Racing Minds and Winning Times at NCAA Division II Championship

Staff Writer: Madison Mataxas

If you’ve picked up a newspaper or been on any form of social media within the last month, chances are you know a little bit about what has been happening between Russia and Ukraine. More often than not, when we think of war, our thoughts don’t immediately go to the large numbers of students from the warring countries that are watching historical events unfold in their homeland from their dorm rooms in countries across the world.

Even fewer thoughts are devoted to the student-athletes working tirelessly to stay focused and perform at their championship meets or games. Among these athletes are Wingate swimmers Slava Ohnov from Ukraine, Fedor Sokolov from Russia, and Queens University swimmer Vlada Maznytska from Ukraine who worked hard to put their heavy hearts and cluttered minds aside and compete for NCAA titles at the Division II Championships in Greensboro, NC earlier this month.

As individual qualifiers for the NCAA championships, they knew that even with everything going on with them internally, their coaches and teammates counted on them to help win titles and points for the team. Throughout the meet, they realized that competing is one of the important things they could be doing to raise awareness and support during a time they all need it most.

At NCAAs Ohnov, a Junior at Wingate, competed in the 50 Freestyle, 100 Freestyle, and several relays for the Bulldogs. He won first-team All-American honors in the 100 Freestyle where he finished seventh and in the 400 Freestyle Relay. “It didn’t go as well as I’d like or hoped it would…I made a few finals and won some NCAA trophies…I can’t say that I’m completely satisfied with it, but I’ll take it, especially with everything that is going on,” Ohnov said. Before coming to the US, Ohnov and Maznytska swam together and studied in the same school for a little bit. More now than ever, they try to keep in touch, checking in on each other and their families. “Thank God we still have ways to connect with our families…I text my mother every day and call once every 3 to 4 days,” Ohnov said.

To many of us, being on the other side of the world from our families and friends while war has broken out in our country feels like a very foreign concept, but for Ohnov and his family, it is becoming their new normal. “They’re scared, but my mom recently told me that they are starting to get used to the emergency alarms…it’s not a good thing but they are trying to keep their routine going,” Ohnov said. He went on to say that many of his friends have gone to help with territorial defense and even though they don’t have military experience, there are people with experience teaching them. “I talked to one of my friends who went to the frontline and made it back. He said it was the scariest thing he has ever seen…I’m just glad he made it back,” Ohnov sighed. “I have never been more proud to be a Ukrainian and I kind of feel guilty for not being there but my friends have said that they don’t need people right now, they need supplies (weapons, ammunition, and food)…We have more people than resources…People go for defense and are sent back after they are checked in and are told that they will be called when they are needed.”.

While talking about what is happening in their country can be painful, Ohnov feels that doing so helps spread awareness and support. He has recently started a GoFundMe to help his family in Kropyvnytskyi, Ukraine, 200 miles south of Kyiv, and has already raised $3,580 which he will send directly to them. “I have received a lot of support from teammates, friends, and even the Wingate staff like professors…I couldn’t ask for more…I started this to financially help my family and the shelters because it’s the best way I can help them right now,” Ohnov said.

His family has stayed in Ukraine to take care of Ohnov’s grandparents and 3 dogs so leaving is not easy. “They are trying to help out everyone around…My mother is an elementary school teacher and has been helping to make the school into a shelter for refugees and those without a place to live,” Ohnov said. 

Looking toward the future, Ohnov’s summer plans are a bit different this year. With his home country at war and Ukraine’s travel restrictions, he is not able to return for the summer, but he is not letting that stop him. As a Criminal Justice major, he has applied for internships in South Carolina in their Law Enforcement Division to gain experience and benefit his future career and will continue to train for the 2022-2023 swim season where he has high hopes to compete at NCAAs for himself and his country once more.

Link to Slava Ohnov’s GoFundMe:

Jarren Cottingham’s All-Conference and All-Regional Titles

Staff Writer: Madelyn Cherry

The Wingate men’s basketball team had an overall record this 2021-22 season of 21-8. Jarren Cottingham, a redshirt junior guard, contributed to the team’s season with 943 minutes of playing time, 469 points, and 84 assists. In previous years, Cottingham has received numerous titles that have contributed to his basketball career. Recently, Cottingham won the title of NABC 2nd team all-regional accolades and earned the first team all-SAC honor for the second straight year in the 2021-22 season. 

