Wingate Football Special Olympics Day

Athletes are able to connect with those participating in the Special Olympics

Jackson Kaplan, Staff Writer

The Wingate University football program hosted its 13th annual Special Olympics Football Field Day at Irwin Belk Stadium and John R. Martin Field Saturday. With the conclusion of pre-season camp and the home/season opener one week away, this is a unique opportunity for each of the student-athletes to give back to their Bulldog faithful.

WU offensive coordinator Mike Long takes great pride in organizing this event each year. “This is a great way for our guys to interact with the community,” Long says. “It is our end-of-camp tradition. Our players and coaches do a phenomenal job making our visiting Olympians feel welcome.”

The event includes three different interactive stations in which the participants engage: quarterback throwing accuracy, running back footwork and speed and defensive tackling. Each player and coach had a smile on his face throughout the entire day as they created a personal relationship with each of the Olympians. Redshirt senior defensive end and team captain Andre Foulks (York, S.C.) reflected on this unique experience as he enters his final season in a Bulldog uniform.

“This is a way for us to get the community involved in what we are doing,” Foulks says. “We love being around these guys…I believe we get as excited as they do. It is a good way to cap off a hard pre-season camp.” Foulks is a pre-season first team All-South Atlantic Conference selection. He received first team all-conference honors at the conclusion of the 2015 season.

“It is always great to reach out,” Foulks says. “We are thrilled to have the Olympians here and see how excited they are about football. It gives us a lot of motivation and makes us realize how truly blessed we are to play this game.”

The upperclassmen members of the team stood with the Field Day participants as they joyfully engaged in the activities and created excitement for the athletes. The freshmen student-athletes took on the role as the “hype team” and stood up in the visitors’ bleachers to cheer on the men and women participating in the stations and drills. The younger student-athletes created their own cheers and kept extremely high spirits throughout the day.

During the course of the event, the Olympians would occasionally run over to the freshman hype section to do a dance in front of them. This gave each of the Wingate student-athletes much delight…everyone had the time of their lives.

All of the long hours, early mornings, late evenings and rigorous workouts of pre-season camp has come to a close and the start of the 2016 campaign is quickly approaching. Wingate head football coach Joe Reich particularly enjoys this day as a reward for his team’s hard work.

“We have always preached in our program that we are an extension of the educational experience here,” Reich says. “(The Special Olympics Field Day) is a great chance for our guys to give back and to learn about service. It is always refreshing to see the Special Olympics athletes and their families have such a good time every year. This is an awesome, feel-good experience for our players to take a little break after pre-season camp and have some fun.”

It is a fun-filled day for everyone involved in the 13th annual Wingate University Special Olympics Football Field Day. The event has become a strong tradition within the Bulldog football program each season and has evolved tremendously over the years. “It is a humbling experience for our team,” Reich says. “This is real-life and this is what it is all about. We believe this teaches our guys there is more to life outside of football. Life is not perfect all the time and it is rewarding to see how happy these Olympians and their families are each year. Mike Long does a phenomenal job setting everything up…he was the one who gave us the idea of giving back to the community.”

Long coordinates many of the WU football community service events along with this day, including the student-athletes reading to elementary school students and visiting the children’s hospitals. “It teaches our guys to be a part of something bigger than them,” Long says. “I enjoy this day a lot and it has become more self-running over time.

Our players and coaches do all the hard work and they do a terrific job. It is another way to signify the beginning of the season and for our guys to interact with our community outside of football.”

The Wingate University Bulldogs football team will commence their 2016 season next Saturday (Sept. 3) when they host the Golden Bulls of Johnson C. Smith University at Irwin Belk Stadium and John R. Martin Field. The University will hold its fifth annual Tailgating for the Troops Project as the special promotion for next weekend’s gridiron match-up. Kick-off is slated for 1:30 p.m. with the contest airing on ESPN3.

Read more:

Edited by: Sara Gunter



Was Lochte in the wrong?

Athlete scandals and more…

Tariah Harrell, Staff Writer

What really happens to the athletes that lose endorsement deals when they become involved in bad news? Many might say that they are not good role models, or they are just acting undisciplined.

For instance, twelve-time U.S. Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte was involved in an incident in Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 Olympic Games with three of his fellow  American teammates.  Lochte, 32, took a major financial hit when he tried to pass the incident as something that it was not. Due to this event, his sponsors took action.

Swimsuit company Speedo USA, clothing brand Ralph Lauren, and skin-care company Syneron-Candela all dropped Lochte from being affiliated with their brand.

