www.charlestondailymail.com Sports http://www.charlestondailymail.com Daily Mail feed en-us Copyright 2014, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers 81ST W.VA. OPEN: Seven-birdie day sends Brand to title http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140725/DM03/140729437 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140725/DM03/140729437 Fri, 25 Jul 2014 18:02:42 -0400 By Rich Stevens DANIELS - Christian Brand took care of seven-time West Virginia Open titlist David Bradshaw and earned his third Mountain State crown at the same time during Friday's final round of the 81st State Open Championship at the Resort at Glade Springs' Cobb Course.

Brand had seven birdies and one bogey, finishing six-under and pulled away from Bradshaw in the late stages to win the Open, earning him a Class AAA state high school title (2005), a State Amateur crown (2011) and a State Open championship (2014) in the span of 10 years.

Although high school records are incomplete, it is believed Brand is the first player since Barney Thompson to accomplish all three feats.

He also said winning state events rank high on his list of accomplishments. He took home a $6,000 share of the $26,150 purse.

"I'm a very proud West Virginian," said Brand, who is playing on the Web.com Tour. "When I go to events, they say I'm from Charleston, West Virginia. I love when they say that on the first tee.

"To win the State Open is something I dreamed about for a long time. This is a sense of relief and it feels pretty good."

Bradshaw and Brand were neck-and-neck for most of the final round while being threatened by Marshall University rising sophomore Will Evans and Edgewood Country Club head professional Craig Berner during Friday's final 18 holes.

Evans had a bogey on No. 1 and a triple bogey on No. 3 to lose four strokes in three holes. He battled back with four birdies in the next five holes to get back in the chase.

"No. 1, I hit a great second shot and barely took it over the green and had a tough chip," Evans said. "It wasn't because of nerves, it was just because. I was four over through three, but I knew there were a ton of birdie holes coming up and I played the back nine really well every round. I was only one back after nine."

Evans finished his round with a birdie on 18, but had a double-bogey, three bogeys and only two other birdies on the back nine.

Bradshaw, meanwhile, appeared destined for his eighth Open crown with four consecutive birdies from No. 2 to No. 5, but cooled considerably, finishing 1-over on the final 13 holes. Bradshaw's bogeys came on two par 3s.

Brand's only hiccup was a bogey on No. 6 and was 4-under on the final 12 holes.

He led by three strokes walking up the 18 fairway. He hit his second shot into the bunker and couldn't get up and down, but finished with a par.

"I knew I had a lead, but I just said let's stay aggressive, play the hole the way I've been playing it," Brand said. "I just tried to bust a couple three woods right at the flag."

Brand played the last two rounds at 10 under following a relatively so-so 2-under performance on Wednesday. He was 12-under for the tournament. Bradshaw finished three strokes back, Berner four strokes back and Evans six strokes.

Evans played in the final group after leading the Open entering Friday.

n n n

HURRICANE'S SCOTT Davis finished the tournament tied for seventh at 4-under, his third consecutive top 10 finish. The highlight of his round was his 14th career hole in one when he sank his tee shot on the 247-yard, par 3 No. 3 hole with a driver.

n n n

THIS WON'T be Bradshaw's final Open, but this year might be his swan song as a touring professional.

Bradshaw is planning to return to California and become a teaching pro, "wear a floppy hat" and take some time off.

"There's an outside chance I could finish the Canadian Tour, but I need a little break," he said. "I've been on the road for two months and just haven't played well. I'm beat up and a little tired. My back hurts, my wrist hurts, my neck hurts ... I'm skinny," he joked.

Bradshaw has a gig set up at the Encinitas Ranch Golf Course "five minutes" from his house.

"I'm going to try to build a book over the next month and just teach at the back of the ranch," he said.

Bradshaw said he plans to continue to try to get in the U.S. Open and will likely return to West Virginia for the Open and still play in the Frank B. Fuhrer Invitational in Pittsburgh.

n n n

THIS MARKS Brand's third consecutive top five finish. He was tied for second in 2012 and tied for third last year.

]]>
81ST W.VA. OPEN: Former GW standout Evans leads by one stroke http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140724/DM03/140729480 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140724/DM03/140729480 Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:26:14 -0400 By Rich Stevens DANIELS, W.Va. - Former George Washington High School standout Will Evans caddied for his father, Barry, when the elder Evans moved past David Bradshaw and won the 2008 State Open Championship at Berry Hills Country Club.

Six years later, it's the younger Evans squaring up for a shot at an Open title, but he won't need a rousing comeback on the back nine like his father, who finished with four birdies to defeat Bradshaw by three strokes in '08.

Will Evans shot a 6-under 66 on Thursday in the second round of the 81st Open Championship to take the lead entering Friday's final 18 holes at the Resort at Glade Springs' Cobb Course.

This time Evans, who was 13 years old when he caddied in 2008, leads 2005 champion Craig Berner by a shot and Bradshaw - the seven-time champion - and former Capital High School and Marshall star Christian Brand by two shots.

"I started on the back nine and my first tee shot of the day I hit left," said Evans, who is a rising sophomore at Marshall. "I had to chip out sideways and ended up getting up and down from 114 yards for par. That kind of set the tone for the day. I parred 11 and then eagled 12."

That makes three eagles in two days for the precocious 19-year-old, whose father is the head professional at Berry Hills. Evans is vying to become the first amateur to win the State Open Championship since 2004 when Bradshaw won the first of his seven. The last six were as a professional.

"When I missed shots they were in the right spots," said Will Evans, whose shared the day's low round at 6-under. "They were in the right position. It got kind of slow in the middle of the round, but I stayed patient."

