Part 3
Carnahan still on the point
at Merchant Marine Academy

[AUG. 26, 2000]  In the conclusion of an interview with LDN's Jeff Mayfield, former Lincoln Railer Preston Carnahan talks about basketball in the Lincoln community, his faith, his family and his decision to attend the Merchant Marine Academy.

Q: Talk about the Lincoln fans and the community support.

A: The fans truly are the support of the basketball program. I just wish they would loosen up the rules governing what the students can do. I think that they are stifled somewhat, but I understand why some of those rules exist. I just think that we could have even more of a home court advantage if some of the restrictions were lifted. My closest friends were at the games, and that really energized me. I also considered all the other fans my friends, too! I always loved their support. Sometimes you might let yourself down, but you canít let the fans or the community down. The biggest suggestion I would give to the community is that they really need to thank Coach Alexander for all the things he has done. A lot of people donít like the way he has done things, but they seem to have a lack of understanding. From what Iíve seen and experienced, they owe him an apology and a world of thanks for what he has meant to the program. They ask him to coach basketball and to win games, and heís done that and more. Heís done a lot for many people and for the community of Lincoln.

 

Q: Why did you chose the Merchant Marine Academy?

A: Itís a federal service academy, which means you can go here tuition-free. That was not a huge factor, but it was definitely a plus. I did not want to come out of college with a big debt. When you want something more than just sliding through, which I do, it gives you that here. I figured that it was four years of my life that I needed to do something with. I didnít realize it until I came here...but there is so much more to life than just Lincoln, Illinois. You always want to go home and see your family and your friends, but out here I have nothing but more opportunities. Once you get your $150,000 education you could say goodbye to the military, and youíre set to get a good job or you can join any branch of the military (and I wonít have to make that choice for awhileó2003). I really didnít even want to graduate from high school...I thought that it was just great. I didnít feel like I had to get out of Lincoln. I did pray about it and I talked to my Mom a lot about it. My Mom was and still is one of the biggest factors as to why Iím here. She is always there for me. I mainly did it because I didnít like where I saw people from Lincoln going. I would see college students and college graduates still hanging around Lincoln...and I just didnít like that idea too much. I wanted to take a more challenging road. Iím not going to get bored out here, and it keeps me out of trouble. I like adventure...and New York City is certainly an adventure, and when I go out to sea, I donít know what part of the world Iím going to get to experience.

 

(To top of second column in this section)

Q: Youíve mentioned your faith and your family. Talk about them.

A: I think theyíre closely related. My faith started out from my family...being brought to Bible classes and to church. You canít just take their word for it. At some point your faith either becomes your own or it fizzles. When that point hit me, my faith really kicked in. I believed that Jesus was my Lord and my Savior. I have watched my parents live the life of Christians all my life. No one ever asked me this when we went to State, but I felt that whole experience was a blessing from God...and the biggest blessing in my life is my relationship with Christ. My older sister, Meagan, was also a great influence on me because I watched her live the Christian life as well. That really helped and encouraged me. Of course, just like anyone else, Iíve had ups and downs, and Iíve struggled with it. Iím struggling with it out here from time to time. I go to school with people from all over the world from all kinds of faith or the lack of it. Most of them donít understand what it means to have this kind of faith. I go to Christian fellowship on Monday nights, and that is a great experience. As for my family, my Mom taught me that I can do anything I set out to do. She said that I would have to go out and get it ó that no one would just give it to me. Iíve watched my Mom and see how she has sacrificed so many things for her kids and I want her sacrifices to pay off. I want to make her feel like they were worth it. I want to make my Mom proud.

 

Q: What advice do you have for the kids back in Lincoln?

A: Having lots of brothers and sisters makes me realize the responsibilities that I have. I feel honored and privileged if they or any kids look up to me as a role model. I take the role seriously. I would say to them to cherish their families. I would tell them that there is so much more than Lincoln in the world. You donít have to be in a hurry to leave town or say you never want to come back, but just remember that there are plenty of other places to see and experience. Once you see them and return to Lincoln, you will make Lincoln a better place. Lincolnís a better place for me now when I go back.

Preston, thanks for your time. On behalf of the LDN and the Lincoln community, let me just say that we are all very proud of you.

 

[Jeff Mayfield]

ILLINI BANK
2201 Woodlawn Rd. in Lincoln
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Click here to visit your local Private Investigator
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Part 2
Carnahan still on the point
at Merchant Marine Academy

[AUG. 25, 2000]  In the second portion of an interview with LDN's Jeff Mayfield, former Lincoln Railer Preston Carnahan tells about his upcoming sea duty and reflects on how his high school basketball experiences helped prepare him for the demands of his current life as a sophomore midshipman cadet at the Merchant Marine Academy in Kingís Point, N.Y.

Q: I understand that youíre about to be deployed on a ship. Tell us when that is going to happen, the type of rig that youíll be on and the kinds of experiences that youíre likely to encounter.

