Bill Jones III and Heather Manting couldn’t have asked for much more as seniors at Mercer.
Manting helped the women’s soccer team to its best season ever: the A-Sun regular-season title and a trip to the conference tournament championship.
Jones was a key in the men’s golf team’s best season ever: a top-90 national team ranking and highly competitive tournaments against top-25 competition, as well as personal success against top-25 players.
They capped it by being given the top individual awards at Mercer’s all-sports banquet May 1.
Jones took the Charles Morgan senior male athlete of the year award, while Manting earned the Virginia “Cowboy” Williamson senior female athlete of the year award.
Jones helped the men’s golf team to quality finishes against big-school opponents and third place in the A-Sun tournament. The four-year starter was given an at-large bid on Monday to the NCAA regional this week.
Manting is a four-year starter who earned all-conference first-team honors as well as defender of the year as a senior. She also was selected on the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/adidas all-South scholar team after finishing the fall with a 3.66 grade point average.
Other honorees were:
Ÿ Doyle E. Watson Leadership Award, baseball — Steven Karwatt.
Ÿ Dee Horwitz Sportsmanship Award — Page Raynor (softball).
Ÿ Henry “Trot Ware, men’s basketball academics — Brendan Walker.
Ÿ Presidential Scholastic Award, team — women’s cross country.
GCSU GOLFERS MOVE ON
After early struggles, GCSU found the clutch mode.
The Bobcats shot a field-best final round of 286 to take fifth Wednesday in the NCAA Southeast/South men’s golf super regional in Alabama and qualifying for the NCAA championship.
GCSU shot a 290 and 300 in the first two rounds and was in trouble. Pedro C. Lima’s final-round 69 helped the Bobcats mount the rally.
Joe Young, of Bleckley County, tied with teammate Niclas Johansson for 48th.
Johansson added a conference all-academic honor to his resume, being joined on the academic team by Billy Shida and Matthew Yonz.
GCSU is off until the tournament starts on May 17 at Western Washington University. The second-ranked Bobcats finished four last year.
DORRIS TRYING THIRD SPORT
Karen Dorris came to Mercer on a volleyball scholarship.
When the women’s basketball team was shorthanded two years ago, she helped out and ended up starting nine games, averaging 3.4 points and 2.4 rebounds.
Now, she’s giving cross country a try.
The Nashville, Tenn., native completed her volleyball eligibility last fall, ranking in the top 10 in the A-Sun in three categories and earning all-conference academic honors.
With the basketball team having a more complete roster, Dorris suit up for hoops.
Dorris wasn’t a runner in high school but turned in impressive times in the Music City Marathon in Nashville, Tenn., and running unattached in a meet at Auburn.
GCSU FUND-RAISER A SUCCESS
Georgia College & State raised $44,000 in its annual athletic auction, enough to aid about 20 athletes on scholarship.
The funds came from bids, donations and a reverse raffle. A vacation to Costa Rica went for $1,500.
The $20,000 reverse raffle lasted throughout the night and was down to tickets held by Eve Puckett and Philip Franklin, who chose to split the prize.
MERCER SIGNS A DOZEN
Brad Ruzzo’s first recruiting class as men’s soccer head coach at Mercer is a full one.
Ruzzo covered plenty of ground, bringing in players from California to Connecticut, Illinois to Florida and states in between.
And he didn’t go far for Jon Adams, a forward/midfielder from FPD who helped the Vikings to a 20-4 record last season. He’s the GISA’s all-time scoring leader and a three-time all-state pick.
Sharpe Sablon of Darlington and Jack O’Malley of Statesboro are the other in-state signees.
Other recruits: Will Betts of Brenham, Texas; Joey Heavner of Hempfield, Pa.; Richie Edmonson, Kent, Conn.; Brett Petricek of Downer Grove, Ill.; Stefan Wingo of Centennial, Ill.; Will Grey of Charlotte Christian, N.C.; Ian Hanlon of Dutchtown, La.; Andrew Todd of Half Moon Bay, Cal.; and Shawn Meek of George Jenkins, Fla.
It’s a tall class, with six players standing at least 6-foot-2.
MERCER ADDS TRANSFER
Defending regular-season A-Sun women’s soccer champ Mercer has added a transfer to its class of 2009.
Kate Alderman, a native of McMasterville, Quebec, will join the Bears from Park University in Missouri.
Alderman, who will have three years of eligibility left, helped Park to a 14-2-3 record, conference title and NAIA tournament berth. She started in 17 games and was a second-team all-Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference selection.
Ÿ Georgia Southern men’s basketball senior Kenith Ward were named to the 2008-09 winter academic All-Southern Conference team, and the former Northside standout was one of nine Eagles named to the squad.
Ward was also named his team’s scholar-athlete of the year at the school’s academic banquet in late April. He played in 26 games last season and averaged 2.2 points and 2.7 rebounds in 18 minute a game.
A 3.2 GPA or better as well as participation in at least half of a team’s competition is needed to be eligible for the conference list.
Ÿ Matt Smith leads Mississippi with a .350 average — in the top 15 in the SEC — and is second with 45 RBI and 14 doubles.
The sophomore first baseman from Dodge County has a .990 fielding average and has started every game this season for the 36-13 Rebels.
Ÿ Furman’s softball team struggled this season, but former Westfield standout Lana Mackey did her part.
The junior was the Southern Conference pitcher of the week for the second time of the season in late April, going 3-0 with a 0.35 ERA.
She whiffed a career-high 13 against Presbyterian, and then celebrated her 21st birthday with an eight-strikeout game in a 2-1 win over Western Carolina.
UNC Greensboro ended Mackey and her team’s season on Friday with a 4-3 win in the conference tournament. Mackey finished 13-14 for the 22-29 Paladins with a 2.64 ERA and 171 strikeouts in 159-1/3 innings.