Indoor track and field season concludes at MACs

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Hood students who obtained a specific goal headed to Lehigh University to compete in the indoor track and field MAC Championship meet.
Students competed in a variety of events from weight throwing and shot put to 60 meter dashes and 5k runs. 14 of the 15 athletes qualified for the meet.
Attendee Colin Shields said, “The MAC Championship gave me a new appreciation for track and field. I was amazed by how far some events were like the 3200 meter run, which is 16 laps around the 200-meter track. I witnessed an event called the weight for the first time, which I had never seen or heard of before. It was basically like a heavy ball attached to a string that athletes would throw almost in the same motion they’d throw the discus. It was overall a lot of fun watching the best athletes from all MAC schools compete in the championship.”
Senior Jeremiah Ratliff finished fourth in the 60-meter hurdles at 8.92 seconds and 10th in the triple jump with a mark of 12.72 meters.
Zack Corssey, a sophomore, finished ninth in the mile and 11th in the 800-meter dash.
The men’s 4×400 finished in 10th place by senior Rafel Zamora, junior R.J. Tucker, Corssey, and Ratliff. Overall, the men placed 12th at the meet.
The women competed a tight game. Junior Jackie Mangona tied for sixth in the pentathlon. Her highest score for the competition was in the 60-meter hurdles.
Freshman Danielle Pitts finished 10th in the shot put by throwing it 9.96 meters.
Junior Andrea Christmas and senior Jill Heymann both competed in the triple jump. Heymann got 18th place with a jump of 9.81 meters, and Christmas 22nd at 9.22 meters.
For senior Aleyna Fitz, her first and last season of indoor track and field concluded with a personal best in the weight.
“The MAC Championship Track and Field meet was a great experience. This was my first year participating in the meet and it was great to share the experience with my teammates and coaches. My favorite part of the meet was throwing a new personal record in the weight. It was a nice way to end the indoor season,” Fitz said.
This concluded the indoor season. The spring track and field season will continue on March 25 at Goucher University.

Men’s Basketball narrowly misses playoffs

kyle_sheilds_basketball[1]In spite of a close victory against Arcadia University on Feb. 18, Hood College’s Men’s Basketball Team will not be moving on to playoffs this season.
According to Chad Dickman, the head coach of the men’s basketball team at Hood, the team missed making the playoffs by one game. Several close road games in January may have cost them the chance to compete further in the season.
Although not obtaining the playoff spot, Dickman said the year was successful for the team. He noted improvements in the team’s offense this year compared to recent years, in addition to a larger overall roster.
“I think our team was pretty even from top to bottom,” Dickman said. “We were very deep and had the luxury of being able to play up to 15 guys if needed.”
He also said that there were several standout performances by members of the team. Scott Bolen, a senior at Hood and player on the Men’s Basketball Team, scored an average of 15 points per game.
Bolen was voted by competing coaches to the All-Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth Second Team, and helped win the Senior Day game against Arcadia by scoring 39 points personally.
In preparation for the next season, the coaching staff is working to recruit players whose talents could help the team next year.
Currently, no students have committed to Hood’s team for the 2017-2018 school year, but the staff is in a “good spot” with the players they are trying to recruit.
Though the team will lose three seniors in the transition to the next season, Dickman said he is confident that the returning players and recruits will continue to be successful.
“We set high goals in the preseason,” he said “and when we played well, we were well on our way to accomplishing those goals. I hope this season has left a bad taste in their mouths and they are ready to do everything they can to accomplish our 2017-2018 goals.”

Hood brings e-sports team to boost retention

In an effort to increase the retention of male students at Hood, an e-sports team has been created to encourage a sense of team for those who are not involved in athletics.
According to Travis Eichelberger, director of diversity and inclusion, a retention specialist, Teresa Furnam, was brought in to help Hood identify what groups of students are most likely to leave the college.
“Black males are the least retained group of students on campus,” Eichelberger said.
It was also apparent to the committee discussing the issue of retention that non-athletes are less likely to be retained than athletes. In order to address the problem, two committees were established: peer-mentoring and e-sports.
Eichelberger, ironically sits on the peer-mentoring committee. However, he has some experience in gaming, so he was brought in by Paige Eager, the head of the committee, to help establish the new team.
There was some resistance from faculty members about spending money on gaming due to the violence and the unknown legitimacy of e-sports, according to Eichelberger. Overall, the approach has not cost the college a great deal of money since the game den has an X-Box and, “SMITE,” the inexpensive game chosen to be used for the competition.
When choosing the game, they wanted to minimize the amount of first- person violence, sexism, and racism. Eichelberger, although not an expert on e-sports, will defend a program that will help students stay in college.
SMITE was chosen because it is team based and will be tied into other learning experiences. The violence it holds is also not ultra-realistic because staff needed to find a middle ground in what they were looking for.
According to Eichelberger, there was a lot of white-washing and more of a “Ken and Barbie” look to the game.
Currently, there are 28 people involved in the e-sports team at Hood. 17 of them are looking for a competitive team.
As of now, the e-sports team has started preparing for any in-house competition. It is unknown who will eventually fund the group.

