Archive | Club Sports

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Marquette Club Football brings camaraderie, brotherhood to the field

Posted on 28 April 2010 by Joe Defelice

Many college students reminisce about their high school exploits on the sports field. An amazing catch in the outfield, a perfect jump shot to win the game, making the playoffs in the high school hockey league. But of all things, the most prominent memories are those made on the high school grid iron. Many of these experiences are left to faint recollection as students move on to college, where competition is fierce to earn a spot on the squad. Some universities don’t have varsity teams at all. However, there are those who find a place to play at their school, merely for the love of the game. It’s called club football, and for Sophomore Matthew Rainey it’s his way of continuing his high school passion. Far from all the pressures and politics of Division 1 athletics, right here at Marquette, a young group of students come together a few times a week and perfect their game, testing their mettle against their peers here. The goal? Saturday’s game.

mu footballFor Rainey, it’s all about the love of the game, “I like the camaraderie, and the chance to continue to play the sport I love. I didn’t think I’d get the chance to play football again after high school, I thought it was over. This gives me the chance to continue to play football, and that’s a great feeling.” “The great thing about football is that it’s really a team sport. When one person fails the team fails. If I look over and the guy next to me is struggling, I’m struggling too. You really learn to rely on each other and build that brotherhood.” The team doesn’t just stop at the field either. “We go hang out on the weekends, and everyone of us is a student here,” says Gorham. The best part for some is the relaxed atmosphere. Most players like that they only have to practice twice a week and still get the college experience, while playing football without all the politics.

So, who does our club team play? What’s the season like? The Golden Eagles start practice in August as the school year begins. They practice every day for about two to three weeks to develop cohesion and have a solid base to work from. This also helps knock off the dust and get everyone back in shape for the season. As the school year starts the team scales it back to two days a week to ensure that no one’s studies suffer. Game days vary between Saturday and Sunday depending on the match up that week. Generally when they play Division 3 schools the game is typically Saturday. For conference games against other club teams the games are usually on Sunday. The season spans eight games during the fall semester. The team battles other clubs like Miami Ohio, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, and SIU Edwardsville, as well as Division 3 teams like Concordia of Wisconsin and UW Parkside.

Marquette’s Club also plays a short spring season. “The spring is more or less for recruiting purposes and to dust off our game. We get out there and hit some people. It’s a chance to develop our offense with our new players and really a great time to have some fun,” Rainey says. This year the team will cap their spring season with a scrimmage against University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

With recent rumors circulating about the possibility of a D1 football team Gorham doesn’t seem worried that it will affect the club negatively. “The great part about club football is that it’s for the love of the game, the guys we play with now could have easily played on a D3 team no problem and maybe even on a D1 squad. We love football, and we chose to take on the academic challenge at Marquette. It would be cool to have a D1 team but I don’t think that it would detract from the club at all.”

So…where do I sign up? Marquette Club football maintains a web site at www.marquetteclubfootball.com. Here, interested students can find rosters, practice schedules and contact information for players and the officers of the club. If you have any questions about joining, dues, or anything else you can also send an email to   [email protected] and an officer will respond as quickly as possible. Even easier, show up to a practice and talk to one of the staff. Have a friend on the team…that works too. If you love football, then this is the place to play.

by Joe Defelice
[email protected]

Marquette Club Football Team (Photos courtesy of Marquette Football)

Marquette Club Football Team (Photos courtesy of Marquette Football)

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Marquette men’s rugby compete at midwest All-Star tournament

Posted on 28 April 2010 by Joe Beres

Last weekend Chicago played host to the annual rugby All-Star tournament for the Midwest. Wisconsin, which is perennially seen as the powerhouse of the tournament, was one of just eight teams that participated in the tournament hosted by the Local Area Union (LAU). This year Marquette was well represented in the tournament, sending four players to the All-Star tournament which tied for most amongst any college in Wisconsin.

The four players represent the depth of Marquette’s club team. Seniors Adam Kreutter, Austin Ryan, Kevin Ryan and Vince Kelly each played for the Wisconsin All-Star team with most of them having earned multiple selections. Austin and Adam were selected for their third consecutive selection while Kevin earned his second selection. This is especially impressive considering that just four years ago Marquette’s club team did not have anyone represent the Golden Eagles in Chicago.

The tournament is broken down into two tiers each containing four teams. The first tier is comprised of the top four teams from the Midwest as determined from the previous year’s tournament, with the second tier containing the remaining four teams. The winner of the first tier is deemed champion of the Midwest while the loser of both games is forced to swap places with the victor of the second tier.

