Press Release from Tennessee Tech Sports Information Service, May 21, 2018:

Strohschein tabbed semifinalist for Golden Spikes Awards

(Story by By Mike Lehman)

DURHAM, N.C. – Tennessee Tech junior designated hitter/outfielder Kevin Strohschein was named a semifinalist for the 2018 Golden Spikes Award, announced by USA Baseball Monday.

Presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, the 41st Golden Spikes Award, which honors the top amateur baseball player in the country, will be presented on June 28 in Los Angeles.

Strohschein becomes the first ever Golden Eagle named as a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist and is one of just 25 players in the nation to make the list. He also was named a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy.

Both Strohschein and Chambers represent the first Golden Eagle players named as Dick Howser Trophy semifinalists. The junior slugger has helped lead Tech to a consensus Top-25 national ranking, – currently as high as No. 18 by Perfect Game – a program-record 46 victories, an Ohio Valley Conference-record 27 league wins and the OVC regular season title. Winners of 37 of their past 39 games, the Golden Eagles also set the OVC record with a 28-game winning streak from Mar. 13 to Apr. 28

The first player in OVC history to win both Rookie and Player of the Year in the same season back in 2016, Strohschein leads the Golden Eagles with 93 hits, 16 home runs and a .694 slugging percentage. He is batting .396 in 53 games on the year, totaling 62 runs, 16 doubles, three triples, 60 RBI and a .453 on base percentage.

Beginning with the announcement of semifinalists, a ballot will be sent to the Golden Spikes Award voting body consisting of national baseball media, select professional baseball personnel, previous Golden Spikes Award winners and select USA Baseball staff, totaling a group of over 200 voters. From Monday, May 21 through Sunday, June 3, the voting body will select three semifinalists from the ballot to be named as Golden Spikes Award finalists and fan voting will simultaneously be open on GoldenSpikesAward.com. Selections made by the voting body will carry a 95 percent weight of each athlete’s total, while fan votes will account for the remaining 5 percent.

The finalists will then be announced on Wednesday, June 6. Beginning that same day through Friday, June 22, the voting body and fans will be able to cast their final vote for the Golden Spikes Award winner.

Brendan McKay took home the prestigious award last year, joining a group of recent winners that include Kyle Lewis (2016), Andrew Benintendi (2015), A.J. Reed (2014), Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009), Buster Posey (2008), and David Price (2007).

The winner of the 41st Golden Spikes Award will be named on Thursday, June 28, at a presentation in Los Angeles. The finalists and their families will be honored at the Rod Dedeaux Foundation Award Dinner that evening at Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles.

USA Baseball has partnered with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation to host the Golden Spikes Award since 2013. The Foundation was formed to honor legendary USC and USA Baseball Olympic team coach, Rod Dedeaux, and supports youth baseball and softball programs in underserved communities throughout Southern California.

Nature lovers go ambling together along America’s footpaths June 2

Whether you’re a seasoned trail trekker or just looking to get your feet dusty for the first time in a stretch, there’s a day designated just for getting people together to enjoy a nature walk.

On the first Saturday of June for 25 years, the American Hiking Society has promoted a nationwide gathering of hikers of all ages, abilities and experience levels to discover or rediscover a sense of beauty and adventure along a local public-lands footpath. Thousands of the trail-marching meet-ups are hosted throughout the country.

The concept for National Trails Day is to connect people with a wide range of trail activities on a single day. Organizers of the coast-to-coast events say that sometimes all people need to get enthused about hiking is someone to show them what’s available – or biking or horseback riding or any other trail activity, for that matter.

National Trails Day is a “collective effort to connect people with trails,” he said.

“We encourage a wide variety of events, and not all of it even has to be hiking related,” said Wesley Trimble, a program coordinator for the American Hiking Society. “Basically, any kind of trail activity that is muscle-powered, whether it be hiking, biking horseback riding, is something we promote.”

