The Lady Royals brought home the title of 6th in the nation after competing in the National Christian College Athletic Association DII Women’s Basketball National Championship at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC.
The team, consisting of only six players, headed to Greenville after appearing on Channel 10 News for a short interview on March 4.
On Thursday, the Lady Royals played the 3rd ranked team in the nation, Randall University, and lost 66-67 on a shot made by their opponent with 7 seconds left on the clock.
They played again Friday morning against the host team, BJU, and lost 69-57. This final game left them ranked 6th in the nation.
“This week proved we could compete with the best…,” JU Women’s Basketball Head Coach Amy James said. “I truly believe everyone that had not seen these ladies play thought we had made it to the National Tournament by mistake, however, when we were finished playing both games we had everyone in the gym shaking their heads and saying, ‘I have never seen 6 players compete like they did’.”
At the National Championship awards banquet, Keisha McIntyre, Michaela Keele, and Taylor Thurman received Scholar-Athlete awards.
During their time at national championship week, the team completed a community service project of designing and illustrating placemats for the local Children’s Hospital.
The life jacket grave yard found on the island of Lesvos in Greece.
Moria no good. It’s one of the first things that refugees learn to say…and they are right.
Volunteering in a refugee camp in Greece is hands down the hardest thing I have ever done. There is so much pain, sorrow, turmoil, and frustration shoved into a space the size of a Super Walmart. Somewhere between 5 and 7 thousand refugees breathe these emotions in on a daily basis. The darkness is crippling. Why is this happening? How did it come to this?
There are so many questions to ask when you stare into the face of Moria, a camp of chaos and heartbreak. I can remember my first day there as I looked into the eyes of these displaced people: men, women, and children, and wondered what their stories were. What had they fled? How long had they been in Moria? Were they there alone? What happens when they leave? Will they get to leave? Will they be sent back? Story is such a powerful thing. They are not static characters. They are constantly developing and proving their desperation to be dynamic. Their fearful journey in a lifeboat across waters that have marked themselves as a liquid grave yard is a testament to their determination.
The watery passage from Turkey to the island of Lesvos is less than 10 miles. Most of the refugees in camp told me that it took them four hours to cross. The rafts they come in have a capacity of 18. Yet, most boats hold over 30-40 refugees coming from Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, the Republic of Congo, etc. This journey is not easy, but those who make it to Greece have a new monster to face once they arrive. It is out of the frying pan and into the fire so to speak.
Was the decision to flee their countries the right one? Are the conditions in Moria any better than the wars and oppression that pushed them out? It is a devastating question, but I am not sure it can be answered, nor do I think it is the right one. Getting caught up in the hopelessness of Moria is easy to do. The crisis continues and there is no way I can fix it. It will continue because the war in the Middle East continues as ISIS, Asad, Turks, and many others continue to fuel the beast of despair that ravages their world. Yet, I did not go to Moria to work with refugees to simply become listless under its heaviness.
The NGO I worked under in camp is called EuroRelief. So many things amaze me about the work this organization does. As I partnered with them during a span of a little more than a week, I quickly realized how needed they are. EuroRelief provides for the needs of refugees during their stay in Moria. They house, clothe, take census, guard, provide heat, distribute blankets and diapers, answer questions, and overall attempt to bring order to a camp characterized by disorder. While we worked, we wore bright orange EuroRelief vests. I quickly realized that this marker signified something throughout all of camp. There were so many times that refugees stopped me and said things like: “Moria no good, but EuroRelief good”. And I think that’s why they do it. Even though these full time workers and volunteers know that the work they do in camp is simply a bandaid, it is better than leaving an open wound.
EuroRelief is run by a bunch of 20 year olds from different countries and different denominations. It is a clear picture of the Kingdom coming together and putting aside differences for the sake of injustice. Going on this trip is very different from other mission trips. It’s not about bringing the gospel to people, but BEING the gospel. A major theme both in the Old and New Testament surrounds caring for the poor and the outcasts, and that is what EuroRelief lives into. It is also some of the most physically, emotionally, and spiritually taxing work that I have ever experienced. Volunteering in Moria is hard.
I’ve been back in the U.S. for a little more than 7 weeks now and it is still hard. I see the images of children in rain-soaked flip flops. I remember the feel of the cold that creeps its way into the very essence of camp as wind and rain sting the faces of these displaced people. The rain symbolizes tears as these displaced people bravely continue the life of flight that they have embarked on. I still see the families smushed together in make-shift tents, and devastated faces of new arrivals haunted by their past. Yet, I also remember the kindness of these people who brought me hot tea to drink when I was out in the cold. They invited me into their tents and attempted to get to know me through broken English and non-verbal hand gestures. In a camp that tries to break you, love is still found. Kindness is still found. The volunteers and the refugees contribute to this restless culture of hope and hopelessness, but they somehow choose to give hope the upper hand. Through all of this, I see Jesus spreading light in the most unlikely of places. As John 1:5 says: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” I choose to believe this.
