King University trailed Lees-McRae College following the fall in the sixth annual battle for the Blue Ridge Cup. The Tornado came back with a solid winter and even better spring, taking the competition for the sixth straight year, 14-9.
The fall season got started when the rivals squared off in the volleyball court with each school defending their home court. King took a 3-0 victory in the Student Center Complex and two weeks later, the Bobcats earned a 3-0 win in Williams Gymnasium.
On the pitch, Lees-McRae swept a Conference Carolinas doubleheader early in the season. The Bobcat women’s team earned a 3-0 win and the 17th-ranked Lees-McRae men took a 3-2 come-from-behind victory from the Tornado.
The fall season concluded with cross country. Lees-McRae earned the full point on the men’s side, taking higher finishes at both the Conference Carolinas Championship and NCAA Southeast Regional. King countered with higher finishes on the women’s side at both events, earning a full point for the Tornado.
In the winter, the men’s basketball teams split a pair of contests as Lees-McRae took a 76-74 victory in early January in Bristol, before the Tornado earned a 102-98 victory in the regular season finale in Banner Elk to secure their second Conference Carolinas regular season title. On the women’s side, King took both contests, 65-55 and 64-57, pulling King back even in the Blue Ridge Cup standings.
The schools split points at the Conference Carolinas Indoor Conference Carolinas Track & Field Championships and again at the outdoor conference championships. On the tennis courts, King and Lees-McRae split matches, with the Tornado men taking a 9-0 victory and the Lees-McRae women earning a 9-0 victory.
The Tornado men’s volleyball team won both matches against Lees-McRae, both sweeps, giving the Tornado the advantage in the Blue Ridge Cup standings for the first time this season. In softball, the teams split a doubleheader in Banner Elk with the Bobcats taking game one 4-0 before King came back with a 6-1 victory in the nightcap, giving King an 11-9 advantage in the Blue Ridge Cup standings.
The last three competitions came in the classroom, NCAA Graduation Rate, percentage of student-athletes that were selected to the academic All-Conference Carolinas and overall student-athlete GPA. King won all three of those categories to earn the 14-9 victory and retain the Blue Ridge Cup for the sixth straight year.