With the winter season wrapping up, the basketball season is wrapping up as well, and our Clarke basketball teams have had amazing season this year. As Clarke students, we wanted to acknowledge the great achievements that our men’s and women’s teams have accomplished in this basketball season.
It was recently announced that the women’s basketball team would be going to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, or the NAIA, Division I Nationals. The girls had a recent loss in the Heart of America Basketball Championships in the semifinals during their game against William Penn University, so the recent news of their place in the national competition is exhilarating. Our girls are sitting right now with a record of 21-11, 14-10 in the conference. They have also gone down as having the most wins in program history. The girls will start the NAIA Nationals on March 14 against Columbia.
Our boys have also had an amazing year. After coming back from a loss to Benedictine College in the Heart of America Men’s Basketball semifinals, the boys are finishing the season with a record of 16-16, 13-11 in conference. Losing only by 2 points in their last game with a score of 72-74, the men were on a 5 game win streak before their loss. With no announcements yet of the NAIA DI Nationals for men’s basketball, it looks like they have a pretty good chance at being brought in to participate.
Here at the Crux, we wish our girls and boys the best of luck for the rest of the season, as well as in seasons to come.
A student body is a critical aspect to any university. Without students, a university has no way to sustain itself– and for smaller schools like Clarke University, students are of an even greater importance. The student body here at Clarke is made up of nearly 70% athletes according to the university’s website, suggesting that Clarke needs to market themselves primarily to athletes and attract them to the athletic programs at Clarke. This year, Clarke finished a construction project on two new practice fields that football, soccer, and lacrosse all use.
These two fields have jump-started the four-million dollar project for athletic facilities on the Clarke campus, according to Athletic Director Curt Long. The new turf fields, just finished this August, are great recruiting tools for Clarke Athletics. Additional upgrades to Clarke’s sports facilities include a weight room, fitness area, and locker rooms constructed on the ground level of the Kehl Center. Various athletic programs are available, including volleyball, soccer, golf, baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, football, lacrosse, track and field, and soccer.
So how does Clarke University actually manage to reach athletic students not only across the U.S. but internationally as well? For Kevin Hunley, a senior baseball player, Clarke jumped onto the starting right fielder’s radar when Dan Spain, the head baseball coach, sent him an email. Inside the correspondence, Spain said exactly what Kevin wanted to hear from a potential college.
Being from a large city where his high school actually had more students than Clarke University, Kevin said, “Coming to a school like this was different. As a high schooler you always see college as some new massive experience. Although Clarke may lack the student population, they make up for it in other ways.” Kevin was attracted to Clarke’s smaller size and, through the encouragement of Coach Spain, decided to experience Clarke and all it had to offer.
While explaining the differences in between his hometown of Glendale, Arizona and Dubuque, Kevin also stated, “There are kids everywhere in the U.S. looking for a place to continue their dream.” All it took for Kevin to commit the next four years of his life to this university was an encouraging email from Coach Spain. Kevin believes the west coast has many students just like him waiting for an email like that from an encouraging coach offering an enticing place to play.
In regards to his academic. He stated, “They really want you to succeed and are willing to work with you. The professors want you to be successful and try to help in any way they can.”
Senior pitcher Chelsea Fogarty has attended Clarke University all four years of college. Chelsea was recruited by a coach that is no longer in employment at Clarke. She spoke about this coach recruiting her starting in her sophomore year of high school.
The persistence of this coach and the fact that, “he made me feel important” encouraged her to become part of the Clarke Pride. She visited three times before verbally committing. Chelsea said, “Other schools had my attention, including Tennessee and a Division Two college in southern Illinois.” The coach that began recruiting her was her main reason for attending. In addition, the nursing program, the friendly Dubuque community, and being close to home helped seal the deal.
Clarke’s athletic teams have been more successful in the past few years, promoting Clarke in an even more positive way. “Athletics here at Clarke are a major component to the success of the university. With more success, we’re going to draw more attention from future athletes,” stated Chelsea. Being in the north, Clarke does present some cold temperatures for athletics. The baseball and softball fields are located 20 minutes from campus, which can be a strain for some students.
Chelsea stressed the pain it can be to drive 20 minutes off campus to a practice field, and with some students not having cars, they can run into difficulty with carpooling and transportation at times.
The student athletes appear to support each other well and the school spirit and comradery seem to overcome even the coldest of temperatures and distance to fields. Both Clarke athletes talked about the connection they felt to the coaches recruiting them. Relationships and connections appear to be a convincing component for athletic recruitment at Clarke University according to senior soccer player Trevor Kennedy, a men’s soccer player at Clarke. Clarke University and the wider area of Dubuque both offer a strong sense of connection and community, drawing student athletes from many corners of the U.S. and abroad.
