreat (10-13, 9-11 NAIA)
Mars Hill (1-16, 0-12 NCAA DII)
Lees-McRae (10-11, 7-7 NCAA DII)
Outdoors – Late last month, I wrote an article on the remarkable effort of explorer Colin O’Brady in a record-breaking trek across Antarctica. The piece was for Forbes and can be found here.
ASHEVILLE, NC. (January 19, 2019) – Women’s College Basketball – On Tuesday night, the UNCA women’s basketball team defeated USC Upstate in overtime, 93-86. The win moves the team to 7-9 overall and 2-3 in the Big South. Sonora Dengokl led the Bulldogs with 36 points.
The Bulldogs return today at 2:00 p.m. to host conference rival High Point (10-5, 3-1) at Kimmel Arena.
Records of the area’s NCAA Division I teams include: Furman (10-8, 2-1 Southern), UNC Asheville (7-9, 2-3 Big South), Western Carolina (3-14, 0-3 Southern)
College Baseball– The sixth-annual “Baseball Night in Asheville” was hosted by UNCA before a sold-out crowd at the event room at Asheville’s Highland Brewing on Friday. MLB pitcher Oliver Drake of the Tampa Bay Rays was the guest speaker for the evening.
Current Bulldogs’ head coach Scott Friedholm coached Drake at the Naval Academy before the right-hander was drafted in the 2008 amateur draft by the Baltimore Orioles. Friedholm was the pitching coach for the Midshipmen at the time and also guided Mitch Harris, who made it to the bigs in 2015 for the St. Louis Cardinals.
At the event, the 2019 UNCA Bulldogs team was officially announced and an auction held to raise funds for the team for equipment and travel, among other expenses. The MC for the evening was the Asheville Tourists’director of broadcast and media relations, Doug Maurer.
The Bulldogs open their 2019 campaign with a three-game series against the College of Charleston on February 15 – 17 in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Their home-opening series is against UMBC on Feb 22 – 24.
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (January 8, 2019) – Men’s College Basketball– After dropping two consecutive games, Furman rebounded with two convincingSouthern Conferencewins last week to move to 14-2 on the season and 3-1 in the conference. The Paladins defeated Mercer (5-10, 0-3), 71-58, on Thursday and followed it up with a 101-85 victory over the Citadel (9-5, 1-2) on Saturday. Furman’s Matt Rafferty (17.6 ppg) and Jordan Lyons (16.9) are the fifth and sixth-leading scorers in the conference, respectively.
Elsewhere in the NCAA DI ranks, Western Carolina picked up a SoCon upset win against Samford (11-6) on Saturday. On the year, the Catamounts are 4-13 and 1-3 in conference games.
Montreat is set to tip off against the Union College (Ky.) Bulldogs tonight in Barboursville, Kentucky. The Bulldogs are 12-3 overall and ranked #7 in the NAIA’s DII. The Mountain Five teams and their records to date include:
Montreat (NAIA DII 10-2, 7-1)
Mars Hill (NCAA DII 6-5, 1-3)
Warren Wilson (USCAA DII 7-9, 2-1)
Lees-McRae (NCAA DII 5-10, 2-4)
Brevard (NCAA DIII 4-8, 1-4)
Pro Football – Late last week I contributed an article to Forbes on All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey. While the Carolina Panthers’ season grew progressively worse, the second-year running back emerged as a star for the team.
College Baseball – An advantage of college baseball over the pros is that it starts well before spring in early February. Last week, theBrevard Tornados released their 2019 schedule, which includes a planned February 13 game against Montreat. Ryan Roon led all Tornados’ regulars last season with a .342 average as a sophomore.
The most interesting team to follow early could be the Western Carolina Catamounts, who won only seven regular-season games in 2018, but followed that up with four wins in the Southern Conference tournament. They eliminated the top-seeded UNC Greensboro Spartans before ultimately bowing out of the tournament after their second postseason loss to Mercer.
