Meet Kelsie Rhyne a two-sport athlete and a Health Science Major at Brevard College. Kelsie’s hard work and dedication to her sport has earned her a spot at Campbell University School of Medicine next year. Kelsie is also making the most of her senior year on the basketball court making her this month’s NadoInsider Spotlight Tornado.
Kelsie is a senior from Taylorsville, N.C. She chose to come to Brevard because it gave her the opportunity to play both basketball and golf while being a Health Science Major. Kelsie was also drawn to the small class sizes that Brevard offers, knowing that attending a larger school would not be the best fit.
Being a Health Science major is a daunting task on its own, but participating in two sports is also a challenge most people would choose not to tackle. Golf is played both in the fall and the spring, while basketball takes up the winter months. There is some overlap between the sports, but Kelsie has learned how to manage her time between classes, practices and games throughout her four years. She enjoys the change of pace between the two sports. While golf is considered a team sport in scoring, it is often the course versus the individual during the match. The sport requires a considerable amount of mental focus due to the slower pace. Kelsie enjoys the mental break that comes with basketball. The game involves less thinking and more instinct; and teammates to help out if in a jam. There is also a vast difference in the time of play for each sport. A normal basketball game takes about an hour and a half to play, while a round of 18-holes of golf can take five hours repeated over a three-day span for a tournament.
How is Kelsie able to succeed with this crazy schedule? Time management skills. Kelsie is intentional about creating lists and keeping an agenda; she has also learned to schedule classes in a manner that is manageable. She does sometimes feel pulled between two sports but has learned to communicate with her coaches and teammates about any missed practices. Golf is the perfect sport for a dual sports athlete because most practices can be completed on an individual basis. Kelsie is able to schedule golf practice around class and basketball practice.
During her junior season of basketball, Kelsie faced a setback, tearing her ACL during a game. The injury proved to be the hardest thing she has faced during her athletic career. Kelsie had never had an injury that kept her from playing. She was also in the midst of one of her more difficult semesters, while also beginning to study for the MCAT. In order to stay on track, Kelsie had ACL surgery on a Thursday and returned to class the following Monday. She had to learn to use crutches and realized how much she took for granted walking. Another challenge she faced was learning to ask people for help for tasks she could usually do on her own.
Now on the other side of the injury, Kelsie believes the setback has made her a stronger player and person. Kelsie went from playing the entire game to having to sit on the sidelines and cheer for her team. She was unable to participate in the spring golf season last year but attended the conference tournament. Her role as a teammate evolved with the goal of supporting her teammates becoming most important. On the golf course, Kelsie assisted her teammates in various ways such as putt shot selection and keeping them focused.Through this new outlook, she is able to think one step ahead during games.
When asked about her favorite memory playing each sport, Kelsie described her first game back this season from her injury. She was nervous about stepping onto the court again. She only had one-week of contact practice with her teammates and was a little apprehensive about the possibility of a re-injury. However, the game turned out to be a great success. Kelsie enjoyed being back on the court with the returners and finally being able to play with the new players. Kelsie described the team dynamic this year as “a great group of girls that loves and supports one another.” She believes it is the best possible senior year both on and off the court.
Her favorite golf memory is watching how the program has grown throughout her four years. When she was a freshman, she was the only member of the team. Now, Brevard is able to take team scores at matches. She also enjoys having teammates who can support one another through the mental challenges that golf can create.
Kelsie’s athletic success carries over to the classroom. She has been on the Dean’s list every semester at Brevard and carried the highest Health Science GPA for the past two years. She is a member of Tri-Beta, a Biology honors society that is awarded to students with at least a B average after at least three semesters of courses in biological science. Kelsie also tutors for biology, chemistry, and organic chemistry in the ELC and is a teacher’s assistant for biology courses. She is also a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Along with her studies at Brevard, Kelsie also had to prepare for her MCAT in order to be accepted into medical school. She began studying the summer going into her junior year and took the exam last May.
Kelsie’s persistence in her studies paid off as she has been accepted into the Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine. Osteopathic Medicine concentrates on the patient as a whole rather than just treating the symptoms. The program will consist of two years of coursework and then two years of clinical work. Following clinicals, Kelsie will have to complete four years of residency. She has already gained some experience by shadowing Dr. Loretta Stombaugh, a local doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. She also volunteered at the Brevard Cancer and Infusion Center last spring where she was able to help out with administering IV's as well as patient care for individuals who were alone on their treatment visits. She is looking to return to the Cancer and Infusion Center this spring.
