Friday, January 31, 2014

Atlantic Sun Women's Hoops: Hot Streak

Several Atlantic Sun Women's Basketball teams are hitting their stride at a crucial time as the midway point in conference play is approaching.

FGCU, Stetson, USC Usptate and Jacksonville are finding a rhythm as the squads are holding onto impressive streaks.

The Eagles have have put together an impressive resume in the A-Sun. Highlighting their play in the league is a 44-game conference winning streak in regular season play. The blue and green's last loss in conference action? February 28, 2011 as the Eagles fell 75-74 at USC Upstate.

The streak is the longest conference winning streak in the nation.

To add to that,FGCU has not lost to a conference opponent on its home court of Alico Arena since January 8, 2009. The Eagles home court conference win streak sits at 51 games.

To kick off this season FGCU has strung together eight-straight conference wins, including a big win vs. the No. 2 seed in the league, Stetson, to open league play. As of January 26th the streak was good for the 14th longest streak in the nation this season.

The Hatters boast several streaks of their own. Stetson has won seven-straight games to hold a 7-1 record in league play. The streak is good for No. 18 in the country.

To top it off, Stetson has been perfect at home during the 2013-14 season with a 9-0 home record. The Hatters have not lost at home in 11 games with their last home loss coming at the hands of the Eagles in February of 2013. Stetson's 11-game home winning streak ranks as the 12th-best in the nation and the best in the A-Sun.

The Hatters average 85.67 points per game in home contests and are out scoring opponents by 19 points in those match ups.

Contributing as another strong A-Sun team at home, Jacksonville is undefeated at home this season with a 6-0 record. The Dolphins have won nine-straight games at home dating back to last season. JU is outscoring opponents by 20.67 points per game when at home.

USC Upstate has now won four games in a row for the first time since the 2011-12 season when it was victorious over UNF, Lipscomb, Belmont and East Tennessee State. The four-game winning streak has come the Spartans at a good time as they now sit in fifth-place in the league and have put themselves in a good position to host a first-round game in the 2014 A-Sun Championship.

The Spartans kicked off the streak with a road win that was decided by a last second shot at ETSU and followed it with a one point decision vs. Mercer. Upstate carried that momentum to garner two more wins against Kennesaw State and North Florida.

As the midway point approaches in league play the race to the 2014 Atlantic Sun Championship begins and teams will battle it out to grad a spot into the championship. The momentum of these hot streaks may be a deciding factor when the season comes to a close.

Friday, January 24, 2014

20 Questions with KSU Men's Golf Standout Jimmy Beck

There is no debate that Kennesaw State's Jimmy Beck is one of the top A-Sun men's golfers in 2013-14. As the No. 2 returning player in the A-Sun behind North Florida's MJ Maguire, Beck recorded four top-15 finishes during the fall 2013 schedule, including a top-five in the Owls' Pinetree Intercollegiate team victory. He is ranked among the nation's best in the latest Golfweek rankings (61st) and also checks in among the top 100 in the Golfstat Cup (96th). 

Recently the junior from Columbus, Ga., added another award to his growing list of accolades when he received the Georgia State Golf Association's (GSGA) Co-Men's Player of the Year Award on Jan.18. Beck was recognized along with Cameron Hooper of Atlanta and Jeff Knox of Augusta. 

"Being named the GSGA Men's Co-Player of the Year is one of the many blessings that have happened during my time here at Kennesaw State," Beck said. "I am honored to receive this award and could not have accomplished this without the support of my team, my coaches, my friends, and my family. I am looking forward to the upcoming season." 

In addition to leading the Kennesaw State men's golf team to an NCAA Division I regional appearance in 2013, Beck became the first KSU player to capture the Georgia State Amateur when he outplayed the field at Pinetree Country Club last July.

"This is yet another feather in Jimmy's cap as he is becoming one of the most decorated athletes in KSU history," Owls head coach Jay Moseley said. "A college player has not won this award in nearly 10 years and for Jimmy to be the first KSU golfer to ever receive it is quite an honor."

Moseley saw the ability when recruiting Beck from nearby Columbus, but was just as enamored with the intangibles that Beck possessed. A steady and consistent personality that is bold but not brash, and one that is always open to suggestion is what Moseley says makes Beck a joy to coach.

"When I recruited Jimmy I thought he would have more impact as a freshman, but it took him about 18 months to adjust to the college game and to raise his level of play," says Moseley. "Nothing really changed from his freshman to his sophomore years, other than his confidence. He has certainly come to be what I thought he could be as a player.

"But with Jimmy you also get the intangibles that make him such a valuable member of this team. Often what you see from the outside with people is not always a true measure of what is inside, but Jimmy personifies the A-Sun's goal of 'Building Winners for Life.' I recruited him as much for who he is and what he stands for. He is a first class young man with great character, a tremendous leader by example and pure joy to coach."

If making the professional tour remains one of Beck's goals, Moseley says his abilities,  both mental and physical, make that goal well within his reach. "His mind is the best part of his game," says Moseley. "He is ahead of everyone in that aspect of his game, and on the course his confidence around the greens makes his putting and chipping second to none."

Beck followed his win at the Georgia State Amateur by leading the Owls to a pair of tournament victories last fall as Kennesaw State won the Rees Jones Invitational and Pinetree Intercollegiate. He also paced KSU with 72.50 scoring average and posted four Top 20 finishes. 

