Bonesville: The Authoritative Independent Voice of East Carolina
Daily News & Features from East Carolina, Conference USA and Beyond

Mobile Alpha Roundup Daily Beat Recruiting The Seasons Multimedia Historical Data Pirate Time Machine SportByte™ Weather





Put your ad message in front of 1,000's and 1,000's of Pirate fans. Call 252.637.2944 for flexible options & rates.





The Bradsher Beat
Wednesday, May 6, 2009

By Bethany Bradsher

Focus shifts to postseason possibilities

By Bethany Bradsher
All rights reserved.

In every sport at East Carolina, the latter part of the schedule holds two tempting potential rewards: The Conference USA Championship and whatever comes after.

It might be a bowl game, a tournament bid or a regional, but in any sport’s lingo it’s a season’s ultimate destination.

The athletes of several ECU teams are basking this spring in the glow of postseason promise, some even before the arrival of their sport's C-USA tournament.

In track and field, like swimming, athletes can qualify for NCAA regional competition at any time during the season by reaching a standard qualifying mark.

It was a particularly good weekend for the Pirate track and field athletes, as three new NCAA qualifiers brought the total number from ECU to eight. One athlete who can start making her travel plans is thrower Danielle Eiler, who in the past month has broken her own school record in the discus twice and made the NCAA Regionals for that event.

“I’ve been pretty much going up every weekend,” said Eiler, a senior from McHenry, IL, who broke her own record at the Mountains vs. Beaches competition in Cullowhee and again at the Duke Twilight Meet. “I’ve actually been nervous for the first time in three years.”

At Duke, with her anxiety unusually high, Eiler stepped up and threw a 47.88m on her first try, breaking her record of less than a month, the 47.05 she threw at Mountains vs. Beaches. Now she is guaranteed her first trip to the regional meet, to be held May 29-30 in Greensboro. But before that, she will join her team at the Conference USA Championships in Tulsa.

This spring marks Eiler’s last chance to make a splash in her sport, but she is sure that the ECU track and field program is heading for higher ground under head coach Curt Kraft, in his fourth year at the helm of the program.

“It’s really amazing where he has taken it,” Eiler said of Kraft. “I feel like I’ve been part of something really important.”

Eiler will have plenty of company at the regional meet, as seven of her teammates have also already qualified. They are: The 4x100 relay team of Adian Sanderson, Jerek Hewett, Anthony Green and Kevin Thompson; Kevin Thompson for the 200m dash; Brittany Copeland in the 5,000m run and Matthew Dennish and Jarrett Newby for the 800m run.

In other Pirate postseason developments:

  • The women’s golf team learned on April 27 that it had earned its second consecutive at-large bid for the East Regional, which will be held this weekend at the University of Florida. The Lady Pirates, who are the No. 12 seed, finished the season 96-35-2 and placed third at C-USA Championships.

  • When the Pirate softball team faces Texas-El Paso on Thursday night at the C-USA tournament, it will be as the No. 2 seed. The Lady Pirates (40-14, 19-5) had the most wins in the conference, but Tulsa claimed the regular season title and the No. 1 seed because of a higher winning percentage (.800 to ECU’s .792).

  • The volleyball team made an important offseason acquisition with the hiring of Patricia Rolf as head coach. Rolf comes to ECU from Marquette University, where she spent seven years as head coach and compiled a 103-101 record. She also led the Golden Eagles to three straight winning seasons from 2004 to 2006.

Send a message to Bethany Bradsher.

Dig into Bethany Bradsher's archives.

05/06/2009 06:43:10 PM

©2001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013 All rights reserved.
Articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files and other content originated on this site are the proprietary property of
None of the articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files or other content originated on this site may be reproduced without written permission.
This site is not affiliated with East Carolina University. View's Privacy Policy. Advertising contact: 252-349-3280; Editorial contact:; 252-444-1905.