September 2012 Archives

The Inaugural GW Athletics National Advisory Council met for the first time yesterday, bringing together 39 GW alumni and parents to provide leadership and direction for the Deparment of Athletics and Recreation.

Among those in attendance were GW Athletic Hall of Famer Aquil Abdullah ('04), member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Rowing Team; former men's basketball standout Pops Mensah-Bonsu ('06), member of 2012 Great Britain Olympic Basketball Team; and GW Athletic Hall of Famer W. Russell Ramsey ('81), Chairman of the GW Board of Trustees.

Many student-athletes and administrators were also invited to the dinner, making sure that every aspect of GW Athletics was well represented. 

While many parts of the dinner program focused on development plans, the members of the council also showed their spirit and excitement about Raising High the Buff & Blue.
"There's this perception that GW isn't an athletic school, and that really isn't true," said Ramsey. "It is a very athletic campus and it starts with us." 

Last year's Strategic Plan stated that GW ranked 13th out of 14 Atlantic 10 schools in athletic spending, but last night's event exhibited that we do have a university that puts athletics as a priority and that there are alumni committed to help.

Now, with the GW Athletics National Advisory Council, every single one of our 450 student-athletes should be confident in GW Athletics moving towards becoming a top-tier program. 

During the Q&A session, one council member asked Chairman Ramsey, "What's our definition of success?" Realistically, this question cannot be answered by just one person. So, I pose this question to every student-athlete instead: "What is your definition of success, and how will you attain it?"

Colonials Athletics Weekend Roundup - Sept. 21-23

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Men's Water Polo

- Daniel Tyner totaled 12 points (six goals, six assists) and Ridvan Pehlivan added five goals and four ejections drawn as the GW Men's Water Polo team split its first two home matches of the season. The Colonials narrowly fell to #15 Princeton, 7-5, (link to recap) before knocking off Bucknell, 15-12, on Saturday night.

- Cameron Illes earned CWPA Southern Division Defensive Player of the Week honors on Tuesday after registering 37 saves last weekend. It is the second time this season Illes has earned the honor and fourth time in his career.


Men's Tennis

- Freshman Nikita Fomin won four matches over three days to claim the Gold Singles championship at the UVA Ranked +1 Invitational. His weekend included two victories over ranked opponents.

- Sophomore Francisco Dias, the 89th-ranked player in the country, upset 68th-ranked Nelson Vick of North Carolina to advance to the Orange Finals, where he fell to second-ranked Jamere Jenkins of Virginia.


Women's Tennis

- Junior Leah Pascarella won three matches in three days to clinch the  Georgetown Classic singles championship  at district rival Georgetown's McDonough Outdoor Tennis Center.

- The doubles pair of senior Mimi Hamling and freshman Lana Robins won three matches, including victories over pairs from UMBC and Georgetown to claim the  doubles title at the Georgetown Classic.


Women's Soccer

- The Colonials remained unbeaten at home as Kristi Abbate and Taylor Katz each found the back of the net in a  2-0 victory over Howard on Friday.

- Freshman goalkeeper Shannon Murphy turned away three shots to post her first career shutout in her first career start for the Buff and Blue.



- The duo of freshman skipper Hannah McNomee and sophomore Meagan Murphy finished third in the B Division out of seven teams at the Princeton Women's Fall Open in Raritan Bay in Perth Amboy, N.J.

- McNomee skippered her boat to victory in her first collegiate race on Saturday.  McNomee and Murphy finished with 40 points, one behind second-place Cornell and 14 shy of overall winner Fordham.


- The Colonials opened Atlantic 10 play with a 3-0 sweep of Charlotte on Friday night. Senior Lauren Whyte was one of five players to post at least five kills, leading the way with 13 winners.

- On Saturday, VCU defeated the Colonials, 3-0.


Men' Soccer

- Senior Seth Rudolph scored his third goal of the season and 25th his career, but it was not enough as the Colonials fell, 2-1, to visiting UMBC on Saturday at the GW Soccer Field on the Mount Vernon Campus.



It was an "Only at GW" kind of morning on Tuesday.

A group of about 100 student-athletes, coaches and staff walked the six blocks from the Charles E. Smith Center to the most famous address in the world - 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, or the White House - for a self-guided tour.

