‘Don’t mess with the family’

Senior Jacob Forsman during a meet. Picture by Norwich Athletics

With a new, younger team, Norwich wrestling’s motto, stands out more than ever. “Don’t mess with family,” is a the message that head coach Alex Whitney tries to emphasize always to new and old wrestlers alike.
“In order for us to be successful we have to perform two vital behaviors, love each other like brothers, and hold each other socially accountable. These make up the idea of ‘Don’t mess with the family’” said Whitney.
Whitney believes that if the team focuses on these two things it will not only lead to success on the mat but off of it as well. “If your teammate is asking you why weren’t you in class, why were you late to training, why aren’t you going to lifts, instead of coming from a coach that’s going to create the most effective results,” he said.
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New weight room caters to athletes

Norwich mens lacrosse team working out in the new gym. Picture by Andrew Thomas

Preseason, in season, and postseason, no matter the time of year, athletes are in the weight room lifting. Both men’s and women’s teams at Norwich University know this first hand. Putting in work in the weight room with the strength and conditioning coach is a key component in succeeding as an athlete.
Take all those student-athletes with busy schedules, combined with non-athletes trying to work out, and put them all in the same gym: that is one extremely overcrowded gym in Plumley Armory. Norwich felt there needed to be a change and so did the student-athletes.
This past month Norwich’s athletic director decided to create a smaller but more effective weight lifting gym for varsity sports teams. The gym was created by taking two racquet ball courts and equipping the rooms with lifting racks and new dumbbells.
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Running Big in Honor of the 200th Year

For the first time in almost 200 years, Norwich University experienced a regimental run during rook week, planned by the commandant’s staff.

Norwich has a history of trying new ideas and techniques and adapting to the times with the Corps of Cadets. For example, the university recently restructured the corps to have upperclassmen live in rook barracks.

But the latest change came with a decision to try something new that had never been done before – and it was pulled off on very short notice.

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. John de Nagy, a cadet mentor here at Norwich, was the staff member who was put in charge of making sure that the project was completed, and that the correct people got the correct information.

The idea for having the whole Corps run was spawned last summer. “The regimental run came on the schedule at some point during the summer planning,” said de Nagy. He was assigned as the point of communication for the project, and he reached out to the regimental master fitness trainer Cadet Capt. Jake Drew, a senior physical education major from Houlton, Maine, to begin planning this run.
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From Norwich to the Pros: two former teammates face off

Defenseman Cody Smith during his career at Norwich. Norwich athletics photos

Tyler Piacentini on the ice in 2017.

Not a lot comes close to the feeling of winning a collegiate national championship as an athlete, but if one thing beats that feeling, it’s winning a championship as a professional athlete.

As Cody Smith, ’17, puts it, “being able to say that I am a national champion is a feeling that not a lot can top.”

Tyler Piacentini, ’17, also falls under the category of collegiate national champions, as he won the national championship at Norwich in 2017, along with Smith.

The two former team captains may share the special bond of winning a national title as teammates, but just one year later, they faced off as rivals in the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) championship game which took place Sunday, April 29.

The SPHL is a professional hockey league made up of ten teams and is based out of Huntsville, N. C.

Smith, a 24-year-old from Hudson, Mass, currently plays defense for the Peoria Rivermen which is based out of Peoria, Ill. Piacentini, a 25-year-old from Weymouth, Mass., plays for the Huntsville Havoc, based out of Huntsville, Ala. These two teams took each other on Sunday afternoon for the championship title.

“There was just something off about playing my best friend and former teammate in the championship game of our professional career,” Smith said. “It’s awesome that we got to win a national title together as Cadets though, and that will always be something we’ll share, no matter where our career takes us in the future.” [Read more…]

Intramural sports looking to gain recognition

Intramural sports are a great way for students to stay active and play the sports they love. While many of the students at Norwich University played sports in high school, they choose to stop once they get to college, turning to intramural sports as an outlet for fun and exercise.

Intramural sports are set up by other students and brought to life with the help of the university. They give students who do not have a chance to play college sports a chance to say they are part of a team, whether it’s a club or for the varsity level. The sports take place year-round and change within the seasons. “We look to have at least one each season, and depending on interest, we consider planning more,” said Nolan Aurelia, 22, a business major from Hartford, Conn.

With many of the students at the university not participating on a varsity sports team, the intramurals help students meet others who have the same athletic interests as themselves. “Intramurals at Norwich have never been great, and it’s a huge challenge to try and get people aware of intramural activities available,” Aurelia said.

