Archive for October, 2012

Getting into the swing of things…

October 31, 2012

By: Jonathan Bowden
Assistant Golf Coach

Since having the privilege of joining Generals Athletics in August of this year I have thoroughly enjoyed assisting Coach Pete Gyscek as we look to improve the Men’s and Women’s Golf programs at Washington and Lee. Both golf programs have been fantastic to work with as I continue to develop and learn about my own coaching style, and how I can be a positive influence to my players on and off the golf course. Throughout the fall season both programs showed significant improvement from last season, and I am extremely excited to see the improvement and successes that continue into the spring season. I am also excited for the fact that my younger brother, Daniel, who plays golf professionally is currently in the process of qualifying for The PGA Tour via The PGA Tour Qualifying School. This journey in particular is filled with heartache and misfortune for most, but for those select few who reach their dream it can be rewarding on many different levels. Recently, Daniel has made it through the first-stage of qualifying and will leave next week to prepare and play in a second-stage qualifier in Texas with high hopes of advancing onto the final-stage of qualifying held in late November.

The final PGA Tour Qualifying School or “Q-School” is under way, and fourteen first-stage qualifiers have concluded as of Saturday. This is followed by the final-stage of qualifying school contested over six unique venues around the country. Why is this the final go-round for PGA Tour Q-School? Beginning next year, PGA Tour qualifying enters a new era. The era of the Web.com Tour Finals. Beginning in 2013, golfers who want to earn their way onto the PGA Tour have to (with rare exceptions) go through the Web.com Tour Finals, a series of tournaments at the end of the Web.com Tour season. Those tournaments will combine the top money earners from the Web.com Tour “regular season” with PGA Tour golfers who failed to make enough money to retain their PGA Tour cards. A Q-School will still exist; it just won’t be the PGA Tour Q-School. Q-School in 2013 will only get golfers onto the Web.com Tour, not the PGA Tour.

With the final PGA Tour Q-School in full swing; it actually started in mid-September with multiple pre-qualifiers – qualifiers to get into qualifiers. You can view the field results for the fourteen Stage I qualifying tournaments on PGATour.com’s Q-School index, where Stages 1, 2 and Final Stage scores will also be posted. Second-stage qualifiers begin on Nov. 13, and there’ll be six of those. And then the last, 6-round, PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament final stage takes place Nov. 28-Dec. 3.

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It’s Here Again!

October 26, 2012

By: Chip Whipple
Assistant Sports Information Director

It’s that time of year again. I know what you’re thinking, but I’m not talking about carving pumpkins or dressing up as your favorite superhero. I’m talking about basketball season. From little kids’ leagues to the pro’s, the end of October (I’m as shocked as the rest of you that we are already at the end of the month) signals the start of hoops season.

I enjoy basketball at all levels, including playing it when I get the opportunity, but the NBA is what I watch the most. I understand a lot of people say they prefer watching the college game where the game is more about the team and not the individual. I watch the NBA, because I want to watch the world’s best basketball players in competition with one another. With that said, here are five storylines to look for as the NBA season kicks off with three games on October 30.

1. Full 82-game season. Following a lockout shortened 66-game season last year, the NBA is back to its 82-game slate for each team. Unlike most people who don’t watch the NBA until February when football is over, I love watching the earlier games in November and December. As a fan, you get a feel for who the breakout players are going to be, you get to see how teams and their offseason acquisitions gel and you get to see how any of the new rule changes affect the game. Speaking of rule changes …

No more flopping fellas

2. Anti-flopping rules. The NBA is implementing a new anti-flopping rule this season. Basically, league officials will conduct video reviews of each game, and if players are deemed to have flopped, penalties will be enforced. The first violation is a warning from the league, and each violation after that will result in a fine for the player. It would take six violations for a player to receive a possible suspension for flopping. Here is a link to a video the NBA made on what is a flop and what isn’t. I would be shocked if a player actually ended up getting suspended for flopping. You will hear a lot about it early on with multiple players receiving warnings, but as the season moves along it won’t be as prevalent.

3. The Lakers Get Superman. I don’t know if you heard, but Dwight Howard is now playing basketball in Los Angeles. He came to the Lakers in an offseason four-team trade with the 76ers, the Nuggets and the Magic. Los Angeles gave up Andrew Bynum, but not much else to get the most dominating center in the game today. Will it be enough to get the Lakers their third title in the last five years? I’ll have more on that in a bit.