In order to decide the title of the NABC 2nd team all-region accolades, coaches in the region vote and the amount of votes received for the players determine what team they fall on. “I guess they felt I was deserving of it and I am very appreciative of the award,” Cottingham said. 

He says that what motivates him to reach these milestones in his career is the disrespect he receives from players from other schools. He says that it is his goal to always be the top-dog on the court against rival schools. Although he is thankful for all of the titles he has received, 

“I am happy to be all-conference and all-region, but I am missing one thing and that is a championship. My career has a void without it. Once I win that championship I will feel complete,” Cottingham said.

For him to reach these goals and continue to receive these titles, Cottingham puts in hours of extra work. He spends much of his time in the gym and on the court but also makes sure to eat healthy foods and get a lot of sleep to keep his body healthy. He says “repetition is key,” and in order to master his craft, he works constantly on his game. Winning these titles does put some extra pressure on him to be excellent every game, but he believes that he thrives under pressure. 

“I have no problem with putting more weight on my shoulders to get this program to where it needs to be. I just try to go out and play and help my team win games in any way,” Cottingham said. 

Cottingham took a redshirt year which he believes helped him get to where he is today. His year off allowed him to focus on his game and his strength. He was able to put on weight and even grew taller. He believes that his redshirt year jump-started his next season. Which led him to win all-conference and all-regional this past season. Cottingham is preparing for his next season and hopes to win the championship title. 

Wingate Men’s Lacrosse Update

Staff Writer: Ben Robertson

The 2022 Wingate men’s lacrosse team has rolled to an 8-2 start as they hunt for their fourth South Atlantic Conference (SAC) Championship under head coach Tim Boyle. 

They opened the season with two straight wins against Barton and the then fourth-ranked Mercyhurst before falling to the defending national champions Le Moyne in a close battle. 

They then rattled off four straight wins, including three against nationally-ranked opponents in Mount Olive, Limestone, and Queens. 

After these huge victories, they suffered a setback, losing to Anderson in a massive upset. However, they hopped right back on their winning ways with a dominating two games against Mars Hill and Catawba where they won by a combined score of 36-13. 

Willie Grieco vs. Queens

Junior attack and returning All-American Willie Grieco is off to another unreal season with 31 goals and 36 assists. Grieco leads the nation in total points. In their victory against rival Limestone in the Crown Classic, held at American Legion Memorial Stadium in Charlotte, he scored a game-winner in overtime. With the game tied at 10, Grieco picked up the ball behind the goal, blew past his defender, and finished with his right hand to seal the victory in a wild affair. 

The rest of the attack line has been excellent as well. Fifth-year senior Bobby Padden has 30 goals and 23 assists and broke the Wingate all-time goals record as well in the win at Mars Hill. His good friend Adam Vodovnik has tallied 28 goals himself. Vodovnik broke the single-season goals record at Wingate during the 2021 campaign.  

Junior midfield Danny Riley, another returning All-American, has been excellent out of the box, scoring 20 goals and adding 7 assists. Other junior midfielders Daman Lingasin and John Natoli have been solid as well, notching 9 and 6 goals respectively. Junior man-up specialist Marc Cottage Jr. has contributed his share, putting away 9 goals. 

With four games remaining in the regular season, including a huge matchup with conference rival Lenoir Rhyne, the Bulldogs are primed to peak at the right time heading into the SAC Tournament. 

Professor Case on Being Openly LGBTQ On a Historically Baptist Campus

Wingate University is known for its religious affiliation and, according to Niche, is rated the fifth most conservative university in North Carolina. However, overall treatment and views of LGBTQ+ people are more positive than one might think. Dr. Eddie Case (he/they) is an openly LGBTQ+ professor who has had nothing but good experiences on campus regarding his identity.

Case has been a Science Education Professor at Wingate for 12 years. He identifies as gay/queer and nonbinary. Being from North Carolina where LGBTQ+ people are heavily looked down upon, he did not know he was LGBTQ+ for a long time. He had some inklings but there was a major lack of representation in media so being gay was only portrayed as flamboyant and feminine, which he was not. “I saw Will from Will and Grace and that was what I thought you had to be like to be gay,” said Case. 

