Rhode Island College fall sports preview: women’s cross country

Jake Elmslie  – Sports Editor

Rhode Island College’s women’s cross country is not a team hurting for talent. In 2017, their second year under head coach Tim Rudd the team finished 3rd in the Little East Conference, the best finish for RIC in ten years. RIC was lead by three top ten finishers in the championship race, highlighted by the individual conference champion and Little East rookie of the year Shayna Cousineau. The team also got strong contributions from returning seniors Margaret McCaffrey and Rebecca Meinertz who finished 7th and 8th in the conference championship respectively.

New to the team is freshman recruit Madisen Martin out of Old Rochester Regional High School in Plymouth County Massachusetts. Coach Rudd has high expectations for Martin, who he believes will quickly establish herself as a top four runner on the team and has the potential to finish top ten in the conference by seasons end.

In the Little East the Cross Country Conference Championship teams are scored based on the finishing position of their top five runners. As such a teams 5th runner is often crucial in determining their place in the standings. Coach Rudd understands this fact and has a group of athletes he believes have the potential to fill the role. This group includes senior Laura Paiva who finished 5th for the team last year, sophomore Bryana Mullin and junior Nicole Grammas. This will be Grammas’s first time running cross country, however she was the conference champion in the 600 meters during the indoor track season and Coach Rudd believes her talent will translate.

RIC is hosting the Conference Championship this season at Bryant University’s facilities and Coach Rudd believes the Little East is prime for the taking. As previously mentioned, the Anchorwomen’s top three  runners from last season are all returning, this however isn’t the case for their biggest competitors. Last year’s champion Eastern Connecticut State University only has one of their top three runners returning and the 2017 runner up Plymouth State University also lost one of their top finishers. For these reasons as well as RIC’s wealth of talent the Anchorwomen are considered a strong favorite this season to win the Little East.

The first meet of the season for RIC took place on September 15th. Before the meet Coach Rudd stated that he believed the race would “be a good indicator for who ran over the summer and who didn’t also it’ll help us gage what has to be done and what improvements have to be made to reach our  ultimate goal.”

 

Rhode Island College fall sports preview: men’s cross country

Jake Elmslie  – Sports Editor

Coach Tim Rudd is a busy man. He’s in the midst of coaching a Rhode Island College women’s cross country team poised for a Little East Conference Championship run, he has a newborn baby girl at home and as of last fall he’s been tasked with resurrecting the RIC men’s cross country team. When Coach Rudd took over the team last fall they had only four runners, below even the minimum requirement of five needed to get a score at the conference championship. However by the time the championship meet rolled around RIC’s roster had grown to the point that they were able to compete in the race, albeit finishing last in the conference.

Coach Rudd believes the team can improve on last season’s finish with his goal being for RIC to finish in the middle of the pack in the Little East. To achieve this goal, Coach Rudd plans for the Anchormen to lean heavily on Raffaelo Manzo, whom he believes is the best runner on the team. Manzo, a sophomore out of North Smithfield was named a captain in only his second year on the team. Coach Rudd has high hopes for the athlete, believing he has a chance to finish the season as a top ten runner in the conference.

Also returning to the team are Andre Solomon-Messier, a sophomore out of North Providence High and Jeffery Garson, a senior out of Cumberland High School. Coach Rudd is going to be looking for Garson to provide leadership to the young team, showing the team the proper work ethic for both workouts and races.

Coach Rudd believes that this rebuilding process should take around three to five years. He thinks that this is roughly the amount of time it will take for the RIC program to get the point where they’re a top three threat in the Little East.

The men’s cross country season began saturday, September 15th with the first of four regular season meets. Rhode Island College will host the Little East Conference Championship on October 27th at the facilities at Bryant University.

 

The MLB’s unpredictable September

Joshua Percy – Anchor Contributor

Major League Baseball is widely seen as a “boring” and “non-interesting” sport in today’s age. However, in a time where the MLB needs a spark to their league, they enter September with the potential for a crazy finish to the 2018 season.

