Part of the mission of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics department is to guide, encourage and support our Student-Athletes in their quest for comprehensive excellence - academically, athletically and socially. The 2008-09 season was an amazing year for the Mocs in all three areas and GoMocs.com is currently taking a look back at the accomplishments of the student-athletes at UTC in the last year.
Last week, we recapped the academic achievements of the Mocs in 2008-09. This week we delve into the performances of UTC student-athletes in their respective arenas of competition over the last year. All totaled, it was a record-breaking season for Chattanooga Athletics and these are the reasons why:
· The Mocs set a school record with six teams winning Southern Conference Championships.
· Chattanooga set a school record with 10 teams being represented in the postseason.
· School record five Mocs teams advanced to the NCAA Championships
· 11 Mocs won 14 individual Southern Conference Championships or Southern Conference Tournament MVP honors.
· Four Mocs won Southern Conference Athlete of the Year honors.
· Four Mocs won Southern Conference Freshman of the Year honors.
· Three UTC head coaches won Southern Conference Coach of the Year honors.
All of these marks helped Chattanooga finish the year in the top-100 of the Learfield Sports Director’s Cup standings. The Learfield Sports Director’s Cup was developed in 1994 as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Athletic Directors (NACDA) and USA Today to honor athletic departments for their success in all NCAA Sports. Points are awarded based on a school’s finish at the NCAA Championships. Athletic departments can score points in up to 20 sports, 10 women’s and 10 men’s. The Mocs finished the year in 99th place with a total of 180.5 points.
“Being a Top-100 program is meaningful because it serves as evidence that we are pursuing comprehensive excellence across all 17 of our sports” stated UTC Director of Athletics Rick Hart. “Accomplishments such as this are years in the making – and the result of our collective efforts! We are fortunate to serve and employ a plethora of talented and ambitious people – student-athletes, coaches, staff, university personnel, alumni, donors and fans – without whom this simply would not be possible.”
Adding to the impressiveness of finishing in the top-100 is the fact that the Mocs operated on a $9 million budget for 2008-09. Miniscule funding when compared to the athletic department budgets of the majority of the institutions listed in the top-100.
Chattanooga continued some impressive streaks in 2008-09 with women’s cross country winning its third consecutive SoCon title. Men’s golf also captured its third SoCon championship in a row. Women’s basketball fought its way to a 10th straight regular season league championship while the wrestling team made it five consecutive SoCon trophies.
Both the men’s and women’s golf teams competed in the NCAA Championships for the first time in school history. The men finished 18th while the women placed 21st. The women’s golf team made it to the NCAA finals in just its second year of competition after being reinstated at UTC in 2007-08.
Highlighting the individual accomplishments was senior Lara Newberry being named National Libero of the Year. She set the NCAA career record for digs during her final year at UTC, recording 3,176 in her four years. She also led the nation in digs in 2008, posting 777 last season.
As well as the Mocs performed in 2008-09, there is much reason for excitement and anticipation for the upcoming 2009-10 season. Chattanooga has a chance to improve on its top-100 ranking considering that women’s basketball missed the NCAA Tournament and did not score points for the Mocs this season. Wrestling finished tied for 52nd at the NCAAs, a respectable number, but not where the Mocs traditionally finish at nationals. Also, both cross country teams just missed qualifying for the NCAA finals, which would have added to the total even more.
Individually, there is an abundance of talent returning to Chattanooga in 2009-10. Three of the four SoCon Athletes of the Year and all of the SoCon Freshmen of the Year return to UTC next season. Of the 11 student-athletes who won the Mocs’ 14 individual SoCon Tournament Championship/MVP honors, nine will return next season. Women’s golf welcomes back its entire roster while three of the men’s golf starters are also back. Both softball and wrestling lose only one starter to graduation and women’s basketball and both cross country teams return a talented core.
“We certainly had a fantastic year in 2008-09, but by no means do I feel that we have peaked as a program,” stated Hart. “I know that there is not one student-athlete, coach or administrator at UTC who is satisfied with all of the great things that were accomplished last year. While we celebrate our amazing achievements of the past, we are working hard for continuous improvement and even bigger and better accomplishments for Chattanooga Athletics in the future.”
