Author Archives: Will Sargent

Feature Story: Macey Higgins

There are many things that go into an athlete’s life, and many of them revolve around some sense of schedule. With the COVID-19 pandemic, everything like that changed this past spring semester with the cancellation of sports. Some athletes had to deal with their seasons getting canceled mid-season, and some were just beginning, but the routine of playing sports was suddenly halted, and the extended offseason began. Nobody knew how long it would be or how long it would last days, weeks or even months.

The Piedmont women’s lacrosse team was in full stride when the COVID-19 pandemic made its presence known in the sports world. “We were finally catching our momentum, and then the rug just got ripped out from under us,” said Piedmont Women’s Lacrosse Coach Kirsten Smith. “We will never know how the rest of the season would’ve gone. I am happy that our last game was such a great one, and we ended on a high note.”

The cancellation impacted athletes in different ways, such as Macey Higgins, a senior nursing major, who is currently battling an injury to her knee and quad. Her sophomore year, she partially tore her quad but persevered through the pain to finish the season with her team. Last year, she discovered that along with a torn quad, she is missing cartilage in her knee, which has caused her bones to rub together and causes pain when she plays.

“Although I have pain when I play, I love the game and my team too much to have surgery just yet,” she said. “Corona has put off the surgery I need, but I’m ready to be back at it with my team this coming spring, hopefully.”

With an extended offseason, Higgins and the Piedmont women’s lacrosse team have had to adjust to the circumstances when it comes to staying in shape and filling that void where practice and workouts once was. “Coach Smith did a good job with keeping in check of all of us and sending us workouts and suggestions of what we do over the summer,” Higgins said. “When we came back for the fall semester, we were all eager to get back to practice and get back together with the team.”

Given the circumstances of gyms being closed and being in quarantine, the act of staying in shape was relatively more difficult than usual. Getting that extra time off and having the ability to give her knee the rest it needed and proper rehab to continue her playing career for one more season. 

“The way I look at it, it was more of a blessing in disguise.This is my senior year and I am battling an injury but I am going to do anything to get to play one last time and quarantine allowed me to focus on my injury a little bit longer. Yeah our season got cut short, but everyone got a little bit extra rest and came back hungry and ready to start the season on a good note.”

Football or no football?

When you think of fall, you automatically think of the leaves changing, cooler weather, and pumpkin-spiced everything. There’s one thing I believe in particular that everyone is looking forward to this fall, and that is college football. Well, maybe.

With what many people consider an unofficial official college football season set to begin, and two of the Power-5 conferences delaying their seasons until the spring or having second thoughts about having a season, this season seems incomplete. The COVID-19 pandemic has really taken the sports world and turned it upside down when it comes to collegiate athletics. Yes, we have sports back, such as the NBA Bubble, MLB playing in empty stadiums and the NFL, but the only thing that is still up in the air is college football. The ACC, SEC, and BIG 12 have all agreed to play a conference-only schedule or a shortened schedule. Shortened schedules and conference-only schedules canceled or delayed some big-time games.

The bigger games will come later—unless they thrown off-course by the pandemic. That uncertainty, and the absence of some traditional bedrock programs, creates a conflicted backdrop. We’ve simply never been down a road like this before.

This season I am on both sides of the spectrum as one of my favorite teams, the Oregon Ducks, have opted out of the season as the PAC-12 has decided to cancel all fall sports. On the other hand, the Clemson Tigers in the ACC has been an advocate for getting the college football season up and going. I am highly disappointed that the PAC-12 has opted out of fall sports as the Ducks have had their best football recruitment class in school history this past offseason, as well as a majority of players coming back and putting off their draft eligibility for one more year just to play together one more time.

