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.
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.”
WINGATE, N.C.—-The newest face on the Wingate University women’s basketball bench is graduate assistant coach Katelyn Grisillo, who joined the Bulldog family and coaching staff late last summer. Grisillo joins the elite coaching duo of WU first year full-time assistant coach Celeste Stewart and fifth-year head coach Ann Hancock. Stewart knows a little about Grisillo’s role, as she served as the Bulldogs’ graduate assistant coach for the past two seasons.
“I love it at Wingate,” Grisillo says. “Everyone has been super welcoming and it was not too tough of a transition coming from a similar school at USC Aiken. I really love the small town vibe where I feel like I am part of a family. The campus and facilities are beautiful as well, so it is a great place to be.”
Prior to the start of her coaching career, Grisillo was a women’s basketball student-athlete at the NCAA Division I and II levels. She began her collegiate playing career for the Division I Presbyterian College Blue Hose in Clinton, S.C., where Grisillo played in 26 games. She shot 42.9 percent from the field and posted her first career points, rebound and steal against the University of Georgia Bulldogs. Grisillo also scored a bucket against the Virginia Tech Hokies.
Grisillo spent her final two collegiate campaigns at the University of South Carolina Aiken. In her junior season with the Pacers in 2014-15, she saw time in 17 contests while earning six starts. Grisillo posted a season-best seven points and grabbed five boards against the Carson-Newman University Eagles, while dishing out a career-high six assists against Livingstone College.
As a senior student-athlete during the 2015-16 campaign, Grisillo played in 26-of-26 games with 16 starts at the point guard position. She finished second on the Pacer charts with 46 total assists, tallying a 2-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Grisillo dished out a season-high five assists versus Columbus State and posted a pair of steals against the Francis Marion Patriots.
Grisillo was also a terrific student off the court, graduating from USC Aiken with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies and a Minor in Business Administration. She maintained a stellar 3.8 GPA while balancing her studies and athletics. Grisillo also found time to work in the USCA sports information office for Wingate alum and current Pacer SID Brent Hager (’02).
“Transitioning from a student-athlete to a coach has certainly given me a greater appreciation for my coaches in the past,” Grisillo says. “There are aspects of coaching I had no idea about as a player. I just needed to do my job on the court and everything else happened. It is amazing to see the number of hours coaches put in for their team. It is humbling to know they are willing to put in so much work for you.”
Grisillo’s specific WU coaching responsibilities include handling travel arrangements for away games, running study hall, maintaining and organizing the budget book, creating highlight tapes, supervising the team managers, making sure film is uploaded to Synergy and checking in with student-athletes on their performance in the classroom.
On game days, Grisillo is on the court with the team throughout warm-ups. During the course of each contest, she will sit on the bench keeping track of specialized data and giving in-game advice to each of the student-athletes, helping the individual and overall success of the team.
Grisillo wants to help insure the future success of the Bulldog program. “I love having the opportunity to talk with recruits on their visits,” Grisillo says. “I get the chance to discuss a shared passion for the game and the opportunity to help or guide them to the best of my ability.” Grisillo is thrilled for the unique chance to work with an All-American student-athlete and successful Division I head coach in Hancock, along with an accomplished Division I student-athlete in Stewart.
“On the court, Coach Hancock treats me just like an assistant coach,” Grisillo says. “I also get to help Coach Stewart with the post players, which is a unique experience getting to learn more about that area of the game as a point guard. It also helps me have a more well-rounded basketball IQ. I like to implement any ideas for specific drills or point out something to a player if needed. I enjoy being there to pick our student-athletes up if they make a mistake and get them excited as best I can.”
The Wingate Bulldogs are the defending South Atlantic Conference champions and seek to reclaim their conference crown in 2016-17, along with making a deep run into the NCAA Tournament. Grisillo joins a WU squad which returns four-of-five starters from the 2015-16 campaign and an experienced roster which only lost two seniors.
“I could not think of a better team with whom to begin my first year of coaching,” Grisillo says. “We are led by a great coach and I have the opportunity to come into a program that had already won the conference last season, which speaks volumes about this team and these student-athletes. This team is going to work really hard for all 40 minutes of each game…effort is never an issue.
The ‘Dogs were rated the pre-season favorites to win the SAC in the league’s 2016-17 pre-season poll voted on by the head women’s basketball coaches. The expectations are high for this season’s squad and Grisillo discussed her goals she wishes to achieve during her time at Wingate University.
“My main focus here at Wingate is to help the team be as successful as possible,” Grisillo says. “I also hope to make Coach Hancock’s job a little bit easier as well. I want to learn and grow from a very successful head coach at the Division I and II level who has also won a National Championship. I want to be there to support our student-athletes on and off the court, whether it is about basketball or life.”
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—–The Wingate men’s soccer team made history this Saturday night winning the Division II national championship. The top ranked Bulldogs were led by All-American Jon Ander who scored two goals to force Wingate to a 2-0 victory over the University of Charleston. Wingate finished the season 19-1 while the Golden Eagles fell to 19-3-2.
