Monthly Archives: October 2013

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New tennis coach hopes to make a “raquet”


Staff Writer

The tennis program has made a major acquisition by hiring Darryl Cummings, the new director of Men’s and Women’s Tennis. Cummings will oversee both teams and take on the role of Assistant Sports Information Director.
Cummings brings a long list of credentials to VWC. For 19 years, he was the head coach at Old Dominion University, finishing with an impressive overall record of 563-353 in dual matches. Six times he earned Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year honors, including becoming the only coach to win the award for men’s and women’s teams in the same season.
He has coached players from all over the world, many of whom have played professionally and represented their respective countries in major international competitions.
In addition to his coaching triumphs, Cummings is an accomplished player in his own right. He competed collegiately at ODU and in 1985 won the Virginia State’s Single Champion title.
Cummings stepped down as head coach at Old Dominion following the 2011 season in order to focus on developing his business, the Cape Henry Racquet Club. After a couple of seasons away from coaching, Cummings said the opportunity at Virginia Wesleyan was “perfect timing for me and for the college.”
Cummings cited the new Everett Tennis Center, the ideal size and location of the college and the challenge of building a Division III program as some of the key factors that made the job appealing.
“I am very thankful for the opportunity to be named Director of Men’s and Women’s Tennis at Virginia Wesleyan College,” said Cummings in a press release from the VWC Athletics Department. “President Greer, Dean Buckingham, Athletic Director Joanne Renn and the committee are an extremely special group of professionals with whom to work and I am honored they selected me to join the team. My new colleagues in the athletic department are a great group that I felt connected with right away.”
Cummings is not in entirely unfamiliar territory as the head coach of the Marlins. He actually served as men’s head tennis coach at Virginia Wesleyan for one season in 1989, prior to his run at Old Dominion.
Cummings is a Norfolk native with deep roots in the Hampton Roads region. His familiarity with the area and the fact he is so highly regarded in the tennis community should prove advantageous on the recruiting trails.
“His long time connection to the region and the Commonwealth, along with his expertise in evaluating and recruiting student-athletes should pay dividends as Virginia Wesleyan looks to build the tennis program to complement the strength of the athletic department,” said Athletic Director Joanne Renn.
Both the men’s and women’s teams possess a talented group of players for Cummings to coach. As the fall portion of the season winds down, Cummings said he is pleased with the progress he has seen so far. Although both teams are coming off a streak of losing seasons, he believes it will not be long before the Marlins are competing for ODAC Championships and NCAA Tournament bids.
“As a team, we are positioned quite nicely in order to put ourselves on to the tennis map in a very short period of time,” said Cummings.

Seasons falling into place

Sophomore Kat Ditta balances the ball while evading a defender from Meredith College.

Staff Writer

The regular season for the fall sports teams is coming to a close, and many are preparing to enter post-league play. Many teams had their last regular season competition games this past weekend.
Many teams are posting better results than they did last year and there are a lot of reasons for that. A lot of the sports teams last fall had young squads, some of them with just a couple of graduating seniors. This played out well for the Men’s Soccer and Cross Country teams.
The Men’s Soccer team has had a much better season this year than they did last year. They only lost a couple people from last year’s roster and the experience of the team playing together for as long as they have is showing.
The team currently has an impressive record of 10 wins, four losses and one tie; six of those wins and two of those loses are against Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) opponents.
Last year the Men’s Soccer team finished with a record of eight wins, 10 losses and two ties, six of those wins and five of those losses came from ODAC opponents. The team is in a good position to possibly have a home field advantage during the ODAC tournament.
The Women’s Soccer team had a solid season this fall. Based on wins and losses, there has not been improvement from last season, but this could be a result of the team losing key players.
The team currently has a record of nine wins, four losses and two ties, six of those wins and three of those losses were against ODAC opponents. The women’s team is also in a great position to possibly have a home field advantage during the ODAC championship tournament.
The team is young with only four seniors and has a lot of potential to step up and get this women’s team back to where they belong, which is nationally ranked and in the NCAA tournament.
The Field Hockey team has improved vastly since last season. Last fall they posted a record of three wins and 12 losses, but with a new head coach and solid leadership, the team is currently at seven wins and seven losses with a chance to make the ODAC tournament.
Six seniors will be leaving the field hockey team after this year, but six freshmen came in and are excited to continue playing hard over the next couple years. The team is heading in the right direction.
The Volleyball team is looking to finish this season strong; they currently have a record of 14 wins and 10 losses with four matches left to play. Last year they posted a record of 19 wins and 12 losses with their final loss coming to Lynchburg College in the ODAC tournament.
The Volleyball team is in a good position to improve throughout these next couple years, they are only losing three seniors and they brought in five freshmen. The team has consistently been successful in ODAC play and they are showing no signs of slowing down with the talent they have brought in.
The Men’s Cross Country team has also made strong improvements since last fall. Last fall they consistently finished in the bottom tier of all the teams at meets. They finished eighth out of 11 teams in the ODAC championship meet last season.
This fall they have placed second and fourth respectively at large meets and are looking for a strong showing at the ODAC championship meet in November. The Men’s Cross Country team is losing only one senior and next year they will also only have one senior. They are looking for big things these next couple years with a team full of eight underclassmen.
The Women’s Cross Country team has also had a good season this fall. They have consistently been within the top tier of teams at meets and they are also looking for a strong showing at the ODAC championship meet.
The Women’s Cross Country team lost valuable talent, but plenty of people have stepped up and are working hard for the women’s team. This year’s team has three seniors, but also a lot of young talent that is ready to step up for them in upcoming years.
The fall sports teams are full of young talent and all have something to prove. Championship season is upon us and every team has high expectations.

