To start the race, of course!
For most Americans, July 4th is a time for cookouts, family, and fireworks. But here in Atlanta, Independence Day is also about challenging the world to the largest 10K on the planet. And this year, there were plenty of Petrels in the Peachtree Road Race—from students, to staff, to alumni.
Michelle Hall, OU’s Vice President for Campus Life, was among the Oglethorpe staff who ran, as well as Admission Counselor Jeremy Sale and Director of Finance/Controller Amy Rentenbach.
“This was my fourth race that my wife and I ran together,” said Jeremy. “I love all the spectators on the course and this year the Atlanta Track Club outdid itself with the number of entertainers on the course as well… It’s great that so many from the OU community run the Peachtree, it shows our commitment to Atlanta and being healthy.”
Of the Petrels that ran, rising senior Beth Cleary certainly had a lot to be proud of. She has run the Peachtree eight times, finishing her first race at the age of 11. Beth has improved upon her time ever since, clocking a respectable 44:18 this year—a major jump from her 70-minute race time back in 6th grade.
“I LOVE the Peachtree! My goal time is always faster than the last time. [This year,] once the final results came in, I found out that I missed the Top 1000 by a little bit ….[but] I want that Top 1000 mug. So next year, it’s gonna happen.”
All competitiveness aside, Beth reveals why the race keeps calling her back year after year.
“I love road races,” said Beth, who is interning with the Atlanta Track Club, the nonprofit that organizes the Peachtree each year. “I consider myself a pretty serious runner, but I consider Peachtree more of an event and an experience than an honest to goodness race. It’s a reminder of the community that running can provide…The atmosphere is fantastic and I feel as though I’m surrounded by hundreds of my best friends.”
Never mind that school’s out. With summer in full swing, Oglethorpe’s historic baseball field is still seeing some action with its newest “home” baseball team, the Brookhaven Bucks. The Bucks are one of nine teams in the Sunbelt League, a collegiate summer league based in metro Atlanta that gives college players an opportunity to sharpen their baseball skills during the off-season.
Now in its fourth week of play, the Brookhaven Bucks are 6-3, showcasing some of the region’s best baseball talent, including Oglethorpe’s very own Jeff Pope ’13. As the only summer league team inside the perimeter, the Brookhaven Bucks are becoming increasingly popular in and around Brookhaven.
The Bucks’ next home game is Thursday night, June 23 at 7:15 p.m. at Oglethorpe’s Anderson Field, where they’ll take on the Rockdale Roadrunners.
It turns out that the OU Men’s Golf team members aren’t the only athletes taking their sport to the national stage this year. In July 2011, Louisa Barama ’12 will skate in the U.S. Collegiate Figure Skating Championships in Sun Valley, Idaho, representing Oglethorpe.
A Physics major and a Math minor, Louisa knows that in skating it’s good to know a little something about energy and force—especially when you’re trying to land a double axel, lutz, a Salchow jump, or rotate in a proper camel or layback spin.
“My coaches talk a lot about maintaining angular (rotational) momentum and center of mass/gravity…to me, that’s good stuff!”
Not surprisingly, figure skating is a sport that demands an exorbitant amount of time and focus; and Louisa’s probably one of the best candidates for the job. Since taking to the ice skating rink 10 years ago, the aspiring atmosphere physicist has become adept at managing her time and resources throughout the year. When school is in, she spends several hours a week at the rink, juggling her studies while finishing up her season, which runs through the fall semester. During the summer, with no classes, she visits the rink twice a day and gets in at least one gym session during the day. She also works with a skating coach and a choreographer to help her perfect her routines. At most figure skating competitions, athletes perform both a short and long program, requiring Louisa to work on her endurance and master her moves with precision and with textbook form.
“Most of it is repetition and muscle memory,” adds Louisa. “Once you get [a move] down, you have to do it over and over again until it is second nature to your body….There’s a lot of falling down and getting up.”
That dedication has landed Louisa a wall full of medals and a string of honors, including an impressive 12th place finish at this year’s U.S. South Atlantic Regional Championships. Her performance ranked her the number one junior division skater from Georgia and the number two skater from Georgia overall. Her score of 81.66 was her highest ever, and motivates her to improve the details of her performance, one that could take her around the world. An internationally-qualifying athlete should have at least 90 points to compete at the international level.
“I’m certainly going to take my education further….so I am definitely going to graduate school. But I also want to take [skating] as far as I can go with it. Because I was born in Denmark, I have citizenship there. I’ve always wanted to represent Denmark in national competition, and I’m not that far away.”
For now, though, Louisa looks forward to lacing up her skates and donning her Oglethorpe gear for the collegiate championship, which takes place July 21-24.
“I feel honored and excited to be representing Oglethorpe for the first time, doing something I love. I hope to deliver two solid, clean programs and an overall good performance.”
