Campbell Women’s Basketball begins postseason play Thursday night at 7 p.m. hosting St. Francis Pa. and the squad spent some time personally inviting fans across the area to support the Fighting Camels in the opening round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational.
The Fighting Camels finished second in the Big South Conference this season and head coach Ronny Fisher earned Coach of the Year Honors. For more information on the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI), click here for the latest.
Remember to follow @GoCamelsWBB on Twitter and Instagram to follow the Campbell Women’s Basketball team all throughout postseason play.
Written by: Matthew Sokol – Campbell blog contributor
If you have heard teammates refer to themselves as a family, they are usually just close friends that wrestle for the same team. For the Campbell wrestling team, Nathan and Austin Kraisser plus Ville and Jere Heino experience the true brotherly connection.
They are more than just four Camels wrestling for the same team who help guide each other on and off the mat – including twin brothers Brandon and Bradley Skinner.
The older brothers, Nathan and Ville, are leaders for the Campbell squad, and have been able to show the ropes to their younger brothers during their careers. As both veterans prepare for Senior Day this Saturday hosting VMI, the time spent wrestling together becomes even more meaningful.
“I try to set an example for my brother,” said older brother Nathan Kraisser, adding, “and lead by example than through words. I am constantly checking in on him (Austin), and inviting him over to my house to hangout.”
Campbell head coach Cary Kolat views the Kraisser’s and the Heino’s as great assets to the team.
“I think it shows a lot for our program when we have brothers willing to follow their brother to a program that means they are enjoying the experience they are getting,” said Kolat.
“Those guys in particular have made huge impacts on our lineup with both sets [of brothers]. We hope that [Austin and Jere] shine further than their brothers did earning more wins and accomplishments; not to take away from Nathan and Ville.”
Both pair of brothers share similar feelings of support for one another. Just like any other sibling rivalry there is competition, but helping each other improve is what sticks out in the relationship as Campbell teammates and brothers.
“We are from a big family, and we have some other brothers. I am a little taller for my weight, and my wrestling tends to be more technical. Austin uses his athleticism more, but since he has been in college, he has become more technical,” Nathan points out.
For younger brother Austin, he has watched his older brother wrestle both as a Tar Heel and as a Fighting Camel when Nathan transferred in 2014, taking an initial redshirt year.
Austin Kraisser has also seen his brother win the Southern Conference Championship, something that is on his personal checklist this season as the tournament approaches.
“I have always gone to his matches and his work inspires me to do as well as I can,” said Austin. “I want to work hard to be just as good as he is or even better. I see Nathan working hard and it makes me want to work hard. It is like a battle back and forth, as we are pushing each other to our limits every day.”
The Kraisser brothers have had the ability to support each other as teammates this season, something that the Heino brothers went through last season during Jere Heino’s first year at Campbell. Both brothers have won their last five matches in their respective classes and are feeding off each others success.
“I have a learned a lot that I have been able to help him (Jere) like where you get car insurance,” noted Ville, adding, “Now that we are older, we aren’t competing against each other since he is so big now. We are supporting each other, and that has been very helpful. We mostly talk about wrestling and it is something we both enjoy.”
Jere Heino has wrestled together with his older brother, Ville, since they were young. Jere earned a spot on So-Con All-Freshman team last season, and finished fourth in the SoCon Championship – striving for even more as his sophomore season concludes next month.
“Ville has been very helpful and good a role model to me,” said Jere Heino. “On the wrestling mat, I think he has been a good inspiration for myself and the rest of the team. I think if Ville wrestles well, it changes my mentality and I do better and I don’t think we would be this close if it wasn’t for wrestling.”
The Heino and Kraisser brothers return to action along with the rest of the Campbell squad on Feb. 18 when they take on VMI for Senior Day at 5:00pm inside Carter Gym, closing out their home career building on the impressive 5-1 start in SoCon action.
Written by: Matthew Sokol – Campbell blog contributor
After earning a trip to the finals of last year’s Big South Conference Tournament, the ladies in Buies Creek are eager to get the 2017 season started.
