www.wvgazettemail.com Sports http://www.wvgazettemail.com Gazette archive feed en-us Copyright 2016, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Herd RB Johnson makes Doak Walker watch list http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150716/DM03/150719376 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150716/DM03/150719376 Thu, 16 Jul 2015 22:56:16 -0500

From Staff Reports


From Staff Reports

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall star running back Devon Johnson, who ran for 1,767 yards in his collegiate debut at the position last season, was named Thursday to the 2015 Doak Walker Award preseason watch list.

Johnson is one of 69 players on the watch list for the award, presented annually to the nation's premier running back. Johnson was one of 10 semifinalists for the honor last season, when he led Conference USA in rushing. The 6-foot-1, 243-pound Johnson was chosen earlier this week to the 2015 All-C-USA Preseason Team, and as an All-C-USA first-team selection last season as well.

The senior from Richlands, Va., ran for a school-record 272 yards in an Oct. 25 victory over Florida Atlantic. Ten semifinalists will be announced Nov. 17, with three finalists named on Nov. 24. The winner will be revealed on Dec. 10.

Donaghey relishes challenge of facing able-bodied tennis players http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150716/DM03/150719389 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150716/DM03/150719389 Thu, 16 Jul 2015 21:19:46 -0500 Chuck McGill By Chuck McGill CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The United States Tennis Association identifies one significant rule difference for a wheelchair tennis player and an able-bodied player: the two-bounce rule.

Those who play with or against Patrick Donaghey would agree that there isn't a difference at all.

"After you start playing with him you forget all about it and treat him like any other player," said Dana Eddy, who is in his second year directing the Public Courts tennis tournament.

The nine-day event played at the Schoenbaum Courts in Kanawha City had 531 total entries from 336 players this year. Donaghey, who can opt to hit return on two bounces instead of one, is the only person in the field who competes in a wheelchair.

The 53-year-old is a former national champion wheelchair tennis player, but taking the court with able-bodied players is what he prefers.

"At first they looked at me like I was crazy, like, how are you going to play against people on two feet?" Donaghey said. "I was a nervous Nellie the first time I competed against people on their feet, but I always wanted to challenge myself.

"There's no one else around here to play against and practice with, so I play against people on their feet and, you know, it's challenging. I lose more matches than I win, but I do win matches."

Donaghey is a finalist in Men's 3.0 doubles and Combined Mixed 6.0 doubles. His 3.0 partner is Barry Tackett, who admitted the first few matches with Donaghey were frustrating for him.

"When we first started playing we weren't winning at all," Tackett said. "We were close, but we never could win."

But it was Donaghey who encouraged Tackett.

"He kept pushing me and we started winning," Tackett said.

The duo won in the semifinals of the Men's 3.0 division for their fifth consecutive victory together. They've built their chemistry and understand how an able-bodied player and wheelchair-bound player can coexist on the tennis court.

"To me he is an inspiration," said Tackett, who had his right eye removed when he was 18. "He's a fierce competitor, and he's really harder on himself than anybody else."

Donaghey's competitive nature was on display this Public Courts tennis tournament. In the first set of one of his matches, Donaghey was positioning himself behind the baseline to hit a forehand. The ball was going to sail long, but Donaghey couldn't move his wheelchair out of the way quick enough.

The ball ricocheted off the chair, which is considered a part of the body, and the opponents won the point.

"He was mad about it, but it's because he is competitive," Tackett said.

After the ball caromed away from the chair, Donaghey made sure his opponents knew they won the point. Rules are rules, and he wants no favors.

"I don't want any sympathy," Donaghey said. "If you hit me with a ball, that's part of the game. That's what I love about this sport, you know? People don't treat me any differently.

"I play tennis, but I just do it differently. I do it sitting down."


Donaghey's life changed on the night of Oct. 31, 1987 - Halloween.

He worked as a licensed locksmith for Con Edison, a large utility company in New York. His day was typical - changing safe combinations and door locks - and then he returned to the garage at the end of his day. Donaghey was told he could piggyback his regular shift with eight hours of janitorial work, and because he had a 2-year-old daughter at home and needed the extra money, he accepted the offer.

After the shift, around 11 o'clock, he was standing on a sidewalk when a man approached him.

"One guy pulled a knife on me and I said, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa' and I sensed someone over my back and I turned around," he said.

Donaghey was hit with two shots at point blank range from a 9mm pistol.

"For 68 dollars and a gold chain," he said.

A bullet hit his inferior vena cava - a large vein that carries de-oxygenated blood from the lower body to the heart - traveled through a lung and nipped his kidney before heading toward the end of his spinal cord. At the base of the spinal cord is a horsetail-like collection of nerves, and the heat from the bullet essentially choked out those nerves and caused Donaghey's paralysis.

He spent more than nine hours on the operating room table, and doctors told him afterward that nine out of 10 people would've died.

"But I had a strong will to live because I kept thinking about my daughter," Donaghey said of his only child, Michelle, who was a toddler at the time. "You know, I get emotional about it, but if it wasn't for her I don't know if I would be here.

"They told me I kept on repeating 'Please don't let my daughter be fatherless' all the way into the OR."

Donaghey survived, but remained hospitalized for nearly a year.

"I was in bad shape," he said. "All I could do for like three months was give my parents the thumbs up. The first three months I was in ICU (intensive care unit), just hanging in there. My poor mom, I could see her through the glass ... I'd see her out there bawling and all I could do was give her the thumbs up because I had breathing tubes in, two lung tubes in my chest, one in my neck ... I couldn't talk."

He has a scar that runs from the top of his chest to a point two inches below his belly button. Donaghey, who is 53, was 25 when he was shot in the chest.

He has spent more than half of his life in a wheelchair.

"That's how I wound up in the chair," Donaghey said, "but I said to myself that I didn't want to just be an average Joe in a chair. I wanted to excel."


In the wake of his paralysis and rehabilitation, Donaghey was directionless. He would hang out with his friends and drink, but didn't have a productive way to pass the time.

"Someone told me about wheelchair basketball and I knew how to play the game on my feet, so I had to learn chair skills," he said. "I trained and trained and trained.

"That changed my life."

Donaghey hoisted a minimum of 500 shots per day - sometimes as many as 2,500 - and developed into a player who averaged more than 20 points per game in wheelchair leagues. His hoops exploits helped him get noticed, and he received an invitation to try out for the U.S. Paralympics team in 1996. Fifty athletes received invitations to try out in Colorado Springs, Colo., at the Olympic Training Center (OTC), and 25 received call-backs. Donaghey made every cut, and eventually made the team.

