August 2012 Archives
The 2012-13 GW Athletics year began in earnest earlier this week when the newest Colonials received a crash course in everything George Washington with a visit to the Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens just outside the district due south on GW Parkway.
Similar to last year's event that took all 400+ GW student-athletes to Mount Vernon, this year's event featured GW Leadership Academy upperclassmen leading the newest Colonials through the Raise High the Buff and Blue Fight Song and team-building exercises during tours of the grounds at the university namesake's estate.
Check out some footage of the afternoon over on GW All-Access, and keep an eye out for our coverage of this year's exciting, new All-Athletics Student-Athlete Leadership Day which is scheduled for Sept. 23.
Our final day in Italy was spent touring the towns of Bellagio and Como for some last minute shopping and sight-seeing. At 6 pm, we convened outside our hotel for some light fare and final photos and interviews before a nice farewell dinner.
You can see what seniors Bryan Bynes, Lasan Kromah, David Pellom and Dwayne Smith had to say about the trip, their favorite parts and what this trip will mean for the Colonials headed into the 2012-13 season in the final @GW_MBB TwitVid video of the trip.
Grazi mille for following along with our tour of Italy, we look forward to you following us throughout the upcoming season.
Nic, our tour guide, was right. It was like waking up in a fairy tale here in Lake Como. This area of Italy is vastly different than any other we've seen up to this point with its lush, green hillsides lined with houses and estates stretching high into the sky, and the greyish blue water filling the valley and humming with boats transporting tourists and locals all over the area.
The day was spent at leisure for players and staff alike - some ventured into the city of Como by boat to visit the shops, while others went into town to ride the cable car to the peak for a panorama of Lake Como, and still others stayed close to our hotel - Hotel Regina Olga - in the quiet town of Cernobbio just up the west side of Lake Como. A welcome day of rest after back-to-back extended days of travel and games, and it's also worth pointing out that it appears we've shed the dreaded 'Lucipher' heat wave for more pleasant temperatures on Lake Como.
This afternoon we boarded our bus and headed back up the hills and through the tunnels due west for the town of Oleggio and its local Nazionale C - Italy's fifth division - basketball team nicknamed the Magic.
Despite the cooler temperatures here in northern Italy, tonight's gym was still rather hot and again full of mosquitoes. The arena was not as hot as the previous night's game in Bologna, which is actually what forced freshman Joe McDonald to miss the second half of Thursday's 68-54 loss to Lega Due Fortitudo Bologna. McDonald was back in the lineup tonight against the Oleggio Magic and finished with 10 points and was the catalyst for many baskets.
The star of the first half was Isaiah Armwood, who scored 14 of his 16 points in the opening period on a variety of shots around the rim, including a soaring tip dunk that helped ignite a game-changing run. GW led early, but Oleggio slowly worked back within a point, 30-29, in the second quarter before a 17-6 spurt gave the Colonials a 47-35 advantage at the break.
The Magic continued to hang around in the third quarter, closing within five points at 54-49 with just over two minutes to play in the period. Once again GW made a run, this one 13-2 to cap the quarter with a 67-51 lead.
The fourth quarter was all GW - a great way to end our tour games! The Colonials outscored the Magic, 26-7, over the final 10 minutes, including the contest's final 18 points over the last six minutes, for a 93-58 triumph. Iowa State, a NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 participant in 2012, beat this same Oleggio Magic team by 41 points last summer, so a 35-point victory is promising.
Freshman Patricio Garino scored 11 of his team-leading and quiet 18 points in the second half, followed by Armwood's 16. McDonald and fellow rookie Paris Maragkos each added 10, while Lasan Kromah and Kethan Savage score nine apiece.
Here's today's video recap, and you can also check out some photos from Lake Como and our game vs. Oleggio Magic. Be sure to check out the coverage of the rest of our trip over on @GW_MBB and the @GW_MBB TwitVid channel.
Tomorrow marks the final day of our tour, with a relaxing day in, on and around Lake Como. We cap everything off with a dinner at the Regina Olga looking out onto the stunning backdrop of the lake and mountains, then an early morning departure for our flight home.
