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BARTON NOTEBOOK: Brkovic leads parade of Bulldogs picking up accolades

From staff reports
Posted 5/24/19

Senior Aleksa Brkovic excelled in the classroom as well as on the court for the 2019 championship Barton College men’s volleyball team.

From Belgrade, Serbia, Brkovic was recently saluted as …

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BARTON NOTEBOOK: Brkovic leads parade of Bulldogs picking up accolades

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Senior Aleksa Brkovic excelled in the classroom as well as on the court for the 2019 championship Barton College men’s volleyball team.

From Belgrade, Serbia, Brkovic was recently saluted as the Conference Carolinas Men’s Volleyball Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Brkovic compiled a 3.91 GPA while majoring in mathematics and business administration and graduated earlier this month. The standout Bulldogs defender also claimed the conference’s Elite 23 distinction and is an academic all-conference honoree.

On the court, Brkovic was proclaimed the league’s defensive player of the year and earned all-conference recognition for the third time after leading the conference in digs (273). He also had 76 assists. Brkovic was also named the Off the Block National Libero of the Week on Tuesday, April 2.

Brkovic helped the Bulldogs to their best season in school history. Barton posted a 25-5 record, went 14-2 against conference foes, won the conference regular-season and tournament championships and hosted an NCAA tournament match for the first time in school history, losing 3-1 to Princeton University.

The award is presented annually to one student-athlete in each conference sport for recognition of outstanding performance on the field and in the classroom. Voting upon the award is the Student-Athlete Affairs Committee.

SWIMMING HONOR

With a 3.95 GPA in majoring in art and design, Barton College sophomore swimmer Nichola Macdonald has been selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America to the 2018-19 Google Cloud Academic All-District Women’s At-Large NCAA Division II team for District III.

Macdonald, from Durban, South Africa, is also a member of the conference’s all-academic elite.

As a competitor, she was hailed Conference Carolinas Co-Women’s Swimmer of the Year after winning the 500-yard freestyle (5 minutes, 12.33 seconds), 200 freestyle (1:53.27) and 100 freestyle (51.94) with B cut qualifying times.

Macdonald was also a member of the Lady Bulldogs’ victorious 200 freestyle (1:35.40) and 400 freestyle (3:32.74) relays. She was chosen as conference swimmer of the week on Oct. 31. Barton finished second in the conference.

ANOTHER FOR WYNN

Senior Kianna Wynn wrapped up her splendid Barton College women’s basketball career by being named to the North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association’s All-State Women’s Basketball first team for the fourth time.

A 6-foot forward from Knightdale, Wynn led the Lady Bulldogs in scoring at 22 points per game. She also rebounded at the rate of 9.5 per contest and shot for 52.4-percent accuracy from the floor.

Earlier, Wynn was accorded WBCA NCAA Div. II All-America honorable mention, selected first-team Div. II All-Southeast Region and All-Conference Carolinas. Wynn led Barton (24-6 overall and 16-4 in the conference) to a share of the league regular-season title and to a berth in the Div. II Southeast Regional tournament.

She earned league player-of-the-week honors on four occasions and was hailed the Div. II National Player of the Week by the United States Basketball Writers Association on Feb. 12.

A four-time all-conference selection Wynn is the Lady Bulldogs’ all-time leader in rebounds (1,078) and ranks third on the career scoring list (2,080 points).

KAKAR DEPARTS

Head coach Ron Lievense confirms that 6-foot-3 sophomore Jake Kakar is leaving the Barton men’s basketball team after two seasons.

Kakar will reportedly transfer to Barry University, an NCAA Div. II program in Florida.

After seeing limited action as a freshman, Kakar surfaced his sophomore year, playing in 28 of the Bulldogs’ 30 games and drawing 10 starts. He earned second-team All-Conference Carolinas acclaim.

The Boston product averaged 14.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Kakar was accurate on 47% of his field-goal attempts. 43.7% of his 3-point field-goal attempts and 81% of his free throws. He led Barton in 3-point scoring and also contributed 1.8 assists per outing.

ADDING ELMORE

A former NCAA Div. I player is joining the Barton College men’s basketball program.

Among the four prospects from which Bulldogs head coach Ron Lievense has received commitments for the 2019-20 season is 6-foot-8 Matt Elmore, who began his career with head coach Kevin Keatts at UNC Wilmington.

Elmore played sparingly his freshman season with the Div. I Seahawks. At the end of 2016-17, Keatts left to become the head coach at North Carolina State University.

An injury resulted in Elmore taking a redshirt in 2017-18 and he did not play for UNCW this past season.

Lievense reported he was uncertain of Elmore’s status last season, but said he will have two seasons of eligibility with Barton.

Elmore starred at Dixon High School, located at the southern tip of Onslow County. He averaged 22 points and 15.4 rebounds his senior season.

Lievense said he saw Elmore play in high school, but backed off in the recruiting process upon being assured that Elmore  was going Div. I. 

Lievense added that the Bulldogs came across Elmore’s name on the transfer list and developed a good relationship with him.

“I have been told that he can be a great Division II player,” Lievense commented. “He’s a fine young man and we have built a great relationship with him. We  look forward to what he will bring to the Barton program.”

GAINEY TRANSFERS

Barton women’s basketball newcomers for 2019-20 will include junior Michelle Gainey, a high school standout at Rocky Mount High and a transfer from Fayetteville State University.

The 5-foot-9 guard’s playing time decreased her sophomore season at FSU. She averaged 1.7 points and 1.7 rebounds. Her single-game highs were eight points, five rebounds, three assists, two blocks and three steals.

Gainey was a 3-A All-Big East Conference performer during her Rocky Mount career. She is the daughter of Mike and Pam Gainey. Her parents are head coaches for the Rocky Mount varsity boys and girls teams, respectively.

“I am really excited; I am really looking forward to it,” Michelle Gainey said of joining the Lady Bulldogs. “I am excited to be back close to home.

Gainey alluded to Barton’s consistent excellence in the Div. II Conference Carolinas. Head coach Wendee Saintsing’s Lady Bulldogs posted a 24-4 record in 2018-19 and advanced into the Div. II Southeast Regional.

“I hope I can come in and contribute to a lot of wins,” Gainey expressed. “Barton has a good system and is competitive outside the conference.”

Gainey revealed she had pretty much decided last December she was leaving Fayetteville State of the Div. II Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

“I didn’t feel a part of the team,” she explained. “It wasn’t a good fit for me.”

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