Marion Jones, 40, was an American former World Champion track and field athlete and a former professional basketball player for Tulsa Shock in the WNBA. Jones, who won five medals during the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia acknowledged that she used steroids as she prepared herself for the Olympic Games.

In 2004, the International Olympic Committee had an open investigation because of those allegations. She denied using any performance-enhancing drugs. In 2007, Jones admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs, and plead guilty in New York on two counts of lying to federal agents about the doping, and unrelated financial matter.

In this case, Jones was sentenced six months in prison and two years of probation and community service. “I want to apologize to you all for all of this” Jones said. “I am so sorry for disappointing you all in so many ways, and I apologize for not being the role model for children who look up to me.” 

“I think athletes performing at the highest levels come under incredible scrutiny from fans and the media,” said Wingate University’s Strength and Conditioning Coach, Will Hayes. As a strength and conditioning coach, Hayes has to be aware of things such as this.  
“Regardless,  the athlete’s ability to come back from a ‘scandal’ seems to be placed more on his or her continued success in competition. For example, Tiger Woods with Michael Vick. Tiger Woods fell out-of-favor after his failed marriage and affairs. He was unable to return to the golf course and perform at a high level and remain on the fringe of favorability. Michael Vick, though imprisoned, was able to return to the NFL and perform very well for a few years. Vick’s attempts to redeem himself after his mistakes played a key role in his return to popularity, but these acts would not have gotten him as far without the help of his continued success,” says Hayes. 

Check out more information about the Ryan Lochte scandal:

Edited by: Sara Gunter

The Problem with Concussions

Prevention and Facts about Concussions and their effects on athletes. 

Brandon Bowles, Staff Writer

Concussions in sports have become one of the most debated topics in recent years among parents, coaches, doctors and sport analysts around the world. The dangers of concussions have always been prevalent in the minds of sports organizations.

However, they had no idea on how to properly treat a concussion and keep their athletes safe while in competition. Thanks to the concussion epidemic of recent years, organizations are being forced to take a deeper look into the causes of concussions and what they can do to minimize their occurrence.

The word concussion means “to shake violently.” A concussion occurs when someone is struck with enough force to the head that it causes the brain to move around in the skull. Some symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness and disorientation.

According to a study published in The American Journal of Sport Medicine, Men’s Wrestling had the highest percentage of Sport Related Concussions (SRC) at 10.92 percent per 10,000 Student Athletes.

Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey were the next highest at 7.91 and 7.52 percent respectively. Football followed close behind at 6.7l percent.

Although Men’s Wrestling had the highest percentage of SRC, football had the highest number of annual concussions at 3,417.

Studies like the one above became more relevant after the case of Preston Plevretes, a former college football player at La Salle University in Philadelphia. On Oct. 4, 2005, he suffered his first concussion after being hit during practice.

After the hit, he complained of headaches and a few days later was told to go to the school’s medical center where he was diagnosed with a concussion. He was told he could return to play after sitting out just one game.

On Nov.5, 2005 a 2nd blow to the head that would change his life forever. Thanks to that hit, Plevretes suffers from Second Impact Syndrome (SIS.)

SIS occurs when your brain is not fully recovered from your first concussion and you get hit again and cause non-repairable damage to your brain. This is why on April 29, 2010 the NCAA required all schools to have a concussion management plan.

Robbie Wise, the head football Athletic Trainer for Wingate University, discussed the return to play policy. This policy contains 7 days that the player must complete in order to be cleared to play.

On the 1st day, the athlete must be symptom free for 24 hours. On day 2, the athlete must complete a mild workout. On day 3, the athlete must complete an 85% workout. On day 4, they complete a no contact practice. On day 5, they have a full contact practice. On day 6, they have a full release to practice. Day 7 the athlete must be cleared by the team doctor. It is up until this point that the athlete can then be cleared to play. If the symptoms return, the athlete must repeat the process.

Cody Cothren, a former football player at Wingate University, experienced 5 concussions in his collegiate career. Cothren said the best way to avoid a concussion is to “stay hydrated, manage your pain the right way, and practice good tackling techniques.”

Concussions will always be a pressing issue in sports, but according to Dr. Brandy Clemmer, the program coordinator for Athletic Training at Wingate University, the best way to limit concussions from occurring is for coaches and players to stay educated.

Check out more information:

Edited by: Sara Gunter



HB2: Affecting Sports in NC 

HB2 and its Effects.