Preview of the third season for Hood’s baseball team

On the eve of their third season, Hood College Baseball coach Cory Beddick reflected on the last few years.
“If I could describe our program’s history in one word, I would choose the word ‘competition,’” Beddick said.
A member of the Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth, Hood baseball’s inaugural season was 2015. Beddick, who graduated from Gettysburg College in 2010, was hired as head coach in 2013 to recruit a team for the 2015 season.
Over the last three years, Beddick has raised one of the most competitive – and youngest – teams in the conference; The Blazers are consist entirely of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. While some might view such a young team as a challenge, but Beddick found a silver-lining in his group.
“The key to any successful team is the individuals it is comprised of. Priority number one was, and, is bringing in high quality student-athletes that can help us build our program into something special. We want to [be] competing for conference championships every year. Our earliest challenge was also a great opportunity. Being a new program, young guys had the opportunity to get experience as freshmen and sophomores. We believe that quickened their development and will enable us to compete at a high level this season.”
When asked what sets Hood apart from schools in the conference, he again brought up the youthfulness of his team.
“Even though this is only our third year as a baseball program, we are probably now the most experienced team in the conference. Even though we do not have one senior on the team, we have many guys that have gotten the opportunity to see the field early in their college career. Within one year, we likely went from the youngest team in the conference to one with quite possibly the most experience.”
His hard work has not gone unnoticed. According to his bio on Hood’s Athletics page, he was named 2016 Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth Coach of the Year.
The Blazers are looking to improve upon their 2015 and 2016 seasons, finishing with a record of 14-25 and 16-24, respectively, with seven conference victories in 2016.
“I am most excited to see how our team comes together. We play at least 40 games in about two and a half months. We will face both successes and adversities over the course of the season and it is important that we stick together as one team,” Beddick said, in regard to the upcoming season.
Blazer home games are played at neighboring Frederick Community College, as Hood does not have a baseball field of their own.
Beddick has used this to his advantage, allotting more time for practice and home games, saying, “To my knowledge there are no plans for us to have our own field in the nearer future. However, we feel very grateful to be able to call FCC our home field. We are the only team in our conference that has a home field that is artificial turf. That allows us to get on the field in late February and early March when most of our conference opponents are unable to get on their home field.”
The Blazers’ first home game is Feb. 25, a double header hosting the Catholic University Cardinals, while their first conference home game will be hosting the Alvernia University Crusaders on March 17. A full schedule can be found on the Hood Athletics webpage.
With big goals in mind, Beddick has not forgotten to take it one step at a time.
“The next step for our program is to continue to improve,” he said. “We feel like if we reach our potential this season, we can be competing for a championship in the conference playoffs in May. However, to get there we need to focus on the process which is continuing to get better every single day.”

ACL Injuries: What You Don’t Know

On Feb. 13, 2016, Sean Mayberry went up for a layup against Albright College; a move that he has executed a thousand times. But this time he hears a pop in his left knee, the unforgettable sound he has heard only one other time in his life.

The next day, Mayberry went to see Dr. Michael Bennett, assistant professor of orthopedics at the University of Maryland Medical Center, and was told that for the second time within a year he tore his ACL.

“I was devastated,” said Mayberry, junior basketball player at Stevenson University.

According to Beaumont Health Systems, there are approximately 100,000 to 200,000 ACL ruptures every year in the United States and these injuries are common for professional and recreational athletes.

After surgery it takes an athlete six to nine months to fully recover from the injury, according to Head Athletic Trainer at Hood College Jennie Bowker.

This is the second year that Mayberry would have to sit out and recover from the same injury. Is this just a coincidence or are there other factors to someone reinjuring their ACL?

“Dr. Bennett told me that my injuries might have something to do with my genetics,” said Mayberry. “My father [also] injured his ACL when he was younger while playing [basketball].”

According to a study in 2009 by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, South African researchers found that genetics can be a reason for injury and then re-injury of the ACL, and that those who had torn their ACL were four times as likely to have a blood relative who had suffered the same injury.