Wisconsin entered this year’s tournament as the reigning champion, and found itself sitting pretty with a number one seed. Wisconsin’s dominance has been so prevalent that it has assumed a dynasty-esque appearance over the past decade so expectations were high for this year’s team. Combine that with the fact that Marquette’s four reps were seniors, it isn’t hard to see how bad they wanted to win another championship. Wisconsin has proved their run as a dynasty by winning four of the past five Midwest All-Star tournaments and this year showed no reason why they should not repeat.

Wisconsin opened their weekend slate Saturday afternoon against arch-rival Minnesota and looked to score an early win from a hated opponent. Unfortunately, after a tough fought out game Wisconsin fell 25-17 in a heart wrenching loss. After a big team dinner and plenty of sleep, the Wisconsin all-stars followed on Sunday and pounded Iowa 29-0 in a game that was never close. Kreutter summed up the feeling saying, “Before this year we had won four of five, so definitely we wanted to defend our title, we just weren’t able to.”

Next year’s all-star team will go down as the number three seed and once again will be faced to match up with the second seeded Minnesota once again which fell in the championship to Ohio. Since Iowa was unable to score a victory they will be sent to the second tier and forced to play their way back to the top tier.

Although all fours reps from Marquette were seniors, it has not lowered expectations for more players being invited by the Wisconsin team in the coming years. When asked whether Marquette is expected to send anyone next year, the assistant captain, Austin Ryan simply replied, “Definitely! We had thirteen guys tryout this year and almost all of them could easily be on the team next year.”

Kreutter, a senior in the College of Engineering, completely agreed saying that, “Marquette’s team is filled with all-star caliber talent and the fact that four of us made the team shows the depth of the entire team not just the individual players.”

Although MU’s involvement in the tournament is extraordinary, each of the players noted the importance of moving past simply a Marquette affiliation and identifying themselves as the Wisconsin team. Ryan claimed that it was actually one of the best parts of the tournament, because “the ability to build camaraderie across the state and allows us to compete with others across the Midwest that take rugby seriously.”

The ability to play alongside some of the best players in the state, not to mention the Midwest, means that rivalries with other schools are temporarily forgotten in favor of the ability to represent this great state. Kreutter remembered a specific instance about which he said “I really could not stand this one guy from Wisconsin-Whitewater whenever we played them, but once I played with him my opinion quickly changed and we became great teammates.”

The importance of cohesion is shared by Ryan who lamented that “At this tournament, individuals do not win games, which was why we lost our first game. A lack of team cohesion is one of the biggest weaknesses a team can have.

Wisconsin is a team that specifically focuses on team cohesion, making the loss due to individualistic play that much harder to swallow. After they trimmed down the original 70 Wisconsin all-star hopefuls to the final 25, they have two scrimmages that focus largely on cohesion. This cohesion has proved invaluable for the players under the system as many have their play elevated to a whole new level. Two-time all-star Kevin Ryan recalled what his first selection did for his game saying, “After playing at a higher level, it gives a perspective of where you are, and allows you to elevate your own expectations. This improvement is hard to see at a local level.”

The exposure to some of the best talent is also the direct result of the ability to play under some of the best coaches in the Midwest. The rugby players’ performance also provides a great opportunity to showcase their skills allowing them potentially to play for the Midwest team. Austin Ryan performance warranted an invite to the Midwest Developmental game a great accomplishment. The depth of Wisconsin has been continually proven by past players as over the past 5 years; three guys have gone on to play for the All-American team.

Regardless of the outcome in Chicago, all four players agreed that it was an incredible experience. Hopefully
the recent past will prove true next year as Marquette hopes to once again send more players to represent Wisconsin in the 2011 All-Star game.

by Joe Beres
[email protected]

rugby boys

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Students Cross Blades at Marquette

