Bulldogs hope summer program lifts 8-3 football season in ’16 to higher level

By Adam Riley II, Staff Writer

 The Wingate University football program looks to build off of  a successful 2016 season, finishing 8-3 overall and 5-2 in South Atlantic Conference play. All that begins in the summer.

Over the course of an eight-week period during the months of June and July, the Bulldogs have what they call the “Dog Days of Summer”. This is a period where players come back to campus to conduct the bulk of their preparation for the upcoming season.

The Bulldogs train at 6 a.m. four mornings a week.

“Certain days we’re running then lifting, specifically doing speed and power development, other days we lift and then run afterwards for our conditioning work. And that final 4-week build up until camp starts it’s a big push to get everybody geared and ready to go.” said WU head strength and conditioning coordinator Will Hayes.

Head coach Joe Reich’s Bulldogs eclipsed another 7-game winning record last season, which earned them a shot at the SAC championship in the last game of the regular season at Newberry.  They fell just shy of claiming their first title since 2010 in a 27-22 loss.  The Bulldogs finished second in the league, tying with rival Catawba, which had won the conference the previous year.

“We played with great effort last season, I want us to carry that over into next season.”  Reich says. “From a league perspective, we got ourselves in the championship conversation last season.”

Training camp officially starts on Aug. 7 and Reich and his Bulldogs enter the 2017 season with high hopes and expectations.

Redshirt senior linebacker  Zack Singleton, one of the team’s captains, said:  “I’m really looking forward to it. We have a lot of athletes coming in, probably the most athletes we’ve ever had on the team.”

Reich said,  “One of our main focuses going in Aug. 7 is to stay healthy throughout camp.”

The Bulldogs were hit drastically by the injury bug last season, losing starting safety Kameron Johnson, a redshirt sophomore, due to a season ending foot injury in camp. In addition, the Bulldogs suffered  two more critical blows with injuries to running back Lawrence Pittman and receiver/return specialist Adam  Riley. Both Bulldogs suffered season-ending ankle injuries just one week apart. Pittman was leading all NCAA football players in touchdowns scored when he was sidelined for the season.

And three-year starting quarterback Kyle Johnson suffered an injury to his throwing arm on the opening drive of the season-ending game against Newberry, in which he did not return.

The Bulldogs lost a number of key seniors from this past season on both sides of the ball. They include: defenseive end and SAC Defensive Player of the Year Ray Edwards; first team all-SAC defensive end Andre Foulks; and four-year starter at cornerback Cornell Cheron. 

On offense, most notably  notably the Bulldogs will lose All-Conference Receiver and four-year starter in Jordan Berry, as well as fellow starting receiver Joe Wallace, in addition to quarterback Johnson.

KEY RETURNERS:

Defense:

Zack Singleton (LB)

Kameron Johnson (DB)

Josh Shelton (DB)

Robbie Wallace (LB)

James Basham (DE)

Tim Longmire (DB)

Jabari Foster (DB)

Joseph Kelly (DB)

Christopher Biroses (P)

Offense:

Blake Hayes (RB)

Lawrence Pittman (RB)

The entire OL

Jake Jensen (TE)

B.J. Muckelvene (WR)

Malik Bledsoe (WR)

Jay Hood (WR)

J.T. Stokes (WR)

Adam Riley II (WR/PR)

The Bulldogs will play seven night games in a 10-game season, four of which will be at home for the first time in the school’s history.

“We are looking forward to Saturday Night Lights! Playing seven of 10 games at night this year will be a different experience for us.” Reich said in a previous interview. “I like the idea of the new reality, playing at night and I think it will really get all of our guys fired up.”

The Bulldogs’ season begins at 6 p.m. on Sept. 2, as they travel to Charlotte to face off against the Golden Bulls of Johnson C. Smith University. Wingate’s first home game is on Sept. 16 against conference opponent Carson-Newman, with kickoff at 6 p.m. at Irwin Belk Stadium.

Are ‘super teams’ good for the NBA?

By Adam Riley II, Staff Writer 

The National Basketball Association has had a long history of “super teams” since even before the recent addition of NBA forward Kevin Durant to the already high-powered Golden State Warriors.

And for those of you who don’t know what a “super team” is or what is classified as one, allow me to enlighten you on the subject. In the world of sports, a super team is when a team already has MULTIPLE potential Hall of Fame candidates and one or more of them have come from another team. Also, the super team in the making has already achieved a certain level of success prior to adding another superstar player to the roster.