Case did not fully come into his identity until he was 40 years old, after he had already had two children, and was married for 16 years – to a woman. He assumed nobody knew, but somehow his (now ex) wife found out and denied him access to their two young children the day before father’s day. “I contacted my attorney and had to go to court, which was– you know, but my parents wanted to come support me,” said Case.  This was an issue as he had not yet told his parents exactly why he was not allowed to see his kids. “I kept telling them they didn’t have to come but they kept insisting,” he recalled. 

He was worried about coming out to his parents as they were very religious. The court date was approaching quickly and he did not want them to find out from anyone but himself. The night before the court date, he told them. “My dad accepted me right away and my mom said she suspected and came to accept me,” Case said. 

This all happened in 2009. 13 years later he says, “You never stop coming out. It’s an ongoing thing that you have to do every day.” 

Dr. Case stayed in North Carolina despite the region’s stigma against LGBTQ+ people. After all, he had lived here for 40 years already and all of his family was here. He came to Wingate University after a higher-up at Western Carolina made a rude comment regarding his research, which was LGBTQ+ related. 

Case knew that there may be some negativity at Wingate due to the baptist affiliation but opted to come here anyway. Part of the hiring process is to present your research, his being on LGBTQ+ students. “The people hiring me all had a really positive reaction,” said Case. “I mean, it was only two people but they liked it!” He remembers one of the two people, an elderly woman, saying that she was “sure there are probably a few LGBTQ+ students here.” He laughs about this memory, “She meant well.” 

His involvement in making Wingate a more LGBTQ+ friendly campus started two years after he was hired. He implemented the “Safe Zone” stickers you may see on some professors’ office doors. These stickers signify that LGBTQ+ students can come to them without fear of judgment. The Safe Zone Project states that sometimes it is a signal to LGBTQ+ students that the professor is also LGBTQ+, but it is often used just to signify that they are an ally.

Four years into his career at Wingate, Case invited Delighted ToBeHere, to perform on campus. Delighted ToBeHere is a New York City-based drag queen who is originally from the Carolinas. She now performs at Wingate annually.

Case said it took him six years to be sure it was safe to come out at Wingate. He did so by sneaking it into a speech on the day after Donald Trump was elected president. “I was more open with grad students, so one year I had a 62-year-old student come tell me that he was gay and he admired my openness. Another student came to my office and wanted advice on how to be a gay Christian,” said Case, who shared these experiences with the crowd of his fellow professors, who all got the hint. “Several of them came up to me after and were very supportive. If anyone has been rude it hasn’t been to my face,” he states. He cannot recall a single incident on Wingate’s campus where he felt singled out, unsafe, or belittled due to his sexuality. “I receive more pushback on teaching evolution,” he laughed. 

Case plans on continuing to make LGBTQ+ students feel safe and accepted. “I’d like to have an LGBTQ+ faculty group, but it always falls apart,” he said. Right now, he and the school are focusing on racism, trying to make the university as safe as possible for students of color, “We want to make this a good place for all minorities, but right now we’re focusing mainly on students of color and Muslim students. Racism is a problem here.” 

 As universities get more progressive, more LGBTQ+ professors are telling the world who they are, making it easier for students to do the same. “Wingate is a good place,” said Case, “Almost 13 years later and I still love working here.”

Oscars 2022 Recap

Staff Writer: Emily Werner

Ah, the Academy Awards – specifically the Oscars. It is an exclusive event where people get awards for doing their jobs. This year’s Oscars took place on March 27th and ran for almost four hours. People have only been talking about a 30-second clip, but there has to be more to talk about than Will Smith slapping Chris Rock. Oh wait, there is! 

The most important award in the whole show is Best Picture. This year, it went to CODA (an acronym for Children of Deaf Adults), a film largely about a high schooler who is the only hearing member of her family and how she navigates both hearing and deaf worlds. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and Apple bought it for a record $25 million, according to IndieWire. It paid off. Apple became the first streaming service to win Best Picture. CODA’s Marlee Matlin made history in 1987 when she became the first deaf person to ever win an Oscar. She held this title for 35 years. Her CODA costar, Troy Kotsur, won best supporting actor this year, making history as the first deaf man to win an Oscar for acting. Matlin and Kotsur hope to “open the floodgates” for future deaf actors. 

