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wingspan • march 19, 2010

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’m sure many of you know about my recent success on the track. And if you don’t, then you obviously don’t read the local newspaper. For those of you who do know about my success at the indoor track state meet, I’m also sure you are asking yourself, “How did he get fourth in Matt Thielke the state in the 500 meter dash?” I am here to answer that question. I attribute my fourth place medal to focus, hard training, good coaching and a phenomenal weekend trip to the meet in Chapel Hill. Here is what happened: • Friday, Feb. 19, 2010 12:15 p.m. We are on the road again, literally and musically as Coach Fletcher is jamming to some Willie Nelson in the truck. 12:57 p.m. Some creepy old guy, like he fought in WWI kind of old, is driving next to us. I bet he is going to a VFW meeting to play some BINGO. 1:30 p.m. Coach breaks the boredom by starting a road sign game. We were all stuck on the letter ‘q’ until Coach found an ‘antiques’ sign. I give up now. 1:45 p.m. Tiny Dancer is playing. I freaking love this song and I love Elton John…. Well, not like that…the music, I mean. Coach and I are the only ones singing. Is it bad I know all the words? 2:42 p.m. It’s Keenan Young’s turn to play DJ and pick some music. He’s practically the only black guy in the 12th grade, and he likes the Beach Boys. 4:21 p.m. We have finally arrived at the hotel. Oh man. Long car ride. 6:50 p.m. We’ve been driving around Chapel Hill trying to find a place to eat that won’t give me diarrhea…. I. Am. Hungry. 7 p.m. A PLACE TO EAT!!! An Italian place. Hendersonville High is here and my favorite lady, Coach Bolton. She scares me. 10:35 p.m. We’re in the hotel now. I’m thinking about sleeping with my track spikes on . . . . • Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010 7:15 a.m. Got the wake-up call. I am reminded of a Seinfeld episode with a marathoner and a wake-up call guy. 9:07 a.m. We are in the track building! 10:38 a.m. I am sitting, stretching, hydrating and watching other events. 11:30 a.m. I just saw Isaac Presson run a 4:17 mile. I’m proud to be Facebook friends with him. 12:05 p.m. The race officials are getting ready to line up the heats for the 500. It’s go time. 12:30 p.m. Just got back from the medal stand! Fourth place! I made sure to tell the award announcer man how to say my last name. I was not going to let my name be butchered during this proud moment. Fourth in the state — that’s how I roll.

Spring fling

Sports teams begin their spring seasons

Team gets first new head coach in 18 years Kevin Robinson Asst. Sports Editor

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he baseball team found themselves down two runs in the last inning against North Buncombe on March 5. With two on base and one out, junior Michael Peery walked up to the plate. On the third pitch of the at-bat, Peery hit the ball into right field, tying the game and setting the team up for the win and unlikely comeback. “I was nervous at first, but as the at-bat went on, I got a little more comfortable and realized I could hit this kid,” Peery said. “I got the pitch I was looking for and put it into the outfield.” The team entered the season with a new head coach, Brandon Ball, who replaced Jim Hyatt. Hyatt was the head coach for the past 18 years. The team is currently 4-0 and is anchored by strong senior leadership. “I didn’t get to play last year, but this year my surgery is healed and I get to pitch,” senior Bryce Danielson said. “I think it was important for me to get back so we have a senior pitcher to go with the good juniors we have.” In its first year in the Appalachian Athletic Conference, the team is aiming high. “The new conference brings a lot of challenges, mainly Tuscola because they’re a great team with a lot of college prospects,” Danielson said. “If we can beat them, we can win conference and have a chance at state.” Team members said pitching will be the key to their success. “One thing we don’t have to worry about is pitching,” junior Cameron Brogden said. “We have a lot of good Record: pitchers with different styles.” The next game is today against Brevard.

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Photo used with permission of Lifetouch

A day at the state track meet

Quick Pitch At a home game against Polk on March 1, senior Bryce Danielson pitches the ball to the Polk batter. The Falcons won the game 8-4. The game was the season opener for the Falcons.

Track and field athletes start practicing

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Camen Royse Asst. Sports Editor

oach Walt Fletcher experienced a frustrating conference meet last season. Receiving the scores after the meet, he threw them in disgust, seeing the Falcons had placed second to the team he had coached a year earlier. Their successful season ended just short of their goal of winning conference. This season the men’s track team is shooting for the conference championship the best way they know how: hard work. Senior Keenan Young said he has noticed an increase in effort. “There are more people who are willing to work to win the conference title this year,” Young said. “Last year, there were a lot of people who kept missing practices; I was one of them. This year, we’re all out there working hard.” However, the biggest difference in this year’s track team is its size. About 45 students make up the men’s team, double the number from last season. “This year there will be a lot more people to fill in for each event, which helps us in the meets,” Young said. “It will help us in our goal to win the county meet and win the conference title.” Fletcher is also pleased to have a bigger team. “The biggest weapon to have as a track team is numbers,” Fletcher said. “Athletes can relax knowing we have someone to pick up the slack for them.” With the larger team does come some

