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The IU men’s swimming and diving team won its second straight dual meet
to open its season on Friday, defeating Northwestern 158-129 at the
Councilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center.
“I thought our guys stepped up and swam hard again,” IU swimming coach
Ray Looze said. “I thought the men reacted well. Hopefully we have some
If history had any bearing on Saturday’s swimming and diving meet
against Kentucky, IU swimming coach Ray Looze didn’t plan on a win from
his young team.
“I kind of expected to lose, in all honesty,” Looze said after the meet.
But the Hoosiers proved their coach wrong, turning in a 189-108 victory
over the Wildcats at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center.
Eric Gordon became the eighth IU player selected in the top 10 of the NBA Draft after the Clippers selected him with the No. 7 overall pick in the June 26 draft.\n“I think the Clippers could be a really good team,” Gordon said in a statement. “They have some guys who can really play. I think I can just fit in with those guys on the perimeter. You really do not know where you are going to end up, but I am just glad to be with the Clippers.”\nMany experts thought Gordon was a possible top five pick but once he fell to the Clippers, they were glad to take him.\n“Eric Gordon was our man all the way,” Clippers Vice President of Basketball Operations Elgin Baylor told the team’s website. “We were hoping he would be there. We heard rumors that other teams were going to take him, but we are glad they didn’t. We think he will fit in really well here.”\nGordon joins a Clippers team that finished in last place in the Pacific Division with a 23-59 record. The Clippers hope the selection of Gordon as their first pick will help them improve on last year’s season.\n“[Gordon] was our target early on,” Clippers head coach Mike Dunleavy told the team’s website. “We had him in for workouts and he looked great. All the things we thought he could do, he showed us he can easily do. He will be great for our team.”\nThe Clippers return point guard Shaun Livingston, who is coming off knee surgery, and veteran point guard Brevin Knight. Last year, 33 year-old Cuttino Mobley started at shooting guard. There has been talk that Gordon could play either point guard or shooting guard in the NBA. Gordon has said he is comfortable playing point guard but would play wherever his team needs him. \nGordon, who earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors and was first team All-Big Ten, averaged 20.9 points per game in his only season at IU.
It did not take long for D.J. White’s first NBA trade. \nThe Detroit Pistons drafted White with the 29th pick of the first round in Thursday’s 2008 NBA draft, but quickly dealt the Big Ten Player of the Year to the Seattle SuperSonics for the rights to two second-round picks, Walter Sharpe and Trent Plaisted.\nMany experts believed White would fall to the second round, but the Sonics used two second-round picks to make sure they could bring White to Seattle. \n“I just want to thank the Sonics and this organization for giving me an opportunity,” White said in his first press conference with Seattle. “It’s been a lifelong dream to be in the NBA, and I’m here now.”\nWhite averaged 17.4 points and 10.3 rebounds per game during his senior year for IU, making the 6-foot-9 forward an intriguing NBA prospect. \n“We had always felt strongly about him as a rebounder with great length and also the ability to make face-up jump shots,” Sonics General Manager Sam Presti told the team’s official Web site. “But when we got a chance to see him up close competing and sit down with him, we were blown away by this young man’s maturity and his character.”\nDuring his four years at IU, White’s hard work and dedication to the program made him a fan favorite, something he hopes to continue in the NBA. “Every time I step on the court I compete and that’s one of the big things about me,” White said during his press conference. “I think I bring it every day.”\nJeff Wechsler, White’s agent, said he is confident that White’s hard work will translate to success at the next level. He used White’s workout with the Toronto Raptors as an example.\nThe night before a scheduled workout in Toronto, White’s 6 p.m. flight was cancelled. After his 10 p.m. flight was also cancelled, a Raptors representative called White and said he could either cancel the workout or they would send a car to pick him up. White chose the latter and after a five hour drive, he arrived in Toronto at 4 a.m. The next day, his workout began at 11 a.m. and Wechsler said he was the first player on the court. \n“That’s a guy who understands that this is a job,” Wechsler said. “That’s a guy who understands that success doesn’t just come to you.”\nWhite will participate in the NBA’s summer league beginning in early July and Wechsler said he is ready to begin playing.\n”He’s in such good shape right now,” Wechsler said. “His body fat is down to seven-and-a-half or eight percent. He’s just in unbelievable condition and he’s focused on maintaining his physical presence.”\nWhite’s senior season at IU was marked by controversy after Kelvin Sampson resigned during the season amidst allegations by the NCAA that he made impermissible phone calls to recruits. The Hoosiers, a top 20 preseason team, exited the NCAA tournament in the first round. \n“We went through some struggles this year,” White said in his press conference. “We didn’t finish the season like everyone thought we should or like we thought we should, but it happened. That’s in the past. All I can do now is look forward to a great opportunity here.” \nThe Sonics finished in last place in the Northwest Division last year with a 20-62 record. This year, however, White and the No. 4 pick Russell Westbrook join Jeff Green and last year’s NBA Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant on a very young roster.\n“D.J. is ecstatic to join a very good group of young players,” Wechsler said. “They have a young core that should grow and mature together. I think they should make some noise in the future.”
