GWINNETT GRADS: Coan, North Georgia off to strong start

Mars Hill's batters didn't stand a chance Wednesday afternoon. Few have this season against Jessica Coan.

The North Georgia College and State University ace, coming off an All-American junior season, has picked up right where she left off last season, including her first college no-hitter this week against Mars Hill.

Coan struck out 10 and allowed just two runners on base in 6-0 victory over Mars Hill, lowering her season ERA to a minuscule 0.28. The Greater Atlanta Christian product is 4-0 this season with 38 strikeouts in 25 innings.

The recent outing came just a day after Coan was named the Peach Belt Conference pitcher of the week. She earned that honor after going 3-0 with a save in the season-opening Loyal Blue Classic.

The reigning Peach Belt pitcher of the year has a little help in the circle this season from a pair of Gwinnett grads, Buford's Melissa Dickie and Peachtree Ridge's Krysten Connelly.

Dickie, a freshman, is off to a great start in her first college season. She is 2-0 with a 1.66 ERA. Fellow freshman Katie Block, a Parkview grad, homered last weekend in a win over Tusculum.

North Georgia, ranked third nationally, also features Gwinnett product Callie Fernandez of Peachtree Ridge.


Hadley gets Gulf South award

Valdosta State pitcher Alanna Hadley, who played high school softball at Dacula and Central Gwinnett, was named the Gulf South Conference pitcher of the week on Tuesday.

Hadley threw two complete games the previous week and had a 0.64 ERA in 14 innings. She gave up just one run and five hits.

The right-hander pitched previously at Gulf Coast Community College (Fla.) and at Georgia before transferring to VSU.

Tech honors Rudnik

Buford grad Alysha Rudnik was named Georgia Tech's Student-Athlete of the Week on Monday after a strong week with the Yellow Jackets' fastpitch softball team.

The catcher/first baseman helped Tech to a 4-1 record last week by hitting .571 (8-for-14), scoring three runs and driving in four runs. She was 7-for-10 with runners in scoring position.



North Gwinnett grad Travis Echols powered Georgia College and State University to a doubleheader sweep of Clark Atlanta, going 4-for-7 with a home run, five RBIs and six runs scored on Wednesday. Grayson's Clay Ardeeser had a team-high three RBIs in the Game 2 victory. ... Always a hitting force for North Georgia, Brookwood grad Jordan Erisman earned a victory in his first-ever college pitching appearance last weekend. The senior threw 6 innings and allowed three earned runs. Teammate Jacob Beauchamp, also a Brookwood grad, earned his first career victory Thursday night in a 3-2 victory over West Georgia. He pitched 2 scoreless innings of relief.


Winchell begins pro career overseas

Former Memphis guard Alex Winchell, who played at South Gwinnett, arrived in the Czech Republic this weeek after signing with a Czech professional team, Karlovy Vary.

Winchell left college as Memphis' career leader in made 3-point field goals (214). She also ranks fifth in school history in assists (384) and first in games played (128).

Fast break

Valdosta State's Sczeny Hartry, a Parkview grad, hit the game-winning jumper with 0.8 seconds left last weekend in a 59-58 victory over rival North Alabama. She finished the game with 12 points. ... Wesleyan grad Erin Hall had eight points in a critical second-half stretch last weekend as Wake Forest defeated N.C. State. ... Greater Atlanta Christian grad Trent Wiedeman had 17 points (on 8 of 11 shooting) and eight rebounds last Saturday in a win over Davidson, but College of Charleston followed it up with loss to UNC-Greensboro despite Wiedeman's 21 points and 18 rebounds.


Cierski gets academic honor

Maryland fullback Tyler Cierski was one of the few freshmen named to the ACC All-Academic Team this week. A kinesiology major, Cierski played in all 12 games as a freshman.


Mattix named to all-academic team

Shiloh grad Tyler Mattix, a senior at Georgia College and State University, was named to the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic Team this week.

Mattix, who is finishing a degree in environmental science, earned All-Peach Belt Conference honors last season and also was the first All-Southeast Region runner in school history.


White takes first coaching job

Former Buford and Mill Creek soccer player Morgan White recently accepted her first soccer coaching job as the head girls varsity coach at Highland Park High School in Topeka, Kans.

White played soccer at Young Harris College, winning the 2007 national title there, and finished her playing career at Ottawa University (Kans.), where she graduated in December.


Burger second in Puerto Rico

Georgia golfer Emilie Burger finished at 1-under par in the three-day Lady Puerto Rico Classic this week and helped the Bulldogs to second place in the college tournament. Burger, who was second overall behind teammate Marta Silva Zamora, was the first-round leader after a career-best round of 6-under 66.

Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via email to will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com.