Meaghan Roche’s Unshakeable Endgame

As a kid, Meaghan Roche wanted to be an author. She, unlike many millennial students, was a big reader, and hoped that someday, she would “be able to say [she] wrote a whole book that people wanted to read and would enjoy as much as I would.” While her desires have taken a slight turn since, she still loves the idea of writing something that is meaningful. “That much hasn’t changed.”

The Roche’s ties to the Hudson Valley have always kept Meaghan, now a senior communication student on track for a Spring graduation, relatively aware of Marist. “I’ve been familiar with the area my whole life… it holds a special place in my heart. I know what you’re thinking,” she says. “Really? Poughkeepsie? Yeah, I love it here.” It has been clear for some time that Meaghan belonged at Marist, specifically in the school’s Center for Sports Communication. Her love for the school came long before her enrollment.

“It was the first college I ever toured, and I first saw the “old” Marist,” she remembered. “The Marist before the dining hall ‘looked like Hogwarts” and the rotunda wasn’t nearly as impressive – back when I tagged along on my older brother’s college tours when I was just a freshman in high school. From that day on, I silently and selfishly hoped he wouldn’t choose to go to Marist because I wanted to go there and I didn’t want to go to the same college as him.”

After holding out hope on what was not an uncommon sentiment for a younger sibling, she got her wish. Even before arriving, Meaghan knew that this was her school. This was, as a matter of fact, her home. The opportunities were endless, as the old cliché goes, and Meaghan witnessed that firsthand, even before arriving.

“During my senior year [of high school], I got an email from Keith Strudler [the department’s former director] inviting me to come to one of the Center for Sports Communication’s Speaker Series events, featuring sportswriter Jeremy Schaap,” she said. Even though the event fell amidst a holiday break, Meaghan made the trip, needing to experience the environment. “Marist was already my number one school; there wasn’t much left that the campus itself needed to prove to me. But what stood out to me the most was how well spoken and interested the students were that asked questions of Schaap. I wanted to be one of them.”

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When Center Field first began publishing, Meaghan was immediately named Executive Editor. Whilst, at that time, not having a relationship aside from “fellow classmate” with co-founders Matt Rzodkiewicz and Marco Schaden, they quickly became some of her closest friends. As time went on, Meaghan continued to climb the ranks. She has since served as Deputy Editor-in-Chief, and will be the site’s EIC starting in January of 2019. It didn’t start out that way.

“I get an email from the department about Center Field, and I go to the first meeting and sign up for what I’m interested in, but I asked the kids who seemed to be in charge if they needed someone to be an editor. They didn’t really seem to have a solid answer for me,” she says, just citing a classic Marco moment. She wasn’t entirely sure, especially at the beginning, that this publication would go anywhere, nor that she’d be so heavily involved.

“A few weeks go by, and I hadn’t really heard anything, until one day I ran into Leander [Schaerlaeckens] on the way to class. He asked if I had gotten involved and I told him I had expressed interest in editing, I’m a proofreader for the writing center, I’m good at it, I like it,” she says. “He passes on my info; I get an email from Marco later that day asking me to come to their meeting. I walked in there thinking I would just help out with copyediting the stories. I walked out of there with the title “Executive Editor.” Two semesters later, the Center is my second home, and my Center Field co-editors are my second family.”

That second family has gotten Meaghan opportunities to work with Baseball Miracles and McMillan Publishing, just two of the high profile opportunities she hopes to garner experience from in her employment search. She’s a weird journalist, one that refuses to drink coffee (see her Twitter bio). But she’s a journalist nonetheless; one with the passion and authentic drive to find success wherever she may go.

Marist Basketball Manager Talks Experience So far

If you were to walk around the Marist College Main campus located in Poughkeepsie New York you would see many students in athletics attire with backpacks with their jersey number on it and what sport the student plays. But what you don’t see is who are the managers of the team

IMG_1578Sean McGee the 20-year-old Sophomore just conclude is second year as a manager for the Marist men’s basketball team and there many duties he must due as a manager for the Men’s Basketball team.

“My duties as a manger are that I have to film games and practices when they happen and after games conclude I have to make sure that both coaches get the game film” said McGee “Also I have to make sure that all the players have all their equipment”. Another duty that must McGee must do is making sure all the players and coaches food orders are in for when the team is on the road away.