Clemson Tigers head football coach Dabo Swinney has been one of the most prominent voices for playing this season; he talked about how players were given the option to opt-out of the season due to the virus. Swinney said, “There are no Clemson players – and that includes walk-ons – who have decided against playing this season.” Clemson football had over 35 payers test positive for the COVID-19 virus, although only a select few were symptomatic. Dabo Swinney praised the medical and training staff of handling the situation at hand, “Their job was not only to get the Tigers back on track but also to set the tone for a college football season that was at that time – and still might be – in jeopardy going forward.”

That is how it is all over the country, one side or the other. One good thing that has come out of it all is that the NCAA granted everyone an extra year of eligibility to all of the seniors who it has affected. But college football, especially in the South, is more than just football; it is a livelihood for these fans. Waking up on Saturday mornings and either tailgating or sitting in front of the TV for the day is something that we have all been waiting for since January and is right around the corner. Or is it?

A traveling man

I don’t really know how to start off this blog post, whether to include a good quote or anything so I am just going to start it off like this.

Hey everyone, my name is Will Sargent and I am a senior here at Piedmont. I was born and raised and still live in Gainesville, Georgia. It’s about 45 minutes south of Demorest. I went to Gainesville Highschool, home of the Red Elephants. I played baseball for 12 years until I gave it up sophomore year of high school. I also played lacrosse all 4 years of highschool. I was going to continue my career at college but a torn Achilles and broken foot my senior year as well as a torn labrum in my shoulder prohibited that from happening.

I feel like traveling is a part of my DNA. Whether it be for mission trips with my church or the average family vacation, I have gotten to experience parts of the world and have once in a lifetime opportunities that are great memories. From swimming with sea turtles in Hawaii to having a snowball fight on a glacier in Alaska are just some of the things I have experienced aside from going to Haiti and the Eleuthera island in the Bahamas for mission work. I consider the wonderful city of Boston my second home because we have been up there a lot and I am a huge fan of the Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins.

Some of my favorite teams include the Oregon Ducks and Clemson Tigers football teams. I am a big soccer fan and I am of course an Atlanta United fan, as well as FC Barcelona and Manchester United. I am a huge Boston Red Sox fan ever since I can remember, I have always liked them, as I have never really been a Braves fan. Some of my favorite foods are crab legs, fried chicken, and mashed potatoes just to name a few. I like to watch sports and longboard in my free time.

Tim Dunton Feature Story

Growing up in Billerica, Massachusetts, about 30 minutes outside of Boston, Piedmont College’s men’s lacrosse coach Tim Dunton has had a knack for lacrosse since a young age.

“My best friend’s father, a high school lacrosse coach, got me interested in lacrosse at a young age, I then went on to go play my college ball at Endicott College where I was an All-conference midfielder and was a captain in my senior season,” he said. “At Endicott, I fell in love with the game even more, and I knew that I was going to get into coaching somehow.”

Learning the game of lacrosse from the inside out by playing for a multitude of years and transferring that knowledge into coaching and passing it on to a newer generation for players to live out their lacrosse careers is something that Coach Dunton is very passionate about. After graduating and working at a couple of admission offices, Dunton ended up landing a coaching job at Lasell College in Newton, Massachusetts.

“While there, I was an assistant coach for one season before that coach left,” he said. “I became the head coach the next year at the age of 24. The rest, as they say, is history. I’ve been a college HC ever since. The 2020 season was my 19th year as a college coach, 18th as a Head Coach.” 

Once given the opportunity to head coach at Lasell, Dunton never looked back and ended up finding his way down to Piedmont in the fall of 2015, “I loved the campus from the first time I stepped on it and knew that we could do something special here.”

At Piedmont, Dunton’s presence and passion of coaching have been recognized. 

“Coach Dunton loves the game of lacrosse and loves to learn more about the game. His passion for the game is present every day, whether it is in the office, practice, or play. He is passionate about his team and passionate about helping them achieve success,” said Ryan McKay, Piedmont College assistant men’s lacrosse coach. “I think the biggest takeaway is seeing how well Coach Dunton builds relationships with the players. He cares about them and wants them to succeed in all aspects of life. Not just lacrosse.” 

