Track and field competes at South Alabama

Eight Samford University track and field athletes earned top-three finishes at the South Alabama Invitational, held Thursday, April 14 through Saturday, April 16.

The high-performing contingent was headlined by first-place showings from Sarah Sanford, Courtney Prengaman and Javion Lee.

Sanford won the women’s 400-meter hurdles in 59.76 seconds; Prengaman won the women’s high jump with a clearance of 1.69 meters; and Lee won the men’s triple jump with a leap of 15.04 meters.

Men’s pole vaulter Tray Oates and men’s long jumper Marquis Barnes claimed runner-up finishes in their respective events. Notably, Oates’ clearance of 5.32 meters set a new school record.

Jay Vines (400 hurdles), Chris Thrasher (javelin) and Tonia McKinley (100 meters) posted third-place performances to round out Samford’s top finishers.

The teams will look to carry their momentum into the coming weekend, when they’re slated to compete at the Auburn Invitational.

Men’s Golf Competes at Mason Rudolph

The Samford men’s golf team finished 14th in the Mason Rudolph Men’s Golf Championship held at the Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn., Saturday and Sunday.

“The Mason Rudolph field was our most competitive this year. Five top 50 teams competed including Vanderbilt, Florida, and Alabama,” said Samford Coach Al DelGreco.

“Conditions were very difficult for rounds 1 and 2,” he added.

Despite those difficult conditions, The Bulldogs responded to the challenge.

Samford had a team score of 911 (301-311-299), to come in 14th. The host team, ninth-ranked Vanderbilt won the event with a score of 847 (275-291-281). The 19th-ranked Florida Gators came in second at 848 (283-286-279), while 17th-ranked Alabama finished third with a score of 861 (282-291-288).

Senior Zach Hughes led the Bulldogs with rounds of 70, 75 and 73 for a T14 finish in the 78-player field. “Zach has played well all year after returning from shoulder surgery last year,” DelGreco said.

Junior Ivan Truss finished with rounds of 70, 79 and 75 for a T42nd finish, what DelGreco said was Truss’ “best tournament to date.”

The group of Samford freshmen was led by Crawford Flach with rounds of 81, 77 and 74 to tie for 62nd, while Jackson Seawell and Ashton Nix tied for 73rd.

Sam Horsfield of Florida, ranked sixth in the GolfStat rankings, won individual medalist honors with a score of 206 (70-70-66).

With a talented core of young players, DelGrecro is pleased by how his team has progressed this season.

“We still have a lot of work to do but I’m happy with our work ethic and improvements we have made this year,” DelGreco said.

Samford will close the 2015-16 season April 24-26 with the Southern Conference tournament in Pinehurst, N.C.

Men’s Tennis Hosts Furman

The men’s tennis team will look to add a fifth game to their four game winning streak as they host
Furman on Sunday, April 3. The team is coming off of a crushing 7-0 win against The Citadel in their last
match, which improved their overall record to 9-4 and SoCon record to 3-1.

Senior finance major Trey Carter, sophomore pre-business major Jake Faundez and engineering physics
major Justin Ghavami are tied for the lead in singles wins for the bulldogs with 9 wins. Carter and
graduate student Leonard Gerch are tied for most doubles wins at 7 with the duo of Faundez and
sophomore pre-business major Eduardo Lourido Sanchez.

The bulldogs have an impressive 7-1 record at home this season.

The paladins have an overall record of 8-7 so far this season. Adam Steryous leads the paladins in singles
wins this season with 10, while Matt Browne and Ben Horst lead the team with 10 doubles wins. Furman
has struggled on the road this reason with an away record of 1-5.

The bulldogs will be looking to improve their SoCon record to 4-1 with a win over Furman before
finishing off the regular season with matches against Mercer and the University of Tennessee at
Chattanooga.

This Sunday’s match will be played at the Samford Tennis complex at 1 p.m.

Women’s tennis to host Western Carolina

The Samford University women’s tennis team will host Western Carolina on Friday, April 1, at the Pat M. Courington Tennis Pavilion.  A victory over the visiting Catamounts would keep the Bulldogs undefeated in Southern Conference play and extend their winning streak to three games.

Samford is currently 7-8 overall and 2-0 in the conference. Collectively, the team has outscored its past two opponents, Mercer and UNC-Greensboro, 13-1.

Playing with momentum, the upcoming match could yield a similar result. In 2015, the Bulldogs stormed to a resounding 7-0 triumph over the Catamounts.

First serve is slated for 11 a.m. (CST).

Harlem Globetrotters

The Harlem Globetrotters, an exhibition basketball team that combines athleticism, theater, and
comedy, are celebrating their 90th anniversary of being an organization. Over the years the
Globetrotters have played more than 26,000 exhibition games in 122 countries and territories.

Hundreds of kids, parents and fans sporting red, white and blue packed Samford’s Pete Hanna Center on Sunday, March 6.

Fans gathered to watch Hacksaw, Big Easy, Scooter, Too Tall, Hawk, Titan, Torch, Moose, Flip, and Hawk perform alley-oop dunks, attempt half-court shots and entertain the crowd.

At Globetrotters’ games, it’s not about the end result or the stats sheet. Number of fouls and individual player’s points are not tracked. Instead, the focus is on family fun and entertainment.

For example, some families who sit courtside will often be brought onto the floor to dance with Big Easy and interact with other players. Scooter taught a young boy how to spin the ball on his finger.

