On Thursday, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics announced the 411 baseball student-athletes who have been named 2018 Daktronics-NAIA Baseball Scholar-Athletes, and five Bryan College Lions consisting of Tucker Cain (JR/Jacksboro, Tenn.), Kurt Meeberg (JR/Edmonton, Alberta), Timothy Hostetler, Caleb Perez, and Cullen Royston made the cut. In order to be nominated by an institution’s sports information director, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved junior academic status.
The Appalachian Athletic Conference was well represented for their efforts in the classroom with six schools making the list. Leading the pack was both Bryan and Reinhardt University (Ga.) who landed five apiece. Point University (Ga.) trailed with three, while the trio of Tennessee Wesleyan University, Montreat College (N.C.), and Union College (Ky.) matched each other two, respectively.
Cain and Meeberg are a part of the varsity squad, while Hostetler, Perez, and Royston competed for the junior varsity team this season.
In addition to the scholar-athlete honors, all five joined six other fellow Lions on this year’s AAC All-Academic Team. Bryan had the most All-Academic honorees in the conference. To make the All-Academic Team, a student-athlete must be a sophomore, junior, or senior and maintain a cumulative grade-point average of 3.25 or higher. Cain was also Bryan’s lone representative to the AAC Champions of Character Team. The student-athletes selected to the Champions of Character Team are those who best represent the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character Program: respect, integrity, responsibility, servant leadership, and sportsmanship.
Cain, a junior, and Meeberg, a pitcher hailing from Edmonton, Alberta, were part of a record-breaking year for Bryan where the Lions saw a trio of AAC Coach of the Year Taylor Hasty, AAC Player of the Year Fernando Garcia (SR/Toa Baja, Puerto Rico), and Pitcher & Newcomer of the Year Stephen Chamblee (JR/Tampa, Fla.) guide the group to the program’s most successful regular-season in program history, battling for a remarkable 38-13 overall record and 21-6 mark in conference play to capture their first-ever AAC Regular-Season Championship! Bryan also fought their way to a No. 9 ranking in the final NAIA Coaches’ Top-25 poll, which is the highest the Lions have ever received. After receiving an at-large berth and the top-seed to the 2018 Baseball National Championship Opening Round – Williamsburg Bracket (Ky.), Bryan showed their dominance by eliminating 11th-ranked and No. 2 seed host school University of the Cumberlands in an 11-8 decision. The Lions entered the final day of action in Williamsburg, vying for a spot in the finals with No. 4 seed (RV) University of Northwestern Ohio, but it was the Pioneers of Point Park who grabbed an early lead and fended off the Lions for a chance at the Racers. Bryan ended the season at 41-17 overall, which ties this year’s team for the second most wins in a season in program history! (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 06/08/2018-6AM)