• Making A Splash: CAA Champion Derrick Butts

    Sports April 16, 2012 at 4:32 pm Comments are Disabled

    George Mason University’s senior swimmers and divers are cleaning out their lockers and reminiscing about their Mason athletic careers as their final year comes to a close. Diver Derrick Butts remembers both his darkest and brightest moments. Butts’ brightest moment this year outshined those of some of the most talented athletes at Mason. Butts became the first Mason men’s diver to make it to the NCAA championships, marking his place in Mason’s diving history. In the 3-meter dive, Butts placed 23rd in the preliminaries and ranked 29th overall. He was also named the 2012 CAA Men’s Diver of the Year. Butts’ road to the NCAA Championships had a few roadblocks. Leading up to his senior year, coach Roland McDonald left to coach at San Diego State University, leaving Butts feeling lost and confused. “Our coach of two years just up and left. I was pretty crushed at this point,” Butts said. “I thought I would have to start all over. I thought about quitting because I had come so far. I thought about transferring schools.” Butts had been diving too long to give up so easily. Originally beginning as a swimmer for a community swim team, Butts found more excitement […]

  • Intramural Tournaments Gauge Student Interest

    Intramural Tournaments Gauge Student Interest

    Sports April 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm Comments are Disabled

    Any time there is enthusiasm for a new sport, a tournament is held in the spring to gauge student interest. If there is enough commitment, then the sport becomes a league in the fall. “There’s definitely some interest here some of the teams are not organized, but both dodgeball and ultimate frisbee will become intramural leagues in the fall,” said Paul Bazzano, intramural and recreational sports assistant director. Sports management majors are required to have a directed practicum experience, either paid or volunteer. Over the course of 10 to 15 weeks, the students are expected to provide opportunities for others to gain skill and knowledge in an entry-level sport. Seven teams signed up for the ultimate frisbee tournament, but only four showed up and were able to compete. Matt Florence, a health, fitness and recreation resources major who organized the ultimate frisbee tournament under the practicum experience program, reached out to the ultimate frisbee club team for support. “I played many other sports with very intense rivalries. Ultimate frisbee has a sense of community-building and fun like no other sport I’ve ever played,” said Tim Rusbasan, a senior and captain of the men’s club ultimate frisbee team. “It’s about sportsmanship. […]

  • Freshman Orientation

    Sports April 9, 2012 at 3:14 pm Comments are Disabled

    Being a college freshman is a new, unusual and stressful time for a majority of students. Living with a roommate, maintaining a full course load and constantly attempting to find a place in the college environment can push students to the limit. Throw in hours of practice every day, 7 a.m. workouts and the constant pressure of trying to prove yourself on the golf course to that mix and it makes for a whirlwind of day-to-day tension and mental unrest. However, freshman Andrew Brenneman handles the same docket of activities while maintaining a dignified poise and clear mindset. “Being on the golf team does take up a lot of my time. On top of classes, I practice about three or four hours a day, sometimes even more than that. I don’t see it as any extra stress because I enjoy what I’m doing, and I like playing golf. It’s actually a nice break from the day,” Brenneman said. Of the golf team’s 11 members, Brenneman is currently one of only two freshman on the entire squad. Being on a team consisting of mainly upperclassmen has pushed Brenneman to test himself against the veterans and their experience “For the first semester […]

  • Women’s Rowing

    Sports April 2, 2012 at 4:24 pm Comments are Disabled

    A change to the 2013 NCAA rules will give the Mason women’s rowing team an advantage when it comes to the selection process for the championship tournament. Like basketball, the selection of the top 16 teams to vie for the championship will no longer be determined solely by the committees. Next year, conference champions will automatically secure a spot in the championships. “The new rules will really help us on the recruiting front,” said head coach Geoff Dillard, who has been with the team for seven years. “If we get the right people here, we can have the chance to go to NCAA championships. Our goal this year is to be in the top three teams for the CAA. It’s an attainable and achievable goal, and would be a major success for us.” The team rows home races, also known as regattas, at the Occoquan reservoir and occasionally travels to compete on the Potomac and in Philadelphia. Regattas are scored similar to a swimming or track meet. Individual boats are given weighted scores based on their ranking. Each boat, or shell, seats eight rowers. The added point total of the boats determines the team score. “We can have one boat […]

  • An Undying Question: Football

    Sports April 2, 2012 at 4:23 pm Comments are Disabled

    We wonder about it every autumn Saturday afternoon. It is a question we all want answered. We are all dying to know. Why does George Mason University not have an NCAA Division I football team? “Football must fit strategically within the vision of the university,” said Tom O’Connor, director of athletics and assistant vice president at Mason. For years, the university has wrestled with the desire to start a football program. For years, most of the factors informing the decision of whether or not to start a team can be attributed to cost. That remains the case today, and as the landscape of college athletics continues to change, so do those costs. “Cost is the biggest issue,” O’Connor said. “It is very costly to be successful in a spectator sport like football.” The university’s 2010 estimate of the potential expenses associated with a football program included operating costs, the cost of additional women’s sports programs, potential conference movement and the cost of a stadium.   Where Do We Play?   If Mason does decide to start a football program, the greatest cost factor will arise from the conference and division the team would play in. Division I college football is […]

