Wrestling Coach Alex Whitney is turning to ‘The Cadet Way’ to revamp program

A Norwich wrestler goes for a pin in a match this winter.

A Norwich wrestler goes for a pin in a match this winter.

The Norwich University Wrestling team has overcome great obstacles over the last decade. From 10 years of decline, to nearly having the program canceled as a whole, the team is making a comeback.

This past 2013-2014 season has shown the first glimmering signals of hope of what the program once was, and can be again. Clear signals of a change in culture, and an improved 5-7 record and individual honors mark the changes. [Read more...]

For Norwich grapplers, improvements go hand in hand with dedication

“When you speak about wrestling, people usually speak about the physical aspect of the sport, because of words like takedowns, clinch fighting, and pins usually revolve around the sport,” said Norwich head coach, Alex Whitney.

To the coaching staff and the 33 players on the Norwich wrestling team, wrestling is more than just a physical sport. “It is lifestyle filled with structure, tradition and guidance. Wrestling is a brotherhood for the strong and unique. It’s a sport that gives a lot of people purpose,“ added Coach Whitney. [Read more...]

Women’s hoops team has a breakout season

Aliah Curry, in white, broke the all-time scoring record though she is only a junior. The Lady Cadets had a great run, making to the GNAC finals and ended the year 15-13 with wins in the quarterfinals and semifinals before losing to St. Josephs for the title.

Aliah Curry, in white, broke the all-time scoring record though she is only a junior. The Lady Cadets had a great run, making to the GNAC finals and ended the year 15-13 with wins in the quarterfinals and semifinals before losing to St. Josephs for the title.

The Norwich University Women’s basketball team had a remarkable season, showing great improvement from the 2012-2013 campaign.

This year’s team captains are senior guard Kristin Brown, from Williamstown, Vt., and junior guard Aliah Curry from Windsor, Mass. The two have led the Cadets to the GNAC (Great Northeast Athletic Conference) Finals.

Kelsey Lotti, a junior guard from South Yarmouth, Mass., said goals were set high, and from the start of the season the team’s aim was to win the GNAC. “I had a lot of high expectations for this year’s team. We came into the season with a very strong core of upperclassman from last year and an extremely solid freshman class to accompany us. With this I had my eyes set on one goal, winning the GNAC. We have everything it takes to be the Number One team in our conference,” said Lotti. [Read more...]

Overcoming odds, injured hockey player Liz Gemmiti returns to the ice

As her skate touched the ice, she anticipated hearing the familiar sound of her blade slicing through the frozen surface. She took a lap around the rink, cautious not to fall.

Liz Gemmiti had been told one month before her February comeback that her competitive hockey career was over, after being struck by a car Dec. 14 while walking home with her roommate and teammate Madison Gallagher.

However, by February she was doing laps around the Kreitzberg Arena preparing for her debut at the Norwich Women’s Hockey’s (NUWH) team’s senior game, a game she hoped to be playing in, but would be recognized alongside the other seniors regardless. [Read more...]

NU club hockey gains campus-wide support through student-created Facebook site

How did the “Harmon Drive Hooligans” become a Norwich University Facebook site tied to the club hockey team?

Blame Zachary Standeford, a 20-year-old psychology major from Plainfield, Conn. for the catchy name, which originated from watching Green Street Hooligans with “the boys” one night, he said.

Little did he know the huge impact that the Facebook group he created “just for fun” would have on the student population at Norwich University – and the team, which would go on to become the regular season champions and then win the club championship in the playoffs.

Standeford first created the Facebook group a few weeks before the season started for the Norwich club hockey team. At the time, he was unaware that the Facebook group would play a role in inspiring the team to win the “ship” this season according to center Ben Cohen.

Standeford first attended club hockey games as a sophomore after his friends told him about “the fights and how rowdy the games get,” he said. “Word of mouth travelled about the club team throughout the student population and more and more fans started coming to the games.”

The increasing amount of fans at games led to the idea of creating a Facebook group to unite fans. “If there is gonna be a fan base might as well as make a group and put a label on it.”

As the amount of people joining the Facebook group increased so did the number of fans in attendance at games, which in return caused the “clubbies” to play better, explained Standeford.

First-year head coach Bruce Baroffio, a resident of Northfield, agreed with this in a discussion prior to the playoffs this past weekend at Conway arena in Nashua, N.H. Going into the playoffs, he knew his team had the capability to “win it all,” however he didn’t want to “curse” the team by making such a bold statement.

The first playoff game was against Springfield College, which the Cadets tied 1-1 during regular season play, said Ryan Clavette, a 19-year-old sophomore criminal justice major from Medford, Mass.

Unlike in the regular season, Springfield College posed no threat to the Cadets. The Cadets blew out the Pride with a 9-2 score.

The next opponent in the championship game was UMass Lowell, also known as “the pride of Lowell,” according to Conor Murphy, a 21-year-old junior criminal justice major from Westwood, Mass.

