Summer 2022 Updates
Alumni Update: Murphy Finishes in Top 50 at Georgia Open
Fellowship Christian School graduate Tripp Murphy finished tied for 43rd at the PGA's 2022 Georgia Open.
Murphy made the cut after 36 holes and finished with a four-round total of 300 at the Georgia Open, which was held Aug. 4-7 at Jennings Mill Country Club in Watkinsville.
Jennings Mill is a par-72, 6,982-yard course.
A total of 65 golfers made the cut and competed in the final 36 holes of the 72-hole tournament.
The field included another 79 golfers who competed over the first two rounds.
Murphy, who heads into his senior season at Oglethorpe University this fall, carded a 77 on the opening day, and 75s on days two and three. On Aug. 7, Murphy carded a one-over 73, his best round of the tourney.
This spring Murphy capped off a stellar junior golf season at Oglethorpe University with some good recognition. The 2018 graduate of FCS was selected for the Golf Coaches Association of America 2022 NCAA Division III PING All-Region team for region four.
(Photos courtesy of Tripp Murphy)
Alumni Update: Murphy Places Third in Qualifier, Advances to Georgia Open
Fellowship Christian School graduate Tripp Murphy has advanced to the PGA's 2022 Georgia Open.
On July 28, Murphy carded a 2-under 70 to place third among 78 golfers at the qualifier hosted by the 7,115-yard Chattahoochee Golf Club in Gainesville to advance to the Georgia Open, being held Aug. 4-7 at Jennings Mill Country Club in Watkinsville. Jennings Mill is a par-72, 6,982-yard course.
The top 27 golfers at the July 28th event qualified for the Georgia Open.
The two top performers at Chattahoochee carded minus-four 68s (D. Sullivan of Atlanta and B. Palmer-A of Dawsonville. Murphy is also classified as an amateur.
This spring Murphy capped off a stellar junior golf season at Oglethorpe University with some good recognition. The 2018 graduate of FCS was selected for the Golf Coaches Association of America 2022 NCAA Division III PING All-Region team for region four.
(Photo courtesy of Oglethorpe University)
Alumni Update: McClung Saw JV Action at Wheaton College as Freshman
Caleb McClung saw his first college football action that past fall in a pair of JV contests as a freshman linebacker for the Wheaton College football team.
The freshman linebacker (No. 14) completed his first collegiate football season for Wheaton, located in the Illinois city of the same name in the fall of 2022.
"Football wise, it was a big change," McClung said. "I'd played football at Fellowship since the fourth grade. So, I had new teammates and coaches. It was a change, and the players are a lot bigger in college. But my teammates were great, and I made a lot of friends. I even picked up ice skating on the ponds in the winter."
Lawson Haigler, a fellow 2021 FCS graduate, was McClung's teammate on the Thunder roster. Wheaton College is a NCAA Division III program.
Haigler (No. 38) and McClung are among a group of five members of the 2020 FCS varsity football team who completed their first college football season this past fall. The list includes a pair of Division I athletes – Charlie Patterson (University of Virginia) and Nathan Nardone (Wofford University in South Carolina) – and Eli Hildebrandt at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Va.
"It was a blessing to have Lawson as a teammate," McClung said. "It was great to have someone to go through the summer workouts with here and hold each other accountable. It was nice to have someone you knew there when we started school. We also wanted to branch out and make other friends too, but it was nice to see someone you knew [in Illinois]."
McClung spent last season on the varsity scout team as a linebacker and played in two JV games for the Thunder.
"My goal next year is to contribute on special teams and travel with the team," he said. "It was nice to have experience in the JV games."
The Thunder lost in the second round of the playoffs, 30-28, at Central College in Pella, Iowa on Nov. 27. The Thunder finished the season 10-2, including an 8-1 record in College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin contests.
McClung, who is studying business economics, developed his time management skills as he stepped onto the campus to adjust to the academic life of college.
"School definitely required more effort at Wheaton," McClung said. "I learned quickly how to best manage my time. A structured schedule always works best for me. Our coaches helped keep us focused in the classroom too. They are supportive and receive progress reports from our teachers on how we are doing."
McClung will soon head back to Illinois after spending the summer in Roswell and working at Thumbs Up Diner.
Wheaton's fall camp begins Aug. 10, and the Thunder open the season in San Antonio, Texas with a matchup at Trinity University on Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. CT.
With one year of collegiate sports under belt, McClung has some words of wisdom for the FCS Class of 2022 members headed to college to play sports.
"Do what the coaches ask of you before you get there," he said. "Come prepared, stay ready and be humble."
McClung thoroughly enjoyed his football experience at FCS.
"I can't point to one thing as my favorite memory, but all our games in the playoffs were so much fun," he said. "I loved playing football with my friends, and our coaches were all great."
(Photos courtesy of Wheaton College)
Transferring: Carson Phillips to Continue Baseball Career at USCB Beaufort
Fellowship Christian School graduate Carson Phillips has announced his transfer to the University of South Carolina Beaufort in Bluffton, S.C., to continue his collegiate baseball career.
Phillips attended NCAA Division II Shorter University in Rome, Ga., in 2021-22 as his first year in college. Phillips has four years of collegiate baseball eligibility remaining.
The 2021 graduate of FCS did not appear on the field for the Shorter squad that advanced to the Gulf South Conference championships (team fell to Lee University). Shorter went 4-2 in the playoffs was 29-22 overall.
It was announced July 18, 2022, that USCB has begun a three-year provisional membership in NCAA Division II.
During the 2022-23 school year, the Sand Sharks teams will hold dual membership in NCAA Division II's Peachbelt Conference and a temporary membership in the NAIA's Continental Athletic Conference. Click here for more information on the provisional membership.
Menna, Scherer Complete Freshman Seasons of Women's NCAA Division II Lacrosse
Lexi Menna and Avery Scherer, both 2021 graduates of Fellowship Christian School, completed their freshman seasons of NCAA Division II Lacrosse this spring.
Menna tailed seven points (two goals, five assists) and registered four shots on goal in four games for the North Greenville University team.
She made two starts for the squad that finished 9-10 overall and 6-3 in Conference Carolina contests. The Lady Crusaders lost 20-9 to the University of Mount Olive in the Conference Carolina semifinals.
On March 16, Menna set career highs with three assists, four points and two shots on goal in a 25-8 home victory over Erskine College at home in Tigerville, S.C. She made her collegiate debut in a 20-5 loss at Wingate University on Feb. 12 and tallied her first college lacrosse goal in a 15-8 loss at Lincoln Memorial University on Feb. 19.
Scherer collected 19 points (15 goals, four assists) and took 28 shots and 19 shots on goal in 19 games for Wingate, located in the North Carolina town of the same name.
She finished eighth on the club in goals, and 10th in points. Scherer also ranked 12th on the Lady Bulldogs with 19 shots.
Schrerer took a career-best six shots at Florida Southern on March 9, and two shots on goal on seven occasions. Scherer scored two goals in a contest five times during the season and notched one assist in four different contests.
She also finished with 13 ground balls, 15 draw controls and caused seven turnovers.
Wingate posted a 15-4 record this past season, including a 9-1 mark in the South Atlantic Conference. The Lady Bulldogs lost in the SAC Tournament finals, 21-5, to Queens University of Charlotte on May 1 in Hickory, N.C. The team lost to Florida Southern on May 13 in Charlotte, 19-6, to begin the NCAA Division II South Regionals.
Prior to the post-season, the Lady Bulldogs went 14-2 in the regular season. The club won one of three post-season contests.
(Photos courtesy of North Greenville and Wingate universities)
Alumni Update: Herrmann Ranks Second on Piedmont Volleyball Team in Digs
Fellowship Christian School graduate Taylor Herrmann has completed her second NCAA Division III collegiate volleyball season.
Herrmann ranked second on the Lady Lions with a career-best 206 digs. The Libero and defensive specialist ranked third on the team with 19 service aces.
She played in 23 matches and 73 sets – both career highs – as she helped Piedmont post a 6-20 overall record and a 5-11 mark in USA South Athletic Conference in the fall of 2021.
Herrmann added 19 assists and four kills. She collected 10 or more digs in a match nine times this season, including a career-best 22 digs in a victory over LaGrange College at home in Demorest, Ga., on Sept. 25.
In a victory over Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Ga., on Sept. 28, Herrmann registered a career-high seven service aces.
Her freshman season at Piedmont took place in the spring of 2021.
Herrmann collected 33 digs – including a season-best six at Huntingdon College – and appeared in 25 sets and 14 matches in 2021. She earned two kills and two assists.
In 2021, Piedmont finished 4-11 overall and 2-6 in USA South Athletic Conference matches.
During her FCS career, Herrmann set the school’s career record for digs, was named to the 2019 All-Area Team and helped the Lady Paladins claim the Area Championship in back-to-back seasons (2017 and 2018).
She graduated from FCS in 2020, and majors in forensic science at Piedmont.
The school’s name changed from Piedmont College to Piedmont University on April 9, 2021.
(Photos courtesy of Piedmont University)
Alumni Update: Haigler Made Collegiate Football Debut at Wheaton College
Lawson Haigler had plenty to do this past school year.
The 2021 graduate of Fellowship Christian School headed to Illinois last summer for his freshman year at Wheaton College, completed his first collegiate football season, made the adjustment to college academics and even took the time to join ROTC.
“It was a great year,” said Haigler, the youngest of four brothers, all former Paladin athletes and graduates of FCS. “It is a great school, great football team and a great city. It has been fun coming here and finding some good guys to play football with and develop friendships. I got to travel with the team this year and play special teams. I also got to take a couple of snaps on defense. That was a really cool experience.”
Haigler (No. 38) had one familiar face in Wheaton, Ill., during the 2021-22 school year. Fellow 2021 FCS graduate Caleb McClung (No. 14) was a freshman linebacker on the Thunder.
“It was cool to play alongside him this year,” Haigler said.
Haigler and McClung are among a group of five members of the 2020 FCS varsity football team who completed their first college football season this past fall. The list includes a pair of Division I athletes – Charlie Patterson (University of Virginia), Nathan Nardone (Wofford University in South Carolina) – and Eli Hildebrandt at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Va.
Not only did Haigler make the travel roster and play on the special teams unit this fall, but he played in his first game on defense at linebacker on Nov. 20, 2021 in a 63-21 victory over Aurora University at home in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs.
The Thunder lost in the second round of the playoffs, 30-28, at Central College in Pella, Iowa on Nov. 27. The Thunder finished the season 10-2, including an 8-1 record in College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin contests.
“The competition was a lot tougher [than high school],” Haigler said. “We played against great players from all across the country. I had to fight for my position [on the depth chart]. Our defense was much more complex.”
Haigler said he used fall camp as a great starting point to learn the plays but made sure he had plenty review times early in the morning before meetings and practices, and during his time between classes.
Haigler, who is studying business and economics, quickly learned great time management skills.
“We had a study hall for all freshman football players,” Haigler said. “They had a great support system for us. But it was very hard sometimes. I learned to keep a detailed calendar and tried to get in a good rhythm early. My roommates and I all played football and joined ROTC. We supported each other, and our coaches supported us.”
During his Fellowship athletic career, Haigler always had an eye on ROTC.
“I was always in interested in serving,” he said. “I even looked at the service academies but Praise the Lord, He led me to Wheaton! It’s a terrific opportunity to receive a Christian education and play football there.”
This summer, Haigler spent 6½ weeks as a counselor at Kanakuk, a Christian summer camp in Branson, Mo., with four of his Wheaton teammates. It’s a tradition for Thunder players.
