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McCallie closed a unique school year this past week as months of off-campus online instruction amid the coronavirus pandemic wrapped up, but 12 Blue Tornado student-athletes looked ahead by revealing their collegiate sports plans. A McCallie release announcing the dozen commitments noted four of the seniors are headed to NCAA Division I programs: Rhys Day (Providence), Carter Henry (Yale) and Jyasi Watson (Hofstra) for lacrosse, and Dylan Zeller (East Tennessee State) for cross country and track and field. The other commitments came from football players Caleb Jones (Centre), Trey Phillips (Thomas More) and Derrick Stoudemire (Birmingham-Southern), lacrosse players J.Y. Elliott (Sewanee) and Mac Maclean (Denison), golfer Jack Billups (Rhodes), swimmer Reece Gallagher (Queens) and baseball player Landon Lewis (Walters State). They join six other McCallie student-athletes who previously announced college decisions during the 2019-20 school year — football players DeAngelo Hardy (Kennesaw State) and Jay Hardy (Auburn), baseball player Carter Edge (Middle Tennessee State), swimmer Will Jackson (Tennessee), football player T.J. Mason (Thomas More) and soccer player Andrew Prescott (East Tennessee State) — giving the Blue Tornado 106 student-athletes who have moved on to college programs since 2016-17. Although spring sports were essentially wiped out by coronavirus concerns this year, McCallie won team state titles in cross country, football and swimming and diving during the 2019-20 calendar, with several of the college-committed athletes central to that success.

 

Swimming

Standout swimmer Anne Shirley Dassow from Lookout Mountain and Chattanooga Christian School is Grove City (Pennsylvania) College's Omicron Delta Kappa/Mortar Board sportswoman of the year for 2019-20. Dassow earned NCAA Division III All-America honors in seven events throughout her collegiate career, and she was the 200-meter butterfly national champion and the 100 butterfly national runner-up as a sophomore. She qualified for the national meet in each of those events all four seasons, and due to this year's event being canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic, the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America recognized all D-III national qualifiers as All-Americans in their events, according to Grove City's release announcing the sportswoman of the year honor. Dassow was a four-time MVP of the Presidents' Athletic Conference, helping lead the Wolverines to three conference championships (2017, '18, '20), and she is Grove City women's swimming program record holder in the 100 butterfly, the 200 butterfly and the 100 backstroke. Dassow, who majored in biology and Spanish, is also a two-time College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-American and has been nominated again this year.

 

Running

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga coach Andy Meyer announced the addition of Mikah Charley from Battle Ground Academy in Franklin and Emmy Davis from Baylor School to the women's cross country and track and field roster for 2020-21. During her high school career, Charley won TSSAA track state titles in the 100-meter hurdles, the 300 hurdles, the long jump and the triple jump, and she made her school's honor roll all four years. The Times Free Press previously reported on Davis signing with the Mocs.

 

Soccer

Lee University men's soccer coach Derek Potteiger has filled the vacancy on his staff by adding Gabe Franco, a former team captain and four-year starter (2012-15), as his assistant. Franco replaces Torrey Stricklin, now the head coach at Biola University in La Mirada, California. A release announcing the hire said Franco was "a staple in the middle of the Lee defense" when he played for the Flames, a time period in which they were making the transition to NCAA competition. He was a graduate assistant in 2016 and the following year, which was Potteiger's first as head coach of the Flames. Franco was an assistant for the Lipscomb University women's program the past two seasons and helped them to a combined record of 28-11-4 and back-to-back Atlantic Sun Conference titles during that time. He returns to a program that this past fall won the Gulf South Conference title and reached the NCAA Division II tournament, both first-time accomplishments for the Flames, whose 12-4-5 overall record in 2019 set the program's record for winning percentage (.690) in NCAA competition and tied the single-season victories mark set by the 2014 team that included Franco.

 

Basketball

Lee men's basketball coach Bubba Smith announced the Bubba Smith Skills and Drills Camp at Paul Dana Walker Arena in Cleveland will now be held July 20-23 — rescheduled from its original dates of June 8-11 — with registration open again at leeflamesbasketballcamps.com and the discount for early birds extended until June 1. Refunds will be offered upon request to those who registered for the original camp but have a conflict with the new dates. Due to ongoing safety concerns regarding the coronavirus, Smith also announced the program's annual summer team camp for high school varsity, junior varsity and middle school programs, scheduled for June 11-13, has been canceled. Still scheduled as planned are one-day elite camps for rising sophomores to rising seniors in high school on Aug. 8-9, with the possibility of an additional elite camp in June. Each session is limited to 60 players; to register, contact assistant coach Cole Rose at 423-614-8061 or crose@leeuniversity.edu. In a release announcing the changes, Smith said: "In efforts to ensure the safety of our campers and families, we feel the later date allows us the time to plan and prepare for a great camp experience. We hope you and your family continue to stay safe during this time. We look forward to seeing you in July."

 

Lacrosse

Marty Watters, the Sewanee men's lacrosse program's head coach since its launch in 2008, is resigning from his position, effective June 30. Sewanee athletic director Mark Webb announced the move this past week, and a search for the Tigers' next coach has already started. Watters exits with win-loss records of 110-85 overall and 39-7 in Southern Athletic Association competition, having led the Tigers to five NCAA Division III tournament appearances, four SAA tournament titles and four SAA regular-season titles in 13 seasons. He was named the league's coach of the year in both 2013 and 2014, and the program has had 69 All-SAA selections, six all-region picks and three All-Americans. In a release, Webb said Watters helped Sewanee men's lacrosse become "one of the preeminent Division III programs in the South" and that he "made an indelible mark on our lacrosse program and leaves Sewanee with our deepest gratitude."

Compiled by Marty Kirkland. Contact him at mkirkland@timesfreepress.com.

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