In the American League, the Boston Red Sox hold strong at the top of the league with 101 wins. They hold an 9.5 game lead on the New York Yankees for the best record in the American League East.  The Red Sox still have three games against Cleveland, and six games against Yankees, two of their biggest competitors in the American League. While the Red Sox’s lead seems large, a high number of games against the top teams in the American League will force them to continue to try and compete as the regular season winds down.

Staying in the American League, the Astros have two important series left. Three games against Seattle and three games against Arizona. Oakland on the other hand, has a weak schedule with Seattle being the only potential playoff team left on their schedule. Houston has a 2.5 game lead on Oakland in the American League West. While New York and Oakland may not win their divisions, they are still battling for home field in the one game wild card game. New York only holds a one game lead over Oakland for home field in the wild card game.

The National League is where things are even more unpredictable. In the National League East the Atlanta Braves hold a 7.5 game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies. The Braves still have three games left against the Nationals and seven game left against the Phillies. The NL East could easily come down to the final games of the season.

The NL Central leading Cubs have a 1.5 game lead on the Milwaukee Brewers and a 5.5 game lead on the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs have 11 games left against the Central division, including Cardinals and Brewers.

The NL West leading Colorado Rockies have a half game lead against the Los Angeles Dodgers and 3.5 game lead against the Arizona Diamondbacks. This division is where things could get crazy, the Diamondbacks have seven games left against the Rockies and three games left against the Dodgers. the Dodgers have six games left against the Rockies and three games left against Arizona. 13 of the Rockies last 23 games are against the Dodgers and Diamondbacks.

The NL Wild card race is crowded. The Brewers and the Cardinals are currently the two teams set for wild card action, however, there are three teams within 4.5 games. The Dodgers are one game back, The Diamondbacks are three games back and the Phillies are 4.5 games back in the wild card race. In the National League there are five teams that could realistically get two wild card spots, all five teams play crucial games against one another in the season’s final month.

This level of unpredictability should lead to a crazy MLB finish that should give fans a reason to watch as some fan favorite teams are surely to collapse while other rise above the challenge to push to the MLB playoffs.

 

The toxic culture of the NCAA

Jake Elmslie  – Sports Editor

In 2017, the NCAA surpassed $1 billion in revenue for the first time in the organization’s history. The year before, nearly the entire Baylor University football power structure alongside the school’s president were ousted after nearly half a decade of sexual assault allegations; previously hidden by the school’s administration came to light. In 2017, the horrific and numerous acts of sexual assault committed by Larry Nassar in his time as a doctor for Michigan State gymnastics came to light. Within the last three months, copious amounts of evidence have come out pointing to the idea that Ohio State University head football coach Urban Meyer as well as the school’s athletic department were aware of domestic abuse being committed by assistant coach Zach Smith against his then wife, Courtney, for nearly a decade. Said assistant remained on Meyer’s staff until reports of these domestic incidents surfaced in July.

In each of these cases, the NCAA handed down no punishment. The NCAA has very few rules that would actually allow it to punish athletic programs for incidents involving violence against women. In the wake of the Penn State child sexual abuse scandal, the NCAA and the schools it governs had the opportunity to institute such rules, all parties chose not to.

Within the same time frame as these incidents, no NCAA athlete has legally received payment for their labors. No NCAA athlete has legally been able to use their own likeness for profit. The NCAA  holds up the concept of amateurism as an ideal that it stringently enforces. While Baylor University and Michigan State face no penalties for their respective scandals, athletic departments have been fined by the organization for infractions as small as a coach buying an athlete lunch.  

It is difficult to pinpoint which level this organizational negligence towards violence against women stems from. Does it come from coaches willing to cover up the crimes of their own players and staff members? Does it come from university administrators more concerned with protecting their school’s image and by extension profitability even when it comes at the expense of victims of abuse? Or perhaps it comes from the leadership of the NCAA, an organization seemingly more concerned with upholding the vestige of amateurism; an ideal that has been discarded by virtually every other significant governing body in sports worldwide. Regardless of the identity of the prime culprit it is obvious that an imbalance exists in the heavy-handed way in which the NCAA handles frivolous infractions versus the almost complete lack of institutional action when it comes to matters involving the abuse of women.

