A Professor and Her ‘Feathered Child’

Staff Writer: Michael Wayne O’Neill

Tap. Tap. Tap. A peculiar, talkative chicken named Henrietta wandered around Dr. Sylvia Little-Sweat’s yard at the end of the Fall 2021 semester. Dr. Little-Sweat waited a long time for her to open the door, and a simple communication with her beak opened a door for a new friendship.

At first, Little-Sweat was shocked to find the chicken plopped on her front porch after ‘ringing’ the door, but the beloved pet immediately became accustomed to her.

The black bantam chicken, Henrietta, had a variety of iridescent feathers, including shades of royal blue, purple, and green all over her back. It would be a saving grace to Little-Sweat because she was alone and needed a companion.

They became inseparable like two peas in a pod.

“She was just one of my children,” Little-Sweat said. “She’s not my child, but she’s my feathered child with iridescent.”

However, when Little-Sweat arrived home after giving exams, she saw hawks soaring across the residence. They were about to pounce on Henrietta. She was petrified by the screeching sounds. So was Little-Sweat.

Immediately, Little-Sweat made her bowl like a nest with a towel covering Henrietta to nest. She put the bowl under her platter so the hawks could not get to her.

“She would’ve been a dead chicken,” Little-Sweat said. “When I saw those hawks coming up the walk-in broad daylight, I made a call to my son (Wes Little) and I said ‘Well. I want you to order me a chicken coop online tonight because I cannot let that chicken be eaten by hawks or an owl.”

That’s exactly what Wes did to save the day for the two of them. Since that moment, no other animal has been near Henrietta.

The two communicate from a short distance with Henrietta making burbles and Little-Sweat carrying on conversations. Little-Sweat also saves each egg she lays because she is drying up each egg over time.

“I want to brush easter egg designs on them,” Little-Sweat said. “I want to varnish them, make them strong, and I want to paintbrush them with easter egg designs.”

Little-Sweat plans to paint the eggs when she retires from Wingate, but she has no plans to leave her “residence” in Burris Hall.

After 13 months of tending to Henrietta’s needs, Little-Sweat is tranquil, knowing she did everything in her power to welcome her into her home. She looks forward to raising Henrietta and reading her poems to the bantam chicken.

“I never thought about having a chicken that I would look forward to gathering eggs from that I would talk to from the porch,” Little-Sweat said. “That’s the bigness of life. That’s the unplanned part of life. … I just hope she lives a long time.”

Little-Sweat’s 60 Years of Teaching at Wingate to be Celebrated in April 18 Tribute at McGee Theatre

Features Writer: Savannah Phillips

For 60 years, Dr. Sylvia Little-Sweat has taught English to countless students, breaking the record for how long any professor has taught at Wingate University. Most students, even if they have never met her, know of her. Little-Sweat has become a legend around campus, occasionally slipping outside of classroom norms.

Twice, Little-Sweat recounted with brown eyes shining and a devilish smile, she got classes canceled for a whole week for all students with one stipulation: they had to attend her symposium in place of classes each day. The first time she pulled this off, it was called the “Fine Arts of Being Southern,” and later, it was “Women: Our Own Voices.” Students enjoyed the experience (and the break from classes)!

In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Little-Sweat is the “Writer in Residence” at Wingate, having published: The Chalk Dust Chronicles, The Dream Sustained and Montage, among other books. For many years before that, she was the editor of Counterpoint, the Wingate art and literature magazine.

Looking back at all of Little-Sweat’s contributions to the campus community, the university plans to present her with a Diamond Jubilee celebration, complete with reception.

While details are still being finalized, Little-Sweat said that she is looking forward to every aspect and to finally getting the ‘scoop’ on what work she’s done and the impact that it has made.

Admittedly, most people would be nervous about such a review of their life’s work, but Little-Sweat has abandoned any notion of nervousness about the event to the far corner of her office. “Things you don’t plan yourself have a way of having a life of their own,” she said, “but I’m up to that.”

After having been at Wingate since the summer of 1963, Little-Sweat always imagined that she would be “slipping away quietly into the night,” with nothing so “public” planned to celebrate her. “I’m excited about having lived long enough to spend 60 years at a wonderful school in the same office,” she said humbly, “and teaching the same classes that I love teaching.”

