Thursday, September 27, 2012

Marshall Swimming and Diving ready for the West Virginia Games

The Marshall University Swimming and Diving team will begin its 2012-13 season Oct. 12 when it hosts the West Virginia Games.  The Herd will be one among five other state schools competing for the title within the walls of the Frederick A. Fitch Natatorium.  With the addition of a new head coach, a new assistant coach and eight new freshmen, this new assemblage will soon be put to the test.

Sarah Kay, Cape Town, South Africa, a Marshall standout in the 200-yard Butterfly, will arrive this fall for her junior year debut.  Kay said she is excited about the changes of new coaches and mind-set they bring to the team.
“The environment around the pool is extremely professional,” Kay said. “We are being treated like a big school’s Division I swim program.”
New coach Bill Tramel accepted the position as head coach at Marshall after two decades of NCAA Division I program involvement, including coaching the 2011-12 Minnesota Golden Gopher women to a Big Ten Conference title and 11th place NCAA Championships finish.
By adapting a similar attitude and with the guidance of Coach Tramel and his staff, Kay said she believes this year the team will be more prepared for the West Virginia Games than ever before. 
“The training platform that has been provided, the intensity in which we are being made to train, and the new technique coaching we have been given will all be evident at these games.
Throughout the two-day event, Marshall will compete against Fairmont State, Davis and Elkins, West Virginia Wesleyan, Wheeling Jesuit, and last year’s event champion, West Virginia University.  As the West Virginia Games rapidly approach, Sophomore Kacey Preun, Manitoba, Canada, said she also believes her team is well prepared for its first races of the season.
“Since we arrived at school we have been working hard on all of our different strokes, technique on the strokes, breathing patterns, our turns and streamline off the walls,” Preun said.  “All of these are going to benefit us when it comes to racing because every little thing counts.”
The team works on other aspects of competition aside of a technical standpoint.  Preun, who holds several top 10 all-time Marshall performance records, said Coach Tramel has set high expectations for his team when it comes to efforts and attitudes. 
“As individuals I think he really wants us to fight for it when were in the pool; to not be afraid to race and give it all we've got.”
Last year the Herd captured a second place win at the West Virginia Games in Morgantown behind host West Virginia University.  Junior Victoria Mesner, Roanoke, Va., said that she thinks getting a chance to compete this event in their own pool this year will give them the upper hand.
“No one likes to lose in front of their friends and family,” Mesner said.  “With that being said, we definitely have the added advantage of being home and having our fans; it’s nice to stay in our own beds and stick with our normal routines and be fresh.”
Mesner said her and her teammates are anxious to get in the pool for the first time as a new group.  Fans can show their support at this year’s event in the Frederick A. Fitch Natatorium located in the Cam Henderson Center on the Marshall University campus Oct. 12-13.  The first race will begin Friday afternoon at four.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Marshall Swimming and Diving dive head first into a new season

The Marshall University swimming and diving team, under the guidance of its new coaching staff, will plunge into an event-filled agenda beginning with the new season. 
Following the West Virginia games, the Herd will have three consecutive home-dual matches.  Youngstown State will arrive at the Frederick A. Fitch Natatorium October 19 to start the season, followed by Radford University November 3.  Collectively Marshall is 20-0 in dual meets against these two regional opponents.  
To wrap up its season opening home stretch, the Herd will take on Vanderbilt Nov. 10.  Last season, the Commodores conquered the Herd in a five-meet series, winning their third and final meet in during the fifth encounter.
Head Coach Bill Tramel and his team will close out the fall by making the trip to Oxford, Ohio, for the three-day Miami University Invitational Nov. 29. 
Marshall will start off their 2013 season on the road in a three-day quad-meet with Xavier, Ball State and host IUPUI in Indianapolis, Ind. on Jan. 11.  Last fall the Herd finished just behind a first place Ball State in a six-team meet, but managed to take down Xavier respectively. 
Upon returning, Marshall will be visited by Ohio University Jan. 22 for its final home meet of the year.  Marshall has never defeated the Bobcats in ten all-time meetings, suffering a 154-78 loss their last encounter in January. 
The Herd will head to Lynchburg, Virginia, Jan. 26 to take on Liberty University.  Last year the Flames defeated the Herd at home in a heartbreaking six-point loss. 
To end the year’s regular season events, Marshall will meet Duquesne University away Feb. 2.  The Marshall swimming and diving team has not seen the Dukes since it made the trip to Pittsburgh in 2007, where the Dukes topped the Herd 117-88.
February 20 will be the start of the Conference USA Championships, which will be hosted in Houston, Texas this year.  Last year the Herd finished only fifth out of six teams in C-USA, despite a promising season record.  The proceeding NCAA Championships, held in Indianapolis, Ind., will take place from March 21-23.    
For more information on the Marshall University swimming and diving team, check out, the official site of Marshall Athletics.   