Before he was paralyzed, Donaghey had a basketball background. He'd never played tennis. He came from a family of five and his mother stayed at home to care for him and his siblings, so money was sparse. But once his wheelchair hoops season came to an end, he needed to feed his competitive nature.

That's when he discovered wheelchair tennis.

"I had good chair mobility, but I didn't know the game," he said. "I had to learn the game, and I picked it up fairly quickly and started to beat the guys I was working out with."

He started entering tournaments - and winning them. First came local tournaments, then regional tournament and finally national championships. Donaghey owns a pair of U.S. Open wheelchair titles in singles and another in doubles.

Donaghey let the game slip away from him during the 2000s, and he moved to West Virginia in 2012 after his wife filed for divorce. He was in an emotional rut, he gained weight and he was far away from the courts he loved so dearly.

"I blamed myself for a failed marriage," Donaghey said. "I hate to say it like this, but I hate to fail at anything; I like to succeed. I kept on blaming myself and I got depressed."

Donaghey's brother and two sisters went to New York and rescued him from himself. They brought him to the Mountain State, where after a few months Donaghey made his way to the Charleston YMCA to start working out and shedding pounds.

"It took me still, I would say, a good six months to get my head out of my butt," he said. "I joined the YMCA, I started working out and then I saw the tennis courts and my competitive spirits just lit up again."

Donaghey worked with Tim Sylvester, and later Jo Marie Bohn, on his game. He took lessons and lifted weights. He shed more than 55 pounds. He rediscovered the competitive flame that had been reduced to a flicker.

"He's courageous," Sylvester said. "He could've given up really easily if he wanted to, but instead of giving up he made it the best possible outcome."

Eddy has competed against Donaghey in doubles.

"He's one of the fiercest competitors I've met - and in a good way," Eddy said. "He doesn't complain about the circumstances. He takes the challenges, he overcomes."

Donaghey, who turns 54 on July 25, has two goals. One is to become a national champion again. The other is to elevate his game to the point he can participate in 3.5 singles tournaments against able-bodied players of the same caliber.

"You have to challenge yourself in order to know your limits," Donaghey said. "You set your own limits.

"What good is it if you can't challenge yourself? I feel like just rolling on the court, I'm already a winner."

Banowsky steps down as Conference USA commissioner http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150716/DM03/150719390 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150716/DM03/150719390 Thu, 16 Jul 2015 21:09:34 -0500 Derek Redd By Derek Redd CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky announced Thursday that he would step down from that post.

In Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick's mind, Banowsky's leadership is the reason there remains a Conference USA for him to exit.

"Every time you thought Conference USA was done, it came back stronger," Hamrick said.

Banowsky, C-USA's commissioner since he replaced future SEC commissioner Mike Slive in 2002, will become the executive director of the College Football Playoff Foundation, the organization's community service wing that, among other things, oversees the Extra Yard for Teachers initiative. Community service is a large part of Banowsky's life. He had been the chairman of the CFP Foundation and also the president and founder of the Heart of Dallas Foundation and chairman of the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance.

"Cindy and I have been so blessed, we simply feel the time is right for us to make change in our lives and focus more of our attention on our community and the cause work that is important to us," Banowsky said in a conference release. "We are so grateful for the friendship and support we've received throughout the years. We hope we can use this next chapter to pay some of it forward. We are particularly grateful for the opportunity to lead the College Football Playoff Foundation and further the amazing work it is doing."

When Banowsky called Hamrick to tell him of his plans, Hamrick admitted he was a little surprised, but understood that Banowsky was following one of his passions.

"Britton is one of those guys where he likes to start and grow things," Hamrick said. "He loves doing that and he has great experience with all of the changes in Conference USA."

During Banowsky's tenure, he twice oversaw significant upheaval in C-USA's membership. In 2005, he lost seven charter members to other conferences - Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette and South Florida to the Big East and Charlotte and Saint Louis to the Atlantic 10. In 2013-14, there was another exodus, with Central Florida, Southern Methodist, Tulsa, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis and Tulane all jumping to the reconfigured Big East, now called the American Athletic Conference.

In response, Conference USA looked mainly toward major metropolitan areas for its newest members, mining Florida's Atlantic coast for Florida Atlantic and Florida International, welcoming back Charlotte, entering the Nashville area for Middle Tennessee and fortifying its Texas footprint with North Texas and the University of Texas at San Antonio. C-USA also swiped up growing programs in smaller locales like Western Kentucky and Louisiana Tech. LTU played Marshall for the conference football title in just its second year in the conference and was picked to repeat as West Division champion.

"The landscape has settled and these universities are all on the rise," Banowsky said. "They work very well together and the conference has tremendous leadership on each campus and within the conference office."

Hamrick said the potential can be seen in the first CFP payouts. The Group of Five conferences split $15 million in CFP money with the top conference getting $5 million and the fifth conference getting $1 million. C-USA grabbed $4 million from the pot as the second-place conference - one place ahead of the American.

"As seen by the College Football Playoff rankings of the Group of Five, the only conference ranked ahead of us in football was the Mountain West and several of our members left for the American," Hamrick said. "That in itself tells you the great job Britton did."

The new commissioner will have his or her hands full right from the start. C-USA's television deals with Fox Sports and CBS College Sports both expire in 2016, and the conference will negotiate with both networks for more revenue. If Hamrick was writing the job description - and he stressed that wasn't his job - he'd want someone experienced in TV negotiations, plus experience in a conference office. He'd like someone who has been an AD, that understands the College Football Playoff and has experience working with the NCAA basketball tournament.

"We need someone who's going to be a leader," Hamrick said. "That sounds like that person doesn't exist out there, but I believe that person does and I believe we can find them."

Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.redd@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.

Grounds crew keeps Power Park playable in poor weather http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150716/DM03/150719391 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150716/DM03/150719391 Thu, 16 Jul 2015 21:05:19 -0500 Michael Dailey By Michael Dailey CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A quick start to the second half of the South Atlantic League season has the West Virginia Power sitting atop the Northern Division standings.

But the most valuable players for the Power this month have been the five-man grounds crew team, led by first-year head groundskeeper Chris Mason.

Mason, along with assistant groundskeeper Donovan Martin, two part-time employees and a summer intern, have had to contend with a flurry of drenching rain storms in the past 16 days.

Those storms produced 7.86 inches of rain in the rain gauge at Appalachian Power Park during that span.

"It's been tough," said Mason of the rainy evenings. "But the field drains well. With the new surface and the sand base below, it helps the water drain."

