OU Men’s Basketball Trains To Be a Team

The Oglethorpe Men’s Basketball team recently traveled to St. Simon’s Island for training camp prior to the start of the 2011-2012 season. As senior Andrew Steioff reports, the accommodations weren’t glamorous (an old church camp ground), but the group had the chance to become a team during practice and through volunteering.

Training Camp for 2011-2012 was riddled with surprises from the get- go, many of which were never expected from my teammates and me. The first [surprise] was the actual destination where training camp would be held. Guesses ranged from Macon to Ft. Lauderdale to a prestigious college campus to various military bases, all of which were far from the actual destination—which we all tried relentlessly to squeeze out of Coach Tulowitzky.

Then the real surprise came: Coach Ponder informed us that we had five minutes to send out our last text messages and calls because all of our cell phones were going to be collected for the duration of the trip. Needless to say, the whole team instantly went into a state of shock and panic. The whole drive to our mystery destination (which took approximately 6 hours of sheer agony) was full of guesses and memorable moments. Eventually we arrived at our destination on St. Simon’s Island. When we walked into our cabin, we realized our nightmare of boot camp was going to come true as far as living conditions were concerned: icy cold tile floors, steel framed bunk beds, and cots that seemed to be filled with used cotton balls. It was safe to say the mood was anything but joyous.

That night all the players met privately to discuss our team goals and what we expected from our season and what needed to be done on our end to make sure we reached these goals this season. The next morning brought us to the first practice of the year. We were all anxious to finally get on the court after a long off season of conditioning and shooting. It was nice to see the new guys getting after it as much as the returning players.

After practice we hosted a basketball clinic at a local Boys and Girls Club. We set it as an objective every year to give back to the community. Each player volunteers at the boys and girls club of Brookhaven for at least 10 hours every preseason. We participate in various activities with the children at the Brookhaven Club from helping the kids with homework, to shooting pool, to playing on the playground. It always feels nice to give back to your community especially when they are some of our rowdiest fans.

We finished the day with our second practice which consisted of more shooting and incorporation of our offense. The next morning we woke up sore and exhausted. It was nice to see what our team was made of in the early stages of the season. On our way out of town we stopped by historic Fort Frederica where James Edward Oglethorpe defended the colony of Georgia against the Spanish, and fought the Battle of Bloody Marsh. It was neat to walk on the same ground as one of the first towns ever to be constructed in Georgia. Overall, the trip was a great way to integrate our team mixed with newcomers and veterans. We made some great memories as a team and established a new attitude to start our quest towards a 2012 SCAC Championship.

Top photo: The OU Men’s Basketball Team is pictured at historic Fort Frederica where James Edward Oglethorpe defended the colony of Georgia against the Spanish and fought the Battle of Bloody Marsh. Each year the Battle is commemorated on the Oglethorpe campus in the form of a tug-of-war contest on the quad between the students and the faculty and staff. Bottom photo: Last year’s team volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club.

National Sports Authorities Recognize Oglethorpe’s Outstanding Scholar-Athletes

This week, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) released its ITA Scholar-Athlete honors, and Oglethorpe’s Kayla Atkins ’11, Kate Siess ’14, Ethan Motz ’14 and Ross Beall ’11 were on that list.

Kate Siess '14 is one of only 35 women SCAC tennis players to be recognized by the ITA for excellence in the classroom.

The ITA is the governing body of college tennis, and oversees men’s and women’s varsity tennis across all three NCAA divisions as well as NAIA and Junior/Community College tennis.  Each season, ITA recognizes outstanding  varsity athletes in all divisions who maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.2.

A total of 35 female and 27 male student-athletes in the SCAC conference were named Division III Scholar-Athletes. 

In golf news, the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA)announced Oglethorpe rising sophomores Chelsea Gatterdam ’14 and Dona Kiosef ’14 as 2011 Divison III All-American Scholars.

Gatterdam and Kiosef made the cut after maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.50 and competing in more than 12 rounds of competitive golf with a stroke average of 95 or better.

The 2010-11 women’s golf lineup featured five freshmen producing an average score of 92.32 to create a relative strength number of 398.96.  Golfstat.com‘s Freshman Impact analysis measures the impact of a team’s freshmen in their lineup, and ranks the Oglethorpe women in 9th place nationally.