It’s official—Oglethorpe University and seven other schools in the NCAA Division III Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) decided yesterday to leave the conference, effective July 1, 2012, and form a new athletic conference. While OU and other current SCAC schools will honor their scheduled commitments for next season, the future unnamed conference will be ready for play at the start of the 2012-2013 season. Jay Gardiner, OU’s athletic director, will serve as interim commissioner of the conference.
News spread like wildfire Tuesday afternoon as President Larry Schall informed Oglethorpe community about the decision. As explained in a press release yesterday, “the new conference is being formed to foster athletic competition and cooperation among academically selective, residential liberal arts colleges located in the southeastern region of the U.S. The geographic focus will result in reduced travel time and costs, while still allowing for a strong conference of like-minded institutions, all of which integrate competitive athletics into the whole of the student’s educational experience.”
“This is an exciting new chapter in Oglethorpe athletics, which promises to benefit both our university and our student athletes,” said Dr. Schall.
Oglethorpe’s new conference looks very similar to the SCAC sans the five colleges out west: Southwestern College, Austin College, Colorado College, Trinity, and University of Dallas. The Stormy Petrels will continue to compete against the rest of our current rivals, and we’ll add one more school into the mix—Rome, Georgia’s Berry College. Read more about it on the OU athletics website www.gopetrels.com.
What do you think of the future conference line-up?
Following a historic inaugural season, Oglethorpe lacrosse fans have something more to be excited about. This week the Oglethorpe athletic department announced the hiring of two head coaches to lead the OU men’s and women’s teams.
Coach Tom Higgins, who served as the Petrels’ associate head coach all last season, is stepping up to fill the role as head coach for next season. Lee Ann Tutchton has accepted the position of head women’s coach for the Lady Petrels’ inaugural 2012-2013 season. She will spend this year recruiting and scheduling to develop a program ready for play in 2013.
Tutchton and Higgins both bring a wealth of experience to their repective programs, as both starred on their Division-1 college lacrosse teams before embarking on their coaching careers.
In the 1980s, Tutchton started the first under-11 girl’s lacrosse team in Georgia. Most recently, she served as the Varsity Community Coach at Lassiter High, guiding the Trojans to the state championship. “With her longstanding relationships with countless young players in the state, she is the perfect fit to construct this team,” said Oglethorpe athletics director Jay Gardiner.
Coach Higgins coached lacrosse at State University of New York-Farmingdale where he led the Rams to back-to-back second place junior college finishes. Upon moving to Georgia, the former University of Delaware lacrosse standout became an ambassador for the sport, coaching for short terms at Mill Creek High School and Georgia State University.
“Tom brings nearly 30 years of lacrosse experience to our program and will be an excellent leader for our student-athletes,” said Gardiner. “I can’t wait to watch him build our young team up to the competitive standards of the SCAC and am confident he will be successful.”
“It is currently 5:30 in the morning and we are waiting at our terminal to head back home to Atlanta. After a week full of non-stop sightseeing and traveling, it seems we are all sleepwalking through the airport and even the wonderful coffee of the country can’t help wake us up. The last few days have been filled with a couple days at the beach, zip lining, and a game against the Costa Rican national team.
The beach resort we stayed in was one of the most serene and relaxing scenes we could have hoped for, with the rainforest stretching all the way up to palm trees and the stunning beach. The surrounding landscape was mountainous so it felt as though we were enclosed in our own beach paradise separated from the rest of the world. While swimming in the pool the first afternoon we experienced a tremble and most of us really thought nothing of it, moments later we were ordered to evacuate the pool because just 40 miles away a 6.0 earthquake had taken place. Living in California in my young life, I had experienced earthquakes before but it was a first time experience for most of my teammates to add to the list of firsts already accumulated during the trip.
The next morning we embarked on our zip lining expedition through the rainforest canopy. We glided through the trees on 14 different zip lines traveling at speeds of 35 mph on some. The most uneasy part of the whole experience though was standing on wooden platforms built around trees suspended hundreds and even thousands of feet above the ground. After the zip lining we had the rest of the day off at the beach to relax and enjoy our last days of Costa Rica and its beautiful scenery.
The last day we had our final friendly game against the Costa Rican national team, only it wasn’t as friendly as advertised. Read More→
Oglethorpe rising senior Andrew Steioff checked back in to share more about the Oglethorpe Men’s Basketball team’s travels in Costa Rica.
“Halfway through our excursion through Costa Rica has our team feeling cultured and a bit tired. The past couple days have been filled with a game against the five-time defending champs of the top professional league in Costa Rica, a community outreach activity, sightseeing at an active volcano, a relaxing night indulging in natural hot springs, and a whitewater rafting trip.
Our game against Barva was highly anticipated by my teammates and me—we wanted to see how we stacked up against top flight international competition. We would not be disappointed as the Barva team was one of the biggest and most athletic teams I have personally ever played against on the collegiate level. Undersized and considerably younger (most of Barva’s players were around 28 or 29 years old), we struggled to compete early as Barva jumped out to an early double digit lead. Our team once again showed tremendous heart and defensive effort as we clawed back to take the lead halfway through the third quarter, only to eventually fall to the Barva squad. Barva’s best player, a wing from Panama, was one of the most athletic and best physical specimens I have ever shared the hardwood with. Once again, Alec Pitts was named the MVP followed closely by Sam Purdy who was once again lights out from 3-point range. Two other players rounded out the night with double figures: freshman Tyler Courson and me.