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What Else Awaits the Herd This Fall

Looking ahead into the fall, the Marshall University’s swimming and diving team under the guidance of its new coaching staff will plunge into an event-filled agenda. 
Following the West Virginia games, the Herd will have three consecutive home dual matches.  Youngstown State will arrive to the Frederick A. Fitch Natatorium on October 19 to start off the season, followed by Radford University on November 3.  Collectively Marshall is 20-0 in dual meets against these two regional opponents.
Marshall will then take on Vanderbilt November 10, concluding their season opening home stretch and leading into Thanksgiving break.  To close out the fall, Coach Tramel will take the Herd to the three-day Miami University Invitational in Oxford, Ohio on November 29. 

The Herd Swimming and Diving Team Welcomes New Coaching Staff

Looking at the Marshall University Swimming and Diving team back in March, certain factors would not have looked very promising.  Allegations of drug use followed by the abrupt resignations of head coach Russell Hunt left 27 female athletes abandoned, despite having their best winning season since joining Conference USA.  Today, as the upcoming 2012-2013 season approaches, it is safe to say that the program has made a ‘flip turn’ for the better.
Bill Tramel, 43, jumped on deck as Marshall University’s new swimming and diving coach in May of this year.  After two decades of NCAA Division I program involvement, including coaching the 2011-2012 Minnesota Golden Gopher women to a Big Ten Conference title and 11th place NCAA Championships finish, Tramel arrived in Huntington with high expectations.
“We’re going to work hard, and we’re going to be positive, but I’m coming there to win,” Tramel told HerdZone.  “I’m not coming to Marshall to babysit. We’re going to compete for the conference championship. That will be our first goal.”
Returning three-year head diving coach Jim Zagaria joined Tramel in the welcoming of the final addition to the Herd’s coaching staff, Sarah Woodbury, this past July.  Woodbury swam at Brigham Young University from 2004-2007, helping her team earn four-straight conference titles before going on to train with the New Zealand nation team after graduating in 2008. 
Woodbury also comes with some coaching experience under her belt, including serving a year as an assistant coach for the Stevens Institute of Technology and a season as an interim head coach at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.  Tramel told HerdZone that her previous role as a coach played a part in building one of the top Division III programs in the country.  He later added, “Her experience, maturity, and excitement will add to the passion we are creating at Marshall.”
The Herd will launch its 2012-2013 swimming and diving season by hosting the West Virginia games October 12, welcoming five other state schools to Frederick A. Fitch Natatorium.  Marshall will compete against Fairmont State, Davis and Elkins, West Virginia Wesleyan, Wheeling Jesuit, and last year’s event champion, West Virginia University.

Despite an impressive season record, the Herd finished only fifth out of six teams in the Conference USA women’s championships last year.  One can predict that this new assemblage of trainers and underdogs will show up at their first event together with something to prove; and the potential is unquestionably present.
Senior Vera Niemeyer will return to the water for the last time looking to close out her college career efficiently, currently holding the third best performance time in Marshall history in the 100-yard Backstroke, and sixth best in the 200-yard Backstroke.  Sophomore Kacey Preun, also holding several top ten all-time Marshall performance records including the 1000-yard Freestyle, 1650-yard Freestyle and 200-yard Breaststroke, will aim to make strides during her second season with the Thundering Herd.   
Other prospects include juniors Madison Lawhorn, who holds the third best all-time Marshall performance record in the 100-yard backstroke, and Sarah Kay, ranked sixth best in Marshall history in the 200-yard Butterfly.  Lauren Rone, a 2012 NCAA Zone Diving Championship participant, holds the best all-time 1-meter diving record in Marshall history and will look to finish her senior year with similar success.
The expectation of what the Herd will have to offer this year is inevitable, especially after coming off of last year’s on the rise seven dual meet winning season.  Now with the reinforcements of a fresh and eager coaching staff, fans can anticipate nothing less as they dive head first into a brand new start. 


Thursday, September 6, 2012

My favorite blog...incase you were wondering.

