Jonathan Limehouse

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Right on track

The Charlotte 49ers men’s and women’s track and field programs participated in the Charlotte 49er Classic Thursday, March 14 through Saturday, March 16 at the Irwin Belk and Track Center.

Day One: Upperclassmen set the pace 

In the first five events of the men’s decathlon, junior Robert Yardley led all competitors with 3,274 points. Yardley managed to set new personal records in the long jump and shot-put events finishing first overall in both. The Florida native finished fourth in the 400m, third in the 100m and second in the high jump.

Senior Desirae Rowell paced the field in the women’s heptathlon with 2,999 points through the first four events. The Cary High school alum placed first in the women’s 200m with a time of 25.55 seconds. She placed first in shot put as well setting a new personal record for the event. The biology major also placed third in the high jump (1.60m / 5 feet, 3 inches) and fifth in the 100m hurdles.

Junior Amaka Awuruonye placed second in the women’s heptathlon 24 points behind Rowell with 2,975. Awuruonye set a new personal record as she led the field to the finish in the 200m at a mark of 25.75 seconds. The Charlottean set a new personal record in the shot put as well. The junior also recorded a first-place finish in the high jump at 1.69m (5′ feet, 6.5 inches). She also placed fourth overall in the 100m hurdles.

Senior Taylor Parcells had a day finishing with 2,579 points. The Jersey native came in fourth place in the high jump and fifth in the shot put.

These upperclassmen astonished on day one of the 49er Classic.

Day Two: All-around team effort 

Day two of the 49er classic saw four Niners earn individual victories; Robert Yardley, Amaka Awuruonye, Stevan Veselinovic, and Jade Jordan.

Yardley earned an individual win in the men’s decathlon remaining atop the boards. The senior set new personal records in the men’s decathlon in the long jump and shot-put events, discus, pole vault and javelin throw. The Bolles high school alum placed first in discus to boot. Yardley also finished second in the high jump, third in the 100m, and fourth in the 400m.

Awuruonye was victorious in the women’s heptathlon with a total of 4,664 points. The junior recorded a first-place finish in the high jump at 1.69m (5 feet, 6.5 inches), second in the long jump (5.33m / 17 feet, 6 inches), second in the 800m and she was fourth overall in the 100m hurdles.

Sophomore Jade Jordan won the women’s long jump with a mark of 5.76m (18 feet, 10.75 inches). Senior Carlecia Spivey recorded a new personal best as she came in second at 5.66m (18 feet, 7 inches). Junior Torri Weathers finished tenth place, while Freshman Madison Anderson set a new personal record in the event.

Rowell finished third overall in the heptathlon with 4,533 points. The senior wound up placing third in the high jump (1.60m / 5 feet, 3 inches), fourth in the 800m, fifth in the long jump and fifth in the 100m hurdles. Parcells competed as well finishing with 4,283 points. The senior recorded a new personal record in the javelin throw, finishing second with a throw of 36.09m (118 feet 5 inches), fourth-place finish in the high jump and fifth in the shot put.

Junior Jayon Woodard performed admirable as he won the men’s 100m in 10.51 seconds. Woodard’s time is currently the seventh-fastest time in program history.

Senior Steven Veselinovic exhibited his strength as he went on to win the men’s hammer throw with a 63.70m (209 feet, 0 inches) heave.

Junior Bridget Abbatiello and freshman Chandler Horton both recorded top-20 finishes. Horton in particular recorded her best finishing time in the event at 4:43.35.

Senior Markel Dalton finished second overall in the men’s long jump with a mark of 7.17m (23 feet, 6.25 inches), which is a personal-best.

The entire team was golden on the second day of the 49er classic.

Day Three: Wins and records

The third and final day of the 49er Classic resulted in 10 individual wins, nineteen top-five finishes, thirty-two top-10 finishes, and eighteen 49ers set new personal records, seven of which will move into the all-time top-10 for the program’s history.

Junior Terrell Adams was sensational winning twice, once in the shot put and the other in discus. The Raleigh natives shot put mark of 17.25m (56 feet, 7.25 inches) measured-in to be the third-best throw in program history. Adams’s winning throw in discus was a 54.94m (180 feet, 3 inches) heave.

Senior Sasha Dajia’s 17.09m (56 feet, 1 inch) toss garnered him a second-place finish behind Adams.

Redshirt senior Tom Nobles’ time of 8:23.62 in the men’s 3,000m earned him a first-place finish. Nobles’ time is a new personal best for him and it’s currently the fifth-fastest time in school history.

Sophomore Noah Shore led the 49ers in the 800m events finishing in third place with a time of 1:53.83. Junior Nolan Patrick had the next fastest time at 1:55.16.

Junior Alex Cornwell finished third in the men’s 3,000m finishing with a time of 8:27.32, which is now the eighth-best time in school history.

