Flagler College Spring Preview
By Jeffrey Batt and Wesley Wilcox | firstname.lastname@example.org
In the world of college athletics every program has its ups and downs. This was the story for last season’s Flagler College Women’s Softball team. In a program that has been defined by success in taking home conference championships and appearances in the Women’s College World Series, last season was a rebuilding one. Flagler College enters it 2016 campaign under Head Coach Kristen Overton, who is in her eighth year at the helm of the program, and also captured her 200th win in 2015. Last season saw the Saints finish 15-34 (6-16 PBC), losing only one senior in Lauren Roudabush. This season sees the Saints return seven seniors to carry this team into the spring, along with ace Katelynn Smith, who endured surgery on her arm in the offseason in hopes of being healthy by opening day. Experience will be key for this team, which returns 12 from last season, while welcoming four freshmen. The Saints will head into this spring looking to return to the top of the Peach Belt, and reclaim their spot as top dog in the conference.
The Men’s Baseball team is coming off one of their most successful seasons in Flagler’s history. The team finished with an overall record of 32-15 and a .681 win percentage. They, unfortunately, lost in the first round of last year’s Peach Belt Conference tournament, but the regular season record should give a boost to the men as they begin their season. With the loss of key players like Andrew Brodbeck and Nick Kranick, the team is looking to find those step-up players, and luckily they have them. Coach Barnett will be looking to his seasoned veterans such as Kolin McMillen, Igor Baez and Michael Maiocco to help continue the team’s success from last season. The Saints officially began their season last week against Florida Tech and lost 7-1 in a poor start to the season, but with a lot of room to grow. This past weekend the Saints had a tough series against the Lander University Bearcats, but look to get on track tomorrow against Embry-Riddle University in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Last season saw the Saints fail to make any noise in the Peach Belt Conference amassing only a (2-8) record going 5-14 overall. But the attitude entering this season could not be any more different. This season the Saints enter Head Coach Thomas Hipp’s third season, and in his first two seasons the Saints have had a pair of the nation’s most difficult schedules, with last season’s being amid some of the hardest. The Saints welcome back five players, with only one senior in Justen Louis, but will sorely miss Flagler record setter Jose Martinez, who finished inside of the top five best single players in the nation last year. This offseason the Saints landed a huge transfer in sophomore Kevin Gonzalez out of Stetson University, who looks to help the Saints improve on the front. The Saints also welcome in five freshmen who look to make improvements in the energy of the locker room, as well as establishing a lethal singles line-up. This season will be one to keep an eye on as the Saints not only look to get back into their winning ways, but also compete and challenge the Peach Belt’s finest this spring.
Unlike any sport in Flagler College Athletics history, the women’s golf program set a feat that has never been accomplished in school history. The 2014-15 season saw the women’s golf team reach the number one ranking in NCAA Division II under Head Coach Santiago Cavanagh. Coach Cavanagh enters his eighth season at the helm of the golf program at Flagler College taking the program to impeccable heights. Last season the Saints finished inside of the top three in seven tournaments. They placed third at the Peach Belt Conference Tournament, which qualified them for the NCAA Tournament where the Saints placed eighth out of nine ending their historic season. The Saints this season will be without Olivia Ferrer Saura, Nicole Keyser, Maria Santacroce and Joanna Yoo, but will bring back seniors Mary Rodgers and Stephanie Tucker. The 2016 season will be about seeing if the four freshmen who enter this elite program can pick up where last seasons roster left off.
A team that came off a successful 2014-15 season with a winning percentage of .560 at 14-11 and has four returning players, the Saints are looking to continue their success on the court. This season under Coaches Thomas Hipp and Rodrigo Puebla, the Saints will try to do better than last year’s campaign as they aim for the coveted Peach Belt Conference Championship. The lady Saints continue to have a strong roster this season under senior leadership of Kelly Stewart and Thaisa Pereira. They also have some younger talent to watch out for in sophomores Laura Kelly and Kelly Burge. They are currently 3-1 on the season after a great team win against Palm Beach Atlantic, and knocking off in-state rival Rollins College.
It may still be chilling temperatures in the state of Florida, but the men’s golf team are back at it as they continue to gain further success after last year. The team is returning strong with senior leaders in Sebastian Barnoya, Jessel Mohammed, Michael Boss, Zachary Horne and Jordan Ebanks. The team has also been fortunate enough with some depth from sophomores Jack Kegelmeyer and Ethan Wagner. Last season’s success will be hard to beat as the team came in 1st place in four of their tournaments. The Saints had a successful fall season as they finished in 2nd place in three of their four tournaments and had a 10th place finish as well. Up next for the men is The Armstrong Pirate Men’s Invitational in Pooler, Georgia, on Feb. 22. With consistency and depth this a team to keep your eyes this season.
Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track
Coming off a strong season for both squads, the Saints men’s and women’s indoor track teams have been eager to get back out running again. They are currently half-way through their seasons and the young, but seasoned veterans are leading the way. For the men, Erik Hartley, Dillon Hodge and recent Travelynx Athlete of the week Andrew Smith have been leading the way. Smith had a miraculous performance at the Vince Brown Invite in Newport News, Virginia, where he won with a time of 4:12:31. Up next for the men is the UCS Invitational in Winston Salem, N.C., on Feb. 20.