"It was a great learning experience for our student-athletes to see our nation's most storied residence with all of the history and artifacts," said GW Lifeskills coordinator Ted Costigan, who organized the trip with the help of the White House's Office of Public Engagement.

"It was a privilege to be able to tour the White House this morning," said gymnastics head coach Margie Foster-Cunningham. "To be able to walk there from campus and get a behind-the-scenes look at the most famous house in the world is such a unique opportunity that can only be afforded to GW students."

While President Obama did not make an appearance, the group was able to see a number of rooms in the East Wing of the White House, including the East Room, which was the site of the President's press conference following the death of Osama Bin Laden; the Green Room, which once served as Thomas Jefferson's dining room; the Blue Room, which is often used by the President to receive guests; the Red Room, where the First Lady hosts small receptions; and the State Dining Room.

GW women's basketball alumna Jessica Adair was part of one of the most recent groups to eat in the State Dining Room along with her WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx teammates on their visit to the White House.

Secret Service agents were stationed in each room to answer any of the group's questions, and when the tour was over, the student-athletes found themselves on the White House front steps, usually only seen from the other side of the black fence along Pennsylvania Avenue.

"Almost every one of my friends back home in Germany has heard of the White House, but nobody has ever had a chance to see it from the inside," said men's swimming senior Phillip Graeter. "I was so honored to have the opportunity to tour the White House with my fellow student-athletes today. This experience completes my overall experience as a GW student-athlete in one of the most exciting cities in the world."

"It was amazing and humbling to have gone to the White House this morning," said women's soccer senior Molly Bruh. "It was incredible to walk through the same rooms in which such historically great and influential people have lived and interacted. This morning, we had practice at 7 a.m., took a tour of the White House and made it back in time for our first class of the day. Only at GW!"

Four GW Athletes Selected for Grassroots Leadership Team

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No, the focus of the Grassroot Project team at George Washington is not to install grass on the soccer and lacrosse field on the Mount Vernon Campus. They have a much larger purpose to serve in the Washington, D.C., area.

The Grassroot Colonials are part of a larger group under the Grassroot Project name, which seeks to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS by using collegiate student-athletes and an interactive, engaging curriculum to educate local middle school students at over 30 different sites in the district. The Grassroot Project intends to change the way these young adults make choices so Washington can have a more responsible population in the years to come.

"We are not just there to teach about HIV/AIDS, but to help the kids understand that they have the ability to be resilient, make their own choices and have the confidence to do so,"said Grassroot Colonials Program Coordinator and GW women's soccer junior Jane Wallis.

Last month, Grassroots chose four GW student-athletes to become part of the Grassroots Leaders team, a new leadership development program. Wallis, lacrosse sophomore Mackenzie Jones, cross country junior Jackson Carnes, and rowing senior Lauren Byrne will all be part of the pilot program this year. This selection also included a three-day retreat in Orlando, Fla., that consisted of intensive leadership training.

Grassroots includes teams from Georgetown University and Howard University, who, along with GW, collaborate with each other and put rivalries aside. The program also plans on integrating American University and the University of Maryland to expand its impact on at-risk youth. The influence of the Grassroot Project does not begin and end with these middle school students, however.

"Being involved with Grassroots has influenced me more than I would have ever thought when I signed up freshman year," said Resource Coordinator and GW lacrosse sophomore Mackenzie Jones. "Looking back on college I think being involved with the Grassroot Project will be one of the most memorable and rewarding experiences I have."

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GW Lacrosse Redoes Psy's Gangnam Style

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Colonials Athletics Weekend Roundup - Sept. 14-16

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GW's Atlantic 10 Champion golf team begins its fall action while their fellow Colonials continued the fall season with a weekend packed with competition.  Here's a look at how the Colonials fared:

Women's Soccer
-Freshman goalkeeper Nicole Fasano made seven saves, five of them in the second half in a narrow 1-0 loss at Liberty on Friday. 
-The Colonials will return home on Tuesday to host American to begin a five-match homestand.

Men's Soccer
-Tyler Ranalli scored his third goal of the season in GW's 2-1 loss at Bryant in the Colonials' lone match of the weekend. 
-Redshirt freshman Jean-Pierre van der Merwe recorded a career-high seven saves in Sunday afternoon's contest.

