More than 30 Asheville runners to compete in prestigious Boston Marathon April 15

Karen Chávez, Asheville Citizen Times

Asheville will be well-represented at the 123rd Boston Marathon, which takes flight the morning of April 15 in Hopkinton, Massachusetts.

Arguably the world’s most coveted marathon, it is certainly one of the oldest and the most infamous, for its troubled – and not-so-distant - past of barring women from running, to its strict eligibility requirements to the deadly finish line bombing in 2013 that claimed three lives and seriously injured hundreds of others.

But Boston remains Boston Strong, as the catch phrase that emerged in the aftermath of the bombings and runners and humans from across the globe rallied to raise money for the victims, find the killers, and continue the ultimate legacy in the running world.

And Asheville has always had a close connection with Boston.

More than 30 runners from Asheville and Western North Carolina have signed up to run Boston this year. Below is a list of those registered – many having signed up a year in advance. So, some may not be running due to anything from illness and injury to change of heart, but this is the most up-to-date list, according to the Boston Athletic Association, which produces the marathon.

They are among the more than 30,000 runners who will be competing in the 26.2-mile race from Hopkinton to Boston. Just getting your name on this elite list is a feat and an accomplishment worth celebrating.

The Boston Marathon is one of the only such event in the world that requires a time qualification in a certified marathon, based on age and gender. So it’s not just like signing up – you’ve got to prove you’re among the fastest marathon runners in your age group just to qualify, and then you have to beat the buzzer by registering before all the other qualifiers.

For marathon runners, making it to Boston is often a life’s goal and the pinnacle of a running career, whether amateur or elite. The field boasts Olympic runners, including last year’s winner Des Linden, celebrities and crossover athletes, such as NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson, who is running this year.

Here are the kinds of times you can expect: Last year’s female winner, Des Linden, crossed the line in 2 hours, 39 minutes, 54 seconds. (Consider the average female marathon runner finishes in 4 hours, 30 minutes.)

The male winner was Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi, in 2:15:58.

And then there are the gritty, determined, everyday runners from Asheville who hold down full-time jobs, are mothers and fathers, endure setbacks such as shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and even broken toes and other bones, and put in hundreds of miles training throughout every kind of weather during the winter months to get to the start line.

Like Uta Brandstatter, 47, an Asheville nurse who is also in grad school, and formerly ran the Facebook group Let's Run Asheville, and Stephanie Wallace, 40, of Asheville, who is a mom of two little girls, works at Habitat for Humanity, and has endured training setbacks due to injuries.

But Wallace made it to Boston Friday night and reported: “The energy here is amazing. Despite dealing with injury these past few months, I feel light and confident that the community will carry me. A Boston finish is in my future!”

The hordes of runners, as well as the millions of spectators, will have to endure another year of cold, rainy Boston weather, as the forecast is calling for.

But when you’re Boston Strong, what’s a little rain?                

Congratulations and good luck to everyone running and cheering and holding down the fort in Boston!

Want to follow your favorite runner? Track them at www.baa.org.

WNC runners registered to run the Boston Marathon:

