Cougar Tennis Spring Break Report: The Week That was in Hilton Head, S.C.

ImageThe Week That was in Hilton Head, S.C.

Saturday March 15, 2014 – I really don’t like traveling.

Sunday – even though it was our first full day on the island, we still managed to wake up early for a church service. The greatest part about being there was how welcoming they were to a group of tennis players from Sioux Falls, SD (we received at least 3 public announcements to the congregation of our arrival.) After church was the second annual brunch at Skillet’s Café followed by a nice long practice where we were not only able to play outside for the first time in months, but also eaten alive by bugs. Some of us (mostly Coach) have bodies that look like we have the chicken pox.

Monday – today was the only day we were scheduled to have an early match (8 a.m.). Thankfully we were rained out and allowed to go back to bed (don’t worry though, we rescheduled the match for later in the week). It literally rained all day. I don’t think there was one point in time during the day where it wasn’t raining. So we decided that this would be a good day to make our annual shopping day at the outlet stores. Some of us bought a little more then we should have (our suitcases are already a little too full to begin with but…oh well!). The rest of the night we sat in our condo and played a very lively card game taught to us by Coach T. It definitely was the most I laughed while on the trip.

Tuesday – when we woke up Tuesday morning it was still raining. However it cleared up by about noon (yes we did wake up before noon most days). Some of us ventured out to the beach and others went to the hot tub. There wasn’t a whole lot we did before our match at 6:30 because we wanted to save our energy for our matches! After a very nice victory at The Beach and Tennis Resort, we celebrated our win (and Stacey Beard’s birthday) with dinner at the Hilton Head Diner, and yes I did have a milkshake. :)

Wednesday – today was a lot like Tuesday where we just relaxed and did our own thing before the match. Some of us rented bikes for the day, others walked to the beach, and others went and shopped at the stores by the beach. Although we lost our match today, we still feasted like champions. Morgan’s brother, former USF tennis player, AJ, prepared a wonderful meal for all of us players and our parents. Pulled pork tacos weren’t something I expected to try on this trip but I certainly did like them (and had quite a few!)

ImageThursday – today was supposed to be our day to be free to roam the island but since we got rained out on Monday, we rescheduled our match for today. We all agreed that we wanted to play at 8 a.m. instead of later in the day because today was supposed to be the nicest day of the week and we wanted to be able to spend as much time as we could getting our tan on at the beach and playing sand volleyball. Did I mention that we did that on Wednesday too? We played a team of cheerleaders (both male and female) from New Jersey and definitely kicked their butt. We had a rematch today and held our title of champions. Some of us got a little redder then we expected (the sun was out but it definitely didn’t seem like we would get burned as bad as we did.) After volleyball and our beach outing we met back together for our annual team mini golf. Teams were broken up into grade levels. I’m assuming that us seniors won because we had the most experience, but I never actually found out who won. Besides, it’s about having fun and Coach buys both the winners and losers ice cream afterwards anyways (although we didn’t do that until Saturday). Anyways, after golf we arrived back at the resort with a wonderful dinner prepared for us by Stacey’s parents. Our families joined us again because there was a lot of food that needed to be eaten.

Friday – our last day here :( and it turned out to be a pretty great day. We got to sleep in until our match at 12:30 p.m. We played a team from South Carolina that was in Hilton Head for the weekend. We ended up winning 6-3. Once we were finished it was time to shower and get ready for our “formal” dinner at the Crazy Crab.  Just in case you ever plan on going there, go very hungry because you will leave incredibly stuffed. It turned out to be a really great night; all the girls got dressed up and we took some team pictures out by some very expensive yachts and left before more bugs could eat us up.

ImageSaturday – I hate traveling. But I love my team and we had a great week.