He had three pars and a bogey from holes 8 through 11, but eagled 5, and was a bogey on No. 9 shy of taking a two-shot lead.

Still lurking, however, are Berner (7-under), Bradshaw (6-under) and Brand (6-under).

Evans, Berner and Brand will tee in the final group at 10:48 a.m. Friday.

Bradshaw, who has won the title seven times since 2003, missed "all of" his birdie putts inside of a foot, playing "awful."

"I missed a birdie putt on 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17 and 18," Bradshaw said. "I played terrible. The golf course is really easy. I just couldn't putt today. So, anyway, that was my day.

"I'm in contention, but I don't like not being in the last group, because I can't watch those guys. It's like match play when you're in the last group and I like match play. It's fun."

Berner continued his hot play, shooting 3-under to sit one shot back, putting two professionals (Berner and Brand) with one amateur in the final group.

Five other players are under par for the 54-hole championship, with three - Wheeling's Jason Martin, Parkersburg's Ken Hess and Charles Town's Jason Robinson - at 3-under. O'Dell and Jonathan Bartlett, the director of the First Tee of West Virginia, are at 1-under.

"It was fun," Berner said. "I was 1-over on the first nine and didn't do anything. It's a crazy game. My goal was to shoot 1-under on the back and 3-under on the front, and (Wednesday) I did that. (Thursday), I flip-flopped it with 1-over on the front and 4-under on the back. That's golf for you."

The final round of the championship begins at 7:30 a.m. on Friday with Scott Depot's Mike Keiffer - son of Kanawha Valley baseball umpire Denny Keiffer - and Waynesburg, Pa.'s Chris McGinnis.

But, it's who tees off last on Friday that counts with the possibility of making history in the eighth decade of the Open.

If Will Evans comes out on top, it'll mark the first time in the 81-year history of the Open that a father and a son have won the crown.

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

]]>
81ST W.VA. OPEN: Parkersburg's Hess seeking financial backing for pro shot http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140724/DM03/140729481 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140724/DM03/140729481 Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:26:09 -0400 By Rich Stevens DANIELS, W.Va - Parkersburg's Ken Hess has seen the best, and worst, that can be offered on the Cobb Course at the Resort at Glade Springs.

His home course while at Concord University was the Cobb and he has played in 10 pre-qualifiers and Monday qualifiers for the Greenbrier Classic.

It wasn't much help on Thursday, as the former Parkersburg South star followed a 4-under 68 first round with a 1-over second round to sit in a tie for fifth place at the 81st State Open Championship.

Leading the way is Marshall rising sophomore Will Evans, whose 6-under 66 puts him in position to become the first amateur to win the Open since David Bradshaw in 2004. He also could be part of the first father-son combination to win the Open, with his father claiming the 2008 title.

As for Hess, he remains in the running for his first State Open, but said his knowledge of the course might not be as much help as it appears.

"They're brutal on the front," Hess said. "There are a lot of places you can't afford to miss. If you're going to miss long, you're dead.

"I was too timid, leaving myself 40-foot putts, making it hard to get it in the hole. Not a very good attempt on the front."

Playing in the Open is a small, yet integral, part of Hess' plans.

As a professional, he struggled through an injury-riddled winter that limited his participation in minor league events in Florida.

Hess injured his wrist in October and contracted strep throat in November. His most recent bad luck came in the form of an injured rib he suffered while doing squats.

"I finally got healthy to play some tournaments and fired a couple under pars, but just not enough tournaments."

The 2006 graduate of Parkersburg South has been toiling in his quest to become a touring pro. He plays minimally on the GOLFslinger Tour based in Palm Beach County, Fla., but has played in only five this year.

The issue, Hess said, is getting the financial backing to play enough and earn his credentials. He has played in all five pre-qualifiers for the Greenbrier Classic and has reached the Monday event on every occasion.

"You have to have a resume," Hess said. "You have to be able to say 'I've done this on this tour,' or 'I've done that on that tour' for somebody to say, 'Let's throw $50,000 and try it for a year.'

"As for Q school, I talked to Christian Brand and he said it cost $5,000 plus traveling expenses. I don't have that.

"I'd love to attempt it, but is it going to be a loan? Is it going to be a gift? What do I have to do to pay it back? To get to the next level, I'm waiting on God. I'm getting impatient, but it's his timing."

n n n

EDGEWOOD COUNTRY CLUB head professional Craig Berner went four months when it "felt like a knife was being stuck in my shoulder."

From November through February, Berner, who is one stroke back entering today's final round, was batting rotator cuff issues in his right shoulder.

A trip to orthopedic surgeon Dr. Manny Molina did the trick, and five months later, he's in contention for his first Open title since winning at The Raven at Snowshoe in 2005.

"Shoulder's good," said Berner, who admitted his shoulder got a little stiff in Thursday's wet conditions. "My shoulder is 120 percent good.

"I had a torn subscapularis," Berner said. "It's the front muscle across and I had it separated in the back. When we played on Monday in the Pro-Am on No. 7, I asked Doc, 'How bad was it.' And, without hesitation he said, 'Bad.' That's one thing you don't want to mess with. November, December and January, I slept in my basement in a recliner. You couldn't move and you didn't want to move."

n n n

BARRY EVANS didn't fare quite as well as his son on Thursday, shooting a 2-over 74 to sit in a tie for 11th place with six others. Meanwhile, Pat Carter, who has won 13 State Amateur championships but no Opens, is tied for 19th after shooting even in the second round.

n n n

THE CUT was at 11-over 155 with the low 60 and ties reaching the final round. The total players competing today is 67 and includes Josh Bower, former Winfield All-State baseball player and the head professional at Greenhills Country Club in Ravenswood.