The next morning we embarked on a community outreach activity at a local children’s center in San Jose. We came bearing gifts of candy, coloring books, clothes, and of course some stuffed “Peteys” to share with the children. Unanimously, the most rewarding part of the trip thus far was when we spent a few hours with the kids playing on the playground. Their most favorite activity was being carried on our shoulders through the playground. Not to be outdone, Coach Ponder had a record crowd as he shared with the children some of his famed magic tricks. When the time to depart came it was hard to tell who was more upset we were leaving: the children or the players. Read More→
It may be summer break, but the Oglethorpe Men’s Basketball team continues to sport the black and gold. The Stormy Petrels have taken their game on the international road to Costa Rica, mixing competition and culture in an overseas team-building experience. Head coach Philip Ponder, assistant coach Andrew Tulowitsky, and nine players from last season are spending seven nights in the country, competing in three international games and taking in some of the country’s famed cultural and educational excursions.
“This should be a great trip for our student-athletes,” said Coach Ponder. “The guys will have a chance to experience another culture while also playing some top-notch basketball games. Team building outings like this can really help with group chemistry.”
The team is set to tour the National Museum and Theater, visit the Supreme Court, go zip-lining, and take a whitewater rafting trip in the country’s tropical waters. In true Oglethorpe fashion, the guys also will spend time volunteering at a local shelter for disadvantaged youths.
Even after a long day of international travel, rising senior Andrew Steioff took time to report to the OU Blog from the road:
“My name is Andrew Steioff, a communication major from Duluth, Georgia and a member of the Oglethorpe basketball team which is embarking on a week long tour of the country of Costa Rica. Before the trip, my teammates and I were all anxious and excited to see what the trip had in store for us. Little did we know that our first day would end up being a little hectic. Read More→
The Oglethorpe University athletics department has searched high and low for a new head coach for the women’s basketball team, and it seems that they’ve found the perfect match. The department announced today that Aaron Nester will lead the Stormy Petrels team, one of the most successful sports programs in OU athletics history.
Nester comes to Oglethorpe from Wartburg College in Iowa, a Division III school where he spent five years as assistant coach for the Knights. He finished his career at Wartburg with the team posting a 21-5 overall record this season.
Before coaching at Wartburg, Nester helped lead his alma mater, Division III Rockford College, to their best four-year stretch in program history. During Nester’s time as assistant coach, the Rockford Regents won their conference championship three years in a row and went to the NCAA tournament in the 2003, 2005 and 2006 seasons.
This will be Nester’s first head coaching position, and he comes to Atlanta prepared. Throughout his coaching career Nester has handled all facets of leading a successful program, including preparing scouting reports, analyzing game video and assisting with in-game strategy.
He follows an incredible coaching legacy in coach Ron Satelle, who resigned as head coach of the Oglethorpe Women’s Basketball team after an impressive five years with the Stormy Petrels, who advanced to the NCAA’s Final Four in 2008. The next year, the Stormy Petrels returned to the NCAA tournament, progressing to the tournament’s famed Sweet Sixteen match-up, and claiming the school’s first ever conference championship for any women’s sport along the way.
“I am extremely excited for the opportunity to join what I think is a great institution in Oglethorpe University,” said Nester. “…I really enjoyed meeting the great people on Oglethorpe’s campus and look forward to guiding this proud program back to the top of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.”
Keep up with all Stormy Petrel Athletics at www.gopetrels.com.
The Oglethorpe University Men’s Golf team commanded the 2011 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Golf Championship over the weekend and emerged victorious, winning their ninth conference tournament at the Horseshoe Bay Resorts in Horseshoe Bay, Texas. The Stormy Petrels posted the low round of the day (309) to finish 29 strokes clear of second place Centre.
Throughout the competition, the Petrels’ starting line-up dominated the conference scoreboard. Craig Stevenson ’11 led the team, finishing second place inidividually and posting a three-day total of 234 (+21), earning him All-SCAC First Team honors. He was one of four Petrels to record top-10 finishes as freshman Patrick Cansfield (+30) came home 6th, Eric Quinn (+32) took 7th and Jordan Hall (+33) tied for 8th. Anthony Amodeo finished rounds two and three with successive 76′s, the best final two-day score for the Petrels. Amodeo was later named SCAC Freshman-of-the-Year for his performance, and Cansfield, Quinn, and Hall each earned All-SCAC Second Team honors.
This win comes two years after the Men’s team clinched the 2009 NCAA National Championship in Port St. Lucie, Fla. and set OU records as the first team in Oglethorpe’s history to win a national title—-in any sport.
In their thirteenth trip to the nationals, the men will head to Greensboro, N.C. May 10-13 for their shot at this year’s title!