Thanks for reading,

Molly Seigenthaler
USF Tennis Senior

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Cougars Show Fight in Florida

ImageThe first day in Florida for us, the Cougars, couldn’t have been any better! Being able to play in such beautiful weather is a blessing. When we got to the fields, the games were a little behind so we were eagerly waiting for our time to step on the field to show how hard we’ve worked. The first game went well and we earned our first win of the week. The second game however, was the game that truly showed what our team was made of. We were down five runs and had no energy. Most teams in this situation would give up because it’s easier, but my team, the USF softball team fought hard to come back. It was the seventh inning, tied game, and the other team was up to bat with a girl on the third. A ball was hit foul, I caught it and threw it home and with the tag we got her out! Our energy was out of this world. With our team being aggressive a t the plate we did what we had to do to win our game. It took every single person on our team for us to win that game. I couldn’t be more proud of the team we have become.  

 

–Erin Scott
Junior Outfielder

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Post Championship Thoughts

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Shock, astonishment, joy, pure happiness; are some of the emotions that came over me last night, but those emotions were the opposite of what I felt two months ago.  January 11, 2014 I competed in the first seasonal meet of my senior year. I was so excited! I was competing in the Pole vault and other events and I was ready for the competition to begin. I had a successful meet and even qualified for nationals in the pole vault, but I left with pain in my foot. I found out, the next week, that I had a stress fracture and they take four to six weeks to heal. I was bummed! This year I would do great things by impacting other teams with God’s love. How was I supposed to accomplish any goals while injured? I was devastated, but not downtrodden. I qualified for nationals and I was going to do everything I could to stay in shape so that I could come back and compete well.

After weeks of swimming, drills, and a lot of time in the training room all led up to Nationals. I put on my spikes on my feet for the first time since January and I was ready to go. I was a little nervous but knew that I could not let the nerves hold me back but I would allow them to fuel my determination to compete the best of my ability that God has blessed me with.  After the first couple attempts heights I was a worried about how I would do. They weren’t the prettiest or the best form but I was over. In the middle of competition I prayed that I would be able to reflect God’s love no matter how well I did. I jumped over 12’ 11” and was very happy and cheered on my competitors, as they had cheered me on.  None made it over with me. I jumped alone at 13’3” while there was still one competitor left. I had some good jumps but I did not clear the height. I knew I would be second to the girl coming in.

While she warmed up and jumped I talk to my coach and another coach and I was happy with my most-likely second place honor. I was thankful and content for 2nd. I could not have asked for a better place, after not competing for two months. Then the unthinkable happened. My competitor missed all three jumps at her starting height. She no heighted. “You just won!” I could not believe it. It is not how I thought I would win but I came, I jumped, I competed. That morning I posted 2 Corinthians 12:9 to my facebook. It reads

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

 It has been my verse for the last year. I knew going into the meet that I could not compete without God by my side. I would not have been National Champion without his strength and love during the injury. It was God who gave me my pole vault ability, it is God who strengthened me in hardship and it is God who continues to bless me. Praise the Lord for he is GOOD.

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-Brigitte Gross

 

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Day Before Nationals

Today is the day before Nationals.  Many miles, workouts, and sacrifices…and now we are at the pinnacle – the peak that we have all dreamed of.  After a good sleep, we ate some lunch at Applebee’s…lot’s of pasta so that we can carbo-load.  Then we went to the track and got an easy run in and worked on handoffs.  A three mile easy day…but tomorrow my race will only last 3/4ths of a mile.  Then I will leave the baton in the hands of my teammates and ultimately in the hands of God.  What legacy will we leave?  What are God’s plans for us, and how can we achieve and fulfill them?  God can do amazing things through successes and failures, so we are going to do our best and see what happens! 
 

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Billy Brockmueller
 
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On the Way to Nationals

Just arrived in Omaha! We are having some wholesome team bonding which includes the women getting snippy about snacks, and the men nipping at the ankles of innocent bystanders. Much excitement rises from the belly of the very hungry athletes. We sit listening to the stories of how Pokemon dawned in the world of where Ash Catchem is the Pokemon master. The dim lighting and the nearly vacant airport allow us to relay our thought and fantasize of the upcoming nationals meet we have worked so hard towards, then all of the thoughts vanish due to the rumbling tummies of the starved athletes.  We are hungry for nationals!

