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Catamounts show school spirit

By Ryan Michaud, Staff Writer
On April 2, 2014

Western Carolina University made it to the Sweet Sixteen round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's 6th Fan competition.
    The competition, hosted and maintained by the NCAA, allowed all schools in the NCAA to enter. Schools were allowed to cast votes on Twitter, Facebook, and voting on the NCAA 6th fan site.
    The competition was designed by the NCAA to determine which school had the most proud and passionate fans in the nation.  
    The top sixteen teams with the most votes competed in the bracket. WCU went head-to-head with Brigham Young University but fell short by a score of 54-46 percent.
    Despite not advancing to the Elite Eight, the Catamounts were not surprised at the success WCU had with the tournament.
    Daniel Hooker, assistant director for media relations, said, "Our athletic department has done a tremendous job of embracing social media and its role as it pertains to reaching our students, our alumni, and our fan base.
    It really did not surprise me to see us advance into the Sweet 16 and I really thought we had a good chance of making the Elite Eight. I was proud of our fan support for that initiative," said Hooker.
    Some were even optimistic to the point of winning the grand prize, which was $100,000 to the school that won.
    Senior, Chris Downey, said, "I voted because I knew that we had a chance to win it all and get the grand prize.
    "I believe it brought the pride of WCU together and a lot closer. Twitter went crazy with voting and Facebook was flooded with 6th fan promoting.
    "Sports in the future can definitely use this marketing ploy. It was a huge event and when schools have a chance at a big prize, it will draw fans closer and want to vote to help their school win," said Downey.
    The pride of WCU certainly came together with voting stations set up across campus, WCU twitter pages advocating the news, and some teachers not starting class until students logged on to vote.
    Some students believe that the pride of WCU is coming just in time to let other schools know WCU are and will continue to be a force in the Southern Conference.
    Senior Kate Carreno said, "I voted because I love WCU and wanted to help us win the money that we could use.
    "I think it really shows our athletic teams that there is student support, pride and that we care about our teams. I think it shows everyone that WCU is rising and that everyone needs to watch out!" said Carreno.
    WCU sports has been making news as of lately.  
    WCU's men and women's indoor track and field team won the Southern Conference championship.  
    Following that was WCU's baseball team upsetting  #2 Mississippi State University at their home opener.  A couple weeks later they went on to beat #15 Clemson 18-10.  
    Just recently both the men's and women's basketball team made it to the semifinals of the SoCon championship.  
    The men's team upset Davidson University in the semifinals but fell short to Wofford University in the championship.
    The 6th fan competition shows that Catamount Sports and pride is increasing and students, faculty, and alumni are proud to call themselves Catamounts.


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