MONTREAT, N.C. (December 31, 2018) – The Brevard Tornados traveled 50 miles northeast to face the Montreat Cavaliers in a matchup of two “Mountain Five” teams on Monday. The hosts came away with a 95-72 victory over the visiting Tornados.
Montreat’s Austin Butler had 21 points, including three three-pointers. Nicodemus Payne added 18 for Montreat. Freshman Levi Lamb had 18 points to lead the Tornados, while Cannon Lamb added 11.
With the win, the Cavs close out 2018 with a 9-2 overall record as Brevard fell to 4-6. Montreat returns to host conference rival Bluefield (10-3) on Wednesday, while the Tornados are back on the court on Saturday when they travel to face the USA South’s Methodist (5-7).
College Football – Clemson made its preliminary to facing Alabama look like a formality when it defeated Notre Dame, 30-3, in the 83rdCotton Bowlyesterday. The Tigers will now play the Crimson Tide for the NCAA Division I FBS title for the third time in four years.
Alabama defeated Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, 45-34, in the other semifinal matchup on Saturday.
True freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence (pictured) was 27-39 for 327 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Tigers past the Irish. On the year, Lawrence has thrown for 27 touchdowns while getting intercepted only four times in his initial college season.
The championship is set for Monday, January, 7 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. It is the first time that both Alabama and Clemson enter the game with perfect 14-0 records.
Track & Field – As announced previously, “Underdog: Kim Conley & the Making of an Unexpected Olympian” releases on April 1, 2019. Conley continues her quest for the 2020 Olympics on January 26 when she competes in the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston. The last time the runner ran at the event was in 2014 when she captured the 2,000-meter race in the middle leg of a three-peat of convincing indoor wins that winter. She began the 2014 indoor season with a facility-record mile at New York’s century-old Armoryand completed her trio at the city’s storied Millrose Games with another facility-record and victory in the 3,000-meters.
“A big part of the draw was how much fun I had during that 2014 indoor circuit. What I ended this fall feeling, was that I really wanted more races under my belt. I’ve missed it so much and I love being out there,” said Conley, who returned from a prolonged 2017-2018 injury cycle earlier this year. “Indoor provides more opportunities to get on the start line and race.” Conley will compete in the 5,000 meters at this year’s event, which will broadcast live on NBC Sports.
Men’s College Basketball– The Furman Paladins dropped its second straight game, and first in Southern Conference play, when they fell to ETSU (11-4, 1-1) on Saturday, 79-56. The Paladins return home to Timmons Arena on January 3 to host the SoCon’s Mercer (5-8).
Among the Mountain Five, Brevard (4-5) will travel to Montreat (8-2) in what should prove a competitive matchup of area teams on Monday. Tip-off is set for 2:00 p.m.
College Track & Field – Area NCAA DI teams first return to the indoor track on January 18, with the Furman Paladins heading to the Vanderbilt Invitational in Nashville, while the UNCA Bulldogs compete that same day at VMI’s Keydet Invitational. WCU returns to the track the following weekend at VMI’s Team Challenge.
ASHEVILLE (December 27, 2018) – Women’s College Basketball – Area teams are picking up the pace in their return to the court, including UNCA traveling to face the SoCon’s Mercer (7-5) on Sunday in their final game prior to the Bulldogs’ Big South Conference schedule.
To date this season, the area’s top five DI scorers include: Le’Jzae Davidson, Furman(17.3 ppg), Sonora Dengokl, UNCA (pictured) (14.4), Celena Taborn, Furman (11.4), Nadiria Evans, UNCA (10.5), and Taylor Petty, Furman (9.8)
Current records and upcoming games for the region’s DI teams include:
Among the Mountain Five, Warren Wilson’s Danasia Dumas leads the pack with a 25.5 ppg average to date for the Owls. Rounding out the top five scorers are Annalee Bollinger, Brevard (14.4), Jala Daniels, Montreat (14.4), Meg Crawford, Lees-McRae (13.5), Brea Forbes, Lees-McRae (13.2), and Mariah Johnson, Mars Hill (12.1).
