Caroline Dannemiller Captures U.S. Eventing Association Area III Championships
Fellowship Christian School senior Caroline Dannemiller captured the United States Eventing Association, Inc. (USEA) Area III Championships held July 6-8 at Chattahoochee Hills Eventing in Fairburn, Ga.
"Area was very hard because we had to qualify to compete," said Dannemiller, who was second heading into the finals. "The cross country course was very hard, but we were able to get through it [and be in a position to win]. I was really proud at how well we did. There was a lot of pressure heading into the finals, so this win is very rewarding."
Dannemiller competed in the three phases on the same horse in Fairburn. Eventing is the triathlon of Equestrian sports consisting of dressage, cross country and stadium jumping on the same horse. A group of nine started the competition, and four made it to the final show at the Chatt Hills event.
Area III consists of riders from the following states: Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi.
Dannemiller has participated in equestrian for 12 years, and has competed in eventing for two years. She competes in about 20 events annually.
Dannemiller and her horse "Tops" are planning to show at the International level (Caroline's first time doing this) over Labor Day weekend at a show in Fairburn, Ga. They are moving to the CIC 1* level of Eventing in hopes of getting enough qualifying scores to apply to be on the USEA Young Rider team, which is the equivalent to the Junior Olympic team, next summer.
Eventing is a club sport in college, but is an Olympic sport, which is Dannemiller's ultimate goal.
"The school has been so supportive of my riding," Dannemiller said. "I miss some school due to the training and out-of-state competitions. But my parents and I are so thankful that FCS has embraced my dreams. They have allowed me to go to 'regular' school and still compete at a high level."
(Photos courtesy the Dannemiller family)
FCS Graduate Mackenzie Gibbs Completes Freshman Soccer Season at Coastal Carolina, Goal Makes ESPN
Mackenzie Gibbs received quite a bit of notoriety as a freshman soccer player this past season.
The Coastal Carolina University freshman scored the tying-goal in the 89th minute of a 2-1 double overtime victory over Troy University on Sept. 22, 2017 that was aired on ESPN Sports Center as a top 10 play of the day.
"The season went really well," said Gibbs, a 2017 graduate of Fellowship Christian School. "It started off good, and was kind of up-and-down for us as a team. But it was a great experience, and we finished the year strong."
Gibbs appeared in 20 games for the Lady Chanticleers, including 12 starts and logged a total of 1,045 minutes played. She scored three goals on 29 shots, including her first career goal an insurance score in 3-0 victory against Wofford College. Gibbs netted for the game-winner – her third career goal – in a 2-1 Sun Belt Conference first-round playoff victory over Texas State.
"Making it all the way to the Sunbelt Champions was a season highlight," she said. "Although we lost, it was a great experience. Having my goal against Troy played on Sports Center was also something to remember."
A 2017 Coastal Carolina Dean's List student, Gibbs played attacking midfield as a freshman after beginning preseason as a winger.
"The transition [to college soccer] was a challenge," Gibbs said. "Adapting to a new team and being part of a new system took some getting used to. The girls in college are stronger, the speed of the play is faster and the players are better conditioned. They work out a lot more."
Gibbs said her main goals for the 2018 season are to come into the season more fit, and "earn the highest GPA I can." She is focused this summer on work, the weight room and being prepared preparing the season.
Gibbs majors in Biology at Coastal Carolina.
She joined the Lady Chants program following a stellar career under the tutelage of former FCS head coaches Tripp Hughes and Tim Rice, current coach Andy Trevers and their staffs.
While at Fellowship, Gibbs was a three-time MVP (sophomore, junior, and senior seasons), and earned the Max Prep Player of the Year award as a Lady Paladin senior.
FCS captured the GHSA Class A State Championship during Gibbs' sophomore season. She helped the team reach the state title game in 2015, and the GHSA Elite Eight during her senior campaign as team captain. She notched 172 points (62 goals, 48 assists) in her four-year high school career at Fellowship.
(Photos courtesy of Coastal Carolina)
Bruno Completes First Year of College Soccer at LaGrange, Transfers to Georgia State
Michael Bruno has completed his first season of college soccer.
