Thursday, February 25, 2010

Full Speed Ahead

Hello, SHOUT readers...

You know, we all have those hectic windows in our work life--in taxes, it's early in the year; in retail, it's late in the year; for college conferences like the Big South, right now is one of those "peak season" windows.

Everyone in the Conference office is running around these days, but just using me (as the example I know best): last week I was at the swimming facility at UT in Knoxville for CCSA Championships, this weekend I'll be at the Indoor Track & Field Championships held at Clemson, and then right on the heels of that, it's off to a site to be determined for action in the Men's Basketball Championship tournament--and as soon as that's wrapped, we're off to High Point for the Women's Basketball Championship tourney AND the Big South Winter Meetings. And of course, in the middle of all that, our daily responsibilities don't go away, so the regular parts of the job are in there too.

Don't misunderstand--that's not complaining, just sharing--I want everyone to know that the staff at the Big South is hard at work to make the championship swing work at its best for all the student-athletes, teams, and institutions of the Conference...this is an exciting, dramatic time of the year, with so much going on for fans of all kinds--please enjoy the stellar competition and the coverage we offer from these great events.

On to the events themselves...

Last week I didn't get anything posted to SHOUT (and shame on me, sorry about that) while working poolside at Tennessee's Aquatic Center for the CCSA Swimming & Diving Championships. The nutshell recap: favorite Florida Gulf Coast University did swim away with the women's championship, while Davidson College made a splash in taking the men's title. Of those schools fielding both men's and women's teams, Davidson had the best performance, with a M-1/W-2 team result, but Gardner-Webb was just behind with a M-2/W-3 finish.

That was the third year for the CCSA (Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association), a joint venture of the Big South, Southern, Atlantic Sun, and MEAC. The champions for the three years: Men-- College of Charleston (2008, 2009) and Davidson (2010); Women-- Davidson (2008), Florida Gulf Coast (2009, 2010). The event has been held at Huntersville, NC, Athens, GA, and Knoxville, telling where we'll be in year four...

THIS week, it's on to the Big South's Indoor Track & Field Championships, again to be staged at the indoor facility on the campus at Clemson University. Recent years have been owned by Liberty's men and Coastal's women, but it's a clean slate for 2010 and all we know is that there will be plenty of speed, height, and strength on display (and all streamed live on the Big South Network of course). Outside of those perennial strong teams, keep an eye out for star performers like Felix Kitur of VMI and the Charleston Southern men's relay team.

MEANWHILE, oh yeah--the men's basketball races are on fire!

Here's what we know going into Thursday's games: Coastal Carolina, Winthrop, and Radford will host first round games (with the seeding order still up in the air a bit). That fourth home slot has not been settled, but three teams have a shot at it: Asheville has the inside track, Liberty is right behind if UNCA stumbles, and High Point needs to win out and get help to climb past UNCA and LU, making it the least likely of the trio. The Championship schedule is on the Big South website and will be updated as teams go into their slots.

The men's quarterfinals, along with the track championships and LOTS of other events are filling up the slate for the Big South Network this week--here's the link to the video on YouTube (not going to fight Blogger on the video embed this week). You can also get there by clicking it inside the Vortex box on the right side of SHOUT or using the Big South Network player right on, of course!

Well, I don't want to make this too long, so I'll spare you any lengthy stories about women's basketball (Gardner-Webb still rolling, Liberty right there--could be a finals collision in the making), baseball (Winthrop really opened up on fire, and Coastal is the real deal again), and softball (CSU knocked off a ranked Louisville squad)...just one more thing today...

Believe it or not, SHOUT is approaching an anniversary of sorts...the first live/public post for Big South SHOUT hit the web at the start of the Indoor Track & Field Championships at Clemson two years ago: February 29, 2008, to be precise. Seemed clever at the time to jump off on "Leap Day." Two years and 144 posts later, we're still SHOUT-ing...and we hope you keep reading.

Thank you for your support--we offer a grateful SHOUT-out to you all!

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