Whether the Eagles were hitting tennis balls or
baseballs this spring, the sports season was a winner.
In fact, Athletics Director Tom Hickman said the Eagles
garnered the most championships everóa total of fiveóin an academic
year. He attributes the success to several reasons: improved
facilities to help in recruiting, an increase in scholarships, an
improved strength and conditioning program, and excellent recruiting
and player development by coaches.
Hickman oversees a relatively young program,
which formally started in 1969 with womenís basketball. Other sports
have been added over the years, with the most recent being womenís
soccer. The school joined the Big South Conference before the 1985-86
During the spring, the menís and womenís tennis
teams not only won the Big South Conference regular season titles, but
outfielder Janiva Willis, who has been the most dominant
hitter in the history of Winthrop softball, was placed on
the first team All-Big South for the fourth straight season
and was selected as the Big South Conference Scholar Athlete
of the Year.
tournament championships to
receive automatic bids to their respective NCAA tournaments.
In addition, the softball team won
its first regular season title since 1991, only to fall in the
conference finals, finishing 39-22-1. But the baseball team
claimed its first Big South tournament title since 1999 by beating
perennial power Coastal Carolina. The team finished the season
with a 44-21 record.
On the tennis court, the
Lady Eagles won all seven of their conference matches. They
finished with an overall 21-4 record behind the play of seniors
Jenny Andrade, Renata Caceres, Ana Simanca and Danielle Moita. The
Intercollegiate Tennis Association ranked the Lady Eagles 69th
in the nation and 11th in the Southeast Region in front
of North Carolina State.
The menís team, led by No. 1 singles player
Clayton Almeida, were 20-5 and also 7-0 in conference play, ending
the year in the 13th spot in the ITAís Mideast Region.
Almeida finished his career with an unprecedented fourth
consecutive Big South Conference Player of the Year award and was
rated the 28th best player of the Mideast Region by ITA.
Meanwhile, freshman sprinter Kandrick Cooper
won the 110 meter hurdles at the Big South Conference Outdoor
Track & Field Championships with a time of 14.80. And the womenís
4 X 100 meter relay team of Sabrina Brookins, Tomeika Banks, Tabbi
Prioleau and Nicole Tucker also qualified for the regional by
placing first with a 47.07 time.
Also this sports year, the volleyball and menís basketball teams
won their sportsí championships and qualified for NCAA tournament
seniors helped lead the baseball team to its first Big South
Tournament title since 1999. They are, from left, Jason
Terry, Jon Wilson, Mark Schmidt, and Kyle Roberson.
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