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Thirty Catamounts Have Degrees Conferred

May 8, 2004

Cullowhee, N.C. - On Saturday, May 8, 30 Catamount student-athletes had their degrees conferred by Western Carolina Chancellor John Bardo during the 2004 Spring Commencement, held Saturday afternoon at the Ramsey Activity Center.

Among those who had their degrees conferred included two women's basketball student-athletes, two from men's basketball, four from baseball, 10 from track and field, four from football, three from women's soccer, one from tennis, two cheerleaders and a football student-manager.

During his "Charge to the Graduates," Dr. Bardo singled out several students who had exemplary careers while at Western, including three student-athletes. First, he recognized women's basketball standout and summa cum laude graduate Yoneko Allen, who was a three-time WCU Female Student-Athlete of the Year and an Academic All-America in 2004. Allen carried a 3.98 GPA into graduation as a triple major in Sport Management, Marketing and Business Administration & Law. She and her teammate Christy Blackwell, a magna cum laude graduate in Business Administration & Law, not only left their marks among the WCU all-time greats in 3-point shooting and steals, respectively, but the two were additionally recognized by Dr. Bardo for being named Arthur Ashe Jr National Scholar-Athletes.

Kori Hatcher (left) of the men's basketball team and Shari Harder (volleyball) both graduated Saturday with marketing degrees.

Allen has also been honored by the Southern Conference, along with fellow graduate and men's basketball guard Emre Atsur. Both were recipients of the SoCon's Mike Wood Foundation Postgraduate Scholarship. Atsur, who like Allen leaves WCU as one of the program's all-time leaders in 3-pointers made, received his Bachelor of Science in International Business. Joining Atsur as a men's basketball graduate was Kori Hatcher (Marketing), whose eligibility expired last season.

After recognizing Allen and Blackwell, Dr. Bardo honored cheerleader Heather Kasey (communication). The Asheville native founded Western's Relay for Life Chapter and raised significant money in the organization's fight against cancer. Kasey was not the only cheerleader to graduate as her teammate Alyson Moyer received her Bachelor of Science in Communication as well.

Current baseball Catamounts Brian Sigmon (Criminal Justice) and Todd Roper (Management) wrapped up their undergraduate career, but still have two more weeks remaining in the 2004 regular season. Former Catamount catcher Matt Price (Sport Management) participated in the Commencement ceremony today, while Eric Johnson, a former SoCon Football Defensive Player of the Year and consensus All-America, was not able to attend as he is playing for the Boston Red Sox Double A baseball team.

Johnson (Parks and Recreation Management) was not the only former Catamount football player to graduate as former quarterback Pat Cilento and tight end Brian Rucker received their degrees in Accounting and Computer Information Systems, respectively. Two Catamounts graduated Saturday who will return to the gridiron this fall. Morris Sanders, a three-year starting offensive guard, received his Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Randy Thompson, a defensive back turned wide receiver, received his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.

The track and field team had 10 student-athletes have their degrees conferred, including Dana Anglin (Communication), Melanie Cooper (magna cum laude in Art), Ashelyn Little (Hospitality and Tourism), Jared Maliska (Sociology), Randi Miles (Business Administration and Law), Jerrine Peeler (Natural Resources Management), Philip Ramsey (Natural Resources Management), Alissa Short (Criminal Justice), Rebecca Signoretti (Hospitality and Tourism) and Eddie Vick (Industrial Technology).

Christel Kirkpatrick (left), who played soccer and participated in the track and field team, is shown during graduation with Sara Komosinski, who played volleyball as well as participated on the track and field team.

The volleyball team had its three seniors from this past fall graduate. Sara Komosinski graduated cum laude in Sociology and she was joined by Shari Harder (Marketing) and Michelle Gorton (Recreational Therepy).

The soccer team had three graduate as well, including Kristen Deon (Marketing), Christel Kirkpatrick (Communication) and Mandi Tinsley (Computer Information Systems).

The tennis team had one student-athlete graduate as Kristin Munn received her Bachelor of Science in Sport Management.

Also, four Catamounts from the Athletics Department graduated on Saturday. Megan Coughlin, who worked four years in marketing and tickets, received her Master of Business Administration, Nic Bowman, who worked two years as a student assistant in the media relations department, received his Bachelor of Science in Communication, Allicia White, who was a four-year student manager for the football team, received her Bachelor of Science in Education from the Honors College and Chris Duncan received his Master of Arts in Comprehensive Education/Physical Education.