“It’s honestly the best feeling in the world…knowing that we are making this Wingate family proud,” Junior Mateo Correa says. Coach Hamill has worked so hard to get us all here and doing this for him makes it feel even better.”
Throughout the national tournament Wingate did not allow one goal. The Bulldog defense shut down the nation’s top ranked offense in the regional championship and the nation’s second ranked offense Saturday to win it all. Throughout the season the Golden Eagles averaged 20 shots per game, but the Bulldog’s defense held them down to a season low of eight. Damian Goana and Alex Nelson were a major part of Wingate’s strong defense.
Wingate imposed their offense in the last ten minutes of the first half when freshman, Oscar Perez assisted Ander who put it in the back of the net for the Bulldog’s first goal. Wingate Nate Evans and Christian Szalay each had an attempted goal during the first half to keep the pressure on.
Charleston tried to tie the game early in the second half when Felipe Antonio attempted to head the ball for a goal, but it was saved by Wingate All-American goalkeeper Pablo Jara. Ander scored once again later in the second half, giving the Bulldogs a 2-0 final lead to capture the national championship for the first time in history.
“The whole way through we have had a lot of support from home and it has been absolutely fantastic,” says head coach Gary Hamill.
Ander, Jara, Szalay, Goana, and Nelson all were named to the All-Tournament Team. Ander received the Most Outstanding Offensive Player while teammate Nelson received the Most Outstanding Defensive Player.
The National Champions arrived back at Wingate University Sunday afternoon where a crowd of students welcomed them in celebration of the historical day.
End of Football Season, the Start of Prepping for next Season
Tariah Harrell, Staff Writer
Coach Joe Reich and the Wingate Bulldogs came up short in the South Atlantic Conference championship game on Nov. 12 against the Newberry Wolves 22-27.
Wingate senior running back Blake Hayes rushed 27 times for 165 yards and two touchdowns for the Bulldogs. Hayes ended the 2016 season with 1109 rushing yards.
“It was a tight game,” Wingate redshirt senior defensive end Andre Foulks said. “Both teams played great, we just fell short. It was an exciting atmosphere to play in”.
“It is frustrating to see your guys work that hard to come up a bit short but again as I get older, it is more the group effort and the team,” Wingate head coach Joe Reich says. “I personally do not carry stuff over from one year to the next; each year is a new team, but there are lessons that we need to take from any experience so we can get better. We need to work on finishing, that is not just from the game. We had a few games that we did not finish strong enough, even in some wins,” Reich mentioned. “I think the returning players will understand that and make that a key goal for next year”.
The Bulldogs finished the season 8-3 overall and 5-2 in the South Atlantic Conference. “I would not have change anything about the way the game went,” Reich says. “I think our guys played hard and executed pretty well against a good team. I am not one to really call the fire department over a fire that happened last week, if that makes sense. You learn and you move on”.
In the 2017 season, the Bulldogs will be regaining Lawrence Pittman, Adam Riley lll, Kam Johnson back to the field due to season-ending injuries, along with newcomers. “I am hoping that it won’t be one guy you need to keep an eye on but many as we play great team football,” Reich mentioned. “Between Blake and LP returning, that is a lot of yard ok the ground plus the entire offensive line and tight ends as well. Having Adam back, especially as a kickoff and punt returner will be awesome,”.
“It hurts falling short to something when it is at your fingertips, but I realized that all the seniors I have seen come before did not get this close. I think this team will show later teams how to get the job done,” Andre Foulks says. “I would advise next year’s team to not take any game or team for granted. Hard work will get them back in the same position, but it will be a greater outcome,”.
The Bulldogs has already started post-season lifting striving for greatness. “The outlook for next year is very good,” Reich says. “We return a lot of guys at key spots and where we lose guys, we have some key backups that now need to step up and take over. If we work hard starting NOW, we have a change to be pretty good, but that is all talk until we put in work.”
Transitions from Grad to Coaching to Athletic Administration
Jackson Kaplan, Staff Writer
Wingate, N.C.—-Previous Wingate University assistant football coach Max Wolfe began his first year as a member of the WU Athletic Administrative team in the fall of 2016. Wolfe spent the 2015 Bulldog football season on head coach Joe Reich‘s staff as an assistant coach.
“The transition has been pretty seamless for me,” Wolfe says. “Thankfully with knowing everyone in the athletic department, it has made the transition much smoother. Michelle Caddigan and Courtney Callahan have been there to help me and have my back. It has really helped me out.”
Wolfe currently serves as the Administrative Assistant for Athletic Business Operations in the Wingate athletic department. The transition was not an easy choice for Wolfe to leave the game of football, but felt it was the best decision to move on to his next endeavor.
“I left football back in March right after the recruiting period,” Wolfe says. “After that, I hung around for a little while and could not figure out what I wanted to do. Then, the administration job opened up and I spoke with Michelle Caddigan about it. I felt like it was the best fit for me and a way to get my first start in this business. The athletic administration is something which has always interested me. This was a terrific opportunity for me to get some experience and be able to remain at Wingate.”
