Category Archives: sports

Wingate football beats Pembroke to remain undefeated and advances in AFCA ranking

Sarah Thurman Staff Writer

After a big win at home on Saturday against UNC-Pembroke,  the undefeated Wingate Bulldogs will be on the road for their next two football games.

Wingate, 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the South Atlantic Conference, will travel to Salisbury to play Catawba on Saturday and to Mars Hill on Oct. 21. Both games will kick off at 1:30 p.m.

The next home game will be against Newberry at Irwin Belk Stadium on Oct. 28, at 6 p.m.

The Bulldogs are one of only two undefeated teams playing NCAA football in North Carolina (the other one is North Carolina A&T) after taking a 31-28 victory over UNC-Pembroke (1-5).

Wingate is ranked No. 24 nationally in this week’s  AFCA/NCAA Division II Coaches’ top 25 poll. It’s the first time we’ve been in the rankings this season

Wide receiver Jay Hood scored the winning touchdown on a 14-yard pass from quarterback James Whitaker with 1:34 left in the game. Senior running back Lawrence Pittman ran for 165 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries.

It was the first time the two teams had played each other since the 2014 season. Wingate leads the all-time series 6-3.

The game was the first for the Bulldogs since a 22-14 win at Lenoir-Rhyne on Sept. 23.

In that game, Pittman rushed 37 times for 127 yards and one touchdown. Redshirt senior place kicker Freddy McCollum made a career-high three field goals for Wingate.

By the end of first quarter Wingate led 3-0 with McCollum scoring a 19-yard field goal. At halftime L-R got the lead with a 9-yard touchdown run. But Wingate regained the lead at 10-7 on Whitakers 16-yard touchdown pass to Malik Bledsoe.

In the third quarter, McCollum kicked a 21-yard field goal for a 13-7 lead

During the fourth quarter Pittman got a 3-yard touchdown run and with 3:12 on the clock, McCollum scored a 31-yard field goal, making the score 22-7.

L-Rs Nelson Brown got a 1-yard touchdown run for the final 22-14 score.

Edited by: Brea Childs

Photo Credit: Wingate Athletics Website

Advertisements

Wingate’s Pep band prepares to bring more excitement to the new athletic season

Ryan McKeel, Staff Writer

Wingate University’s Pep Band gears up for the first home game of the 2017 season on Saturday, September 16 at 6:00 PM at Irwin Belk Stadium.

The Pep Band, Wingate’s premiere athletic performing ensemble, has been under the direction of Dr. Dawn Price, Associate Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Wingate University, for ten years.

With performances at select Volleyball games as well as all home Football games, the Pep Band strives to bring Wingate spirit to any game they attend. “My favorite Pep Band activity, besides playing music, is helping engage the crowd in cheering on the sports teams,” said Junior Dariyhn Lee.

A common theme in both rehearsals and games amongst the band members is the excitement for the game. With their music ready to go and instruments in hand, the band members are often the loudest ones in the stands cheering on their fellow bulldogs.

The band hasn’t always dominated a section in the stadiums, says Dr. Price. “The band has grown from 17 members in 2008 to now 47 members. The overall ability of the group has improved as well.”

Dr. Price strives to give every band member an opportunity to gain something from their time in the stadiums. “[Pep Band] gives students, both music majors and non-majors, an opportunity to play their instruments in sports and entertainment events,” she said. “The band also provides a wide variety of music intended to promote spirit at the various athletic events at which we play.”

Other key game day members have noted the, no pun intended, pep that the band brings. Head Football Coach, Joe Reich commented on the “special energy” that the band provides. “That is college football, having the band playing and the crowd cheering. That’s good stuff.”

The Pep Bands partner in crime, The Wingate University Cheerleader’s, have built a bond based on excitement and cheer with the musicians. “I think that the cheerleaders and pep band have been growing a relationship over the past few years,” said head cheer coach Kelly Sheppard. “We love the energy that the band gives us… I literally have to tell the girls to stay calm when the band starts up.”

Several of the Pep Band members have commented on the importance of their halftime shows.“I love performing for the people in the stands and hearing them sing along,” said junior Taylor Eudy. “It is exciting to be out there on that field and give the folks in the stand a chance to hear some tunes that they are familiar with.”

Other students in the stands have also felt the excitement that the band brings when their on the field. “It kind of stops you in your tracks. You can’t help but turn around and watch their show,” said senior Naomi Askew.

Athletes at games always find a way to show their support to the band members. Whether it’s a salute or shouted “Thanks!” from the football players celebrating a victory on the field, or a line of volleyball players after their win inside Cuddy Arena, most come together in some way to thank the band either at the stadium or in passing on campus.

When asked about their favorite tune, 12 of the 15 respondents listed Mark Ronson’s & Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk”.

Edited by: Brea Childs

Photo credit: Wingate University Athletics

Wingate’s Ross getting a foothold in pro soccer

By Adam Riley II, Staff Writer 

Wingate alumnus Callum Ross is playing very well this season for the Charlotte Independence of the United Soccer League.