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-Scott Greenman and Tanner Townsend


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Cougar Softball Update

B ThomasThis past Tuesday we traveled down to Nebraska to play Chadron State College and we walked off the field with two wins against the Eagles. The first game was 11-0 and the second game was 9-7. We knew coming into the games that finishing every play and never settling was vital. Coach Thompson always tells us to “never settle” and we didn’t take off a single play. We weren’t about to let Chadron College take away a win from us.

Some teams never acquire the proper chemistry that it takes to have a successful season, but I believe our team has all the right elements to achieve what we believe this year. We have a very hard-working, close knit and positive team. One thing that anyone who watches us practice or play can tell is that we play for each other and not ourselves. Our coaches have physically and mentally prepared us for our season and what is to come. We leave for Clermont, Florida on the 14th and we couldn’t be more excited about the trip. As of right now, Florida is what we are working towards. It’s a privilege to be given this opportunity and we need to take full advantage of it. Down in Florida, we will be playing a lot of consecutive games, but we are ready for the challenge. We hope to have a lot of support this year and we can’t wait to see what our season brings us.

Thanks for reading,

Betsy Thomas
Cougar Softball

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Bailey Bouman on NSIC Tournament

Senior forward Bailey Bouman stops by to talk about the NSIC Tournament so far.  Bailey is an Exercise Science major from Pipestone, Minn. who has played in 112 games in her four years with the Cougar program. This season, Bailey is averaging 4.7 points and 2.0 rebounds for the Cougars while also hitting 33 shots from behind the arc.

“Well this week has been one exciting one for the USF Women’s basketball team! We started with going down to St. Cloud and pulling the upset of beating them in their house where they have only been beaten twice this year…well three times now : )  Friday we had a great time visiting Laura B. Anderson Elementary School where each player was assigned to a classroom for an hour and just got to hang out with the kids and let them ask questions, read stories, get autographs and everything. It was a really fun experience to see how excited all these young kids were to meet us and hang out. We got asked about every question you could imagine from how tall you are to what our favorite color is. I was in room 102 which was a class of 1st graders and they were awesome! So polite and eager to talk with me and tell their own personal stories, it’s something that I will never forget.”

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“Today we take on Wayne State, an opponent that we have played twice this year already. The team is very excited to get another shot at the Wildcats to show what we can do. It is also very nice to be able to play the NSIC tournament at the Pentagon here in Sioux Falls. For us, we get to sleep in our own beds and do not have to live out of our duffel bags and be in another hotel. It’s like having a home game, and we are hoping since the games are right here that we will get a somewhat good fan base from all of our students! We would love to see as many USF fans as we can out there to get the Pentagon rockin!”

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The Beginning of the End of My USF Career

ImageThe first month of 2014 has already passed with a flash. Usually college students are quite elated when interim session flies by because it means that they are that much closer to summer. I admit, I used to be one of those students, checking off the days of the New Year and longing for school to be over. My outlook this year, however, has changed quite drastically. That is because after this spring semester is finished, I have to enter the real world. Now I’m not talking about, “seven strangers picked to live in a house” real world…  I’m talking about the bustling, fast-pace, dog-eat-dog world of adulthood. After graduation there will be no more interesting class sessions, no more college benefits, and certainly no more of that handy money from mom and dad. But in my eyes, none of that really matters, because the end of school this year marks the end of the one thing that has been my constant love throughout my 21 years of life: softball. It may be hard for some people to fathom that a leather-bound, highlighter-colored ball could mean so much to someone, but it is all I’ve ever known. The thing is, it’s not just Imagea ball. It’s a place where I have made countless friendships that will last a lifetime. It’s a commitment that has tested not only my athletic abilities, but my mental and emotional capacities as well. Most of all, softball is one of the vital factors that has molded me into the driven, loving person that I am. So the truth is, no, I’m not counting down the days this year because I never want them to end. I want the company of my teammates, the thrill of the game, and even the grass stains to last forever. But since I don’t know any magic genies and I’m not Harry Potter, I can’t actually make that wish come true. I can, however, finish my last softball season with a bang by being the best leader and player I can be for my team. I know the Cougar softball program is going to make all of USF proud this year because I have already seen the vast potential of what we can do. I see it every day in the faces of my admirable teammates and coaches that I have had the absolute pleasure of working with. So to all of my USF colleagues, athletes or not, I urge you to take hold of every moment that the rest of 2014 and life has to offer, because you never know when the clock will run out on the things you love most.

