Student Author Looks to Promising Future

Ben Cumbo has impressed faculty and students with his calm demeanor and achievements.

Cumbo was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of three, but that didn’t slow him down.  At six years old Cumbo was heavily involved with the Muscular Dystrophy Association. His MDA involvement gave him the opportunity to travel the United States, spreading awareness about his chronic condition.  He also participated in seminars with the hope of raising money to put toward medical research.

Cumbo started his academics at St. Mary’s as a history major, but changed his focus following a freshman year sociology course. During his freshman year Cumbo was a parliamentarian, and by junior year moved up to the President position, which he said was “very intense.”

“Part of me loved that leadership quality and to be very initiative taking,” said Cumbo.  He says he enjoys the role he has in creating activities for the campus community.

Cumbo’s sociology focus is unexpected considering his heavy involvement in politics.  He was an intern for president-elect Obama’s campaign immediately following his presidential candidacy declaration.

As an intern Cumbo was delegated to answering phone calls from constituents and assisting in tours of capital hill.   Looking back on his campaign experience Cumbo feels, “Just to realize that I was a part of it and had some part of his success makes me feel good.”

Cumbo began writing in his early teens. Writing was “something fun that I liked…it was an activity, if you will; a leisurely thing.”

During his freshman year Cumbo’s family members expressed interest in his writing.  Cumbo admitted, “My family members asked if they could see it.  They recommended I send it to somebody who was actually a writer themselves….it needed a little bit of editing,” he said.

Cumbo entitled his manuscript King Me.  It is a fictional story set approximately ten years into the future.  The plot details a dialogue between three characters addressing the good and bad of being human.

Cumbo is influenced by his friends’ personalities, and some of their character qualities definitely show through despite the futuristic setting.  When asked if he is apart of the novel, Cumbo said, “to some degree…but more dialogue and discussion-based.”

Over a two year period Cumbo worked alongside an editor to improve his manuscript. He confessed that the “Manuscript was a lot longer lot of stuff you wish was in there but sometimes those elements aren’t there and you have to take it out…big process.” Around this same time, Cumbo and his family financed and started the Fourth Press publishing company based in Prince George’s County.   In the end Cumbo was satisfied with the revised manuscript.

Cumbo continues to write in his spare time, but understands that school comes first.  Currently, Cumbo is the Peer Mentor for Professor Coleman’s first year seminar course, Literature of the American Civil Rights Movement (CORE101.13).

Professor Coleman wanted Cumbo specifically because of his past performance in his ENGL230 course, African American Expression. “During that class it became apparent that Ben was an exceptional student with an impressive knowledge of world history and religion. He has an uncanny ability to connect current or historical events in America to similar events that have occurred around the globe.”

Coleman continued, “I could have selected any student on campus as the peer mentor for my First Year Seminar but I knew Ben would be the ideal choice. He has contributed greatly to class discussion and has established a constructive rapport with most of the students in the course.”

Cumbo’s dream is to write fiction, but he hopes to eventually be a part of the intelligence community.  He is a very gifted young man.  As Professor Coleman puts it, “I think he has a promising future as a graduate student, writer, and educator.”

Undefeated Seahawks Claim Two Tournament Titles

The Men’s Basketball team is looking stronger than ever with an impressive 7-0 record, and two tournament titles under their belts.

The Seahawks won the Penn State-Behrend Tip-Off Tournament, notching convincing victories against 2008 NCAA tournament qualifers Nazareth and Penn State-Behrend, and then proceeded to plow through the Provident Pride of Maryland Tournament. The Seahawks knocked out last years tournament winner, McDaniel College, in the first round of tournament play, and won the championship game in a come from behind 84-81 victory against Johns Hopkins University.

The team is also 2-0 in conference play this season, having posted 9 point victories over Stevenson (80-71) and Marymount University (76-67).

St. Mary’s was named to the No. 18 spot on D3hoops.com’s Division III Top 25 poll, the highest national ranking in program’s history. The team was ranked No. 28 in preseason polling.

The Seahawks won’t return home again until Jan. 3 when they will host Arcadia at 2:00 p.m.

Sailing Wraps Up Fall Season with Anticipation for the Spring

The team consists of sailors from all over the country, as well as outside. The recruitment process usually involves sailors “contacting us,” a sign of the status St. Mary’s holds in the sailing world. (Photo submitted by Jen Chamberlain)
The team consists of sailors from all over the country, as well as outside. The recruitment process usually involves sailors “contacting us,” a sign of the status St. Mary’s holds in the sailing world. (Photo submitted by Jen Chamberlain)

As most sports move indoors this time of year, the St. Mary’s sailing team toughs out the cold.  “It wasn’t too long ago that we all arrived on campus early to do boat work and prepare for the season. Now that our fall season is wrapping up I find myself in a dry suit all bundled up.  But as our coach always says, at least the water is still warm,” says junior Sara Morgan Watters.  The team concludes a most successful fall season: in a recent November national ranking, the coed team was ranked #2, while the women’s team was ranked #1 in the country.

Qualifying for each possible nationals event, including the men’s single-handed nationals, women’s single-handed nationals, and Sloops Nationals, the squad is proud of their accomplishments thus far.  They were only one point shy of winning a consecutive Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) Sloop Nationals at the University of South Florida, and executed an exciting victory at the Co-Ed Atlantic Coast Championship, the most important double-handed event of the fall season.  Junior captain Ted Hale says, “I feel like the regattas we’ve had so far this season have gone really well, we are always in contention for winning every event, and have come home with some W’s. I think the whole team and the coaches are really excited and looking forward to the spring season.”

The team has high expectations for themselves this spring with their sights set on San Francisco, the location of the 2009 ICSA Women’s, Coed and Team Racing National events.  But to pave their way to the Golden Gate, they are firm believers in the adage “practice makes perfect.”  “Our goals for the spring season will be to continue to get better every day. As coach Bill [Ward] says, we are not just competing on weekends, we compete every day at workouts and practice  in hopes to work a little harder and get a little better than the other teams,” states Watters.

“Our biggest challenge will probably overcoming inexperience as we have a rather young but talented team,” says junior Jesse Kirkland.  Graduating a whopping eleven talented sailors last spring, the team is indeed a young one.  However, Coach Adam Werblow has faith in all of his athletes to keep the standards high.  “Our team is 15% smaller and that means we don’t have a person to waste.  If just a couple of people are doing less than their absolute best in our daily training; the results will begin to show it.  St. Mary’s College Sailing has a tradition of excellence and we hope and intend to be one of the teams capable of vying for national titles later this spring.”

The new River Center is an exciting addition to the campus that will be extremely beneficial to the sailing team.  “Our resources are more plentiful than ever and it is much appreciated by all the sailors,” says sophomore Michael Menninger.

The team is especially happy to have locker rooms for the first time, so that they won’t have to change out of their wetsuits in the frigid weather.  But although this addition to the campus is much appreciated by the sailors, Werblow hopes that the entire campus community will make use of the new waterfront as well.  “We hope the campus community as a whole couldn’t be happier with their new waterfront.  This facility is for the entire college community and we are excited to see it come online and fully operational.”

This weekend the Possum Bowl took place, an annual alumni regatta in which undergrads also participate and look forward to greatly.  Alumni from all across the nation flew in for the event to sail, reunite with college friends and teammates, and visit their beautiful alma-mater.  During this time, the River Center and Rowing Center were blessed.  With a great fall season and a stunning new facility, the team is rearing to go for the spring.  “The River Center has brought a lot of excitement to the team which we hope to translate to wins on the water,” says Hale.