.Also, in those two years McGee was part of two different coaching staffs in his freshman year he was part of Former head coach Mike Maker final season. McGee said regardless of the record that happen that he still really enjoyed the season and that he learned a lot under coach Maker. He recalls his best memory from that season “The best memory from that season was when we went down to Manahan after losing to them at home in overtime” said McGee “Ryan Funk hit a game winning three and the locker room was so intergenic and we knew that winning wasn’t a fluke.”

Now with his first year under new head coach John Dunne he reflects on the season. Under Dunne McGee says there were stressful times threw out the season especially when it came to traveling. But with Stressful times comes the positives the Men’s Basketball team won the Samson Bracket Championship in the Belfast Classic. With Marist winning the tournament Senior Guard Brian Parker was named the MVP of the tournament.

McGee is also happy with the culture that Dunne has brought in and that the staff he has brought in welcoming and he knows if he has any questions that he knows he can go to them with them.  he also reflects on what is like being part of the team and being a manger.

“You get to build these special bounds with the players they are like your second family” said McGee “As a manger we are seen as equal people as part of the team it makes us feel important to the program.” McGee later went on to say the it’s a learning experience you can like every day and see in practices in what they do and take away and gain valuable knowledge.

McGee is a 100% sure they he will return is junior year and be a manger once again and say that he might be getting more responsibility’s some include setting up practices with opposing teams when they go on the road this includes calling the Director of Men’s basketball operations and it would be vice versa.

When McGee is not with the basketball team or in class he spends time with his friends working on a brand-new music streaming app called Haven Music. “It will be a app that uses blockchain technology to give artist royalty payments instantaneously, eliminating a 6-12 month wait time for mere dollars” said McGee “We want to give artist more tools to be successful in the music streaming industry. McGee said that him and his friends thinks there is a problem with the music industry and they want to fix it.

 

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McGee and his partners after their bussiness meeting back in March

 

 

 

 

 

Fashion Department Forges New Path After Loss

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Everyone deals with the repercussions of death in different ways. Some grieve and mourn, while others try their best to maintain normalcy. The students of the Marist College Fashion Department are no different.

Marist was faced with the untimely death of long-time fashion professor, Richard Cramer. Kramer passed away in his sleep on the night of Feb. 27, 2019. He was found by a neighbor after he failed to show up for his 9:30 a.m. class. He was in his early 70’s, and was a Senior Professional Lecturer of Fashion. Kramer was a beloved friend and colleague of Radley Cramer, the director of the Fashion Department.

Over the past few weeks, Marist students have put together different memorials commemorating Kramer’s life. However, his loss will be felt profoundly over the rest of the semester, particularly for his students. Life surrounding the Marist Fashion department must go on, and Kramer’s students must finish their work without their beloved professor.

One of the hardest aspects of death is not just the finality, but the uncertainty. In Kramer’s absence, major questions were immediately looming over those who had to make the toughest decisions. Who would take over for Kramer? How would his students cope? Was it wrong to possess a “show must go on” mentality surrounding such a tragedy. Among those not only faced with loss, but tough decision making, is Dr. Carolyn Lepre, the Dean of the School of Communication and the Arts at Marist. “We could never replace Richard,” said Lepre. “We simply had to find someone to take his position, and that was a challenge.”

The person found to take over Kramer’s position, was ironically, someone who also knew him and worked with him years ago, former FIT professor, David Roberts. “We’re very hopeful, and I think the students will find it a very easy transition,” said Lepre.

While the transition may be easier than some given Roberts background, it’s still not the same for seniors who have to finish their capping projects without the professor who inspired them. “The whole process is going a lot differently now,” said Fashion Merchandising major, Margaret West. “For the fashion department, the springtime is very back-heavy, so a lot of major events are being affected while we all make adjustments. And on top of everything, you also need to take time to grieve.”

While the transition may inconvenient, it’s a “silver lining” among the tragedy, according to Lepre. With all the new additions coming to the fashion department, Roberts is certainly coming with his hands full. Despite any challenges, the new professor is emerging onto but also with an entirely blank canvas, with a reputation to back it up. Not to mention, Roberts’ time to shine will come soon enough; the 33rd Annual Silver Needle Fashion Show will take place on the first Sunday in May. The show was instituted in 1984, with major contributions from the late Kramer.

On top of the untimely loss of Kramer to the Marist College community, Roberts certainly has some major shoes to fill.

