By Jayson Patel
Hello, and welcome to another edition of The Beej Knows Best. Week 12 is coming, and there are a few notable player absences and presences that were completely unexpected at the beginning of this 2014 campaign.
Ray Rice is out indefinitely. Adrian Peterson has been banned for the rest of the season, at the least. Johnny Manziel hasn’t gotten a snap at quarterback. Meanwhile, Josh Gordon is about to play his first game, and apparently is stronger than ever. Up until his most recent injury, Ahmad Bradshaw was one of the most valuable players on the Colts, save for Andrew Luck. In a draft where Jadeveon Clowney was supposed to be the next big NFL superstar, third round selection Chris Borland has emerged as a force to be reckoned with out in San Francisco.
The point is, sometimes these things are a crapshoot. Teams come into each NFL season with a plan, and can be pleasantly surprised or furiously disappointed with their results. Stuff happens.
Why am I discussing this, you ask? Because I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that my 3-8 fantasy football team is just finished this season. Am I upset about Rashad Jennings, A.J. Green and Jimmy Graham’s constant flow of injuries? Am I frustrated that Matt Stafford has been as consistent as a hormonal teenager girl this season? Am I disappointed that I’ve lost games by 5.5, 3.6 and 5.8 points this season?
No. I’ve come to terms with things. My Jets have been horrible, and my fantasy team only slightly better. But, this is a sport of inches, and this year, I’ve come up short.
So what do I have left? What can I hang my hat on, the one shimmer of sunlight in a season of ominous clouds and torrential downpours? My picks, of course!
And, without any other distractions, I pledge that this will be my best week yet.
So if you have any leftover cash before Thanksgiving, when you will obviously restock, um I mean, spend quality time with family and friends, read the ink underneath and throw it on these recommendations.
Black Friday is around the corner. And whether it’s that new 60 inch TV, or the new winter coat, or the new iPhone, you’ve earned it.
And hey, if you have some leftover change, feel free to throw it my way. I accept cash, check, Venmo or Snapcash. Scratch that last one actually.
I mean, that can’t be safe, can it? It’s just cash, check or Venmo. Cheers.
(Home teams in CAPS)
Detroit Lions at New England Patriots (-6.5)
I think the league hasn’t fully adjusted to how good Tom Brady is this season.
I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s truly remarkable; 20 touchdowns and only three interceptions since everyone wrote him and the Patriots off after their pathetic Week Four loss against the Chiefs. Rob Gronkowski is easily the best tight end in the league, and is a top-five offensive weapon in the league as well. The defense is clicking on all cylinders. The Lions are at 7-3, but their offense has been sputtering without Calvin Johnson being Megatron. Six and a half points is generous, and quite frankly, unfair. — especially considering the game is in New England. One thing to note: New England has also won their last six games. Take the Patriots.
NEW ENGLAND 41 Detroit 17
St. Louis Rams at San Diego Chargers (-6.5)
The Rams shocked me and perhaps the rest of the NFL world when they decided to go with Shaun Hill at quarterback last week instead of riding the season out with Austin Davis to see if he could be a winner for them.
Short run, it turned out to be a good move, as they got the win against the Broncos. San Diego won a snoozefest against the Raiders last week, 13-6.
I am finding it very difficult to peg the Chargers this year. I didn’t think they could make the playoffs earlier on, and I really like the way Jeff Fisher has coached the Rams this season. That combination is enough to convince me to take the points.
St. Louis 24 SAN DIEGO 17
Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos (-7)
I know this might be difficult to hear, especially if you had placed your eggs in the Denver basket against St. Louis and New England over the past three weeks.
But the Broncos are going to be okay. The Dolphins have been playing fantastically the past few weeks. They are 4-1 over the past five weeks, and many pundits are penciling them in for one of the two wild card positions.
Ryan Tannehill has minimized his mistakes, and Joe Philbin has done a phenomenal job with this defense. They rank second in opponent passing yards and eighth in opponent rushing yards.
