NASCAR driver Gaughan diving at Aquarium - and more Chattanooga region sports news

Arkansas-SEMO Live Blog

NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Brendan Gaughan, who won the 2014 Gardner Denver 200 road race, also is a certified SCUBA divemaster, and he will be diving with the sharks at the Tennessee Aquarium next Tuesday. Gaughan will be the featured guest diver during the 11 a.m. "Secret Reef" dive show, and then he will stay for a while to greet race and diving fans and sign autographs in the Aquarium's Ocean Journey building. "I feel much safer next to a sand tiger shark than I do next to some of my competitors," Gaughan said in an Aquarium release. "On the track I have to get to know my competitors to find out who the great whites are and who the nurse sharks are. When I'm in the ocean I know that most sharks are peaceful creatures." Gaughan will be racing at Bristol in late August, and Aquarium guests the date of his appearance can get a discount if they mention Bristol.


• Baylor School Latin teacher and fencing coach Kristin Vines earned a spot on Team USA for the 2014 Veteran Fencing World Championships in October in Debrecen, Hungary, with a second-place finish in the Veteran Women's Foil 50-59 age division at the national championships going on in Columbus, Ohio. Vines, who lives in Hixson, lost in the gold-medal match to Lynn Botelho of Indiana, Pa.


• Rachel Burke of McMinn County High School was one of eight 2014 Lee University volleyball recruits announced Tuesday by the Cleveland school. Burke, an outside hitter and middle blocker, was All-District 5-AAA the past two seasons and was McMinn's "best offensive" player as a junior and "best all-around" as a senior. "Rachel is also an excellent basketball player and turned down a scholarship at another university to play volleyball," Lee coach Andrea Hudson said. "Her height will challenge some teams as we teach her to transition from OH to middle." Also from Tennessee comes "well-rounded" Science Hill outside hitter/defensive specialist Caprisha Webster from Johnson City, who was all-district and all-region the last two years. Defender/libero Stephanie Hernandez from Puerto Rico and setter Haley Foote from Orlando, Fla., join Hudson's Lady Flames from Miami Dade Community College, where Foote was first-team all-conference and Hernandez made 5.09 digs per set last fall. "Stephanie's defensive skills are amazing," Hudson said. "She has defensive instinct that we have seen in very few people that we have watched. Haley set last year for one of the top jucos in America. She will bring a lot of experience and skill to this position." Another outstanding setter recruit, Hudson feels, is Sadie Johnson from Castle Rock (Colo.) High School, who's made the junior nationals three times and was Lee's first signee this year. Chanel Raymundo from Toronto is a former Canadian national all-star who won gold in her country's U-16 beach and indoor provincials and the U-15 indoor provincials and nationals. She can hit, play defense or libero and even setter. Another versatile recruit is Silvia Sartori, primarily an outside/middle from Belgrade, Serbia, who played her last year of high school as an exchange student in the United States. "Another well-rounded player," according to Hudson, is outside hitter Brooke Lee Wilsman from Lakeland (Fla.) Christian School. She made the NCSAA All-America second team as well as FACA 3A all-state.


• The University of Tennessee's Madison Shipman was the national softball honoree Monday night in Los Angeles at the Collegiate Women Sports Awards show presented by Honda. Honda awards were given for 12 sports in all, and Alabama gymnast Kim Jacob received the Honda Cup as the overall collegiate woman athlete of the year. Shipman is UT's second Honda honoree for softball, following pitcher Monica Abbott in 2007. She batted .417 this year with 18 home runs, 16 doubles, 54 RBIs, 56 runs, 46 walks, 13 stolen bases and a slugging percentage of .833.