The amount of enthusiasm that coach Dunton has for the game and his players is evident, both on and off the field. The success of his players in life is something that Dunton cares about deeply.

“Coach Dunton does an excellent job building relationships with our guys. Players are always coming to the office to talk and catch up about everything going on in their lives,” said McKay.

With the experience and history that coach Dunton has with lacrosse, he has learned a thing or two and expects his players to play with a certain intensity.

“Mentally he pretty much just tells us what to expect, and if you mess up he’ll get on to you, but immediately he will immediately tell you how to fix it and that it’s fine,” said Jason Grexa, a junior applied math major and defensive specialist.”

Although born in the Northeast — a hub for lacrosse — Dunton was pleasantly surprised at the popularity of lacrosse in the South. It’s a sport he is continuing to help build in the region, and enjoys promoting it to prospective students. 

“Be open to exploring different parts of the country,” he said. “Don’t lock yourself into the Northeast. If I had known that there were schools that cared about their athletes like Piedmont does, or schools that have the facilities that we do, I would have moved down here 10 years prior.”

The Life of Zac Moore

When it comes to the dedication to the student body and Greek Life of Piedmont College, there is one man that comes to mind, and his name is Zac Moore.

“What really inspires me day to day is seeing the students that I work with succeed, both in their small- and large-scale victories. Helping others achieve their goals is what keeps me going.”

From being the advisor of the Campus Activities Board, Greek Life, and his most recent role as Advisor of Student Organizations, Zac Moore has always taken pride in the advancement of success in others’ lives. “From serving on an abundance of different committees, I try and give back as much as I can and try to get involved.” 

With the addition of Greek Life at Piedmont College in fall 2018, Zac Moore has found inspiration in shaping the program at Piedmont. He wanted to share with others the “life-changing experience” he had with Greek Life after he joined a fraternity the first semester of his freshman year at Austin Peay State University.” I was just talking to someone about how to combat homesickness because that seems to be a thing that we face here at Piedmont. It made me think about the time when I first met my future fraternity brothers and how welcoming they were to me, and I felt right at home due to the bond that we shared,” said Moore.

As a member of Alpha Sigma Phi, junior sports communication major Christian Castro said Moore has been invaluable to Greeks at Piedmont. “Zac is always more than willing to help us out in the fraternity. Whenever we have any questions about anything Greek, whether it be financial, coming up with events or anything, he is always more than willing to help us out.”

As a new fraternity on campus, Castro said Alpha Sigma Phi needs all the help it can get. Moore holds that fraternity, in particular, close to his heart. As a member of Phi Gamma Delta at Austin Peay State, Moore said he felt a calling throughout his college career to work in student affairs. Getting involved with students and helping them become active and build their legacy on campus was something that he knew that he wanted to do ever since the day he became involved in Greek Life. 

In addition to running Greek Life, Moore also works with all students to help plan activities on campus. His efforts have not gone unnoticed by students.

“Campus Activities Board always does such a great job putting on events,” said junior criminal justice major Noah Wood, “You can see how much effort goes into each one of these events and to know that they are making the campus life better is always good to see.” When asked about some events that CAB has helped put on Moore said, “We helped organize Piedmont’s first-ever PRIDE walk this past fall, which was an event for the LGBTQ community here on campus and it was a big success especially for the first one we have ever done.”

When it comes to events and campus life, Moore wants nothing but the best for the students of Piedmont, whether it be through campus activities or Greek Life, the success of students is what motivates him daily.

