Fieldhouse Report, 10.16.2018

NYRR 2018 Marathon
The 2018 NYC Marathon will again be preceded by the USATF 5K Championship (photo – NYRR)

NATIONAL

Running – As the 2018 NYC Marathon approaches on Sunday, November 4, the city’s calendar will begin to fill with events leading up to the race. The annual “Dash to the Finish” 5k is staged the day before the marathon and will again serve as the USATF National Championship at the distance. 

Asheville-area running fans can watch the NYC Marathon on WLOS-ABC 13 on November 4 at 9:00 a.m. Check back for the November 3 broadcast start time for the 5K Championship on NBCSN. 

Austin Browns Mars Hill College Football
Asheville’s Austin Brown (11) leads Mars Hill (photo – Mars Hill Athletics)

REGIONAL

College Football – Austin Brown (pictured) is a graduate of Asheville’s Erwin High School and currently directs the NCAA DII Mars Hill Lions from under center in the South Atlantic Conference (SAC). The lefty has the Lions leading the conference in overall passing and against Limestone on September 29 threw for 371 yards and tied a school record with six touchdown passes. 

The Lions (2-5) return to the gridiron on Saturday to face Wingate (4-3) on the road. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3. 

WNC Women's College Soccer

Women’s College Soccer – The WCU Catamounts are 3-4 to date in the 10-team Southern Conference and currently in seventh place in the league. In their final two regular-season games they’ll strive to move up a place in the standings as the league’s top six teams earn a spot in the conference quarterfinals, while the bottom four must compete in an additional play-in game. Last year, the Catamounts advanced to the SoCon final before falling to UNCG. (photo  – Ashley Evans, WCU Athletics) 

UNC Asheville Baseball Fall 2018
UNCA’s Chris Troost batting against Georgia (photo – UNCA Athletics)

College Baseball – The UNC Asheville Bulldogs faced the Georgia Bulldogs of the SEC in a special 14-inning fall exhibition in Athens, Georgia on Sunday. Eight of the last ten College World Series champions have come from the SEC (5) or PAC-12 (3). Georgia was the #4 team in the country last year. 

“We told our guys that there were a lot of positive takeaways from today,” said UNCA head coach, Scott Friedholm. “One of the biggest aspects was having our younger guys play in a tough SEC environment and in front of a great crowd for a fall game.”  

College Cross Country – Montreat’s Lydia Wilson continued to prove herself as one of the top cross-country runners in the region as she finished 14th in a field of 413 runners at the Queens Royals Challenge on October 12 in Charlotte. The sophomore set a cross-country PR (17:45) at the 5k distance in the process and also broke the school record. 

0001 Owen High School Football

Preps  See last week’s Black Mountain News for an article on the rarest of three-of-a-kinds on the gridiron for the Owen High School Warhorses.

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Fieldhouse Weekender, 10.07.2018

Furman Templeton
Furman’s Aaron Templeton (photo – Furman Athletics)

REGIONAL

College Cross Country – Furman’s Aaron Templeton was named the Southern Conference men’s cross country runner of the week on October 3. Templeton finished fourth overall out of 142 runners at Notre Dame’s Joe Paine Invitational to earn the honor.

In his first race of the season, Templeton helped the Paladins to finish fourth overall in the 17-team field. Furman races this upcoming weekend at the Queen City Royals Challenge in Charlotte on October 12 and at the Pre-NCAA Invitational in Madison, Wisconsin on October 13.

College Football – Western Carolina (3-2) had a long game on Saturday, dropping a 66-28 decision on the road to Samford. Furman (1-3) had an open week, while at the NCAA DII level Mars Hill (2-4) fell to Tusculum (3-2), 31-28.

Brevard (1-3) picked up the region’s sole win on the gridiron on Saturday, with a 41-36 victory over Methodist (1-3) Check back for details on the games.