 

Marist Sports Communication Begins New Era with Upcoming Curriculum Changes

POUGHKEEPSIE, New York – In the coming months, the Marist College Department of Communications looks to revamp and reinvent a specific curriculum for sports communication students. With the department’s consistent growth and new director hire in Jane McManus, the curriculum’s committee feels as though it is the best and perfect time.

“Our sports [communication] curriculum is one of the oldest in country, but it has also not been updated,” said Leander Schaerlaeckens, the department’s primary lecturer and former interim director. “We felt that it was time to sort of move it along and get it more in line now with where the industry is in the 21st century.”

The department, which was founded in 2011, was directed by Keith Strudler from then until 2016. There were plenty of opportunities for students within, both curricular and extracurricular. Strudler and his friend and colleague, Geoff Brault, who serves as the play-by-play man for Marist Womens Basketball and football, hosted a student-produced radio show called “The Classroom.” It allowed students to take on fill-in hosting, producer, and audio technician roles, each closely mirroring professional roles with similar responsibilities. Strudler also employed multiple student interns, most of whom were involved through the radio show, but others who would help organize speaker events and attend events housed in New York City, like the summer of 2016’s Sports PR Summit, for which Marist was the academic sponsor.

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Curricular options, however, remain the same that they did in 2011. Classes like Sports Culture and Communication, Issues in Sports Media, and Sports Reporting have long-been staples in the department’s offerings. The current classes, as Schaerlaeckens mentioned, are quite impactful on an entry level basis. The problem, though, is that students find that they only scratch the surface. Students have noticed, too.

“I think that redesigning the curriculum can provide a more comprehensive knowledge of the field for sports communication students,” said junior sports communication student Lily Caffrey-Levine. “Right now the professors are great, and in the focused classes we do have right now, it is possible to get a lot out of them. But the fact is, people take sports communications classes as electives and that takes away from those in the class who are trying to get a lot out of it when it’s being treated as an elective.”

The department and the offerings within have evolved during just the few months that Jane McManus has been at the helm. Upon arrival, McManus brought in multiple student interns to assist with speaker events, website development, and even jobs as mundane, however necessary, as transcribing podcasts from students. Prior to McManus’s hiring, the student publication, Center Field, was born. This type of innovation hadn’t been explored by the department, and its development has been instrumental for students hoping to find post-graduation opportunities. This, however, was something the curriculum hadn’t done beforehand, at least according to some of its earliest-enrolled students.

“It seemed like our curriculum was not thought through with the ultimate goal of getting us jobs on the other side,” said Matt Rzodkiewicz, a former sports communication major at Marist and now an employee of MLB Network. “It was based on ideas, which is problematic and simply not practical. If it weren’t for vast extracurriculars I would not be able to market myself at all.”

Hopefully, and ideally, the new curriculum fixes these issues and vets out future quibbles. Schaerlaeckens has already laid the groundwork on an upper elective Special Topics class based around Center Field. In addition, he has hinted at a class centered around statistics and analytics, as well as a sports literature class. Fluctuating enrollment numbers hasn’t stopped interest in the department. The hopes of McManus, Schaerlaeckens, and students alike are to ensure that curriculum changes will only help interest grow.

The End of Priority Points at Marist?

Marist College’s famed priority points system’s time at the school may be up, as ideas for implementing a new way of assigning housing gain traction. The current system, which allows students to earn points for choosing their own housing through a variety of criteria, has been a controversial topic within the Marist community. Now, the school’s administration is proposing to transition to a more traditional lottery system, similar to the ones found in the majority of colleges across the country.

The priority point system is based on the concept of assigning points to students according to four categories: academic average, involvement with extra-curricular activities, disciplinary history, and residence area condition. At the end of a semester, each student is given a report where they can see the total number of points they earned. This number is what is used for determining a student’s placement in the housing process. Students with a higher number of points are more likely to get their preferred housing than those with a lower amount, as they are given an earlier time slot to apply.

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Throughout the time priority points have existed at Marist, there have always been a number of complaints from students about the system. For students like sophomore Courtney Fallon, one of the main issues they have is the commitment required to get a high number of points. “If you want to have the first spot on the housing list, you have to do everything and put so much time and effort into things like clubs,” she said. “For something like community service for example, if you don’t do it every single week you don’t get those points.”