During the regular season both teams struggled against each other: The Cadets won the first game, 5-2, and lost the second, 5-1.

To get into the championship game, “the pride of Lowell” overcame an early 3-0 deficit against Daniel Webster College and finished the game with seven unanswered goals for a 7-3 win.

The championship game was unlike any other game this season, explained Ben Cohen, a 22-year-old senior criminal justice major from Barnstable, Mass. “Unlike the typically night games we have, the bus actually left at seven in the morning for a 11 o’clock game,” he said. This took some adjusting to get used to playing so early rather than at night, which he and his teammates are used to doing, he said.

Zach Michael, a 20-year-old sophomore mathematics major from Northampton, Pa., admitted that many players were nervous going into the game, as it was the first championship many players had played in a very long time.

However he said that didn’t change the mentality of the game, noting “there was a lot of hype going into it, everybody was amped and ready to go.”

Unfortunately, the earliness and the distance of the game did affect the number of fans at game though, he said. Numerous players noticed how quiet the rink was compared to playing at Krietzburg Arena, according to Clavette. “It was a lot different than playing at home, where the fans are very vocal at our games.”

In order to provide better support for future games, Standeford is trying to unite fans through the Facebook group to car pool or even take a bus to games. While he is early in the process of doing he’s very hopeful to make this happen in the future.

Despite the shortage of fans, the Cadets went on to win 6-2, marking a year for the books as they won the regular season championship and the playoff championship in their first year of ever making post-season play.

Winning the championship game meant a lot to every player on the team, for their own individual reasons. For some it meant being the best of the best, for others it was icing on the cake after a long four years of getting the team organized and established.

For Michaels, it meant a lot to “lace them up for a big win” especially after missing the playoffs by one game last season. “To finally win something was a big deal, it meant a lot to us, to the team and the fans for their support, a great achievement.”

Murphy said he loved how the playoffs were a bonding experience for the team. “It meant the world, I actually think this came before commissioning,” he said.

David Sugrue, a 20-year-old junior criminal justice major from Wilmington, Mass., was excited to “top off the season with a win” for his family and girlfriend who were in attendance at the game.

For senior Ben Cohen, the championship win meant a lot more. Throughout his four years of playing club hockey he has been through it all, including his freshman year where they won just one game.

Over the years he has seen the team mature as more and more fans started attending the games. “The impact of the “Harmon Drive Hooligans” has been huge for us.”

“To win the championship after four years of ups and downs is just an indescribable feeling and I am so proud to be part of it,” he said.

Matt Sullivan, a 19-year-old sophomore athletic training major Baldwin, N.Y. is extremely thankful for this season and for the fans. “The fans mean everything to us, we love having everybody come out to games and get loud for us,” he said.

As the weeks have passed by, winning the championship has still not kicked in for Clavette. “It’s surreal, even now I can’t believe it,” he said.

Members of the team say the club hockey team doesn’t win games just for individual glory. “Any time you win a championship, no matter what league, it’s a great feeling, cause you do it for the person next to you, not for yourself.”

This attitude is what helps attract fans to the games, said Martin Palermo, a 20-year-old junior psychology major from West Palm Beach, Fla. “It’s just an awesome experience going to the games and seeing them win.”

Jerome Petrocelli, a 21-year-old senior athletic training major from Long Island, N.Y., enjoys the atmosphere. “It’s just an overall fun time to go watch some puck with your friends,” he said.

Standeford believes that “club hockey games are not as hyped up as they should be” but is very hopeful that the “Harmon Street Hooligans” will start to attract more and more fans, such as Palermo and Petrocelli.

Regimental ‘march downs’ spur on sports teams, but also stir debate

The Corps marches down for a Norwich football game, a long tradition.

The Corps marches down for a Norwich football game, a long tradition.

Camouflage uniforms packed the stands. Cheers rattled the rafters of the rink as Norwich University Women’s Hockey team member Kayla Parsons took the ice with her team.

She had never experienced a crowd like this in her nearly four years of playing. Being in the Corps of Cadets, Parsons had participated in “march downs” so many times before, but now, experiencing it for herself as an athlete receiving the Corps’ support, “was one of the coolest things since being here.” [Read more...]

For Swedish hockey player, Norwich has provided a great experience

 

In 2010, the Norwich Men’s Ice Hockey team had the opportunity to recruit and commit a big strong defenseman named Erik Lyrvall from Falun, Sweden.

Lyrvall is 6-4 and 216 pounds and a 22-year-old business major with a math minor, currently in his sophomore year while maintaining a 4.0 cumulative grade point average. [Read more...]

Norwich swimming and diving teams wrap up a long, dedicated season

Competing on Norwich University’s swimming and diving team takes extreme amounts of dedication, time and hard work, but the team’s members, coaches – and even the member’s parents – all agree it is well worth the effort.

“We meet an average of six to eight times a week,” said Victoria Sabel, a senior architecture major from Plainville, Conn., “but the yardage really counts, so you go to five afternoon practices, a Saturday practice and we have morning practices twice a week.”