After graduation, Kelsie will go straight to medical school with the hopes of one day opening her own primary care practice in an underserved area. She grew up loving her doctor and would like to work in a place that there is a direct need for doctors. She may be wrapping up her athletic career in the spring, but the sky is the limit for her future medical dreams.
Senior Hannah Elmore just capped off a successful career as a member of the Brevard College Volleyball Team. Hannah has not only been an integral part of the volleyball team, but also around campus and in the community making her the Spotlight Tornado for the month of November.
Hannah fell in love with Brevard when she stepped onto campus for the first time. She was being recruited to play volleyball and on her visit she was able to talk one-on-one with a professor. She enjoyed the atmosphere of the school and the area around Brevard, making Brevard College an easy choice.
Hannah experienced a successful volleyball career growing up in her hometown of Salisbury, N.C. During both her junior and senior year of high school, her team won the regional championship and finished runner-up for state. Her favorite memories during this time were being able to play with lifelong friends, and being able to have fun with the sport.
During her four years, Hannah played many roles as a member of the volleyball team. Each year brought a new position and role for her on the team. After her freshman year, Hannah did not enjoy the game as much as she had in high school. However, with the arrival of a new head coach Anna Grant, Hannah began to find her passion for the game. Her sophomore year she came off the bench and severed as a supportive role for her team. During her junior year, Hannah switched positions to the right side, a position she was not familiar with. Despite learning a new position, Hannah tallied 200 kills and 749 attacks.
Hannah’s senior season proved to be her best season, moving back to her normal position as an outside hitter. She led the team with 239 kills and a kills/set average of 3.32 which was the third highest average in the conference. On the defensive side, Hannah tallied 27 blocks and 67 digs. She was also named to the USA South All-Sportsmanship Team for Volleyball.
Off the court, Hannah shines in the classroom as well. She is a Mathematics Major with Minors in both Business and Leadership. She has been named to the Dean’s List every semester. She was recently accepted into the ODK Honors Society. In order to be a candidate for ODK a student must have exceptional grades, and be recommended by a professor. Hannah is also a member of both the Math Club and the Business Club at Brevard College.
Hannah is also heavily involved with the community of Brevard. She has coached the Mountain Elite Volleyball Club for the past two years. The team competes January through March. Hannah sacrifices her weekends to travel with the team throughout the spring. Through this experience she has been able to get to know people in the community.
This fall semester, Hannah has completed an internship with Nacole Potts in the Education Learning Center. Hannah helped with the transition from the AEC located in Coltrane to the ELC now located in the library. Hannah also helped in organizing two events, Plan your Future and Connect to Your Future Athletics Panel, working with both Nacole Potts and Shirley Arnold. The Athletics Panel was a new event offered at Brevard and Hannah was happy with how helpful and insightful the event turned out to be. During Plan Your Future Day, Hannah helped with the promotion of the event and the execution of the theme surrounding the event, “Get Your Ducks in a Row.” She came up with the game Fishing for Ducks, and created the flyers for the event. Hannah also runs the twitter page for the ELC, letting students know when any job or internships become available.
Hannah has enjoyed her time at Brevard. Her favorite thing about college is the people. During her time, She has met life-long friends and built meaningful relationships with her professors during her time here. Since Hannah is involved with many activities off-campus, Brevard has become more of a home rather than a place she goes to school. Hannah does not have any specific plans after graduation, but is looking for an internship in finance, accounting, or actuarial science.
Meet Carson Beckett, a sophomore on the cycling team. Although only a sophomore in college, Carson has traveled around the world with cycling. His impressive fall season makes Carson the spotlight Tornado for this month, as the Brevard College Cycling Team prepares for the Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals next weekend.
Carson grew up in a small southern town, known as Benton, Kentucky. Riding was not big in the area, but there were a few trails that he could practice his riding. Carson and his dad started a cycling team at his high school to teach more people about the sport. Towards the end high school, Carson began traveling with his pro team to California and Europe gaining valuable experience.
A former Brevard College Cyclist, Cypress Gorry, introduced Carson to Brevard College. The two were on the same cycling team. Carson enjoyed the area and all the trails that Western, North Carolina has to offer. Brevard’s cycling team is one of the best teams in the country as well, winning multiple national titles. Carson has chosen to major in Exercise Science at Brevard.
During his freshman season, Carson helped lead Brevard to its first Division I USA Collegiate National Mountain Bike Championship. He finished fourth in the Men’s Omnium. Beckett also helped the team to capture a National Title in Cyclocross with a first-place finish in the team omnium relay along with Scott McGill, Hannah Arensman, and Allison Arensman.