None of this matters anymore. Manning and Brady are fighting for home field advantage, because the AFC Championship will most certainly be a matchup of these two legends.
As confident as I am in Brady this week, I am equally confident in Manning. Peyton Manning, that is. Who knows what’s even going on inside Eli’s head?
DENVER 38 Miami 20
(Spread in BOLD)
Cleveland Browns at Atlanta Falcons (-3)
Tennessee Titans at Philadelphia Eagles (-11)
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (+10)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts (-13.5)
Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans (-1)
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (-4)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Chicago Bears (-5.5)
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks (-6.5)
Washington Redskins at San Francisco 49ers (-8)
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (+3)
Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints (-3)
— By Jayson Patel, Staff Writer
Megan Light (‘14C) takes a swing for the Eagles. On Thursday, Light won the NCAA Today’s Top 10 Award, in recognition of her success both on and off the field. Photo courtesy of Emory Athletics.
By Elana Cates
Asst. Sports Editor
On Thursday, the NCAA announced that former Emory All-American softball player Megan Light (‘14C) was selected for the NCAA Today’s Top 10 Award. The award “recognizes former student-athletes for their successes on the fields and courts, in the classroom and in the community,” according to the NCAA. The 10 recipients of the award will be honored at the Honors Celebration during the NCAA Convention in January.
Light maintained an impressive career during her years at Emory and has continued to receive honors since graduation. She was recently one of nine finalists for the 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
Sports Information Director John Farina not only nominated Light for the Woman of the Year, but also Today’s Top 10.
“I felt that the criteria for the Woman of the Year closely aligned with the criteria of the Top 10, so it seemed like a natural progression for her to get both,” Farina said.
During her time on Emory’s softball team, Light managed to receive three-time All-American honors, and was the first athlete in the history of the program to receive a pair of first-team honors. Light also claimed four-time All-University Athletic Association (UAA) First Team honors, and was named the conference’s Most Outstanding Player three times.
In 2014, she established the season record of 19 home runs and 65 RBIs. After the season, Light ended her career leaving a legacy of all-time top 10 in 12 offensive categories including first in home runs (47), hits (230), doubles (60), RBIs (224), total bases (435) and slugging percentage (.812) in the history of the program.
Light also shined in the classroom, being named the Capital One Division III Academic All-American of the Year in softball and receiving the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Award. In 2013, she received Second Team Academic All-America recognition and earned her spot on the Academic All-District Team three times.
At Emory, Light graduated with a 3.96 GPA, majoring in anthropology and human biology. She was a recipient of the 100 Senior Honorary, an award given to up to 100 seniors for being outstanding students and members of the community.
Off the field and outside of academia, Light demonstrated leadership through her extracurricular activities. She served as the softball team’s representative on Emory’s campus Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She volunteered at a homeless shelter and through Global Health Action, working with donors of the Left-Behind Children program in China. She volunteered at the Hohoe District Hospital in Ghana during the summer of 2013.
Light recently was awarded the Emory 2014 Brittain Award, which is Emory’s highest student honor, given to a graduate who exemplifies great service to both Emory and the larger community and world.
“Megan is great to work with and shines in athletics, academics and her involvement in her community. She is definitely a role model to other students,” Farina said.
— By Elana Cates, Asst. Sports Editor
Sophomore guard Shellie Kaniut dribbles the ball for the Eagles. Kaniut scored 16 points as Emory defeated Oglethorpe University (Ga.) 80-61 in the team’s home opener. Courtesy of Emory Athletics.
By Rupsha Basu
The women’s basketball team defeated Oglethorpe University (Ga.) in the season’s home opening game, triumphing with a box score of 80-61.
This marks the second game of the season, the first also a victory against LaGrange College (Ga.). The Eagles are now 2-0.
Junior Khadijah Sayyid clocked in her second career-best performance in a row, scoring 26 points against Oglethorpe. Her previous career-best was the day before with 24 points against LaGrange.
