(Left) Greg Shoemaker, practice administrator for Baldwin Bone & Joint, presents Holly Alman of Fairhope East Elementary (formerly Fairhope Intermediate) with the first-prize cash award for collecting 1,006 pairs of shoes in the 2020 Many More Miles campaign. (Right) Beth Briggs, executive director of Family Promise Baldwin County, displays a sample of the 700 pairs of shoes her organization received from Baldwin Bone & Joint’s Many More Miles campaign.
The 17th annual Many More Miles Campaign has once again proven to be a major success. The program, sponsored by Baldwin Bone & Joint orthopedic care, has resulted in 1,586 pairs of slightly used athletic shoes finding new homes.
The Port City Pacers, Dr. Glenn Glass and the University of South Alabama’s Student Recreation Center partnered with schools in Mobile and Baldwin counties for the campaign. They collected shoes for the homeless outreach programs of Wings of Life in Mobile County and Family Promise of Baldwin County.
Students from the Alabama Gulf Coast were challenged to collect shoes for homeless families while earning money for the physical education programs at their schools. Baldwin Bone & Joint awarded cash prizes to the top three participating schools that donated the most shoes.
Fairhope East Elementary (formerly Fairhope Intermediate) won the first place cash prize of $500 by collecting 1,006 pairs of shoes. Mary B. Austin Elementary in Mobile took second place ($300), and Spanish Fort Elementary landed in third place ($200).
Program organizers said shoes donated by the local schools have provided the largest collective donation ever. Another school participating in this year’s campaign was Dixon Elementary in Irvington.
Rams lead volleyball poll
The University of Mobile (UM) edged out William Carey University and Loyola University for the top spot in the 2020-21 Southern States Athletic Conference volleyball coaches preseason poll. The Rams had 53 points (two first-place votes), while the Hattiesburg team had 50 points (three first-place votes) and the New Orleans school had 46 points (two first-place votes).
“It’s an honor to be selected, but we still have a lot of work to do,” said UM head coach Jon Campbell on the selection. “I try not to put a lot of emphasis on preseason polls because they are based on opinions. We are a fairly young team and still need to learn how to work together and compete. We will definitely be challenged in conference play.”
UM returns six players who saw action last season. They are led by Rachel Hart, who played in 35 matches and led with 144 blocks. However, the Rams must replace four players who were first- or second-team all-conference last season.
Jaguar runners honored
University of South Alabama cross-country runners Andonet Cheruiyot and Carolien Millenaar on the women’s team, and Onesmus Kemboi and Warno Potgieter on the men’s side, were named four of the Top 7 Runners to Watch in the Sun Belt Conference (SBC) in their respective divisions.
This marks the second career SBC preseason honor for Cheruiyot and Potgieter, who were named to the lists prior to the start of last season. Millenaar was selected prior to the start of the 2018 season.
In the initial SBC Runners of the Week announcement, Millenaar and Kirami Yego were selected after opening the campaign with 5K wins at the Azalea City Classic. Millenaar picked up where she finished off as she paced the field crossing the line with a time of 17:49.5. The win marked the second consecutive year that she captured the meet title, and was the third title of her career. In his first cross-country race as a Jaguar, Yego won the men’s division with a time of 15:23.6.
Millenaar was named the Female Runner of the Week once again after picking up her second individual title. The native of Sørvad, Denmark, set a 5K personal best at the FSU Invitational by crossing the line with a time of 17:34.0.
Badger baseball hitting the books
The Spring Hill College (SHC) baseball team has earned recognition on the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Academic Excellence Awards list for the 2019-20 academic year. The Badgers accumulated a team GPA of 3.38 over the term.
Teams from every level of college and high school baseball were honored with this year’s award. It highlights programs coached by ABCA members that posted a GPA of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale for the entire 2019-20 academic year.
In total, 146 high school teams along with 300 programs from the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and junior college levels were recognized.
USSA awards event postponed
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the board of trustees of the United States Sports Academy (USSA) has decided to postpone its annual Academy’s Awards of Sport (AAOS) program and graduation ceremony. Originally set for November, it will take place at some point in 2021.
This is the first time in 36 years AAOS will not take place in any given calendar year. A new date for the rescheduled program will be announced once travel restrictions have been eased for honorees and guests traveling from abroad, and COVID-19 infection rates have been reduced to safe levels.
According to USSA officials, this year’s AAOS event was set to be a special one. The academy planned to welcome a host of recent graduates for its 2020 graduation ceremony. Honored guests were Eagle Award-winner and World Baseball Softball Confederation President Riccardo Fraccari, Sport Artist of the Year (Painter) Brian Fox, Sport Artist of the Year (Sculptor) Sergey Eylanbekov, and Honorary Doctorate recipient and International ESports Federation President Vlad Marinescu.
Battle of the Belt reset
The Sun Belt Conference has announced a new date for the “Battle of the Belt” football game between the University of South Alabama and Troy University. The Jaguars will now host the Trojans on Saturday, Dec. 12.
The game was postponed because of precautionary measures concerning the availability of student-athletes. If an earlier date presents itself because of an inability of other teams to play, the two programs will explore the option of meeting prior to the new scheduled date.
The league office also announced the conference championship game has been moved to Saturday, Dec. 19. The contest will be broadcast on either ESPN or ESPN2, with kickoff time for the matchup to be announced in the future.
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