College lacrosse is growing rapidly in the state of Iowa. While this is all fine and dandy, Iowa to this day has no varsity high school lacrosse teams. As lacrosse rises in popularity as a spectator sport, more and more colleges in areas lacking high school programs have begun to add collegiate varsity programs. This is both a brilliant athletic and academic recruiting strategy, which is almost guaranteed to increase out of state enrollment.
Not only has lacrosse become popular in the United States, but across the globe as well. Most teams are compiled of players from Canada and the United States, but it’s become common for players from Europe to appear on NCAA and NAIA rosters. Here at Clarke, the lacrosse team is made up of players from all over the United States and Canada. Freshman Canadian attack Drew Bannister had some comments to share on the topic of lacrosse and it’s rise in popularity.
“Lacrosse really is on a rise in the US and across the world, which means more players like me will be coming to the U.S. for school and lacrosse”, says Bannister. These sorts of opportunities mean more and more kids from across the world are starting to pick up a lacrosse stick in order to try out this amazing sport. For many, the draw of lacrosse comes from the finesse and aggression found within the sport that’s similar to hockey or soccer. It’s fast, skillful, brutal, and downright fascinating to watch.
Clarke University has recently taken on a new lacrosse coach. Coach Morhac, who heads both the Men’s and Women’s programs, is currently starting his second season with the University. Last year he led both teams to school records for most wins in a season. Morhac, along with Louis Deeny, a student assistant, was happy to give some insight as to why so many programs are popping up around the Midwest.
“The answer is primarily enrollment, with the exception of some schools with excess funding”, says Deeny. This essentially means schools will continue to add programs for financial gain.
Morhac agreed, adding “Schools like Saint Ambrose University had club teams then made the choice to add varsity programs due to the boom in high school lacrosse.”
If schools are willing to dip their feet into the water on new sports and take a risk, they clearly have to believe in the growth of the sport. This faith in lacrosse and it’s inevitable popularity extends to women’s teams as well.
“On the women’s side, lacrosse is introduced as a low budget and high enrollment option to balance out Title IX,” says Morhac. Essentially, this means that schools are introducing the women’s game as a way to comply and balance out scholarships with Title IX, a civil rights law which ensures fair financial treatment between men’s and women’s sports.
The lacrosse world by no ways is in ideal condition, but with more growth worldwide and in the college game on both the men’s and women’s side it will soon reach the level lacrosse fans have wanted it to be.
Is Clarke University considering anything and everything for its athletics? Some students on campus, specifically student athletes, feel as though their respective sports are being overlooked by administration, thus, making them feel unimportant.
Decorated teams like Baseball, Softball, and Track and Field all been competing off campus since each of their inaugural seasons. Baseball competes at A.J. Spiegel Park in Peosta which is about a 20-minute drive. Softball competes at Veteran’s Memorial Park which is a 7-minute drive, and Track and Field have never even had home field advantage as they are always on the road. These teams, along with two Lacrosse teams, two Golf teams, two soccer teams, and potentially our new football team will have to share one indoor facility throughout the year, the Gantz Center, which is also a 7-minute drive from campus. Clarke does not provide transportation to these off-campus facilities.
Baseball, Softball, and Track and Field have been exceptionally successful in the past few years; however, a number of student-athletes feel as though they have nothing to show for it.
Campus is changing, and some concerns are coming to light. There is little word from the administration regarding what exactly these new facilities are going to look like. Students can visibly see the plethora of space there is on campus, and that there is a lot of room for possible facilities for sports that seem to have been forgotten.
In a conversation with All-American baseball player, Michael Lopez, a junior from Rancho Cucamonga, California, he expresses his discontent with the current facilities stating, “I feel like our team is consistently successful, however we still get the short end of the stick having to drive 20 minutes to practice every day. A lot of us are from far away states and don’t have cars at our disposal.”
Lopez continues with expressing frustration stating, “It just sucks because student-athletes work as hard as we can to represent Clarke and what has Clarke done for us? Now that they are taking trees down, I can see that there is definitely room on campus for a baseball field or even an Avila type facility which is a full length make-shift football field, soccer field, softball field, and baseball field…I know I am not alone by saying there is room for this type of facility at Clarke.”
Clarke softball players also express their frustration and feelings of neglect. Ally Renforth explains the softball field is less than conducive for competition and practice, “…we have to haul all of our equipment from Gantz to [Veteran’s Memorial Park] to the school. It’s a constant struggle having to chase down equipment.”