Posted on 24 February 2010 by Joe Defelice

The Dobbs', Osterman, and Blassman pause to Take a photo with the Competition

The Dobbs', Osterman, and Blassman pause to Take a photo with the Competition

For centuries the art of fencing has captured the minds of soldiers, artists, and historians alike. For generations, Hollywood has bedazzled us with choreographed sword battles in classics like The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, Pirates of the Carribean, and The Princess Bride. In today’s age many people wonder where they can go to learn this electrifying form of art and competition. Well, for Erika Ruhl, and many other students here at Marquette, that place is just a short stroll away. So…What is fencing some of you may ask. Very simply put, fencing, originally derived from the word defense, is the art of fighting with a light, one-handed sword. And while the days of defending one’s honor at noon on the courtyard are long gone, the art of Fencing has survived in various forms including an Olympic sport. The term generally refers to the European schools of swordsmanship, mostly those of the French and Italians. “Other systems of fencing, like the Spanish and Portuguese have pretty much been lost,” says Charley Dobbs, a Sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, eight year fencer, and coach of the Marquette Club. Generally beginners learn with the foil which has a more limited target area and strike surface, you may only strike with the point. They later move to the epee and finally the sabre, which is both a thrusting and slashing weapon. Each sword adds more target areas, and a wider use of the blade surfaces. “The progression is really important,” says Ruhl, “you start small and you slowly add more danger, and more options.” While fencing has traditionally centered around a progression of these three weapons, Marquette’s club is the first group to pioneer a new format for bouting. This format includes other weapons such as the short sword and the rapier. Each bout is scored in the form of touches. The goal is to land as many touches on your opponent as you can while sustaining as few as possible to yourself. Usually the limit is three or five touches, but some tournaments play up to ten or fifteen. A fencer has achieved a true zero when they win a tournament without ever being touched. To really motivate people towards that true zero the club has purchased a prize for their next tournament. “The first person to get a true zero in a tournament will be the proud owner of this fine transitional rapier,” Dobbs says, hefting the sword proudly. Marquette usually competes in at least two tournaments a year, both co-hosted with their sister school in St. Louis. “It’s great to train with our friends, a lot of times it helps to have a fresh set of eyes to critique us and help us improve,” says Dobbs. Recently the Marquette club has been holding or attending seminars and importing some masters from around the nation to broaden its horizons as well.

A typical practice, like many other sports, consists of drills that help provide a solid foundation in the fundamentals of fencing.  A night’s training begins and ends with the traditional eight-count salute, led by the instructor and mimicked by all of the learners. It’s a sign of mutual respect that shares lineage with other forms of salute and ceremony, such as a military hand salute, or the bows exchanged before a Karate match. After the salute, Charley or another senior member of the club takes the group through footwork drills that teach fencers to quickly react to their opponent’s movements and maintain a proper distance between them. They also learn the proper way to lunge and recover afterward. Another basic principle that they must master is to maintain a “line,” in fencing the action takes place in a straight line, if the line is broken you are probably opening yourself up to an attack.

Marquette Fencer Michael Osterman bouts at an Invitational at SUNY Purchase
Marquette Fencer Michael Osterman bouts at an Invitational at SUNY Purchase

But Practice isn’t merely about the fighting, it’s also about history, the culture of fencing. “I’m an anthropology major, so I love it when we learn about the history behind the skills we are practicing,” says Ruhl. “I don’t really like bouting as much as I like learning the techniques and strategy behind it. I love being able to watch someone and help them identify ways that they can improve.”

Why fencing? “I joined when I saw the booth at O-Fest. I saw swords. Swords are cool,” says Mike Osterman, a junior in the college of Arts and Sciences. Two and a half years later he’s still coming back for more, “it’s a good group, a society, we all share a great bond.” For others like Colleen Herman, fencing is a welcome break from the stress of school, “I expressed interest on one of those freshman surveys and I got an email a few weeks later, it’s my break from work, and it’s also good physical activity.” Colleen is a Freshman here at Marquette and plans to continue fencing as long as she can.

“It’s not always fencing either,” said one fencer, “Sometimes we get together and get pizza, watch a movie, or just hang out.” Speaking of movies, I’m sure some of you are wondering how your favorite sword master on television stacks up to the real deal. “It’s important to remember that Hollywood creates an illusion to pump up the entertainment factor in their movies. Some movies are fairly good at choreographing a realistic fight, others are completely the opposite. Most usually fall somewhere in between, they do some things right and others wrong. It’s fun for us as fencers to watch it and be able to critique it ourselves.”

The Marquette Fencing club meets every Tuesday and Thursday night at 6:00PM in the practice space by bookmarq under Campus Town East. New Members are always welcome. Also, check in at www.thewarrior .org to see some fencers in action.

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Men’s Club Volleyball training for victory

Posted on 12 February 2009 by Katelyn Ferral

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In a tough conference match-up against University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh last Thursday, the Marquette Men’s Club Volleyball team fought hard but came up short, winning one game, 25-23, out of four. UWO clinched victory in the first game 15-25 and finished the match with two wins, 17-25 and 15-25, respectively. Fan turnout was significant for the team’s game against UWO, with around 60 people in attendance.

“UWO has grown to be our biggest rival the past few years, so every time we play each other, both teams know it is going to be a slugfest. This one was no exception. We came out a bit flat in the first game and didn’t match their intensity, but then found our step in the second and third game,” said team libero Aaron Brown. “We were disappointed in the outcome, but also took it as a learning experience as we move forward this year as a team. The fan support was great, too. It always helps us when we have a big crowd on hand to support us.”

