published Saturday, January 18th, 2014

Chattanooga boat tower national honoree and other sports news

TowBoatUS Chickamauga Lake, owned and operated by Capt. Shane O'Neil and his wife, Stacey, was honored as this year's Tower of the Year at the BoatUS Towing Service Annual Conference in Clearwater, Fla. The O'Neils' company has eight locations in Tennessee, Alabama and Florida, according to the announcement release Thursday, and was given the award for "its near-perfect towing dispatch operation, superior customer service and satisfaction and ongoing towing case management." Their company also received a BoatUS Membership Achievement Award and the BoatUS Dispatchers Choice Award. The O'Neils' operation is part of more than 300 TowBoatUS locations nationwide. Collectively they are like an auto club for boaters, according to the release.

Softball

• Heritage High School sophomore infielder and pitcher Hannah Wills has committed to continue her softball career at the University of Mobile, an NAIA school. Wills batted .275 for the Generals this past season, but most of her good work came in the field, where she was the team's regular shortstop. Wills also served as the team's No. 2 pitcher, a role she may also play in college. "Mobile started following her over the summer and watched several of our games this fall," Heritage coach Steve Chattin said. "She visited earlier and went back this past weekend and was given an outstanding offer. She's an outstanding defensive player, as good as we've had, and as a batter we asked her to do a lot as our No. 2 hitter and she handled that well. They like the fact that she can play almost anywhere and is a solid pitcher."

Basketball

• Lee University's 55-38 women's basketball win Thursday at West Alabama was the 400th coaching victory for the Lady Flames' Marty Rowe in his career at Brescia and the Cleveland school. His overall record is 400-121 going into today's game at Alabama-Huntsville, which is directed by former Covenant College coach Roy Heintz. UAH is 9-4 overall, 4-3 in the Gulf South Conference, while Lee stands at 9-4, 5-2 in its first year in the league and NCAA Division II. Rowe is 269-56 since coming to Lee in 2004. "I've had great teams, coaches and administration here at Lee," he said in a school release. "I'm certainly thankful for the people that I've had around me and supported me throughout this consistent run we have had."

• Jessie Blankenship was even more impressive than usual in posting her sixth consecutive double-double for the Covenant women's basketball team, with 23 points and 14 rebounds, and Aleigha Williams was near that with 19 points and 11 rebounds, but the Lady Scots lost 75-72 Friday in overtime at North Carolina Wesleyan. Shanice Goree's 3-point shot from the top of the circle with three seconds left in the extra period was the winning margin and gave her 23 points to match backcourt mate Tiffany Bell in the USA South game. Alexis Storteboom had eight rebounds with 10 points for Covenant, which committed 25 turnovers to their hosts' 16. North Carolina Wesleyan won the men's game 86-63. Ben Phelps had 14 points and Chris Boyd blocked four shots in defeat.

Wrestling

• Junior heavyweight Tyler Smith from Sonoraville High School scored the only pin for Cumberland University in its wrestling match Friday against fifth-ranked Campbellsville, and the No. 8 Bulldogs lost 26-19 in Lebanon, Tenn. It was 9-0 for the home team after Smith's 4:47 pin.

Soccer

• The Chattanooga Football Club will be holding tryouts for its 2014 men's soccer team today at Baylor's fields, one session from 10 a.m. till noon and another from 2 to 4 p.m. Any player who turned 18 by Jan. 1 is welcome to take part for a tryout fee of $40, and the public is invited to attend and watch. In its brief history, the Chattanooga FC has become a power in the National Premier Soccer League, with five straight winning seasons, three Southeast Conference titles and two national runner-up seasons.

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