Eighty-one years old and still full of passion for what she does, Little-Sweat hopes to try her hand at fiction writing soon. Having grown up in the country, she is contemplating the southern genre, but expects it will be more “poetic” than most novels, due to her love of poetry. She is so drawn to literature that she even has her own built-in stacks area in her office filled with books, a single chair, and a light to read by.

Little-Sweat teaches in morals, in life lessons that she wishes her students could learn from her, not having to learn the hard way themselves. Some give her fist bumps upon leaving the class, while others slip away, having heard nothing that she said. But she does what she can to make a difference in the lives of each and every one of her students. She sees through to the hidden writers before they do.

Even after all of this, Little-Sweat said, “I never have believed in outliving your usefulness, or staying too long.”

This upcoming April, as she sees all those who have filled the seats in the theatre, and she hears all the out-pourings of love written just for her, she will see that she is far from having outlived her usefulness. These students will remember her for years to come, for she will be teaching them still, long after she is gone.

The ceremony and reception is scheduled for April 18 in the McGee Theatre. The event is open to the public. Students in attendance will receive lyceum credit.

‘Queen Bee’ Has Been a Super-Fan at Forest Hills and Wingate Games for Generations

Sports Editor: Michael O’Neill

Ella Hargett is a steady force of positive energy, and a pillar of the sports community, both at Wingate University and Forest Hills High School. She’s pulled for several generations of athletes at Wingate and Forest Hills, showing up with passion to pull for her sports team.

Her roots in the area date back to her years as the first girls basketball coach at Forest Hills — she held the post from 1960-64. In 1964, she married Ralph Hargett.

The Matriarch of Marshville (and Wingate) for decades now, Ella helped with healing at both schools when they were grieving through the unexpected loss of her husband, the treasured former Forest Hills basketball coach Ralph Hargett, who died on Feb. 27, 2000. Ralph was the boys basketball coach at Forest Hills from 1961 until 1992.

Six days after Ralph’s passing, Ella went to the South Atlantic Conference tournament title game to give the Wingate men’s basketball team her faithful support. The result? The Bulldogs won the conference tournament and players and coaches stopped to give Ella their love, and to show appreciation that she made the trip under the circumstances.

“They expect me to be there,” said Ella, also known as the Queen Bee. “If I’m not there, they know I’m not there because I cheer when I go. I’m on the 50-yard line at the court, and that’s why I chose that seat there.”

Forest Hills athletic director Jake Thomas appreciates the support of the school’s biggest fan.

“She lives Forest Hills and continues to support our programs in many ways,” Thomas said. “She loves basketball, but can also be seen … on Friday nights during football (season) watching from the comfort of her VIP suite.”

When Matt Sides was hired to be the head boys basketball coach at Forest Hills, he vowed that his team would play one game at the J. Ralph Hargett gymnasium every season. That touched Ella’s heart. She made speeches at the annual Hargett games in “Ralph’s House” each year until Thomas decided to switch it up this year.

Kim Hargett and Thomas coordinated a surprise event to recognize Ella for her years of service to Forest Hills and for being their super-fan. Between their home varsity games against CATA on Jan. 10, Ella was called to half-court and received a bouquet of yellow flowers and a standing ovation from former players.

The Queen Bee has no plans to slow down with her support, and neither do her daughters, Kim and Ty. She plans to continue supporting Wingate and Forest Hills in every way she can.

Kim has enjoyed seeing her Mom being treated so well by the players and coaches through the decades. The Hargett family cherishes the time together, and enjoy filling the scrapbook with memories.

“It was wonderful and appropriate for Forest Hills to honor Mom being the very first girls basketball coach at Forest Hills,” Kim said. “As far as we know, we think that she is the last one standing. … I was pleased that (the school) gave her flowers to honor her.”

@ Copyright 2023 The Enquirer-Journal

Wingate Basketball Teams Continue Winning Ways With Dual Road Wins at Coker

Sports Editor: Michael Wayne O’Neill

The Wingate men’s and women’s basketball teams kept their winning
streaks and postseason hopes alive Wednesday night (Feb. 1) with South
Atlantic Conference road victories over Coker in Hartsville, S.C. The
women’s team defeated the Cobras by 20 points, 66-46, and the men’s
team won 79-73.

The Wingate women, 15-6 overall, have won four straight games and are
now 8-4 in SAC standings. They shot 21-of-58 from the floor and made
two of four three-point attempts.

