Milligan Notes: Runners West for NAIA National Meeting | Sports

By Andy Stanko

Milligan University

The 2.

The men start at 1:30 p.m. and the women start at 2:30 p.m.

Both teams won the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) titles two weeks ago in Georgia. The men had six of the top seven placements, while the women had five of the top seven singles at the AAC championships.

Aaron Jones was the second year individual champion of the AAC for the second consecutive season and was named USTFCCCA South Region Athlete of the Year. Sophomore Alyssa Bearzi won the women’s individual AAC crown and PhD student Lemi Wutz was runner-up in the AAC and USTFCCCA South Region Athlete of the Year.

Head Coach Chris Layne was named USTFCCCA South Region’s Coach of the Year for the second year running.

Milligan currently has 25 Cross Country All-Americans (13 women, 12 men). The Buffs have each achieved top 15 finishes in the women’s championship race for the past six years. Milligan’s men recorded their highest ever result with third place last spring.

The Buffs have four returning All-Americans on the men’s side in Jones, Nathan Baker and Eli Cramer. Avery DeWolf Burton took All-American Laurel in sixth place last year, and Wutz was a two-time Cross-Country All-American at SCAD-Savannah.

Men’s soccer

Milligan University men’s soccer team has received a major bid for the opening round of the NAIA men’s national soccer championship.

It’s the second season in a row that the Buffs have occupied a national postseason spot, the third time overall, and the first time Milligan has made the postseason via a large berth.

The # 16 Buffs were ranked in the top 25 in every NAIA Men’s Football Coach poll, finishing in 9th place during the season. Milligan defeated four teams that got votes in the top 25, including # 11 Dalton State.

The Buffs led the nation with 11 shutouts and ranked in the country’s top 10 with goals per game (4.17) and goals against average (0.54).

Milligan was named the No. 2 Seed on the Fort Wayne Bracket hosted by Indiana Tech. Milligan will take on third-placed Iowa William Penn. The statesmen recorded four wins over ranked opponents in 2021, including a 2-1 win over Missouri Valley, the reigning national champions of the NAIA.

The Buffs and (RV) statesmen will meet on Thursday at 4 p.m. The winner will play against the winner of No. 9 Indiana Tech and (RV) Warner Pacific on Saturday at 1 p.m., the venue for the 2021 NAIA National Championship.


Milligan’s No. 2 and No. 4 tier championship and women’s swim teams are prepared to swim some of their fastest times of the season at the Buffs midseason meeting, Fall Frenzy Invitational, this weekend in Charlotte.

The meeting, hosted by Queens (NC), will showcase some of the best NCAA Division II teams in the country, including No. 2 queens and No. 4 Wingate in the men and No. 2 Wingate and No. 3 queens for women.

Second year Stephen Gilbert and Gabby MacPherson won AAC’s Swimmer of the Week awards last week for their efforts against Lynchburg and Roanoke at Liberty University last Saturday.

Gilbert had a NAIA “A” average and a school record in the 200 freestyle at 1: 39.85. He posted two preliminary times and first place in the 100 free (46.70) and 400 IM (4: 08.82). All three of his individual swims finished top three nationwide and his 200s were the second fastest in the NAIA that season.

MacPherson won the 100 fly (1: 00.48) and 200 fly (2: 10.38) with NAIA tentative times. Both swimmers helped their respective teams to make a pair of NAIA “A” cuts in the 400 individual locations and 400 free relays to book the meet.

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