Local News

November 8, 2013

A ‘big thing’ for the community

College athletics impact Dalton

Alyne Bianchi remembered getting on a plane in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a few years ago with no guarantees she would find “her dream” in America.

Bianchi, now a student athlete at Dalton State College, said she was hoping to pursue both athletics and academics after high school, something unheard of in Brazil.

 Bianchi spoke to local community members Thursday afternoon during a Share the Vision luncheon at the trade center sponsored by the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce.

In Brazil, Bianchi said, there are professional sports and college. The two didn’t intersect, putting her in situation where she had to pick one passion over the other, she said.

Then she learned she could do both in the United States.

“That’s my dream,” she said. “I can do both things.”

She started playing volleyball at Frank Phillips College, a junior college in Texas, but stopped after she said her coach was fired.

“It was hard to think about transferring,” she said. “I was thinking of going back home. I just wanted to cry. I was thinking, ‘I came here for nothing.’”

That’s until she learned about Dalton State College’s efforts to grow their athletic department under Athletic Director Derek Waugh. The college’s sports program had been dormant for about three decades until this year when Dalton State became a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

As the program formed, Bianchi made a connection with volleyball coach Bruna Langner, who is also from Brazil.

“She was so excited when we talked,” Bianchi said. “She said, ‘You’re going to love it here.’ So I believed her and she was right.”

Bianchi has been playing Roadrunner volleyball ever since. The team went 10-14 this year in what Langner called a “great momentum-builder” for next season.

Bianchi told members of the community they should find ways to support athletic programs because it helped her find “her dream.”

“I love this school, I love this community,” she said.

Waugh said the program will not only let students pursue their athletic passions but will also have economic impact on the local community. Using a estimator provided by the Dalton Convention and Visitors Bureau which calculates spending by travelers visiting the area, Waugh said sporting events that bring in students and families from other colleges could fetch $500,000 a year for hotels, restaurants and tax revenue.

Another economic peg “the whole community can hang their hats on” is that about 700 season tickets to men’s basketball have been sold to date. The first home game was Thursday night. Waugh said the college is third in the state in men’s basketball season ticket sells, behind the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech.

Waugh said Kennesaw State University’s athletic program is an example of how college athletics impact and “add life” to local communities.

In 2005, Kennesaw State gained membership to NCAA Division I athletics and brought roughly $122 million to Cobb County, Waugh said, adding that in 2013, that number was about $926 million.

Waugh said he believes Dalton State will be NCAA members eventually given “the success” of athletics this year, adding that it could bring anywhere from $112 million to $250 million to the community next year.

Natalie Espinoza-Hensley, a Dalton State student who came from Ringgold and joined the women’s cross country team this year, said she was “very thankful” the program is taking off.

“We’re just one, big, weird, happy family,” she joked.

Bianchi agreed.

“I can call the athletic director (by his first name) Derek,” she said. “ I can call my coach Bruna. Isn’t that amazing?”

Text Only
Local News
  • Little library 1 mlh.jpg Little Libraries, big goal

    Whitfield County just received a new library.
    And better yet, 26 more are on the way to the region.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Picture 3.jpg Rock solid

    A great number of things have come and gone since 1974.
    One that hasn’t: a small Dalton school founded by parents wanting a unique learning environment for their children.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vann House Day '14 6 mlh.jpg History comes alive at Vann House

    SPRING PLACE — In the early 1800s, the 1,000-acre plantation belonging to Cherokee Indian leader James Vann was a bustling place.

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • Local officials agree with Deal

    Regarding news last week that approximately 30 unaccompanied minors from Central America, who had crossed the southern border into the United States, were sent without warning to Dalton last year and enrolled in Dalton Public Schools, Republican politicians representing portions of Murray and Whitfield Counties agree — state and local school officials deserved to know in advance, they say.

    July 26, 2014

  • Former chamber location 2 mlh.jpg Plan could cut flooding, stormwater damage in Dalton

    On a recent day, McClellan Creek flowed gently through Harlan Godfrey Civitan Park. But some park goers who live near the area say that even a mild rain can turn the creek into a torrent that eats away at their property.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Civil War anniversary: The Battle of Crow Valley, May 9-12, 1864

    The Atlanta Campaign began during the first two weeks of May 1864 in and around Dalton. Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s strategy was to target two of his armies, about 80,000 men, against Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Dalton. Then, while Johnston’s attention was diverted by these forces, he would secretly send his third army, about 25,000 troops under Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson, in a flanking movement to the southwest through Snake Creek Gap. Sherman’s goal was to break Johnston’s railroad supply line some 15 miles south at Resaca and trap Johnston’s Confederates in Dalton.

    July 26, 2014

  • New church being  built mlh.jpg Church construction continues

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Avans.jpg Three arrested in arson plot to claim insurance money

    Three people have been arrested for their role in a fire at a Chatsworth home as part of an insurance scam to collect money, officials said.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • Investigation into MFG chemical accident continues

    An investigation is still ongoing after a MFG Chemical employee was injured earlier this month at a plant on Kimberly Park Drive.

    July 25, 2014

  • Judge sets $100,000 bond for Cohutta man accused of incest, molestation

    A Cohutta man charged with incest, aggravated sodomy and child molestation was granted a $100,000 bond over the prosecutor’s objection on Friday.

    July 25, 2014