Senior Bryanna Troutman (24 points, 10 rebounds) led the charge for the
Bulldogs, making 35 percent (7-of-20) of her field goal attempts and all
10 free throws. Other Bulldogs with double-digit scoring performances
included senior guard Hannah Clark (12 points), freshman guard Emily
Hege (12) and junior guard Lauren Sullivan (11).

After Wingate trailed Coker, 16-11, in the first quarter, the Bulldogs
went on an 18-3 run in the second quarter to lead 29-11 at halftime and
never looked back. Three-pointers from Sullivan, Clark and Hege helped
the Bulldogs go on a 10-3 run down the stretch.

Coker was led by freshman guard Abigail Keesling’s nine points.

Men’s fourth place in SAC standings

The men’s team improved to 14-7 overall and 9-3 in SAC play with the
six-point victory. Wingate shot 53 percent from the field was 10-of-21
from three-point range.

Senior guard Jarren Cottingham was the star of the show with 18 points,
six rebounds and two assists. Senior guard Andreas Wilson and
sophomore forward Josh Massey followed suit with 16 points each.
After a series of second-half lead changes, Wilson made two key layups
in the last three minutes and a three-pointer with 39 seconds left.

Up next for the Wingate teams are home games against SAC rival
Lincoln Memorial on Saturday (Feb. 4). Lincoln Memorial’s men’s team
is 21-2 overall, while the women are 13-8.

New Tuition Payment Policy Implemented by Business Office Creates Confusion Among Wingate Students

Staff Writer: Brianna Weston

A new tuition payment policy put into effect by the Wingate Business Office
last semester delayed and, in some cases, prevented students from
registering for spring semester classes on time and currently has the
campus buzzing about all the recent billing confusion.

Where previously students were allowed to have up to a $1,500 balance
before a “hold” was placed on their account, the new policy requires that no
more than $500 be owed before students are allowed to register and receive

Students with outstanding balances were notified via email by the Business
Office and Bulldog Central last August that they had to take part in a
payment plan or pay in full if they wanted to register for classes and retain
housing for the spring 2023 semester. The hold was placed on the account
if neither request was completed by Oct. 25, preventing students from
registering for spring courses unless their debt was less than $500.

Bulldog Central sent out the following e-mail to all students who had yet to
make that decision early last October: “This is a reminder that you have a
past due balance owed to Wingate University. It is extremely important
that you resolve this issue as soon as possible. If you do not make payment
arrangements (payment in full/a current payment plan) or complete
financial aid options (Parent PLUS or Alternative loans) prior to Oct. 25,
you WILL NOT be able to register for spring courses. You must owe LESS
THAN $500 before you will be permitted to register for future semesters.
If you owe a balance over $500 prior to Dec. 11, you will also LOSE
HOUSING for the spring semester. … ”

There are many reasons why a student may have a high balance, including
not accepting scholarships, not having enough loan coverage or not being covered by FAFSA. Additionally, most work-study jobs pay just above
minimum wage with usually no more than 10 hours per week offered to

Wingate Student Accounts Manager Connie Gaston said the change in
policy came about, in part, because of the tough times generated by Covid-
19, when “student balances skyrocketed to where [some students] owed
over $10,000 and did not pay it down.”

However, a significant problem with the new payment plan system is that it
charges an additional $35 fee on top of the first month’s balance. Payments
made online appear on your balance with an additional $8-10
added every time. Furthermore, a late fee of $10 will be added if the
payment is made after the due date. The extra fees have added to the
financial challenge that students face, making them owe even more money.

Regardless of whether a student is on a payment plan or decides to pay in
person to avoid fees, the check does not go toward the current month’s
balance. That frustrated Wingate senior Christyn Nichols, who said that
every check she gave in person decreased her overall balance but did not
satisfy her current balance for the month.

“If you pay in person, it should go toward the amount due that month and
not the total amount,” said Nichols, a criminal justice and psychology major
from Cypress, Texas. “I was so irritated because I was like, ‘You guys see me
every two weeks.’ I don’t think the payment plan should have an extra fee.”

New Wingate Chief Financial Officer Melissa Perdue, who replaced
departed Craig Addison in that role last January (Addison left after two
years to become the chief human resources officer at Georgia Banking
Company), instituted the policy and it was in effect for the first time last
semester. An initial e-mail sent at the beginning of the semester indicated
payment would be due Oct. 25, but that deadline was later changed to Nov. 11. When the November deadline began to be enforced, many students were
surprised and taken aback by the immediate demand for payment.

