Winthrop University

Winthrop roundup: Eagles eSports program has its first head coach

Nearly two months ago, Winthrop announced the launch of its eSports program. Now, that program has a leader.

Winthrop University announced last week its hiring of Joshua Sides to helm the program.

Sides has experience with launching an eSports program, as he played a key role in starting the program at St. Ambrose (Iowa) University in 2018. That Fighting Bees program placed third at two invitational tournaments in its initial year, and last year went 21-4, notching victories over big-name programs such as Michigan State and Oklahoma.

“Josh brings a great entrepreneurial spirit, along with his experience and expertise building a successful eSports program,” said Winthrop Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Ken Halpin. “He’s going to be a great addition to the Winthrop community, and we can’t wait for him to get started.”

Sides will quickly begin work on building the program, as he is slated to assume his role next Tuesday, April 16.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to build one of the first eSports programs in Division I NCAA athletics, and I would like to thank Dr. Halpin and the members of the search committee for selecting me as the head coach for this undertaking,” said Sides.

Winthrop’s eSports program will begin competition this fall.

Thorn and Soloveva named Eagles of the Month

Winthrop athletes Colby Thorn (track and field) and Alisa Soloveva (women’s tennis) claimed Eagles of the Month honors for March, the school announced last week.

Thorn twice received Big South Field Athlete of the Week honors, ranking in the top 20 of the East region in the long jump. The junior again starred over the weekend, winning the long jump event in the Phoenix Invitational in Elon, N.C.

Soloveva won all nine of her singles matches in March, with seven coming in Big South play. The junior ran her consecutive wins streak to 16 Sunday at N.C. State.

Baseball jumps back into second with series win against High Point

Coming off a tough weekend at Radford, Eagle baseball has won 3-of-4, including a series victory over High Point at the Winthrop Ballpark over the weekend.

Sophomore right-hander Zach Peek started the series in style Friday, scattering seven hits and two runs over 8.1 innings pitched and fanning eight. Peek ran his record to 4-1 with the 8-2 victory over the Panthers. The Eagle bats aided their hurler, with Scout McFalls, Spencer Yankle, and Grant English hitting long balls. McFalls drove in three.

Junior righty Nate Pawelczyk kept up the stellar mound results in a 7-1 victory Saturday, allowing just five hits over eight innings. Pawelczyk whiffed six Panther batters, walking just one. English left the yard again in support of Pawelczyk, plating two Eagles.

The Panthers exacted a bit of revenge Sunday, taking the series finale, 7-4. Hunter Lipscomb homered and drove in two for the Eagles, while Jake Sullivan also added a round-tripper.

Winthrop (17-14, 8-4 Big South) hosts Davidson Tuesday at 6 p.m., then heads to UNC Asheville for a three-game series next weekend.

Lacrosse starts league play with two wins

Winthrop lacrosse endured a bit of a rough start to its season, but has quickly erased those struggles. The Eagles are winners of four matches in a row, including two to start conference play.

The Eagles opened conference play Wednesday at Campbell, bringing home a 13-12, overtime victory. The fourth goal from freshman attacker Mia Creighton proved the most pivotal, as she put home a turnover just 1:30 into extra time to secure the result. Fellow freshman McKenna Blick put home four of her own goals and added a helper, while Lauren Asher and Savanah Paton added two scores apiece.

More late-match theatrics were to come Saturday, as the Eagles again secured an extra-period decision. Lauren Morris split the pipes with her season-high sixth goal of the match 3:36 into the bonus period, giving Winthrop a 14-13 win over Gardner-Webb. Morris also aided on two more Winthrop scores. Blick scored four times and Creighton two.

Winthrop (5-8, 2-0 Big South) will have two more opportunities to extend its streak this week. The team travels to Presbyterian for a 4 p.m. Wednesday face-off, followed by a 2 p.m.. start Saturday at Longwood.