World Series is in full swing


Staff Writer

Major League Baseball’s 2013 World Series will feature the St. Louis Cardinals taking on the Boston Red Sox. The divisional series were decided through several games in which the Cardinals and Red Sox came out on top after facing the Los Angeles Dodgers and Detroit Tigers. Because of the American League victory over the National League in the All-Star game, the Red Sox will automatically take the home field advantage.
A quick review of the season will show that both teams were likely to end up in the World Series as they both held the best records in their respective divisions. Both teams held 97 wins and 65 loss records to tie for the best record in all of baseball with a .599 win percentage.
Although both teams were tied going into the postseason, ESPN power rankings have the Red Sox ranked number one due to the first place ranking in regular season run differential and their home field advantage. The Cardinals are ranked second.
This post-season began with two wild card playoff games featuring the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Cincinnati Reds in the National League and the Cleveland Indians taking on the Tampa Bay Rays. The Pirates would go on to beat the Reds, and the Rays did the same to the Indians. These outcomes set the post-season playoff ladder as follows: American League—Rays vs. Red Sox, Athletics vs. Tigers; National League—Cardinals vs. Pirates, Braves vs. Dodgers.
The National League Divisional Series saw the Cardinals defeating the Pirates three games to two in a best of five game series. The Dodgers would go on to beat the Braves three games to one in that series. At this point, many people thought the Dodgers were the favorite to go to the World Series because they held the best record from the All-Star break to the end of the regular season.
“They are an exceptionally well-rounded team. They score a lot of runs, pitch well and play great defense,” said sophomore baseball player Larry Green.
However, the Cardinals proved to be the better team as they advanced to the World Series with a four game to two National League Championship series win over the Dodgers.
In the American League Divisional Series, the Red Sox defeated the Rays three games to one and the Tigers beat the Athletics three games to two, advancing them both to the American League Championship Series. The Red Sox became the 2013 American League Champions in a four to two game series win over American League Cy Young award frontrunner Max Scherzer and the Tigers.
“It’s all in the Beards!” said sophomore baseball player Sean Greiser, in reference to the unshaven beards worn by the players in the Boston Red Sox clubhouse. The trend began in spring training with just two players and spread to the rest of the squad as a team building experience.
If the World Series is anything like the regular season, there should be no shortage of runs. Viewers should expect to see some spectacular pitching performances. The Cardinals have two starting pitchers, Adam Wainwright and Shelby Miller, in the running for the National League Cy Young award.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox lead the Major Leagues in numerous offensive categories, including runs scored, runs batted in and slugging percentage. These matchups should provide plenty of excitement for baseball fans tuning in.
“The Red Sox are the best, they are going to win this,” said senior Mikaela Whitaker.
Cardinal’s fans are not showing as much emotion, but they remain confident.
“Yeah, we got this,” said freshman and Cardinals fan Taylor Erby.