Thursday started with check-out from the Idea Hotel in Modena and a short drive to Spilamberto for a visit to the Consorteria dell'Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale - or Balsamic Vinaigrette Consortium - to learn about what is a surprisingly painstaking process to make the world's best Balsamic Vinaigrette.
We first stepped into a dimly lit movie theatre for a quite artistic video about the tradition and steps that vinaigrette makers in the Emilia Romagna region go through to produce the dressing. The drama seemed a little bit, well, over dramatic through the video's intro, but after watching how the dressing is made and the pride in the craft, there was a realization that this is one of those unique Italian things that defines thier strongest characteristic - passion.
Similar to wine, balsamic vinaigrette is an aging process as the acidity of the vinegar and the wood of the "battery," or barrel, combine over time ranging from 12-25 years. Younger vinaigrettes are just that, very vinegar-like, while older ones are thick, smooth and less tart.
With any trip to Italy, meals are going to be remembered and compared along the way - from pastas and pizzas to breads and salads. It's pretty safe to say that the vinaigrette in the States pales in comparison to the Aceto made here in Emilia Romagna, as it alone has provided some of the most memorable tastes to our meals in Italy.
Some players enjoyed their tastings, while others puckered their faces in displeasure. However, based on the number of purchases in the nearby shop, I'd say everybody and their palettes enjoyed the visit.
We then grabbed lunch close by in Spilamberto at Da Ca' Vecia - the Old House - where we had our first taste of tortellini and our typical pre-game chicken and potatoes.
An hour after lunch we arrived in Budrio for the fourth game of our tour, this time against Fortitudo Bologna or the Italian Lega Due - League 2, the second division behind only the Serie A.
With the step up in division was an expected jump in level of competition, and tonight proved to be the most difficult test of the trip. Bologna was bigger, stronger and smarter than any team GW had played in Italy to this point. Despite the difference in opponent, GW stayed close after a quarter, trailing 20-17.
However, the second and third quarters were all Bologna, as their on-ball defensive pressure and quick passing and movement on offense led to a 31-21 spurt over the second and third quarters to put GW in a 13-point hole entering the fourth quarter. Nemanja Mikic tried to spark a comeback with three second-half triples, but Bologna staved off any attempt at a rally as the Colonials suffered their first loss of the trip - 68-54. Mikic led the way with 11 points and freshman Joe McDonald scored nine in the first half, but didn't play in the second half following a mid-court collision toward the end of the second quarter.
We now travel three hours north to our final destination of the trip - the village of Cernobbio on picturesque Lake Como, a land our tour guide Nic says "is like a fairy tale. When you wake up tomorrow you will not believe where you are!"
The WiFi definitely is not a fairy tale though, so some select photos from today's adventures are posted in a photo gallery. There is also yesterday's video recap as well as today's video highlights up on the @GW_MBB TwitVid channel.
Tomorrow we'll try to bounce back from tonight's defeat when we face a select team put together by the club in nearby Varese.
A day before the GW men's soccer team kicks off its season at LIU Brooklyn, senior Seth Rudolph earned a pair of preseason honors from two separate soccer websites, as he was named to the Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Conference First Team by College Sports Madness, and he was tabbed the No. 4 Player to Watch in the Atlantic 10 by Top Drawer Soccer.
A 2011 A-10 First-Team All-Conference selection, Rudolph ranked fifth in the league with eight goals last season, and he added three assists for 19 points. Rudolph, who has scored 18 goals in the last two seasons and 22 in his career, needs just five goals and eight points to join GW's all-time top-10 list in both categories.
Rudolph and the Colonials host the Blackbirds on Friday at 4 p.m. at the GW Soccer Field on the Mount Vernon Campus. Follow along with Gametracker or @GWMensSoccer on Twitter, or watch live on GW All-Access.
Today we drove north two hours from Florence through the Apennines to the Emilia Romagna region of Italy and its expansive Po Valley and the city of Modena.
We lunched at Le Macine, where we dined on some of the best bread and balsamic vinaigrette of the trip along with lasagna and chicken, typical of a normal pre-game meal for the players.
