Author Archives: michael thomason

Sports Feature: New Practice Facility?

With Piedmont’s student population growing every year, one area that is feeling the space crunch is athletics.

Student athletes from 22 different sports are forced to use the same fitness center space to work on their craft, in addition to all other non-athlete students on campus. The college hopes a proposed new practice facility will help alleviate that space crunch.

“It will give the student athletes a better chance to get their work in, more space to get work done is always a plus,” sophomore baseball player Nolan Ledbetter said.

The college purchased 80 acres of land, expanding the campus’ size by a whole 25 percent and

Athletic Director Jim Peeples hopes construction will begin soon on the complex. “You will see dirt moving if board will approve that sometime this spring,” he said.

Although to the naked eye it appears as if work is not happening on the new complex, Peeples assures students that work is being done. The major roadblock is that the property borders protected wetlands.

“The biggest part is the topographical survey, which we already have done,“ Peeples said.

Student athletes are eager for the opportunity to have a dedicated space for their workouts. End with a quote on from another student athlete (freshman or sophomore) about their hopes for a new facility.

The 80 acre property is rumored to give way to a new softball field, a running track, and other athletic facilities. Further information has not been released. So while its arrival is much anticipated, the new facility is seemingly far from completion.

Fouls Prove Costly as Heat Top Bucks in Game 2 Nail-biter

In Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks found themselves in an early 0-1 series deficit to the scrappy Miami Heat. The Heat, led in Game 1 by their established superstar Jimmy Butler, were determined to prove to the NBA world that their win in the opener was no fluke.

While Butler would be held to a rather pedestrian 13 points in 36 minutes of play, it would be veteran point guard Goran Dragic who would take on the offensive burden, adding 23 points on 4-for-8 shooting from 3-point range. Dragic and rookie Tyler Herro would stand out in the Game 2 grudge match.

While Dragic was the high point man for the Heat in that game, it was his actions in the final minutes of the fourth quarter that would be remembered the most. The Heat led the majority of the game, only relinquishing the lead twice. That said, Miami was put in a crucial moment in the final minute.

With 7.7 seconds remaining in the game, the Heat led 114-111 over Milwaukee. With the Bucks in possession, all-star sharpshooter Khris Middleton heaved up a 3-pointer in hopes of tying the game and potentially forcing overtime. Middleton’s shot would rim out; however, this play would be overshadowed by one of the most controversial foul calls in recent memory. Middleton is fouled on his 3-point shot by Goran Dragic, and chaos ensues.

By popular opinion, Dragic did not commit a foul on Middleton, but referee Marc Davis and ESPN expert Steve Javie would say otherwise and Middleton was headed to the foul line. Middleton would nail all three foul shots to knot the game up at 114. What would happen next in the final 3.3 seconds of the game would enrage many Milwaukee Bucks fans.

After Middleton’s three consecutive free throws, the Heat would call their final timeout, advancing the ball to half court. The underperforming Jimmy Butler would get the final shot. Not unlike Middleton’s 3-pointer, Butler’s shot would rim out. But once again, referee Marc Davis was quick to blow the whistle. Davis calls a shooting foul on Antetokounmpo. The foul was called according to Javie, for “intruding on Butler’s landing space” after his shot, whatever that means.

“I feel like, personally, it was right play,” Antetokounmpo said with no ill will toward referee Davis for making the call. https://www.espn.com/nba/recap?gameId=401241766

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer also chimed in on the call, adding “In the judgement of the officials, there was enough to warrant a foul. ” https://www.espn.com/nba/recap?gameId=401241766

However you see the overzealous foul calls, the underestimated Miami Heat are no just two wins away from reaching the NBA Finals, currently leading the Boston Celtics two games to one in the Eastern Conference Finals. Personally, I believe the referees are a little too quick to blow the whistle in today’s NBA, but the game is changing by the minute and fans will have to adapt.


Michael Thomason: Adversity

Hello, my name is Michael Thomason. I am 18 years old and I was born in Atlanta, GA on April 14th, 2001. I am an only child, which is extremely rare in today’s world and my parents were divorced when I was four years old. My eighteen years of life have experienced many ups and downs and because of these obstacles I am the person and athlete I am today.

I grew up in McDonough, Georgia. The city is not small, but not big either. My family had to work twice as hard to provide for me and make ends meet. This hard-working attitude my parents possessed rubbed off on me and for that I am extremely grateful. My work ethic has always been something I pride myself on in athletics and academics. I have not always been the most talented player on every team I have played on, but my work ethic and determination has given me an advantage. As a four-year letterman at Ola High School, I helped the baseball team reach the state championship for the first time in the school’s fifteen year history. While I have experienced high levels of success in my life, I have also had more than my share of setbacks and bumps in the road along my journey to college baseball.