Bulldog Central Assistant Director Briana Crowell sent out an email Nov. 11
to past-due students with the following subject line: “URGENT!!! Your
Schedule WILL be dropped!”

“This is an Urgent Final Notice that your Spring 2023 schedule WILL be dropped if the Business Office doesn’t receive your full November payment by Monday, Nov. 14,” Crowell wrote. “Please make your payment ASAP to avoid any issues on Nov. 15.”

Some students felt the four days’ notice wasn’t enough.

Wingate Student Accounts Manager Connie Gaston said the Business Office did its best to be lenient while enforcing the new policy. Hence, it was not stringently enforced before the beginning of the fall semester and was gradually implemented throughout that time with the help of Bulldog Central. However, Wingate students are often deluged with emails from the school during a semester and important notices like the change-in-payment policy get lost in the shuffle, resulting in confusion once the email is discovered.

With all of the new complications arising, students turned to social media in search of help from their peers. A few comments appeared on the new app YikYak expressing the frustration of having to pay in full immediately or be dropped from courses altogether.

Gaston said her office wanted to “give students some time to come to Bulldog Central to attain their options for payment.”

Some of the options that are available for students with high balances are to apply for a student loan, a ParentPLUS loan or enter into a payment plan.

With all of the challenges of affording a college education these days, Wingate students are hoping for a different approach to making sure all options are clearly stated before the beginning of each semester.

“I don’t think I was treated fairly,” Nichols said.

    Volleyball Caps Off Memorable Season With Trip to Seattle for NCAA Elite Eight Appearance

    Staff Writer: Caroline Backus and Cody Kelley

    The No. 25-ranked Wingate volleyball team traveled across the country
    this week to Seattle, making its sixth trip to the NCAA Tournament
    national quarterfinals in program history. The Bulldogs, who led the
    nation in winning percentage and ranked second in total wins at 32-3,
    took on third-seeded West Texas A&M Thursday (Dec. 1) in search of
    their first national title, losing a thrilling five-set match to the Buffaloes.

    The Bulldogs began postseason play by overpowering six opponents
    over the last two weeks. They started their playoff run with the South
    Atlantic Conference Tournament, starting at Cuddy Arena with a 3-0
    sweep against Limestone. Wingate capped the SAC Tournament off on
    the road at the Rock Hill Sports and Event Center in Rock Hill, S.C.,
    capturing a 3-1 revenge win over Anderson and dominating Carson-
    Newman 3-0 to seize its 13th SAC Tournament title in 17 years.

    Wingate then received the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Southeast Regional
    Tournament at Cuddy Arena. The Bulldogs defeated USC Aiken 3-1 in
    the first round, followed it up with a 3-1 win over Lander in the
    semifinals and swept Flagler 3-0 in the championship match, winning by
    scores of 25-14, 25-13 and 25-23.

    While claiming the SAC Tournament title as well as the NCAA
    Southeast Regional title, several Wingate players received individual
    awards. The team had five players placed on All-SAC teams. Graduate
    student setter Shannon Kasprak received the SAC Player of the Year
    Award, while head coach Shelton Collier was nominated as SAC Coach
    of the Year.

    Kasprak, along with graduate student outside hitter Molly
    Lambillotte and freshman middle blocker Emily Johnson, earned first-
    team All-SAC honors. Senior outside hitter Maggie Young earned
    second-team All-SAC honors and senior libero Maggie Mullen collected third-team accolades. Johnson also earned a spot on the All-Freshman

    Three Bulldogs received All-Region honors as well. Kasprak added
    another big honor to her arsenal by being named the Division II
    Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) Southeast Region
    Player of the Year. Kasprak was also a first-team All-Region selection,
    joined by Johnson. Lambillotte picked up second-team All-Region
    accolades as well.

    Wingate lit up the stat sheet throughout the season, ranking high
    nationally in several categories. As of Nov. 19, the team ranked first in
    winning percentage (.939), second in opponents’ hitting percentage
    (.095), fourth in blocks per set (2.56), fifth in hitting percentage (.283)
    and ninth in total blocks (276.5).

    Wingate Football set for First-Ever NCAA Quarterfinal Matchup at West Florida

    Staff Writer: Samuel Rodriguez

    For the first time in program history, Wingate’s football team is three wins
    away from a national championship.

    The Bulldogs play on the road for the third straight time in the postseason
    this Saturday (Dec. 3, 2 p.m.) at West Florida in Pensacola after having
    already won a school-record 11 games. They beat Virginia Union and
    previously undefeated Benedict in their first two NCAA Tournament games
    and have not lost away from home all season.

