Category: Sports

Marlins advance to Sweet Sixteen

THOMAS MILLS
Photo Editor

With three minutes and 46 seconds left in the second half of their second-round NCAA elimination playoff game, the Marlins were clinging on to a precious seven-point lead over the Wesley College Wolverines.
Then, to the roar of a packed J.P. Batten Student Center crowd, sophomore guard Sedric Nady nailed a three-point field goal.
“Once he hit that shot, we went on our run and pretty much controlled the rest of the game,” said team captain and senior guard D.J. Woodmore. “His basket was the turning point in the game. From there, it was just a free throw competition.”
“It’s all about finding a way to win and advancing,” said team captain and point guard Aaron Clark.
“For our seniors, this is their fourth trip to the Sweet Sixteen,” said head men’s basketball coach Dave Macedo after the game. “They’ve done an outstanding job. Everybody just wants to win.”
The Marlins, however, will have to place their past successes aside as they shift their focus to Fredericksburg, Virginia, home of the University of Mary Washington Eagles. Ranked 17th in the nation, the Eagles, who defeated the Marlins 95-87 in overtime on Dec. 17, will have home-court advantage in the round of sixteen.
“It’s a big challenge as they are a good team and have been playing well all year,” said Clark. “I’m sure they’ll have a great crowd to support them and it will be a challenge to go on the road and play in a game of this magnitude.”
“We lost to this team the first time around,” said freshman guard Khory Moore. “We are a very good team and it is hard to beat us twice in one season.”
The University of Mary Washington offers a unique matchup for the Marlins. The Eagles are fourth in the nation in three-point field goals per game and total three-point field goals made, making 301 three-point shots throughout their season. Virginia Wesleyan is right behind the Eagles though, as the Marlins have knocked down 296 three-point field goals on the season, putting them fifth in the nation.
“Mary Washington presents the challenge that you have to make shots to beat them,” said Woodmore. “We are one of the best-shooting teams in the country and so are they, which means whichever team shoots it better from the field will have the better chance of winning.”
The Marlins, however, have a significant advantage as they tout the best three-point field goal defense in the country. In their 30 games on the season, Virginia Wesleyan has allowed just 123 three-point field goals, 34 less than the next closest team.
Another intriguing aspect of the Eagles’ hosting the Sweet Sixteen round is that, unlike in previous years when the Marlins had to make long journeys to Wisconsin and Massachusetts, the team gets to stay in their home state.
“It means a lot to stay in the state of Virginia,” said Woodmore. “This means we don’t have plane rides that can tire teams out and can potentially draw a bigger fan support than most other teams in the tournament.”
“We know a lot of our fellow students are from areas close to Mary Washington so it may be possible to have a good crowd with it being spring break this weekend,” said Clark. “Most of us on the team are from the area so it’s not a bad drive for our families as well.”