Warren Wilson College Soccer.jpg
WWC celebrates a goal at home earlier this season (photo – WWC) 

College Soccer  This week’s Black Mountain News includes an article on Lydia Vandenbergh, a former Clemson standout and current player-owner of the Asheville City Blues women’s soccer team. She’s also the head coach of the Warren Wilson College Owls, and has the team off to its best start in recent years. Click here for the full story

LASTING IMAGE

Owen High School Football
Black Mountain’s Owen High School football field (photo – Tom Flynn)

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Fieldhouse Report, 10.02.2018

Furman Paladins WCU Catamounts 2018
Furman’s Jonah Tibbs sheds a block as WCU’s Tyrie Adams looks upfield (photo – Furman Athletics)

REGIONAL

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (October 2, 2018) – The Furman Paladins pulled off a week four Southern Conference upset on Saturday when they defeated Western Carolina, 44-38.

Catamounts’ quarterback Tyrie Adams threw for five touchdowns and 424 yards but Furman more than countered with four rushing touchdowns, an aerial TD from quarterback Harris Roberts, and a 97-yard touchdown return from Dejuan Bell

The key score for the Paladins (1-3, 1-1) came from Devin Wynn who broke free for a touchdown from midfield with 5:27 in the game to give Furman a 44-31 lead. 

Adams’ fifth TD pass was to Connell Young with just 1:41 remaining and closed the gap to six points. The ensuing onside kick attempt from the Catamounts (3-1, 1-1) failed and the Paladins were able to run out the clock for their first win of the year. For WCU, it was their first loss of 2018. Both teams are now 1-1 in the Southern Conference.

Warren Wilson College Soccer Asheville City
Asheville City’s Lydia Vandenbergh at Memorial Stadium (photo – ACSC)

College Soccer – Check the Black Mountain News later this week for an article on the Warren Wilson Owls and their head coach, Lydia Vandenbergh. Vandenbergh, a Clemson graduate and veteran of multiple professional leagues, is also a player-owner of the Asheville City Blues’ women’s soccer team that debuted this summer. The Owls are off to one of their best starts in recent years within the USCAA.

Furman Cross Country
Furman is  currently #2 in the Southeast (photo – Danielle Meersman)

Women’s Cross Country – The Furman Paladins’ women’s cross country team was ranked #2 in the Southeast in Monday’s USTFCCCA poll. It’s the third consecutive week that Furman has held to the second spot. On Friday, the Paladins captured second place at the Notre Dame Joe Plane Invitational in South Bend, Indiana.

UNC Asheville freshman Clara Wincheski captured Big South Runner of the Week honors for the second time this season on September 26. The honor was earned in large part by Wincheski’s first-place finish at the Asheville Invitational.

Montreat sophomore Lydia Wilson captured 10th place in the Greater Louisville XC Classic on Saturday. Wilson competed in the women’s 5k ‘blue’ race, the middle competitive tier of three races. She was the top NAIA runner in the overall field of 287 competitors and her time would have placed her 58/226 in the all-NCAA Division I ‘gold’ race.

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More running articles from Fieldhouse’s Tom Flynn (WSJ, ASN)

Fieldhouse Report, 09.18.2018

Detrez Newsome Chargers Western Carolina WCU Catamounts
Former Catamount and current Charger, Detrez Newsome (photo – Icon Sports Wire)

NATIONAL

Former Western Carolina Catamount Detrez Newsome faced and met what may prove the biggest challenge of his career making an NFL roster as an undrafted rookie free agent. The Los Angeles Chargers kept Newsome on their final 53-man roster earlier this month after he led the team in carries, yards, and touchdowns during the preseason.   

Newsome’s 6,969 all-purpose yards as a Catamount are the most in school history. He also has the most touchdowns in WCU history with 46.

REGIONAL

College Football – WCU defeated in-state rival Gardner-Webb on Friday night, 28-10. The road game was moved from a scheduled Saturday start due to the pending arrival of Hurricane Florence. The Catamounts are 2-0 after two non-conference games and received votes in this week’s FCS Top 25 poll.