Noah Wood –

Christian Castro –

Lil’ Wayne- “Funeral” album review

Lil’ Wayne, one of the rap industry’s biggest stars, just dropped what some people think might be his final studio album, “Funeral” back in January of 2020. From a long list of records dating back to his earliest in 1999, which was titled “Tha Block Is Hot,” Lil’ Wayne has an extensive discography and is one of the most influential and versatile artists in the rap game. “Funeral” has everything that a Lil’ Wayne album could offer, from the features to the instruments that are being used, to the versatility in his vocals. From when he signed to Young Money Cash Money Entertainment in 1998, who has now become the sole owner of the record label, Lil’ Wayne has been one of the most consistent and prominent rappers over the past 20 years. Not many rappers have been able to accomplish what he has, let alone stay relevant for that long, and continue to drop solid albums like this one.

One specific song that stands out as old school Wayne is Mahogany. It recons back to “The Carter III,” with the beat of the drums and the flow of the raps. Wayne really went back to his roots with that song. Throughout this album, Weezy showed us his versatility through his vocals by not just rapping to the beat, but further giving us a look at the way that he can sing and reach another audience with his music. Lil’ Wayne is and forever will be one of the best lyricists to ever hit the stage when it comes to rapping. Wayne has always given us this “listen first, and it’ll make you think later” mentality, and that has always been a part of his work and falls nothing short of this album.

I can still remember listening him back in middle school- certain lines that he spoke, the real meaning stood out to me months after I initially listened to it. Lil’ Wayne has been one of those artists that everyone has either wanted to work with, or someone else has picked up traces of in their music. From artists like 2 Chainz, Adam Levine and Jay Rock, he has collaborated with several artists on this album. This is a testament to who he can work with. Whether “Funeral” is Lil’ Wayne’s last studio album or not, it has the tracks that can included on summer playlists.

Lil’ Wayne has established himself as a self-proclaimed skater, and one way to describe this album by Lil’ Wayne is equivalent to him some of the skate tricks. He sticks and lands quite a few of them, but also misses some as well. Some songs are just flops and don’t hit as hard as others. The amount of time that Lil’ Wayne has been in the rap game and as much as he has contributed to it, I honestly wouldn’t be mad that this album would be his last. There were quite a few songs that were absolute bangers like Ball Hard, Not Me and T.O. but there were also quite a few that were just a miss. The past two albums by Weezy have had that same viability, with his long break from releasing a studio album until “Tha Carter V,” unto which he reclaimed his throne in the rap game. It just has not been the same Wayne we all know and love. With his teaching and ways interwoven throughout the rap scene and the credibility as one of the best rappers alive, Lil’ Wayne gave us one of his most diverse and nostalgic works with this album, even though it was not his best.

Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show

When it comes to Super Bowl halftime shows, they usually don’t live up to the hype. But Shakira and Jennifer Lopez took over the world during the Pepsi Halftime Show at the 2020 Super Bowl. Miami had Latin night on full display from pole dancing, hip shaking and the ethnic background tributes. Shakira and J-Lo put on a Super Bowl halftime performance that will go down in history, top to bottom (pun intended).

Just a Helping Hand

Growing up in the mid-sized town of Gainesville, Georgia. I always wanted to travel and get out of town. From a young age, I have been taught that traveling and getting out was one of the best ways to experience the different cultures of the world. I saw the mission trips that my church was offering as a way to do that.

I have been blessed to grow up in one church, and remain involved to this day. Going through elementary school at my church you are involved in children’s activity, but you can’t really go on trips until you are in middle school. Seeing all of these trips advertised, I knew I had to be a part of it. Once I got in middle school, I signed up for my first trip, a week long trip to Anchorage, Alaska to help out at an orphanage and work on a house. I fell in love, and I knew right away that this is what I wanted to do in life. Giving back to help someone achieve another level of happiness has been something that I have held as one of my values. I knew from that moment forward that that was something that I had to incorporate into my life. 

Going out and experiencing cultures that are different from ours is something that we do not do often enough. We settle, get comfortable and get in our niches and don’t explore enough. We need to take a step outside of our comfort zone and experience the joy and the beauty the world has to offer. As soon as someone steps out of their comfort zone, that is when true personal growth happens.