This season, the staff attempted to get a co-ed softball league going throughout the school, but the plans fell through because not enough people were aware of the opportunity. “Ice hockey is always a desirable activity, but it is next to impossible to get ice time,” Aurelia added.

With having all these sports, it brings up the question, is there being money made out of this, and where is it going? One possibility might be as a great way to raise money for charities, “No charities, but definitely something we would like to do. We have to establish intramurals first,” Aurelia said. “No one has to play in these tournaments … that is the beauty of it all, there is no commitment, if you sign up then realize you don’t want to compete there is no issue.” [Read more…]

Norwich Football looks toward silver lining of 1-9 season

Players line up and get ready to play for the Norwich University vs. US Coast Guard academy football game. Photo by Darwin Carozza

The 2017 Norwich University Varsity football program finished off their season with one of the worst records in program history, according to the Norwich Athletics website. The Cadets closed this season’s book with 1-9 record. The team’s first season in the New England Women’s and Men’s Conference (NEWMAC) went off script when they could only manage to win 1 of 10 games.

Norwich Football is actively recruiting their 2019 class by hosting high school seniors on campus during the weekends. As winter workouts continue, and spring ball sessions loom, the team looks to put a close on last years 1 win season and look forward to bringing back a winning culture.

This season’s rendition of the good, the bad, and the ugly concludes with the awarding of All-Conference honors to 6 Norwich football athletes. The 2018 Norwich Football team had 5 recipients honored to 2nd team all-conference. Senior Nolan Aurelia, a 2-sport athlete at the school is 1 of the 5 New England athletes who received conference honors. “I didn’t expect it to happen, changing my position 3 years into my career was tough, but I’m happy to have gotten the recognition” said Aurelia. [Read more…]

Womens hockey team clinches #1 seed, heads to playoffs on Saturday

Sophomore Amanda Conway, the top scorer for the undefeated women’s hockey team, will join her teammates in facing off against new England College in the playoffs this weekend. Norwich Athletics photo

  The Norwich Women’s Hockey team heads into the post-season with the number one seed for the NEHC playoffs. With an outstanding record of 21 wins, one loss, and three ties (21-1-3), the team clinched the top ranking and now begins its quest to be in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Frozen Four tournament in March.

  The women will host New England College at 3 p.m. in the NEHC Quarterfinals at Kreitzberg Arena on Saturday, Feb. 17.

  “We have so much team chemistry and I think that’s what makes us so successful,” said sophomore Amanda Conway, a 21-year old forward and physical education major from Methuen, Mass. “Our record just reflects that and proves we are a force to be reckoned with.”

  This past week, the team closed the regular season with a dominant 6-0 victory over the University of New England to seal its third perfect league regular season in program history.The team has been building momentum all season. In one of their best efforts of the season so far, the Cadets blanked the UMass Boston Beacons in a 7-0 domination Jan. 26 at Kreitzberg Arena in the battle between the top two NEHC teams.

  “We really just played as one unit,” said junior co-captain Bryn Labbe, a forward and psychology and education double major from Calgary, Alberta. “There’s nothing like winning in the end, but when you truly earn that win, it makes it that much better.”  
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Chris Czarnota is having fun behind the bench at Kreitzberg Arena

Assistant men’s ice hockey coach Chris Czarnota is enjoying life behind the bench after skating four years on the Norwich University hockey team. “I loved my time as a player here,” said Czarnota, Norwich class of 2014 and a goalie for the Cadets. “When the opportunity came up to take the assistant coach job it was a no-brainer. From the facilities to the coaching staff, everything is top notch and it provides the players the best opportunity to succeed.”

Now deep into the season, he is “excited to be back” with a new role on the team. Czarnota was previously working with the Tufts University men’s ice hockey team as goalie coach. “I felt that being a first-time coach, working with Tufts was a wonderful experience to get my feet wet and working with players,” Czarnota said. “I have definitely taken a lot of great learning experience from this and am excited to carry this over with the Norwich team.”

With the teams’ current goalie coach Cap Raeder retiring next season, Czarnota will be taking over the duties for next year. “Anytime anyone is replacing a guy like Cap and the incredible resume he brings it is going to be tough,” said men’s assistant ice hockey coach Ron Dimasi. “But we must remember that Chris was trained by Cap during his time at Norwich, and has learned so much from Cap that he can then use this knowledge with the goalies and make for a smooth transition after Cap’s tenure.”
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Tattoos are a proud mark of accomplishment for athletes and club members at Norwich

 

Earned, Never Given.

This concept reflects long-standing tradition throughout many Norwich University clubs, teams, and specialty units. For each of these groups, earning one’s place means reaching a level of achievement and dedication – and often that recognition comes with the right to wear a tattoo if you are selected or deemed eligible by your team or group.

