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September 2012 Archives

Kyle Wilson, Men's Golfer Student-Athlete Blog:

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Western Carolina redshirt senior men's golfer Kyle Wilson recaps the Catamounts' trip to play in the St. Mary's Invitational in Seaside, Calif.

 

Blog Entry #1:

At 22, I have been fortunate enough to play college golf for the last ... million years, it feels like. In that millennium, I have had the chance to play some of the best courses against some of the best competition in Division I. To say that I am grateful for this opportunity would be a severe understatement.

 

I always dreamed of being a college golfer and felt like I worked hard to get to where I am today. The opportunity to play golf at Western Carolina and going to all of these incredible places has really been a monumental part of my life. Seeing all the intriguing landscapes and new cities makes a guy think deeply about where he wants to live and what he wants to do with his life.

 

I haven't seen much that could replace being in Scottsdale, Arizona in 2010 and seeing wild horses run free across the desert at sunset.  Or the memory of seeing a huge storm blow up from miles away on Kiawah Island that same year.

 

But I digress; in two days I will be boarding a plane to California. This will be my first trip to the true West Coast. The point of all this description is that in a time in history where so much is given and so little is appreciated, I'd be remiss if I didn't count myself as a "one per-center."

 

How often can people say they have been given the opportunity to travel with free room and board to play a sport they have dedicated their life to? It is hard for me to contain my excitement about the journey and the time I get to spend with my teammates in such an awesome place. I am sure anyone who reads this has their own personification of what California is to them, whether they have been there or not.

 

I look forward to soaking in every second of what will undoubtedly be a life changing, sensory overload of a journey.

 

Blog Entry #2:

Greetings from the left coast! Although I am a novice traveler, I definitely enjoyed the journey yesterday. I saw the inside of two new airports (haha) LAX in Los Angeles, Calif., and San Jose. It is always cool to spend a little time noticing the differences in the people, brands and designs that characterize the different regions of this great country of ours.

 

Flying into Los Angeles I got to see The Coliseum and Staples Center, and took in a little of Venice Beach on the way up the coast to San Jose. Unfortunately, today I didn't spot any celebrities - just a phenomenal Moe's and the most expensive McDonald's this North Carolinian has ever seen ($8.95 for a Big Mac meal??)

 

There was also a digital wind chime in the San Jose airport. It literally changed lighted panels on its own inside the airport to give the look of wind moving. Pretty cool stuff.

 

Also, I read the entire "Payne Stewart Story" while in the Atlanta airport and on the flight to Los Angeles. Not completely sure why I chose to grab that book as I bolted out of the apartment on Friday, but I am definitely glad I did. Payne was always my dad's favorite golfer while I was growing up and I had always known a little about him. The long and short of the book was an outside perspective on Payne's journey as a man and champion golfer. It really struck me in a few spots, just thinking about how one of the most underrated golfers of all time struggled with the same things many of the rest of us do.

 

The book ended with a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote that would make anyone stop and think:

 

To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded.

 

Blog Entry #3

Well, our week in California was a success. Our team goal had been to come out here and finish fifth-or-better. Although we finished sixth overall, the team fought through adversity and we will move up in the next Golfweek/Golfstat ranking because of the quality of the eight teams we beat this week. We bested Kansas State by 17 shots.

 

It was fun to see sophomore J.T. Poston bring the Black Horse Golf Club to its knees with a 66 on Monday in the last few hours of day light. It was equally as enjoyable to shoot a hard-fought 69 in the final round and help the team (and my confidence) climb.

 

Earlier this evening we traveled up the 17 mile drive to Cypress Point, Spanish Bay, Spyglass Hill and finally made our way to Pebble Beach. After watching two US Opens and countless AT&T Pro Ams, it was unreal to walk out onto the course where legends have been made. It was the end of a storybook day for yours truly.

 

As a golfer, nothing feels better than breaking 70 and then visiting a famous championship venue. I think we all felt like kids in a candy store as we walked out near the 18th green of Pebble Beach. Oh, and we saw Tom Clancy at Spyglass Hill (yes, that Tom Clancy).

 

GO CATS!

 

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I am in the midst of preparing for a candle lit dinner that will include a lovely steak, with some mashed potatoes and other assorted side items you may see in a Five-Star restaurant. I'm such a good cook that I have been offered to go be a chef in France.