Wheaton’s fall camp begins Aug. 10, and the Thunder open the season in San Antonio, Texas with a matchup at Trinity University on Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. CT.
(Photos courtesy of Wheaton College)
Alumni Update: Joye, Hauenstein Wrap Up 2022 Collegiate Baseball Seasons
Fellowship Christian School graduates Preston Joye (2020) and Garrett Hauenstein (2021) completed baseball seasons at Valdosta State and Covenant College, respectively.
Joye helped the Valdosta State baseball team notch a 31-16 overall record this spring. The team posted a record of 17-9 in the Gulf South Conference.
The infielder played in 26 games, including 14 starts, for the NCAA Division II program. He hit .218 with 12 hits, 11 runs, two doubles, one triple and five RBIs.
Joye collected a double at Lynn University on Feb. 13 and at Saint Leo on April 19 and notched a triple at Embry-Riddle University on Feb. 4.
Hauenstein hit .500 in two games for the Scots this year. The outfielder helped Covenant team finish 22-19 overall and 10-8 in USA South Athletic Conference contests.
On Feb. 12 at Emory University in Atlanta, Hauenstein made his collegiate debut, scored a run and earned walk. He collected his first hit and drove in two runs at Berea College on April 30.
As a freshman, Joye helped Division I Georgia State post an 18-37 record in 2021. He played in 30 games, started 15 contests and hit .161 in 56 at-bats with nine hits, nine runs and five RBIs. In Sun Belt Conference games, Joye played in 17 games with 11 starts and batted .176 with six hits, six runs and four RBIs for the Panthers.
(Photos courtesy of Valdosta State and Covenant College)
Alumni Update: Kierpa Wraps up Covenant College Softball Career with Lady Scots' 20-Win Season
Laura Kierpa finished her four-year collegiate softball career among the leaders in several pitching categories at Covenant College.
She ended her career second in Lady Scots history in wins (28), shutouts (six), starts (52), innings pitched (352 2/3) and overall games (83), and was third in complete games (33) and strikeouts (225).
During her career, the Fellowship Christian School graduate helped the Lady Scots post a 51-69 overall record and a 23-23 mark in USA South Athletic Conference contests.
The team finished 20-17 – the Lady Scots' best record during Kierpa's career – this season. The team went 0-2 at the double-elimination USA South Athletic Conference tournament April 28-29 but finished 10-6 in league games. Kierpa tossed 11 innings in those two tournament games, allowing just one run on seven hits. She fanned nine in those contests.
The Lady Scots finished 18-18 overall and 7-7 in league matchups in 2021 and were 2-10 overall in the Covid-19 shortened 2020 season. The team went 6-10 in league play and 11-24 overall during Kierpa's freshman campaign.
As a senior, Kierpa led all Covenant pitchers in ERA (4.11), strikeouts (78) WHIP (1.57), wins (nine), losses (10), complete games (13), games (23), starts (20) and innings pitched (127 2/3). She was named as an All-USA South All-West Division Second Team All-Star and was placed on 2021-22 USA South All-Academic team. She also earned that honor in 2020-21.
As a junior, Kierpa went 16-11, led the USA South with 155.2 innings pitched, struck out 108 batters and posted a 3.73 earned-run average as the Covenant College softball team's No. 1 starter. Those were all career highs.
In 2021, Kierpa made 24 starts, pitched in 32 games overall and registered 20 complete games and four shutouts – also all career bests. Nationally, she was fourth among NCAA Division III pitchers in complete games and also 20th in wins. Kierpa led the league in complete games that season as well. Plus, she set the school record for starts, tied the mark for shutouts, and was second all-time in single season wins, fourth in complete games and fifth in innings pitched.
Following her junior season, Kierpa was named to the All-USA South All-West Division Second Team All-Star squad. She was named USA South's Pitcher of the Week on March 29, 2021.
As a sophomore, she was limited to just seven games due to the pandemic. She shared the team lead with 21 appearances as a freshman closer for the Lady Scots in 2019.
(Photos courtesy of Covenant College)
Alumni Update: Murphy Wraps up Season No. 47 in NCAA Division III Rankings
Tripp Murphy capped a stellar junior golf season at Oglethorpe University with some good recognition.
The 2018 graduate of Fellowship Christian School was selected for the Golf Coaches Association of America 2022 NCAA Division III PING All-Region team for region four.
"It was a great year," Murphy said. "We won the conference championship [Southern Athletic Association] and went to nationals. It's our goal to get there every year. We had a young team, but we did pretty well. It was great to get there. It was my first time playing in the national championships. Our team can build on that next year. I wound up ranked 47th in the nation."
At the four-day NCAA Division III Men's Golf Championship held in Howery-in-the-Hills, Fla., May 10-13, the Stormy Petrels played 16th out of 42 games. The team was among the 18 schools making the cut to the final round.
Murphy, who is spending the summer caddying again at Peachtree Golf Course near the Oglethorpe campus, enters his senior golf year in the fall. It's his fifth year academically for the Atlanta school as he was granted an extra year of eligibility due to Covid-19 outbreak in 2020 that limited the 2019-2020 season.
"I hope to step into a leadership role next year," said Murphy, who was of two juniors on the 2021-22 roster. "We only lose three seniors, so it's my turn to be a leader."
The Oglethorpe team splits the golf season into fall and spring sessions.
"In the fall I played pretty well," Murphy said. "I was ranked in the top 65 in the first half of the year. I only had one bad tournament in the fall in Pennsylvania [the Tartan Invitational in Ligonier, Pa., Oct. 11-12]. Other than that, I did well. My highlight would be the 71-71-74 I shot at the Golf Week Invitational in Sandestin, Fla., [Oct. 17-19]. I tied for 20th place at that tournament. It was a big field with the top teams from over the country there."
Murphy built on his early season success in the spring.
"I had a slow start in the spring, but I finished up really strong," Murphy said. "I finished tied for 12th in the third tournament of the spring."
The third tournament of the spring that Murphy references is the Camp Lejeune Intercollegiate held in Jacksonville, N.C., April 8-10. The Stormy Petrels placed fourth out of 12 teams at the 54-hole tournament. Murphy carded a 76 in his final round at the Camp Lejeune event.
As the spring went on, Murphy continued to perform well.
"In the conference tournament I was four-over par and shared second in the individual results," he said. "Our team won by 21 strokes. We played great as a team."
The conference tournament was held April 22-24 at Chateau Elan Legends Course in Braselton.
(Photos courtesy of Oglethorpe University)
Alumni Update: Beard Completes First Year of NCAA Division I Lacrosse at Liberty University
Brooke Beard finished her freshman season at Liberty University this spring.
Beard, who played one game this season as a freshman attack, was on the squad that advanced to the ASUN Championship game. Liberty suffered a 20-12 loss to Jacksonville University in that contest on May 7.
"It was a good first season," Beard said. "I played in one game, but I worked on my game a lot during practices. The play of the game is a lot faster than high school. Everybody is very talented. There's a shot clock too. We had a pretty tough schedule, but the challenge was good for our team. Overall, the team did well."
The Lady Flames posted an 11-8 record overall.
"I really like the community here with the team and the school," Beard said. "Academically I had a pretty good year too."
Beard, a 2021 graduate of Fellowship, has not set her major at Liberty yet but is leaning towards digital marketing and advertising in the business school.
Her high school career at FCS was pretty stellar. Beard reached 200 career goals as a senior and finished her Lady Paladin career with 210.
As a senior for the Lady Paladins, Beard finished with 62 goals, 37 assists, 99 points, earned USA Lacrosse All-American honors and was named first-team all-state. In 2019, she was also first team all-state as she registered 84 goals, 39 assists and 123 points.
Reaching the state Final Four as a sophomore was among Beard's great girls' lacrosse highlights at Fellowship.
Beard is among four members of the FCS Class of 2021 playing collegiate lacrosse, including three players at the Division II level: Lexi Menna (University of North Greenville), Avery Scherer (Wingate University) and Rachel Schuetze (Lee University). Suzanne Moore, who graduated from Fellowship in 2020, plays Division II lacrosse at Young Harris College. Suzanne's older sister, Meredith, graduated from Division I Presbyterian College in 2022 and FCS in 2018.
"The skill level was different in high school, but we built a strong foundation at FCS," Beard said. "We learned to trust each other on the field, which helps you know how to support your teammates as you transition into college."
Beard has some advice for the seven graduates of Fellowship heading to collegiate sports this fall.
"Do more than what is asked of you," she said. "Learn as much as you can and have an open mindset. And definitely always be prepared. You can't over prepare for collegiate sports or college in general."
(Photos courtesy of Liberty University)
Alumni Update: Bishop Helps TCU Reach NCAA Regional Championships
It was a pretty memorable first season of NCAA Division I baseball for David Bishop.
The Texas Christian University freshman infielder was among the Horned Frogs offensive leaders in more than eight offensive categories and helped the team reach the NCAA Regional Finals in College Station, Texas last month. He was also named to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team.
"It was a good season overall," said Bishop, who is playing in the Appalachian League this summer. "We lost to Texas A&M in the Super Regionals, but overall, my year was very good."
Under first-year head coach Kirk Saarloos, the Horned Frogs finished 38-22 overall and 16-8 in Big 12 matchups.
Bishop shared second on the team with two triples, ranked third with 47 RBIs, was tied for third with six home runs, ranked fifth with 57 hits and 40 runs, was sixth with a .261 batting average and finished seventh with eight doubles and a .399 slugging percentage. He was an unanimous selection for the Big 12 All-Freshman team.
"It was a whole different mindset [going from FCS to Division I baseball]," he said. "I had to learn how to prepare to play in front of large crowds, but it's really the same game. It's also a very demanding schedule with weight training, practices, travel, games and of course classes."
Bishop noted that TCU's staff, including a mental performance coach, are very helpful to the freshmen on the team.
"Their advice was great as we prepared to play in front of 7,000 to 8,000 fans and adjust to the pressure of Division I baseball," said Bishop, a communications major at TCU. "There's a lot of trial and error your freshman year, and a lot of new stuff to deal with. We learned to be on time or early, and get our schoolwork done on time. But overall, it was a great experience."
On May 10, Bishop finished with career bests in hits (five) and RBIs (five) against the University of the Incarnate Word of San Antonio, Texas. He also scored a career-best three runs at the University of Kansas on May 14. He had one home run in six different games, and one double in eight separate contests.
At Fellowship, Bishop had the opportunity to play alongside Cam Gill (Division I player at Wofford University) and Division II players Isaac Bouton (Columbus State) and Preston Joye (Valdosta State). They all graduated within three years of each other.
"Having those guys to look up to at FCS was great," Bishop said. "They provided an example of what a Division I prospect should look like. It was also great to play under Coach O [Shawn Oliver]. We all learned from him how to give our best. He helped us excel on the baseball field. Coach O leads a great program and does a great job. It's awesome to see how well they did this past year."
Bishop has some words of wisdom for the FCS athletes heading to college athletics for the first time this school year.
"Don't put too much on your schedule [outside of sports and classes]," he said. "Have fun but prioritize everything that you need to. Don't get overwhelmed but work really hard. It's your opportunity to learn and showcase your skills and prove to the coaches you belong."
Bishop heads back to TCU this fall for his sophomore year and begin practices and scrimmages with the Horned Frogs team. The regular season begins in February.
(Photos courtesy of Texas Christian University)
Alumni Update: Schuetze Earns Starting Role at Lee as Freshman
It did not take Rachel Schuetze long to realize that playing college lacrosse would be a challenge.