-GW's golf team begins its fall season today at the 19th annual Adams Cup of Newport/Cleveland Golf Classic at the Newport Country Club in Newport, R.I., and the Carnegie Abbey Club in Portsmouth, R.I.

Men's Water Polo
-GW finished Day 1 at the CWPA North/South Tournament at Harvard with a 15-6 win over Iona after dropping an earlier match, 18-7, against No. 19 Brown. 
-Sophomore Ridvan Pehlivan matched a career-high six goals against the Gaels on Saturday.
-Senior goalkeeper Cameron Illes recorded a season-high 18 saves in the Colonials' win over Iona and is now just 56 saves shy of GW's all-time program record.
-Junior Daniel Tyner and sophomore Ridvan Pehlivan each recorded a hat trick in GW's 15-13 loss to host Harvard on Sunday to finish the tournament in sixth place.

Men's & Women's Cross Country
-The men's and women's teams both brought home sixth-place finishes at their respective Navy and Salty Dog Invitationals in Annapolis, Md., on Saturday.
-The men's team finished ahead of regionally ranked Loyola for the second straight week and was led by senior Alex Dadds, who finished 29th and improved his 8,000-meter time by nearly a minute over his performance at the season opener.
-The women's team finished just two points behind Loyola (Md.), which is ranked No. 15 in the latest USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Region poll.
-The GW women were paced by senior Julia Weir, who finished 19th out of 123 runners with a time of 23:28.  Weir was closely followed by fellow senior Heather Stevens, who took 30th place with a time of 23:53.

-GW battled strong currents to finish eighth out of 16 total teams in its second weekend of varsity action at the SUNY Maritime Fall Open in Throggs Neck, N.Y.
-The Colonials' A Division team of seniors Ian Conners, Skye Kussmann and Rebecca Engel posted a weekend-best performance of second place in Race 5 on Sunday. 
-The B Division crew of freshman Jay Spector and sophomore Meagan Murphy recorded four top 5 finishes, including a trio of third-place finishes.
-GW also finished fifth at the Edward Teach Memorial in Hampton, Va., with a pair of fourth-place efforts by the team of senior Richard Sant and junior Sarah McCormack in the A Division. 
-Freshman Benjamin Helfand and junior Erin McCormack took first in Saturday's eighth race.  The duo finished with a fourth-place showing in the B Division. 

-Sophomore Landon Garvik posted the first double-double of her career with 11 kills and 10 digs in a 3-0 loss to Princeton in GW's first match of the GW/NIKE Invitational at the Charles E. Smith Center. 
-Senior Christie Graf recorded career highs with two assists and six digs against Princeton on Friday.
-The Colonials came back strong on Day 2 of the GW/NIKE invitational with a 3-1 win over New Hampshire before dropping their final match of the tournament to No. 15 BYU in straight sets.
-Senior Lauren Whyte had a match-high 27 kills while hitting .328 with six digs, two block assists and one ace in GW's 3-1 win over UNH on Saturday. 
-Senior Candace Silva-Martin earned All-Tournament honors.

Men's Squash's Chris Bell Competes in Nation's Triathlon

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While many other Colonials spent their weekends competing or training for the Buff and Blue, junior men's squash player Christopher Bell completed a 1.5k swim, 40k bike, and 10k run in the Nation's Triathlon on Sunday morning.

Bell had never participated in an event of this kind prior to Sunday. "I knew I wanted to do some kind of long distance athletic event, but I didn't settle on the Nation's Triathlon until early August," he noted. 

Bell utilized his location and student-athlete network when training for the triathlon. "I spent most of my summer biking and running in Arlington and Virginia, Bell stated. "For the swim, I asked a friend of mine on the women's water polo team, Katherine Berry, to help me out."

Berry's tutelage and Bell's hard work paid off. Bell's time of 3:05:38 was good enough to earn him a 1,744 place finish in an event with over 3,000 finishers and many more entrants according to the Nation's Triathlon's website.

After completing his first ever triathlon, Bell was most pleased with his bike performance. "The bike was definitely my strongest event as I finished only 10 minutes behind most of the professionals," he reflected.