Instead, I will just eat my Five-Star meals and crawl into bed with the book "Fifty Shades of Grey," and slip off into dreamland. But before all of that can happen, I would like to give y'all an update on Catamount Baseball.

This past week, we got down and dirty. We had Monday off, and then turned around and had off on Tuesday due to rain. We still got into the weight room Tuesday morning, hit it hard and washed it down with a relaxing cup of chocolate milk, as per the usual.

Last Wednesday was a beautiful day for us to have scout day. We had a good turn out of Major League Baseball scouts come out to watch us play. We ran our 60-yard dash and let the scouts get the times. Juniors Julian Ridings and Aaron Attaway were our fastest two guys. We took infield and outfield practice to get ready for the game, then it was time to play ball. Our guys looked great.

The highlight of the day at the plate was junior Luke Gragg sending a ball to souvenir city. What a stud. Senior Tyler White hit a double down the right field line in his first at bat during scout day.

From the pitching side, we also looked sharp as well. We all know the best athletes on the field are pitchers - coming from a pitcher - so this shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Our weekend rotation from last year looked sharp which includes junior Jordan Smith, redshirt senior Morgan McKinney and sophomore Jeremy Null. Senior RHP Preston Hatcher brought his filthy slider out to play while striking out the last batter he faced. Senior leftie Adam Curtis had pin point control while just filling up the bottom half of the zone.

On Thursday, we had weight training in the morning and a normal practice in the afternoon where we continued to implement our system to our new players and review it for our older guys. Then on Friday, the position players got another lift in and our pitchers, naturally, went above and beyond.

We got nice and loose then proceeded to run over to "Omaha Hill." This hill is an absolute beast. We had to run up half way up the hill, jog back down then we ran all the way to the top of the hill. We stopped and waited for everyone to get to the top, and then we ran back to the weight room to indulge in some chocolate milk and Gatorade. That afternoon, we had practice. For the first half, we went over our system again and the second half we had a mini intrasquad. We didn't get to finish it so we had to delay it until the start of practice Saturday morning.

At the start of practice Saturday, we got loose and then started right where we left off. A dimension triangle - which is you start at home, run to right field and back, centerfield and back, then left field and back - was on the line.

Team A was losing. Team B had Jonathan Waszak on the mound and Team A (my squad) had Julian Ridings up to bat. It was two outs with freshman catcher Danny Bermudez on first base. We had to have Bermudez score to win. Waszak fell behind in the count, 2-0. He proceeded to even the count at two balls and two strikes.

His next pitch is a ball... it is 3-2. On the pay-off pitch, Waszak throws a fastball on the outer half and Ridings smokes it in the right center gap. Bermudez got a good jump at first and starts to run his little heart out. He ends up scoring and Team A wins on a walk-off double. We were so pumped!

We then turned around and played another game right after that. We had most of our younger guys throw.  Thomas Young looked pretty good. He has a clean arm action and good life on his fastball. Null threw and looked superb.

Sunday, included another intrasquad. We hit BP (aka batting practice), took infield and outfield and then it was time to play ball.

On Saturday, out pitchers were the high note; Sunday, however, was the opposite. Our hitters went off. Junior Dakota Speiss hit an absolutely towering home run over the right field wall while redshirt freshman Austin Neary put some good swings on the ball and was on base frequently. Ridings again looked good, getting on base and getting a base hit or two. Max Linnville hit a double to right field - he plays extremely hard and I love it. It gets me fired up.

 Overall for the week of practicing and playing, we put up an A+ effort. The Cats are preparing to do big things. That's all for today. Hopefully this will hold you loyal followers over until the next one.

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My name is Taylor Sandefur and I am a redshirt junior on the Western Carolina Catamount baseball team. I am from Mechanicsville, Va., and am majoring in communication. Entering this year, I am coming off of shoulder surgery and can't wait to get back out on the field after sitting out last season.

 After not being able to play last year, it hit me what my favorite thing about baseball is simply the ability to play the game. You don't realize how much something means to you until you lose it. I enjoy candle lit dinners, long walks on the beach and a good romance novel. I dabble in lots of different activities and to list them all would take you days to read.

It is the middle of September and we just had our first weekend of team practice. Leading up to that opening team practice, we have been working extremely hard to get ready for the fall. We have been running and conditioning, lifting and working on our skills individually to be as ready as possible for fall practice. We are a very dedicated group of guys and we love to play the game of baseball.