Sophomore Cemere Petty, senior Kiana Lee and Freshman Maya Singletary won the women’s 4x400m relay with a time of 3:38.91, which is the third-fastest time in program history.

Both the men’s and women’s 4x100m teams finished in first-place. The men’s team comprised of freshman Brent Carrol, redshirt junior Christian Bass, sophomore Nico Menzel and junior Jayon Woodard finished in 40.46 seconds. The women’s team included all senior runners; Cameren Pryor, Alex Council, NyAsia Daniels and Kyra Atkins won for the women.

Woodard had more individual success as he won the men’s 200m. His time of 20.95 seconds is the fifth-fastest time in program history.

Junior Justin Hollis leaped over the competition winning the men’s pole vault with a height clearance of 4.40m (14 feet, 5.25 inches).

Like Woodard, senior Markel Dalton found more individual success as well. The senior was triumphant in the men’s triple jump with a mark of 15.48m (50 feet, 9.5 inches).

Senior Keon Howe competed unattached but managed to earn first-place in the men’s pole vault invite with a clearance of 5.10m (16 feet, 8.75 inches).

Seven women Niners ran in the women’s 200m, each finished inside the top-30. Kianna Lee ran the fastest time at 24.55 seconds, which is a new personal best. The other runners that competed were Kristen Williams (24.71), NyAsia Daniels (24.83), Alex Council (24.86), junior Jasmine Parquet (25.28), Cemere Petty (25.48) and Tayler Grier (25.48).

Chandler Horton ran the ninth-fastest women’s 3,000m time in program history in 9:59.11, she finished third overall.

Freshman Jasmine Jenkins currently has the eighth-best women’s shot put in Charlotte history, as she finished fifth with a throw of 12.58m (41 feet, 3.25 inches).

The final day of the 49er Classic was one for the record books.

The Charlotte 49ers men’s and women’s track and field athletes came to perform, and that’s exactly what they did.

Charlotte loses heartbreaker against Wolfpack uptown

The Charlotte 49ers (8-8) went mano-a-mano with the undefeated NC State Wolfpack (16-0) at BB&T Ballpark. The 49ers couldn’t secure a tying run in the ninth inning resulting in a 6-5 loss to the Wolfpack.

“I told our guys this was a College World Series level game,” said Coach Loren Hibbs.

Charlotte set the tone of the matchup by scoring first off of a single by Tate Pennington and two RBIs from Carson Johnson and Drew Ober in the third inning.

Starting pitcher Chase Gooding was magnificent at the mound, only allowing one hit and striking out three batters in three innings of play.

NC State responded to the 49ers third inning rally in the fifth inning with an RBI single from Jonny Butler that batted in Lawson McArthur.

The 49ers wouldn’t let their momentum be halted as Dominick Cammarata hit a homer down the left-field line in the sixth inning to put the Niners up 3-1. The 49ers would score again in the seventh inning as Johnson hit his second RBI of the contest which batted in Todd Elwood.

The eighth inning didn’t fare well for the 49ers defensively as they allowed two back-to-back runners on base, which set up a three RBI homer from Patrick Bailey that tied up the ball game 4-4.

The ninth inning sealed the deal for the Wolfpack as they scored twice off an RBI single from Will Wilson and a walk from Brad Debo, which scored Wilson to put NC State up 6-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth.

Charlotte willed their way back to 6-5 off an RBI double from Johnson — his third of the ball game — and it batted in Tommy Bullock. The 49ers couldn’t get the tying run as Harris Yett flied out to right-field to end the game.

“We played really well for seven innings and we showed we’re capable at times of playing at an extremely high level,” said Coach Hibbs. 

The 49ers accumulated 12 hits at 37 at-bats opposed to the Wolfpack’s nine hits at 35 at-bats. Charlotte had one error in the sixth inning.

Johnson and Yett led the team in hits with three apiece. Johnson led the team in RBIs with three.

The 49ers will begin Conference-USA play as they travel to Bud Metheny Baseball Facility for a three-game series against Old Dominion (12-3) Friday, March 15 at 6 p.m.

A hero comes home

The NBA All-Star Weekend brought a ton of premier athletes and star-studded celebrities to the Queen City, but it also brought a former Charlotte 49er back home. Larry Ogunjobi stopped by Jerry Richardson Stadium on Friday, Feb. 15 to sign autographs and converse with his 49er family. Ogunjobi played football at Charlotte for four years before being drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the 65th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Ogunjobi reflects on his life in the NFL, compared to his time at Charlotte. 

“I’d probably say the lifestyle, just the difference in having all that free time to really focus and master your craft rather than you going to class [where] you’re doing this and doing that. When you’re in the NFL, football is your job [that] you do almost 24/7/365, so I think the biggest thing would be the lifestyle,” said Ogunjobi. 