National Trails Day is also envisioned as an event to spur volunteer interest in repairing and improving trails. Last year AHS helped coordinate more 1,500 hikes and trail-maintenance events, with activities in all 50 states. This year’s goal is to improve 2,802 miles of trail across the country — the distance across the United States.

“It’s easy to hit the trail and enjoy being outside without thinking about the tremendous effort it takes to advocate for, plan, build, and maintain the nearly 250,000 miles of trail crisscrossing America,” said Kate VanWaes, director of AHS.

Tennessee’s coordinator for outreach programs and special events at state parks, Morgan Gilman, said National Trails Day is one of a handful of days throughout the year when all state parks organize activities around a common theme

“National Trails Day is one of our signature events at all of our state parks – and it is all about getting people out and enjoying our trails,” she said.

And there are plenty of trails to choose from: together, State parks across Tennessee boast more than a thousand miles of walking paths.

Some parks will offer leisurely strolls; some strenuous. Some parks are doing clean-up hikes and others are more history oriented, she said

In addition to promoting the thoroughgoing benefits to health and well-being that hiking provides, National Trails Day provides an outstanding opportunity for park managers and staff to showcase something that makes their sites worthy of designation as special places in Tennessee, Gilman said.

And when it comes to having a lot to offer, Tennessee’s state park system is among the best in the country. Last year, the National Recreation and Park Association named Tennessee as one of the four best state park systems in the country for demonstrating excellence in management, stewardship and program development.

“On National Trails Day, the parks tend to try to highlight the aspects that make them unique,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to maybe explore a new trail or volunteer to help clean up or do maintenance on one of your favorite trails.

Events include activities such as hikes, trail runs, bicycle tours, horseback rides, volunteer trail projects, activities for kids, and much more.

“We have a variety of things that they are trying to tap into at all the parks, but it is just a great day to celebrate trails and hiking,” said Gilman.

To find out what’s going on at a state park you’d like to visit, go here for a calendar of events and contact info for all Tennessee’s individual park headquarters.

Press release from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District Office, May 4, 2018:

Public invited to workshop, open house for CHL Master Plan revision

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 4, 2018) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District invites the public to a workshop for the Center Hill Lake Master Plan revision from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at the DeKalb County Community Complex in Smithville, Tenn. The open house is 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, May 24, 2018 at the Center Hill Lake Resource Manager’s Office in Lancaster, Tenn.

The purpose of this workshop and Open House is to provide the public with an opportunity to comment on the proposed improvements to the current 1984 Master Plan. An associated draft Environmental Assessment (EA) will also be available for review and comment and have a concurrent public comment period.

Resource Manager Kevin Salvilla said that this gives the public an opportunity to review the elements that make up the master plan and provide comments. There will be no formal presentation so the interested parties can stop by any time between 6 to 8 p.m. at the workshop or any time between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Open House.

A link to the draft copy of the Master Plan can be viewed prior to the public events by visiting https://cdm16021.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p16021coll7/id/6703/rec/1 and will also be available for review at the workshop and Open House.

You may also request a copy of the documents by emailing a request to CenterHillLake@usace.army.mil. Written comments and requests will be accepted at the workshop, Open House, emailed to CenterHillLake@usace.army.mil or mailed to the Center Hill Lake Resource Manager’s Office at 158 Resource Lane, Lancaster, TN 38569. All comments and requests must be received by the Resource Manager’s Office no later than Friday, June 22, 2018 to be considered.

The DeKalb County Community Complex is located at 712 South Congress Blvd, Smithville, TN 37166 and the Center Hill Lake Resource Manager’s Office is located at 158 Resource Lane, Lancaster, TN 38569.

For any questions pertaining to the public workshop or the Master Plan Revision, please call the Center Hill Lake Resource Manager’s Office at 931-858-3125.

To read more on the dam safety project, visit the Nashville District webpage at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Missions/Current-Projects/Construction/Center-Hill-Dam-Safety-Rehabilitation-Project/.