    “It’s exciting and I think the team we have is special,” redshirt senior
    fullback Trevor Hausmann said. “We’ll go as far as we let ourselves when it

    Wingate (11-2) opened the Division II playoffs with a 32-7 victory over
    Virginia Union (9-2) in Richmond. Graduate student quarterback Shaw
    Crocker completed 14 of 21 passes for 155 yards against the Panthers.
    Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Myles Dillon caught three passes for 19
    yards and a touchdown against VUU. Redshirt sophomore wide receiver
    Kamal Desor secured three catches for 79 yards and a score. Redshirt junior
    running back Kalen Clark rushed for 74 yards on 11 carries. 

    Linebacker Davon Gilmore racked up a team-best four tackles for loss
    including two sacks and forced the safety. Thomas returned an interception
    for a touchdown and recovered a fumble. Graduate student linebacker
    Jaquan Edwards recorded Wingate’s other pick-six.

    “We did well this season even with the [home] losses against Emory &
    Henry and Newberry,” senior punter Ethan Evans said.

    The Bulldogs came back the next Saturday (Nov. 26) to beat the region’s
    top-seeded team, Benedict, in Columbia, S.C., using their stifling defense to
    suffocate the Tigers’ running game. Wingate held the Southern
    Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) champs to 38 rushing yards on
    37 carries in a 23-6 rout.

    Wingate closed out its regular season with a dominant 45-7 victory at home
    over UVA Wise (2-9). It marked the sixth straight season with eight wins
    for the Bulldogs. Wingate is 56-16 overall in the last five seasons and 37-10
    in league play, leading the South Atlantic Conference in wins during that

    “Defense came out here and set the tone,” redshirt sophomore linebacker
    Gilmore said. “The offense stayed true to the game plan and executed it

    Senior wide receiver Trevor Grant had himself a day against the Cavaliers.
    Grant hauled in six passes for a career-high 144 yards and two touchdowns.
    Grant has compiled 284 receiving yards and four touchdowns throughout
    the regular season.

    The receiving group is led by redshirt junior wide receiver Myles Dillon
    with 31 catches for 381 yards and five touchdowns. Senior wide receiver
    Ra’Quan Simmons has 22 receptions for 338 yards and two scores. 
    “The guys did what they needed to do today,” defensive coordinator
    Rashaan Jordan said. “They went about executing and playing on a high
    level throughout the game. It is not perfect, but the plays we made were
    solid and, if we get to play next week, we can get better.”

    Redshirt senior defensive tackle Sirod Cook has 11 tackles for loss and six
    sacks on the year while notching 11 QB hurries. Redshirt sophomore
    defensive tackle Justin Rhodes has 10.5 tackles for loss and four sacks.
    Redshirt freshman defensive back Jordan Thomas has 10 pass breakups on
    the season, adding 30 tackles and one interception.

    WU leads the nation in tackles for loss and third-down defense. The
    Bulldogs are second in total defense and sacks, ranking fifth in scoring
    defense. Wingate is fifth nationally in rush defense and sixth in pass

    The Bulldogs’ are now 4-4 all-time in the postseason. This is WU’s second
    10-win season in program history.

    Major Donation Transforms Wingate’s Honors Program Into an Honors College

    Features Writer: Savannah Phillips

    Wingate University’s Honors Program has transitioned into a Honors College in the past year.

    Dr. Allison Kellar, the founding dean, has directed the program for eight years and says that it is growing thanks to a generous donation.

    Former Wingate Board of Trustee member, Evelyn Taylor, passed away and left a donation to the university. “A part of the funding went towards honors,” said Kellar, “to strengthen what the program can offer.”

    Kellar says that it is important for students to have a memorable experience and have the opportunities to widen their horizons through honors. This includes securing culture events, offering experiential learning and travel, research presentation opportunities and more.

    “The Honors Program has helped me to excel in college by expanding my confidence in what I’m capable of achieving,” said senior accounting major Trevor Grant.

    “Yes, there is more work on the plate of an honors student. But this little push of extra, meaningful work has motivated me to apply the same type of work in other areas of my life. Just like success in the classroom, nothing worth having or achieving in life comes easy,” said Grant.

    With 100 students currently enrolled in the Honors College, class sizes are smaller and more intense, guaranteeing class discussions to be highly engaging.