Mason, a 25-year old from Eastlake, Ohio, got into the grounds keeping business when his playing days were over at Lake Erie College.

"Through college I worked at a golf course in the summers when I was still playing baseball," said Mason, a college pitcher. "I saw this as my way of staying in baseball after my playing days were over."

Mason started on the grounds crew for the Lake County Captains in 2011 and 2012, before taking over as head groundskeeper for the Clinton (Iowa) Lumberkings in the Midwest League in 2013.

Last season Mason was the head groundskeeper for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in the New York-Penn League, where he earned the league's groundskeeper of the year award with a 13-year old playing surface.

That's the connection that brought Mason and Martin to the South Atlantic League.

"I got a call back in August while I was working in Niles, Ohio with the opportunity for employment here," Mason said. "With the field renovation with new turf, I saw it as a good stepping stone and something good to add to the resume."

That call came from Power Executive Vice President Ken Fogel and it's a call that's worked out well for both parties.

"I worked with a gentleman (Matt Duncan) back in Mahoning Valley when we opened there in 1999," said Fogel. "Matt was our head groundskeeper there and we worked together in Akron for several years. Matt and I have known each other for years and I trust his judgment. I called him and told him we had a position available and he told me, 'You want to hire this guy.'"

"The field looks great and Chris has done a terrific job of maintaining the standard that we wanted to maintain when the city dropped a couple of dollars in the investment to put the new field in."

That "new field" was installed in October and November of last year and has helped the field remain playable through the tough weather. The renovation involved the installation of a new Kentucky Bluegrass playing surface, along with other changes.

"We regraded everything and redid the warning track," said Mason of the renovation. "I brought in a different type of warning track material than what was here in years past, which has helped with the percolation and letting the water go through the ground. Breaking up the compaction that was under the warning track itself, also helps the water penetrate deeper into the ground.

"We had .7 inches of rain Tuesday night and didn't get to play that night. My entire warning track was under water that evening, and we come back the next day and it's gone. It has a way of working through."

For Mason, whose game day work schedule runs 15 to 16 hours from start to finish, his favorite parts of the job involve the pitcher's mound and the daily grass cuts.

"As a former pitcher myself, I try to get it just right," said Mason of the mound. "I also enjoy cutting the patterns in the grass because everybody can see those.

"When you're cutting, each reel on the mower has its own weighted roller on the back, so it bends the grass. Anytime you see a light stripe, the grass is bent away from you and if it's a dark stripe, it's bent to you. The roller bends the grass and it's the way the light reflects and how our eyes perceive it."

Mason's current cutting design is a bridge that spans the outfield, in honor of Saturday's New River Gorge Bridge replica giveaway.

Scott Depot's Williams ready to tackle State Open golf tournament http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150716/DM03/150719392 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150716/DM03/150719392 Thu, 16 Jul 2015 21:02:32 -0500 Rich Stevens By Rich Stevens CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Former Winfield High School golf star Chris  Williams had to reacquaint himself with Berry Hills Country Club, the par-70, 6,345-yard hilltop course that will host the 82nd State Open Championship July 20-24.

He had not played there between Aug. 28, 2012 and Open media day on July 7.

That's a lifetime for a golfer, and although Williams set up his scramble team for birdies earlier this month, he acknowledges that competitive and fun golf are virtually polar opposites.

"No pressure, no punishment if you hit a bad shot, you think a lot more about ... I wouldn't say mistakes, but where not to hit it, but it's on your mind when you're playing something fun like (a scramble)," he said. "A scramble you hit a driver on holes where you normally wouldn't hit a driver and things like that."

Flashback to the fall of his senior year, when, during his first Mountain State Athletic Conference tournament, he was the only player under par with five birdies on his final six holes (Nos. 8-13). The mercurial performance saw Williams rebound from being 5 strokes over par to 1-under after missing a 10-foot putt for eagle on No. 13.

That result puts his name down in school history with a record that cannot be erased - the first athlete to earn a championship with Winfield as a Class AAA school.

Flash forward to 2015 when the 20-year-old begins a new chapter in his life as a member of the first golf team at West Virginia University since 1982.

Williams will prepare accordingly for a return to West Virginia and competition for the Mountaineers, who he would have considered signing with if the program existed when he graduated high school in 2013.

Instead, the Scott Depot native opted for a scholarship to Coastal Carolina, being recruited by coach Allen Terrell, who was entering his 14th season guiding the Chanticleers and mentored current PGA Tour player Dustin Johnson. However, Terrell abruptly resigned in September of Williams' freshman season after the coach reportedly violated NCAA regulations.

Kevin McPherson was named coach, Williams played in eight tournaments as a freshman and then just one as a sophomore, giving him two years of eligibility remaining.

What college competition did for the reticent Williams was improve his ball-striking and length with smaller clubs, an ideal combination for an Open venue that requires local knowledge, but also accuracy off the tee and with approach shots.

"Most people don't like it because they say it's unfair," Williams said, referring to Berry Hills, where many of the fairways are sloped and leave few options to the right. "The bounces you get and stuff like that. It's demanding, but I just like courses where you get rewarded with good shots. I'm not a big fan of courses that are wide open with big greens. Berry Hills does suit my eye."

He used his driver "seven or eight times" on a course with 10 holes that are 380 yards or longer at the tips during the scramble. That won't happen at the Open, where Williams will leave his big club in the bag for, perhaps, all but five or six holes.

"If you can hit hybrid off the tee instead of driver, you have more confidence," he said. "It allows you to play more aggressive."

His game has evolved since missing the cut at his first two Opens - 2010 at Sleepy Hollow in Hurricane and 2011 at the Pines in Morgantown. In nine rounds at three Opens from 2012-14, he had one round of 80 (Parkersburg Country Club in 2013), but tied for 11th in 2012 at Edgewood and was 17th last year at Glade Springs with a final-round 70.

He's counting on putting it together for a return to the Kanawha Valley before taking on the grueling college schedule, joining former Parkersburg standout and South Carolina Beaufort transfer Alan Cooke and former Wheeling Park High School standout Cole Hand with the Mountaineers.

Big 12-member WVU won't see league foes until the conference championships April 29-May 1, 2016 at Whispering Pines in Trinity, Texas. The Mountaineers open the season on Sept. 6 in the Tiger Turning Stone Invitational in Verona, N.Y., won three of the last four years by the University of Missouri.

