UK’s Sky Sports Films Edwin Moses with Oglethorpe Track Athletes For London Olympics

With film cameras rolling and two-time Olympic gold medalist Edwin Moses doling out sage advice, the Oglethorpe University men’s and women’s track and field teams enjoyed a rather unusual practice last Thursday afternoon. That’s because Sky Sports, the largest sports broadcaster in the United Kingdom, was in Atlanta to capture some pre-Olympic coverage for the upcoming 2012 London Games, and Oglethorpe loaned their track and athletes to the project.

Moses, who first gained fame at the 1976 Montreal Games where he won gold by setting a world record in the 400 meter hurdles, lives nearby in the Brookhaven area and suggested Oglethorpe to Sky Sports as the locale for the filming. Sky Sports has tabbed Moses to be an in-studio analyst for the upcoming London Games and wanted to capture footage of him in the same city that hosted the 1996 Olympic Games.

After shooting footage of the Oglethorpe entrance and academic quadrangle, the Sky Sports crew descended on the track where members of the Stormy Petrel men’s and women’s track teams greeted Moses. Moses took time addressing the team about the finer points of his career in track and field before giving Oglethorpe 400 meter hurdler Katy Galli some one-on-one instruction on how to best clear hurdles and excel at the event. The Sky Sports team then filmed Galli, who wore a tiny camera affixed to her head, as she ran the 400 meter hurdles while Moses made commentary on specific portions of the race.

“It was an honor to have a track athlete of the caliber of Edwin Moses on our campus giving our kids who love the same sport some great advice,” said Oglethorpe men’s and women’s track and field Head Coach Jan Spiro. “The folks from Sky Sports could not have been nicer and seeing our student-athletes interact with Moses was a real treat.”

After over an hour of instruction and filming shots, Moses and the Sky Sports crew graciously said their goodbyes before the Oglethorpe track and field coaching staff gave the track teams a wake-up call: the real practice was about to begin.

OU Men’s Soccer Team Captures First SCAC Title, Accepts First NCAA Bid

The Oglethorpe University men’s soccer 2011 season will roll on into the middle of November after the team accomplished a couple of program firsts this past weekend. The Stormy Petrels captured their first Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championship by topping Centre 1-0 in Birmingham on Sunday afternoon and, in the process, clinched the school’s debut trip to the NCAA Tournament!

Still celebrating their first league title, the Petrels learned today that their first round NCAA Tournament game will be against the University of Texas at Tyler on the Patriots campus at 8:00 p.m. Eastern this Thursday, November 10.

The Petrels will bring their 17-3 overall record to Tyler, Texas to face a Patriot squad that is 15-2-2 overall and Sunday winners of the American Southwest Conference Championship. The Petrels and Patriots shared one common opponent from the 2011 season: Southwestern University. Texas-Tyler topped Southwestern 2-1 in their first match of the year back on September 3. Oglethorpe bested Southwestern by the score of 2-0 in last Saturday night’s SCAC Semifinal in Birmingham.

If the Petrels are fortunate enough to top the Patriots on their home field, Oglethorpe will travel down the road to San Antonio, Texas for a Sunday afternoon matchup with conference rival Trinity. To view the entire 2011 NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer bracket, go here.

The 2011 Oglethorpe men, coached by Jon Akin, enjoyed a year unlike any other in the program history. The team set a school record by winning twelve straight games during the campaign en route to posting the 17-3-0 overall record. The 17 wins are a program best and the .850 winning percentage is also tops all-time for a team that celebrated 50 years of soccer being played on the campus just this season. The Petrels also posted their best SCAC mark in school history at 8-1 overall and the squad’s success gained national attention when the team appeared in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America rankings for the first time in 50 years.

CONGRATULATIONS!

A Historic Season for Oglethorpe Men’s Soccer—And It’s Not Over

The Oglethorpe University men’s soccer team just put the finishing touches on a historic regular season that saw the 2011 Stormy Petrels set several school records. With the first season complete, Oglethorpe is now excited about their second season—this weekend’s conference tournament with a chance to qualify for the school’s first-ever trip to NCAA Tournament on the line.

Coached by Jon Akin, the men enjoyed a year unlike any other in the program history. The team set a school record by winning 12 straight games during the campaign en route to posting a 15-3-0 overall record. The 15 wins are a program best, and the .833 winning percentage is also tops for a team that just this season celebrated 50 years of soccer being played on the campus. The Petrels also posted their best SCAC mark in school history at 8-1 overall. The squad’s success gained national attention when the team appeared in the rankings for the first time in 50 years.

