Braves’ Recruiting Heats Up During the Spring

The Black and Gold athletic department announced the signing of four new UNCP players, with two joining the women’s basketball program.

The UNCP tennis and softball teams also announced new additions since their seasons ended.

UNCP women’s basketball coach John Haskins announced two new additions to the women’s program this spring, as Redlands, Calif., native Domonique Washington and Chesterfield, S.C., native Victoria McVicker signed their National Letters of Intent this month.

Washington, a 5-6 guard who transferred from Mohawk Valley Community College, enters UNCP with junior eligibility.  At MVCC, Washington earned All-region honors and Mountain Valley Player of the Year honors while averaging 15 points and five rebounds a game with the Hawks.  Washington also averaged five assists per game while leading the Hawks to a top five national ranking during most of their season.

We are excited that Domonique has decided to join our basketball program,” Haskins said. “She is an experienced guard who can handle and distribute the ball, and though she has the ability to score, she looks first to set up her teammates. Domonique is also a very good defender and will be counted on to make an immediate impact in our program.”

Along with Washington, McVicker announced her intentions of playing with the Braves next season.

The Chesterfield High School senior averaged 18.3 points, 5.6 assists, 4.9 steals and 4.0 rebounds per game at the guard position while leading her team to a regional championship.

McVicker was named all-state and all-region twice in her high school career.

“We are very excited that Victoria has decided to attend UNC Pembroke,” Haskins said. “She is an excellent athlete who is extremely versatile on the basketball court with the ability to play defense as well as several offensive positions. Victoria is an excellent person, student and player, and we feel that she is an outstanding addition to our program.”

McVicker and Washington will join the Lady Braves program that finished 14-14 overall with an 8-10 record in conference play.  The Lady Braves’ season ended with an 89-10 loss to Lander in the first round of the Peach Belt Conference tournament.

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Baseball, Softball Earn All-State Selections

The Black and Gold baseball and softball team earned a combined four selections to the North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association 2010 All-State College Division Baseball and Softball teams the association announced on June 11.

The baseball team’s Matt McGovern and Seth Kivett made appearances on the list for the men’s team while the softball team was honored with the selections of Jelena Shaw and Holly Berry.

McGovern, a senior right handed pitcher from Ottawa, Canada, finished his college career with the Black and Gold this season.

The righty finished his collegiate career with a 31-2 record, including an 18-2 mark at UNCP.

In 2010, McGovern made 15 appearances for the Braves, posting a 3.19 earned run average with a 9-2 record.

In all, McGovern hurled 93.0 innings for UNCP, allowing opposing hitters just a .264 batting average.  McGovern struck out 86 batters this season and picked up five Peach Belt Conference victories this season.

Joining McGovern on the all-state baseball team, senior first baseman Kivett ended the season with a stellar year at the plate and in the field.

Kivett posted a .357 batting average this year, racking up 76 hits, including eight home runs.  Kivett led the Black and Gold with 59 RBIs and picked up 24 extra-base hits this season.

During conference play, the Bear Creek, N.C., native hit .321 and had 31 RBIs.

Kivett registered just three errors this season at first base in 428 total chances.

Softball all-state
Along with the baseball team, the UNCP softball team had two selections to the all-state team.

Black and Gold Jelena Shaw posted a conference best .441 batting average during her senior campaign at UNCP, while knocking in 64 total hits.  The third baseman led the conference with 54 runs scored, 15 doubles and had a season-best .529 on-base percentage.

Shaw finished the season with 43 RBIs and 26 extra-base hits while posting a .968 fielding percentage at the hot corner.

Making her first selection to the all-state team, Peach Belt Conference Freshman of the Year Berry finished the season with a .434 batting average.  Berry picked up 62 hits this season, just two shy on Shaw’s total.

Berry compiled a .692 slugging percentage in 46 games this season, posting eight

home runs, 46 RBIs and 26 runs scored.

Berry also posted eight stolen bases for the Braves this season.