Name;Age;Gender;Hometown

1. Short, Katherine;24;F;Asheville             

2. Murphy, Kyle;36;M;Asheville      

3. Voorhees, Marc;64;M;Asheville  

4. Marshall, Susan;46;F;Asheville                          

5. Burkhalter, Todd;45;M;Asheville                            

6. Chen, Peiweng;38;M;Asheville                          

7. Knechtel, Daniel;45;M;Asheville                            

8. Wallace, Stephanie;40;F;Asheville                            

9. Crane, Nicole;51;F;Asheville                          

10. Bernard, Adele;25;F;Asheville                          

11. Stern, Colette;42;F;Asheville                          

12. Kuhne, Jody;49;M;Asheville                          

13. Deholl, Devi;27;M;Asheville                          

14. Rollins, Elizabeth;38;F;Asheville                            

15. Cooper, Meg;36;F;Asheville                          

16. Johnson, Tracey;52;F;Asheville                          

17. Brandstatter, Uta;47;F;Asheville                            

18. Ponder, Elizabeth;40;F;Asheville                            

19. Dunn, Patrick;57;M;Asheville            

20. Chappelear, Emily;40;F;Burnsville             

21. Kain, Elizabeth;35;F;Marshall                          

22. Sloan, Leslie;41;F;Fletcher                           

23. Caldwell, Ralph;65;M;Waynesville                    

24. Mcneil, Thad;18;M;Fletcher                           

25. Baker, Dustin;38;M;Fletcher             

26. Hilty, Kay;58;F;Franklin             

27. Norton, Ellie;30;F;Sylva    

28. Carlinnia, Brian;48;M;Fletcher                           

29. Jakushev, Kimberly;32;F;Franklin              

30. Bodnar, Jason;48;M;Candler

31. Bodnar, Jennifer;47;F;Candler

32. Langteau-Ball, Kelly;43;F;Waynesville                            

33. Devan, Rhonda;48;F;Swannanoa   

ASHEVILLE AND GREENVILLE SERVE AS BOOKENDS TO 75-MILE ADVENTURE

Asheville, NC - April 2019 – On the morning of April 13th, teams of runners from across the country will start a 75-mile odyssey from Highland Brewing Company, Asheville’s first brewery, towards a finish roughly 12 hours later in downtown Greenville. The Ville to Ville Craft Brew Relay presented by The Cliffs is only in its second year, but already one of the most popular races of its kind in the nation.

This unique relay is designed to celebrate the region’s outstanding craft beer tradition and its majestic natural beauty. "Our goal," states race director, Zack Hall, “is to deliver a high-quality event that encourages healthy living and celebrates our local communities.”

Teams of six runners will each run two legs ranging from 3.5 miles to slightly less than 9 miles along the course. Every team will utilize a support vehicle along the 75-mile course, transporting runners from one designated transition area to the next. The first leg will run from Highland Brewing Company to the popular Mountains to Sea Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway before turning south. Stops along the course include Fletcher, Hendersonville, East Flat Rock and Travelers Rest, SC as runner’s race towards a festive finish line celebration in downtown Greenville, SC. In total, two thousand runners and beer enthusiasts from 31 states are represented.

“We are thrilled to serve as the starting point and sponsor for this event,” said Molly McQuillan, Marketing Manager for Highland Brewing Company. “We were blown away with the energy and excitement we witnessed in the first year. We can’t wait to play host to an even larger crowd this year!”

The event is presented by The Cliffs, a collection of seven vibrant, luxury Carolina mountain communities. “The Ville to Ville Craft Brew Relay stretches from Asheville to Greenville highlighting the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain region of the Carolinas, where our seven communities are located,” said David Sawyer, managing partner and president of The Cliffs Clubs. “We are excited to be a sponsor of this year’s event and welcome participants from all over the country to The Cliffs. The Cliffs at Mountain Park will serve as one of the race transitions, where we look forward to supporting the runners and our talented local craft breweries.”

With a commitment to benefiting local charities, The Ville to Ville Craft Relay delivers more than just a good time for its participants. This year’s charity partners are: Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC, Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas, Poe Mill Achievement Center, Meals on Wheels of Greenville, and the YMCA of Greenville Foundation.

Similar relay races exist across the nation; however, very few have a focus on craft beer – or have such a demand for a spot on the starting line. The fact that the 2019 race sold out in less than 36 hours is a testament to its popularity. "We continue to be thrilled by the overwhelming response" said Hall.

Although the race is sold out, the welcome reception at Highland Brewing Company is open to the public and will feature food trucks, live music, and of course lots of local craft beer. Welcome festivities run from 2 pm to 8 pm on Friday, April 12th. Registration for the 2020 event begins on April 15th with a limited number of 350 team slots. More information about the relay can be found at www.villetovillerelay.com.

Warren Wilson College Athletics to Join NCAA Division III Membership Process

NCAA exploratory membership will mean more sports and more opportunities for college athletes.

 Asheville, NC – March 12, 2019 – The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has approved Warren Wilson College’s application for exploratory membership in NCAA Division III. The membership process will bring additional sports and wider opportunities for the college’s student athletes.