Matlin wins Best Actress 1987, photo courtesy of The Guardian
Kotsur wins Best Supporting Actor 2022, photo courtesy of The Today Show

Ariana DeBose won best supporting actress for her role as Anita in West Side Story. DeBose, who is queer and Afro-Latina, made history as the first openly LGBTQ+ woman of color to win the category. The last time a Hispanic actress won the same award was 1962 when Rita Moreno won for her role as Anita in the original West Side Story. Yes. The same role, 60 years apart. 

Ariana DeBose wins Best Supporting Actress 2022, photo courtesy of NBC News

Jessica Chastain won her first-ever Oscar for her role as Tammy Faye Bakker in The Eyes of Tammy Faye. Going up against household names such as Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Kristen Stewart, and Olivia Colman, many Twitter users expected any one of those women to take it home. The Eyes of Tammy Faye wasn’t even on their radar. However, Chastain won and it was well deserved. Chastain used her speech to speak out about the anti-LGBTQ+ legislation happening in Florida, showing her support for the LGBTQ+ community. It was a beautiful speech and a great moment for the actress. 

Jessica Chastain wins Best Actress 2022, photo courtesy of EastMojo

Will Smith won his first Oscar this year for best actor for his role in King Richard, but audiences couldn’t even be happy for him after that weird alpha-male thing he pulled. Rock’s joke wasn’t okay either. Both were in the wrong. 

This year’s Oscars was one for the books. It shouldn’t be remembered for a tasteless joke followed by an assault. Deaf people made history. Ariana DeBose made big strides for queer people, Afro-Latinas, and queer Afro-Latinas everywhere. Jessica Chastain won her first Oscar and used her speech to call out Florida’s disgusting “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Why We Should be Demanding Better Video Game Representation

Staff Writer: Luke Little

If you played any video games from the 1990s to the 2010s, you likely have a bevy of nostalgia for the titles you played. Isn’t it sad, then, that a lot of titles from this period of gaming are becoming less and less legally accessible by the day? 

Recent news broke that Earthbound Beginnings and Earthbound (aka Mother 1 and 2 respectively) would become available on Nintendo’s current-generation console, the Nintendo Switch. Fans rejoiced at the idea of being able to play the pre-2000s cult legends on the big screen legally again. However, a long-time plea from fans had still not been met; the third game in the trio, Mother 3, still hadn’t even received official acknowledgment from Nintendo. Fans of the franchise are past being angry at it by now as ways to access the game have been available for a long time. The only issue is that access to the game in English is in a legal gray area for anyone who wants to experience it. 

You see, Mother 3 was never released outside of Japan back in 2006 when it came out. To this day, the only way to play the game in English is through a direct rip of the game that has been translated by dedicated fans and spread across the internet so much that it would be impossible for Nintendo to eradicate, despite its best efforts. As this game simply appeared on the GameBoy Advance, it wouldn’t have been hard for Nintendo to put it on any other console after the GameBoy’s heyday, but it simply hasn’t. As a matter of fact, it has seemingly ignored fans that have tried to get more attention to the cause. Nintendo is absolutely capable of bringing this game stateside, but it just won’t, and it makes fans like me a bit sad, as this approach to game preservation isn’t new. 

Game preservation is exactly its namesake; preserve old games from old systems that aren’t being produced anymore so that people, current and future, aren’t locked out of the truly amazing experiences they offer. If you were to talk directly to a Nintendo executive, for example, about playing the company’s old titles, they’d likely advise you to seek out the console and game(s) on secondhand marketplaces such as eBay, OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, etc. And while that argument is valid, as consoles and games are readily available on those sites, as soon as owners of said consoles and games realized they were holding onto collectible items that were in limited supply, prices skyrocketed. 

The Gameboy Advance from 2003

The aforementioned GameBoy will run $100 on its own, and a cartridge to play Mother 3 on it wouldn’t even be available in the US. Mother 3 is a classic work, yet there is no legal way for new people to experience it. The only way is through emulation; with the help of forum posts anyone can get a copy of the game in English and plug it into software to play it, but that method is in a huge legal gray area.