A: My crew partner and I want to get on a break bulk or dry bulk ship. They carry dry commodities like ore or coal. It is a ship with a big hull in the middle and they just dump grain or whatever in it. These are usually low-value commodities. We will more than likely be going to the Mediterranean. We will be leaving the first week in November, and we will be out to sea for four months. While you are at sea, you are either a deck cadet or an engine cadet. You have a normal job...you have an eight-hour watch. You also have a sea project to do which is very challenging. A lot of people fail it, and if they do, they have to go out to sea again. We also will get paid $20 a day to do that. We will also have a lot of port time, including a week or two of turnaround time. I think that that will be a really good experience...to be able to graduate and to be able to say that I really know what to do.

Q: So what will you have left when you get back to school?

A: I will finish my second year. Then I will go to sea for my junior year and then come back and finish my senior year here on campus

 

.

Q: Other than color guard, what other activities are you involved in?

A: Iím playing rugby now.

Q: Changing gears...reflect on your time in Lincoln and how it prepared you for college.

A: Academically, I donít know if any school can totally prepare you for what you will face. They might be able to teach you how to study hard, but they canít prepare you for this stuff. Socially, absolutely not! The culture out here is totally different. People look at you weird if you even say hello to someone you donít know.

 

 

Q: What about athletically? I know you played tennis, soccer and basketball. Did any of those sports prepare you for your college experience?

A: I think the sport that did was basketball. It came from the coaches. I think what the basketball coaches taught me is exactly what I needed and what everyone at Lincoln High School could use. The philosophy that it taught me...things like never quit, do better than you did yesterday, and perfecting the fundamentals has stuck with me. Every basketball practice was about perfecting every detail, and itís the same thing now. The people who pay attention to the details seem to get the most out of things here. So I have an appreciation for the coaches that worked me hard and took the time to talk me through the reasons we were doing certain things. That was just the greatest thing and the thing that I am the most thankful for. It has paid off for me here. There may be things that you donít like...you still have to do them to make the progress to the next level.

 

(To top of second column in this section)

Q: I know you miss your former Railer teammates? What made your time with them so special?

A: I havenít met anyone that I feel as close to as I do with the guys I played basketball with. Iíve met some good guys out here, but Iím not as close to them as I am to the guys back home in Lincoln. I still care for those guys, and I think they feel the same way about me. I feel like that is something that will never change. What we accomplished together was something very special.

Q: What would you say to your teammates by the way of advice?

A: Itís funny...but, I looked up to all of those guys even though they were younger. Like no matter how hard I played, Gregg (Alexander) was playing just as hard. I fed off of him because he wasnít going to quit for anyone...so neither did I. I always told Chad (Tungate) and Paris (Williams) to continue to play hard, because what they do will ensure the teamís success. To the rest of the team...well, youíve seen what happens when everyone wants to play hard. Itís not just something that you do by showing up...you have to really want to do it. They just need to keep working hard and make sure that everyone else does as well.

 

Q: What kind of a relationship did (do) you have with Coach Alexander?

A: He said something once that really stuck with me...that we didnít have to like him, we just had to do what he said. I think he gained a lot of respect by saying that. I learned discipline from him...so, when I came out here to this military lifestyle, it was no problem to endure discipline or yelling. I had already learned self-discipline from Coach Alexander. Other people were getting into trouble because they couldnít handle it. I felt that I was a step ahead of all other cadets, and I attribute that to Coach Al. He is accused of getting on people...but I say he gets on them when he sees that they have the potential to be so much better than they are. I really thank him for helping me out in that way. It means even more to me now than it did back then. I thank him for pushing me. There were many times that I thought that I was going all out and he would say, ĎNo, youíre not even close.í Itís not that he was disappointed in me, but he could see how much better I needed to become to help the team win. Iím sure he has no idea of all the things heís enabled me to do. Besides my relationship to God and to my family heís the next person on my list that helped me get to where I am. And I thank he deserves a real big thank you from all of us on that. He never quit on me ever, and thatís why I couldnít quit on him either. He never quits. He expects us to motivate ourselves to work at high rate of efficiency, but nobody works harder than he did. When someoneís telling you to do something and then they show you as well, that is the ultimate. I thank him for that. And I just keep saying thank you. He has been great to me. I live out my gratitude to him out here on a daily basis. The mental toughness that I learned from him helps me when I encounter a crisis out here. Iím not going to step down from any of them.

 

[Jeff Mayfield]

(Note: The conclusion of this interview will be posted on Saturday.)

(To Part 3)

ILLINI BANK
2201 Woodlawn Rd. in Lincoln
1-888-455-4641 or 735-5400
Ask for Terry Lock or Sharon Awe

Ask about our 6.9% APY
11 mos. CD

Claire's Needleworks
and Frame Shop
"We Frame It All"
On the square
in downtown Lincoln
217-732-8811
M-F 10-5  Sat 10-4
cmstitches@aol.com

Meador Investigations
Ė michael@pi-pro.com Ė
217-376-3255

IL License # 115-001499


Click here to visit your local Private Investigator
www.pi-pro.com 


Part 1
Carnahan still on the point
at Merchant Marine Academy

[AUG. 24, 2000]  Iíve been watching Lincoln Railer sports since 1975. Obviously, a lot of good athletes, both young men and young women, have gone through the programs here. Iím not sure that I have seen a more gritty and determined player than Preston Carnahan. He is one of the best point guards that I have seen in a Railer uniform. Not because his stats say so, but because he willed the Railers to victory.