Winter sports wrap up

KELLIE LAGOY
Sports Writer

The first weekend in March was the time for Virginia Wesleyan College’s winter sports teams to showcase their best performances in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) tournaments.
The men’s basketball team got a first-round bye and rallied their way through the weekend to win the ODAC championship title for the second year in a row. They took down Bridgewater College, Washington and Lee University and Hampden-Sydney College.
“I thought we gave a championship effort,” said head coach Dave Macedo.
The entire team pulled together to get the win in dramatic style, keeping the fans on the edge of their seats during the game. The scoreboard very briefly favored Hampden-Sydney in the championship game, but the Marlins’ confidence never wavered.
“It never went through our head that we weren’t going to win,” said senior Aaron Clark. The Marlins pulled through to win the championship game 77-74.
The women’s basketball team competed in the ODAC tournament as well, though with a different outcome. While the team managed to edge Hollins University in the first round, they fell to Guilford College 79-57 in the quarterfinals.
“The last game was a disappointment to all of us,” said sophomore Kelly Jones. “It was by far not our best game.”
Basketball wasn’t the only sport to see tournament recognition this month. The men and women’s track and field teams broke records and came home with hardware. The men’s team came back with a fourth-place finish while the women placed fifth with their highest point total ever as a team.
Senior Randy Lott set a record time in the 60-meter dash with 6.87 seconds. This time ranks him as the tenth-fastest in the nation for that event. Lott broke VWC’s record as well as setting an ODAC record in the 200-meter run with a time of 22.17 seconds.
Senior Courtney Mebane also held strong in the 60-meter by taking first place while sophomore Shakira Mills put up a program-record time of 7.90 in the 60 and junior Shakiella Daniel broke another program record in the 200.
“We had a lot of personal records at this meet, which gives us high hopes and motivates us for the outdoor season,” said Daniel.
All three teams played to the best of their abilities and all managed to shine bright for Virginia Wesleyan. Now each team faces different levels of competition as they look forward to what is to come.
The men’s basketball team will continue to compete in the NCAA tournament, the women’s basketball team will set a game plan for next season and both track teams will prepare themselves for the upcoming outdoor season.

Coaching accomplishment, team adversity

KERRI-LEANNE TAYLOR
Sports Editor

Baseball Head Coach Nick Boothe wins his 600th career game, but the team starts their 2014 campain with a losing record.

The baseball team has already started out their 2014 campaign breaking records, and they are only 13 games into the season. On Feb. 23, Baseball Head Coach Nick Boothe recorded his 600th career win, as his team won a closely fought game against Averett University.
This milestone places Coach Boothe amongst the collegiate coaching elite, as he is now one of only 30 men who have gained the prestigious 600-win status. Although this season has begun with personal triumph for Coach Boothe, he is not satisfied with his current success, and hopes his team continues to work hard and win games.
“Coach Boothe’s 600 win is a great feat in college coaching but it does not seem to have changed his hunger to win every game we play.” said junior pitcher Dylan Stoskus.
The coaching milestone has come amidst a shaky start of the season for the baseball team as a whole. Currently, the team posts a 3-10 record, but they look to keep improving as the season progresses.
“We’ve had a rough start but we’ve shown a lot of signs of improvement. We have a lot of young guys that are stepping up and bringing a lot of energy, which pushes everyone to work harder to improve.” said Senior pitcher Brooks Kirby.
The team’s losses have come to quality opponents, including nationally ranked Salisbury and Cortland St. The team looks to gain experience from these defeats, as well as motivation to keep progressing on the road to an Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) title.
The unique combination of hard work and teamwork which the team displays on a daily basis will help them to move on from these losses and get back on track to a successful season.
“We are more than a team. We are a family, and I know this family is destined for success. With our work ethic and determination, I know we can achieve anything put in front of us. I wouldn’t want to go to battle with any other men than these guys I’m honored to call my teammates and coaches” said junior George Annunziata.
The Marlins were ranked the ninth seed in the ODAC preseason poll, but they look to prove everybody wrong in their upcoming games, and produce record-setting performances this season.
“I’m hoping we make it farther than the ODAC thought we would. I’m not bothered by it, I just think we are going to surprise some people.” said freshman Taylor Erby.
With a combination of experienced returners and talented new-comers, the team hopes to finish their season in first place, and bring home the ODAC title. The team will keep working their relentless pursuit of a championship, no matter what may come their way.
“My motto is ‘Don’t ever give up on something you can’t go a day without’, and we are a team that will never give up on our love for the game of baseball.” said junior George Annunziata.
The team plays at home this weekend, facing conference foe Lynchburg in a double-header on Saturday, and will play against Earlham on Sunday. Both games begin at 12pm, so if you’re sticking around for spring break, venture out to the field and support your Marlins!

