SMCM Welcomes Reava Potter as New Cross Country and Track and Field Coach

Written By: Devin Garner

On Monday, Nov. 2, St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) athletics announced that Reava Potter had been hired as the head coach of the cross country and track and field teams. In the spring of 2020, it was announced that SMCM would be adding track and field to the list of varsity sports on campus, and Potter will build the new program as well as take the reins of the already established cross country team. 

Potter graduated from Temple University where she competed on the NCAA Division I track and field team for all four years. She served as a captain during her senior year, and qualified for the Atlantic-10 Championship in multiple events, including the heptathlon, triple jump, pentathlon and relays for all four of her seasons. Potter also received the Spirit and Sportsmanship Awards and served as a member of the NCAA Student Athlete Advisory Committee from 2007-2009. 

After graduating from Temple, Potter served as a graduate assistant coach to the track team and led her alma-mater to an Atlantic-10 Championship during the 2009-2010 season. After three years of working as a graduate assistant at Temple University, Potter became an assistant coach at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. The following year, Potter took an assistant coaching position at Bethune-Cookman University for one year where she coached seventeen All-Conference athletes and led the men’s team to its first ever Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship. Under Potter’s guidance, three student-athletes at Bethune-Cookman University were named United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Americans. 

After her successful season at Bethune-Cookman University, Potter served as an assistant coach at the University of Alabama at Birmingham for four years, where she worked specifically with the multi-event, jumping and throwing athletes. During her time in Alabama, Potter coached three athletes to All-Conference titles in the NCAA Division I Conference USA. After coaching at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Potter arrived at Emmanuel College where she has spent the last two years as the head coach for both the cross country and indoor/outdoor track and field teams. While at Emmanuel College, Potter coached the women’s cross country team to the 2018 GNAC Championship as well as the women’s indoor track and field team to the GNAC Championship in 2020. Potter earned the accolades for 2020 GNAC Indoor Track and Field Women’s Coach of the Year. 

In the announcement released by SMCM Athletics, first-year athletic director Crystal Gibson noted that “Coach Potter from the beginning of the process, emerged as a top candidate through her ability to not only coach and recruit young men and women student-athletes, but also develop them into leaders in the sport and community.” Gibson continued to add that Potter “has proved her ability to recruit top-level student-athletes, athletically and academically – developing them into highly competitive athletes and leaders. Reava is an outstanding fit for the St. Mary’s College of Maryland community and I am confident she will bring a high level of success in building these programs for top level competition.” 

Tyler Wilson (‘22), a member of the SMCM men’s cross country team, explained that the cross country team found out about the hiring of Coach Potter in mid-October, and that the cross country team had the opportunity to meet with her over Zoom before she was officially hired. Wilson stated that the team was told that Potter would start as the head coach on Nov. 16, which potentially means that she could be responsible for assigning workout schedules over winter break. Workout schedules right now, Wilson explained, are being assigned by an assistant coach. 

Wilson mentioned that he is excited for Potter to take over the program and that he believes her prior experience as an athlete and as a collegiate coach will benefit the SMCM cross country and track and field programs. He stated, “I think Coach Potter’s experiences have prepared her for this moment, her experiences as a runner allow her to put herself in our shoes, and her experiences as a coach allow her to know their intricacies of form and other training techniques to help us all improve.”

It will be exciting to see the impact that Potter will have on the well-established cross country program, as well as the incoming track and field program. In the SMCM Athletics announcement, Potter stated: “I am very excited about the opportunity to take over the cross country teams and start a new track and field program. I would also like to thank Athletic Director Brendan McWilliams and Andy Yosinoff for giving me an opportunity to become a head coach at Emmanuel College. I am excited to see what I can accomplish at St. Mary’s College of Maryland!”

St. Mary’s College of Maryland Men’s Soccer Continues to Work Despite Postponed Season

Written By: Devin Garner

Senior captain Juwan Kearson.

The St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) Men’s Soccer team has been a force to be reckoned with under the leadership of head coach Alun Oliver (‘04). Despite not having a season, they have continued to maintain their vision as a well-run program. The team has been holding practices throughout the fall semester that abide by COVID-19 regulations put in place with the hope of possibly having a season in the spring.