Sayyid also performed her second career double-double within the first 20 minutes of the game.
Teammate and junior Ilene Tsao said Sayyid’s performance uplifted the spirit of the rest of the team.
“[She] motivated the rest of the team,” Tsao said.
Sophomore Shellie Kaniut also scored in the double digits, her second time this season, with 16 points, including two three-pointers.
Sophomores Fran Sweeney and Shelby Zucker and freshman Dumebi Egbuna scored seven points each.
The Eagles shot 44.3 percent from the floor, compared to 31 percent for Oglethorpe, in addition to out-rebounding them 44-34.
“It was a game we more or less controlled,” Head Coach Christy Thomaskutty said.
Despite the team being relatively young, Tsao said the team overall played well for it being the second game of the season.
“Oglethorpe is our cross-town rival,” Tsao said.
The team lost seven members after seniors graduated last May, according to Tsao.
Thomaskutty added that some members of the team recently recovered from injury, and the team, overall, will improve with more experience.
“Our freshmen are growing up quickly,” she said.
She added that the team is growing together and learning to jell with each other.
“I like where we’re at right now,” Thomaskutty said. “We’re striving for consistency.”
Thomaskutty added that as of right now, it is too early in the season to make predictions about the rest of the season or start thinking about the championship season.
“Right now we’re focusing on the next game,” she said.
Tsao echoed these sentiments.
“I think it’s definitely going to be game by game,” Tsao said. “Each game is going to get us more prepared.”
— By Rupsha Basu, News Editor
Since Emory cable doesn’t have NBA League Pass, and ESPN and TNT tend to show the same eight to 10 teams on their nationally televised games, there are teams that go unwatched.
All of these teams will play on national television during the season occasionally and you will not regret checking them out.
5. Sacramento Kings
Nathan Janick: The Kings made this list for one reason: BOOGIE! DeMarcus Cousins, also known as Boogie, is one of the most polarizing players in the league. His talent is undeniable. He is 6’11”, can handle the ball and is a monster on the boards. However, his personality raises questions. I got to see him play in person last year when the Kings played the Hawks, and I have never seen a player give more death glares to the refs, coaches and teammates.
Jacob Durst: Boogie is finally playing like we all knew he could. Check out this stat line he put up earlier this year versus the Nuggets: 30 points, 11 rebounds and six fouls in 22 minutes. If that’s not a Boogie stat line, I don’t know what is. What other reason do you need to watch the Kings play other than the possibility of seeing Boogie put up that kind of stat line on any given night?
4. New Orleans Pelicans
JD: For the same reason that you should watch the Kings for Boogie, you should watch the Pelicans for Anthony Davis. The Brow does things that are just getting ridiculous at this point. He actually blocked two shots in two seconds a couple of games ago. He does things like that while averaging 25 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks a game. He keeps getting harder and harder to believe.
NJ: Durst, I think I might be hearing something? What is that? Is that faint MVP chants in the distance? They keep on getting louder. Davis’ MVP chances are similar to the chances that his alma mater, the University of Kentucky, goes 40-0 this year – unlikely, but not impossible. I am predicting that Davis will finish in the top five in the MVP voting, the top three if the Pelicans make the playoffs.
3. Washington Wizards
NJ: What do Washington sports fans have to be excited about? They are a half game out of second place in the Eastern Conference and their second best player, Bradley Beal, just played his first game of the year. He looked great coming back from his broken wrist, scoring 21 points in only 26 minutes. Durst, this team is really good. If Chicago and Cleveland don’t live up to the hype, I think they are going to the finals. (Note: Janick liked the team in his and Durst’s NBA Preview.)
JD: What do Washington sports fans have to be excited about right now? The answer is the fourth seed in the East and a future playoff date with Atlanta, which they’ll lose. On the bright side, next year, they’ll still be the fourth seed. This team is a lot better than they were last year, but they’re not better than Chicago, Cleveland or Toronto. They’ve gotten off to a hot start, so maybe they’ll prove me wrong, but right now, they are a very entertaining team to watch and to at least keep an eye on as the season progresses.