 “This is a very exciting time to be a part of Warren Wilson Athletics!” said Joni Williamson, Director of Athletics and Adventure Sports at Warren Wilson College. “The acceptance of our exploratory application is a huge step forward for the College and our student-athlete experience.”

 Warren Wilson College plans to introduce a new team sport in the near future to meet NCAA Division III requirements. The benefits of membership would also include closer travel, conference and postseason championship opportunities, resources, grant opportunities, professional development and more.

 The NCAA Division III philosophy supports a college environment focused on academic rigor while integrating the experience of passionate participation in competitive athletics. In preparation for this move, the college has already established a Student Athlete Advisory Committee and a faculty athletics representative.

 “The NCAA Division III philosophy is a natural fit, and we are looking forward to beginning this journey with the NCAA,” said Williamson.

 Currently a member of the United State Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Division II, Warren Wilson College will maintain dual-affiliation until the process for full membership in the NCAA is complete. Current varsity teams at the college include Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Cross Country, Cycling, Soccer, Swimming and Tennis. The process will not affect the Cycling Team, as it is not a NCAA-sponsored sport.

 Warren Wilson College will begin their exploratory membership year during the 2019-2020 academic year. NCAA staff and a representative from the NCAA Membership Committee will visit campus to evaluate the college’s philosophical and operational readiness for the provisional membership process, and they will educate college staff on NCAA Division III compliance concepts. After this exploratory year, the college will have an opportunity to enter into the five-year membership process.

Warren Wilson College is a vibrant, independent college with an innovative curriculum that purposefully integrates the liberal arts with community engagement and work experiences to prepare students for not only professional success, but also a life of meaning. Visit https://www.warren-wilson.edu.

Photo: WWC_Athletes.jpg

Caption: The Warren Wilson College Men’s Basketball Team prepares to compete. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has approved the college’s application for exploratory membership in NCAA Division III. Photo credit: Reggie Tidwell.

For more information, please call Joni Williamson at 828-771-2027, or email jwilliamson@warren-wilson.edu.

Ingles SoCon Fan Experience to debut March 8-10 in conjunction with SoCon Basketball Championships

Ingles SoCon Fan Experience to debut March 8-10 in conjunction with SoCon Basketball Championships

Joe Lasher, Ryan “RnB” Barber – Boogie Therapi, The Carolina Lowdown Band & Lyric comprise concert lineup

 

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Southern Conference and Ingles announced Monday the lineup of activities and performers for the inaugural Ingles SoCon Fan Experience, which will take place Friday, March 8, through Sunday, March 10, outside the U.S. Cellular Center at 68 Haywood Street in Asheville, North Carolina. Admission to the event is free.

 The Ingles SoCon Fan Experience will be highlighted by four concerts during its three-day run and will feature other family friendly activities. In addition to the concerts, there will be basketball-themed interactives, face painting, a TapSnap booth, an Ingles SoCon Mascot Challenge voting area with large mascot cutouts, and a chalk drawing area for kids. Also on site will be a large jumbotron showing live tournament action, live radio remotes, a concessions area and a SoCon merchandise booth. 

 The Ingles SoCon Fan Experience will be open from 3-7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 8, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, and 1-4 p.m. on Sunday, March 10. 

 Concerts will be performed by Joe Lasher on Friday, March 8, at 6:15 p.m., Ryan “RnB” Barber – Boogie Therapi on Saturday, March 9, at 11 a.m., The Carolina Lowdown Band on Saturday, March 9, at 4:30 p.m., and Lyric on Sunday, March 10, at 2 p.m. 

 Joe Lasher is a rising country star whose dynamic performances have been captivating his home state of North Carolina for years. His songs, style and performances appeal to a broad spectrum of music lovers. He has become one of the hottest performers in the Southeast, having performed with the likes of Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts and Montgomery Gentry, and touring with Colt Ford and Luke Bryan.

 Ryan “RnB” Barber is at the forefront of Asheville’s funk and R&B community. He has released six full-length studio albums. He has also been featured on many high-profile projects, including producing on two of R&B stalwart W. Ellington Felton’s recent albums, and singing and rapping on the 2017 Grammy winning album “Infinity Plus One” by Secret Agent 23 Skidoo.

