Tag Archives: Wingate Bulldogs

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.