Wolfe is a 2015 graduate of Wingate University with a Criminal Justice major. He spent four seasons as a student assistant coach for the Bulldog football team. During this period, Wingate won a combined 20 games and the ‘Dogs finished with a 6-5 overall record in the 2015 campaign when Wolfe was a member of the full-time staff. Wolfe reminisces on his time with the football program and he remembers the moments which made his job special.
“My favorite memory as a coach was beating the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears last season at their place,” Wolfe says. “It was one of the best wins I have ever had the chance to experience; however, I think all of my experiences in football whether good or bad were positive to me in some way. Being a member of the football coaching staff helped me grow as a person and allowed me to gain valuable experience. I started out as an equipment manager and then worked my way up as an assistant coach after I graduated. Coach Reich has been an amazing person to me. He has always had my back and I will always have his as well.”
Prior to joining the Bulldog family, Wolfe attended Hunter Huss High School in Gastonia. While in high school, he gained early experience as a part of an athletic administrative team when he served as a student assistant to the athletic director Terry Radford. Wolfe continued to display his impressive versatility when he was selected to be a student athletic trainer for the 2011 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, a high school football all-star game held in Charlotte showcasing the top scholastic talent from North and South Carolina.
Wolfe has also previously taken on another vital role at Wingate University when he served as a Campus Safety officer. His multiple experiences through football and in the Wingate community leaves the Bulldog Athletic Administration in very capable hands for years to come.
“My ultimate goal is to stay here at Wingate,” Wolfe says. “Having the chance to work in athletics is a dream come true for me. I would love to stay here, while working my way up the administrative ladder by gaining more responsibilities and opportunities. I love Wingate University and I want to be here as long as I possibly can.”
The Wingate Men’s basketball team is now starting to prepare for the upcoming season. They have started full team practices and will be having their first game on Friday, November 11th versus Limestone College.
Last season the team finished with a record of 23-10 overall and 16-6 in the conference. They made a run in the NCAA tournament, but couldn’t quite win it all. The Bulldogs lost in the semifinals against Lenoir Rhyne University, ending their season.
“We had a great year last year so we will have a target on our back from the start.” Junior guard, Zeriq Lolar says. “With the way the competition is in our conference we can never take any game lightly. I feel like this year will be a successful season for our team.”
After losing only one senior last year, (Xavier Griffin at point guard) the Bulldogs will have many key returning players. Senior forward, Isaiah Cureton and sophomore guard, Mike Baez will be back for the team after earning All-SAC honors last season. Seniors, Keith Griffin, Anthanee Doyle, and Josh Dominguez will all be coming back as a strong force for the team along with juniors, Lee McCall, Zeriq Lolar, and redshirt-junior, Kerigan Farely.
“Each of these players are capable of double digit scoring any given night,” says Coach Good. “Our quality of depth on the team is very strong this year. I think it’ll be really difficult for teams to focus on one or two guys each night.”
Along with the strong returning players, Wingate also brings in five new freshmen. Jeremy Williams (Monroe, NC), Carson Corpening (Hickory, NC), Stephen Misenheimer (Albemarle, NC), Charlie Hovasse (Colorado Springs, Colo.), and Quantra Taylor (Indian Land, SC) will all add to the strength of the team.
The Bulldogs will start off conference play at home in Cuddy arena on November 22nd against Lenoir Rhyne. The team is very excited to be on the court and start a new season.
Fall sports are beginning their descent as the winter sports of Wingate University begin to rise with both Wingate’s men’s and women’s basketball teams starting practice 2 weeks ago.
The SAC women’s basketball champions finished out the season 24-9 after losing to Columbus State in the NCAA Division II Tournament, 79-72.
Senior guard Shelby Tricoli (2016 SAC Tournament MVP), Graduate guard Amber Neely, Sophomore guard Danasia Witherspoon (2016 All-rookie team), Sophomore guard Courtney Robinson (2016 All-rookie team), Junior center Marta Miscenko. Senior forward/center Kristina Rumplasch and Senior guard Alex Tomlinson return this season with two new additions to the 2016 SAC champions roster, Freshman guard Lindsey Barker and Freshman forward Jordan Quick.
“I believe that we will do big things this season.” Said Marta Miscenko, “We have girls with experience and we have a good team chemistry which plays a big role. So, once we get some more into the season and in the groove of things, we should be good.”
The Triangle was able to catch up with the Women’s basketball head coach, Ann Hancock to talk about the upcoming season. “I’m excited to get the season started but it seems like we don’t get much time for official practice before the season actually starts.” Said Coach Hancock.
“If we can stay healthy, we have a very talented team returning. Our team is a veteran team with experience. Each returning player brings a different aspect to the game which will make us difficult to defend.”
According to Coach Hancock, the team only graduated two players: Morgan McGee and Alysia Hudson. “In my opinion, our experience and depth are strong points this season.”
The bulldogs start their season with an exhibition game against Elon University on Oct. 29 at Elon. The first official game is on Nov. 11 vs. Armstrong State in the PBC-SAC Challenge Tournament.
The SAC champs’ first home game is the second game of the season on Nov. 22 against the bears Lenoir Rhyne.
“Our first home game is against a difficult conference opponent so we will have to be ready from the beginning.”