2. Memphis Grizzlies
JD: Memphis has already proven that we ranked them too low. They look great right now, especially after their blowout win over the Houston Rockets on Monday. They play the best fundamental basketball in the league besides the Spurs. It’s about time that they make a scene.
NJ: We screwed up and switched Memphis (12) and Portland (7) in our NBA preview. This is a team that is one shooter away from making a run at the title this year. You can’t win a title with your two best shooters being Courtney Lee and 37-year-old Vince Carter. This is a team that nobody in the Western Conference will want to play in the playoffs.
1. Toronto Raptors
NJ: This team is really fun to watch. Kyle Lowry is emerging as a legitimate star in this league, and it’s a shame that nobody is watching. They also have the high-flying wings of DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross who have had countless highlight dunks in their careers. Durst, we have gotten into multiple arguments about which team is better, Toronto or Washington, but both teams have unique talents at point guard with Lowry and John Wall and upcoming stars on the wing with Ross, DeRozan and Beal. The Eastern Conference has turned out to be much more entertaining than we expected.
JD: Kyle Lowry should have been an all-star last year. He is a good defender and his offensive skill set needs no introduction. He could legitimately make a run as the best point guard in the East this year. His only real competition is John Wall, if you factor in injury reports (Derrick Rose). DeMar DeRozan has proven that he is a top-10 shooting guard in the league, and arguably in the top five. Jonas Valanciunas is only going to get better. Plus, there’s always the threat of Terrence Ross going for 51 points in a game again. The Raptors are going to continue to be good.
— By Jacob Durst, Staff Writer, and Nathan Janick, Staff Writer
Senior forward Alex Foster drives to the hoop. Foster scored a career-high 38 points in the Eagles’ season-opening win on Tuesday night against Oglethorpe University (Ga.). This is the third highest single-game point total in Emory men’s basketball history. Courtesy of Emory Athletics.
By Zak Hudak
The men’s basketball team began their regular season with a 104-77 home win over the Oglethorpe University (Ga.) Stormy Petrels on Tuesday.
“They’re a good team and we came out prepared,” senior point guard Mike Florin said. “They beat us last year, so it was good to come back and get them this year.”
Emory outshot the Stormy Petrels from the field goal 52.6 percent to 39.0 percent, out rebounded them 51 to 33 and nearly tripled their assists, 23 to eight. Senior forward Alex Foster led the Eagles with a single game career-high 38 points, placing him third in the program’s history. Junior forward Will Trawick also put up 18 points, while Florin and senior guard Josh Schattie added 11 and 10 points, respectively. Over 30 minutes of play, Florin notched nine assists and suffered only one turnover.
“The way they were guarding him, [Foster] got some open looks,” Head Coach Jason Zimmerman said. “He can really score. It’s natural to him.”
Foster attributed his success to the opposing defense’s need to focus on the wings, where junior Davis Rao and Trawick, two strong shooters, play.
“I was getting open on the lane in one-on-one situations where I could score pretty easily,” Foster said.
By the time Oglethorpe had caught on, Foster was hot enough to score from anywhere.
“Whenever you start making layups, it feels really comfortable and I was able to knock down some threes in the second half,” he said.
Defensively, the Emory coaches’ scouting reports paid off.
“We had guarded all their stuff and knew all the players’ individual tendencies,” Foster said.
Meanwhile, Oglethorpe was disadvantaged by its inability to play their starting center, senior Jordan Kinney, who was out with an ankle injury.
“We lost the game on the defensive end of the court,” Oglethorpe Head Coach Philip Ponder said, according to the Oglethorpe Stormy Petrel Athletics website. “Not having Jordan was a major factor, as we couldn’t stop Foster from scoring.”
Since last season, the Eagles graduated three of their greatest contributors: forward Jake Davis, the winningest Emory men’s basketball player of all time, and guards Stephen Simmons and McPherson Moore.