Renforth continues to express her frustrations with the actual field, “We play at a community field. Kids ride their bikes across it and even run onto our field during practice. We have to put up a fence in order for our field to be regulation, we have an extremely small dugout for our team, and we have a scoreboard with broken pegs for plastic numbers that fall off. In all of my four years of college softball we are the only team I’ve seen with less than satisfactory facilities like ours.”
Renforth continues to state, “don’t get me wrong, we are content with the facilities that we have, but now that Clarke is making new facilities for a team that doesn’t even exist yet, it kind of hurts feeling as though we have been totally forgotten about.”
In closing with Lopez he expressed, “Clarke is doing a lot of things right, but they are also doing a lot wrong. The university should be caring thoughtfully about their current students and student-athletes because we are the best chance they have at generating donors. Instead, most of us are unhappy and envy schools like Georgia Gwinnett, University of Dubuque and the facilities that many teams in our conference have. I understand sports aren’t everything in life, but Clarke is wasting the chance to bring a championship culture across all sports to campus.”
Personally being affected by this, it seems like Clarke is jumping the gun on some of the decisions they make. This article is not meant to be taken offensively. I think Coach Regalado is doing a great job recruiting a team and getting the Clarke community excited about football. Administration is doing a great job in supporting football on the Clarke campus. The soccer and lacrosse teams are all equally deserving of benefiting from these future facilities. All of these things aside, it still doesn’t hide the fact that current student-athletes feel neglected for a shiny new object when they have put in the blood, sweat, and tears in order to make their sports worthy of respect.
After bartending for over 20 years, a woman we will be referring too as Kay, suffers of shooting pains up and down her arms, pinching in her wrists, and numbness in her hands; she suffers from severe arthritis. Due to not having medical insurance, Kay took matters into her own hands by smuggling Oxycodone in her bags after a trip to Mexico.
This shows the lengths United States citizens will go to find treatment or care if they are without healthcare. Those that cannot afford health care
“Look, I am a bartender and I will be for the rest of my life. It is just too easy not to do! My child gets sick all of the time and I have this issue with my hands. We go down there [Mexico] every year, it’s just too easy to pass up”, Kay said.
The main reason for the smuggling was because of the prices of Oxycodone, or any other non-over-the-counter medications in the States.
If healthcare were to be more affordable for the single mother of three she would consider getting a plan. She does not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid.
Kay told reporters, “They [Doctors] tried charging me 70-80 bucks a bottle? I buy 20 dollars’ worth in Mexico and I’m set for the year”.
According to HealthCare.gov, the lowest premium rate in the state of Iowa costs $429.69 if you are over the age of the 50. That is without monthly costs and deductibles.
Kay’s daughter is a student at NICC. After graduating at Senior High, she planned on attending Clarke University and wanted to continue her bowling career to the collegiate level.
“They [Clarke] told me I was not able to compete or attend because we didn’t have health insurance to cover for any accidents or injuries… Yeah, it was upsetting but I got over it quick”, Kay’s daughter said.
According to the Clarke University website, “All Clarke students must be covered by health insurance… Clarke University does not endorse a specific student insurance plan”. This is due to the Affordable Care Act.
However, the website does list a number of options and suggestions of different health insurance company’s students can contact.
According to Clarke Health Services Nurse, Tammy Moore, states, “The complicated part about health care is that everyone’s situation is different. But, all students are able to be seen here. We are limited to what we can do, so usually if they [students] need further care and have issues with parents’ plans or they are out of network, we send them to Hillcrest or Crescent Community Health Center”.
Although all situations are different, health insurance is something that is supposed to help us, not harm us. Some benefit, while others actually struggle more because of their lack in coverage.
“It wasn’t always this way”, Moore says, “We used to accept students onto campus whether they were insured or not. But it all falls back on liability”.
For now, campuses like Clarke University are doing their best to provide quality healthcare to all students, despite economic differences regarding health insurance opportunities.
They have been running fast, training hard, and preparing all season for their upcoming meet. The Clarke Men and Women’s Cross Country teams are awaiting the most anticipated race of their season: conference.
Their conference meet will take place on November fourth in Baldwin City Kansas. The results of this meet decide what teams and individuals will continue their seasons onto Nationals or which will come to an end. Although the meet is fast approaching, the anticipation of this meet has been building up over the course of many months for both the men’s and women’s team.
All sixteen cross country runners, under the coaching of Brooke Ferguson, have raced at five other competitive meets. These meets include: The Mustang Gallop, Luther All-American, Brisman-Lundeen Invite, Loras Invite, and their most recent race the Seminole Stampede.