After lunch we traveled to Maranello to the Ferrari Museum, which everyone seemed to really enjoy. According to our museum guide Enzo Ferrari was famous for saying "you do not need to remember your victories, rather remember your mistakes, it is the only way you will improve." Seems sound advice, and possibly something our players will take away from this tour of Italy.
The team got to get up close and personal with Ferrari's Formula 1 racing and GT street cars both old and new. There was even a Ferrari boat that you may see AD Patrick Nero cruising the Potomac on when we return. There were many limited edition Ferraris, including one from the 1960's with a price tag of $35 million! Another highlight of the factory tour was seeing the images of Jody Scheckter, the 1979 Formula 1 World Champion and father of current GW club sports council president and avid varsity athletics supporter Hugo Scheckter.
According to our tour guide Nic Tozzi, the Emilia Romagna region, and specifically the area around Poggio Rusco - the site of tonight's game - was recently hit hard by an earthquake. As we found out later in the day during a winding, detour-filled drive to Poggio Rusco, the area is still reeling.
We arrived a little late to the Palasport in Poggio Rusco from all the "deviaziones," or detours. We passed many condemned and even destroyed old farmhouses along the way, which brought the realization that once again our game was a bit of a goodwill event.
After touring Italy for a week and facing a pair of American military bases, the team was anxious to take the court against a professional club. Tonight's opponent goes by Primavera Mirandola as well as its sponsor name Dinamica Generale, and is nicknamed the Stings. The team was recently promoted to Nazionale A, the third tier of Italian basketball.
GW jumped ahead 23-10 after the first quarter, but Primavera slowly worked its way back to within four at 44-40 behind a series of long-range bombs and a cold offensive stretch from the Colonials. However, the final seconds of the half proved to be the turning point as Joe McDonald hit a pair of free throws for a six-point lead, then Bryan Bynes picked off a long outlet pass and canned a 55-foot heave at the buzzer to give GW a 49-40 edge at the break.
McDonald, Isaiah Armwood, Dwayne Smith and Kevin Larsen then sparked a run to begin the second half as the Colonials completed a 19-4 run for a 63-44 advantage halfway through the third quarter. GW cruised from there, with all 12 players getting into the scoring column en route to the 93-67 triumph. Armwood finished with 14 points and six rebounds to lead the way, followed by 13 points, six boards, five steals and four assists from McDonald.
Tomorrow brings some early afternoon rest before we head to Bologna to face Italian Lega Due (League 2) power Fortitudo Bologna, then a drive further north for an early morning check-in at our final destination - Lake Como.
Check out photos from today's adventures here, including a game box score, and you can view Bryan Bynes halfcourt buzzer beater over on the @GW_MBB TwitVid channel. Having some issues with video upload from our hotel's WiFi, will try to get today's video recap uploaded as soon as possible.
Tuesday was a day of transition in our Italian tour as tomorrow begins our stretch of three games against pro competition in as many days. So Assistant AD for Strength & Conditioning Ben Kenyon ran the team through an intense band workout in a nearby Florence park to get the players' bodies back on track to handle the anticipated physicality of the next three games.
We learned the other day that Italians name their heat waves similar to how hurricanes and tropical storms are named in the States. Italy's latest stretch of consistent triple-digit weather has been dubbed 'Lucipher,' so we have that going for us.
While 'Lucipher' has been a burden while touring the cities and sights, the team found some shade in the park to work out. However, they couldn't escape some curious locals watching from benches, nor a precocious border collie who wanted to play some fetch with the players. John Kopriva obliged, reverted back to his days as a high school quarterback, and nearly tossed the stick out of the park, completely overthrowing his receiver. He's no Aaron Rodgers, but as a pre-med major on scholarship, he'll probably be OK.
The four-circuit workout concluded with a makeshift pull-up competition on a nearby swing set. The team split in half and elected one representative to face-off against another from the opposite team. Lasan Kromah and Bryan Bynes went down to the wire, but Lasan edged Bryan at the end, 38-36, leaving Team Bynes to do a two-minute bridge exercise.
The group enjoyed a few hours to explore Florence, with David Pellom, Isaiah Armwood and Joe McDonald electing to rent Segways to cruise around downtown.
