By Matt Welch
Times West Virginian
For a season that had its ups and downs for Fairmont State, both the men’s and women’s teams just missed the cut for the NCAA Tournament.
FSU’s men’s team went into the Mountain East Conference Tournament ranked No. 6 in the Atlantic Region and was left out just four days later in favor of West Chester at No. 6, Glenville State at No. 7 and Livingstone at No. 8 when the Division II NCAA Tournament field was revealed online Sunday night.
West Chester, which was previously not in the Top 10 rankings in the region on March 5, powered into the No. 7 spot with a run in the PSAC Tournament, which ended with a loss in the championship game. Glenville State, previously ranked No. 8, used a semifinals run in the MEC to stay put. And Livingstone, previously ranked No. 10, won the CIAA championship to jump into the No. 8 spot in the eyes of the selection committee.
Rounding out the Atlantic Region, in order, are host East Stroudsburg (28-1), West Liberty (26-3), IUP (23-4), Charleston (21-8) and Gannon (19-9).
FSU will finish the season with a 20-10 record, including a 14-8 MEC record, while finishing their season in the semifinals of the MEC Tournament.
Highlights of the Falcons’ season included a win over then-No. 19 Winston Salem State, a single-digit loss to then-No. 2 Bellarmine and a 12-point win over then-No. 3 West Liberty.
Coach Jerrod Calhoun’s Falcons won nine of their last 13 games during the regular season after an 8-5 start.
The Falcons will graduate two seniors this season in Brendan Cooper and Martins Abele, returning a large part of their starting five. Leading the way is sophomore guard Stevie Browning, who led the Falcons with 16.8 points per game in addition to being named to the All-MEC Tournament team Sunday. Browning also pulled down 5.7 rebounds per contest. The Falcons also return MEC Freshman of the Year Thomas Wimbush who scored 14.6 points and grabbed 5.9 rebounds per game.
FSU’s women’s team was left out of the field, ending their 2013-14 campaign with an 18-10 record, including a 14-8 MEC record.
Coach Steve McDonald’s team graduates two players, reserves Bri Innocent and Kaitlyn Antolock, returning all five starters next season. Four of those starters — Hailey Garrett, Makenzie White, Hallie Gunnoe and Emily Lohr — finished the season averaging double figures with Garrett leading the way, scoring 15.2 points per contest. The junior also led the team in rebounding, pulling down 7.4 boards per contest.
The Atlantic Region consists of, in order, Glenville State (28-3), Edinboro (24-5), Gannon (27-3), Bloomsburg (24-4), Virginia State (25-2), Shaw (21-8), Charleston (21-8) and West Liberty (20-10).
Email Matt Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.