published Friday, November 29th, 2013

UTC's Johnston leads Europe Palmer ratings and other sports news

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga junior golfer Liam Johnston from Dumfries, Scotland, has jumped to an early lead in the points standings for Europe's 10-player Palmer Cup team. Playing as an individual when the Mocs were in the Brickyard Collegiate, he tied for sixth out of 85 players with a 6-under-par 210, and he then tied for second at 8-under 208 in the AutoTrader.com Collegiate and shared ninth place with a 36-hole 144 in the Bridgestone tournament. "It is a great testament to hard work and determination," coach Mark Guhne said in a UTC release. "It is well-deserved. He could've hung his head and not had an impact [after not making the Mocs lineup for the Brickyard], but he got an opening and made the most of it." Johnston ranks 10th in the Golfstat collegiate rankings with the spring semester still to go.

• Lee University golf coach John Maupin reported that former McMinn County High School player Ryne Thompson is his final recruit for this year's early signing period. Thompson is completing his second year at Walters State Community College after receiving junior college All-America honorable mention last spring. "Ryne is a great addition to our program," Maupin said in a Lee release. "He has played for one of the best junior college programs in the country and has also been able to get guidance from a great coach, Bill Gardner. Ryne will bring some much-needed experience to our roster next season. ... He has experience competing on the national stage and has already proven that he can shoot low rounds at the collegiate level." Maupin also praised Thompson's academic dedication. He was a TCCAA Distisnguished Scholar Athlete for 2012-13. "I love the [Lee] campus and I really wanted to be a part of the golf program," Thompson said. "Coach Maupin is a great coach, and I'm excited to play with the extremely talented players the program has."

Basketball

• Lee University women's basketball coach Marty Rowe has announced three signees this month for 2014, and they include Erin Walsh from Bearden High School in Knoxville in addition to previously reported area Lady Flames recruits Emileigh Swafford of Meigs County and Carrie Cheeks of Sonoraville. Walsh was a Class AAA all-state player and the Knoxville Prep Extra girls' player of the year last season, when she shot 43 percent from the field and 86 percent from the free-throw line. "Erin is long and athletic with a terrific motor," Rowe said in a Lee release. "She's one of the best shooters in the state of Tennessee, and we think as she matures physically she has a chance to be special." Of Swafford, who averaged 24 points, eight rebounds and three-plus assists a game for Meigs last year, he said, "We think she is going to be versatile and can play three positions (2, 3 and 4). ... She is a great scorer with a terrifice up side." Cheeks averaged 16 points and nine-plus rebounds for the Phoenix and was a GACA all-state selection. She also was all-state in volleyball. "Carrie is long and athletic and plays with great energy," Rowe said. "She can score with both hands and is a very good defender already."

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