A week that began with official NAIA status for Dalton State College's new athletic program included announcements that former Murray County High School standout Garrick Sanford is transferring from Reinhardt to play his final year of college tennis for the Roadrunners and that three former area high school players emerged from campus tryouts as new volleyball players for coach Bruna Langner. Northwest Whitfield graduate Cassie Cochran got some college experience at Bryan, but 2009 Dalton High graduate Daniela Molinar and Ridgeland alumna Ashley Nicole Nations have four years of eligibility left if the current DSC junior and freshman choose to use them. Nations, a nursing student, is a defensive specialist and setter while marketing majors Molinar and Cochran will be outside or right-side hitters. Molinar, who has helped coach the Adrenaline 14s club team in Chattanooga, chose to stay close to home to attend college but hoped all along that Dalton State would follow through on talk of starting intercollegiate athletics. The first volleyball season begins Aug. 20. Sanford, an All-Appalachian Athletic Conference player for Reinhardt, said in a DSC release that he is "excited for college athletics to take off in the Dalton area and for the high caliber coaches I will be playing for. I have known Michel [Bates] for a long time. She will make me a better tennis player. With his tennis background, Zack [Rogers] will also help me be more successful on and off the court." Rogers said "the biggest thing Garrick is going to bring to the program is leadership right off the bat. ... Having somebody come in with three years of experience is going to be really valuable."
• Senior Niko Brown received the Jim Morgan MVP award at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's wrestling team banquet. Brown went 29-5 this past season with his first Southern Conference championship and his second NCAA tournament berth. Fellow senior Dean Pavlou was named winner of the Ethan Reeve workhorse trophy, and John Lampe earned the Pat Murphy academic award. The freshman of the year was Sean Mappes, and the "most improved award" went to Alex Hudson.
• Michael Morris and Davis Brown scored six goals apiece with three and two assists as final-four host Sewanee beat Birmingham-Southern 17-8 in the Southern Athletic Association men's lacrosse semifinals Friday. The top-seeded Tigers (13-3) will play Sunday at 2 p.m. CDT for the first SAA championship. Third-seeded Berry edged No. 2 seed Centre 15-13 in the late semifinal. Also for Sewanee, Reed Daniel and Pierce Leonard added two goals each with three assists and one, and Tommy Healy made seven saves. Sewanee's women, also top-seeded, are scheduled to face Berry at noon CDT in a semifinal today.
• Northwest Whitfield middle infielder Brady Middleton and Pisgah (Ala.) outfielder and third baseman Hunter Gant were among the 15 high school baseball players announced Friday by Berry College as accepted commitments for the 2013-14 school year. According to the release from Vikings coach David Beasley, Gant has a 4.0 grade point average and a .346 batting average after hitting .500 last season, and Middleton is a 3.89 student with a .444 batting average for the high-flying Bruins.
• All boys and girls ages 5-13 in the area are welcome to take part in Signal Mountain Youth Baseball's annual Home Run Derby today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the town hall fields, weather permitting. Trophies will be awarded to the top two sluggers in each age group. Entry costs $10 and includes a contest T-shirt. With that will be inflatable games and slides, a dunking booth, a softball game for women and a men's homer contest. Hamburgers, hot dogs, carnival-type food and soft drinks will be sold.
• The Area 4 Special Olympics bocce tournament is set for today from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Baylor School, and the public is invited to come and support the athletes. There will be 18 teams competing in three divisions in an enclosed area with turf.
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