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

]]>
MARSHALL FOOTBALL: Ex-captain Edwards dead at 34 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140724/DM03/140729482 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140724/DM03/140729482 Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:21:39 -0400 By Derek Redd CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Jeff Edwards didn't move far in his jump from high school to college football, and his former Marshall University teammates remember the pride the offensive lineman had in playing for the Thundering Herd.

Edwards, a three-year starter and a co-captain on Marshall's 2002 Mid-American Conference champion football team, died Thursday at age 34.

Edwards - from Kenova, just a few miles from Huntington - was a part of three MAC championship teams in 1999, 2000 and 2002. After backing up all-MAC center Jason Starkey as a redshirt freshman in 1999, he took over the starting spot for his final three seasons.

"He came in as a tight end, and he was such a good athlete," said former Herd coach Bob Pruett. "We wanted to put a really good athlete at center and he really did a good job for us.

"It's just a shock," Pruett said of Edwards' death. "It's a shame. I'm just trying to work through the emotions of it."

Edwards started 32 games for the Herd, 10 in 2000, nine in 2001 and 13 in 2002.

"Jeff was very smart," said Luke Salmons, head football coach at Cabell Midland, who started beside Edwards at left guard for 12 of 13 games in 2002. "He played a lot of football. He's just intelligent and knew what to do all the time and was able to relay that as a leader."

Joey Stepp saw that first-hand. When Edwards missed three games in 2001 to a neck sprain, Stepp manned Marshall's starting center job and said Edwards was integral in helping him.

"He went out of his way to help me, almost like a big brother," Stepp said. "He coached me up on the sidelines and was just a class act all-around."

Edwards played three sports at Ceredo-Kenova High School - football, basketball and baseball. He was named all-state twice, all-county three times and to the All Prep-Star Big East Region as a junior. Eddie Smolder, now the head football coach at Sissonville High, first met Edwards at the North-South All-Star Game and bonded over their shared college destination.

Smolder said it was evident how much Edwards cherished the opportunity to wear a Herd uniform and have a significant part in the team's success.

"Being a West Virginia boy, he took pride in being from West Virginia and playing for Marshall," Smolder said. "He was a guy want to have with you when you're on the football field."

Away from the field, his teammates remembered his great personality and the fun times they had with him. They said he had a way of making people feel comfortable when they were around him.

"If anyone walked in the room," Salmons said, "he'd be shaking their hand."

Edwards is survived by his wife and two daughters.

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.

]]>
Kevin's Lazy River Adventure to feature live entertainment, free picnic at this year's event http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140724/DM06/140729495 DM06 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140724/DM06/140729495 Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:21:14 -0400 By Shawnee Moran Kevin's Lazy River Adventure, an annual summer event in Boone County, will be bigger than ever this Saturday featuring a free picnic and live entertainment from Charleston's bluegrass and rock 'n' roll group Total Meltdown.

Teresa Purdue, the event's organizer, said it has grown steadily since its first year when 51 people participated in the river float.

Now, she said organizers expect to have more than 250 people on the river and around 350 people at the picnic if the weather cooperates.

"It's one of the best days on a river that anyone could ever experience. Everybody that comes in has the biggest smile on their face and they love it," she said.

The event is in remembrance of Ashford resident Kevin Kinder, who died several years ago after battling skin cancer.

"Kevin was my best friend and he passed away too soon," she said. "He just loved the river and everyone in the community loved Kevin."

Purdue said after talking with Kinder's sister after his death, the name for the event came up and they thought it would be a perfect way of honoring him.

"I couldn't think of anything better but to name it after Kevin," she said.

The seventh annual floating adventure will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday on a 10 1/2-mile float down the Big Coal River.

People will begin the float at John Slack Park in Racine and exit the water at Dartmont Park in Ashford, where a free picnic will be open to the public.

Mary Browning, the head of the coal river branch of the Coal River Group, said she is excited to see the outcome of this year's event.

She said the organization sees repeat participants from all over the state every year, and this year people from asa far away as Morgantown will join the float.

There will also be live music at the river float this year.

"This will be the first time we will have had any entertainment and we are looking forward to that. They will be playing after they get out of the river at the picnic - they are also kayakers," she said.

Total Meltdown members Jeremy Davis and Jamie Bailey participated in the float last year and decided they wanted to be more involved this year. Davis said all of the band members are fans of kayaking and will participate in the float this year before performing.

The plan is to set up at the end of the float, jump in a kayak at John Slack Park and play for everyone once they reach Dartmont Park.

"It's a lot of fun and gathers a lot of people together. Last year when we were over there we noticed a lack of entertainment," Davis said.

"I hope a bunch of people start dancing and stomping their feet. That's what we're all about high energy and a lot of fun. I hope to get that kind of reaction and that's what we always do."

Browning said no experience is necessary in order to participate in the float.

"We have first-timers that rent a kayak or canoe, go out and enjoy themselves and then they are hooked," she said adding they love the beauty of the river and mountains. "We haven't had anybody that said they won't come back - they always say they will come back next year."

Browning said they are fully prepared for situations that may arise on the water and or on the land during the event.

"The Boone County White Water Rescue team is on the river to see to the safety of the people. They will have 20 EMT's on the river," Browning said. "We are very pleased to have them. They do a great job."

Cabela's, Coal River Energy, Harvey Enterprises, Inc., WV Land Trust and several other sponsors have provided funding for this year's free picnic.

The event runs from noon to 5 p.m. and will feature picnic foods like hot dogs and chili, watermelon and coleslaw.