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Women’s, Men’s Golf Add Recruits

The men’s and women’s golf teams welcomed three members apiece to their respective squads June 7, as head coach David Synan announced the signing of six new players to the 2010-2011 teams.

The women’s golf team welcomed three new golfers, including two from the state of North Carolina.

The Lady Braves will welcome Dana Watkins from Clayton, N.C., Meghan Moore from Durham, N.C., and Kelly Sumner from Callao, Va., to the team next season.

Watkins was a four-year letter winner at Knightdale High School in Knightdale, N.C.

The high school senior took home team most valuable player honors from her squad this season, while performing both on and off the links.

“Dana has the potential to be a top-three player for us in the fall,” Synan said.  “With her natural athletic talents, she has limitless potential.  I’m very excited about Dana joining the UNCP Golf family.”

Watkins placed 10th at the 2009 4A North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s State Championships during her senior year and helped lead her team to a second place finish in the conference.  Watkins also earned academic all-conference honors during her junior and senior campaigns.

Watkins plans to major in biology at UNCP.

Joining Watkins, Moore joins the Lady Braves after a transfer from Division I East Carolina University.  Because Moore is switching between Division I and Division II, she will not have to sit out a season as NCAA transfer rules state.

Moore was the No. 1 ranked junior player in the state of North Carolina during the 2008-2009 season.

“Meghan will be joining us from ECU and I am really excited about what she can bring to the team,” Synan said.  “She has a tremendous work ethic and should be able to contribute from day one.”

Moore placed in the top-10 in many events last season, including a first place finish in the 2010 Carolina You Amateurs with a two day score of 152.

Closing out the Lady Braves’ 2010 recruiting class, Sumner comes to UNCP after player for Northumberland High School.

The senior medaled in every contest last season except for two and took home a second place finish at the 2009 High School District Tournament.

“I am pumped that Kelly is joining the Braves this fall,” Synan said.  “She comes from an athletic-minded family that loves golf.  Kelly will be a strong addition to the UNCP Golf family and has the skills to contribute this fall.”

Sumner’s father, Dean, was her high school coach and is also a Professional Golf Association Tour Professional.

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Braves Take Home Academic Award

The Black and Gold athletic department received one of the Peach Belt Conference’s top academic honors June 2, as the Braves were awarded the conference’s Presidents’ Academic Award.

The award was the first time UNCP was given the honor and was given out to UNCP at the league’s annual meeting in Hilton Head, S.C.

The award recognizes academic excellence throughout all UNCP athletics and their student-athletes.

“The Peach Belt Conference Presidents’ Academic Cup Award is a direct result of the emphasis that our UNCP coaches put on academic excellence,” athletic director Dan Kenney said.  “UNCP student athletes had a 2.82 GPA with five of the 16 UNCP teams posting over a 3.00 GPA.”

The conference asked for the league’s 13 members to submit an average grade point average for all of their undergraduate student body at UNCP this spring.  The conference then compared this GPA to the school’s student-athletes’ GPAs.

These two numbers were then used to create a ratio to identify the top academic performing schools in the conference.  UNCP had the highest ratio of regular students to student-athletes at 1.106 to win the award.

Overall 11 of the conference’s institutions had their student-athletes have a better GPA than the general student body.

The award is part of a larger conference program to highlight the accomplishments of PBC student athletes in the classroom as well as on the field.  This year marks the fifth year the award has been presented.

The conference also selects the top student-athletes in each sport for all-academic teams following each sport’s season.

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Braves Receive Preseason Recognition

The Black and Gold football team will begin their 2010 campaign with high recognition, as the UNCP program has been recognized by two preseason publications in their 2010 top-25 preseason rankings.

The Braves found a spot as the eighth ranked team in the nation in the Sporting News Preseason Division II Top-25 poll the publication announced June 2, as well as a spot as the 14th ranked team on the Lindy’s Preseason Division II Top-25 poll.

The eighth place ranking on the Sporting News’ preseason poll is the highest preseason ranking ever for the program.

Along with their top-10 ranking, the Sporting News also named UNCP defensive back Caylon Hann to their preseason All-America team.

