It truly is a great time to be a Bear! Mercer baseball, men's soccer and women's basketball all won SoCon championships in their respective seasons of competition. Mercer baseball continues to be a powerhouse in the SoCon. The Bears are currently among the national leaders in total wins and have earned a top 25 national ranking. Men's soccer brought the SoCon trophy back to Macon after losing in the semi-finals in 2015. The team won the 2016 SoCon Championship in dramatic fashion by beating ETSU in penalty kicks, advancing to the NCAA Tournament. The women's basketball team won the regular season SoCon Championship for the 2nd year in a row while junior Kahlia Lawrence repeated as the SoCon Player of the Year.
That's what we call... #WINNING
Mike Tanner has made an impact. Whether he is attending a game, supporting the baseball program, or promoting Mercer in his local community, he is always advocating for the Bears. The naming of the suite at OrthoGeorgia Park and the naming of the baseball lounge are just the tip of the iceberg when measuring Mike’s impact on the baseball program.
“Mike is one of the most generous people I know. He is a leadership donor, an avid fan and a proud alum. He follows the baseball program closely- he knows the stats and the players and comes to as many games as his schedule allows.” – Brian Gerrity, Executive Director of the Mercer Athletic Foundation
Student-Athlete Spotlight: Emma Peel
From Mercer Volleyball to the Peace Corps
Emma Peel was the first ever beach volleyball player to commit to Mercer. Coming from Portland, Oregon Emma and her younger sister Sophie, a rising senior at Mercer, were the first two beach volleyball players from Oregon to commit to a Division I program. Emma is proud to be a trailblazer saying, “It feels good to be the one who started the beach volleyball movement and to coach all the girls over the summer at home that are following in our footsteps.” Emma has enjoyed success on and off the sand. During her sophomore year, Emma and her partner at the time, Tori Penrod, won the South Carolina Gamecock Challenge. This year, Emma and her sister Sophie beat Georgia State, ranked nationally in the top 10. Following her freshman season she was selected to the Atlantic Sun All-Freshman Team. During her time at Mercer, Emma has played in over 25 matches as the number one seed. She has also been a member of the Atlantic Sun Academic All-Conference team since her freshman year. Emma has maintained a 4.0 GPA in both of her majors, Spanish and Global Health, with a cumulative 3.7 GPA. Additionally, she was inducted this year into Phi Beta Kappa, an honor society for the top 10% of liberal arts students. Emma was also inducted into Phi Sigma Iota, the foreign language academic fraternity and holds a position on the executive board for the National Society for Leadership and Success.
On top of her athletic and academic success, Emma finds times to volunteer in Macon. She enjoys volunteering at Hartley Elementary School, teaching third grade students how to read for three hours a week. She also volunteers for a crisis text line six hours a week where she talks with callers dealing with difficulties in life.
Upon graduation, Emma will be spending two years in the Peace Corps. She will find out later this spring her assigned country. Her top pick? Ecuador to teach English as a foreign language.
Emma is no stranger to the Peace Corps. Both of her parents were involved with the organization, where they met in 1983. "I've wanted to go into the Peace Corps since I was a freshman in high school. It has been a distant dream of mine for a long time.”
Emma's parents met in Guatemala where they were stationed for over four years. Emma has had the opportunity to visit Potrero Carrillo, the village where her parents served. Seeing the bonds her parents still have with the individuals in that village also played a role in her wanting to join the Peace Corps.
Emma's path to the Peace Corps became clear upon arriving at Mercer and joining the Global Health program. Both programs share many of the same guiding principles. Her second major, Spanish, also is an asset when traveling internationally. Her goal has always been to travel and serve people, and the Peace Corps is allowing that dream to come true.
While Emma is serving in the Peace Corps she will also be expected to have a side project to pursue while she isn’t teaching. This project must benefit the community. Emma has determined her side project will be teaching yoga as an after school program. She believes yoga will be a great outlet for the students as well as improving their health. Emma will be obtaining her teacher license this summer prior to departing for the Peace Corps. She will be getting her teacher certification this summer during a three month program. Once Emma has completed her time with the Peace Corps, she would like to continue to pursue teaching yoga.
2017 Toby Awards
Mercer University Athletics recently hosted its newly created student-athlete banquet, The Tobys. This event allows the athletic department to come together to celebrate the accomplishments of the student-athletes, coaches, and administration. The event is funded through the money raised during the Donor Drive Challenge by the Athletic Foundation. A highlight video is below, followed by those who won awards.
Newcomer of the Year: Male: Ria’n Holland, men’s basketball; Female: Katia Stavroulaki, women’s tennis
Mercer Moment: Jenny Mazurkiewicz’s (dance team) failed dunk goes viral on Twitter.
Weirdest Pre-Game Ritual: Matt Meeder, baseball. Carter Varga gives him a yellow Starburst before every game and whenever he feels like the team needs a little extra boost he rubs the Starburst for good luck.
Best Upset: Male: Baseball sweeping #8 ranked East Carolina; Female: Women’s basketball beating top ranked opponent Illinois
Support Staff of the Year: Carl Miller, Strength and Conditioning Coach
Best Shoe Game: Ria’n Holland, men’s basketball
Play of the Year: Marin Hanna, women’s golf. Cards TWO hole-in-1s in a single year of competition.
Comeback Player of the Year: Male: Jeremy Booth, men’s soccer. Jeremy had knee surgery a month before season and only missed one game. Earned SoCon honors at the SoCon Tournament. Female: Alex Williams, women’s basketball. Alex broke bones in her foot and came back as one of the top scorers for the team.
Best Dancer: Alex Hanson, baseball
Best Season: Male: Baseball with back-to-back SoCon titles. Female: Women’s basketball with back-to-back SoCon titles.
Best Game Face: Jordan Strawberry, men’s basketball
Presidential Scholar Award: Men’s golf, 3.72 cumulative GPA
Coach of the Year: Craig Gibson, baseball
Player of the Year: Male: Charlie Madden, baseball, Female: Maddie Clark, women’s soccer