Stanley to Play at Lenior-Rhyne

194Sutton Stanley has decided to further his baseball career by accepting an invitation to join Lenior-Rhyne as a freshman next fall.  Stanley hit .551 in his senior campaign, putting him amongst the leaders in the state.  Stanley also added 2 homers and drove in 22 during the season, while hitting in the nine hole for the Vikings.

“Sutton is a great kid,” stated Bears Head Coach Paul Knight.  “We didn’t get the chance to see him during the season, but he was able to come down for a work out session.  He had a good senior season and we have invited him to come down and be part of the program.”

Coach Knight went on to say that Sutton will be working with the team as an invited player, and will work toward earning a scholarship over the next couple of seasons.  “He will be like many of the freshmen we have come in, he’ll join the team in workouts and work his way into the program as an invited player.”

Stanley has worked hard through his Avery career and is seeing that work paying off, with hopes of his work and commitment to the sport giving him an opportunity to shine on a bigger stage as a part of the Bears ball club.  Congratulations to Sutton on the offer to join Lenior-Rhyne, we’re all rooting for you!

Bentley Announces First Recruiting Class as ASU Head Coach

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(Courtesy Appalachian Sports Information)

BOONE, N.C. – Appalachian State University wrestling head coach JohnMark Bentley signed seven student-athletes from four different states to complete his first recruiting class at Appalachian, he announced Saturday.

“I am very excited about the potential of this recruiting class,” Bentley said. “This class should help solidify several of the weight classes that we needed.”

Ken Altarac ( Heavyweight, Johnsonville, N.Y./Lasalle Institute)
Altarac was a two-time state champion at Lasalle and is a junior national champion. He is ranked No. 2 in the country at heavyweight.

John Blakely ( 174, Birmingham, Ala./Oak Mountain)
An Alabama state champion, will provide depth at the 174 weight class.

Brett Boston (125, Morganton, N.C./Freedom)
Was a three-time North Carolina state placer, including a second place finish in 2009.

Brock Durfee (Heavyweight, Catawba, N.C./Bandys)
Won the North Carolina state championship his senior year, will compete for the starting position at heavyweight.

Paul Glover (197, Rochester, N.Y./Spencerport)
Glover won the New York state championship at 215 and is ranked as a top-15 recruit by Win magazine. Joins high school teammate Chris Collura on the Mountaineers.

Tony Gravely (125, Martinsville, Va./Magna Vista)
A four-time state placer in Virginia, is a two-time runner-up and two-time state champion.

Robbie Wannenburg (165, Clemmons, N.C./West Forsyth)
Wannenburg won four state championships, three prep championships and a public school state championship.

Appalachian is coming off a third place finish at the Southern Conference tournament and returns all 10 starters that ended the season, including SoCon champion and NCAA qualifier Frank Celorrio.

Three Local Youth Compete in Pitch, Hit and Run Contest

Three local youth competed in the sectional Pitch, Hit and Run competition in Albemarle (L-R) Peyton Lowry, Lane Johnson and Austin Daniels. (Bill Daniels Photo)

Three local youth competed in the sectional Pitch, Hit and Run competition in Albemarle (L-R) Peyton Lowery, Lane Johnson and Austin Daniels. (Bill Daniels Photo)

Three area youngsters traveled to Albemarle to compete in the youth version of a skills competition called Pitch, Hit and Run; which is put on as a collaborative effort of Aquafina and Major League Baseball.  The Aquafina Major League Baseball Pitch, Hit and Run contest is a free skills competition for boys and girls ages 7-14. The 1-day event emphasizes the fun element in baseball and allows youngsters to showcase their pitching, hitting and running abilities. PHR is the official skills competition of Major League Baseball and can be hosted by any organization, league, civic group or set of volunteers in the community.

Austin Daniels (Bill Daniels Photo)

Austin Daniels (Bill Daniels Photo)

Competitors compete in four age groups: 7/8, 9/10, 11/12, 13/14, with age being determined as of July 17, 2009.  At each level of competition competitors will receive an item for their participation. Prizes at different levels of competition include ribbons, medals, trophies and other awards. National Finalists receive a trip to St. Louis for the 2009 All-Star Game.  There are four levels of competition with local winners qualifying for the Sectional event.  Sectional winners are put into a pool, and the best performances will advance to the MLB Team competition.  Winners at that level become eligible to qualify for the National Finals which are held during the All-Star week festivities, each of which gets an all expense paid trip to St. Louis for the All-Star game.

Lane Johnson (Bill Daniels Photo)

Lane Johnson (Bill Daniels Photo)

Austin Daniels, Peyton Lowery and Lane Johnson traveled to Albemarle to take part in this event.  The three youth who made the trek were the local winners of the contest, which was put on as a part of the Little League Baseball festivities here in the county.  To be eligible to make the trip the youth had to win each individual event, or the overall competition locally.  Lowery took the overall crown locally in his age group, winning the hitting competition as well.  Daniels walked away with the pitching crown, with Johnson taking the crown in his age group, giving each of the youth the opportunity to compete in the sectional event in Albemarle.