Madness is in full effect

DJ WOODMORE
Staff Writer

There is only one month out of the year when grown men can be seen dancing and crying all on the same stage. Only one month when underdogs are the favorites, dreams are shattered and legacies are made. And only one month in which your chance of winning the lottery is slightly greater than picking a perfect bracket. The month is March and this one already looks to be one for the ages.
“March Madness is a brutal time of year for everybody,” Head Men’s Basketball Coach Dave Macedo said. “It’s all about surviving and advancing, or else it’s lose and go home.”
Macedo has experience at every level of the NCAA tournament, from first-round upsets to national championship rings and everything in between. He has made an appearance in the “Big Dance” each of the last 10 years at VWC.
“This tournament can either break your heart or create memories that last a lifetime,” he said. “The key is getting hot at the right time plus a little bit of luck.”
But while the NCAA tournaments at the Division II and III levels have already begun, the teams at the Division I level are still playing for their spots in the bracket. Everybody’s favorite teams, such as Duke and UNC, are still looking to keep hope alive as they end their regular season and get ready to begin conference play.
From there, those who win their conference tournaments will receive automatic bids to the NCAA tournament and those who don’t will hope to continue their season with an at-large bid. There are 351 teams in Division I that all start the season with a common goal, but only 68 of those teams advance to the tournament.
“We all want to watch the David vs. Goliath matchup and the Cinderella team come out on top, but nobody picks them because we don’t want it to mess up our bracket,” senior Trent Batson said.
This year the players will not be the only ones expecting perfection on the court; fans will be thirsting for it. What’s at stake? One billion dollars! According to Rob Wile of the news website “Business Insider,” Berkshire Hathaway has teamed up with Cleveland Cavaliers owner and Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert to offer college basketball fans a shot at becoming a billionaire. Legendary investor Warren Buffet will be awarding one billion dollars to any fan that creates a perfect bracket in this year’s NCAA tournament.
“This adds tons of excitement to the sport of college basketball and makes every game just a little bit more important for both the players and fans,” sophomore guard Sedric Nady said.
Its important to note that a perfect bracket has NEVER been filled out in the history of the Bracket Challenge, which makes this challenge that much more exciting. But all is not lost if your bracket has an error or two, because Quicken Loans will be awarding $100,000 each to contestants with the 20 imperfect brackets closest to being correct. So, if you get painfully close to perfection and fall short, there’s still big money to be won.
Last year’s tournament was full of bracket busters, none more evident than Florida Gulf Coast University, who stole the NCAA tournament’s spotlight with high-flying alley oops and NBA-range 3-pointers. In doing so, they became the first 15 seed in NCAA basketball history to advance to the Sweet 16.
This year’s college basketball has already had its fair share of history-making moments, including Wichita State’s perfect regular-season record of 31-0, the first undefeated season the NCAA has seen in 10 years. Another standout is Creighton University’s senior forward Doug McDermott who looks likely to join the 3,000-point club, a feat that only seven collegiate athletes have ever accomplished in their NCAA careers.
March has officially begun but the madness hasn’t even started yet. The official start day of the tournament is March 18, and all games will be streamed for free on various sponsoring websites, as well as be aired on cable television channels including CBS, TNT, TBS and TruTV.
The 2014 tennis season is nearly in full swing. Both the men and women’s teams have been preparing for this Spring season.
Head Coach Darryl Cummings, born and raised in Virginia Beach, has returned to Virginia Wesleyan after a decade of coaching at Old Dominion University. Having years of collegiate coaching experience, Cummings has been confidently training his players for the upcoming season.
“In the fall, we had two to three tournaments that provided competitive opportunities,” he said. “It gave the coaches and players good feedback on how to develop their games.”
In addition to team training, many players pursued individual improvement during their school breaks.
Sophomore Mia Proctor prepared for the fall and upcoming season by playing and teaching tennis during the summer.
“This helped me understand what I had to work on,” Proctor said. “I also tried to work on my mental game and under that anyone on any day can win the match.”
Fellow sophomore player Graham Wilson prepared for the upcoming season by training over winter break and meeting with his personal trainers three times a week at Tidewater Performance in Newport News.
“This season I plan on trying to improve my record from last year to go as far as I can and hopefully make it to nationals in May,” Wilson said.
Proctor’s goals for this season is being a leader and making sure everyone is trying their best on the court, while Wilson hopes the team’s training will lead them to a win at the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) championship.
One of the most exciting aspects of the players’ training takes place during Spring Break. Both teams will travel to Florida over break to enhance their understanding of the game and become closer as a team. The trip will begin in Orlando where players will be matched by teams … (play a couple of teams.)
“I am really looking forward to the trip because it will give good training opportunities,” Cummings said.
Next, the teams will attend a pro tournament in Miami where they’ll observe the highest level playing and train at IMG Academy in Bradenton, where famous tennis players like Venus and Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Andre Agassi are alumni and trainees.
“I’m expecting the team to do well during the season and to really understand what it means to be a team,” Proctor said.
Players are working extremely hard to cooperate as a team and are confident that their training can lead to championships.
Cummings stated confidently, “This season, the men have the chance to compete for a conference championship and the women’s have a chance to be at the top 5 this season.”

