Durham News: Sports

NC Central has become the cradle of HBCU coaches

Another North Carolina Central assistant coach has left the nest.

Assistant women’s basketball head coach L’Tona Lamonte is leaving to take the head-coaching job at her alma mater, Winston-Salem State University.

Lamonte spent one season at NCCU, where the Eagles finished 5-23. She also coached at Belmont University and North Carolina State as director of basketball operations.

Lamonte’s move to Winston-Salem marks the second time in barely more than 60 days that a N.C. Central assistant has become a head coach at another HBCU school. In March, running backs coach Adrian Jones departed NCCU to become the football head coach at Shaw.

Bronze medals

N.C. Central earned five bronze medals at the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships, which concluded Saturday on the campus of N.C. A&T State.

The five medals – all bronze – were captured by freshman Bethany White (11.74 seconds in the 100 meters), Kevin Vincent (52.53 in the 400), Zoe Ellis (12.28 meters in the triple jump), the women’s 4x100-meter relay (Markiara Staten, White, Santese Pryor, Christa Landy) with a time of 45.88, and the men’s 4x100m relay (Joshua McClam, Deontae Williams, Jonathan Williams, Isaac Roberts) with a time of 40.42.

The NCCU men’s ninth place was their best finish at the conference outdoor championship since rejoining the MEAC in the 2011-12 season. The NCCU women tied for 10th place with 22 points.

Crunch time

N.C. Central’s baseball team exploded for five runs in the first inning and Andrew Vernon collected his record-breaking 15th career save as the Eagles won 9-6 Saturday against Florida A&M University.

In the day’s second game at the Durham Athletic Park, the Eagles lost a pitching dual with FAMU and fell 4-0, but NCCU (24-26, 11-12 MEAC) already had enough wins to guarantee itself a spot in the upcoming MEAC championship tournament.

NCCU went 10 innings Sunday before yielding a single, game-winning run in the top of the 10th as FAMU won 1-0.

Earlier last week, senior James Dey was named to Co-SIDA’s academic first team. Dey has a 3.84 GPA in history and a membership in the University Honors Program. He also earned The Chancellor’s Award as N.C. Central’s male student-athlete of the year.

On the field, he’s batting .336, the highest of his four-year career, with seven doubles and five home runs.

“This is a well-deserved honor for Jamie,” baseball coach Jim Koerner said. “He has worked very hard in the classroom and on the field. This achievement is a culmination of four years of hard work.”

NCCU ends its regular season today back at the DAP at 6 p.m. against Charleston Southern.

Rival revenge

Archrival N.C. A&T knocked the Eagles out of contention for the MEAC softball tournament with a three-game sweep in the last conference games of the regular season. The Eagles (8-42) bounced back to end end their season Saturday with a two-game sweep of Appalachian State, 9-7 and 8-5. All five NCCU seniors had at least one hit and one RBI on the day.

Earlier, senior second baseman Jenny Tracy was named to the 2016 Academic All-District Softball Team by Co-SIDA. Tracy has a 4.0 GPA in business and was recently honored with The Chancellor’s Award as the NCCU female student-athlete of the year.

She started 126 career games despite suffering season-ending injuries in her freshman and junior years.

“She has been a blessing to have on our program. She has mentored and tutored our team and, athletically, she is one of the toughest players I have ever coached,” coach Theresa Stephens said.