NEWS, NOTES &
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
By Bethany Bradsher
Kee overseeing dynasty in
When spring sports and the Winter Olympics are
in full swing, we are officially in a state of seasonal confusion. But in
the slate of new East Carolina offerings, a few sports and athletes deserve
a good long look.
With only one losing season in her 10 years at
the helm of ECU softball, Tracey Kee went out on a limb this year. She asked
the athletic department to allow her team a season-opening trip to Florida
to play in the Worth Invitational at Florida Atlantic University.
Kee expected the trip to challenge her players
as they played against strong teams, and she hoped the experience would
jumpstart the season.
But she would never have predicted that their
record now, with the tournament behind them, would be 5-0.
One of the winningest programs in recent Pirate
history, ECU softball is poised to become a power in Conference USA. The
team went 55-19 overall and 17-7 in the conference last season, and Kee was
named the C-USA Coach of the Year.
Despite the loss of
several key seniors, the women on this year's squad seem to have acquired
that most essential of qualities — the anticipation of success.
“The kids we recruit see
the tradition, that greatness is expected,” Kee said.
Of course, it doesn’t
hurt that the Pirates have the C-USA Preseason Pitcher of the Year on their
staff. A junior out of Rose High in Greenville, Keli Harrell posted a 1.39
ERA last season with a record of 29-13. She led the conference in five
categories, including wins and strikeouts.
Harrell has her work cut
out for her to live up to the preseason accolades, but if the Worth
Invitational is any indication she is capable of meeting the challenge. She
went 3-0 with complete games over Bethune-Cookman, Purdue and South Carolina
and was named MVP of the tournament.
For her efforts over the
weekend, Harrell was named one of two C-USA Pitchers of the Week, and ECU
third baseman Ashley Quick earned C-USA Hitter of the Week honors. Quick, a
senior from Dunlap, IL, batted .455 (5-for-11) with five RBI and two
game-winning hits during the Florida tournament.
Quick and Harrell are two
of the upperclassmen who will try to stay at the core of a solid Pirates
team this season, but Kee said that she has also been impressed with the
group of newcomers, including two freshmen from California and a
junior-college transfer who is originally from The Netherlands.
“We lost some impact
players last year, and going into this season we had a lot of holes we
weren’t sure how they were going to be filled,” Kee said. “But with the
addition of these six players, the chemistry hasn’t missed a beat.”
The next step for the
Pirates, who host three tournaments in Greenville this season, is a
single-elimination invitational at home featuring Army, Seton Hall, Towson,
Michigan State and North Carolina State.
Frasure throwing his weight
His junior season is only
a month old, but Eric Frasure has already set two school records for ECU
track and field. He set the ECU record for the weight throw, also reaching a
provisional NCAA qualification distance in that event, in late January. Then
last weekend, he set the school shot put record at a meet in Pennsylvania.
Frasure will next compete
at the end of February in the C-USA indoor championship in Houston, followed
by the NCAA indoor championships in Arkansas on March 11. The outdoor season
will commence on March 18 at Coastal Carolina.
Success with an international
The opening stretch of
its season might not have looked too inviting, but the women’s tennis team
came home from a nine-game road trip with a 6-3 record. Featuring players
from Tasmania, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Romania, the team has
defeated Georgetown, George Mason, Drexel, Wofford, Georgia State and
The Lady Pirates are
winning 59 percent of their matches in singles play and 53 percent in
doubles, despite Saturday’s 6-1 loss to North Carolina State. They will try
competing at home next, with consecutive home matches against Elon, Mount
Olive, Campbell and North Carolina A&T.
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02/23/2007 01:12:48 AM