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Sports Injury Specialist, Georgia College Have Athletic Touch

Inn8, GNTC Partner In NW Georgia

 

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“Inn8 Touch Massage Owner, David Bhimji, gives therapy to GNTC Athletics Coordinator David Stephenson during a visit to Inn8’s East Ridge, Tennessee location. Bhimji is among several long-time donors to GNTC’s Athletic Department.”

 

(Chattanooga, Tennessee) – As the Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) Athletic Department begins to plan its 10th year of intercollegiate competition, the corporate partnerships from both sides of the Georgia/Tennessee state line continue to grow. In an era, where many schools have to work hard to make ends meet when it comes to athletics, the long-term vision of GNTC’s programs are made possible, in part, by the help of Inn8 Touch Massage in East Ridge, Tennessee.

 

Owner Derek Bhimji has been in business for five years and simply wants to give back to help athletes excel. “I want to help these student-athletes to perform the way they want so they can continue to do what they love,” said Bhimji. “We specialize in sports massage and neuromuscular therapy. These areas are key for the athletes in the college’s athletic programs.”

 

The college first launched its two initial athletic offerings, Men’s and Women’s Basketball and Women’s Volleyball nearly a decade ago. After seeing their first action on the court in early 2008, it wouldn’t be long after that local companies would begin to see a real benefit in what GNTC was providing. Bhimji is no exception and now one of more than a dozen regular contributors to Georgia Northwestern Athletics each year.

 

“For the past few years, David has come to our facilities to give the athletes sports massages, as well as speak with them about how to rehab injuries they are suffering,” said GNTC Athletics Coordinator David Stephenson. “His steady support of what we do, along with the growing number of others who are giving to our programs with each passing year, shows me the level of impact we are having in our North Georgia communities.”

 

Stephenson and Bhimji have been working on the collegiate partnership since 2013. Bhimji’s business, Inn8 Touch Massage Therapy, is located in East Ridge, Tennessee. Bhimji and his wife, Brittney, have two children, as well.

 

Donations made to GNTC Athletics are made by way of the Georgia Northwestern Technical College Foundation. From academic programs to intercollegiate athletic offerings at the Technical College System of Georgia institute, all gifts to any function of the college are managed by the GNTC Foundation. GNTC Director of Institutional Advancement Jason Gamel leads a team of community leaders from across the college’s nine-county service area in helping gain support of the companies and people the college serves throughout the year.

 

For more information on GNTC Athletics, the GNTC Foundation, or anything related to the college, contact them at 866.983.4682 (GNTC). You can find them on the Internet at GNTC.edu. Also, Georgia Northwestern can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, WordPress, and YouTube. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and an equal opportunity institute.

 

Since 1962, Georgia Northwestern Technical College has provided degrees, diplomas, and certificates in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 13,734 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,876 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 5,858 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.

Celebrating 10 Years of Bobcat Athletics

Georgia Northwestern Technical College is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its athletic program in 2016. Pictured are (front row, from left) head cheerleading coach Karen Stoker, head volleyball coach Carrie Powell, assistant women's basketball coach Marissa Camp and GNTC Student Life Coordinator Dione Waddington. On the back row is GNTC Assistant Director of Marketing and Public Relations Don Foley, Sports Information Director Scott Herpst, former interim school president and Athletic Department Hall of Famer Jeff King, men's and women's basketball coach and Athletic Director David Stephenson, head golf coach Jared Willerson and GNTC Vice-President for Student Affairs Stuart Phillips. (Photo courtesy of GNTC)
Georgia Northwestern Technical College is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its athletic program in 2016. Pictured are (front row, from left) head cheerleading coach Karen Stoker, head volleyball coach Carrie Powell, assistant women’s basketball coach Marissa Camp and GNTC Student Life Coordinator Dione Waddington. On the back row is GNTC Assistant Director of Marketing and Public Relations Don Foley, Sports Information Director Scott Herpst, former interim school president and Athletic Department Hall of Famer Jeff King, men’s and women’s basketball coach and Athletic Director David Stephenson, head golf coach Jared Willerson and GNTC Vice-President for Student Affairs Stuart Phillips. (Photo courtesy of GNTC)

(Walker County, Georgia) – What was once just a line item in a study looking to boost the college experience for local students has become a major selling point for Georgia Northwestern Technical College.

The year 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of athletics at the school. This past decade has seen Bobcat and Lady Bobcat intercollegiate teams compete for and win region championships, battle in national tournaments and make a name for themselves against some of the top small college programs in the country.

But for Athletic Director David Stephenson, it means so much more than that.

“Our mission statement, if there is one, is ‘education, character and athletic development’,” he explained. “Our goal, first and foremost, is to get our guys and girls an education so they can go out later and make a living, while at the same time teaching them life skills. If we can do all of that, while at the same time giving them the awesome opportunity to play college sports, we’ve met our goal.”

