May 9, 2009
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Thirty-two former Western Carolina student-athletes, one student manager and one graduate assistant participated in graduation commencement exercises Friday and Saturday in the Ramsey Center. The list of graduates includes members of three Southern Conference Championships teams, with women's basketball players, women's soccer players and men's track and field. Also Catamount football player Jeff Bradley; who was picked up by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Spotlighting Western Carolina's list of graduates was women's basketball player Brooke Johnson, who was the 2009 Southern Conference Tournament Most Outstanding Player. She will leave Western Carolina owning the career blocks record, ending her tenure as a Lady Catamount with 130 blocks in just 68 games played. Johnson was a 2009 Lowe's Senior Class Award Candidate, a 2009 V Foundation Finalsist, a 2009 All-Conference selection and a 2009 ESPN The Magazine District 3 First Team All-District honoree.
Johnson's teammates Lauren Powell and Kendra Eaton also received diplomas in the spring commencement for 2009. Powell broke the school record for three-pointers in a career with 214. She will also be known for "the play" drawing a charge, with 1.8 seconds left, in the first overtime against College of Charleston in the 2009 Southern Conference Tournament, draining two free throws and sending the game to a second overtime. Eaton was the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) represenative for the NCAA and also joined the 500 rebound club.
Women's soccer players Buki Baruwa and Arlan Whittle were members of the 2009 Southern Conference Tournament Championship team. The duo also won Catamount soccer's first SoCon Tournament title as freshmen in 2006. Whittle was a 2009 All-Conference selection and played in every match of the 2009 season. Baruwa was a key leader of the team and was also the 2007-08 SAAC President.
Continuing the championship team highlights was track and field's Manteo Mitchell. He won the 60m, 200m, and 400m dash in the 2009 Southern Conference Indoor Championships. He was also named Most Outstanding Athlete in the championships and also Most Outstanding Track Performer. Outdoor highlights for 2009 include winning the 200m and 400m as well as members of the winning 4x100 and 4x400m teams. He was also named Most Outstanding Athlete and Track Performer at the 2009 Southern Conference Outdoor Championships.
Bradley played in 41 games during his four-year Catamount career, amassing104 total tackles including 58 solo stops and 28 tackles for loss. He twice garnered All-Southern Conference accolades, earning second-team honors from both the coaches and voting media in his junior and senior seasons. His career seasonal-best came as a junior when he tallied 43 total tackles with 15 for losses and four and a half sacks. He is just the second Catamount to sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers organization.
Western Carolina Student-Athlete Graduates
Buki Baruwa, Women's Soccer
Stephanie Beatty, Softball
Jeff Bradley, Football
Joe Clark-Dear, Football
Justin Conley, Cheerleading
Ryan Cooper, Football
Josh Deaver, Football
Bobby Furmage, Football
Dustin Furnari, Men's Golf
Kyle Garland, Football
Darrel Gray, Football
Rachel Hils, Women's Soccer Graduate Assistant
Brooke Johnson, Women's Basketball
Aneesha Lane, Track and Field
Tim Magowan, Men's Basketball
Liz McLauchlin, Volleyball
Manteo Mitchell, Track and Field
Shawna Moriarty, Cheerleading
Garrett Ozar, Baseball
Quintin Phillips, Football
Lauren Powell, Women's Basketball
Domnique Quarles, Football
Jeff Reinke, Men's Track
Rashanda Simmons, Track and Field
Carrie Smith, Cheerleading
Jennifer Spivey, Track and Field
Terrence "T.T." Tipps, Student-Manager
Kelly Urban, Cheerleading
Katie Vogel, Cheerleading
Arlan Whittle, Women's Soccer
Kevin Wiggins, Football
Jessie Wilson, Cheerleading/Track and Field
Kendra Eaton, Women's Basketball