“They set, along with the guys before them, a bar for our program that has been constantly rising, and we want to continue to raise the bar and find a way to get to the [National] Tournament and win games in it,” Zimmerman said.
Still, Foster believes that the team, as a whole, will fill their void.
“Last year, when teams would scout us, it was Jake Davis and McPherson [Moore],” he said. ”None of us feel a crazy amount of pressure to put up a crazy amount of points. When someone’s feeling good, we know to give them the ball.”
Indeed, Zimmerman was more impressed by Foster’s 16 rebounds than by his 38 points.
“Those kinds of things are going to help our team,” he said. “Alex took what was given to him. It wasn’t forced.”
For Foster, the game proved that more than one Eagle has the ability to carry the team.
“Oglethorpe showed that we have multiple guys who could go off on 25 points on a given night and that can be really hard to guard,” he said. “It’s hard to prepare against us.”
The Eagles are a team of diverse talents that come in hand in various situations.
“Today, [Foster] may have 38, tomorrow he may have 12 and somebody else may have 20,” Zimmerman said.
This season, the Eagles had the luxury of going into opening day with game experience under their belts. In the summer, they traveled to Germany, adding 10 days of practice and four games to their preseason and on Nov. 8, they took on the Division I College of Charleston (S.C.) in an exhibition game.
“Preseason practices have been very competitive,” Zimmerman said. “Guys have really been competing. The Charleston game helps because you’re on the field against a team that’s bigger, stronger and more athletic, but the days of practice were the biggest thing that prepared us.”
Zimmerman and Foster agreed that the University Athletic Association (UAA) is one of the most difficult conferences in Division III basketball, but said that non-conference play is extremely important as well.
If the Eagles do not win the UAA Championship, for instance, they will need an at-large bid, in which the selection committee compares their conference against others, to reach the NCAA Tournament.
“Every game for us is a statement game, and we want to make a statement that we’re going to try to be the best team in our region,” Foster said.
Despite the excitement of conference play, which begins in mid January, the team is taking the season game-by-game.
“[We] haven’t even started thinking about conference play yet,” Zimmerman said. “We’re excited about our conference because we know it’s a great league, but every game we play is a big game in the South Region.”
The Eagles will take on Guilford College (N.C.) this Saturday at 4 p.m. in the WoodPEC.
— By Zak Hudak, Sports Editor
Freshman Anna Gurney dribbles the ball down field. Gurney and the Eagles fell to Kenyon College (Ohio) 1-0 on Saturday, Nov. 15. Their season ended after this loss, leaving them with an overall record of 11-2-6. Courtesy of Emory Athletics.
By Jenny Nutovits
The Emory women’s soccer 2014 campaign came to a close on Saturday with a loss against the Ladies of Kenyon College (Ohio) in the first round of the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Championships.
The win boosted the Ladies’ record to 13-7-1 and put them into the second round of the tournament, of which they were knocked out on Sunday.
Although the Eagles maintained most of the possession throughout the first half of the game, dominating the Ladies with shots on goal at 11-2, Kenyon was able to take the lead. Kenyon senior forward Becca Romaine took a shot on goal outside that flew just above junior keeper Liz Arnold’s hands, upping her goals on the season to 17.
The second half presented the Eagles with a couple of opportunities to score.
The Eagles were able to outshoot the Ladies 12-1, with a 7-0 shots on goal advantage.
In the 56th minute, two corner kicks set senior center midfielder Jennifer Grant up with shots on goal. However, the first shot went off the post, and the second shot flew wide of the net.
Grant was understanding of the unpredictable nature of the game.
“Even though the final game didn’t turn out how we wanted, probably how we deserved for it to turn out, sadly that is soccer,” she said.
Senior forward Emily Feldman was able to take a low shot on goal during the 82nd minute, but Kenyon’s junior goalkeeper, Alissa Poolpol, was able to make a diving save and maintain Kenyon’s 1-0 lead.
