By Frances Best, Sports Information Intern, Ferrum College
FERRUM, Va. — A bond between a brother and sister is one that almost can’t be broken, especially when the two have common interests. For Zac and Caroline Saalweachter one of their biggest commonalities is that they are both Ferrum College athletes. The Saalweachter siblings are originally from Louisville, North Carolina, where they attended R.J. Reynolds High School.
Although she is the younger of the two, Caroline was first to take an interest in Ferrum and Zac followed in his younger sister’s footsteps soon after. Caroline first looked at Ferrum because it is a small rural school.
“I like small schools for one, and the campus just caught my eye and then my dad said that I had a chance to maybe swim so he set up a meeting with the coach and she was happy to have me,” said Caroline.
Since her arrival Caroline has enjoyed her time swimming for Ferrum, “It’s been amazing. I’ve never been on a better team than Ferrum’s,” said Caroline.
Zac’s journey started when he graduated high school in 2015, which was a couple years before Caroline would graduate. Zac attended Western Carolina for a year where he played on the football team, “I was fortunate enough to receive a partial scholarship to Western Carolina. I went there for a year and just didn’t want to play football anymore. Then after that I took two years off from school,” said Zac.
Zac decided to give school another chance and first became interested in Ferrum because of his sister’s interest in the college.
“The weekend Caroline was up at Ferrum with my parents, I was at the University of North Georgia touring there with my grandparents. My dad sent me a picture of the Hank Norton Center and the field and the weight room and he asked if I wanted to come and check this place out. I think it was that next weekend I went up to Ferrum with my dad on a visit and the fact Caroline liked it helped,” said Zac. Zac is happy with the decision he made to attend Ferrum and play for the school’s football team, “I’m having a good time. I mean, I love all the guys and it’s kind of easy to get along with everybody. I mean yeah, I’m a few years older than the guys but I still act immature so… They’re a great group of guys and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I’m glad I came back to school and I’m glad it was here at Ferrum.”
Zac and Caroline are happy with their individual experiences at Ferrum, but are also appreciative of the fact that they are able to see each other often.
“When he left home for Western that was a sad day. Nothing was the same. Then when he came back it was great again and then we came here,” said Caroline. Caroline and Zac are planning to continue their journeys at Ferrum with the swim and football teams, both as Health and Human Performance majors.
“Having siblings here at the same time and competing on our athletic teams is a true example of how Ferrum really is a family,” said Director of Athletics John Sutyak. “I was honored to have this experience myself as an undergraduate, as my sister competed in track & field while I was on the baseball team at our alma mater, so I know how special this experience is. Our siblings have a large influence in how we grow up and live our lives. I’m happy to see so many family members here at Ferrum.”
Over the years, Ferrum rosters have been loaded with siblings and cousins. Caroline and Zac Saalweachter are one of a few sets of siblings currently on campus together and playing sports at Ferrum. Sisters Carly and Emily Nelson compete on the softball team, while Arielle Eure also plays for the softball team and her brother Darden Eure-Parrish plays baseball. Lance Keiser competes for the men’s golf team and has a twin brother, Adam Keiser, who plays football. Lance was an All-American in 2017-18. Ashley Roberts plays for the Ferrum volleyball team, while her sister Amanda Wall is a volunteer assistant coach with the softball team. Amanda helped the Panthers win the 2016 USA South Softball Tournament and make Ferrum’s fourth NCAA Div. III Softball Championship appearance.
Frances Best is a senior Media and Communications major at Ferrum, with a minor in Journalism. She is from Fairfax Station, Virginia, and prepped at South County High School. She will graduate from Ferrum in December 2020.