A-Sun Reveals 30 Shining Moments, FGCU Makes List Twice
Tuesday, September 16, 2008

MACON, Ga. – The Atlantic Sun Conference’s weeklong celebration of its 30 Shining Moments begins today with moments 11 through 30. Over the next four days, the league will unveil the final 10 moments that helped define, shape and mold the league at www.AtlanticSun.org.

No. 30 Mercer’s baseball team opened the 2007 baseball season by winning both games in a two-game series with No. 1 Miami by scores of 6-5 and 8-5. In the opening game, the Bears rallied from a 5-1 deficit, and won the game with a pair of runs in the top of the 9th. Josh Thompson collected four hits including a home run. In game two, Mike Armstrong and Billy Shaughnessy each drove in three runs. The Bears entered the series with just one win in 28 games with the Hurricanes and handed Miami its first opening series loss since 1967.

No. 29 In the 13-year history of outdoor track and field, only four athletes have captured the title in the same event four times. Campbell high jumper Eric Bergemann owns the distinction as the only male athlete to win the same event four straight years. From 2000 to 2003 he won the high jump and still owns the meet record at 2.14m. Three women have won the same event in four straight championships starting with Georgia State’s Sarah Howard who won at 3000 meters from 1997 to 2000. UCF’s Katara Beard, won in the shot put from 1998-2001 and still owns the meet record at 14.27m. Jacksonville’s Safiya Davy captured the title in the 100-meter hurdles in 2000-01 and 2003-04. Her 2003 time of 13.64 seconds remains the league record.

No. 28 Belmont’s men’s cross country has dominated since joining the Atlantic Sun in winning six straight league meets, breaking the record for consecutive titles in the sport of five, previously held by the University of Texas at San Antonio. The Bruins streak started in 2002 and remains active entering 2008. Belmont has not scored more than 31 points during the streak and has featured the individual champion five times during the streak. Belmont’s women has been close to, if not as dominate, also claiming six titles in its first seven years in the league.

No. 27 Centenary star, and future PGA Tour winner, Hal Sutton wins the first two men’s golf conference championships. No male golfer would win back-to-back league titles until Troy’s Josh Broadaway would win consecutive titles in 1999 and 2000. Sutton’s wins proved to be start of a seven-year run where future professional golfers like Jodie Mudd, Gene Sauers and Colin Montgomerie would win the conference title

No. 26 At the 2007 Atlantic Sun Conference’s men’s soccer championship, Campbell finally won the league’s title after losing in its three previous appearances in the championship game. The Camels outlasted the Jacksonville Dolphins in the first title game to be decided by penalty kicks in the 27-year history of the championship. Tournament MVP Vince Petrasso delivered the game-winning penalty kick that sent the Camels to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the program joined the Division I ranks in 1977.

No. 25 Starting in 2003, the Atlantic Sun Conference began to recognize Golfers of the Month for men and women. In the six years since, only one player has captured the award every month for which it was awarded. Between the fall of 2004 and the spring of 2005, Georgia State’s Lisbeth Meincke won all six awards handed out. She concluded the year by winning the A-Sun title for the third straight year, a feat matched only by Moira Dunn of FIU.

No. 24 In 2004, a trio of Atlantic Sun men’s basketball teams earned berths to the postseason as Belmont and Troy received invitations to the NIT joining UCF, who captured the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Belmont received notoriety earlier that basketball season by defeating nationally-ranked Missouri.

No. 23 A pair of schools made its debut in the Atlantic Sun in 2007 as Florida Gulf Coast and USC Upstate joined the conference. The two made an immediate impact on the league as the Eagles and Spartans combined to win three outright team titles and each shared the softball title with Lipscomb. Florida Gulf Coast won volleyball and baseball while USC Upstate turned in an 11-0 record in women’s tennis. Additionally, USC Upstate’s Emily Tangwar won three titles at the Indoor Track and Field Championship to win Outstanding Track Performer of the Year.

No. 22 In 2002, Florida Atlantic became the first school from the conference to advance beyond the regional round of the NCAA Baseball Tournament since Georgia Southern in 1990by defeating Alabama 6-5 on the Crimson Tide’s home turf to make the Super Regional. The Owls won the deciding game in the top of the ninth when Jeff Fiorentino delivered a two-out single. The Owls went on to face Georgia Tech in the Super Regional.

No. 21 Two years before FIU advanced to the College Cup Championship, College of Charleston made its own run, winning three games in the tournament before bowing out the UCLA in the quarterfinals. After defeating FIU 4-2 to win the conference title, the Cougars started their run by defeating Miami (OH) 1-0 in the play-in game. In the first round, they knocked out Charlotte, again by a 1-0 margin, but in overtime. They downed NC State 5-4, also in overtime, to make the quarterfinals. UCLA ended the run with a 3-2 victory.

