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The Bradsher Beat
Friday, June 15, 2007

By Bethany Bradsher

High points and heroes of 2006-07

By Bethany Bradsher
All rights reserved.

On the last day of my children’s school last week, all of the students, teachers and parents filed in for a big awards ceremony. The kids were recognized for everything from high grades to physical fitness to reading a lot of books.

Granted, I’m a little tardy (I’ve taken the past month off from the column to work on a special project you’ll hear more about later), but it’s still an appropriate time to hold our own little awards service. The 2006-’07 school year is in the books for East Carolina athletics, and there are certainly some athletes, programs and events that deserve a little recognition before we start it all over again in September.

And so, for your consideration and celebration:

  • Most Dramatic Giant-Killing Victory: On March 11, the Pirate baseball team completed a sweep of the perennially dominant Cal State Fullerton team with victories of 6-1, 2-0 and 12-5. It was the first time the Titans had been swept in three years, and it helped the Pirates turn the corner on a sluggish start to the season.

  • Outstanding Newcomer Award: His team might have finished 6-24 and in the Conference USA cellar, but freshman basketball player John Fields performed well enough to be named to the C-USA All-Freshman Team. With 9.5 points per game, Fields had the fifth highest scoring average and the second highest rebounding average (5.8 per game) in the conference.

  • Best Union of Flash and Substance: The football team’s Nov. 25 victory over North Carolina State took an emotional rivalry and imbued it with postseason significance. A 21-16 win in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, keyed by James Pinkney’s 220 passing yards, would have been cause for celebration any time. But this win guaranteed the 7-6 Pirates a bowl bid for the first time in five years.

  • The Best Embodiment of a Scholar-Athlete: Senior setter Heidi Krug helped push the Lady Pirates volleyball team to a 19-12 record and set the ECU record for career assists, but she never let volleyball supersede her studies. Krug, a biology major, earned a host of honors for excelling at her sport while maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade-point average. Her accolades included First Team Academic All-America, three-time C-USA All-Academic Team selection and two-time C-USA Scholar-Athlete of the Year award for volleyball. Just this week, Krug received one of the 12 postgraduate scholarships awarded by the conference. Krug will apply the $4,000 award toward her next step, the School of Dentistry at the University of Iowa.

  • Most Likely to Succeed: The swimming and diving teams, which are entering the 26th season under the leadership of coach Rick Kobe and recently announced a 25-member recruiting class. The class, one of the largest in swimming history, includes 11 National Club Swimming Association Junior National and five YMCA National Qualifiers. Both the men’s and women’s swim teams finished third at the Conference USA championship in March.

  • The ‘Path To the Olympics’ Award: Junior Terrance Myers, a hammer thrower who represented Pirate track and field by placing 12th in his event at the NCAA Nationals in Sacramento, CA. Myers, who finished third in the East Regionals in his event, was the only Pirate to qualify for the national finals in his event.
    And, finally…

  • The Best All-Around Award: To the Lady Pirates basketball team for giving diehard ECU fans more to celebrate than any other team this season. The women’s team won its first C-USA title with a 79-70 victory over Rice, and returned to Greenville to a hero’s welcome. A few nights after that arrival, hundreds of fans gathered at the Murphy Center to see the women grab the Holy Grail of college basketball — a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Not even a 77-34 loss to Rutgers in the first round could take those moments away from Coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener and her players.

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06/15/2007 01:49:47 AM

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