This weekend the men travel to Birmingham, Ala. for the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Men’s Soccer Tournament (Nov. 4-6), hosted by Birmingham-Southern. The Petrels will face the winner of Friday night’s Colorado College/Southwestern match-up on Saturday at approximately 8:30 p.m. Eastern. A semifinal victory on Saturday would spring Oglethorpe into the Championship game on Sunday (2:30 p.m. Eastern) against the likely opponent of the nation’s No. 4 ranked team, the undefeated Trinity Tigers.

To follow Oglethorpe’s quest for their first conference championship using live stats and live video, visit the Championship website here.

Go Petrels!

Pictured: The recordbreaking 2011 Oglethorpe Men’s Soccer team; Coach Jon Akin

Former OU Star to Play in PGA Tournament This Weekend

Former Oglethorpe golfing great Olafur Loftsson, who guided the Stormy Petrels to their first ever NCAA Championship in May 2009, earned an invitation to compete in the PGA Tour Wyndham Championship held this weekend at the Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.

Loftsson, who now plays under scholarship as a senior for UNC-Charlotte, will compete at the PGA Tour event as an amateur after earning the invite by winning the prestigious Cardinal Amateur in Greensboro this past weekend. He fired a final round 65 to win the event by four strokes and clinch his chance to compete against the sport’s best this weekend.

In May of 2009, Loftsson, then a sophomore transfer from Gardabaer, Iceland, won medalist honors and the Arnold Palmer Player-of-the-Year distinction by leading Oglethorpe to the Division III National Championship.

Loftsson came to Oglethorpe on a foreign student exchange program as a sophomore in the fall of 2008 and was scheduled to return to Iceland following the academic year. His performance on the golf course, however, caught the eye several Division I schools with available golf scholarships. OU Golf head coach Jim Owen made phone calls on Olafur’s behalf and it wasn’t long before the “Iceman”, as he was affectionately known to teammates, had landed a full ride to compete for the 49ers of UNC-Charlotte.

The Wyndham Championship begins on Thursday and will be broadcast from on the Golf Channel from 3:00-6:00 p.m. both Thursday and Friday. If he is fortunate enough to survive the cut, Loftsson could be viewed on CBS this Saturday and Sunday from 3:00-6:00 p.m. To view the Championship website with links to a live updating leaderboard, go here.

Photo:  Loftsson shown holding up his medalist trophy after guiding the Stormy Petrels to the 2009 NCAA Championship.

Nation’s Top Basketball Recruits, Coaches Come to Pinholster Court

Rival Basketball's top-ranked recruit, Shabazz Muhammad

Oglethorpe hosted some of the nation’s most elite high school basketball talents this past Saturday, Sunday, and Monday as the Amateur Athletic Union played top flight summer league games on Pinholster Court with many of the top college hoops coaches in the country looking on.

Among the elite talents on display was Rival Basketball’s top ranked class of 2012 recruitShabazz Muhammad of Las Vegas, Nevada. Muhammad, a 6’6″ small forward with a dizzying array of talents, is being courted by college basketball’s top programs like Duke, Kentucky and Kansas, to name a few. Other top players in attendance were Rival’s #30 ranked player, Tony Parker, and #78 prospect, Demetrius Henry. Parker, a local product from Lithonia, is considering such stalwarts as Connecticut, Florida, and Ohio State for his college destination. Henry, a gifted 6’8″ power forward from Florida, is deciding between the likes of Georgia Tech, Texas, and Florida State.

Adding allure to the high-powered hoops games on Pinholster Court were the bevy of highly regarded coaches in attendance. Among those silently recruiting their future stars were Thad Matta (Ohio State), John Calipari (Kentucky), Rick Pitino (Louisville), Billy Donnovan (Florida), Drew Gregory (Georgia Tech), and Mark Fox (Georgia).

Calipari, whose influence on the college game is demonstrated by his 1.1 million+ Twitter followers, took to the social media platform to query about the origins of Oglethorpe’s famed mascot, tweeting, “Does anyone know what the mascot is for Oglethorpe University and the story behind it?” Naturally, he received more than one accurate response. To view the feed stirred by Calipari’s tweet, go here.