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The Bradsher Beat
Wednesday, December 21, 2011

By Bethany Bradsher

Purple and gold gratitude fills Pirates' outbox

By Bethany Bradsher
All rights reserved.

Christmas has come early to the Pirate Nation in myriad ways this year — on courts, fields and tracks. And since Pirates are nothing if not well-mannered, they have responded in kind with prompt and thoughtful thank-you notes. A sampling of the grateful messages going out in the East Carolina mailbag:

• Dear Virginia Cavaliers,

We would like to thank you for the generous gift of Britny and Whitny Edwards. The twins have added maturity, leadership and experience to a team that is giving a new meaning to the word rebuilding. The Lady Pirates are 6-4 after nearly toppling North Carolina yesterday, and Britny has already contributed two double-doubles and pulled down an astounding 18 rebounds against Jacksonville. We expect that their presence will evoke the same winning spirit brought by their father, former ECU great Blue Edwards.

Sincerely, the Lady Pirates coaching staff

• Dear Chanticleers (what is a chanticleer, anyway?),

I can’t thank you enough for the wonderful party you hosted for me on December 19. A coming-out party, and on my own home court, too! My coach had been talking about the need for new Pirates to emerge offensively, and I guess my 17 points were a start. Of course, we also had our most complete victory of the season, with four players scoring in double figures and 85.7 percent from the free-throw line. I’m sorry that all we could offer you was 11 turnovers — we have given more to previous opponents, but we’re trying to cut back. We hated to hand you your worst defeat of the year so close to the holidays, but we have a conference schedule to warm up for. Better luck in the new year.

Best wishes, Shamarr Bowden

• Dear NCCSIA,

We don’t have room on the notecard to spell out that acronym, but we understand you’re the organization responsible for Caty Butler’s selection to the N.C. All-State Soccer Team. She has definitely worked hard, and it showed this season with eight goals, four assists and 20 points — all career highs and all boosts to her Pirates team. She loves the new stadium, and she says the atmosphere there just keeps getting better. We can’t wait until Caty’s senior year, when she and teammates like Chrissy Gratz and Lexi Miller take aim at the Conference USA title. Make sure you’re watching — hopefully there will be plenty of honors to hand out in 2012.

Gratefully, Caty’s proud parents

• Dear Indoor Track and Field Season,

You have always been good to us, but four school records already? It was only the first indoor meet of the season, and already our athletes are distinguishing themselves in all kinds of ways. Joseph Samuels sends his special thanks — his 7.91 run in the 60m hurdles was a wonderful surprise, especially since it broke the record set by two-time Olympian Hector Cotto. And the pole vault was a treat for anyone partial to purple as well — three of our jumpers — Stephen Hodapp, Henry Johnson and Aaron Zakula — tied for first with jumps of 4.61 meters, but then Hodapp won the event and the ECU record in a jump-off. A school record is certainly a thoughtful gift for an athlete, and runners Tania Minkins and Britney Kott do treasure theirs — earned in the 60-meter dash and the 600-meter run, respectively. In all, it was quite an auspicious start to what we expect will be an eventful season. We can’t wait to see what future treasures you have in store.

Your friends, the members of the Pirates track and field teams

A new year brings endless possibilities and, for ECU athletics, 2012 is an unpainted vista rich with potential and heart. Here’s hoping that the opportunities for thankfulness will abound as Pirates of all specialties move forward.

E-mail Bethany Bradsher

PAGE UPDATED 01/04/12 03:39 AM.

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