Olympic Sports Off To A Good Start
by Coach Gary Overton

With the hiring of Head Football Coach Skip Holtz and Head Basketball Coach Ricky Stokes as well as the opening of beautiful new Clark-LeClair stadium, it's not unusual to sometimes overlook the teams involved in Olympic Sport competition. Participants in these Olympic Sports may not get the prestige or status which comes along for contestants of revenue producing sports. Teams may not receive the regard or stature of their higher profile counterparts but the athletes play just as hard and represent ECU in a likewise class manner.

Spring season in athletics at ECU is off to a very solid start and there are many individual as well as team accomplishments for which Pirates everywhere can be proud. Most schedules are well under way and here is a look at several accolades.

The men's golf team saw East Carolina junior Robin Smith shoot a final round 68 to win the individual title at the 10th Annual Bradford Creek Intercollegiate Golf Classic. In addition to Smith's accomplishment the ECU team captured 1st Place in the eighteen team field. The team is now set to play in the Pinehurst Invitational on the famed Pinehurst #2 course, site of the 2005 U.S. Open, this coming weekend. The women's golf team recently claimed second place in the twelve team field of the Papa John's Collegiate event in Miami as the Lady Pirates place four golfers in the top 23 places of this event. Senior Adrienne Millican is a two time All Conference USA performer and she continues to rewrite the East Carolina women's golf record book after every outing.

East Carolina men's tennis senior Felipe Foseca was named Conference USA Tennis Athlete-of-the-Week in January and the team has posted impressive wins over James Madison, Coastal Carolina and UNC-Wilmington. In women's play Kirstin Buchanan and Gillie Bailey lead a talented team which compiled seven consecutive wins during February and presently stands 12-5 for the season.

The Lady Pirate Softball team currently sits at 36-8 with a conference record of 4-2 after winning the Hoo's Who Tournament last weekend in Charlottesville, VA. Sophmore Keli Harrell of Rose High School continues her excellent work on the mound after throwing a no-hitter and being named Conference USA Pitcher-of-the-week earlier in the year. Junior Stephanie Hayes was named Conference USA Pitcher-of-the-Week just last week after being named Most Outstanding Pitcher at the Winthrop Invitational and both of these Lady Pirates create a formidable 1-2 punch on the pitching staff. Offense is hitting a blistering .311 as the Lady Pirates enter the heart of conference play.

ECU's men's track team begins competition in the Raleigh Relays after LaShawn Merritt earned Conference USA Male Freshman-of-the-year honors following an impressive two days at the C-USA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Even though LaShawn will not be with the Pirates this spring, having turned professional, Coach Bill Carson's reputation for fielding strong teams, again holds true. Junior Chelsea Salisbury opened ECU's outdoor women's track season by surpassing an NCAA Regional qualifying standard in the javelin throw at the Seahawk Invitational and freshman Amy Hart led the Lady Pirates in running events finishing first in the 400 meters.

Spring sports are in full bloom and athletes are competing at a feverish pitch as honors and awards continue to roll in for these and many others. Pirates everywhere can be proud of that which is accomplished on the fields of play in every sport.

Coach Gary Overton