The 2017 graduate of Fellowship Christian School helped the Division III LaGrange College soccer team to a 5-11-2 record and a trip to the USA South Tournament (the Panthers fell 7-0 at Maryville College in Tennessee in the first round). He played midfield at LaGrange, where he notched three assists in eight games.
"It went decent," Bruno said. "I was pretty happy about everything. I honestly hoped to play more, but athletically college did not seem to be a huge leap. I enjoyed college soccer last season."
During a recent interview, Bruno shared that he's transferred to Georgia State for his sophomore year. The Panthers have both a NCAA Division I team and a pair of club soccer teams. He will try out to see which team he'll land for the season.
"[Transferring] does not mean soccer is going away," he said in a recent interview. "I am not sure how soccer looks for me this year yet, but I will know soon [following tryouts]. I want to grow as a player and see more minutes whether at the semi pro, club or college level."
Bruno, sociology major with a minor in psychology, faced a few big adjustments to college.
"The conditioning for college athletes is much harder than high school," Bruno said. "There are really so many adjustments really. Dorm life was a struggle at times. Plus the challenge for any new college athlete is fitting in and impressing the coaches."
After having his freshman season behind him, Bruno has some advice for this year's freshman class of college athletes from Fellowship heading off to college.
"When it comes to college sports, being more independent is my one key takeaway from last season," he said. "Freshman need to listen, be coachable, focus on physical fitness and learn to play to your strengths and abilities as a player."
Freshman can't worry about playing time, but make the most of it when they are on the field, he also noted.
Bruno, who played under Andy Trevers, Ari Durham and James Williamson at FCS, was a two-time All-Area selection at Fellowship, where he helped the Paladin squad reach the GHSA Class A state finals as a junior in 2016. He was selected for the 2016 GHSA All-Star team.
(Head shot courtesy of LaGrange College, action photo from Hudl)
FCS graduate Harrison Mansell Clears Career-Best High Jump Distance at SoCon Championships for The Citadel
Harrison Mansell had to battle through a hamstring injury during his first season of track & field at The Citadel, but the season still included a pretty big highlight.
"It went well," the 2016 graduate of Fellowship Christian School said about his first collegiate track season. "It wasn't until the end of the year before I could show the coaches what I could do. I think it goes for all college sports, but the practices aren't as intense in high school. It's a bigger deal at college. We are all more motivated because we choose to be there."
Mansell competed in three meets last season in the high jump, including the SoCon Championships.
His happiest memory of the season was placing fourth in the high jump with a personal best six-feet, six inches at that meet. It was two inches longer than his previous career best.
"My previous best was 6-4 when I won the state championship as a junior at Fellowship," he said.
Managing college classes and the schedule as an athlete at the Citadel was not always easy for Mansell. Then add the routine of attending a military institution, and the schedule becomes even a little bit more demanding. To say it's an adjustment for a freshman held true for Mansell.
"It was very tough at first," he said. "Brandon Wilson, who I went to Fellowship with, helped me out. It was something to adjust too. The days are long. I would leave my room at 6 a.m. and not be back until 10 p.m. Having Brandon there really helped me adjust quicker."
Mansell's typical morning routine includes getting up at 6 a.m., followed by weight room, training, running and military exercises before heading to class.
He quickly adjusted to the college and cadet rotunines, which helped his transition into the winter track season.
As an athlete, Mansell competed in the indoor track season during the winter, and the outdoor track and field season that begins in February and run through May.
Mansell was selected by the Bulldog coaching staff to travel with his team to all the winter and spring meets, where his team competed against former FCS teammate and classmate Emma Grace Hurley, who enters her junior season at Furman University.
Mansell is hoping to have an injury-free sophomore season at The Citadel. He has been participating in a summer conditioning program to prepare for the track seasons.
"I am looking forward to the season," he said.
(Photo courtesy of The Citadel)
Jack Hardin Ready for Upcoming Football Season at Furman University
Unfortunately Jack Hardin enters the Furman University football team's preseason on the injured list.