 The Carolina Lowdown Band is a popular Asheville band performing rock and roll and dance hits from the 80s through today.

 LYRIC, led by Leeda “Lyric” Jones, plays a mixture of pop, soul and funk. The five-part band has developed a dedicated following in Asheville and the surrounding areas. Readers of Asheville’s independent weekly newspaper, The Mountain Xpress, have named LYRIC the top local act in both the soul and R&B/blues categories. She has shared the stage with the likes of George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Gladys Knight, Booker T. Jones and Dionne Warwick. 

 The Ingles SoCon Fan Experience will also benefit Eblen Charities and its Hoops Against Hunger program. Hoops Against Hunger helps to provide snacks and meals to school-age children without enough food at home. Fans are encouraged to bring donations of ready-to-eat or easy-to-serve food items. People donating food items can receive a voucher for $5 off a general admission session ticket to the Ingles Southern Conference Basketball Championships presented by General Shale.

-www.SoConSports.com-

USTA hosts community events during Fed Cup

Press release from the Untied States Tennis Association: 

As Fed Cup returns to Asheville, the USTA is once again hosting a variety of community events for players and fans of all ages and abilities to turn the United States’ First Round tie vs. Australia February 9-10 into another week-long celebration of tennis and to build on the sport’s growing popularity in Asheville since it first hosted Fed Cup last year.

World No. 17 Madison Keys, No. 23 Danielle Collins, No. 37 Sofia Kenin and doubles No. 13 Nicole Melichar will represent the U.S. in the 2019 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group First Round vs. Australia February 9-10 at the U.S. Cellular Center, the first site to host consecutive Fed Cup ties in the U.S. in 12 years.

In the year since the U.S. defeated the Netherlands in the 2018 Fed Cup First Round at the U.S. Cellular Center last February, tennis participation in Asheville has grown on multiple levels, especially among youth. The impact on tennis in the area since then includes:

A 12-percent overall increase in USTA League participation.A 20-percent increase in annual pass-holders and a 90-percent increase in junior (youth) play at Aston Park Tennis Center, Asheville’s flagship public tennis facility.Increases of 62 percent among juniors and 34 percent among adults participating in July’s Asheville Open Tennis Championships, the longest-running USTA tournament in North Carolina.

Below is a calendar of events leading up to and during the weekend’s matches, once again geared toward engaging the community. All are open to media:

Wednesday, February 6

Net Generation Kids’ Day and U.S. Captain Kathy Rinaldi Press Conference
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.; U.S. Cellular Center Exhibition Hall
The USTA and USTA North Carolina will be hosting 260 kids from Buncombe County elementary schools for special Net Generation clinics. Team USA Captain Kathy Rinaldi will join the clinic at 11 a.m. for her pre-draw press conference. Net Generation is the USTA’s unified youth initiative to inspire the next generation of tennis players. Ingles Markets and Mission Health will support the Net Generation kids’ activities in Asheville.

Friday, February 8

Fed Cup Official Draw Ceremony
12 p.m., U.S. Cellular Center Lobby
Members of the U.S. and Australian Fed Cup teams and several special guests will take part in the official draw ceremony to determine the matchups for the weekend’s competition. The ceremony will be held in the U.S. Cellular Center lobby.

Adaptive Tennis and ‘Try Tennis’ Programs
5-7 p.m., Asheville Racquet Club Downtown
Local organizers will host a free adaptive tennis program for wheelchair players at the Asheville Racquet Club Downtown.
7-9 p.m., Asheville Racquet Club Downtown
USTA North Carolina is also hosting a free ‘Try Tennis’ event at the Asheville Racquet Club, an extension of the program that introduced more than 2,500 players to tennis in the state last year.

Saturday, February 9, and Sunday, February 10

NJTL Net Generation Clinics
9:30 a.m.-12 p.m., U.S. Cellular Center
On Saturday and Sunday, the USTA and USTA North Carolina will be hosting kids from local National Junior Tennis and Learning network (NJTL) organizations. NJTL is made up of more than 350 tennis and education chapters nationwide that are supported by the USTA Foundation through grants, scholarships, and technical assistance. These chapters reach more than 200,000 under-resourced youth on an annual basis. Following the clinics, participants will then attend the matches.