Peyton Lowery (Bill Daniels Photo)

Peyton Lowery (Bill Daniels Photo)

All three youth displayed their skills, putting on quite a show, as each one seemed to better their efforts from here in the County.  They had a great time, and enjoyed the opportunity to display their skills, with each one taking a sense of accomplishment from the competition.  Congratulations to each of these youngsters on their local victory, as well as their performance in Albemarle.  Great job guys!

Little League Postponed for Tonight 5/15

llbasesoft-copyAvery County Little League has postponed the games scheduled for this evening, May 15.  There is no make-up date scheduled at this time, but information will be passed along as it becomes available.  For more information check the Avery County Little League website.

1 on 1: Bentley Looking to Continue Success as ASU Head Coach

Bentley (Phillip Greene Photo)

Bentley (Phillip Greene Photo)

Eighteen years ago a dream was born, as John Mark Bentley began his run to becoming one of the most decorated Avery High Athletes in the school’s 31 year history.  Bentley began wrestling when in the 6th grade, becoming interested in the sport because of his older brother, Matthew being a part of the Avery High team.  When his career began no one could have imagined what was in store for this young man from Linville; that is except for Bentley himself.  Bentley has always had a strong determination and an even stronger faith in God, which is something he attributes to his success in wrestling throughout his career.

“I’ve been very blessed,” explained Bentley, “I’ve had a lot of great people working with me throughout my life and getting me involved with the sport of wrestling.  The sport of wrestling has been very good to me; I feel like that’s probably the biggest part of my coaching that I’d like to give back to the community and the university; because the sport’s been so good to me I’d like to give a little bit back to others and help them grow in the sport.  I’ve been blessed with a great family, great coaches and a lot of people supporting me in this area and throughout the state and the southeast, and I think that’s probably been the biggest help as far as the support I’ve had throughout my high school and college career, and now my coaching career.

“My brother was one of the biggest influences,” continued Bentley.  “Probably the biggest as far as wrestling goes.  He got me in to it and spent a lot of time in the room with me, even when he was done wrestling he would still spend a lot of time just helping me prepare for competition; and as far as training goes, helping me get some good workout partners.

“But probably the biggest part in my life would have to be my faith.  My faith in God, I think has probably been what has carried me this far; and I’d probably give most of the credit for what few successes I have had to God, and all the blessings I’ve had, I’ve been very fortunate.”

Bentley’s drive and determination is something that he has used throughout his career to accomplish a number of goals.  His drive earned him numerous honors during his Avery career, earned him a 144-0 record as a wrestler in the Viking uniform, three ACC championships as a wrestler for North Carolina, ACC wrestler of the year, and many other honors during his career in wrestling. He hopes to translate that into success at Appalachian as well.

“I’ve been very blessed,” quipped Bentley, “and I think now as a coach that’s part of what I need to give back and be a good testimony to my wrestlers or maybe other coaches or colleagues that I run into.  That’s not easy, but a thing I’d like to do more of is share my faith more and tell a lot of other people about God and what He’s meant to my life and the things He’s done for me; and hopefully I can translate that into helping some others along the way.  That’s really the ultimate goal, and that should be the first and foremost goal, is bringing people to God, and anyway I can do that, I figure it’s going to bless someone else’s life as much as it has mine.

“Right now,” continued Bentley, “I have to say it has been a dream of mine for a long time just to be a head college coach.  I’ve spent a lot of time and a lot of energy trying to get to this point, so I’m very fortunate to finally get to this position. It’s even more of a dream job for me because I’m close to my family and close to my wife’s family.  I think that if I could’ve picked a dream job growing up, being a head college coach close to my hometown would’ve been it…I’m not going to say this is it, but if I were to spend 25 years here and retire then that would be just fine with me.”

Appalachian has been a prominent program in the Southern Conference for many years, winning 8 conference championships in Mance’s tenure as coach; which is something that Bentley hopes to continue, but also has goals of bringing the team to national prominence as well.

“I’ve been very fortunate to work alongside a lot of great coaches,” stated Bentley, “and I think that more so what this [job] means to me, more than a lot of the other’s that I’ve held, is that Appalachian has had a great tradition for a long, long time, and I think that there’s a huge support as far as the Alumni goes and a lot of former wrestlers from Appalachian are coaches throughout the southeast and bring a lot of support to the program.

“I’m hoping that I can build something here as a program that can make those former coaches and wrestlers very proud to be an Appalachian Alumni; so it’s a challenge to me, I’m not going to say that the workload is going to increase, because I don’t know how it could increase.

