As AU sports teams come off another successful year, let’s take a look at some of the top athletes to watch heading into the 2012-2013 seasons.
Stephen Lumpkins, Senior Forward, Men’s Basketball
Lumpkins returns to AU after being drafted as a pitcher by the Kansas City Royals in 2011 and briefly pursuing a baseball career.
During his three seasons at AU, Lumpkins averaged 9.9 points and 6.4 rebounds while ranking fourth in the record books with 107 blocked shots and seventh with a career field goal percentage of 54 percent.
Lumpkins has been a consistent player since his freshman year and, pending Patriot League approval, will be back on the court at Bender Arena.
Alexis Dobbs, Junior Guard, Women’s Basketball
After the women’s basketball team went 14-0 in the Patriot League last year, they were knocked off in the tournament semifinals when then-senior Lisa Strack had trouble dealing with a shoulder injury. Strack was a crucial part of last year’s team, and her graduation means the rest of the team must step up immensely.
As Dobbs enters her third season as an Eagle, she has proved she can do it all: play point guard, steal the ball and score 3-pointers. Last year, the All-Patriot League First Team selection scored 11 points per game, recorded 59 steals and made 3-pointers 36 percent of the time, which was the fourth-highest average in the league.
Daniel Mitchell, Senior, 197 pounds, Wrestling
With Ryan Flores and Matt Mariacher graduating, the wrestling team lost two of its best athletes in separate weight classes. With their success Mitchell flew a bit under the radar after going 21-12 overall. With a 54-21 record the past two seasons, he can help fill the void left by his teammates.
Mitchell, who won the NCAA’s Elite 89 Award for the highest GPA of any student-athlete competing at the Division I Wrestling Championships, finished sixth at the EIWA Championships and fourth at the Midland Championships last season.
Alassane Kane, Senior Forward, Men’s Soccer
Since transferring from Vermont, all Alassane Kane has done in an AU jersey is score goals. Lots of them. In his first year with the team in 2010, Kane made an immediate impact when he led the conference in both goals (seven) and points (16). The forward followed that up with team-highs in goals (six) and points (15) last season to emerge as one of the most dangerous threats in the Patriot League.
Sara Rishell, Sophomore Outside Hitter/Middle Blocker, Volleyball
Rishell stuck out among seven other freshmen on last year’s squad, as she led the team in both kills and blocks. The Patriot League Tournament MVP, Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year totaled 106 block assists, good for third all time at AU in a single season and set a Patriot League Tournament record with 19 blocks.
Her plethora of skills, combined with those of 2011 All-Patriot League First Team selection Juliana Crum, are likely to lead AU to another championship.
Alex McMackin, Junior Forward, Field Hockey
McMackin will certainly help fill the shoes of Tatum Dyer, who graduated last year. The then-sophomore netted a team-high eight goals and recorded two assists a season ago, and she should continue to shine this season as the offense develops.