Even after being fully recovered, active athletes are 15 times more likely to re-injure their ACL after the first surgery, according to the American Society of Orthopedic Surgeons.

There are many ways that athletes can re-injure their ACL but one is by having complications from their first surgery.

Kai Dalce, Hood College sophomore basketball player, tore his left ACL twice in a three-year span and had two different doctors for each of his surgeries. For his second surgery he went to Dr. Bennett.

“[Dr. Bennett] told me the other doctor drilled too big of a hole in my leg, which made me more susceptible to re-injuring it,” said Dalce.

The patient can also have an effect on their recovery. If a player doesn’t take the full recovery time or doesn’t take rehabilitation seriously then they can create more injuries, according to Bowker.

Eboni Staples, junior women’s basketball player at Hood College, tore both of her right and left ACL(s) in a six-year span.

She first tore her left ACL in middle school and then she tore her right ACL during her sophomore year of college. Each of her injuries generated two different mindsets.

“In middle school, I feel I didn’t have time. I put the pressure on myself to come back. My family and coaches told me to take my time. But, no I got to get back [on the court],” said Staples.

Her surgeon Dr. John Tis, physician advisor and assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at John Hopkins Medicine, said that her second injury was inevitable because her right leg was being overused.

“I learned from the first surgery if you take your time then you’ll get better results. Once you rush it you’ll have to work 10 times harder to get to where you want to be,” said Staples.

Each of these players is fully recovered from their injuries and plans to play for their respective teams this upcoming college basketball season.

Still, ACL injuries can be unpredictable even when fully healed because it is the mindset of athletes that matters in recovery. Every player must go through fear to be able to fully recover and have confidence that the body part is fully healed, according to Health Essentials.

“I just remember my coach [Darnell Hopkins] told me ‘Don’t be afraid. It’s not like you’re going to die if you miss a jump shot,’” said Dalce. “That helped me a lot.”

However, even with a great support system in place 25 to 40 percent of athletes do not return from ACL injuries, according to Dr. David Geier, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in Charleston, South Carolina.

“My surgeon told me, you might want to let basketball go and hang up the shoes,” said Staples. “But, basketball is how I relieve stress and be in my own world.”

For each of these players they understand the risk involved and the rate of re-injury, but still want to play because the game means something more to them.

“I do it for the love of the game and I haven’t ever been a person to give up, so that wasn’t an option,” said Mayberry. “[And] I’m going to come back and play at my abilities.”

Men’s Soccer celebrates graduating seniors

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Keeper Danny Castillo does a goal kick Photo by CJ Blickenstaff

On Sept. 24 the Hood College Men’s Soccer team celebrated their senior game with a win against St. Vincent.

“It was an awesome feeling to win on senior day, and seeing the whole team put in a great effort to get a special win for the seniors meant a lot,” said Captain Drew Demich.

The game started off slow with nobody scoring until the second half. The point was scored by Alec van Bronkhorst.

Christiano Pillari and Kyle Bulgarelli assisted van Bronkhorst with his goal.

Before the start of the game, the seniors were celebrated. The 11 seniors graduating include two of The Blue and Grey staff members, Colin Viti and Kyle Shields. The other seniors are: Stephen Friend, Christiano Pillari, Juliano Pillari, Drew Demich, Ryan Tutzauer, Elmer Diaz, Joe Benton, Kahembi Mukuwa, and Viktor Muleki.

Demich said, “The team is looking forward to continuing this enjoyable season and making it a memorable final season for all the seniors.”

Hood College football team: Is it feasible?

Contributing Writer John Curran

Why doesn’t Hood College have a football team? Many have asked this question. I should warn you that I did not expect the topic to be so complex. After all, I knew nothing about football. My first interview was with Tom Dickman, Hood College Athletic Director. As I was walking down the long isolated hallway to get to the interview, I thought, “what have I gotten myself into?”

In 2014, the board of trustees requested that a feasibility study be done to see whether or not Hood College should establish a football team. A committee was setup to facilitate the study and manage the research process. The committee was chaired by Dr. Olivia White, Dean of Students. “The rationale behind the board’s decision was to increase enrollment and to draw interest to the college within the Frederick Community,” said Chuck Mann, Vice President of Finance and Treasurer. College enrollment among high school graduates has been down nationwide.

The feasibility study was never completed. The board of trustees along with President Andrea Chapdelaine, decided to put the
study on hold indefinitely when Chapdelaine became president. “President Chapdelaine put the study on hold, because she thought there were more pressing issues,” said Dickman. When I asked Tom Dickman if he was a proponent of a football team, he never answered the question. He went straight into the history of the football team discussion.