Last season Hann started eight games for the Black and Gold while registering 39 total tackles.  The Homestead, Fla., native had three interceptions for 116 yards and defended 10 passes.  Hann also grabbed two fumbles and forced a fumble.

The preseason recognition is not a new thing for Hann, who was named a third-team All-American after the 2008 season by Don Hansen’s Football Gazette publication.  Hann is the program’s first and only All-American since the team started competing in 2007.

Northwest Missouri State took home the number one spot in both publications.  Other known names on both publications included Carson-Newman, who was ranked 11th overall by the Sporting News and Arkansas Tech, who eliminated the Braves from the 2009 NCAA Division II Championships, who checked in at No.23

The Sporting News is a sports based magazine covering seven main sports including Major League Baseball, the National Baseball Association, the National Football League and college football and basketball.  It was established in 1886 and is based out of Charlotte, N.C.

The Braves return 18 starters from last season’s 9-2 club that became the youngest program in the history of NCAA Division II football to advance to the playoffs. The team will also feature 27 seniors.

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Track and Field Finishes 2010 Season

The Black and Gold men’s and women’s track and field team ended their 2010 season on May 29, rounding out the season with their performances at the 2010 NCAA Division II Track and Field National Championships at Johnson C. Smith University.

The men’s team had four competitors at the event, with the Braves’ 4×100 meter relay team taking the stage and juniors Karlos Jordan and Maurice Eubanks competing individually in the 200 meter and 100 meter dashes.

The Black and Gold relay team of Jordan, Eubanks, junior Brand Eaddy and Tyrie Webb competed in the first day of competition in the 4×100 meter relay.  The Braves ran a time of 41.57 seconds to finish 11th out of 12 competitors.  Because the team failed to place in the top-8 of their run, the Braves’ team did not qualify for the finals.  St. Augustine took home the 4100 meter relay title with a time of 39.75 seconds.

After the relay team’s run, Eubanks then took the track in the 200 meter dash.  The Siler City, N.C., native came in 13th out of 20 competitors with a time of 10.60 seconds.  Like the relay team, Eubanks’ time did not qualify him for the final heat of the event.  Kimour Bruce of Lincoln College took home first place in the event with a time of 10.37 seconds.

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Black and Gold Hall of Famer Dies

Thomas Oxendine, a member of the first UNCP Athletic Hall of Fame induction class, died May 27 in Arlington, Va., after battling an extended illness.

Funeral services will be held Monday, May 31 at 2:30 p.m. at Pembroke Berea Baptist Church followed by burial at the Sandcut Cemetery.  Family visitation will be held at Locklear Funeral Home on Sunday, May 30, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Oxendine was a three sport start during his time at Pembroke State, competing in basketball, football and baseball before graduating in 1948

Oxendine was a part of the inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame class in February of 1980 and is also enshrined on the UNCP Wall of Honor.

Along with his time spent in athletics at UNCP, Oxendine was more famously known as the Nation’s first American Indian Naval pilot.  At the start of World War II, Oxendine enlisted in the U.S. Naval Air Corps in 1942 and completed the Navy Flight School, becoming the first of his race to achieve the feat.

During World War II, Oxendine was a part of 33 battles.  The Pembroke native’s most heroic came during July of 1944 when he landed his plane in the middle of Japanese gunfire to save a fellow airman.  Oxendine was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroism.

After World War II, Oxendine continued his time in the Navy for 29 years, taking part in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars during his time of service.

Oxendine was also listed as one of 28 “Famous Tar Heels” in the North Carolina: Social Studies for a Changing World textbook published by McGraw Hill in 1993.

Oxendine would be recognized for his outstanding achievements in 1967 when UNCP granted Oxendine their first “Distinguished Alumnus” award.

Oxendine is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Moody; two sons, Thomas and Robert; four brothers, Robert, Louis, Joe and Ray; two sisters Magnolia Lowery and Ruth Hurnevich; and four grandchildren, Somerly, Sarelle, Seneca and Raleigh.

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