Hawks picked fifth in CIAA Western Division

Published 8:10 am Friday, July 31, 2009

PETERSBURG—The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association announced the 2009 predicted order of finish along with its Preseason All-CIAA team at the annual CIAA Football Media Round Up held on the campus of Virginia State University.

Chowan University was predicted to finish in 10th place overall and fifth in the Western Division. The Hawks’ CJ Westler was named the league’s top returning quarterback as a member of the Preseason All-CIAA Team.

This year’s press conference featured the 2009 season theme, “Celebrating 10 Years: The Return of the CIAA Football Championship Game.” Associate Commisoner Jeff McCleod celebrated the fact that it’s the 10th anniversary of the CIAA Championship game, which pairs the Eastern and Western division winners in a title game at the end of the season.

Each football coach was interviewed by Stan Lewter of the Urban Sports and Entertainment Group as they shared their outlooks for the upcoming year.

Westler led the league in touchdowns and yards with 21 touchdown passes and 2,215 yards through the air. He was a member of the CIAA Second Team a year ago.

“He is an outstanding student-athlete who loves to compete and hates to lose,” Tim Place, second-year Chowan skipper, said. “He gets it done in the classroom and on the field for us, and it’s an honor to have him on the preseason team.”

The Hawks have a tough season opener against Albany State University on Aug. 27, a first for the Hawks with a Thursday night game.

“We are just hoping to show up and compete,” Place said. “That’s our goal at this point. We are moving up, which is a good thing, but we will have a lot of work to do. We are embracing the process.”

CIAA Western Division teams took three out of the five top spots with Fayetteville State University grabbing the top preseason honor. Elizabeth City State University and defending champs Shaw University were picked to finish second while St. Augustine’s and Virginia Union rounded out the top five teams. All five of the league’s preseason top teams are on the Hawks’ schedule this season.