Zeriq Lolar, Staff Writer

Sports in the state of North Carolina have been dramatically affected by House Bill 2, a law passed this year  that prevents transgender people from using government run restrooms corresponding to the gender with which they identify.

Transgender people who have not taken surgical and legal steps to change the gender noted on their birth certificates have no legal right under state law to use public restrooms of the gender with which they identify.

Recently, Duke University’s basketball team lost a scheduled season home opener to Albany due to the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo saying, “non-essential trips to the State of North Carolina were prohibited.”

Duke Head Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski said, “the law is embarrassing.” UNC-Chapel Hill Girls basketball has also lost a game due to the HB2 law vs. Vermont. But one of the biggest casualties from the HB2 law in North Carolina sports is to the city of Charlotte. Charlotte lost their host spot for the 2016 NBA all-star weekend.

And just this week, the NCAA pulled seven different championship events, including first round games in the Division I men’s basketball tournament scheduled for Greeensboro, out of the state.

A study in 2014 by the University of New Orleans’ Hospitality Research Center found that the prediction proved to be more than what they thought, $106.1 million. A total of $60.4 million came in direct spending, with another $45.7 million in secondary spending, this was after they predicted the revenue to be $89.6 million.

The NBA put their foot down, and removed Charlotte as the host city for the NBA weekend. This takes away a lot of dollar signs from the city. “We do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2” said NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

I got to talk with local Wingate University Athletic director, Steve Poston.  Poston said, “I think most schools in North Carolina are waiting to see how the courts will rule on HB2 and similar laws in other states. Therefore, I am not sure how HB2 will impact sports at other schools in North Carolina. That said, Wingate University and our athletic department is committed to our established non-discrimination policy. As a result, the athletic department will make the accommodations necessary to support the University’s non-discrimination position.”

Even though Poston does not know how it will affect sports he stands strong by the non-discrimination policy. I also talked with Wingate University Men’s Basketball Associate Head basketball coach Marcus Kirkland. 

Kirkland stated, “Unfortunately this law has brought a ton of negative attention and there could be more people following the NBA’s lead of moving the All-Star game out of Charlotte. We will continue to lose regional NCAA basketball and baseball games until this is recalled. This also could be used to negatively recruit against schools in NC. Some players may feel uncomfortable going to school in a state with such a law.”

As you look at this situation as a whole, you get this sense of anxiousness, anger, embarrassment, and even sorrow. With a predicament like this we can only take the words of Poston, all we can do is just wait and see how this plays out.


Check out more information about HB2:

Edited by: Sara Gunter



Students Find Alternatives to Bookstores

The costs of textbooks is constantly rising,students are forced to find alternatives in order to save. 

Delaney Smith, Staff Writer

It’s no wonder students are finding other sources such as Amazon, Chegg and Valore to purchase their required texts. Rather than pay the exorbitant prices at university bookstores, students have turned to other sources to buy textbooks at reduced prices.

“It’s really not worth the money to pay so much at the bookstore for a book that I only need for a semester especially our GPS books. I’ll never look at the book again,” stated Sophomore Katherine Edwards.

In addition to lower prices for new and used books, these companies also rent textbooks at an even lower price. For students that don’t write excessively in their books and don’t need to keep the book once the class is over, renting is the better option.

According to Senior Chandler Phillips, “I rented a lot of my books for my general education classes. If there was a book I felt like I might use again in my major, I bought it. When the semester is over, the online company emails me a prepaid return label, and I simply drop the textbook in the mail.”

At Wingate University and other colleges, students are using social media to sell and buy books. Wingate University has a Facebook page dedicated solely to the buying and selling of books. The price is typically low to buy and the seller gets more money than he would by selling it back to the bookstore.

“I bought three of my books from other Wingate students last year. It was easy to meet them on campus and often they had the same professor, so their highlighted text and written notes were helpful,” explained Junior Anna McCollum.

Another student, Katie Wilson, explained her online purchase story that almost went wrong. “I bought two of my books for GPS online and the company only sent me one of the two. I contacted customer service and let them know my issue. They were very easy to work with and gave me a full refund for both books.” This is an example of when online book buying isn’t always reliable; however, “Besides this incident, all of my textbooks that I have bought online have shipped to me successfully.”

While buying at the bookstore ensures that students purchased the correct text, sometimes the book is not available until after classes have started. Students also have a difficult time paying the higher prices when their refund checks from financial aid are not received until after school has started.

An alternative to the bookstore prices has proven successful at Appalachian State University of Boone, North Carolina. Each semester students pay a rental fee (approximately $140) that covers all their books.

