Screaming Eagles Baseball 2017

Toccoa Falls Athletics have been through a whirlwind of change over the last few years. It is common that athletes transfer in or out, but the athletic department has seen a surge of coaching turnover the last few years. The Screaming Eagles are in their first season under Head Baseball coach, Jeff Mullikin, and have struggled thus far. The program brought in more than thirty recruits this year, but have not been able to find the chemistry needed to win games. It is evident, even from the stands, that there is frustration about the seasons turnout. However, there is hope on the horizon according to Senior Team leader Nathan Stanley.

I spoke with Nathan about what the team needs to turn the season around, what are some positive things the team is doing, and the major area of improvement needed.

Nathan says, “The major factor in turning the team around is constant support from players, staff, and the student body. I have played sports my entire life, and I know how frustrating it can be to play on a team that has no support from players or fans. It is demoralizing playing in front of home crowd that does not cheer or support.” The Toccoa Falls fans have been extremely supportive and the team is looking forward to continued support from students, staff, and family members.

In spite of their lackluster record, there are good signs from a very, young team. Stanley talked positively by saying, “There are good things to be said about this team. The guys love each other and compete hard every day at practice to get better. We challenge each other on and off the field.” It is great to hear that the team pushes each other on the field, but their off-field chemistry is going to play a major factor in their success.  

According to Stanley, the one area that still has not clicked for the Screaming Eagles this season is the mental aspect. He explains, “As a team, we need to realize that each day is an opportunity to build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over. Our mental aspect of the game needs to improve as we begin to head towards conference play.”

Whether it is mental toughness, team chemistry, or just bad luck that is plaguing the Screaming Eagles Baseball team, there is no doubt that they are working frantically to figure it out. They have played opponents well, but have not been able to close out games. It will be interesting to see how things progress as conference play gets into full swing. If nothing else, there is optimism in the voice of one of the team leaders. Nathan continues to see the positive by stating, “As we are gearing toward beginning conference play, we expect to get on a hot streak. The last week, we have played top tier opponents and played them well. With our team chemistry and mental capacity for the game expanding, there is nothing but bright horizons ahead.”

Baseball Home Opener

The time has finally come! The “boys of the spring” are here with America’s favorite pastime! Toccoa Falls College’s Screaming Eagles, led by first-year head coach Nathan Bowen, play their first home game this Saturday, February 13, starting at 2:00 pm. They will be playing against Tennessee’s Johnson University.

Last year, the TFC team finished with a 28-23 final record, continuing the long-standing tradition of having a winning record by the end of the season. With a solid young team and a new coach to reinvigorate the program, there is no better time to get behind them than this year!

TFC has already played three games this season and has lost all three. On the surface, three losses may look like a grim start. However, looking a little closer at some stats indicate that this could not be farther from the truth as the pitching staff dominated. At worst, TFC lost 3-7 in the second game of a three-game series against the powerful Southern Wesleyan University team. The other two games resulted in losses that were 0-2 and 0-1. The latter of the two lasted an amazing 14 innings! Even more amazing in that game, Dylan Powers threw 10 innings only giving up 4 hits! Dylan Powers is also slated to get the start in the first game against Johnson University.

Screaming Eagle Fans! Get pumped up for this home game!

In case one cannot make this weekend’s games, the next seven HOME games are below:

FRI. 02/26 Goshen College 2pm
SAT. 02/27 12pm
3pm
SAT. 03/5 Indiana Wesleyan 12pm
3pm
MON. 03/7 2pm
TUE. 03/22 Truett McConnell College 3pm

 

Everyone should grab the blankets and fold-up chairs out of the closet and come down for TFC’s multi-time National Championship winning team’s first home game!

 

*Featured image borrowed from Mandy Sullivan.

TFC’s Featured Male Athlete of the Month – Josh Folwell

Joshua Folwell is the Featured Male Athlete. The 6 foot 3 inches Power Forward is poised to bring Toccoa Falls College a Championship.

Where are you from? Why did you choose to come to Toccoa Falls College?

I’m from a small town called Greensboro, North Carolina. It’s right past Charlotte. I went to another college first, to try and get on the basketball team, but it didn’t really work out. Their coach told me about Toccoa’s coach. I came in for a couple workouts and got to see the school. Really I wanted to play basketball and use basketball as a means to get a good education and eventually coach asked me to be on the team. It kind of just worked out, because I found out that they (TFC) had an Outdoor Leadership Education Major and things just seem to fit, so that’s how I chose Toccoa Falls.

What are you majoring in and why did you choose that major?

I’m an Outdoor Leadership Education Major. One main reason is that I love the outdoors. I love to fish, love to go hunting, kayaking, back packing, all those fun things. I also like kids. I have a heart for kids, a passion for kids. I figured I can use that major to reach out to kids, possibly doing a summer camp or yearlong camp.

Let’s talk sports, is there another sport you like to play beside basketball?

