Lake Norman & Mooresville

Davidson wrestlers advance in the Wolfpack Open

Davidson’s wrestling team had two wrestlers advance to the semifinals and two others to the quarterfinals at the Wolfpack Open tournament, held Nov. 16 in Raleigh.

Seniors Kevin Birmingham and Philip Elias finished third and fourth, respectively, in their weight class at the one-day tournament held at N.C. State’s Carmichael Gymnasium. Senior Ian Solcz finished fifth at 197 pounds.

Birmingham, an NCAA national tournament qualifier last season, won three straight matches – two coming by pin – to advance to the semifinals in the 149-pound division. He won by pin over Duke’s Marcus Cain and N.C. State’s Beau Donahue, and took a sudden-death overtime decision from Virginia Tech’s Taylor Misuna.

Birmingham lost in the semifinals to Old Dominion’s Alexander Richardson in a third-period pin. He recovered to beat N.C. State’s Cohl Fulk by pin in the third-place match to finish with a 4-1 record in tournament matches.

Elias, wrestling in the 125-pound division, won decisions over North Carolina’s Anthony Bosco and Newberry’s Josh Epperson to advance to the semifinals. But Elias, dealing with an injury, had to forfeit his semifinal to Virginia’s Nick Hermann, and the third-place match to N.C. State’s Brenden Calas to finish 2-2 in tournament matches.

Solcz advanced to the quarterfinals in the 197-pound division by decision over Virginia’s Chance McClure, but he lost in the quarters to Old Dominion’s Kevin Beazley. Dropped to the consolation bracket, Solcz took a pin over VMI’s Jake Tomlinson and a decision from McClure, then beat North Carolina’s Scott Marmoll in the fifth-place match to finish 5-1 in the tournament.

Nathaniel Powers also advanced to the quarterfinals in the 174-pound division, pinning Campbell’s Steven Joyner and taking a decision from Virginia Tech’s Antavian Leary. But he lost in the quarters to Newberry’s Joe Pittman, then lost by injury default to Duke’s Luke Farinaro in the consolation round to finish the tournament 2-2.

Volleyball signs 5

Davidson’s volleyball team, which recently wrapped up its inaugural season in the Atlantic 10, has signed five players – including two from Charlotte-area schools – for the 2015 season.

The Wildcats, who will return 13 players from a team that finished 4-20 (2-12 A-10), signed outside hitters Ciera Cockrell and Samantha Thompson, and middle hitters Katharine Franz, Sabrina Shepherd and Mason Rooney.

Cockrell, a Waxhaw native who attends Providence Day School, was a two-time all-conference player under former Davidson assistant coach Emily Carrara. She was also named to the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association all-state team her senior year.

Franz twice earned NCISAA state player of the year honors in leading Charlotte Country Day to back-to-back NCISAA 3A state titles her junior and senior years. She was also named all-conference three times, and earned the Observer’s player of the year award twice.

Rooney was a four-year starter at The Westminster School in Atlanta, Ga., where she earned All-American honors her senior year in leading her team to three straight Georgia AA state finals appearances. She was also the state 2A player of the year twice and all-state three times.

Shepherd was a two-time letter-winner at Bentonville High in Cave Springs, Ark., and led the team to the 7A state tournament finals her junior year. Thompson, also a defensive specialist, was twice named to the all-district team while playing for McKinney (Texas) High.

Morris breaks 44-year-old record

Wide receiver William Morris broke a 44-year-old program record for single-season receiving yardage, the one bright spot for a Davidson football team that finished the 2014 season 1-11 overall and 0-8 in Pioneer Football League play.

Morris, a junior, ended the season with 1,224 receiving yards, breaking the record of 1,128 set by Mike Mikolayunas during the 1970 season.

Morris also led the Wildcats with 98 receptions this season, the second-most in school history.

Morris can set at least two more records next season – he has 2,426 career receiving yards, just 344 yards away from matching the school record of 2,770 yards set by Lanny Funsten between 2009-2012, and his 175 career receptions is 54 behind Funsten.