“WE DIDN’T EVEN HAVE A PEACH BASKET”

A 2005 study funded by Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) schools asked students for their input in how to make the technical schools feel more like community colleges, and sports was one of top things mentioned by the students.

Bobcat Athletic Hall of Famer Jeff King was serving as the college’s Vice President of Administrative Services when he was informed by then-college president Dr. Ray Brooks of a plan by other TCSG schools to try and start up their own athletic programs.

“We didn’t have any teams or equipment or uniforms or anything,” King recalled. “All we had was a thought that we might do this. Just a wing and a prayer.”

Some stories were sent out by the school’s media relations department explaining the school’s plan to introduce athletics for the first time in more than 40 years. One of those stories caught Stephenson’s eye.

“There was a lot of prayer because everyone wanted to do this right from the start,” said Don Foley, one of the school’s public relations and media personnel who helped write and send out the stories. “We put a few (stories) out there about what it is we wanted to do here and David called us before we even posted the job opening.”

After the position was posted and the interviews were conducted, Stephenson got the call and the offer to head up the fledging program.

“I still remember the day Jeff (King) called and hired me for the position,” he explained. “He told me two things. One, he had no clue as to how much they could pay me because they had never done anything like this before and two, he said he was still amazed I would even take the job considering we didn’t even have a peach basket or a basketball to throw it into.

“For me personally, it’s just amazing to see how much we have grown.”

“We had about 12 guys show up to that first basketball meeting, some didn’t even play in high school,” King said. “Fortunately, though, we had some that did. That first team was mostly local kids and we played against other technical schools. The next thing you know, we didn’t lose a game and we had a lot of people showing up to our games too.

“We’ve gone from there to becoming an (National Junior College Athletic Association) Division III program and competing for championships. It’s grown beyond any of our thoughts and I hope it continues to grow. I give David total props for all of this. Someone without his persistence and hard work would have given up a long time ago. But at least we can pay him now.”

OTHER SPORTS ARE ADDED

Men’s basketball wasn’t the only sport that started up at the college that first year. Then known as Northwestern Technical College, the “Mustangs” were adopted as the team’s official mascot and the first Lady Mustangs’ volleyball team took the floor.

That squad, then-coached by Tricia Goodwin, traveled all over the Southeast, playing against various club-level teams from a number of different schools and even picking up a couple of wins against club teams from Southeastern Conference schools.

In 2010, Northwestern Tech and Coosa Valley Tech in Rome merged to form Georgia Northwestern Technical College with the “Bobcats” becoming the new school’s nickname and mascot.

Women’s basketball was added that same year under Jim Williams and the Lady Bobcats won a region title in its very first season. In 2011-2012, the underdog Lady Bobcats would earn the college’s first-ever national tournament berth in any sport as they advanced to the tournament’s Sweet 16 before falling to nationally-ranked Montgomery-Rockville of Maryland.

But despite the successes, there was air of trouble looming under the surface.

“I DIDN’T THINK WE WERE GOING TO MAKE IT”

Financial problems in the TCSG during that time were forcing a number of schools in the state to make deep cuts. Other schools merged in order to save money and for several schools in the system, athletics was some of the fat that had to be trimmed.

“There were a couple of years, honestly, I didn’t think we were going to make it because of budget cuts, college mergers and other things,” Stephenson said.

He said a number of people deserve the credit for keeping athletics at GNTC alive, in particular King and the school’s Student Life Coordinator, Dione Waddington.

“Jeff was serving as our interim president and campus provost during those lean years and he was the driving force in fighting for us,” Stephenson said. “He kept telling people that sports here would be a great thing.

“And for the first six or seven years of our existence, we were totally relying on Dione budgeting us the money to exist. Even in these past two or three years, when we’ve ran short or needed something that wasn’t in the budget, I’ve never known her to question any budget requests I’ve made of her. She’s even sacrificed some things on her part because she felt like athletics was that important. Dione has always been very supportive of me and what we’re doing.”

But survive the program did.

Today, the school still offers men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball, but they have since added men’s golf and co-ed competition cheerleading to its list with the most recent additions having seen quite a bit of early success.

The Cheer Cats qualified for NCA Nationals in Florida on their very first attempt and ended up placing seventh in the nation in their division. The squad has already qualified again for Nationals this April.

That same month, the Bobcat golf team will be looking to defending its GCAA championship. Georgia Northwestern, in just its second season as a program and in its first year of eligibility for regional and national play, claimed the 2015 Region 17 Division III title and earned a spot at Nationals in New York.

There, the Bobcats placed third overall in their national tournament debut and they had two golfers finish in the top six individually to earn All-American honors.

