Equestrian Club Spotlight

For over 15 years, the members of the Equestrian Club have been going to A Moment in Time, a farm that allows them to take lessons and compete in shows. The Equestrian Club has a little under 20 members, but it changes from semester to semester. They are in unique in that they don’t have regular meetings, but instead have weekly riding lessons scattered throughout different days; they schedule for whenever works best for an individual and will work with everyone that is interested to find a time that’s best for them. Every lesson even has a carpool, so no one needs a car to be able to ride.

The Equestrian Club is one of the few clubs that is really able to take advantage of SMCM’s unique location. A Moment In Time is an integral aspect in how the club operates. The club works very closely with the barn and its owner, Bobby Lindsey, who in turn works very hard to make sure every member has a great experience. With the exception of team lessons, there is little difference between club lessons and community lessons. In fact, the members of the club are able to get to know many of the local riders from St. Mary’s County.

The Point News spoke with sophomore Lauren Therriault, treasurer and secretary of the Equestrian Club, who told us, “the club works at and participates in local horse shows in the community and at A Moment In Time.” They often hold bake sales at the barn’s events and have riders competing in these local shows. Once a semester, the college hosts an event at A Moment In Time that invites community members to compete in a Horse Trials competition to support the club. Club members help with the setup and running of the event.

Therriault added, “The event is another great way to interact with the surrounding St. Mary’s community. In addition to being a club, there is also a team component. This semester there are eight people on team and we compete regionally in Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) competitions. Other schools in our region include Johns Hopkins, University of Maryland, Georgetown University, and American University.” She continued, “We usually have at least one rider qualify for Regionals every year, and a couple years ago a team member qualified for the Nationals competition. Team is just a subset of club, so the team members are also involved in all of the events that the club runs. In the past there has been a larger separation between club and team, often with little to no overlap between the two, but this year we have been working to change that and make it more of a singular, cohesive community.”

The Equestrian Club is also looking to have a bigger presence on campus. Therriault told The Point News that “anyone that is interested in riding should contact us. Lessons come out to be about $35 per lesson and run for at least ten weeks each semester. We take riders from all experience levels, even on team. I rode a horse for the first time last September. I came onto team with zero experience. We need riders to fill classes of all experience levels and I don’t think people realize that literally anyone can join our club. If you want to learn how to ride a horse, we want to help you achieve that.”

Kickboxing Sessions

From waterfront activities in fair weather, to taking dance and fitness classes at the ARC, to even getting in cardio running from classmates-turned-zombies, there are endless ways that students stay active on campus. New this year are the kickboxing classes being offered by Dr. Leonard Cruz of the Theater, Film, and Media Studies (TFMS) Department.

The classes, which started last semester, are held weekly in the Montgomery Hall dance studio. Cruz, this year a faculty-in-resident living in Dorchester Hall, has a background in dance, meditation, and muay thai, a Thai root of kickboxing. He has made providing different approaches to health and fitness his mission for students.

Each session is about an hour long, made up of different kick, jab, and punch routines that focus on cardio as well as strength training. Elbows and knees are very important in muay thai, so instruction focuses a lot on combinations of jabs and kicks involving both. “I also try to do ab-work and push-ups, because it’s important to strengthen those as well as the core,” says Cruz.

Junior Sherise Nock, an attendant of the kickboxing sessions, says, “You get good cardio, and specific focus on different muscles — it’s the best of both worlds.”

Dr. Cruz considers the kick-boxing sessions part of a two-prong approach to mental and physical fitness, taught in conjunction with his weekly yoga sessions. “Both are polarities […] one is very much about getting the body hot and warm, and aerobically trained, and the other is the yin side, which is very much about restoration, finding the breath, meditation.”

There tends to be a bigger turnout for kick-boxing, which Cruz reads as students being more interested in getting out stress during the school week.

Sophomore Jessica Zavala calls it “a really different form of exercising.” She continues, “Being in a gym there’s way less interaction. Here you can bring your friends and have fun. It kind of forces you to keep going, too.”