Many students find that balancing time to do schoolwork and be actively involved in clubs is an increasingly difficult task. Fallon sees how difficult it is for students to get these points firsthand in her work as the secretary for the Social Work Association Board. “I’m in charge of assigning priority points to the members of the club, and so many of them didn’t get the points because you have to at least go to 75 percent of the meetings and events,” she said. “That’s too much and no one really has that time. If you miss one, you basically get nothing.”

In order to address student concerns, a town hall meeting hosted by Marist College President David Yellen, Student Body President Ted Dolce, and Student Government Association Vice President Ankofa Billips took place Feb. 6.

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One of the main issues touched upon surrounding the priority points system is how students from lower socio-economic backgrounds are adversely affected. Students that have to help their families or work other jobs do not have time to be involved with activities such as clubs, therefore having a negative impact on their ability to choose housing. “This is one of the main reasons why we are considering making a change to the housing system, either modifying the way priority points work or just switching to a lottery system all together,” said President Yellen. “The current system is detrimental to these groups.”

One of the proposed changes to the current system would be to remove the academic portion of priority points, putting the emphasis more on activity participation. This is because the school’s administration believes that the priority points system should be used for cultivating campus culture. However, a number of students disagree with the fact that their GPA’s should not affect their ability to get the housing they want. “You go to college to do work and further your education, not join a club,” said senior Alexandria Burnell. “If your grades are suffering because you are spending so much time participating in activities, it kind of defeats the purpose of why you’re going to school in the first place.”

On switching to a lottery system, there is a variety of opinions among students. Some, like Burnell, are in favor of implementing it. “My sister went to Quinnipiac University and they had a lottery system,” she said. “I think it’s a simpler and fairer way to assign housing, and that way you can live with whoever you want instead of being judged on how many priority points you have.”

Others though, believe that a lottery system would not be an ideal way of assigning housing. “With a lottery system you have no control over where you get to live, which is one thing I like about priority points,” said sophomore Cameryn Fontana. “Why would I put such an important part of my college life in the hands of chance like it’s a game of bingo?”

Whether the priority points system stays as is, gets substantial changes, or is removed entirely, the decision will not take effect until the beginning of the Fall 2019 semester at the earliest.

 

 

 

Fall Semester Closing Notes and McCann Center Update

As the semester comes to a close, there are lots to reflect on about this past semester and also things to look forward to for the upcoming spring semester.

One of the biggest things happening around campus this semester was the renovation at the McCann Center. With construction starting over the summer and a projected completion date set for the fall of next year, there are lots to look forward to for students who will still be around.

Darren McCormack, Associate Atheltic Director For Facilities and Operations, shared that the renovation is on schedule for a fall 2019 completion date.

“The renovation appears to be on schedule,” McCormack said. “Pylons, which will support the new building, have been drilled into the bedrock and the foundation has been laid down.”

From there, the framework of steel will be installed around the building, which should be completed around the middle of the spring semester. After that is completed, the building will be enclosed with walls and ceilings going up shortly after.

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Ariel view of McCann Center, from goredfoxes.com

The new building is going to contain many new features for current and future students to enjoy. Some of the highlights of the new building are going to be two new weight rooms, one on the first floor and one on the second floor. The one on the first floor will be reserved for student-athletes only, while the one on the second floor will be for the general student body.

Additionally, there will be artificial turf and additional meeting rooms for teams and other conferences/groups on campus as well as well as additional performance spaces for the dance ensemble and other performing arts groups on campus.

Perhaps the most notable addition will be a second basketball arena that will allow for more flexible scheduling for basketball practices.

As far as the facilities that are open now to students, such as the north and south field fitness, not much is going to change.

“We don’t anticipate that we will be changing the hours,” McCormack said. “Right now everything should stay the same.”

As of now, on basketball game nights, all of the facilities in McCann will be shut down, with students being able to utilize the South field fitness center.

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McCann Center Rendering, from goredfoxes.com

The Athletics Department has also been providing updates on their website, goredfoxes.com, where renderings for the new additions are also available for viewing.  

On the academic side of the semester, the Registrar has said that registering for the spring semester went well. All of the processes for registering for classes will remain the same for the foreseeable future.  

“For those students who have not completed their schedules, they may still come into the Registrar’s Office to do so,” said Kathy Coomes, Administrative Coordinator at the Registrar, in an email.

Student-Athlete: Easier On or Off the Field?