When asking Josh Luongo (‘22) of the impact that head coach Alun Oliver has had on the team throughout the global pandemic, he stated: “he has been really helpful and supportive during these hard times… He is always telling us to stay positive and be flexible during these hard times. Coach [Oliver] is a very positive person and it wears off on the team.” While the postponement of the season has been difficult for many members of the team, Oliver has nevertheless been a stabilizing force to lead his team. 

As a result of the season being postponed, the team has also had to find creative ways to meet as a team. Aidan Kelley (‘22) remarked that the team has found ways to continue to connect as he states, “As a team, we try to meet on Zoom at least once a week in order to include those who are off campus this semester.” Jacob Breslauer (‘22) states that the team has also found a way to connect for those who are on campus for the semester as he remarks, “Everyone on the team gets along, so everyone on campus will go to the docks or somewhere else where we can be together safely but still enjoy being around as a family.” 

In addition to connecting with the team as a whole, the upperclassmen have had to find a way to mentor their first-year teammates. While this has not been an easy task with the current regulations in place, the upperclassmen have continued to find a way. Luongo responded by saying that the upperclassmen have been mentoring the younger players by “Giving them tips on how stuff around campus works and making sure they are following COVID-19 regulations. We have also been helping them with their classes. The upperclassmen have set a high standard both on and off the field.” Kelley went on by stating that “We have just tried to be as positive and as helpful as possible. All of us understand that this year has been very different from past years, so we all have been reaching out more than usual to make sure we are still making them feel welcome to the team.” 

While a potential season is still up in the air, the future of the SMCM men’s soccer team is very bright. As Luongo argues, “The future of this team is exciting. We have a winning culture and a coach who is always going to do what is best for the team. [Oliver] is always going to make SMCM men’s soccer a good program.” Under the leadership of Oliver and the talented upperclassmen, SMCM men’s soccer is in good hands for years to come.

After a Shortened 2020 Season, Major League Baseball Free Agency is Underway

Written By: Devin Garner

ARLINGTON, TX – OCTOBER 17: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with Manager Dave Roberts #30 after the Dodgers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 6 of the NLCS at Globe Life Field on Saturday, October 17, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Kelly Gavin/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

On Nov. 1, 2020, Major League Baseball (MLB) free agency began. After a shortened season filled with disappointment for many major league teams, each team has hope to acquire players during this period that will improve their roster. Headlining the list of free agents this season include pitcher Trevor Bauer, catcher J.T. Realmuto, outfielder George Springer, outfielder Marcell Ozuna and infielder DJ LeMahieu. 

As each team has their own needs heading into the offseason, many seek after the big names that headline the market. With the big spending that took place last season during free agency with the acquisitions of players such as Anthony Rendon and Gerrit Cole, many free agents this year are likely to be highly paid for their services. 

The 2020 MLB Cy Young Award Winner is the most highly sought after pitcher in this year’s free agency. In 2020, Bauer posted a 1.73 earned run average (ERA) across 73 innings pitched. According to ESPN: “He went 5-4 with an NL-best 1.73 ERA in 11 starts, helping the Reds to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2013. Animated on the field and outspoken off of it, the 29-year-old right hander struck out 100 in 73 innings and led the majors with two shutouts…” Potential suitors for the pitcher include the New York Mets, Los Angeles Angels and Atlanta Braves.

Another impact player who many teams have their eye on is former Philadelphia Phillies catcher, J.T. Realmuto. Not only is Realmuto a well-renowned catcher, but he is also a force to be reckoned with in the batter’s box. Realmuto has a career batting average of .278. Potential suitors for the well-renowned catcher are the Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals.

2017 World Series Champion outfielder George Springer is another player that MLB executives hope to build their outfield around. According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com: “Springer, 31, will be one of the biggest names on the free-agent market this offseason and will be looking to cash in following a regular season in which he posted an .899 OPS with 14 homers and 32 RBIs in 51 games. He hit four postseason homers, giving him a franchise-record 19 in the playoffs.” Teams that have expressed interest in the stud outfielder include the Houston Astros, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and Washington Nationals.

