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Randolph Athletics Top Stories of 2018

Chris Mitchell, Tony Berich, Randolph women's soccer, and Shelby Lutz
Clockwise from left: Equestrian head coach Chris Mitchell with ODAC trophy; athletic director Tony Berich; Shelby Lutz; Sidney Keyes' big stop against Bridgewater.

With the calendar year of 2018 coming to close, it's time to look back at some of the top stories in Randolph Athletics. It was a year of some incredible wins, great performances, and noteworthy announcements.

January

Home Swim Meet

It was a historic night at the RAD Center as the Randolph men's and women's swimming teams hosted their first meet of the season and the first on Randolph's campus in 10 years.  The crowd was loud and supportive during the evening. President Bradley Bateman was the honorary starter for the night's first event which was the women's 200 medley relay.

February

Men's Basketball's Win over Virginia Wesleyan in ODAC Tournament

The WildCats trailed by 10 points in the first half but rallied in the second and held off Virginia Wesleyan 57-54 to advance to the quarterfinals of the ODAC Tournament in Salem, Va. It was the first time in ODAC Tournament history a #12 seed defeated a #5 seed. It was also just the third Randolph victory over Virginia Wesleyan in program history and the first ever win on the Marlins' home court.

March

Women's Lacrosse Comeback

The WildCats trailed visiting Wartburg 10-4 at halftime. They would go on to outscore the visiting Tigers 9-4 in the second half and nearly pulled off a comeback but ultimately fell short as the Knights won by the score of 14-13. First year players Rachel Buxton and Sarah Perry combined for nine goals. Randolph scored the last five goals in the game with the last coming with 39 seconds left.

Equestrian Wins ODAC Title

Randolph won its fourth ODAC Championship in Equestrian and its first since 2005. It was the school's first overall conference championship since the men's soccer team won it in 2011. The four riders who competed were Carly Stirewalt, Kirby Tidmore, Molly McLaughlin, and Caroline Houston. All four earned All-Conference honors. McLaughlin was fourth overall, Tidmore sixth, and Houston and Stirewalt both 10th. In addition, head coach Chris Mitchell was named the ODAC Coach of the Year.

April

Softball Sweeps Emory and Henry; Lauren Morris Hits Grand Slam

Randolph Softball swept #25 Emory and Henry for the first time since 2014 and for the first time on the Wasps' home field since 2009. Lauren Morris hit her first career grand slam in the first game as the 'Cats won 7-2. Lindsey Chaney struck out 10 batters in the second game as Randolph won 5-3.

Men's Lacrosse Gets First Win of the Season

Randolph got its first win of the season in its home finale with a 15-3 victory over Averett. The WildCats got out to a 9-0 lead through the early part of the third quarter. Gage Tutko scored five goals to lead the team.

May

Women's Tennis Edges Bridgewater in ODAC Quarterfinals

Randolph and Bridgewater were tied 4-4 in their match and it all came down to sixth singles. Shelby Lutz was up against Rachel Zarin. The first set went 7-5 and then Lutz took the match and won it for the WildCats with a 6-3 win in the second set as her teammates looked on.

DJ Petty Earns All-Region Honors

DJ Petty earned South/Southeast All-Region Honors in 110-meter hurdles. He is the second athlete in Randolph Track and Field history to earn this honor. His time of 14.68 was set at the Great Lakes NCAA Final Qualifying meet.

June

Tony Berich Named Randolph Athletic Director

Tony Berich was named the new Randolph Athletic Director as he replaced Tina Hill who had served in that capacity for 10 years. "I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to join Randolph College as the next director of athletics," he said. "In a very short time on campus, I could tell that Randolph is a special place and I look forward to being a part of an outstanding institution that places premium value on the student-athlete experience."

September

Watson Nets Game Winner for Men's Soccer over Randolph-Macon

Facing what could be their fourth extra period game of the season, the Randolph men's soccer team needed some magic to prevent that from happening. Adam Watson delivered for the WildCats with a goal on a free kick with just 3:21 remaining as Randolph went on to win 2-1 over Randolph-Macon. Determined to score to prevent an extra period, the WildCats got down into Yellowjacket territory where a foul was called on RMC to grant Randolph a free kick. Watson lined up from the left side of the net as the Yellowjackets were lined up five wide. Watson curved a shot around the defensive front and into the right corner of the goal for the game-winner.

October

Women's Soccer Knocks Off #18 Bridgewater 2-1

The victory was one of many firsts. It was the first win in recent memory for the program over a ranked opponent. It was also the first win over BC since 2005. The two WildCat goals also ended a scoreless streak against the Eagles going back to 2011. The WildCats needed stellar defensive play in the final 18 minutes to pull of the win. None was bigger than in the 86th minute when Zoe Waring's deflection of a shot rolled toward the goal and defender Sidney Keyes was there to prevent the ball from crossing the line. Sara Bane accounted for both of the Randolph goals on the afternoon. Waring tallied 14 saves in net for Randolph.

RAD Center Renovations Announced

Randolph College announced plans for a major renovation of its Randolph Athletics and Dance (RAD) Center. The nearly $3 million renovation will significantly enhance both the exterior and interior of the building in terms of aesthetics and usability. In addition to major changes to the building's exterior, improvements made inside will include upgrades to the gymnasium, locker rooms, athletic training spaces, and an expansion of the pool. College officials plan to start the renovations during the spring of 2019. The bulk of the renovation will be funded by two leadership gifts — from an emerita trustee and an anonymous donor. Doug and Mary Michels-Scovanner '77 will provide a $1 million gift to rename the facility the Michels Athletic Center, to be known as the MAC.

Volleyball Takes Washington and Lee to Five Sets

For the first time since 2014 and for the only the second time in the regular season in program history, Randolph and Washington and Lee played to a five-set match. The WildCats dominated the first set as they won 25-10. The Generals took the next two frames to lead 2-1. The two teams were tied 22-22 in the fourth set but Randolph capitalized on a pair of W&L attack errors to win 25-22. In the final set and despite a 5-2 edge held by the Generals, the WildCats fought back to trim the deficit to 10-9. Washington and Lee would lead by no more than two points with Randolph closing the gap to 13-12 but it would not be enough as the Generals landed the final two points needed to clinch the 15-12 set win.

November

Women's Basketball Completes Comeback to Defeat Ferrum

Trailing 41-25 with 6:43 remaining in the third quarter, Randolph came storming back to cut its deficit to single digits in the fourth quarter. DJ Jackson accounted for the final six points of the game to lift the WildCats to a 61-59 win.