Both Purdue and Browning commented on how appreciative they are for volunteers at the event who contribute food for the picnic and make sure participants stay safe.

"I'd like to thank all of my volunteers because if it wasn't for them it wouldn't go off," Purdue said.

For more information about the Kevin's Lazy River Adventure visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1519912678230162/.

Contact writer Shawnee Moran at 304-348-4872 or shawnee.moran@dailymailwv.com. Follow her on Twitter on www.twitter.com/shawneemoran22.

]]>
Blogger finds minor league baseball is more than just a game http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140724/DM06/140729496 DM06 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140724/DM06/140729496 Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:20:11 -0400 By Zack Harold In some ways, every minor league ballpark is the same.

There are hot dogs, fireworks, baseball and beer. Those are pretty much the same everywhere you go.

But take a closer look and the parks become as different as the cities around them.

Benjamin Hill has spent the last four seasons chronicling those eccentricities on "Ben's Biz Blog," published on Minor League Baseball's main website.

"I think everyone knows minor league baseball, but few people understand how diverse and crazy it really is," he said. "Each minor league park is a reflection of the town where it operates."

Hill visited Charleston last Saturday for the West Virginia Power's game against the Rome Braves of New York.

The Power lost that game 2-7, but that probably will not affect Hill's write-up very much.

His travel dispatches are more about the ballpark experience than what happens on the field.

"What I'm looking for at each park is the thing that makes that park unique. I'm looking to highlight what I've never seen before," he said.

During Saturday's game, Hill got to meet professional wrestler Mick Foley, hang out with devoted heckler Rod "Toast Man" Blackstone and chat with longtime souvenir salesman Wheeler Bob.

"I definitely got the sense that if you spend a lot of time at a Power game you meet unique and off-kilter characters," he said.

A major league teams' ticket sales are largely based on one thing: whether or not the team is winning. That is less important in the minors.

"In the minor leagues, you're going to have a subset of hardcore fans but that's a distinct minority."

Instead, the parks rely on gimmicks like contests, give-aways, celebrity appearances and theme nights to sell tickets.

While the majors might consider that tacky or disrespectful to the game, Hill said the circus surrounding minor league baseball is part of what makes it special.

"Minor league baseball, one of their cliches is 'And there's also a game,'" he said. "If you work in minor league baseball, you work in entertainment."

Food is a big part of ballpark culture, too, although that causes some problems for Hill.

He was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2012 and is on a strict gluten-free diet.

"Anything on bread or breaded is off limits. Ballpark food almost inevitably has gluten in it," he said.

So Hill got creative.

American League teams use "designated hitters" for pitchers who aren't very good with a bat, so Hill decided he would pick a "designated eater" at each park to sample the cuisine in his stead.

He takes pictures and video of them eating the food and records their reactions.

Power fan Mike Taylor served as Hill's designated eater last Saturday, dining on one of Appalachian Power Park's two-pound pepperoni rolls and a plateful of nachos.

Hill began covering Minor League Baseball in 2005 after he got a job writing for the league's newly-launched website.

He spent the season writing game recaps but, once summer was over, didn't have much to do around the office. So he started writing short stories for the website about the culture of the minor leagues, like team name changes and goofy promotions.

That led to a weekly column about the minor leagues' best promotions. The league gave Hill his own blog when baseball season began in spring 2006.

He soon decided something was missing from his reporting, however.

Hill's home base was New York City and, while that town has two storied baseball franchises, there isn't really a minor league presence.

"After I did that a couple years, it was like I can't be an expert on this world if I don't get out."

Hill started visiting minor league parks where he could. He caught a Vermont Lake Monsters game in Burlington on the way to a his uncle's wedding.

He drove to Altoona, Pennsylvania to attend "Awful Night" at the Peoples Natural Gas Field, where he saw names (purposefully) misspelled on the scoreboard, concession stands serving peanut butter and onion sandwiches and the shirtless "Captain Awful" singing an off-key rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh inning stretch.

In 2010, the league gave Hill a travel budget to fund three or four trips to ball parks each summer.

His stop in West Virginia was part of his latest tour of minor league parks.

He started his mid-Atlantic sweep in Akron, Ohio last Friday night.

In addition to his stop in Charleston, in the last week Hill also has attended games in Columbus, Ohio, Indianapolis, Louisville, Ky. and Lexington, Ky.

He ended the tour in Dayton, Ohio last night.

By the end of this season, Hill will have visited around 125 of Minor League Baseball's 160 ballparks.

It's difficult for him to pick favorites, but Hill said he prefers smaller venues that provide a more intimate atmosphere, like McCormick Field in Asheville, N.C. or Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona, Fla.

Some stadiums, like the one in Indianapolis, are so large they almost feel like major league parks.

"There's no Toast Man like there is at West Virginia Power Park," he said.

To keep up with Hill's adventures, check out his blog at bensbiz.mlblogs.com, or follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bensbiz.

Contact writer Zack Harold at 304-348-4830 or zack.harold@dailymailwv.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ZackHarold.

]]>
Video: A tour of the Saints facilities at The Greenbrier http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140724/DM01/140729567 DM01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140724/DM01/140729567 Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:41:35 -0400 A tour inside the AdvoCare Sports Performance Center built for the New Orleans Saints at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

(On mobile? Click here for the video.)

]]>
Photos: W.Va. State Athletic Complex nearing its goal http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140724/DM01/140729631 DM01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140724/DM01/140729631 Thu, 24 Jul 2014 00:01:00 -0400 Work continues on the Gregory V. Monroe Athletic Complex at West Virginia State University in Institute. The facility, set to be completed by mid-fall will serve as the home to the Yellow Jacket football team, as well as offer a meeting area and athletic offices. The $3.5 million complex next to Lakin Field at Dickerson Stadium will boast 15,691 square feet of space and provide state-of-the-art amenities for all student athletes at State.

