Savannah State wins MEAC showdown and automatic bid to tournament
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
It comes as no surprise that Bethune-Cookman won’t play in the NCAA regional baseball tournament.
B-CU didn’t receive an at-large bid during the selection show on Monday. The Wildcats knew they had a slim chance if any to make the field of 64.
The Wildcats lost to Savannah State 1-0 in the MEAC (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) Tournament championship game on May 19.
The Tigers won the conference tournament and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers and SWAC champion Jackson State are the only two HBCUs in the tournament.
B-CU (34-25) had won seven straight MEAC titles and made seven straight NCAA appearances. The Wildcats have won 15 MEAC titles and made the NCAA Tournament 15 times in the last 18 years dating back to 1996. They also accomplished those feats 14 times in the last 16 years. They had at-large bids in 1996 and 1997.
The Wildcats have beaten three teams in this year’s tournament one time each.
They are Arizona State (35-20-10), Miami (36-23) and Savannah State (33-21).
B-CU also lost to those teams at least two times and was swept by both Kansas State (41-17) and Mercer (43-16), which also made the field.
Track and field: B-CU’s Johnson 16th
Bethune-Cookman freshman sprinter Tristie Johnson (23.75) finished 16th in the 200-meter dash NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s East Regional semifinal at Greensboro, N.C.
Johnson just missed qualifying for nationals. She also competed in the 100-meter dash but didn’t qualify for the semifinals.
“She is a fierce competitor. She knows that we are extremely proud of her. She is the future of our program and we are looking for her to be our leader for the next three years,” commented track and field coach Donald Cooper.
Although her season is over, Johnson may get another chance to compete. She can still qualify for the USA Track and Field Junior/Senior Nationals in Des Moines, Iowa, beginning June 19.
Softball: Banuelos-Smith named Academic All-American
Bethune-Cookman senior outfielder Michelle Banuelos-Smith concludes her career with another honor.
Banuelos-Smith was named to the Capitol One All-American softball team on May 23. The psychology major posted a 4.0 GPA. The team was selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
She was also received All-MEAC Team this season and last season. This season she led the Wildcats in average (.329), seven homeruns, 36 RBIs and 87 total bases.
For her career, Banuelos-Smith posted a .323 average with 24 homeruns and 135 RBIs. She is second on the school’s all-time list for doubles (51) and third in homeruns.
B-CU men second in All-Sports award
Bethune-Cookman finished in second place for the Taylmande Layman Hill All-Sports award. The announcement was made on May 24.
The award is giving out the top men’s sports program in the MEAC. Florida A&M edged the Wildcats by four points. B-CU won the MEAC football title while finishing second in the MEAC South Division and as the tournament runner-up.
B-CU’s women finished second in the standings for the Mary McLeod Bethune All Sports award given for the top women’s program. Hampton took home to trophy.