The 2017 graduate of Fellowship Christian School tore the labrum on his right shoulder during the spring game. Hardin was a member of the Paladins' scout team last fall, and was awarded a redshirt and extra year of eligibility. He was named to the SoCon Academic Honor Roll.
"It went really well," Hardin said about his freshman season. "I red shirted, but I got hurt in the spring game. The doctors told me it was a six-month recovery time. I have not started throwing yet. I hope to get the clearance in early September [to begin practice]. My playing time this year depends on how my shoulder heals. I was working my way up the depth chart before the injury."
One of six quarterbacks on the Furman roster, Hardin has been working out this summer with former FCS and current Furman teammate Reed Kroeber, who is switching to center this season. Hardin has been taking snaps from Kroeber, who is learning the art of the center position quickly this offseason.
Kroeber was a welcome sight for the new freshman.
"It was a good experience," Hardin said about his first year of college. "It was hard not playing, but I knew it would be a learning experience. I have enjoyed being at Furman. It was brand new, but Reed helped. I was blessed to have him there. I was prepared for not playing, but I was not expecting an injury."
Hardin, who also played basketball and soccer at FCS, was used to being busy in high school but his activity level ramped up at the Greenville, S.C., college.
"I was used to time management," he said. "But you really have to balance your time as a college athlete. With meetings, workouts, practices, games, travel, four classes and school work, you're pretty busy."
Hardin is part of a growing program that won eight games in 2017, and reached the second round of the league playoffs. The club finished 8-5 overall.
Furman opens the 2018 season at intrastate rival Clemson University on Sept. 1 at 12:20 p.m.
The Paladins are ranked 16th in Hero Sports Preseason Top 25 for FCS schools. Kroeber and Hardin will face former FCS teammates Clay Buchweitz (Samford University) and Ian Berryman (Western Carolina University) on the field this season.
Hardin, a two-year QB starter at FCS, led the Paladins to an 18-6 record in his two years at the helm of the Paladin offense from 2015-16. He led Fellowship to the GHSA Class A Private Championship Game, Region 6-A and sub-Region championships and a school-record 13-game win streak that season. The 2016 team finished with a single-season record 13-1 mark.
At FCS, Hardin also played strong safety and linebacker. He finished with 3,308 passing yards, 32 passing touchdowns and rushed for more than 1,000 yards during his career at Fellowship.
In his senior campaign, Hardin threw for 1,774 yards and 24 TDs, ran for 754 yards and 16 scores. He received several honors that year, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution All-State Class A Private School Offensive Player of the Year Award, and the All-Region 6B Offensive Player of the Year Award. He was also selected for the North Fulton All-Classification First Team.
He is both a second-generation Furman athlete and college football player. His mom Nicki is a 1991 Furman graduate, and was the school's track and field MVP in 1987. His father, Greg, played football at Murray State.
(Head Shot courtesy of Furman University, FCS file photo)
Williamson Competes in Brazil, Prepares for Junior Soccer Season at Berry College
Jake Williamson has had a pretty busy summer, highlighted by an opportunity to play soccer in South America.
The 2016 graduate of Fellowship Christian School traveled to Brazil from May 28-June 6 with a team of NCAA Division III all-stars for four games against under-22 teams from Brazil in Jundial, Valinhos and Rio de Janeiro.
Williamson, FCS' all-time leading soccer scorer with 150 career goals, was among a team of players from NCAA Division III schools who were recognized as All-Americans, All-Region or All-Conference athletes and selected for the trip. The 16 players on Williamson's squad came from eight different schools and eight different states. His teammates from Berry College – senior Caleb Ford and junior Alec Jones – were also part of the squad that competed in Brazil.
"It was awesome," Williamson said. "It was a great experience. The first two teams we played were two of the best teams I have played in my life. We went 2-2 overall, and we had some very tough games. It was an honor to be part of this opportunity. All the players there from our team and Brazil were very, very good."
Williamson is coming off a very strong sophomore season at Berry. He scored six goals and assisted six others, tallied two game-winners, took 64 shots (30 were on goal) and started all 17 games for Berry College (8-8-1 overall and 3-3-1 in SAA play). Following the season, he was selected for the All-SAA First Team. He set career highs in goals, assists, points (18), game-winning tallies, games, starts, shots and shots on goal in 2017.
