03/14/04 — NCAA Division II East Regional notebook

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NCAA Division II East Regional notebook

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 14, 2004 2:04 AM

Four North Carolina teams opened play Saturday in two regionals.

No. 3-ranked Pfeiffer University is host to the NCAA Division II East Regional, which includes conference foe Mount Olive College. It is Mount Olive College's first-ever postseason appearance since moving to the DII ranks in the late 1990s.

Catawba College and Lenoir-Rhyne are participating in the eight-team South Atlantic Regional at Kennesaw State (Ga.) College. Lenoir-Rhyne received an at-large bid while Catawba captured the South Atlantic Conference's automatic bid after winning the tournament.

Catawba (12-18) is the only school in the 64-team field with a losing record.

The award goes to ...

Some may think the pinnacle of collegiate athletics comes by winning a national championship. But people such as Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Bill Cosby, Roger Staubach and Ronald Reagan have proven that posting a personal best after collegiate athletics is the sweetest victory of all.

These national figures are among many great notables who have shown that the impact of the student-athlete experience can last a lifetime. The Theodore Roosevelt Award, also known as the "Teddy," is the highest honor the NCAA may confer on an individual.

The latest recipient is former Notre Dame defensive end Alan Page.

Page was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 1967. He played in four Super Bowls and was the first defensive player to win the NFL's Most Valuable Player Award. Page played for the Vikings until 1978 and retired in 1981 after three seasons with the Chicago Bears.

Page earned his law degree while playing for the Vikings. He remains the first and only African-American ever elected to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Baxter shows bravery

While driving on a rainy night to St. Petersburg (Fla.) to visit family, Jimmy Baxter witnessed a car skid off the highway, overturn and land in a drainage ditch. With the water level rising in the car, Baxter tried to break the car window to free the two passengers, but wasn't able to jar the glass.

In the rain, Baxter ran to the highway to flag down motorists for additional help. After several minutes passed, a motorist finally stopped and offered Baxter a crowbar to break the glass.

Once Baxter gained entry into the sinking car, he saved the two individuals.

For his heroics Baxter, a two-sport athlete at the University of South Florida, has earned the 2004 Valor Award. The award recognizes a coach, administrator or current athlete who, when confronted with a situation involving personal danger, averted or minimized the potential danger by courageous action or noteworthy bravery.

Top female


Ashley Jo Rowatt, a swimming and diving standout at Kenyon College, was recognized as the 2003 NCAA Woman of the Year. Rowatt graduated summa cum laude with highest honors and a 3.6 grade-point average in molecular history.

The NCAA Women of the Year Award celebrates the achievements of 51 female student-athletes from Division I, II and III institutions for their successes in academics, athletics and community service.

Go west, young man

Once the eight, eight-team regionals are completed Tuesday, those champions head west to Bakersfield, Calif.

It's just the second time in the tournament's 48-year history that the west will host the four-day tournament. Evansville (Ind.), Springfield (Mass.), Springfield (Mo.), Louisville (Ky.) and Lakeland (Fla.) are previous host sites.

Evansville played host to 20 tournaments, including the first-ever Elite Eight which was won by Wheaton (Ill.) in 1957. Springfield (Mass.) was the site for 16 consecutive years before the tournament moved to Louisville in 1995.

Cal State Bakersfield is the host school.

Some information for this notebook was obtained from the NCAA Division II men's basketball program, the official guide to this year's tournament.