The crowd has fun because they get to watch the players enjoy themselves.

“Right now I’m living out my dream of playing basketball and traveling the world,” said Hacksaw Hall during a speech to the fans.

Following the game, players were available to sign autographs on the court.

The Globetrotters will play one more game at Samford tonight (March 7) at 7 p.m.

More on the Harlem Globetrotters:

The team’s signature song is Brother Bones’s whistled version of “Sweet Georgia Brown”, and their mascot is named Globie. The team plays over 450 live events worldwide each year. Today, there are at least three different Harlem Globetrotters teams touring the U.S.

Fun fact: At 5-2, Too Tall is the shortest player in Globetrotter history.

For more on the team, tickets, camps and news, visit harlemglobetrotters.com.

 

Harlem Globetrotters Come to Samford

The iconic Harlem Globetrotters are coming to Pete Hanna Center Sunday, March 6th at 4 p.m. and Monday, March 7th at 7 p.m. The team is celebrating its 90th anniversary world tour, and this one being called their most epic tour in history.

Handles_Franklin_14_2016 Tour

Photos courtesy of Harlem Globetrotters media team.

The Local had the opportunity to interview Handles Franklin, one of the players.

The Local: I hear you’ve traveled to several different countries to play games. Which has been your favorite to visit and/or play in?
Franklin: When we go to other countries, we try to speak those languages. We’ve been to Iraq where the war is, and there are military bases and troops. That was pretty cool. In China and Romania, the games were absolutely packed – sold out.

L: Who are you closest to on the team?
F: I’m close with Marquez Haines. I also had a good friend Marcus who passed away. But we’re all like brothers, like one big family. When at practice or on the road, we’ll be together on a tour bus on Christmas morning.

L: What is your biggest challenge and how do you manage this challenge?
F: No one, no matter your path, is immune to life’s challenges. We all have challenges that we need to overcome. It’s about getting up and moving forward.

L: How do you set your goals?
F: I’ll have a tape sent I’ve me playing, which I will review. I always try to be persistent and keep pushing towards being the best I can be.

 

L: What’s your diet like?
F: We play over 300 games a year, so we play everyday. When I’m on tour, which is most often, I eat very healthy.

L: What was the best advice you were ever given?
F: My parents were my role models growing up. They taught me the value of getting an education and to help as many people as I can. Just try to make the world better. One act of service our team performs is a hospital visit called the Great Assist. We’re celebrating our 90th anniversary and encourage our fans to give back as well. People can learn more about it at http://www.harlemglobetrotters.com/greatassist.

 

L: Anything else you’d like to share?
F: I tell people to believe in themselves and believe in your dreams. They are attainable! There was a time when, at first, basketball didn’t work out. But I stuck with it.

 

Tickets start at $22 and are available at harlemglobetrotters.com, samfordsports.edu, the Pete Hanna Center box office, or by phone at 205-726-3647.  Information on group and scout tickets can also be found at harlemglobetrotters.com.

HGI2015_90th_Color

Women’s Tennis defeated by nationally ranked Wildcats

The women’s tennis team was defeated 4-0 by No. 15 University of Kentucky.

Kentucky began the match with a 6-1 win at the No. 1 doubles positon against senior marketing major Jessica Northcutt and senior accounting major Carita Moolman. Kentucky followed with a 6-3 win at the No. 2 doubles position against senior interior design major Iva Parapunova and sophomore health sciences major Ellie Gerlach to secure the doubles point.

Kentucky was able to secure the victory with singles wins at the No. 1 position against Northcutt, No.3 position against Parapunova and No.4 position against sophomore nursing major Savannah Wood.

Northcutt was disappointed by the loss but was happy with the way the team played.

“Unfortunately we stopped at 4 against UK, so some people didn’t get to play. But, overall I think everyone played very well. UK is a very good team and I think that we competed well with them,” Northcutt said.

“It was good experience to play a highly ranked team, because that’ll be the best team we play all year. If everyone plays the way we did last weekend, we could be in good shape,” she said.

The Bulldogs are getting ready for their next match against UT Martin which takes place on March 6 at 3 p.m. at the Samford Tennis Complex.

Northcutt said it will be business-as-usual for the Bulldogs at practice this week.

“We play UT Martin on Sunday, so we had a couple easy days the beginning of this week but now we will continue to practice normally to get ready for this weekend,” Northcutt said.

“I think if we have a good week of practice to have confidence going into this weekend, it will make a big difference in our upcoming matches,” Northcutt said.

Photos courtesy of Joey Mullins.

Samford Baseball Hosts UAB

The Samford University baseball team will host the University of Alabama at Birmingham on Tuesday, March 1, at Joe Lee Griffin Field.

The Bulldogs (5-3) enter the game coming off a challenging four-game series that saw the team go 1-3 against Brigham Young University.

UAB carries a 3-4 record into the mid-afternoon game, having won two of its past three contests. Over the weekend, the Blazers picked up a pair of victories over Ohio University.

At the plate, Samford is led by junior right fielder Heath Quinn and senior catcher Richard Greene. Quinn tops the Bulldog lineup with seven home runs, 18 RBI and a .545 batting average. Notably, he’s been named Southern Conference Player of the Week each of the past two weeks. Greene currently boasts a .440 batting average, having laced 11 hits in 25 at-bats.

First pitch for Tuesday’s matchup is scheduled for 3 p.m.