Mountain Lions

ATHENS — The Concord University Athletic office recently released their picks for the top 2019 sports achievements of the Concord Mountain Lions teams.

10: Fitzwater Leads NCAA Division II in Blocked Shots — As a freshman, women’s basketball Riley Fitzwater introduced herself as a force in the post to the MEC as she led NCAA Division II in field goal percentage during the 2017-18 season on way to landing in the countdown in 2018. During the year, Fitzwater recorded five or more blocks in 13 of CU’s 30 games. Included was the program’s first career triple-double in which she went for 10 points, 20 rebounds and a career-best 11 blocks in a win at West Virginia State. Fitzwater earned her second national statistical title in as many seasons in the Maroon and Gray, averaging 4.3 blocks per game. Fitzwater tied with Jason Weitzel and his MEC-winning 3,000-meter steeplechase run for 10th on the countdown.

9: Turner’s Success On and Off the Field — It has been four long years since Concord had a College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-American in any sport, but in 2019, CU ended the streak and produced CoSIDA Academic All-American JT Turner, a defensive lineman for the Mountain Lions on the gridiron. Turner appeared in nine games during the season, making 21 tackles and coming up with sacks. More impressively, Turner has a perfect GPA in the classroom with a 4.0 as a business administration major.

8: Prather’s Run to Nationals — The Summersville, West Virginia native was a 17th-place finisher at the MEC Championship, but that didn’t stop him from running his best race of the year at the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional Championship. On Nov. 9, Prather finished seventh at the Atlantic Regional Championship against stiffer competition than two weeks previous. A couple days later he received word that he moved on to the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships as an at-large selection, becoming the third individual in program history to race in the national meet.

7: Tommy Bolte’s Record-Setting Night — A night that will be remembered as the greatest single-game scoring performance to date in the Mountain East Conference. In a pivotal league game that needed two overtimes to be decided in a 99-96 Concord win, Bolte shattered his own record from the previous year. In the final 30 minutes of the game, he went for 50 points. Bolte finished the game shooting 25-for-42 and went a perfect 12-for-12 at the foul line. The Chillicothe, Ohio native’s 65 points were the most points in Division II game since 1977.

6: Guay Gets Drafted by Cardinals — On June 5, former CU ace Will Guay learned he was the fourth player in program history to be drafted during Major League Baseball’s Amateur Draft. After finishing the 2018 season with an ERA of 6.52, the West Palm Beach, Fla. native was dominant in his final year as a Mountain Lion. Guay more than cut his ERA in half while setting single-season Concord record for strikeouts. And he saved his best for last in a Concord uniform as he tossed back-to-back shutouts while striking out 18 combined hitters in his final two regular-season starts. He was drafted in the 24th round of the MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, becoming the first CU player to hear his name called since Drew Bailey in 2010.

5: Women’s Basketball’s Record-Setting Season, Osborne Named Regional Coach — Armed with the senior backcourt of Emily Boothe and Andreanna Pool, the front line of Riley Fitzwater, Keely Lundy and All-Atlantic Region performer Madison May as well as bench producers Savannah Dunford, Maggie Guynn, Gracie Robinson and Tamra Scott, Concord set a program record with 23 wins. The Mountain Lions appeared in the MEC Tournament Semifinals for the first time in the conference’s existence—since 2013-14. Not only were team records broken, but a few individual program records fell as well. Boothe became the all-time leader in games played at Concord (116), Fitzwater broke the blocks record (225), as just a sophomore, and May became the 17th player in program history with 1,000 points as she went over the mark in mid-February.

Coupled with 16 wins from January through early March and an 8-3 start to the 2019-20 season, CU amassed 24 wins during the calendar year. One of those victories—over Wheeling in February—gave head coach Kenny Osborne his 250 career win at Concord. An ultimate conclusion to the season came when Osborne was voted as the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Atlantic Regional Coach of the Year.

4: Tommy Bolte - Two-Time All-American — Bolte became one of 11 individuals in school history to be named an All-American in multiple seasons and the first since track national champion Shawnee Carnett in 2014. The Chillicothe, Ohio native earned a second team All-American nod during his senior season after being named a first team All-American during the 2017-18 season. Among his ranks in the storied men’s basketball program, Bolte finished as one of six players with 2,000 career points as he finished with 2,084 career points. Additionally, he is the only player in program history with 2,000 career points, 400 career rebounds and 400 career assists. Over his final two years as a Mountain Lion, he accumulated over 1,700 points, including leading NCAA Division II in scoring at 31.8 points per game during his junior season. In his first season in professional basketball, Bolte is averaging 10.5 points per game for Real Murcia in Spain.

3: Men’s Golf Captures MEC Title — Not only did CU hoist the trophy at Glade Spring Resort on October 9 in Daniels, Concord led the championship wire-to-wire as the Mountain Lions finished the tournament strong with a low team round of 297 in the third and final round of the championship. The Mountain Lions won their first MEC Championship in men’s golf since winning the first two MEC Titles in 2013 and 2014. With the title run in early October, Concord has earned a second straight trip to NCAA Atlantic/East Regional that will be held in Baldwinsville, New York in May.

2: Softball’s Saturday Run at MEC Tournament Propels to NCAA Tournament — The Mountain Lions were squarely on the bubble heading into the MEC Tournament in early May. Concord would most likely need a win or two in the conference postseason to make the NCAA Tournament. Immediately, Concord was facing elimination at the MEC Tournament as Fairmont State dealt CU a loss in the first game of the tournament. Severe weather wiped out the rest of action on May 3, meaning the Mountain Lions would need to make up some serious ground May 4. On the first Saturday of May, Concord won four elimination games in a matter of approximately 10 hours to not only stay alive in the MEC Tournament, but advance to the MEC Championship game against West Liberty. CU’s resume for the NCAA Tournament was now validated for a spot in the NCAA Tournament despite losing to West Liberty. It marked the first time in the history of the MEC Tournament that a team won four games in one day. The 2019 Mountain Lions set the program record in wins (38). The season also produced MEC Player of the Year Jenna Witt and Thompson as the MEC Freshman of the Year.

1: Women’s Soccer Claims MEC Championship, NCAA Tournament Bid — Behind a near-capacity crowd in Beckley on November 17, Concord used two second-half goals from Yasmin Mosby and Rachel Bell to defeat Fairmont State for the conference title. It marked the second time the women’s soccer program had won a conference championship, but the first since 2002. The MEC Champion Mountain Lions earned their first NCAA Tournament bid by being the three seed in the Atlantic Region. Though the successful run for CU ended in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, many records were broken along the way. Concord finished the fall as Division II’s third-best offense with 70 goals. The defense was equally as good for CU as it finished in the top 10 in the nation by allowing just nine goals. And the 14 shutouts for the Mountain Lions were among Division II’s best. The 70 goals for Concord broke its own MEC record from the 56 it scored in 2018.

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