Tag Archives: Athlete

McDonald wins SAC Player of the Year Award, cherishes season

Shane Rich, Staff Writer

For the first time in her time at Wingate as a golfer, Diana McDonald has been awarded the SAC Player of the Year Award for Women’s Golf. McDonald, along with the rest of the women’s golf team, has had much success throughout the course of the year, as they just finished winning the SAC Tournament with a 26 stroke victory over Queens University.

“I have definitely learned a lot this whole year about my golf game and became a more mature player from my freshman year last year. I kicked it off very well last season with our first tournament which I came 2nd and shot 73-68. I think with that starting I was able to take that with my other tournaments” McDonald said.

The SAC Player of the Year also had some comments concerning advice for younger golfers as well as who she has to thank for her success.

McDonald said,“We have two freshman this year and they are very great players. With their ability on the golf course I feel that they can do great things in the future. My best advice for them is to do themselves and just do what they do best!”

“My family has always been there for me from the beginning and always have supported me and sacrificed so much for me. I thank them so much. I would also like to thank my wonderful team for having a great year and for working hard out on the golf course and for always being supportive. Finally, I would like to thank my coach from back home in Canada who has helped me a lot in my golf game.” McDonald said.

McDonald had much to say about what made the SAC Player of the Year award so special, and she also capped everything off by telling what her favorite moment was this year.

“My favorite moment of the year is going to tournaments with the team. But we held our home tournament in South Carolina and everybody on the team went and I had fun with them. Also, some of our supporters came to watch us during the tournament and we got to have dinner at our coach’s parents’ condo one night, and we walked on the beach and played with the younger kids. It was just a great time.” McDonald said.

As they look forward after McDonald’s year for the record books, the women’s golf team hopes to continue their success throughout next season.

Edited by Brendan Shriver

Photo Credits to Wingate University Sports Information

Football to host seven home games this fall

Crystal Fuller, Staff Writer

Wingate University Athletics Director Steve Poston and Head Football Coach Joe Reich announced the 2018 Wingate Football schedule in March. For the first time since 2002, Wingate University’s football team will have the upperhand of playing seven home games.

Coach Reich explained how the Bulldogs got lucky, “When we look for games sometimes we take what we can get. Last year we had a bye week but we also played the first two games on the road so we only had four home games in the regular season. When the scheduled flipped we immediately had six home games,” said Reich.

Coach Reich also said that,“Florida Tech really needed a game and was willing to come up here and play us at home so that’s how we got to seven. Florida Tech is a top quality out-of-conference opponent who will be a great new challenge. We know UNC Pembroke will be tough as well.”

The Bulldogs have played six home games on eight occasions, the most recent being in 2016. The Bulldogs will play a senior college school-record seven home games, beginning with a Thursday, August 30 contest versus local rival Johnson C. Smith at Irwin Belk Stadium and John R. Martin Field (7 p.m. start time).

“We are looking forward to opening on a Thursday night,” said Reich. “This will be a nice change up…having seven home games will be a good thing for us as well.”

Wingate will see many benefits from the seven home games and has many plans in store. The Bulldogs will host their annual special events throughout the 2018 home schedule including Church Youth Day, Patriots’ Day and Tailgating for the Troops. These events will influence larger crowds just as last year when the Bulldogs sold-out the first night game to ever be hosted by Wingate.

“The best thing about having seven home games would be that we wouldn’t have to travel as much plus it will be more fun for the school,” said Domineke McNeill, a sophomore running back. “Hearing the crowd pushes us more to be more physical and make more plays but for the other team they tend to get scared and fold.”

General admission season tickets range from $40 for adults and $20 for non-Wingate students. Single game tickets are $12 for adult and $8 for non-Wingate students. For more ticket or schedule information go to www.wingatebulldogs.com. We hope you join us this year as we continue to make history!

Edited by Brendan Shriver

Kirkland brings international experience to Wingate men’s hoops

Emarius Logan, Staff Writer

There’s a big difference between love and hate when it comes to being an athlete. The path every athlete takes isn’t the same and the reasoning for the things they do aren’t always the same either. I talked with Wingate assistant basketball coach Marcus Kirkland to get to know more about him and his journey to becoming a basketball coach.

Coach Kirkland was born in Genoa, Italy, where his dad was a professional basketball player as well as in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers.  Guess it’s not too hard to see where his basketball genes came from. Coach Kirkland said that, “Being around my dad as a younger child always just inspired me to want to be just like him, but better” is what pushed him to be as good as he could be in the game.

Coach Kirkland played his college ball at Hampton University in Virginia. Standing at 6-foot-4 l with a 40-inch standing vertical, his career didn’t just stop once he graduated from Hampton. Coach Kirkland had the nasty go to move where he faked the middle, drove the baseline and punched it down on the other side of the rim that made fans go crazy.