"The day after we arrived [on campus] our morning workouts from 5 to 9 a.m. started," said Schuetze about her adjustment to becoming a women's lacrosse player at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn. "That was a rough awakening, but it was a good year ... a fun year! It was a big change from high school, but I was able to adjust to the changes quickly."
A defender, Schuetze played in 15 of the Lady Flames' 16 games and made nine starts that all came during the team's fine nine games from March 11 to April 29.
The last game was Lee's 15-9 loss to Flager College of Saint Augustine, Fla., to begin the playoffs.
She finished her freshman season with seven caused turnovers, two ground balls, three draw controls and six turnovers.
"It went really well on the field," she said. "It was cool to travel with the team. For Spring Break, we traveled to Florida and played two games. I progressed on the field and understood the system. I got to start. I had Covid right before our first game, but I recovered and got more and more playing time."
Having a shot clock was one of the biggest adjustments to the college game for the 2021 graduate of Fellowship Christian School.
"We could only hold the ball for 90 seconds," she said. "That was an adjustment."
Her main goals next season include holding her starting role and helping the team improve from its 8-8 record overall. The team finished 5-1 in Gulf Coast Conference contests.
"I really want to maintain my spot," Schuetze said.
Schuetze has some words of wisdom for the FCS Class of 2022 members headed for college athletics.
"Do the extra things," she said. "If the coaches need help setting up the field for a game or practice, raise your hand and do it. And really just be ready to work hard and help the coaches. Always say yes to opportunities to grow [as an athlete and a student]. Our slogan last year was 'to be all in.' That is important as you begin your career."
An accounting major, Schuetze said working hard in the classroom is very important for the new college athlete.
"Classes were harder than I thought they'd be," she said. "Even Bible was way tougher than I expected as someone coming in from a Christian school. I learned to work even harder."
(Photos courtesy of Lee University)
Alumni Update: Hildebrandt Helps Washington and Lee Win ODAC Title; Starts Playoff Game at QB
Eli Hildebrandt earned his first collegiate football start in a pretty big game.
The coaching staff at Washington and Lee University gave the Fellowship Christian School graduate the nod to start at quarterback in the Generals' first playoff game in the NCAA Division III football playoffs last fall (a 52-0 loss to the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio on Nov. 20, 2021).
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound freshman played in three games overall as he helped Washington and Lee to an 8-3 season and the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) regular-season championship. The Generals, who went 5-1 in ODAC games, won eight straight games from Sept. 11-Nov. 6 after a season-opening loss.
"I started my first game in the playoffs," Hildebrandt said. "It was kind of a weird feeling as they told me I'd start mid-week. The starter was pretty banged up, and we were coming off a loss. I felt some pressure but had confidence because the coaches believed in me to pick me to start. Unfortunately, we lost to them."
Hildebrandt ran the ball 11 times for 20 yards at Washington and Lee, located in Lexington, Va. He looks to attempt and complete his first collegiate pass.
Hildebrandt is working hard this summer to prepare for his sophomore season.
The Generals open the 2022 season at home against Christopher Newport University in the Hall of Fame Game on Sept. 3.
"Our goal is to win another conference championship," Hildebrandt said.
He's glad to have year No. 1 under his belt.
"There was a learning curve getting used to college football, but I enjoyed it," he said. "The workload and knowing how to balance your time was not always easy. That was probably the hardest part to the season – getting used to it. But the habits I developed [in high school] helped me. I worked hard and got used to the daily workload. In the end it felt the same as Fellowship, but the players are a little faster and bigger in college."
Hildebrandt, who graduated from FCS in 2021, plans to declare his major in either accounting or business.
The Fellowship program gave him a strong foundation heading to college.
"Fellowship helped me to stay in a structured schedule in the classroom and football," he said.
Hildebrandt's younger brother Evan played on the offensive line for the Paladins varsity football team last fall.
"I watched all the games on live stream last year to see my brother [Evan, a Paladin offensive lineman]. I came back to watch the homecoming game, and the Calvary Day playoff game. It was an awesome experience."
Hildebrandt has some words of wisdom for incoming collegiate athletes from FCS.
"Enjoy it while you can," he said. "Make sure you continue your workouts, stay in shape and be true to yourself. And definitely stay grounded."
(Photos courtesy of Washington and Lee University)
Alumni Update: Dannemiller Graduates from UK, Turns Professional
Caroline Dannemiller has already begun putting her college degree to good use.
The Fellowship Christian School graduate completed her degree in marketing at the University of Kentucky this spring and is working full-time at her family's horse farm near Lexington, Ky., called TrueBlue Farm and has also found the time to begin her professional riding career. The farm is located about 15-20 minutes from the historic Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky., a state that boasts a robust equestrian industry.
"The days are long at the farm, but I have always loved horses," she said. "My family is all here in Kentucky. Right now, I am working at the farm and am now riding professionally. I am getting my feet wet. To be a professional you have to make your living in the horse world."
Last year, Dannemiller and her horse, an 8-year-old Irish Sport Hose gelding named Fernhill Dreaming helped the University of Kentucky capture the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championship in May 2021, and later that summer capture the American Eventing Championships.
The 2022 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships were not quite as successful for the Kentucky team.
"We did well, but not as well as last year," Dannemiller said. "We had three teams finish in the top 10 – third, seven and eighth. My horse was not healthy enough to compete this year, so I rode younger horses. We unfortunately did not do as well."
However, Dannemiller still enjoyed her senior year at UK, which by her recollection went by very quickly.
"It flew by," she said. "All of our classes were back in person, so it made college life seem even busier than 2021. But it was great to be part of the Kentucky program. I have great memories at UK. Go Cats! Going to college was always non-negotiable for me. But it's a win-win to now be able to use my degree in the horse world. I feel very lucky and blessed to be able to do that."
Soon after graduation Dannemiller began working full-time at TrueBlue Farm, which currently boards more than 18 horses.
She is using her marketing skills to help out both the business and horse sides of the farm. In addition to her duties that come with taking care of the horses being boarded at the farm, Dannemiller has jumped into the business development and communications sides of the farm.
Dannemiller is currently building True Blue Farm's website, while managing its Facebook and Instagram pages and helping to build its client base.
"We're in a great location," she said. "We're trying to get more horses here. There are a lot of UK students who board their horses with us."
Here are links to TrueBlue Farm's social media pages:
(Photo courtesy of University of Kentucky)
Alumni Update: Thompson Completes Second Beach Volleyball Season at USC
Fellowship Christian School graduate Lizzie Thompson recently completed her second season with the University of South Carolina beach volleyball season and took a full load of classes.
Her 2021-22 school might have been busy, but her summer might even be busier than during her sophomore year at USC.
"The spring went very well," Thompson said. "I competed in most all of the tournaments. I especially enjoyed the TCU, Gulf Shores and Coastal Carolina [events]. It was a fun year, and a great experience. The coaches switched out partners a lot, but I played a lot of matches with my roommate and best friend, Sammy Ansel. It was definitely a confidence boost playing this year. There's more pressure with playing in most tournaments, but it's nice to know the coaches believe in you and give you that opportunity."
Her sophomore year of classes was a success as well.
"It was a great year all the way around," she said. "It's honestly been a great experience here."
Thompson, who plans to earn her degree a year early and graduate next spring, is preparing for her post-college career and her next volleyball season this summer. She is working full time at a Columbia, S.C., men's clothing retail store this summer while "squeezing in workouts" to prepare for the 2023 season.
But it's not just about volleyball for Thompson and her Lady Gamecock teammates, who stay focused both on the classroom and on the sand courts.
"We are the highest scoring academic sports team at USC," she said. "We take pride in that. The team works hard at our grades and maintain that top average. We work very hard in the classroom. We don't always need all of the resources the school offers all the time, but it's nice to know if we need help with academics, we have it. We have amazing support and resources here."
Last season, the Lady Gamecocks finished 20-12 overall and 1-5 in CCSA play. The club posted a 23-9 overall record and a 12-5 conference record in 2021, Thompson's freshman season.
The team's goals including winning more matches next season. "I am looking forward to next season," she said.
Thompson has switched her major that begins in junior year.
The 2020 FCS graduate will change from a sports and entertainment management major to Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in business (retail and sports management).
(Photos courtesy of University of South Carolina)
Alumni Update: Moore Hopes to Help Young Harris College Reach Playoffs in 2023
The Young Harris College women's lacrosse team narrowly missed the Gulf South Conference playoffs in 2022, and Fellowship Christian School graduate Suzanne Moore doesn't want that to happen next year.
"It was a good season," Moore said. "We had a lot of transition from my freshman year. We had many new players and three new coaches. They switched everything up. But I think we adjusted well and developed a closer bond as a team. We wound up as the fifth seed [in the Gulf South Conference] and did not finish in the top four to make the league tournament. We lost three seniors and a manager [to graduation], but we have seven or eight talented freshmen coming in. We will have a a lot of sophomore too, but our expectations are high. Making the playoffs is our goal next year. We want to get there."
Moore, who is spending the summer working at Moose River Outpost in Moose River, Maine, helped the Lady Mountain Lions finish 7-10 overall and 2-4 in the league in 2022. She set career highs with 17 games played, 17 starts, one assist and 19 ground balls. As a freshman, Moore played in 11 games, including two starts. The 2021 squad went 5-8 overall and 1-3 in the league.
"I am so glad I am here playing college lacrosse," Moore said. "College sports gives you so much structure and helps you really develop time management skills. Obviously, there is some stress to play college lacrosse, but it's fun. I started every game last year after being the first defender off the bench [as a freshman]."
Last season, Moore moved to a new "fly" position of defensive midfielder.
"It was super fun and challenging, but I enjoyed it," she said. "I made a lot of progress on the field. I also did well in school again too. I made the Dean's List again."
A biology major, Moore will add an economics minor for her junior year.
Her older sister, Meredith, graduated from Presbyterian College in May after four years of college lacrosse and three years of ROTC. She recently began officer training in the U.S. Army and got engaged.
"She is honestly an inspiration to me," Suzanne Moore said. "She did a lot in college and really balanced a lot. It's super impressive how she was able to balance sports, college, ROTC, family, fiancé and Jesus at Presbyterian."
The younger Moore has great memories of helping to build the Fellowship girls lacrosse program and play for coaches Tracy Morgan and Alli Storey.
"I had great coaches at Fellowship," she said. "Coach Tracy helped us be so conditioned. We never let speed be the reason did not win. We worked so hard. Tracy was such great teacher and encourager. Alli was too. They both had such a positive impact on me and our teams."
Playing at FCS also allowed the Moore sisters to play two years of varsity lacrosse together.
"It was so fun for me to play lacrosse at Fellowship with her," Suzanne said.
(Photo courtesy of Young Harris College)
Alumni Update: Gill Headed to Wisconsin for Summer Baseball, Prepares for Fourth Season at Wofford
The life of a collegiate baseball player can be pretty busy.
That's the case for Cameron Gill, who recently wrapped up his third season of NCAA Division I college baseball at Wofford University and is set to play in the North Woods League this summer.
Following summer training with nine of his Terrier teammates in Jupiter, Fla., Gill will head to Green Bay, Wisc., for a summer league season beginning July 1.
"It was a really good season at Wofford," Gill said. "For our third season in-a-row we had the best season in program history. We finished with 42 wins. We won our regular season by four games, but lost to UNCG in the conference championship game, and did make it [to the NCAA Tournament]."
In 2022, Gill was the back-up catcher playing behind a fifth-year season. He played in 25 games with 13 starts. He batted in six runs.