]]>
MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL: Homer in 8th dooms Power at Hickory http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140723/DM03/140729596 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140723/DM03/140729596 Wed, 23 Jul 2014 22:55:49 -0400

from staff reports

HICKORY, N.C. - Kellin Deglan's 15th home run of the season, a line drive to right in the eighth inning, put the Hickory Crawdads ahead to stay versus the West Virginia Power and gave them a 3-2 win over West Virginia on Wednesday.

The Power (15-18, 35-66 overall) tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the eighth, after Erich Weiss hit his third home run of the season over the left field fence. Yet in the bottom of the inning, new Power pitcher Brett McKinney served up the homer to Deglan, the first batter he faced.

West Virginia's other run came on a Kawika Emsley-Pai sacrifice fly in the second. The two teams meet again Thursday at 7 p.m. in Hickory.

]]>
WVU WRESTLING: Assistant coach to compete in World Team Trials http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140723/DM03/140729597 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140723/DM03/140729597 Wed, 23 Jul 2014 22:55:25 -0400

from staff reports

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University wrestling assistant coach Nick Marable will compete in the 2014 United States World Team Trials this week in Fargo, N.D., for a chance to represent Team USA at the 2014 World Wrestling Championships.

WVU head coach Sammie Henson will accompany Marable, who is representing Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club at the competition.

The trials will take place, Thursday, at the Fargodome with the Men's Freestyle Challenge Tournament starting at 9:30 a.m., followed by the Men's Freestyle Finals at 3:15 p.m.

Qualifiers will compete in the challenge tournament with the winner advancing to the Final Wrestle-Off to face Marable, who earned an automatic berth after winning the U.S. Open earlier this year. The finals will follow a best-of-three format.

The 2014 World Wrestling Championships will take place September 8-14 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

]]>
PDL SOCCER: Chaos to face Seacoast United in playoffs http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140723/DM03/140729598 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140723/DM03/140729598 Wed, 23 Jul 2014 22:54:59 -0400

from staff reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The Premier Development League Eastern Conference playoff schedule was announced Wednesday, with the West Virginia Chaos set to make its postseason debut Saturday against Northeast Division champion Seacoast United Phantoms.

Saturday's game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Lubetkin Field in Newark, N.J.

The other half of the Eastern Conference bracket features Mid Atlantic Division champion New Jersey Express playing Northeast Division runners-up CFC Azul at 5 p.m. Saturday.

The conference championship game is scheduled for Sunday at 5 p.m. Winner's of the PDL's four conference playoffs advance to the league semifinals, which begin in August.

]]>
WVU TECH BASKETBALL: Cooper named to NABC Honors Court http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140723/DM03/140729599 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140723/DM03/140729599 Wed, 23 Jul 2014 22:54:30 -0400

from staff reports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - WVU Tech men's basketball player Leon Cooper Jr. was named to the 2013-14 National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honors Court Monday for his performance both athletically and academically last season.

In order to be named to the NABC Honors Court, a student-athlete must have met a high standard of academic criteria. The qualifications include holding at least a 3.2 cumulative grade point average (GPA) as well as being a junior or senior academically at their institution.

Cooper, a sports management major, who will be returning to Tech this fall also gained the WVU Tech Scholar-Athlete Award for men's basketball as the top student on the team.

On the court, Cooper averaged 13.1 points per game recording career-highs of 21 points (March 8 vs. Cal-State San Marcos), 12 rebounds (Jan. 10 vs. Lindenwood-Belleville) and seven assists (Feb. 1 vs. Davis & Elkins). He helped lead Tech to a winning record of 19-13 last season.

]]>
MARSHALL FOOTBALL: Rice loss still a sore subject for Herd http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140723/DM03/140729616 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140723/DM03/140729616 Wed, 23 Jul 2014 21:14:45 -0400 By Derek Redd CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Following a season of great accomplishments, the stumbles of 2013 are helping motivate the Marshall football team for the 2014 campaign.

The Thundering Herd went 10-4 last season, winning the Conference USA East Division crown and the Military Bowl over the University of Maryland. Yet, at C-USA media days Herd coach Doc Holliday said Marshall's conference title game loss at Rice still stings.

"Ultimately, at Marshall University, your goal always is to play for championships and win championships," Holliday said during an interview broadcast over the conference's website. "And we didn't get that done.

"At the end of the day, as well as we played Maryland in the Military Bowl - and we played extremely well - our ultimate goal was not reached," he continued. "And we're working extremely hard to get back there and have the opportunity to do it again."

Holliday was at C-USA media day in Dallas with Herd quarterback Rakeem Cato and defensive lineman James Rouse - voted the conference preseason offensive and defensive players of the year, respectively, by C-USA's coaches. The coaches also picked Marshall to win the East again. And while those coaches didn't pick an overall conference winner, many consider the Herd the favorite.

The Herd is quite aware of those predictions, Holliday said.

"I've said all along, I never want to be at a place where expectations aren't extremely high," he said. "Expectations were high at Marshall when we weren't very good, but that's a great thing. One thing we've done as a coaching staff and as a football team is we've embraced those expectations. We like people talking about us in those terms right now. That's where want them to be."

Holliday also said his players understand that, with those expectations, comes the responsibility to live up to them, and even the conference favorites must continue to improve. Marshall saw great improvement in the defense from 2012 to 2013, cutting its points allowed per game by nearly three touchdowns.