“To make the advancements we’ve made in just 10 years is remarkable,” Foley added. “You look at all the students that have come through here. It’s pretty fast growth for intercollegiate athletics.”

A BOOST FOR THE SCHOOL

While athletics is just a small part of the many facets that make up Georgia Northwestern Technical College, its impact reaches far beyond the sidelines and fairways.

“When we first talked about it 10 years ago, I had no idea it would grow this much,” Waddington said. “I think it’s been great P.R. for us. It’s definitely expanded our Student Life and it makes the students feel like they are a part of something.

“When we recruit students to the school and they find out we have athletics, it brings a sparkle to their eye. It makes them look at our school differently, knowing they might still have a chance to do what they love and play here instead of having to go off somewhere else and spend thousands of dollars. I think it helps legitimize the college even more.”

“Having (athletics) is definitely an asset to the college for a variety of standpoints,” said Stuart Phillips, the school’s Vice President for Student Affairs. “One of the questions we’re asked most is ‘do you have athletics? Even the kids that don’t participate in athletics, still want to attend a college that does.

“It’s added a new dimension for us. We’ve seen it grow under great leadership from David (Stephenson) and (GNTC President) Pete McDonald and we’re looking forward to seeing it grow further in the future.”

GIVING BACK TO OTHERS

The past decade has seen the school’s athletic department give back to the community as well.

Community organizations, such as Toys for Tots and the LaFayette Care Mission, have been benefactors of the support given by the school’s teams and staff in the form of Toy and Food Drive Games. The department has also worked hard to honor veterans, police officers, firefighters and first responders during special dates throughout the seasons.

“That’s something that has been very important to me personally,” Stephenson added. “I even told the interview committee when I applied, if you’re looking for someone who is only concerned about wins and losses, you’ve got the wrong guy.

“I wanted to use the program as a platform to reach out and do things for people in the community. Every year I’ve been here, our community outreach has continued to grow.”

WHAT’S NEXT?

While the program has enjoyed fairly steady growth in the last 10 years, Stephenson is optimistic that even more could be on the horizon.

“I would like to see us add at least one more men’s and one more women’s sport, even if it’s the same sport, within the next two years for sure,” he said. “I would to see us have our own gym facility, preferably on the new Catoosa County campus. I’d like to get to the point where we are totally self-sufficient and I would like to see our female athlete population rise. It’s starting to grow more than it has in recent years, but I want to see it take off to the point where there are as many females trying out for sports as there are males.”

BEHIND THE SCENES

While Stephenson deserves a lot of credit for getting the program where it is today, he is quick to name others who have also played big roles in getting the program off the ground and keeping it there.

Past and current school administrators like McDonald, Brooks, King and Phillips, staff members such as Waddington, Foley and Amber Jordan (public relations) and Stephenson’s current group of coaches, assistant coaches, staff members and volunteers have all been instrumental in the continued growth of the program.

Then there are others, such as Stump Martin and later Carthell Rogers, with the Rossville Athletic Center, numerous businesses and corporate sponsors and others who give of their time and work behind the scenes to keep the program on a first-class level.

“That very first meeting I had with our (prospective) student-athletes, I told them we were going to try to make this athletic program the same as any other intercollegiate (athletic) program of our size in the country and I think we’ve done that,” Stephenson explained. “It’s been my baby for 10 years and it’s been neat to see it grow from infant and toddler stages to running the way I knew it could.

“To be at this point with the awesome staff I have, it’s all a God thing. Plus, we’ve had some tremendous student-athletes and some tremendous support from our administration. When we started all of this, some technical colleges (that also began athletics) didn’t make it. Some of their programs folded after a year or two, but we’re still around.

“I can look at the photos on my office wall and see some of the outstanding student-athletes we’ve worked with over the years. I know we have impacted their lives, not just from an athletic standpoint, but from an academic sense and a character sense and that is probably what I’m most proud of.”

Restaurant Group Makes Georgia Northwestern A Priority

Burger King Franchisees Give To GNTC Athletics, Foundation

“Georgia Northwestern Technical College Athletic Director David Stephenson, far left, visits with some of the management of the Dalton, Georgia-area Burger King restaurants. Shown from left are Stephenson, Dalton Burger King General Manager Mannie Lopez, Middleton & Middleton, Incorporated’s Director of Operations Dorie Nesper, and Middleton & Middleton, Incorporated’s Franchise Business partner Chris Bock.”
“Georgia Northwestern Technical College Athletic Director David Stephenson, far left, visits with some of the management of the Dalton, Georgia-area Burger King restaurants. Shown from left are Stephenson, Dalton Burger King General Manager Mannie Lopez, Middleton & Middleton, Incorporated’s Director of Operations Dorie Nesper, and Middleton & Middleton, Incorporated’s Franchise Business partner Chris Bock.”