"It was different this year playing behind a fifth-year senior, but it was still a good season," Gill said. "I love it a lot here. I want to start next year at catcher. We have a great coaching staff. We've had the same hitting coach [J.J. Edwards] my whole time here. The head coach [Todd Interdonato] is also my position coach. They have taught me a lot."
As a sophomore, Gill set career highs with 28 games, 23 starts, 10 RBIs, 20 hits, 13 runs, 71 at-bats and a .282 batting average. As a freshman he batted .182 in six games (including two starts) and drove in his first collegiate run.
The Terriers are poised to continue its trajectory upward under Interdonato, Wofford's head coach since 2007.
"We're losing a lot of players to graduation, but we have the same goal as every year this season," Gill said. "We want to win at every opportunity and make it to NCAA Regionals. Our teams have gotten closer and closer during my time here. It's cliché, but we really are a big family."
Gill graduated from Fellowship in 2019 and was a baseball and football star for the Paladins. He started for the Paladin baseball team for four years.
"Having a great relationship with coach O [Shawn Oliver] and our success are my highlights," Gill said. "He pushed us hard. Our senior class was really had a lot of talent. Preston Joye, Isaac Bouton and I are all with good programs now. But it makes me happy to see the teams since our class graduated that have done so well since we've left. We still all stay in touch. Those relationships are important to Fellowship Baseball players."
The 2022 FCS squad set a career record for most wins in a season with 28 and reached the Final Four for the second straight season. This spring's team finished 28-5.
A total of seven FCS graduates will be playing college baseball in 2022-23, including Bouton, Gill, Joye and three members of the class of 2021: David Bishop, Texas Christian University; Garrett Hauenstein, Covenant College, and Carson Phillips, Shorter University.
Jason Gilley, who just graduated from FCS in May, joins the Spring Hill College team in 2022-23.
(Photos courtesy of Wofford University)
Alumni Update: Morcos Looks to Help Bob Jones University Defend National Championship
In his three years with the Bob Jones University soccer team, Luke Morcos has seen the Bruins transition into a national championship squad.
On Nov. 20, 2021, Morcos helped the Bruins defeat Randall University, 2-1, to capture the NCCAA Division II National Soccer Championships.
The 2021 team finished with a 17-2-2 record. The team was 9-3-1 during Morcos' sophomore season in 2020 and finished just 6-12 his freshman season.
Head coach Matt Hotchkin led the Bruins in 2019 and 2020, but left the school was replaced by assistant Greg Fulton last year.
"There's a lot of things [that have led to the program's success]," the senior to-be defender said. "Coach Matt and Coach Greg have led us very well. Greg came in my freshman season. While they have different approaches to building a team, they both instilled confidence in us and taught us how to win. We had a big senior group last year that really progressed and helped us reach the championship."
A handful of those 2022 graduates even aspire to play professionally this year.
Morcos, a 2019 graduate of Fellowship Christian School, has been able to juggle pre-med classes and collegiate soccer for three years at Bob Jones.
"In general, it's been very good here," Morcos said. "School specifically is tough. I stay busy as a pre-med major."
On the field, Morcos played in a career-high tying 17 games as a junior, including 14 starts and a career-best three shots. He notched a career-high one assist in 2020 that included six games and one start. As a freshman Morcos set career highs with 17 games and 15 starts.
"I have gotten a lot better during my career here," Morcos said. "I have better [training] habits and diet. College is a lot different than high school and really even club soccer. It moves a lot faster. You also have to be smarter and push yourself a lot more."
The national championship was certainly a career highlight for the pre-med major.
"It was kind of amazing," Morcos said. "It was a nice end to an incredible season. It was our school's best record ever. It was a hard-fought win [over Randall]. They were a great team with a lot of great players. We lost to them in the tournament last year, so it was nice to beat them this time."
Morcos, a four-year varsity career at FCS, recalls his favorite memory with the Paladins.
"We were down 1-0 with seven minutes left to Saint Francis, and Jack Sawyer scored a goal to tie it. And Andrew Miller scored with seconds left to win it. That was my senior year."
This summer Morcos is studying for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). He has shadowed with medical professionals in primary and emergency medicine and is looking at medical schools.
(Photos courtesy of Bob Jones University)
Alumni Update: Swartz Returns to Atlanta to Play for Lady Yellow Jackets
Cameron Swartz is proof of the old saying you can go home again.
The Fellowship Christian School graduate announced on April 27 that she was transferring from Boston College to Georgia Tech to finish up her collegiate basketball career.
"It's very exciting," the senior to be said. "I am so glad to be home in Atlanta. I can see my grandparents and my family so much more. This is my last season of eligibility, but I applied for a waiver [for another season]. I think that I gave it all in my 3½ years at Boston College. But this was a great opportunity to come home."
Swartz averaged 12.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 28.4 minutes per game at Boston College. Swartz played in 82 games, including 71 starts with the Lady Eagles, and finished her career with 1,000 points for the Lady Eagles.
As a junior this past season, Swartz netted 16.1 points per game and was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Most Improved Player. She was also named First Team All-ACC and averaged 31.5 minutes per contest at BC last season. She topped her team in scoring and finished sixth in the league. But she admits she still has more work to do.
"I am still developing my game," she said. "I need to reach the pros. My game developed a lot last season. I had a great coach who put me in a position to score. She believed in me."
With several BC players graduating, Swartz felt it was time to move on. She's excited about the opportunity on The Flats.
"Each system is different, but there are similarities [between BC and Georgia Tech]," Swartz said. "But I am a fifth-year player, so I understand how to learn a new system and join a new program. I am a veteran. I have confidence in my game and learn from my mistakes."
As a sophomore, Swartz netted 13.4 points per game at BC.
Swartz, who played seven games for the University of Colorado as a freshman, has two weeks of practice at Tech under her belt. She's also taking the opportunity to get in extra work on her skills and learn more about her new teammates.
Her goals are to help the Lady Jackets make it to the NCAA Tournament, win the ACC championship, narrow her turnovers and prepare her game for the next level.
She expects to see time at shooting guard and "play some at 1, 2 and 3."
During her high school career at FCS, Swartz averaged 32.1 points per game and was named to the All-State team following her junior and senior years.
(Photos courtesy of Boston College)
Alumni Update: Moore Leaves Lacrosse Field to Start Military Career
Meredith Moore is taking a huge step from college sports to serving her county in the military.
The 2018 graduate of Fellowship Christian School recently graduated from Presbyterian College and left June 14 for six weeks of training with the United States Army at Fort Knox, Ky. She heads to Fort Lee, which is just south of Richmond, Va., on Aug. 1 for a Basic Officers Leaders Course. She will be stationed at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas after that. She will serve as a quartermaster for the logistics branch of the Army and will work on supply chain management.
Oh, and by the way she also recently got engaged to Grayson Horton of Irmo, S.C.
"My life is pretty exciting lately," Moore said. "I honestly have not even thought about lacrosse in a while. My senior season was fun. But now it's time for real world experiences."
Moore joined the ROTC program at Presbyterian, located in Clinton, S.C., during her sophomore year.
"I was always vaguely interested in the military," she said. "The ROTC program taught me a lot. I look forward to my training and my Army career."
In April 2022, Moore was selected for the Big South Conference Women's Lacrosse All-Academic Team. She earned a 3.82 GPA as an Economics major with minors in military science, business administration, and data analytics.
During her four years at Presbyterian, Moore made the Dean's List for five semesters, the President's List for one semester, and was selected for the Big South Conference Presidential Honor Roll for three out of four years.
On the field, Moore started 16 games and led the Lady Blue Hose defense as a senior. She collected 13 ground balls and won four draw controls.
"My senior year was alright," she said. "We had high hopes, but we did not live up to expectations. We lost some very close games. It was a great group through. We had 31 on the team, the biggest group since I have been here. It was a special experience at Presbyterian. The relationships I have formed there are really special."
The Big South was even tougher in 2022 as Furman University, Mercer University and Wofford University joined an already tough conference.
"Four years of college lacrosse has been rewarding for Moore.
"It's been very important for me," she said. "Lacrosse taught me to be prepared, mental toughness and characteristics that are applicable to everyday life. I started building those in high school. I would say high school lacrosse is so different than college, but Fellowship prepared me as well."
Her favorite memories of lacrosse at FCS are playing alongside sister Suzanne, and a solid senior season for the team.
Suzanne Moore plays lacrosse at Young Harris College.
(Photos courtesy of Presbyterian College)
Alumni Update: Bouton Bats .314 in Sophomore Season at Columbus State
For the past two seasons Isaac Bouton has helped the Columbus State University baseball team reach the finals of the NCAA Division II Baseball Tournament Super Regionals.
Unfortunately, each time the Cougars have fallen to the eventual national championship team. This year it was North Greenville and in 2021 it was Wingate University.
"We had a really good year," said Bouton, a 2020 graduate of Fellowship Christian School. "For the second straight year we lost in the Super Regionals. We were again a game away from reaching the national championship series."
A leadoff hitter, Bouton batted .314 with 76 hits, 70 runs scored, 14 doubles, two triples, 11 home runs and 45 RBIs as a sophomore. He set career highs in runs, hits and doubles, and matched his career best in triples to share the team lead in 2022. He led the team in doubles, ranked second in runs, finished third in hits and was fifth in both homers and RBIs. He also ranked third on the Cougars with 127 total bases.
"Compared to last year, my numbers were a little down," said Bouton, who helped the Cougars finish 20-6 in Peach Belt Conference games and 46-13 overall this season. "I had more walks than strikeouts and I hit 11 home runs. I got on base a lot, which was very good."
As a freshman, Bouton batted .347, with 70 hits, 60 runs scored, 12 home runs, 50 RBIs, 20 doubles and two triples. He set career highs in average, homers, RBIs, doubles and triples in 2021. The Cougars finished 19-13 in conference play and were 31-16 overall during Bouton's freshman campaign.
Bouton is proud of the progress he made at the defensive end at shortstop.
"Early in the year I struggled a bit, but I improved," Bouton said. "Overall college baseball has been a lot of fun. I love it, especially post-season baseball and the excitement that comes with it. You want to get there every year."
Bouton's favorite memory of the season was the walk-off home run he hit to win game two of the Super Regionals series against North Greenville for the Cougars.
"We lost game three, but that was a big win at the time," he said. "The post-season games you play, win or lose, keep the fire burning. You want to reverse the outcome when you lose and keep it going when you win. Two years in-a-row we have played great baseball in the playoffs. The Southeast Super Regionals always has some great teams. Playing there is like going through a gauntlet."
The business management major notched a 3.0 grade-point average this past semester.
"My goal is to play professional baseball," he said. "But I want to get my degree."
Bouton, who will be a junior in the fall, has plenty of fond memories of Fellowship and playing baseball for head coach Shawn Oliver.
"Coach O would always keep me positive, and in a good place mentally," Bouton said. "I can be hard on myself, but he always encouraged me and kept me in the right place."
(Photos courtesy of Columbus State University)
Alumni Update: Cochran Leads Reinhardt to Fifth Straight National Lax Championship
Another year. Another national title.
Fellowship Christian School graduate Cam Cochran helped Reinhardt University capture its fifth straight NAIA National Men's Lacrosse Championship. Last month the Eagles defeated Indiana Tech, 11-5, in the title game played in Pensacola, Fla.
This championship might not have been expected as the previous four.
"Before the season a lot of people said Reinhardt's run is going to end this year," said Cochran, who has played two seasons for the Eagles and has won two national titles. "But we proved them wrong. We wanted to win it again, and we did. We graduated a lot of players, but the guys left wanted it and we took care of it. I had the most fun in the playoffs this season."