"I thought we did really good last year," Williamson said. "We're still young, so we are really looking forward to next year. We had some bumps throughout the middle of the season last year. We went four or five games without a goal, but then we got on a roll later in the year. Personally I was happy with my season too. I was free from injuries and I started every game."
The Vikings lost to Oglethorpe University in the SAA semifinals. Oglethorpe went on to win the league title and advance deep in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
In addition to his trip to Brazil, Williamson is working at Camp Highland for part of the summer and working with a local production company in Alpharetta that specializes in documentaries, short films and commercials. "It has been a good experience," said Williamson, a communications major at Berry.
Williamson finished his Fellowship career with 150 goals and 45 assists, and helped the Paladins advance to the 2016 GHSA Class A Soccer Championships title game.
He brought plenty of talent to Rome, Ga., where he appeared in 14 games (four starts) as a collegiate freshman in 2016. He tallied five goals and collected an assist for the Vikings, who finished 10-9 overall that year and 3-4 in SAA contests. That season he took 24 shots, including nine on goal, and had one game-winning goal.
"I feel like I have figured out the college game, so I am really looking forward to this year," Williamson said. "Our team dynamic has been working very well. We only had two seniors last year, and one is coming back [earned another year of eligibility due to injuries], so we're returning pretty much the same team. We are excited."
The Vikings open the season at the BSC Labor Day Classic in Birmingham, Ala., Aug. 31-Sept. 2.
(Photos courtesy of Berry College)
FCS Graduate Dariean Ward Closes Out Collegiate Softball Career at Lander University
Dariean Ward has completed her successful collegiate softball career believing the old adage that defense wins games.
"It went very well," she said about her career at Lander University in Greenwood, S.C. "This year we made it to the conference tournament, and we made it past the first round. I wound not change [my experience] at Lander. It's hard being a college athlete, and balancing it all but it was rewarding too. College sports help your mental focus stay sharp."
Ward, a 2014 graduate of Fellowship Christian School, earned a bachelor's degree in business-marketing management from Lander.
Eventually the Marietta native eyes a career in real estate, and a potential move back to the Atlanta area, but she is currently working in the office of a Greenwood company.
"It has been a very good experience for me," she said.
Ward wrapped up a four-year career for the Lady Bearcats this spring, helping the club finish 32-18.
She played in 47 games, which matched her career high, and hit two home runs, smacked three doubles, drove in 15 runs – her second-highest season total at Lander – and scored 10 runs. But the infielder and utility player prides herself on her defense.
"Hitting numbers are important, but my defense was good this year," Ward said. "I am proud of how I performed defensively over my final three years. It was consistent and helped our team win games and improve. I overcame my freshman year injury [being hit in the face with a batted ball], and wound up with a very good career."
In 2018, she started 45 games and finished with four 2-hit games for the Lady Bearcats. She matched her career best for homers.
As a junior, Ward appeared in 38 games and made 33 starts. At the plate, she collected one double, two home runs and 12 RBIs.
She also scored six runs and belted a three-run walkoff homer in a 6-3 victory over Columbus State on March 24, 2017.
Arguably Ward's best season at the plate came as a sophomore.
She appeared in all 47 games, made a career-best 46 starts and set career highs with 21 RBIs, two home runs, a team-leading 16 doubles, 25 runs and a .317 batting average.
On April 2, 2016, Ward finished with five hits, three RBIs and two runs during a doubleheader against Georgia Southwestern. She registered a career single-game best four hits against USC-Aiken on March 16, 2016. On March 14, 2016, she collected four hits, including three doubles, scored four times and drove in three more runs during a doubleheader against North Greenville.
As a freshman, Ward played in 40 games at Lander. She finished with one homer, 13, RBIs, six doubles and 15 runs.
(Photos courtesy of the Lander University)
Baumann Enters Her Senior Beach Volleyball Season at University of South Carolina
AJ Baumann has been part of the growth of the University of South Carolina's beach volleyball team. The 2015 graduate of Fellowship Christian School has played on the Game Cock team for the past three years.
