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Off the Field – Special highlight (Jan. 13, 2016 issue)

With the end of season around the bend, The Erwin Record sports department would like to give a special highlight to the junior varsity basketball teams at Unicoi County Middle School. In a busy winter of athletics and news, the younger class at UCMS can get lost in the shuffle, but the Blue Nation continually shows the outpouring of support for all of the athletics across the county.
The UCMS boys’ JV team is comprised of Jordan Bridges, Robbie O’Dell, Isaiah Smith, Mason Barcel, Jefferson Erwin, Noah Patterson, Caleb Swinehart, Dawson Deakins, Bryson Peterson, Tyler Clouse, Matthew Sellars, Hunter Downard, Zach Hopson, Aiden O’Hare, Bryce Shepard, Matt Hensley and Will Hensley.
The UCMS girls’ JV team includes Caroline Podvin, Julie Hensley, Emma Griffith, Leah Edney, Sydnie Reynolds, Nalene Askew, Anniston Hensley, Amanda Miller, Marissa Soulier and Zoie Stout.
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Who knew Blue Devils could swim?
Kaleb Clawson will represent Unicoi County High School later this month in the high school regional competition at the Kingsport Aquatic Center.
Clawson, a senior at UCHS, has already qualified for the state meet next month thanks to his performance during a swim meet held near the end of 2015.
UCHS head coach Jonathan Kenney said he has enjoyed watching the senior progress from last season, when Kaleb came up just shy of punching a ticket to the state meet in his junior year, to the present.
After starting last season with a handful of swimmers, Clawson is the lone representative of the swim team this season. With UCHS providing different outlets for students to participate in extracurricular activities, it would be a sight to see the swim team continue to grow across the county.
With UCHS providing two state competitors in the past four years, including Clawson and recent graduate Katie Garrabrant, the pools are glowing with potential success for interested students.
A preview of the upcoming regional meet with coach Kenney will appear in a future issue of The Erwin Record.
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The Milligan College men’s basketball team recently spent a day preparing and serving food, sorting through donations and sweeping the halls of Western Carolina Rescue Ministries.
“It was just a great opportunity for our guys to serve and get an appreciation for opportunities they have as college students,” Milligan head coach Bill Robinson said in a press release issued to The Erwin Record. “With the fortune they have to get a degree and become a positive piece of society, I hope they want to continue to give back and take advantage of their chances.”
The mission of Western Carolina Rescue Ministries is to provide rescue, recovery and restoration in Jesus’ name. Each of the three components of the ministry is about meeting people in crisis where they are, caring with dignity and restoring healthy, productive lives.
Kudos to the college providing opportunities for their student athletes to better themselves on and off the court. Across the area, students have prime locations to continue their lives at institutions like Milligan College.
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Roan Mountain saw a drastic shakeup to the football landscape for the upcoming season. first broke the news on Friday, Jan. 8, that Cloudland High School relieved head football coach Brock Puttman of duties effective immediately.
“We decided to go in a different direction with the football team,” Cloudland principal Jonathan Fontanez told on Friday.
Pittman finished his career with the Highlanders with a 31-14 record during his four years in Roan Mountain, including a 6-5 record this season and a conference championship.
School officials are scheduled to post the position in the coming days. A decision is expected to come down quickly as the team eyes their offseason to prepare for the 2016 season.
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Have a special sports story to share? The Erwin Record wants to hear from you.
We are continually looking for community input on a special moment or impact that athletics have made on the lives of individuals. To share ideas for feature articles, feel free to contact The Erwin Record Sports department at [email protected] for consideration.
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For daily updates on Unicoi County athletics, follow The Erwin Record Sports on social media. Readers can visit The Erwin Record Sports Facebook page. Photos, news and game coverage can also be viewed on Twitter at: @CurtisCarden_ER.
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Check out for a variety of photos taken during the year of Unicoi County athletics. Photos on the site are available for purchase by print or download.