Balancing football and school is a task for any collegiate athlete, but Ogunjobi managed to excel in athletics and academically. He was First Team All-Conference USA in 2016, and Second Team All-Conference USA in 2015. Ogunjobi ended his illustrious career at Charlotte with 217 total tackles, 49 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, 33 fumble recoveries and he started all 46 games he’s played in. He’s currently the program’s all-time leader in tackles for loss and sacks and previously held the title for tackles as well, but has since moved to fourth all-time, having been passed by Karrington King, Ben DeLuca and Jeff Gemmell.

Ogunjobi wasn’t solely a force on defense, he was a force in the classroom as well. He was named to the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 Athletic Director’s List and Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll. Ogunjobi graduated December 2016 with a degree in computer science, and while he considered medical school, the NFL seemed to be his destiny as he was the first player from the Charlotte 49er football program to be drafted into the league.

Ogunjobi hasn’t played for Charlotte since the team’s 2016 season, so it’s been quite a while since he ran onto McColl–Richardson Field and heard the “Pride of Niner Nation” marching band blare the Charlotte 49er fight song. Ogunjobi may no longer attend Charlotte, but he hasn’t forgotten the relationships he made when he was here. 

“I’d say the people, I have a lot of friends and family here, they helped me a lot throughout my college career. So I think that’s the biggest thing, just being far away from home,” said Ogunjobi. “It’s a little different, but I have the guys come up to Cleveland every now and then so it’s always good to keep in contact with everybody.” 

According to the Cleveland Browns official website, in 30 games Ogunjobi has accumlated 80 total tackles, 6.5 sacks and one forced fumble so far in his two-year career with the team. His performance thus far dignifies why he sees himself as one of the top players at his position. 

“One of the top defensive tackles, so that’s pretty much the goal right now,” said Ogunjobi. 

Training camp doesn’t start for months, so Ogunjobi doesn’t have to report to the Browns for a while. Nonetheless, there isn’t any doubt that Ogunjobi is training and working daily because he is, and always will be, a 49er. 

The previous version of this story stated that Larry Ogunjobi is currently the all-time leader in tackles and has been corrected to state that he is now fourth all-time behind Karrington King, Ben DeLuca and Jeff Gemmell.

49ers triumphant over Blazers

The Charlotte 49ers (6-18, 3-10) came into Bartow Arena for a Conference USA matchup against the UAB Blazers (14-11, 6-6). The game throughout was tightly contested but Charlotte managed to defeat the Blazers 69-62.

Jon Davis was the catalyst for Charlotte’s victory scoring 29 points, including 18 points in the second half down the stretch. This performance marks Davis’s 90th career double figure scoring game and his 46th career 20 plus points scoring game. Davis is currently one point away from scoring 2,000 career points in his illustrious tenure as a 49er.

Other notable performances included Malik Martin contributing 13 points and Cooper Robb causing four turnovers off of steals. Robb and Davis also made clutch free throws to seal the game for the 49ers. Davis and Martin led the team in rebounds racking up six boards a piece.

The 49ers didn’t shoot as well as their opponents did shooting 38.3 from the field, compared to UAB’s 38.5 field goal percentage. Charlotte’s ability to knock down nine out of 13 total free throws were instrumental in their success, especially towards the end of the game.

The Charlotte 49ers will look to end the season strong on the road as they go up against the Old Dominion Monarchs at Ted Constant Convocation Center on Saturday, Feb. 9. The game is scheduled to tip at 2 p.m.

49ers drop the ball against North Texas

The Charlotte 49ers (5-17) couldn’t come away with a victory against the North Texas Mean Green (19-4) in the teams final home regular season game at Halton Arena on Feb. 2. The 49ers fail to Mean Green 73-66.

“When we watch the film, this one is definitely going to hurt because we kind of gave it away in some ways,” said Coach Ron Sanchez. “I really wanted this one for the guys.”

Guards Jon Davis and Malik Martin provided the majority of the 49ers offense with Davis scoring 25 points and Martin scoring 12.

Guard Cooper Robb had a career high in rebounds with 10 boards. The 49ers unfortunately came up short on the glass against the Mean Green being out rebounded 32-24.

“I’m going to start calling [Cooper] the little big man; he’s battling his tail off and really growing and learning.” said Sanchez.

Cooper had eight defensive and two offensive rebounds during the contest.

“We’re all learning as we go and every game is something we can learn from.” said Robb.

The 49ers shared the ball exceptionally well as they passed for a total of 18 assists opposed to North Texas’s 11.

“The way that we’re moving the ball [and] the way that we’re sharing the ball, I think we’re playing a game that you can see is five guys on the floor trying to be unified and synchronized.” said Sanchez.

The 49ers will look to finish out the season strong as they begin their road trip against Middle Tennessee in Murphy Center Thursday, Feb. 7. Tip-off time is scheduled to be at 7:30 p.m.

PREVIEW: 49ers go on the road to face Roadrunners

The Charlotte 49ers will will look to capture a win against UTSA at the Convocation Center on Thursday, Jan. 24. 