If you are interested in what these pressing issues were, you are not alone. I went into my interview with Chuck Mann wondering what were these concerning issues? So I asked. “The most important issue was that it was unfair to President Chapdelaine to have to deal with such a controversial debate in the first months of her presidency,” said Mann. The feasibility study was going to be presented to the board of trustees in October 2015. President Chapdelaine didn’t start until July 2015.

Included in the feasibility study was a survey. The survey was given to current students, faculty and staff, as well as alumni. “The results of the study showed that the majority of respondents had a negative opinion on whether the college should establish a football team,” said Mann.
“One of the major concerns expressed in the comment section of the survey was that Hood’s academic quality would diminish.” However, Georgetown is a Division III school; they have a football team, and their academic rank has not been affected.

When Hood was considering the idea of a football team, they looked at other schools within Division III. A school that they had particular interest in was Stevenson University. Stevenson was also experiencing low college enrollment and had established a football team in 2011. “They have had really good results,” said Mann.

While Hood never reached the point of conducting a cost/benefit analysis, expenses were an obvious factor. “One of the major problems we would have to face is that we are land locked,” said Dickman. Therefore, in order to even build a stadium, we would have to buy land away from the campus. Other expenses would include equipment, a locker room that would house at least 160 players, and a practice field.

A desire to increase enrollment was the basis of the board’s decision. “When you have a football team you need to have at least 100 players,” said Dickman. Enrollment would increase through the recruitment of players and the creation of a marching band. According to Dickman, with an enrollment increase would come the expense of building more dorms.

The college also considered a football program as a way to engage the Frederick community. “Football is more than just a sport, it has become such a part of American culture,” said Mann. Many people watch football games for the social aspect. The football season would increase social life on campus. The college saw a football program as a way to bring alumni back to campus. “Schools with a football team often have a more engaged alumni, “said Dickman. “If you think about it, many homecomings are centered around a football game.”

Those opposed to a football program argue that there have been other programs put in place to increase enrollment. Hood has established two new Masters programs, a doctoral program in organizational leadership, and added several new majors. “The college is like any other business, it has to keep evolving,” said Mann. “If you aren’t evolving than you will constantly be behind.”

With growing concern over concussions and the negative effects it has on the brain, would it be worth it for Hood to invest millions of dollars into creating a program that could harm the health of its students? “If we decide not to set up a football team we won’t be preventing students from getting concussions because potential players will go to other schools; however, that doesn’t mean we have to have blood on our hands,” said Mann. Mann was originally supportive of a football team until he watched the movie “Concussion”. “The movie was eye- opening,” said Mann.

With the school’s strategic plan coming to an end this June, the board of trustees along with the college’s administration is in the process of drafting a new 10-year strategic plan. The new strategic plan will be approved in June. “If there is wording in the plan to the effect of increasing enrollment through sports, then maybe we will revisit the feasibility study,” said Mann. “If the wording is not in place, then there is no need.”

Will there ever be a football team at Hood? Stay tuned

 

Villegas sets example on lacrosse field

Contributing Writer Amir Abdelrady

Alexander Villegas, a midfielder and attack-man on the Hood College Men’s lacrosse team set new standards as he first stepped on the field against Rosemont.

“Our first game was an away game, which made me more nervous than I usually would be,” said Villegas. “Not only that, but it was really cold, so trying to get your joints fluid and working correctly in that weather really sucked.”

Villegas walked off the field for his first time in a collegiate level lacrosse game leading the team with 2 goals and 3 assists.

“The first game helped me feel comfortable on the field,” saidVillegas. “I went a little harder in practice, and tried new things.”

Villegas continued showing huge possibility. He finished the month of February with five goals and one assist, the month of March with five goals and seven assists, and finally, the month of April with six goals and eight assists.

These accomplishments put him as third overall team ranking, and first of the 2013 class.

Unfortunately, Villegas reveals that during the last month or so, he had no choice but to play with Bursitis in both of his knees: an inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs in the joints.

“The levels of pain were so severe that it resulted in relying on Advil or Tylenol hours before the game, just because I knew I was about to suffer,” Villegas said. “Towards the end of the season, I had both my knees drained, and I was back to normal.”

Jesse Bronson, Villegas’ roommate, shared a few words on Villegas suffering from Bursitis.

“He was obviously in pain, and for weeks at a time,” Bronson mentions. “I could hear him limping around the house, barely able to go up and down the stairs comfortably.”