    “I was amazed at the professionalism of my classmates and the depth of the discussion that took place,” said biology and history major Ethan Hancock.

    “As I progressed through the Honors Program, I was able to conduct research in my major that helped set my pharmacy application apart from others,” said the senior.

    The small community of honors students at Wingate will not grow exponentially in the coming years, predicts Kellar. In three years from now, she anticipates having 130-140 members enrolled.

    The Honors College is now offering an incoming freshmen experience as well, so that students can immerse themselves in the program before they arrive on campus. The application was launched last week and Kellar says it has created a “buzz”.

    Current students must be nominated by a faculty member or nominate themselves at the end of the semester. The suggested GPA is 3.4 because “college is hard and students are adjusting,” Kellar says. There is still room for Wingate students to join the Honors College, but Kellar is focusing the space on incoming freshmen.

    “We’re really working on the process and procedures right now,” said Kellar, “and I’m excited to see where it goes, the adventure and the journey of moving forward.”

    “I’m interested in how things grow, not in numbers, but in what kind of experiences we can bring to students and what students can bring to the Honors College and university,” she said.

    Kellar opened up about her inner struggles when it comes to balancing being a professor and the Dean of the Honors College. She had only been at Wingate for two years when she was asked by the prior Dean of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Don Merrill, to take over.

    As a new faculty member, Kellar wanted to show her co-workers that she was a solid choice for the position. “I really wanted to do a good job,” she said, “and it was important to me that I made sure I worked hard. Though honored and excited, I experienced imposter syndrome.”

    Though Kellar cannot teach as much as she used to, she expressed how crucial it is that she continue no matter what. By working with honors students in the classroom, Kellar says that she gets to know them better.

    The honor course offerings, primarily taught by full-time faculty, are built from the needs of the students. Various options, such as honors contracts and upper level research, are available to help tailor to each individual student’s needs as best as possible.

    “I have been exposed to new topics outside of my major, more discussion-based classes led by students and a lot of stimulation in classes,” said senior criminal justice major Heather Morse.

    “I never would have conducted research by myself if it wasn’t for the honors program. I’m so grateful to have worked closely with one of my favorite professors on a topic I feel so passionately about,” said Morse regarding Dr. Geneice Monde, assistant dean of the Honors College. “She has been so helpful and supportive throughout my entire time at Wingate.”

    Departments on campus usually rotate who teaches honors courses each semester, but the speciality of each professor must be relevant and impactful. They should have a “my door is always open” attitude and a caring mindset, says Kellar.
    “Honors students are life-long learners and are intellectually curious individuals,” she said. “It is meaningful to teach. I will do the best I can and the rest will take care of itself. Not teaching is a lost connection with students.”

    Kellar looks forward to seeing the places these honor students will go in the future and what kind of scholars they will become.

    Flu, not COVID, Spreads Across Campus as Semester Draws to a Close

    Staff Writer: Darius Johnson

    As the fall semester comes to a conclusion, Wingate University’s campus has experienced a rise in serious flu-like illnesses. The Holbrook Health Center experienced a wave of students contracting illnesses similar to the flu beginning in late October, as well as symptoms that caused officials to worry about a potential return of COVID-19 cases. According to the CDC, North Carolina has a high influenza level, and the state has experienced a rise of reports of the flu much earlier than usual this year. High flu levels were also reported in the highly populated areas of South Carolina, New York, Maryland, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia and Mississippi. 

    This wave of the flu came with slightly more serious symptoms this year, as the nation is still recovering from pandemic conditions earlier this year. 

    “I got migraines out of nowhere, and then I began getting fevers rapidly and they would come and go,” said local resident Tilman Davis. “I also experienced body aches, chills, mucus, fatigue, coughing and coughing up phlegm after a week, and I was down for about a week and a half.” 

    The extent of these symptoms convinced Davis’ nurses that he was likely dealing with more than just the flu, but a potential virus as well. 

    One of Wingate’s nurse practitioners, Serena Ridenhour, said she has been seeing a sudden wave of students experiencing similar symptoms. Holbrook Health Center had appointments filled during the first couple weeks of November, and students had to wait for openings or go to nearby clinics unless they were under more serious conditions. 

    Wingate student Dionna Taylor described her symptoms like this: “Day one, my throat was very dry and I just knew I was coming down with something. Then throughout the day the cough came and picked up but I assumed it was the weather. The following day, I started dealing with mucus and sneezing a lot, and chills were heavy during the whole four days. Afterwards, I had a lingering cough and headache on and off for about three days.” 

