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wingspan • october 28, 2010

JV Briefs JV football aims for conference title

JV soccer starts season off strong

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he junior varsity soccer team currently has a strong record of 14-4-1, 5-0 AAC. The team started off the season with their only tie of the season against Erwin. “We win a lot of games by six or seven goals,” sophomore leader Conor Kennedy said. “The best part of the season so far was when we beat North 1-0 because North is an extremely good team, and we came out and had a dominate preformance.” The soccer team finished the season with a game against East Henderson yesterday.

JV volleyball team continues success

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he junior varsity volleyball team completed the season with a record of 18-3, 11-3 AAC. “It’s different having mostly freshmen on the team, but it’s fun getting to know them,” sophomore Hannah Green said. “My favorite moment would be when we played Hendersonville and dominated in the first game. In the second game, I served 12 serves in a row, and the score was 12-0. They came back and almost beat us, but we pulled out the win.” The team ended the season with a win against East Henderson.

Next Up Football

Oct. 29 Home against Franklin Nov. 5 At East Henderson

Cross Country Oct. 30 Regional meet

Nov. 6 State Championships

Soccer

Nov. 3 First round playoffs Nov. 17 Regional final

Recent incidents draw attention to danger of concussions tell you about it, and then come back and play and get hit again, and it causes the concussion to re-occur.” Few knows that returning to play is the worst thing a t may take consistent success over a number of seasons concussed athlete can do. West’s policy forces students to to make an athlete’s career, but one play can ruin it. take a break before getting back in the game. “The greatest risk of returning to play before the Former Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrain is healed is death,” Few said. “The brook knows that fact all too well. immediate treatment and diagnosis is In eight seasons with the Eagles, Warning Signs absolutley crucial. The general rule for Westbrook racked up 9,785 total yards an athlete to return to play is seven days from scrimmage and scored 66 touchof a Concussion: symptom free. The first day that the athdowns. His impressive resume didn’t stop lete has no symptoms the count begins. the Eagles from releasing him after the • Confusion or feeling dazed If at any time the symptoms return, the 2009 season when he suffered two con• Clumsiness • Slurred speech seven days start over.” cussions in a matter of three weeks. • Nausea or vomiting Concussions have been a problem Research over the past decade has • Headache for almost any contact sport, but they are raised concerns about the long-term effects of concussions on all athletes, not • Balance problems or dizziness usually associated with football. • Blurred vision In the National Football League, just football players. • Sensitivity to light players suffer about 100 concussions per “Any trauma to the brain is a con• Sensitivity to noise year, and studies have shown that almost cussion,” Barbara Few, West’s athletic • Sluggishness two out of every three retired players have trainer, said. “They are most common in • Ringing in ears • Behavior or personality changes had a concussion. football, wrestling and soccer.” • Concentration difficulties Studies have also shown that the Some immediate symptoms of a con• Memory loss typical hit required to cause a concussion cussion include headaches, vomiting, (www.webmd.com) occurs at an impact velocity of 20.8 miles double vision, ringing in the ears and disper hour. orientation. Long term, however, a conRecently, rules have been put in place to penalize cussion can cause memory problems, difficulty concenhits to the head, and scientists have been trying to find trating and even depression. “The policy is that you are going to be cleared by a a way to engineer safer helmets. However, concussions doctor before you are going to return to play in any sport will continue to happen and the best way to prevent perin high school. That’s just the bottom line,” Kent Teeter, manent brain damage is to sit a player out when he or she who served as the athletic trainer at West for 30 years, shows symptoms of a concussion. During the current NFL season, both good and bad said. “Someone could have a mild concussion and not

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Camen Royse Sports Editor

Cross country team looking for Top 5 finish at state

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Michael Turlington Asst. Sports Editor

t the Wendy’s Invitational in Charlotte, sophomore Angela Gross lined up to start the race. She flew down the course, and only 19 minutes and 38 seconds later, Gross crossed the finish line. She was able to finish with her best time of the season. “My goal for the Wendy’s Invitational was to break 20 minutes. The Wendy’s course is fast, so I was able to reach my goal,” Gross said. “At state, I would like to have an even better time than I had in Charlotte.” In the first meet of the season, the women’s team finished in sixth place. Only two runners were in the top 25 finishers. Since then, the team has only gotten better with several first and second place finishes. The team is led by senior Kiersten Ellsworth, and with each meet, personal times have improved. “This season, every one of our runners keeps improving,” Gross said. “Our times have consistently gotten better and better as the season progresses.” With the men’s low personal times, the team has shown improvements. In the first meet of the season, the Falcon runners were second to last, but in recent meets, such as the Western Carolina Invitational, they have finished as high as eighth place. “The Western meet was one of our best meets. Most of our team had their best times of the season there,” junior Sean Rapp said. “Western always has a fun course with something new. This time, it rained the whole meet, but I enjoyed it.” Both teams are pushing to make it to the state meet. In recent years, both teams have had success at state. Last year, the women’s team placed 10th with no senior runners. This season, the older and more experienced team feels like they could finish even better at state. “Right now, we are supposed to finish in the top five at state, but we would like to get fourth or even lower,” Gross said. “If our runners can step up and keep improving their times, we will have a good state meet.” Ellsworth, Gross, freshman Alexis Vidak, sophomore Hannah Owen and junior Ashley Heywood were named all-conference runners for the women’s team after the team placed first in the AAC meet. Rapp and freshman Logan Sewell were named all conference runners for the men’s team, which placed second.