The NCCAA has named Johnson University senior, Taylor Gilpin, the recipient of the Pete Maravich Memorial Award for Division II Men’s Basketball.
Gilpin, a guard from Bloomington, In., has helped the men’s basketball team on and off the court. As captain for two years, Gilpin has led the team with an average of 17.35 points and 4.01 rebounds per game. This season, he became Johnson’s all-time leading scorer record with over 2,300 career points. In 2018, he helped the Royals finish 4th at the NCCAA National Tournament and was awarded 1st Team All-Regional and 1st Team All-American honors.
Off the court, Gilpin has been a Resident Assistant for three years and has served with various organizations, while also helping JU connect with local elementary schools. He is a Business Administration major with a GPA of 3.56, which has led him to be a recognized as a NCCAA Scholar-Athlete in both 2018 and 2019.
“Taylor is a tremendous example of faith lived out in everyday life,” Head Coach Brandon Perry said. “He has set a culture of high character and academics for our team while maintaining a high level of basketball skill.”
According to the NCCAA website, “The purpose of this award is to recognize the outstanding NCCAA student-athlete in Men’s Basketball and highlights excellence in competition, skill, academics, and Christian service during his career. ‘Pistol Pete’ Maravich was known for his ball handling, shooting abilities, and creative passing. He was an NBA All-Star, named one of NBA’s 50 greatest players, and inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987. He came to know Christ later in his life and spent the last years of his life pointing people to Christ. This award is sponsored by Mr. Gary Beck, manager of the Gary Beck Foundation and a former NCCAA All-American student-athlete from Greenville University, IL.”
KNOXVILLE The 2nd Annual Dare to See suicide prevention event, presented by Punk Talks, Johnson University, and Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, will be held March 8 in Knoxville.
The event will feature music by various artists, such as Abbs Kern – a Chattanooga Indie singer-songwriter, Benjamin Donaldson – a Knoxville singer-songwriter, Shayla McDaniel – a Knoxville Jazz singer-songwriter, and Night Colors – a Knoxville Indie-Pop duo. In addition, there will also be artwork in order to reflect on suicide prevention through conversation and creative arts.
The conversation will be led by TSPN, which is a statewide organization responsible for implementing the Tennessee Strategy for Suicide Prevention as defined by the 2001 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.
“Performing at ‘Dare to See’ is very important to me because I believe it’s a way to use our music to start a conversation,” The Knoxville duo, Night Colors, said. “Mental health is dark and a constant theme throughout my writing, and it’s so amazing to be able to use that in healthy light to hopefully have an impact on people’s lives.”
The event was successful in its first event, reaching around 100 people last year. Olivia Martin, an event coordinator, has been involved since the beginning. She said the idea came about from some local high school suicides, as well as the TV show, “Thirteen Reasons Why”.
“Kind of the whole thing with the event is music, there’s conversation we have speakers that come in and kind of give a little conversation about what we can do in those really hard moments,” Martin said. “Also, we wanted to have resources from different organizations.”
Resources will be provided by TSPN, Johnson University Counseling Center, Punk Talks, and more.
The event is free, however, a $5 donation is suggested to benefit TSPN and Punk Talks.
Dare to See will be held at the Jackson Terminal, 203 W Jackson Ave., Knoxville.
The Royals had an exciting week of tennis picking up their first win of the season as well as playing their first home match on the newly built ARC tennis courts.
The Royals opened up their first week of the first season traveling to Asheville, North Carolina to play Warren Wilson College. The Royals came out firing early scoring a couple of quick points with awin at the second position by Danielle Keehner and Madi Buchanan and the third position by Iris Loveday and Emily Allen, both by a score of 8-0. The Royals would have to fight for the final doubles point as Annalise McDonald and Hannah Hamm pulled away late to win 8-5.
The Royals continued their run on the singles court with Buchanan, Olive Anderson, and Allen took down their opponents without dropping a game. At the two spot, Keehner got down early but ended the match by winning 12 straight games to put her opponent away. The final win for the Royals was freshman Loveday picking up her first college singles win by a score of 6-2, 6-4.
On Saturday, the Royals were back in action but this time on the Johnson ARC tennis courts against Wittenberg College. In the first women’s tennis match ever played on Johnson’s campus, the Royals welcomed many fans for a good day of tennis. The pair of Buchanan and Keehner used the energy of the crowd and the new courts to play a handful of inspired points in big moments. Trading blows all the way to a tie-breaker, the pair both earned and fought off match points. In the end, the pair from Wittenberg were able to pull out the win.