"It was big," Rouse said. "We worked hard as a defense all offseason, because we knew we wanted to be better than we were the year before. That's a testament to the coaches and the players' hard work."

Marshall's offense continued its high-octane play, enough that Cato was named last season's C-USA offensive player of the year after leading the league with 39 touchdown passes. The quarterback, named to the Maxwell, Walter Camp and Davey O'Brien award watch lists and earning Heisman buzz, said the Herd must maintain its dominance in the red zone. Marshall finished fourth in the country last season in percentage of red zone conversions for touchdowns.

"Coach Holliday and the other coaches are very big on how we do inside the red zone," Cato said. "I'm very big on inside the red zone, too. I think any chance the offense has to get inside the red zone, you have to have the opportunity to put up seven points, or at least three points. I think our goal on offense is to get seven every time."

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.

]]>
Derek Redd: Holliday, Marshall make sound investments http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140723/DM03/140729617 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140723/DM03/140729617 Wed, 23 Jul 2014 21:13:53 -0400 CHARLESTON, W.Va. - If Doc Holliday doesn't play the stock market, he might want to give it a whirl. Marshall's head football coach seems to know a good investment when he sees one.

The university has that same keen eye, evident in the two-year extension it announced for Holliday last week. One of the most important components of a college athletics program is stability, and with Holliday locked in until 2018, Marshall's football program has that.

What's most interesting in the new deal is what isn't in it - any increase in base or supplemental salary. Holliday will earn the same $175,000 annual base and $425,000 annual supplemental figures he did when he signed his first contract in 2009.

How many people would have batted an eye if a healthy raise in annual or supplemental salary was included in that new deal? Under Holliday, Marshall has won two bowl games in the last three seasons, the best mark since the Thundering Herd won five straight under Bob Pruett. It finished last season with 10 wins, a Conference USA East Division crown and a Military Bowl win over Maryland.

Now Marshall is poised for what could be a historic season. Some pundits have predicted the Herd will be the "Group of Five" representative in the newly minted "access bowls," playing a power conference in a marquee event like the Peach Bowl or Orange Bowl. Marshall has the preseason C-USA offensive and defensive players of the year on its roster. Quarterback Rakeem Cato is catching early Heisman buzz.

Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick said it himself the day he announced Holliday's extension - "Coach Holliday has made Marshall football relevant again."

Now, that doesn't mean Holliday won't be in line to make some extra cash. The contract includes increased incentives for reaching goals like making a bowl game and winning the C-USA championship. And, at least this season, many of those are very reachable. Marshall is the favorite to win the conference and missing a bowl game with this roster would be a doomsday scenario.

His contract also states that, any year Marshall sells more than 10,500 season tickets, he earns another $25,000. Wins bolster popularity. Popularity bolsters attendance.

Yet, those are still incentive-based increases. Hit them and make more money. Don't and that dough isn't coming. Now there are some folks out there who might look at Holliday's new contract, see no bump in base or supplemental pay and wonder if there's really any news in the announcement.

If you're a Herd fan, that might be the best news you can hear.

Because the money Marshall doesn't have to add to Holliday's base or supplemental pay can be used to enhance other parts of the program. Hamrick remembers when he first walked into his job and saw three assistant football coaches making less than $50,000. The coordinators were making between $130,000 and $149,000.

Both Hamrick and Holliday sought to change that, and Marshall started a football enhancement fund that raised millions in private donations to bolster the program, including coaches' salaries. Now, Hamrick said, the lowest-paid assistant makes around $90,000 and the coordinators make $200,000.

And that goes back to stability. Those salaries might keep assistant coaches around for a little longer. Will they prevent Wisconsin from poaching former running backs coach Thomas Brown, or Penn State from grabbing Anthony Midgett less than a month after Marshall hires him? Probably not, but they'll probably help keep those assistants from actively seeking other jobs every offseason. So when they do leave, it will happen because power conference programs approach them.

Marshall and Holliday see they have a good thing going. The university has a coach that has pulled the football program out of the also-rans heap and returned it to national conversations. Holliday gets to run his own show at a university less than an hour down the road from where he grew up. He gets paid pretty well to do it and has the opportunity to make more the more successful he is.

Both sides understand that the key to continued success comes from more than lining the head coach's pockets, and they're working together to ensure every part of the program remains strong.

]]>
81st W.VA. OPEN: Berner, Hess tied for lead after first round http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140723/DM03/140729618 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140723/DM03/140729618 Wed, 23 Jul 2014 21:12:36 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

DANIELS, W.Va. - Edgewood Country Club head professional Craig Berner and Kenneth Hess, a Vienna native who annually competes in the Greenbrier Classic Monday qualifier at Glade Springs, lead a pack of former champions after the first round of the 81st West Virginia Open Championship on the Cobb Course Wednesday at the Glade Springs resort.

Berner, who won the 2005 title at The Raven at Snowshoe Mountain Resort, cobbled together five birdies and a bogey. Hess had a bogey-free round with four birdies to share the lead, one stroke ahead of four-time champion Scott Davis and 2010 State Amateur champion Jonathan Bartlett.

"It's just the first round, but it's good to be where it is," Berner said. "This course fits me because the same guy who designed it (George Cobb) designed Edgewood with big greens and wide open fairways."

Berner started on No. 10 and, realizing there are some holes to score on the front, wanted to shoot a low number on the back before making the turn. Berner, who recently had surgery on his rotator cuff, was 2-under through his first nine holes and finished with two birdies and seven pars on the back. Hess' advantage is knowledge of the Cobb Course, where the Greenbrier Classic pre-qualifier and Monday qualifier are held.