4. Will the Kings be in Sacramento at the start of next season? After another arena deal fell through with the city of Sacramento and the Kings, at any point this season there might be an announcement about the Kings leaving to go to Anaheim, Kansas City, Seattle or insert name of city that has an arena but doesn’t have a NBA team. I hope Sacramento and the Maloofs (the owners of the Kings) can work out an agreement. As a Cleveland fan that saw the Browns leave to go to Baltimore in 1996, I never want to see teams leave the city they are in.

I think we will probably see this again

5. The Heat will win the 2013 NBA title. Don’t get me wrong; I really hope someone else wins. But LeBron is still the best player on the planet and with Bosh, Wade and now Ray Allen the team is only going to get better. I know some of you are thinking the Lakers have what it takes now, but I’m not sold on a 38-year-old point guard (Nash), a 34-year-old shooting guard (Bryant), a for lack of a better word, unstable small forward (Metta World Peace), a 32-year-old power forward (Gasol), a center who just had back surgery (Howard) and probably the thinnest bench in the league. The Thunder have a shot and you can never count out the Spurs, but it’s the Heat’s title to lose.

6. David Stern will step down as NBA commissioner on Feb. 1 2014.  I know I said five storylines, but this was announced yesterday so I added a bonus sixth one. I’m not sure how much of an impact this will have, but Stern has been the commissioner of the NBA since 1984. There will be some change, (Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver has already been named the commissioner-in-waiting) but I’m not sure it will be that impactful until the 2014-15 NBA season.

October 15

October 24, 2012

By: Christine Clancy
Head Women’s Basketball Coach

It’s not basketball all the time- on Day 5, we rewarded their hard work and gave their legs a day off with a pumpkin carving competition

As a Division III basketball coach there are few dates that affect your life more than October 15th– the first official day of practice. Every year we wait with anticipation for the day when our 8-hour work days turn into 12-14 hour days. It is the first day that we get to see all of our players (returners and freshmen) on the same court playing together. The first month and a half of the school year is a tease. All of our players are back on campus and they are working hard together to get ready for the season. The team played pick-up 4-5 times per week and as coaches until October 15th, we’re not allowed to watch them. It is very hard to walk by the gym, knowing your team is playing, and not stop to watch- a little like walking by a plate of cookies fresh from the oven without grabbing one!

It’s been just about 7 and ½ months since the end of our previous season and finally, October 15th was my first chance to get out on the court with my new team in my first year as head coach. Although the days are longer, they are more fun and I am reminded why I coach. Basketball is a great game. It’s fun to teach, play, and coach. Now I get to spend the majority of my day planning practice, meeting with players, watching game film, and running practice.

I have a young team made up of 6 returners and 5 first-years. What excites me most about this group is their energy, work ethic, and most of all their “coach-ability.” The returners are providing great leadership and our first years are eager to learn. There is nothing more satisfying as a coach than giving a player feedback- an adjustment to her game- and seeing her apply it successfully in the next possession…our practices are filled with these moments. My players are eager listeners and are very receptive to feedback. For 2 hours, 6 days a week, we work hard, get better, and have fun.

What’s the next big date on the radar? Nov. 15th– GAME DAY!

A Life Changing Day

October 19, 2012

By: Brittani Sahm
Sports Information Assistant

Claire Marie Sotherdon, born October 18, 2012

Today is a great day. A life-changing day for my family as my younger sister gave birth to her first child, making me an aunt AND a godmother. There is nothing more exciting in this world than a new life and my niece, Claire Marie, has made this day an unforgettable one.

Claire was born at 12:55 am eastern time, but my sister, Chelsea, lives in Arizona, so technically her daughter was born on October 18 at 9:55 pm. A healthy 7 lbs. 6oz. fit into 19.5 inches. Unfortunately, I was sound asleep when I got the text at 2:02 am revealing the great news that I was officially an aunt. Around 5:15 am, I checked my phone in a half-asleep state of mind, read the great news (with the cute picture attached) and instantly wanted to jump out of my bed and tell everyone I knew about the fantastic news. The easiest way to get information out nowadays is to post it on Facebook, and this is exactly what I did.