Oglethorpe to Join New Athletic Conference

It’s official—Oglethorpe University and seven other schools in the NCAA Division III Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) decided yesterday to leave the conference, effective July 1, 2012, and form a new athletic conference.  While OU and other current SCAC schools will honor their scheduled commitments for next season, the future  unnamed conference will be ready for play at the start of the 2012-2013 season. Jay Gardiner, OU’s athletic director, will serve as interim commissioner of the conference.

News spread like wildfire Tuesday afternoon as President Larry Schall informed Oglethorpe community about the decision. As explained in a press release yesterday, “the new conference is being formed to foster athletic competition and cooperation among academically selective, residential liberal arts colleges located in the southeastern region of the U.S.  The geographic focus will result in reduced travel time and costs, while still allowing for a strong conference of like-minded institutions, all of which integrate competitive athletics into the whole of the student’s educational experience.”

“This is an exciting new chapter in Oglethorpe athletics, which promises to benefit both our university and our student athletes,” said Dr. Schall.

This map shows the newly formed conference, of which OU is a part. Source: gopetrels.com

Oglethorpe’s new conference looks very similar to the SCAC sans the five colleges out west:  Southwestern College, Austin College, Colorado College, Trinity, and University of Dallas.  The Stormy Petrels will continue to compete against the rest of our current rivals, and we’ll add one more school into the mix—Rome, Georgia’s Berry College. Read more about it on the OU athletics website www.gopetrels.com.

What do you think of the future conference line-up?

Oglethorpe Lacrosse Names New Coaches for Men’s and Women’s Teams

Coach Tom Higgins

Following a historic inaugural season, Oglethorpe lacrosse fans have something more to be excited about.  This week the Oglethorpe athletic department announced the hiring of two head coaches to lead the OU men’s and women’s teams. 

Coach Tom Higgins, who served as the Petrels’ associate head coach all last season, is stepping up to fill the role as head coach for next season.  Lee Ann Tutchton has accepted the position of head women’s coach for the Lady Petrels’ inaugural 2012-2013 season.  She will spend this year recruiting and scheduling to develop a program ready for play in 2013.

Tutchton and Higgins both bring a wealth of experience to their repective programs, as both starred on their Division-1 college lacrosse teams before embarking on their coaching careers. 

In the 1980s, Tutchton started the first under-11 girl’s lacrosse team in Georgia.  Most recently, she served as the Varsity Community Coach at Lassiter High, guiding the Trojans to the state championship.  “With her longstanding relationships with countless young players in the state, she is the perfect fit to construct this team,” said Oglethorpe athletics director Jay Gardiner.

Coach Lee Ann Tutchton

Coach Higgins coached lacrosse at State University of New York-Farmingdale where he led the Rams to back-to-back second place junior college finishes.  Upon moving to Georgia, the former University of Delaware lacrosse standout became an ambassador for the sport, coaching for short terms at Mill Creek High School and Georgia State University.

“Tom brings nearly 30 years of lacrosse experience to our program and will be an excellent leader for our student-athletes,” said Gardiner. “I can’t wait to watch him build our young team up to the competitive standards of the SCAC and am confident he will be successful.”

Petrels Clinch Ninth SCAC Golf Championship, Return to Nationals

The Men's Golf team is on their way to another NCAA National Championship. Photo from gopetrels.com

The Oglethorpe University Men’s Golf team commanded the 2011 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Golf Championship over the weekend and emerged victorious, winning their ninth conference tournament at the Horseshoe Bay Resorts in Horseshoe Bay, Texas.  The Stormy Petrels posted the low round of the day (309) to finish 29 strokes clear of second place Centre.

Throughout the competition, the Petrels’ starting line-up dominated the conference scoreboard.  Craig Stevenson ’11 led the team, finishing second place inidividually and posting a three-day total of 234 (+21), earning him All-SCAC First Team honors. He was one of four Petrels to record top-10 finishes as freshman Patrick Cansfield (+30) came home 6th, Eric Quinn (+32) took 7th and Jordan Hall (+33) tied for 8th. Anthony Amodeo finished rounds two and three with successive 76’s, the best final two-day score for the Petrels.  Amodeo was later named SCAC Freshman-of-the-Year for his performance, and Cansfield, Quinn, and Hall each earned All-SCAC Second Team honors.

This win comes two years after the Men’s team clinched the 2009 NCAA National Championship in Port St. Lucie, Fla. and set OU records as the first team in Oglethorpe’s history to win a national title—-in any sport.  

In their thirteenth trip to the nationals, the men will head to Greensboro, N.C. May 10-13 for their shot at this year’s title!