Thomas named to Unitas list

Appalachian State quarterback Zac Thomas was named to the John Unitas Golden Arm Award watch list.

BOONE — Appalachian State’s Zac Thomas is one of 20 quarterbacks named a finalist for the 2019 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which narrowed its list Tuesday after beginning the season with 49 candidates.

Presented by A.O. Smith, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award is presented annually to the top senior or fourth-year junior quarterback.

Thomas has completed 70.8 percent of his passes this season for 949 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions. The Mountaineers have won their last 16 games with him as the team’s primary quarterback, and he’s moved forward from a redshirt sophomore season in which he was named the Sun Belt Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year.

The award will be presented on Dec. 11 in Baltimore.

Volleyball

NEW ORLEANS — For the second straight week, Appalachian State setter Sam Bickley has been named Sun Belt Volleyball Freshman of the Week.

Bickley also earned the award last week along with teammate Emma Reilly, who was tabbed as Sun Belt Volleyball Defensive Player of the Week. She becomes the first Mountaineer to win Sun Belt Freshman of the Year twice in a season since Kara Spicer did so in the 2017 season.

In a pair of Mountaineer road Sun Belt wins this weekend, Bickley dished out 91 assists (11.38 a/s), 12 digs (1.50 d/s) and four kills.

In App State’s 3-2 comeback win at Louisiana on Oct. 4, she dished out 55 assists, to go along with six digs and a block. She followed that up with a 36-assist, six-dig effort, while adding two block assists.

On the season, Bickley has dished out a conference leading 652 assists and sits second in the league in assist average at 10.52.

Men’s cross-country

NEW ORLEANS — Appalachian State sophomore men’s cross country runner Ryan Brown has been named Sun Belt Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Week.

It marks the first Sun Belt Runner of the Week honor in Brown’s career.

At the Greater Louisville Classic on Oct. 5, Brown led the Mountaineers across the finish line, placing 20th overall in a field of over 375 runners with a time of 24:15.0. His time also bettered his personal record, set earlier this season at the Mountains to Sea Open, by two seconds.

The Mountaineers placed seventh of 41 teams at the meet, finishing ahead of SEC schools Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Mississippi State. App State also was the third highest finishing team in its region at the meet.

Women’s soccer

KANSAS CITY — For the ninth straight season, App State women’s soccer was named a United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award winner.

A total of 989 college teams (345 men, 644 women) earned the Team Academic Award, including 255 schools who had both their men’s and women’s programs among the recipients. Appalachian was among those programs with both its men’s and women’s teams being honored.

College Team Academic Award recipients are active members of the United Soccer Coaches College Services Program with a composite grade point average of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale for all players on the roster for the 2018-19 academic year.

“I am so proud of this group and their continued excellence in the classroom,” head coach Sarah Strickland said. “They are high achiever, really hold themselves to the highest standard and consistently represent the “A” in the classroom.”The Mountaineers will return to action on Oct. 13 at 2 p.m. (ET) when they take on Little Rock in the conclusion of a three-match road trip.

Men’s soccer

NEW ORLEANS — Zeiko Harris was named Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week, the league announced Oct. 8. This is the defender’s second honor this season, and the Mountaineers fourth defensive honor this year.

‘We are happy for Zeiko to get this recognition for all his efforts,” head coach Jason O’Keefe said. “It takes a team to earn wins and shutouts but he is certainly a strong force and leader in our defense, which translates to success. I am sure he will be grateful and use this as continued motivation to keep working hard.”

Harris anchored the Mountaineer backline that held Central Arkansas scoreless on Oct. 6 for App State’s first conference win and fifth shutout of the season. The Sandys Parish, Bermuda native has started every game for the Mountaineers so far this season, playing the full 90 minutes in every shutout for App State.

The Appalachian defense currently ranks eighth nationally in save percentage (.851) and shutout percentage (.600), while its .685 goals against average leads the Sun Belt. The Mountaineers have only allowed seven goals through 920 minutes of play.

App State was recently ranked 6th in the Southeast region by United Soccer Coaches, the fifth week in a row the Mountaineers have been ranked in the top 10 of the region. The 7-2-1 Mountaineers are back in action at 7 p.m., on Oct. 12, hosting Sun Belt opponent Howard.

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