ASHEVILLE, N.C. (October 20, 2018) – Furman has nine wins through 14 games this fall, best among men’s college soccer teams in the region. The Paladins (9-4-1) are 3-0 in Southern Conference play with three games remaining. Furman advanced to the SoCon semifinals last year while going 12-5-3 overall and are currently tied with Mercer atop the league standings.
Among the non-NCAA Division I ranks, Lees-McRae and Mars Hill have identical 6-5-2 records. The two teams faced each other on September 5, with the Lions capturing a convincing 5-1 victory over the Bobcats. The Bobcats’ Pol Vassart leads all area scorers with 13 goals and eight assists, good for 34 points. He’s also the leading scorer in the 11-team Conference Carolinas.
Montreat looks to make the NAIA’s Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) playoffs and is currently eighth in the 11-team league. The top six teams advance to the quarterfinals, with the seven-through-10 seeds playing a play-in first round game.
Brevard is transitioning into the NCAA’s Division III and is ineligible for the postseason this year. The Tornados conclude their 2018 season on October 27 against Piedmont International (N.C.) (3-8). Warren Wilson concludes its season on October 28 against Johnson & Wales – Charlotte (8-1) at home in Swannanoa.
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 the5K Championship on NBCSN.
College Football – Austin Brown (pictured) is a graduate of Asheville’s Erwin High School and currently directs the NCAA DII Mars Hill Lionsfrom 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.
Women’s College Soccer – The WCU Catamounts are 3-4 to date in the 10-team Southern Conferenceand 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)
“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.
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’sJoe 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
College 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.
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.
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.
The WCU Catamountsopen 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 ETSUin 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.
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.
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 dismissalof 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.
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.
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 Winthroplacrosse 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.
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 Conferenceand 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.
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.”