Published December 17, 2010
Winter Sports Preview
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What’s in the cards for the Tigers this quarter?

Men's Basketball

RIT’s Randy Muldrow goes up for a layup on Dec. 12, 2008 against Houghton College. RIT won the match up 89-73, allowing them to advance to the finals of the 23rd annual Harold J. Brodie Tournament.
Ashley Conti

Thirteen returning players. Four seniors. Five captains. Throw in a 10-1 tear to close the previous season, and you’ve got what should equal a pretty good chance at success for the upcoming Men’s Basketball season. It doesn’t hurt that the team has been picked to finish third in the Empire 8 conference preseason coaches’ poll, especially when they are gunning for their 20th consecutive winning season and an eighth NCAA tournament bid.

Need more numbers? The team’s scoring average from last season was 71.9. Although they were not the highest-scoring team, they always managed to play smart defense and keep games close, with an average of 9.8 steals per game.

Among the few notables in the starting lineup are fourth year Management Information Systems major Anthony Terry and third year Engineering major Brendan Harder. Terry averaged 16.2 points per game on 51 percent shooting last season and Harder, who backed up Terry on the boards, grabbed 6.8 rebounds per game while also averaging a cool 12.6 points per game. Your first chance to watch the team in action and show your spirit is Dec. 27 at 7 p.m. in the George H. Clark Gymnasium (CLK, 03).

Women's Basketball

While getting off to a less than spectacular start this season, RIT’s Women’s Basketball team shows a lot of promise this winter. A younger team comprised mostly of freshmen and sophomores, these Tigers have started off slow with a pair of hard-fought losses in the Tiger Tip-Off Tournament. In games versus Hamilton and St. Lawrence, the Tigers had trouble holding on to the ball, with the opposing team scoring an average of 25.5 points off of RIT turnovers. The Tigers finished with 11 wins and 14 losses last season; they look to improve on that record with the addition of a few new players as well as another assistant coach.

Last year’s RIT Sportsperson of the Year, Emily Hughes graduated this past year, leaving room for someone new to bring a spark to the team. Stepping up are two first years, Business Management major Courtney Tennant and Biomedical Engineering major Kayla Wheeler. Tennant is playing center for the team and is already having a standout year. Standing 6 feet and 2 inches and averaging 23 points a game, Tennant deservedly made the 2010 all-tournament team for her performance in the Tiger Tip-Off Tournament. Kayla Wheeler, a first year Biomedical Engineering major, has scored 13 points for the team and is averaging eight rebounds a game. Also a strong presence on the team is returning player Leslie Havens, a second year Biomedical Engineering major. Named the 2010 Empire 8 Women’s Basketball Rookie of the Year, Havens is an all-around leader, maintaining the same powerful presence that led the team to many a victory last year.

Despite the tough losses, the women’s basketball team looks poised to rise from the ashes in the regular season against other Empire 8 teams, with students having plenty of chances to cheer the women on throughout January and February against such teams as Ithaca, Nazareth and Utica.

Indoor Track

Runners compete in the men’s 5000-meter race during the 2009 Empire 8 Track and Field Championships held at the Gordon Field House on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009.
Oscar Durand

Thirteen returning players. Four seniors. Five captains. Throw in a 10-1 tear to close the previous season, and you’ve got what should equal a pretty good chance at success for the upcoming Men’s Basketball season. It doesn’t hurt that the team has been picked to finish third in the Empire 8 conference preseason coaches’ poll, especially when they are gunning for their 20th consecutive winning season and an eighth NCAA tournament bid.

Need more numbers? The team’s scoring average from last season was 71.9. Although they were not the highest-scoring team, they always managed to play smart defense and keep games close, with an average of 9.8 steals per game.