A strong day for the Buff and Blue on the nation's capital's roadways and waterways indeed.

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In a weekend marked with giving back to the community, members of the GW men's and women's swim teams dedicated their time to assisting fellow athletes in the Nation's Triathlon to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  A total of 21 swimming student-athletes volunteered throughout the weekend of Sept. 8, helping triathletes literally from start to finish.

Taking advantage of the Athletics Department's emphasis on having a student-athlete presence within the community, members of the men's and women's swimming teams became privy to the opportunity to lend a hand at the Seventh Annual Nation's Triathlon through Athletics' Life Skills program. 

"Our Athletics Director, Patrick Nero, makes it clear that one of GW Athletics' foremost priorities is strengthening our community by giving back through our collective volunteer efforts," said senior co-captain Stephan Nelson. "When presented with the opportunity to volunteer for a worthwhile cause and support fellow athletes, we took advantage."

Although the race commenced on Sunday, the Colonials began their work on Saturday by greeting and checking in athletes at the Washington Hilton on Connecticut Ave.  As the race began at 7 a.m. on Sunday, GW student-athletes ensured that participants followed the course correctly and monitored the safety of the course throughout the day.  At the finish line, GW swimmers provided post-race food and water to the exhausted triathletes.  At the conclusion of the day, the volunteers assisted with the course break down and clean up.

Out of all of the duties tasked to the student-athletes, the finish line was the most rewarding position. 

"As athletes ourselves, we share an understanding for the commitment training requires and the sense of achievement gained by completing such a grueling event," Nelson said. "Working at the finish line and sharing in the participant's immediate joy was inspirational." 

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While most George Washington student-athletes were spending their summers decompressing from the long, strenuous school year, one women's tennis player decided her time would be better spent serving a community.

Mimi Hamling, a senior majoring in chemistry, traveled to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, for two weeks this past July to provide medical care for Hondurans who could not otherwise receive it. Hamling traveled with Health Teams International, a missionary organization that provides healthcare services to the poor around the world. Other examples of trips with the agency include Haiti, Myanmar and Uganda. Hamling chose Health Teams because of the blend of religion and healthcare.

"As a Christian, I always had a heart to serve in local missionaries and outreaches," Hamling said. "I contacted the leader of the Honduras team and he allowed me to join as a medical assistant." 

Hamling's team's services included medical, dental and optical care, while her role on the trip included taking vitals and giving immunizations to patients. While Hamling plans on becoming a doctor, her only background in medical care had been taking the blood pressure of a fellow student in biology class. The trip allowed her hands-on medical experience she otherwise would not have come across in the United States. The medical portion of the trip was not the most important to her, however.

"I have been influenced greatly - seeing these people with so little and being changed after seeing our team has turned my life completely around," she explained. "I love the people of Honduras and I would love to be able to go back next year."

Colonials Athletics Weekend Roundup - Sept. 7-9

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Last weekend was marked with firsts with the sailing team's varsity debut and the women's tennis squad's first competition of the fall. Here's a look at the weekend's results as GW's fall sports are now in full swing:

Women's Soccer
-The Colonials split two games at the Navy Invitational, running their winning s treak to three with a 2-1 win over Towson before falling to Rider in a close 1-0 decision.
-Freshman Kristi Abbate's first career goal was the game-winner against the Tigers on Friday.
-Seniors Samie Cloutier and Adriana Moya and freshman Amanda Gaggioli earned All-Tournament honors.
-At 3-2, the Colonials matched their best five-game start since 2007.

Men's Soccer
-GW concluded the Jay Sculley Memorial Tournament, hosted by VMI, with a 2-0 victory over 2011 NCAA Tournament qualifier Liberty on Sunday.
-Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Jean-Pierre van der Merwe posted his first career shutout in the win.
-Senior Seth Rudolph tallied both of GW's goals against the Flames, scoring twice in a five-minute stretch in the second half.
-Rudolph, van der Merwe and junior Tyler Ranalli earned All-Tournament honors.