Men will be men

Staff Writer

Your boyfriend is on there. So is that hook-up from last week, your ex-boyfriend and your crush. But so are your brothers, your dad and your friend who died last year. Nearly every man in your life is on the app Lulu.
What is so special about this app? It has given women the opportunity to check up on the guy they like, their boyfriend or their family members, all while staying completely anonymous.
The app allows women to review their male counterparts based on everything from looks, money and sex experience to how they smell, what car they drive and even how they treat their dogs. But some women are using the app to get revenge on their exes, bad hook-ups and men who just did not pay them enough attention
“It’s like Yelp! but the reviewers get to stay anonymous,” said TechFeed reviewer Annie Gaus. However, this anonymity is allowing for some subtle forms of cyber-bullying.
“It’s probably unethical. It’s like people talking about each other behind their backs, but the thing is, that’s nothing new,” said communication professor Dr. Stu Minnis.
There is no way to know you are on the app unless you are checking it; this allows women to bash men they don’t like without their knowledge. Because of this, some men are getting bad reviews, and even getting joked in private circles based on a very biased review. However, some of the men on the app are taking a much more light-hearted view on this.
“There definitely could be bullying, but they’re entitled to their own opinion,” said sophomore Connor Kirkham. “If that’s how they feel about someone then that’s how they feel.”
He was given 8.5 out of 10, with his reviewer saying he “LooksHotAllTheTime,” but is “NotTheSharpestKnife.”
“I’m on Dean’s List! Come on now! But it is kind of fun to see how other people responded about me,” said Kirkham after looking at his rating.
“I’m not even mad. It happens. Stuff like this happens all the time. I mean, yeah, it’s weird, but what can you do?” said sophomore Thomas Morgan. He received a 9.4 out of 10, with his best comment being “GlassHalfFull” and his worst being “TrustFundBaby.”
“Girls are going to talk no matter what, so this is just a way to talk to girls you don’t necessarily know,” said sophomore Olivia Birmingham. She has used the app off and on for six months, but said that guys do not need a similar app.
“[A similar app wouldn’t be] helpful to guys. From what I’ve heard about guys who know they’re on the app, they don’t care,” said Birmingham.
As of now, no legal actions have been taken against the app, though there has been talk of harassment charges according to TechFeed. However, it is still on both the Android market and the App Store for iPhone. If you are curious, download it and check out what people think of your brother, best friend or boyfriend. But do not worry too much if it is negative.
“Responding to criticism is just a testament to someone’s character,” said Kirkham.
Who knows? Maybe you even have a secret admirer out there. It is all just part of the fun.

Pokémon is back

Senior Michelle VanPatten plays Pokémon on her Nintendo DS.

Staff Writer

The entertainment craze Pokémon was first unleashed upon Japan in 1996 and has since taken the world by storm. The series started out as a simple top-down adventure and role playing game, and has evolved to become a beautiful representation of the story that many college students know and love from their childhood.
Despite over a decade of games, Pokémon has mostly looked and played the same, but the most recent installment has changed been developed to breathe new life into the old games. Previously, the games main camera was focused looking down on your player and the graphics were just a bit sharper from generation to generation. But now, “sharper” can’t even describe the amazing visual improvements that have been added to the game.
As the first installment of Pokémon for Nintendo’s 3DS, the game can also be played in a whole new dimension. The graphics are much different and add a whole new feel to the game that never existed before, except in a few of the lesser known console games.
This is Pokémon’s sixth generation and everything has been drastically changed. Before this installment the game was set up in a world very much like Japan. Four of the islands in the games archipelago-like continent were based on Japan’s shape, with the fifth resembling New York. In the newest installment the hero of the story spends their days exploring a land very similar to France. Many of the people speak small bits of French and the new region greatly resembles France in appearance.
On top of the fantastic graphics and new environments, there are also 69 all new Pokémon added to this game. With this new crop of Pokémon, the total number has been brought up to 718, and a new ability type has been added. This is special because a change like this hasn’t been made to the game since 1999.
The new ability type is called “Fairy type” and is made to counter Fighting, Dark, and Dragon type Pokémon. Fairy type is also weak against Poison and Steel type Pokémon. The addition of Fairy type Pokémon is beneficial because it finally gives players a fighting chance against the powerful Dragon type Pokémon, who were previously only weak against other Dragons.
Along with the new Pokémon and types, Nintendo has added a new feature known as the Mega Evolution. This is the next level of the powering process of Pokémon where they become exponentially stronger after gaining enough experience through battle. These Mega Evolutions are only available to a select few powerful Pokémon that transform when presented with a special stone. After completing their Mega Evolution the Pokémon become extremely powerful and are given an upgraded appearance for the rest of the battle.
Besides the intense Pokémon Battles and great new looks, there have also been two additions to the mechanics of training your Pokémon. First there is an addition called Super Training, which allows for a massive boost in the player’s Pokémon’s stats. These stats include, but are not limited to, attack, defense and speed. Then there is Pokémon-Amie, which is a way for players to interact more closely with their Pokémon, giving them better stats in battle and more affection for their trainers.
The game has undergone so many large changes that some of the smaller changes can be easily overlooked to those new to the franchise. However, for die-hard fans and returning regulars, the small improvements to environmental detail, character design, character customization, plot and cinematic gameplay stand out immediately and with force. The game feels and plays like something entirely new, while maintaining the atmosphere and tone of its predecessors.
“Pokémon X and Y” have truly changed the franchise forever. These new titles that Nintendo can still make radical new installments to their older franchises, which is a factor that will likely keep them in business for many more years. “Pokémon X and Y” has set a new bar for future Pokémon games and will likely continue to contribute to the already massive fan base the series holds. The love fans have for this game is insurmountable and surpasses many other fan bases out there today, and has only been strengthened with the release of “Pokémon X and Y.”