The Mountaineers' next four events are the Joe Feaganes Marshall Invitational at Guyan Golf & Country Club (Sept. 14-15), the Graeme McDowell/Shoal Creek Invitational in Birmingham, Ala. (Sept. 28-29) and the Wolfpack Intercollegiate in Raleigh, N.C. (Oct. 5-6). After the team's first home match, the Mountaineer Invitational at Pete Dye Golf Club in Bridgeport (Oct. 19-20), West Virginia will compete in the Quail Valley Intercollegiate (Oct. 26-27).

Williams is counting on the Open to play a critical preparatory role toward his college performance, but winning is foremost on his mind.

"It would be a big honor to win the Open," said Williams, an amateur who would receive a gift certificate to the pro shop. "I've always wanted to win it, since I started playing in it."

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstevens@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4837. Follow him on Twitter @richdailymail.

Power Park anticipates 2 millionth fan http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150716/DM01/150719468 DM01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150716/DM01/150719468 Thu, 16 Jul 2015 12:27:34 -0500






If you’re looking for plans this weekend, the Appalachian Power Park might be a home run.

The baseball stadium is anticipating its two-millionth fan this weekend and is only 6,334 fans away from their record in the facility’s history.

The fan will likely walk through the front gate Saturday, but could possibly be named on Friday, depending on the turnout, said Adam Marco, director of marketing and media for the West Virginia Power. Had the Tuesday game not been rained out, Marco said the fan could have been recognized Thursday evening.

“In a lot of cases when you hit these milestones, it means you’ve been around for awhile ... we’ve had a good year when it comes to baseball,” Marco said, adding that he’s glad the two-million milestone is this season and he’s glad he gets to experience it.

Approaching the milestone is thrilling for Rod Blackstone, assistant to the mayor. He highlighted the dedication and perseverance of the administrative staff of the stadium, as well as Charleston Mayor Danny Jones and former mayor Jay Goldman.

The two-millionth fan will be served a sweet deal.

The lucky guest will throw the ceremonial first pitch that night, will receive a personalized West Virginia Power jersey, a Power baseball hat, four Pittsburgh Pirates tickets for their Aug. 22 game where they will play at PNC Park against the San Francisco Giants, one luxury suite and four tickets to the Pittsburgh Pirates Aug. 23 game at PNC Park against the San Francisco Giants and two West Virginia Power full season ticket plans for the 2016 season.

Because of the Power’s close relationship with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Marco said he and the administration wanted to incorporate the major league team in the prize package.

The relationship has proved to be a positive one, Blackstone said. The relationship has driven fans from Pittsburgh to Charleston for Power games, Blackstone said.

Though the stadium serves as a venue for multiple events throughout the years, the two-millionth fan refers to the two-millionth person attending strictly the baseball game, though the number of total guests since the stadium’s inception is well over 2.5 million people, Marco said.

“We’re an entertainment venue. We’re here for our fans,” he said.

The Appalachian Power Park stadium opened in 2005 and welcomed the one-millionth fan during the 2009 baseball season, according to a press release from the organization.

“You have to look back and think ‘if this ball park hadn’t been built, how different would things be?’” said Blackstone.

For tickets or more information, contact the Power front office at 304-344-2287 or visit www.wvpower.com.

Contact writer Megan Kennedy at 304-348-4886 or megan.kennedy@dailymailwv.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/wvschools.

Public Courts: Schedule for Thursday (updated) and Friday http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719488 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719488 Wed, 15 Jul 2015 23:39:20 -0500




Thursday, 3:30 p.m.

Boys 15 singles - Darshan Sangani vs. Luke Grimm; Smith or Bacha vs. Azeem Khan


Thursday, 5 p.m.

Women's open singles - Kirsten White vs. Danielle Vines

Men's 45 singles - David Sadd vs. Fernando Pavez

Men's 3.0 singles - Aric Margolis vs. Nathan England; Bryan Fink vs. Gregory Pennington

Men's 3.5 singles - Daryl Smith vs. Daniel Moore

Men's 4.5 singles - Tyler Newman vs. Pat Paxton

Women's 4.0 doubles - Dee Payne-Donna White vs. Christina Centofanti-Lisa Hughes

Parent-child doubles - Scott Graham-Lauren Graham vs. Mary Veloso-David Yusuico


Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Women's open singles - Brittany Franco vs. Andrea Slusarciuc

Men's 60 singles - Nick Estes vs. Tom Provost; Richard Pickens vs. Vernon Elkins

Men's 65 singles - Gary Greene-Steven Michael vs. Timothy Jones-Amon Samples

Women's 55 doubles - Denise Burgess-Diana Long vs. Robin Porter-Tera Winfree

Men's 3.5 singles - Brycen Miller vs. Mark Jacobs

Women's 3.5 singles - Jennifer McIntosh vs. Ashley Kennedy

Women's 3.0 doubles - Stacey Dean-Deidra Muto vs. Mary Cleland-Robin Shamblen


Thursday, 8 p.m.

Boys 15 singles - Anthony McIntosh vs. Luke Grimm or Darshan Sangani

Men's open singles - Christopher Pratt vs. Thomas McIntosh

Men's open doubles - Nicholas Koenig-Christopher Luckett vs. Mark Cassis-Scott Zent; Matt Hughes/Patrick Walker vs. Dominick Centofanti/Jacob Lorenz

Men's 3.5 singles - Kenneth Adkins vs. William Wagner

Men's 4.0 singles - Timothy Barker vs. Joshua Lawson

Men's 4.0 doubles - Shane McCullough-Matthew Sutton vs. Centofanti-Schulz

Women's 3.0 doubles - Shelby King-Melissa Osborne vs. Tammie Cooper-Donna Michael

Combined Women's 7.5 doubles - Lois Greene-Karen McGinnis vs. Candy Boggs-Kelly Sadd


Thursday, 8:45 p.m.

Mixed 55 doubles - George Ferrell-Ruth Mullins vs. Nilma Bhirud-Russell Rollyson

Men's 4.0 singles - Serry Habash vs. Perry Campbell

Combined Men's 8.5 doubles - Roger Cooke-Christopher Ritchie vs. Casey Hudson-Joseph Michael

Combined Women's 8.5 doubles - Kimberly Nelson-Michelle Steele vs. Emily Munson-Arin Shatto

Combined Mixed 6.0 doubles - Ballard-Ballard vs. Donaghey-Schact

Combined Mixed 7.0 doubles - McNeely-McNeely or Poindexter-Pratt vs. Viglianco-Viglianco


Friday, 3:30 p.m.