Infield phenom DJ LeMahieu is another player who has hit the open market with aspirations of making big money. LeMahieu has been a significant force in the New York Yankees lineup since 2019 after arriving from the Colorado Rockies. He holds a career .305 batting average and numerous accolades since his MLB debut in 2011. Possible destinations for LeMahieu include the New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Regardless of where the big-named players land in free agency, they are sure to leave an impact. As teams continue to pursue these highly sought-after players, fans can sit back and root for their favorite team to sign one of these players.

Washington Football Team Head Coach Finishes Final Round of Chemotherapy Treatment

Written By: Devin Garner

LANDOVER, MD – OCTOBER 11: Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera shakes hands with Washington Football Team starting quarterback Kyle Allen (8) before the game between the Washington Football Team and the Los Angeles Rams at FedEx Field on Sunday, October 11, 2020. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

On Aug. 20, The Washington Football Team announced that head coach, Ron Rivera had been diagnosed with squamous cell cancer. While this was sure not to be an easy fight for coach Rivera, he and other members of the front office reassured fans that he would still be the coach of the team throughout his chemotherapy treatments. After seven weeks of treatment, on Monday Oct. 26, the team announced that Rivera had finished his last cancer treatment.

When originally diagnosed in August, Rivera said in an interview with CNN, “I was stunned… But I was angry because I feel like I am in the best health that I have been in.” While the news was shocking to many, the team remained calm and rallied behind their well-renowned head coach. In the case that Rivera could no longer assume the role of head coach throughout his treatment, the team came up with a plan B that would give defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio the title of interim head coach while Rivera recovered. 

However, throughout his treatment process, he only missed a few practices and never missed a game. While he did receive treatments during halftime of some games, it never affected his ability to coach the team. Many of the players and coaches even used Rivera’s courage to inspire their play and coaching. In an interview with Nicki Jhabvala of The Washington Post, offensive coordinator Scott Turner says, “I think if Coach can come to work and push through what he’s dealing with, none of us have any excuses.”

Now that Rivera’s treatment is completed, there will still be struggles that he faces along the way. According to John Keim of ESPN, Rivera will have several follow-up appointments and scans. However, now his cancer treatment is finished and he is on the road to recovery. As guard Brandon Scherff said in an interview with Keim in regards to what Rivera has overcome, “It’s amazing… Talking to him on the field, you would never know what he is going through.”

As Rivera’s team heads into the bye week of the NFL season after knocking off the division rival Dallas Cowboys, they find themselves in the midst of the NFC east playoff race with the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. Whether or not they rally behind the feat of their head coach in the final weeks of the season to clinch a berth in the playoffs is yet to be determined. 

Whether or not the team is able to clinch a berth in the playoffs or not, it should not overshadow what their coach overcame to allow his team to even be in the position in which they are in. Several weeks of fighting through what many would consider impossible just to ensure that he was still able to lead his team on and off the field. As stated by team president Jason Wright on Twitter in regards to the accomplishments of Rivera, “The complexities of culture change on a young team, a (weird) NFC East race, a pandemic, while fighting with [his] family, emotionally and physically, on a journey to health… We bear witness to something special.”

St. Mary’s College of Maryland Women’s Soccer Continues to Stay Focused

Written By: Devin Garner

As the fall season was postponed due to COVID-19, the St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) women’s soccer team has had to find a way to continue to work for seasons to come. Led by head coach Peter Krech (‘09) the team has continued to stay connected as a team and have kept their eye on a potential season. 

Two players who have been key leaders for the team both on and off the field are Madison Webb (‘21) and Lauren Baker (‘22). Both Webb and Baker have continued to push their team to the next level. When asking Baker how she has served as a mentor to her younger teammates, she said, “I have been trying to mentor younger players by building good relationships with them so they have someone to look up to. I have been working my hardest on and off the field so that [the younger players] have an example to look up to. I am also always available for questions.” Baker has truly been a stabilizing influence for the team throughout these treacherous times and has helped to keep the team together through virtual team meetings, workouts, movie nights and trivia. 

Madison Webb has also been an important player for the program in her time at SMCM. As a senior at the college, she has placed her focus on mentoring beyond athletics. She states, “my main focus for my younger teammates is to make sure that they are enjoying their experiences at St. Mary’s.” She continues by saying, “Yes, winning games is important, but you are more likely to remember the good times that were had and how you felt playing with teammates, rather than the final score of every game played.” When asking head coach Krech on the impact of Webb in her time at SMCM, he had glowing remarks as she started off as a walk-on to the team and not an official recruit. He states, “She has had to deal with a lot of adversity over the years and is currently dealing with a bit of an injury, but she has persevered and been a great captain over the last two years.” In continuing to remark on the impact of Webb he remarks: “She is someone that will check on and drop what she is doing to help someone else if needed. I am very proud of her development as a leader and that is probably the biggest area we will lose from her when she graduates.”