In situations like this, emulation is only considered legal if the user, who owns a physical copy of the game, rip files off of the cartridge or disc, and plays those files. Distribution is strictly unallowed and can invoke hefty legal action from companies like Nintendo and Sony.

Here’s where it gets less clear-cut; production of the emulation software and distribution of it, even if it isn’t free, is perfectly legal as long as it doesn’t use any code that a game company owns. As such, all emulation software is reverse engineered from what is known of the consoles being emulated, which is explicitly legal in copyright cases due to the Fair Use exception. 

Now to that, you may think “just get a legitimate copy of a game and rip it to use in an emulator”, and once again that is valid. However, old games are collectible items just as much as their consoles, thus the prices for said games are exorbitant as well. 

Reminder: This game is over two decades old.
This is the tool required to rip legitimate game files to a computer for emulation.

While one could argue that the photos above shouldn’t be a deterrent for a real fan, one would be missing the point. The point is that this is not a sustainable model of preservation because it doesn’t grant access to the general public. Even after paying far too much money for the stuff in the photos, some degree of technical knowledge would be required to rip the game files, package them properly, and set up an emulator to play. We, as a people, should be demanding better from companies who ignore older works, as they’re art just as much as museum pieces are, and we preserve those, make them accessible for viewing to the general public, etc. The simplicity of bringing a game like Mother 3 stateside for the first time since its early 2000s release is there, but companies would rather pursue the newer projects that make guaranteed money. There is an obvious demand for better preservation, but the larger companies who have control over their IPs are dragging their feet to the races.

March’s Wingate Person on the Street

Staff Writer: Madelyn Cherry

What was the most exciting thing you did on spring break?

Katherine Fronczak, Sophomore, Biology 

“Over spring break I went to the Houston (TX)  Livestock and Rodeo Show. I watched Kane Brown perform as well as seeing rodeo events like bull riding, barrel racing, and cattle roping.”

Noah Taylor, Sophomore, Business Major

“The most exciting thing I did over spring break was hanging out with teammates and winning two big lacrosse games as well.”

Mabe Campbell, Junior, Accounting Major

“I saw the Carolina Hurricanes play the Colorado Avalanche last Thursday the 10th. The Hurricanes won 2-0. The game was played at the Hurricanes’ home arena in Raleigh, the PNC Arena.”

Kamiya Glenn, Biology Pre-Physician Assistant 

“I was excited to sleep in!”

Kate Agger, Senior, Business Management 

“Over spring break I was in Greensboro, NC competing at the NCAA Division II Nationals swim meet. The highlights for me were breaking my school records and becoming the National Champion in the 500 freestyle!”

Women’s Lacrosse Spring Break Trip

Staff Writer: Bella Pellet and Camryn Gallagher

By the time the second week of March rolls around, students at Wingate are ready for a break. Spring Break. An opportunity for students to kick back and relax and catch up on some sleep. Although, the bulldogs who play a sport and are in season at Wingate normally have plans competing in their sport. This was the case for the Women’s Lacrosse Team, although they were able to compete for their sport in the sunshine state of Florida. 

The Bulldogs traveled to the sunshine state on Sunday, March 6th. It took them about 10 hours to get there by bus with all the stops. The team was ecstatic to get to the hotel in West Palm Beach. They had to prepare because the following day the ‘Dogs would go up against the Palm Beach Atlantic University Sailfish at 11:00am.  

The ‘Dogs came out on top against the Palm Beach Atlantic University Sailfish rolling to an 18-7 victory which kicked off the Florida Spring break trip. Leah Knowles led the list of contributors for the team with five goals, two assists, six caused turnovers, four ground balls and four draw controls. Freshman Avery Scherer also contributed by adding two goals and assisted on another, while adding three ground balls. Although the Bulldogs defense was also having a day, freshman Haley McCourt and Sophomore Blake Clouser each had three caused turnovers. 

After the win at Palm Beach Atlantic University, the team went back to their hotel to shower then was able to have a beach day! The team was able to relax at the beach and enjoy time together. The weather might not have been perfect although it was great for the ‘Dogs to relax. 