The Marquette men’s volleyball team is now 2-2 and is looking ahead and working to improve on energy and consistency as the National Championships in Kansas City approach on April 9-11.

“At the end of last semester we sat down as a team and came up with a list of goals we would like to accomplish as a team, some including winning our conference, and placing in the top 10 at Nationals. I think most players would agree that we have gotten off to a slow start this season, but we are growing and learning from our mistakes each day,” Brown said.

Coach Brian Nash said he and the team will continue to work on their focus and energy as they get into their season. “We’re going to keep moving forward, our goal is a top finish in the conference,” Nash said.

Marquette plays in the Wisconsin Volleyball Conference (WVC), a conference that has remained competitive, and produced national champions, for example, Lakeland College in 2008.

“We have arguably the most competitive conference not only in the state or Midwest, but in the nation. Teams such as UWO, Lakeland and UW-Whitewater always present us with a tough challenge when we play, and we know we must come out and play our best. Playing competition like this week in and week out always helps us perform well at Nationals, seeing as we have faced some of the best competition all season long,” Brown said.

The team is traveling to Southern California over spring break to play West Coast teams UCLA, Long Beach State and Loyola Marymount to prepare for Nationals.
“The team hopes this will help us gain an advantage over other Midwest teams having had the experience already of playing a West Coast team,” Brown said.
In April, Marquette hosts the WVC tournament, and the team hopes that along with continued training and hard work, a big fan turnout will cheer them to victory and give them a boost for the national competition, the following weekend.

“Winning in front of our fans would be really exciting and would be a great confidence boost heading into the national tournament the next weekend,” team setter Joe Gacioch said.

The Marquette men’s volleyball team still faces significant challenges from their upcoming opponents, but they are confident in their potential to be a driving force in the WVC. “We have the talent and experience to be a contender in the conference…we still have head-to-head matches against Lakeland and Whitewater that we’re hoping will give us that spark we’re looking for,” outside hitter Jonathon Gasteiner said.

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Hometown baseball season is not finished

Posted on 09 October 2008 by Monica Stout

With the Brewers out of the playoffs, baseball in the city of Milwaukee may seem obsolete until next season. But for all baseball fans who want to go to a game instead of sit and watch it on the television, there is still one option open: Marquette Club Baseball.

Most Saturdays and Sundays from September through October, the MU Club Baseball team can be found at Harden Field, 3717 W. Howard Ave, just beyond Leon’s Frozen Custard Drive-In and St. Luke’s Hospital on the south side of Milwaukee.

These games are not just guys messing around on a baseball diamond. The talent and level of play on the field is on par with a NCAA Division III baseball team, as evidenced by MU Club Baseball’s recent win over Milwaukee Area Technical College, which is a Division III team.

“Almost everyone on the team could have played collegiate baseball at the Division III or Division II level,” said Tim Pauly, a junior on the team.
With a record of 8-4, there have been quite a few exciting moments already this season.

“Our team beat UW-Madison twice this September. Anthony Gattuso, team president, told us he has never beat Madison since joining the club team his freshman year. So, to beat a team that has had the upper hand over the years was a great accomplishment,” said Matthew Walters, a sophomore pitcher for the team.

“We beat Division III MATC two times and we have beaten conference powers Madison and UW-Milwaukee two times each also. All these wins were a result of excellent defense and fantastic pitching performances with a little clutch hitting sprinkled in there,” said Gattuso, the team manager and president.

These great moments on the diamond can be attributed to practice and good coaching. Practices usually run one to two hours, four times per week. Gattuso has his players “practice hard on doing the little things right.”

“I just try to help them be their best,” he said.

The guys on the team not only work hard during practice and games; they show how much they love the sport by covering the costs of travel, uniforms and equipment themselves. Marquette University only provides some funding for league fees, and allows the team to use the Helfaer Recreational Center and Valley Fields for practice.

“The university does help out, but the expenses of a club team are far more than what the university provides. When you see a club athlete participating, it’s because of the love of the game,” Walters said.

TJ Petullo, a junior on the team, describes how much he loves the game: “There are three things in my life which I truly love: God, my family and baseball. The only problem is, once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.

Despite the action, achievement and dedication that the MU Club Baseball team has put forth this year, the team still has trouble attracting fans to their games. Possible reasons for this range from the remote location of home games from campus and that most Marquette students do not even know that a Marquette baseball team exists.