Finally, following the newly acquired superstar player, this team poses a potential “threat” to the equality of competition of the other teams in the league/association.

As previously stated above, this trend dates back to even before my time: starting in  1968 to be exact, with Wilt Chamberlain and his move to the Los Angeles Lakers along with other super star players that were also acquired by the Lakers, Wilt is just one of many. Other super teams soon developed after that. For instance, the 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks with the additions of Lew Alcindor and Oscar Robertson; and we can’t forget about the 1982-83  Philadelphia 76ers having Julius Erving and Moses Malone.

Over the first 30 years since the league’s existence we see this “super team” trend with just three teams. Some of the most recent super teams of  the 21st century include the 2007-08 Boston Celtics when the organization conjured up trades for both Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, when they already had stardom in the 1st round draft pick Paul Pierce aka “The Truth” and Rajon Rondo.

One of the most famous super teams includes the 2010 Miami Heat, when they acquired Chris Bosh and Lebron James to join Dwyane Wade, which they went on to win back-to-back NBA titles. We have to throw in the Cavs when Lebron went back to Cleveland to join forces with Kevin Love and the immaculate Kyrie Irving. We all know about the most recent super team in the Golden State Warriors with Steph Curry, arguably one of, he greatest shooters in NBA history — if not the greatest — with Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. And this past season they added the former league MVP and 3-time scoring champion Durant.

All this talk about super teams is exciting to hear and everything, but is it really worth the watch?

Is it really worth watching the NBA Finals, supposedly one of the most competitive championship games in sports history, if you already know who’s going to win before the game starts? Or rather you give it the benefit of the doubt in hopes of a really good Finals series that goes to Game 7 where it’s do or die, but instead you get a blowout?

Both of those of those scenarios sound like a waste of time, well at least to me it is. What I’m trying to get at is that all these “super teams” in the league are really making it hard for fans to enjoy watching the game of basketball. Don’t get me wrong —  a lot of fans love the idea of super teams, especially if their team is one or is in the making. I’m just saying as an athlete and fellow sports fan in general, it kind of takes away the fun of the game. Winning is cool and all, but it gets to a point where it becomes boring because of the lack of competition, which will inevitably make winning effortless. And there is a distinct line between beating a team(s) that you’re supposed to beat and just flat out beating EVERY single team.

I love a close game! I love the feeling of knowing you can potentially come back from a deficit and win the game, when all odds are against you there’s still hope; if you still end up losing you lost giving your best and that’s all a coach, player, GM, anyone really, can ask of you.

As you can see, the NBA is no stranger to the super team phenomenon and this isn’t just something that recently occurred. It’s been going on for quite a while, and as you can see if you pay attention to sports news, more teams now are beginning to follow suit and jumping on the “Monstarz” bandwagon (“Space Jam” reference!). I personally don’t agree with it, but hey I’m just one guy and for some players it may be about the money and others about actually winning NBA Titles. Who knows?

 

Whats your story?: Wingate community helps Maria Cepeda cope with her loss

Kendall Sienon, Staff Writer

Wingate, N.C. — Life hands you lemons, throws you curve balls, and may knock you down. But it is how people deal with those adversities that make them truly incredible people. Most college students worry about finals or what they are going to wear that weekend. For some, life has different plans.

Maria Cepeda, a junior from Port Charlotte, F.L, faced one of the biggest challenges of her life—losing her father. “My father was very kind and loving,” says Maria, “he was non-judgmental and very accepting of everyone; he always had my best interest at heart.”

Cepeda_Maria_01
Photo Source: Wingate Athletics

On February 18, 2017 Nicholas Fortunato left the world due to cancer that spread throughout his body. “I feel like a different person since he left, but I know he is watching over me and cheering for me as I go through life,” states Maria.

Growing up, Maria’s childhood was filled with lots of family and laughter. Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Maria and her mother moved to the United States at age five.

They moved to Miami and that is where her mother met her new husband and Maria’s stepfather, Nicholas. “Even though he wasn’t my father by blood that didn’t stop him from loving me. My dad taught me a lot about life and was always helping me strive to be better and for that he is my biggest role model,” states Maria.

Losing her father has been the hardest thing Maria has had to do. He raised her from age seven and remained her primary parent after her mother and him divorced. It’s never easy to lose a parent, especially at a time when you need them most.

Maria’s reaction to this tragic event makes her an incredible person. She remains positive even when it gets hard. “I try to have a good attitude about things and realize that I can’t control everything. It could always be worse,” says Maria. She is happy to have loving friends and support system here at Wingate that is always there when she needs them.