They open their 2018 Southern Conference schedule when they host VMI on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

WNC College Soccer StandingsCollege Soccer –  A month into the season, the area’s five men’s soccer teams are in their early stages of conference play. UNCA is the region’s sole DI entry (WCU doesn’t sponsor men’s soccer) and travels to Davidson (2-3) tonight to face the Wildcats at 7:00 p.m. Montreat is the only other WNC team in action today as they host Georgia’s undefeated Point University (NAIA) (5-0-1) at 4:30 p.m.

In addition to the five WNC teams, Furman is 3-3 on the season and this evening travels to face Clemson at 7:30 p.m. The meeting of the two rivals is the 56th in the series that dates back to February 2, 1934. The Tigers hold a 40-12-3 advantage and captured the last meeting between the two teams in 2015.

Montreat Cavaliers Lydia Wilson
Lydia Wilson (center) captured runner of the week honors (photo –  MC Athletics)

Cross Country –  Montreat sophomore Lydia Wilson earned Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) weekly honors as the conference’s top runner. At last week’s Lenoir-Rhyne Invitational, she finished sixth overall in a field of 66 runners and prevented NCAA Division I Appalachian State from claiming all top seven spots in the race. She was also the top non-NCAA runner in the field. Look for a feature on Wilson in next week’s Black Mountain News.

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Books from Fieldhouse’s Tom Flynn

 

 

Fieldhouse Report, 08.27.2018

UNCA XC Cross Country UNCA Bulldogs UNCA Track

REGIONAL 

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (August 27, 2018) – UNC Asheville’s cross-country teams get underway this Friday at the Appalachian State Covered Bridge Open. Last year at the event, the Bulldogs finished seventh out of 11 teams on the men’s side, while UNCA finished ninth of twelve teams among the women. 

The Bulldogs host the Asheville Invitational on September 21. (photo – UNCA Athletics).

Two of the area’s neighboring programs open the cross-country season with a dual meet on Friday when Montreat heads west to face Warren Wilson College at 5:00 p.m.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 18 Western Carolina at North Carolina

The WCU Catamounts open their 2018 football season on Saturday at home against the Newberry College Wolves. Newberry plays in the NCAA’s Division II and went 5-6 last year, including a 31-14 season-opening loss to the Southern Conference’s Citadel.

The Catamounts went 7-5 overall in 2017 and 5-3 in the SoCon, good for fourth place in the league. (photo – Icon Sportswire)

On Saturday, Mars Hill travels north to face the SoCon’s ETSU in Johnson City. The Bucs went 2-6 in conference last year and 4-7 overall. MHU finished 3-6 overall.

At the Division III level, the Brevard College Tornados have a tough draw as they travel to face Davidson of the FCS at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday. Brevard is led by Duke graduate, Bill Khayat.

NATIONAL

As reported last week, former UNCA Bulldog Mike Shildt has the St. Louis Cardinals surging.

That trend continued through the week. The Redbirds moved into second place in the NL Central, trailing only the Chicago Cubs. They now have a half-game lead over Milwaukee as the top wildcard team, and a game lead over the remaining chase pack for the two wildcard spots.

The team is 26-12 under Shildt, good for a .684 winning percentage. 


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UNCA’s Shildt Has Cardinals Surging

MLB: AUG 19 Brewers at Cardinals
Cardinals’ outfielder Tyler O’Neill leaps to make a catch against Milwaukee (photo – Jimmy Simmons/Icon Sportswire)

ASHEVILLE, NC (August 21, 2018) – Mike Shildt was named the interim manager of the St. Louis Cardinals on July 14. The former UNCA Bulldog is making the most of the opportunity. 

The skipper inherited a team that was an under-performing 47-46 at the time, leading to the dismissal of manager Mike Matheny. They are now 69-57, with a 22-11 mark (.667) while led by Shildt. They have gone 8-2 in their last ten games and are now tied for the final wild-card spot in the National League, and 3.5 games behind the division- leading Cubs for first-place in the NL Central.

In a sign of their revived fortunes, and of Washington conceding 2018 as a lost campaign, the Cardinals picked up left-handed slugger Matt Adams from the Nats on Tuesday.