The women’s team most impressive finish being 6th out of 17 teams at the Brisman-Lundeen Invite. The team, led by the strong junior Lauren Block, finished with a total of 188 points to earn them their impressive 6th place finish. Block placed 9th overall with a 5k time of 20:41. The second runner for the team was freshman Lauryn Pritchard running a time of 22:05 and was followed closely by junior Emily Reisenberg at 22:06. Sophomore Alex Branham finished in fourth for the Clarke pack coming in at a time of 23:26. The other contributors were freshman Mariah Pellino, senior Anna Cole, and freshman Annie Knobloch. The eighth member of the team, Sydney Hendricks did not race because of an illness.
Although Lauren Block had a great finish and an overall large contribution to the teams 6th place finish at the Brisman-Lundeen Invite, this isn’t the only accomplishment we have seen from Block this season.
This is Block’s first season back after time off from an injury. She reflects back on her achievements thus far:
“I think as an individual, finishing my first race was a turning point within itself. Being injured for over a year, I never thought the day would come where I could actually run a race, and placing made it even more bittersweet”
The first meet of the season, The Mustang Gallop, was were Block first individually placed this season, placing 9th out of 74 runners. Additionally to this 9th place finish, Block has also placed: 6th, 9th, and 19th at the team’s other competitive meets.
It is with the help of the team that Block has made these accomplishments. She is not alone in the outstanding efforts that have been put in by runners this season. Each and every member of the women’s and men’s team have been working hard the entirety of the season, pushing themselves in every race and at every practice.
Block agreeably states that it is through teamwork that the team has come this far and is going to be prepared for, conference.
“As a team, we are all so encouraging of each other on and off the course. No matter a good workout or bad, we’re always there keeping each other’s spirits up. Cross country is a hard sport, and add in the factors of being a college student, the stress levels can reach an all-time high. By making sure we’re all mentally and physically ready to race, we can ensure a successful conference race”.
The men’s team has also had their fair share of accomplishments this season. Their best finish as a team was also at the Brisman-Lundeen Invite. They finished 11th out of 22 teams with a total of 312 points. Coming in first for the Pride was senior Malik McCrary with a 6k time of 22:36. Close behind him was junior, Logan Fraker running a time of 22:59. Sophomore, Mike Aguilar took the third place finish for the team’s pack, finishing at a solid 23:44. The fourth finisher for the men’s team was sophomore Kevin Ockenfels running a time of 24:26. The other contributors to the team’s strong finish were freshmen Jimmy Slowik, Devin Dobbles, and Reide Gallaway. The eighth member of the team, Craig Stout, who has been battling minor injuries, did not participate in this race.
The Clarke men’s cross country team has shown tremendous progress over the span of this cross country season. A lot of their success this season can be credited to the growth in members for the men’s squad.
Back in 2015, the Clarke men’s cross country team consisted of only five members, which is just enough for them to race as a team. Since 2015, the men’s teams roster has grown to a total of eight members. This is a major positive change for the team as Stout adds:
“The team has gotten bigger. The more guys we have on a team, the more successful we will likely be. It’s nice going into practice knowing you have to bring your A game or you’ll get left behind”
They will be able to use this new advantage of more members to push one another during their next conference meet in a way they are not able to do previously. With only five runners in 2015, each member counted for the team’s score. Now they have to work together and push themselves to be in the top five that scores for the team.
With the anticipation at an utmost high, the excitement to see what the men and women’s cross country team will accomplish at their conference meet is overwhelming.
For some, this will be their last conference meet in their collegiate running careers. This goes for the seniors Anna Cole, Sydney Hendricks, Malik McCrary, and Craig Stout.
Hendricks reflected on her last four years as a runner and shared what she is thinking as her days as a college cross country runner nears to an end:
“I want to finish the season and my career strong. But I know I’ll be participating in races after XC and am excited to start that part of my running career. I will miss my teammates tremendously though. They make the hard days easier.”
Undoubtedly the women’s and men’s team will miss the efforts, positive energy, and dedication that the senior members offer.
Embracing their accomplishments and remembering how far they have come, both teams are more than ready for their conference meets. Coach Brooke Ferguson talked about her goals for the teams as they get ready for conference. She hopes that both teams continue to pack run, work up during their races, and finish in the top half of the conference meet.
Hendricks shared what she would want to say to her team in regards to conference,
“I would tell them to run our best, have confidence in ourselves, and leave it all on the course. At the end of the race all that truly matters is that we ran our hardest and gave it all we had.”