Among the few notables in the starting lineup are fourth year Management Information Systems major Anthony Terry and third year Engineering major Brendan Harder. Terry averaged 16.2 points per game on 51 percent shooting last season and Harder, who backed up Terry on the boards, grabbed 6.8 rebounds per game while also averaging a cool 12.6 points per game. Your first chance to watch the team in action and show your spirit is Dec. 27 at 7 p.m. in the George H. Clark Gymnasium (CLK, 03).

Smart and good those are the operative words for indoor track and field athletes at RIT. Michael Dempsey, a third year Mechanical Engineering Technology major, Fourth year Computer Science major Brecht Moulin, second year Mechanical Engineering major Mike Kurvach and second year Jennifer Adams were all recipients of the 2010 United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic Track and Field honors in August.

“Clearly, these are student athletes with student first and athlete second. That said, our track teams exemplify the harmony and achievability of excellence in both physical and mental pursuits. You do not have to be good at one and bad at another, they work well together if you are dedicated,” said Head Coach David Warth.

The Tigers consistently placed in the top five in six meets and came in 27th at the 2010 Indoor Track and Field Championships last season. On the men’s side, they had nine runners and four field athletes who were Eastern College Athletic Conference qualifiers a nice addition to the women’s three runners and two field athletes who also qualified.

And what goals do the team have this year? According to Warth, there is an overall team goal as well as individual goals for each athlete.

“The team goals are for the men to win the Empire 8 title [hosted by RIT Sunday, January 30] and come in the top three at the New York State Collegiate Track Conference (NYSCTC) Championship. For women we want to be top two at Empire 8’s and top five at the NYSCTC,” said Warth.

“Individually, our goals are to get as many athletes as possible qualified for the NCAA Championships in March. We have several men who are contenders, including Michael Dempsey who placed second last year in pole vault. Matt Marion has a good shot in the pentathlon and qualified for the outdoor championships last year in the 400-meter hurdles. Brecht Moulin our school record holder in the 400, and the 4-x-400 meter relay team of Moulin, Marion, Ryan Warner and Chris Webb. For our women, Jennifer Adams is a returning NCAA qualifier in the long jump and looks to build on last year’s success.”

Men's Hockey

RIT’s Chris Saracino struggles to return to the play after colliding with Cornell forward Nick D’Agostino during their game on Oct. 30 at the Lynah Rink in Ithaca, NY.
Michael Conti

At this point in the season, most students are not strangers to RIT Hockey. Last winter, RIT was home to one of the best college men’s hockey teams in the nation. After a string of losses early in the season, the Tigers came back with an eight-game winning streak mid-season. The Tigers continued to skate a historic season and landed themselves in the Division I Frozen Four. This year, the question whether the Tigers have the ability to go just as far, or even further still remains. Certainly, they have the talent with key players returning this season such as forward, Andrew Favot, a fourth year Marketing major, and defenseman, Chris Haltgin, a third year Biomedical Sciences major.

This year’s team is a young one, having lost many important players. RIT hockey lost five seniors to graduation and one freshman to the NHL. Then-first year Finance major and defenseman Chris Tanev signed a three-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks, becoming the second player to sign with the NHL since RIT moved to Division I in 2005. The loss of six talented players is definitely a blow to the confidence held by last year’s team. Despite the loss, this season’s team must push forward in developing a good group dynamic, something that is important for any young team.

Currently, the Tigers have a record of 4-6-1, but it is still early in the season. They must continue to win games to match last year’s impressive record of 28-12-1. There are several important upcoming games for RIT, including matches against Mercyhurst, Canisius and Merrimack. A good outcome at these matches would be a big step to help bring the Tigers one step closer to a Frozen Four repeat, and just maybe, the Division I Championship.

Women's Hockey

In recent years, RIT women’s hockey has been a significant player in their division, ranking second during the 2008-2009 season and fourth in 2009-2010. Now off to a strong start, this season’s team may prove to be no different. Women’s hockey is definitely on a roll, with eight consecutive victories over teams such as New England College, SUNY Cortland and Utica. These eight wins have placed women’s hockey third in Division III, behind only Amherst College and Plattsburgh.