There is! I love all sports. Actually, since I’ve come to Toccoa, Volleyball has been one of my favorite sports to play. If I don’t have practice or if practice ends early, the Hmong students are in the gym a lot playing volleyball, and I love going and playing with them.

When it comes to basketball, do you model your game play after any NBA player’s game?

I don’t really know if I’d use the word model, but my favorite NBA player is LeBron James. I like the way he plays. I like his hard nose, getting to the basket mentality. I like getting to the basket and making something out of that. But yeah, if I had to say one player it’d be him.

As the season begins, what’s one goal you hope to accomplish?

Well, you’re always going into the season wanting to get that banner (Championship Banner) at the end of the year. That’s definitely a goal, winning a championship, winning the region tournament at the end of the year, but I think since a lot of our seniors left and a lot of our leaders left. I think this is the year for me to become a leader on this team. We got a lot of young kids coming in, a lot of freshmen and sophomores. I’m the only real junior, so I think becoming a leader for those guys would be good: showing them good things to do, different moves, this and that, and especially off the court, being a Christ-like leader.

What’s one thing people don’t know about you?

One thing that people don’t know about me is that I enjoy playing Yugioh, the card game. Only a few people know, but I guess I’m a nerd for that.

What’s one thing you’ve done in your life, that you really feel accomplished and proud of?

So this past summer, I had the opportunity to go to Thailand. I went with a team of ten people, including myself. I got to work at a college there. It was Chiang Mai University. We got to work with the college students and got to teach them English. Just being able to go to Thailand and be there for 8 weeks, and not having anything to worry about, just trusting the Lord. This was really something to feel accomplished about.

Alright, last question. What do you want to tell our readers out there before we end our interview? Maybe some advice, something to go by.

We just got a new coach this year. Every day after practice or before practice, he goes over a verse of the day or saying of the day. And on the first day was, “If a man doesn’t work, a man can’t eat.” It was really meant for basketball, but it can be applied for so many other things. If you don’t work hard for things in life, or work hard in your school life, or if you don’t work hard at anything, then you’re not going to benefit from all the stuff you do. If you only study for 5 minutes for a test and then go take the test, you’re not going to do good on that test. But if I go and study for 45 minutes to an hour and then next day you study for another 30 minutes. You’ll have a better opportunity to do good on that test. This just kind of stuck with me, if you don’t work hard at what you do, then the chances of you succeeding gets less and less.

That’s really encouraging. Something many of us can start to do as well.  Thanks again Josh, I hope everyone enjoys getting to know you and definitely good luck to you and the Men’s Basketball team.

TFC’s Featured Female Athlete of the Month – Jamie Smith

As the leaves begin to fall and the weather gets colder, not many people are outside running seven 5K’s, especially down here in the south. But that is exactly what our October Female Featured Athlete likes to be doing.  Jamie Smith loves it when it gets colder because it lets her know that the Cross Country Nationals is just around the corner.

Where are you from and what brings you to Toccoa Falls College?

I’m from Toccoa, Georgia. Coming out of my senior year, I didn’t want to come to TFC, but my parents wanted me to stay home my first two years of college. So, I went to North Georgia Tech my first semester and then transferred to TFC my second semester. After that first semester (at TFC), I was like okay, TFC is pretty cool. I actually fell in love with it.

What are you majoring in and why did you choose that major?

I’m majoring in General Studies right now. I started out with Cross-Cultural and then I just kept wanting to change my major and jumping back and forth. Finally, I just settled on General Studies, that way I can just pick and choose whatever I want. I want to be a missionary someday, but I didn’t feel I was called to go into the Cross-Cultural department.

Let’s talk Cross Country. Explain to us what Cross Country is and the process of it?

Cross Country for girls at least, you run a 5K, which is 3.1 miles. Usually, we have 6 to 7 meets in a season. A school will host a meet and all these other schools will come. We’ll run together, but you basically are competing against yourself for your time. It depends on what time you get because our division has a set time for qualifying for nationals. If you get below that time, then you can go to nationals.

I’ve never been to a Cross Country meet, tells us what’s it like to be a participant and a spectator?

It’s really cool and really exciting! It’s not like soccer where you can watch the whole game. As a spectator, you have to be more intentional about going to a meet. The course is usually a loop, so you’ll start off watching the beginning, and then you can go to another spot of the course, see them run by and cheer them on there, but you definitely want to be at the finish for sure.

Running it is really fun because at the beginning there’s a lot of people cheering for you. Then during the middle part you’re usually in the woods or off somewhere where nobody can get to you; you’re basically by yourself, pushing yourself on. And then the end is really exciting because everyone is screaming and cheering for you.

If you had to pick a whole new sport to play, what would it be, and why is that?

I think I’d probably pick soccer because you still get to run and you still get that really tight team aspect. It would be involving skills as well as strategizing on how to get across the field.

How fun is it that you and your siblings attend the same college? What are the pros and cons of that?

