We've got four Big Orange birthdays to celebrate on June 22!
First, we're sending happy birthday wishes to A.J. Simcox of Vol Baseball! A Knoxville native, Simcox appeared in 50 games for UT last season, playing primarily at shortstop. He finished the year with a .293 batting average to go along with 27 RBIs and one homer. On June 10 he was selected in the 14th round of the 2015 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers. He is 21 years old today.
Teammate Tyler Schultz is also celebrating a birthday today. A senior catcher out of Huntington Beach, California, Schultz appeared in 32 games for UT during the 2014 season. He made 71 plate appearances and hit .254 with eight RBIs. He began his collegiate career at the University of San Francisco before transferring to Cypress CC for his sophomore stint. He turns 23 years old today.
From Vol Track, we wish a happy birthday to rising senior thrower Carson Frost. Frost was sharp in 2015, setting a new personal best in the weight throw during the 2015 indoor season and achieving his highest individual finish ever during the outdoor season. He logged a career-best weight throw of 57 feet, 5.5 inches at the Doc Hale VT Elite Meet during the indoor campaign and finished a career-high fifth during the outdoor season in the hammer throw at the War Eagle Invitational. Today is Frost's 22nd birthday.
Lastly, we wish a happy birthday to Ariel Kupritz of women's soccer. A native of Maryville, Kupritz began her collegiate career at Miami before transferring home to UT. She sat out the 2014 soccer season. She appeared in eight matches during her freshman season with the Hurricanes and achieved Dean's List status in the business school with a perfect 4.0 GPA. Kupritz is 20 years old today.
On June 21 we're celebrating four birthdays on Rocky Top, a pair of which belong to VFLs!
Our first 'happy birthday' shoutout goes to volleyball's Kendra Turner! A rising sophomore from LaPlace, Louisiana, Turner was UT's team leader in total kills (222) and kills per set (2.67) during her true freshman stint on Rocky Top. She recorded a career-high 23 kills against Missouri in early November, making her the only Lady Vol to record 20+ kills in any match that season. Turner is 19 years old today.
From football, today we celebrate the birthday of one of the best linebackers in program history -- Al Wilson. The only All-America selection from the Vols' 1998 National Championship team, Wilson had 77 tackles that season, including a 12 tackle performance against No. 2 Florida. In that game, he set a new program record with three forced fumbles. He went on to become a five-time Pro Bowler with the Denver Broncos organization.
Today we also recognize the birthday of former Tennessee track and field sprinter Terrance Livingston. Livingston ran the 400, 800, and the relays during his four years on Rocky Top and still ranks inside the top 10 of the Tennessee indoor performance list in the 400-meter dash. His time of 47.31 is the 10th fastest in indoor program history.
Lastly, we are wishing a happy birthday to former Volunteer golfer Marshall Talkington. Like Wilson, Talkington is a native of Jackson, Tennessee, and went on to play four years on the links for the men's golf program. He logged a career scoring average of 76.31 and finished with two top-10 finishes in his career. Talkington was a two-time member of the All-SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Along with these happy birthdays, Tennessee would like to wish a happy Father's Day to all of our Big Orange dads on Rocky Top and around the world!
We've got a trio of birthdays to celebrate on Rocky Top today as we wish a happy birthday to football's Corey Vereen, former Vol defensive lineman Darwin Walker, and a past All-SEC hurdler out on the track in Terry Benson.
A rising junior from Winter Garden, Florida, Vereen is coming off a sophomore season in which he appeared in all 13 games for the Vols. He finished the year with 24 total tackles -- 15 solo and nine assisted. He also recorded 4.0 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and three quarterback hurries. His most noteworthy game of the 2014 season came against Ole Miss when he posted a career-high six tackles, 2.5 TFLs, and 1.5 sacks. Born this day in 1995, Vereen is 20 years old today.
VFL Walker was a junior captain on the 1998 national championship team. He posted 46 tackles and six sacks for a defense that gave up less than 100 yards rushing per game during the Vols' run to the national title. He was named All-SEC by the Associated Press the following season. He opted to leave Rocky Top a year early and put together a 10 year pro career in the NFL. His most notable professional stop came with the Philadelphia Eagles -- a franchise with which he spent seven seasons and helped to a Super Bowl XXIX berth. Walker is 38 today.