These inked designs serve not just as an image of one’s sacrifice and dedication to these organizations, but a more permanent reminder of how far one has come during their time here at Norwich.

Since the Norwich campus is home to many extracurricular organizations, some notable organizations in the scheme of tattoos would be the men’s and women’s rugby teams, the Norwich Artillery Battery, and the Mountain and Cold Weather Company. [Read more…]

Winter break cut short for basketball team

In the three weeks that the Norwich men’s basketball team has to return to campus early, four days will be spent in Florida participating in a tournament and bringing in the New Year. The rest of the time will be spent cloistered on campus, practicing for up to four hours a day, scrounging to find meals and entertainment.

It’s part of the sacrifice basketball players make to train and improve their skills while others are kicking back on holiday break.

The men’s basketball team will arrive back on campus on Dec. 27, in preparation for their flight to Florida on Dec. 28, said Richard Giroux, 21, a point guard from Colchester, Vt., who is a senior and criminal justice major.

While in Florida, they will participate in the Land of Magic Tournament. The tournament will entail two games, one against Wilkes University from Wilkes-Barre, Pa, and the other against Colby-Sawyer College from New London, N.H.

The last day of final exams for the fall semester is Dec. 19. Classes for the spring semester are set to begin on Jan. 22. Students are able to return back to campus as early as Jan. 20 but the men’s team has a decidedly shorter time away this year.

“It is exciting to come back from break early this year,” said Ryan Booth, 21, who plays forward and is a senior physical education major from Northfield, Vt.. “We get to travel to Florida and it is the team’s first time out of New England since I have been on the team.”

In previous winter breaks, the team has “practiced for roughly a week before playing a game,” said Joseph Bertrand, 21, another forward who is a senior and majors in physical education from Saugus, Mass. In the past, the team also partook in “two, two-hour practices per day” in that week before games are played.

The team will return to campus on Jan. 2, 2018 after completion of the Florida tournament. The athletes will remain on campus and will begin their traditional winter break routine. The goal is to get ready for an intense schedule in the new year.

“Once we arrive back in Vermont, we will practice for a few days before beginning a streak of six games,” said Giroux. “Between playing six games in 14 days and fitting practices inbetween the games, there is little free time left over the break.”

Each player spends their free time differently. Players partake in a wide variety of pastimes, for example “sleeping, spending extra time practicing, lifting, playing video games, or just hanging out with each other,” Bertrand said.

“One of my favorite things to do when we are not practicing or playing over the break is to get to know some of the freshman players on a more personal level,” Booth said. “Since we are always so busy with school or practice, it makes it challenging to really interact with the freshmen.”

The Cadets will host three of the games at home and be on the road for the other three. According to a few of the men’s players, it is best to play away games during winter break because there are “no classes and no worries about academic obligations.”

Basketball is one of the few athletic teams that are in season for both academic semesters, as they begin games in October and continue through the middle of February. Because of this, they are obligated to arrive back on campus before other students and are not able to spend much time at home around the holiday season.

“It is especially hard for people on the team who don’t have easy access to get home,” said Mike Hogervorst, 21, a senior electrical engineering major and men’s basketball center from Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands. “We are all away from home and not able to spend time with friends and family like the other students on campus.”

Being away from home over the winter break makes it “challenging to spend time with friends from home,” Bertrand agreed. Winter break is the longest break during the academic year.

“The break between semesters is typically about a month long,” Giroux said. “This month-long break occurs for most colleges, making it the easiest time to see friends who are away from home for college as well.”

The break between semesters is “the most neutral break where most of my friends are back in town,” Bertrand said. Because the basketball players are not able to spend much time at home, they find ways to make being on campus feel like they are still on break

“Even though we are on campus for most of our winter break, it does not feel normal because there is no homework to do and no one in the buildings,” Booth said. “This is the only time while in season that we can actually just relax and focus on just basketball.”

Still, staying on campus during winter break does have some downsides as well, according to Giroux. As everything on campus is closed, that makes access to food harder than it normally is when school is in session.

“The chow hall is closed until the Sunday before the first day of the spring semester,” Hogervorst said. “A lot of us rely on the students who live off campus as a place we can go to cook meals.”

Getting food is not as “difficult for those who live locally,” Booth said. The players who live locally are able to get meals and snacks from home and bring it back to campus.

“It is easier to prepare individual meals at home and just bring it back to campus,” Giroux said. “Then all that is left for me to do is reheat my meal in the microwave.”