It all started in my eighth grade year when I was a multi-sport athlete at Ola Middle School, playing Baseball and Basketball for the mustangs. Being that my mom worked for the school system as a psychologist, I could attend school anywhere I wanted. I had a really good eighth grade season in baseball playing select travel baseball for the Foundation Athletics out of Fayetteville, Georgia. When it was time to choose my high school, I ultimately chose to stay at the high school that would create less of a burden on my parents: Ola High School. It was here where my obstacles would begin and mold me into the person I am today mentally and physically.

As a freshman, I would play on the varsity team. While playing on varsity for Ola, I split time on the junior varsity team whenever we would play our region rivals and needed to win. This would hold to form as our JV team was playing Union Grove High School, our top rival. The coach wanted me to pitch against Union Grove. However, in the second inning, I took a line drive off of my left ankle, breaking my ankle and ending my season. As a fourteen year-old, this was the first injury I ever had in baseball. I spent lots of time on my rehab to get back to one-hundred percent. I eventually did, but this would be the first of a long lists of setbacks I would experience.

My sophomore year I separated my shoulder blade and was out for the year once again. After this happened, I was crushed mentally, two of my four years of high school down the drain. Coming off the shoulder blade injury, I was ready for a big junior season and looking forward to the recruiting process. I was in great physical and mental shape but unfortunately lightning would strike a third time. Just two days before the season opener, I contract both strands of the flu and I am out for half of the season. After recovering, my body weight dropped from a healthy one-hundred and ninety-five pounds, to a weak one-hundred and sixty pounds, a shell of what I once was. This was again crushing for me mentally, again discrediting all of the hard work I put in to get to this point. After getting my weight back up and getting my arm back, half the season was gone and I found myself at the bottom of the barrel in terms of playing time.

Because of my lack of playing time in my first three years, I was very underrecruited with most division one schools already finished recruiting my graduating class. Due to this lack of interest, my high school coaches wrote me off and concentrated their energy on younger and higher recruited players in my school. This was tough for me mentally because I felt as if my coaches and teammates did not have my back in a time of need. I felt like my coaches and teammates did not believe I could cut it. I began to develop trust issues and opened my eyes to who I kept in my circle socially. I began to question my own abilities and it impacted my play on the field, always worried if I made a mistake, I would not see the field for another month. This took its toll on my mental health.

Due to my lack of interest from college coaches and my high school coaches doing little to help, I was forced to do what high school athletes should never do: get myself recruited. I committed myself to getting recruited. I emailed every school at every division along multiple states all over the United States with a copy of my video highlights. A vast majority of the schools did not respond, but I did get emails back from several high level schools. I went on visits, acquired interest, and received scholarship offers. Out of all the interest I received, I ultimately chose Piedmont for two reasons: I wanted to go to a place where I felt wanted, and I wanted to win. With Piedmont being one of the best division III schools in the entire nation, it was an easy decision.

This is how I have arrived to where I am today. Through hard work and determination, I never let the injuries or setbacks define me. I continued to use them as a tool to motivate me even more towards my ultimate goal of reaching the Major Leagues. This roller-coaster ride has taught me to be mentally tough keep a tight circle. As Gucci Mane would say, ” You’re either with me or against me or you’re in my way.”.

Barrett Courtwright: Life and Baseball

Growing up in a small town in South Carolina, Barrett Courtwright was involved in many sports to occupy his time- basketball, football, and swimming, but the one sport that always stuck with him was baseball.  Courtwright was born into a Christian household with three siblings and both parents. His parents made it a priority to make sure all of the Courtwright children were hardworking and worked to be the best version of themselves.

“My goal was to be a college baseball player. My parents tried to involve me in as many athletics as possible.” Said Courtwright, Piedmont alum and graduate assistant for the baseball team.

Barrett Courtwright grew accustomed to change and adapting quickly. After being born in Hookstown, Pennsylvania on June 24th, 1997 and raised in South Carolina, he was once again forced to adapt when it came time to pick a college to pursue his baseball career. He ultimately chose Piedmont College and became a Lion. Courtwright was forced to grow up fast and work hard for his opportunities.

“I chose Piedmont because I had the opportunity to play college baseball.” said Courtwright. “I was attracted to the small class sizes and that my major education was highly regarded.”.