Boys 15 singles - Luke Grimm or Darshan Sangani vs. Kareem Bacha

Boys 12 singles - Alex Stacy vs. Christopher Muto


Friday, 5 p.m.

Mixed Open doubles - Brittany Franco/Joseph Michael vs. Danielle Vines/Scott Harper

Men's 65 doubles - Harry Markham/Paul Maynard vs. Gary Greene/Steven Michael

Men's 3.5 singles - Chris Kidd vs. Kenneth Adkins or William Wagner

Women's 3.0 singles - Shelby King vs. Katherine Mullins

Combined Mixed 7.0 doubles - Aric Margolis/Jamie Tridico vs. Jeannie Lacock/John McGuire

Mother-daughter doubles - Melinda White/Katherine White vs. Beverly Shatto/Arin Shatto

Parent-child doubles - Chris McNeely/Lauren McNeely vs. Kerry Viglianco/Zach Viglianco

Husband-wife doubles - Melisa Greene-Zent/Mychal Schulz vs. Kimberly Nelson/David Nelson


Friday, 6:30 p.m.

Men's 55 doubles - David Sadd/Mark Sarver vs. Lloyd Bennett/Ronald Twohig; Robin Bailey/Vernon Elkins vs. George Bsharah/Nithi Ranonda

Men's 60 doubles - Steven Rubin/Rick Vorhees vs. Roger Hager/Bobby White

Women's 55 doubles - Debbie Anderson-Concliffe/Donna Mooney vs. Ruth Mullins/Linette Pratt

Men's 3.5 singles - Brycen Miller or Mark Jacobs vs. Daryl Smith or Daniel Moore

Men's 4.5 singles - Matthew Santen vs. Steven Michael

Men's 4.0 doubles - David Lamm/Ryan Pulliam vs. Casey Hudson/Logan Jarrett


Friday, 8 p.m.

Mixed Open doubles - Scott Zent/R. Wischi vs. James Gammell/Taylor Todd

Men's 3.0 doubles - Jeffrey Mace/Steven Viglianco vs. Michael Cary/Bryan Fink

Men's 3.5 doubles - Tanner Whipkey/Alex White vs. Jonathan Lett/John Nichols; Dana Eddy/Whitney Hess vs. Albert Dunn/Scott Graham

Women's 3.5 doubles - Mary Elisabeth Eckerson/Mary Veloso vs. Allison Ballard/Robin Phipps

Father-son doubles - James McIntosh/Anthony McIntosh vs. Marty Harmon/Cameron Harmon

Public Courts: Wednesday's results http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719492 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719492 Wed, 15 Jul 2015 23:07:25 -0500




Public Courts tennis tournament

at Schoenbaum Courts in Kanawha City

Wednesday's results

Boys 15 singles (quarterfinals)

Kareem Bacha d. Brendan Smith 6-0, 6-1.

Father-son doubles (semifinals)

James McIntosh/Anthony McIntosh (1) d. Ryan Mullins/Kenneth Mullins 6-4, 6-2.

Marty Harmon/Cameron Harmon (2) d. Jack Hamilton/David Hamilton 6-7, 6-1, 1-0.

Men's 55 singles (finals)

Nithi Ranonda (1) d. Richard Pickens (2) 7-5, 6-2.

Men's open singles (semifinals)

James Kent (1) d. Dominick Centofanti (3) 6-1, 6-1.

Mixed open doubles (quarterfinals)

Brittany Franco/Joseph Michael d. Lauren Fazenbaker/Eddie Sizemore (4) 6-0, 6-1.

James Gammell/Taylor Todd d. Kelsey Hensley/Fernando Pavez (3) 7-6, 6-4.

Mother-daughter doubles (semifinals)

Melinda White/Katherine White d. Kelly Sadd/Danielle Sadd 6-1, 6-1.

Combined Mixed 6.0 doubles (semifinals)

Allison Ballard/Kenneth Ballard d. Julie Stebbins/James Stebbins (2) 6-1, 6-4.

Patrick Donaghey/Mary Schacht (1) d. Marcia Campbell/Steve Viglianco 6-4, 6-1.

Combined Mixed 7.0 doubles (quarterfinals)

Chris McNeely/Lauren McNeely (1) d. Douglas Poindexter/Linette Pratt 4-6, 6-3, 1-0.

Aric Margolis/Jamie Tridico (4) d. Barry Kelly/Stephanie Kelly 5-7, 6-3, 1-0.

Combined Women's 7.5 doubles (semifinals)

Elizabeth Phillips/Ashley White (10 d. Mary Cook/Nancy Tiffey 6-2, 4-6, 1-0.

Men's 3.0 singles (quarterfinals)

David Yaussy d. Gregory Pennington 7-6, 6-2.

Men's 3.5 doubles (quarterfinals)

Dana Eddy/Whitney Hess d. Jerry Goff/Edward Nichols 6-4, 6-4.

Men's 4.0 doubles (quarterfinals)

David Lamm/Ryan Pulliam d. Roy McClanahan/Tyler Newman 7-6, 7-6.

Casey Hudson/Logan Jarrett d. Scott Dean/Jordan Hughes 6-3, 7-5.

Vincent Centofanti/Mychal Schulz d. David Nelson/Bobby White 4-6, 6-0, 1-0.

Men's 4.0 singles (quarterfinals)

Timothy Barker (3) d. Dante DiTrapano 6-4, 6-4.

Women's 3.0 singles (semifinals)

Katherine Mullins (2) d. Haley Adkins 6-1, 6-2.

Shelby King d. Leslie Williamson (1) 6-2, 7-5.

Women's 3.5 doubles (semifinals)

Jeannie Lacock/Andrea Morris (1) d. Julie Janicki/Jennifer McIntosh 6-0, 6-1.

Women's 4.0 doubles (semifinals)

Kelli Hinkle/Wendy Rubin (1) d. Deborah Harmon/Pamela Lorensen 2-6, 6-4, 1-0.

Power splits doubleheader against Hagerstown http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719503 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719503 Wed, 15 Jul 2015 22:23:19 -0500




CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Hagerstown got out to a three-run lead before the West Virginia Power could get on the board Wednesday afternoon, and the Suns held on to get a 3-2 win at Appalachian Power Park in the first game of a twi-night doubleheader.

West Virginia, however, used a five-run third inning in the second game to propel the South Atlantic League North Divisioni leaders to a 5-0 win.

The first game served as a makeup date for Tuesday’s game between the teams that was rained out.

The Suns got on the board in the second inning of the first game when Matthew Page opened the inning with a double then scored on a single by David Masters. Jeff Gardner, who singled Page over to third before Masters’ at-bat, scored when D.K. Carey hit a sacrifice fly to center field.