(Northwest Georgia) – The Burger King restaurants in Dalton, Georgia are making Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) a priority. For the second straight year, franchisees Middleton & Middleton, Incorporated have donated $1,000 to GNTC Athletics and the GNTC Foundation.

“Sponsorships like this really help us get the things our student-athletes need,” said Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s Athletic Director David Stephenson. With the college since 2007, Stephenson prioritizes community involvement and giving back as a top responsibility of his programs. “These restaurants taking this step by showing support of what we do really makes us feel like we are making a positive impact on more people every day. We couldn’t be more appreciative.”

Partnership signage is being manufactured to be put on display at the college’s Whitfield Murray Campus in Dalton, as well as the Rossville Athletic Complex, home of the Bobcats. “We wanted to give to (GNTC) in some way and show we are a proud partner of what they are doing here this area,” said Middleton & Middleton, Incorporated’s Franchise Business Partner Chris Bock.

Showing their partnership even further, the Burger King location on the Dalton By-Pass in Dalton, Georgia even dons a framed Georgia Northwestern Men’s Basketball jersey. This location is just a couple of miles from the main entrance of the Whitfield Murray Campus of GNTC. “We’ve even got workers from the college,” said Dorie Nesper, Middleton & Middleton, Incorporated’s Director of Operations.

Donations made to GNTC Athletics is made by way of the Georgia Northwestern Technical College, Incorporated (GNTC) Foundation. From academic program to intercollegiate athletic offerings at the Technical College System of Georgia institute, all gifts to any program at the college are managed by the GNTC Foundation. GNTC Director of Institutional Development Jason Gamel leads a team of community leaders from across the college’s nine-county service area in helping gain support of the companies and people the college serves throughout the year.

For more information on GNTC Athletics, the GNTC Foundation, or anything related to the college, contact them at 866.983.4682 (GNTC). You can find them on the Internet at GNTC.edu. Also, Georgia Northwestern can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, WordPress, and YouTube. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and an equal opportunity institute.

Since 1962, Georgia Northwestern Technical College has been instrumental in providing quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. The mission of Georgia Northwestern Technical College is to provide accessible, high quality technical education and workforce development opportunities.  Serving the nine counties of Catoosa; Chattooga; Dade; Floyd; Gordon; Murray; Polk; Walker; and Whitfield, GNTC has five convenient campus locations in Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties. With programs of study in business, health, industrial, and public service available, students have the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree, diploma, or a certificate from GNTC.  This past year, 14,562 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 8,249 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia and the fifth largest technical college in the state of Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 6,313 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.

Cats Ink 6-5 Frazier

Among those on hand for the signing ceremony of Sammie Frazier (center) were Adairsville coaches Lee Whitaker, Ray Reece and Kent Howard, along with GNTC head coach David Stephenson.
Among those on hand for the signing ceremony of Sammie Frazier (center) were Adairsville coaches Lee Whitaker, Ray Reece and Kent Howard, along with GNTC head coach David Stephenson.

(Adairsville, GA) – Sammie Frazier may not say much, but the smile on his face Wednesday afternoon spoke volumes.
An ear-to-ear grin seemed to be permanently attached to the Adairsville senior’s face after he signed papers to continue his basketball career with Georgia Northwestern Technical College in a ceremony at the high school.

“It means a lot to me to have all my friends and family here to watch me sign to play in college,” he said. “It’s just good to see everybody smile.”

About the only person smiling more than Frazier was GNTC Bobcat coach David Stephenson, who was more than thrilled to pick up the 6-foot-5, 190-pound Tiger standout.

“This is a big pick-up for us,” he said. “To get a 6-5 kid that can run the floor is great and him being left-handed gives him a little bit of an advantage over most people he’ll be facing. He’s someone we can put in the four or five spot for sure, and after summer workouts we may be able to slide him in at the three depending on who we’re playing.”

Frazier said he was impressed with the coaches, staff and the campus at GNTC itself. He added that he would bring a lot of positives to the Bobcat program, on and off the court.

“I’ll bring length, ability, skill level, a great attitude and a winning attitude,” he said. “I just want to win. I know I need to work on some things, like footwork, speed and shot selection, but I take pride in my rebounding and my defense. I work hard at them.”

“He’s a low post player, but he also has pretty good mid-range on his shots,” Stephenson added. “One of the biggest things about him is that he can move his feet, which will pose match-up problems against some of the bigs we’ll play. He’s got to put on some weight, but that’s usually the case with most kids coming out of high school. He’s a good kid that’s been well-coached.”

Frazier averaged around 13 points, over 10 boards a night and more than three shots a contest this past season. He shot 57 percent from the floor and recorded 13 doubles-doubles. He had a season-high 23 rebounds and nine blocks in a late-season win over Coahulla Creek on Feb. 8.