The Eagles finished 13-1 overall, including a 3-0 mark in the NAIA playoffs. The team closed the season on an 11-game win streak.
What makes Reinhardt such a successful program?
"Probably the team as a whole," Cochran said. "We have built a culture of winning here. No matter who's on the team, we want the same thing every year. We want to win it all. And we're never going to let anyone out work us. We had a new coach this year. He has a little different style, but his expectations are the same."
Cochran took advantage of an increase in playing time in 201-22 under first year head coach Tyler Yelken.
The junior midfielder tallied 27 goals, 36 assists and 63 points in 14 games for the Eagles. Those numbers were up from 30 points (17 goals, 13 assists) he collected in 16 games as a sophomore transfer for Reinhardt in 2020-21.
Cochran set career highs in goals, assists and points this season. He led the team in assists, finished second in points and was tied for third in goals.
Those numbers and his performance helped Cochran earn a spot as a Second Team NAIA All-American.
"It was a great year for me personally and for the team," Cochran said. "I love playing lacrosse at Reinhardt."
Prior to his collegiate career, Cochran set the foundation for his collegiate career at FCS.
"Everyone on the team my senior year had played together since sixth grade," Cochran said. "I played with a lot of good players at Fellowship. Guys like John, Nicholas and Sam were terrific players. They all had a high lacrosse IQ. That helped me prepare for college."
Cochran, who has one year of lacrosse eligibility left, majors in sports studies with a concentration in business.
"I would like to work in sports somewhere," said Cochran, noting his interests vary from sports radio, coaching or actuarial work. "I want to be involved in sports when I graduate."
(Photos courtesy of Reinhardt University)
Fall 2021 Updates
Morcos Leads Bob Jones to NCCAA Title
Fellowship Christian School graduate Luke Morcos helped the Bob Jones University men’s soccer team capture the NCCAA Division I National Men’s Soccer Championship on Nov. 21, 2021.
Summer 2021 Updates
Alumni Update: Moore Prepares for Senior Lax Season, Completes ROTC Training
Meredith Moore has made a commitment that’s an even bigger one than deciding to become a college women’s lacrosse athlete.
Moore, who enters her senior year and final college lacrosse season at Presbyterian College this year, completed a five-week ROTC training program this summer. She joined ROTC during the fall of her sophomore year, and will be commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the United States Army following graduation in May 2022 from Presbyterian. Moore will then spend four years as an active duty Army officer and another four in the reserves.
“The Lord put the military on my heart,” said Moore, a 2018 graduate of FCS. “I want to offer hope to others in the military, and I want to people [in the military] to know about Jesus. I am so excited about my choice. While training was very demanding, being a college athlete makes you stronger, training a little easier and helps with your endurance.”
On the lacrosse field this past spring, Moore helped Presbyterian to continue to make progress during head coach Eric Clakeley’s second year as the program’s head coach. As a freshman, Moore’s team finished 1-16, but the Blue Hose improved to 2-5 in 2020 and 4-10 in 2021.
“My junior year was awesome,” she said. “It really was a relatively normal season. We had 16 games scheduled, and actually played 14 after a short year my sophomore season. We were happy with that. Coach has done a great job. He is a great leader. We are excited for this season and the progress we can make.”
Last season, Presbyterian posted a 12-11 victory over Longwood in Farmville, Va., on April 3, 2021, which was the Blue Hose’ first conference win for the seniors on the team during their Presbyterian careers.
“We are excited about this season this spring,” Moore said. “We have 13 freshmen coming in. Our goal is to go to the Big South Tournament. As a senior I look for a unique opportunity to lead my teammates. I am excited for my final season. I have enjoyed my three years here, and I really have no complaints. Not very many people can say they played four years on Division I lacrosse at a great school like Presbyterian.”
The field for the Big South is expanding for women’s lacrosse this spring to include Furman University, Mercer University and Wofford College.
As a junior, Moore started all 13 games she played in and registered a career-high 11 ground balls, including three to match her single-game career high in a 23-8 loss to Campbell at home in Clinton, S.C., on April 17. She also caused a career-best seven turnovers overall, and registered a career single-game high of three on April 14 in a 21-7 loss to Winthrop at home. The 13 starts are a career high.
Moore and three teammates were selected for the IWLCA Academic Honor Roll following her junior season.
“It was really quite nice, as academics are really why we are in school,” Moore said with a smile.
During the Covid-19 shortened sophomore season in the spring of 2020, Moore started all seven games and finished with six ground balls and caused one turnover. She set a single-game career best with three groundballs on Feb. 7, 2020 against Howard.
Moore played in a career-best 16 games as a freshman, which included nine starts. She set career highs with two assists and two points, and recorded 10 groundballs and caused four turnovers in 2019.
Moore’s younger sister, Suzanne, enters her sophomore season at Young Harris College this spring.
“It’s been so cool to watch her join a team, and come into her own in lacrosse and otherwise,” Meredith said.
The Moore sisters helped build the girl’s lacrosse program at Fellowship.
“High school lacrosse is so special,” Moore said. “College lacrosse is so memorable and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but the friendships you build and the bonds you create in high school are really extra special. We helped lay a foundation for a special program there. They continue to do really big things at Fellowship, which has people talking about it.”
(Photo courtesy of Presbyterian College)
Alumni Update: Herrmann Ready for Second Collegiate Volleyball Season
Taylor Herrmann hopes for a little more normal of a volleyball season this time around.
The 2020 Fellowship Christian School graduate is getting ready for her second collegiate volleyball season at Piedmont University. This time it should be in the fall.
“It was easier than I planned on, and it was good,” Herrmann said about her first collegiate volleyball season. “Because of Covid we did have a shortened season. The school moved all fall sports to the spring too. We usually play in the fall, and had about half the games we normally have. We are glad to get back to the fall.”
Herrmann’s club volleyball experience with A5 helped her better prepare for her first collegiate season.
“I played club, so that helped,” she said. “The college game is tougher than high school, but club play helped me get ready for that kind of competition at Piedmont.”
Herrmann, a 5-foot-8 Libero and defensive specialist, played in all 15 matches for Piedmont. The Lady Lions finished 4-11 overall, including a 2-6 mark in USA South Athletic Conference matches.
Last season, Herrmann collected 25 sets played, 33 digs, 60 total attempts and a digs percentage per set of 1.32.
“I played in three out five sets overall,” Herrmann said. “With a lot of new players coming in this year, so I really want to keep my playing time.”
This summer Herrmann has been busy with her job and also managed to improve her conditioning via weight training. She heads back to college Aug. 9.
“Practices should start the first day of classes,” she said. “I am excited about the season, and meeting the new people.”
Herrmann helped build a strong program at FCS.
She’s the school’s all-time single-season (2019) and career leader for digs. Herrmann also was named to the All-Area team in 2019, and helped the Lady Paladins win the Area Championship in 2018 and 2019.
“I do miss it a lot,” Herrmann said about FCS volleyball. “Playing with my best friend [Meredith Rush] was a lot of fun. We had some good teams there.”
Herrmann has now found a home at Piedmont, which located in Demorest, Ga. She’s a forensic science major, and Piedmont is one of very few Georgia colleges and universities with that major.
“I really, really like it there,” she said.
Herrmann has some advice for those 2021 FCS graduates headed for collegiate sports this fall, which actually fits for all incoming freshman athletes at Piedmont.
“Make sure you enjoy it,” Herrmann said. “Don’t stress yourself out, like I did a couple of times last year. Make sure you build relationships with your teammates, and work hard to quickly adjust to classes, practices, weight training and games. It’s a pretty busy schedule. And also make sure your grades are good. The coaches really, really watch that in college. If your grades slip than you do not play.”
(Photos courtesy of Piedmont University)
Alumni Update: Moore Completes Successful First Season at Young Harris
As Suzanne Moore prepares for her second collegiate women’s lacrosse season at Young Harris College, she waits patiently to find out her team’s new coach will be.
Head coach Samantha Hurley left the Lady Mountain Lion program earlier this month to take the head coach position at NCAA Division I Radford College in Virginia. In four seasons at Young Harris, Hurley finished with a 33-25 record and guided the Lady Mountain Lions to a pair of regular-season conference titles and one tournament championship.
“She was a great coach, and it was an incredible opportunity for her,” Moore said. “But it’s been a strange summer as we currently don’t have a coach.”
Due to the pandemic, Moore’s freshman season at the NCAA Division II school in north Georgia was impacted.
“Well it was a lot different than I expected,” the defender said. “We did not have fall ball. The first time we played a game [or scrimmage] was in February.”
Moore, who played in 11 games and had two starts, recorded five ground balls and finished with six turnovers for Young Harris, 5-8 overall in 2021. The team went 1-3 in conference games.
Young Harris also faced a pair of top 20 schools in non-conference games last season (Queens University and the University of Mt. Olive).
“We only played four conference games,” Moore said. “We lost two games by one goal. We made the league championship game as the fourth seed, but lost. Overall, the year was OK. I was very happy with the year personally.”
Moore has set some goals for the 2022 season.
“I want to contribute more this year than last year,” she said. “I played in a quarter to about a half of the games I played in. I want to play more.”
The college game was a little different than high school for Moore, a biology major at Young Harris.
“It was a lot faster,” she said. “We had a sixth-year player, who was 24. So we had a wide range of ages on the team too. That was different than high school.”
The 2020 graduate of FCS helped build the Lady Paladin lacrosse program.
“It was super fun to be part of the first of everything,” Moore said. “I was on the first middle school and the first varsity team. I don’t think I realized the significance of it back then, but it’s super cool to think about now.
Moore, whose sister Meredith will enter her senior season at NCAA Division I Presbyterian College this fall, has learned a lot from her older sister.
“She helped me prepare [for college lacrosse], the pace of the game and the people,” Moore said.
In turn, Moore would like to help others get adjusted to college athletics like her sister did for her. She has some helpful advice.
“It’s a completely different game,” she said. “I would tell them to stay true to who you are and work hard. And also lean into your faith. Young Harris isn’t a Christian school, so I got plugged into my church and my small group. Have fun and enjoy college, but give it your all as an athlete.”
A little quieter than the north Atlanta suburbs, Moore has found a home in the north Georgia mountains and the city of Young Harris.
“I love it there,” Moore said. “It’s not just the school, but the people in town. Everyone is great. It’s a great place to be. The school has kids from north Georgia and south Georgia, other states and we also have a lot of International students.”
(Photo courtesy of Young Harris College)
Alumni Update: Joye Transfers to Valdosta State Following Freshman Baseball Season at Georgia State
Fellowship Christian School graduate Preston Joye has decided to transfer to NCAA Division II Valdosta State and continue his collegiate baseball career in south Georgia.
Joye, who graduated from FCS in 2020, completed his first college baseball season for Georgia State University in Atlanta in the spring of 2021. While he enjoyed his time there, he decided to make a change.
“There were a few reasons, but that’s where I am from,” said Joye, who attended Fellowship from eighth to 12th grades. “I have friends on the team, and the coaches have been great and have made me feel welcome. I am excited to be there.”
Valdosta State competes in the Gulf South, and Joye has set his sights on helping grow the program there like he did at FCS.
“I would like to help the team there reach Regionals and hopefully advance to the [Division II] World Series,” Joye said. “I want to be a big impact player and contribute to the team’s success.”
To help him prepare for his sophomore season, Joye is spending this summer in Wyoming as an infielder for the Casper Horeseheads of the Expedition League. The summer league team for college players has a 55-game schedule in June and July.