The Fighting Camels were picked to finish third in the preseason poll for the third time since rejoining the Big South in 2011 and for the second time in four years they’ve earned the top-three overall selection.
A major focus for the team this year will be offensive production led by Amber Schisler, the 2017 Big South Preseason Player of the Year. Schisler led the team in hits (67), and tied the team lead in home runs (16), while driving in a team-best 46 RBI for the Camels.
Another key component from the Fighting Camels offense last season was Rachel McCollum. The Seven Springs, N.C. product tied with Schisler for the home run lead, while recording 55 hits and scoring 41 runs as a freshman. McCollum led the team with 25 two-out RBI and she is looking to continue her success heading into this season.
“I am preparing for the upcoming season by staying mentally tough,” said McCollum. “We are taking a lot of cuts in practice, and we are keeping our offense strong … Stepping up to the plate and really performing with two outs is very important and changes the momentum of the inning tremendously.”
“Pitching to Rachel in front of me or in back of me along with my other teammates getting on base as well is a big deal,” said Schisler on having McCollum beside her in the lineup.
While the team may have the players and means in place to have a successful season, they know executing on the opportunities that are presented on the field will be vital to their overall success.
“Our focus is to score runs, but one big thing for this year is that we want to make sure we aren’t leave people on base and not leaving opportunities on the field,” said head coach Todd Bradley.
As one of the seniors on the team, Schisler believes she is surrounded with teammates that can contribute well beyond their years. The San Diego, Calif. natives plans to execute the opportunities presented their way through a collaborative team effort.
“These girls have experience under their belt, and our lineup is made up of a lot of three-hole hitters all the way through, something that coach Bradley preaches every time,” noted Schisler.
Head coach Todd Bradley has centered the team focus on offensive production, and wants the team to connect on every opportunity they can one step at a time.
“We want to start the season strong, and it is about going out by competing every single inning of the weekend,” before adding, “Everybody knows where we were last year, and ultimately the goal is to not fall short.”
The Fighting Camels open the 2017 season this weekend at Amanda Littlejohn Stadium as Campbell hosts St. Francis (Pa.) Friday at 3:00pm in the Campbell Invitational. Follow the Fighting Camels all season long on social media @GoCamelsSB
The Fighting Camels (14-4, 6-1) held their sixth opponent under 35 points this season, just two away from setting the program’s all-time conference record for fewest points allowed in one game – set earlier this season.
Campbell now prepares for life on the road in Boiling Springs as the Camels face Gardner-Webb looking to improve upon their best start in program history.
Make sure to follow the Fighting Camels on social media @GoCamelsWBB on Twitter and Instagram plus like the Campbell Women’s Basketball page on Facebook.
Campbell University continues to develop its brand across multiple sports, including the vast improvement of facilities like Eakes Athletics Complex, hosting both Campbell Men’s and Women’s Soccer since the modern inception of both programs.
Check out the full list of Campbell Athletics facilities at GoCamels.com.
Campbell Men’s Basketball improved to 2-1 in Big South Conference action after coming from behind to defeat Charleston Southern, 92-82, inside Gore Arena, earning the programs first win in the 2017 calendar year.
After the game, the excitement was palpable and strong in the locker room as the team exploded for their annual celebration. Head coach Kevin McGeehan then rallied the troops, preparing them for an important road test at Liberty this Saturday afternoon.
The Fighting Camels (9-6, 2-1) are now 6-3 since the start of December, now ranking second in the Big South Conference averaging just over 78 points per game. Campbell returns home next Saturday, Jan. 14, for a conference showdown with Winthrop.
The most popular figure in Buies Creek makes a return appearance this Winter as Camel Claus will be a regular at Campbell Basketball games during the month of December.
Make sure to follow all the upcoming events on Twitter and Instagram @GoCamelsMBB and @GoCamelsWBB for much more. The Fighting Camels return to action Wednesday night at 7 p.m. hosting UNC Wilmington featuring our first Camel Claus outing.
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