What he dreamed about doing as a little kid was finally becoming a reality when he got the opportunity to play professional basketball overseas. Coach Kirkland played 6 years of professional basketball in two different cities. His first stop was Rome where he made more of a name for himself before making that transition to Milan where they paid the big bucks.

Being an athlete people always tell you to have a back up plan because you never know what could happen on any given day. Well, that was the case with Coach Kirkland and he had his back up plan in place. After 6 years of ball, a gruesome injury to his leg cut his career short to the point where he couldn’t play basketball anymore.

He then began coaching at Reading College in Reading, PA before coming to Wingate University in 2010. It takes a lot to coach and mentor young men and that’s something Kirkland cherishes when it comes to his job. Coach Kirkland said, “I love to shape, mold and mentor, watching young men become men.”

Growing up in life you have to learn how to make tough decisions and sometimes those tough decisions could hurt the people you care about. Coaching isn’t easy and when you are teaching men to become men, you have to also treat them that way. Coach Kirkland said, “The hard conversations about life, grades, performances, the things young adults might not want to here about but they are important. Maybe the parents aren’t happy about something and you have to handle that.” Talking to Coach Kirkland really helped me and motivated me to strive and also helped me understand how to handle certain situations.

Edited by Brendan Shriver

Photo Credits to Wingate University Sports Information

Miscenko stands out as WU women’s hoops heads for postseason

Ryan J. MacKintosh, Staff Writer

For some Bulldogs the future ending of the season means a break is near, giving time to recover for the next season, but for others, like senior star center Marta Miscenko of Latvia, this is the end of their collegiate career, after a life full of schooling involving basketball.

Miscenko, who was just named the South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year in women’s basketball, is having quite a season.

She is averaging 16.9 points and 7 rebounds a game. while shooting a little above 50 percent. She is also no stranger to blocked shots, recording 65 this season.

While being off the court, not much changes for Miscenko, who stays around her teammates, stating “I really enjoy spending time with my teammates off the court. When I am not with them, I enjoy just listening to music, watching movies, and nap every once in a while.”  When asked what has been her driving factor for success this season it is clear how much the sport means to her, “The biggest driving factor for me this season was the fact that as much as I would love to, I will never be able to do this again. So I want to give everything I have and have no regrets later.”  

There is no denying the success of this basketball team or Miscenko individually. “The SAC is a conference with great teams. Every time when its game day, we come prepared because we know that no matter who we play, it will always be a great team and we can’t have any slip ups, especially with tournament time approaching.”

Miscenko had to say on overlooking lower ranked opponents, “With the competitive nature and skill level, there is no telling how far this team could go.” Misckenko described this team as, “Unique, diverse, and a partnership.”

After being asked what her expectations for the remainder of the season were, Miscenko gave a humble answer while remaining confident. “Most importantly, we have to take on one game at a time. We should just play each game like it is our last and move on forward as far as we can. For many teams the season is almost over, I believe that for us, the most interesting part just has begun.”  There is no telling where Miscenko will find herself after graduation, but one thing is for sure, if she works as hard as she does here at Wingate University, the sky’s the limit, much like with her team.

Edited by Brendan Shriver

Student Athlete Spotlight: Hannah Hinson

Mason Teague, Staff Writer

A ton of athletes across different sports tell about how they have always loved playing their sport ever since they were a little kid. In the case of junior women’s track & field student-athlete Hannah Hinson of Suffolk, Va., being a thrower began during her freshman year in high school.

At a football game her freshman year, Hinson was approached by a P.E. teacher, who encouraged her to come out for throwing on the school’s track & field team that spring.  She decided to take the chance and try out, which proved to be one of the best choices she ever made.

“I immediately fell in love with throwing when I started,” says Hinson.  “It felt really natural from the beginning and I knew that it was something that I wanted to get good at.”

Hinson threw discus and shotput all four years of high school at Kings Fork High, and decided her senior year to pursue her passion at the collegiate level at Wingate.  The transition from throwing in high school to college, however, was a lot more difficult than she anticipated.

“It was definitely a big change in terms of the different training styles between high school and college, as well as how much more the coaching staff at Wingate demands of you than high school coaches,” says Hinson.“But the coaches at Wingate have pushed me to be better every day since I’ve been here, which really helped me to get used to everything very quickly.”

Hinson throws hammer, discus and shotput for the outdoor and indoor Women’s Track & Field team, and has had a large amount of success in the two years she has participated.  She broke the school record for indoor hammer throw, also known as weight throw, at the JDL Fast Track Meet in 2016, as well as winning All-SAC honors for hammer throw (2016, 2017) and discus (2017).

As she continues to challenge herself each season, Hinson has created two personal goals for herself during her junior season.

“I want to be the first thrower in Wingate history to make Nationals for indoor this year,” says Hinson.  “I also want to win discus and hammer throw in the SAC for outdoor this year.”