On Tuesday, the Women’s lacrosse team practiced at Palm Beach Atlantic University before packing up their bags and driving to Lakeland, Florida where they were going to face their next opponent, the Florida Southern Moccasins. The drive was about two and a half hours. 

On Wednesday the 9th, the unranked Bulldogs faced the sixth-ranked Florida Southern Moccasins. The Mocs came out strong with a 12-2 lead in the first half. Then there was a lightning delay a few minutes into the third quarter. This is when the ‘Dogs rallied around each other and came back fighting in the second half. The Bulldogs outscored the Mocs in the second half of the game 10-7. The Mocs held off in the end, claiming a 19-13 victory. Regardless of the score, there was a valiant effort by lots of the Bulldogs. 2021 Southern Atlantic Conference Goalie of the Year, Meg Biase made 12 saves. Leah Knowles led the offense with four goals, two assists and five draw controls. Becca Ruiz also recorded two goals.

The ‘Dogs got on the bus after the Florida Southern game and headed back home to Wingate. They had learned a large amount from their Florida trip and had to look forward to their next game on Saturday, against the Coker Cobras. 

The ‘Dogs faced the Coker Cobras at 12pm on March 12th in Hartsville, South Carolina. The Wingate University Bulldogs closed out their spring break by cruising to a 21-7 victory over Coker University in South Atlantic Conference play. Senior Bella Pellet and Junior Leah Knowles put up five goals. Freshman Sophie Gonzalez scored two goals and added a team-high three assists. Freshman Emma Pike contributed to the defensive effort by adding two caused turnovers. 

The Bulldogs look forward to one of their biggest matches of the season facing the third-ranked Queens Royals on Wednesday, March 16th at home at 4:00pm.

Savannah’s Scoop

Staff Writer: Savannah Phillips

Have you ever felt crushed? Absolutely devoured by the world? The day comes to a close and you feel like you’ve been defeated? 

Yeah. Me too. 

As I made myself walk up the stairs to the library of my university, I truly questioned if I would be able to put one foot in front of the other. Each step felt steep. My ankles throbbed and my legs burned. It took every bit of strength I had not to cry as I sat down on the leather couch. In an open space, oh how I wished my little corner of the world I had found was invisible. My head so desperately wanted to fall over onto my bookbag, allowing me to drift off in a peaceful sleep. I feel so tired. Near exhaustion- that point where nausea lives inside of you. See, I had just figured everything out. Who I was. My relationship. My ties to family whilst I grow up. My workload. My feelings and emotions. Everything. 

And then, as it always does, everything exploded. My world flipped upside down, leaving me disoriented and lost once again. It’s frustrating, because as soon as I get comfortable, I find myself not anymore. 

It hurts. Growing up. It’s a hurt unlike any other hurt. As my maw maw calls them, they are “growing pains.” They feel like those awful leg cramps that occur when you accidentally stretch your leg out too far. They’re so sharp that they often take my breath away for the first few seconds. That same sharp stab is what I feel in my chest right now. It hurts as equally as bad, if not worse. At least, my leg, I can clinch- holding firmly on the muscle until it relaxes. But with ribs in the way, it’s hard to clinch a throbbing heart. 

It’s also lonely, being trapped in your own mind with only yourself. These types of journeys are taken alone because only you know what is going on inside of you. You describe what you feel to the most intelligent people in the world, and they would still not satisfy you with their response. It’s a knot that we must unravel. I feel, in a way, it’s a way for us to cling to ourselves to have a new respect for ourselves. It’s a way of falling in love with who we are. It’s in time of deep self-reflection that we often discover who we are. 

-Savannah Phillips

The Wingate Incubator of Excellence

Staff Writer: Madelyn Cherry

Chances are, if you are reading this, you attend Wingate University. Congratulations! You made it to the incubator of excellence. The hard work is done and now everything you do from now on will scream excellence. You no longer have to work for a thing, and life will be handed to you because you chose the only correct path, the path to Wingate University. 