Memory Lane

The last time Charlotte played against the Roadrunners was Saturday, Feb. 17 of 2018 at Halton Arena. The 49ers lost their last encounter with UTSA 97-89. Former Charlotte guard Andrien White was the team’s leading scorer with 25 points. Current senior point guard Jon Davis was the team’s second leading scorer with 19 points. Davis also led the team in assists with eight. Current sophomore guard Luka Vasic led the team in rebounds with 11, and he was the team’s third leading scorer with 13 points. Reigning Conference USA Freshman of the Year guard Jhivvan Jackson led the Roadrunners in scoring with 30 points. 

Obstacles 

UTSA is currently the fourth scoring offense in Conference USA. Now a sophomore, Jackson is currently Conference USA’s and the Roadrunners’ leading scorer, averaging 21.7 points per game. Sophomore guard Keaton Wallace was a member of the 2017-18 Conference USA All-Freshman Team and he’s currently the Roadrunners’ second leading scorer, averaging 18.2 points per game. The Roadrunners are No. 1 in Conference USA in defensive rebounds averaging 28.2 per game. 

Keys to victory 

The 49ers are the fifth best scoring defense in Conference USA, so they’ll need to be defensively stout against UTSA’s high octane offense. Both Jackson and Wallace are bound to be on Coach Ron Sanchez’s weekly game plan. 

The Niners will need to find another productive scorer aside from Davis. White led the 49ers in scoring in their last meeting with the Roadrunners, and since White is no longer on the team, someone else will have to join Davis in providing offensive productivity. Davis is Charlotte’s leading scorer averaging 21.6 points per game, so getting him going is crucial as well. Cooper Robb, who recently hit the floor for the Niners again, may help add to Charlotte’s offensive goal.

Charlotte is currently the last scoring offense in Conference USA, so offensive efficiency is vital. The 49ers need to play good defense and score when the opportunities present themselves. 

Charlotte will also have to limit turnovers and play smart as a team. The 49ers average 15.4 turnovers per game, which is second to last in Conference USA. 

The 49ers will have to be a force on the glass in order to out-rebound the Conference’s top ranked defensive rebounding team. Sophomore forward Milos Supica is currently Charlotte’s leading rebounder, averaging 5.3 per game, so he should be an integral part of the game plan.

The game is scheduled to tip at 8 p.m. and it will air on ESPN+.

Charlotte drops to 8-6 with loss to Marshall

The Charlotte 49ers came up one point short against the Marshall Thundering Herd in Cameron Henderson Center on Jan. 5. The 49ers loss this interconference affair 63-62. The 49ers are now 0-2 in Conference USA play and are currently riding a three game losing streak. 

It was a solid team effort with four of the 49ers starters scoring in double figures. Senior guard Laia Raventós led the team scoring 19 points. Redshirt junior guard Jade Phillips was the second leading scorer with 15 points. Sophomore guards Mariah Linney and Octavia Jett-Wilson scored a combined 24 points. Linney scored 13 points and Wilson scored 11 points.

Charlotte and Marshall were neck-and-neck the entire game, but Marshall managed to outscore the 49ers in the end. The Thundering Herd outscored the 49ers 18-17 in the fourth quarter. Neither team led by more than eight points the entire contest. 

The 49ers will look to rebound at home in Halton Arena against the FIU Golden Tigers Thursday Jan. 10. This will be another interconference game, and it’s scheduled to tip at 7 p.m. 

49ers struck by Thundering Herd

The Charlotte 49ers (3-10) couldn’t pull out the win against reigning Conference USA champions, the Marshall Thundering Herd (9-6). The 49ers were narrowly defeated by Marshall 85-84 at home in Halton Arena. 

“I couldn’t ask our team to do more.” said Coach Ron Sanchez.

Jon Davis put on another strong-willed performance, scoring 37 points. Milos Supica had another standout game scoring a career-high 23 points. Davis and Supica’s combined 60 points weren’t enough to propel the 49ers over Marshall. 

“They gave us all they had. We made some mistakes but I think we shot the ball well. We got to the free-throw line as we wanted to in our game plan,” said Sanchez. “We challenged Milos in practice and I asked Jon to give us more if he had any left which he obviously did. I am very pleased with the naked eye observation as far as effort goes tonight and for the most part executing the game plan.”

Davis’s performance does put him seventh on the 49ers all-time scoring list with 1,761 career points. Davis passed former 49ers Jobey Thomas (1998-2002) and Curtis Withers (2002-2006). 

Bo Blight had a commendable performance as he recorded his first career double figure rebound game with 10 boards. The 49ers dominated the game on the boards out-rebounding Marshall 33-26.  

The Charlotte 49ers will look to capture an interconference win as they battle against the FIU Golden Tigers on Thursday, Jan. 10. The game is set to tip at 7 p.m. 

Charlotte tames Wildcats before Christmas

The Charlotte 49ers women’s basketball team clashed with the Davidson Wildcats on Friday, Dec. 21. The 49ers defeated the Wildcats 78-66, outscoring them by 13 points in the fourth quarter. 