Thank you for reading and GO COUGARS!!

Kellen Dewey

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The Polar Vortex

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Rutherford finished the fall portion of the NSIC women’s golf championships in a tie for 4th place overall and looks to move up the leaderboard this spring.

Being a native of California, I’ve never had to worry about grabbing an extra coat to walk outside or to check the weather before I planned an outfit. Coming back to the tundra that is Sioux Falls, this interim has been intense. My first day back it was forty degrees below zero with wind chill. Yes, you read that right. I left sixty-degree weather in Bakersfield and returned to negative forty. If you are a math nerd like me, that’s a hundred degree difference. I didn’t even know that was possible. Before I got to Sioux Falls, I never had to worry about discontinuing my golf season because of snow. I’ve never had to hit into a net or putt on a fake surface as an alternative to practicing outside.

But, here at USF we have really great facilities that allow my teammates and I to keeping practicing during the winter months in the artic that is Sioux Falls. In our very own Stewart Center, we have a huge inflatable golf specific net that three people can hit into at the same time. Out at the SFC “bubble”, we can fine-tune our short games by chipping into targets and manipulate various different types of putts. We are also blessed to be able to use the Avera Dome, which is a 60-yard hitting facility to master all aspects of our game. I’m going to be honest; it does suck not to be able to see your ball flight especially when you are going through a swing change. It is definitely a challenge trying to get better at my sport when it’s impossible to practice five months out of the year because of weather. Also, mats don’t respond the same as actual grass, so re-teaching yourself how to hit off of then can get tricky sometimes. I am very lucky, however, that I get to go home for winter break and have the ability to practice and play outside. I’ve come to realize that I appreciate the ability to practice much more than I used to when I was younger. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing your ball fly in the air for it’s full distance straight to your target after you have been stuck inside for winter.

During our off-season, the golf team works very hard to prepare for the upcoming spring season. We enlist the help of Zach Mathers, Strength and Conditioning Coach, to prepare us mentally and physically for whatever we may face on and off the course. We work out three times a week. It does consist of some early mornings, but we are dedicated to being the best that we can be. As well as workouts, my interim consists of one class, work, and skill instruction. We also get in at least three hours of practice a week. Interim is a great time for us to make the necessary changes to improve our games. I am very excited to see what’s in store and I am ready for the challenges that we must face in the next few months. We will continue to work hard indoors until the snow melts, then it’s go time and our season is just around the corner.

Stay tuned, Sioux Falls.

 

Until next time,

Tavia Rutherford

 

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Looking ahead to my senior baseball season

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Fall baseball at the collegiate level is a grind.  Managing time between class and baseball becomes a very important skill as student athletes are expected to perform on the field at a high level, but their first priority is to maintain a steady progression in the classroom.

This year was no exception, and to make things more interesting, 17 new guys were thrown into the mix.  You never really know how the freshmen will adapt to the new challenging lifestyle, but our young guys have exceeded my expectations.  The competition and intensity they bring to every practice is essential to the development of our team.  Don’t be surprised if you see a few freshmen in the starting lineup this year, because there is depth at every position fully capable of earning a spot.

The fall is when we make sure there is a high focus level, and we make an emphasis to keep high energy to prepare for a long season with 50 games on the schedule. Cuts and relays, bunt plays, signs, and other important details of the game are a big part of success during the season, and keeping busy with them in the fall is essential to playing well.

When it got a little too chilly for us to be outside, we moved indoors for workouts and with Coach Steffen.  The work he does is tremendous for our team as a group, and it should keep the entire squad at a durable and conditioned.

It was sad walking away from Harmodon Field with the rest of the seniors, and it gave us a chance to look back at all the sprints, frustration, exhaustion, camaraderie, friendship, and triumph that we have experienced over the last four years.  If this fall is any indication of how our season is going to be, we have a lot to look forward to in 2014.

- Dylan Dwyer

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