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Thirteen Catamounts Participate in Graduation Ceremony

Dec. 15, 2003

Cullowhee, N.C. - This past weekend, 13 Catamount student-athletes were part of a graduation ceremony at Western Carolina, held Saturday afternoon at the Ramsey Activity Center. Highlighting the list was first team Academic All-America Jason Whaley, who finished his collegiate career with a 3.918 grade point average and was recognized as a University Scholar for his GPA.

Including Whaley (Computer Information Systems), the football team had seven student-athletes represented with the baseball, soccer and women's track teams each having two.

First team Academic All-America Jason Whaley receives his diploma and is recognized as a University Scholar for his 3.918 GPA.

Joining Whaley from the football team were Brian Gaither (Marketing), Jeb Hall (Physical Education), Stanton Horne (Marketing), Nick McNeil (Computer Information Systems), Johnta Philyaw (Marketing) and Jon Vaughan (Business Administration & Law). Whaley, Gaither and McNeil each earned All-Southern Conference honors, while McNeil and Hall were each all-conference in track & field as well. Philyaw was a valuable contributor, playing both fullback and linebacker during his career. Horne finished 2003 11th in the nation in punting, while WCU was fourth in the nation in net punting. Vaughan was a three-year starter at left tackle, helping WCU lead the SoCon in passing for two straight years.

The soccer team was represented by Sarah Rice and Meghan Doherty. Both received their degrees in Communication and both were part of Western's 2001 SoCon Championship team. Rice and Doherty, who played key roles for a stingy Catamount defense, were part of a senior class that not only was the first group of freshman in WCU history but never had a losing season and boasted a 17-match home unbeaten streak.

Also members of a SoCon Championship team, Joe Camac and Todd Buchanan of the 2003 baseball team received their degrees in Sociology. In the freshman year for Camac and Buchanan, the Catamounts were 15-38 and did not qualify for the SoCon Tournament. Four years later, the team won the SoCon regular-season and tournament titles and reached the finals of the NCAA Regional, falling in 14 innings to host North Carolina State.

Kamata Potts (Business Administration & Law) and Quiletta Dunston (Sport Management) were All-SoCon performers for the Catamount track & field team. They were additionally members of the 2001 Outdoor SoCon Championship team.

"It is always great to see athletes compete at a high level," said WCU head track &field/cross country coach Danny Williamson. "However, it is even more exciting to see your athletes receive their degrees. After all, having students graduate is what we as a University and athletics department are all about. I would like to congratulate Kamata and Quiletta, as well as all of our student-athletes, for their accomplishments."