During Thursday’s 2008 NBA Draft, basketball’s youth movement will be on full display. In a draft class characterized by young talent, former IU forward D.J. White has the basketball experience that few other draft prospects can match. \nWhite, who played four years for the Hoosiers and earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors his senior season, is widely regarded as a late first-round or early second-round pick by most NBA Draft analysts. \nIn his latest mock draft on ESPN.com, ESPN’s Chad Ford has the Portland Trail Blazers taking White with the 36th pick in the draft. Of Ford’s top 40 picks, White is one of only six players to have completed four years of college basketball.\nWhite’s agent Jeff Wechsler said White was in Toronto this week working out for the Toronto Raptors. During June, White has also worked out for the Utah Jazz, New Jersey Nets, Detroit Pistons and New Orleans Hornets, among others. \nAfter White’s workout with New Orleans, Hornets head coach Byron Scott praised White as “one of the best athletic post players to participate in the Hornets’ pre-draft workout,” according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.\nAt 6-foot-9, White may be undersized for an NBA forward, but his long wingspan and rebounding skills could help make up for his lack of height. “White obviously has very long arms,” New Jersey Nets President Kiki Vandeweghe said after White’s workout for the Nets. “He is a big guy that plays very hard and is a good rebounder.”\nWhite, who averaged 17.4 points and 10.3 rebounds per game his senior season, battled injuries early in his college career. But aside from an injury-plagued sophomore year, his scoring and rebounding numbers improved each year. \nAlthough predictions of who will draft White differ among analysts, rumors have circulated on various Web sites that the Detroit Pistons have promised to draft White with the 29th pick at the end of the first round. Wherever he lands, White, unlike most other draft hopefuls, will bring with him four years of college experience.\n“D.J. was impressive,” Nets Director of Scouting Gregg Polinsky told the Nets Web site. “You can tell he’s an older guy because his focus is very good. He understands and plays with a high IQ.”
A year ago today the IU football program lost its leader, the coaching ranks lost a respected colleague and those who were fortunate to have known former coach Terry Hoeppner lost a friend.\nHoeppner died of complications from a brain tumor only months before the start of the 2007-08 season, forcing the IU players and coaching staff to come together and deal with the loss in the midst of preparations for the new year.\n“We went into last season with a real sense of purpose,” IU coach Bill Lynch said. “We had a goal in mind and we were united in that goal. And that was to get to a bowl game.”\nAfter a 7-5 regular season and a trip to the Insight Bowl, the Hoosiers accomplished their goal and, in doing so, honored Hoeppner by accomplishing his goal.\nEver since Hoeppner arrived in Bloomington in December 2004, he was focused on leading IU to a bowl game for the first time since 1993. He even created a motto so the team would buy into the goal. In his first season, it was “Play 12,” and it changed in his second season to “Play 13.” The idea was to make it to a bowl game and play an extra 13th game.\n“That’s something we’ve been striving for ever since he came here,” senior running back Marcus Thigpen said. “Before he came we really had no hopes of going to a bowl game, because we didn’t feel it. When he came, with all his enthusiasm we knew we had a chance to play 13.”\nWhen Hoeppner took over as head coach, the Hoosiers were coming off a 3-8 season and had won a total of seven games in the previous three seasons. Yet in his two seasons at IU Hoeppner was able to create a winning mentality for IU football.\nHe saw a lack of traditions, so he created his own. He started “The Walk,” a march of players and coaches through the tailgating areas on their way to the stadium before each game. He nicknamed Memorial Stadium “The Rock” because of the limestone used in its construction. He even had a three-ton boulder placed inside the stadium. The Hoosiers touch the boulder as they come out of the locker room before each game, playing off Hoeppner’s challenge to his team to “defend the rock.”\n“The symbolism was that we are actually defending something,” senior kicker Austin Starr said. “He was always creative and he always put a twist on anything, whether it was telling us a story that relates to life or something on the football field.”\nHoeppner inspired fans, players and coaches with his enthusiasm for the game.\n“Terry Hoeppner was the embodiment of the very best qualities that are admirable in a coach,” former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said after Hoeppner’s passing. “He was a man of integrity and passion; he loved his players and he loved the game.”\nAfter Hoeppner’s death, “Play 13” became a theme for the 2007 season, a way to remember Hoeppner’s vision.\n“That was always his motto,” Lynch said. “He would always mention it, even up until the end, when he was communicating with the team through e-mail he would always say “Play 13’.”\nWhen IU beat Purdue in the last game of the season and became bowl-eligible, they all but ensured that they had reached Hoeppner’s goal.\nThe image of Starr’s last-second field goal that sealed the Hoosiers’ win and footage of Hoeppner’s wife Jane pointing to the sky after the ball went through the uprights have become symbols of IU’s memorable season.\n“I didn’t know how big that kick was going to be at that moment, because you just don’t think about it,” Starr said. “Even after I kicked it and that night, it still didn’t sink in. But now I’m continued to be reminded of how big that game was and how it has changed a lot.”\nLast year IU was driven by the desire to make a bowl game in honor of Hoeppner. After losing in the Insight Bowl to Oklahoma State, the Hoosiers hope they can win a bowl game for their former coach this season.\n“Even though we did make a bowl game, this year we have to win,” Thigpen said. “It’s not just about going, we have to win one for him.”\nThis season will start without the adversity that the Hoosiers dealt with leading up to last year. And having a year to reflect on what was a trying time, the players will carry specific memories of their former coach with them into the new season.\nStarr recalls the moment before he sent home a game-winning kick against Illinois in 2006 when Hoeppner told him, “Knock ’er through, dude.” And Thigpen remembers when Hoeppner would give the team a term of the day, like mental toughness, enthusiasm, or play hard, before every practice.\nIn his short time at IU, Hoeppner left his mark on the program, something the players and coaches who knew him will always carry with them.\n“I’ve never met a coach or let alone a man who was so inspiring,” Starr said. “He got so much out of the University in the time that he was here.”
