BY ANDREAS BUTLER
The Lady Wildcats’ bowling team went 2-2 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Bowling Championships at AMF Chesapeake Lanes in Chesapeake, Va.
Bethune-Cookman (60-65) is currently ranked 20th in the latest National TinPin Coaches Association poll.
B-CU entered the MEAC tournament as the sixth seed but fell to Florida A&M (4-2) in the opening match.
The Lady Wildcats went to the consolation bracket and picked up wins over Delaware State (4.5-3.5) and nationally ranked North Carolina A&T (4-2), but a loss to Hampton (4-1) prevented them from being able to bowl their way into the championship match.
“We were up and down all year. I thought we fought hard in the tournament but Hampton bowled better than us,” said Tony O’Neal, B-CU’s bowling coach.
Hilliard All-MEAC; team awaits fate
B-CU’s Staci Hilliard was the top bowler for the tournament. Hilliard was recently named to the All-MEAC First Bowling team for the season.
The University of Maryland-Eastern Shore topped Hampton in the championship match. It was the sixth MEAC title for the Hawks.
The Maryland team also is the two-time defending NCAA champion.
The NCAA Bowling Tournament Selection show took place on Wednesday after the Daytona Times’ deadline.
B-CU, like the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, is hoping to earn an at-large bid for the tournament and have a chance to play for the national title.
Track and field: B-CU fares well at Relays
Rain shortened the Florida State University Relays in Tallahassee this past week but Bethune-Cookman still took away some good performances.
Kadian Dunkley (11:23. 80) finished fourth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and Sasha Smallwood (3.56m/11.8ft) took home sixth place in the pole vault for the Wildcats women.
On the men’s side, Barry Kimbrough (46-06m/151-01ft) was sixth in the discus and junior Saint Preux (14.52s) was sixth in the 110m hurdles for B-CU.
B-CU will compete in the University of North Florida Invitational in Jacksonville March 29-30.
Football: B-CU in spring practice
The Wildcats’ football program kicked off spring football practice with a two-hour workout on March 23.
“It’s good to get going. The guys were moving pretty well. They worked hard during the offseason and it carried over to spring practice. It’s exciting,” commented Brian Jenkins, B-CU’s head football coach.
The defending MEAC champions are scheduled for 13 workout sessions during the spring. Bethune-Cookman spring practices are closed to the public.
B-CU will hold its spring showcase (spring game) on April 20. The time and location will be announced.
Baseball: ’Cats swept
On the Diamond, the Wildcats couldn’t master the cold weather as they were swept in a three-game series by Big 12 opponent Kansas State University.
The Wildcats of Kansas beat the Wildcats of B-CU by scores of 12-0, 9-2 and 6-3 over the weekend.
B-CU played the University of North Florida in Jacksonville on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats return to Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play for a key three-game series at Jackie Robinson Ballpark with Southern Division opponent Savannah State University (15-8, 5-3) on March 30-31.
The Wildcats’ pitching leaders are Montana Durapau (3-2, 3.83 ERA), Anthony Stokes (2-1, 1.04 ERA) and Jordan Dailey (2-0, 1.90 ERA, 4 saves).
The offense will rely upon Josh Johnson (.333 BA, 11 RBI, 6 SBs), David Lee (.261 BA, 1 HR, 15 RBI), Stokes (1 HR, 10 RBI), Brandon Turner (.266 BA, 8SB), Eros Modena (.302 BA, 13 RBI, 19 R) and Matt Noble (19 RBIs).
Stokes MEAC Pitcher of Week
Junior Anthony Stokes was named MEAC Pitcher of the Week on Monday.
Stokes pitched six scoreless innings with a 1.50 ERA to help B-CU defeat the University of South Florida 6-2 at a home game on March 19.
Softball: Wildcats get wins; ready for MEAC
Looking to get the season going, the Bethune-Cookman softball team went 2-3 at the Florida Atlantic University Invitational in Boca Raton from March 22-24.
B-CU (6-27) lost to Iowa State (7-0) and host Florida Atlantic (twice/8-0, 9-0) but picked up wins over Dartmouth (2-1) and Elon (5-4).
Against Dartmouth, Aureila Gamch and Calesha Shelly had RBI singles while Samantha Gale pitched a complete game to get the win for B-CU.
Gale pitched another complete game for a win against Elon while Kelsi Rodney went 2-fo4-with an RBI, Shamaria Engram 2-for-3 and Michelle Banuelos-Smith 1-for-3 with an RBI for B-CU.
The Lady Wildcats begin MEAC play with a three-game series in Durham, N.C. against North Carolina Central from March 30-31.
Fifteen of the next 18 games will be conference games – six against teams from Florida in the state and 11 games will be at home.
The Lady Wildcats are led offensively by Michelle Banuelos-Smith (.307BA, 4HR, 15RBI, 12R, 8SB); Aureila Gamch (.257BA, 1HR, 9RBI) and Kelsi Rodney (.253BA, 1HR, 12RBI, 16R).
Teammates Simone Ceaser (.260 BA), Shamaria Engram (.257 BA, 8R BI) and Calesha Shelly (.257 BA, 15 R, 16 SB) will also be depended upon.
Shanel Tolbert (2-19, 5.10ERA) and Samantha Gale (4-8, 4.71ERA) are the pitchers for B-CU.