Though the players are not playing in real games, they have still found ways to get better. The team began training together on Sept. 24 and are practicing three to four days together for the remainder of the fall semester. While they are practicing as a team, Krech acknowledged that many of the athletes are also working on their own to stay prepared. When asking Webb on how her team is making up for not playing this fall, she argues: “While we are not allowed to play any form of contact soccer yet, it is great to be out on the field with all of the girls. Since I will not be getting a ‘true’ senior season, it is nice to still have practice with everyone.”

As the team continues to work throughout the fall semester, they acknowledge that the future of the team is promising. Baker remarks: “We have a really good outlook for our team in the upcoming years. We have a lot of younger players that will be able to continue to build our program.” Krech adds his remarks by saying, “While it is too early to judge exactly where we are at from a soccer specific level, the outlook is positive for sure… The hope is that we can set the necessary foundation related to our team culture, core values, expectations to hit the ground running in the North Eastern Athletic Conference next Fall.”

The team has put in the work to be successful for seasons to come. Be sure to go out and support the SMCM women’s soccer team when they play again as they will be a force to be reckoned with.

Washington Nationals Extend The Contract of World Series Champion Manager, Dave Martinez

Written By: Devin Garner

After the Washington Nationals won the 2019 World Series under the leadership of second year manager, Dave Martinez, they knew that they had to lock him up for years to come. His contract was set to expire at the end of the 2020 season. Martinez received a three-year, seven and a half million dollar contract, according to ESPN.

When arriving in Washington to become the manager in 2018, he had high expectations after the team had not won a playoff series since returning to Washington. Not only had the team not won a playoff series since returning to Washington, they also had recently let go of highly-renowned manager, Dusty Baker. Upon the hiring of Martinez, General Manager Mike Rizzo argued in a statement to Eddie Matz of ESPN, “Winning a lot of regular-season games and winning divisions are not enough.” He went on to say that, “Our goal is to win a World Championship.”

While the bar was set high for Martinez upon his arrival in Washington, his team scuffled greatly in his first year as manager. The team finished with a record of 82-80 and missed out on the playoffs. Numerous fans and Major League executives were calling for the dismissal of the first- year manager as his team had failed to even make the playoffs with an elite lineup and a star-studded pitching rotation. In an interview done by RADIO.com with former Major League Baseball executive Jim Bowden in regards to what he would have done during the dismal season, “I would have fired [Martinez midseason] and brought in Joe Girardi, try to win right now.” In continuing to remark on the moves that he would have made, he states: “That is what I would have done. That is a 95-win club. Why are [The Nationals] at .500? They let Dusty Baker go because they thought Dave Martinez would do a better job in October. Well, you got to get to October.” 

Facing sharp criticism, Martinez remained at the helm of the team heading into the 2019 season. However, the team once again faced another horrible start as their record hit 19-31 on May 23 and they had a 3.4% chance of winning the World Series. The future looked bleak and it appeared that the second manager would soon be headed out the door.

However, Martinez remained calm and collected and did not let the chatter of being fired affect him. He continued to manage his team and let his veteran players guide them through the tumultuous stretch. The team quickly turned around their season and soon found themselves in the playoff picture. The team added key players such as Gerardo Parra, Asdrubal Cabrera and Daniel Hudson. Martinez continued to believe in his players and they continued to believe in him. At the end of the season, the team finished with a record of 93-69 and clinched a wildcard spot in which they would face off against the Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. 

The rest is history as the ballclub was able to knock off the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros in stunning fashion to win a World Championship. While many were calling for the manager to be fired, he proved them wrong and showed them that he indeed was the right choice for the job.

Now, Martinez is getting rewarded for his stellar performance as the manager of the Washington Nationals and will find himself managing the team for years to come. In an interview with Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post, the Nationals ace pitcher and face of the franchise, Max Scherzer, had glowing remarks on the contract of his manager. He stated that, “[Martinez] is everything you want in a manager,” as he goes on to state, “That’s why I am happy the organization was able to sign him back. He just has the feel for the game.”