I was so excited about the idea that we have a new baby girl in our family that I could barely fall back asleep. I wanted to hop on a plane to Arizona and meet the beautiful girl today, but that was not an option. Luckily for Chelsea and her husband, my dad and step-mom conveniently planned a trip to visit them right around the due date. It worked out perfectly and now they have lots of time to spend with Claire and the new family.

The most difficult thing about this pregnancy was that Chelsea was so far away from our entire family. Her husband is in the Air Force and he is based in Tucson, the main reason why they live 30-plus hours southwest of New York where both of them are from.

Chelsea’s wedding

Even before we found out about the pregnancy, the past year has been quite the journey for our family. Chelsea got married on October 1, 2011 and moved to Tucson soon afterwards. We weren’t able to see her again until the summertime because of her husband’s military duties. It was perfect timing for me. I was able to take my vacation the week she was in New York and that was when I was asked to be the godmother. I was so happy I cried right in the middle of the baby shower. I tend to get a little emotional sometimes. I will gladly accept happy tears whenever appropriate though.

I wish I could have been there for Chelsea more throughout the pregnancy, but that is something we have all accepted now that we live in different areas of the country. The best part about all of this is that I feel even closer to my family now that Claire is here. I’ll be able to see pictures of her growing and the joy that a new child brings to the entire family. Oh, and I can’t forget about spoiling her! I won’t claim to understand the feeling pregnancy brings, but I do now understand how one little life can change all of us forever.

The Impossible is Often Untried

October 16, 2012

By: John Geissinger
Assistant Swimming Coach

Izzy Brassfield ’13

The Washington & Lee Swim team just returned from a double dual meet in Louisville, KY. At the meet we competed against Centre and DePauw and went 1-1 respectively on both sides. At this point of the season times are not the most important outcome, it is how the races are swum. But there were a few this weekend that I would like to highlight.

Both Rick Sykes and Izzy Brassfield are seniors on are team and had fantastic meets. Rick got an NCAA “B” cut in the 50 Freestyle with a time of 20.91 while also swimming to a lifetime dual meet best of 47.10 in the 100 Free. The coaching staff challenged Rick last year to become a more complete swimmer, to expand his range, and he took that to heart. In the off-season he attacked his lifting regiment and worked on his feel for the water. All of his hard work is already paying off and the good stuff has not even come up yet. Izzy had a good 50 herself, a 25.1, but it was anchoring the Women’s 400 Freestyle relay that stood out. Last year at the conference meet, Izzy split a 53 on the relay. She went a 53.4 on Saturday. Both of these swimmers are achieving times that most people would think only possible when they are “shaved” and “rested”. Both have worked extremely hard over the years for these results and I am happy to say they are on their way to special seasons.

In sports and in life there are always people who will tell you that something cannot be done. I challenge everyone to set goals and chase after them. If Thomas Edison listened to those detractors, where would we be? Erik Sandberg-Diment once wrote that the laptop is a dream for the few, which will never catch on. Now most of our students at Washington & Lee have their own personal laptop! We have two in my house! The “Impossible” is often untried. In order for us to find out our human limits we must challenge ourselves to the point of imagination. And I am happy to say that so far the W&L Swim Teams are doing a great job at this.

Fall is Upon Us

October 13, 2012

By: Scott Abell
Head Football Coach

Fall is a great time of the year.  I cannot remember a time when I did not feel this way.  As a boy I remember fall in Virginia, it meant following my brothers high school program, suiting up for my pop warner games and listening to my parents discussing the changing of the leaves and comparing them to years past.  Now here I am fall 2012, following my son’s high school football team, suiting up to coach the Generals and talking about the changing of leaves with my wife.

This week has become a bigger week than normal for us here at Washington and Lee.  Saturday we will face Randolph Macon with the winner sitting atop the ODAC by themselves.  I can hardly contain my excitement at this point but as always I will pre-pare myself by traveling with my family to watch my son play tonight.  I will finish the blog with GO GENERALS and GO WILDCATS!

Young Alumni Weekend

October 9, 2012

By: Brian Laubscher
Sports Information Director

Last weekend, Washington and Lee hosted its young alumni classes as part of the Young Alumni/Homecoming event.  As usual, it was a busy time for the sports information crew as homecoming is the one time more than any other that our teams wish to play at home and this always makes it a busy weekend.