The rookie midfielder was a member of the 2016 Division II men’s soccer national championship team for Wingate just a season ago. And he scored his first — and so far only — professional goal for the Independence while still a Wingate student, in a game on May 12 against Pittsburgh.

callumandadam
Former Wingate Bulldog star poses with The Weekly Triangle’s Adam Riley II after last Wednesday’s Charlotte Independence game in Matthews

He told this story to The Weeekly Triangle after playing in a 0-0 draw against Richmond last Wednesday at the Matthews Sportsplex:

“So the day before, I had a 10-page paper due, and I was up till like two in the morning. I got up the next morning and managed to grab my first goal It was a bit of hard work and just a bit of trying to balance my time and get some sleep when I could. I loved scoring my first goal and I’m still looking for my second one.”

Now he has a new routine as a professional.

“For me it’s trying to get to bed before 11 or at least get off my feet and get some rest, then I’m up early-ish like 7-7:30 a.m. or so up on the training room kind of pre-gym stuff and warming up, you know?”  Ross said.

“Usually by 1 or 2 p.m. we’re finished, then we get our lunch. I go to the gym a lot maybe two or three times a week just to keep on top of things throughout the season. It’s  a busy schedule but if you manage yourtime correctly and put your mind to it and concentrate it’s not too much. You’ve just got to stay on top of it.”

Meanwhile, he has climbed his way up the depth chart and into the starting lineup, starting in 13 of the 14 games he has played in his rookie season.

“For me it was a case of kind of waiting for my chance to start,” Ross says.

His patience finally paid off following the suspension of a teammate, for undisclosed reasons. Callum assumed the starter role at midfielder and since then he hasn’t looked back.

“Every week I’m just trying to improve, trying to learn, listening to the coaches things like that and trying to take the opportunities when I get them,” Ross said. “I love starting, love playing and playing football. Also, I just need to try to keep improving and see how many minutes I can get by the end of the season.”

The tie last Wednesday extended the Independence’s unbeaten streak to nine games, and Charlotte is one point behind Charleston in second place in the USL Eastern Division. Ross hopes that for the second straight season, he might be playing for a championship.

“We’ve been struggling to pick up points, things like that, but we know inside this locker room that there’s plenty of talented players and we’ve got a style of play where other teams struggle,” he said.

“But we know what we want to do. We’re not satisfied with playoffs now, we’re up there now with the best teams and we want to go all the way and win the league, and then carry that through the playoffs.”

 

 

 

 

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.

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

Wingate Baseball helps to fight cancer one swing at a time

Brandon Bowles, Staff Writer

On Wednesday May 3rd Wingate University Baseball was able to give back to the community by partnering with the Levine’s Children’s Hospital. As of 2014, 15,780 children and adolescence from ages one to nineteen suffer from cancer. Those that lose their battle with cancer are a little less than 2,000 in the United States.

To do their part, the baseball team decided to host a Homerun Derby that anyone willing to donate to the Levine’s Children’s Hospital could participate in. $20 was the entry price for athletes and $10 for non-athletes.

To make things fair, portable fences were brought in one for the guys and one for the girls. Each participant was given five outs to hit as many homeruns as possible. Baseball players had to hit the ball over the normal outfield fence for it to count as a homerun, whereas the guys had to hit it over the second closest fence from home plate and the girls the closest fence from home.

Once everyone got their chance to swing the top eight were selected to move on to the next round. Those participants were Rebekah Woods with eight homeruns, Naomi Sapp with six, Reece Daniel with five, Bub DeLuca, Tyler Napierala, Bradly Brown, Kemper Patton, and Brandon Donahue with four. There would be four head to head matchups to see who would make it to the semifinals and the winners of the semifinal match would make it to the finals.

In the quarter finals Woods would oust Sapp with 11 homeruns, Daniel would hit one to oust Donahue, Brown would oust DeLuca with four homeruns and Patton would oust Napierala with four. In the semifinal round, Woods and Daniel went ont to the finals after beating Brown and Patton respectively.

By this time both players were tired and did everything they could to muster the energy for one more round. When Daniel went first, you could see the fatigue in his eyes. He went through his batting routine and prepared himself for the first pitch.

Knowing that he is setting the bar he hits the second pitch out of the park followed by another one. He then proceeded to make two consecutive outs followed by another homerun followed by another out. On his second to last swing, he kept the ball fair giving him four total for the round.

Woods, on ther hand, knew what she had to hit four to tie five to win. As she stepped to the plate, she took the first pitch like Daniel. She swung at a pitch that didn’t quite make it out, giving her one out.

Then on the third pitch she hit the ball over the fence and followed it with another,, giving her two for the round. She made another out on the next pitch following it with back-to-back homeruns. At the end of the round both players were tied meaning that they would go to a swing off.

In a swing off both batters got a chance to take one swing and if both players fail to hit a homerun the process is repeated. The swing off happened twice with Woods taking the title of Homerun Derby Champion.