I think it’s really fun. You can mess with people too. …You get to see them at school and take pride in the school because it’s just not my school, it’s all of our school. We can talk about classes, and talk about professors, and we all have the same friends, so we can hang out together a lot. On the con side, once the semester gets really busy, we don’t get to see each other very much.

What did you do this past summer?

I worked grounds this summer at school. It’s a very therapeutic job. You water plants, blow leaves, trim bushes and at the end of the day you just feel satisfied. You can also see the immediate fruits of your work. It was a really good job.

What’s one thing people don’t know about you?

I graduated two years early from High School. So I’ll graduate college when I’m twenty.

Thank you again for coming in and letting me interview you. I really enjoyed it and it was really good getting to know you better.  With that, what do you want to tell our readers out there before we end our interview?

Keep going strong!

Keep going strong! Great words from a great person. I’m sure our readers will enjoy getting to know you as well as getting to know what Cross Country is all about. Good luck to you and the Cross Country team.

 

*Photo Credits to Jaime Smith

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TFC’s Featured Female Athlete of the Month: Kaitlin Weidner

School has kicked off and so has Fall sports. Many of Toccoa Falls College’s students participate as athletes, preparing themselves for the different sports they’re playing in. As each sports commences, students and even local supporters come and get involved in each sporting event. In many ways, the community of Toccoa feels like it is part of the team. It is The Talon’s pleasure to introduce these TFC athletes in a new monthly feature. These articles will be written in the hope that readers can get to know the college’s athletes. Fans can know who they’re cheering for and, in some sense, these articles can grow the community.

The Talon will be featuring two athletes per month for each gender specific sport offered at TFC.

TFC’s Featured Female Athlete of the Month:

Coming all the way from Corry, Pennsylvania, and standing at 5 foot 10 inches, it is obvious that Kaitlin Weidner is built for Volleyball. Kaitlin is 19 years of age and is the oldest of two siblings. Her volleyball career goes back as far as her sophomore year of high school. Not only is Kaitlin an amazing middle hitter for the TFC Women’s Volleyball team, but she has the desire and passion to help those around her. It was a pleasure interviewing Kaitlin who is very positive and easy to talk to. One thing that was very noticeable about her is how passionate she is to do God’s work.

Where are you from and what brings you to TFC?

I’m from Corry, Pennsylvania and I’ve always wanted to go to TFC. A lot people from my church have gone here. Also, TFC has a really good missions program and I really want to go overseas and teach English.

Okay, so then what are you majoring in and why did you choose that major?

My major is Cross Cultural Adult Education and a minor in TESOL. I want to go overseas and teach English.

Let’s talk Volleyball. Is Volleyball the only sport you play?

I played 1 year of Basketball in high school, my senior year. It was a lot of fun. But… I’m not college material for basketball. (laughs)

You’re known for spiking the volleyball. And I’ve seen you play too, you’re very good at it. Were you aware that every time you hit the ball everyone yells “BOOM!”? Even some say,“It’s BOOM Time!” Do you find it funny, flattering, or are you so focused you don’t notice?

(Laughs) I heard it one time, but usually I can’t really hear what people are saying. I mean it’s fun and all, just as long as the audience is having fun. I guess it’s good…

Alright, if you had to pick a whole new sport to play, what would it be, and why is that?

I think it’d be Ultimate Frisbee. I love that it just never stops, like you’re always running. You’re either on defense or you’re on offense. There’s not really a break in the play. And it’s really a team effort, you can’t do it by yourself.

Let’s talk outside of sports, do you have any hobbies? What do for fun on your spare time?

I play the violin and I started that in first grade. And I just actually joined the worship team for church [First Alliance]. Which would be good, because I use to do that back at home. As for hobbies I like to do anything outside. Four wheeling, camping, bike riding, riding dirt bikes, basically anything outside. I’m also a huge fan of card games and board games.

Alright, before you leave Toccoa Falls College, whether it’s graduation or transfer (hopefully not), what’s one thing you want to accomplish or do before you leave?

(Long pause) I would like to stay on the Dean’s List the whole four years that I’m here.

Okay, if you had a tip for someone wanting to juggle sports, school and maybe even a social life, what would that tip be?

Priorities! Like… sports is important and your school work is important, friends can be important too. But, it’s like… taking time management. During volleyball season, I have practice and then I’ll just spend the rest of my time sitting at the library. Because I know, you have to make sure school is important.

Last question. Before we end our interview what’s the last words or advice you want to give to our readers?

I would say remember to put Christ first in whatever you do. In sports, I try to do that and thank Him for everything He’s done for me so far; and to depend on Him for strength. Keeping Christ first whether it’s in academics or sports.

Great encouraging words. Thank you so much for your time. I hope the readers gets to know you a little better and are encouraged by your words. Good luck to you and the Women’s Volleyball team!

*Photo Credits to TFC Athletics

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