No. 20 Jacksonville’s women’s track and field team has dominated the Atlantic Sun Conference over the past three years winning both the Indoor Championship and Outdoor Championship each of those three years. Natasha Harvey and Shaquania Lundy have led the Dolphins during this run. Harvey has won 12 individual titles between the two seasons during these three years.

No. 19 At the 2006 Atlantic Sun Baseball Championship, Stetson head coach Pete Dunn joined an exclusive group as he collected his 1,000th career win by defeating Mercer 6-5. He joined just 33 other coaches to reach the 1,000-win milestone and became just the fourth among active coaches to reach the 1,000-win plateau at their alma mater.

No. 18 From 1997 to 2004 only one team captured the conference’s softball title. Florida Atlantic won both the regular-season crown and the conference championship establishing the conference’s record for consecutive league titles. During their run, the Owls posted a 111-25 record in conference play and an astounding 33-3 mark in the conference tournament including a 20-0 mark from 1997 to 2001. Nicole Myers won the Tournament’s MVP all of her four years (1999-2002), one of two players in any sport in conference history to win the MVP four straight years (FIU’s Andrea Nagy in women’s basketball from 1992-95)

No. 17 Florida Gulf Coast’s women’s basketball team won 21 games during the regular season in 2007-08 and earned a place in the Women’s NIT. The Eagles hosted a first-round game marking the first time an A-Sun school hosted a WNIT game. The Eagles defeated South Florida 67-65 winning the first postseason game for the league since 1998 and first WNIT game since 1993.

No. 16 Former Mercer star Andrea Congreaves will find her name littered in the conference record book as well as the NCAA’s edition. When the 1993 Kodak All-American finished her career, she was one of seven in NCAA history to have scored at least 2,500 points and grabbed at least 1,000 rebounds. She owns the conference’s single-season record for points (has the top two seasons), scoring average (also has the top two seasons) and field goals made.

No. 15 FIU recorded the greatest season in women’s basketball in conference history during the 1997-98 when the Golden Panthers put together an outstanding 29-2 record, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. In the first round, the Golden Panthers, as a No. 7 seed, defeated Marquette 59-45, a win that also happened to be Head coach Cindy Russo’s 400th at FIU. No A-Sun women’s team has received a seeding higher than FIU’s No. 7 seed.

No. 14 During the infancy of the conference, no player dominated men’s basketball like Centenary’s Willie Jackson. Still the conference’s only 2,000-point scorer, he led the league in scoring three times, made field goals twice and rebounding once. In 1982-83, his 24.0 points per game and 9.1 rebounds per game led the league. In the 25 years since, only one other player, FAU’s Mike Bell has led the league in both categories. He finished his career with 2,535 points, almost 550 more than the second-place total of Mercer’s Sam Mitchell. When he finished his career, he was one of seven in NCAA history to have scored at least 2,500 points and grabbed at least 1,000 rebounds.

No. 13 From 1993 to 1997 no conference opponent could defeat UCF’s volleyball team. During the five-year run, the Knight compiled a 36-0 record during the regular season as well as a 14-0 mark during the conference championship. Four different UCF athletes won the Player of the Year award (Emily Bridson in 1993, Emily Queisser in 1995, Renata Menchikova in 1996 and Tyra Harper in 1997) during the streak. The Knights won three NCAA Tournament games during their run.

No. 12 FIU’s Andrea Nagy led the Golden Panthers to four straight postseason appearances from 1992-1995 after winning four straight conference titles. While winning those conference titles, Nagy became the first athlete in conference history to win the Tournament MVP four straight years (since joined by FAU’s Nicole Myers in softball, 1999-2002). After appearances in the Women’s NIT in 1992 and 1993, she led the Golden Panthers to the NCAA Tournament in 1994 and 1995. After a one-point loss in 1994, FIU defeated Old Dominion in the first round in 1995. She earned a spot on the Kodak All-American team in 1994 and finished her career second in the NCAA in assists with 1,165.

No. 11 East Tennessee State University’s men’s tennis team defeated Notre Dame in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament, and earned the conference’s first-ever match win in the event. The Buccaneers finished the season 24-4. Less than two weeks later, ETSU junior Enrique Olivares won a pair of matches NCAA men’s singles championships, advancing to the Sweet 16 of the event becoming the first player in A-Sun history to make it this far in the NCAA singles championship.

The Atlantic Sun Conference is an 11-member league committed to Building Winners for Life, with a focus on academic and athletic integrity and a balance between the two for the student-athlete, and maintaining a high level of sportsmanship. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun encompasses six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun consists of some of the most dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.