Southern Conference Champions (6)
· Women’s Cross Country
· Women’s Basketball (Regular Season)
· Men’s Basketball (North Division, Tournament)
· Wrestling (Regular Season, Tournament)
· Softball (Regular Season, Tournament)
· Men’s Golf
Mocs Teams Represented in the Postseason (10)
· Men’s Cross Country (NCAA Regional)
· Women’s Cross Country (NCAA Regional)
· Men’s Basketball
· Women’s Basketball (WNIT)
· Men’s Golf
· Women’s Golf
· Men’s Outdoor Track & Field (NCAA Regional)
· Women’s Outdoor Track & Field (NCAA Regional)
Southern Conference Athletes of the Year (4)
· Shanara Hollinquest – Women’s Basketball
· Emmanuel Kirwa – Men’s Cross Country
· Lara Newberry – Volleyball Libero of the Year
· Cody Cleveland – Wrestling
National Honors (1)
· Lara Newberry – Collegiate Volleyball Update National Libero of the Year
Southern Conference Tournament Champion/MVP (14)
· Stephen McDowell – Men’s Basketball
· Emmanuel Kirwa – Cross Country
· Chris Berry – 5000M Indoor
· Chris Berry – 5000M Outdoor
· Michael Danehy – 800M Indoor
· Michael Danehy – 800M Outdoor
· Anneli Uys – 1500M Indoor
· Anneli Uys – 800M Outdoor
· Cody Cleveland – Wrestling
· Seth Garvin – Wrestling
· Demetrius Johnson – Wrestling
· Joey Knox – Wrestling
· Jason McCroskey – Wrestling
· Dan Waddell – Wrestling
Southern Conference Freshman of the Year (4)
· Joshue Vasquez – Men’s Cross Country
· Stephan Jaeger – Men’s Golf
· Maria Salinas – Women’s Golf
· Jason McCroskey – Wrestling
Southern Conference Coach of the Year (3)
· Chris Bono - Wrestling
· Bill Gautier – Women’s Cross Country
· Frank Reed - Softball
Men’s Basketball (John Shulman, head coach)
18-17, 11-9/T1st SoCon North (Tournament Champs) • NCAA 1st Rd
• Chattanooga won the SoCon North and SoCon Tournament Championships. The two titles make it a league-high 27 since the Mocs joined the SoCon in 1977-78.
• It was the 10th NCAA Tournament appearance for the Mocs, the most by a SoCon team during UTC’s 31 seasons in the league. It also ties the league all-time appearance mark with West Virginia and Davidson.
• Senior Stephen McDowell was named the SoCon Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. He led the SoCon in 3-pt FGs made per game, tying for third nationally. McDowell broke school records for three-pointers made in a career (243) and season (135), while tying the game record with nine on Dec. 30 against Niagara. He also set a new mark for three-point attempts in a career (611) and season (318).
• Senior forward Nicchaeus Doaks now holds the career rebounds mark at 818 and season record with 302. Doaks was a first team all-conference selection and graduated in the spring of 2009.
• The Mocs received national notoriety as the Late Show with Jimmy Fallon named them its team of the NCAA Tournament. Fallon featured Chattanooga each night during tournament week and brought the seniors to New York for an appearance on his show following the tournament.
Women’s Basketball (Wes Moore, head coach)
22-10, 17-3 SoCon/1st • WNIT First Round
• The Lady Mocs celebrated “A Decade of Dominance, Moore in McKenzie” by winning an unprecedented 10th consecutive SoCon regular season title, the team’s 15th overall. The Lady Mocs posted a 20-win season for the 10th consecutive year and made its 10th straight appearance in the postseason.
• Junior Shanara Hollinquest was named the SoCon Player of the Year , leading the league in scoring and field goal percentage and was ranked second in rebounding.
• Senior Erin Ogan earned All-SoCon after finishing third on the team in scoring and rebounding. She finished her career ranked fourth all-time at UTC for blocked shots.
• Junior Jenaya Wade-Fray was named to the SoCon Coaches All-Conference Team. She was second on the team in scoring and led the team in 3-pointers made climbing to fourth on the career charts at UTC.
• Junior Tagan Hatchett was named to the SoCon All-Tournament First Team. She drained a career-best six 3-pointers against Appalachian State in the first round for a career-high 18 points.
Cross Country (Bill Gautier, head coach)
Men (2nd SoCon/11th NCAA Regionals)
Women (1st SoCon/13th NCAA Regionals)
• The women’s cross country team claimed a third straight Southern Conference title. All five scoring runners finished in the top 20, led by sophomore Tara Gietema in fifth place. Head Coach Bill Gautier was named the SoCon Coach of the Year.
• The men’s cross country team finished second in the SoCon Championships. The Mocs placed two in the top three, including SoCon champ Emmanuel Kirwa.
• Sophomore transfer Emmanuel Kirwa claimed individual honors in the event and was named SoCon Male Runner of the Year. He placed 16th at the NCAA South Region Meet and was named to the NCAA All-Region Team.
• The Mocs took two of the three first team All-SoCon spots with Emmanuel Kirwa and Chris Berry with Joshue Vasquez on the second team. The women were represented on the first team by Tara Gietema while Katie Williams and Sabrina Lefort were named to the second team team.
• Freshman Joshue Vasquez placed 12th overall at the SoCon Championships and was named the SoCon Male Freshman of the Year. He, along with Matt Baltimore and Meredith White, was named to the league’s All-Freshman Team.
