Editorial: Last year was great for UNCW sports

Noah Thomas | Sports Editor

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With the publishing of this article, I am now a sophomore in my first year of being sports editor at UNC Wilmington. You can probably guess which part of that sentence is harder to believe.

A year ago, I was a baby-faced member of the 2019 freshman class who didn’t know the first thing about the history or modern dynamic of UNCW athletics. A year later, I’m leading the charge on the student-led sports coverage.

Before I knew it, a lot of historical moments were taking place around me.

After floating in-and-out of a few volleyball matches at the beginning of the year, the team went on to win the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament championship in November — it’s first. 

By that time, basketball season was in full swing and Kevin Keatts was leading the Seahawks in his second season at the helm of a rebuilding program. Starting off 6-0, the UNCW men’s basketball team went nearly wire-to-wire with at least a share of first place in the regular season standings.

A misstep toward the end left the Seahawks in a tie with Hofstra, giving the latter the No. 1 seed in the CAA Tournament. Chris Flemmings — the walk-on transfer out of Barton College who emerged as UNCW’s best player — just missed out on being named the league’s player of the year to Hofstra’s Juan’ya Green.

UNCW would meet Hofstra for a third time in the championship game of the CAA Tournament. Played in Baltimore, nearly halfway between the two schools, it was anybody’s game.

Regulation ended in a tie. In overtime, the Seahawks were finally able to take the lead for good on a three-point play by freshman C.J. Bryce. UNCW won its first conference title since 2006, 80-73.

You already know what happened in the NCAA Tournament against Duke. I won’t bother recounting that game here.

Just like that, UNCW had two conference championships to its credit for the academic year. Could it potentially make it three in the spring?

The baseball team caught fire like no one thought possible. The Diamond Hawks blazed through their schedule, lighting up every offensive statistic imaginable. They averaged nearly nine runs per game, which ranked amongst the best in the nation.

After dooming themselves in the CAA Tournament, the baseball team would have to settle for a regular season title and a spot in the Columbia Regional in the NCAA Tournament.

Two routs of Duke and Rhode Island later, UNCW had two chances to go toe-to-toe with South Carolina on the latter’s home turf. After all was said and done, the SEC powerhouse proved too much for the mid-major coastal college from North Carolina.

The upshot of the whole thing: UNCW came really close to breaking through and earning its first berth to a Super Regional.

Another conclusion to baseball season brought an end to UNCW’s athletic calendar. And, in my opinion, it was one of the best in recent memory. 

Many other significant events occurred in the world of Seahawk sports a year ago that were left out of this article, but my hope is that you can experience and build memories of your own in the coming seasons.

A lot will be transpiring on the campus’s various courts and fields this academic year. Hopefully, we here at The Seahawk will be able to guide you through it.