"We were one of eight teams to reach the NCAA Tournament last season," Baumann said. "I have really enjoyed my time there. It's been a real progression there. It's very nice to have been part of the improvement."
What's the reason for the success?
"I would say a big part of our season last year was that our team bought into the mental aspect of the program," she said. "We believed we could win. We had a couple of great recruiting years and our coaching staff is great, so we knew we could do well."
In collegiate beach volleyball, two players are on the sand "court" at one time in a best-of-five match. Each school has one to five pairs on their roster during the season that runs from late February through May.
USC is part of the CCSA Conference, and is only one of two Southeastern Conference Schools to have a beach volleyball program (Louisiana State in the other). Baumann estimates that there are 60-70 beach volleyball programs around the country.
"We have high expectations for this season," she said.
This summer, Baumann is working out to get ready for the season, and has an internship with a women's clothing company called fab'rik. Her major at USC is fashion merchandising with a minor in business administration.
"It's been a great experience," Baumann said about her internship.
She feels the same way about her indoor volleyball career at Fellowship.
In her last season at FCS, Baumann helped lead the Lady Paladins to the GHSA Class Volleyball Championships Final Four.
"That was one of my favorite memories at FCS," she said. "I always remember that season. It was a dream. We had an awesome ride to the Final Four. We had a great coach [Kirbie Wallace] and a terrific bunch of girls. We were good enough to win, but we believed in our team and we worked very hard to get that far. We also had an amazing group of fans. I remember the uniqueness and advantage we had at Paladin Gym. Our classmates came out to support us and were very vocal."
In 2018, Baumann played in three duals during the exhibition season (including a 1-1 record with partner Caroline Skaff) for USC as a junior.
In her sophomore season, Baumann played in a match with Hannah Edelman in a loss to Jacksonville State on April 15, 2017. She played in six exhibition matches that year for the Lady Game Cocks. As a freshman, Baumann went 1-0 in match action and competed in three exhibition matches.
Scholastically, Baumann was named to the 2016-17 Spring SEC Academic Honor Roll and was placed on the CCSA 2015-16 Beach Academic Honor Roll.
(Photos courtesy of the University of South Carolina)
Hurley Sets Steeplechase Record at Furman University, Completes Busy Sophomore Season
Emma Grace Hurley had the distinction of holding the Furman University record time in the steeplechase for a while last spring.
The Fellowship Christian School graduate set her personal record and school record time of 10:06.35 during her sophomore season before the mark was eclipsed by her teammate at the NCAA East preliminaries. She battled through injuries and placed 23rd in the event at the NCAA Championships (10:18.97).
To say that Hurley has had a busy first two collegiate years at Furman is a bit of an understatement.
The former FCS standout and state champion ran cross-country in the fall, indoor track in the winter and outdoor track & field in the spring for both of her first two seasons. She enters her junior year at the Greenville, S.C., university in August.
"We don't really have an offseason," said Hurley, who is working fulltime this summer at Camp All-American at Perimeter Church. "I am still running 50 miles a week. I am probably busier over the summer [than during the school year]. I enjoy going to work more than class. Freshman year was a hard adjustment, but this year was very good. We worked together as a team, and it did not seem like we were competing against each other."
Among Hurley's highlights her sophomore year was the Paladin squad placing seventh at Nationals, and winning the conference title in indoor track.
"I couldn't have asked for a better two years," she said. "I really like Furman."
Hurley plans to take a year off of outdoor track as a junior to have an opportunity to run outdoor track as a fifth-year senior. "I am looking towards the 2020 Olympic trials in the steeplechase," she added.
Hurley is preparing for her third collegiate cross-country and indoor track seasons.
"We really want to place in the top four at nationals," she said. "For me personally, I want to be an All-American in cross-country and indoor track."
As a Furman freshman, Hurley set a new Paladin outdoor record in the 3,000 meters of 9:44.41 at the Tiger Outdoor Track Classic. She was named to the SoCon All Freshman team for cross country, indoor track (mile and 3,000) and outdoor track (3,000-meter steeplechase and 5,000 meters).