Tennis teams take the court

KAT PUDUCAY
Staff Writer

The 2014 tennis season is in full swing. Both the men and women’s teams have been preparing for this spring season.
Head Coach Darryl Cummings, born and raised in Virginia Beach, has returned to Virginia Wesleyan after a decade of coaching at Old Dominion University. Having years of collegiate coaching experience, Cummings has been confidently training his players for the upcoming season.
“In the fall, we had two to three tournaments that provided competitive opportunities,” he said. “It gave the coaches and players good feedback on how to develop their games.”
In addition to team training, many players pursued individual improvement during their school breaks.
Sophomore Mia Proctor prepared for the fall and upcoming season by playing and teaching tennis during the summer.
“This helped me understand what I had to work on,” said Proctor. “I also tried to work on my mental game and understand that anyone on any day can win the match.”
Fellow sophomore player Graham Wilson prepared for the upcoming season by training over winter break, meeting with his personal trainers three times a week.
“This season I plan on trying to improve my record from last year to go as far as I can and hopefully make it to nationals in May,” Wilson said.
Proctor’s goals for this season are being a leader and making sure everyone is trying their best on the court, while Wilson hopes the team’s training will lead them to a win at the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) championship.
One of the most exciting aspects of the players’ training takes place during spring break. Both teams will travel to Florida over break to enhance their understanding of the game and become closer as a team. The trip will begin in Orlando where players will be matched against Knox College and Otterbein University.
“I am really looking forward to the trip because it will give good training opportunities,” Cummings said.
Next, the teams will attend a pro tournament in Miami where they’ll observe the highest level of play, and train at IMG Academy in Bradenton, where famous tennis players like Venus and Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Andre Agassi are alumni and trainees.
“I’m expecting the team to do well during the season and to really understand what it means to be a team,” Proctor said.
Players are working extremely hard to cooperate as a team and are confident that their training can lead to championships.
“This season, the men have the chance to compete for a conference championship and the women’s have a chance to be at the top five this season,” said Cummings confidently.
The 2014 tennis season is nearly in full swing. Both the men and women’s teams have been preparing for this Spring season.
Head Coach Darryl Cummings, born and raised in Virginia Beach, has returned to Virginia Wesleyan after a decade of coaching at Old Dominion University. Having years of collegiate coaching experience, Cummings has been confidently training his players for the upcoming season.
“In the fall, we had two to three tournaments that provided competitive opportunities,” he said. “It gave the coaches and players good feedback on how to develop their games.”
In addition to team training, many players pursued individual improvement during their school breaks.
Sophomore Mia Proctor prepared for the fall and upcoming season by playing and teaching tennis during the summer.
“This helped me understand what I had to work on,” Proctor said. “I also tried to work on my mental game and under that anyone on any day can win the match.”
Fellow sophomore player Graham Wilson prepared for the upcoming season by training over winter break and meeting with his personal trainers three times a week at Tidewater Performance in Newport News.
“This season I plan on trying to improve my record from last year to go as far as I can and hopefully make it to nationals in May,” Wilson said.
Proctor’s goals for this season is being a leader and making sure everyone is trying their best on the court, while Wilson hopes the team’s training will lead them to a win at the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) championship.
One of the most exciting aspects of the players’ training takes place during Spring Break. Both teams will travel to Florida over break to enhance their understanding of the game and become closer as a team. The trip will begin in Orlando where players will be matched by teams … (play a couple of teams.)
“I am really looking forward to the trip because it will give good training opportunities,” Cummings said.
Next, the teams will attend a pro tournament in Miami where they’ll observe the highest level playing and train at IMG Academy in Bradenton, where famous tennis players like Venus and Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Andre Agassi are alumni and trainees.
“I’m expecting the team to do well during the season and to really understand what it means to be a team,” Proctor said.
Players are working extremely hard to cooperate as a team and are confident that their training can lead to championships.
Cummings stated confidently, “This season, the men have the chance to compete for a conference championship and the women’s have a chance to be at the top 5 this season.”

