Club Sports: More than a Place to Compete

This story is featured in the Fall 2019 edition of the HPU Magazine. Discover below how HPU’s club sports teams find lifelong friendships and create lasting impact. 

CLICK HERE to see HPU’s 34 Club Sport Opportunities!

They row. They fish. They run. 

Students join because they love the rush of competition, but in doing so, they temper the skills that are vital in creating a life of relevance.

Those life skills involve everything from teamwork to perseverance, and they help form friendships and create memories that make college an indelible time in every student’s life — whether they win or lose.

As for Daniel Hackney, he just wanted to get started.


‘It’s Like A Brotherhood’

Hackney grew up with a fishing rod in his hand.

He started fishing at age 3. He now has three boats, and he fishes every chance he gets in his proverbial backyard — at Lake Norman, just north of Charlotte, North Carolina.

When he came to HPU to study business management, he met Chad Sigmon during his freshman year. They both loved to fish, and they decided to start a fishing team. They worked on it for two years.

Last year, it became real.

They brought in a dozen other members. Hackney created a design for their hoodies and T-shirts, and the HPU Fishing Team competed in seven tournaments.

This year, the team has grown to 20 members. They’ll compete in at least 20 tournaments between meetings every Tuesday in a third-floor room of the Wilson Commerce building.

But their time together is not limited to one weeknight. They have helped each other move and tutored members who’ve needed help in a subject. They’ve bonded over more than just how to catch a largemouth bass.

“In my opinion, it’s like a brotherhood,” says Hackney, a senior. “We treat each other as family.”


‘That’s Real Life’

Wes Whan has a favorite moment. It was in Atomic City.

He and his three crew members pushed hard for third place in a regatta in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the production site in the 1940s for the atomic bomb. Whan saw four boats beside him, all hitting the finish at the same time. Afterward, Whan fell to the ground exhausted.

Ten minutes later, he heard it. They won. By less than a second.

Before he came to HPU, Whan had never rowed before. In Longwood, Florida, he played hockey, baseball and football. He felt it in his knees, shoulders and back. As a freshman, he heard about HPU’s Club Rowing Team through the coach.

“If you do this, you’ll feel the best you have in your life,” she told him.

Whan rowed for four years. Last year, he became one of the team’s five captains. During his time with the team, he volunteered at the High Point Boys & Girls Club and taught children how to row.

Whan is now a graduate student, pursuing a Master of Science in management at Notre Dame’s Mendoza School of Business. He now knows his coach was right — in more ways than one.

“We all learned together,” Whan says. “That’s real life.”


‘A Place To Belong’

Ask Erin Moran about HPU’s Running Club, and she’ll pull out her iPhone.

She’ll scroll through photo after photo of the team she coaches. She has become their mentor, counselor and go-to supporter. She has stories about all of them. When she tells them, she tears up.

“They know I care about them,” says Moran, HPU’s associate director of admissions. “And I know how important it is for students to find their niche when they’re in college. It’s different for our 5,000 students, but we provide them a place to belong, to make their own stories.

“I tell them all the time, ‘I’m so proud of you!’”

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