Although last year saw the graduation of key players Kelly Prom, Shireen Irani and Missy Hall, the team roster is still largely intact from last season. This team consistency is something that certainly shows in the record books. Having already played together and formed a team dynamic this season’s team seems to be heading towards exceeding last year’s remarkable record. Talent and confidence has brought the team success so far, but they still have to confront tough opponents ahead. Scheduled for late January, the Lady Tigers will face off against second place SUNY Plattsburgh in what is sure to be an exciting and important game. Last season, RIT saw two tough losses to Plattsburgh, first losing 3-4 and then again, 2-5. Hopefully, a more experienced team and home rink will bring RIT more success versus Plattsburgh and other Division III opponents this season.

Swimming and Diving

A member of the Women’s Swimming & Diving team competes at a meet in the Judson Pool on Nov. 13.
Robert Bredvad

Swimming and Diving is an RIT sport marked by disparity. On one side, there is the men’s team; a record of 8 wins and 3 losses last year, and already off to a roaring 4-0 start in 2010. On the other, there is the women’s team. During 2009 — 2010, they fought with intermittent success to end with a 5-7 season. This year, things have not improved thus far with one win and 3 losses. Both teams have rosters laden with hard workers, skilled athletes and students who can and will give RIT a shot at aquatic glory.

The men’s team has already found success, and their new recruits are certainly doing their share. First year Biomedical Engineering major, Kevin Hom was named the Empire 8 Swimmer of the Week on Nov. 8, after he swam in three separate events to help the Tigers defeat Alfred University. They stand undefeated after soundly thrashing St. Lawrence, 163-69. If they keep it up, it seems as though men’s swimming and diving has nothing to worry about.

The women’s team has faced a tough off-season. Graduation in May costed them Stephanie Davis and Caitlyn Burr, the latter being an NCAA competitor and ESPN Magazine Academic All-American.

The lone win (granted, in a so-far very short season) came against Alfred University with RIT being led by Courtney Schwarting, a third year Graphic Design major. Schwarting swam to victory in two individual events and competed as part of a relay team that also won its event of the day.

But the women’s team has by no means accepted defeat, as the season is just beginning. A comparatively young team that is bereft of any seniors and dominated by a majority of second and first years can always be expected improve dramatically early in the season after the squad settles down and starts clicking. Look for both women’s and men’s swimming and diving to return to action on December 3, when RIT hosts the Don Richards Memorial Tournament.

Wrestling

RIT’s Nick Ryan goes for a knee grab on Notre Dame’s Mark Smilek in a consolation round of the wrestling tournament on Dec. 6 at RIT’s Clark Gym. Ryan wins the match 8-3 against Smilek.
Evan Witek

After ending last year with only a single win, the Tigers, ranked 13th in New York state, are again off to a rough start again this winter. Already 0-2, the team has been struggling in both their matches and tournaments at the start of the 2010-2011 wrestling season. The Tigers placed fifth out of nine teams at the King’s College Tournament and eighth out of 11 at the Oneonta tournament. RIT has also lost both of their away matches this November, getting off to a similar start as last year.

Fortunately, there’s hope. In all, the team has 17 new recruits as well as returning standouts, fourth year Industrial Design major Mike McInally and third year Computer Engineering major Ben Johnstone will be able to help bring this team new life and perhaps a winning season. McInally holds a record of 4-0 with one pin to start off his year. Following his example are first years, Dave Sickler, a Civil Engineering Technology major, and Dominic Montesanti, a Computer Science major each with 4 wins and a pin to their name to start this season off.

Perhaps all our Tigers need is some home-team lovin’ to bring them a victory or two, and with matches against SUNY Cortland, Morrisville and Brockport being played at Clark Gym in the coming months, you’ll have a chance to take a break from all that hockey and help lead another hard-working team to success.

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