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.
129 youth, high school and collegiate coaches from all over the Southeast participated in this event making it the largest coaches’ clinic ever conducted by Hopkins and a FIRST for Oglethorpe University.
In addition to providing a detailed book of skills, drills, offenses and defenses, Coach Tucker also shared her team philosophy, favorite game strategies and practice plans for the first two weeks of the Blue Jays’ preseason. Coach Tucker’s dynamic personality and enthusiasm left the coaches asking for more!
This was a HUGE step forward for Oglethorpe Women’s Lacrosse as we prepare for our inaugural season in the 2012-13 academic year. Thank you to everyone who attended and volunteered!
LeeAnn Tutchton is the Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach at Oglethorpe University.
The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) announced the 2011 NCAA Men’s Soccer Division III All-Region teams recently and four Oglethorpe Stormy Petrels received recognition: Senior center back Mark Lavery (Woodstock, Ga.) and senior midfielder Aaron Walker (Woodstock, Ga.) were tabbed as members of the All-South Atlantic First Team while sophomore defender Nikos Papanikolopoulos (Atlanta) and junior goalkeeper Frank Petersen (Woodstock, Ga.) received Third Team nods.
Just days later, the NSCAA named Lavery to the First Team of the NSCAA/Continental Tire 2011 NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer All-America Team. Lavery is the first Stormy Petrel in school history to receive a First Team All-America designation in men’s soccer. He was also named the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Defensive Player-of-the-Year.
These individual postseason honors come on the heels of unrivaled team success for an Oglethorpe squad that won a conference title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2011—all during Oglethorpe’s 50th anniversary year of soccer.
“I’m thrilled that four deserving players like Mark, Aaron, Nikos and Frank were recognized…” said Oglethorpe head men’s soccer coach Jon Akin. “It’s the icing on the cake after all the hard work these kids put in to push us to our first conference title and first trip to the NCAA’s in program history.”
The Oglethorpe University Women’s Basketball team had some special fans in the stands during their recent game against Birmingham-Southern. Residents of the Sunrise Senior Assisted Living community visited the campus to support the team as part of the new Silver Petrels program.
Initiated by Head BasketballCoach Aaron Nester and organized by OU’s Center for Civic Engagement, the Silver Petrels service program was formed inspire teamwork both on and off the court, and to make a positive impact in the community. The players focus on nurturing friendships with the residents at the Sunrise Assisted Living in Buckhead. The team has made a commitment to spend quality time with the residents. The groups’ first gathering in November was spent playing bingo during an afternoon spent at the assisted living center.
“This is a great partnership and hopefully one we keep for many years,” said Coach Nester. “It is neat to see our student-athletes be involved in something bigger than themselves and, ultimately, that is what it is all about.”
“The residents were so excited…to visit a college campus and to see a sporting event,” said Heather Staniszewski, assistant director at OU’s Center for Civic Engagement. “They loved seeing new people, clapping, and of course the food. [One resident] took notes and cried he was so touched to be cheering on the team.”
The residents were impressed to find out that OU students do not play for athletic scholarships but out of pure love for the game. They hope to return for another game and in the meantime they are preparing to host the team again at Sunrise for another Bingo Day.
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.