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West Liberty’s Will Yoakum Is MEC Freshman of the Year

Meininger, Bolon are first-team MEC

Photo by Cody Tomer West Liberty’s Will Yoakum, right, was named the MEC Freshman of the Year and second-team All-MEC.

BRIDGEPORT — Will Yoakum was voted Mountain East Conference Freshman of the Year and West Liberty University’s two-time defending MEC champions had three players receive All-MEC recognition on Tuesday when the league coaches released their 2018-19 All-MEC honor roll.

Senior forward Eric Meininger and sophomore guard Dalton Bolon were first-team All-MEC picks while Yoakum, a freshman guard, collected second-team honors to go along with his Freshman of the Year accolades after Coach Ben Howlett’s nationally-ranked Hilltoppers rolled to their second straight MEC championship and their ninth league title in the past 10 seasons.

Meininger, a versatile 6-foot-5 forward from Centerville, Ohio, ranks among the MEC’s Top 10 in rebounds, assists, field goal percentage, free-throw percentage and assist/turnover ratio. The team’s leading rebounder at just under eight per game, he’s posted 19 double-figure scoring nights with six double-doubles and a triple-double (17 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists) against W.Va. Wesleyan. He had a season-high 30 points against Charleston and hit a 3-pointer with less than one second remaining to beat Notre Dame.

Bolon, a 6-4 sharpshooter from Gnadenhutten, Ohio, was the leading scorer on the highest-scoring team in the nation despite playing the entire season with a patch over his left eye. He scored 20 or more points in 19 of his 27 games with five games of 30 points or more – highlighted by a career-high 39-point night against West Virginia State. Already a 1,000-point scorer and first-team Academic All-District pick, Bolon ranks among the Top 30 nationally in points, 3-point field goals and 3-point field goal percentage.

Yoakum, a skywalking 6-5 guard from Delaware, Ohio, combined an array of crowd-pleasing dunks with a deadly perimeter touch to rank second on the team in scoring at 14.5 ppg. He’s had 19 double-figure scoring games with six games of 20 or more points while shooting 55 percent (140-255) from the floor, 44 percent (36-82) from the 3-point arc and 84 percent (75-89) from the foul line. He had a career-high 26 points in an early-season road win at Notre Dame.

Bolon and Meininger were joined on the first team by the Notre Dame tandem of Will Vorhees and Larenz Thurman along with Fairmont State’s Jason Jolly and Vonte Montgomery. Concord’s Tommy Bolte and Charleston’s Drew Rackley round out the list. Vorhees was the Player of the Year while Coach of the Year honors went to Notre Dame’s Tim Koenig after leading his team to a fourth-place finish.

West Liberty received a first-round bye in this week’s MEC Tournament and won’t hit the WesBanco Arena floor until Friday night’s 6 p.m. quarterfinal. The top-seeded Hilltoppers meet the winner of Wednesday’s first-round tilt between No. 8 seed W.Va. Wesleyan and No. 9 seed Wheeling Jesuit.

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