Friday, August 14, 2009

The Return of Charlotte's Top A-10 Performers

Charlotte’s fall sports student-athletes have finally arrived on our glorious campus here in the Queens City for preseason practice, training and the ever-so admired morning workouts. The preseason serves as a time for teams to return to top-playing shape, learn new plays and formations, bond together as a team and get to know some of the newcomers to the squad.

Last year’s preseason was obviously a great success as Charlotte claimed several conference awards as cross country, soccer and volleyball combined for 36 individual awards including a Player of the Year Award on each of the five teams. The fall teams also showcased their academic prowess in the autumn months as each team placed a student-athlete on the All-Academic team.

As an ode to the accomplishments of the 49er athletes here is a rundown of the returning First Team All-Conference performers for the upcoming fall season (in alphabetical order of course):

Hailey Beam: The women’s soccer teams first All-American since 2002 (Courtney Crandall), Hailey was the terror of the town for opposing teams at Transamerica Field. Her 17 goals, 13 assists and 47 points all lead the Atlantic 10 as she propelled Charlotte to a perfect 11-0 conference record and to the A-10 Tournament Title.

Her accomplishments on the field earned her numerous awards so here is a long list of some plaques she picked up: NSCAA and Soccer Buzz All-American, 1st team All-Atlantic 10, A-10 Midfielder of the Year, A-10 Student-Athlete of the Year and the A-10 Championship MVP. Her accomplishments on the field were matched by her achievements in the classroom as a Finance major by being tabbed as a NSCAA First Team Scholar All-American as well as being named to the A-10 All-Academic Team.

Hailey is expected to continue her success as a senior this year as Charlotte looks for their fourth straight regular season A-10 title, third straight A-10 tournament crown and third straight appearance in the College Cup.

Whitney Bryant: A stopper on the defensive end for the women’s soccer squad, Whitney led the way for Niner defense as she was selected to the A-10 First Team for her season that included an outstanding six assists to go along with a goal. Her presence on the defensive end helped to hold 49er opponents to only 1.13 goals per game and 13 shutouts.

Bryant’s best game on the season, scoring wise, was her three-point output against Saint Joseph’s in which she scored a goal and had an assist in a 8-0 domination of the Hawks. The junior started every game during her sophomore season.

Whitney B. and her fellow starting defenders from the’08 squad all return for the ’09 season where they will look to continue their dominance over opposing offenses.

Adu Dentamo: Moving over to men’s cross country we feature Adu Dentamo, who became Charlotte’s first-ever men’s conference individual champion, when he ran Charlotte’s A-10 championship 8k course in 24:01. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the metric system, Dentamo ran 26,246 feet or nearly five miles in a time span that is equivalent to an episode of Seinfeld (without the commercials).

Adu didn’t stop with being the best in the A-10 as he claimed All-Region honors at the NCAA Southeast Regional in Clemmons, N.C. His 14th place region finish was the highest men’s region placement since 2002 (Josh Baker, 9th). Dentamo barely missed qualifying for an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships.

The redshirt-senior, Dentamo will have an opportunity this year to become Charlotte’s first ever back-to-back cross country champion (that is if he isn’t beaten out by his female counterpart).

Amanda Goetschius: A native of the Garden State, Goetschius found a new home in 2008 in the Charlotte cross country record books. Goetschius claimed the A-10 crown for the women’s team as she ran her home course in 17:37 to become Charlotte’s second women’s conference champion ever. That was the second time of the season that Amanda won on Charlotte’s course as she led the pack at Charlotte’s Bojangles Invitational.

At the NCAA Southeast Regionals hosted by Wake Forest, Amanda took eighth place and claimed All-Region honors. Her time of 21:04 in the 6k race is the third-fastest time in Niner history. For her outstanding performance at the regional, Goetschius received an invitation to the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., where she had the highest-finish for a 49er in nine years (Kelly Travis, 30th).

Amanda, only a junior, has ample opportunities to add more decorations to her new home as the Niners compete in five events prior to the A-10 Championships in St. Louis, Mo.

Keara Thomas: Fellow junior of the women’s cross country team, Keara took home 4th place at the A-10 Championship to garner All-Conference honors to help the Niners finish as runner-ups. Her time of 18:06 was her fastest of the season as she improved by three seconds and 24 spots from her finish at the 2007 A-10 meet. Following her top-five showing at the A-10, Thomas finished 44th at NCAA Region to help the Niners to a 9th place showing against the region’s top competition.

Keara’s highest finish of the ’08 season came in the Bojangles Invitational as she finished runner-up to Goetschius as the team took five of the top six positions (1, 2, 4, 5, 6) and dominated the competition.

Keara and her XC teammates will try to recreate their dominance at this year’s home event on Oct. 2 at the Charlotte Invitational in nearby McAlpine Park.

Whitney Weinraub: Finally, we come back to women’s soccer with the A-10 Offensive Player of the Year, Whitney Weinraub. Whitney graced Niner Nation with her presence last year at Transamerica Field by scoring 10 of her 12 goals in front of the home crowd. An 8-0 whooping of Tennessee Tech on Aug. 31 was highlighted by Weinraub’s hat-trick, the first of her career.

Whitney W. was a 1st team All-Atlantic Ten selection to go along with her A-10 Off. POY honor as well as a 2nd team All-Southeast Region recipient. Her outstanding play as a forward for the Niners propelled them to their fourth NCAA College Cup appearance, where they advanced to the second round for the second time ever.

With the attacking prowess of Weinraub, Charlotte women’s soccer has a strong chance of scoring their own hat-trick with their third straight College Cup appearance and fifth in the program’s history.

That wraps it up for all of Charlotte’s returning 1st Team All-Conference selections. As always you keep it classy, Niner Nation.

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