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UNCP spring sports gear up for 2007By Dan Kelly
The spring sports season has arrived at UNCP and brings not just athletics but optimism from the coaches.
Men’s baseball certainly has reason to be as it has received preseason recognition in the NCAA Division II polls for the first time in school history.
The four captains on the team represent each major part of a baseball team.
He said that success this season will depend on the team executing fundamental plays like moving runners from second to third base and driving them home.
“But what you did last year doesn’t count to a hill of beans, does it,” O’Neil said.
“Do I feel that we are mentally strong enough to handle that adversity? Absolutely,” O’Neil said.
Coach Steve Johnson’s goal is to get the Braves back into the playoff hunt as they were two seasons ago.
Senior Wendi Cochran will be a key player as she is the captain and a career .300-plus hitter.
Johnson said that the team could possibly break a school record with a 35 to 40 win season if they can end up in the top third of the Peach Belt and take advantage of their non-conference games.
Track and field
The standout field-event specialist for the women is Marquita Walters who is the current UNCP record holder in the shot put, discus and hammer throw events.
Senior runner Giovanni Bilotta, who runs the 10-kilometer distance and is looking to get his time under 34 minutes, will lead them.
He was sixth in the conference last season and 34th in the regionals.
The goal Rodgers has for both squads is to win the Carolinas Championships, which is an event for schools that have track and field but their conference doesn’t sponsor it.
Men’s and women’s golf
Head Coach David Synan is entering his second season as the head coach after a successuful first one.
The team will be led by senior Chris Helms who was a PBC All-Tournament player with his fourth place finish in the event. Sophomore Matt Morrison was an All-Peach Belt selection last season as he had six top 10 finishes.
Unfortunately, Travis Marshall, the team’s No. 2 golfer, injured himself over the winter in a skiing accident and will be unavailable to play.
The top player for the Braves is freshman Christina Corvetti who had two top 10 finishes in the brief fall season.
The Braves tennis team is coming off a 14-11 season and is returning its No.1 and No. 3 singles players in seniors Stacey Wood and Natalie Dies.
"Our goal is to stay aggressive, be that brick wall, force them to make the error and, hopefully, we can get those eight games before the other team,” Dies said.