This should be at the top of everyones list. It will forever be known as “The Play.” I’m not going to lie, Bristol Hearld Courier Sports Writer Tim Hayes and myself had already packed our stuff up to go down on the field for post-game interviews. As Emory & Henry set up in punt formation, we looked at each other like this should be interesting. I think everyone in Carl Smith Stadium was questioning why Don Montgomery of E&H was going to punt to Marcus Bratton? Just punt it out of bounds, right? The Wasps gave us a chance and Bratton gave us hope. How in the world he saw Josh Wright, I’ll never know. But I be damned if he didn’t find him and 33-30 is all I will say. ESPN, CBS, ABC, FOX, and various newspapers wanted a piece of the SWVA Bowl. Public Address announcer Chris Davis almost fell out of the press box in celebration, many probably didn’t see that.
The 2012-2013 men’s and women’s basketball upsets. The women knocked off the NAIA number two ranked Shawnee State University Bears 63-42 Dec. 1, 2012. The hot shooting Cavs forced 26 turnovers which proved to be the difference in the ballgame. Chelsea Cluesman’s 18 points and 12 rebound performance gave Kristin Kunzman her biggest win as the Cavs coach. The men knocked off NCAA Division II opponent in Lincoln Memorial University 81-80 in overtime on Dec. 8, 2012. The Railsplitters came into the contest ranked 11th in NCAA D2 polls and were unbeaten on the year. Darius Smith found Jermaine Wright in the paint to tie the game at 75 apiece and send the game to overtime. Matt Day, a freshman at the time hit clutch free throws in overtime to seal the upset win for the Cavs. Lee Clark’s men were at it again on Jan. 12, 2013. The Cavs knocked off the No. 1 NAIA ranked University of Cumberlands Patriots 69-54 on that historic day. With the upset win, the Cavs knocked off the NAIA’s top ranked team for the first time in school history, regardless of sport. Javon Moore scored 25 points and Deon Boyce grabbed 23 rebounds in the biggest win in school history.
My third moment would be watching Ryan Crosby make a run in the 2012 baseball to break UVa-Wise school record for strikeouts in a season. Crosby dominated Mid-South hitters all season long that ultimately led to him finishing the season with 7-4 record and a 2.47 ERA. Crosby broke Nelson Metheney single-season strikeout record of 89 set in the early 1990s. Metheney went on to be drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies. Crosby fanned Chance Kopacz for strikeout No. 90 on the year on April 26, 2012 in the Mid-South Conference Tournament. The 90 strikeouts by Crosby led the Mid-South with almost 12 per nine innings. Crosby also earned himself second team all-conference honors.
The fourth moment isn’t really a game moment, it is watching the softball players that I came into college with grow and progress over four years. I came in with Megan Dillion, Sarah Wiltshire, Allyssa Zebrowski, Kristina Romualdo, Charity Lawson and Lannie Johnston. The softball team’s record over the four year span looks like this: 2011 22-26, 2012 23-32, 2013 31-21 and a 26-11 record as of now in 2014. They are the only winning program that I have covered in my three years as sports editor and gave me a go to good story. Karen Bitter’s softball program have added several key players to make up this dominant power in Mountain East play this season. It really is a shame that we are not eligible for postseason play this season, because these girls are better than just conference champions.
My final favorite moment happened this last semester as the women’s tennis team hosted the first Mountain East Conference event in school history on Sept. 7, 2013. The Cavs defeated Shepherd University 5-4. It was also the first MEC win in school history. Over 150 spectators were in attendance on the beautiful September day. This may be a record for the most people to attend a UVa-Wise tennis event. “It’s actually motivated me when I heard the fans clapping and cheering,” sophomore Haley Thacker said. It was the first time “Cavalier Cookies” were introduced and everyone in attendance also received commemorative t-shirts. The Cavs posted a 3-3 mark in singles play and went 2-1 in three doubles matches to claim the victory. I was glad I was able to be a part of the historic event and I hope to be able to catch an UVa-Wise team in NCAA Division II tournament play one of these days.