No injuries were reported as we hopped aboard our bus at 2 pm to travel inland a bit, experiencing our first trip through some of the mountains we've only viewed from a distance to this point. An hour later we arrived in Siena, a three-tiered city most famous for its Piazza del Campo and annual Palio horse race. We learned that the city is split into 17 regions, each named after an animal/creature like elephants, dragons, geese, even the silkworm. There were also regions named the Rams and Owls, but you all know how we feel about them.
We capped our trip to Siena with a quick visit to the Palaestra to catch a bit of Montepaschi Siena, also known as Mens Sana - the six-time defending basketball champions of Italy. The team soaked in the green and white colors of the 8,000-seat arena and the early full court run-throughs by Mens Sana, which by our account featured about five American players. A good way to transition into basketball mode for the upcoming three games, and to see a way of life that could become a post-college reality for some of our players.
Per usual, today's photos and today's video coverage via the @GW_MBB TwitVid channel. We've also been tweeting out some cool 360 Panorama photos from around Italy, so be sure to follow @GW_MBB to check those out.
The city of Modena and an anticipated packed arena against Poggio Rusco awaits tomorrow.
Today marked the sixth day of our Italian tour and second game as we headed about an hour west of Florence to Pisa and the nearby joint U.S. Army and Air Force base Camp Darby is Livorno.
Our first stop was in Pisa's Piazza dei Miracoli, or Miracle Square, to see its cathedral, baptistery and the world famous Leaning Tower. An awful lot of our team tried to hoist the tower back up into place through various poses and core exercises, and being from GW we might have just raised it a little higher. Or it could be the 8 tons of lead that was recently installed at the tower's base too, we may never know. Our group thoroughly enjoyed one of the tour guides - an entertaining and sharp-witted gentleman named Roberto who took a particular liking of Kevin Larsen, Patricio Garino, and fellow baldie Coach Hajj Turner with frequent comedic jabs.
We then headed further west to Livorno for our clinic and game against Camp Darby, a still active American military installation slightly smaller than NSA Naples. Coaches Strickland and Sutton ran their usual clockwork clinic with 20 children - explaining the fundamentals of the game before sending the kids off to our players for individual instruction.
We transitioned into our game against the Camp Darby servicemen and today established solid perimeter play in comparison to the early dominance in the paint against NSA Naples on Saturday. Garino buried three first-half three-pointers en route to 11 points that sparked the Colonials to a 59-20 lead at the break. We continued to knock down shots from the outside, finishing with nine triples in all, and traded some transition baskets in a pretty open second half for a 97-45 final.
After the game, the folks from Camp Darby hosted a traditional American cookout with hamburgers, hot dogs and a GW-logo cake. Many of the servicemen rushed right from their jobs to play or attend, so our thanks go out to them as well as the staff and media who organized and promoted the event.
Our final destination of the day was a beach on the Tyrranean Sea - the portion of the Mediterranean on Italy's northwest coast - for a quick dip. While some admired the water and the sunset, most of the players were mesmerized by a jellyfish-looking creature washed ashore. Now, we have some pre-med and engineering majors, but no marine biology majors, so the curiosity was a little baffling, but the attention quickly turned to the setting sun, the warm waters of the sea, the nearby flying fish, and a creature named Pato - which was actually Garino, whose nickname is Pato, playing some underwater tricks on his unsuspecting, and surprisingly frightened teammates.
Here are today's photos and video recap with game highlights courtesy of the @GW_MBB TwitVid channel.
Another great day exploring the country and serving our troops and their families abroad. Tomorrow we'll visit Siena during an off day before our first of three straight days of games against Italian competition starting on Wednesday.
A relatively light day for the GW Men's Basketball team as we made the four-hour drive north to Firenze, or Florence as it's known to the rest of the world. Our tour guide Nick Tozzi couldn't even begin to explain why it's known differently outside of Italy.
One thing to add about Italy during this tour is that, much like DC this summer, it's extremely hot. By the time we reached Florence, the temperature was over 100 degrees, but our trip to the air conditioned Accademia Museum to see Michelangelo's statue of David helped cool the group down. Photos are strictly forbidden, so a description is the best we can do and you can Google it too.