The answer for why this type of culture persists may simply lie in the coffers of college sports governing body. However in an age where our society’s tolerance for violence against women continues to decline, we must ask if a governing body that through it’s own inaction in many ways enables such crimes should be permitted to exist in its current form regardless of profit.

 

Rhode Island College fall sports preview: women’s soccer

Jake Elmslie  – Sports Editor

Christina Pirri has had much of her adult life defined by Rhode Island College women’s soccer. She started her career as a student-athlete at RIC in 2006 and after her graduation in 2010 joined the program as an assistant coach. She served in that role for another 5 years before finally, in 2015, becoming the head coach of the team. In her time as a player Coach Pirri was a part of the winningest team in RIC’s history and as such has an understanding of what it takes to succeed.  

According to Coach Pirri the women’s soccer team is in the fourth year of what she’s defined as a rebuild. In her first year leading the team they won a measly three games. Since then they’ve reached the playoffs in back to back seasons, however, a postseason victory still eludes the team. Pirri hopes that the 2018 season will serve as the culmination of this rebuild and explained that “this is the first year I’ve felt like this is my team we’ve had four years of recruiting and we’ve built up a strong foundation in terms of skill.”

As she’s rebuilt the program Coach Pirri has focused on recruitment, culture and improving the teams skills. Immediately after taking over the program Coach Pirri turned her attention to resurrecting recruitment efforts at RIC that had died down in the years prior. Through this labor Coach Pirri has built up a core group of seniors and juniors that she hopes will lead the team to postseason success, a core that includes senior captains Brittany DeGrooth and Leah Gravel among  seven other returning starters from 2017.

Over the last three years Coach Pirri has also worked to build up the skill level of the team. At the beginning of her tenure the team mainly employed a simple kick and run style of play. However after years of emphasising fundamentals and in her own words “the aspects of good soccer” the team now implements much more advanced concepts into their play style.

Finally Coach Pirri has worked to shift the culture of the program. This has included encouraging the atmosphere to be more competitive, instilling a sense of pride in the program and setting firm expectations for both individual players and the team as a whole. Also key has been an emphasis on individual responsibility and effort with Coach Perri believing that “effort is something that can’t be taught it’s something that has to be brought by each team member on a game to game basis.”

The women’s soccer season is already underway with the team holding a 1-2 record as of the writing of this article. When asked why RIC students should be excited about the team, Coach Pirri explained that “team is trying to create a new legacy for women’s soccer, we want to be a team RIC students can be proud of.” The team’s next home game will be on September 11th when the Anchorwomen face off against Bridgewater State University.

 

Rhode Island College fall sports preview: Men’s soccer

Jake Elmslie  – Sports Editor

A year after coming up short in the Little East Conference Finals, Rhode Island College’s men’s soccer team under the stewardship of John Mello is looking to return to the championship game and avenge their 1-0 loss. The team playing for RIC this season is going to look a bit different from the one that shared the Little East regular season championship a season ago with some key components from last year’s team having earned their bachelor’s degree and moved onto the next stage of their lives. Among these BA holders are last year’s Little East Defensive Player of the Year Ekunabe Seye and All New England forward Komla Dogbey who was described by Coach Mello as “one of the best forwards to ever play for RIC.”

RIC has a strong returning core of players which is highlighted by senior captain Dennis Vazques who earned an All New England Selection last season for his play at midfield. One of the players who will be working with Vazques in the midfield will be Ghana born Hope High School alumni Kossivi Dogbey, brother of Komala. Also returning is second year goalkeeper Charles Tashjian who is looking to build on a strong first season and rounds out the group of seven returning starters from the 2017 team.

Coach Mello highlighted freshmen forwards Brandon Ramos of Dorchester Massachusetts and Jonathan Olivera out of Classical High School as players to watch.  Both are starters for the team with Ramos having scored in each of the team’s first two games.

RIC was ranked #3 in the Little East preseason rankings below Umass Boston at #2 and last year’s champions, Western Connecticut State University at #1. According to Coach Mello “the team is young and inexperienced and we have a lot of new players to work in but our expectation is always to win the Little East. Our conference is very tough but we want to improve each week.”