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Football team to compete on senior night Aury St. Germain Feature Writer

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enior quarterback Dillon Baker could not believe his eyes. After taking the snap and passing the option of pitching the ball to senior running back Kevin Thomas, there was nothing but 70 yards of grass separating him from an easy touchdown. Baker outraced the Brevard defensive backs to the endzone, the first of seven first-half rushing touchdowns for the Falcons en route to a 49-21 conference win. The win opened the door for a chance at the playoffs. Coach Paul Whitaker knew that his team’s motivation needed to be beating conference rival Brevard, not playing against former Head Coach Jeff Bailey. However, some players admitted that winning against their former coach provided an extra incentive. “We were pretty excited that we won, that we beat Coach (Bailey) on his home- On the Line Senior quarterback Dillon Baker gets ready to take the snap from center coming, and to do it in such a convincing Billy Thomson against Cherryville. West won the game, 42-21. “It was a manner,” sophomore Brandon Letchgame that we needed to win to boost our moral and get our head on worth said. “It was a rivalry game. Everystraight,” Thomson said. one wanted to beat Coach Bailey on Bregame that they need to work on. “We need to improve on vard’s homecoming since we lost on our homecoming.” The Falcon running game did well against the Blue turnovers. We also need to work on knowing our assignments and knowing what we do on each and every play Devils with 311 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. “In the first half, offensively, we executed and did with no mental errors,” he said. “But we have power, a big not turn the ball over. That has been our Achilles’ heel all line, big fullbacks and fast runners. The talent is there.” This year’s coaching staff has put more emphasis on season, turning the ball over in the red zone,” Whitaker said. “We were getting turnovers from them and scoring game planning against the opponents’ strategies. “We are a lot more prepared, we are watching film on quick drives. That made the difference.” Although Whitaker is a first year head coach, he is not more. We are knowing their formations,” Letchworth said. new to football. He has had 20 years of football coaching “We know what they are going to do when they line up a experience under numerous head coaches. He sticks with certain way. We are just overall a better prepared team.” After last week’s loss to Tuscola, the team is focused the team philosophy — play fast and with intensity. Whitaker has had an easier transition into being on the final two games of the season. “We have the 3-A head coach with the senior leadership coming from play- part of the season left, East and Franklin. It doesn’t get ers who have been on varsity since their sophomore year. any easier, and our kids know that. We “Our seniors have really stepped up so far,” Whitaker will go through practice just as another said. “As they continue to get better, we will get better as week,” Whitaker said. “They are just Record: conference games that we have to have a team.” Baker said the team is doing well but has areas of the if we are going to make the playoffs.”

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calls have been made. After Eagles’ players Stewart Bradley and Kevin Kolb were afflicted with concussions, they were both allowed to continue to play until right before halftime. They later failed concussion tests. However, the following week, Dallas Cowboys’ tight end Jason Witten was held out by trainers after a hit to the head despite heated arguments. Helmet-to-helmet hits are what typically cause concussions. In Week 6 in the NFL, these hits were at their worst. The NFL handed out a combined $175,000 in fines to players who had had illegal tackles in an attempt to limit concussion-inducing hits. Continual damage to the brain can cause a disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Effects of CTE are similar to Alzheimer’s disease, including memory loss and confusion. Autopsies show that several retired NFL players had CTE. Players are being told to disregard the “play no matter what” mentality when it comes to concussions. Senior soccer player Aubrey Masters has played through concussions before, only to suffer intense migraines and brain swelling. “I have had five concussions,” Masters said. “One time I was kicked in the temple, and I couldn’t hear anyone for a while and my eyesight was temporarily gone. After the most recent one, I went blind for a couple days.” Masters now has to take precaution when she plays. “When I play soccer, I have to wear a helmet specially designed for soccer players,” she said. “Your brain can’t really be prevented from rattling around in your head, but trainers can help protect players when they do get a concussion by knowing exactly what stage the concussion is in and what they need to do.”

Photo by Heidi Brickhouse

he West junior varsity football team has a record of 3-4, 3-2 AAC. The team started off with losses to Hendersonville and T.C. Roberson but has been undefeated in their last three games. “So far the season’s gone well,” sophomore quarterback Blake Whitaker said. “We have come a long way since our first game. So far in the season, what stands out in my mind the most was the North Henderson game. It was our very first series, and we took the ball all the way down the field from the 20 yd. line and got to be fourth and 15. Coach called a pass play. I completed the throw to Brett Baker; it was about a 20- yard pass. Our offense dominated the rest of the game.” The next game will be today against Franklin.

Photo illustration by Chelsea Blanton

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