by Briana Ullman
So far this year, 100 high school athletes in Western North Carolina have committed to continue their sport at the college level. Lenoir-Rhyne University, located in Hickory, NC, will be enrolling many of these student athletes at their school.
A total of five different sports are represented as eight Western North Carolina seniors have signed to Lenoir-Rhyne.
Senior Kathryn Sizemore, who will be playing volleyball for Lenior-Rhyne in the fall of 2014, favors the high number of signees coming from the WNC area. She is a former WNC Player of the Week and a current All Conference player.
“I think the fact that so many athletes come from Western North Carolina shows a lot about our area, and that it’s really cool that we still kinda stay close to each other even if we don’t know each other. So going in, we all have something in common that we’re all from the same area. It kind of gives us a family aspect,” Sizemore said.
Senior Cheyenne Logan will also be attending Lenoir-Rhyne in the fall to play basketball. Logan is the current Conference Player of the Year, former WNC Player of the Week, co-captain of Roberson’s girls’ varsity basketball team, and a current All Conference player.
“A lot of girls I played travel ball with and against are going there, and the coaches and players were both really welcoming. They were also the first school to offer me a full scholarship,” Logan said.
These two Roberson seniors make up a group of 10 Western North Carolina athletes signing to Lenoir-Rhyne. Of the 22 athletic teams offered at Lenoir-Rhyne, the incoming students from WNC will be a part of 5 different teams.
Neill McGeachy, Lenoir-Rhyne’s current Athletic Director, believes that his athletes enjoy the competitive athletics offered at Lenoir-Rhyne as well as a small school feel that is not too far from home.
“Because we are only 70 minutes away from Asheville, we have always been very aware of the talent in Western North Carolina. I think our students are looking for an out-of-area but not too far, small, faith-based school,” McGeachy said. “We have been very blessed and recognize our talent.”
Roberson graduate Marie Mauhar entered Lenoir-Rhyne’s freshman class in 2011 as a softball athlete. After suffering from injuries, Mauhar became a cross-country runner for the Bears and is currently in physical therapy.
“The athletic programs here are amazing, and I never would have made it through my injuries without the wonderful training staff here or the support of my coaches and teammates. They have helped me succeed through their never-ending encouragement,” Mauhar said.