With one of the top Division III programs in the nation, the Piedmont Lions have had tons of recent success. Courtwright would become a huge part of that success as a starting pitcher. After contributing to the Lions baseball team and graduating in 2019, Courtwright became the graduate-assistant coach on Head Coach Justin Scali’s 2020 coaching staff, alongside Luke Harris and newcomer Hayden Craig.

As of right now, Courtwright plans to pursue a career in teaching while also continuing to help mentor the Lions baseball team.

“The next step in my life is to begin my career whether that is in teaching, coaching, or possibly both.” said Courtwright. “I’m excited to impact others.”

Michael Thomason: Overcoming Adversity

Hello, my name is Michael Thomason. I am 18 years old and I was born in Atlanta, GA on April 14th, 2001. I am an only child, which is extremely rare in today’s world and my parents were divorced when I was four years old. My eighteen years of life have experienced many ups and downs and because of these obstacles I am the person and athlete I am today.

I grew up in McDonough, Georgia. The city is not small, but not big either. My family had to work twice as hard to provide for me and make ends meet. This hard-working attitude my parents possessed rubbed off on me and for that I am extremely grateful. My work ethic has always been something I pride myself on in athletics and academics. I have not always been the most talented player on every team I have played on, but my work ethic and determination has given me an advantage. As a four-year letterman at Ola High School, I helped the baseball team reach the state championship for the first time in the school’s fifteen year history. While I have experienced high levels of success in my life, I have also had more than my share of setbacks and bumps in the road along my journey to college baseball.

It all started in my eighth grade year when I was a multi-sport athlete at Ola Middle School, playing Baseball and Basketball for the mustangs. Being that my mom worked for the school system as a psychologist, I could attend school anywhere I wanted. I had a really good eighth grade season in baseball playing select travel baseball for the Foundation Athletics out of Fayetteville, Georgia. When it was time to choose my high school, I ultimately chose to stay at the high school that would create less of a burden on my parents: Ola High School. It was here where my obstacles would begin and mold me into the person I am today mentally and physically.

As a freshman, I would play on the varsity team. While playing on varsity for Ola, I split time on the junior varsity team whenever we would play our region rivals and needed to win. This would hold to form as our JV team was playing Union Grove High School, our top rival. The coach wanted me to pitch against Union Grove. However, in the second inning, I took a line drive off of my left ankle, breaking my ankle and ending my season. As a fourteen year-old, this was the first injury I ever had in baseball. I spent lots of time on my rehab to get back to one-hundred percent. I eventually did, but this would be the first of a long lists of setbacks I would experience.

My sophomore year I separated my shoulder blade and was out for the year once again. After this happened, I was crushed mentally, two of my four years of high school down the drain. Coming off the shoulder blade injury, I was ready for a big junior season and looking forward to the recruiting process. I was in great physical and mental shape but unfortunately lightning would strike a third time. Just two days before the season opener, I contract both strands of the flu and I am out for half of the season. After recovering, my body weight dropped from a healthy one-hundred and ninety-five pounds, to a weak one-hundred and sixty pounds, a shell of what I once was. This was again crushing for me mentally, again discrediting all of the hard work I put in to get to this point. After getting my weight back up and getting my arm back, half the season was gone and I found myself at the bottom of the barrel in terms of playing time.

Because of my lack of playing time in my first three years, I was very underrecruited with most division one schools already finished recruiting my graduating class. Due to this lack of interest, my high school coaches wrote me off and concentrated their energy on younger and higher recruited players in my school. This was tough for me mentally because I felt as if my coaches and teammates did not have my back in a time of need. I felt like my coaches and teammates did not believe I could cut it. I began to develop trust issues and opened my eyes to who I kept in my circle socially. I began to question my own abilities and it impacted my play on the field, always worried if I made a mistake, I would not see the field for another month. This took its toll on my mental health.

Due to my lack of interest from college coaches and my high school coaches doing little to help, I was forced to do what high school athletes should never do: get myself recruited. I committed myself to getting recruited. I emailed every school at every division along multiple states all over the United States with a copy of my video highlights. A vast majority of the schools did not respond, but I did get emails back from several high level schools. I went on visits, acquired interest, and received scholarship offers. Out of all the interest I received, I ultimately chose Piedmont for two reasons: I wanted to go to a place where I felt wanted, and I wanted to win. With Piedmont being one of the best division III schools in the entire nation, it was an easy decision.

This is how I have arrived to where I am today. Through hard work and determination, I never let the injuries or setbacks define me. I continued to use them as a tool to motivate me even more towards my ultimate goal of reaching the Major Leagues. This roller-coaster ride has taught me to be mentally tough keep a tight circle. As Gucci Mane would say, ” You’re either with me or against me or you’re in my way.”.