This was the last game Grant and the other seven seniors on the team would officially play as Eagles.
“I am so proud of our team and how we have grown and developed through the season — it was a really memorable year, especially for me since it was my last one,” Grant said. “All the girls younger than me will make me proud going forward.”
The No. 21-ranked Eagles finished their season with an impressive 11-2-6 record.
“It was a disappointing end to a great season,” Arnold said. “[But I’m] so lucky to have been able to play with eight amazing [current] seniors for three years.”
— By Jenny Nutovits, Staff Writer
Because On Fire did not appear in the Wheel for some time, your On Fire correspondent demanded in the Wheel’s last issue that his editor clarify “Don’t call it a comeback.” in the column’s tag line.
Your On Fire correspondent has since been filled with great regret. Naturally, your On Fire corespondent’s loyal readers would be inclined to call it a comeback, and why wouldn’t they? Your On Fire correspondent did not fulfill his or her obligation to his or her readers. He or she did not explain why he or she is not making a comeback.
To understand your On Fire correspondent’s reasoning behind not wanting to hear the word “comeback,” we must briefly look to Michael Jordan.
Remember in “Space Jam,” when M.J. tried playing baseball? (Spoiler alert for those of you who don’t know your sports trivia, but he did this in real life).
To put it bluntly, Jordan sucked at baseball. His friends knew it. His kids knew it. Just about everybody but M.J. himself knew he sucked.
So how does this fictional Jordan come to the realization that maybe he should quit the sport he keeps failing in and go back to the one at which he is, uhm, the best of all-time?
Bugs freaking Bunny and the rest of the Looney Toons bring him to their looney, cartoon world to help them defeat a bunch of alien cartoons, who want to enslave them (because children’s movies should apparently take issues like slavery lightly), in a game of basketball. And it is through dunking on the “MonSTARS” that M.J. realizes he should make a NBA comeback.
Don’t get your On Fire correspondent wrong, “Space Jam” is a great movie. But your On Fire correspondent is not returning to his or her column because he sucked at the (undisclosed) other professions at which he was trying his hand. Nor did a bunch of children’s cartoons need to abduct your On Fire correspondent to get him to realize he was born for On Fire.
Rather, your On Fire correspondent simply could not write. While AWOL, he or she sat at a typewriter every night and imagined enlightening his or her loyal readers.
So, acknowledge that your On Fire correspondent discovered by himself or herself that he or she was made for this. And then go ahead and call it a comeback already.
The Eagles defeated the LaGrange College (Ga.) Panthers 65-39 in their first game of the official season last Saturday. Courtesy of Emory Athletics.
By Michael Scheck
The women’s basketball team started their official season off on a positive note last Saturday, defeating LaGrange College (Ga.) with a handsome score of 65-39. The Eagles are now 1-0 on the season, and improved their all-time season opener record to 18-9.
Although the Eagles ultimately overpowered LaGrange, the game started off very close. Throughout the first 10 minutes of the contest, LaGrange took advantage of turnovers and converted on their opportunities.
“LaGrange played very hard throughout the entire match,” Head Coach Christy Thomaskutty said. “They are a scrappy team and they never gave up. As for us, we need to cut off turnovers and shoot better at the free throw line. We were lucky to win the way we did.”
Around the 10 minute mark in the first half, the Eagles began to gain control. It started with back-to-back three-pointers by sophomore guard Shellie Kaniut and junior guard Khadijah Sayyid.
However, LaGrange kept the game close, converting Eagle turnovers into made baskets. Still, by the end of the first half, the Eagles were leading by a score of 27-23.
The Eagles came out off the bench focused in the second half, as the team cut back on turnovers and played with a much faster pace. With much better defense and a more efficient offense, the Eagles outscored LaGrange by a whopping 22 points in the second half.
Kaniut and Sayyid were difference makers throughout the entire match. Thomaskutty was very impressed with both of their performances, she said.