Don’t be afraid to ask if you have questions- coaches, CSAE, professors, anyone they are more than willing to help you figure things out and make sure you can succeed,” says Beatrix Bradford, a member of the Marist College Women’s Rowing Team, when asked what advice she would give to prospective student-athletes.

According to NCAA.org, there are more than 460,000 student-athletes this academic year across the nation which is a record high number.  

So what is the reason for so many students participating in athletics?  Some may say it’s for the scholarship opportunities.

“More than 50% of parents push their children to compete at the collegiate level…because there is potential for money off the tuition price,” says Daniel Stevens, Athletic Trainer at Performax Physical Therapy.

According to marist.edu, Marist College sponsors NCAA Scholarships for 21 of Marist’s 23 men’s and women’s Division I programs.  

However, many student athletes say that it can be overwhelming being on both a sports team and being a college student.

At Marist College, most athletes, when in season, can have practice as early as 6 a.m. meaning they have to arrive at least by 5:50 a.m.  The early waking calls for an early night to bed, but due to homework and other projects, sometimes that can be hard to do.

“We practice for 3 hours everyday and that doesn’t even include lift, team meetings, film, and prehab/posthab. Not only is playing a sport physically exhausting it’s also mentally exhausting but we’re still expected to perform at the highest level in the classroom regardless of that,” says Stephanie Stone, Marist Women’s Volleyball.

So the stress of high performance on and off the court is inevitable.

Athletes don’t necessarily have to be roommates with other athletes but there are pros and cons to doing so.  A popular comment made by many athletes is that a pro to living together is you have the same morning and night routine such as when you wake up and when you go to bed.  Because of this, there is less worry of waking up your roommates and making them agitated.

But some athletes also say it’s good to have more than one friend group.  “I would tell a future athlete to make friends outside of the team. You’re with your teammates everyday and although it’s important to get along well with your teammates it’s also important to get that separation. A lot of times what happens/the emotions in practice or in a game get carried off the court,” says Stone.

“If anything, sports has helped me create a plan and stick with it which has been very helpful,” says Bradford.

 

Redhawk Native American Arts Council Visits

images.jpgLocated in 337 of the Marist College Library, The Center for Multicultural Affairs acts as more than an office. Each day you will see a host of students entering and exiting the office as they speak with the administrative assistant, Pam, and counselors, Iris, Mary, Angel, Karen, and Terrance. But there’s more than that, there is coffee, snacks, and bonding that take places for the students which gives this place a home away from home feeling.

 

Marist CMA is more than an office but rather it is a resource. In addition to their direct support academic programs, they also provide programs and activities on campus that are open to anyone.

These events promote cultural awareness, leadership development, sustainability and even career exploration. Throughout every semester they host and co-host a series of events like the Hispanic Heritage Event, Vietnam Night, Indian Culture Awareness Night, The Global Fashion Show, and many others.

For 10 years, Marist CMA has been working to create an inclusive and welcoming community of which all students are welcome to join.

On Wednesday night, in collaboration with the Office for Accommodations and Accessibility, Student Affairs, Upward Bound, and the Diversity Council, and Human Resources, Marist CMA hosted the Red Hawk Native American Arts Council performance. The Red Hawk Native American Arts Council is a Grass-roots Not-For-Profit organization that was founded and is still maintained by natives from New York and New Jersey in 1994. Their purpose is to educate the general population about Native American heritage.

Iris Ruiz-Grech, the Director of Marist CMA said that she was excited that the event could have been rescheduled after it had to be postponed on November 15th because of the snow storm.

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Member of the Redhawk Native American Arts Council dances as Marist students and faculty watch.

Her greatest hope for this event was that students would learn about the Native American culture. The event was filled with dancing and singing as well as a wealth of information about the indigenous people.

 

 

 

“The hope is definitely awareness about the beauty and contributions of our Native Americans here in the United States,” said Ruiz-Grech. “I think it is amazing to be able to bring awareness to all of us about their importance since they were the first people in what is now called the United States.”

The council taught the attendees about the difference of tribes and also urged the audience to help their efforts by taking action.

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Cliff Matias (far right) and other members of The Redhawk Native American Arts Council

Cliff Matias is an artist, educator, photographer, hoop dancer, and actor for the Council. Matias is Kichwa and Taino. Throughout the performance, he sang, danced, and spoke to the audience.