“For me, I wanted to get some more at-bats,” Joye said. “My defense has always been good, but I want to work on my swing here. My coaches knew someone [with the Horeseheads], and they needed an infielder, so I decided to come here for the summer.”
Joye helped Georgia State post an 18-37 record in 2021. He played in 30 games, started 15 contests and hit .161 in 56 at-bats with nine hits, nine runs and five RBIs. In Sun Belt Conference games, Joye played in 17 games with 11 starts and batted .176 with six hits, six runs and four RBIs for the Panthers. He set season highs with two hits on May 22 against Little Rock, and two runs versus ULM on May 25.
“It was really good,” Joye said about his freshman year. “I sat around a little bit in the early part of the season, but got my chances to play and started to have an impact. I started to contribute.”
Among his highlights were an opportunity to play in televised games and compete in Panthers’ conference games.
What was Joye’s toughest adjustment to college baseball?
“The schedule,” he said. “It was pretty busy. Playing sports in college takes a lot of work and time. The pressure is there too. I found out I had to slow the game down to calm my nerves. When I slowed down my heart rate I found I could compete better.”
As a freshman in the classroom, Joye had some strong success. He was named to the Dean’s List, Fall 2020, and to the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll, Spring 2021.
Joye remains close friends with former FCS teammates Cameron Gill and Isaac Bouton, both current college baseball players.
The friendships he built at Fellowship as a student athlete and helping to build a strong baseball program at FCS are among his favorite memories from high school.
“Some of my friends [from FCS] will be life-long friends,” Joye said. “I also will never forget that second playoff game against Wesleyan that we won on a walk-off homerun. That’s also a favorite memory.”
His advice for incoming freshman athletes is pretty simple.
“The college locker room can be a tough place,” Joye said. “The game can become all that you do, but you need to stand strong in your faith. You also need to listen to your coaches, overcome challenges and adapt, and work on the mental aspect of the game. It will pay off.”
(Photos courtesy of Georgia State University/Dale Zanine)
Alumni Update: Thompson Enjoys First Beach Volleyball Season at USC
While it isn’t always easy for a freshman athlete to wait their turn for playing time, Lizzie Thompson has taken it in stride.
Thompson did not see any game-day action as a freshman member of the University of South Carolina’s beach volleyball team last season, but the 2020 graduate of Fellowship Christian School really enjoyed her first collegiate season.
“My first season was really good,” Thompson said. “We all practice together in the fall and also the spring, so I spent a lot of time with my teammates. I love my teammates and the coaches. That is by far my favorite part [of competing in college beach volleyball]. The actual games and matches are so much fun, especially the home ones. Our home court is on campus, so everyone gets excited for the home matches.”
For beach volleyball, there are five matches and an additional exhibition match that feature pairs in best-of-three matches. South Carolina, a Southeast Conference school, competes in the CCAA for Beach Volleyball. The beach volleyball season is played in the spring, but teams also practice in the fall.
The Lady Gamecocks posted a 23-9 overall record last season, including a 12-5 mark in CCSA matches. Thompson earned a red shirt in 2020-21 and will have four seasons left of athletic eligibility.
A sports and entertainment management major at USC, Thompson adjusted well to college life in 2020-21 despite the pandemic. She did well in the classroom, and was selected for the 2020-21 First-Year SEC Academic Honor Roll.
“Academics are a lot different in college,” she said. “You have to hold yourself accountable. As an athlete at USC, you have a standard. Our coaches expect that we will do well academically.”
Thompson came to Columbia, S.C., with plenty of experience in both indoor and beach volleyball. During her FCS career, Thompson also played beach and club volleyball. She played for the A5 club program in 2020, and competed for Southern Sand Select (2017-19) beach volleyball clubs from 2017-19. During her career, the 6-foot tall Thompson has helped her teams post four first-place finishes in 2018 and three in 2019, and led her club to the BVCA Club vs. Club championship last April.
At Fellowship, she earned the 2018 GHSA Area Player of the Year Award and was honorable mention All-State.
In addition to training this summer, Thompson has helped coach a beach volleyball team for 575 that includes player age ranges of 10-16.
“I personally love coaching,” Thompson said. “It’s actually something I can see myself doing for a career. It’s helpful for my own game [to coach others]. These girls are more like beginners, so you get to really teach. You learn how to coach and what girls need from their coach.”
The experience has helped prepare Thompson for her redshirt freshman season in the spring of 2021-22.
“My goal is to work my butt off and earn playing time,” she said. “Either in exhibition games or regular games. I want to get into games.”
Thompson has some advice for all the former FCS athletes headed for their first season of college sports in 2021-22.
“Honestly, be patient with yourself, and give yourself a break,” she said. “Athletes at Fellowship are big fish in a small pool. At college you become a small fish in a very big pool with plenty of talent. You have to allow yourself time to work on and improve your skills and your game. Take the time to find other hobbies, make friends outside of sports and really make your circle of friends bigger.”
(Photo courtesy of the University of South Carolina)
Alumni Update: Gill Spends Summer Playing Baseball in Coastal Plain League; Completes Sophomore Season at Wofford
Cameron Gill’s summer has been pretty busy.
The junior to be at Wofford College is among three catchers on the roster for the Spartanburgers of the Coastal Plain League, a wood bat league for college baseball players. The team plays a 56-game schedule over June and July.
Gill joined the CPL team for an opportunity to work on his hitting.
“That’s what it’s mainly for,” he said. “Last year I split time at Wofford, so I wanted to get about 100 at-bats [with the Spartanburgers] this summer. It’s a bunch of games. We have three catchers, so basically I catch every other day.”
This spring for the Terriers, Gill played in 28 games and started 23 contests. He batted .282 with 20 hits, two doubles, 10 RBIs, 13 runs and 14 walks with 71 at-bats for Wofford. The team finished 36-21 overall and was 21-9 in the Southern Conference.
“It went really well,” Gill said about his second collegiate season. “We won the regular-season championship, but got eliminated in the tournament. But first place in the regular season was nice. I had a good season. I split the games [behind the plate] with a senior. I felt like I did well. I think I handled my role well. I did what the coaches asked.”
Gill’s goal is to improve on his hitting in 2022.
“My defense was solid,” he said. “I feel like my defense is respected in the league. But I need to get there hitting wise.”
Due to Covid-19, Gill heads into the 2021-22 school year with two academic years left and three for athletics. As a freshman, Gill played in six games and made two starts before the season was cancelled. The team went 14-3 and Gill collected two hits and two runs in 11 at-bats.
“This year was a lot of fun,” Gill said. “I loved it. Freshman year was tough. We had to follow the protocols and be careful. We did not want anyone to get it and take 3-4 guys out of action [due to contact tracing]. This fall started out different too with Covid, but the spring was a blast. Everyone was so happy to be out there. We enjoyed the long bus rides and hanging out with each other. I loved it. This team is super close, and we have a great coaching staff. They are really, really good and push us in personal development.”
Due to the pandemic, Wofford did not schedule any scrimmages in the fall of 2020 like it typically does. Instead the team held a series of intrasquad games.
“We played about 30 innings a week and worked on our individual games,” Gill said.
After two seasons at Wofford, Gill has become more confident in his game and has overcome the challenges of the adjustment to the college game.
“I think it’s just the metal aspect of the game that’s the hardest adjustment,” Gill said. “You care and want to succeed, but it’s not who you are. You can’t just identify yourself with baseball since there are so many highs and lows. You have to remember it’s a game. You have to compete hard, play the game for each other and wear the jersey well.”
Fellowship helped Gill be prepared for the world of collegiate baseball.
“Coach O [Shawn Oliver] does an incredible job,” Gill said. “He was a blast to play for. He does his job well and lets the guys be themselves. He does not have a cookie cutter approach to coaching as he sees the strengths and weaknesses for each player and coaches each guy differently. He helps guys showcase their strengths. He pushes each player shrink the gaps in their game and improve with hard work.”
Gill’s good friends and former FCS teammates Isaac Bouton and Preston Joye are also playing college baseball.
“Isaac, Preston and I all knew we had the tools to successful,” Gill said. “We got it rolling there at Fellowship, and Coach O helped us all.”
At Fellowship, Gill started for four years in baseball and several years in football on offense and defense.
(Photos courtesy of Wofford College)
Alumni Update: Kierpa Posts Solid Junior Season for Covenant College Softball Team
Lauren Kierpa is coming off the best season of her collegiate softball career.
The Fellowship Christian School graduate went 16-11, led the USA South with 155.2 innings pitched, struck out 108 batters and posted a 3.73 earned-run average as the Covenant College softball team’s No. 1 starter. Kierpa helped the team post an 18-18 overall record, and a 7-7 conference mark.
“My sophomore year got cut short due to Covid,” she said. “So I had a lot of time to work out and get ready for my junior season. I really worked on my endurance and strength.”
Kierpa made 24 starts, pitched in 32 games overall and registered 20 complete games and four shutouts. Nationally, she was fourth among NCAA Division III pitchers in complete games and also 20th in wins.
Kierpa, who led the league in complete games, was named to the USA South All-West Division second team and was USA South Pitcher of the Week (March 29, 2021). In addition, she was named to the USA South All-Academic team for 2020-21.
The Covenant senior to be set the school record for starts, tied the mark for shutouts, and was second all-time in single-season wins, fourth in complete games and fifth in innings pitched.
Kierpa’s confidence has grown coming off her junior campaign.
“This was a breakout year for us,” Kierpa said. “It was a very good year for us. It was quite an improvement over my first two years. We had a new coach, which helped out outlook. The team’s defense is so much better behind me. I pitched with so much more confidence.”
As a sophomore, she was limited to just seven games due to the pandemic. She shared the team lead with 21 appearances as a freshman closer for the Lady Scots.
Kierpa, who has started the last two seasons, is excited about her senior season that will begin in the spring of 2022.
“We want to make the [league] tournament, but also go far,” she said. “We want to build on that [in 2022] and maybe even make the NCAA Division III tournament. We have 16 new girls coming in, so we are already working on team bonding. We have some great talent coming back too. We are a completely different team than two years ago.”
Despite some coaching changes in her three years at Covenant, Kierpa is so glad she’s at Lookout Mountain, Ga., school.
“It has been great,” the English major said. “I am so glad I have stayed there. I enjoy the school, my spiritual growth I have made there and the academics.”
In addition to beating Emory, a sweep of Agnes Scott was among the highlights of 2021 for Kierpa
“Last year we beat Maryville and Emory, which were huge wins,” Kierpa said. “We had not beaten Emory in years. It was really the turning point of the season. Beating Emory and those two games against Agnes Scott [were highlights]. We won both [against Agnes Scott] and I pitched both games. The team really got behind me and played great defense that day.”
Prior to joining the Lady Scots, Kierpa had a strong career with plenty of positive memories at FCS.
“I remember coach [Brad] Pager really motivated me,” she said. “He really got me thinking about college softball. He helped my work ethic and pushed me to get to that level. Fellowship prepared me for college.”
(Photos courtesy of Covenant College)
Alumni Update: Murphy Posts 3 Top-20 Finishes During Oglethorpe’s 2021 Golf Season
Tripp Murphy not only has found another way to help him improve his golf game, but it is helping him land some practical advice about life too.
The Oglethorpe University golfer is working as a caddy at Peachtree Golf Course near the Oglethorpe campus.
“Honestly it’s a very good experience,” he said. “It’s an exclusive course and I am able to caddy for some successful business men and meet some famous people. The other day I caddied for Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and Larry Fitzgerald [a NFL wide receiver]. You get to talk to them all about how they achieved their success in the business world and on the football field.”