  • Mongolian Wrestler Hopes to Pin an Olympic Spot

    Mongolian Wrestler Hopes to Pin an Olympic Spot

    Sports March 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm Comments are Disabled

    In eighth grade, Mendbagana Tovuujav was a skinny kid living in Mongolia. After a scuffle with some local gang members, Tovuujav was approached by two-time world freestyle wrestling finalist Naranbaatar Bayaraa.  “He told me that if I thought I was tough, I should come wrestle with him instead of waste my time with street kids,” Tovuujav said. The experience changed the eighth grader’s life. After training with the Mongolian wrestling team, Tovuujav was offered a full scholarship to an American prep school. From there, he received a full scholarship to George Mason University. Tovuujav, who’s now a senior, has been a nearly unstoppable force on the Mason wrestling team. This year he finished the regular season with a 20-3 record and went on to the NCAA Division I nationals in St. Louis, where he lost. Tovuujav plans to move back to Mongolia after he graduates in May and try out for the 2016 Mongolian Olympic wrestling team. “Wrestling is an individual sport,” Tovuujav said. “If everyone works hard, then the team does well. I focus on improving myself.” When new coaches Joe Russell and Tommy Owen came on for the 2012 season, the team was told that it was hard […]

  • Coaches Blamed for Pitcher Ligament Injuries

    Sports March 26, 2012 at 4:05 pm Comments are Disabled

    There’s an ongoing epidemic across all levels of baseball. Pitchers are more frequently in need of labrum surgery or, the most prominent of all, Tommy John surgery. Mason’s baseball team has unfortunately had to deal with such injuries during pitching coach Steve Hay’s three-year tenure. “One has been the fluke, one-pitch incident where it just happened late in the season. We have had some others where some pitchers have come into the program tired or hurt which may have caused the injury,” Hay said. “Most of the time there is a deficiency in the muscles in the shoulder or an issue with posture which we are currently doing a study on.” Tommy John surgery is also known as ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction. The procedure got it’s name from former Dodgers pitcher Tommy John who was the first to undergo the operation in 1974. When the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow tears and a tendon from another place in the body is used to replace the damaged ligament. The usual timetable for a return from Tommy John surgery for a player is anywhere from 12 to 18 months. In recent times there seems to be a high rate of pitchers […]

  • Coach Spotlight: Joe Russell

    Sports March 26, 2012 at 4:04 pm Comments are Disabled

    When the University of Minnesota offered a scholarship to Joe Russell, the head of Mason’s Division 1 wrestling team, they knew they were taking a risk. In 1985, during his junior year of high school, Russell won national championships in freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling. He was on his way to becoming the star of college wrestling when a terrible accident changed his path. “I got into a motorcycling accident before my senior year in high school,” Russell said. “I had a compound skull fracture with lacerations of the brain, and I was completely paralyzed on the left side of my body.” Russell had a choice to make. He could leave the wrestling world or stay knowing the chances for a full recovery were slim. “After the accident I felt like even though I was supposed to die, for some reason I lived, and I knew I was going to come back as a wrestler,” Russell said. Russell was recruited by the University of Minnesota in 1988. The coach hoped he could make a full recovery. Russell eventually regained the majority of feeling in his left side but was not able to compete at the same intensity as he did before. […]

  • He’s Got Spirit: Father Peter

    Sports March 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm Comments are Disabled

    Pacing back and forth atop the bleachers in the old Physical Education Building — now known as the RAC —, Peter Nassetta was the original “Super Fan” of Mason basketball. “I was the Patriot Platoon,” Nassetta said. “I was your fan. Screaming, yelling, taunting the other team and yelling at the referees — I did all of that.” Nassetta, now the chaplain of George Mason University’s Catholic Campus Ministry, graduated in 1982 with a major in business management from a small commuter school in Fairfax where the student apartments were the only residence hall available to students. He was involved in politics but, after a personal experience during his senior year, was encouraged to reevaluate his priorities. “I had to reevaluate things,” Nassetta said. “My faith then became the center of my life.” After getting involved with the Youth Apostles, a group that is called to reach out to every young person and make efforts to invite them to a life of truth, freedom and care, Nassetta began feeling that the Lord was guiding him into the chapel. “When you start thinking that maybe you’re supposed to be a priest, you start thinking, ‘I think you’re confused, God. You’ve got […]

  • CAA Player of the Week: Brig Tison

    CAA Player of the Week: Brig Tison

    Sports March 8, 2012 at 12:45 pm Comments are Disabled

    After the Baseball at the Beach tournament in South Carolina during the last weekend of February, senior third baseman John “Brig” Tison was named CAA Player of the Week. Tison put up nine hits in 18 at-bats, five RBIs, four scored runs and three stolen bases. Defensively, he had two putouts, eight assists and one error. Tison leads the team in multiple statistical categories, with a .448 batting average, .500 on-base percentage, six runs scored, 13 hits, two doubles, three walks and four stolen bases. “Individual awards are nice to get, but I was more concerned that our team was headed in the direction that we wanted to go,” Tison said. Tison started playing baseball when he was 4 years old, working with his father to build his skills. “I played at a really good baseball high school — James Madison in Vienna,” Tison said. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue playing through college.” Tison’s decision to play college ball has benefited him in multiple ways. “I had kind of gotten worn down. But when Mason offered me a spot on the team, it all worked out. I’m close to home, and my parents are at every game.” […]