With the 2017-18 athletic season approaching, lets look back at what Savannah State’s athletic teams did during the 2016-17 season. While no team had a winning record, there was some individual success among the student-athletes.
The football team was under the direction of new head coach Erik Raeburn. The Tigers had three wins, the most since winning five games in 2008, and five players made the all conference team. SSU will bring in a solid recruiting class this fall which gives SSU fans a since of optimism to produce the programs first winning season since 1998.
Edric Poitier finished his first year as SSU’s head volleyball coach. Known as a rebuilder, Poitier’s squad won two games. It was a improvement over the 2015 team that went 0-31. Poitier signed six players during the off season to help rebuild the program.
The cross country teams went to the conference championships where the men finished fifth and the women 13th. The men are starting to improve while the women’s squad seems to be stuck in neutral.
The golf programs had a good fall term. Adam Walden was low medalist in a pair of fall tournaments while on the women’s side Rachele Orme was low medalist in two tournaments and finished second and third in two more outings.
The cheerleaders took home the top prize in the National Cheersport Competition, becoming the first HBCU to win first place in this competition.
In indoor track teams finished near the bottom in the conference championships but they did have some individual success stories with LaRon James winning the men’s long jump while Kourtney Sizemore claiming third in the pole vault while setting a new school record on the women’s side.
The men’s basketball team changed up their offensive strategy and it resulted in them scoring 85.7 points a game, the most at SSU since the 1997-98 squad that averaged 88.2 points a game. The highlight of the season was the Tigers road win over Oregon State. SSU finished the season number one in the country in 3-point shooting. Although they had a overall losing record, the team went 10-6 in conference play. APR issues prevented the team from post season play but four players earned all conference honors.
The women’s hoop team also struggled but did managed to capture one win at the conference tournament. Top players on the team were Kenyetta Hendrix and Tiyonda Davis. Hendrix set the school record for most three pointers while Davis was named to the BOXTOROW All American squad. Most of the team will be lost due to graduation but head coach Cedric Baker inked ten newcomers to fill the void. The season highlights were the team defeating eventual conference champ Hampton and hosting 2017 NCAA tournament champ South Carolina in Tiger Arena.
A year after finishing at the top of the Southern Division, the softball team slipped to only win four games. This was shocking since the team had been averaging 25 wins for the previous five seasons. Alexis Singleton was the lone player to make the all conference team, batting .374.
The baseball team suffered through their fourth straight losing season, winning just 12 games. SSU began the season with three straight wins but finished with a ten game losing skid. Going 1-21 on the road did not help matters. Jalen Atterbury and Kyle Gerdts were bright spots, as both were voted onto the all conference team.
The men’s golf team was third in the conference showcase while the women were fourth. At the PGA Minority Championships, the SSU men finished third out of nine teams with Zach Otto finishing tied for third. The women were sixth of eight teams.
The men’s track team had their best finish to date in the outdoor meet since joining the conference, when they finished in eighth place. LaRon James won the long jump and set a new school record. James, Nigel Brown and Morgan Ellis- Foster all qualified for the East regional of the NCAA Outdoor Championships. The SSU women were 13th at the conference meet.
The tennis team was under the direction of first year head coach Carolina Lainez. Just like last year, SSU was winless in 2017. Three of the five players on the team were seniors so the coach must rebuild with a well-rounded recruiting class.
In mid April the school announced that for financial reasons, they would be dropping down to Division II. The school will continue to compete in the MEAC for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons before competing at a lower level starting with the 2019-20 season.