Going to the home games at Harden Field may be a bit of a drive, but if a custard stop at Leon’s is made beforehand, it might just be worth it. And if enough people start coming, the baseball games could be moved to Valley Fields, where more Marquette students would be able to enjoy them.

“It’s fun to watch college athletes play baseball at a relatively high level,” said Jeff Parker, a sophomore first baseman on the team.

MU Club Baseball’s next home game is Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. against University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. If going home is not an option for fall break, maybe seeing a game at Harden Field will be.

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Spring season for men’s Lacrosse

Posted on 13 March 2008 by Eric Hart

Even though there is still more than a foot of snow on the ground, the Marquette Men’s Lacrosse team is getting ready to start their conference season. Although the weather has been a deterrent to practicing outside, as freshman Carl Anderson said, “You just have to deal with it.”The team opens their year this weekend against nationally ranked Illinois. The team is looking to build off of their fall season during which they ended strong and really came together in their last tournament.

Marquette returns basically the same team from their fall season but this semester the team is much healthier. Marquette also returns reigning coach of the year Panchito Ojeda and second team all conference member Andrew Weber.

Marquette is one of seven teams in the UMLL conference which is part of a Division I league of around 100 teams around the nation. The Lacrosse team has 14 new members which makes them very young. Among them is Anderson.

Anderson joined the team because he has been playing lacrosse since he was 10 years old. He also wanted to be a part of a team that was dedicated to winning.

It is this enthusiasm and dedication on the part of the 14 freshmen that has led seniors Andy Hunt and Adam Caccamise to believe that this is the most talented freshman class that they have seen in their four years on the team.

Hunt, one of five seniors on the team, said that he was “more excited for this year than any other in my four year career. We work hard, but also have a lot of fun.”

Hunt and Caccamise have been on the team since their freshman year. While having five seniors on the team does not sound like much, it is rare for the team to have more than a couple seniors because most players do not stay with the team all four years.

The leadership of the five seniors along with a talented freshman class should give Marquette one of its best seasons in recent memory.

The Marquette Men’s Lacrosse season will be highlighted by back to back games April 4 and 5 against University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and then University of Minnesota at Valley Fields. The April 4th match will be played at 7 p.m. under the lights and the April 5th game is scheduled for 3 p.m. The team always looks forward to their home games because they are so few and far between and because of the great crowd support that comes along with the event.

An estimated 500 fans packed into Valley Fields to watch a home game last year. This season Marquette only has those two home games on their schedule, so they are expecting an even larger crowd this year.

One other highlight of the season will be a spring break trip to the Carolinas and Georgia where the team will face off against Georgia Tech, The University of South Carolina and Wake Forrest. Marquette will also travel to St. Paul in April to play conference foe and 4th-ranked Minnesota-Duluth. While Marquette is not nationally ranked, they did receive votes in the poll this year, something that they have not received in seven years. The team was picked to finished 3rd in conference.

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How MU can have a football team

Posted on 13 March 2008 by Paul Nadolski

College football is one the most exciting sports in the nation. Just look at this year, with an upset virtually every week. This got me to thinking, why doesn’t Marquette have a football team?

Marquette decided to cut the football team after the 1960 season since the team had not had a winning season since 1953 and the University was losing money putting the team out on the field.

At the time, the move could have seemed reasonable. Now, though, college football is a major source of income for universities. According to a 2007 report by CNN, only 15 out of 64 teams in the Football Bowl System (FBS) division (formally Division I-A) that went to a bowl game lost money during the 2006-2007 season.

The 2006-2007 season Florida alone made $32.4 million. Now they are in the SEC and are going to fill seats with a winning team; but that is still an extraordinary amount of money.

According to an NCAA news release from 1996, the average profit for a FBS division school in 1995 was $1.2 million, and I would suspect that since then, it has only gone up.

One big question is where would a Marquette team play? You can rule out Valley Fields. Even if they tore it down, it just doesn’t have the land capacity to house a stadium of the size needed, since the casino is next door and isn’t moving anytime soon.

A stadium would have to be built somewhere in Milwaukee or a suburb close by. Just like the basketball games, Marquette could bus students to the stadium. The cost of a stadium that holds around 50,000 to 60,000 should cost around $140 million, unless Marquette wants to have one of the most state-of-the-art stadiums.

To fund the stadium Marquette could make a deal with the state of Wisconsin that could be like the deal made between the University of Minnesota and the taxpayers of Minnesota. The University comes up with 52% of the funds and the state pays the other 48%.

Marquette could get the money from alumni donations, selling the name rights of the stadium, parking fees and putting in an athletic fee in tuition to raise it an additional $50. This was also a strategy used by the University of South Florida, which started their football program in 1997.