“He’s one of the most improved kids I’ve ever coached, from his freshman year to his senior year,” said Adairsville coach Kent Howard. “He’s gone from a freshman that could barely run the floor, although he had great hands, to a senior that was one of the top rebounders in all of Class AAA. He’s can also handle the ball and guard away from the basket, but he can play with his back to the basket and he’s consistent.

“He’s also a high character kid. He’s a great practice player and a great kid to have in the locker room. He loves his teammates and wants to win. He has a tremendous upside. I think he will just continue to get better because he knows how to play and how to compete. I’m excited for him. He’ll have a great future playing for Coach Stephenson.”

Frazier said he is undecided on a major, but is considering psychology.

Gordon Lee’s McAllister Signs With GNTC Hoops

Incoming freshman hits hardwood this fall

Tony and Missie McAllister were among those hand at Gordon Lee last Thursday to watch their son Garret sign a letter of intent to play basketball at Georgia Northwestern Technical College. Also present for the ceremony were GNTC head coach David Stephenson, Gordon Lee assistant Brad Gray and Gordon Lee head coach Ed Clendenen
Tony and Missie McAllister were among those hand at Gordon Lee last Thursday to watch their son Garret sign a letter of intent to play basketball at Georgia Northwestern Technical College. Also present for the ceremony were GNTC head coach David Stephenson, Gordon Lee assistant Brad Gray and Gordon Lee head coach Ed Clendenen

(Chickamauga, GA) – After a senior season where he earned All-Region status in football, Gordon Lee’s Garret McAllister was leaning toward continuing his gridiron career in the college ranks.
But when his first love came calling, McAllister simply couldn’t say no.
The senior has opted for basketball as his sport of choice at the next level, signing a letter of intent on Thursday to join nearby Georgia Northwestern Technical College.
“I love football,” said McAllister, who had considered a handful of schools, “but basketball is my favorite sport and I’m happy I found some place where I can keep playing basketball.”
McAllister said he also considered not playing sports at all when he got the call from Bobcats head coach David Stephenson. “I couldn’t find anywhere to play basketball, so I thought about just going to go to school and being a regular college student,” he explained. “But Coach (Stephenson) called me one day and asked me to come and talk to him. So I did and everything just worked out.”
McAllister had an award-filled senior year for the Trojans, leading the team in scoring at 16.1 points per game, shooting 36 percent from behind the 3-point line and 68 percent from the charity stripe, while adding 5.7 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.7 steals a night.
He was named to the All-Region 6-A squad by the region’s coaches and as a Class A All-State honorable mention by the Georgia Sports Writers Association.
“He had been talking to some football people, but his passion was basketball and from a money standpoint, (GNTC) will be a lot cheaper than any school he was looking at for football,” Stephenson said. “I think we got a steal here. He’s a guy that can play the 1 or 2 spot for us, and we like getting guys that have played football because they are more used to the contact they will have to adjust to in college.
“Plus, he’s got good character, good grades and he comes from a good family, and if you get a kid out of Gordon Lee’s program, you know they are coming with good, sound fundamentals. It makes our job a lot easier when the kids have the basics down.”
Gordon Lee’s Ed Clendenen said he wasn’t surprised that his point guard finally chose basketball.
“I think he enjoyed playing football, but his first love was basketball,” Clendenen said. “I’m proud that he will get to play some more at the next level. He’s multi-talented and one of best rebounding guards I’ve ever coached. He can play the point, but he shoots it well enough to play the 2, and if they want to go small, he could even play the 3. He’ll be a good addition for Georgia Northwestern and a valuable addition to their recruiting class.”
The Trojans played in arguably the toughest Class A region in the state and Clendenen said that type of competition will only help McAllister down the road.
“He wasn’t exactly held back from playing against top-level players, that’s for sure,” the coach continued. “He’ll be ready to play the competition he’ll face (in college) because he’s gone up against even (NCAA) Division I talent in high school. I think he’ll make an immediate impact and he can be a great leader for them. I’m looking forward to watching him play some more.”
McAllister added that he chose GNTC for its proximity to home and that he credits Clendenen for helping prepare him for the college game.
“Coach (Clendenen) always pushed us and tried to get the point across that we had to mature as players,” he said. “That really helped me get to the next level and know that basketball is what I wanted to keeping doing with my life.”
McAllister said he considering Criminal Justice as a major.