Green Ball, Middle School, and High School Net Generation Clinics
8 a.m.-12 p.m., Multiple locations
At locations off-site, USTA North Carolina will be hosting local middle school and high school players for Net Generation tennis clinics. It will also be hosting a ‘Green Ball’ camp for youth players age 10 and under, which is the highest level of play within the age group. Following the clinics, participants will then travel to the U.S. Cellular Center to attend the matches.

Sunday, February 10

Pride Day Brunch
The Bier Garden
A Pride Day Brunch will be hosted at The Bier Garden ahead of Sunday’s matches and will feature and appearance from a prominent local speaker.

USTA Player Development will also utilize the tie as a development tool for four top American juniors. Fourteen-year olds Katrina Scott (Los Angeles), Reese Brantmeier (Whitewater, Wisc.), Sophie Williams (Charleston, S.C.) and 12-year old Clervie Ngounoue (Washington, D.C.) will train alongside the team with USTA National Coach Richard Ashby.

In addition, local kids involved in the clinics will have a special role in the matches as part of the Net Generation initiative. Prior to the matches, kids will play on stadium court as part of a Net Generation demonstration. Local kids will also escort the players during the Opening Ceremony on Saturday and participate in the coin toss for each match with the chair umpire and competing players.

The USTA has partnered with Explore Asheville, Ingles Markets, Mercedes Benz of Asheville, Mission Health, New Belgium Brewing Company and Omni Grove Park Inn to bring this event to Asheville.

The First Round tie vs. Australia – a best-of-five match series – starts on Saturday, Feb. 9, with two singles matches beginning at 1 p.m. ET. Two reverse singles matches and the doubles match will follow on Sunday, Feb. 10, also beginning at 1 p.m. Fed Cup is the world’s largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, with approximately 100 nations taking part each year.

Keep up with Team USA using hashtag #TeamUSATennis on Facebook (@USTA), on Twitter (@USTA), and on Instagram (@USTA). Wilson is the official ball of the U.S. Fed Cup team. Deloitte is the official team sponsor of the U.S. Fed Cup Team.

- Mountain Xpress

Fed Cup 2019: U.S. returns with sport's young talent

Fed Cup: Even sans Venus and Serena, young U.S. team ready to take the torch, captain says

ASHEVILLE — U.S. Fed Cup captain Kathy Rinaldi came to Asheville a year ago accompanied by two of the biggest stars tennis has ever known. When she returns next week, she won't be. 

But even without Venus and Serena Williams, Rinaldi said the U.S. squad returning to Western North Carolina to take on Australia in the first round of Fed Cup is ripe with young talent that could be a force for years to come. It is headlined by the world's 17th-ranked singles player, Madison Keys, and Danielle Collins, who Rinaldi says had a "breakthrough" last year culminating in a January appearance in the Australian Open semifinals.

The team also includes Sofia Kenin, the world's 36th-ranked player who goes by "Sonya," and Nicole Melichar, who, like Rinaldi, grew up in Stuart, Florida, crossing paths on the court dating back to when Melichar was a child.

The event also is expected to draw sold-out crowds, boost the local economy and again put Asheville in the spotlight for hosting a prominent sporting event. 

"We do have some youngsters — even younger than (the current roster) — coming up through the ranks and the pathway is solid, the structure is pretty good and we hope these players, the young ones will keep stepping up," Rinaldi said. "Venus and Serena (have been) holding the torch for so long and have done so much for American tennis that it’s nice now to have some younger players able to step up."

This year is Rinaldi's third leading the U.S. Fed Cup team, winning a title in 2017 and finishing as runner-up to the Czech Republic a year ago. She said last year's team — which came to Asheville featuring the Williams sisters, CoCo Vandeweghe and Lauren Davis — had an "absolutely amazing" experience.