Current records and upcoming games for the Mountain Five include:
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (December 22, 2018) – As 2018 comes to a close, I wanted to send a thank you to all those who have followed/subscribed to fieldhouseasheville.com in its initial year. As our email inboxes become increasingly crowded, I especially appreciate the decision to follow the site.
Thank you to all the sports organizations (college & professional) who’ve provided invaluable expertise and resources during this first year – the site could not exist without them.
Thank you to the advertisers who’ve gradually been added over the past several months. Your support in the early stages of this modest but important endeavor is invaluable.
It’s a privilege to serve the WNC-Upstate areas with regional coverage as well as selected national coverage. The opportunity to hear and share stories from people in the community and across the country is the best part of being a journalist.
May everyone have a peaceful and happy holiday season! – Tom
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (December 21, 2018) – In a rare weekday basketball matinee, the UNCA Bulldogs hosted their area neighbors to the north, the Milligan Buffaloes, on Friday at Kimmel Arena.
Milligan is the much smaller of the programs but is consistently strong in the NAIA ranks, while the Bulldogs field the youngest lineup in NCAA DI basketball. The result of that combo was entertaining basketball as the Bulldogs (2-10, 0-0) captured their second win of the season with an 86-76 win over the Buffaloes. Aaron Levarity led Milligan (7-5) with 20 points, while Tajion Jones (pictured) led all scorers with 30 points.
After the Bulldogs moved out to a 23-13 lead in the first half, the Buffs went on a 15-0 run to take a 28-23 advantage following a layup from Levarity. At halftime, Milligan led, 38-37.
The two teams drew even at 51-51 in the second half, and from there the Bulldogs took and held the lead to eventually finish with the 10-point victory.
UNCA head coach Mike Morrell played for Milligan in the early 2000s, graduating in 2005. The willingness of both teams to play across levels provides an extra opportunity for the region’s basketball fans to see two of its better-known programs compete.
“It was tremendously special for me, not so much in the moment, but now that I get to look back on it,” said Morrell of playing his alma mater. “We’ll continue to play those guys; I’ll never be able to give back to that school what it gave to me.”
The Bulldogs are off until December 29, when they host Fayetteville State (1-8) at 2:00 p.m. at Kimmel Arena. Box Score
Men’s College Basketball – Furman remains the top basketball story in the Upstate/Western Carolina region this year. The Paladins are 12-0 to date and are ranked #24 nationally in the latest AP Poll.On Saturday, they travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to face the SEC’s LSU (8-4) at 8:00 p.m. Last week I spoke with head coach Bob Richey and two key team members –Matt Rafferty and Jordan Lyons – and on Tuesday contributed an article to Forbes on the team’s outstanding efforts to date.
The WCU Catamounts were live on the Big-10 Network on Tuesday night against the #23 IowaHawkeyes (9-2) in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes prevailed, 78-60. Marc Gosselin led all WCU scorers with 17 points.
In the Mountain Five, the Mars Hill Lions have already eclipsed last year’s wins total with a 6-4 mark on the season. They defeated Carson-Newman (Tenn.)(6-4) on Wednesday night by a final score of 87-74.The Lions are led Vic Finora who is in his second full season leading the team. Finora played his undergraduate basketball for the NAIA’s William Penn.
Records of area teams include:
NCAA Division I:
Furman (#24) (Southern) (12-0, 1-0)
Western Carolina (Southern) (3-10, 0-1)
UNC Asheville (Big South) (1-10, 0-0)
Montreat (NAIA DII) (#25) (8-2, 6-1)
Mars Hill (NCAA DII) (6-4, 1-2)
Brevard (NCAA DIII) (4-5, 1-2)
Warren Wilson (USCAA DII) (6-8, 2-1)
Lees-McRae (NCAA DII) (5-7, 2-2)
Next Fieldhouse Report: Women’s college basketball and more