“Great to see our team kind of maturing before our eyes. Talked about this in the locker room; when we’ve been in a lot of tight games and just going back-and-forth, back-and-forth, and we haven’t been able to have that maturity to close out [sic].” said Coach Cara Consuegra. 

The game was relatively close throughout, but Charlotte’s adjustments coming into the fourth quarter won them the contest. 

“The difference in this game is we switched to our zone late and we were able to obviously get the stops that we need and pull away to make this the type of victory that we should’ve had,” said Consuegra. 

Charlotte’s offense was exceptional with sophomore Mariah Linney leading the 49ers in points with 22.  

“Pleased that our offense is continuing to improve. Two games in a row, we’re doing a much better job just executing, looking for the right things, [and] sharing the ball. With three people in double figures, two more knocking on the door, [and] more assists than turnovers, that’s how we want to play offensively; that’s Charlotte basketball.” said Consuegra. 

Sophomore Octavia Jett-Wilson was the second leading scorer for the 49ers scoring 19 points.  

“I’m stepping up trying to be more of a leader knowing that I’m not a freshman.” said Wilson. 

The 49ers’ next game will be against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats on Friday Dec. 28 in Halton Arena. Scheduled tip-off time is set at 7 p.m. 

Charlotte trounced by Demon Deacons

The Charlotte 49ers women’s basketball team went mano-a-mano with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Wednesday, Dec. 6. The 49ers loss to the Demon Deacons 69-43. 

“There’s no way to sugar coat it; there’s really not a lot of positive things I can say other than we played very poorly tonight,” said Coach Cara Consuegra. “We deserve the outcome of the game, you get what you earn in this game.”

Charlotte kept in striking distance in the first quarter trailing Wake Forest 18-16. The 49ers couldn’t keep pace after the first quarter being outscored 20-9 in the second, 12-10 in the third and 19-8 in the fourth. 

Redshirt junior Jade Phillips led the 49ers in scoring with 24 points. 

“The shots were falling so I just shot them. I tried to get good looks, make sure the shot clock counted down,” said Phillips.

The 49ers were outrebounded 45-24.

“There’s absolutely no excuse for a team to ever out rebound us by 21,” said Consuegra.

Wake Forest’s presence in the paint was felt, outscoring Charlotte 30-14.

“Clearly the offensive struggles that we’ve been having are continuing to affect us,” said Consuegra.

The 49ers next game will be against Mercer at Hawkins Arena in Georgia Sunday, Dec. 9. Tip-off time is at 1 p.m. 

The Dirty Work: A basketball manager’s story

A roaring applause is heard as the Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball team exits the tunnel onto Halton Arena’s hardwood court. Head Basketball Manager Matthew Sholtis glances into the crowd and sees new and familiar faces as he walks into his final Basketball Madness as an undergraduate.

The Apex, NC native is a senior at UNC Charlotte and has been a part of Charlotte’s men’s basketball program since his freshman year. The men’s basketball team’s season is around the corner, and Sholtis is eager to contribute and witness it unfold, game by game. 

“I’m just looking forward to us getting better every day. We got a brand new staff [and] a lot of new players. We’re just taking it one day at a time, we’re not looking forward to the season at all right now. We’re trying to win tomorrow’s practice, and I’m just looking forward to learning everything I can from this coaching staff. [I’m] just trying to take it all in as my last year,” said Sholtis.

He’s been there to take in the standing ovations from the fans, coaches’ half-time speeches, the opposing team’s fans heckling, the shot clock buzzers, the announcers’ play-by-play and the persistent blowing of the referee’s whistle. Sholtis has taken in a lot in his three years with the team, but that’s why he loves being a part of it every season and it’s what he’ll miss the most.

“Just every day, coming in, hanging around the coaches, setting up for practice [and] hanging with the other managers that I’ve created some great friendships with. People call it the dirty work, but I love doing it. Rebounding for the guys, doing laundry…it’s just great to be a part of the program. It’s the best job a college student could ever have.” said Sholtis.

Sholtis won’t miss it too much though, considering he’ll be back next season in a different role with the team. 

“I was lucky enough for Coach Sanchez to offer me a graduate assistant position, so I’m going to be a GA for the next two years and get my graduate degree. After that, I plan on going into coaching, so in those two years I’m gonna try to learn as much as I can.” said Sholtis. 

Sholtis has already learned and observed a lot from Coach Ron Sanchez.

“The intensity level in practice is on another level. He comes from Virginia and they’re one of the best teams in the country. He knows how not only to run a program, but [to] rebuild a program, because he did it at Virginia [and] he did it at Washington State. He forms great relationships with all of our guys, down to all of the players [and] the managers. He always says come into the office, talk to us whenever you want,” said Sholtis. “He has a great relationship with everybody, and that’s one of the biggest things you can have as a head coach. People might think it’s all X’s and O’s, but it’s a lot more than that, so that’s what I learned from him.”