Bentley hopes to use his faith and his drive to instill lessons into the athletes that come through the ASU program. (Phillip Greene Photo)

Bentley hopes to use his faith and his drive to instill lessons into the athletes that come through the ASU program. (Phillip Greene Photo)

“I’d like to model our program after someone like Edinboro or Central Michigan, someone who is in the top 10 of the country; someone who doesn’t have the facilities and quite the financial backing that a Big 10 or a Big XII team has, but still succeeds.  We’ve got a great support system here at Appalachian, a great administration…it’s just a matter of getting the right people here, getting everybody on the same page and working towards a common goal.  For us realistically, maybe in the next 4 to 5 years, top 25 in the country is realistic.

“It’s attainable, but it’s not going to be easy,” continued Bentley.  “That’s the way I’ve always worked goals in my life, setting a realistic goal – when you’ve reached that goal setting another one…not just throwing a bunch of goals out there and hoping to hit one of them.  I’m very specific about the goals that I’ve set, and I think that it’s important to make sure we all know what we’re working for.

“The main goal is for us to get that Conference Championship, the last couple of years we’ve been very close, but we’re still very young. In the next couple of years my goal is to be in the top 25 in the country, and I think that’s realistic.  We’ve got a lot of very talented young kids, and hopefully with our schedule and the coaching staff that we’re going to have, they’ll mature and I think that there’s no reason why we can’t be in the top 25 on a consistent basis here in what we’re trying to build; where we’re having 4 or 5 guys going to nationals every year and a couple of All-Americans; we do that, we’re in the top 25 in the country, and that’s probably the pinnacle goal for us right now, and I think it’s something that’s very achievable and something that’s very realistic.”

Bentley hopes to use his faith and drive to help mold the athletes that come through the ASU program.

“I think the main reason why you bring an athlete into a school is to get them an education,” explained Bentley.  “I think that first and foremost that my number one goal is to make sure they graduate.  My main goal is to make sure that those guys get a degree, because I haven’t done my job if they come in here and I don’t make sure that they don’t just stay eligible, but they graduate.

“Also just trying to be a good example as far as living a right life and making good decisions, hopefully if I can do that and have some influence on these athletes in the 4 to 5 years that they’re here, then I feel like I’ve affected their life, and hopefully in 10 years I’ll have coached some athletes who want to come back here and remember the things that they’ve learned, maybe not just about wrestling, but about life or about their faith and being successful while making good decisions.”

Thanks to a couple of team members starting a Bible Study during the past couple of seasons, the team has become more unified as a group both on and off the mat.

Austin Trotman (pictured) and former Avery Wrestler Mark Maya began a Bible Study to unite the ASU team. (Phillip Greene Photo)

Austin Trotman (pictured) and former Avery Wrestler Mark Maya began a Bible Study to unite the ASU team. (Phillip Greene Photo)

“I think that that’s been a real testament to the kind of guys we’ve had here at Appalachian,” stated Bentley.  “We had a former Avery wrestler, Mark Maya, who along with Austin Trotman started a Bible study called ‘Jesus Party’, and I think it gives the guys something in common.  It gave the guys closeness outside of the wrestling room; because there are a lot of tough days in the wrestling room, where if that’s the only thing that your friendship is based on, it can be a long year and a long season.

“I think that it has affected our team in a positive manner.  Our kids are making better decisions because of it, I think they’re doing a great job in the classroom, and I’m really proud of the type of kids and the caliber kids we have here at Appalachian.  I think that when kids are making good decisions and their hearts and minds are in the right place it makes it a lot easier to attain lofty team goals.”

With all of the success Bentley has seen in his career, he still took some time to remember where he came from.

“I want to say a big thank you to the people of Avery County,” stated Bentley.  “I know a lot of them have supported me.  I’ve been blessed to grow up in a great place, and I’d like to thank all the people who have supported me throughout my years, it’s been a big part of my life, and I’ve always been proud to call Avery County my hometown.  I think that’s something that’s special that I’ll always keep close to me.  As I said, it’s a dream job for me here at Appalachian being able to continue doing something I’ve always loved doing and be close to my hometown and the people I grew up around; and close to my family, which has been a big part of my life.”

Playoff Fever

It looks as if the Baseball and Women’s soccer team will both make the playoffs…we’ll post any information here when it becomes available.  Softball wrapping up the season with a couple of games this week: Travel to Hendersonville tonight (5/11) and Senior Night @ Avery.  Way to go Vikes!

More Changes: Updated 5/5 @ 12:45

banner-for-webThe Lady Viking Soccer match scheduled for today is still on as Scheduled, the only change of note is that the game will be played at Polk Middle School rather than the High School…Seating is very limited, so bring a lawn chair if you have one.  Gametime is at 6 PM.  Go Lady Vikes!