The Suns tacked on another run in the third that proved to be the game winner. Again, Gardner played a role in the scoring, as his single brought Jose Marmolejos-Diaz around to score.

The Power got both its runs in the fifth, when Chase Simpson led off with a walk and advanced to third on an error. Simpson scored on a line-drive single by Pablo Reyes to cut the lead to 3-1, then West Virginia pulled within one run when Taylor Gushue scored on a Cole Tucker sacrifice fly.

David Napoli got the win for Hagerstown while Alex McRae took the loss for the Power.

In the nightcap, Tyler Filliben led off the third with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice from Francisco Diaz. Jeff Roy was then hit by a pitch before Elvis Escobar hit a three-run home run to right field, giving the Power all the runs it needed.

West Virginia tacked on two more before the inning was over, though, as Jordan Luplow followed Escobar with a homer of his own. Later in the inning, Simpson hit a single to center that scored Michael Suchy.

Mike Casazza: ADs will need time to reignite WVU-Pitt series http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719511 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719511 Wed, 15 Jul 2015 20:53:25 -0500 Mike Casazza By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - What we know about the Backyard Brawl is talkers at Pitt and West Virginia want to bring back the rivalry.

Actually, the Mountaineers, in the words of director of football operations Alex Hammond, would "love to reignite" it. If Hammond is saying that, believe his boss, coach Dana Holgorsen, echoes it.

Holgorsen's counterpart, first-year Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi, has a fondness for the game. His father was a Pitt assistant early in the 1960s, and he wants to see the resumption receive "serious consideration." But he'll leave that to his boss.

Narduzzi's boss, first-year athletic director Scott Barnes, says resuming the series is an "important factor" in building future schedules. WVU's first-year athletic director, Shane Lyons, said "one of my top priorities" is getting the Panthers back on the calendar.

It's going to happen. We knew that when it went away in 2011. We know it now as both schools have a feel for their new conferences and are getting a feel for the College Football Playoff. Might first-year actors need or want more time? Certainly, but it's time they have.

And it's time they'll need, because while we know this is going to happen, we don't know what it's going to look like. That's where the two sides will begin when they get together in the near future.

"The week after he started last month, I told him I wanted to try to get with him by the end of the summer before he gets too far down the road about scheduling," Lyons said. "It appears he's interested, so it's a matter of sitting down and talking and trying to figure out all the variables and all the dates that work for them and work for us."

Oh, those variables. They complicate things and they facilitate things. They seem to push the game into the distance and they seem to invite one rather quickly.

WVU plays nine Big 12 games every season and gets five of them at home every other year - and the Mountaineers simply must play at least six home games every season. Pitt plays eight ACC games every year with half at home and half on the road. But what does WVU do with three non-conference games every season? What do the Panthers do with four?

Here's why this matters and why Barnes and Lyons have to talk soon: They could play in 2017, but there could be multiple philosophical obstacles, too.

Lyons said "in a perfect world" WVU would annually play two highly visible Football Bowl Subdivision teams - the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC - and one FBS team from the Group of Five. Three highly visible teams would be too much for one year. Is three highly visible teams too much for Pitt to handle in one season, or is it the goal because the Panthers play one fewer conference game?

The Mountaineers need one home game in 2017 and want it to be a highly visible team. Pitt plays host to Youngstown State, at Penn State and at home against Oklahoma State.

Suppose both schools want 11 games against highly visible teams - WVU's nine Big 12 games and two non-conference games, Pitt's eight ACC games and three non-conference game. The one thing Barnes has said is he doesn't want to play Penn State and WVU in the same season for the sake of his fans.

That would nix 2017 - plus 2018 and 2019, though WVU needs a game in both seasons against someone outside the highly visible leagues - and any other year that might come from an extension with Penn State that Barnes has made his priority. This restriction might not be realistic if Barnes really wants to restore the rivalry.

No one knows, much like no one knows if this series must be played in consecutive seasons or if Pitt would take seriously an offer to play a neutral-site game at Heinz Field - which is its home field.

Lyons will learn about Barnes and what he wants soon, but he's learning about what he wants, as well. That third non-conference game will be a chore, and WVU has two highly visible teams scheduled in 2018, 2019 and 2021 and one highly visible and East Carolina scheduled in 2017 and 2020. Lyons would rather not play any Football Championship Subdivision teams, but he knows he might not be able to prevent that.

What if one of WVU's future opponents cancels a game? What if he wants to schedule someone from one of the Group of Five leagues, but finds Sun Belt, Conference USA or Mid-American Conference schools want outrageous paydays?

Suddenly a FCS team is a reasonable option, but Lyons is concerned about the strength of schedule component the CFP evaluates.

"There are some FCS schools in our geographic location that are pretty darn good teams and match up with some non-Power 5 conference teams and may be a bit better, but there's just an attachment to where they're an FCS school," he said. "That's where we've got to be careful."

Mostly, though, Lyons wants to be ambitious, a plan that includes Pitt, continuing to schedule Penn State, Maryland and Virginia Tech and adding Virginia "if they'd be willing to do it."

"I'd like some type of rotation so that we have two games against somebody pretty close," he said. "That's not saying we're not interested in neutral-site games as well. I think our fans enjoyed going to Atlanta last year, and there's a possibility we go back down there when their new arena opens.

"We're going to Washington, D.C., to play BYU and we're going to Charlotte to play Tennessee for neutral-site games. Those can be thrown in there, but I'd like to keep the other schools we had traditional rivalries with - the Marylands, Pitts, Penn States - on some type of rotation."

Vines gets chance to play in front of family at Public Courts http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719512 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719512 Wed, 15 Jul 2015 20:51:42 -0500 Chuck McGill By Chuck McGill CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Finally, Charleston resident Dan Taylor can make the short drive to the Schoenbaum Courts in Kanawha City to see his granddaughter play tennis.

"It's marvelous because I've traveled to see her play in other tournaments," he said. "I do too much talking about her and all my friends are like, 'that's all he talks about,' so I'm happy to let them see that I wasn't (exaggerating).

"She can play some tennis."

Indeed, the 16-year-old Danielle Vines can play. The Elizabethton, Tenn., resident has verbally pledged to play tennis at Furman University, and she is rated a 5-star prospect who is ranked No. 48 nationally.

Vines, a lefty who proudly dons her purple Paladins gear, is a first-time Public Courts participant, but her prowess obviously preceded her here to the week-long event. The rising high school senior is seeded in the Women's Open singles and Mixed Open doubles events.

