Oglethorpe Celebrates National Girls & Women in Sports Day

As a woman who has been “blessed” with two left feet, butter fingers, and a penchant for laziness, I can honestly say that sports intimidate me. I have always associated sports with winning and being “the best,” two things that are not easily accomplished without the aid of hand-eye coordination. But last week, thanks to the women athletes of OU, I learned something extraordinary about sports and what they have to offer: the real winners in sports are not rewarded with trophies (… though yes, winning trophies can be really great, too!), but with confidence, good health, and friendships that will last a lifetime.

Tennis, lacrosse, basketball and soccer were only a few of the women’s sports teams that came out last week to celebrate the 27th National Girls and Women in Sports Day. This annual event is meant to commend women athletes for their perseverance and excellence in athletics, as well as to encourage other women (and men) to participate in sports.

Tori Van Wyen ’14, a member of the women’s golf team, explained that “it’s a great opportunity for all kinds of kids to be introduced to sports… it’s a great thing for OU and the community.” Coach Cindy Vaios, who organized the event, expressed hope that it would introduce sports to elementary and middle school students, while attracting the interest of OU students.

Area children showed up to the event, all eagerly awaiting their chance to try out the track and field obstacle course, or to throw around a basketball. Oglethorpe athletes were in attendance to help these children learn the ins and outs of playing, and to encourage them to participate on future teams.

“It’s not just about the players,” said Tori.  “It’s about involving the community… These kids might see those female athletes and think, ‘hey, this might be me one day.'”

Athletic Director Becky Hall agrees, admitting that there are some sports that she is just “not good at,” but that it doesn’t stop her from loving sports.  This idea, that there is something for everyone in sports, seemed to be the consensus of all in attendance.

“All of my best friends are on my team,” added Caitlin Hollis ’16, a freshman on the women’s soccer team. “Sports gives you a way to be with other competitive, driven people… (my team) is like a family to me.”

Sydney Sparks '16, a center mid-field player for OU Lacrosse.

A similar sentiment was expressed many times throughout the day by others. Lacrosse player Sydney Sparks ’16 added that the lacrosse team was “like a sisterhood,” and that “playing at the collegiate level is really exciting… I’m excited to be part of a brand new tradition at OU.”

Paolette Matute ’16, a member of the tennis team, referred to tennis as “an empowering princess sport,” before enthusing that “the most important thing, even if you’re not an athlete, is (to) go out and exercise… Get those endorphins running!”

The message of the day was clear, and based on the excited looks on children’s faces, that message was well received: sports are something that everyone should consider trying, as they can offer something worthwhile for everyone. Being active is not solely for athletes, nor are sports enthusiasts solely concerned with winning.  Sports are about camaraderie, growing, and thriving, and the women athletes of OU are not simply looking for teammates; they are looking for friends to join their family through the bond that only sports can offer.

Oglethorpe Places First in Coaches’ Preseason Golf Poll

The Golf World/Nike Golf Division III College Preseason Coaches’ Poll has been released, combining the resources of Golf World magazine, Nike Golf and the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA). The complete results, including those from Divisions I, II, NAIA and NJCAA will appear in the September 3, 2012 issue of Golf World and are live now .

Oglethorpe once again has been named “the team to beat” in Division III as the 2012-13 college season begins. The Stormy Petrels garnered 12 of the 16 available first-place votes to grab the No. 1 ranking in the Golf World/Nike Golf D-III preseason men’s coaches’ poll. Oglethorpe comes off a season in which it won the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference championship along with the national title.

This prestigious poll ranking gives the Petrels further reason to celebrate, as the team members and their coach, Jim Owen, have recently received numerous other accolades.

Accolades Continue for Oglethorpe’s National Golf Champions

Following a national championship and top national D-III coach honors for Coach Jim Owens, the honors for the 2011-2012 Oglethorpe men’s golf team continue.

Petrels Golfers Earn Academic Honors

The Oglethorpe men’s golf team earned recognition as a Division III All-Academic Team for the 2012 season, the Golf Coaches Association of America announced recently.

To be eligible for recognition as an All-Academic Team, a squad must have a team grade-point average of 3.0 or better for the academic year. Oglethorpe is one of 27 teams to earn the honor this season.

The Petrels brought home their second national championship, in addition to their 10th SCAC title, in May. They return all but three players from last year’s squad next season.

Rebitch Earns All-Academic Scholar Honors

Oglethorpe senior golfer Matt Rebitch recently was named a Division III Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar by the Golf Coaches Association of America. Rebitch is one of 48 Division III golfers to earn the award this year.

A student-athlete who is eligible for a Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar award is either a junior or senior academically and competes in at least two full years at the collegiate level, participates in at least 70 percent of his team’s competitive rounds or competes in the NCAA Championships, has a stroke average under 79 in Division III, and maintains a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2. A recipient must also be of high moral character and be in good standing at his college or university.

Rebitch helped the Stormy Petrels to their second NCAA championship in May, finishing in a tie for 40th in individual competition at the national tournament.