USF has gone 24-14 since joining the Big East football conference in 2003. In a matter of eight years the school was in a BCS conference, and 10 years after the team was founded, they were ranked No. 2 at one point during last season. This proves that a team can start from scratch and quickly rise to a great level of play.

The team did have to spend its first four seasons in the Football Championship System (FCS) conference (formally Division II-A) but now is in the FBS. So Marquette could take a similar path, start a team, play a few years in the FCS to get a team started and then move up.

Since Marquette is already in the Big East for basketball, maybe the conference would let us in for football, which would mean that we would already be in a BCS conference. I’m not saying that it would be easy to bring a football team to Marquette, but it is something worth looking into by the University.

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MU crew powers to victory in Boston

Posted on 07 November 2007 by Mike Rudzinski

Any other perfect day in Boston, Katie Scheidemantel might have been thinking about the Red Sox game, the clear blue skies or the 70 degree weather.

Any other perfect day, this coxswain from Marquette University’s women’s crew team might not have been thinking about winning at the biggest race in the world for her sport against the stiffest of competition. The 21 year-old in the College of Arts and Sciences might not have prepared to steer herself and four fellow crew members through the dangerous, difficult turns of the Charles River between the banks of Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

But today, she’s ready.
Marquette Crew“People outside of rowing don’t realize what the Head of the Charles is,” said Coach Ruth Blahnik. “they don’t understand that it’s the biggest rowing regatta in the world.”
On Saturday, October 20th, Scheidemantel would lead the lightweight women’s four boat to victory at the Head of the Charles Regatta. The women won the race for the first time in Marquette history and breaking the record for the course with a time of 19:19.167(19 minutes and 19.167 seconds).

“This is the first time anyone has done this well on this course, ever!” said Blahnik.

The winning boat included Senior and coxswain Scheidemantal; Senior Mary Kaleta, 22, in the College of Health Sciences; Sophomore Julie Knyszek, 19, in the College of Arts and Sciences; Sophomore Rachel Stoll, 19, in the College of Arts and Sciences; and senior Diana Mitsche, 21, in the College of Health Sciences.

With more than 7,500 athletes and 300,000 spectators, it is the largest two-day rowing regatta in the world. The Head of the Charles Regatta stands just below the Olympics in the rowing world and as the ultimate race in college competition, attracting teams from all over the globe.

WINNING AT THE BIGGEST RACE IN THE WORLD

A timed event, Marquette competed against 32 other boats in the Collegiate Women’s Four race. In order to compete each year, teams either need to enter a lottery system to win a spot or place in the top five percent in their event to guarantee their return. In 2006, the Marquette’s team in the Collegiate Women’s Four race placed high enough to guarantee a fourth place starting position for 2007.

The Charles River continues to be one of the most difficult to navigate and one of the most dangerous courses. Coxswains, who sit either in the bow or stern of the boat, act as the eyes and ears to steer the boat safely to victory. A good coxswain can make or break a boat crew.

“I watched a few men’s eights boats collide on the river before we raced, and my stomach turned,” said Coach Blahnik.

Luckily for the Marquette squad, Scheidemantel had done her homework.

“Every time she comes here, it’s like she’s studying for an exam,” said Diana Mitsche of coxswain Scheidemantel. “She’s been studying for this exam for three years.”

The time Scheidemantel spent studying every turn and bend in the river over the last three years finally paid off. For the first half of the race, Marquette lagged behind competitors William Smith College and Penn State. But coming around the final bend, Scheidemantel sensed the opportunity to strike and pushed the rowers in her boat to sprint.

“This is the part where everyone else is going to die,” Kaleta recalled Scheidemantel screaming through the loudspeaker. “But we are going to win.”

Masking tape stuck to their backs with written reminders on technique, the girls looked to each other for inspiration.

“The general consensus was that we were going to die, we didn’t think we could make it till the end,” said Mitsche.

As they approached Penn State, who began the race in first place, Scheidemantel knew they could win a medal.

THE PERFECT FORMULA

While the coxswain remains responsible for steering the boat, the perfect balance of all five girls made the team a winning combination. The coxswain sits in the bow, or the front, of the boat facing forwards. As the only member of the boat who can see what lies ahead, they have to both steer, direct and encourage the rowers in the boat.

“I don’t like to lose,” said coxswain Scheidemantel.

Sitting directly behind the coxswain, first or bow seat, Mary Kaleta, pushes herself hard to keep the boat in first place.

“[There was] one practice where she pulled so hard her veins turned blue,” said Coach Blahnik.