"It seems like my freshman year was a really long time ago," Hurley said. "A lot of high school you can get by natural talent. But you have to work much harder in college."
(Photos courtesy of Jeffrey Camaratti/Furman University)
Buchweitz Looks for More Playing Time at Samford University; Hopes to Help Bulldogs Go Deep in Playoffs
Fellowship Christian School graduate Clay Buchweitz saw his first collegiate football action for the Samford University team last season, and is hoping for more time on the field in 2018.
"I am not 100% sure where I am on the depth chart," the sophomore linebacker said. "But I played in one game last year and made two tackles. It was a great experience. I know that I am working as hard as I can to get on the field, and that I am playing linebacker again."
The 2016 FCS graduate will have the opportunity to see some familiar faces on the field in 2018. Buchweitz will face former FCS teammates Reed Kroeber and Jack Hardin (Furman University) on Oct. 20, and Ian Berryman (Western Carolina University) on Oct. 6.
"It's a blast to play against those guys," Buchweitz said. "Reed and I graduated together. We always talk after the games. It's fun to see them again."
Buchweitz stayed in Birmingham, Ala., this summer to work out with his teammates and work for Magic City Wordworks. Buchweitz enters his redshirt sophomore season on the field and his junior year in the classroom with hopes for more playing time.
"It's one of those things," he said. "Everyone on the team has their job. I go out and compete for a job, but I also know my role on the scout team is important. I help our offense see the look that our opponent's defense has. Everyone has a different style of defense, so we get them ready for it."
The Bulldogs enter the season in the top 10 of the FCS polls.
"We have really built our program over the past two years," Buchweitz said. "We made the playoffs the last two seasons. Obviously we want to make the playoffs and advance further this year."
In 2017, the Bulldogs lost to Kennesaw State, 28-17, in the first round of the FCS playoffs. The team dropped a 38-24 decision to Youngstown State in the first round in 2016. Samford finished 8-5 last season, and was 7-5 in 2016.
Last season's highlights for Buchweitz were games against the University of Georgia in Athens, and a road victory at Virginia Military Institute.
"Being on the field in that stadium [in Athens] was fun," he said. "That was a fun trip. We had an 11-hour bus trip to VMI, and another back. And that was after we took care of business and won."
In addition to helping grow the Samford program, Buchweitz had a similar opportunity in high school.
"I hope we made an impact," Buchweitz said about his FCS senior class that went 5-5 and set the stage for a 13-1 season. "We lost four games by like a total of just 12 points as seniors. The next year, the pace picked up and the program really grew. You could it coming though. It was a progression there from my freshman to senior years."
He fondly recalls his Fellowship career.
"There are a whole list of great memories," Buchweitz said. "I remember my interception against Christian Heritage, and that we beat Riverside Military Academy and our defense held them to less than 100 years of offense."
(Photos courtesy of Samford University)
FCS Student Helps Volleyball Club Claim Third Place at AAU Nationals
Rising Fellowship Christian School junior Taylor Herrmann helped her A5 Mizuno Volleyball Club – her club team – capture third place at the AAU National Championships in Orlando, Fla., this week.
In May, Herrmann helped A5 Mizuno win the Southern Region Volleyball Association under-16 national qualifier to advance in the USA Volleyball National Championships that begins July 1 in Detroit, Mich.
(Photo submitted by Mark Herrmann)
Megan Hudgens Competes in WPSL, Prepares for Junior Collegiate Season at University of Alabama-Birmingham
Soccer has been a big part of the summer break for Megan Hudgens.
The junior to be at the University of Alabama-Birmingham is participating in her school's off-season strength and conditioning program and also has found the time to play for the MOBA Soccer Academy team of Peachtree City that competes in The Women's Premiere Soccer League.
The WPSL "strives to provide the highest level of development opportunities for amateur players in the United States. Entering its 21st season, the WPSL has grown to more than 100 clubs and is the largest women's soccer league in the world," according to the league's website. It does not affect a player's college eligibility.
"It has been a good experience," said the 2016 graduate of Fellowship Christian school. "Our team has different college players from all around. We play teams from Nashville and Memphis. Our home games are in Peachtree City."
