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Franklin High School kicked off the winter sports season with a “Meet the Panthers” event Monday night at the Panther Den.

Franklin High Dance Team coach Jennifer Turner-Lynn emceed the special night, which gave all of Macon County the chance to come out and show support for all the winter sports teams. The teams involved included women’s and men’s JV and varsity basketball, JV and varsity cheerleading, FHS band, indoor track, and the dance team.

Each team was introduced and strutted their stuff across the gym floor to help celebrate the upcoming season. The athletes were not the only ones who joined in on the fun. The front office staff showed their support for the red and white by competing in a contest that required them to shake their behinds to remove all the ping pongs from a tissue box tied around their waste. Although there was a “no hands” rule, the students seemed to overlook Principal Dr. Chris Baldwin's questionable strategies and deemed him the winner.

The coaches got in on the fun and competed in a no-hands oreo eating contest. Having to use nothing but their facial muscles, the coaches tried to maneuver an oreo from the top of their foreheads to their mouths. It was a close race, but the girls varsity basketball coach, Scott Hartbarger reigned victorious.

The event was a fun way to get the athletes ready for the upcoming season. While Monday night was easy going and fun, the teams are prepared to buckle down and get serious about bringing home the victories. According to men's varsity basketball coach Jesse Pinkston, he is expecting this year's team to be at the top of heap in conference play. “We are very excited about this season,” said Pinkston. “ We have seven returning seniors, three of which were starters last year, so we are planning on seeing great leadership from those guys. The whole team put in a tremendous amount of work so far in practice and this past summer and we are excited to take the floor and open up the season.”

According to Pinkston, in addition to the seven seniors, he has six juniors and one sophomore leading the Panthers this year. Among the seniors is Drew Simpson who received All-Conference recognition last year and Jacob Davis, who was honorable mention in All-Conference. “I am really looking to both of those guys to help lead the team and bring home the wins. We are going to be able to really compete this year and hopefully by the end of the season, bring home a conference championship.”

New to winter sports this year is the Franklin High School Dance Team. The dance team started performing during football season and will continue to support the red and white this winter. “The FHS Dance Team is excited to begin their first basketball season in FHS history,” said Coach Turner-Lynn. “This year we will be performing at six halftimes throughout the season in addition to a performance at the WCU vs. UNCG men's basketball game in January. This year has been incredible and is a testament to what students can accomplish if they are willing to work at starting something new.”

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