“Shellie [Kaniut] and KJ [Khadijah] stepped up in this match,” Thomaskutty said. “Both played with tremendous pace. KJ, when she was on the floor, led the team. She got hot after halftime, and the entire team played much better in the second half.”
By the end of the game Kaniut finished with 23 points, going 8-11 from the field. Meanwhile, Khadijah scored 24 points, going for 9-13 from the field.
“I think the game really showed our potential as a running and pressing team,” Kaniut said. “We have a lot of youth this year but we are working to use that to our advantage by relentlessly attacking on both ends of the court.”
The running and pressing style worked out for the Eagles, as the team finished the game with 14 steals, forcing 26 turnovers.
Junior guard Ilene Tsao was equally impressed with the team’s execution.
“It was definitely a great way to start the season,” Tsao said. “We are excited to use the win as motivation for our next practices and to propel us into our future games.”
While Tsao did not score over 20 points, she did record eight rebounds and six assists, while playing a solid 35 minutes.
The Eagles look to continue their strong start this Wednesday, Nov. 19, when they take on Oglethorpe University (Ga.) at the Woodruff Physical Education Center.
— By Michael Scheck, Staff Writer
Both the men’s and women’s teams are now heading to the NCAA Finals next Saturday, Nov. 22. Courtesy of Emory Athletics.
The Emory men’s and women’s cross country teams left the NCAA Division III South/Southeast Regional Championships happy on Saturday, picking up a pair of wins and automatic bids to the National Tournament next Saturday. The meet was hosted by Berry College in Rome, Ga., which is only about 75 miles away from Emory’s campus. The proximity of the event was a huge advantage for the Eagles, according to Head Coach Jon Curtin.
“It was almost like a home meet for us,” he said. “The fact that it was at Berry College in Rome; it wasn’t that far away, and we had close to 200 alumni, friends, family and fans out there to support us.”
The Eagles had experience on the course — some having run it twice already this year.
“[The Eagles had] knowledge of the course,” Curtin said. “The familiarity helped.”
The men’s team came into the meet ranked first in the region and seeking their first regional championship since 2009.
The team was able to edge out a win by three points against Bridgewater College (Va.), finishing on top of the 28-team field with 62 points. Sophomore Grant Murphy was the fastest on the day, finishing the 8k course at 25:41, the sixth fastest overall time. Murphy was shortly joined by teammates junior Lukas Mees, seniors Alex Fleischhacker and Tyler Cooke and freshman Jordan Flowers, with times of 25:48, 25:50, 25:52 and 26:24 respectively. All five of the team’s top scores earned all-South/Southwest honors, as did sophomore Austin Hunt, who ran a 26:31.
The proximity of these times displayed the Eagles’ running unity.
“They are a very tight team,” Curtin said. “They are all very comparable in abilities, and they run together as a group, push each other as a group. It really paid off for us Saturday.”
The Eagles’ similar talent levels allow for them to pick up the slack when their teammates struggle.
“Grant Murphy was a big surprise,” Curtin said. “He is the fourth different guy who’s been our top runner this year. With this team, there’s always another guy who can step up.”
Another huge performance came from Flowers. His fifth place finish came after dealing with a case of the norovirus that has been present on Emory’s campus recently.
His effort impressed both his coach and teammate Lukas Mees.
“[He] still managed to hold it together and garner some all-region honors, not to mention make up the valuable points that helped us to the three point victory over Bridgewater on Saturday,” Mees said.
Flowers’ performance was imperative to Emory’s win.
“[I] give him a lot of credit,” Curtin said. “It came down to him and was a very close score. Had he not run as well as he did we may not have won.”
The women’s team won their 18th championship in the last 24 seasons in dominant fashion, finishing with 62 points, which was good enough for a 63 point margin over second place. Senior Tamara Surtees placed fourth in the field with a 6k time of 22:14.