Maria came to Wingate when her lacrosse coach recruited her to play here. She visited twice before making the decision to commit. “I fell in love with the area and the people,” says Maria, “It feels like home. it has been filled with lots of support and love from my teammates, friends, and the community.”  

Life is unpredictable and erratic, but people like Maria who face everyday as it comes despite whatever adversity there plagued with, are truly admirable people.

Edited by: Brea Childs

What’s your story?: Aderson returns to Brazil after a year of experiences at Wingate

Andrew Elliott, Staff Writer

One night, I walked into my brother’s jazz combo rehearsal and saw an unfamiliar face; Arte immediately introduced him to me. “Andrew, I want you to meet our new guitarist, Aderson; he’s a student/teacher here.” said Arte, as I shook hands with Aderson da Silva. Who knew that this man would later become more than just a musician, student, and teacher at Wingate University.

aderson

As an international student that taught English in his native country, he couldn’t say no to the opportunity. “I’ve been teaching English for the past 10 years;” said Aderson, in regard to his decision to study abroad. “And to have the opportunity to come to a country I have been studying and teaching my whole life, and teach my own culture and language here, I felt that it was the golden opportunity to put different things I’m passionate about together.”

Though teaching was not his ideal career in the beginning for Aderson. “I started to teach as early as 17, and my mom is a professor, so I grew up with that,” said Aderson, “It started up on accident; I did not expect that I would teach. But when the circumstances lead into something— needed, let’s say the money— and I had the fluency of the language and they invited me to teach. And slowly, I began to realize that it was something that I really wanted to do.”

His musical experience, however, was strongly influenced by his father. “Let me add that my father is a musician. He and his brother had a musical group when they were younger; so they would perform all the time and I would have to say that was my top influence,” said Aderson.

“In my teenage years, I began listening to all sorts of genres of music and getting interested in different stuff. And before I knew it, I was interested in at first singing and then I decided to buy myself a guitar and learn how to play it. And slowly but surely one thing led to another and I was doing it.” Aderson’s guitar is a custom made acoustic from a company in Brazil.

As his vista comes to an end this semester, Aderson wants to be remembered by Wingate University as a man who was involved. “I want to be remembered as a person who is here and making the most of experience,” said Aderson. “A person who did his best to do what he was here to do. You know, the FLTA program tell us that we are cultural ambassadors; so if I could throughout this year show people around me a little bit of Brazil and a little bit our language, our culture, and what my country is then my goal would have been achieved.”

And his goal was achieved based off the people he interacted with at Wingate University. “Aderson has been such a great addition to this campus.” Said Dr. Little-Sweat, in regard to Aderson’s presence on campus. “I have many children around here, but I’ve never had a Brazilian son before; and that’s Aderson.”

Another one of Aderson’s close friends, Arte Elliott, was also touched by his presence on campus. “From the first time I met Aderson, I knew he was a person that was a great man and one who would benefit Wingate University.” Said Arte. “I’m so blessed to call him my friend.”

“I am certain that I am going home with a considerable number of very good friends that I made here; and I’m really thankful for that, but that’s just a bonus.” Said Aderson “Anything beyond what I said before just adds up to it”

After Aderson leaves the states, he plans to return to Brazil for two years according to his program. “After those two years, I’m going to apply for either a doctorate or masters; I’m not sure. But when I come back, I’m going to teach private classes and use some of that time to my musical work because it’s something that also helps me make a living, ” said Aderson.

 

Edited by: Brea Childs

What’s Your Story?: Kimmi Moore faces trials that make her stronger

Maggie Smith, Staff Writer

Wingate University’s total enrollment is approximately 3,150. Out of those 3,150 people, each one has their own story. Students walk past one another everyday unaware of each other’s stories.

Some stories need to be heard so others fighting the same battles know they’re not alone, but sometimes people are afraid of sharing their story. Sophomore, Kimmi Moore has her own story and is willing to share it with others.

Moore_Kimmi_01
Photo Source: Wingate Athletics

For many students freshman year is challenging as it is a big transition from high school to college. For Moore however, the transition was an easy one. Moore started Wingate University in August of 2015.

Moore went to Wingate on a soccer scholarship. “Because I came in on a sports team with people I already knew, the transition was fairly easy. I already had friends here and they were able to help me transition into the college life and help me with classes which showed me time management” said Moore.

