WATA's Wednesday Afternoon Update.... (2018-09-19 16:25:02)

Listen to WATA's Wednesday afternoon sports report on GBR....

Making An Impact: Cam Hunter Giving to Those Affected by Hurricane Florence

Staff Reports

BOONE, N.C. – For Appalachian State track & field student-athlete Cameron Hunter, the slogan "Make an Impact" is engraved in his mind. Every day, when Hunter prepares for track practice or puts on a track & field shirt, he sees the slogan.
Hunter, a sophomore sprinter from Mt. Tabor High School in Winston-Salem, N.C., has been collecting water bottles for those affected by Hurricane Florence with the goal to "Make An Impact."
The idea to help others in need came from a conversation with Caitlyn Brewer, a fellow resident assistant in Bowie Hall, as the storm was close to making landfall.
"She's a great human being and was willing to do whatever she could to help out the victims," Hunter said. "When you have someone who is willing to drop everything and help out others, that's where I think anyone can make an impact. From there, the thought came to my mind of how can I help, and I came up with the idea of a simple necessity: water."
A simple conversation with a fellow student has turned into a full team effort to help those affected by the storm. Collecting water at all hours of the day, Hunter and his team have gathered more than 5,500 bottles, with donations coming in since late last week.
Hunter came to Appalachian State in the fall of 2017. He did not have an easy decision for his college education, as he was accepted into several other in-state schools.
"When it came to deciding schools, I chose the school that chose me first, and that was App State," he said. "I'm happy with my choice because it has given me so many opportunities."

Aside from being a member of the men's track & field team and a resident assistant at Bowie Hall, Hunter is active across campus. A cellular molecular biology major, he serves as the athletics senator in the student government, volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and participates in the Appalachian Popular Programming Society (APPS).
"Most of the people I meet ask me how I have all the time to be so involved as a student-athlete and a cellular molecular biology major," Hunter said. "I say there's always time if you make it. I love being involved around campus. It gives people a reason to look up to you. I could ask questions daily to individuals across campus that I have never met before while also enjoying the positive impact I am having on campus."

Hunter and his family have been affected by natural disasters before. His sister was displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
"She moved from destination to destination after the hurricane and did not receive all the benefits she was promised," Hunter said. "This is another reason to do things like this. When it comes to bigger towns, they get more priority. They'll get the water and clothing first, where the smaller towns will have to wait. One of the members on my group lives in Duplin County, for instance, and her family is under water right now. They will get something, but it may not be as much as an area in Charlotte or Raleigh. It's instances like these where we think about how we can better help the smaller towns."
With the donations of water in full effect, Hunter has received the support from numerous organizations across campus. In addition, he has also seen other students reach out and lend a helping hand.

When the idea started, Hunter had a team of about 10 students. The size of the group has increased to about 40 people and continues to grow.

"SAAC, the student government association, App State Athletics, (director of student-athlete development) Pierre Banks and (head track & field coach) Damion McLean all have supported me," Hunter said. "I've also had the support of my hometown back in Winston-Salem and my high school as well. I also can't thank my team enough. Sarah Kelley, Hector Sanchez, Matthew Jones, Will Hart, Trey Morris, Jack Nixon, Ethan Gunter, Evan Warren, Phillip Cooney and Vince Fortea have made all of this possible. Without them and so many others, none of this could have happened."
When the drive began, Hunter collected all the water and kept it in his dorm room. With large stacks of cases throughout his room, he knew he needed more storage space.
Banks suggested storing all the water in the Ricks Athletics Center. Hunter and his team formed an assembly line and moved the first round of water into the building. It took his team almost an hour to transport all the water that had been collected. Members of the group now fill up their cars daily to store the increasing donations of water.
While no decision has been finalized on precisely when and where the water will be donated, Hunter continues to accept donations. His team has no specific goal for the amount it would like to collect, but he hopes that the impact will be felt across the state.
"I see the athletics slogan of 'Make an Impact' every day," Hunter said. "I took that slogan, and we have it everywhere. At this point, everyone is asking what it means. I feel that it means to make your mark on your campus, in your town or in your state. We cannot let a hurricane or a natural disaster knock our state down. We can do something. This is our state, and we have a voice and the ability to 'Make an Impact.' "
To learn how to donate to his cause, contact Hunter directly at

Sun Belt Adds Central Arkansas as Associate Member in Men’s Soccer Beginning in 2019-20

by Scottie Rogers

NEW ORLEANS – Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson announced today that the University of Central Arkansas will join the league as an associate member in men’s soccer beginning with the 2019-20 academic year.
Central Arkansas will become the Sun Belt’s sixth member in men’s soccer, joining Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State and associate member Howard.
"The Sun Belt is excited to have Central Arkansas and its men’s soccer program join our conference as an associate member," said Benson. "The program’s growth and success on the field and in the classroom was evident as we embarked on this process and that led to our Presidents and Chancellors to make the unanimous decision to welcome the Bears into the Sun Belt family."
Central Arkansas’ men’s soccer program is currently in its ninth season as an associate member of the Missouri Valley Conference. During that span, the Bears have one MVC Tournament title and one NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship appearance, both in 2017, to their credit. Central Arkansas has amassed several conference and national honors over the past eight seasons, including one MVC Coaching Staff of the Year award, one MVC Player of the Year award, one Google Cloud CoSIDA Academic All-America selection and four Academic All-District selections.
"We certainly appreciate our years in the Missouri Valley Conference, but we are very excited to join the Sun Belt Conference," said Central Arkansas Director of Athletics Dr. Brad Teague. "The members are very competitive in men's soccer and we aim to be a valuable addition to the league. We are thankful to the Sun Belt office, Presidents and Chancellors and Athletics Directors for welcoming us."
"Being a part of the Missouri Valley Conference was a huge honor for this program," said Central Arkansas men’s soccer head coach Ross Duncan. “We enjoyed our time competing against some of the top teams in the region and will maintain good relationships with those programs as we make this transition. The opportunity to join the Sun Belt is exciting. The southeast is known for its soccer and we will be pitted against championship-caliber teams in the Sun Belt every season."
The Sun Belt is in its 26th season sponsoring men’s soccer as an NCAA Division I varsity sport (1976-77 to 1996-97, 2014-15 to present). The conference’s men’s soccer RPI has improved 10 spots since reinstating the sport – 2014 (24th), 2015 (24th), 2016 (17th) and 2017 (14th). The conference’s representative in the NCAA Championship has won games in each of the past two seasons – Coastal Carolina in 2016 and 2017. Last year, the Chanticleers pulled off a second-round upset at eighth-seeded Clemson before falling in the third round to eventual national champion and ninth-seeded Stanford. 
Off the field, the Sun Belt has had a men’s soccer student-athlete named Google Cloud CoSIDA Academic All-America each of the last three seasons – Hartwick’s Jack Miller in 2015, Appalachian State’s Stephen Chapman in 2016 and Georgia Southern’s Emil Laursen in 2017.
Follow the Sun Belt on Twitter and Instagram at @SunBelt, Facebook at /SunBeltConference and Snapchat at SunBeltSports.