Sholtis takes every game in stride. He doesn’t predict the future, especially concerning the season. 

“I don’t like to make predictions, I just kind of like to go with the flow. Like I said earlier, take it one game at a time. Just improve from the beginning of the season to the end of the season, that’s the only thing we can ask for. The one thing coach says every day at practice is that he’s not going to coach effort and he doesn’t have to because our guys give one-hundred percent every day, which is all you can ask for as a coach, and that’s what you want from a team, so we’re going to see where it goes from there.” said Sholtis. 

One player in particular that has seen the maturation of Sholtis as a person and manager is 49er point guard Jon Davis. 

“Matt’s my guy, outside Matt and Adam, those are really the only two guys that’s been here all four years, and Ryan Parr. Matt’s cool, Matt’s going to be one of my lifelong friends. He’s one of those guys that you meet and just sticks as a friend. He and I have a good relationship outside of basketball and he’s just become one of my best friends,” said Davis.

The camaraderie between Sholtis and Davis exists because of Sholtis’ commitment to the team and its players. 

“I always put in a lot of hours. I get here at 6:45 [a.m.] rebounding for our players. [I] try to slip a work out in and then just cut up film in the office, and I’m always asking the coaches what I can do to help. Especially my senior year, I’m going to spend as much time as I can investing in this team. Just doing everything I can to help us be better. It might be a small part, but every part matters. I’m going to do everything I can to help us be successful.” said Sholtis. 

In his fourth year here at UNC Charlotte, Sholtis has witnessed ups and downs, but those up and downs are what has propelled him into the position he’s in today. Sholtis wants to be a coach one day and his aspirations aren’t too far out of reach. This season isn’t his last as a 49er, and it isn’t his last doing the dirty work that has made him who he is today.

49ers fall to Marshall

After losing to Tennessee last Saturday, the Charlotte 49ers (4-6, 3-3) were defeated again by Conference USA rivals Marshall 30-13 at Joan C. Edwards Stadium Saturday, Nov. 10. 

Charlotte was in striking distance of the Thundering Herd but Marshall sealed the deal in the third quarter outscoring the 49ers 17-3. Charlotte couldn’t rally back in the fourth as they didn’t score a single point. 

Running back Benny LeMay was the most effective offensive weapon rushing for 72 yards. LeMay currently is ranked third in C-USA and 34th in the NCAA in rushing. Unfortunately, LeMay came up eight yards short of another 80-yard rushing performance; this would’ve been his sixth consecutive 80-yard rushing game. 

Quarterback Evan Shirreffs was the only Niner to score as he scored in the first quarter on a one-yard run for a touchdown. Shirreffs ended the game with 152 passing yards on 13 out of 25 possible pass attempts and he had an interception towards the end of the fourth quarter. 

Kicker Jonathan Cruz was a consistent piece of the Niners offense making both a 40 and 35-yard field goal attempt and his lone extra point try as well. Cruz hasn’t missed a field goal in his last three games. 

All-time, the 49ers are now 4-16 during the month of November. 

The Niners will look to recover from their two-game losing streak as they come home and go up against the FIU Tigers (6-3, 4-1) next Saturday, Nov. 17.

The game is scheduled to be at 2 p.m. at Jerry Richardson Stadium. 

Photo by Chris Crews

49ers top Marshall on senior night

Seniors Jannelle Curtiss and Reeana Richardson were honored with a bouquet of flowers before the start of the match. The two seniors received a standing ovation from the crowd as they stood in the middle of the Halton Arena hardwood.

The Charlotte 49ers volleyball team (16-14, 6-8) started off slow against the Marshall Herd (10-19, 3-11), but the 49ers ultimately defeated Marshall 3-1. 

The 49ers narrowly lost their first set of the game 27-25, but they managed to dominate the Herd their next two sets outscoring them 25-15 each set. 

Both teams fought tooth and nail to win the fourth set, but the 49ers wound up winning 27-25.

Junior Molly Shaw was the enforcer for the Niners leading the team with 17 kills. Junior Sofie Perrens led the team in aces with two. Freshman Tyra Galloway was the shield of the team leading in blocks with four. Freshman Nya Steele led the team in assists with 60 and junior Taylor Berg led the team in digs with 20.

The 49ers have clinched a C-USA tournament berth with their win against Marshall and they’ll look to play the number one seeded Rice Owls next.

The 49ers will look to defeat the Owls Friday, Nov. 16 in Huntington, West Virginia in the Conference USA tournament opener.

Photo by Leysha Caraballo

Going the distance

The Charlotte 49ers men’s and women’s XC teams are gearing up for the NCAA Southeast Regionals Friday, Nov. 9. 