The Owls open their spring season Feb. 10 at the Farms Collegiate Invitational in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

Other Career Highlights:
• A-Sun All-Freshman Team (2011-12)
• Four-time Golfer of the Week honors (1 in 2011-12; 3 in 2012-13)
• A-Sun All-Conference First Team (2012-13)
• Member of the A-Sun Academic All-Conference Team (2012-13)
• Member of the Golf Coach Association of America (GCAA) PING All-Southeast Region team (2012-13)
• Two individual titles in 2012-13 (Pinetree Intercollegiate, Irish Creek Intercollegiate)
• Nine top-20 and five top-10 finishes in his first two seasons

Biggest Pet Peeve: I am sort of a neat freak, so when I see something that is dirty or cluttered I feel obligated to clean it up and get it out of the way
Favorite Course That You Have Played: Peachtree Golf Club in Atlanta
Dream Foursome: Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and my Dad
Other Favorite Golfer(s): Ernie Els
Best Golf Tip: Put a lot of focus on putting
Shot You Love to Practice: 6-iron with a small fade
Part of Your Game that Needs Improvement: Pitching and chipping
Favorite Club: Putter 
Ball Marker: Generally a nickel, but any coin, usually silver 
Holes In One (competitive):
Favorite Non-Golf Athlete: Michael Jordan 
Age Broke Par for First Time: 6 (set up for kids) 13 (on par-72)
Favorite Sports Team(s): Boston Celtics, Atlanta Braves 
Playing in your earphones before a tournament: I listen to any kind of music, so I just hit shuffle 
Describe Jay Moseley in one word: Leader 
What never fails to make you laugh: My roommates (and teammates) Jonathan Klotz, Austin Vick, Carlos Segura Oliva
Favorite food: Sushi, any kind of Japanese food because my Mom is Japanese
State have you never been in but would like to visit: New York 
Prefer Facebook or Twitter: Twitter 
What you like most about Kennesaw State University: The community and atmosphere. KSU is a Big university with a small campus feel, walking around campus doesn't seem that big. Special to be a part of something that is big like this.

Driver: Taylor Made R11S
3-Wood: Titleist 913S
Irons: Mizuno MP57
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM4
Putter: Scotty Cameron Titleist

Friday, January 17, 2014

Dave Walker's A-Sun Legacy Runs for Miles

This weekend, ETSU is set to host the Niswonger Invitational at the David E. Walker Track in Johnson City, Tenn. For the past 35 years, the Buccaneers have hosted the two-day meet with some of the nation’s top college student-athletes competing in the event.

This year’s edition will have a slightly different feel to it as one piece will be missing from the event.

Legendary ETSU Track & Field and Cross Country Coach, Dave Walker passed away Saturday, Jan. 11, following a long battle with health issues. Walker, who retired in 2012, spent north of 50 years at ETSU starting as a member of the football team until his graduation in 1958 followed by his long tenure at the head of the track program from 1963 to 2012.

Walker’s career ranged from playing professional football with the Baltimore Colts and Cleveland Browns to training NCAA Champions, Olympic athletes and his time with ETSU. All of his accomplishments led to an induction into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.

During his time in the A-Sun from 2005 to 2012, Walker and his student-athletes compiled a long list of accomplishments, records and titles. Walker’s legacy in the A-Sun will continue to live on through the performances of his student-athletes at the conference championships.

Below is a long list of accomplishments by ETSU student-athletes from 2005 to 2012 for cross country as well as the indoor and outdoor track & field seasons.

A-Sun Men’s & Women’s Indoor Track & Field Championship Accomplishments
Top Performances
A-Sun Championship Records Held: 5
Top-10 Performances in A-Sun History: 55

A-Sun Championship Medalists
1st Place: 45
2nd Place: 62
3rd Place: 67

Team Accomplishments
Men’s Team Champions: 2011, 2009, 2007, 2006
Men’s Team Runner-Up: 2012, 2010, 2008
Women’s Team Runner-Up: 2007

Individual Accomplishments
Men’s Coach of the Year: 2011, 2009, 2007, 2006
Most Valuable Performer: Jadon Short, 2012; Duran Monal, 2010
Most Outstanding Track Performer: Duran Monal, 2010; Ben Rotich, 2009; Michael Wright, 2007; James Rainer, 2006
Most Outstanding Field Performer: Jarrod Burton, 2011
Most Outstanding Freshman Performer: Jadon Short, 2012
A-Sun Athletes of the Week: 39

A-Sun Men’s & Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championship Accomplishments
Top Performances
A-Sun Championship Records Held: 5
Top-10 Performances in A-Sun History: 41

A-Sun Championship Medalists
1st Place: 53
2nd Place: 53
3rd Place: 65

Team Accomplishments
Men’s Team Champions: 2012, 2009, 2007
Men’s Team Runner-Up: 2011, 2010
Women’s Team Runner-Up: 2007

Individual Accomplishments
Men’s Team Champions: 2012, 2009, 2007
Men’s Team Runner-Up: 2011, 2010
Men’s Coach of the Year: 2012, 2009, 2007
Most Valuable Performers: Jadon Short, 2012; Duran Monal, 2010
Outstanding Track Performers: Ben Ronoh, 2011, Duran Monal, 2010; Ben Rotich, 2009; Heidi Dahl, 2009
Outstanding Freshman Performers: Jarrod Burton, 2007; Zacklynn Blackburn, 2007
A-Sun Athlete of the Week: 28

A-Sun Men’s & Women’s Cross Country Championship Accomplishments
A-Sun Championship All-Conference Performances
1st Team: 15
2nd Team: 4

A-Sun Championship Top-Three Finishes
1st Place: 2
2nd Place: 2
3rd Place: 1

Team Accomplishments
Men’s Team Champions: 2008
Men’s Team Runner-Up: 2009, 2007, 2005
Men’s Coach of the Year: 2008

Individual Accomplishments
Runner of the Year: Kenneth Rotich, 2008, 2009
Freshman of the Year: Filip Jalovy, 2011; Zacklynn Blackburn, 2007
A-Sun Runner of the Week: 10