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The Second in a Series on Catamount Athletics This Preseason

Aug. 19, 2004

Cullowhee, N.C. - (August 19, 2004) Three days have passed since my last entry and each day since has been more exciting than the one before. I've had the chance to watch the football, volleyball and soccer teams practice and each sport is determined and enthusiastic about the upcoming season.

After talking to Coach Briggs and getting to see the Cats in action, the football team is working very hard. Tuesday's scrimmage had the intensity of a Western Carolina-Appalachian State game late in the fourth quarter. The coaches are demanding excellence and the team is responding. The coaches will get a second look at the team in game-like situations on Saturday when the team scrimmages at 3 pm.

After the scrimmage I will look forward to talking with the former Catamounts who will be returning for the second annual scrimmage/bar-b-que. Which reminds me, if you are former football player and have not contacted the football office, please do so as soon as possible at (828) 227-7395 because the more the merrier.

Also on Saturday, the Catamount Club will start a phone-a-thon in hopes of revitalizing the football locker room project. When the project was first announced, it had good initial support, including a gift of $51,000 from Dale and Dianne Hollifield. However, a lot more work must be done to get this project fully funded so we can proceed in making all our facilities the best the SoCon.

The soccer team had its first match of the season Wednesday, hosting Mars Hill in an exhibition. The Catamounts won 5-0. However, the better news is that the team has only been practicing for four days. Also, it is impressive that in just four days this team has come together considering the number of newcomers. This revamped team is very comfortable with each other and has outstanding team speed. Coach Hensley is elated with this group and is excited about their potential.

The volleyball team is almost a week into practice and, like the other coaches, Coach Benson is pumped about the prospects of the volleyball program. The returning players have come back focused and are working well together. The newcomers have fit right in and a few freshmen could play a key role in the team's success this season. Overall, there is a new attitude and air of confidence on the court. The team will have to continue its current ways as it will face a tough Clemson team in two weeks (Sept. 1), then return back to Clemson two days later to play in its tournament.

While cross country has yet to start, Coach Williamson is excited about the football, soccer and volleyball teams this season as well. The football team has several key contributors to the track team, including SoCon champions T. Alford, Xavier Godard and Josh Lee. For the women's track teams, freshmen Melissa Berry (soccer) and Melissa Parana (volleyball) will be pulling double duty. Berry was one of the top sprinters in North Carolina in high school and Parana is a state high jump champion.

I can not wait to see what will happen today, the next day and so on.

Fred Cantler
Interim Athletics Director