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Geren’s national recognition highlights Milligan’s fall success

Kassi Butcher • Dec 11, 2019 at 12:00 PM

Milligan College volleyball's Kellee Geren earned honorable mention on the 2019 NAIA and American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America teams, announced the NAIA and AVCA national offices Tuesday.

The honor caps off what was an already well-accomplished 2019 campaign for the senior, in which she was named AVCA Northeast Region Player of the Year, Appalachian Athletic Conference Player of the Year, AAC Setter of the Year, AVCA All-Region, All-AAC first team and AAC all-tournament.

Geren is the fifth Milligan volleyball member to receive this honor.

“Kellee is so deserving of this honor,” said Lady Buffs coach Doneva Bays. “She has had a phenomenal career at Milligan and has been an instrumental part of our program’s success.”

Geren led the team to back-to-back national championship appearances in 2018 and 2019. She also was a key part in the team winning the AAC North Division two years in a row.

Geren was named AAC setter of the week six times this season and won the award 19 times in her career.

Geren led the league in assists with 1,316 on the season and averaged 10 per set. Geren also set a school record for career assists with 4,902, passing the previous mark of 4,279 set in 2012. Geren finished her senior campaign with 371 digs, 27 service aces and 75 kills.

Softball scheduled to play USA Olympic team

For the second time in school history, Milligan's softball team will compete against the USA Softball Women's National Team as part of their "Stand Beside Her" tour to prepare for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. The exhibition game will be played at TVA Credit Union Ballpark on Saturday, May 30, 2020, at 1 p.m.

The 2020 USA Team roster includes two Olympic medalists — pitchers Monica Abbott and Cat Osterman — as well as members of the 2018 World Championship team and 2019 Pan American Games Gold Medal team.

"Milligan softball is extremely honored and excited to work with USA Softball and the Johnson City Visitors and Convention Bureau to bring a world class event to Johnson City," said Mark Fox, Milligan vice president for athletics and student development. “The fact that this will be our last athletic event as Milligan College is a unique way for Milligan athletics to close one chapter in our long history of success and launch our program toward setting new standards of achievement as Milligan University.”

Men’s basketball picks up two conference wins

Tyler Nichols scored his 1,000th career point and the men's basketball team defeated Kentucky Christian University 80-58 on Wednesday night inside Steve Lacy Fieldhouse. This past Saturday the men’s basketball team faced AAC top contender Bryan and defeated them 84-69.

Against KCU, Milligan posted a .525 field-goal percentage and a .667 free-throw percentage. Nichols had a game high of 24 points. Desean Green and Matt Cole also reached double digit scoring with 20 and 11 points, respectively.

Mike Featherston accounted for four Milligan blocks and had a career high of 14 rebounds.

Three members of the men's team achieved career highs as the Buffs defeated the Lions of Bryan College. Senior Bo Pless had a career and a game high of 20 points against the Lions. Pless was 6 for 9 on 3-point shots and 7 for 10 in the field-goal department. Freshmen Micah Paulk and Cole also had career highs for their efforts against Bryan. Paulk scored 18 points while Cole had 12 rebounds.

Jacob Cawood was the only other Buff with double digit scoring with 19 points. Pless, Cawood and Paulk all three had the highest points scored in the game with Austin Douglas having the team high for Bryan scoring 17 points.

Milligan’s next home game will be Jan. 4 at 4 p.m. against Reinhardt University.

Women split against AAC competition

Senior Kaely Gose went off for 28 points and 18 rebounds to lead the women's basketball team to a 74-65 win over Kentucky Christian University Wednesday night. The Lady Buffs then played nationally ranked Bryan College on Saturday and fell 94-76.

Against KCU, Gose's double-double was the fourth of her Milligan career and second of this season. Halie Padgett registered a double-double of her own, the first of her career, with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Hannah Wyrick scored eight while Bailey Berry and Malarie Tallent had seven apiece. Wyrick's eight points came alongside five rebounds and four assists. Tallent had three rebounds, three assists and five steals.

A third-quarter comeback put the Buffs down by only five but it was not enough to overcome No. 18 Bryan. Lauren Baxter hit a pair of 3-pointers as part of the 31-point third quarter.

Gose led the Buffs with her third double-double of the season consisting of 20 points and 13 rebounds. Lily Griffith followed with a career high 17, and Padgett scored 12. Wyrick tallied four assists, and Berry came up with two steals.

Milligan’s next home game will be against Alice Lloyd College Monday, Dec. 30, at 2 p.m.

Indoor track season begins

Indoor track season kicked off this past week as the Buffs competed at nearby Montreat College. A one-through-six finish on both sides of the 5,000 meters highlighted the day, while several other Buffs earned noteworthy results.

Nathan Baker, an indoor national champion over 3,000 meters coming off an All-American run at the cross country national championships, led a herd of Buffaloes who dominated the 5k on the men's side. This followed the women's race, which finished in the similar fashion with Bekah Owen leading the way as the Buffs claimed each of the top six spots.

Other podium finishes included Brianna Buck with a 1.57-meter high jump, posting her best season-opening jump while also taking three attempts at 1.62 meters. Allie Rose won both the shot put and weight throw.

Jarad Turpen in the men's high jump and Kiley Wood in the women's 200 meters were runners-up in their events. Rasheem Brown, a two-time national champion last season, opened his 2019-20 campaign with a runner-up in the 200 meters. Brown ran a time of 22.41

Lastly, Seth Nicol nabbed a third-place finish in the men's mile with a time of 4:38.

The Buffs’ next competition will be at the Keydet Invitational Friday-Saturday, Jan. 17-18.

Rounding it up for the Buffs

Cycling will compete in the Cyclocross National Championships Dec. 11-15. Last year, the Buffs finished in seventh place.

Swimming competed in the Transylvania Invitational this past weekend and came in second place. Maggie Halloran and Sterling Burnett highlighted the swim team’s performance. Halloran won and earned national A-cut times in the 200 free (1:58.43), 500 free (5:13.87) and 200 back (2:13.79). She was a part of the winning 400 medley relay and the 200 free relay.

Burnett recorded an individual first-place finish in the 100 back with a time of 51.27 — where he also broke the school record and earned a national-A cut. He earned national-A cuts in the 50 free with a time of 21.89 and 100 free with a time of 45.51. Burnett was also part of the 400 medley relay who broke the school record with a time of 3:34.39.

Milligan's next competition will be Saturday, Jan. 25, as they host the Milligan College Invitational.

There are only a couple events left in the 2019 season as Milligan begins to get ready for the second half of the winter sport’s season and spring sports begin to prepare for their seasons.

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