As an erratic, 21-year-old girl and a newcomer to the blog world, I struggled when it came to finding something to grasp my attention.  I'm hard to please when it comes to sports reporting, probably because my attention span resembles that of a goldfish.  One minute I'm interested in where Andrew McCutchen ranks in Pirate history, the next minute I'm more concerned about which ball park will serve me the best corn dog.  For those of you on the same brainwave as me, allow me to introduce you to a blog called SportsCracklePop.  Let me break it down for you.

Growing up under the influence of a former quarterback and religious sports fanatic, I quickly became bored with the same old television and radio talk show rundowns and recaps of games.  SportsCracklePop informs you on major sporting events, but its focus is more on the sports world in relation to pop culture.  Talk about a breath of fresh air; I am so tired of hearing about the rapid growing number of Kardashian babies and marriages.  I would much rather learn how to play "invisible football" with Tom Brady, which brings me to point number two.

This blog is hilarious.  Who wouldn't want to rehash the Mississippi State football team pileup while they rushed into the jam-packed David Wade Stadium before getting past the smoke machine?  SnapCracklePop doesn't focus on the dry cut facts like most sports blogs.  It leaves plenty of wiggle room to squeeze in my kind of humor.  There hasn't been a time where I stumbled upon the site without cracking a smile.  This scores major bonus points in my play book.

Another point-scoring feature is the fact that it doesn't involve much reading.  Many of the stories posted on SportsCracklePop are short, sweet and to the point.  Telling the tale of Floyd Mayweather winning $200k on the Dallas Cowboys in about 150 words and still having time to crack a few jokes along the way is impressive in my eyes.  This works hand in hand with my attention span, which we already talked about.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, right?  Scrolling up and down SportsCracklePop's page you'll find pictures and videos with quirky captions or short stories to accompany them.  The sight of a YouTube video titled 'Every NFL Fan in 90 Seconds!' is enough to win me over any day of the week.  A picture of crazy, neon-colored soccer cleats and a caption that reads 'Surprisingly these aren't Christiano Ronaldo's new shoes' forced me to surrender another two minutes of my time to read what the story had to say.

Perhaps one of my favorite aspects of SportsCracklePop is the fact that it is written from the sports fan perspective.  The writers aren't acting like they're a bunch of big shots that know everything there is to know.  They are very open in the fact that they are out to make their blog as entertaining and fun to read as humanly possible.  In fact, they welcome and even encourage feedback from readers on what they like and don't like about the website.  They even give you the option to send in a story or a lead with the promise of giving you a link or shout-out for anything of your they post.  Sounds like a good deal to me.

I could continue my rant about how great SportsCracklePop is until my fingers blistered, but what do I know.  Go see for yourself.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Anyone who witnessed the events of the Milan Puskar Stadium Saturday might be battling the same question: how might the Herd react coming off such a big loss?  For those who missed the boat last weekend, allow me to recap as painlessly as possible.

No. 11 West Virginia seems to have settled right in to its place in the Big 12, showing off their high-powered offense in its season opener Saturday and shutting the Herd out in a 69-34 game. Rakeem Cato threw for 413 yards, but defensive issues plagued Marshall in the final Friends of Coal Bowl for the foreseeable future.  I don't mean to rehash bad memories, but it needed to be said and thrown out of the way.  Time to move on to what's important; the road that lies ahead.

Returning to Huntington with only one man down, which was senior offensive tackle Garrett Scott who suffered a high ankle sprain in the first quarter, we can anticipate that the same Herd who left the Coal Bowl will show up at the Joan Saturday with some fire in their belly.  Not only because the 35-point ego-blow is enough to make any competitive man blood thirsty, but also because fans and players alike await the return of their former quarterback, Eddie Sullivan.

Sullivan transferred to Western Carolina after ending up third on the depth chart behind Rakeem Cato and A.J. Graham, who has also left the team.  The Sullivan situation took a twist when Sullivan was suspended from Western Carolina's opener, and his freshman replacement earned the Southern Conference Freshman of the Week. It would be disappointing to see Sullivan in a familiar place, riding the pine.

Last year the Herd went 5-1 in home games, losing only to Virginia Tech (which I'm still pretty bitter about, considering we were tied at halftime). Against a minor opponent like the Catamounts, the Herd should be able to start the season off 1-0 before welcoming an impressive looking Ohio. Ohio defeated Penn State, which was still a good team despite NCAA sanctions.

It is evident that Marshall's defensive line needs to step up against the Catamounts.  Getting penetration and putting pressure on whichever Western Carolina quarterback plays will be key in the outcome of this upcoming game.  Perhaps most important of all, Marshall needs to defend home turf and get the first game in the win column. West Virginia has to be in the rearview with the lessons learned in the trunk.