 

When speaking about the importance of taking a stand he said that the use of Native Americans as mascots is highly offensive. He notes that universities have begun removing these mascots and so have some elementary schools although many remain resistant.

“In NYC, St. John’s University has changed their logo. So it is happening very slowly. It is only through conscious efforts and compassion and understanding of our young people, who are now moving into positions of change, we are seeing that these things are starting to take place,” said Mathias.

When pinpointing another specific change that he would like to see, he said that he believes that Columbus Day should be changed to Indigenous People’s Day.

Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and countless cities have changed. I would love to see more people of color joining in this struggle for indigenous people. In America, there were so many other atrocities that [Christopher Columbus] he committed,” said Mathias. “What about the fact that he introduced the Transatlantic Slave Trade, so how come not more of our African-American brothers and sisters aren’t joining us in that struggle. So we would love to see more. Also, American young people in general coming to stand with us.”

Students who attended this event were glad that they did. Caroline Kirsten, a Marist freshmen, said that she has gone to programs in the past where Native Americans spoke about their tribes. Despite this, she said that she never heard about their current situation.

“The greatest thing I took away was an understanding of the lack of resources and the lack of awareness. I feel like that is something that should be brought up much more,” said Kirsten. Now with this new knowledge, I want to help bring awareness. If there was any action to do so, I would love to be apart of it.”

On it’s special 10 year anniversary, Marist CMA continues to host a wealth of performances and events that expose Marist students to new ideas and cultures. Be sure to check out more of their events in the near future.

 

Hughes Represents Kids of Special Olympics in NYC Marathon

Senior Caroline Hughes was making her way down the Verrazano Bridge alongside 50,000 other runners on Sun., Nov. 4, when it hit her that she was not running her usual route on the Walkway Over the Hudson, but was participating in the New York City Marathon.

Although always an athlete, Hughes picked up running in college as a way to clear her mind and destress. Only four years later, she trained for her first marathon entirely by herself, and finished in an impressive 5 hours and 47 seconds.

“Running next to complete strangers who also have a passion for running was such an unbelievable motivation,” Hughes said. “It was really, really awesome.”

Hughes first began training last summer, but it became harder to increase her mileage when she returned to Marist as the school work piled on. During mid-semester break, however, Hughes finally had time to pick up the pace, and ran 18 and a half consecutive miles, her longest distance yet. After break, she hit the gym for strength training, and, with only a few weeks to go before the big day, focused on getting enough sleep and eating properly.

Hughes’ decision to run the marathon was inspired in part by the children she works with at Windham Mountain Adaptive Sports Foundation, where she volunteers in the winter. Many of the students she teaches there are a part of Special Olympics, an organization that helps children and adults with mental and physical handicaps participate in sports. While preparing for the race, Hughes fundraised alongside 15 other runners on the Special Olympics Team, collectively raising over $70,000 for the organization.   

On that Saturday before the race, Hughes picked up her race number at the NYC Marathon Expo, where she saw runners of all different shapes and sizes, speaking a wide array of languages. The night before the race, she was sent a heartfelt video from her friends and family,  who wished her luck. She also received a letter from a Special Olympics athlete with Down Syndrome, in which he thanked her for her fundraising efforts. By 11 a.m. the next morning, the day of the race, the few fears Hughes had experienced were well out of mind, and she was ready to go.

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Hughes poses outside the NYC Marathon Expo

At the starting line, Hughes’ was greeted by the sound of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York,” a special moment she said she will always remember. Neon signs in hand, her friends and family were scattered along the route, cheering her on. As she ran throughout the city’s five boroughs, Hughes noticed how although the crowds changed, each brought something new and exciting to the race, and every bystander, even members of the homeless, were there to support her.   

“As a runner, I was running alone, but I never felt alone,” Hughes said. “There was just so many people cheering you on, even if they didn’t know you. It was such a moving experience to see all of the different people supporting you. It really unified the entire city.”

Hughes recalled mile 21 as her most challenging, but mentally related her pace to her route back home, to remind herself that she had completed similar distances before. For further motivation, she thought of the kids of Special Olympics, who had already gotten her this far.

When she reached Central Park, she realized she was almost done; after passing her family one last time, she crossed the finish line only a few miles away, and was instantly overcome with emotion.

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Hughes finished the NYC Marathon, her first, in 5 hours and 47 seconds.

“It was just a really unbelievable feeling, to know that I had just completed a marathon,” she said.