Dave Martinez will now head into the offseason with reassurance as he knows that he will be returning to manage the red and white on South Capitol Street. As a lifetime baseball player and coach who has preserved through many obstacles, nobody deserves this more than Dave Martinez, the 2019 World Series Champion manager.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland Welcomes Aboard Crystal Gibson as New Athletic Director

Written By: Devin Garner

Following the retirement of longtime athletic director Scott Devine, the school welcomes back former St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) women’s basketball coach Crystal Gibson as the new Athletic Director. According to Inside SMCM, Gibson spent the last three years at Susquehanna University as the associate director of athletics and the interim director of athletics.

Gibson is no stranger to SMCM athletics as she previously served as the women’s basketball coach from 2011 to 2017. When asking Gibson what brought her back to the school, she stated, “St. Mary’s always felt like a special place to me, from the first time I interviewed here nine years ago for the head women’s basketball position. The people, the eagerness and intelligence of the students and the ability to communicate across campus are all things that brought me here initially and I was very excited to be able to return.”

She brings an impressive resume into her tenure at St. Mary’s. Following her graduation, Gibson began working in athletics at Lebanon Valley College. At Lebanon Valley, she held numerous roles including assistant women’s basketball coach, assistant track and field coach and worked directly with the athletic director. After leaving Lebanon Valley, she went onto Frostburg State University to become the top assistant coach for the women’s basketball team. After gaining experience at Frostburg State, she went on to become the head women’s basketball coach at Arcadia University in Pennsylvania where she also served as the assistant sports information director. Upon leaving Arcadia, she came to SMCM to become the head women’s basketball coach and even held the senior woman administrator position, where she helped to establish the first Title IX review. Following her time at SMCM, she became the associate director and then interim director at Susquehanna University. In regards to the abundance of experience that she brings to St. Mary’s, Gibson remarks: “It has been a journey, but an amazing ride. I cannot wait to continue here.”

With the abundance of experience that Gibson comes in with, she is sure to handle the responsibilities of athletic director in stride. At SMCM, she holds duties such as overseeing and supporting coaches and staff, departmental budgets, staffing, and working with numerous offices across campus. She must also stay informed with NCAA regulations. 

Gibson also has goals for her tenure at SMCM. She argues: “I want to continue to push the envelope and improve athletics and student-athletes relationships across campus. I believe by working together it only makes this amazing place even better.” She states that there are three big initiatives that she has pushed for her staff since arriving. Those include the areas of diversity and inclusion, mental health awareness and leadership development. She also states, “I want to continue providing and improving on the experience of our student-athletes, from game environment, to competitiveness, to growth in and outside their support.” 

While Gibson has a lot of goals in mind, she acknowledges the phenomenal staff that she has in place already. She glowingly states, “I believe we have an amazing group of coaches and staff members in the athletic department, all working together to try and achieve the same mission, providing a first-class experience for our student-athletes.” When continuing to ask her if her previous history of coaching women’s basketball will lead her into assisting the SMCM women’s basketball team, she remarks, “I plan to be an amazing fan!”

With an abundance of experience and a love for SMCM, it is obvious that the college chose the perfect person for the job. Gibson will be sure to provide student-athletes and students a college athletic experience like no other.

Washington Nationals Extend The Contract of World Series Champion Manager, Dave Martinez

Written By: Devin Garner

WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 26: Manager Dave Martinez #4 of the Washington Nationals looks on against the Philadelphia Phillies during the eighth inning at Nationals Park on September 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

After the Washington Nationals won the 2019 World Series under the leadership of second year manager, Dave Martinez, they knew that they had to lock him up for years to come. His contract was set to expire at the end of the 2020 season. Martinez received a three-year, seven and a half million dollar contract, according to ESPN.

When arriving in Washington to become the manager in 2018, he had high expectations after the team had not won a playoff series since returning to Washington. Not only had the team not won a playoff series since returning to Washington, they also had recently let go of highly-renowned manager, Dusty Baker. Upon the hiring of Martinez, General Manager Mike Rizzo argued in a statement to Eddie Matz of ESPN, “Winning a lot of regular-season games and winning divisions are not enough.” He went on to say that, “Our goal is to win a World Championship.”