To me, the greatest thing about coaching is the relationship that you get to enjoy with the players. Most of the guys can tell you how much fun we have had on the sidelines with both the basketball and football teams. Two years ago when the Railers went to the state playoffs, when I got off work and went to practice every day, the first player I sought out was Preston. He would give me a quick summary of how the first half hour had gone. It didnít take long for our friendship to develop a solid bond.

 

Last week, former Lincoln resident Gary Klockenga and I spent two days with Preston, who is now a sophomore midshipman cadet at the Merchant Marine Academy in Kingís Point, N.Y. Preston was in charge of the Presentation of the Colors during the daily parade march before classes began. As the cadets assembled and marched to their spots, the band began playing our national anthem and Carnahanís crew hoisted the flag up the pole. Later, while he was on his 4 to 8 a.m. watch, he gave us a tour of the ship that they perform their drills on.

 


[Cadet midshipmen march to class in the "yard."]

If you could see Preston representing the city of Lincoln, his family and Lincoln students, I think you would be as proud of him as I am. He may not be getting the headlines that his former teammate Brian Cook is getting, but heís making as big an impact a thousand miles away. This week the LDN goes inside the life of Preston Carnahan. . .

Q: Preston, letís start by having you describe an average day here at the Merchant Marine Academy.

A: Reveille is at 6:30, so I have to be up and out by 6:45. I have color guard practice at 7:00 which lasts until we present the colors at the daily morning parade at 7:40. As you saw, it is there that I either help raise the flag or I oversee that it is done properly. Classes start at 8:00 and they run until 11:20. Our lunch break lasts from 11:20 until 12:30. Our afternoon classes start up again at 12:30 and Iím done at 2:40. I then like to get a good workout in, which includes weightlifting and running. Actually, Iím glad Iím able to run. Iíve been injured, but Iím doing better now. We then have dinner, followed by several hours of homework. Thatís probably the most important thing of my day. Iím usually in bed between 11:30 and 12:00. I always want to go to bed earlier...it just never happens! Everyone else seems to stay up later, which makes it harder to get to bed earlier.

 


[Preston Carnahan chats with LDN Sports Editor Jeff Mayfield while giving a tour of a Merchant Marine Academy ship in King's Point, N.Y.]

Q: How many cadets are there?

A: There are 900 students enrolled here; 700 of them are here on campus and 200 of them are always at sea; 92 percent of the cadets are men and 8 percent are women. The female population has been increasing slightly over the last two years by a percentage point or two.

(To top of second column in this section)

Q: Tell us about the classes that youíre taking, as they probably differ from the ones that most college students from Lincoln are taking.

A: A lot of the classes Iím taking are directly applicable to the duties that I will soon be responsible for...sailing on a merchant vessel. Iím taking terrestrial navigation, which is navigation by buoys, lighthouses and landmarks. That class has taught me how to get bearings from the ship. Iíve taken celestial navigation, which is navigation using the stars, taking asmus using a sextant. This class is very applicable in case any of your electronic devices fail or you donít have any land masses to navigate by. I donít take any classes that I really donít need. Right now Iím taking a class called SOLAS: safety of life at sea. It is required before you go out to sea. It teaches you how to use life rafts and life vests and what to do when you have to abandon ship or in case thereís a fire. Iím taking a class that Iím sure most college students donít take and that is firefighting. In fact, Iíve got firefighting school coming up before I go out to sea.

 

Q: Preston youíve been here for more than a year now what are the highlights so far?

A: I would have to say...when we go into the city with the color guard to present the colors at a variety of different events. We get to represent our school and we get lots of compliments for serving our country. We performed at Shea stadium for the Mets opening day festivities. Weíve gone on the Enterprise, which is a retired Air Force carrier, where we met the French ambassador to the United States. Iíve met senators and congressmen and other VIPs who like to help out in any way they can.

 


[Merchant Marine Academy sailboats]

Q: How many of your classmates are from Illinois or from the Midwest?

A: About 15 or 20. Thereís just not too many from our part of the country. Those that are, are from the Chicago area.

 

Q: You didnít know all that much about the academy before you came out here. So, how would you rate your experience here? Has it been everything you thought it would be and more...everything you thought it would be and less...or exactly what you thought it would be?

A: In the regimental part, it hasnít been what I thought it would be. I thought it would be much more Ďmilitaryí than it is. I thought the academics would be a little easier than it actually is. Physically the standards are easier than I expected. In the classroom Iím putting in twice the time that I thought I would be spending there. BUT, itís definitely been everything that Iíve wanted it to be! It hasnít let me down so far.

 

[Jeff Mayfield]

(Note: This interview will continue with postings on Friday and Saturday.)

(To Part 2)

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