Last year's U.S. team cruised to a 3-1 first round Fed Cup win over the Netherlands, most notable as it marked Serena Williams' return to competitive tennis following the birth of a child with Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Rinaldi said it "should speak volumes" that Fed Cup returned to Asheville in consecutive years, the first city to host back-to-back in more than a decade. She and members of the U.S. team took part in the event's weeklong festivities a year ago, shared time together at the Omni Grove Park Inn and even toured Biltmore Estate.

"You could just feel it everywhere, every corner," she said. "Everybody was excited that Fed Cup was there. It just meant something, whether they were a tennis fan or they were not — all ages.

"That’s what makes Fed Cup so special, and I think Asheville just showed what Fed Cup is all about."

In October, U.S. Tennis Association Senior Director of Team Events Jeff Ryan said the decision to come back to Asheville this year ultimately was "very easy," citing the city's passion for the sport and its partnerships with local entities including with Explore Asheville and U.S. Cellular General Manager Chris Corl.

Corl said this week hosting last year's Fed Cup already has opened the door for the city and the venue to have conversations about other major sporting events.

Major renovations to the arena, which opened in June 1974, also are a contributing factor, he said. 

"The conversation is a lot easier to get started," Corl said. "Before, it was 15 phone calls and 20 emails and I would nag them to get on the phone. Now I send an email and I just say, 'Would like you to consider us?'"

And part of that selling point also comes with the experience of hosting an event like Fed Cup.

"Not only should you consider it, but one of the larger sporting entities came back two years in a row, which is something they don’t do," he said.

Most of the team and USTA representatives are expected to arrive in the community early next week. Tennis exhibitions for local school students are planned for Feb 6-8 at the U.S. Cellular Center with the event's draw ceremony planned for Feb. 8. Other outreach clinics, which are expected to draw more than 1,000 children, are scheduled during the week. 

Fed Cup play is Feb. 9-10. Tickets for the event still are available online at ticketmaster.com.

"We know we’re going to have a lot of support behind us and that really counts a lot in Fed Cup play because anything can happen," Rinaldi said. "It’s always nice to play in front of your home country and the fans there were so great to us last year, the community was so great to us.

"We’re all excited to get back and have that support and feel that support."

By Dillon Davis, Asheville Citizen Times

Madison Keys, Danielle Collins, Sofia Kenin, Nicole Melichar to Represent U.S. in 2019 Fed Cup First Round vs. Australia

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., January 30, 2019 – The USTA and United States Fed Cup Captain Kathy Rinaldi today announced that No. 17 Madison Keys, No. 23 Danielle Collins, No. 36 Sofia Kenin and doubles No. 13 Nicole Melichar will represent the U.S. in the 2019 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group First Round vs. Australia February 9-10 in Asheville, N.C.

World singles No. 14 and doubles No. 6 Ashleigh Barty, No. 46 Daria Gavrilova, No. 142 Priscilla Hon, No. 157 Kimberley Birrell and No. 160 Astra Sharma will represent Australia for Captain Alicia Molik in the best-of-five match series, which will be played on a hard court inside Asheville’s U.S. Cellular Center. The U.S. Cellular Center was the site of the U.S. team’s First-Round victory over the Netherlands last year and is the first site to host consecutive Fed Cup ties in the U.S. in 12 years.

Play will begin at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s two singles matches will pit each country’s No. 1 player against the other’s No. 2. Sunday will feature the two reverse singles matches –No. 1 vs. No. 1; No. 2 vs. No. 2 – followed by a possible fifth-and-decisive doubles match. A revised schedule for Sunday may take place if a team clinches in the third or fourth match. The matchups and order of play for the weekend’s matches will be determined at the official draw ceremony, which will be held at 12 p.m. on Friday, February 8, in the U.S. Cellular Center lobby.

Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com. Tennis Channel and Stadium will present live daily coverage nationally in the U.S., while WLOS-TV will carry the matches locally in Asheville.

The U.S. is 9-5 all-time vs. the Aussies and won their last meeting, 4-0, in the 2016 World Group Playoff. Prior to that, the two countries hadn’t met in Fed Cup since 1985. The winner of this matchup will advance to the Semifinals April 20-21 to play the winner of Germany and Belarus.