• Both the Mocs and Lady Mocs were named All-Academic Teams by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The Lady Mocs posted an overall GPA of 3.416 and was one of 162 teams to make the list. The Mocs posted an overall GPA of 3.275 and was one of 110 teams to make the list.
Football (Rodney Allison, head coach)
1-11, 0-8 SoCon/9th
• The 2008 campaign ended with a 30-7 loss against Samford at Finley Stadium on Nov. 22, 2008. The loss dropped the Mocs to 1-11 on the season and marked the end of the Rodney Allison era of Chattanooga Football.
• In nine of the Mocs’ 12 games there was a block either for or against Chattanooga...be it a punt, field goal or PAT.
• After transferring from Central Michigan prior to the 2006 season, Raeshon Ball went on to total 93 tackles in 23 games at UTC. He also picked off three passes in his career.
• Senior William Giles and junior Steven Smigelsky both earned a spot on the Southern Conference All-Academic team.
• Former Moc Russ Huesman was named head coach on Dec. 22, 2008.
Men’s Golf (Mark Guhne, head coach)
1st SoCon • 18th NCAAs
• UTC competed in its third straight NCAA Regional as the No. 5 in the South Central at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla. The Mocs finished third to advance to their first NCAA Finals appearance.
• Chattanooga won its third straight SoCon Championship in exciting fashion, overcoming a three-shot deficit to win by two over Georgia Southern.
• Chattanooga was ranked No. 1 in the country in the fall. It is the only team in the Mocs DI history to reach No. 1 in the national rankings.
• The Mocs won three tournaments on the season opening the fall with wins at the Aldila Scenic City Invitational and the Carpet Capital Collegiate Classic while ending the regular season winning the SoCon Championship.
• Three Chattanooga golfers were named to the All-SoCon squad in Derek Rende, Ben Rickett and Stephan Jaeger. Jaeger earned SoCon Freshman of the Year honors. Heading into the NCAA Regionals, the Mocs boasted two players ranked in the Golfstat top 100 with Rende at No. 91 and Ben Rickett at No. 94. Rende was No. 87 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Ratings Index.
Women’s Golf (Colette Murray, head coach)
2nd SoCon • 21st NCAAs
• In just the second year of the program, head coach Colette Murray led the Lady Mocs to the NCAA Finals with an eighth-place finish at the NCAA Central Regional on the Scarlet Course at Ohio State...UTC finished 21st at the NCAAs.
• The Lady Mocs ranked in the top 50 all year, reaching as high as No. 33.
• Maria Salinas was named SoCon Freshman of the Year. Salinas and Emma de Groot earned All-SoCon honors, while Maju Loza was SoCon All-Freshman.
• Chattanooga won twice in 2008-09, defending their Chris Banister Gamecocks Classic title in September and the JMU/Eagle Landing Invitational in March. The Lady Mocs set a new school record with a 5-under, 283 in the final round at JMU/Eagle.
• Emma de Groot won twice to bring her career total to four in two seasons. She has 13 top-10s and 16 top-20s in 23 career tournaments.
Softball (Frank Reed, head coach)
30-25, 15-5 SoCon/1st (Tournament Champs) • NCAA Regionals
• The Chattanooga softball team had another banner year in the SoCon, claiming the program’s 11th regular season title and 10th SoCon Tournament crown. The Lady Mocs finished the season with a 30-25 record and a 15-5 mark in league play.
• The Lady Mocs were well represented on the all-conference squads. Sophomores Tiffany Baker, Lyndsey Stiles and Michelle Fuzzard each garnered first team honors while Brittany Eason and Kaiti Kelley were tabbed to the second team. Fuzzard was named to the first team as a first baseman and also made the second team as a pitcher. Jenni Martin was selected to the all-freshman team.
• Head coach Frank Reed earned his second straight, and third overall, SoCon Coach of the Year Award.
• In addition to her all-conference honors, Tiffany Baker was named to the All-South Region team by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, one of only four SoCon players to earn that distinction.
• The team’s lone senior, Toni Hutchison, finished her career with the most assists in program history. In a 3-2 win over Samford on May 8, the third baseman surpassed Leah Tucker’s previous record of 508. She now has 518 for her career.
Women’s Soccer (J.D. Kyzer, head coach)
5-14-1, 2-9 SoCon/11th
• The Lady Mocs extended their win streak over The Citadel to 6-0.
• Freshman D.K. Henry was named All-Conference Second Team. She entered the Lady Mocs’ Top 10 charts for points in a season with 18 and is tied for sixth on the goals list with eight in a season.
• Freshman keeper Allie Preston was ranked 24th in the nation by the NCAA for saves per game with an average 6.40. She recorded four shutouts and is tied for third in a season and is third all-time at UTC. She is fifth on the season saves list with 128 and ranked fourth on the all-time charts. She is tied for fourth on the career charts with a 2.41 goals-against average.