Adams previously spent 2012-2017 with the Redbirds, and can play both the outfield and first base. He will likely see time platooning in the outfield against right-handers, as well as pinch-hitting. The move also proves a Redbirds’ counter to the Cubs’ acquisition of Daniel Murphy from the Nationals on the same day.

Shildt is the first MLB manager hired since 2007 without former professional playing experience. 

UNCA’s Nichols Garners Big South Honor

Kayli Nichols UNC Asheville Bulldogs Running Asheville Big South Woman of the Year

UNCA’s Kayli Nichols (photo – UNCA Athletics)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (August 6, 2018) – UNC Asheville graduate Kayli Nichols has been selected as the Big South Conference’s Woman of the Year. She shares the honor with Winthrop lacrosse player, Katherine Judge.

There were nine candidates for the award within the Big South, based on service & leadership, academic achievement, athletics excellence, and a personal statement from each candidate.

Nichols double-majored in German and Political Science, and minored in Spanish. She graduated with a 3.974 GPA and is the UNCA record holder in the outdoor 100-meter hurdles, indoor 60-meter hurdles, and indoor 500 meters. She was a member of a 4X400-meter relay team that holds school records for the event both indoors and outdoors. Nichols is also second-ranked in Bulldogs’ history in the 400-meter hurdles.  

Nichols is now one of 581 nominees among all three divisions for the NCAA’s Woman of the Year, to be selected in late October in Indianapolis.

Carolina’s Tobacco Road Climbs West

Lees McRae Lacrosse
Lees-McRae faces off against Montreat on February 21. (photo – T.Flynn)

BANNER ELK, N.C. (August 1, 2018)  – The hub of North Carolina’s men’s lacrosse power is centered squarely on Tobacco Road between Chapel Hill, home to the UNC Tar Heels, and Durham, home to the Duke Blue Devils.

The Tar Heels established lacrosse at the club level in 1937, and Duke followed suit a year later. The two are now members of the NCAA’s Division I, and UNC has five national championships on its resumé (the latest earned in 2016) while the Blue Devils boast three, including the 2014 national title. 

In the mountainous western portion of the state, the game is a much more recent arrival and is featured only at several smaller colleges and universities centered loosely around Asheville. They include Lees-McRae (NCAA DII), Montreat (NAIA), Mars Hill (NCAA DII), and Brevard (NCAA DIII)

The Bobcats are the lacrosse elder statesmen of the state’s western region, having begun play in 1997. Mars Hill followed in 2004, while Brevard added men’s lacrosse in 2007, and Montreat in 2015. The two largest universities in the region, Western Carolina and UNC Asheville, do not yet include the sport on the men’s or women’s side. 

This fall, all four of those programs will have first or second-year head coaches, including Brad Dunn, who enters his second year at Lees-McRae. Dunn previously coached Coastal Carolina’s entry in the MCLA’s Southeast Lacrosse Conference and was a member of the Bobcats’ team from 2002-2006. On staff with Dunn is assistant coach and 2016 Lees-McRae graduate and former Bobcat, Dustin Barrow

Lees-McRae Lacrosse

The team went 2-7 in Dunn’s first year at its helm, with wins over Montreat and Emmanuel (Ga.). The win over the Cavaliers was a dramatic comeback victory over what’s proving a well-matched regional rival. “We’re looking forward to another game in 2019 against Montreat, and getting Mars Hill back on the schedule,” said Dunn. “Both of those programs provide a unique challenge for us.”

The Bobcats defeated Brevard, 14-13, the last time the two teams played in 2017. In 2016, they dropped an 8-6 decision to Mars Hill. Parity among the four teams should help accelerate the rivalries beyond their relative youth.

Lees-McRae sits at 3,720 feet in the town of Banner Elk, the highest altitude of any college or university campus east of the Mississippi. Dunn sees the lofty heights as a factor in his team’s fortunes.

“I believe that if nothing else, the mental edge is ours against teams who travel up to play us, but it also impacts our roster in the first weeks of training,” said Dunn. “The squad does take a few practices to acclimate to the thinner air while conditioning. That said, we love our mountains and all that comes with them.”