Our first weekend of team practice went extremely well. On Friday (Sept. 14), we had a good day of skills work focusing a lot on the defensive side of the ball. We introduced our new players to our system and tried to slow everything down so that they understand. At the end of practice, the hitters got to hit and the pitchers shagged some fly balls - all while staying out of the way of our stud outfielders, of course. Then we packed it in on a good first day and ready for the intrasquad scrimmages to start.

On Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 15 and 16, we got to play. We hit some defensive notes really quick and took infield outfield practice before we dividing up and playing the game. All of our senior and junior pitchers threw on Saturday with the exception of myself so that I could have an extra day of rest to get ready.

Our older guys looked good; we did a good job of throwing strikes and keeping the hitters off balance. Sunday, the sophomores and freshman got to throw. The big surprise was how well our freshman pitchers did. They also filled up the strike zone and made the other guys swing the bat.

While the pitchers did a good job as a whole, so did the hitters. Most of our hitters haven't seen live pitching since this summer which makes it really hard to just jump back in the box and start hitting again. But overall, our hitters did just fine. We had two guys hit home runs.

Overall, the intrasquad games were good for both sides.

Collectively as a team, we are going to put in a good week of work for this up coming week and keep working hard to bring home a championship to "Fortress Cullowhee," as dubbed by our loyal fan group on the hill, the "Left Field Lunatics."

That it for my first blog entry and there will be more to come.


Me, Basketball, and Time Management

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Ok so I have officially made it through my first "complete" week of college. Let me tell you, this was no easy task. I know some of you are thinking, "Wow, this chick is being extra dramatic." Little do you know, my week is extremely different from your average college student's so when I say "complete" don't take me lightly: a "complete" week for me includes class, conditioning, skills, pick up, and weights. BUT, I survived with the help of my teammates!

Monday: Slept in later because my first class doesn't start until 10:10... winning already. I had time to eat breakfast with my ninas ( Bri and LB).  After a full day of classes, I strolled through the cafe to grab a bite to eat then I had the rest of the day to do whatever tickled my fancy; until 2:30, my scheduled AEP time. After AEP, I headed to the locker room to get ready for weights. Weights were, well you know, weights. Got in, did work and got stronger; got out. Next, the team played a few pickup games and we eventually called it a night. However, I had to head back to the field house for my second AEP session.  Not a bad day! 

Tuesday: My peaceful slumber is disturbed by the obnoxious horn of my alarm at 5:46 a.m. I roll over a couple of times, and proceed down the ladder of my lofted bed to get ready to head over to Ramsey for team conditioning. We push through and finished it out strong. After conditioning, I head back to my dorm to get ready, and grab breakfast before my 9:30 class. After class, I head back over to Ramsey to have my weekly academic meeting with my favorite post coach, Treka. We discuss my grades and upcoming exams/projects in my classes and enjoy some girl talk along the way. After that, I rush back over to my neck of the woods to grab a quick lunch (PB&J sandwich, trail mix, kettle corn, Gatorade and some fruit) , and then head to my freshman seminar (Facebook Generation Marketing), which is probably my favorite class. Next I'm headed to my Chemistry lab which lasts two and a half hours!!! So two and a half hours later, its 4:50 and I have skills at 5:20, so I jet over to Ramsey for my hour post workout. After skills, we have a team weights session. After weights, we usually play pick up until we just can't move anymore. We start heading back to Blue Ridge  to shower, get ready for bed and finish this little thing called homework.  Day 2 complete.

Wednesday:  I'm thanking God for my 10:10 class, as I take advantage of these extra hours of sleep. I must say, the hardest part of my day will probably be getting out of bed. By this time of the week, my body is getting tired. My legs feel like giant Sequoya trees and my arms feel like noodles (cooked noodles that is, hold the spaghetti sauce). I finish my day's worth of classes and speed through lunch in the cafe so I can savor every minute of nap time I have before AEP and afternoon conditioning. Our conditioning workout today consisted of 8 stride run strides and 10 stadiums. The workout wasn't too bad, it was just a warm day! I felt like a meatloaf just baking in the oven! No matter, the team made it through though. We challenged and encouraged each other to do our best, and know this will only make us stronger (physically and mentally) in the long run. After our run, we played pick up again. I then headed to AEP again, and got some work finished. I trudged back to my dorm and knocked out, preparing for another early morning.