    Notably, the public should be advised that the flu is much more common in winter months due to the fact that indoors, where people spend more time, the air is less humid than outside. As a result, the influenza virus is alive much longer and when close contact with others occurs, it is much more likely to be spread. The virus, similar to COVID-19, is airborne and can be contracted through close contact with bodily fluids or coughing and sneezing from someone who is infected. Typical symptoms of influenza include fevers, chills, difficulty breathing, fatigue, sore throat and headache, with them usually lasting no more than a week. More recently, students have been experiencing these symptoms slightly longer than a week, along with some minor additional symptoms. These signs have officials closely working with the public to ensure no new strands of either influenza or COVID-19 is spreading. 

    The one key difference between the coronavirus and influenza is the illness duration, as COVID symptoms typically last longer than the flu, and the period in which it’s contagious lasts longer as well. Unfortunately, all symptoms for both illnesses have been experienced with the other and CDC advises the public to get tested when symptoms occur. According to the CDC, a person infected with the influenza virus will likely experience symptoms from one to four days after infection. A person infected with COVID-19 could experience symptoms from two to 14 days after infection. Due to the recent wave of the flu-like symptoms seen on campus, students were experiencing symptoms for around a week. Moreover, after they were tested for COVID-19, cases had not been reported to have returned to the campus. Additionally, loss of taste has been seen more commonly in coronavirus cases, although it also occurs in cases of influenza as well.

    To assist students who may experience similar situations in the future, the Holbrook Health faculty are advising students to treat each symptom as they may come and to get a lot of rest. Contrary to common assumptions, the Health Center does not give out antibiotics for viral illnesses such as the flu. However, Holbrook provides students remedies for coughs and mucus, along with ibuprofen and acetaminophen for those experiencing pains, headaches or fevers. The Health faculty and the CDC are also advising everyone to receive updated COVID-19 vaccines and the flu vaccine if they had not previously. The majority of students reportedly having the flu on campus did not have the vaccine, according to Holbrook Health officials. Both vaccines are administered to students free of charge at Holbrook with a student ID and no appointments are needed.

    To prevent contracting the flu, students should wash hands often with warm water and soap or an alcohol-based rub. Also frequently clean surfaces, especially frequently touched surfaces as well as staying away from people who are sick. Similar to COVID-19, flu viruses are also airborne, so wearing masks in social environments will also decrease one’s chances of catching the flu. Officials are also informing the public to limit contact with others if you are sick and not to eat in public places like a cafeteria. Additionally, refrain from normal activities until 24 hours after your last symptom without fever-reducing medicine.

    Wingate Fall Sports Find Unprecedented Success Across the Board in Absence of COVID Threat

    Staff Writer: RJ Rennie

    Wingate’s fall sports teams have each had successful seasons in 2022 in
    the first semester, the first campaign not impacted by COVID-19 since
    January of 2020. From cross country to football, volleyball to soccer,
    almost every sport that Wingate has participated in this fall has either
    been crowned conference champions or qualified for the NCAA

    Every sport was affected by the pandemic beginning in the spring of 2020. The fall sports that year were forced to play abridged schedules,
    and volleyball played a spring season rather than its usual fall campaign.
    The effects of the pandemic continued to spill over into fall of 2021, as
    university mask mandates and social distancing remained in effect with
    no timeline as to when the restrictions would be lifted. Student-athletes
    were affected just as much, if not more so, as regular students.

    Fall 2022, however, marked the first full semester in almost three years
    that was uninhibited by the pandemic or any outside factors, and the
    success as a result has been on full display. Wingate University’s
    president, Dr. Rhett Brown, has high praise for the programs and, most
    importantly, the university as a whole.

    “Wingate’s athletic teams and our administrative staff kept our programs
    active and productive during the height of the pandemic,” Brown said.
    “And due to the successful foundation we’ve built over the last couple of
    decades, the fall teams are continuing the University’s run of great
    results. And I can’t say enough good things about our Sports Medicine
    and Student Health Center teams. There’s no way we’re as safe and
    successful without their extraordinary efforts.”