Despite the long day, and the lingering dehydration and leg pain, Hughes returned to Marist later that night. Her own reward for the once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment? Hughes skipped her 8 a.m. the next morning, and slept in until her 11 o’clock class.

“I didn’t want to give myself too much time to rest,” she said. “I had to keep going again.”

Hughes said her favorite part of the experience was running along 1st Avenue to “Empire State of Mind,” while passing her friends and family. In the future, Hughes intends to run more marathons, but wants to race in other cities to see how their environments differ from New York’s.  

“At the end of the day, I was extremely proud of myself, because I was able to set a goal, and stick to a commitment, regardless of other things going on at the time,” Hughes said. “[Receiving letters from Special Olympic athletes] showed me that I am very blessed to run for something that is bigger than myself. It was really special, and something that I’ll never forget doing.”  

Water Polo Team Competes in Collegiate Cup

On Nov. 9, the women’s water polo team left behind the cool, crisp air of New York to enjoy a warm, sunny weekend in southern California as they competed in the annual 2018 USA Water Polo Collegiate Cup tournament.

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View from the pool at the William Woollett Aquatic Center in Irvine, Calif. Photo courtesy of Anais Mathes.

Freshmen Gabrielle Gervasi and Sawyer Alter both described playing in the “fast-paced” environment of their first Collegiate Cup as “unforgettable” and different from any other tournaments or games they played in high school.

“It was super exciting but nerve wracking, especially because we were playing University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), who is one of the top 5 teams in the nation.  We have been working really hard this season to be able to compete at the Collegiate Cup, so to have my first collegiate tournament be against top teams, while also being competitive against them, was an amazing experience,” said Gervasi.

Although playing in the tournament was stressful for Alter because she did not know what to expect from her first collegiate game, she found comfort in her teammates. “It felt like a big family trying to attain one common goal of winning.  I really liked that everyone made me feel included and everyone had their own role to play,” said Alter.

The two-day tournament took place on Nov. 10-11 at the William Woollett Aquatic Center in Irvine, Calif.  The annual event brings together the top collegiate women’s water polo teams to complete with the USA Water Polo Women’s Senior National Team.  This year, Marist was one of three East Coast teams, aside from the University of Michigan and Indiana University, who were invited to play in the tournament.

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The team gathers in a huddle before the start of a game.

When asked about the team’s dynamic while preparing for a game, Caoimhe Whitebloom, a senior on the team, described their preparation for a game as “cohesive chaos.”  In the beginning, each team member branches off to mentally prepare themselves individually by doing things such as listening to music or engaging in pre-game rituals.  Afterwards, the team eventually comes together to finish off stretching exercises and doing jumps to “hype” themselves up.  “The energy tends to get pretty intense and people bounce off each other as we get more excited,” said Whitebloom.  “We try to be as level-headed as we can and concentrate on what we are about to do beforehand.”

On the first day, Marist fell to one of the top five seeds, UCLA, 12-3, in its first game of the tournament.  That weekend, the team also faced Pomona Pitzer, San Jose State, and the University of Hawaii.  In their final game, the team competed for a second time against Pomona Pitzer for 13th place, but were outlasted 12-10.  Nevertheless, after catching a red-eye flight from Irvine on Sunday night, the team returned to campus Monday morning feeling thankful for the opportunity to participate in the tournament and excited about the prospects of the upcoming season.

“The tournament was a good kickoff to the season that starts in January because we get to see what we need to work on both individually and as a team,” said junior Anais Mathes.

Whitebloom shared a similar sentiment about the Collegiate Cup, stating that in addition to preparing them for the upcoming season, it offers the team a significant advantage.  “Most other schools don’t play a game outside of practice until second semester so [the tournament] allows us to see how well (or not) we work together,” said Whitebloom.  “We can see what we need to fix and what works.”

According to Mathes, since the team arrived back on campus, they have resumed their daily practice schedule, starting most days at 6:45 a.m. doing strength training and ending around 9 a.m. practicing specific plays and skill swimming in the pool.  After spending nearly every day together, it comes as no surprise how close the team feels with one another.

“I like how everything is very team-orientated and it makes me feel like I am a part of something bigger than myself,” said Alter.  “I want to do well for my team and my coach.”

“What I love about being apart of the Marist Water Polo team is our team dynamic. The team is so supportive in the water and on the bench which keeps the team momentum and energy really high,” said Gervasi.