Other universities such as Western Carolina, Fayetteville State and Elizabeth City State have also found success in the flat fee rental per semester.

Ethan Crump, a sophomore at ASU, was sympathetic to the plight of students at other colleges. “I never think about where I’m going to find my book or how much it will cost. I just go online and order what I need based on the syllabus. I can’t imagine trying to find the cheapest deal and hoping that the book arrives before class starts.”

Some of the textbooks required easily top $100 per each class; for a student taking 5 courses and several of the professors requiring more that one text, it’s not unusual for a student to spend more than $750 each semester.

Comparing that cost to the cost students at private universities who are already paying much more in tuition seems exorbitant.  For college students, every penny counts. There is no reason to buy textbooks at full price when there are other easy, cheaper options.

Check out more info about the bookstore and its pricing at:

Edited by: Sara Gunter

Wingate’s Largest Addition in History

Wingate is anticipating the newest addition to the Health and Wellness at the University. 

Kori Adams, Staff Writer

Wingate University is in the process of adding on a new building on campus.  The school is very excited to be building a new Health, Wellness, and Recreation facility.

This building will consists of many new features such as a multipurpose activity court, a suspended running track, racquetball courts, locker rooms, 2 basketball courts, 2 fitness studios and multiple areas for weight and cardio training.  This building will be Wingate’s largest building ever built on campus.

Along with the space also comes a large price.  Dr. Travis Teague, Dean of the College of Sports Sciences tells us that the cost of the building is estimated to be around 19 million dollars.

Dr. Teague says, “The benefits will be great for students. There will be much more space and equipment for fitness and wellness activities, including major expansion of the weight lifting area.”

The projected date for opening is in January of 2017.  The Health, Wellness, and Recreation center will offer so many new opportunities for students at Wingate.  The school as a whole is very excited about the new addition coming soon!

Check out more information here:

Edited by: Sara Gunter







Wingate’s Golf Team seeks Improvement

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Rodrigo Ugalde, Staff Writer

Both Men’s and Women’s Wingate golf teams are getting ready to face the South Atlantic Conference (SAC) tournament, both with the mindset of getting the big prize: win the tourney.

While both teams had uneven performance at the beginning of the season finishing 14th in their starting competitions of 54 holes each, individual and team rankings have improved.  The men’s team hit 894 at the Cougar Invitations, second highest of the season for them (only behind their performance at the Regional Preview held in Orlando).  The women’s team did not start, as they would have expected, in fact, they had their worst performance of the season at the Ross Resorts Invitational.

However, men’s and women’s agree there has been a significant improvement since then.  “We can see the improvement from the beginning of the season until now.  I think we are working together as a team, as a real team,” senior Henrique Pombo said.  “This being my last season I know I can do better at this level, but hopefully, I can pick it up for theses last two tournaments before the SAC tourney,” Pombo added.

Women’s golf coach, Erin Thorne thinks the progressive improvement relates to the consistency that the younger players have brought to the team.  “Our three freshmen have found their niche in the team, which was just a matter of time.  This spring has been a little more consistent and convincing in placing high in the tournament fields because of this.”

Cristina Cassanella, freshmen from Barcelona, Spain, who “proved [she] that can keep her scores in the mid-seventies” as her coach explained, she is one of the players in charge of this lift in performance, despite her little experience at the collegiate level.

“We had some bad tournaments during this fall that left us with no chances of making it to regionals this year, but the spring has been going well and out scores have improved a lot,” Cassanella said, while looking forward to the last chance they got later on April (10-12) at the SAC tourney.  “We have been working very hard this month and getting some individual victories during spring tournaments, so we really expect to finish with strong scores.”

Cassanella’s best single performance came at the Smokey Mountain Intercollegiate Invitational earlier in the season with a 72 on the second day of the competition.  Being part of the quad on every single tournament, Cassanella admits there is still plenty of room for improvement and “a lot to earn and work on.”

Tyler Stone, senior member of the men’s golf team, who earned the SAC freshmen of the year in 2013 explains the season this way.  “I feel like we just weren’t playing as we did in practice during the first tournaments, and when we played relaxed like in the Donald Ross Intercollegiate, we were such a different team.”

Stone who had an average of 74.6 strokes per round last year and has his best performance at the Lander Bearcat Classic, winning the event with 212. He is eager to keep this run going.  “We have two tournaments prior to the SAC tournament so I have been trying to tell the boys to relax and play simple, as that worked for me.  When you look back at how quickly your college career goes by, you really want to pass down the experience.”

Edited by Brea Childs