David, who stands pensive in the moments before he slayed Goliath, is the most famous work of Michelangelo and considered to be the world's greatest sculpture and a symbol for Italian strength. It's striking in its size and also in its detail, as coursing veins and tense muscles can be easily seen. We continued through the streets of Firenze, even bumping into GW alumna Amy Orloff '84 and Paris Maragkos' father along the way, to view the Duomo, the Baptistery, and the Piazza di Santa Croce.
A quick shower at the hotel and back on the bus to dinner at La Certosa, but not before stopping at Michelangelo Park along the way for a breathtaking panoramic view of Florence.
At La Certosa, we enjoyed a true Italian dinner - as stated by our second generation Italian Athletics Director Patrick Nero - of prosciutto, rice with vegetables, rigatoni with red sauce, insalada, potatoes, four meats and spumoni for dessert.
Joining us at dinner was a large group, many of which came from Argentina - the home nation of freshman Patricio Garino. While Patricio didn't last long on the dance floor, some of our other players did...ahem, Lasan Kromah, Kevin Larsen and John Kopriva to be exact.
You can check out their dance moves, and some other sights from our trip and tour of Florence, on the newest video post over on the @GW_MBB TwitVid channel. You can also take a look at some photos from today in the photo gallery.
Some rest tonight to prepare for a goodwill visit and game at Livorno's Camp Darby U.S. Army base tomorrow. Andiamo GW!
Our Saturday morning started with a three-hour drive south on the Autostrade (Italian highway system) to Naples for a clinic and game against the U.S. Naval Support Activity base (NSA Naples) located just outside of the city of Napoli. It was really a slice of life from back home - a mid-sized shopping mall fit with a Taco Bell, a U.S. Post Office, and American television.
Playing four 10-minute quarters, we came out slow to start, but turned up the defensive pressure and scored some easy baskets around the hoop for a 30-13 lead after a period. Freshmen Joe McDonald and Patricio Garino hounded the NSA Naples backcourt defensively, while Kevin Larsen got some easy baskets from his fellow newcomers and anchored the paint with 12 first-half points to surge ahead 48-24 at the half.
It was a great way to start our tour and show our troops that GW is committed to service, especially for those who serve us. We thank everyone at NSA Naples for the opportunity and their efforts in making the day a great success.
Check out some of today's photos, and view some of today's videos, including highlights from today's clinic and game, over on @GW_MBB's TwitVid channel.
Well, the itinerary says Day 3, but today was really our first full day to experience Rome after a long Wednesday night and Thursday of travel and it was worth the wait.
The morning saw us tour the Colosseum and St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican, though we weren't allowed to photo inside Pope Benedict's residence.
After a mad hunt for massive quantities of water and afternoon lunch/siesta, our group geared up for another tour of Rome - a VESPA tour. What seemed daunting at first turned into a wonderfully enjoyable experience for everyone involved and proved to be a great way to do as the Romans while learning about them, their culture and their city.
You can check out some photos of the day in this photo gallery, view a video from our Vespa tour, and follow along with @GW_MBB on Twitter for additional photos and videos.
Also be sure to read Patrick Stevens' Washington Times article about the status of the team and its five freshmen, great read - http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/aug/16/george-washington-basketball-young-colonials-alrea/
It has been a busy summer for GW Baseball players as a number of Colonials have been competing in NCAA sanctioned collegiate summer leagues. Here is a quick recap of the top performers.
Note: Statistics were not available for all players who are competing.
Brian Derner -
Derner had a strong season, earning NECBL Pitcher of the Week honors on two occasions and being named to Perfect Game's Top Performers in the NECBL. He tallied a 1.91 ERA in seven games and 37.2 innings while recording 47 strikeouts against just 12 walks.
Colin Milon -
Milon, a relief pitcher during his first two seasons at GW, pitched as a starter for the Aces and responded by being selected to his second consecutive Ripken League All-Star game. The rising junior posted a 3.70 ERA with 57 strikeouts against just 17 walks in 48.2 innings of action. Milon has had a busy summer off the field as well, interning in the office of Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).