Murphy enters the 2021-22 school year as a second semester junior for the NCAA Division III Stormy Petrels golf team.
“I have two more full years to play golf at Oglethorpe,” he said. “I didn’t finish the way I wanted last year. But overall it was a good year. I played in every tournament except one. I have worked hard to keep my grades up, which has built my coaches’ confidence in me.”
In 2021, Murphy finished in the top 20 in three of the five tournaments he played in.
At the Tiger Invitational held in Pinehurst, N.C., March 13-14, Murphy fired rounds of 77 and 69 to finish tied for 16th overall.
“It was the biggest tournament I have played in,” he said. “Almost every top 25 team and all top 10 teams competed there. I was ranked 21st in the country [among Division III golfers] following that tournament.”
He wrapped up the tournament schedule with a 17th place finish at the SAA Golf Championships hosted by Chateau Elan Winery and Resort in Braselton, Ga., April 23-25. His rounds were 76, 77 and 79.
From April 12-13, Murphy played in the Wynlakes Intercollegiate in Montgomery, Ala. He finished tied for 19th with rounds of 74 and 72.
“I actually hit 30 pars at that tournament to lead all golfers,” he said. “I hit 30 or 31 greens in regulation. It was a good tournament for me.”
Murphy shot rounds of 74 and 72 to place 22nd overall at the Savannah Invitational to open the season March 8-10.
From March 19-21, Murphy shots rounds on 77, 80 and 82 to finish 102nd overall at the three-day Jekyll Island (Ga.) Collegiate Invitational.
“It humbles you,” Murphy said about the game of golf. “I did not play well there.”
Murphy has set some lofty goals for his next season at Oglethorpe.
“After last year I think I showed myself that I can shoot scores and finish tournaments well,” the Fellowship Christian School graduate said. “I want to develop better consistency, finish in the top 10 at least twice and the top 25 in each tournament play in.”
(Photo courtesy of Oglethorpe University)
Alumni Update: Bouton Named Peachbelt Conference Freshman of Year, Competes in Sun Belt Summer League
Isaac Bouton continues to be a student of the game he loves. In fact, he’s a pretty good one.
Bouton, a 2019 graduate of Fellowship Christian School, was named Freshman of the Year for NCAA Division II’s Peachbelt Conference at Columbus State University this spring but isn’t resting on his success.
The 5-foot-10 shortstop is spending his summer honing his game as a member of the Gwinnett Astros in the Sun Belt Summer League for college players. The team is playing a 28-game schedule at Peachtree Ridge High School in Gwinnett County.
“It’s a good league to keep developing my skills,” he said. “I am coming off a good college season, but still have a lot to learn. Their coach was in a need of a shortstop, and I needed a place to play so it was a great fit. They use wooden bats so you need to be more precise with your bat placement. I am also working on my defense. I want to increase my range and get to more baseballs.”
This spring, Bouton helped Columbus State finish 31-16 overall and 19-13 in the conference. He started all 47 games for the Cougars and ranked third on the club with a .347 batting average, led the squad with 20 doubles and 60 runs, shared first with two triples, was second with 70 hits and ranked fourth with 12 home runs and 50 RBIs. Those numbers were all career highs.
“It was really fun to be around the team this year,” he said. “We started kind of slow but we kept getting better and better. It was a very fun group.”
He set career single-game highs with six hits, three doubles, five RBIs and four runs at North Georgia on May 15, 2021. He belted a career-best three homers versus Georgia Southwestern State University on April 11, 2021.
Due to Covid-19, Columbus State was limited to 21 games (team finished 18-3) in 2019-20. Bouton played in 20 of those contests, but still qualified as a freshman for the Peach Belt Conference award he won this spring.
“Those 20 games really helped me get adjusted to college baseball,” he said. “I felt like I started slow, but started to round the corner late in the year and get better.”
Last season, Bouton hit .235 with 20 hits, five doubles, 18 runs, a home run and 18 RBIs. He led all Cougars freshmen in batting average, hits, doubles, home runs and RBIs. He also led freshmen on the club with 85 at-bats, 10 walks, 20 games played and 20 starts.
College baseball was an adjustment for the FCS star.
“The velocity of the pitching is so much better in college,” Bouton said. “The pitchers have so much better command. They will throw a breaking ball on an 2-0 count, whereas in high school you knew it would be a fastball in that situation.”
A business management major at Columbus State, Bouton has grown to truly enjoy being a collegiate baseball player.
“My first year was different, but I am really starting to love it,” he said. “Moving from a Christian school to a large public university was an adjustment too. But it’s a good school and baseball program to be part of.”
Bouton had a successful career on the diamond at Fellowship filled with many memories. As a senior he hit .535 and was named Region Player of the Year, and in the classroom was a member of the National Honor Society.
"I will never forget that walk-off home run Cody Tapley hit to beat Wesleyan in the playoffs,” Bouton said. "Coach O’s support was terrific. [Head coach Shawn Oliver] was so fun to play for. All the guys were great teammates too. "
(Photo courtesy of Columbus State University)
Alumni Update: Hardin Finishes Football Career, Begins New Journey in Finance
Jack Hardin has traded one interest for another.
Hardin, who recently wrapped up his four-year collegiate football career, graduated from Furman University in May with a degree in business administration. He recently moved to Little Rock, Ark., to take a job he accepted in October 2020.
“It was an awesome experience [playing football at Furman],” Hardin said. “I built so many friendships that I hope will last a lifetime, and had the opportunity to play for some great coaches. Reed [Kroeber] and I were lucky to be involved in such a great program. But I was ready to work. I have always wanted to work in finance. I applied for jobs in the fall, they offered it to me and I decided to take it.”
When Hardin accepted his position as an equity research associate with Stephens, a privately held financial services firm focused on building long-term relationships and long-term results, his senior season was in the balance. He knew he would give up a fifth year of eligibility to play the game he loves to transition to the finance world after he graduated.
“It’s going really well [at Stephens],” said Hardin. “I have a lot to learn, but I am getting into the swing of things. It’s been an adjustment to a new city where I did not know anyone. But I am getting adjusted.”
Hardin did get the chance to play another college football season after all. Furman moved its fall season to the spring of 2021 due to Covid-19. A spring football season in Greenville, S.C., was different for Hardin, who served as a back-up quarterback and holder for field goals and extra points for his second straight season for the Paladins.
“The spring season was different and a little weird,” Hardin said. “But [the seniors] had the opportunity to finish what we started. Even through it did not go as well as planned, it was a good finish. It’s bittersweet that it’s over. Covid made senior year a little longer. It is weird because I have been playing football since I was 5 years old. I played from the time I was 5 and now I am 22. So it’s a bit sad to see that chapter end.”
Hardin and Kroeber, also a former FCS teammate, helped the Furman finish 3-4 overall this spring and attain back-to-back 8-5 seasons in both 2018 and 2019. The Paladins posted a 6-2 mark in the SoCon in 2019. The team wound up second in the conference, but lost in the first round of the playoffs in the fall of 2019.
In the spring of 2021, Hardin was the holder for all extra points and field goals, and “got into the first game and the last game” as a quarterback. He completed one pass.
During his career with the Paladins, Hardin was named to the Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll four times.
In 2019, Hardin served as the holder for all placements. He helped Furman placekicker Grayson Atkins earn All-America honors. Atkins made 13-of-15 field-goal attempts that season as he extended his SoCon record of 18 straight field goals. That season Hardin also completed his first collegiate pass (20 yards versus VMI) and first college touchdown (a 30-yard run on an option play against Point to end the regular season).
Hardin did not see any action in 2018 or 2017 at Furman.
The 2017 FCS graduate played four years of football for the Fellowship Paladins. He led FCS to the state title game in December 2016 as a senior quarterback.
(Photo courtesy of Furman University)
Alumni Update: Swartz Among Scoring Leaders at Boston College This Season
It was not a typical season for Cameron Swartz this past winter.
“It was pretty rough,” the Fellowship Christian School graduate said about her 2020-21 season with the Boston College women’s basketball team. “We had a few quarantines, cancelled games and trips to hotels to wait out our time before we could practice and play again. We’d finally be cleared to play, and then it seemed like we’d always play a tough team without any practices. It was hard to stay in shape and practice.”
The Lady Eagles basketball team finished 7-12 overall and 2-11 in ACC games in 2020-21, which was Swartz’ redshirt sophomore season.
Swartz started all 19 games at guard, and ranked second on the team with 254 points and averaged a career-high 13.4 points per game. She was fourth on the squad with 577 minutes played, ranked second with 92 rebounds and was fifth with 27 assists. She went 30-for-106 from behind the three-point line.
“I think I played well,” Swartz said. “The start and stop [of the season] was hard on everyone. It hurt our chemistry on the court. Towards the end of the season we played better and really finished stronger. Overall, we played well as a team.”
Swartz put in long hours in the gym to work on her defense and hone her offense last offseason and as much as she could during the Covid-19 impacted 2020-21 campaign.
“When you don’t practice as much, it’s hard on muscle memory,” she said. “It’s harder on shooters like me. I tried to drive more this year and create opportunities to score. But it was tough to stay consistent.”
Swartz, who is currently in Boston, Mass., through Aug. 6 for BC’s seven-week off-season workout and practice program, expects the Lady Eagles to improve in 2021-22.
“I think we are looking good this summer,” Swartz said, noting that BC will have five seniors, one junior and two sophomores and six newcomers on the roster this season. “We are older, but we also have young players coming in. The newcomers are great and are a special group. They fit in well.”
Teamwork is a theme for the Lady Eagles.
“Overall, we have a very good group,” Swartz said. “We have each other’s backs. As a team we look stronger, and we are all vaccinated!”
Swartz enters the season with two years of eligibility left. She is an applied phycology major with a minor in communications.
In her first year at BC, Swartz played in 30 games for the Lady Eagles in 2019-20. She made 19 starts and averaged of 23.6 minutes, nine points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists per contest. Swartz ranked fifth on the team in scoring, ranked third with 35 three-point field goals and was third with 56 assists.
She transferred to Boston College from the University of Colorado during the middle of her freshman season. Before moving to BC, Swartz played seven games for the Lady Buffalos in 2018-19.
(Photos courtesy of Boston College)
Alumni Update: Gibbs Named to All-Sun Belt First Team in Final College Soccer Season
Mackenzie Gibbs wrapped up her collegiate soccer career in style.
Gibbs, a 2017 graduate of Fellowship Christian School, was named a First Team member of the All-Sun Belt Women’s Soccer Team following the 2020-21 season. She helped her team finish 7-8 overall over the fall and spring schedules, ranked second on the team with four goals, shared second with eight points and was tied for first on the squad with two game-winning goals.
“Last year was pretty good,” she said. “It was different with Covid. Our preseason was shorter and we did not play as many games as normal. But I was grateful for the season. We did well, but I feel like Covid played a role in our consistency as we finished under .500.
“For me personally it was a good season too. I had a couple of game-winning goals and scored a couple of other big goals. That was exciting. Looking back I focused on having fun my last year.”
As a senior, Gibbs led the team with 12 shots on goal to match her career best set as a freshman, tied for first with 20 overall shots and also set career highs in goals, game-winning tallies and points. As a junior, she set a career high with three assists and recorded seven points. Gibbs registered one goal as a sophomore in 2018, and notched three goals and six points as a freshman.
Gibbs has plenty of highlights during her time with the Lady Chanticleers. Making the ESPN Top 10 as a freshman “was crazy, and so much fun” and “I’ll always remember that time during the hurricane in 2018 when we were gone from campus for like 18 days during the middle of the season.”
