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COLLEGE NOTEBOOK
Ferrum’s USA South President’s Cup finish is college’s best

Friday, May 3, 2013

By STEVEN MARSH - Sports Editor

lege's intercollegiate athletic program finished in a tie for third in the USA South Athletic Conference's President's Cup competition, its best finish in this competition since the Panthers joined the league as a full-time sports member during the 1988-89 academic year.

The President's Cup is presented to by the conference to its top overall athletic program. Christopher Newport University (CNU), this year's winner, has dominated the competition for year, but the school is leaving the USA South for all league-sponsored sports except football for the Capital Athletic Conference beginning with the 2013-14 academic year.

In the President's Cup competition, points are awarded on a pro-rated basis -- based on the number of teams that compete in a given sport -- for regular-season finish in USA South sanctioned sports.

Ferrum's best finishes in the President's Cup competition prior to this year were "a couple of fourth-place showings in the mid 1990s,' said Gary Holden, the college's sports information director, in an email this week.

Ferrum and Maryville (Tenn.) College each totaled 68.5 points to finish half-a-point ahead of North Carolina Wesleyan College and Piedmont (Ga.) College, both with 68 points.

Ferrum's women's sports teams accounted for 43 points and its men's sports squads scored 25.

Ferrum was awarded first-place points in softball (11.5), women's basketball (11) and football (7) -- the Panthers shared regular-season championships in these sports -- and second-place points in women's lacrosse (8) and men's basketball (7).

Here's the rest of the points breakdown: women's soccer (6.5), men's soccer (4), volleyball (2), baseball (1), men's tennis (4), women's tennis (4) and men's golf (2). Ferrum did not field complete teams in men's and women's cross country and garnered no points in those sports.

CNU scored 123.5 points, followed by Methodist (N.C.) College in second with 81.

Ferrum's showing comes during a year in which the USA South added new full-time members Maryville, Piedmont, LaGrange (Ga.) College.

In August, Huntingdon (Ala.) College and Covenant (Ga.) College join the league as full-time members and William Peace (N.C.) University will begin competition in three men's sports: cross country, men's basketball and golf.

William Peace will be eligible to compete for championships in men's soccer and baseball in 2014-15, USA South Assistant Commissioner Mike Christie said recently.

Also, this in the first year of operation of the Hank Norton Center, Ferrum's new athletic complex, which was proposed in 2005 with construction beginning in 2010. At time of its opening in May of 2012, Director of Athletics Abe Naff said the building with all of its state-of-the-art amenities, would make the Panthers' sports program more competitive.

Another phase of the college's athletic facilities facelift will debut with the upcoming football season as a new press box is under construction at W.B. Adams Field. The project is expectedf to be conpleted for the Panthers' 2013 home opener against Shenandoah University, set for Saturday, Sept. 14.

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Ferrum, 34-12, will learn on Monday morning if the Panthers will receive an at-large berth in the NCAA Division III softball tournament.

Ferrum, which shared the USA South's regular-season title with Piedmont and finished as the runner-up to CNU in the conference tournament, broke into the national rankings this year, but in two Atlantic Region polls released on April 18 and April 25, Ferrum was not ranked.

In the last poll released, Salisbury (Md.), University, Emory (Ga.) University, Lynchburg College, Virginia Wesleyan College, Christopher Newport, Roanoke College, Piedmont and Randolph-Macon College comprised the top eight.

CNU and Virginia Wesleyan have claimed automatic berths as champions of the USA South and Old Dominion Athletic Conference.

Piedmont has a 27-7 in region record. Three of those seven setbacks are to Ferrum.

Whether Roanoke receives an at-large berth remains to be seen. The Maroons are a season removed from an appearance in he Division III Softball World Series.

What is known is that Roanoke is the host school for the Atlantic Regionals, which will be played May 9 through 13 at the James I. Moyer Sports Complex in Salem.

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Ferrum seniors Rachel Shumaker, who seeks to become the Panthers' first four-time All-Region player in softball, and Chris Miller, the Panthers' No. 1 singles player in men's tennis each of the past four years, are the college's nominees for the Don Scalf award, which is given annually by the USA South.

Also, Shumaker is being nominated b Ferrum for the 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year award.

The award winners will be named in June.

Former Panthers baseball standout Paul Jaglowski won the Scalf award last year and former softball standout Kim Cox (2006) and men's tennis stalwart Wilson Paine (2007) are past recipients.

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Next year, the USA South will go to division play in three sports: volleyball and men's and women's basketball.

In the two women's sports, Ferrum will be grouped with Mary Baldwin College. Averett University, Greensboro (N.C.) College, Methodist, N.C. Wesleyan. William Peace and Meredith (N.C.) College will be in one division, while Maryville, Piedmont, LaGrange, Covenant and Huntingdon wil be in the other divvision.

In men's basketball, Ferrum, Averett, Greensboro, Methodist, N.C. Wesleryan and William Peace are together and Maryville, Piedmont, LaGrange, Covenant and Huntingdon are together.

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The USA South will induct its fourth Hall of Fame class Sunday at Greensboro.

The five-member Class of 2013 is comprised of two student-athletes, one coach and two administrators.

Greg Clark of N.C. Wesleyan and Rebecca Morton Jarman of Methodist are the student-athletes; Robert Linville of Greensboro is the coach; and William Ariail of Greensboro and Bev Vaughn of Christopher Newport are the administrators.

The Hall of Fame, christened in 2010, will have 25 members after Sunday's ceremony.

Naff and former major league baseball players Eric Owens and Billy Wagner represent Ferrum in the Hall of Fame.

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For the 2013 season, the USA South will use an unbalanced schedule in football. In the alignment, Ferrum will not play Methodist.

The Monarchs will have a new head coach.

C.J. Goss, who has been at Methodist since 2005, takes over for Dave Eavenson, who served as head coach for two seasons.

Eavenson stepped down in March and was named Methodist's new Assistant Director of Athletics.

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Piedmont, which did not make its conference debut in men's basketball this season after canceling its season after an 0-7 start for a myriad of reasons, has a new head coach.

Greg Neeley was named head coach in March.

Neeley served as an assistant coach for the Lions from 2007 to 2010.

Last year, Neeley was the head coach at Warren Wilson (N.C.) College and he guided the school to the program's best single-season record, which featured a 12-game winning streak.

The Owls won the national championship of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) last season.

 
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