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Milligan cycling enjoying a productive fall

Dave Ongie • Updated Dec 16, 2015 at 7:25 PM

It’s cyclocross season for Milligan’s cycling program, and the campaign is off to a good start.

The Buffs, who scored a runner-up finish at the cyclocross nationals last season, have competed in three events over the past month, starting with an event at the University of Alabama in Huntsville on Nov. 15.

The Milligan women swept the top five spots in Huntsville. Hannah Swan captured the win and was followed across the finish line by teammates Zoe Mullins, Tori Kanizer, Morgan Miller and Stephanie Cucaz.

The men were led in Huntsville by Drew Bailey’s second-place finish.

The next week in an event at King University, the Milligan relay team represented by Mullins, Swan, Bailey and Fletcher Lydick came home in fourth place. Individually, Milligan’s Samuel Wentworth finished second in the men’s B field while Bailey locked up another runner-up finish in the main race with Lydick and Drew Baldwin landing in the top 20.

In a race at Mars Hill on Dec. 5, the relay team finished second. The women were led by Swan’s seventh-place finish while Bailey earned a third-place result for the men.

With another trip to the nationals ahead, Milligan coach Zack Nave likes his team’s chances.

“We hope to be able to stay consistent, finish strong, and use our momentum from the conference championship to lead us into the national championship with some confidence,” Nave said.

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Milligan cross-country and track coach Chris Layne landed nine commits before the fall signing period last month, and on Wednesday, the Buffs added a couple more distance runners to the cross-country and track teams.

Sam Tilleros and Clay Yeaton will join a deep and talented group of distance runners next fall, and Layne is excited to see what they bring to the table.

“Sam and Clay are just a great fit for us across the board," Layne said. "There's no question they both have a ton of upside as they take the next step, and I'm extremely excited to get the opportunity to coach both of these young men."

Tilleros ran for Madison Academic Magnet High School in Jackson and finished 35th in the TSSAA Cross-Country Championships this year. He also had an accomplished track career at 800 meters.

Yeaton hails from Batesville, Indiana, where he finished in the top 50 in the sectional and regional competitions this fall.

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Milligan middle hitter Emilee Linkous was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Northeast Region First Team after putting together a stellar senior season. The AVCA announced the award winners on Wednesday.

Linkous was a force in the middle of the front line for the Buffs this season and was named to the all-Appalachian Athletic Conference first team. She registered over 300 kills and 100 blocks, and finished the year third in the conference in hitting percentage at .270. She also ranked 31st nationally in total blocks (134) while tallying 81 digs and 29 service aces.

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