When asked about key home games on the schedule Coach Mello signaled out the September 29th contest against Keene State and the October 20th game against UMass Boston as high leverage games for the Anchormen.

The men’s soccer team’s season is already underway with the team holding a 1-1-1 record as of the writing of this article. The team’s next home game will come on September 15th when the Anchormen face off against the University of Southern Maine. When asked why RIC students should invest in the team this season Coach Mello said that “the team is successful, we have a good bunch of guys and we’re always fighting for a championship.”

 

Women’s Basketball face No. 1 seed in Little East Tournament

Enrique Castaneda-Pineda-Sports Editor

This week in Women’s basketball, the Little East Conference (LEC) Tournament began, and Rhode Island College faced No. 1 seed UMass Dartmouth.

As the eighth seed in the tournament, RIC had to face UMass Dartmouth, a team who has dominated the season with a 23-3 record. The Anchorwomen have faced them on two different occasions, losing both of those regular season games.

UMass Dartmouth took control of the game right out of the gate, reaching a lead of 11 points in the first quarter. After recovering from the offense, the first quarter ended with RIC trailing by eight points. The second quarter began with a turnover and a foul by RIC, giving UMass Dartmouth an opening to continue growing their lead. Three layups and a three-pointer by UMass Dartmouth gave them an almost 20-point lead as the first half of play ended.

Down by 19, the Anchorwomen tried to regroup as they fought to bring their score up, but their opponent’s offense could not be stopped, and they ended the third with a 24 point deficit. By the final quarter, and hope of an upset and comeback had diminished. The fire within the team was extinguished as UMass Dartmouth continued their assault to secure their first win of the tournament. RIC would fall 78-49.

Ornela Livramento led the team with a total of 16 points, including eight rebounds, four assists and four steals. Brooke Young added 10 points to the totals along with four rebounds, while Jessa Rubera recorded seven points and three rebounds. RIC shot 28 percent in the field while their opponents had 58 percent from the field.   

As the Anchorwomen finish another season, the team has a lot of young talent with only three upperclassmen, two of whom will be graduating. The team finished with a 9-17 record as they head into the offseason.

Men’s Basketball season ends with Little East Tournament loss

Enrique Castaneda-Pineda-Sports Editor

This week marked the end of the Men’s basketball season as they faced the No. 3 seed UMass Boston. Ending with an 8-17 regular season record, RIC secured the No. 6 seed, while UMass Boston finished the season with a 15-10 record to secure the No. 3 seed.

RIC has faced UMass Boston as a Little East Conference (LEC) competitor twice this season, losing both games, with one of the games ending with a difference of only one point. RIC looked to overcome the higher seed to further advance in the Little East Conference Tournament.

UMass Boston started the game off with a bang as they fired a three-point shot to snatch the lead. Fortunately for RIC, it would be their only lead of the first half as Adham Floyd responded with back-to-back threes of his own. The Anchormen quickly ran off with the lead, with points coming from all over the court. Malcolm Smith scored 11 of his 18 points in the first half. RIC led by as many as 13 points near the end of the first half, but UMass Boston came back to bring RIC’s lead to seven.

In the second half, with RIC leading 31-24, they were looking to hold onto that lead. However, after the Anchormen struggled to score, it took UMass Boston just over four minutes to retake the lead. After a couple of lead changes, UMass Boston fought with all their offensive power to maintain the lead, as RIC came close to retaking it. It would not be enough, as RIC would lose by six, 73-67.

Adham Floyd led the team, scoring 21 points with seven rebounds, while Malcolm Smith added 18 points to the totals and grabbed six rebounds. Justin Campbell contributed 12 points with four rebounds. Finally, CJ Donaldson had seven points in the game, with 10 assists and four rebounds.

The team ends the season with an 8-18 record and a 5-9 LEC record. As the team enters the offseason, its young roster will prepare for the next season, losing graduating seniors Roosevelt Shider and Malcolm Smith.

Senior Otis breaks Gymnastics beam record

Tim Caplan-Distribution Manager

On Saturday, Feb. 17, the Rhode Island College Gymnastics team traveled to New York to compete against their National Gymnastics Collegiate Association (National Gymnastics Collegiate Association) East rival SUNY Brockport.