The 49ers recently received news that eight runners were named to All-Conference USA Teams. Redshirt senior Tom Nobles and junior Paul Arredondo made First Team All-Conference USA. Juniors Zach Marchinko and Bridget Abbatiello made Second Team All-Conference USA. Junior Alex Cornwell, redshirt junior Matt Bomkamp, junior Katie Tomasi and freshman Chandler Horton made Third Team All-Conference USA. 

“It’s definitely a good day for the program and for those eight individuals. They put in a lot of hard work, not just this season, but over time. I think they take a lot of pride and represent our program at a high level. There’s a lot of proud alums and just proud team members overall. They were out there representing that day, so it was definitely fun to see them be honored for their hard work and accomplishment and hopefully continue to build off it in the future.” said Coach Joseph Lynn.

Two individuals who’ve managed to go the distance time and time again are Nobles and Abbatiello. These two runners had different paths to Charlotte, but they’ve both excelled since they’ve been here. 

Nobles has been at Charlotte the longest of the two and he’s still performing exceptionally well in his senior year. He’s the 2018 Conference USA Air Force Reserve Cross Country Men’s 8K Champion, he is C-USA’s Most Outstanding Senior and he was named to First Team All-Conference USA. 

“Yeah, he’s a guy that came in as a very average recruit for us out of high school. I wasn’t the coach that recruited him, but he’s shown hard work and consistency over time pays off. I think he’s the type of person that when I’m talking to recruits, whether they’re a top end runner in the state or a developmental kid that’s trying to figure out if we’re the right fit for them or not [sic]. Tom’s one I can use as an example of showing his progression over time and just day-to-day for our athletes. He does everything right, doesn’t take any shortcuts, he’s always the last one, he’s always doing the most, running the furthest [and] doing the little things the best.” said Coach Lynn.

Tom Nobles, 2018 Conference USA Air Force Reserve Cross Country Men’s 8K Champion. Photo courtesy of Charlotte Athletics

 

Coach Lynn notices Nobles’ consistency, which is what Nobles himself considers to be instrumental in his successful career at Charlotte. 

“Definitely consistency. That’s one thing I even try and tell to the younger kids too so they understand like it’s not all about having one great workout or every once in a while doing everything that’s asked. It’s more a matter of constantly doing as much as possible. That includes stretching, diet, hydration, sleep…all that sort of stuff. I’d like to think I’m just a pretty consistent runner, especially going into conference. Mentally I just kind of prepared myself like I’m consistent in practice, I can be consistent in races too.” said Nobles.

Nobles’ consistency is why him breaking the school 10,000 meter record isn’t shocking. Breaking records isn’t on his mind when he’s running; it isn’t a priority, but he doesn’t not acknowledge them. 

“Definitely not a priority, the way that I look at records too, although I think [it’s] definitely cool to get a record. At the same time, you never know how the race is going to be run; it could be horrible conditions. I mean, it really just comes down to performing well when it matters, which is conference regionals [and] the bigger meets. Usually I feel like the records are actually broken at least in something like a 10k. That would be broken earlier in the season, not actually at a big regional meet [because of] the way the regions usually run races. Definitely an added bonus to get a school record.” said Nobles.

Whether he’s breaking records, or practicing, Nobles prepares the same way before he even takes a step onto the track. He’s drinking as much water as he’s sweating out, and even his pre-run meals are consistent.

“I was actually talking with some other guys the other day about this. Apparently I hydrate a lot more than other people. Morning runs in general, I’d say I probably have like close to 30 ounces of water before I run. I’ll wake up right around an hour before practice starts and then just start drinking water. I’m not necessarily thirsty right away, but after drinking some, it kind of forces me to drink even more after that. That’s about it, I mean I definitely try and keep stuff consistent. Often I have oatmeal; that’s my go to. Oatmeal and some peanut butter.” said Nobles.

Nobels’ infatuation with water may be hereditary because his sister Claire Nobles was a collegiate swimmer at Duquesne. 

“We actually both played a good amount of sports when we were younger. I did summer swim team for like 10 years of my life and she also ran track for quite a few years as well. I think it just turned out I really enjoyed running and she really enjoyed swimming. I mean I definitely would never have wanted to be a swimmer. I can swim okay, but I like being able to breathe whenever I want [and] not having to time my breathing. It worked out for the best, and she’s actually a decent runner too, if she trains.” said Nobles.

Nobles may not be a swimmer, but he’s definitely a runner. This will be Nobles’ last season running for Charlotte, but he’ll be the standard for runners after him. 

Bridget Abbatiello, out in front for the Niners. Photo courtesy of Charlotte Athletics

One runner that’ll presumably take Nobles spot as “role model” of the team is junior Bridget Abbatiello.

Abbatiello made Second Team All-Conference USA, which perplexed her, following the 2018 Conference USA Air Force Reserve Cross Country Championship. 

“It was actually a big surprise to me. I just kind of went out and felt the race as it went on. It went out pretty slow and I just could feel myself moving up and up as the race progressed. I ended up passing more people in the second half, which is what you’re supposed to do, and I just felt really good and I rolled with it,” said Abbatiello. 

