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The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

UNC Asheville works to level up their athletic programs

Courtesy of UNCA Athletics
UNCA Women’s Golf team poses for photo.

With a rise in social media activity and marketing strategies, UNCA athletic officials say they have seen a huge increase in support in their athletics. 

“It honestly feels really good to be a part of UNCA. It is a place I am proud to represent and has allowed me to really flourish.The strength UNCA has given me in order to achieve the things I want to accomplish is vast. I owe a lot to this place in my personal development,” said Student-Athlete Advisory Committee President Sierra Cardi.

Each team has their own Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts to keep fans informed and to expand their following, according to athletic officials. 

“One aspect that has come around very quickly and recently is our marketing. Over the last semester it has gone from a weakness of ours to a strength and I’m excited for that department to keep growing,” Cardi said.

According to UNCA athletic officials, demonstrating integrity, being servant leaders, being creative, working hard and fostering a culture of respect are the core values of the UNCA athletes. The marketing strategies used by the bulldogs exemplify these values and how they inspire others to incorporate them in their own lives. 

“I feel that responsibility both as a player and as the SAAC president, making the environment as successful as it can be,” Cardi said.

Cardi said she is making it a priority for student athletes to become more involved with shaping their own championship culture- setting goals, vision statements, behavioral standards and expectations. She set her leading example by getting elected as president, and constantly rallies behind her athletes to be engaged. 

“I feel like new doors are opening to further the athletics department to possibly have the best seasons we’ve ever had as a school, and it all starts with who is in charge and leading our student athletes and faculty,” said Mady Gold, the women’s golf team captain.

Kimberly Van Noort became the new interim chancellor of UNCA as of October. She brings over three decades of experience and devotes her work to her students. According to officials and athletes, they are excited for her new influence and guidance. 

Her legacy will continue to encourage students and student athletes to stay focused and create habits that will continue to propel their success, according to UNCA officials. Prioritizing student athletes’ success is crucial for their success after their journey through college. According to the UNCA men’s baseball team, they feel confident in their next steps after graduation because of their faculty like Chancellor Van Noort. 

“The athletic program here at UNCA is welcoming, kind, and generous while also being competitive and hungry. It is a wonderful thing to be a part of and I am proud to be a part of it from start to finish,” Cardi said.

With the basketball team making it into the NCAA tournament in the 2022-2023 season, the school has really started to encompass what a championship culture feels like, according to UNCA athletic officials. Womens tennis and swim and dive also created records and school history in their conference championship by taking home the trophy and their honors. 

“UNC Asheville gives the confidence of becoming the best athlete I can be by giving us resources like the mentor program, which allows me to grow relationships and connections for the future,” said Spencer Hill, a senior transfer on the UNCA baseball team. 

Hill has experiences at two different schools: one with the UNCA Athletic Mentor program and one without. The program is unique and is structured in a way to help each athlete with different stages of their career and development. 

Mentors attend their athletes’ games, have them over for dinner, and help create opportunities for them to succeed and grow after their time at UNCA. All pairings are done with intent, grouping a student athlete with the same major as a potential mentor, according to athletic officials and coaches. 

“Yes, there are so many new investments into the campus, department and conference as a whole and it is really exciting to see. It is apparent that there is belief that we as a school deserve to be treated as a prominent and respected program and that makes me want to continually prove them right.” Cardi said.

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