"I told my caddy that if we can get it even par on the back or 1-under on the back and shoot 3-4 under on the front, we'll be fine," Berner said. "On the front there are a couple of birdie holes, but the back has some hard holes."

Part of a group of players at 2-under is Marshall University player and former George Washington High School standout Will Evans, the only amateur in the top 10. He concluded his round with an eagle on No. 18. No amateur has won the Open since 2004 when David Bradshaw won the first of his seven.

Davis, a resident of Hurricane, started his round on No. 10 and reeled off six consecutive birdies before registering his first bogey. Davis, who last won the Open in 1998, cooled considerably down the stretch with a two-over on the back nine, but remained comfortable with his play.

"I played well on the second nine also," Davis said. "I bogeyed 16 and had a birdie putt on 18, hit it close on 1, then birdied No. 2, so I got it back to 6-under."

The players expect some different hole placements in today's second round. There were four eagles on No. 5.

"They had some tough pin placements," Davis said. "The greens are so big at Cobb, it's like three separate greens on each green. They hid pins behind bunkers. It's an Open."

Among the players who finished the first round with a 2-under 70 included Bradshaw, Web.com player Christian Brand - who has never won the Open but claimed the 2011 State Amateur - two-time champion Jonathan Clark and five-time winner Brad Westfall.

All told, there are 20 total championships among the players who shot under par in the first round of the State Open Championship.

The 54-hole tournament continues today with the low 60 scores and ties qualifying for the final 18 holes on Friday.

]]>
Former Power executive to get prostate exam at game http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140723/DM01/140729619 DM01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140723/DM01/140729619 Wed, 23 Jul 2014 21:12:22 -0400 By Ashley B. Craig Andy Milovich is going to take one for the team in a humorous attempt to bring attention to a serious matter.

Milovich, general manager for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans minor league baseball team, will undergo a prostate exam today during the Pelicans' game against the Frederick Keys in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The exam, which will be conducted by a licensed physician, will be performed in the radio booth at BB&T Coastal Field during the seventh inning stretch.

Don't worry, only Milovich's head and shoulders will visible to the crowd.

Oh and one more thing - Milovich plans to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," during the examination.

"I imagine it might be in more of a falsetto," Milovich said with a laugh when reached Tuesday.

Milovich, former general manager for the West Virginia Power, took a job in 2012 as the general manager for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, farm team for the Texas Rangers. He was challenged last week by the front office staff to get a prostate exam during today's game. He said it started as a joke during a radio show.

The team runs various promotions during the season. Some are for fun but others have a serious message, like the "Strike Out Cancer" series that focuses on different types of cancer including esophageal cancer, breast cancer, testicular and prostate cancer and others.

Both Milovich's family and the Pelican organization had been touched by different forms of cancer in recent months, he said.

Tonight is Prostate Cancer Awareness Night at BB&T Coastal Field. The first 1,000 men over 18 years old to enter the park will receive a foam finger with a blue reminder ribbon.

"We wanted to raise awareness for prostate cancer, because it's the number two cause of death amongst men prematurely," Milovich said. "It's all preventable. With early detection it's almost always treatable."

A reporter asked Milovich last week during a radio show while discussing the promotional event if the team would also be giving away prostate exams. Milovich may have laughed the question off and said no, but he then was asked if he would get a prostate exam during the game.

"I said 'Alright I'll do it, but it's gotta be for a good cause. It's got to help Fallon," Milovich said.

Fallon Emery, a 10-year-old Carolina Forest girl, was diagnosed with brain cancer in December. Her battle with the disease has been chronicled on her "Fierce Fallon" Facebook page. Milovich's family are close to Fallon's family.

Milovich said he'd do it if Fallon's Facebook page reached 10,000 likes.

Fallon has been greatly supported by the community in her fight. The team is hosting a fund raiser for her on Aug. 2 at the ballpark.

Milovich received a number of questions from those in sports media about the challenge, including whether or not he was for real. He responded that he was.

The goal is to get more men to get themselves examined.

"This is something that should be done," Milovich said of having the exam. "I'm willing to kind of embarrass myself for the sake to taking that stigma away. If it will give a boy or girl a chance to play catch with their dad later in life then I'm happy to do it."

The story has been picked up by ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and numerous national sports radio outlets and publications.

By Tuesday, Fallon had more than 11,000 likes on her "Fierce Fallon" Facebook page. Fallon's mother explained to her what Milovich was doing to garner support for her, he said. Fallon thought his plan was funny.

"The response has really been overwhelming," Milovich said.

Dave Oster, a longtime friend of Milovich and the general manager of the Lake Elsinore Storm in California, pledged Monday night to match Milovich's challenge if the "Fierce Fallon" page reached 12,000 likes. By Wednesday evening the page had 11,288 likes.

While professional organizations vary on recommendations on who should and shouldn't get a prostate-specific antigen exam to look for signs of prostate cancer, some organizations recommend the test in men between the ages of 40 and 75 and in men with an increased risk of prostate cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Milovich is 45 and tonight's exam will be his first, he said.

"It will be my first time, but luckily I'll have a diversion," he said. "And I'll be saving a co-pay."

Dr. Glenn Gangi with Atlantic Urology Specialists in Conway, S.C., will prepare for the exam in the media booth at the beginning of the 7th Inning. The exam will take place during the middle of the inning.

Milovich said only his face and maybe his shoulders will be visible to the crowd via video screen during the exam.

"Though the promotion is humorous in nature the exam is not and Andy is a trooper for sharing such a personal experience live," Kristen Call, Pelicans senior director of marketing, said in an email. "We are taking every precaution to keep the video and photos of the exam respectful to both Andy and our fans."