While the bar was set high for Martinez upon his arrival in Washington, his team scuffled greatly in his first year as manager. The team finished with a record of 82-80 and missed out on the playoffs. Numerous fans and Major League executives were calling for the dismissal of the first- year manager as his team had failed to even make the playoffs with an elite lineup and a star-studded pitching rotation. In an interview done by RADIO.com with former Major League Baseball executive Jim Bowden in regards to what he would have done during the dismal season, “I would have fired [Martinez midseason] and brought in Joe Girardi, try to win right now.” In continuing to remark on the moves that he would have made, he states: “That is what I would have done. That is a 95-win club. Why are [The Nationals] at .500? They let Dusty Baker go because they thought Dave Martinez would do a better job in October. Well, you got to get to October.” 

Facing sharp criticism, Martinez remained at the helm of the team heading into the 2019 season. However, the team once again faced another horrible start as their record hit 19-31 on May 23 and they had a 3.4% chance of winning the World Series. The future looked bleak and it appeared that the second manager would soon be headed out the door.

However, Martinez remained calm and collected and did not let the chatter of being fired affect him. He continued to manage his team and let his veteran players guide them through the tumultuous stretch. The team quickly turned around their season and soon found themselves in the playoff picture. The team added key players such as Gerardo Parra, Asdrubal Cabrera and Daniel Hudson. Martinez continued to believe in his players and they continued to believe in him. At the end of the season, the team finished with a record of 93-69 and clinched a wildcard spot in which they would face off against the Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. 

The rest is history as the ballclub was able to knock off the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros in stunning fashion to win a World Championship. While many were calling for the manager to be fired, he proved them wrong and showed them that he indeed was the right choice for the job.

Now, Martinez is getting rewarded for his stellar performance as the manager of the Washington Nationals and will find himself managing the team for years to come. In an interview with Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post, the Nationals ace pitcher and face of the franchise, Max Scherzer, had glowing remarks on the contract of his manager. He stated that, “[Martinez] is everything you want in a manager,” as he goes on to state, “That’s why I am happy the organization was able to sign him back. He just has the feel for the game.”

Dave Martinez will now head into the offseason with reassurance as he knows that he will be returning to manage the red and white on South Capitol Street. As a lifetime baseball player and coach who has preserved through many obstacles, nobody deserves this more than Dave Martinez, the 2019 World Series Champion manager.

St. Mary’s Volleyball Continues to Work, Hopeful For Possible Season

Written By: Devin Garner

As the Fall 2020 season was postponed earlier in the summer, the St. Mary’s College of Maryland Women’s Volleyball team has had to find a way to stick together. Despite some of the players deciding to go fully remote this semester, they have still found a way to workout and bond. Taylor Wigglesworth (‘22) and Fatima Bouzid (‘22) have been key players for the team in years past and have had to find a way to adjust to having the season postponed. 

Wigglesworth opted to go fully remote this semester. While going fully remote can come with challenges, she has handled it in stride. She stated, “Since I am off campus, it takes more effort to make sure that I am still connecting with my teammates.” To accommodate the players that are off campus, she remarked that the team has been holding bi-weekly Zoom meetings. While the zoom meetings have not been the same as being in-person, they still have given players an opportunity to connect and hang out with one another. As she states, “It’s really hard not being at school together since the volleyball team is my main group of friends, so I enjoy having the opportunity to connect over Zoom.”

In these difficult times, coaches have had to step in and keep their team together. When asking Bouzid of how the team’s head coach Kelly Martin has had an impact throughout this time, she argued that, “Coach Martin has done an awesome job by keeping us updated whenever she can and by being very understanding when things pop up during these odd times.” Experienced players have also had to take a bigger role in leading their younger teammates through this time. When asking Wigglesworth of how she has served as a mentor to her younger teammates, she stated, “When the pandemic began, we began weekly Facetimes with each freshman entering the program… It was the perfect opportunity to get to know each other better and give the freshman a chance to ask questions to ease any anxiety about the transition into college.”

