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Beyond the Hedges: Long time no see, so let's catch up

John, can you crouch a bit so we can get you AND Justin Roberts in the shot?  Oh, you're already crouching?
John, can you crouch a bit so we can get you AND Justin Roberts in the shot? Oh, you're already crouching?
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Fall is here.  The cool crisp is in the air, and that means football.  But more than just football, school is back around the country.  And in Athens, when school is back in, fall means lots of sports.  Some of these sports play outside of the beautiful privet hedges surrounding the field of Sanford Stadium, and those folks work hard for the Red and Black too.  There's lots going on, so let's race to catch up.


Georgia starts their fall ball practices this week as manager Scott Stricklin gets a good look at his squad for next season.  The Diamond Dawgs will play 34 of their 56 games next season at Foley Field, starting February 19th when Georgia Southern comes to town.  Georgia should be led by summer standout Robert Tyler, who has been mentioned as a possible top 10 pick in next summer's MLB draft thanks to his near 100 mph fastball and assortment of pitches.


Lee McCoy was among those representing the U.S. at the Walker Cup, an amateur showdown between the best from the U.S. and the best from Great Britain and Ireland.  McCoy played well, although the U.S. failed to prevail.  While McCoy was away, the men finished second at Pebble Beach in the Carmel Cup where junior Augusta native Greyson Sigg claimed top medalist honors.  Meanwhile, the ladies spent this past weekend in Charleston competing in the Cougar Cup,where they also finished second. Freshman Jillian Hollis led the Dawgs finishing in a tie for third among individuals, just two strokes off the top.  She and her teammates will head to Franklin, TN this weekend for the Mason Rudolph Championship that tees off Friday.

As for our men on the PGA Tour, the FedEx Cup continues in Chicago starting tomorrow with the BMW Championship.  Harris English, Brian Harman, Russell Henley, Chris Kirk, Kevin Kisner, Brendon Todd, and Bubba Watson will all be among the field hoping to finish sitting in the top 30 so they can make The Tour Championship next weekend at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.


Georgia seniors Austin Smith and Ben Wagland enter the fall campaign as the nation's top ranked doubles team.  It's a preseason ranking, even though Georgia actually played this past weekend hosting the Southern Intercollegiate.  Wagland and Smith won doubles, of course, while sophomore Wayne Montgomery took his second singles title in as many attempts to become the first repeat champion since John Isner.  It was also announced recently that Nick Papac will join Bo Hodge coming from the Oklahoma Sooners to coach in Athens.  The guys will be in Malibu this weekend for the Oracle/ITA Masters.

The ladies meanwhile had six members of the team make the ITA preseason rankings, and will begin their fall schedule next weekend at the Puerto Rico College Challenge beginning Friday the 25th.


Eleven current or former Georgia swimmers made the U.S. National Team for the 2015/16 campaign.  Senior Hali Flickinger led the way, as she totaled more points than any other competitor at the National Championships back in August.  The fall schedule will begin in October when North Carolina comes to the now 20 year old Ramsey Center.


Georgia's men announced their schedule last month, with their November 25th game against High Point now slated for national TV on ESPNU. In case you missed it, former Dawg Damien Wilkins was a part of a lacking star power squad for the U.S. at the Pan Am Games, putting in a solid tournament as the veteran of the bronze medal winning bunch.

For the ladies, Joni Taylor is putting the finishing touches on hecoaching staff. They also put their schedule together.  And former Lady Dawg and WNBA player Angel Robinson was honored with a place in the Marietta Athletic Hall of Fame last weekend.


The women finished second and the men sixth this past weekend for cross country at the Furman Cross Country Classic last weekend. The men won the week prior at the Strut's Season Opener, hosted by Jacksonville State, ahead of second place Georgia Tech for the victory. They'll put some practice time in before heading to Boston for the Coast-to-Coast Beantown Classic on September 25th.

For the track and field folks, the coaching staff has seen some upheaval as new head man Petros Kyprianou was promoted from assistant coach.  Javonie Small will be the Director of Operations, after the Morehouse grad has been a volunteer coach for Georgia the last few years after coaching Athens' own Clarke Central High School before joining the Dawgs staff. Four former Olympians will be in volunteer assistant roles, with past Dawgs Reese Hoffa, Levern Spencer, and gold medal winning and world record setting Jarryd Wallace among them.


While on the subject of coaching, former LSU All-American and #1 draft pick Rachele Fico as pitching coach.


The preseason top ranked Horse Dawgs will have their Red and Black scrimmage this weekend at their complex in Bishop before hosting seventh ranked Texas A&M to start their season on the 25th.  And two of Meghan Boenig's former athletes will now be competing against us after getting coaching positions as 2015 captain Meghan Southam joined SMU's staff and volunteer assistant last year McKenzie Lantzwill join Fresno St's staff. Those California-based Bulldogs will come to Athens to face our Dawgs on February 27th.


Volleyball coach Lizzy Stemke was inducted into the University of Wisconsin's Athletics Hall of Fame.  Her girls sit at 4-5 currently this season after dropping their last match to Georgetown.  They'll take on host Wake Forest Friday in the Demon Deacon Classic before facing Hofstra and Virginia Commonwealth Saturday as part of the tournament.


New head coach Billy Lesesne has had a rough start to his Georgia career, going 1-5 after finally registering a win Sunday night versus Samford. They face a strong LSU squad in Baton Rouge tomorrow night at 7 eastern in a game that will be televised by the SEC Network.  The soccer team celebrated the 20th anniversary of their first game earlier this month.

That's it for now.  So until next time, GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Dawgs!