    One of the big success stories is the football team. After a late loss to
    Newberry, costing it a chance at the South Atlantic Conference championship, the team still finished the regular season 9-2 and ranked
    fifth in the regional rankings, good enough to make the 28-team NCAA
    Playoffs bracket, where the Bulldogs won their first two games on the
    road in the South Regional, beating fourth-seeded Virginia Union 32-7
    and top-seeded Benedict 23-7. Wingate, which is now 11-2 overall and
    undefeated away from home this year, now heads to Pensacola, Fla., to
    play 11-1 West Florida Dec. 3 in the national quarterfinals.
    After a shortened 2020 season and a disappointing end to the 2021
    campaign, head coach Joe Reich is pleased with his team’s progress now
    in the absence of the virus.

    “The overall mental well being of our guys [is better],” said Reich,
    whose team travels to Columbia, S.C., Nov. 26 to take on the region’s
    top seed, Benedict, in the second round. “ We are back to semi-normal
    now and things are operating as they should and the guys just seem
    happier for it. Our training was drastically affected by COVID, so to
    have no restrictions and to be able to be in groups and work out together
    obviously has been fantastic and has helped us get better as a team.”

    Volleyball is another sport that has had a remarkable season after the
    pandemic’s departure. After losing to Lenoir-Rhyne in the second round
    of the NCAA Tournament a year ago, the Bulldogs responded by
    winning the regular-season conference title, hosting a regional and
    winning all three games in that tournament to qualify for the NCAA’s
    Elite Eight to be held in Seattle Dec. 1-3. Wingate, which is 32-2
    heading into its NCAA quarterfinals matchup with West Texas A&M
    Dec. 1 at 3 p.m., took home both of the league’s top individual honors
    for Player of the Year (Shannon Kasprak) and Coach of the Year
    (Shelton Collier). Collier praises his team, which has been ranked in the
    Top 25 all season, for its success during the COVID campaigns, but also
    attributes the team’s success this year to the struggles faced during that

    “Our team managed the COVID crisis in impressive fashion,” Collier
    said. “[The players] worked hard physically, stayed in touch via Zoom and we still won another championship in the COVID season, [which
    was] really rewarding. The fact that we stayed strong together as a team,
    and made significant progress both individually and as a team during a
    challenging period, set us up for the success we are now having. I am so
    proud of our team for adapting during and after COVID, really showing
    a special maturity and determination.”

    These two teams are not the only sports to achieve success this fall. Both
    the men’s and women’s cross country teams won their conference and
    regional championships (hosting that event at Wingate Nov. 19) and are
    on their way to the NCAA Championships at Chambers Creek Regional
    Park in University Place, Wash., Dec. 2.

    Men’s soccer claimed its regular-season conference title and women’s
    soccer reached the SAC Tournament finals before falling to Limestone.
    Both teams received bids to the NCAA Tournament as seventh seeds in
    the Southeast Region. While the women, who finished 11-5-4, lost in the
    first round at Catawba, the men (10-5-7) won their first two NCAA
    games in overtime on penalty kicks before finally succumbing on the
    road to No. 23-ranked Barry, 2-1, in the round of 16.

    So, almost every sport at the university has postseason aspirations and
    has had some form of regular-season success, the only exception being
    field hockey which is in its inaugural season. Assistant Athletic Director
    Molick Scott believes the success of the university’s sports can be
    viewed as a demonstration of recovery for not only the school as a
    whole, but the town and the county in general.

    “I think you can see the results of recovery through the performance of
    our sports programs.” Scott said. “This is one of the best fall seasons
    success-wise that this school has experienced in a few years, with
    multiple programs earning postseason bids into the NCAA Tournament.
    Our athletes have been eager to get back out there in front of the fans,
    community and their family members and they are thriving from that

    Others around the university agree with Scott.
    “We’ve been successful in bouncing back from the pandemic because of
    cooperation and collaboration on and off campus.” Dr. Brown said.
    “Whether it’s the school system, business/industry, local government or
    community agencies, the story is the same — working together makes us
    all better and more resilient in challenging times.”
    Reich said: “As far as Union County is concerned, I do think that is a
    microcosm of what is happening here. [Whether that be] improving
    mental health, [or] improving quality of life.”

    “At Wingate, we are all so proud of the amazingly successful athletic
    program we have established in every sport here on campus,” Collier
    said. “And we enjoy the great community support of all the programs.”
    The school’s sports success this fall, the first semester unimpaired by
    COVID in more than two years, represents the recovery from the
    pandemic for Union County as a whole. The university has rallied
    around its athletic success, and hopes that others will be able to follow
    the example set by the school this year in terms of recovery.