In the end, it was not about who hit the most homeruns it was about giving back and helping those that are fighting for their lives.   

Photo Source: Wingate Baseball Twitter

Edited by: Brea Childs

Wingate Senior Athletes are preparing to hang up their collegiate sports careers

Maggie Smith, Staff Writer

Some people’s first words are ball. Some people start playing a sport not long after they even learn to walk. People grow up around sports, and sports become apart of people’s life. For some, it is their life. So what’s it like when it’s all over?

For some people sports becomes a way a life. It requires commitment, hard work, and dedication. It can be rewarding and disappointing all in one. Sports is an emotional journey and the emotion of your last game is indescribable.

The saying goes, “All great things must come to an end.” This saying only helps a little. Like anything in life, you don’t realize how much you love something until it’s gone and you never know when it’s going to be taken away.

Through sports you gain your best friends. You see each other every day at practice and you bond because of the mutual passion you share for the sport. You bond through competing against each other. You bond over wins and over losses. You build each other up and you have each others back.

In high school, your last game is sad because you know you’re about to go separate ways with your teammates and most of them you’ll never see again. It’s sad to know you’ll never be apart of that same team with those same players again; it’s sad to know you’ll never play for that same coach again.

But for those who get to play again in college it makes it a little easier because you know it’s not completely over. You’re excited to move on to bigger and better things and to play at the next level.

For Wingate Senior Lacrosse player, Kendall Sienon, who’s Lacrosse career just ended, she said that playing a sport in collegian level versus a high school level is “virtually incomparable.”

Leaving high school behind and your high school teammates behind can feel like the end of the world. You’ve known most of your teammates and friends since elementary school, and you honestly believe nothing’s going to compare to it and the goodbyes are the hardest.

What you don’t realize is, playing a college sport is completely different. Sure you may only know your college teammates for four years whereas you knew some of your high school teammates for 12, but the goodbyes feel completely different and maybe even worse.

In college, you start all over. You have a new coach to impress and new teammates to become friends with. You have to adapt and gel with your new teammates. Playing on a collegiate team, you play with teammates from all over, not people you’ve known since elementary school, and not people who were raised like you. You start over and you think you have a whole four years to develop your role on the team and to become best friends with your teammates.

What you don’t realize is you only have four years and how fast they’ll fly. You don’t realize it’ll fly even faster than high school. You don’t realize that you’ll make lifelong friends that you develop even closer relationships with than the ones you had in high school.

You leave high school and never talk to some of those teammates again, and knowing that, you’re aware that it’s most likely going to happen with some of your college teammates, and that hits home. Especially because you and your teammates are all about to go separate ways all over the country and join the real world.

Sienon said she cried after her last game. “The emotions got to me and not because we lost but because of the sinking realization that this was the last lacrosse game I will be playing in,” said Sienon, “It is a little sad to be done but it hasn’t sunk in quite yet that I will not be stepping on the field again.”

When your high school sports career ends and you leave those teammates behind, it almost feels like your world is coming to an end, and in a way it is…that part of your world, that chapter, does end…but a new one begins.

When your college career ends, it’s a whole different story. When it ends your whole sports career is over, and it’s an even harder goodbye. You only had four years with those college teammates who also became your best friends, and those long four years spent everyday together and those long hours of practice, still aren’t enough.

When you play a college sport your best friends automatically are your teammates because those are the first people you meet on campus and they’re the people you spend the most time with. Moving on to the real world is already scary but leaving behind your best friends is even scarier.

I have gained some of my closest friends through lacrosse. Lacrosse brings us together as a mutual interest but I feel as if being apart of a sport and experiencing those things as teammates and friends brings you so much closer together. Some of them will definitely be in my wedding and a part of my life for many years to come,” said Sienon.

College is the best years of your life and a huge part of that for a collegiate athlete is because of the sport they played. In college you find yourself and a huge part of that is because of your best friends, you find yourselves together.

Playing a college sport plays a big role in finding yourself. You learn to lead, to work with others, how to communicate with others, etc. There is a lot you can learn about life from a sport.

When your college career ends it’s hard to accept that you’re about to leave this place that has been your home for four years. You’re about to leave a place where you find yourself.

You’re leaving a place where a thousand memories were made. It’s hard to leave that and all your friends behind and it’s extremely hard to leave behind the sport you’ve been passionate about since you were young.

The sport that has brought you so much happiness. When you play on your home field for the last time you realize you’ll never get that feeling back. The feeling of your friends and family in the crowd cheering for you.

Playing the sport you love with your best friends. Laughing on the field and leaving everything you have on that field. A sport can even be a stress reliever during college. For those few hours your on that field your head is in the game and all the stress of school is temporarily gone.
The question then becomes. what happens when you enter the real world? What’s your stress reliever? Sure you can play in rec-leagues, intramural leagues, adult leagues, etc. but will it ever really be the same?

Edited by: Brea Childs