Lastly, we wish a happy birthday for former All-SEC hurdler Benson. A native of Las Vegas, Benson ran for two seasons at Tennessee after transferring from Central Arizona College. He was a seven-time SEC scorer, making his mark in the hurdles and the relays. In 2012, he was named the Indoor Vol Most Valuable Track Athlete and was a member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
On June 7 we're wishing a happy birthday to multi-event athlete Brielyn Rogers of Tennessee track and field!
Rogers is a rising junior out of Upper Malboro, Maryland, who competes in the sprints, jumps and throws for Tennessee. She made her collegiate debut in the women's hepthathlon in 2015 at the Tennessee Relays, becoming the first UT athlete to compete in the event since 2010. Later in the season, she set a new PR in the triple jump at the SEC Championships, recording an effort of 40 feet, 10.5 inches -- the fifth-best mark in program history.
A four-year performer from Virginia Beach, Virginia, Cornell recently concluded her career on Rocky Top. A distance specialist, Cornell competed during all three facets of the season: cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track. In 2014-15, she competed in three cross country races, setting a new career-best 6K time at the NCAA South Regional and during the outdoor seasons she recorded a new PR of 2:23.90 in the 800 meters. At season's end, she was named the Tennessee Track & Field Women's Scholar Athlete of the Year.
Searcy spent five seasons in the Major Leagues following the conclusion of his playing career at the University of Tennessee. He pitched at UT from 1983-85, going 3-1 with a 2.60 ERA as a freshman. The Knoxville native would go on to be drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the third round of 1985 MLB Draft and he made his pro debut on Aug. 29, 1988. Searcy would pitch four seasons for the Tigers before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. Primarily a reliever, Searcy finished his MLB career with six wins, a 5.68 ERA, and over 187.0 innings pitched.
Former Tennessee track and field standout Stephen Harris is being inducted into the Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame tonight at the Gwinnett Civic Center in Duluth, Georgia. The former Volunteer decathlete is one of seven inductees in 2015, the sixth class to be inducted into the Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame.
Harris competed for Tennessee for four years from 2000-03, specializing primarily in the decathlon. He is currently No. 4 on UT's all-time performance list in the multi-event category after recording a career-best 8,103 points during his senior season. He also sits inside the top 10 in program history in the high jump behind a leap of 7 feet, one inch (2.16) in 2000. As a senior in 2003, Harris won the NCAA Outdoor decathlon title with 8,061 points and ended the season ranked as the No. 5 decathlete in the country by Track Y Field News.
Following his career on Rocky Top, Harris recorded a fifth-place finish in the specialty at the 2005 USA Track and Field Championships.
Harris is a native of Norcross, Georgia, and was a 1999 graduate of Norcross High School.
Joining Harris in the Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2015 is longtime Central Gwinnett football coach Tally Johnson, former NC State wrestler Dustin Kawa, former Georgia football player and current ESPN personality David Pollack, former Georgia women's basketball standout Christi Thomas, swimmer and Olympic silver-medalist Amanda Weir, and former UGA baseball and football standout William "Bull" Cooper, who is being inducted posthumously.
Congratulations to Stephen Harris on this well-deserved recognition!
It's April 28 and we're wishing a happy Big Orange birthday to track and field's Kyle Quinn!
A junior from Somerset, Massachusetts, Quinn is in the midst of his third season throwing the javelin for the Volunteers. He is currently ranked 11th in the East Region and is in qualifying position for the NCAA East Regional Championships in May gollowing his season-best throw of 229 feet, three inches (69.89m) to open the year at the Alabama Relays. Last season, Quinn threw the top distance in the nation when he recorded a career-best throw of 256 feet, 10 inches (78.28). Born this day in 1993, Quinn is 22 years old today.
Walter is a senior on the track and field squad, specializing in distance. He has competed on the cross country team, as well as the indoor and outdoor track teams, all three seasons at UT. A Knoxville native who attended Bearden High School, Walter recently established a new personal-best in the men's 5000-meter run at the Tennessee Relays Powered by Sea Ray. With a time of 14:22.25, he broke his previous career-best by almost 30 seconds. Born this day in 1993, Walter is 22 years old today.
