Author Archives: BGowen

About BGowen

Sophomore, lax player, sports communications major

Feature story

Running to be conference champions, Piedmont Colleges track and field teams and coaches slowed to down talk about their season.

The track and field teams at Piedmont College are coached by head coach Jeff Jenkins and assistant coaches Taylor Browning and Brain Gawne. Jenkins has been a coach for 11 years but has been at Piedmont for the last five, ever since the track and field program was started. This year is Piedmont’s first year in the USA South conference. Due to NCAA Division II teams dropping down to the USA South conference, the conference commissioner proposed that they add track and field with their own conference championship.

Prior to being in the USA South conference, coach Jenkins said, “We created what we call the Atlantic independent track and field championships. That was a good start for us.”

The Atlantic Independent track and field championships were held in Fayetteville, North Carolina at Methodist University. The following year they were held in Berea, Kentucky at Berea College. Being in the Atlantic Independent Conference the past two years, allowed Piedmont’s track and field to be prepared when their time came for USA South.

When the outdoor season starts, the team has eight weeks to be able to have meets. The NCAA requires them to participate in seven meets leading up to the conference championship. In order to be as successful as the track team has been this year, they focused a lot on rest and recovery. This helped them get through the rigorous seven weeks before the championship.

“We were thinking about our bodies, listening to our bodies.” Killian McClain, a junior thrower said. ”That was the biggest thing, if your body wasn’t feeling it, you shouldn’t be doing it.”

 Rest is just as important as training for these athletes.

“We rested.” coach Jenkins said. “One of our philosophies we have in our program is train hard, recover harder.”

Resting and training hard in their season and off season has been the key for Piedmont’s track and field team. This has ultimately led them to the conference championship that was this past week, April 18th and 19th in Berea, Kentucky.

“We competed less than a week before conference which we typically don’t like to do,” said coach Jenkins.

However, being well rested going into the weekend, helped lead both the men’s and women’s teams to victory.

“Our coaches were always there to listen and made sure everyone was happy.” Karla Cantrell, a sophomore runner said. “They knew we were going to be the best prepared team at conference and with that we would win a ring and we did.”

Coach Jenkins, Browning and Gawne all prepared their athletes properly for the conference championship with the feeling of winning it all.

“It’s important we’re fresh going into the championship.” said coach Jenkins.

That is exactly what the track team did going into the championship. Both the men’s and women’s teams came out on top with championship wins. Piedmont’s track and field teams started off in a conference a few years ago not knowing if they would become a part of USA South and this season, they won it all in the first official year in USA South.

“This has been incredible to go from that to this,” said coach Jenkins.

Disaster Drill

Disaster on Piedmont Colleges campus? Nope, just the Piedmont College Disaster Drill of 2019 held by the R.H Daniel School of Nursing.

The school and community participated in the annual Disaster Drill this past Wednesday, March 27. The disaster for this year’s drill was a fire that started in the theatre of the Swanson Center at Piedmont College. Junior nursing students as victims of the fire and senior nursing students as the nurses assessed their injuries from the fire. Piedmont’s theatre department helped create a realistic fire setting for the drill. They help do victim’s makeup, added smoke to the scene and added lighting and pyrotechnics to set the scene of a fire disaster.

Fred Bucher, Piedmont Colleges facilities management and safety director was on the scene of the Disaster Drill. He helps maintain campus safety and helped create this year’s event.

“The smoke, the noise, the lights… this is what they’re going to be faced with moving on into their career,” said Bucher.

Senior nursing student Katelyn Durmire was on the scene of the drill and was one of the nurses that got to give handson aid to the victims of the fire.

“The disaster drill is a good practice opportunity for us as nursing students to be prepared for our future jobs coming up in the next year or so,” Said Durmire. “It’s a very realistic setting that we get to be placed in to help victims right away.”

This Disaster Drill also serves as practice for the first responders in the community. Piedmont Police Chief Jim Andrews said.