Momentum would stay with Wittenberg throughout the beginning of singles. After falling in the first set 2-6, sophomore Olive Anderson would storm back in the 2nd set to blitz her opponent 6-0. Tied at a set apiece, Anderson and her opponent would trade shots and points in a 10-point tiebreak with neither player ever leading by more than 2 points. Both facing match points and earning match points, Anderson fought hard to the very end losing by a final count of 12-10. Though the Royals did not pick up any wins against Wittenberg, the Royals definitely held their own for their first match on their own courts.
Coach Hale explained the ups and downs of the week after the match saying, “Starting off the spring with a win is a great boost of confidence. We all played very well and everyone was able to get up early and execute our game plan. I was also very proud of how we fought on Saturday, though we lost some really tight heartbreakers, we fought to the very end and really embraced playing on campus with the support everyone behind us. This week has definitely laid the foundation for us to have a good season.”
The Royals return to the ARC on March 14th against Ferrum College.
The Royals had an exciting week of tennis picking up their first win of the spring season as well as playing their first home match on the newly built ARC tennis courts.
After ending the fall season with a win against cross-town rival Maryville College, the Royals looked to get continue the momentum against Warren WIlson. The Royals got out to an early lead in the first tier but fell behind in the second. Using an aggressive playing style the tandem of Stephen Damon and Michael Rhodenbaugh put away their opponents on the top tier 8-2.
Taking a 2-1 lead into singles, the Royals easily rolled in three of the five matches. At the number one spot, Carson Byington jumped out to a quick first set lead 6-0 and continued to roll 6-2 in the second set. Two Royals also got their very first college win as Malachi Carr and Camden Rusch did not drop a game at the three spot and five spot, respectively. The Royals capped off the day with two highly competitive matches with Rhodenbaugh at the 2 spot and Riley Reinhardt at the 4. Rhodenbaugh was able to stage a comeback in the first set and squeak out a 7-5 win while Reinhardt would fall in a back and forth set, 6-4. In the end, Rhodenbaugh was able to put away his opponent while Reinhardt dropped the second in similar back and forth fashion.
On Saturday, the Royals were back in action but this time on the Johnson ARC tennis courts against Wittenberg College. The Royals inaugural home match started off rough as the Wittenberg Tigers got off to quick starts on all three doubles courts with the only pair that was able to take a game was the pair of Dalton Sauer and Caleb Weaver. Despite fighting hard, the Royals would eventually be swept by a score of 9-0.
Coach Hale explained the ups and downs of the week after the match saying, “Starting off the spring with a win is a great boost of confidence. We all played very well and everyone was able to get up early and execute our game plan. I was also very proud of how we fought on Saturday, we fought to the very end and really embraced playing on campus with the support everyone behind us. This week has definitely laid the foundation for us to have a good season.”
The Royals return to the ARC on March 14th against Ferrum College.
The Johnson Royals have advanced to the finals of the Mid-East Regional tournament with a win over #1 seeded Grace Christian University.
The Royals came into the game as the 4th seed in the tournament having already defeated the 5th seed Welch College. Both teams played with extreme intensity right from the opening tip. The Royals played some of their best basketball on both sides of the floor for the entire first half. Coby Jones (SO/Hampton, TN) was able to put up 16 points and gather 4 rebounds to lead Johnson in the first half. Even with this effort, the Tigers were able to keep up.
By halftime, the teams had matched each other almost perfectly. Johnson had 16 rebounds, 37 points, and gave up 8 turnovers. Welch had also given up 8 turnovers with 17 rebounds and 32 points. This 5-point lead for the Royals was the largest of the half for either team.
The second half continued to be high intensity with non-stop action at both ends of the floor. Until the 4-minute mark, the teams stayed within 5 points of one another. With 3:45 remaining in the game, Taylor Gilpin (SR/Bloomington, IN) drilled a three-point shot with an assist from Coby Jones and the Royals’ momentum took over. They went on an 11-0 run over the next 3 minutes to cap off the game. Though the Tigers tried until the very end, their efforts were no match for the play of the Royals.
The Johnson Player of the Game was Coby Jones. Jones recorded a team-leading 31 points, shooting 10-17 from the field and 4-9 from behind the arc. He also had 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. His 31 points put him into the One Thousand Point Club at Johnson in only his 3rd semester with the team. Coby agreed to an interview after the game:
KNOXVILLE The Tennessee School for the Deaf is offering beginner American Sign Language classes, which will be held on Mondays, beginning March 25 and ending May 13.
There will be two beginner classes. Beginner- I will be held from 5:45-6:45 p.m. Beginner-II will run from 7-8 p.m. The classes will be taught by TSD faculty and staff who are native users of ASL. The cost per person is $40.
The location for the classes is Alan J. Mealka High School Building – Library Conference Room, 2725 Island Home Blvd., Knoxville, TN 37920.
Interested parties can contact Becky Candino at (865) 579-2429 or R.email@example.com