Three-time defending Big South women’s tennis champion Charleston Southern University has been unanimously voted the preseason favorite in the annual Big South Conference preseason poll by the league’s head coaches, the conference office announced Thursday. The Buccaneers received all six first-place votes and 36 points to win the conference in 2024. In addition, CSU junior Noa Boyd (Silver Spring, Md.) was voted the first-ever Women’s Tennis Preseason Player of the Year.
Charleston Southern, which is 20-1 in conference matches since 2020, earned the top spot for the third consecutive year. UNC Asheville, the 2023 regular-season champion, was second in the preseason ranking with 29 points. Presbyterian College was third in the poll with 22 points, ahead of fourth-place Gardner-Webb (19 points). Longwood placed fifth in the poll with 11 points, while Radford landed in the sixth and final spot with nine points.
On the men’s side of the court, Radford University is picked to finish fourth.
For the first time, Gardner-Webb University was voted the preseason favorite in the annual Big South Conference men’s tennis preseason poll by the league’s head coaches, the conference office announced Thursday. In addition, GWU senior Eduardo Dias (Parana, Brazil) was voted the first-ever Men’s Tennis Preseason Player of the Year.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs, who went 16-7 overall last year and was a co-regular-season champion with their 4-1 Big South record, earned the top spot in the 2024 poll with 24 points and four first-place votes. Defending men’s tennis champion Presbyterian College was second in the preseason ranking with 19 points and collected the remaining first-place vote. UNC Asheville finished third in the balloting with 15 points, while Radford landed in the fourth spot with 11 points. Longwood rounded out the predicted order of finish in fifth with six points.
High Point coach recognized
High Point University’s Men’s Basketball Head Coach Alan Huss has been named a ‘mid-season’ recipient for the 2024 Joe B. Hall National Coach of the Year award.
“Alan Huss has quickly turned the page to a new chapter in High Point University basketball,” said Angela Lento, Vice President College Insider. “It’s been impressive to watch how Coach Huss has changed the mindset of the program since arriving last March. He has put together an elite roster, which will challenge for High Point’s first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.”
The Joe B. Hall award is presented annually to the top first-year head coach in Division I college basketball. The award will be announced and presented to the final winner in Phoenix, Arizona at the site of the Men’s Division I NCAA National Championship.
Since taking over in March of 2023, coach Huss has already guided the program to multiple milestones. Finishing up the non-conference schedule, the Panthers currently hold a record of 11-4 which is the best non-conference record in program history. High Point boasts an 8-0 record inside the Qubein Center, which is the first undefeated home non-conference season in program history since becoming Division I in 1999.
In the Panthers home opener, the team earned Coach Huss’ first win and did it in recordbreaking fashion. As a team, HPU knocked down 21 three-pointers, breaking the previous single-game three-point record of 15, which was set in 2007, 2011 and 2012. High Point also tied a program record, 61 rebounds in the 105-51 win over St. Andrews.
Ranking 18th nationally in scoring offense, averaging 85.5 points per game, High Point recorded the second most points scored in a single game in program history with the 122-73 win over Mount Olive.
High Point finished as the runner-up at the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Florida after coming up short in overtime against Hofstra University, 97-92.
High Point is ranked No. 19 in the latest Mid-Major Top 25 poll.
Worley SEC gymnast of week
Fifth-year senior Raena Worley has been named Southeastern Conference Co-Gymnast of the Week, the conference announced on Tuesday. She shares the weekly honor with Alabama’s Luisa Blanco.
Worley spent her first Friday Night Heights of the 2024 meet slate by securing the 22nd All-Around title of her career following a cumulative 39.650.
The Christiansburg native began her night at No. 12 Auburn on the uneven bars where she earned a 9.925 from the judges. The high score topped the event to give Worley her 10th individual win on the event. In the second rotation of the evening, Worley vaulted her way to a 9.875 to tie for second overall. Her solid balance beam performance earned a 9.900 to tie her for second on that apparatus as well.
Tech, Sox partnership
The Salem Red Sox are teaming up with the Virginia Tech School of Communication for the fourth consecutive year ahead of the 2024 baseball season to broadcast all 2024 Red Sox home games. Giovanni Heater and Carter Hill will be the voices of the Salem Red Sox ahead of Opening Day set for Friday, April 5. Games will air on streaming services and MiLB.com.
Heater is currently a Junior at Virginia Tech, studying Sports, Media, and Analytics. This will be his second year as a broadcaster for the Salem Red Sox.
Hill is currently a junior at Virginia Tech in the Sports Media and Analytics (SMA) program. A lifelong sports fan, Carter grew up just down the road from the school’s campus, graduating locally from Blacksburg High School in May 2021. He has been heavily involved in the SMA program ever since arriving his freshman year, broadcasting seven different sports and covering football and men’s basketball for 3304 Sports, the student sports media program at Virginia Tech, where he currently serves as a co-editor-in-chief. In addition, Carter also is currently a broadcast associate for Virginia Tech softball, where he calls games on behalf of the program on the Virginia Tech Sports Network from Learfield.
Teck Club LAX #1
Virginia Tech, the 2023 MCLA Division I national runner up, inherits the top spot in the USA Lacrosse MCLA Division I Preseason Top 20 after Concordia, the 2023 national champion, departed for the NCAA Division II ranks.
The Hokies finished 2023 15-4 and return senior attackman Aidan Smith, the USA Lacrosse MCLA Division I Preseason Player of the Year. The catalyst for the Hokies’ run to the national championship game, Smith is a two-time first-team All-American and the reigning MCLA Player of the Year. The Potomac Falls, Va., product scored 58 goals and dished 35 assists last spring and has 195 career points.
A smattering of championship hopefuls follow the Hokies. Utah Valley, which finished seventh in the final coaches’ poll in 2023, is No. 2. Georgia Tech, last year’s fifth-place finisher in the final poll, is No. 3. Liberty and Chapman round out the top five and Nos. 4 and 5, respectively, the same spots in which they finished 2023.