The RIC gymnastics team entered the competition on Saturday with a season record of 0-6, looking to get their first win of the year and in the conference. Injuries have hindered the team all season.

Senior Ali Otis of Windham, New Hampshire broke the Rhode Island College record for the beam, set in 2004 by Caren Normandin (9.550) with a 9.575. The Anchor caught up with Otis for her thoughts on breaking the school record.

“It’s just a really great feeling to have finally broken the record after all the hard work and being so close. It is also such a gratifying feeling to have done it in my senior year and to end my gymnastics career on such a high note.”

Freshman Christa Vaccaro of Winthrop, Mass. scored a 9.600 on the vault. This score tied the record for third highest vault score in RIC history. Junior Miranda Murphy of Lansdale, Pennsylvania placed first in the all-around competition with a score of 35.225, and freshman Kaela Skerl of Albuquerque, New Mexico finished second in the all around.  

Unfortunately, Women’s gymnastics would lose to Brockport, 189.500-177.075.

RIC gymnastics will continue their conference action on February 25th at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY. The team only has two more competitions before the NGCA Eastern Regional Championships, and then the National Championships held on March 23-24 at Springfield College.

Women’s Basketball defeats Western Connecticut with season-high 91 points

Enrique Castaneda-Pineda-Sports Editor

The Women’s basketball team had an arduous week, facing opponents four times. They faced Western Connecticut and Plymouth State away, while hosting UMass Dartmouth and Lasell College back-to-back.

They started off the week right was a huge win against Western Connecticut, a team RIC lost to in a close contest just a month earlier. This time was different, as the Anchorwomen came out of the gate swinging, taking the lead early in the first quarter and refusing to let off the accelerator. Within the first minute of the second quarter, the team built to a 10-point lead, and RIC’s score would only go up from there. The points piled on with a 16-point lead at the half, and they would take that lead into the final stretch of the game to clinch their 91-66 win. The team lead by as many as 32 points in the game, with Jessica Brielmaier at the front, scoring a total of 17 points, including eight rebounds and a block. Brooke Young and Jessa Rubera were close behind scoring 16 and 15 points, respectively. Young would also add 12 rebounds to the stat sheet, while Rubera contributed with five assists. Finally, Ornela Livramento scored 12 points with five rebounds and eight assists in the win. This win would finally break a 10-game losing streak, as the Anchorwomen moved on hoping to build on this success.

The team returned home to face No. 1 UMass Dartmouth, hoping for better results than their last matchup. This game showed some changes in the defense as they managed to hold UMass Dartmouth to 61 points, compared to the 89 points of their last meeting. Unfortunately, there was not enough of an offensive presence from RIC to topple their opponents. Young led the team with 12 points, meanwhile Livramento scored 11 points, but with a game-high 14 rebounds. Maintaining a lead for a miniscule amount of time, RIC would lose the game 45-61.

As the last home game of the regular season, the team celebrated Senior Day as they faced off against Lasell. The seniors being honored included Amber DeCristofaro and Jessa Rubera. Livramento took charge during the game, scoring a career-high 26 points to push the Anchorwomen forward. Young held her own with 11 points and eight rebounds. The team gained the lead in the beginning of the match and never looked back, leading by as much as 17 points in the fourth quarter. Lasell tried to mount a comeback, but it was too much of a gap to overcome as RIC took the win 58-51.

Finally, RIC traveled to face off against Plymouth State in their last game of the regular season. Livramento, once again, led the team, as she recorded a double-double with 10 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and three steals. Young left everything out on the court, scoring a career-high 18 points, with seven rebounds, two assists and four steals. Rubera added to the total with 12 points, as Sierra Stewart added six points of her own, along with six rebounds. Both teams went back and forth, and RIC went into the final quarter down only two points. However, they were not able to continue their offensive push, and Plymouth State held on to win 61-51.

The team is now heading away to face No. 1 UMass Dartmouth in the beginning of the Little East Conference (LEC) Tournament. The team ended the season with a overall record of 9-16, while having a LEC record of 2-12.