The homecoming court and their escorts

This past Saturday, we hosted two soccer games, a field hockey game and of course, a football game.  Naturally it kept us hopping and things went about as smoothly as they could have possibly gone from our perspective.  All in all, when I got home following the football game on Saturday evening, I called the weekend a success.  It wasn’t until later that I began to think otherwise.

Sunday was a cold and rainy day and I was more than happy to just sit at home in sweats as my wife and I tried to nurse Parker back to health after he contracted a double-ear infection and respiratory infection last week.  Naturally I figured it was a good time to check Facebook and see what was going on in the world.  I saw tons of pictures from former W&L athletes who were back in Lexington for young alumni weekend and my perspective began to change.  This year was the 10-year reunion for the class of 2002, which was a special class to me.  We all came to Lexington together – their freshman year was my first as SID at W&L and I became tight with numerous students from that time period.

As I saw their pictures, I began to reminisce about the old days and wished that I had the time to see them and catch up.  Sadly, I didn’t chat with a single alum all weekend and the pictures were all the evidence I needed to be reminded of that fact. Now that I live in Waynesboro (a 45-minute drive from Lex Vegas), it’s not as easy to meet old friends for a drink in town and working the games on Saturday sadly doesn’t leave much time to catch up when I am here.

So, even though I missed so many of you this weekend, I wanted to say thanks to all those that traveled near and far to come back to W&L and I promise to make a better effort to catch up when next you are here.

Homecoming

October 5, 2012

By: Alison Kapuska
Assistant Athletic Trainer

Ahh, homecoming memories!

Homecoming — It’s the time of year when Alumni from all over the place come back to relive the best 4 years (sometimes more) of their lives. I have already had my first sighting in the athletic training room of a former athlete. All I could think is what are you doing here? It’s a strange feeling to know that the athletes you have seen all through out their college career have gone on to graduate and lead lives in the real world.  It not only puts my time here at W&L in perspective but also reminds me of my college days.

Way back when… just kidding back in 2004 I attended St. Cloud State University in Minnesota for college. My homecoming experience was slightly different. Although the school has thousands of graduates many would not return for such events like here at W&L. There wouldn’t be signs in the streets or events sponsored by the university. The biggest draw would be Men’s Ice hockey game and the festivities that occurred in the downtown that day. But even then it was always memorable when my sorority sisters would invade our house for the weekend. Some of my best homecoming memories came from my first two years in college. As a sorority we would offer Safe Rides home during the Friday/Saturday nights of homecoming, which was similar to Traveller. Imagine riding Traveller sober during homecoming…. I have stories trust me!

But enough my time reminiscing this weekend holds a great deal in store for the students, staff and Alumni of W&L. There are many events that should be a lot of fun. On the athletics side we have football, field hockey, men & women’s soccer, and a couple of alumni games.  They will be happening around the same time so I’m bummed I can’t see everything but I hope to see many familiar faces in the crowd.  It should make out to be an exciting afternoon cheering the Generals on to victory!

Fall Ball Has Arrived!

October 2, 2012

By: Nat St. Laurent
Assistant Men’s Lacrosse Coach

Bring on another season of Generals Lacrosse!

This past weekend we started our nontraditional season, known in the lacrosse world as Fall Ball.  Being able to go out and start working with the men in our program is something our staff has been waiting for since students returned to campus a month ago.  There is something about the anticipation of what fall ball will bring that gets me all amped up.  Being able to see which players worked hard in the off-season and which first year players will be able to make the necessary adjustments from high school to college lacrosse is always exciting.  After our first weekend of practice, I can say that the men in our program have worked very hard in the off-season!

The intensity of practice was high and the team competed very hard in each drill.  I was very pleased with how well the players adjusted to the new rules that were recently passed by the NCAA.  Some of the new rules that I was very interested in seeing how the players react to in particular were the quick restarts and new stick stringing rules.  Though it is early, I am extremely excited to work with this team, the other coaches, and support staff.  You can follow the program on Twitter @wlulacrosse.

It was great to go home Saturday afternoon feeling very satisfied after Friday and Saturday’s practices and watch some college football with friends.  After watching my beloved Buckeyes pull out a one-point victory, I was able to follow the Generals football team pick up another victory as well.  Congratulations to Luke Heinsohn, running back for the football team and an All-ODAC lacrosse player, for becoming W&L’s all time leading scorer in the history of the football program!