On Saturday, May 18 The Sports Page, a local radio show honoring the best in local sports, will announce their Excel Award winners for 2018-19 for the local high school and college student-athletes in Blount County. They have named Pepe Fernandez and Leah Kelley as their Maryville College Coaches of the Year while Elijah Chenier will be honored as the male athlete of the year and Kaylyn Smith will receive the female athlete of the year for the Fighting Scots.
Maryville College's Katlyn Smith continues to stack onto her awards list, as the sophomore hurler is named the 2019 Excel Maryville College Player of the Year after leading the Scots to a pair of back-to-back historic seasons.
Smith – a Loganville, Ga. native – has led the Scots to two-consecutive USA South Athletic Conference Regular Season and Conference Tournament Championships in 2018 and 2019. The right-handed pitcher has put the Scots into the NCAA Tournament – also for the second season in a row – as it ranks the first time in school history for softball to reach The Dance in consecutive years.
Smith was named the USA South Pitcher of the Year this season, following a Rookie Pitcher of the Year nod last year. This season, Smith had a staggering ERA of 1.55, while striking out 200 total batters. She tallied a 22-5 record while pitching 23 complete games. Smith allowed just 37 earned runs in 29 appearances while pitching 147.2 innings this year.
"She's doing this as an underclassman," Head Coach Leah Kelley said. "I think that's what a lot of people forget. She's only been here for two years, and she has a 1.7 ERA with over 300 strikeouts. That is just so impressive."
In her two-year career, Smith has amassed a record of 39-8 overall, while tossing 37 complete-game efforts. She's given up just 74 earned runs over 301.2 innings while amassing an ERA of 1.72. The sophomore has 323 total strikeouts in her storied career, averaging 7.51 strikeouts per seven innings.
Maryville College senior running back Elijah Chenier earns the 2019 Excel Maryville College Player of the Year Award, as he broke the Scots' career rushing yardage record during his final campaign.
Chenier – a Baytown, Texas native – rushed for 942 yards this season to help lead the Scots to their fourth USA South Athletic Conference Championship bid and the program's second trip to the NCAA Tournament. Averaging 6.1 yards per carry during 2018, the back broke the Maryville College record of 3,243 yards. He finished his Orange and Garnet tenure with 3,299 total yards, joining Rommel Hightower as the only 3,000-yard rushers in school history.
Chenier also holds the Maryville College single-season rushing record, breaking the mark during his sophomore campaign. He rushed for 1,281 yards, averaging 7.3 yards per carry to break Travis Felder's mark of 1,269 yards during 2013.
Head Coach Shaun Hayes said Chenier was a dense back – a leg-drive guy that's going to lower the pads, double wrap the football and drive his feet for yardage.
"The thing that Chenier has is that when people do hit him, his stiff arm was always something special," Hayes said. "I've seen him just shuck guys off."
During his four-year career, Chenier amassed 6.4 yards per carry. He scored 24 touchdowns during that time on 513 career carries. He's led the Scots to a 28-12 record in his career while going 21-7 in USA South play. This season, Chenier led the Scots to their first-ever unblemished mark in conference play, going 7-0.
Maryville College Head Softball Coach Leah Kelley earns the 2019 Excel Maryville College Coach of the Year Award for guiding the softball program to back-to-back USA South regular season and tournament championships while earning the program's second-consecutive bid to the NCAA post-season tournament.
While developing five All-USA South performers, Coach Kelley led the softball program to a 29-11 overall mark while going 15-1 in USA South regular season action. Her Scots claimed their second consecutive USA South regular-season title before earning their second USA South tournament crown. Her guidance helped secure the program's fourth bid to the NCAA post-season tournament.
With six dynamic seniors like J.D. Davis award winner Alexus Murray combined with a pair of sophomore sensations in Katlyn Smith and Taylor Campbell, Kelley developed a cohesive group that has set the foundation and standards for future generations of Scots softball players to emulate.
During the 2018-2019 season, Coach Kelley eclipsed the 100-career coaching victory mark. In five seasons on the softball diamond, Leah has amassed a 121-86 overall record winning 58% of all challenges while going 59-35 in the tough USA South Athletic Conference winning 63% of all league matchups.
Pepe Fernandez- Soccer
Maryville College Head Soccer Coach Pepe Fernandez earns the 2019 Excel Maryville College Coach of the Year Award for guiding a pair of programs toward outstanding results this past fall.
While developing prolific scorers, iron-clad defenses, the conference's best goalkeeper, and Academic All-Americans, Coach Fernandez led to men's program to a 14-4-1 overall mark while going 10-2 in USA South regular season action. His Scots claimed their third consecutive USA South regular-season title before earning their second USA South tournament crown. His guidance helped secure the program's fifth bid to the NCAA post-season tournament.
With the assistance of a top-notch coaching staff consisting of Jon Baker, John LaCava, and Hemant Sharma, Coach Fernandez also directed the women's program to a 13-6 overall mark while going a perfect 8-0 in regular season league action. After claiming the program's fourth USA South regular-season title, MC fell in the league tournament finals by a single goal.
During the 2018-2019 season, Coach Fernandez eclipsed the 700-career coaching victory mark. In 30 seasons with the men, Pepe is 376-155-37 while leading the women for 28 campaigns with a 349-145-37 mark. Collectively, Coach Fernandez has earned a 725-300-74 career coaching record at Maryville College.