“he responders involved were the City of Demorest Police, Habersham County Medical Center and EMS, Habersham County Fire Department, Sheriff’s Office, 911/Emergency Management Agency, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, Homeland Security, Habersham Search and Rescue and the District Two Public Health Administration.”

Having all the first responders on the scene is important to show the lifelike resemblance of an actual fire taking place and what everyone’s roles are in helping victims.

An Airlife Georgia helicopter based in Gainesville, Georgia, Homeland Security drone and rescue dogs were also on the scene in order to help simulate a real fire disaster. Having the first responders from all areas of the field is very beneficial for Piedmonts nursing students to get used to working with responders, because one day it won’t be a drill and they will have to work hand in hand with them. Andrews said.

With the help of about 400 students overall, the disaster drill of 2019 involved many.

Professor Jackson interview

Professor Melissa Jackson 706-778-8500 ext. 1196

From thinking still photography was for her, to news, documentaries and production. She’s done it all and now professor Melissa Jackson hopes to bring decades of field experience to the classrooms here at  Piedmont College.

“I decided I could either tell more stories or I could help the new generation tell stories,” said Jackson, “I wanted to bring all my experiences that I had had and help this generation tell the stories now. I think there are plenty of students out there that want to learn and go out there and make a change. I think that video and film is one of the ways that they can do that.”

Before joining Piedmont College’s Mass Communications program in the 2018-2019 school year, Jackson had her big start in news with two different internships in college: one her junior year and another her senior year. The second internship led to a job two weeks after her college graduation. This brought her into the world of news, documentary videoing across the world along with working for an Atlanta based news, weather, traffic and sports station, WSB-TV.

“I worked in what they called a special projects unit and was a field producer. I put together pieces for the anchors you see,” she said. “Everyone from Dr. Randy Martin, Clark Howard, Monica Pearson John Pruitt, Jovita Moore.”

Jackson was a main part on the WSB-TV team behind the scenes. She covered all areas of stories for the team, and sometimes be in the midst of the action for a breaking story. Jackson worked with the main anchors at WSB-TV and was requested to come back and help with their farewell material. Once she ended with her field work, she headed back to the classroom to get her master’s degree from University of Georgia and to then give back in the classroom.

“It’s really cool to have a professor that is coming straight back to the classroom setting from the real world,” sophomore sports communication major Davis Barlow said. “It adds to her credibility as a professor since she knows exactly what she needs to teach us.”

Barlow believes professor Jackson is here to better Piedmont students and also help them get prepared for what jobs are available after graduation.

Mattie Keaton, senior mass communications major said, “I think she helps students because she gives them assignments that allow them to get out into the field and really get comfortable with the different equipment.”

Professor Jackson says she has high hopes and big dreams for Piedmont Colleges mass communications program.

“I’ve been blessed to work in every part of this,” she said. “The movies, film, documentaries, production, cooperate, news. That’s what I want to bring here.”

Brittany Gowen: Things Change

Hey! My name is Brittany Gowen. My middle name, which is Mare, was really only used by my parents when I would get in trouble as a kid. To this day, even though my middle name hasn’t been used in quiet a few years, it still makes me cringe when someone says “Brittany Marie”.

I’m from Snellville, Georgia and went to Brookwood high school which is of course home of the good ol’ 2011 Brookwood VS. Grayson rivalry along with the two well known songs of the town “Brookwood Where You At” and “Grayson Step Your Game Up”. Everyone in Gwinnett County knew about it and each video had over 500,000 views. People will still bring up the songs on occasions depending on the area I’m in when they ask what high school I attended.

With that said, I’m not too far away from Piedmont College. I chose Piedmont for the main purpose of lacrosse. I’ve always loved playing sports growing up and sports have always been apart of me. I came in as an athletic training major and I soon found out that science was clearly NOT my cup of tea. My freshman year was spent in the health science department here at Piedmont and I later realized that what I really wanted to do with my life was in the mass communications department. I then changed majors and now I’m here, still playing lacrosse and now doing the things I love to do. I’m now a sports communications major. I found this past summer to do what makes you happy and to follow your passions instead of doing something that you thought you wanted to do three years ago. Things change.