Although Moore got off to a good start and liked Wingate, life threw her a curve. “My freshman year during spring break I went home for a few days and before coming back to school my boyfriend committed suicide” said Moore.

“When you lose someone to depression you automatically feel like it’s your fault,” said Moore, “It took me a very long time to realize it wasn’t my fault.” Moore also said “depression is an inner battle with yourself and the best thing you can do is find little things to look forward to.”

Moore said she took time off to cope and better her mental health after battling depression. “I didn’t return to school for awhile because my parents were worried and I wanted to remain home and stay close to them time.”

Moore eventually decided to come back and continue playing soccer. “I came back because I knew it was the best thing for me and I had so many opportunities ahead of me,” said Moore, “I’m glad I came back because I focused on soccer, bettered my play, made new friends, and I was beginning to be myself again.”

Moore credits her teammates and her coach for helping her on her “tough days.”

Moore also said her teachers were very understanding and helped with the work she missed. Moore said she was even able to finish the semester with a gpa over 3.0.

One of her teammates and best friends, Erica Pacello said Kimmi’s strength is something she’s never seen before. “Her situation from the outside looking in seems unbearable and somehow she managed to channel her weaknesses into strengths on and off the soccer field,” said Pacello, “she’s an amazing friend to me, she asks me if I’m okay when I know sometimes she’s barely getting through the day.” Pacello also said that she knows the battle Kimmi is fighting is internal but she roots for her every day.

Kimmi has found love again and is in a relationship. Her boyfriend Nick Sprinkle said she shows her strength everyday. “She doesn’t let little mishaps and setbacks deter her from being one of the most kind and caring people I have ever met,” said Sprinkle, “Every single day she gets up, goes to class, practice, rotations, and even has time for herself, when many people can barely balance school and homework she is balancing ten things at once and it puts into perspective how much she can bare.”

Sprinkle also said, “You would never know that she was struggling unless she told you. She always puts others before herself, even if it costs her something. She does not think twice about helping someone else.” Nick said Kimmi is one of the strongest people he’s ever met.

“Wingate has impacted my life because without all the support I was offered I would not have been able to come back. This school puts each other first, offers you with options to expand your knowledge and try new things, and is just the home feel,” said Moore, “this school has changed my life, made me a better individual and opened up new horizons.”

Moore advises others who are dealing with depression to keep busy and to lean on your friends. “Your friends are here to help you, call them…you think you’re burdening them with your problems so you bottle them up which makes it worse.” Moore said she has a tattoo on her spine that says, The pain you feel today is the strength you’ll feel tomorrow. Keep going. “If you tell yourself that everyday, it’ll start to get better and you will achieve what you want, so just keep fighting” said Moore.

Edited by: Brea Childs

What’s your story?: Dorso graduates with masters degree, walking boot, and ever-present smile

Nick Vaughn, Staff Writer

Aimee Dorso is no stranger to Wingate University. Dorso spent her undergraduate years here, graduation with a degree in accounting last spring. She returned this year to complete the Master of Accounting program. By day Dorso is a student getting her masters, but by night she is the night manager at the Ethel K. Library where she is dubbed “Queen”

Dorso is set to graduate with her masters in Accounting in just a few short weeks. Looking back on her four/ five years at Wingate University— there have plenty of ups and downs. One thing that has stayed constant, is that Aimee Dorso will always, no matter the circumstances, have a smile on her face. That smile and positive outlook has been tested through her years at Wingate, especially the last two.

During her senior year of undergrad, Dorso broke her foot. She was in a walking boot cast for nearly two months. It was always a lighthearted joke and funny memory amongst friends. Just a few weeks ago after Dorso was closing the library for the night and walking to her car she stepped off of the curb wrong and broke her foot once again. The boot may be back, but the smile remains.

Caleb Ramey, a close friend of Dorso said: “The one thing I have always loved about her is her willingness to always look on the bright side and be positive. I don’t think I have ever seen Aimee not make light of a bad or hard situation. “Breaking both of your feet twice in two years would be hard on anyone’s ability to go about daily life in college and while working. But Aimee chooses to push through and keep going, it’s as if she never broke them.”

She is bummed that she will be in the boot when she walks during graduation this spring upon completion of her master’s degree. But she stated, “Stuff happens, if this is the worst thing that I will encounter, then I am doing okay. You have to stay positive, rather you are going through a break-up, a death in your family, a hard financial situation, a broken foot, or whatever it may be. Just know you will get through this. This situation you are in now does not define you as a person. You just have to keep going, just keep kicking as Dory from “Finding Nemo” says!”