Seats two and three, Julie Knyszek and Rachel Stoll respectively, provide the power for the boat. Seat two, or the ‘power stroke,’ has the most responsibility for pushing the boat.

The fourth and final spot, Diana Mitsche, called ‘stroke seat’ or just ‘stroke,’ sets the pace and rhythm for the entire boat.

THE UNDERDOGS

Lacking the school funding of the Division I schools they compete against, Marquette’s men’s and women’s club crew teams still rise to the top. The few thousand dollars Marquette gives the team every year is minimal compared to other programs. The rest of the funding has to be made up in dues from club members.

Paying nearly 1000 dollars a year to be on the team, each crew member, according to Coach Blahnik, has dedicated roughly 10 hours per week, every week of the year to training for crew.

“Most girls know that if they want to be competitive on the team, they can’t stop training,” said Mitsche.

Just twenty minutes before the race, the team realized that one of the steering wires for their boat was frayed down to a thread, imperiling the boat and its members. They wrapped it up in duct tape and rowed anyway.

“Duct tape and dreams,” Stoll joked.

A total of 16 members from the women team and 16 from the men’s team made the trip to Boston. And when they were off the water, rowers were busy cheering on their teammates.

“They are very team orientated, that’s why I love it,” said Coach Blahnik.

Every year at the banquet held for the team, Coach Blahnik gives a speech thanking everyone and encouraging returning members. Since she has joined the team, Blahnik has focused on perfecting technique instead of

“When you’re part of the varsity team, you’re a part of my family,” said Coach Blahnik.

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Early to wake, early to row

Posted on 02 November 2007 by Peter Worth

t is a quiet, dark Wednesday morning in Milwaukee and a small group of Marquette students meet at 4:45 am to begin practice. Nope, it is not the men’s basketball team, but Marquette’s men’s varsity crew team.

Waking up early is just the beginning for the Crew Team. While a few members drive down to the boathouse, most of the team jogs from campus as a warm-up for their legs; as it will be the core and arms doing most of the work at practice. When all the members of the team arrive at the boathouse, the men go through a series of different stretches, as well as, understandably, a series of yawning.

The temperature at the boathouse does not help. Most of the team wears hoodies or Under Armour to dispell the cold air, but while the hardcore members are just in shorts and T-shirts.

But the team is used to all this by now. With practices at 5 a.m. Monday through Friday with days off only on Thursdays, the routine is not exactly a desirable one unless you are a passionate rower.

On this morning, it is easy to see Marquette has exactly 12 passionate rowers, as Wednesday is one of the last practices before the Head of the Charles Regatta, one of the most prestigious rowing tournaments in the world. The race will contain participants from colleges, high schools and rowing clubs from all over the world.

For the Regatta, the team will be split into two teams: the lightweights, an eightman team of freshmen through seniors and the openweights, a four-man team of mostly upperclassmen. Wednesday’s practice will also have this format.

Before they can jump into the water, the team must retrieve the boats. Inside the spacious boathouse are rows and rows of black and white eight and four member boats, as well as all of the oars and practice rowing machines. Although the warm-up has been fairly easy-going, it is here where the team gets down to business.

“Hands on, openweights,” says Brianne Garrett, head coxswain or the person who sets the pace of the row and steer the boat.

Garrett, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences continues her instructions,“And up, side-step out… shoulders at split…over your head…and walk it out.”

When the boats are out, the two teams lock them down to the dock, fasten the oars and hop in the boat.

“Ready,” says Garrett, “One, two, and row.”

Both the lightweights and openweights plunge into the water and head down the river as coach Mary Spitzer, a recent graduate and a former rower herself follows in a white motorboat. On the way down the river, Spitzer follows the lightweights and their coxswain, Alec Hurley, a sophomore in the College of Communication.

Just five minutes into the practice, the looming Aurora Health Center and US Bank buildings come into view. But the lightweights only have eyes for the water, as the boat of eight men focus on Alec’s instructions of when to row and when to break.

But what the outside observer sees as fluid motion, Spitzer sees as slight inconsistency.

“John, back your blade down as you’re coming into the catch, you’re missing water,” she yells. “Roberto, slow down your knees and sit up tall. Make sure you’re not lunging.”

As they pass the lights of the Third Street Pier, John Hawks Pub and Milwaukee Public Market, it is clear Hurley is the one doing most of the talking.

“Just like that, every stroke, boys,” he says over his microphone headset.

In the eight-man boat, it is also Hurley’s job to call the numbers of the men telling them when to paddle. “Five, six, eight, on the feather,” he exclaims, telling his rowers to bring their oars back parallel to the water, or, the “feather.”