"I honestly thought she might get ignored because nobody would look her up on the computer," Taylor, 75, said of Vines. "I was surprised to see her seeded."

But it is more than a grandfather's gushing that has earned Vines respect here in the Mountain State. She received an estimated 40 recruiting letters from colleges, including interest from schools like UCLA, Oregon, Florida State and Arizona State.

She narrowed her prospective colleges to Furman, College of Charleston, Tulane, Wake Forest and WVU, the latter of which sent Vines a letter this week. Vines considered the Mountaineers because Taylor and her mother, Julie Taylor Vines, are graduates of WVU. Danielle Vines, however, settled on Furman in January, and she is set to sign with the school in November.

"I decided I wanted to play pretty close to home, stay in the South," Vines said of her college choice. "Furman is two hours away from my house - that's the perfect distance for me. I wanted to go somewhere small and private, where I could get a really good education. I didn't want really huge classes and Furman is 2,500 kids. The campus is the perfect size."

Vines, who has won consecutive Class AA/A state championships for Elizabethton High School, started playing tennis at the age of 9. She was once a multi-sport athlete, but as her skills improved she focused her energy on tennis. She travels to the Country Club of Bristol, a 35-minute car ride, to train.

"I got pretty good really fast and I just fell in love with it," Vines said. "It kind of runs in the family."

Taylor is a longtime Public Courts participant, and he played for the Mountaineers in the non-scholarship era. He picked up the game from his father.

"My dad played, he graduated from Charleston High School in 1928, he played tennis," Taylor said. "When he got in his high 20s, he quit. He pulled me aside one day ... he said 'son, don't quit playing. I quit and it was a mistake.' So I've played all my life. I've played 60 years."

And now, Vines is a precocious prospect in pursuit of a Public Courts crown. She could be the fourth different champion in as many years in the Women's Open division, and the second consecutive teen to win the event.

Vines, who is seeded No. 2 in singles, faces former George Washington High School player Kirsten White, who will walk-on at WVU, on Thursday at 5 p.m. The winner advances to Saturday's final. Vines is also seeded No. 2 in Mixed Open doubles, where she partners with Scott Harper.

No matter what happens, she knows her grandfather will be front and center, making the most of being able to cheer for her in his own backyard.

"It's funny," Vines said, "everyone I've talked to here has said, 'Oh my gosh, I know so much about you. You're all he talks about.'"

Slusarciuc returns to women's open draw, vies for another title http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719513 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719513 Wed, 15 Jul 2015 20:50:02 -0500 Chris Wade By Chris Wade CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Andreea Slusarciuc knows what it takes to win a Public Courts tennis tournament title, capturing the women's open singles championship in 2013.

Slusarciuc, who didn't play in last year's event, is back in Public Courts. She is unseeded, but is two wins away from another championship in the women's open singles division.

"Obviously I want to win the whole thing, but I know I have tough competition," she said. "It is always nice to win a tournament and come back."

Slusarciuc, who is from Romania, missed out on an opportunity to defend her title last year after deciding to return home to her country, but she is glad to be back in a competitive semifinal draw that features top seed Brittany Franco, No. 2 seed Danielle Vines and former George Washington High School star and future WVU walk-on Kirsten White.

"I wish I was here last summer, but I went back to Romania," Slusarciuc said. "I was constantly checking the draws and I really wanted to be here and play, but at the same time was very happy to be home with my family.

"This summer, I decided to stay just for this tournament because I love it so much and being around the tennis community. The main reason I am playing is because it is fun and I really like everyone. I missed last year and I am very grateful to be back this year."

Standing in Slusarciuc's path is Franco, a close friend and former teammate at West Virginia State. They were doubles partners for the Yellow Jackets.

The intriguing semifinal matchup Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Schoenbaum Courts has been a topic of conversation between the two ever since the draws were announced.

"We are obviously smack-talking since the tournament started," Slusarciuc said. "It will be a challenging match and obviously we are both good players. We went through a lot together and I just want to have fun, play and may the best win."

"I definitely want to win it," Franco said. "Andreea won it and is always raving about it, so I want to, too. We have talked about it all the time. I tell her I'm going to kick her butt. It will be a good match. We are close. It will be fun."

The players combined to lead West Virginia State to the West Virginia Conference title in 2012 and Mountain East Conference title in 2013.

Slusarciuc hasn't played as much tennis lately, but is only a year removed from her standout collegiate career. She was the WVIAC Freshman and Player of the Year in 2010, and won three regular season and two tournament championships.

Slusarciuc has been coaching against her former school and doubles partner as an assistant tennis coach at the University of Charleston. State defeated UC in the MEC tournament championship and again in the Atlantic Region tournament.

Slusarciuc doesn't see her transition as a big deal.

"The only thing I thought was strange was when State and UC played against each other," Slusarciuc said. "I'm very competitive so the team I am playing or working with, I want them to win. I was cheering for UC and I wanted them to win very bad.

"I have my former teammates and friends playing but this was a great opportunity for me and I was very happy UC was going to allow me to be a graduate assistant. I'm loving coaching. I don't look at it as big rivals. This is an individual sport and they all know what they are doing."

Slusarciuc's sister, Silvana, will be making her way from Romania to West Virginia to play for UC.

"She could have went to other colleges and played but in the end we wanted to be together," Slusarciuc said. "I'm glad she is going to have the same experiences as I did."

Slusarciuc is looking forward to being reunited with her family member.

"We haven't been around each other the past six years," she said. "It was very hard for both of us. I left when she was 12 or 13. She always looked up to me as a role model. We always stayed in touch, skyping every day and talking.

"She followed my path. I love the community here. She's going to get a great education at UC. I'm glad I am going to get to coach her and be around her."

WVU places three on Big 12's preseason all-conference team http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719548 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719548 Wed, 15 Jul 2015 16:13:58 -0500




MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The West Virginia University football team had three players voted to the Big 12 media's preseason all-conference team Wednesday, nearly matching the total from the first three years the Mountaineers were in the league.

Linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, safety Karl Joseph and kicker Josh Lambert were honored by reporters covering the league. Joseph was WVU's lone selection last preseason, which came one year after the team had no players on the preseason team, but did see running back Charles Sims win the preseason Newcomer of the Year award.

In 2012, Geno Smith was the preseason all-conference quarterback and the preseason Player of the Year, and Tavon Austin was named to the team as a receiver and punt returner.

