August 2012 Archives

ErikaJoseph2Hello all! My name is Erika Joseph and I am a freshman on the Women's Basketball team here at Western Carolina. I am from Atlanta, GA, born and raised. My favorite color is purple and I like the smell of the air after it has freshly rained. 

I am used to the hustle and bustle of city life, but am slowly adapting to life here at my new home in Cullowhee.  This is my first of many blog posts. I hope I can give some insight in to what it's like being a student athlete, specifically from a freshman's point of view.

My first adventure began with attending summer school in the 'Whee for the month of July.  Let me tell you...this was a summer I'll never forget!

All four freshmen women's basketball players were here on campus:  Lindsey Burleson (aka LB), Lindsay Simpson (aka AY), Brianne Mack (aka Bri), and myself in one suite.  It was like a sleepover every day! We each had our own room and shared one bathroom, and a living room. We stayed at the Central Residence hall here on campus.  Most would shutter at the thought of four girls living in one space for a long period of time, however, I could honestly say that we had no problems at all. We all genuinely liked each other and knew how to have fun together. 

Bri, LB, and I even spent some time in the studio putting a few rhymes together. We produced our platinum single "Cat-Tran Mercy" this summer and our album will be dropping sometime this fall.  Be on your toes.

Now for the schooling part; I had two classes, a health/nutrition class at 8:00 am and a communications class at 10:15am. In true freshman style we got lost on our way to class on the first day and, of course, arrived late. Upon entering the classroom we were all sweaty and frazzled from running around campus and all eyes were on us...Talk about a grand entrance. Nicely done ladies... nicely done.

Both classes were full of athletes so you know there was never a dull moment in class. It was really neat getting to know the other athletes.  Most of the time, we hung out with our male counterparts, the freshmen from the men' basketball team.  They are all pretty cool dudes and like us, each one of them has their own distinct personality. When different personalities meet, fun times are bound to be created. We took them under our wings as our little brothers because they shared our mutual love of basketball and honestly, because they needed our help.

Getting around campus was a breeze. The first couple of weeks we tried to walk everywhere we went. However, somewhere in between that walk all the way from Central to Ramsey in the pouring rain, or the blazing sun, we realized this was not going to be a realistic approach. I ended up driving us around campus the majority of the summer. While this was definitely hard on gas, it saved us a lot of time and headache.

After class we would have the rest of the day to do whatever we wanted...SIKE!!  I wish! Our afternoons were packed like a can of sardines.  We'd have lunch, then an hour of mandatory AEP, which is a study hall for athletes. I can't tell you how many times I sprinted up those endless steps to the cafe in hopes to get a decent meal without having to spend money (the cafe has set meal hours in the summer), especially when my activities on campus had me running late.

Things I learned in summer school:

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS carry a rain jacket or an umbrella. Apparently it rains at random times of the day here in Cullowhee, and no one wants to get caught in the middle of a tsunami, so you always want to be prepared.

Don't go grocery shopping while you're hungry. You'll end up buying the whole store.

DECLINING BALANCE IS A GOD SEND!!!! Cannot tell you how clutch our DB was! It came in handy those nights we missed dinner at the café or when we wanted a bite to eat in between classes!

Be nice to the Cat Tran drivers! You never know when you will need one of them to be your knight in shining armor saving you from walking in the rain!

To close, being able to attend summer school was such a blessing. I didn't want to go back home! After leaving, I felt like I had a leg up in the college world. I got to meet new people, bond with my teammates and learned a few things along the way! What more could a girl ask for?

Until next time live everyday like EJ

Conner Orr, Catamount Football Blog No. 2

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OrrBlog.jpgThe camp grind is over and the school year has begun. We just completed our first fall camp with our new coaching staff with a scrimmage this past Saturday. Head coach Mark Speir has reminded us that we will have time to "get our legs back under us" before our August 30th season opener against Mars Hill. Practice has been going very well and both coaches and players have learned a lot about each other and how we work as a team. Now all that's left is finalizing the depth charts and critiquing our playbooks.


I am very excited about our team chemistry and the fact that our new players are now part of the family. We have so many new players in all positions that bring essential and huge amounts of talent to the field. We have a few new receivers that will be utilized, along with our returning receivers, as big time playmakers. I have had many "ohh" and "ahh" moments while watching some of the catches our receiving group has made during practice. We also have some new offensive linemen that are able to offer more depth than we have had on the O-line in many years.


During our night meetings, we discussed some team issues and coach spills his thoughts about our team to us. Coach Speir genuinely has our best interests in mind. His main objective is to create great men of us by the time we leave WCU. At the end of one of our meetings, we were offered Bibles from FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) that were engraved with the phrase: "WCU faith and family."


Inside, coach had written an inspirational message to all of us who accepted a Bible.  I feel like our team will really benefit both on and off the field because of the coaches' aspiration of making us better men.


In our meetings we watched last year's film of WCU vs. Mars Hill and it was like we were watching some other team play. We can't wait to have a chance to prove that we are different this year.