Four more Eagles finished in the top 20, as freshman Halle Markel ran a 23:01 and seniors Marissa Gogniat a 22:40, Stephanie Crane a 23:09 and Elise Viox a 23:10. All five earned all-Region honors, as did sophomore Sophie Cemaj, who posted a time of 23:23.
The win was hugely gratifying for the Surtees, as the team’s last regional win came in her freshman season.
“[A Regional Championship] was a big goal going into season, and it is really nice to finally win it,” she said. “We placed second the past two years, [so to win is] definitely exciting for a lot of us.”
Like the men, the women “ran in a pack,” according to Surtees.
“Our split between our top five runners was under a minute, which is always one of our goals.” Curtin said. “We were very happy with that.”
Both teams are now eagerly looking forward to the Division III National Championships, a contest that could be the perfect ending to what has been an unforgettable season, Mees said.
“I’ve never had as much confidence in my teammates as I have right now,” he said. “I know that every guy will step up, and we’ll have an impressive finish. It’s been an absolute pleasure running with the guys this year.”
Surtees is both excited and optimistic to compete against high-level competition. According to her, the Eagles, who took last and 32nd place last year, are aiming at a top-20 finish.
“[Nationals are] definitely not like any other race we run. They have the biggest and best competition,” she said. “It’s a reasonable goal. I think we can do it.”
Both teams will conclude their seasons this upcoming Saturday, Nov. 22, at the NCAA Division III Championships in Mason, Ohio.
— By Oliver Rockman, Staff Writer
Senior Leah Jacobs goes for a kill during the NCAA Regional Championships. The team won all three games, advancing them to the Final Four. The are set to compete against Williams College (Mass.) on Friday. Courtesy of Emory Athletics.
By Elana Cates
Asst. Sports Editor
This past weekend, the fifth-ranked women’s volleyball team came out victorious in the NCAA Elite Eight of the NCAA Division III Tournament. After an eventful weekend, the squad will advance to the NCAA Final Four.
Friday started off with the first round of the tournament against Webster College (Mo.).
The game resulted in an easy 3-0 win (25-19, 25-16, 25-22) for the Eagles. Middle hitters senior Cat McGrath and sophomore Jessica Holler led the offense, recording 14 and 10 kills, respectively. Junior setter Sydney Miles helped the offense with 39 assists, and senior libero Kate Bowman locked the defense with 16 digs.
The second match, the next day, put Emory against Thomas More College (Ky.).
In another 3-0 sweep, the Eagles defeated the Saints 25-23, 25-21, 26-24.
The offense was fronted by senior outside hitter Leah Jacobs’ 12 kills and Holler’s 11. Miles once again led in assists with 33, while Bowman was again the defensive leader with 21 digs.
Emory was then in the position to play the next day for the St. Louis Regional title. Playing three days in a row didn’t affect the team, however.
“Luckily for our team, everyone on the court has been through a Regional Championship and to the Final Four, so we know what it’s like to play three days back-to-back and how the schedule of regionals goes,” sophomore right side hitter Sarah Maher said. “That experience might even have been one of our advantages this weekend: the sense of confidence in knowing that we’ve done this before.”
The match for the title, against host Washington University was a back-and-forth, exciting game that ended with a 3-2 victory (25-23, 19-25, 25-18, 25-27, 15-12). Jacobs’ 19 kills, Miles’ 52 assists and Bowman’s 23 digs led the game. Bowman’s recorded the 12th time this season she made more than 20 digs, allowing her to move into the second spot on Emory’s record with 649 digs in one season.
Jacobs, McGrath and Maher each earned an honored spot on the St. Louis Regional All-Tournament Team, and Maher returned home with the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award.
“We are prepared going into the rest of NCAAs,” Miles said. “Our goal is to win a National Championship, and the way we can do that is to go into each match with the confidence that we’ve worked all year for this, and to just continue to improve our overall game in each set we play.”
The quarterfinals will take place this Friday, Nov. 21, in Newport News, Va. against 28-4 Williams College (Mass.).
— By Elana Cates, Asst. Sports Editor
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