Aaron Weisberg -
Weisberg led the Blue Sox with 34 strikeouts as he pitched to a 3-1 record in six starts. He threw a total of 28.2 innings and walked just 14.
Tyler McCarthy -
McCarthy helped his team to the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League (ACBL) Championship last week after hitting .333 with four home runs, six doubles and 20 RBIs in 26 games for the Eagles. He also had a key outfield assist in the championship game.
Pat Loughran - Dig In Baseball -
Loughran appeared in 11 games for Dig In Baseball and batted .308 with two home runs, five doubles, seven RBIs and a .590 slugging percentage.
Craig LeJeune -
LeJeune appeared in 15 games, making two starts for the Rox. He compiled a 1-1 record with a 2.08 ERA while totaling 22 strikeouts and eight walks in 30.1 innings of work.
Kyle Gelling -
Gelling played in 17 games for the Collegians and hit .236 with two home runs, three doubles, two triples and nine RBIs. He also stole 14 bases and drew eight walks while posting an .816 on-base percentage.
Other players who competed in summer leagues were Xavier Parkmond (West Haven Twilight League), Matthew Seedorff (Sun Belt League) and Sean McCart (Walter Johnson League).
Stay updated on the GW Baseball team by following them on Twitter: @GWBaseball1
In conjunction with Sports Travel International, GW Athletics has crafted an itinerary that will allow the men's basketball program to enjoy and experience many aspects of Italian culture and life in the country, as well as serve an ambassadorial role with American military bases and compete against some of Italy's top basketball players.
Below is a brief itinerary of the team's 10-day tour:
Day 1, Aug. 15
Team will depart Dulles International Airport in the late evening.
Day 2, Aug. 16
Team arrives in Rome in mid-afternoon and will enjoy a welcome dinner that evening.
Day 3, Aug. 17
Team will tour Rome, with planned stops at the Piazza Venezia, Roman Forum, Circus Maximus and the Roman Colosseum.
Day 4, Aug. 18
Early departure to Naples for a visit to CNIC/Naval Support Activity base. GW will face the US Navy base team followed by a lunch on base. The team will then continue south to Mt. Vesuvius to tour the ruins at Pompeii before returning to Rome.
Day 5, Aug. 19
Team departs for Florence with a drive through the scenic Tuscany region. Upon arrival, the team will tour the Accademia Museum to see Michelangelo's famous "David" statue, the Duomo, Baptistery, Giotto's Bell Tower and Santa Croce. At night, the team will stop at Michelangelo Park overlooking Florence.
Day 6, Aug. 20
Afternoon trip to Pisa to tour the Piazza dei Miracoli (Miracle Square) and its Cathedral and Baptistery, and the world famous Leaning Tower. The team will also travel to US Army base Camp Darby to visit and compete against the base team.
Day 7, Aug. 21
Afternoon trip to tour the city of Siena.
Day 8, Aug. 22
Morning trip to Modena and afternoon visit to tour the Ferrari Museum. Evening travel to play Poggio Rusco where entire town is expected to attend the game.
Day 9, Aug. 23
Morning at leisure in Modena before departing for small town of Budrio to play A-League power Fortitudo Bologna, a team for which GW alumnus Mike Brown ('85) played in 1995-96. Depart for Lake Como region and Cernobbio for final leg of tour.
Day 10, Aug. 24
Morning at leisure before departing for final game vs. Varese Select.
Day 11, Aug. 25
Hydrofoil trip on Lake Como to Bellagio for individual activities and tours before farewell dinner overlooking Lake Como.
Day 12, Aug. 26
Early morning return flight to Washington Dulles International Airport.
Be sure to revisit 22&G and follow @GW_MBB on Twitter for updates during the tour.
We figured what better name for your daily fix of anything and everything GW Athletics than the place 'Where GW Athletics and Academics Intersects.' So with that we welcome you to 22&G - the official blog of GWsports.com.
This will be a site for even more Colonials' news and information to accompany our other channels of GWsports.com and GW All-Access, as well as nearly 30 affiliated Twitter handles and Facebook pages.
We hope you enjoy, be sure to bookmark both 22&G and GWsports.com to get your daily dose of all things GW Athletics.