Dr. Cruz also holds yoga and aromatherapy sessions in different residence halls, most recently on Monday, March 2 in Dorchester, but also in PG and Waring Commons. If students attend they can walk away with a free massage ball, so they can continue to practice fitness and stress relief on their own.

Cruz emphasizes a full-body approach to health for students. “How to relieve stress, self-care — I think it’s all very important for students and their well-being,” says Cruz.

Kickboxing classes are every Tuesday night from 8-9 p.m., and yoga sessions are held Sunday nights 9-10 p.m. Keep a look out for other events held in your residence.

Swimming Article

During the weekend of February 20-22, St. Mary’s College of Maryland hosted the 2015 Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) swimming championships. Throughout the 3-day tournament, both the men’s and women’s teams competed for the CAC title, with the women’s team ultimately finishing in third and the men’s team finishing in fourth. The championships marked the end of the 2014-2015 season for both teams, and served as both an occasion for celebration and reflection.

“I think champs went well for a lot of the team,” said junior Zach Lilley. “There were a lot of people on the guys and girls teams who went for best times, and the girls team had a couple of new records, which is awesome. […] We had a hard-working group of guys and girls that pushed each other through the long season.”

Junior Grant Burgess was also quick to note his satisfaction with the team’s presence at the Championships as well: “We’re proud of our efforts at conferences this year. I believe we have a lot of potential…the conference was much more competitive this year, which made for some exciting races.”

Despite their strong finishes at the Conference championships, swimmers saw the end of the season as an opportunity to discuss their goals and begin preparations for the next year. “I think I can speak for the entire team when I say we’re going to miss this senior class, and the hard work and leadership that they brought to the team,” said Lilley. “Overall, I’m looking forward to next year and I think it’s going to be a great one for both teams.”

With strong season-end finishes and the setting of new records, SMCM swimming closes one successful season while optimistically looking forward to the next. A new class of rising seniors, such as Lilley and Burgess, carries the potential for yet another winning season towards the CAC title.

Men's Basketball

With the end of the regular season behind them and the Captial Athletic Conference (CAC) regular season title under their belts, St. Mary’s College Men’s basketball has now turned its sights on the upcoming post-season Conference playoffs. The Seahawks, who encountered a difficult start to the year quickly recovered, finishing at the top of the conference with a 20-4 season record.

“The season has been a huge turn-around since the beginning,” said Junior Captain Troy Spurrier. “At the beginning of the year we were still figuring out the team chemistry with all the new players that came in, but it soon came together, and we have been playing some solid basketball as a whole.”

Senior Captain MacGyver Biniak was quick to echo praise for the team’s cohesiveness. “The season has been long and hard, but it’s been nice to see how far we have come,” said Biniak. “Our team has grown so much these last few months. It’s been a battle all season, but winning the regular season title helps to show how hard we have worked.”

Another successful regular season has provided the Seahawks with the confidence necessary to begin their post-season campaign, as well as some notoriety. On the return trip to their hotel following their Februrary 21st win at Southern Virginia University, the team bus became stuck in the snow at the bottom of a hill. In an effort reported by NBC news, the team was able to push the bus back up to the top.

“After the game, we all hopped on the bus and were getting ready to head back to the hotel, and the wheels of the bus started spinning,” said Spurrier. “We all just stopped and looked at each other saying, ‘uh-oh’…It was a big group effort and we were able to push the bus the remainder of the hill to the top where it was flat. It was definitely an experience I won’t forget.”

Biniak also noted the effort and sense of comradery during their trip to SVU: “It’s funny, having to push the bus just shows how tight we are as a team. These guys are my brothers and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Our season’s not over yet, and hopefully we have a lot more games left in this season.”

As the Seahawks open their playoff campaign against Christopher Newport University, the team looks to carry its momentum and collective strength over from the regular season. When reflecting upon their experiences as a team both on and off the field, one thing becomes clear: it will be tough stopping the Seahawks from getting where they want to go.