Tim Santoro was known as one of the nation's top recruiters when he was an assistant at Wake Forest, and the 2014 class for the second-year N.C. State head coach appears to solidify that reputation. The class includes Mackenzie Graybill, who Santoro calls "a real specimen." Her parents must be so proud!
The Lady Pack finished just 2-11 in ACC play but 7-12 overall and improved more than 75 points in RPI in Santoro's first season. Read about all of Santoro's impressive specimens here.
Men's coach Kelly Findley, who had his first winning season in his third on the State sidelines last year (8-5-4), piloting the Pack to 34th in RPI, has the best class on campus. The footy version of #Pack14 is ranked third in the nation by Top Drawer Soccer. Lend gopack your eyes for more on the class.
The recruiting hauls on the pitch, coupled with the recent successes seen in football and men's basketball recruiting, validate that a main pillar of Dr. Yow's approach as AD is in place: first and foremost, to have top 25 programs across all sports, you have to have coaches who can lure top talent to Raleigh. If only it didn't usually take a couple of years for that recruiting to pay off in terms of wins and losses.
Like Wes Moore, who has piloted the Lady Pack hoops' squad to a top 10 national ranking in his first year, Sean Rychcik won with someone else's players in his first year, bringing home an ACC softball championship before giving Tennessee all it wanted in regional play. The softball team's 2014 season is already underway (which kind of slipped by the overworked, underpaid staff here at BTP); unfortunately, so far, it looks like the momentum from last season's finish--21-4 over the last 25 games--has not carried over. Rychcik's nine are off to a 1-5 start, though three of those losses came to ranked opponents, including seventh-ranked Arizona State and eighth-ranked Oregon.
The Pack's woes can be attributed to uncharacteristically poor performances from team stars Renada Davis and Emily Weiman. Davis, who blasted 26 home runs last year, is batting just .105 and has yet to go yard. She's also made five of the team's six errors. Weiman has an impressive 35 strikeouts in 25 innings but has yielded 35 hits as well, leading to a 5.32 ERA. She's been charged with four of the team's five losses. On a brighter note, freshman leftfielder Molly Hutchinson has cleaned up from the cleanup spot in the order, where she's posted a 1.041 OPS with two home runs.
The softball team took its lumps early in the season last year as well; the team should be fine in time for ACC play, where they won't see any competition that compares to what it faced out west to open the season. Unfortunately, like the men's baseball team, softball's weekend plans have been put on hold thanks to Mother Nature. The team was scheduled to play four games this weekend in Arkansas.