• Junior Chelsea Hurst climbed into the career charts at UTC for scoring, goals, assists and shots.
Women’s Tennis (Jeff Clark, head coach)
8-15, 2-8 SoCon/9th
• The Lady Mocs defeated Appalachian State to advance to the second round of the 2009 Southern Conference Championships.
• Senior Beata Knizat received the Dayle May Award for the UTC Female Senior Student-Athlete with the highest GPA.
• Freshman Shaina Singh was named to the Southern Conference All-Freshman team. She was named the women’s tennis Athlete of the Week in February.
• Freshman Emily Hangstefer was named to the Southern Conference All-Freshman team. She won the B1 Singles consolation bracket at the UTC Baras Fall Classic
• Freshman Brianna Wishing won the C2 Singles consolation bracket at the UTC Baras Fall Classic. She, along with teammate Annie Green advanced to the finals of the B1 Flight doubles bracket, falling 9-8 in a tiebreak to the top seeded team.
Men’s Tennis (Carlos Garcia, head coach)
2-18, 0-10 SoCon/11th
• Senior Peter Sauska was named to the Southern Conference First Team in singles and second team in doubles.
• Senior Pavel Vostrikov was named to the SoCon Second Team in doubles.
• Sauska won the consolation bracket of the men’s A1 Flight singles at the UTC Baras Fall Classic.
Track and Field (Bill Gautier, head coach)
Men (4th-In/6th-Out SoCon)
Women (6th-In/5th-Out SoCon)
• Sophomore Chris Berry won the men’s 5000M at the SoCon Indoor Championships. He followed that up with a first place finish in the same event at the league’s Outdoor Championships and earned an automatic qualification to the NCAA Region meet.
• Junior Michael Danehy won the men’s 800M at the SoCon Indoor Championships. He followed that up with a first place finish in the same event at the league’s Outdoor Championships and earned an automatic qualification to the NCAA Region meet.
• Transfer Anneli Uys broke the school record in the women’s 800 meter event in the preliminaries at the SoCon Outdoor Championships. She went on to claim the individual title in both the 800 meter and 1500 meter events and earned an automatic qualification to the NCAA Region meet. She also qualified for both based on time.
• UTC placed 12 athletes on the All-Conference Team while Joshue Vasquez and Allen Thurman were both named to the inaugural All-Freshman Team.
• The women’s 4x800 meter relay team comprised of Lauren Anderson, Shelley Taylor, Anneli Uys and Emily Wood, set a school record in the event with a time of 8:59.70 at the Sea Ray Relays hosted by the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. The team bested the record set in 1997 by more than seven seconds.
Volleyball (Lisa Rhodes, head coach)
17-16, 12-6 SoCon/T3rd-North
• The Chattanooga volleyball team finished another successful season in the SoCon with a 12-6 mark in the league, good for third place in the North Division.
• Lara Newberry continued her excellence on the court, breaking the NCAA record for digs in a career on Oct. 8 against Samford, finishing her career with 3,176 digs.
• Her 777 digs in 2008 led the nation for the second straight season. She averaged 6.76 digs per set, which was also tops in the country. On Oct. 11 she set a school record for digs in a game with 51 against Wofford.
• Newberry was named the SoCon Libero of the Year for the second year in a row, as well as Collegiate Volleyball Update’s National Libero of the Year.
• Senior Michaela Huff finished her career with 1,581 assists and 93 service aces. She ends her career eighth in school history in assists and ninth in aces.
Wrestling (Chris Bono, head coach)
21-10, 5-0 SoCon/1st (Tourn. Champs) • T52nd NCAAs
• Wrestling captured the program’s 24th Southern Conference title. UTC won both the SoCon regular season and tournament trophies for the fifth year in a row. The Mocs posted a 21-10 overall record and went 5-0 in conference action.
• Junior Cody Cleveland was named the 2008-09 SoCon co-Wrestler of the Year and the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the SoCon Tournament.
• Head coach Chris Bono was named the 2009 SoCon Coach of the Year. He has earned the title of the top coach in the league in all three of his seasons at UTC. He is 15-0 in SoCon matches in his three-year career at Chattanooga.
• UTC freshman Jason McCroskey was named the 2009 SoCon Freshman of the Year. McCroskey went 5-0 in league matches and won the league title at 174.
• Chattanooga dominated the All-SoCon team, taking half of the league’s honors. Senior Seth Garvin earned his second-straight honor at 165 while junior Cody Cleveland was also a two-time selection at 141. Junior Joey Knox earned All-SoCon honors at 157 while freshman Jason McCroskey (174) and Dan Waddell (148) got the nod in their respective weight classes.