The public can also obtain news, updates and information about Center Hill Lake on the lake’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Locations/Lakes/Center-Hill-Lake, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/centerhilllake/.

For more information about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, visit the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.

Vandagriff earns national recognition capping outstanding high school career

A McMinnville student who considers Center Hill Lake his home waters has been named to the 2018 Bassmaster High School All-American Fishing Team.

Samuel Vandagriff, a senior at Warren County High, is among just 12 young anglers from the around the country — one of only two from Tennessee — to earn the prestigious recognition.

He landed the All-American designation after his name rose to the top of a nomination pool consisting of more than 465 names. The Bassmaster organization executives who made the selections said their criteria included not just on-the-water skills and success, but also dedication to academics and good citizenship.

“Samuel also leads off the water in his school, church and community, participating in things like hurricane relief, Habitat for Humanity and Relay for Life,” said David Lowrie, Tennessee B.A.S.S. Nation High School state director. “Samuel provides leadership for Warren County’s fishing team and sets an example for other Tennessee B.A.S.S. Nation high school and junior anglers.”

Samuel will now get to compete against other Bassmaster All-Americans at a special high school tournament being held in conjunction with the professional 2018 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest beginning May 17.

J.W. Holt, a teacher at Warren County High who serves as the school’s fishing-club faculty advisor, described Samuel’s All-American award as “a very huge accomplishment” that has been terrific both for the school itself and building youth enthusiasm for competition fishing.

“It’s brought us a lot of attention, and put us in a good spotlight,” said Holt, who helped organize the Warren County High School bass club’s launch six years ago. Holt said the fishing club, for which Samuel serves as president, has been growing every year.

“It’s really unbelievable and amazing how it has taken off,” he said.

Holt said Samuel, who turns 18 this summer, has been a tournament standout since he started fishing with the club as an eighth grader, when he was part of a nationally ranked duo with another astute young Warren County angler, Hunter Bouldin, who’s now on the FLW circuit.

“Samuel is very persistent and he practices a lot — he just has a knack for it,” said Holt. “He’s really good at what he does, and he’s one of these kids that can handle pressure. It always seems like he’s on top of things.”

Learning the Ways of Lunkers 

Samuel said he’s been fishing for as long as his memory serves. He credits his dad and grandfathers for teaching him tricks for tracking down and hooking fish early on that have continued to serve him well.

One of the keys to tournament fishing success is versatility, said Samuel. He advises youngsters who want to make a name for themselves boating big bass to get comfortable with all kinds of angling tactics and techniques.

“Putting your time in is pretty much the biggest thing,” he said. “Figure out what you’re best at, and then once you figure that out, work on learning new stuff.”

A big secret to consistent tournament success is “getting good at fishing everything,” he said.

“I catch a lot of fish shallow, but then again I like catching them deep just as well,” said Samuel. “Most people can either do one or the other — they’re either out there deep or up in the trees. They don’t go back and forth. But not every tournament is going to be won shallow and not every tournament is going to be won deep. You’ve got to be able to fish all of it.”

Family Values Fishing

Samuel’s parents, Barry and Shannon, obviously have a lot to boast about these days — and not just because of Samuel’s successes. Their younger son, Matthew, is Samuel’s fishing partner and a rising star himself. Samuel and Matthew have qualified for nationals every year they’ve been fishing together. Last year they placed fifth in the Bassmaster National Championship tournament.

Barry also serves as their coach and manager. “I buy the gas and drive the boat,” he said. As Samuel puts it, “He’s always our boat captain.”

It never took much coaxing to interest the boys in wetting a line when they were little, Barry said. Both got pretty serious about it “as soon as they could hold a pole.”

“I guess it’s in their blood,” he said.

In the fall, Samuel is planning to attend Tennessee Tech in Cookeville. Ironically enough, the only other 2018 Bassmaster High School All-American from Tennessee — Jacob Woods of Lenoir City High School — intends to go to TTU as well. Samuel said he and Jacob have become good friends over the years and expects they’ll be fishing partners in the college tournaments.