If Milovich was nervous at all about the exam he didn't show it during an interview Tuesday.

"Hopefully, I get good results," Milovich said.

Pelicans games are broadcast on ESPN 1490 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The games also are available online at www.myrtlebeachpelicans.com or on MiLB.TV.

Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.craig@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4850.

]]>
WVU FOOTBALL: Mountaineers to face N.C. State in home and home series http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140723/DM03/140729686 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140723/DM03/140729686 Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:00:53 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University Director of Athletics Oliver Luck has announced that the Mountaineers will play a home-and-home series with Atlantic Coast Conference member North Carolina State.

The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then face the Wolfpack at Milan Puskar Stadium on Sept. 14, 2019.

"I am excited about this series, because it gives our football program and our fans an outstanding home-and-home series with a team from the ACC," Luck said. "WVU has a lot of alumni living in North Carolina, especially in the triangle region, so it gives our fans a game that is close. We have had a competitive games over the years with NC State, and this is a chance to restart the series."

The teams are guaranteed $300,000 for each game, according to the contract agreed to by the teams. The penalty for canceling either contest will cost the breaching party $1 million.

As for the home-and-home series with the Wolfpack, the visiting team will be allocated up to 3,000 tickets for sale to its fans and will retain no more than 500 unsold tickets from the original allotment two weeks prior to game day. Additionally, the visiting school will be allotted 500 complimentary tickets. Dates for the games have not been determined.

WVU also plans to announce a non-conference opponent for the 2016 season in the near future.

The two teams have played each other 10 times, including three bowl games, with the first meeting in 1914 and the last time in the 2010 Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, Fla. The Wolfpack earned a 23-7 victory in that game, marking the final game at N.C. State for quarterback Russell Wilson and Bill Stewart's last game as coach of the Mountaineers. The series it tied at five.

The announcement comes one day after WVU revealed that it will face Tennessee in Charlotte, N.C., in 2018, giving the Mountaineers two visits to North Carolina in three weeks that season. WVU and Tennessee each will receive $2.5 million for their season-opening meeting that year.

West Virginia opens its 2014 season against Alabama in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Aug. 30 at 3:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ABC.

]]>
Fans invited to welcome Saints to Lewisburg http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140723/DM01/140729775 DM01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140723/DM01/140729775 Wed, 23 Jul 2014 00:01:00 -0400 By Marcus Constantino CORRECTION: This story was updated to reflect the location of public parking and shuttle pick-up for guests.

The New Orleans Saints will touch down in Lewisburg today for the second half of the team's preseason training camp, and officials hope residents will give the team a warm welcome as its bus drives through downtown Lewisburg.

Greenbrier spokeswoman Jessica Wright said the Saints are scheduled to land at Greenbrier Valley airport at 4 p.m. today. From there, the team will board a bus and make its way down U.S. 219 into Lewisburg. The bus will take a left onto U.S. 60 and follow the road to The Greenbrier Hotel.

Wright said Greenbrier owner Jim Justice and New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton want the players to feel welcome to Greenbrier County and are hoping fans will line the streets to welcome the team.

Registration is still open for tickets for the "Picnic with the Saints" event on Saturday, July 26. A grand opening ceremony will kick off the festivities at 3:30 p.m., followed by tours of the new practice facility as the team practices outside from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m.

The picnic with players and coaches will begin at 6 p.m. Fans will have opportunities to get autographs and pictures with players and coaches during the picnic.

Tickets are $10 and are available at greenbrier.com/picnic on a first come, first served basis.

The Saints' first practices at The Greenbrier are scheduled for Friday, July 25 from 8:50-11:40 a.m. and 4:30-5:30 p.m. Shuttles will run between the training facility and public parking at the West Virginia state fairgrounds from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m Friday and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. Shuttles will also run between the facility and The Greenbrier for guests at the hotel.

Contact writer Marcus Constantino at 304-348-1796 or marcus.c@dailymailwv.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/amtino.

]]>
WVU BASEBALL: Fleming forgoes senior season after signing with Yankees http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140722/DM03/140729722 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140722/DM03/140729722 Tue, 22 Jul 2014 22:42:37 -0400

from staff reports

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University second baseman Billy Fleming will forgo his senior season after signing a professional contract with the New York Yankees. Fleming went undrafted in June's Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.

Last season, Fleming earned All-Big 12 First Team and ABCA/Rawlings All-East Region First Team honors, after finishing second in the Big 12 with a .351 batting average. The Churchville, Pa., native added eight doubles, one triple, two home runs and 30 RBI. He also became the second Mountaineer to hit for the cycle, doing so versus Kansas on May 11.

Fleming completes his WVU career with a .322 batting average, 25 doubles, three triples, two home runs and 75 RBI. He becomes the seventh member of the 2014 WVU baseball team to sign professionally.

]]>
WVU TECH BASEBALL: Golden Bears sign Riverside pair http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140722/DM03/140729723 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140722/DM03/140729723 Tue, 22 Jul 2014 22:41:38 -0400

from staff reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Riverside High baseball players Derik Chestnut and Chaz Davis will join WVU Tech's baseball team this year, the college announced Tuesday. Chestnut, a 5-foot-7 infielder, gained Mountain State Athletic Conference special honorable mention honors in 2013 and made the first team in 2014. Chestnut was named to the 2014 state baseball tournament's all-tournament team. Davis, a 5-7 outfielder, earned second team All-MSAC accolades in 2013 and also earned special honorable mention all-state honors.

The two helped Riverside finish runner-up in this past season's Class AAA state baseball tournament.

]]>