“You should be as square as you can… back that blade down,” he yells as the splash of the oars tries to drown out his voice. “Two, one, straighten ‘er out…reach out all the way as far back as you can.”

When they approach the spot where theywll be turning around, Hurley turns on the heat.

“Pick it up, all in unison! Finish together, under control gentlemen! Slow, don’t rush, slow, DRIVE!”

It is 5:45 a.m. and there is still no sign of the sun. Both of the teams have reached the very wide inner harbor just south of downtown. It is time to go back, but the pace is only about to increase.

Heading back up the river, the two teams prepare for what are known as “Power 10’s,” or 10 extra hard consecutive strokes that resemble a pace for the Regatta.

“Race it like a race,” yells out Spitzer from her boat. “Find what’s gonna work for you in your race and find that rate. Start it like you’re in the chute.”

The two boats line up side by side, but the openweights: captain Mike DeWilde, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, Marc Khatchadourian, a senior in the College of Communications, John Modrzynski, a sophomore in the College of Engineering and John Westfall, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences will be taking off first.

“You guys ready in back?,” yells Spitzer. “ROW!”

With a burst of speed, the four openweights zoom back up the river like men on a mission. They start so fast, Spitzer needs to floor her motorboat to catch up.

They continuously paddle back under all the bridges and the lights of the Milwaukee skyscrapers. With a fourman boat, there are no periods of rest for this group, but they are making it look easy.

The openweights are so steady that Garrett, their coxswain, is lying on her back in the stern like they have done this a million times.

“Keep it together, there we go, just like that,” she says through her headset. However, she is not completely happy with them.

“C’mon guys stop splashing,” she says. “If you guys splash me one more time…”

When the openweights start to approach the boathouse at 6:30 a.m., they will have already finished while both the Marquette women’s team and the Milwaukee Masters are still on the river. The sun is now completely out, providing a glimpse of what a beautiful day it will turn out to be.

Spitzer gets the group to convene. “I know Boston’s a big race and some of you might be nervous,” she says. “But you looked good today.”

But tomorrow is Thursday, so maybe then they can finally get some sleep.

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Men’s lacrosse team continues upward trend

Posted on 25 April 2007 by Nicole Larson

Valley Fields are alive once again with the hard work and positive attitude of the Marquette men’s lacrosse team. The men are back with a vengeance for the spring season with a few fresh faces and the same great attitude. Men’s lacrosse has grown a lot since fall, and is back and better than ever this spring. Through a tough practice schedule and constantly being on the road for away games, the team has kept a clean image and is motivated to improve and be the best team Marquette has ever had.

The guys practice at Valley fields three to four times a week. If that isn’t a commitment in itself, then consider the fact that team members practice from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. all of those nights. They are also constantly traveling in order to play other teams. This spring, the men have already traveled to numerous schools including Vanderbilt in Tennessee, Kansas State, Iowa State, MSU Mankato and the University of Wisconsin at Steven’s Point. For most club teams, this amount of travel is a lot to handle, but the lacrosse team doesn’t mind the grind of the road. For the most part, the men look at the traveling as an opportunity to see places they otherwise may not have gotten the chance to see and as a great team bonding experience. The spring season has brought many new faces to the team, and the traveling has helped bring the guys together and get to know each other better.

It may seem that the spring team has no differences from the fall team, but the spring season has brought many changes. Along with the many new players and the vigorous traveling schedule, the team has also matured to a great extent. In the fall season, there was an excessive amount of new freshmen, which made the team seem young and inexperienced. The freshmen now have played a season and know what it takes to play at the college level. Due to the team’s intense practice schedule and the amount of hard work they have put into their sport, the lacrosse team has made the conference tournament, which means the hard work will become more challenging. But it also gives the club an exclusive opportunity to show off their efforts and make a name for themselves among other college teams.

Keeping up with a promise the team made to themselves, the administration and the Marquette community, the lacrosse team has remained sober and could not be happier about it. Freshman goal keeper Pat Dahl explained that the team has worked hard to stay alcohol-free and the men do not miss it at all.

“We are very strict on the drinking policy,” Dahl said. “The team has learned its lesson from the previous year and we are a better team for it.” The team also has made a great commitment to participate in community service. They already took part in Al’s Run/Walk in the fall, and brought their best to help with Hunger Clean-Up, last Saturday, April 21.

The men’s lacrosse team has made leaps and bounds toward a better team this year, bouncing back from an embarrassing scandal the year before. Throughout the fall season the men built the team back up from the ground and have done nothing but bring positive recognition back to the club. This spring is looking promising for men’s lacrosse as they are continuing to be better than ever.

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