Aimee is right. We all go through ups and downs, barriers and disappointments. What defines us is not what happened, but how we react and choosing to get up from that setback. Erin Draughn, a close friend of Aimee said “If it’s bad news, a bad grade, a disappointment, a broken foot, whatever it is Aimee reminds me to keep going. If she can do it, we can. That’s why I love our friendship and look up to her. She always sees the silver lining in anything that happens that we might not have planned for.” Draughn stated.

Dorso recognizes how hard life is for some, and tries to take things into perception. That is something that we all need reminding of from time to time. A problem can seem so huge at the time, but in the grand scheme of things, they were small and we can get through them. Aimee reminds friends like myself, Erin, Caleb, and all of Wingate University of that each and every day.

When asked if she had any closing words, Dorso smiled, turned around and said: “Just remember, these boots were made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do, one of these days these boots are going to walk all over you. But seriously have fun everyone, college goes by in the blink of an eye, enjoy the moment, you will get through the barriers and be all the much stronger for it.”

Edited By: Brea Childs

What’s your Story?: Shaw shares her experience at Wingate

Alex King, Staff Writer

Rebecca Shaw’s story began in 2012 when she began applying for college. She had her mind set on getting far away from the small town of Indian Trail that she has lived in her whole life.

“I applied to Wingate because it was right down the road and my brother went there but I had no intention of going there,” Shaw stated. “My dream school was Anderson.”

Shaw found out about a few colleges before finding out that she had been accepted to Wingate but not Anderson, but she was still determined to move away from Union County.  In January of 2012, her perspective changed.

“We found out my sister was pregnant in early January and we were all very excited. It was my first nephew.. Then on January 20th my dad passed away,” Shaw remembered. “That was horrible and I realized what was really important, and that was family.“

Due to these life events, Shaw decided being right down the road was for the better.

“Once I had decided on Wingate, I tried to get really involved right away,” said Shaw. “I joined the Facebook page, I added everyone as a friend. I was so excited. Honestly, probably too excited.”

When she moved in, it was a different story.  “When I actually got here, I stayed in my room most days, I wasn’t really that involved until the spring. I was really worried I was just going to drop out or end up transferring.”

Shaw said she looked to transfer to Appalachian State but ended up staying at Wingate.

“When I decided to stay at Wingate, that’s when I really started to get involved. I applied to be an Orientation Leader, the position we call Orientation Coordinator now.” Shaw explained that she was the only freshman girl to be accepted for the position.

“I immediately fell in love with being an Orientation Leader. It gave me such a sense of family and I talked with some of the Orientation Leaders and they said, ‘I would do this for the rest of my life if I could’ and that’s when I realized that I would totally want to do that, too.”

Shaw started looking into working more with involvement and orientation on Wingate’s campus and found that working on a college campus with students was something she would really enjoy.

“Once I got involved with Orientation, so many doors opened up. I worked pretty much anywhere you could imagine.” Shaw said working at all of these places around campus helped show her that marketing was not what she really wanted to do with her life.

Shaw looked back and realized the mentors she had played a huge role in finding that higher education is something she would like to pursue. “My mentors really helped me see that I can make an impact in students’ lives.”

“I did some research and found that I wanted to go to school for my Masters in Higher Education. I talked with my boss and she helped me figure out what schools had good programs and I found a few schools to apply to.” Shaw had a similar experience while applying for graduate schools that she had when she applied to college in 2012.

“I had my heart set on University of Rochester but they were the last school I heard back from,” said Shaw. “I heard back from my two other backup schools, in which i didn’t get into. I felt awful.”

A few weeks after her second rejection letter, she got an email from the University of Rochester. “I got an email from them and it said that I was going to have to wait even longer to hear back and I thought ‘you have got to be kidding me, I have to wait even longer’ and I was physically sick to my stomach, that’s how bad it was.”

The next day, Shaw received another email. This time it was much different. “I got the email and I didn’t want to open it, like, I was so nervous I almost just deleted it. I got enough courage to open it and I’m glad I did because I had been accepted into their Masters of Higher Education program.”

From there, the journey has only gotten better. “Once I was accepted into the program, I got started applying for assistantships and I’ve already accepted an offer to be basically what we would call an RD or residence director.”

Shaw looked back at her time at Wingate and realized that everything worked accordingly, even when she thought it wouldn’t.

Edited by: Brea Childs