She entered this offseason coming off a very successful sophomore soccer season at UAB.
In 2017, Hudgens helped the Lady Blazers to a 13-4-3 record and a berth in the Conference USA Tournament. She finished second on the club with a career-high 19 points, shared second with seven goals and was tied for first on the team with five assists. Her 33 shots shared third on the Lady Blazers. Her goal and assist totals were career bests. She suited up for a career-high 20 games.
UAB kicks off the season against Jacksonville State on Aug. 12 at 1 p.m.
"It was a great season," Hudgens said about 2017. "We had a new coach and we did a lot better. We had a new team atmosphere and got better and better as the season went on. This year, we look to grow on that improvement. I want to score more goals and become even more of a leader."
As a freshman in 2016, Hudgens led UAB with 11 points. She played in all 17 games and shared the team lead with four goals and was second with three assists. She topped the squad with a career-best 36 shots and 22 shots on goal.
"I have found a good balance of school and soccer at UAB," said Hudgens, a finance major. "I love the game, the school and the girls on the team."
One of her biggest highlights for UAB this season was scoring both goals in a 2-1 victory over the University of Alabama during the spring season.
(Photos courtesy of University of Alabama-Birmingham)
Reed Kroeber Moves to Center on Offensive Line as Furman University Heads into Football Season
Reed Kroeber has already shown his versatility during the early years of his collegiate football career.
The 2016 graduate of Fellowship Christian School enters his redshirt sophomore season (and third academic year) at Furman University with an eye on the starting center position. It's his third position on the offensive line for the Paladins since starting 13 games at left tackle or right guard as a redshirt freshman last fall.
"It was really a neat year for me," Kroeber said. "My first year was tough as a freshman not playing at all, but then getting to start 13 games last year and being a contributor on the field was a big deal. We had a rough start at 0-3, but we finished 8-5 and beat Elon in the first round of the playoffs."
The Paladins, who open the 2018 season at intrastate rival Clemson University on Sept. 1 at 12:20 p.m., fell to Wofford College in the second round of the playoffs in 2017.
"Last year I played left tackle and right guard, and I played there in spring practice," the 6-foot-4, 284-pound lineman said. "But this summer the coaches told me I need to plan to play center. This is a new thing."
Kroeber has been practicing taking snaps this summer with Furman redshirt freshman quarterback Jack Hardin, a name familiar to FCS fans. Hardin led Fellowship to the state title game in 2016, graduated from the school in 2017 and was redshirted as a freshman at the South Carolina school last fall.
"Jack has been helping me," Kroeber said. "He's helping me get used to snapping the ball. It's different kind of offensive line transition than from guard to tackle or tackle to guard. I have never played center before. But it's good to be able to play multiple positions on the line."
It's actually very good for job security for the former FCS football and basketball star.
He received several accolades following the 2017 season. Kroeber, a member of the SOCON All Freshman team, was named first team offense for the HERO Sports Freshman All-American team, and was picked for second team offense for the Phil Steele Freshman All-American Team. As a note, there are 124 FCS teams across the country.
Entering the 2018 season, Furman is ranked 16th in Hero Sports Preseason Top 25 for FCS schools.
"Our goal is always to win the Southern Conference championship," Kroeber said. "If we do that then we'll make the playoffs. Personally I want to play as much as I can and contribute."
Kroeber and Hardin will face former FCS teammates Clay Buchweitz (Samford University) and Ian Berryman (Western Carolina University) on the field this season.
(Photos courtesy of Furman University)
Kent Eyes Consistency in Senior Year with Covenant College Golf Team; Records Historic Hole-in-One in 2017
Fellowship Christian School graduate Marshall Kent accomplished something last season that very few avid golfers, not to mention weekend duffers, attain.
On March 26, 2018, Kent made Covenant College golf history by becoming the first Scot to record a hole-in-one during a competitive round when he aced the par-3, 11th hole at Wynlakes Golf & Country Club during the Wynlakes Collegiate hosted by Huntington College in Montgomery, Ala.
"I used a 4-iron on the 192-yard hole, and the ball landed on the front of the green and rolled in," he said. "It was a super cool experience."