During his time training with his professional team, Carson focuses on Mountain Bike racing, training from April to September as a member of the Bear Development Team. When he returns to campus in the fall he transitions to the collegiate racing which he races in all three disciplines, mountain bike, cyclocross, and road. The change to collegiate racing is a more relaxed and team-based atmosphere.
Carson has not let up during his sophomore season on the trail or on campus. Carson is the secretary of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and a member of FCA. He was named to the Dean’s List during his freshman year. Last week at the Southeastern Collegiate Cycling Conference Championship, he captured the first-place honor for all the points accumulated from race results throughout the season. During the race, he captured two-second place finishes in the cross country and short track events. Next week, the Brevard College Cycling Team will travel to Missoula, Montana to defend their National Title at the USA Cycling Mountain Bike Nationals.
Although only a sophomore, Carson is planning for his future. He would like to continue his professional career in cycling and utilize his exercise science degree. He would like to stay in the Brevard area and either work with Carmichael Training Systems or help coach a team. His favorite memory from cycling is traveling to different parts of the world. Cycling has opened a door to travel and experience different cultures outside of his small hometown. While Carson enjoys these experiences, he also enjoys going home to visit friends and family.
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Sydney Alencewicz: Psychology major, Business minor, women’s soccer team captain, SAAC representative, Honor’s Student, adventurer.
Sydney is creating change around the Brevard Campus during her senior year, making her the spotlight Tornado. After being challenged by professor Cam Austin to find something to fix on campus, Sydney is putting her recycling project to use across the BC athletic department. Sydney has a passion for recycling and noticed that only a few buildings on campus had recycling bins placed in them. After speaking with a few environmental science professors, she was told that the change would have to “come from within.” Being a student-athlete and an athletic work study, Sydney knew a large amount of water bottles were used by athletes, coaches, and fans during the school year. Her idea was to set up recycling bins at all the athletic facilities and in all the locker rooms.
Since roughly half of the BC student population is athletes, Sydney knew that her project could have a big impact across the campus. She proposed her idea to Juan Mascaro, Vice President for Strategic Planning and Director of Athletics and Jamie Atkinson, Assistant A.D. for Compliance and Academic Services and Senior Women’s Administrator in April. Upon returning to campus in the fall, Sydney went to work finding recycling bins and spreading the word about her project. She spoke with the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and the Athletic Staff, both groups were eager to help see the project through. Now, whenever anyone walks by an athletic facility on campus they will find a recycling bin.
Sydney came to Brevard from Ocoee, Florida. She chose Brevard because she wanted to attend a school outside of Florida and continue playing soccer. She found out about Brevard through a recruiting website. Her favorite soccer memory was scoring her first collegiate goal against Erskine. The goal came in the 40th minute of the contest, when she intercepted a pass, dribbled down the field and took a shot from thirty yards out. The ball sailed over the keeper’s head for the first goal of the game. The Tornados ended up winning the game 3-2. Sydney is not only involved in soccer, but a member of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC), a student worker for compliance and game day operations, and serves as the host at basketball games for visiting teams and officials. Sydney joined BC Green this year which takes on environmental initiatives across campus and in the community.
Not only is Sydney and excellent athlete, she pursues excellence in the classroom as well. She has been named to the Dean’s List four consecutive semesters. She was named the Exceptional Junior in the Psychology Department and was inducted into the Psi Chi Honor Society. In order to be in Psi Chi, one must have a 3.5 GPA or higher. This semester, Sydney is doing an internship at Free Rein Center for Therapeutic Riding and Education. The internship allows her to use both her psychology major, working with children with disabilities and also her business minor as she is learning some of the business aspects of a non-profit organization.
Sydney went on a new adventure this summer, as she took part in Voice of the Rivers. Voice of the Rivers is a 17-day kayaking trip from source-to-sea that has taken place since 1997. Students and professors travel through rivers, lakes, and seas and learn about the history and environmental issues of the surrounding areas. This was Sydney’s first time ever camping. She chose to go on the trip after hearing about the program her freshman year and then a recommendation from a friend. She received a full scholarship for the trip along with academic credits. The experience came with challenges, such as going four days without showering and paddling through storms. The group also paddled 31 miles one day. This was an experience that Sydney would have never experienced as a Psychology major and Business minor and was able to get to know students that she had not met prior to the trip.
