Sports briefs for August 25th-31st

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COLLEGE GOLF

Sunderman named new head coach

While playing in the Women’s Trans-National Amateur Championship last month in St. Louis, Kristyl Sunderman found herself discussing a playing partner’s collegiate experience in great detail.

At some point in the discussion, the player’s mother noted that Sunderman would make a great college coach herself.

It was at that moment that a longtime dream was rekindled, and Sunderman – who was a standout player at UCLA and TCU and continues to compete in top amateur events around the country – began searching for coaching opportunities. That quest ended recently when Sunderman was named the head coach of the USCB women’s golf program.

“We are excited about the breadth of experience Kristyl brings to USCB and the incredible passion she has for the game of golf, as well as for developing and mentoring young women,” USCB Director of Athletics Quin Monahan said. “I’m very excited about the future of our golf program and confident great things are in store for us.”

Although Sunderman’s resume does not include previous coaching experience, she is not short on experience on the course. As one of the top junior players in the nation, Sunderman earned a golf scholarship to UCLA, where she spent two years. She completed her collegiate career at TCU and continues to play at a high level, having qualified for nine USGA Championships – most recently the upcoming U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship scheduled for Sept. 10-15 in Erie, Pa.

COLLEGE BASEBALL 

USCB names new head baseball coach

When Jeremy Christian led Point University to the Avista-NAIA World Series by winning the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round Savannah Bracket in May, neither he nor anyone involved with host USCB realized it would turn into an audition.

Three months later, though, Christian is ready to take over one of the programs his team ousted from the postseason.

USCB announced Christian as the third head coach in the history of its baseball program, citing his success in building strong programs with limited resources, his commitment to coaching with character, and his energy and charismatic personality among the assets that made him the top candidate for the job.

“After an exhaustive search, it became clear to our search committee that Coach Christian was the right person to take our program forward in a manner I’m most excited about,” USCB Director of Athletics Quin Monahan said. “Of course he has a passion for the game and an undeniable drive to win, but even more so he wants to do so while mentoring his young student-athletes into men of character.”

A native of Bristol, Va., Christian began his coaching career as an assistant at Union College in Kentucky, where his two-year stay included a school-record 48 wins and a conference title and the team climbed as high as No. 7 in the NAIA rankings. Christian returned home in 2008 as an assistant coach at Virginia Intermont College, and he took over as the Cobras’ head coach two years later.

Christian rebuilt Virginia Intermont into a contender in the Appalachian Athletic Conference, and in 2013 led the Cobras to a 31-18 mark – the program’s highest win total since 1997 – and a runner-up finish in the AAC Tournament.

When Virginia Intermont closed its doors in 2014, Christian took over as head coach at Point and immediately elevated the program to new heights. The Skyhawks posted the best conference record in their history in his first season and in year two finished with school records for wins (34) and conference wins (17) before claiming the Savannah Bracket and advancing to the Avista-NAIA World Series for the first time.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Pinckney settling in at Clemson University

After enrolling early in January, Whale Branch Early College High School graduate Nyles Pinckney is ready for his first fall semester as a football player at Clemson University. Classes at Clemson University were due to start on Aug. 17.

In high school, Pinckney was rated as high as the No. 79 prospect in the nation by Tom Lemming. He was rated as the No. 196 prospect in the nation and the No. 2 overall prospect in South Carolina by Rivals. A defensive lineman, Pinckney was rated No. 261 in the nation and the No. 4 player in South Carolina by ESPN.

Pinckney had an outstanding senior year at Whale Branch Early College High School, finishing with 72 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, four sacks, six caused fumbles, three recovered fumbles, two blocked punts and two defensive touchdowns in 2015. He had 98 tackles, 27 for loss, nine sacks, blocked three field goals, recorded 10 forced fumbles and notched eight fumble recoveries as a junior. As a sophomore at Whale Branch, Pinckney delivered 91 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and seven sacks.

Pinckney narrowed his college choice to Clemson and South Carolina, ultimately choosing the Tigers over the Gamecocks.

Prior to moving on to Clemson, Pinckney played his prep football for Whale Branch head coach Jerry Hatcher. He was recruited by Clemson University assistant coaches Tony Elliott and Dan Brooks.

Pinckney is majoring in justice studies. He and the Tigers are scheduled to kick off the 2016 season at Auburn onSept. 3. Clemson is slated to host Troy for its home opener on Sept. 10.

Rentz enters sophomore season at Mount Union

Beaufort High School graduate Tyler Rentz is preparing to enter his sophomore season at Mount Union College. Rentz was a member of Mount Union College’s NCAA Division III National Championship team in 2015.

A Beaufort native, Rentz played in five games along the Mount Union offensive line during the 2015 season and was on the Purple Raiders’ playoff roster.

Mount Union capped a perfect 15-0 season by winning the 43rd Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl 49-35 over St. Thomas to capture its record 12th NCAA Division III national championship at Salem Stadium in Salem, Virginia on Dec. 18, 2015.

The Purple Raiders rode stellar performances from game MVP quarterback Taurice Scott and running back Logan Nemeth on offense and a swarming, clutch defensive effort to win their first national title since 2012 when the Raiders beat St. Thomas 28-10.

Scott threw for 201 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 78 yards and one touchdown. Nemeth rushed for 220 yards on 30 carries and scored two touchdowns to lead the offense as Mount Union offense amassed 531 yards, 330 on the ground and 201 in the air.

Experienced Castedo back for junior season 

Bluffton High School graduate Yerko Castedo is back for his junior season with the Limestone College football program.

Castedo played in eight games for the Limestone College football team as a sophomore in 2015, making six starts. The former Bluffton High School standout recorded 18 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and one quarterback hurry for the Saints last season.

Castedo started all 11 games for the Saints during his freshman season in 2014. He finished with 22 tackles (13 solo and nine assisted) and six tackles for loss.

Castedo redshirted the 2013 season at Limestone College.

A productive student-athlete, Castedo played three seasons with the Bluffton High School football program, earning All-Region honors after leading the team to the state semifinals as a senior. Castedo was named the Bluffton football team’s Offensive Lineman of the Year during his senior season. He led the team to the 2011 state championship game during his junior campaign and was selected as the team’s Offensive Bobcat Award winner.