Maccaglia Named to All-Nicklaus Team

The Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) named Oglethorpe freshman Anthony Maccaglia to its All-Nicklaus Team late last month. Maccaglia is one of 24 golfers named to the team, which awards the top men’s collegiate golfers in all divisions of college athletics (all three NCAA divisions, NAIA and NJCAA). He is the first Stormy Petrel ever named to the squad.

The accolade is another in a flurry that Maccaglia received after leading Oglethorpe to its second national championship in May. He was the NCAA individual champion, for which he won the Arnold Palmer Award. He also brought home the GCAA’s Phil Mickelson Award as the nation’s most outstanding freshman, and was named to the organization’s PING All-America First Team. His overall tournament score of five-under-par was the only individual below-par score posted over the course of the week.

Maccaglia also helped the Stormy Petrels to their 10th SCAC title in April, and earned SCAC Freshman of the Year and First-Team All-SCAC honors.

Oglethorpe’s Jim Owen Named Nation’s Best D-III Golf Coach

Coach Owen instructs Anthony Maccaglia.

Yesterday, the Golf Coaches Association of America, together with Eaton Corporation, announced the six outstanding collegiate golf coaches receiving this year’s Dave Williams Award, presented by Eaton Golf Pride to recognize the national coaches of the year. Oglethorpe University head men’s golf coach Jim Owen earned the honor among all D-III coaches.

Owen guided the Stormy Petrels through a magical 2011-12 season that culminated with the program winning their second NCAA Championship in just four years. After a fall season that featured three top-five finishes, Owen settled on a spring lineup of a freshman (Anthony Maccaglia), two sophomores (Hayden Jones and Anthony Amodeo), a junior (Eric Quinn) and a lone senior (Matt Rebitch). That quintet proved nearly unbeatable, winning three of six spring events while narrowly settling for second place in the other three.

Coach Owen with Hayden Jones.

The Petrels won the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) for the 10th time in April when they led wire-to-wire en route to an easy 21-stroke victory at the Tunica National Resorts in Mississippi. Less than a month later, Owen’s squad duplicated the feat, this time on the biggest stage of them all at the NCAA Championships, on their way to a convincing 20-stroke win at the Mission Inn Resort in Florida.

In addition to the 2012 NGCAA Coach of the Year (COTY) honor, Owen has been named SCAC Men’s Golf COTY 12 times! He’ll be looking to guide his program to their 13th straight trip to the NCAAs when the 2012-13 season gets underway this fall as the Petrels begin play in the new Southern Athletic Association.

Congratulations, Coach Owen!

Oglethorpe Men’s Golf Wins National Championship

2012 Mens Golf Champions

2012 Oglethorpe Men's Golf Championship Team

Oglethorpe University completed a wire-to-wire run to claim the 2012 NCAA D-III Men’s Golf Championship on Friday at the Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida. The title is the Stormy Petrels’ second in four years for head coach Jim Owen and makes Oglethorpe just the sixth school to win multiple championships in the 37 year history of the event.

Petrel freshman Anthony Maccaglia (Tampa, Florida) shook off a balky start to his round to claim medalist honors, becoming just the fourth freshman (along with Methodist’s Brion McLaughlin in 1997 and Chad Collins in 1998 and Oglethorpe’s Olafur Loftsson in 2009) to claim the top individual prize. Additionally, Oglethorpe is now one of only three programs in the nation to have multiple individual champions. Methodist University and Cal State Stanislaus are the other two.

The Stormy Petrels entered the round with a 16-stroke advantage over Methodist and managed to keep most of the tournament drama on who would claim second, third and fourth place. The Pioneers of Transylvania tracked down Methodist for the second spot, besting the third place Monarchs by a scant stroke.  Claremont-Mudd-Scripps claimed fourth.

Oglethorpe’s Hayden Jones (Orlando, Florida) pushed Maccaglia, shrinking his pre-round 7 shot advantage down to 3 before settling for second place individually at even par for the Championships. Other individuals scoring top-5 finishes at the Championships were Dex Reese (Illinois Wesleyan) and Jeremy Sanders in a tie for third and Tain Lee (Mudd-Scripps) in fifth.

Maccaglia’s stellar week that saw him finish the tournament as the only player under par at -5 was capped by a bevy of awards. He became an individual champion and team champion by the NCAA standards while also earning the Arnold Palmer Award for being the tournament medalist and Phil Mickelson Award as the nation’s best freshman by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA). Jones, just a sophomore, earned First Team All-America status by the GCAA.

Oglethorpe sophomore Anthony Amodeo rallied from a difficult first two days to come home in a tie for 36th while senior Matt Rebitch (Delmont, Pa.) finished tied for 40th. Junior Eric Quinn (Norcross, Ga.) carded a tie for 66th place result.

“I couldn’t be happier for this group of guys,” said Owen. “After the fall season, they really embraced the team concept and started minimizing their mistakes. I knew coming down here we had a great chance to win, but never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined a 20 stroke victory.”