The Georgia Highlands College community is looking forward to a winning year for its athletic programs in 2013-14, with the addition of new basketball team members and the beginning of competitive baseball/softball in Cartersville. When conference athletics came to campus in the fall of 2012, the event ushered in a new era for the college. An overwhelming majority of students had voted to start the program, despite the initiation of a $50 athletics fee.
The inaugural year certainly exceeded expectations. The women’s team made it all the way to the playoffs – a nearly impossible feat for a first-year team. Three team members graduated and moved onto four-year institutions on full scholarships: France native Manon Cherubini to Angelo State University in San Angelo, Tex.; top scorer Seandre Lee to the University of West Georgia in Carrollton; and Lashanta Clardy to Fisk University in Nashville. Cherubini and Gabrielle McClendon were also honored as scholar athletes with grade point averages of 3.0 or better.
Matt Catanzano from the men’s team had the highest GPA in the athletics program – 3.6. Catanzano will be returning to the team for the upcoming season. Because the men’s team was composed of freshmen only, there were no transfers to four-year institutions from its ranks.
Sports programs are obvious rallying points at any college, and studies show that the more engaged students are in college life outside the classroom, the better they tend to do academically and the more likely they are to graduate. Clubs and student organizations are one way to do that, but nothing pulls students, faculty and staff together as congenial fellow fans like the nervous anticipation of game night.
As for the athletes themselves, they sometimes choose two-year institutions over the big schools because they are more likely to play regularly. If they go to large universities, which have a much larger roster, they may have to warm the bench for a year or two without competing.
Athletes, of course, just want to play, so two-year colleges that offer them a better chance to share court or field time with teammates are a big draw.
Beyond that, the latest studies have shown that athletics create students and adults with more self-discipline, sense of teamwork, value of others, self-sacrifice, responsibility and strong work ethic. In other words, a win/win for Georgia Highlands and its students.
Pre-season basketball games start on Nov. 1. Baseball and softball kick off their pre-season efforts in February. Following are updated player rosters for men and women’s basketball, baseball and softball.
*Denotes returning player.