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Local Roundup: 8/24
Bulloch Academy girls win meet
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Bulloch Academy's Tatum Blitch (R) makes a late charge to finish in the top ten in the Girls Junior Varsity race held on Tuesday afternoon. - photo by Special to the Herald

    The Bulloch Academy varsity girls’ cross-country team started the 2010 season off right with a victory in their season-opening meet Monday.

    Haley Burke clocked a 25:13 to take third in the 22-runner race on the school’s new 3.2-mile cross-country course. Other Lady Gators in the top 10 were Ansley Lomax (sixth, 27:04), Maddie Manack (seventh, 27:17), Emily Morgan (eighth, 27:26). The Lady Gators won by two points.

    The Gator guys finished second in the team standings. Will Johnson was the highest BA finisher, taking second with a 19:42 in the 37-competitor race. Haze Smith was ninth with a 22:26.

    The BA junior varsity girls’ won their 19-runner meet, behind the top 10 finishes of Pate Lomax (first, 11:28), Ashley Burke (third, 12:07), Tatum Blitch (fifth, 13:06), Hannah Dasher (sixth, 13:30) and Cate Williams (seventh, 13:49).

    Cody Lanier led the JV boys, finishing fourth with an 11:35. Other top BA finishers in the 33-participant race were Sam Carico (ninth, 13:19) and Justin Lane (10th, 13:23).

    In elementary girls’ action, BA’s Isabella Gutierrez won the 23-runner race with a 12:57. Other top BA finishers were Mattie Wynn Hendrix (second, 12:58), Georgianna James (third, 14:26), Abby Hendrix (14:45) and Ava Hiller (14:52).

    In elementary boys’ action, BA’s Kyle Samuels won the 10-runner race with a 12:53. Other top BA finishers were Joseph Lomax (second, 14:44), Colin Davis (third, 14:53), Justin Kane (fourth, 15:47) and Dalton Deal (fifth, 16:13). Junior varsity and elementary runners run a 1.6-mile course.

    Bulloch Academy’s varsity and junior varsity squads travel to Wesleyan College in Macon Saturday to run in a Class AAA meet hosted by Tattnall Square.

Lady Eagles release schedule

    A tough non-conference schedule packed with national powerhouses will test the Lady Eagles right out of the gate as the Georgia Southern women’s basketball coaching staff unveiled the 2010-11 schedule. The season begins on November 14 as the Lady Eagles rekindle a rivalry with a perennial SEC power right up the road.

    The Georgia Bulldogs welcome the Lady Eagles in the season-opening contest before action opens in Hanner Fieldhouse on November 16 with Mercer. The Eagles and Bulldogs last faced each other during the 2007-08 season, and have faced each other a total of 29 times in program history. “Georgia will always be a conference power and national power, especially going to their place,” stated Head Coach Rusty Cram. “It will be a very eye-awakening experience for our freshmen and sophomores who have not experienced that type of environment yet. For our freshmen, it will be their first collegiate basketball game and it will get their attention quick.”

    After the Eagles open the home slate with the Mercer Bears, the second SEC power on the schedule, rolls into Hanner Fieldhouse as part of a home-and-home, two-year agreement. The Alabama Crimson Tide visit Statesboro on Friday, November 19 in a 7 p.m. contest.

    The Eagles fly to Dallas, Texas for a Thanksgiving week tournament hosted by SMU. The four-team tournament features Akron and Arkansas State.

    Following the SMU Tournament, Southern Conference action officially gets underway with a trip to Wofford on December 1 before the team enters an 11-day exam break. The Lady Eagles will then take a trip to Florida, visiting Florida Atlantic (Dec. 12) and Stetson (Dec. 14).  

    After nearly a month on the road, the Lady Eagles will return home and enjoy their first SoCon weekend welcoming Chattanooga (Dec. 18) and Samford (Dec. 20).

    After a short holiday break, Georgia Southern will close out its non-conference portion of the schedule when High Point University visits Hanner Fieldhouse on Dec. 29. The Lady Eagles then return to conference play for 17 straight league contests, eight at home and nine on the road.

    Senior Night will take place on February 26 against Furman in part of a doubleheader with the men’s basketball team.

Villanova tops preseason FCS poll

    After coming off their first National Championship last season, the Villanova Wildcats have been selected preseason No. 1 in the Football Championship Subdivision Coaches Poll.  The Wildcats received 24 of the 30 first place votes and 667 points overall.

    Villanova returns 15 starters from last year’s team that went 14-1.  Seven of those starters return to a defense that ranked third in rushing defense (66.73 yards per game) and sixth in scoring defense (14.07 points per game) last season.  Senior wide receiver Matt Szcur, last year’s championship game Most Outstanding Player, also returns for the Wildcats.

    The national runners-up the past two seasons, Montana came in second place, receiving two first-place votes.  The Grizzlies held the No. 1 ranking for the final three weeks last season before falling to Villanova 23-21 in the title game.

    Appalachian State, who lost to Montana in last year’s semifinals, received four first-place votes and took third place in the poll. This marks the first time in the poll’s four year history that a team other than Appalachian State has been chosen by the coaches as the preseason No. 1 team. 

    William & Mary, which finished tied for third last season with Appalachian State, took fourth, with Southern Illinois completing the top five.

    Richmond came in sixth after spending nine weeks at the top of the poll last season.  Rounding out the top 10 are Elon, Stephen F. Austin, New Hampshire and South Dakota State.

    Eleven conferences are represented in the poll.  The Colonial Athletic Association leads the way with six teams, followed by the Big Sky with five ranked teams.  The Missouri Valley has three teams in the Top 25, and the Southern, Southland, Ohio Valley Conferences, along with the Patriot League, each have two representatives.  The remaining four conferences are the Mid-Eastern Atlantic, Big South, Southwestern and Great West.