By Ben Maske and Graham Hill
Spring sports teams are working hard to bring William Peace University some notoriety in the sports world while at the same time the university reacts to changes in leadership.
WPU named men’s basketball coach Claude Shields as interim athletic director last month. Shields will take the place of Tom Curle, and says his focus will be “trying to offer some continuity.”
“I’ve served under quite a few athletic directors in my time here, to have learned from each of them on what works, what doesn’t works, and then learn the institution well,” said Shields. “Hopefully I can kind of lean on that on how to get some stuff done and to see all of our athletic programs get to where they want to be.”
Softball is having one of its best seasons in program history as they currently have an overall record of 22-7 for the season, 10-2 in USA South conference play. Their most recent win was a sweep in a doubleheader against NC Wesleyan as they defeated the Battling Bishops by a final of 5-1 in game one and 1-0 in game two. According to WPU Athletics, they’ve had a total of eight players this season receive a variety of USA South awards.
After a season hiatus, the Women’s Lacrosse team has returned to action after not having enough players to have a team last season. They’re led by Tim Priskey, who enters his first season with the program after previously coaching at Thiel College from 2016 to 2021.
A notable event for the men’s and women’s track and field teams was an indoor meet where they set a total of several new school records at Christopher Newport for the Vince Brown Invitational. According to WPU Athletics Majesty Smith, a senior, set a new school record for the women’s shot put, finishing 11th with a mark of 9.70m. Jazmine Ryan, a freshman, broke the women’s 60m record twice, setting a new school record in the semifinals. For the men’s team, Justin Scott, a freshman, set a new school record with a final mark of 11.86m, finishing 9th in the finals. Sean Todd (FR), Ethan Davis (FR), and Connor Thomas (FR) all set new personal records in the 800m.
Brewer Warlick, a senior out of Wilmington on the men’s lacrosse team, scored a total of eight goals in the Pacers’ 20-5 victory over Brevard College back on March 26, giving him the single-game scoring record for WPU.
Pacers baseball picked up their biggest wins of the season so far when they swept Mary Baldwin University in their second conference series in late March. In a doubleheader on March 26, the Pacers defeated the Fighting Squirrels 22-0 in game one, and 14-5 in game two. The team secured the sweep with an 8-6 win in game three.
Phillip Berger, a junior out of Hillsborough, has been named the USA South pitcher of the week twice this season, along with Hunter Ward, a junior from Clayton who was named USA South player of the week. The team is led by veteran head coach Charlie Long in his first season with the program, coming from NC Wesleyan. Long has tallied 475 career wins and has received four USA South Coach of the Year awards during his career.
As we’re wrapping up the final month of athletics, here is how all our spring sports teams are holding up record-wise.
Overall: 16-13, Conference: 6-6
Overall: 22-7, Conference: 10-2
Overall: 6-4, Conference: 3-2
Overall: 1-8, Conference: 0-8
Golf: Alec Brooks finished in the top 20 of his first tournament representing the program himself