Tag: Clarke sports

Clarke women’s basketball team to head to NAIA Divison I tournament

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.

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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.

 

by Dane Shaull

The Impact of College Athletics at Clarke

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.

 

By Austin Mettica

College lacrosse continues to spread rapidly in non-traditional lacrosse areas

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.

 

By Tucker LaBelle