Tennis, baseball teams storm into spring
Heading into the spring, Emory was eighth in the nation for best all-around athletics program in NCAA Div. III. Emory finished second last year, the fifth time in eight years it placed in the Top 10 nationally.
The Eagles are poised to move up in this year's rankings thanks to three national Top 5 teams. Both tennis teams are ranked No. 1 in the nation, and the baseball team was No. 2 as of April 7. For good measure, Emory also has Top 25 teams in golf (No. 8) and softball (No. 25).
The defending national champion women's tennis team started this season 13-0, extending its winning streak to 32 dual matches dating back to last season. Since 2001, the team is 58-3 against Div. III competition, including 42-3 against Top 25 opponents. Senior Mary Ellen Gordon is the defending national singles champion and a three-time national doubles champion. Sophomore Jolyn Taylor lost to Gordon in last season's NCAA finals and teamed with her for the doubles title.
The men's tennis squad, returning virtually intact the lineup that won the NCAA team championship a year ago, started 12-1 with the only loss coming to Div. I Georgia Tech. The Eagles won the ITA indoor national team championship in February, notching victories over three top-16 teams.
The baseball team started this season with a school-record 26 consecutive wins. The Eagles had a 31-2 record through early-April, marking the seventh 30-win season in eight years, and could make a run at the school record of 37 wins set last season when the team finished fifth at the Div. III World Series. Emory graduated its top three pitchers and an All-America outfielder from last year's team. Shortstop Rob Segear and third baseman Andrew Pinckney shared conference MVP honors at the annual University Athletic Association (UAA) tournament.
Emory is on pace for its best statistical season ever. The team averages 297.2 per round (four best individual scores combined), which would break the school record set last season. Jason Scherr, who already has the best two season averages in school history, is in position to break his own school record. Scherr and teammate Brian Nixon both average 73.3 shots per round and are ranked 17th and 19th in the nation, respectively, according to GolfStat's statistical rankings of Div. III players.
After graduating its senior leaders, Emory has remained strong this season to post a 22-9 record in mid-April. The Eagles are aiming for a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Div. III national tournament where they have finished third and fourth the last two years. Seven Eagles were named to the All-UAA teams, tying a school record set last year. Freshman outfielder Betsy Bruinsma was named conference Rookie of the Year, the third Eagle so honored.
Track & field
Both track teams are aiming for the conference championships, April 24-25. The men won the UAA title in 2001 and 2002, while the women were runners-up both years.
This year's rosters feature several individual standouts. For the men T.J. Jennings posted the fifth-fastest time in the nation through mid-April in the 200-meter dash, as did Chris Nehls in the 110-meter hurdles. Rob Bullard is sixth nationally in the high jump. For the women, freshman Meghan Callier broke one of Emory's oldest records; her time of 57.75 seconds in the 400-meter dash on March 27 bettered the previous standard set in 1985.
The tennis team's Gordon was honored as the sole
recipient of the Georgia Sportswoman of the Year Award, presented
by the Georgia Women's Intersport Network at a banquet held on the
Emory campus, Feb. 4. The award recognizes one person for her collegiate
accomplishments as a student-athlete.
For the latest on Emory varsity athletics, visit www.go.emory.edu .