Swain runner advocates for sports equality
Amaya Hicks, Swain County High School senior and captain of the women’s cross country, basketball, indoor and outdoor track teams, came before the Swain County Board of Education on Sept. 12 with a unique, albeit impressive problem. She and her peers had won so many state championships over the last several seasons that the teams were having trouble raising enough money for the state championship rings.
Western Carolina University athletics returns to play
By Todd Vinyard • Contributing writer | Each athletic season has its challenges, but the 2020-2021 season has more obstacles than usual as teams try to play on safely during a pandemic.
Committed to the slopes: Waynesville snowboarder to appear in international competition
Zeb Powell was 7 years old the first time he tried a snowboard.
That initial ride wasn’t great — Powell, a lefty, found himself being sent down the mountain right foot forward — but after that something clicked. Powell hit a box the first night and from there on out spent as much time as possible on the slopes at Cataloochee Ski Area.
Opportunity knocks: Western takes on ‘Bama
For nearly all of its 128-year history, the University of Alabama’s football program has been synonymous with gridiron excellence. Thousands of young men have gone there to play the game they love, and played it to win.
Boasting a 73 percent winning percentage over almost 1,300 games, Alabama has laid claim to 14 division titles, 31 conference titles and 17 national championships while producing legendary NFL stars like Joe Namath, Ozzie Newsome, Cornelius Bennett and Derrick Thomas, along with at least one legendary coach — Paul “Bear” Bryant.
Fitness training gets personal
While the benefits of regular exercise are well known, most people think the only way to stay in shape is to join a gym.
But that doesn’t work for everybody, all of the time; busy lifestyles can compete with limited hours, the gym can be intimidating for some and a general lack of knowledge can leave beginners wondering where to turn.
Dreams on the water: Bryson City paddler, age 15, wows international audience
On Friday, June 21, a 15-year-old girl from Bryson City took her place in the water for the first heat of her first run as an adult competitor on the international circuit. The roiling World Cup course in Bratislava, Slovakia, was thousands of miles away from her home in Western North Carolina, and her competitors were veteran paddlers, some with Olympic appearances and even Olympic medals to their name.
Tuscola sports classification not all fun and games
Grumblings about Tuscola High School’s athletic reclassification from 2A to 3A seem to have fallen on deaf ears, but administrators at Haywood County Schools say they’re not yet done trying to bring attention to what they say is the school’s unfair plight.
WCU athletics on the upswing
Randy Eaton isn’t a fortune teller, but the Western Carolina University athletic director sees a winning future for WCU teams.
No small feat: Dwarfs wrestle with perception, performance
Perhaps not unique in that the reasons for both its popularity and its controversy are intertwined like the limbs of two grapplers struggling to gain the advantage, dwarf wrestling provides jobs where they’re scarce, boosts local economies with events and promotes positive examples of how dwarfs aren’t so different from their average-sized peers.
A life in coaching: WCU’s Hunter earns career 700th win
By Todd Vinyard • Special to The Smoky Mountain News
Western Carolina University head basketball coach Larry Hunter’s team had beaten Samford 88-71 on Feb. 3 for a significant Southern Conference victory, and he had become one of only 40 other NCAA men’s basketball coaches with 700 career wins. Despite the milestone, Hunter followed his postgame routine of 46 years in coaching — finish the work of game day and prepare for the next game.