-The Colonials competed at the Spring Hill Suites at Arundel Mills Invitational, hosted by the University of Maryland, where they faced No. 16 Tennessee and a pair of ACC opponents in Maryland and Boston College.
-Freshman Margareth Skjelbred hit a team-best .429, while senior Lauren Whyte led the Colonials with 40 kills and senior Candace Silva-Martin paced the defense with 42 digs.
-Junior Jamie Armstrong led GW's offensive efforts against Maryland, hitting an errorless .636.
She and sophomore Kelsey Newman each totaled seven blocks at the tournament.

Men's Water Polo
-GW faced some tough competition at the Princeton Invitational, with three of four matches against nationally ranked opponents - No. 2 UCLA, No. 18 Brown and Division III No. 7 MIT.
-Junior Nate Little led the Colonials with seven goals in four contests, while freshman Bogdan Petkovic tallied six points on a goal and five assists and added 14 steals.
-With 37 saves at the tournament, senior goalkeeper Cameron Illes is up to 854 in his career. He needs less than 100 to become GW's all-time leader.

Women's Tennis
-The Colonials opened fall competition by notching victories over Howard and Saint Joseph's by identical scores of 3-2 at the rain shortened Tiger Classic hosted by Towson University.
-Freshmen Christina Carpenter and Stephanie Wei each earned their first career singles victories. Carpenter won at the No. 4 spot against Saint Joseph's, while Wei picked up her win at the No. 4 position against Delaware.

-GW's newest varsity sport completed its first regattas over the weekend at Old Dominion's Riley Cup and Navy's Laser South.
-The Colonials finished 13th out of 17 teams at the Riley Cup in Norfolk, Va.The pair of junior William Broman and senior Rebecca Engel placed 14th in the "A" Division.
-Senior Ian Conners led the new squad at the Laser South in Annapolis, Md., with a finish of 16th out of 18 sailors.


Student-Athletes Participate in Freshman Day of Service

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Almost 150 freshman student-athletes participated in the university's fourth annual Freshman Day of Service and Convocation on Saturday, representing their respective teams at 35 service sites around Washington, D.C.

GW athletics director Patrick Nero also took part in the day of service, traveling to the Ft. Lincoln Recreation Center with 25 student-athletes to clean up and improve the facility.

"I was thrilled to participate in Freshman Day of Service with our student-athletes," Nero said. "This was a great chance for us to give back to the community that supports us and show them that we as a university and as an athletics department are just as committed to them as they are to us."

GW's Freshman Day of Service is the largest service day of any college in the U.S., with nearly 2,400 students contributing.

The day also included Freshman Convocation, a university tradition and an important academic ceremony. The deans from the School of Business, the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Elliot School of International Affairs, and the School of Public Health and Health Services were on hand to greet the students and take part in the academic procession. Other speakers during Convocation included President Steven Knapp; Provost Steven Lerman; Stan Soloway, a member of the board of directors for the Corporation for National and Community Service; and Donna Brazile, the Democratic National Committee's vice chair of voter registration and participation and Georgetown professor.

The freshman student-athletes' commitments to service do not end with the Freshman Day of Service, however, as every student-athlete at George Washington will complete at least 10 hours of service during the 2012-13 school year.


GW Volleyball Video Blog, Episode #3

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In the third installment of the GW Volleyball Video Blog, senior Candace Silva-Martin talks about the season-opening road trips, the home opener against UMBC and this weekend's GW/NIKE Invitational. 

The Colonials return home to the Charles E. Smith Center on Friday night against Princeton (7 p.m.) before facing New Hampshire (Sat., 10 a.m.) and #15 BYU (Sat., 7 p.m.) as part of the GW/NIKE Invitational. 

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GW Hosts U.S. Squash's Gold Junior Tournament

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This past weekend, the Matthew J. Grossman Squash Courts at Lerner Health & Wellness Center hosted the Washington Gold Junior Squash Tournament.


The GW Squash facility played host to the top 204 U17 and U19 players, which in total represented 15 states and Canada. Other venues around the city, including Bethesda Health & Racquet Club, Results Gym, Sports Club LA and the University Club, hosted additional divisions.


The tournament, which was a nationally-sanctioned junior event affiliated with U.S. Squash, was a big success as hundreds of fans turned out to view the action on the six glass-backed international courts inside Lerner Health & Wellness Center.