A sophomore from Adelaide, Australia, Schipanski is in the midst of his sophomore season on Rocky Top. He holds a singles record of 10-9 and a doubles mark of 13-6 through his first year with the program. This spring, he has secured a pair of ranked wins as he defeated No. 52 Jon Ho of Wake Forest and No. 39 Harrison Adams of Texas A&M. Tennessee men's tennis is in action this weekend at the SEC Championships in College Station, Texas. The Vols open play against Alabama at 12 p.m. ET.
A native of Temecula, California, Bawcombe is coming off a solid freshman season for Tennessee Volleyball in the fall of 2014. She appeared in 31 matches and made 17 starts on the year, logging two double-doubles and a team-high 17 service aces. Born this day in 1996, Bawcome is 19 years old today.
Out on the track, Blaase is having the best season of her career. In the fall, she became Tennessee's 10th cross country All-American after finishing 10th at the NCAA Championships. Blaase earned her second All-American award of the year during the indoor track and field season when she placed fourth in the women's 5,000 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships. And just last week, Blaase broke her own school record in the 10,000 meter run at the Stanford Invitational, turning in a time of 32:28.39 that ranks second in the nation.
A junior member of the varsity rowing squad, Suffridge was a part of the Second Varsity Eight that finished third in the petite final at the 42nd annual San Diego Crew Classic. A local product out of Knoxville, Suffridge is majoring in in Speech Pathology and was a member of the 2014 spring SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Today is also the 40th birthday of former Tennessee and Major League pitcher Lincoln. He pitched just one season for UT back in 1996, going 6-4 with a 3.33 ERA before being drafted in the 13th round of the MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins. He made his big league debut on April 7, 1999, and continued on in the Bigs until 2010, making stops with the Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, and Cincinnati Reds.
During his first season with the Tennessee men's tennis program, Jones holds a singles record of 8-7 and a doubles mark of 2-2. The Warner Robins, Georgia, native opened his collegiate career with a ranked victory when he defeated No. 94 Alex Arovin of Tennessee Tech (6-1, 6-2) in the opening round of the Southern Intercollegiate Championships. Jones turns 19 years old today.
A five-star wide receiver from Hampton, Georgia, Williams became one of the newest members of Team 119 back on National Signing Day in February. He played his prep career at Lovejoy High School, where he was named first team All-State and earned an invitation to the 2015 Under Armour All-Star Game. He had 43 catches for 916 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior despite missing a portion of the year with a knee injury. Williams is 18 years old today.
From one of our newest Vols to one of our newest VFLs, defensive back Coleman wrapped up his UT career last fall with 157 career tackles and five career interceptions. Coleman was recently invited to the 2015 NFL Combine, where he recorded the fastest 3-cone drill time of any participant (6.61). He was also third among cornerbacks in both the bench press (20 reps) and the 60-yard shuttle (11.21). Today Coleman celebrates his 22nd birthday.
A defensive back for Vol football from 2002-06, Wade also starred on the track and field team, making his mark in the outdoor relays. His 4x100-meter relay team in 2003 recorded the program's second-fastest time in the event all-time. On the football field, he earned All-SEC honors in 2006 after leading Tennessee in pass deflections and interceptions. Wade was the 84th pick of the 2007 NFL Draft, taken by the St. Louis Rams. He is 31 years old today.
One of Tennessee Basketball's all-time greats, Lofton was the 2007 SEC Player of the Year after leading the conference in scoring at 20.8 points per game. That year, he led the Volunteers to the Sweet 16 and was named a second team All-American. As a senior in 2007-08, Lofton passed Allan Houston to become UT's career-leader in three-pointers made, and not long after that, passed Pat Bradley of Arkansas to capture the record for most career treys all-time in the SEC. Following his collegiate career, Lofton went on to play professionally in Turkey, Spain, and Russia. He is currently under contract with Besiktas -- a Turkish team based out of Istanbul.
Happy birthday Jess, Preston, Justin, Jonathan, and Chris!