As the new season begins, Hinson sees a lot of potential for her team as they compete against other schools in the SAC conference.

“We challenge each other every day by competing against one another to be the best at our sport out of the entire team,” Hinson says.“I believe that this healthy competition is going to help us when we compete against other throwers because we will already have that competitive edge that we give one another on the team.”

 

Edited by Brendan Shriver

Men’s soccer makes history as National Champions

It’s the first national sports title for Bulldogs 

Kori Adams, Staff Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo.—–The Wingate men’s soccer team made history this Saturday night winning the Division II national championship.  The top ranked Bulldogs were led by All-American Jon Ander who scored two goals to force Wingate to a 2-0 victory over the University of Charleston.  Wingate finished the season 19-1 while the Golden Eagles fell to 19-3-2.

“It’s honestly the best feeling in the world…knowing that we are making this Wingate family proud,” Junior Mateo Correa says.  Coach Hamill has worked so hard to get us all here and doing this for him makes it feel even better.”

Throughout the national tournament Wingate did not allow one goal.  The Bulldog defense shut down the nation’s top ranked offense in the regional championship and the nation’s second ranked offense Saturday to win it all.  Throughout the season the Golden Eagles averaged 20 shots per game, but the Bulldog’s defense held them down to a season low of eight.  Damian Goana and Alex Nelson were a major part of Wingate’s strong defense.

Wingate imposed their offense in the last ten minutes of the first half when freshman, Oscar Perez assisted Ander who put it in the back of the net for the Bulldog’s first goal.  Wingate Nate Evans and Christian Szalay each had an attempted goal during the first half to keep the pressure on.

Charleston tried to tie the game early in the second half when Felipe Antonio attempted to head the ball for a goal, but it was saved by Wingate All-American goalkeeper Pablo Jara.  Ander scored once again later in the second half, giving the Bulldogs a 2-0 final lead to capture the national championship for the first time in history.

“The whole way through we have had a lot of support from home and it has been absolutely fantastic,” says head coach Gary Hamill.

Ander, Jara, Szalay, Goana, and Nelson all were named to the All-Tournament Team.  Ander received the Most Outstanding Offensive Player while teammate Nelson received the Most Outstanding Defensive Player.

The National Champions arrived back at Wingate University Sunday afternoon where a crowd of students welcomed them in celebration of the historical day.

Edited by: Sara Gunter

Wingate football finishes 8-3, takes 2nd place in SAC

End of Football Season, the Start of Prepping for next Season

Tariah Harrell, Staff Writer

Coach Joe Reich and the Wingate Bulldogs came up short in the South Atlantic Conference championship game on Nov. 12 against the Newberry Wolves 22-27.

Wingate senior running back Blake Hayes rushed 27 times for 165 yards and two touchdowns for the Bulldogs. Hayes ended the 2016 season with 1109 rushing yards.

“It was a tight game,”  Wingate redshirt senior defensive end Andre Foulks said. “Both teams played great, we just fell short. It was an exciting atmosphere to play in”.

“It is frustrating to see your guys work that hard to come up a bit short but again as I get older, it is more the group effort and the team,” Wingate head coach Joe Reich says. “I personally do not carry stuff over from one year to the next; each year is a new team, but there are lessons that we need to take from any experience so we can get better. We need to work on finishing, that is not just from the game. We had a few games that we did not finish strong enough, even in some wins,” Reich mentioned. “I think the returning players will understand that and make that a key goal for next year”.

The Bulldogs finished the season 8-3 overall and 5-2 in the South Atlantic Conference. “I would not have change anything about the way the game went,” Reich says. “I think our guys played hard and executed pretty well against a good team. I am not one to really call the fire department over a fire that happened last week, if that makes sense. You learn and you move on”.

In the 2017 season, the Bulldogs will be regaining Lawrence Pittman, Adam Riley lll, Kam Johnson back to the field due to season-ending injuries, along with newcomers. “I am hoping that it won’t be one guy you need to keep an eye on but many as we play great team football,” Reich mentioned. “Between Blake and LP returning, that is a lot of yard ok the ground plus the entire offensive line and tight ends as well. Having Adam back, especially as a kickoff and punt returner will be awesome,”.

“It hurts falling short to something when it is at your fingertips, but I realized that all the seniors I have seen come before did not get this close. I think this team will show later teams how to get the job done,” Andre Foulks says. “I would advise next year’s team to not take any game or team for granted. Hard work will get them back in the same position, but it will be a greater outcome,”.

The Bulldogs has already started post-season lifting striving for greatness. “The outlook for next year is very good,” Reich says. “We return a lot of guys at key spots and where we lose guys, we have some key backups that now need to step up and take over. If we work hard starting NOW, we have a change to be pretty good, but that is all talk until we put in work.”

Edited by: Sara Gunter