The Wolfpacker

July 2012

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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THE TOP OF THE PACK — the school's fourth-highest finish ever and a significant step up from its aver- age place of 66th over the past five years, thanks to breakout seasons from several athletes. The school boasted six athletes who earned first-team All-America laurels, in addition to numerous other All-ACC mentions and other high award winners at the conference, regional and national level. The following is The Wolfpacker's an- N nual look back at the top 25 athletes from the past 12 months. ■ TOP 25 ATHLETES T1. Carlos Rodon, Baseball NC State has never boasted a baseball player that was named a first-team All- American by four services, until Rodon. The freshman sensation was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award and became the first freshman in ACC history to earn Rookie of the Year and Pitcher of the Year honors from the league. The Holly Springs, N.C., product was also a finalist for the Col- lege Baseball Hall of Fame Pitcher of the Year award and a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, and was named NCBWA Freshman Pitcher of the Year. The left-handed hurler finished the sea- son leading the ACC with a 1.57 ERA, 1142 ⁄3 innings pitched and a .176 oppo- nents' batting average, while he ranked sec- ond with a 9-0 record and 135 strikeouts. T1. Ryan Hill, Men's Cross Country/Track Hill notched the seventh All-Amer- ica honor of his career this spring, with his best performance ever at the NCAA Championships — a third-place finish in the 1,500-meters, less than a half-second behind the NCAA champion. That perfor- mance wrapped up a memorable year for the redshirt junior from Hickory, N.C. In his final year of cross country eligi- bility, he won individual ACC and NCAA East Regional crowns before placing 12th at the NCAA Championships, his third All- America honor in the sport. During indoor track, he unofficially broke the American collegiate record in the 3,000 (unofficial 118 ■ THE WOLFPACKER A Look At 25 Standout Athletes From The Past Year BY RYAN TICE C State enjoyed great success in the NACDA Directors' Cup dur- ing the 2011-12 school year. The Wolfpack finished the year 37th Freshman left-handed pitcher Carlos Rodon is the first Wolfpack baseball player to be selected as a first-team All-American by four services. because his 7:43.08 was run on an over- sized track), won his second ACC crown in the event and placed fifth at nationals. He also anchored the ACC champion distance medley relay squad for the second straight season. In the spring, Hill brought home a gold medal from the ACC Championships in the 1,500 before his memorable race at the NCAA Championships. On the track, he has now won five individual ACC titles, tied for the sixth most in school history, and four All-America honors, which is also tied for the sixth most in program history. 3. David Amerson, Football After he played in all 13 games and started nine times as a true freshman, Am- erson established himself as one of the best defenders on the football team. However, he exceeded all expectations last fall after setting ACC and NC State single-season records with 13 interceptions, the second- most in Football Bowl Subdivision history. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN The Greensboro native won the Jack Ta- tum Award, given annually to the nation's top defensive back, was a finalist for the Thorpe Award and earned first-team All- America honors from Walter Camp and ESPN. The sophomore was also named the College Football Performance Awards Defensive Back of the Year and was tabbed first-team All-ACC. The field corner also tallied 59 tackles and five passes defended, while two of his interceptions were returned for scores. He already ranks third among the school's all- time interceptions leaders. 4. Darrius Little, Wrestling At the 2011 NCAA Championships, Little lost both of his matches in the dou- ble-elimination tournament by one point. However, he bounced back as a fifth-year senior to earn All-America honors and fin- ished eighth in the biggest tournament of the year at 141 pounds. The native of Thomasville, N.C., went

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