This fall, NCAA athletes of the University of North Georgia are taking their positions for the first time as Nighthawks, led by the women's golf team.
"The excitement surrounding University of North Georgia Athletics is at an all-time high," said Athletic Director Lindsay Reeves. "Our student-athletes and coaches take extreme pride in representing our university, and serving as ambassadors under the new identity and mascot makes this upcoming year even more highly anticipated. I look forward to seeing the UNG communities get behind our teams and embrace the new Nighthawks brand."
The women's golf team opened the Nighthawks inaugural season Sept. 1 at Silver Lakes Golf Course in Gadsden, Ala. The Nighthawks were the only non-NCAA Division I program in the six-team field and carded an opening-round 345 in the 54-hole event. The team struggled in the second round, posting a 358 team score, and in the third round, scored a 353, finishing sixth out of six teams.
"It is very exciting to kick off the 2013-14 athletic season under the new Nighthawks brand," said Leigh Ann Hunter, head coach of the women's golf team. "The team has embraced the new colors and logo and is honored to be the first team in intercollegiate competition this year."
The women's soccer program will kick off the season on Sept. 6 at the Valdosta State Classic against the Florida Institute of Technology. The team, coached by Chris Adams for the past decade, has risen to the elite level in Peach Belt Conference play. The team reached the 14-win plateau in each of the past three seasons and represented UNG in NCAA Division II post-season play for two consecutive years. Of 11 players named to the Peach Belt Conference's (PBC)All-Conference team, three were selected from UNG: Kelly Penston, Cicely Taliaferro, and Megan Morrow. The team is currently ranked third in the PBC and 16th in NCAA Division II.
The men's soccer team also will begin its season on Sept. 6 at the Barry University Classic against Barry University. The team, which ended the 2012 season with a 7-7-2 record, has finished .500 or better for three consecutive seasons and is becoming an annual contender in the very competitive Peach Belt Conference.
The women's cross country team takes off on Sept. 7 at the third annual GSW Remembrance Run at Americus, Ga. This fall marks the second season of competition since women's cross country was returned to the intercollegiate sports offerings at UNG. Coach Tom Williams leads a squad of more than 20, including a solid core of returning runners, and has high expectations for the season.
The men's golf team begins play on Sept. 9 at the Smoky Mountain Intercollegiate in Sieverville, Tenn. The 2013-14 season marks the program's sixth year of competition since being added to the sport rotation in 2007. Head Coach Tom Fowler has directed the program from its inception.
The athletic seasons for men and women's rifle and men and women's basketball will begin later this fall.
As a member of the NCAA Division II Peach Belt Conference, UNG Athletics competes in 13 sports including baseball, softball, women's cross country, and men's and women's basketball, golf, rifle, soccer and tennis.
Students on all four UNG campuses selected Nighthawks as the university’s new mascot. Rickabaugh Graphics helped the university develop a comprehensive set of athletic and spirit marks, gathering input from a wide range of UNG constituents.
Along with the new mascot, the athletic year ushers in a new online home of UNG Athletics – UNGAthletics.com. The floor of Memorial Hall Gymnasium was also refinished in the new Nighthawks brand. The logo, which is displayed at center court in the university's new color scheme of blue and gold, serves as the anchor of the floor redesign.