Women’s soccer begins season undefeated

disadvantages. With more than 150 students on the track every day between the men’s and women’s teams and the Rugby middle school team, practicing and keeping everyone focused can be difficult. Fletcher has chosen team captains to help. “Brandon Hawkins, Ryan Duckett, Matt Thielke and Chase Andrews are the team captains. Their job is to be my eyes and ears where I can’t be. They help me out as far as numbers management and keeping everyone on task,” Fletcher said. “They know their responsibilities, and they take them seriously.” The women’s team, meanwhile, is also looking to build on a successful season from last year. After placing first in regionals and in conference, the team knows it will be much tougher this year. “With the new conference and classification, I expect things to be much more difficult, but I still expect to perform well,” junior Lydia McCall said. “We lost a lot of senior distance runners. We all miss them, but at the same time, we have some good freshmen.” The women’s team is facing some challenges during practice. “I think the main way I want the team to improve on is doing more things together. Right now we have ‘groups’ that do their own thing at practices,” McCall said. “I would love to see the team go back to knowing each other well and doing more things as a team. We work really hard though, and it will show in the meets. We all want to place well at meets, so that’s a major factor that keeps us going.”

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Matt Thielke Sports Editor

tarting a season undefeated is always a great way to kick things off. The Lady Falcon soccer team is 2-0 in the Appalachian Athletic Conference and 3-01 overall. “It is a lot different than last year when we did not start off too well,” senior Kelli Jo Havener said. “Having a strong early season record is always nice and builds the team’s confidence.” The strong start to the season is right in line with Head Coach Craig Long’s team goals. “Our goal, of course, is to win confer-

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Ryan Duckett Senior Editor

t looks like West’s batting sports have experienced a full coaching switchout. Like the baseball team, the softball team has a new head coach. Mike Matthews replaced Cathy Corliss, who held the position since 1993. “Having new coaches, the practices are a little bit harder than last year,” senior Sarah Armstrong said. According to Armstrong, both the difficulty and style of practices is different this year. “It’s a lot different because they (the coaches) will let you know if you do something wrong,” Armstrong said.

Kyle Keith Senior Editor

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Deep Shot

As he sets up his forehand, junior Michael Aamodt returns the ball during practice. The Falcons have a 1-3 record so far this season.

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unior Graham Pate stepped onto the tennis court wearing multiple layers of jackets and earmuffs — unusual clothing to practice tennis in. The frigid winter weather hampered not only Pate, but the entire men’s tennis team. “The weather has affected our practice schedule so we haven’t been able to practice outside as much as we would like to,” Pate said. “With good weather comes more practice, which in turn will hopefully lead to more promising matches.” Not only has the team been affected by the weather, but it also has a large number of first-time players. “Not being able to practice outside really affects how we play in our matches,”

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ence, and starting 3-0 proves we can do that,” Long said. “We have won conference four years in a row, and the new conference will certainly make it more challenging.” Havener’s senior season has a twist to it as her freshman sister Maddi Havener is the starting goalkeeper. She says that having her sister on the team she helps lead is an interesting experience. “We get along sometimes and are really nice to each other, but other times you can tell we are sisters because we argue,” Kelli Jo Havener said. “It’s a good thing I play on the Record: offensive end of the field and she’s goalkeeper.”

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Softball team loses longtime head coach

Cold, rainy weather impacts tennis team

Photo used with permission of Lifetouch

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Senior Katie Carpenter says that she has high hopes with the team’s new coach. “I think we’re really coming together as a team,” Carpenter said. “The coaches are doing a really good job for their first year.” The team started the season with a 1-3 record, facing 4A powerhouses T.C. Roberson and R.S. Central in the first two games. The team hopes to improve on last year’s evenly-split, .500 record. “My hopes are to have at least a .500 season and to make it farther in the playoffs than we have the past three years,” Armstrong said. Last year, the team fell to Record: Bandys in the first round of the playoffs. The next game

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junior Zane McGhee said. “It especially affects all the younger players on the team. We have 23 or 24 guys on the team, and about 18 are freshmen.” However, despite setbacks, the team has rallied under returning head coach Tyrone Fair, who operates Ty Fair Tennis. “The other freshmen and younger guys work on technique and things with Coach Ty,” McGhee said. “He is a really good coach because he is very knowledgeable of the game and will be able to teach the young guys.” Sophomore Michael Turlington remains optimistic about conference tournament at Brevard College in April. “We want to try to make an impression during the conference tournament,” Turlington said. “We’re a long shot, but getting to the second round would be nice to show people we have promise.” The team’s next match Record: is home on Monday against Tuscola.

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A day at the state track meet 1-3 1-3 State Farm Insurance Companies Home Office: Bloomington, Il. 681-5681 Kyle Keith Senior Editor Your Ch...

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