Keys, 23, will be appearing in her fifth U.S. Fed Cup tie, after sending the U.S. to its second straight Fed Cup Final last year with a tie-clinching singles win in the Semifinals vs. France. A 2017 US Open finalist and career-high world No. 7, Keys reached the semifinals at both the US Open and French Open and the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in 2018.

Collins, 25, was a breakout star of the 2019 Australian Open, reaching the semifinals in her first main-draw appearance in Melbourne. A two-time NCAA singles champion at the University of Virginia, Collins earned her debut U.S. Fed Cup nomination for the 2018 Final vs. the Czech Republic in Prague last November after a year in which she rose more than 130 spots in the WTA rankings.

Kenin, 20, is the youngest player in the Top 40 and began the 2019 season by winning her first WTA doubles and singles titles in consecutive weeks, in Brisbane and Hobart, respectively. Kenin made her Fed Cup debut in the 2018 Final in Prague as a 19-year old, only the third U.S. teen to make their debut in a Fed Cup Final, and spent 6 1⁄2 hours on court over two singles matches, including a 3 hour, 45-minute thriller vs. Katerina Siniakova in the deciding singles match.

Melichar, 25, is the top-ranked American in women’s doubles and won her fourth career WTA doubles title in Brisbane to start 2019. In 2018, she reached the Wimbledon doubles final and earned her debut Fed Cup nomination for the Final vs. the Czech Republic in Prague.

The USTA has partnered with Explore Asheville, Ingles Markets, Mercedes Benz of Asheville, Mission Health, New Belgium Brewing Company and the Omni Grove Park Inn to bring this event to Asheville. Last year’s tie generated an estimated $3.5 million economic impact on the region, and this year’s tie will feature a variety of community and kids’ events that will once again turn the competition into a weeklong celebration of tennis.

Fed Cup is the world’s largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, with approximately 100 nations taking part each year. The U.S. holds an overall 151-37 record in Fed Cup competition with a 41-6 record in home ties. For more information, including access to player and historical Fed Cup records, please go to www.usta.com/fedcup or www.fedcup.com.

Keep up with Team USA using hashtag #TeamUSATennis on Facebook (@USTA), on Twitter (@USTA), and on Instagram (@USTA). Wilson is the official ball of the U.S. Fed Cup team. Deloitte is the official team sponsor of the U.S. Fed Cup Team.

United States Tennis Association

Farm To Fork Fondo Expands To Asheville And Louisville In 2019

We're very excited to announce not just one but two brand new events for 2019: Farm to Fork Fondo – Asheville on June 29 & 30 nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains at Hickory Nut Gap Farm in Fairview, NC and Farm to Fork Fondo – Louisville on October 19 & 20 at the world-class equine operation Hermitage Farm in Goshen, KY.

FARM TO FORK FONDO - ASHEVILLE

The Asheville event will be the second stop of our 2019 Farm to Fork Fondo season and will highlight the Blue Ridge Mountains just outside of the vibrant city of Asheville. Fairview is in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and filled with picturesque farmland and the edible adventures along the Western North Carolina Cheese Trail. 

Family-owned and operated, Hickory Nut Gap Farm will host all the festivities including a Meet the Farmers Dinner on June 29 where participants can dine with the participating farm families hosting aid stations along the ride routes. Hickory Nut Gap Farm will also host the start/finish on Sunday, June 30. Participants can expect rolling to hilly terrain in Asheville. 

In the Asheville area you’ll find an abundance of independent shops, farm-fresh eateries, and a remarkably distinctive mountain vibe is what you will expect as you stroll through the vibrant entertainment hub in the heart of Asheville. The passionate food culture has evolved the region's restaurants palate, and chefs are now seeking out sustainable food to provide farm-to-table restaurant experiences. Hickory Nut Gap Farm is both a destination and a source with pasture raised meats, agritourism, and other agricultural pursuits.

Fall in love with the land's gently rolling pastures that cradle herds of grass-fed cattle, pastured pigs, and free-range laying hens just as founders Jim and Elizabeth McClure did 100 yeas ago.