Sydney will graduate from Brevard in May. She is not sure of her plans yet but eventually wants to attend graduate school.
"take college a day at a time, it goes by so fast!"
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Omar El Diraoui
“The Beast from the Middle East”
Former Brevard College Men’s Basketball Forward, Omar El Diraoui wrapped up his collegiate career a few weeks ago upon graduation. However, Omar plans to return to the hardwood, taking his talents to the Palestine National Team and pursue a dream as a professional basketball player.
Originally from Beirut, Lebanon, Omar came to the United States when he was ten years old to live in Texas. He spent his freshman year of college playing at John Wood Community College in Illinois before transferring to Malcolm X College his sophomore year. Omar made his way to Brevard for his final two years of school and made an impact both on and off the court at Brevard College.
During his first season with the Tornados, Omar appeared in all 28 games with 10 starts, shooting a team-best 78.9 percent from the free-throw line. This season, he started all but one game, averaging 7.8 points per game. The 6-7 forward finished 10th in the conference in blocked shots, averaging one per game for a total of 28. Omar’s favorite memory was playing against Division I schools and experiencing the atmosphere they brought. His favorite being playing against Auburn in an exhibition game to kick off the 2015-16 season.
Omar was not just a beast on the court, but in the classroom as well. He graduated with a GPA of 3.34 and a Bachelor's degree in Business and a minor in Math. Omar was a member of ODK, a National Leadership Society, as well as being involved in several clubs around campus, including the Mathematics Club, Dimensions, and the International Club. Omar was also Vice-President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. He completed his internship with Transylvania County as a planning intern. His projects included working on the 2025 Plan to make the community better as well as the Watch for Me N.C., assisting with a communications draft.
The Lebanon native said the beautiful mountains of Western Carolina reminded him of his home country. Omar not only fell in love with Brevard College during his two years, but also came to love the town, the nature, the people, and the community.
After graduation, Omar moved to Texas to train for a career as a professional basketball player. Omar has signed with a FIBA agent, of the International Basketball Association to begin a professional basketball career in the Middle East/Asia region.
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Strong, ambitious, hard working, creative, determined, tenacious are all words that describe this spotlight Tornado. Her passion for Brevard College or her "Home away from Home' has been shown through her efforts on and off the court.
Originating from Kannapolis, North Carolina, Savannah has made her mark in Brevard as a Tornado. She has been an impact player all four years for the women's volleyball team. Her freshman year, she started all but three sets. Her sophomore and junior season, Savannah played in all 29 matches. She moved into 10th on Brevard's NCAA-era career list with eight kills vs. Wingate in the SAC Championship Nov. 20, 2015, giving her 433 in her career. Her senior year, she broke the school record with 188 blocks and 697 kills which was 3rd all time. Her impressive performance on the court is matched by her achievement in the classroom. Savannah exemplifies what it takes to be an exceptional student- athlete.
Savannah is a psychology major that aspires to pursue a career in coaching, grief counseling, or social work. Prior to graduation she hopes to become a volleyball graduate assistant while earning a master's degree in social work and counseling. She has been exceedingly involved with clubs, committees, and programs during her time at Brevard College. This year alone she has received prestigious awards from Alpha Chi, ODK, and Psy Chi Honor Society. Her honors also include: Outstanding Student of Psychology, recipient of the Who's Who Award and Senior Student Leadership Award.
Savannah is a member of IWIL (Institute for Women in Leadership). A program that has assisted her development as a confident, passionate, well- rounded, and service - oriented leader. In her first two years, Savannah mentored 6th grade girls, volunteered to assist the homeless in Atlanta, Ga, built a wheelchair ramp, and also helped in raising awareness for suicide prevention. Savannah is now in charge of marketing the program as well as supporting new members.
You can often find Savannah behind a camera lens at athletic matches. She assists in capturing many of the important events happening all over the community for the communications department. The photos taken by Savannah are used in many of the Brevard College Athletic's press releases. Photography also led to her most rewarding experience as a student, Dear Brevard.
"Dear Brevard was my final project for my photography class. We had free reign as to what type of subjects or concepts we wanted to shoot." said Cox. "The purpose of my project was to give the students and staff of Brevard the chance to share their story or a message they want to send to the world, through words and a photo."
"Savannah is a perfect example of what we hope to see in every student," says Elizabeth Harrison, director of communications and media relations at BC. "She truly embodies the BC mission, shows commitment in her classes and work-study responsibilities, and she is incredibly compassionate. Savannah is also one of the most determined and tenacious people I've ever met."
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