SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Southern Conference announced its January athletes of the month for men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s indoor track and field, rifle and wrestling Thursday, highlighting excellence among student-athletes during the month.
Devin Sibley, Furman, Jr., G
Furman guard Devin Sibley led the Paladins to a 6-2 mark in January, as the junior averaged 19.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game during the month. Sibley scored at least 21 points in five games during the eight games, leading the team in scoring each time. He scored 25 points against both Chattanooga and Western Carolina, each time falling one point shy of his season high, and he eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau for his career with 17 points in a win at Samford (Jan. 5). The Knoxville, Tennessee, native shot 59 percent from the field and knocked down 44 percent from 3-point range. Sibley connected on 30-of-37 attempts from the free-throw line for a percentage of .811.
Others nominated: Preston Parks (The Citadel), T.J. Cromer (ETSU), Ria’n Holland (Mercer), Francis Alonso (UNCG), Demetrius Denzel-Dyson (Samford), Justin Tuoyo (Chattanooga), QJ Peterson (VMI) and Eric Garcia (Wofford).
Jasmine Joyner, Chattanooga, Sr., C
Chattanooga’s Jasmine Joyner paced the Mocs to six consecutive victories in January, extending their win streak to 14 against SoCon opponents before falling at Furman on Saturday. The senior center was the only SoCon player to average a double-double in the month, with 16.6 points and 10.6 rebounds in seven games played. She recorded three double-doubles, topped 20 points three times, scored in double figures five times and recorded double-figure rebounds five times. Her 24 points against Mercer were a season-high and her 15 rebounds at Wofford were also a season best. Joyner, the nation’s leading shot-blocker (4.5 bpg), registered 40 blocks in January, nearly quadrupling the next-closest SoCon shot-blocker. The Southaven, Mississippi, native tied her own program record for blocked shots with nine against ETSU, setting a McKenzie Arena record. She had no fewer than four blocked shots in every game. In addition to leading the nation in blocked shots, Joyner led all SoCon rebounders for the month of January and leads the conference in rebounding for the season (9.8 rpg).
Others nominated: Tianna Tarter (ETSU), Whitney Bunn (Furman), Sydni Means (Mercer), Shanese Harris (UNCG), Hannah Nichols (Samford) and Chloe Wanink (Wofford).
MEN’S INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD
Greg Henderson, VMI, R-Jr.
VMI’s Greg Henderson won the men’s 60-meter and 200-meter races at the Keydets’ first meet inside their new Corps Physical Training Facility, which opened last Saturday. The redshirt junior set facility records in both events at the dual meet against The Citadel with a time of 6.83 seconds in the 60m and 21.78 seconds in the 200m. With a pair of first-place finishes, Henderson scored 10 of VMI’s 78 points, which proved to be the difference in the Keydets’ 78-68 win over the Bulldogs. His times in both events against The Citadel are SoCon season bests. The Woodbridge, Virrginia, native also hit the IC4A qualifying standard in both events for the second straight meet. Henderson also competed at the Liberty Kick Off meet on Jan. 20, in which he placed seventh in the 60m with a time of 6.89 seconds and 11th in the 200m in 22.13 seconds.
Others nominated: Emamuel Tait (Samford).
Tray Oates, Samford, R-Jr.
Samford’s Tray Oates won the men’s pole vault at the Kevin Stephen Invite in Birmingham, Alabama, last Sunday with a mark of 17 feet, 4.5 inches. The redshirt junior from Acworth, Georgia, currently holds the top mark in the SoCon and is ranked No. 19 among Division I competitors. Oates’ performance at the KMS Invite bested his own No. 1 SoCon mark of 17-0.75, which he set at the Vanderbilt Invitational on Jan. 20.
Others nominated: Scott Peretin (Western Carolina).
WOMEN’S INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD
Katrina Seymour, ETSU, Sr.
ETSU’s Katrina Seymour set three SoCon top times in January, in the women’s 60-meter, 200-meter and 400-meter. At the ETSU Invitational on Jan. 13, the senior from New Providence, Bahamas, placed first overall in the 60m preliminaries to advance to the finals, where she placed second overall, dashing across the finish line in 7.59 seconds. Two weeks later at Virginia Tech’s Hokie Invitational in Blacksburg, Virginia, Seymour set SoCon season highs in the 200m and the 400m. Her time of 55.00 seconds in the 400m earned her a fourth-place finish, and she notched a seventh-place finish in the 200m with a time of 24.62 seconds.