Villegas cut in to mention about how he was too busy with Lacrosse to obtain the proper medical treatment.

Villegas said, “I did what I could though. I went to physical therapy and put draining my knees off as long as I needed to.”

By sophomore year, however, Villegas was back in shape and ready to play. His stats reflected an athlete who didn’t let an injury hold them back as he was at 10 goals and 4 assists by the middle of the season.

However, shortly after the mid-way point in the season, Villegas severely sprained his ankle, and was out of commission for two weeks. He finished the season off with 17 goals and eight assists.

“It was a bummer,” says Villegas. “I came in really trying to make a change, but I kept getting hurt.”

Villegas continued onto his junior year without any injuries, and finished his third year with 20 goals and 5 assists. His overall total after his third year was 58 goals and 26 assists.

 

Nick Drillinger, Villegas’ teammate, felt that Villegas was getting to where he needs to be physically and mentally for his upcoming senior and final year of College Lacrosse.

 

“We both came in together as freshmen, and we have seen each other progress,” says Drillinger. “Now that we are the seniors, it feels that we have a lot to prove and have a higher level of expectations.”

 

Villegas agrees as he mentions that he is in his best shape in his college career, and still has fall ball to sharpen his skills. Not only that, but he has multiple months to keeping working at getting in the best shape possible.

 

“All I can say is that I am currently sitting at five points away from holding the “all-time scoring” title,” concludes Villegas. “I am definitely ready to do whatever it takes to earn that before I graduate.”

The Final Mark of the Senior Athletes

As their time at Hood College comes to an end, it can be seen that their time has been well spent over the past four years.

The class of 2016 was the first class to face competition within the Middle Atlantic Commonwealth Conference. There are 43 senior athletes who have competed for the Blazers throughout their time at Hood.

The class is made up of four multi-sport athletes, two student-assistant coaches, and the first baseball players to be recruited for the new premiere Hood College baseball team. There are several organizations whose presidents are student-athletes, such as the Student Government Association, SAAC/SPURS, and Mortar Board.

On Sunday, April 24, eight of the senior athletes were presented with athletic department awards. Two senior athletes were also presented with the White Blazer award.

The Kim Servedio Award is given in honor of a former women’s soccer player and honor student, Kim Servedio, who passed away tragically in 1998. The award is given to both a male and a female student-athlete who best exemplifies Servedio’s characteristics of sincerity, selflessness, and optimism.

The winners of this award were field hockey player, Alysa Billeter, and baseball player, Nat Puryear.

The Dean’s Award is presented to a male and a female student-athlete who has shown an unparalleled commitment to the student body through involvement in extra-curricular activities and has demonstrated outstanding service to the Hood College Athletic Department. This award was presented to women’s soccer player, Kathryn Bailey, and men’s soccer player, Danny Battle.

The President’s Award is given to a male and a female student-athlete who has distinguished themselves throughout their Hood College careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletic excellence, service, and leadership. This award was given to volleyball player, Brenna Elizondo, and men’s track and tennis player, Joshua Sexton.

The Most Outstanding Student-Athlete Award is presented to a male and a female student-athlete who has demonstrated exemplary athletic prowess throughout their athletic careers at Hood College. This particular award was given to softball player, Ashley Fourcade, and men’s basketball player, Davon Hill.

The final award is the White Blazer Award, which was presented to volleyball player, Brenna Elizondo, and men’s lacrosse player, Jared Bileski.

Equestrian Makes Hood History

Photo courtesy of Jessy Burke

Photo from Jessy Burke. Burke jumps her horse. She is Hood’s first equestrian team member to make it to nationals.

On April 9th, 2016, the equestrian team competed at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Zone Finals. The team competed against institutions such as Duke University, Bridgewater College, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and Goucher College. Two Blazers competed for a spot at the 2016 IHSA National Championships.

The IHSA provides competition to riders of all skill levels, who can compete individually or as teams at regional, zone, and national levels.

One member of the equestrian team that wrote her name in the record books on April 9th, 2016, is Jessy Burke. Burke who is a junior at Hood, made history by being the first member of the equestrian team to make it to nationals in program history. She brought home a second place ribbon in the intermediate over fences class, which sealed her spot in the IHSA National Championships in Lexington, Kentucky.

Another member of the equestrian team competed at zones. Senior Leah Hull, competed in her respective events which were walk trot. She finished off zones with a fifth place ribbon. Hull had an outstanding senior year, by placing first or second at every show that the equestrian team competed at.

The 2016 IHSA National Championships will take place on May 5th to May 8th, we look forward to having the first Blazer compete in a few weeks.