At our last meeting we went over some housekeeping issues. Part of this was our game day and travel routines. You could feel the excitement in the air after we were finished discussing the details. We are all very excited to start this season. We feel like a completely different team compared to previous years.


We have worked harder than ever and are ready to turn that hard work into a winning season.


The first in a series of blogs by sophomore OH Jordan Timmermann. In her first season in the Purple and Gold, the Florissant, Mo., native made the 2012 SoCon All-Freshman Team as she finished second on the team in digs with 355 for the year. She was a two-time SoCon Freshman of the Week (Sept. 19, Oct. 17) while also picking up seven double-doubles for the season, including four in a row from Nov. 14-Nov. 30. Check the blog section of the bottom of CatamountSports.com and the Volleyball page for more blog entries from Timmermann.

Summer is almost over which can only mean one thing...volleyball preseason! Say hello to sore bodies and aching muscles. Everyone is back and ready to hit the gym for practice and conditioning. While our muscles are screaming at us, it will be all worth it in the end because hard work pays off!

It is great to be back in the `Whee with everyone on the team because we are truly everyone's best friends and family. Even the freshmen are fitting in perfectly to our craziness. Week one of preseason is already done and over with and man was it busy. We managed to fit in two-a-days, lifting, conditioning, and even a rafting trip!

Our team bonding rafting trip will be something we will remember for a long time. Just think of 14 screaming girls in rafts, in 55 degree water, while it was pouring down rain. Yeah couldn't get any worse....oh wait I forgot the lightning and thunder. I just remember thinking to myself (as I was shivering the ENTIRE time) what did I get myself into? We didn't have the ideal conditions for a good rafting trip, but we made it our own and definitely made memories that will stay with us forever.

I know we are all looking forward to this upcoming season because we are closer than ever and have the focus to achieve our goals. I like to use a quote from one of my favorite TV shows, "Friday Night Lights," that I think fits perfectly for the team: "Clear eyes, Full hearts, Can't lose."

"Clear eyes, Full hearts, Can't lose."
Friday Night Lights

If we stay together as a team and put our heart and soul into every moment, we can't lose. I'll keep everyone updated on what is going on with the volleyball team because I'm sure we will have some crazy stories to be told. GO CATS!

Conner Orr, Catamount Football Blog No. 1

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To start off, here's a quick introduction: my name is Conner Orr and I am a senior accounting major and a tight end on the Western Carolina football team. I currently have only four more classes to complete, along with a semester long internship in the spring before I graduate in May, 2013. My internship will be as an auditor on a team at Grant Thornton in Atlanta. It's an incredible opportunity that I can't wait to learn from.


As a student-athlete, my story at WCU is a little more complicated than most. During my freshman year in 2009, I was utilized as a blocking tight end/H back. I was very proud to be able to contribute to the team and was looking forward to my sophomore season. During the spring semester and early summer following my freshman year, I began to experience pain in my lower back. While on a mission trip in South Africa later that summer, my back finally went out. While I was walking to the plane to head back to the States, my leg started to drag behind me... not exactly the best situation to be in when I still had an 18 hour flight ahead of me!


When I returned home and was able to go to the doctor, I found out that I had a few herniated disks in my back that needed to be addressed as soon as possible. After talking it over with my parents, I decided to try and avoid surgery temporarily in hopes of being able to return to football in the fall.


Making a long story short, surgery was the inevitable answer to my back problems in the summer of 2011. However, after a year of physical therapy and workouts, I am officially back in action and with great timing, too...cue the new coaching staff!


Our new coaches has been the talk of small town Cullowhee for months. As we eagerly anticipated their arrival, we couldn't begin to imagine what they had in store for us. The coaches debuted their style of football to the team during winter gym in 2011. Winter gym was a true grind. We learned that the coaches' style of football was more intense and high speed than anything we had experienced before. After completing winter gym and spring football, we knew that by the fall we would be the most conditioned team in the SoCon.


I am sure most of you know that we began fall camp the first week of August. Unfortunately, I had to miss the first two days of camp in order to represent WCU's chapter of Beta Alpha Psi (international business honors society) in a national meeting held in Baltimore. I have been playing a little catch-up for the past few days, but I believe I am on track with the rest of the team now.  My experience with fall camp can easily be described with the same words as winter gym and spring ball: intense and high speed. The best description of how it feels to be a football player in camp is having your legs feel like shattered glass. Sounds great right?


 This coaching staff knows how tough the practices are, but they show so much excitement when we succeed that it makes the grind worth it. For example, if I make a great down block, my tight end coach - Pat Mills - will run down the field to congratulate me before I even have a chance to turn around. These guys have so much energy and provide so much support that they are instantly able to make your hard work pay off.


Coach Speir repeatedly reminds us that our hard work is creating deposits that will be withdrawn this coming season. I will share some more information on some of the new players that have been standing out in camp as soon as I find a little more time in our busy schedule.


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