"It was the first time we have hosted a nationally-sanctioned tournament here," said GW Squash Head Coach Wendy Lawrence. "It was a great opportunity for junior players who are starting the college application process to be able to see what a Division I squash facility looks like. Our facility has never hosted an open tournament like this before. The feedback we have been getting has been so great and supportive so we are certainly looking for this to be an annual event.

Full tournament results are available at the official site of US Squash. Click on the "Tournament Results" link on the right side of the page. 


GW Women's Squash players enjoying the action.

Women's U17 Champion Kira Keating (R) and runner-up Casey Wong.


Men's U19 Champion Derek Hsue (L) and runner-up, Thomas Kingshott. 

Colonials Athletics Weekend Roundup - Aug. 30-Sept. 3

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What a weekend! The six GW teams competing went a combined 8-4 with a couple of top finishes from the cross country squads. Saturday was a particularly impressive day with five wins from men's and women's soccer, men's water polo and volleyball. Here's a quick look at some highlights from the weekend that was:

Women's Soccer

-First-year head coach Sara Barnes earned her first two victories of the season as the Colonials defeated Columbia (1-0) and Cornell (3-2) at the D.C. Invitational.

-Junior Alex Neal was named Atlantic 10 Player of the Week after scoring two goals, including the game-winner against the Lions.

-Freshman goalkeeper Nicole Fasano posted her first career shutout in the win over Columbia.

Men's Water Polo

-The Colonials outscored their opponents, 66-30, to start the season 4-0 for the first time since 2006. GW picked up wins over Penn State Behrend (21-6)Iona (11-10)Notre Dame (Ohio) (16-9) and Gannon (18-6).

-Junior Nate Little, sophomore Brian Mojica and freshman Bogdan Petkovic each scored 10 goals, while senior goalkeeper Cameron Illes recorded 32 saves and allowed just 23 goals. Illes moved into second place all-time at GW with 817 career saves.

-Petkovic and Illes earned CWPA Southern Division Rookie and Defensive Player of the Week, respectively, for their performances.

-Newcomers certainly made a splash in their inaugural weekend in the Buff and Blue. In addition to Petkovic, who scored four goals apiece against NDC and Gannon, freshman Jonah Dowd tallied six points (4g, 2a) in his collegiate debut against PSB, while grad student Milos Purkovic, a transfer from Pepperdine, scored five times against Iona.

Men's Soccer

-The Colonials bounced back from their first loss of the season to defeat District rival Howard, 2-1, at the 12th annual D.C. College Cup.

-Juniors Bailey Hinners and Tyler Ranalli were named to the All-Tournament Team.

-Hinners' first career goal proved to be the game-winner against the Bison.


-The Colonials defeated Bethune-Cookman, 3-0, at the UniWyo Cowgirl Classic for their first victory of the season.

-Sophomore Kelsey Newman paced GW in the win with 18 kills, while senior Lauren Whyte posted her first double-double of the season and 33rd of her career with 11 kills and 11 digs.

-Freshman Maddy Doyle earned All-Tournament honors after totaling 31 digs (2.21/set) and 17 assists in 14 sets.

Women's Cross Country

The Colonials opened the season with a second-place showing and registered three top-10 finishes at the Seagull Opener.

-Senior Heather Stevens finished in a career-best third place out of 146 runners, while senior Juliana Stern and freshman Caroline Wolfe took sixth and seventh, respectively.

Men's Cross Country

-The Colonialsfinished third at the Seagull Opener in their 2012 debut with four top-20 individual finishers.

-Sophomore John-Louis Pane led GW with a 14th-place showing out of 116 runners.

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Sports & Spirit Day is Wednesday, Sept. 5 in Square 80!

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In conjunction with the GW Student Association, GW Club Sports and GW Colonial Army, GW Athletics will be out in full force at Sports & Spirit Day at Square 80 (you know, the plaza behind Guthridge Hall, between 21st & 22nd Streets AND F & G Streets) from 5-7 p.m.

GW men's basketball coach Mike Lonergan and women's basketball coach Jonathan Tsipis are slated to attend and speak at the event, which will conclude with a short walk over to the Smith Center for GW Volleyball's home opener against UMBC at 7 p.m.

If you're interested in any athletics option GW has to offer - varsity, club or recreation - come out to Sports & Spirit Day on Wednesday!

Raise High!