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.



1 Comment

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Tarheel born Nov 14, 2012

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

    GO HEELS!!

  • ACTION: Dew Tour

    Tomorrow at 5:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • GOLF: Women's British Open

    Tomorrow at 11:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Haskell

    Sunday at 5:00 am on WRAL-TV

  • MLS: Kansas City at Portland

    Sunday at 2:00 pm on FOX50

  • ACTION: Dew Tour

    Sunday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NHRA Sonoma Nationals

    Sunday at 4:00 pm on FOX50

  • OLYMPICS: Kerri Walsh Special

    Sunday at 4:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • GOLF: Women's British Open

    Sunday at 11:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MiLB: Bulls vs. Louisville

    Tonight at 7:00 on Buzz Sports Radio

  • 919 Beer Podcast

    Tomorrow at 8:00 am on 99.9 The Fan

  • MiLB: Bulls vs. Louisville

    Tomorrow at 6:30 pm on Buzz Sports Radio

  • NASL: RailHawks at FC Edmonton

    Sunday at 4:00 pm on 1550 The Ticket

ATP Scoreboard
Thursday, Jul. 28
Rogers Cup (ATP)
Third Round
(12) B. Tomic6 3 4   
K. Anderson4 6 6   
(3) K. Nishikori6 6    
R. Ram3 4    
(7) D. Goffin65 6 4   
(10) G. Monfils77 2 6   
(2) S. Wawrinka77 6    
(16) J. Sock63 2    
I. Karlovic3 5    
G. Dimitrov6 7    
(5) T. Berdych6 62 6   
R. Harrison4 77 4   
(4) M. Raonic6 6    
J. Donaldson2 3    
(1) N. Djokovic6 6    
R. Stepanek2 4    
 
WTA Scoreboard
Thursday, Jul. 28
Rogers Cup (WTA)
Third Round
(7) R. Vinci5 3    
D. Kasatkina7 6    
(5) S. Halep6 6    
(14) K. Pliskova3 3    
(9) S. Kuznetsova77 6    
(12) P. Kvitova62 3    
(4) A. Radwanska4 77 1   
(16) A. Pavlyuchen6 64 6   
(2) A. Kerber1 77 6   
E. Svitolina6 62 4   
(6) V. Williams1 77 3   
(10) M. Keys6 62 6   
(15) J. Konta6 6    
V. Lepchenko3 2    
E. Bouchard6 4 3   
K. Kucova3 6 6