Spartan Athletes shine over summer break

Daniel Johnson
   Staff Writer

Well, the summer break has unfortunately come to a close. A new semester has dawned on the campus, and you can always tell by the confused faces of seemingly hundreds of thousands of freshmen. While some students spent their summers working to make a paycheck, then weeping over the loss of said paycheck when they have to pay for college textbooks, the student athletes of UNCG spent their respected summer breaks continuing tremendous athletic and academic feats that illustrates their dedication to their craft.

For the Spartans’ baseball team, a few players were awarded with places on All-Star teams in multiple leagues. Pitcher Ryan Clark and Outfielder Eric Kalbfleisch were both named to the All-Southern Conference (SoCon) Second Team, while freshman standout, Pitcher Andrew Wantz, received a roster spot on the All-Freshmen SoCon Team.

While playing for two different summer collegiate baseball leagues, rising sophomore Devin Ruiz and rising senior Colin Woody were both selected to play in their leagues’ respective All Star Games. Finally, Ryan Clark became the first player from the SoCon to be selected in the 2015 Major League Baseball drafted, when the Atlanta Braves selected him in the fifth round of the June draft.

On the basketball court, even though the Men’s Basketball season ended in March, this did not stop two Spartans from having memorable summers. Former Spartan sharp shooter, Nicholas Paulos, was invited to a summer workout with the Utah Jazz of the NBA before signing a professional contract with the AEK Athens in Greece. And while one former Spartan was signed by a foreign country, an incoming international Spartan played for his home country on under some pretty big lights.

Incoming freshman guard, Francisco Alonso, competed for Spain in the U19 Championships this summer.  And Alonso was not the only UNCG athlete who was able to proudly represent his country in athletics. After closing out his amazing UNCG career with a 26-8 record as a senior, tennis player Randy Phillips was selected by the Jamaican Davis Cup Team to play in July’s Davis Cup.

With key UNCG athletes leaving like Phillips and Paulos, on the links, UNCG will see incoming Natalia Asensio who won the Madrid Youth Championship in July, seek to duplicate her summer success for the Spartans. On the men’s side of the course, returning golfer Roy Dixon was elected to the Capital One Academic All-District team for the second consecutive season.

UNCG coaches also were rewarded for their hard work with awards and promotions in the offseason. Former Spartan tennis player, Ale Guerra was named the Women’s Tennis Head Coach. Longtime Women’s Spartan Tennis coach, Jeff Trivette, was named the Men’s Tennis coach and the Director of Tennis. Joey Holcomb was promoted to assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the baseball team.

With so many on the field accomplishments, for all collegiate athletes, there is a reason why they are referred to as “student athletes.” 113 UNCG student athletes impressively made the 2014-15 SoCon Honor Roll. Baseball had the most athletes on the list with 18, second to Men’s Soccer with 15.

The SoCon athletes also set a personal best with 116 athletes with a grade point average at least 4.0, the Spartans making up eight of those athletes.

Now that the 2015-16 school year kicking off, Spartan athletes are already preparing for their season.

Both Men’s and Women’s soccer begin their regular season this week. Volleyball plays their first matches the week after on Aug. 28. The first week of September, then, opens the season for both cross country teams, as there are plenty of sports to watch out for at UNCG this semester.



Categories: daniel johnson, Sports

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