Second Team All-Conference USA is an astonishing accomplishment, but Abbatiello’s résumé is diverse. She’s also made history twice. She’s a member of the first team to win a Conference USA Championship in program history and the first Charlotte women’s team to claim a conference title since the program’s three-peat from 1992-94. She doesn’t dwell on the past though; she is proud of what her team did this season. 

“Towards the beginning of this season, we always knew after last year that we were going to have a target on our back. We kind of came out of nowhere last year, no one really suspected that we were going to be the champions. This year we lost two of our top five runners, so we knew that was going to be a big blow. We just had to stay strong and brave, and I think we did that as a team. I think we definitely progressed and got stronger given our circumstances, and we really fought through that. I think fifth is a great fight, our conference is very competitive through it all so I think we did pretty good considering everything that happened.” said Abbatiello.

As mentioned before, Abbatiello made history twice. She helped lead Stafford High School to its first cross-country conference championship since 1997. The coach of that history-making team was Coach Peter Augrom who had a significant influence on her development as a runner.

“He definitely developed me into the runner I am today. He really pushed all of his confidence and belief in me as a runner and helped me develop to really where I am. That’s where I got all my confidence. As soon as I committed here to Charlotte, there was a tremendous decrease in my times where I was just on top of everything. I was a regional champion in track, so I knew it all had to start senior year with cross country. That was an amazing start in my opinion for my senior year; it was great.” said Abbatiello.

Coach Augrom was a major influence on her in high school, and Coach Lynn seemingly has transitioned nicely into Augrom’s role for Abbatiello.

“From the start of the season he’s really believed in me; he really pushed me. Coming off last spring, I was a conference champion in the steeplechase, and so he just kept reminding me, ‘You are a conference champion you can do anything in this conference.’ That really helped me and he’s really encouraging in our workouts and it shows too on and off the track. It’s been pretty good; he’s been a great coach so far this season.” said Abbatiello.

Abbatiello’s brother Anthony is currently running for Stafford and Coach Augrom. 

“He does his best. Basically, for him, it might just be a confidence thing because he’s always loved video games; he’s that kind of kid. It’s nice to watch him go out there and do what my older brother and I have done and he doesn’t really have that kind of pressure that we did, either. He just goes out and has fun and that’s all we tell him to do really. He’s actually developed really well so far as a freshman so it’s exciting to see what he’ll do in the future.” said Abbatiello.

While he will be a sophomore at Stafford next year, she will be a senior at Charlotte. Her senior year weighs heavily in her mind. 

“It’s scary to think about how fast time really does fly. I’m going to start cherishing everything much more. I can’t rush the sport [and] I can’t rush school, I just gotta let everything fall in place. I’m excited to see what I can do senior year as an athlete and as a student. My goal is to graduate with over a 3.0 GPA, which can be a little bit hard at times, but I just gotta put my mind forward and keep driving.” said Abbatiello.

Both Nobles and Abbatiello are key parts of their respective teams. Coach Lynn attributes the teams overall success to all the players, coaches and Charlotte’s administration. He understands that there are several parts that form a whole.

“There’s a lot of different things. First, it all starts with our athletes. I mean, they bought into a system and bought into a thought process of wanting to be not just good for Charlotte, or good for the state of North Carolina, or good in our conference, or good in our region, but nationally good. We’re trying to build a national brand here with our program and so it starts with them first and foremost putting in the hard work day in and day out,” said Coach Lynn. “Obviously our director of track and field, Coach Olsen…we’ve had full support of him which is huge. Our administration, from Mike Hill to Kim Whitestone to Chancellor Dubois, is very supportive of our program and of the athletic department as a whole. There’s a good number of people; my staff starting with my assistant coach Hannah Rieden, and then our training staff and what not. There’s just a lot of parts that go into it.”

Coach Lynn and the 49er XC teams’ next stop is regionals in Rock Hill, S.C, but Lynn isn’t fazed by the task ahead of him and his teams.

“Just business as usual. We don’t really change anything up as far as our training specific to the course or the meet that we’re going to necessarily. I mean, we have a season plan in place, we know what works for our guys and for our gals and just kind of sticking to the plan that we’ve had all year. Trying to not get too distracted. We’ve had some ups and we’ve had some downs throughout year, but we gotta stay focused. Obviously, next week’s the meet that we train for all year, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that we change anything at this point in the year. We’re backing down volumes a little bit, intensity stays high, and hopefully just trying to sharpen up. We’re definitely tired; expect us to have some tired legs and feeling the season a little bit, but if we didn’t at this point, then we probably didn’t work hard enough. Hopefully next week with the cooler weather and being close to home, we’ll be ready to roll.” said Coach Lynn.

The sky isn’t the limit for Charlotte’s XC teams and it’ll be entertaining to see what they can do at regionals next Friday, Nov. 9.