Bobcats Ink Trion Duo For 2014-15 Hoops

Trion seniors Jared Wigley and Kaleb Stoner signed on to join the men’s basketball program at Georgia Northwestern last week. in a ceremony at the school. (Messenger photo/Scott Herpst)
Trion seniors Jared Wigley and Kaleb Stoner signed on to join the men’s basketball program at Georgia Northwestern last week. in a ceremony at the school. (Messenger photo/Scott Herpst)

Scott Herpst
Courtesy: NPCO / northwestgeorgianews.com

The lineage of former Trion Bulldogs in the Georgia Northwestern men’s basketball program can be traced back to the inception of the college’s program. Names such as Dustin Rosser, Matt Hill, Bud Todd, and most recently Hunter Ivester, have been standouts who have layed the foundation for the Bobcats.

Last week, two more names were added to that impressive list.

Bulldog seniors Jared Wigley and Kaleb Stoner will trade in royal blue for navy blue next season after signing paperwork to join the Bobcats for the 2014-15 season.

The duo helped lead Trion to a sparkling 22-4 record and an unbeaten run in 6A-A subregion play this past season.

Trion head coach Lanny Thomas said GNTC is getting two outstanding young players.

“Kaleb is an explosive player who can score a lot of points in a hurry for you,” Thomas explained. “He can really deliver some instant offense. Jared is a great ball distributor and a real team player. He gets everyone involved in the offense, he’s a good ball-handler and he may have been our best defender.

“Plus, they are accustomed to winning here at Trion so (GNTC) Coach (David) Stephenson has got himself a couple of guys that knows what it takes to win.”

Wigley said signing to play in college is the realization of a dream he has had since he first starting playing the sport.

“It’s been my dream my whole life, ever since I was playing ball in the backyard,” he said. “I’ll bring a solid commitment to the team, lots of energy and lots of defense. I love to play defense.”

Stoner said he has big plans in store for his time with the Bobcats.

“Hopefully I’m going to bring them 10 or 11 more wins next year,” he said with a laugh. “But I’ve always played the game and I love it, so it’s great to know I get to go on and play in college.”

“We’ve always gotten good results from every player we’ve ever gotten out of Trion, and I think the addition of these two will continue that run of good quality kids for us,” Stephenson said. “Trion had a very successful year, so to be able to pull two of those kids from that squad will continue to help our program and continue the feeder program we have at that school. I’m excited.

“They are both very hard workers and I’m looking forward to seeing where we can plug them into next year’s roster. Lanny does a great job with the guys down here and gets them ready to play at the next level. Trion’s kids always work hard for us, which is something we love, and they are always good character kids.”

Both players said they have had discussion with Ivester about playing the college game.

“He’s says it’s totally different than playing in high school,” Wigley said. “He said it’s a lot faster and a lot more physical, but I’m ready for the battle.”

Georgia Northwestern Faces Elimination Weekend In Oxford

Reynolds, Parks, Nichelson Earn NJCAA Region First-Team Honors

“Georgia Northwestern Men’s Head Basketball Coach David Stephenson in a media interview in Rome, Georgia at the start of the 2013-14 NJCAA season. Stephenson’s career victory records sits at 497.”
“Georgia Northwestern Men’s Head Basketball Coach David Stephenson in a media interview in Rome, Georgia at the start of the 2013-14 NJCAA season. Stephenson’s career victory records sits at 497.”

(Northwest Georgia) – With Georgia Northwestern Men’s Head Basketball Coach David Stephenson’s win on February 17 over Welch College (TN), the top Bobcat is only three wins away from the 500 victory mark for his career.

Two potential wins towards that plateau could go down in Oxford, Georgia this weekend as the Bobcats square off in NJCAA Region XVII competition in the post-season national qualifying tournament. A first-round game in the district round of the NJCAA National Tournament next week would set the stage for win number 500.

But, it’s ‘win-and-you’re-in’ or ‘lose-and-go-home’ from this point on. It all begins Saturday at 4 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium on the Emory-Oxford campus. That’s when the Bobcats will face-off with West Georgia Tech in the NJCAA Region XVII Semi-Finals. On the other side of the bracket is host Emory-Oxford and Southern Crescent Tech. The finals will take place at 4 p.m., Sunday.
The goal: Two wins in 26 hours.

The Cats (8-16, 2-4) have won at least two in a row twice this season. But this time, Georgia Northwestern has a spot in the National Tournament on the line. For NJCAA Region XVII, the Cats only have to win their semi-final match-up against West Georgia Tech. The region’s top two teams automatically advance to the district round of the national tourney.

The Golden Knights, winners of six of their last eight, won the region last year. The Carrollton, Georgia squad (18-16; 2012-13) came within one game of the NJCAA Elite Eight before falling to Caldwell Tech (NC) last March.

That was a different team. This year’s edition of the Golden Knights is 11-15 overall, 4-2 in region play. The 2013-14 editions of Georgia Northwestern and West Georgia Tech basketball both hover around the .500 mark at home and have sub-par records on the road.