The haunted halls of Wesleyan

Emily Gibson
Staff Writer

We are a generation raised to be afraid of the dark. From the first time we play “Bloody Mary” to the times we convinced ourselves that the door opened by itself, we are terrified of the things that go bump in the night. For the students here at Virginia Wesleyan, those fears might not be completely unwarranted considering both East and Rose Hall are rumored to be haunted.
“When you go to East Hall, it feels like you’re being watched, it’s unusually cold and it doesn’t feel comfortable,” said freshman Sorenda Bickerstaff.
She is not alone. Many students have reported strange sightings or feelings while roaming around the campus. And according to an article called ‘Haunted Norfolk’, a ghost awaits anyone who arrives late to their dorm and subsequently find themselves all alone late at night. From the lack of population to the ominous fog that lingers in the fields at night, Virginia Wesleyan seems the perfect home for paranormal beings.
Victoria Macoul, junior and former resident of East Hall, recalled her interactions with these strange entities.
“I lived in East 321 when I was a freshman and when we first settled in it was fine and everything was cool but about halfway through the first semester it started to get kind of freaky” said Macoul. “One night I woke up and it was about four in the morning, and I had this really weird feeling. My roommates closet always used to creep open on its own. Late at night I didn’t feel safe, and it got to the point where I would wake my roommate up and tell her we had to get out of the room because it was that overpowering.”
The Virginia Wesleyan hauntings go beyond poltergeist. For Victoria Macoul and her roommate, their stay in East Hall was more like a brief exposure to something darker and more malicious.
“One night we did a Ouijia board in Rose Hall and it basically told the whole group that it was our room that was haunted and that the ghost was a small child and he was friendly,” said Macoul. “But when we asked it if he wanted to take us somewhere, it said ‘Hell’.”
At this point, it only made sense that Macoul and her friends were wary of their room and East in general. However, the more they delved into this paranormal mystery, the more fascinated they became with it, so much in fact, that it became more of an obsession.
The current residents of East Hall 321 have not experienced any strange happenings, though their suite mates do report some interaction with the paranormal. Lauren Aktug, freshman resident of East Hall 322, was confronted with the unbelievable.
“My roommate and I were doing homework and decided to take a break, so we took a small walk around Village 2,” said Aktug. “We were in the parking lot talking and all the sudden my roommate said ‘do you see that figure?’ and pointed to the practice field. I saw a tall, glowing figure with no recognizable face. I realized it looked like it was getting closer then we got freaked out and ran back inside.”
Residents of East Hall are not the only ones who need to worry as Rose Hall may be haunted as well. According to Macoul, Rose Hall was where the Ouija Board craze began two years ago, since the Rose Hall residents wanted to discover more about the ghost haunting their halls.
“Apparently two years ago they did a Ouija Board in my room,” said freshman and Rose Hall resident Rachel Lambert. “And after they were banned, all of the lights went out on campus at the exact time they planned on using the board again. I don’t know, some weird stuff happens. It gets freaky.”
Whether or not there is truth behind all of the stories circulating these paranormal hot spots on campus, the fact remains that there have been unexplained and very creepy instances over the years.
Some people report the paranormal in East while others adamantly claim there is more to be said of Rose. There are even some people who claim to have seen shadows in the library while studying into the wee hours of the morning in the 24-hour room.
Unexplained bumps in the night abound at nearly every college in the nation. Due to its rich history and involvment during the Civil War, Virginia seems ripe with ghost stories. Who is to say Wesleyan is an exception to a random, war-related historical tragedy?
Halloween is known as the day that dead souls get to roam the earth in human form again. When the clock strikes midnight on Oct. 31, be on the lookout for any new faces, as they might belong to the anonymous and ghoulish entities that make themselves at home among the students here at Virginia Wesleyan.