|Sarah Losen and Randalle Smaldone play during a training session of the RIT Women’s Lacrosse team at the Student Life Center courts on February 21, 2009.
As the snow begins to melt and our thoughts turn reluctantly from glowing spring break memories to the quarter that arguably contains the most distraction, we must keep in mind the hard work RIT athletes put into representing our institution. Sure, you might not particularly like a specific sport, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t support fellow students. I’m not particularly science-minded, but I’ve attended my fair share of Undergraduate Symposiums at the College of Science so that I may fully appreciate the expertise and hard work of other students with which I attend this university. What makes outdoor sports even more fun to go to is the fact that you can do what every college student loves to do most: Yell a lot and eat until nausea sets in.
This team always has its fair share of talent, and the 2009 season will be no exception. The high expectations set forth by head coach Gene Peluso and the team are the product of the dedication, talent and determination of the program to successfully become conference, and eventually national, champions. With aggressive off-season training under their belts, these athletes are poised to rise to the top of conference play and push each other to new heights of excellence. In the midst of such a talented conference, the versatility and depth of the roster will be a great asset when looking to enjoy a successful season in the Empire 8. The team’s current record is 2-0, with wins over Adelphi University (ranked fifth nationally in Division II) and York College.
With hard-nosed and scrappy competition, this team can definitely prove itself to be a major player in the Empire 8 this season. Several upperclassmen will continue to be major contributors to the team’s success, including two fourth year co-captains, Photojournalism major Kelsey Evans and Packaging Science major Jerica Young. Evans in particular will continue to be a large influence on the team’s success in her capacity as goaltender, a role in which her superb performance on the field has earned her Empire 8 Goaltender of the Year for two years running and a berth on the 2008 Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) All-Empire Region second team. So far the team has worked well together, beating Virginia Wesleyan College 7 to 3 and Susquehanna University 10 to 5 and earning a 2-0 record.
Already projected to earn the Empire 8 league title according to a recent coaches poll, this team is coming back with great balance, flexibility and depth that will be invaluable as they strive to attain this honor. Empire 8 Co-Coach of the Year and head coach Rob Grow is looking for his 300th win in his 17th season coaching at RIT, coming off of a strong 2008 season. A 24-16 record with the 2008 team shows that RIT will be a definite force in league play.
RIT traveled to Arizona over spring break and will be going to Boston in the first few weeks of the quarter to compete against Brandeis University, among other prominent programs from around the country. Most coaches seem to create a tough schedule for the first part of the season when a great amount of growth is expected of the athletes. Fans can expect cohesion and progress as the team progressively builds upon their work.
In non-league play over spring break, several underclassmen stepped up with big contributions to the team’s wins over Concordia (IL) and the effective routing of John’s University. Second year Business Finance major Jeff Creagh went .500, or 7 for 14, over the course of the Arizona tournament, while second year Mechanical Engineering major Mike Marsillo picked up a win as pitcher. Upperclassmen continue to contribute, notably two-time Empire 8 Player of the Year Geoff Dornes, a co-captain and third year Packaging Science major.
|Kim Hunt and Megan Henriksen face off.
With an incoming class of eleven talented rookie players, this team is looking at an opportunity to not only to keep building the program, but also prove to be tough competition this season. With few players possessing prior RIT softball experience, Coach Mamon has a number of versatile athletes hungry for the chance to prove themselves.
Among those players returning to the Tigers’ field is the 2008 Empire 8 Rookie of the Year, second year Electrical Engineering major and co-captain Emily McPherson, along with fellow captain Carlissa Cole, a second year Imaging and Photographic Technology major. Monroe Community College transfer and third year Criminal Justice major Jessica French will also be expected to provide experience and leadership for the team as a pitcher for the MCC softball team, which has won the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national title for the past two seasons.
Winning their season opener in a spring break tournament in Florida with a shutout score, the team stayed competitive with the other teams they played throughout the break, with several games coming down to a single run. As the team continues to become acclimated to each other and the speed of collegiate competition, we will probably see scores begin to favor the Tigers. With a current record of 3-7, this season and coming years will be the making of a dynasty.
RIT’s crew team always seems to compete at a world-class level, and this year will be no exception thanks to the large pool of talent Coach Jim Bodenstedt has to pull from. Competing at the Genesee River on March 28, the team looks to continue their success from the fall, including a first place finish at the Head of the Genesee Regatta at home and a strong showing at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston.
Outdoor Track and Field
Because virtually all of the athletes from the indoor track season are continuing on to outdoor track (with a few additions from other winter sports), this season is shaping up to be even more exciting than last year. With the support of head coach Dave Warth and staff, All-American fourth year Mechanical Engineering major Michael Hardbarger is looking to go to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament with a mile under four minutes, an accomplishment few people ever attain. Other athletes are also looking to attain the seemingly impossible as they work ever harder to qualify for the national championship this season, including Jonathan Sealander, a third year Biomedical Sciences major.
Track and field is in a unique position in comparison to the other spring sports for the simple fact that some athletes have been preparing for outdoor track since cross country. Coach Warth and his staff have worked together with athletes to ensure that overexertion doesn’t cut an athlete’s season short, but this risk is the only foreseeable event that can prevent a number of RIT athletes from earning the right to compete at the national level.
The next time you’re walking back to your dorm and hear the crack of a bat, wander over to the baseball or softball field to enjoy both the sun and a small break from stressing about your work. Looking for an outdoor activity in between classes? Why not check out the men’s and women’s lacrosse games and see if any of their matches could potentially be a great opportunity to have a mini-picnic. Need a reason to get off campus and tailgate? The crew team competes at nearby Genesee Park, which has great trails to explore and even more barbecue grills to use.