Thursday: 5:38 AM comes around. I set my alarm earlier so I can have time to lie in bed. By the way, I've found that if I sleep in my workout clothes, I can get an extra 7 minutes of sleep. ; I must say I enjoy my walks with Bri to conditioning. We talk about how tired we are , laugh at how long our days are going to be, and discuss all the rewards we are going to give ourselves this weekend (when we make it through the week).  My body is tired, tight, and a little sore but why should I let that stop me? The team fights through conditioning like the beasts we are and I then head back to my room to shower and get ready for class. My day is the same as Tuesday, except that the academic meeting I had on Tuesday is not there and I have Biology Lab instead of Chemistry lab. (Unfortunately, it's still the same amount of time.) I begin trucking it over to Ramsey for my skill workout. I also had homework to finish up that night.

Friday: PRAISE THE LAWD ITS FRIDAY!!!! The fact that all I have to do is make it through class and weights and I'll be home free is all the motivation I need! Friday's classes speed by and I fly through weights! I did it! I made it through the week! For my reward.... a five hour nap!

Saturday: Doing whatever I want....

Sunday: Doing whatever I want, AEP from 5-7, and getting ready to do it again!

Yes, my week seems like a lot of work, but to be honest, I wouldn't have it any other way. All this work that is going on will pay off later down the road when our team is playing for the SoCon Championship. That is the only way you can look at it to keep from listening to that lazy creature in your body and getting off track. Our team is working hard and getting better every day.

Glossary:

Treka- (n): the world's greatest post coach, hands down. She makes sure we go hard in the p-p-p-p-paint. 

Skills- (n): Workouts with the coaches, in which you practice basketball techniques, specialized for your position includes: shooting, offensive and defensive drills. Skills groups consist of 3-4 members.

Sequoya trees- (n): big ole trees found primarily in California woods. Said to grow up past 90ft tall

Stride run strides- (n): a technique frequently used to condition athletes; jogging to the 35yd line then sprinting to the other 35yd line then jogging the rest of the way to the end zone

Stadiums- (n): a conditioning technique in which one runs up and down the steps of the big ole football stadium

AEP- (n): Study hall which is mandatory for all freshman athletes, we have to complete six hours a week.

Knocked out- (adj): the state of being soooooo tired that nothing can or will disturb your slumber

SoCon-(adj): Southern Conference

Ramsey- (n): the gymnasium; where the Catamounts go to work

Blue Ridge- (n): the name of our residence hall (dorms) the best dorms on campus are located here. They are the newest and come with Wi-fi and air conditioning (and we each have our own room).

SoCon Championship- (n): What we will be winning this year.

Until next time,

Live each day like EJ

Jordan Timmermann, Catamount Volleyball Blog No. 3

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Oh how I've missed road trips. This past weekend we made an eight hour trip to Athens, Ohio to take on Ohio University, Oregon, and Kentucky.

We started our journey with loading our bus with bags, pillows, blankets, movies, and LOTS of food. The most important thing is trying to figure out how you are going to situate yourself on the bus. There is definitely a strategy to becoming comfortable. You can lay your head towards the window, lay your head towards the aisle, or my personal favorite, laying completely on the floor. One question remains, what if someone has to go to the bathroom?

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Well then it's a whole other process to dodge and weave between the multiple bodies on the floor or across the aisle. Just be prepared to possibly be hit or stepped on! And let's not forget the beautiful faces everyone makes when they are sleeping (be prepared for future nap snapshots). We safely made it to Ohio and checked in to our hotel. We rested up for the night and got ready for the upcoming games of the weekend.

We came in with an open mind and our goal was to just have fun. It was a learning experience and we made the best of it. Even though we came out with a losing record for the tournament, everyone was pleased with our performance. We were excited for the next time we could play.

That next time would be against UNC Asheville, and that was intense. We started out strong with winning the first two games, but then ended up losing the next three games. It was definitely heartbreaking being so close to winning, but just like any other loss we have to learn from it. We worked hard in practice and the focus was on our mental toughness. Your mental game is just as important as your physical one.

When we leave for NC State this weekend, we have to keep in mind that communication and your mentality is key. Also, always remember "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose". Focus to finish. GO CATS!