Getting buff in Batten

DJ WOODMORE
Staff Writer

Virginia Wesleyan’s new intense training class is changing the way students get fit by leaving them crawling on their knees back to their dorms and trying to catch their breath. RecXFit, Virginia Wesleyan’s version of CrossFit training is becoming a growing trend in the way students push themselves to the limit and workout on campus.
“It’s now the big movement,” certified instructor and trainer Casey Sullivan said. “The sport’s awareness has raised to a whole different level.”
Sullivan has been doing CrossFit for over five years and is now offering a free class in the Fitness Center to any student or faculty member that would like to participate.
CrossFit is an intense strength and conditioning program in which military units, police academies and professional athletes use to get in top-notch shape.
“I want the people that come to my class to get the most out of the workouts each day they walk in the gym,” Sullivan said. “The program is built for anybody that wants to challenge themselves into seeing results.”
Freshman Javana Messersmith has decided to challenge herself with RecXFit and believes it is a program everyone should try out.
“You have to be willing to go in there with an open mind and be willing to push yourself,” she said. “It’s exciting to me and you do get results if you stick with it.”
Students aren’t the only ones taking part in the RecXFit experience. The classes have a mixture of personnel, including athletes, coaches and faculty members of all different skill levels.
“I love the workouts,” said Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach J.P. Stewart. “They are some of the toughest, challenging, most fulfilling exercises I’ve ever done.”
Stewart started CrossFit in December 2010 and hasn’t looked back since. Each session requires different exercises demanding a full body workout. He’s grown so fond of the program that he makes his team train using it.
“That’s all the team does in the preseason,” Stewart said. “I had them in Casey’s class everyday during the past Winter Session.”
With the demand for the program growing each week and the number of people in the class rising, where exactly were all of these students and faculty members working out?
At the end of the fall semester, more than $25,000 worth of remodeling and renovation to the Fitness Center was completed. The improved center, which opened late December, took approximately a week to complete and includes an all new set up, new carpet, new equipment and extended rubber floors.
“The new layout to the Fitness Center makes the place more spacious and open for use,” said Director of Aquatics and Fitness Willie Harrell said. “It was definitely designed with RecXFit in mind.”
With more open area added to the Fitness Center, Sullivan is utilizing the space to his advantage for his classes.
“Now we’re not just limited to the C-MAC anymore,” Sullivan said. “We can maximize the entire facility.”
This semester, Sullivan continues to instruct RecXFit with sessions offered every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 am to 9 am, and every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1 pm to 2 pm. The class is free to join and all skill levels are welcomed.