While Bouzid acknowledges that the first practice had been pushed to Sept. 23, many of the players remain hopeful for a potential Spring season. Wigglesworth shared her excitement about the possibility of a Spring season by remarking, “We are very hopeful that we will be able to compete in the Spring. Although we do not want to get our hopes up… we are still staying focused.” Training comes with a lot of detail and hard work. As Wigglesworth argues about the efforts of the team, “We are continuing to work hard to make sure our bodies and minds will be ready to compete in the Spring if we are given the opportunity.”

Regardless of whether or not there is a Volleyball season in the Spring, the efforts and the preparation of the team have not gone unnoticed. As Bouzid explained, “I am just so proud of everyone for adapting to this situation and still working hard even though we cannot compete at this moment.” When the team does get back in action, be sure to go out to the Michael P. O’Brien Athletic Center to support the hard work put in by the St. Mary’s Volleyball program.

Under New Leadership, the Washington Football Team Begins the Season Strong

Written By: Devin Garner

After ousting former head coach Jay Gruden in the middle of the 2019 season, the Washington Football Team seemed to be at a crossroads. Not only was the team struggling on the field, they were also struggling off the field with numerous conduct violations. Washington knew that they must hire a head coach who could change the culture of the team while also being a stabilizing figure, something that the team has not had for many years. Therefore, owner Daniel Synder went out and hired former head coach of the Carolina Panthers, Ron Rivera as the new head coach. After a 27 to 17 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles at FedexField on Sunday, Sept. 13, it appears that the Washington Football Team might have finally found the right coach for the job. 

Rivera was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in a lymph node in the Summer, but stated that he still has plans on coaching his football team. However, he did acknowledge that he would be occasionally unable to attend practices, which would leave veteran defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio in charge of the team’s operations. Even though Rivera has begun his treatments, he still found a way to coach and inspire his players in their victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, snapping the six-game win streak that Philadelphia had previously held against Washington. 

On Sunday, the head coach’s first challenge came when he was unable to address his team at halftime due to the fact that he had to receive an IV for his cancer treatment. In Rivera’s absence, second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins stepped up and addressed his team as they were down at halftime. Les Carpenter of “The Washington Post” states that, “the fact it was Dwayne Haskins, the team’s 23-year-old, second-year quarterback and the player that Rivera has perhaps pushed hardest to be a leader, seemed to please [Rivera] more.”

While the team started out slow in the first half facing a 17 point deficit early, many Washington Fans considered this season to be a repeat of last season, when the team finished 3 and 13. However, in the hands of the new and experienced coaching staff and with the help of the stacked defensive line, Washington was able to rally together a win for their team, their city and most importantly, their ailing head coach. 

The defensive line was a major factor in Washington’s victory. With the addition of second overall pick and Ohio State phenom, Chase Young, the defense looks nearly unstoppable. The Washington defense sacked Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz eight times for a loss of 62 yards, according to “CBS Sports.” Every player on the Washington front looked impressive, however, Ryan Kerrigan and Chase Young stuck out. According to “Pro Football Focus,” Young was the highest graded rookie in the first week of play. In addition, Ryan Kerrigan surpassed Washington great Dexter Manley on the all-time sack leaderboard with 92 sacks. When asked about his feelings about standing atop the all-time Washington leaderboard on sacks, Kerrigan had glowing remarks in his interview with “106.7: The Fan.” He stated, “I did not know what to expect when I was drafted here in 2011. I wanted to come in and be a contributor, and now to be at the top of the sack list of the franchise’s history… to think about guys that have come through here, like Dexter, it’s pretty cool.” Numerous other members of the defensive line made their presence felt as well, such as Montez Sweat, Matt Ioannidis, Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen.

Regardless of what the predictions are for the team for the rest of the season, it is important that fans appreciate what the team did in week one. Behind their new coaching staff, newly schemed offense and defense and a second-year quarterback at the helm of the team, Washington was able to do something that they had not been able to do for the last couple of years: beat the Philadelphia Eagles. Rivera has kept one goal in mind throughout his brief tenure in Washington and he vows to keep it that way. His goal is to establish a culture. According to Les Carpenter of “The Washington Post,” “So much of this year for Rivera is about creating a culture upon which the team can build into a winner.”

Whether or not the team is able to have a winning season, the fans must sit back and appreciate the leadership of head coach Ron Rivera. He is building the team into a contender that will be built to win for years to come.