Going into the tournament, the key players to watch are sophomores Tavish Reynolds (Calhoun, GA) and Hunter Ivester (Trion, GA) who earned slots on the All-Region squads for the season. For West Georgia Tech, Orlandis Hill, Devante Orebeau, and Jon Perry earned spots, as well.

“We have to get it in our head that we can play with them,” said Stephenson of West Georgia Tech. “We have to come out ready and confident. We start games a little less than confident. Then, we realize, a little late, that we can play with these squads. So many times we end up a possession or two away.”

Georgia Northwestern fell both at home and away to West Georgia Tech in the regular season. One of the oldest adages from post-seasons past is that beating the same team three times in a single season is tough. “Playing these guys on a neutral site may help out,” said Stephenson. “But simply put, we have to slow the ball down and play smarter basketball than they do. That can earn us a win.”

Other regular season honors included freshman Bobcat Devin Watkins (Cedartown, GA) who was named to the region’s honorable mention list. Ivester was named to the region’s All-Defensive Team. Ivester, along with Cody Cochran (Flintstone, GA) was named to the region’s Academic Achievement Team.

— — — — — — — —

On the women’s side of the tournament bill this weekend, the Lady Cats find themselves in an unusual position. Georgia Northwestern goes into a win-and-you’re-in NJCAA Region XVII title game as the underdog. In the previous two region crown match-ups in 2012 and 2013, the Lady Cats went into those games as favorites. Sunday at 2 p.m., Georgia Northwestern will be a heavy underdog against the nation’s seventh-ranked team in West Georgia Tech.

The Lady Golden Knights boast the region’s 2013-14 Coach of the Year in Kenny Hill and Player of the Year Kadriana Howard. West Georgia Tech (16-8) leads the nation in steals per game (19.5) and ranks in the top ten in total rebounds per game (47.1) and assists per game (17.4).

Two-Time NJCAA Region XVII Coach of the Year Jim Williams says his Lady Cats have been the underdog before. “We’ve had games where we thought we didn’t have a shot,” said Williams. “But, our team would walk into the gym and fight. Knowing that all it takes for a trip to the next round is one win is a real motivation for this club this week. With this being our third time around against this team, there is a lot we’ve learned and we hope we can make some things happen.”

It all rotates around NJCAA Region XVII All-First Team members Kiarra Parks (Cleveland, TN) and Alyssa Nichelson (Canton, GA). Parks (13.4 ppg) and Nichelson (10.4 ppg) were named All-Tournament Team starters after their freshman showing in the region tourney held last year in Warner Robins, Georgia.

Georgia Northwestern has been in a rebuilding year going 5-17. The Lady Cats finished up the regular season going 2-2 in the final two weeks of play. The two loses, however, were to West Georgia Tech. The Lady Cats advanced to the NJCAA Sweet 16 in 2011-12 losing on the road to Montgomery College-Rockville (MD).

As it is on the men’s side this weekend, West Georgia Tech has to complete one of the tougher things to do in sports to be able to move on. They have to win a third game in three tries in 2013-14 against the Lady Cats to move on.

Other regular season honors included freshman Brecia Hall (Rome, GA) and sophomore Sierra Smith (Armuchee, GA) who made the honorable mention list for their play in the 2013-14 season. Smith was also named to the region’s Academic Achievement Team.

For information on all Georgia Northwestern intercollegiate athletic programs, check out BobcatsCountry.com or e-mail the Bobcat Athletic Department at dstephenson@gntc.edu. GNTC is a member of the NJCAA, a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia, and an equal opportunity institute.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College serves Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Murray, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties in Georgia with campuses located in Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties. Approximately 26,000 people benefit from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs, making it the largest college in Northwest Georgia and the fourth largest technical college in Georgia.

Bobcats Snap Slide, Take Home Win In Region Opener

Georgia Northwestern Heads To Oxford Tournament

“Freshman center Dustin Stanley (Northwest Whitfield HS, GA) helped lead the way in Georgia Northwestern’s win in their NJCAA Region XVII opener Monday night. The 6-foot-5 North Georgia native dropped in 11 points, pulled down five boards, and rejected a pair of shots.”
“Freshman center Dustin Stanley (Northwest Whitfield HS, GA) helped lead the way in Georgia Northwestern’s win in their NJCAA Region XVII opener Monday night. The 6-foot-5 North Georgia native dropped in 11 points, pulled down five boards, and rejected a pair of shots.”

(The R.A.C., Rossville, GA) – When the Bobcats went to bed on November 22, 2013, they were 3-2 and six weeks away from NJCAA Region play tipping off. However, Georgia Northwestern took a five-game skid leaving them at 3-7 as region action finally arrived at The R.A.C. in Rossville, Georgia Monday night.