FARM TO FORK FONDO - LOUISVILLE

Our 2019 season will also extend just outside the home of the Kentucky Derby, and birthplace of Bourbon at historic Hermitage Farm in Goshen, Kentucky. With roots that span generations, Hermitage is a world-class equine operation tied in Kentucky’s rich farming industry. Purchased in the 1800’s as part of a land grant, Hermitage has been a working farm for nearly two centuries. Ride alongside renowned broodmares, foals, and yearlings that graze the land.

Hermitage will host all the festivities including a Meet the Farmers Dinner on October 19 where participants can dine with the participating farm families. Hermitage will also host the start/finish for the ride on Sunday October 20. Participants can expect flat to rolling terrain. 

Louisville is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiast because it prides itself on its green space. The city is home to 18-designed Frederick Law Olmsted parks. Spend your evening exploring the culinary capital of bourbon country, sipping Whiskey and indulging in famous Kentucky fried chicken.

Both rides will include the standard 4 Farm to Fork Fondo distances from an 8-10 mile Ramble Ride to a 70-90 mile Gran Fondo. Following the ride will be a catered farm-to-table barbecue and festival featuring live music and local vendors.

STAY TUNED

In the coming weeks and months, we will be revealing details on new course routes, partner farms, full weekend schedules, menus, lodging, and more!

Momentum builds for Asheville to host more world-class sports events like Fed Cup

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — Momentum is building for Asheville hosting high-profile sporting events.

The FED Cup, featuring Venus and Serena Williams, is the highest profile sports event in the city's history to date.

The commission celebrated all 2018 successes, and honored board members, including Bruce Peterson, who was instrumental in Asheville hosting the Fed Cup.

"I agree it's the best event we've ever put on in Asheville," Peterson said of the Cup. "Last year we did such a great job they called and said, 'We want to come back,' and that was significant. I think last year Serena made the comment, 'Why don't we do this in Asheville every year?" so that was wonderful."

Peterson says $20 million came into Buncombe County's economy this year.

By WLOS STAFF

Tickets for SoCon Basketball Championships now on sale

Tournaments return to Asheville, N.C.

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Tickets for the 2019 Ingles Southern Conference Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships presented by General Shale are now on sale through Ticketmaster and the U.S. Cellular Center Box Office. The tournaments return to Asheville, North Carolina, and the U.S. Cellular Center for the seventh consecutive year.

All 10 SoCon men’s teams and all eight women’s teams will converge on Asheville for the tournaments, which begin with the women’s quarterfinals on Thursday, March 7. The women’s final will be Sunday, March 10, at noon Eastern, while the men’s final will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 11. Mercer is the defending women’s champion and UNC Greensboro is the defending men’s champion.

The tournament week will feature the return of the Downtown Dribble on the morning of Saturday, March 9, and the third annual Ingles Jamfest, a free concert and tailgate on March 10.

Several different ticket packages are available for purchase. Information about various ticket packages and how to purchase them is below.

Courtside Package (All Sessions - $800)

Contact Madison Davis at 828-734-2433 or email madison@ashevillesports.org.

This courtside VIP experience allows you to be part of the action. This package includes 2 Premium Courtside seats, 2 VIP passes, and a parking space in the exhibition level of the USCC for every session. There are a limited number of seats available.

VIP All-Session Package (All Sessions - $250)

Call the box office at 828-259-5736 or email Laura Weston, lweston@ashevillenc.gov.

Enjoy a reserved seat close the action and VIP Hospitality access. VIP Hospitality will open one hour prior to each session and will include pre-game meals and complimentary beer and wine. 

General Admission Tournament Book - $120

Available through Ticketmaster or the U.S. Cellular Center Box Office (828-259-5736)

General Admission Single Session - $20

Available through Ticketmaster or the U.S. Cellular Center Box Office (828-259-5736)

Youth (6-12)/SoCon Student Single Session - $10 (kids 5 and under get in free)

Available at U.S. Cellular Center Box Office (828-259-5736)

Single Session Group Rate (10 or more tickets to a single session) - $15 per ticket

Contact Andrew Lawrence at 919-418-6545 or email andrew@ashevillesports.org.

 

www.SoConSports.com