Since that first trip, I have been fortunate enough to go all over the world with mission trips and help out a numerous amount of people. It gives me joy each and every time I do it. From repairing a roof in Eleuthera, Bahamas to building a church in the Dominican Republic, I have met new people and made an impact on their lives. But what they don’t know is how much they have impacted my life, and they have changed how I view the world.

Mamba Mentality

Whenever we lose someone we never met, people tend to shrug it off. But not in this case.

The world lost a sports icon on Sunday, Jan., 26 2020. Kobe Bean Bryant was on his way to his daughter’s basketball game when the helicopter he was riding in suddenly crashed, killing Bryant, his daughter and seven other passengers. As soon as that news broke, the world stood still. 

Kobe Bean Bryant was arguably one of the greatest NBA players of all time whose accomplishments involved being a 5-time NBA champion and an 18-time all-star. But one of his most famous contributions to the game was his “mamba mentality.” Throughout his career, as his playing style developed, he had donned the nickname, the “Black Mamba.” The black mamba is one of the most fearless snakes in the wild, and that matched up with his personality-on and off the court-perfectly. Kobe Bryant was known as someone who put his all into everything that he did; he never left anything out on the court. From dealing with broken fingers, a fractured nose, and even rupturing his achilles mid-game and staying in to shoot free throws, that is just the man that he was. People took note of that and started to apply that mentality to their own life-to be the best person that you can be, finding that self-motivation and that desire to accomplish anything that you set your mind to. 

As our time at college progresses and students go through the semester, motivation tends to dwindle throughout the year and we often end up questioning what our next move will be in life.Bryant has some advice for us. “The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great at whatever they want to do.”

We so often forget that we are in this thing called life together. We need to inspire each other, build each other up as well as focus on bettering ourselves in the process. The “mamba mentality” is so much more than just a mindset that you can apply to the court; it is something that you can possess and use to your outlook on life.

We as college students are on the brink of our next chapter in life, and we can all take something from this mentality as we head into our careers. “If you don’t believe in yourself, no one will do it for you,” Bryant once said.

His prophecies have touched many people across the world, and it is our job to carry on that mentality. The legends themselves may die, but the prophecies that they taught us never will. 

Relationship between Knee Strength and History of Knee Stability

Senior exercise science major Jazmin Penado has always been intrigued by knee injuries as they are very comon in sports. She presented at Piedmont College’s first annual P.R.I.D.E. Day, she presented on ways to avoid and how to combat different types of knee injuries.

“There’s been an increased number of female athletes participating in sports throughout the nation and with an increased number of participants comes an increased number of knee injuries,” Penado said. “My main goal is to determine the relationship between knee strength, coordination, and stability by a history of knee injury in female collegiate softball players.”

Knee injuries have been prevalant over the past decade, no matter the sport. Whether it be contact or non-contact knee injuries are something that will always be a pivotal concern in a players career. 

“A study by the NCAA states that 42 percent of all injuries of the lower extremities came by non-contact, and 19 percent of those were ACL injuries,” said Penado.

Knee injuries, no matter the severity, can affect the player’s career and greatly determine the athletes’ performance. Knee stability and strength have a significant influence on a player’s injury risk; prior injuries have a significant effect on an athletes chance of re-injury. Neuromuscular and strength training of the knee muscles have a significant impact on a player’s chance of injury. Neuromuscular training allows the athlete to know their limits and thus act in a more assertive matter.

“Not only do the muscles become stronger, but the ligaments themselves and the bones are able to absorb more shock and therefore resist all the stress you put upon it.”

Stability in the knee is something that has equal importance as strength. Without stabilization, the muscles become obsolete and are useless.

The multiple tests that Penado ran focused on different aspects, as in single-leg drop tests and single-leg press, both focused on knee stability and their strength across her field of participants amongst the collegiate softball players. 

 “There are many factors that go into an athletes success, and the strength and stabilization of the knee joint could be the difference between a successful season or a season spent on the injured list and in the training room.” Penado said.