As nice as that would be, it’s actually just the opposite. Hard work is the hallmark of Wingate University. So many high achievers have spent hours and sleepless nights working hard at their special skills in order to be the absolute best. Those people happened to find their paths directing them to Wingate University which has shaped their path even further and has led them to amazing opportunities. What made Wingate pull all of these outstanding achievers? How did Wingate win their hearts over? What about Wingate University is just so special that its magnetic energy draws in the best of the best and makes them even better? [And yes, you should be flattered that you are the best of the best. Wingate University was founded in 1896, and changed a lot over the years to evolve into the school it is today. Formerly known as Wingate College, Wingate is a Judeo-Christian institution and still follows those principles today.] The main campus is located in Wingate, North Carolina, about a 45-minute drive from Charlotte, North Carolina. The school may be located in a rural area, but that doesn’t stop students from finding their way there. Wingate offers 37 undergraduate degrees as well as eight master degrees and five doctorate degrees with locations in Charlotte, Hendersonville and Wingate, North Carolina. 

It could be that the location factor makes students want to attend Wingate, but for a lot of students, it is the athletic programs that draw students in. For Finja Schierl, it was cross-country, track and field and the triathlon team that brought her all of the way here from Darmstadt, Germany. Schierl won the USA Triathlon Collegiate Regional qualifier at Smith Mountain Lake with a time of 1:01:54.9. Schierl also competed in the 2021 World Triathlon Junior Championships in Quarteira, Portugal. She joined the Bulldog cross-country team for the NCAA Division II national championships in Saint Leo, Florida on Saturday, November 20. With all of her achievements, Schierl still found herself drawn to Wingate University. 

Not only do athletes find their way here, but incredible writers like Luke Tucker also are pulled into the Wingate excellence incubator. For Tucker, he has been a freelance writer for a blog for the Carolina Panthers where Tucker gets over 80,000 views on his posts. “One professor I had in particular, Mr. Scott Smith, pushed me outside of my comfort zone and made me write about things that I really hadn’t before. It was a challenge for sure. But it forced me to write about more than just football. Now I am writing news stories based on press releases, so Mr. Smith pushing me has taken me way further than I ever thought I’d be.” Because of Wingate, he was given an incredible opportunity to intern for WBTV where he writes stories for their website. One of the stories that he has written within this past week is linked here

Luke says that he has always been a good writer, but Wingate University shaped his writing to a different level. If he never had attended Wingate, where his mom also attended, he would not be the writer he is today. 

Yes, there are some incredible students at Wingate, but the faculty is also incredible with a long history of education and work experience behind them. Scott Smith, who recently became a full-time professor at Wingate University has his own unique background. He previously worked for The Sporting News. He has interviewed countless famous athletes and coaches and has gotten once-in-a-lifetime opportunities as a sports reporter. For Instance, Smith shared a story of the time he rode along with Micheal Jordan as he was playing a round of golf and got to interview him for the first nine holes he played. Smith has always been a go-getter and he landed here at Wingate University to share his knowledge with the rest of us.

Another Wingate professor, the chair of the communication department, Dr. Frasca, is an Academician and a journalist. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and he has written many history articles that are highly respected in the academic world. When asked why he was drawn to Wingate, he said originally, the weather drew him and his wife to Wingate, but he would quickly learn that what drew him in most are “the people I work with and the people I work for. They all have functioning moral compasses and are cordial in their conduct,” said Frasca. He believes that students are drawn to Wingate because of the proximity to Charlotte, excellent sports, and a beautiful campus. 

“Once they are here, we believe every student has a chance to be a high achiever because of a logical and comprehensive university core and carefully designed majors, most of which offer students a lot of flexibility to select courses that help them attain their goals,” Frasca said.

Recent graduate, Donny Chiarel, agrees that Wingate helped him achieve his goals. Within months of graduation, he found himself at Long Island University as the Assistant Director of Media Relations. Chiarel has always been a high achiever, but during his time at Wingate University, he was very involved in commentating athletics and he always dreamed of working in sports broadcasting. He even had his own podcast where he discusses sports. Now, he is on the journey of living out his dream after landing an incredible position right out of college that will take him in the direction he dreams to be headed in. 

It is safe to say that Wingate University incubates excellence, but I believe we can come to a conclusion that a lot of the hard work is done before and after one’s journey at Wingate. I guess it is safe to say that Wingate attracts excellence and fosters interests and passions to