In the often spoken words of Georgia Northwestern Head Men’s Basketball Coach David Stephenson, that’s when they, “handled their business.”

Up only two, 28-26, at the break Monday night, the freshmen big men would come to life as the Bobcats took home their first win in nearly two months with a 58-52 win at home over NJCAA Region XVII opponent Southern Crescent (GA). 6-foot-5 center Dustin Stanley (Northwest Whitfield HS, GA) and 6-foot-4 forward LaDarius Watkins (East Hamilton HS, TN) combined for 23 points, 14 rebounds, and five blocked shots.

The other side of the two-headed Bobcat attack was the sophomore backcourt of Tavish Reynolds (Sonoraville HS, GA), Richard Olsen (Granger HS, UT), and Hunter Ivester (Trion HS, GA). The second-year trio combined for 28 points, nine assists, seven steals, and three blocks.

Holding the lead for most of the game, Georgia Northwestern (4-7, 1-0) would see double-digit leads come and go in the second stanza Monday. The Tigers (2-10, 0-1) would manage to keep it within a couple of possessions late in the game before the Cats would claw its way to a win in their region opener.

Next up on the slate for the Cats is a weekend trip to Oxford, Georgia where the Bobcats will match-up in a pair of games on the campus of Emory-Oxford.

For information on all Georgia Northwestern intercollegiate athletic programs, check out BobcatsCountry.com or e-mail the Bobcat Athletic Department at dstephenson@gntc.edu.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College serves Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Murray, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties in Georgia with campuses located in Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties. Approximately 26,000 people benefit from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs, making it the largest college in Northwest Georgia and the fourth largest technical college in Georgia.

NJCAA Region XVII Box Score

Georgia Northwestern (58) – Richard Olsen 10, Watkins 2, Tavish Reynolds 11, Ivester 7, Bell 3, Cochran 2, Dustin Stanley 11, LaDarius Watkins 12.

Southern Crescent (GA) (52) – Ijelum 4, Ware 2, Rodney Gilbert 13, Anthony Calloway 21, Danish Freeman 12.

Halftime Score: 28-26, Georgia Northwestern

Cats, Eagles Battle To Buzzer in NJCAA vs. NAIA

Georgia Northwestern Falls Short At Reinhardt

LaDarius banner

(Waleska, GA) – The first-ever match-up between NJCAA’s Georgia Northwestern and NAIA’s Reinhardt University went to the buzzer Thursday night as the Eagles would soar away with the win, 87-84.

A last-second play in the first half saw the ball in the hands of freshman point guard Rico Mears who launched a three and connected to take a 42-39 lead into the half. The Eagles would come out firing in the second stanza as they would build a 10-point lead with just under eight minutes left to play.

Aggressive play by the Cats over the next two and a half minutes would make the game a one-possession game for most of the final five minutes. With six seconds to go and trailing by three, the Bobcats could not get a good look at the basket and would fail to launch a buzzer-beating shot at the Brown Athletic Center in Waleska, Georgia.

Georgia Northwestern’s LaDarius Watkins would lead the way for the Bobcats in the non-region battle. The 6-foot-4 freshman from Chattanooga’s East Hamilton H.S. would lead the Cats with 19 points and seven boards in the contest.

Sophomore Hunter Ivester (Trion, GA) would do damage from the guard slot with 10 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, and a pair of blocks. Fellow sophomore Tavish Reynolds (Calhoun, GA) would drop in 18 points from his shooting guard spot for the Cats.

Reinhardt JV’s Warren Staples (Fayetteville, NC) led all scorers with 24 on the night. Eagle sharpshooting freshman Blaine White (Joliet, IL) would connect from beyond the three-point line five times in the match-up.

Georgia Northwestern (2-2) will next hit the hardwood Monday night at the Rossville Athletic Complex (R.A.C.) The Bobcats will host Sewanee (TN) for a 7 p.m. tip-off. For information on all Cats Country intercollegiate athletic programs, check out BobcatsCountry.com, e-mail the Office of Sports Information at dfoley@gntc.edu, or call (706) 764-3813.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College serves Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Murray, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties in Georgia with campuses located in Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties. Approximately 26,000 people benefit from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs, making it the largest college in Northwest Georgia and the fourth largest technical college in Georgia.

Georgia Northwestern (84) – Olsen 8, Tavish Reynolds 18, Hunter Ivester 10, Watkins 1, Mears 9, Harris 2, Powell 3, McLin 4, Bell 6, Cochran 4, LaDarius Watkins 19.

Reinhardt University (87) – McCullough 3, Blaine White 15, Sapp 6, Warren Staples 24, Isaiah Hugley 17, N. Jones 9, Lynch 3, D. Jones 8, Tremble 2, Polhill II, Shelley.

Halftime Score: 42-39, Georgia Northwestern.

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