Sabel, who has been swimming since age 6, continues to say that the amount of time in the pool can vary depending on what event you compete in, whether it be freestyle, a different stroke, or distance, which is what Sabel competes in.

Although the men and women’s teams train and attend meets together, they are scored separately, and within each team is a captain or two, and swimmers that compete in different events within the meet.

According to Norwichathletics.com, the women’s team didn’t win any of their meets as far as scores were concerned, however they did exceptionally well considering that there were only five girls on the roster, and even then some were limited by injuries.

The men on the other hand ,with an extremely large roster this year, have won five out of their nine meets and came in first at the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Invitational meet back in December.

“Despite the fact that we didn’t have a lot of women this year, it was bigger and better on the women’s side then when I came in,” said Laura Dunn, the head swimming and diving coach from Northfield. “On the men’s side we’ve doubled our numbers and I think we have a lot more quality and more depth.”

The women’s team this season not only had five women on the roster, but all are seniors, meaning that the entire team will be graduating in the spring.

“One of the issues that we have had with the swim team is we have not been able to build the numbers on the women’s side and that’s a very big concern,” said Tony Mariano, the Athletic Director at Norwich University. “The fact that what we have remaining is all seniors is problematic, which means that we have to go out and bring in a large group of freshman in order to build that program back up. “

Dunn stated that she is recruiting and hoping to gain back some girls who took the year off. Although there is a chance there will be no upperclassman on the team, that leadership can come from anywhere not necessarily from upperclassmen women.

“Leadership can come from any class,” said Dunn,” I am constantly calling on freshman, sophomores, juniors to lead in different ways, they’ll be getting different leadership depending on what events they swim, depending on what their major is, depending on if they are corps or civilian; there are just so many variables, I don’t think it will be something that we can’t work through.”

First year assistant coach Trevor Trimpe from Indiana has been working hard on recruiting for next year and a big thing he is looking and hoping for from the incoming recruits is commitment to the team.

“If we can get them to commit, to stay on the team, that was one of the big problems last year,” said Trimpe, “we had girls in the fall and none of them stuck around for some reason, so next year if we get girls in, if we can get them to stay around and participate, that would be great.”

Giovanna Stein, a 21 year-old senior bio-chemistry major from Brazil, who has been one of the team captains for the past two years, is also hopeful for new recruits next year to keep the women’s team going.

“I’m happy that I made it all four years,” said Stein, “and hopefully we will have a few new freshman in there next year to start a new team.”

Stein feels bittersweet about leaving, and states that swimming was a part of her decision to come to Norwich.

Stephen Resto is a 22 year-old computer security and information assistance major from Montgomery, N.Y., who dove for the team. Resto graduated this past December, and admits he didn’t factor in diving when deciding on Norwich. However, he goes on to say even though it wasn’t a factor in his decision, it became a big part of his time at Norwich and helped him when he was not in the pool as well.

“In my case, diving challenges you every time you step on the board.” said Resto,” Getting over fear of getting hurt is always tough because the body will fight you to not do certain things and diving helps you control your body’ss response to fear and anxiousness.”

Sabel also says that her four years participating on the team has helped her in numerous ways as well, when it comes to time management, learning commitment and dedication, and getting comfortable in different social settings.

Henrietta Sabel from Plainsville, Conn, is Victoria’s mother and has been to several meets over Victoria’s collegiate career. She has cherished watching her daughter grow from a six year-old afraid to go near a pool, to the talented young woman she is today.

“Every minute of watching Vikki swim has made me proud,” said Henrietta. “Vikki has had a shoulder injury as a direct result of swimming since 2009, and to watch her overcome that obstacle with the sheer dedication and love of sport and team literally makes me tear up with pride.”

Although the women’s season has come to an end for this year, the majority of the men’s team will be participating in the New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving Association Championships. The meet will be held in February in Kingston, R.I., at the University of Rhode Island.

“I am a little nervous as a freshman going into New England’s,” said John Myers a physics major from Scranton Penn. “I don’t know what it’s going to be like, but I am also excited that I get to get out there and start swimming against all these other teams.”

Cadet hockey player’s injury fuels motivation for women’s team

The NU women's hockey team poses with injured player Liz Gemmiti, center, who was hit by a car allegedly driven by a drunk driver in December.

The NU women’s hockey team poses with injured player Liz Gemmiti, center, who was hit by a car allegedly driven by a drunk driver in December.

For the Norwich Women’s Ice Hockey team, the season has been an “emotional roller coaster,” and has changed their perspective on the game as a result of the accident that ended one of their own players hockey career. However, players say the team has grown closer and is more motivated than ever as a result. [Read more...]

Women’s Rugby looks to continue success in the spring season

The Norwich University women’s rugby team had a fall to remember by capturing both the American Collegiate Rugby Association (ACRA) and the USA College Rugby 7’s national titles.Now they’re pointing toward spring success. [Read more...]