A May 2021 graduate from Coastal Carolina (biology), Gibbs has plans to attend medical school next year following a yearlong scribe role at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
“It will help me prepare for medical school,” she said. “In high school I started thinking about a career in the medical field, and maybe becoming a doctor.”
While Gibbs is excited about her career plans, the end to her collegiate soccer career was bittersweet.
“It definitely is,” she said. “It’s weird. I was not ready to be done.”
Since joining the Lady Chanticleers four years ago, the 5-foot-8 midfielder has helped the team post a 33-33-4 record, including a 22-16-5 mark in the Sun Belt Conference games.
The team, 6-4 in conference matches last season, posted a 7-9-2 overall record and a 5-4-1 mark in conference play in 2019.
Gibbs excelled in the classroom at Coastal Carolina. She was named to the Conway, S.C. school’s Dean’s List (3.5 GPA or higher) for the spring 2021, fall 2020 and fall 2019 semesters, and earned a spot on the President’s List (4.0 GPA) for the spring 2020 semester. Gibbs was also a member of Coast Carolina’s Dean’s List (3.5 GPA or higher) for the 2018 fall semester, and was a member of the Sun Belt Conference Commissioner’s List for 2018-19. As a freshman, Gibbs earned placement on the school’s Dean’s List (3.25 GPA and higher) for the fall 2017 and spring 2018 semesters.
At Fellowship, Gibbs was a three-time MVP (sophomore, junior, and senior seasons), and was selected as Max Prep Player of the Year her senior year. She led the Lady Paladins to the 2016 GHSA Class A State Championship, the 2015 state title game, the 2014 state semifinals and the Elite 8 in 2017.
“I would say that state [title game] was my career highlight at Fellowship,” Gibbs said about her FCS career. “I still remember being with the team that day. I remember vividly the game. It was an amazing day.”
The team captain her senior year, Gibbs tallied 172 points (62 goals, 48 assists) during her FCS career.
“Playing a sport in college is hard,” she said. “It has its ups and downs, but you are playing a sport because you love it. Fellowship prepared me well.”
(Photo courtesy of Coastal Carolina University)
Alumni Update: Mansell Finishes Track & Field Career, Graduates from The Citadel
While his final track & field season at the Citadel might have been disappointing, Fellowship Christian School graduate Harrison Mansell truly enjoyed his four-year experience at The Citadel.
“It was tough,” he said about his senior track & field season. “I struggled with injuries. I only got into one meet. But I can’t speak highly enough about my experience at The Citadel. That place did so many great things for me. I have made life long friends there, got to spend four years in a great city [Charleston, S.C.], and learned the skills that will make me successful. The professors were great, and always willing to help.”
Mansell, who recently graduated with his bachelor’s degree in business administration, has joined Oracle in the sales department. He has worked virtually for the company since June 14 but will ultimately be based in Durham, N.C.
A military school adds an extra component for the typical student athlete.
“Out of a scale of 10, I’d rate my experience at The Citadel an eight,” Mansell said. “At times it was a lot to handle, athletics, academics and military instruction. It taught me a lot of lessons, and definitely prepared me for life after college. I would say a military degree makes you stand out. They’ll see you went to a military institution and take notice. The Citadel taught me to balance multiple things at one time. I became more organized and determined there. The degree [from The Citadel] matters.”
Due to injuries and Covid-19, Mansell did not see a lot of meets his last two indoor and outdoor seasons with the Bulldogs.
As a junior, Mansell competed in two indoor meets. He posted a season-best high jump mark of 1.88m (6 feet, two inches) at the Gamecock Opener Jan. 17-18, 2020, and reached a height of 1.85m (6-0.75) at the VMI Team Challenge on Jan. 25, 2020.
His best season came during his sophomore year, including a personal-record jump of 1.93m (6-4) at the 2018 SoCon Outdoor Championships held May 10-11, 2018 in the high jump “that was probably my career highlight.”
He competed in six indoor meets as a sophomore, including a third-place jump of 1.88m (6-2) at the Gamecock Inaugural held Jan. 18-19, 2018. He placed sixth with a leap of 1.83m (6-0) at the USC Open on Feb. 16, 2019. Later that school year, Mansell competed in four outdoor meets. That included a ninth-place finish at East Carolina University’s Bill Carson Invitational held April 5-6, 2019 at 1.80m (5-10.75).
As a freshman, Mansell participated in four indoor meets, including his collegiate debut at the Wake Forest Invitational Jan. 20-21, 2018. At the Virginia Military Institute Team Challenge held on Jan. 27, 2018, he placed ninth at 1.80m (5-10.75). He matched that 1.80m mark to place fifth at the JDL College Team Challenge on Feb. 8, 2018, and was fifth at the USC Invitational held on Feb. 16-17, 2018 at 1.82m (5-11.5).
Mansell followed up the indoor season with five outdoor meets that included a third-place finish at the Terrier Relays from March 30-31, 2018 with a height of 1.85m (6-0.75).
Academically, Mansell reached The Citadel’s Dean’s List (Fall 2018), and the Southern Conference Honor Roll (2018-19).
Alumni Update: Versatile Lineman Kroeber Ends Collegiate Football Career
Versatility was a recurring theme during Reed Kroeber’s collegiate football career.
Kroeber, who graduated from Furman University this spring, recently wrapped up his football career for the Paladins.
“I got to start at all five positions [on the offensive line] during my career at Furman,” he said. “That was actually pretty cool. The coaches switched me to left tackle after the first game this year. I was always ready to play no matter [the position]. I was able to pick up the offensive plan across the board despite where I played. Knowing what to do is more than half the battle.”
Due to Covid-19, Furman moved its 2020 season to this past spring. Kroeber started one game at left guard and five games at right tackle during the school’s spring football season.
“It felt like a normal season,” Kroeber said. “It was an OK year on the field. We finished 3-4 and played just conference games. It was not exactly the season we wanted [record wise], but I still got to finish out my fifth season at Furman.”
Kroeber has already had time to reflect on his collegiate career.
“While I was playing it felt like I was there a long time,” he said. “But now it doesn’t seem like I was there that long. I had a great time at Furman. It’s a great school.”
Overall, the school finished 28-26 in Kroeber's five years with the program. He did not play as a true freshman but went on to become a four-year starter on the offensive line. The previous two seasons Kroeber was the team’s starter at left guard.
Furman finished 8-5, including a 6-2 conference mark, in both 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Kroeber, who graduated in May with degrees in both business administration and health sciences, has been accepted in the master's program in accounting at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. He’ll begin a year-long program in August that includes nearly 10 months of classes and more than two months taking a series of four exams to become a CPA. His goal is to work in audits for a Big Four firm.
While he may have hung up the shoulder pads, Kroeber is not planning to leave the game completely.
“I would like to stay involved in football, and maybe help a high school team near where I am,” he said. “I spent 10 years playing the game, so I’d like to be involved in other ways. That was my mindset this year too. I really tried to pass on things to the younger guys and help them. That was a great positive for me this year.”
Fellow FCS graduate Jack Hardin also wrapped up his collegiate career at Furman this spring.
“That was huge for me to have a teammate from Fellowship at Furman,” Kroeber said. “Having a guy to work out with in the off season was huge. We could push each other and hold each other accountable.”
Speaking of FCS, Kroeber fondly recalls his career at Bob Lord Field.
“I am so thankful for my time at Fellowship,” he said. “I appreciate the opportunities at FCS to grow as a player and a student. It helped me develop as a player there so I could play college football.”
Kroeber earned several academic and football awards at Furman and Fellowship.
During his five years at Furman, Kroeber was named to the Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll in 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2017. Kroeber was also selected for the 2017 Hero Sports Freshman All-America and 2017 Phil Steele Freshman All-America teams.
While at FCS, Kroeber was included on the Atlanta-Journal Constitution’s all-state team in 2014, and also earned recognition as Region Lineman of the Year and also included on the AJC All-Metro North Fulton (all classifications) team.
(Photo courtesy of Furman University)
National Championship: Dannemiller Helps Kentucky Win 2021 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships.
Fellowship Christian School graduate Caroline Dannemiller recently helped the University of Kentucky Wildcats team capture the 2021 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships.
The event was held over Memorial Day Weekend (May 27-30) at the Virginia Horse Park in Lexington, Va. The Wildcats won their first USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championship. Kentucky brought 30 riders to the event.
Dannemiller, who will be a senior this fall at Kentucky, was pleased with the 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Fernhill Dreaming’s weekend performance in the Modified B division after the pair placed third overall.
“He had a really great run-up to the event, so I was hoping to put in a solid three phases together,” Dannemiller said. “He came out and tried his best, and it was super fun. I was really happy with him. It was an awesome experience [winning the championship]. It was my first time going to the USEA championships. Everyone was cheering each other on. It was the most teams we brought to the competition, and our first time winning it.”
Dannemiller and her teammates Cosby Green, Ivie Cullen Dean and Abbey O’Day won the event. They were among eight Wildcat teams at the event that included 105 entries, 29 teams and 15 schools.
A 2019 graduate of FCS, Dannemiller has a long history with horses.
“I have been riding since I was 5,” she said. “I bought my first horse when I was 14. I think I always knew I wanted to ride competitively.
Dannemiller, a marketing major, plans to graduate early in May 2022.
(Photos courtesy of USEA/Kim Beaudoin)
Alumni Update: Cochran Helps Reinhardt Capture 4th Straight National Lacrosse Title
(This is the first in a series of summer updates on Fellowship Christian School graduates who have continued their athletic career at the collegiate level.)
It was a pretty memorable season for Cam Cochran to say the least.
The sophomore helped Reinhardt University capture its fourth consecutive NAIA National Championship and complete at 17-0 season. The Eagles defeated Indiana Tech in the NAIA Men's Lacrosse National Invitational Final played in Savannah on May 8.
Cochran became the first FCS graduate to earn a national collegiate lacrosse title. FCS graduates Elizabeth Johnson, Emma Sonnett and Emily Sonnett all helped their NASA club soccer team capture a national championship several years ago.
How did it feel to hoist the trophy?
“It was great,” Cochran said. “I’ve played in big games before at Fellowship, but nothing compares to a national championship. This title was really two years of hard work for our team. This win [in the title game] was very, very satisfying. This was the first time in the four years we were undefeated. Not losing a game all season was outstanding.”
Cochran excelled in his sophomore campaign at Reinhardt after COVID-19 limited his team to four games in 2020. In 2021, he ranked sixth on the team with 17 goals, 30 points, 47 shots and 28 shots on goal, while he finished fifth with 13 assists.
“It was pretty successful,” Cochran said about his season on the field. “I was kind of like the sixth man in basketball. I came in off the bench first, and was ready to step in when guys needed a break. Personally I felt like I made the most of my playing time. My goal is to help us keep winning.”
Cochran, who starred at both football and lacrosse at FCS, has already learned valuable life lessons at Reinhardt.
“I have learned patience and perseverance,” he said. “It’s a long season, so have to help you team win. Our team persevered through games this season when we struggled to come back and win. Sometimes you need to slow down and patient, and the wins will come. Everyone on this team is a great competitor.”
Cochran attributes the Eagles success to the philosophies of head coach John Snow.
“The way he pushed us,” he said. “He loves us, but he’ll push you the hardest he can. He’ll drain you, but our guys will give it all.”
Next semester, Cochran hopes to be able to attend classes in person instead of online as he continues his third year at the Waleska school. He’s a sports studies major with a business minor.
This summer Cochran will to give lacrosse lessons and teach kids about the sport he loves, and work on his own game.
(Photos courtesy of Reinhardt University)