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Milligan athletics approaching fall championship season

Daniel Manget • Oct 1, 2019 at 10:14 PM


With fall officially here, the calendar has been getting busier and busier for the Buffaloes at Milligan College.

Fall sports are in full swing with, among others, a couple of nationally ranked cross country teams and a record-setting golf team. Plus, the championship portion of the season is fast approaching.

Nationally ranked in cross  country                   

The Buffs have been putting in the work, and it has shown through the first three meets of the season. Undefeated through the first two events, the Buffaloes went to Charlotte, North Carolina, last weekend and posted results fitting for a program that ranks No. 9 on the women’s side and No. 16 on the men’s side.

Sophomore Gabrielle Mardis and junior Nathan Baker led the teams with fourth- and ninth-place finishes individually as both Buffs teams landed runner-up.

The field was large, with approximately 40 teams and 400 individuals entered to compete on each side. Mardis and Baker each earned Appalachian Athletic Conference runner of the week following their performance, marking the second time this season Milligan swept the AAC weekly award.

Milligan went into the event undefeated on the season, as the Buffs had posted a head-to-head win over Tennessee Wesleyan on campus earlier this season after topping the field at Tusculum’s Zaxby’s Open during the opening week. Mardis and Baker both won the head-to-head meet while senior Hannah Bell (runner-up) and freshman Jake Crow (third) led Milligan at Tusculum.

Milligan has one more event on the schedule, the Dual at Tweetsie Trail Oct. 25, before entering the championship portion of the season. The Buffs look to continue their sustained success at the Nov. 8 conference meet before doing the same at the NAIA national meet on Nov. 22. The women have won the AAC championship 14 of the last 16 years while the men have won it two of the last four.

Record-setting golf team

On the way to winning the East Tennessee Collegiate this week at Johnson City Country Club, the women’s golf team broke the 18-hole Milligan team scoring record.

Nellie Berglund (1 under par 71) led the Buffs with the tourney-low round on day one before Michaela Lindahl took third to lead Milligan at the end of day two. Berglund (71-81), Lindahl (72-77) and Emma Brown (75-77) all earned spots on the all-tournament team.

On the men’s side, the Buffs took third as a team in the field of nine programs. Dane Rheinecker (74-71) claimed sixth individually, moving up one spot and helping the Buffs shoot 14 strokes better on the second day. Following Rheinecker were Caleb Milligan (78-70) and David Lang (78-70), who tied for 11th.

Rounding up the Buffaloes

Also competing for Milligan currently are the soccer, volleyball, cycling and tennis teams.

The soccer teams are at the midpoint of their seasons, with the women sitting fifth overall in the thick of the conference race. The men opened the regular season and conference season with big wins but slumped into a four-game losing streak.

Milligan’s volleyball team, despite a similar slump, ranks fourth in the North Division of the conference, very much in the thick of the conference race.

The cycling team wrapped up an outstanding national championship event in track season and now turns its attention to mountain bike season — and, soon after, cyclocross season. The tennis teams, who play an abbreviated schedule in the fall, continue their season with four matches in October.

By this time in November, Milligan basketball and Milligan swim will also be in full swing, and it will be an even busier fall season for the Buffaloes.

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