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North Carolina

Field hockey Final Four a little smaller for rhino-raising Travers

Posted November 13, 2012
Updated November 14, 2012

— As the University of North Carolina's field hockey team gets ready for the NCAA Final Four, sophomore Samantha Travers is less awed than her teammates by the spotlight for a very unique reason.

Travers grew up on her family's game preserve in Zimbabwe. Their work in breeding black rhinos became the subject of a reality TV series where she lived for months with a camera crew following her family's every move.

“Mom and I couldn’t have a normal conversation because I couldn’t discuss my friend or boyfriend issues knowing that 12 other people are listening,” Travers said.

UNC's Travers going from raising rhinos to final four UNC's Travers going from raising rhinos to Final Four

The show, which ran on Animal Planet, documented the birth of a baby black rhino. But the story line took an unexpected turn even before it got started.

“They came six-and-a-half weeks after the baby was born and sadly, we just had a huge poaching incident where the mother of the baby had been killed,” Travers said. “That’s why we had to take the baby into the house because it needs a full time mother; obviously my mother did that. Then, at the same time, we got a pet warthog and a pet hyena, so it was a bit of a crazy household.”

That's where the show's name came in to play – "There's a baby rhino in my house." It has run worldwide, and Samantha's mom really did take a baby rhino into her house to raise.

“They are big, gentle giants,” Travers said. “If you respect them, they will respect you. My parents have taught us to respect everything.”

Travers, a starter on the back line for Carolina's No. 1 ranked field hockey team, has a background different from that of the other Tar Heels, and as you might expect, she had a bit of culture shock when she got to Carolina.

“When she first got here, it was difficult for her top even fathom the grocery store,” said head coach Karen Shelton.

“For a long time we had to go to another country just to get our groceries,” Travers explained.

Travers has already had a worldwide journey and the next stop is the field hockey Final Four.

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  • Tarheel born Nov 14, 8:47 a.m.

    What a great story about this young lady's life. Let's add one more NCAA National Championship ladies!

    GO HEELS!!

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Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
Final
SFG 11
KAN 4
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
 
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
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Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
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Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
Final
MARS 35
FATL 16
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
Final
OKST 10
WVU 34
Final
WKENT 66
ODU 51
Final
UTST 34
UNLV 20
Final
MIZZ 24
VANDY 14
Final
UCF 34
TEMPL 14
Final
WASU 37
ARZ 59
Final
CLEM 16
SYR 6
Final
LAMON 18
TXST 22
Final
TXSANANTO 0
UTEP 34
Final
COLST 45
WYO 31
Final
LSU 10
MISS 7
Final
TENN 20
ALA 34
Final
AUB 42
SCAR 35
Final
PSU 24
OSU 31
 
4th
UTAH 17
USC 21
 
3rd
WASH 0
ARST 10
 
2nd
HAW 7
NEV 0
 
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
Final
TOR 1
BOS 4
Final
NYI 7
DAL 5
Final
PHI 4
DET 2
Final
OTT 2
NJD 3
Final
MON 3
NYR 1
Final
STL 3
CHI 2
Final
NAS 0
PIT 3
Final
MIN 7
TAM 2
Final
ARI 2
FLA 1
Final
CAL 1
WAS 3
3:00pm Today
WIN
COL
 
4:00pm Today
LOS
CLB
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
OTT
 
8:00pm Tonight
ANA
SJS
 
9:30pm Tonight
VAN
WAS
 
9:30am Today
ATL
DET
1:00pm Today
CIN
BAL
1:00pm Today
NYJ
BUF
1:00pm Today
NEP
CHI
1:00pm Today
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HOU
1:00pm Today
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1:00pm Today
TAM
MIN
1:00pm Today
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SEA
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KAN
STL
4:05pm Today
ARI
PHI
4:25pm Today
PIT
IND
4:25pm Today
CLE
OAK
8:30pm Tonight
NOS
GBP
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14