Oliver, Ray Earn All-SAC Honors; Manis Named SAC Golf Scholar-Athlete

Oliver, Ray Earn All-SAC Honors; Manis Named SAC Golf Scholar-Athlete

ROCK HILL, S.C. – Carson-Newman seniors Jennifer Oliver (Knoxville, Tenn./Central HS) and Erica Ray (Maryville, Tenn./Maryville HS) have been named to the 2012 Women's Golf All-South Atlantic Conference teams and  junior Melanie Manis (Louisville, Tenn./William Blount HS) has been named the the 2012 SAC Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the conference announced on Friday.

Oliver and Ray have been major factors in the Lady Eagles spending much of the 2012 season ranked in the Top 20 nationally.

Oliver finished fourth at the 2012 Agnes McAmis Invitational last week in Greeneville, Tenn., her best finish of the season.

Ray finished third at the Flagler Fall Slam in late October against a field that included a number of the nation's Top 10 teams. She added another Top 10 with a 10th place finish in Greeneville last week.

The two seniors will lead C-N into next week's 2012 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Women's Golf Championships in Hickory, N.C. C-N will try to repeat as SAC Champions and aims to capture the program's third SAC title in only four years of competition.

Junior Melanie Manis earned the 2012 SAC Scholar Athlete Award for Women's Golf.

The award, which recognizes a combination of academic achievement, athletic excellence, service and leadership, are voted on by the league's Faculty Athletic Representatives.

On the course, Manis has been a key factor in keeping Carson-Newman ranked in the nation's top 25 for much of the season.  She has finished in the top 10 at two events this season, including a third-place performance at the Rendleman Invitational. 

Manis is a standout student, boasting a 3.78 GPA as a biology major.  She will begin pharmacy school at the University of Tennessee next fall. 

The Louisville, Tenn., native was named an Academic All-American by the GCAA following her freshman season, and has been selected to the Carson-Newman Dean's List every semester she's been on campus.

Manis is an active presence in her local community as well.  Her numerous volunteer efforts have included assisting with Extreme Makeover Home Edition in Knoxville, organizing the First Baptist Church of Jefferson City Fall Festival, serving as a Young Live leader, reading to students at Dandridge Elementary School and helping run Operation Christmas Child efforts on campus.

In addition, Manis is an active member of the Carson-Newman Student-Athlete Advisory Committee's efforts with the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

"Melanie is the model student-athlete that every coach would love to have on their team," said C-N head women's golf coach Mandy Moore.  "Her hard work and determination have allowed her to excel in the classroom, on the golf course and in extracurricular activities."

Wingate senior Braden Jackson won the award for the men.

Newberry senior Maria Luz Besio was named the 2012 SAC Women's Golf Player of the Year to lead the All-SAC teams.

Besio's adjusted scoring average this season was 75.48, more than two strokes better than the No. 2 player – All-SAC First Team selection and conference Freshman of the Year Emee Herbert from Tusculum.

Besio had three top-five finishes in eight events this season.  The Buenos Aires, Argentina, native shot a season-best 71 in the first round of the Patsy Rendleman Invitational.

Herbert, meanwhile, amassed three top-five finishes in nine events. 

Joining Besio and Herbert on the All-SAC First Team were Lincoln Memorial's Brittany McCown, Lenoir-Rhyne's Katie Thackerson and Tusculum's Jillian Corum. 

McCown finished third in the SAC in adjusted scoring average at 77.92, followed by Corum at 78.11 and Thackerson at 78.94.

Thackerson had two top-five finishes in tournaments this season, while McCown and Corum each had one.

The All-SAC Second Team was comprised of Oliver and Ray, aloing with Newberry's Lisa Brandl and Barbara Castro, and Wingate's Lucia Careaga.

After leading his team to tournament titles at the Anderson Invitational and Agnes McAmis Memorial Invitational, Tusculum's Bob Dibble was selected as the SAC Coach of the Year.

In total, Tusculum finished in the top five in eight of its nine events during the 2011-12 season.

All 10 of the conference's women's golf programs will compete in the 2012 Food Lion SAC Golf Championship, which gets underway on Monday at Rock Barn in Conover, N.C.


SAC Women's Golf Player of the Year:  Maria Luz Besio, Newberry

SAC Women's Golf Freshman of the Year:  Emee Herbert, Tusculum

SAC Women's Golf Coach of the Year:  Bob Dibble, Tusculum

SAC Women's Golf Scholar-Athlete:  Melanie Manis, Carson-Newman


All-SAC First Team

Maria Luz Besio, Newberry

Jillian Corum, Tusculum

Emee Herbert, Tusculum

Brittany McCown, Lincoln Memorial

Katie Thackerson, Lenoir-Rhyne


All-SAC Second Team

Lisa Brandl, Newberry

Lucia Careaga, Wingate

Barbara Castro, Newberry

Jennifer Oliver, Carson-Newman

Erica Ray, Carson-Newman