Hailey Cook, Western Carolina, Sr.
Western Carolina senior Hailey Cook won the women’s shot put at the ETSU Invitational on Jan. 13 with a mark of 14.41 meters. Cook’s mark of 14.41m currently ranks first among SoCon competitors. The Hendersonville, North Carolina, native also posted a SoCon-leading mark in the women’s weight throw with a distance of 16.48 meters at Marshall’s Thundering Herd Invitational on Jan. 27. Cook placed 13th overall for the Catamounts in the event.
Others nominated: Selena Popp (Samford).
Brianna Shaw, North Georgia, So.
North Georgia sophomore Brianna Shaw averaged 565.67 in smallbore in three January competitions, twice setting personal records. At the Withrow Open, which featured seven ranked teams in No. 3 Murray State, No. 5 Kentucky, No. 9 NC State, No. 11 Memphis, No. 14 Jacksonville State and No. 19 UT Martin in addition to 20th-ranked UNG, Shaw turned in a PR of 567. The Agra, Kansas, native followed that up with a 561 in a match against No. 4 Air Force, The Citadel, VMI and Wofford, turning in the third-highest mark among SoCon student-athletes on the day. Shaw, still battling shoulder and back injuries suffered last semester, followed that up with a personal-best 569 in an exhibition against No. 9 NC State, sharing the team lead in smallbore and posting a team-best and season-high 1145 aggregate score.
Others nominated: Colton Poole (The Citadel) and Samantha Alexander (VMI women).
Allison Auten, The Citadel, So.
The Citadel’s Allison Auten turned in an average of 584.00 in air rifle in three January competitions. She finished first in the discipline with a score of 584 in the Bulldogs’ Jan. 21 match against Georgia Southern and Clemson, then followed that up with a seventh-place showing in a competition against No. 4 Air Force, No. 20 North Georgia, VMI and Wofford a week later. The sophomore from Abbeville, South Carolina, closed out her month with a personal-record 590 to finish fourth against No. 4 Air Force on Jan. 29, becoming just the second student-athlete in the SoCon to shoot at least a 590 this season. With her strong January, Auten lifted her team-best season average to 576.70 in air rifle.
Others nominated: Lucas Gilliland (North Georgia) and Hunter Jacob (VMI).
Bryce Carr, Chattanooga, R-Jr., 184 pounds
Chattanooga redshirt junior Bryce Carr went 10-3 in January, knocking off two ranked opponents and moving into the top 20 nationally himself. Half of his 10 wins in the month resulted in bonus points, as Carr earned four major decisions and a fall. The Mocs’ 184-pounder opened his month with a third-place showing at the Southern Scuffle, downing Northern Colorado’s Dylan Gabel and Gardner-Webb’s Hunter Gamble, ranked 20th and 19th, respectively, in consecutive matches. All three of his losses came in overtime, and two of them were to ranked opponents in No. 14 Drew Foster of Northern Illinois at the Scuffle and No. 9 Jack Dechow of Old Dominion at the Virginia Duals. The Dublin, Georgia, native went 2-1 in SoCon action, pinning SIUE’s Jake Godinez in 3:19 and earning a 14-4 major decision over Davidson’s Konner Pritchard. Carr, named the league’s wrestler of the week on Jan. 4, is currently ranked 19th nationally at 184 pounds.
Others nominated: Colby Smith (Appalachian State), Aaron Walker (The Citadel), Jere Heino (Campbell), Tony Palumbo (Davidson) and Jake McKiernan (SIUE).
Southern Conference January Athletes of the Month
Men’s basketball Devin Sibley, Furman
Women’s basketball Jasmine Joyner, Chattanooga
Men’s indoor track and field – track Greg Henderson, VMI
Men’s indoor track and field – field Tray Oates, Samford
Women’s indoor track and field – track Katrina Seymour, ETSU
Women’s indoor track and field – field Hailey Cook, Western Carolina
Rifle – smallbore Brianna Shaw, North Georgia
Rifle – air rifle Allison Auten, The Citadel
Wrestling Bryce Carr, Chattanooga