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SW Virginia CC nixes fall sports because of virus

Kevin Mays • Jul 6, 2020 at 2:00 PM

CLAYPOOL HILL — After one year of sports at Southwest Virginia Community College, the school recently announced it is canceling all fall sports seasons because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“While we are disappointed that we won’t be able to compete in the fall season, we must always put the health and safety of our student athletes as our number one priority,” SWCC athletic director Jason Vencill said in a release.

“We are very eager and excited to see athletic competition return to campus and hope to see everyone out supporting the Flying Eagles when we return to active competition this winter.”

SWCC started fielding competitive athletic programs last year. The school competes in 14 sports: seven men’s teams and seven women’s teams. The Flying Eagles play in Region 10 of the National Junior College Athletic Association,

Five SWCC sports — volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer and men’s and women’s cross country — are normally played in the fall and won’t be active this year.

The school said it will honor all letters of intent for its fall sports student-athletes but will grant any request to be released, allowing an athlete to transfer to another school.

Volleyball coach Alexis Carson said the news is heartbreaking, but she understands the reasoning behind the decision.

“I think it goes without saying how upsetting this is for our team and athletic department, but we completely understand the tough decisions that had to be made with all of our safety in mind,” said Carson, a Lee High and Tennessee graduate who coached the Lady Generals before taking the SWCC position last fall. “Coming off of a very successful inaugural season, we were ready to get to work and hit the court this fall.

“We had a great group of girls returning for a second season and added several strong players to our roster who were ready to contribute on the court immediately.

“The biggest thing for me as a coach right now is to make sure that my players stay positive and are ready to get back to work as soon as we get the green light to do so,” Carson said.

Volleyball was the school’s most successful fall program in the first year.

The Flying Eagles finished 7-14, including a 4-3 mark in Region 10 play and a third-place finish in the six-team region.

Union alum Jenna Wade and Lebanon alum Kayla Bollinger were All-Region 10 picks. Wade, a libero and defensive specialist, totaled 430 digs and 19 aces during the season. Bollinger, a setter, finished with 463 assists, 36 aces 23 blocks.

SWCC also had two second-team all-region picks: outside hitter Abby Vicars, a Rye Cove grad, and outside hitter and defensive specialist Paige Flint out of Southwest Florida Christian Academy. Vicars totaled 121 kills and 147 digs, and Flint had 108 kills, 198 digs and 39 aces.

Former Rye Cove standout Grace Rhoton also had a solid year with the Eagles, compiling 83 kills, 146 digs and 19 aces, and Honaker alum Madison Viers had 74 kills as an opposite hitter.

The roster also included Lauren Perkins (Honaker), Baleigh O’Quin-Crisp (Tazewell), Jada Mullins (Honaker) and Alison Bandy (Grundy).

SWCC’s current plans call for its winter sports teams — men’s and women’s basketball and wrestling — and spring sports squads — baseball, softball, men’s and women’s golf and men’s and women’s tennis — to go on as originally scheduled.

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