Joseph, a senior from Orlando, Fla., was named to the preseason team for the second consecutive season. Oklahoma linebacker Eric Striker and cornerback Zack Sanchez are the only other repeat honorees. Joseph led the team in tackles as a freshman in 2012 and was second last season with 92. He's already made preseason watch lists for the Bednarik, Nagurski Thorpe awards.

Kwiatkoski, a senior from Bethel Park, Pa., led the Mountaineers in tackles the past two years. He has been named to the Lombardi Award watch list. He finished with 102 tackles last season, including a team-high 71 on his own, and had five games with at least 10 tackles.

Lambert, a junior from Garland, Texas, was a finalist last season for the Groza Award and is included on the award's watch list this season. In 2014, Lambert set the NCAA record by making 16 field goals of 40 yards or more. He tied the NCAA marks with 10 games with two or more field goals and six games with three or more. He tied a school record with 30 field goals and set the school record with 135 kicking points in a season.

Preseason all-Big 12 team

(as voted by the media)

Offensive Player of the Year - Trevone Boykin, TCU, QB, Sr.

Defensive Player of the Year - Shawn Oakman, Baylor, DE, Sr.

Newcomer of the Year - Chris Carson, Oklahoma State, RB, Jr.


QB - Trevone Boykin, TCU, 6-2, 205, Sr.

RB - Shock Linwood, Baylor, 5-9, 195, Jr.

RB - Samaje Perine, Oklahoma, 5-11, 237, So.

FB - Glenn Gronkowski, Kansas State, 6-3, 234, Jr.

WR - Corey Coleman, Baylor, 5-11, 190, Jr.

WR - Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma, 5-10, 191, Sr.

WR - Josh Doctson, TCU, 6-3, 195, Sr.

TE - Tre'Von Armstead, Baylor, 6-6, 270, Jr.

OL - Spencer Drango, Baylor, 6-6, 310, Sr.

OL - Cody Whitehair, Kansas State, 6-4, 305, Sr.

OL - Joey Hunt, TCU, 6-3, 295, Sr.

OL - Halapoulivaati Vaitai, TCU, 6-6, 308, Sr.

OL - Le'Raven Clark, Texas Tech, 6-6, 307, Sr.

PK - Josh Lambert, West Virginia, 5-11, 215, Jr.

KR/PR - Alex Ross, Oklahoma, 6-1, 220, Jr.


DL - Andrew Billings, Baylor, 6-2, 300, Jr.

DL - Shawn Oakman, Baylor, 6-9, 280, Sr.

DL - Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State, 6-4, 275, Jr.

DL - Davion Pierson, TCU, 6-2, 305, Sr.

DL - Pete Robertson, Texas Tech, 6-3, 243, Sr.

LB - Eric Striker, Oklahoma, 6-0, 223, Sr.

LB - Ryan Simmons, Oklahoma State, 6-0, 240, Sr.

LB - Nick Kwiatkoski, West Virginia, 6-2, 235, Sr.

DB - Orion Stewart, Baylor, 6-2, 200, Jr.

DB - Dante Barnett, Kansas State, 6-1, 193, Sr.

DB - Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma, 5-11, 175, Jr.

DB - Kevin Peterson, Oklahoma State, 5-11, 190, Sr.

DB - Duke Thomas, Texas, 5-10, 178, Sr.

DB - Karl Joseph, West Virginia, 5-11, 197, Sr.

P - Taylor Symmank, Texas Tech, 6-3, 194, Sr.

Media picks Marshall football to finish second in C-USA East http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719549 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719549 Wed, 15 Jul 2015 16:12:45 -0500

From STafF reports


From STafF reports

The Marshall football team was picked by Conference USA media to finish second to Western Kentucky in the conference's East Division. The C-USA preseason poll, chosen this season by select media members, was released Wednesday. Louisiana Tech, who Marshall beat in last year's conference title game, was picked to repeat as West Division champion.

The Hilltoppers, who finished 8-5 overall and 4-4 in the conference last season, knocked the Thundering Herd from the ranks of the unbeaten in a wild 67-66 win in their regular-season finale. WKU returns quarterback Brandon Doughty - the 2014 conference MVP and 2015 preseason offensive player of the year - and six other offensive starters, including 1,490-yard rusher Leon Allen, plus nine returning defensive starters.

The Herd, which capped its 13-1 season with a win over Mid-American Conference champ Northern Illinois in the Boca Raton Bowl, returns Doak Walker semifinalist running back Devon Johnson. Johnson led C-USA with 1,767 rushing yards. Yet school career passing leader Rakeem Cato is gone, as is C-USA career leader in receptions Tommy Shuler and 2014 conference defensive player of the year Neville Hewitt.

Middle Tennessee was picked to finish third in the East Division, with Florida Atlantic fourth, Florida International fifth, Old Dominion sixth and new C-USA football member Charlotte seventh. Rice was picked to finish second in the West Division, with UTEP third, Southern Mississippi fourth, North Texas fifth and UTSA sixth.

Conference USA's season begins Thursday, Sept, 3, when FIU visits the University of Central Florida, UTSA visits Arizona and Western Kentucky visits Vanderbilt.

East Division

1 - Western Kentucky

2 - Marshall

3 - Middle Tennessee

4 - Florida Atlantic

5 - FIU

6 - Old Dominion

7 - Charlotte

West Division

1 - Louisiana Tech

2 - Rice

3 - UTEP

4 - Southern Miss

5 - North Texas

6 - UTSA

Prized WVU recruit Ahmad ruled eligible by NCAA http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719552 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719552 Wed, 15 Jul 2015 16:11:19 -0500




MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Esa Ahmad, one of the top-rated recruits West Virginia coach Bob Huggins has signed since returning to his alma mater in 2007, revealed Wednesday he's been ruled eligible by the NCAA.

"Officially in. I will be in Morgantown this weekend," Ahmad wrote on his Twitter account.

A three-week session of summer classes begins July 20. Point guard James Bolden and forward Lamont West enrolled in June. Junior college guard Teyvon Myers, who led the nation in scoring this past season, previously told the Charleston Daily Mail he'll arrive in the first week of August. The fall semester begins Aug. 17.

The 6-foot-8, 215-pound Ahmad was a two-time state player of the year at Cleveland's Shaker Heights. He averaged 25.3 points and 12 rebounds as a senior and chose WVU over scholarship offers from Ohio State, Indiana, Maryland and Wisconsin. Ahmad received a four-star rating from the major recruiting services and was ranked as a top-75 prospect bu ESPN, Scout.com, Rivals.com and 247Sports.com.