Kent, who graduated from FCS in 2015, played in all seven team events as a junior for the Scots in 2017. He finished seventh – his best finish of the year – at the Eagle Invitational with a 161, that included a first-round 74. He finished third on the team with a scoring average of 82.13.
As he enters his senior year with the Scots, Kent has set his sights on consistency.
"It was a crazy spring this season," he said. "I played a lot, but was not consistent. I played a few good rounds this season, but I want to be better. I was inconsistent in both our fall and spring seasons. It was a weird pattern of good rounds and then bad rounds."
Kent is working on his game as he prepares to participate in the US Amateur tournament qualifier this summer being hosted by Jennings Mill Country Club in Watkinsville, Ga. The top six performers move on to sectionals.
"I am looking to enjoy it," Kent said of the summer practice rounds, the qualifier and his upcoming senior season at Covenant. "It'll be a fun year. We'll be a much better team this year. I believe we will be more competitive."
Kent will have four roommates this season, including two freshmen. That allows him to take on a mentor role that he enjoys. "They are the future of Covenant golf," he said. "I look forward to helping them adjust to college and college golf."
As a sophomore, he carded his career-low college round of 70 at the Piedmont Fall Invitational. He wound up tied for second with a two-round 147 (his career-best 36-hole tourney total), and earned all-tourney honors.
That season he recorded three top-10 finishes. His 70 at Piedmont wound up being the team's low round of the season. He also had three of the team's lowest individual scores of the season.
In 2015-16, Kent played in all seven events for Covenant.
In his first collegiate event, he shared sixth at the Piedmont event with a season-low 152 (79-73). He made the all-tournament team. He carded two 73s on the season, including the second-round score at Piedmont and during October's Chick-fil-A Collegiate.
(Photos courtesy of Covenant College)
Finishing on Top: Bryant Has Memorable 2017 Football Season at Alabama
The 2017 college football season will not be one that Hunter Bryant will soon forget.
The 2014 Fellowship Christian School graduate saw his first collegiate football game action for the National Champion University of Alabama football team this past fall, and also helped the Tide capture its second national championship in three years.
On Nov. 18, 2017, Bryant played in his first collegiate game during his fourth and final walk-on season with the Crimson Tide in a 56-0 victory over Mercer University on senior day in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
"It was pretty surreal," Bryant said about game day against Mercer. "The day of the game came, and none of us [senior walk-ons] knew if we would get on the field. We talked about it, but we didn't know. You're nervous, and not sure if you'll get in. But I finally had the chance to play. I'll never forget that feeling of accomplishment."
Bryant, who earned his bachelor's degree in marketing in three years at Alabama, enters his fifth year at the school this fall in pursuit of his MBA with a concentration in finance.
"It's the first summer away from football," he said. "I'll be interning with the Atlanta Falcons during training camp before I head back to school. It'll be nice to see my former teammate Calvin Ridley at camp, and see how he does."
Bryant has had time to reflect on his college career.
"It's a little sad to see it coming to a close," Bryant said. "But I am ready. All my friends have graduated, so I'll be a lone wolf in Tuscaloosa. Pretty soon it'll be time to get a real job!"
Bryant no longer looks back at his decision to forgo an opportunity to play and probably star at Division III Berry College for the opportunity to play for coaching legend Nick Saban at Alabama as a four-year walk-on.
"I probably could have started at Berry for four years," Bryant said. "But I love Tuscaloosa. For a couple of years I wondered. It was tough at times [not playing], but truly I maximized my time there. I love the people there. The size of the campus was intimidating at first, but it's like home now. I have had a blast there. My senior year made it all worth it. We won two national championships and made it to three title games in four years. But probably my second year I realized my purpose on the team was not to be a star, but to support the guys on the team. It really strengthened my faith. I know what God's purpose was for me at Alabama."
Now it's time for Bryant to become a football spectator, and watch his younger brother grow on the football field at Fellowship.
"Our family is all so proud of Brooksie," Bryant said. "He really has done so well at quarterback at FCS. I look forward to coming home to watch him play this year."
(Photos courtesy of Tidesports.com and the University of Alabama)