19-year-old IU swimmer Kate Zubkova already knows more about the Olympic Games than a typical teenager.\nBoth her parents were Olympic swimmers. Her father, Mykhail Zubkova, finished fourth in the 200-meter individual medley at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul and her mother Natalia Shibaeva swam the 100-meter backstroke at the Barcelona Games in 1992.\nAnd at age 16, Zubkova represented her native Ukraine at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.\n“I was just 16 in 2004, so I actually didn’t understand much about the Olympics, but now I understand that I had a really good experience,” she said. \nShe has the talent and the swimming pedigree, but now as she prepares for her second Olympic Games, Zubkova is older, more experienced and driven to make a name for herself on the world’s biggest stage.\n“Now I know what to expect,” she said. \nAs Beijing looms only months away, the summer training is picking up for Zubkova, who has already qualified to swim the 100- and 200-meter backstroke and the 100-meter butterfly for the Ukranian national team.\nZubkova spent much of May in a high-altitude camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., for an intense training program with IU coach Ray Looze and 20 other IU swimmers. High-altitude training is the only natural and legal way to increase red blood cells, Looze said. Those red blood cells can help carry oxygen to the muscles and provide a boost in performance. Looze said the effects of the training should stay with Zubkova until the Olympics in August.\nWhile in Colorado Springs, Zubkova was completely focused on swimming. She ate nutritional meals and watched videos of elite swimmers, and said the training was nonstop.\n“She did 12 training sessions a week,” Looze said. “So, out of a 14-day cycle she had two afternoons off and that was it, no days off, \njust afternoons.”\nNow that she is back in Bloomington, Zubkova has reduced the training to 10 sessions a week and she trains with 50 IU swimmers, most of whom are preparing for the U.S. Olympic Trials.\nThe training is tough, but Looze has already seen that Zubkova is willing to put forth the necessary effort. \n“She’s typically the last one in the water, that’s kind of her thing,” Looze said. “She was the first one in the water in Colorado, though.”\nNow Looze and assistant coach Pam Swander are working hard with Zubkova on finishing races strong.\n“Right now she’s really getting good at getting second place,” Looze said.\nZubkova finished second in the 100-meter backstroke at the FINA World Short Course Championships in April, losing out to world-record holder Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe. She also added second-place finishes in the 200-meter backstroke at the NCAA Championships and in the 100-meter backstroke at the Mutual of Omaha Swimvitational. \n“Hopefully she is going to learn how to rise to the occasion and get her hand on the wall first,” Looze said. “She’s really working hard at doing the little things in practice.”\nZubkova will continue training in Bloomington until late July when she will meet up with her Ukranian teammates in Russia for final training before Beijing.\nWith two months of hard training left, Zubkova said she doesn’t need to think about what it will be like to represent her country at the Olympics.\n“Maybe not yet, but I will be excited,” she said. “I still have two more months, so there is no need to think about it a lot.”\nWhile Zubkova says her only goal is to improve on her times, her coaches know that she is ready to compete at a high level.\n“She knows what the world record is,” Swander said. “She knows what her competitors have done and she’s really prepared to go up against them.”
IU Director of Athletics Rick Greenspan announced Tuesday that Chad Hawley and Jennifer Brinegar have been appointed to two newly created staff positions with the IU Athletic Department. \nHawley, a 1998 graduate of Appalachian State University, will step into the position of associate athletic director for Compliance Services at IU.\n“I’m very excited about being chosen to lead the intercollegiate athletics compliance operation at Indiana. It’s a great feeling to be joining the athletic staff at a university where a culture of compliance and a philosophy of ‘winning the right way’ is so well established,” Hawley said in a statement. “I have a lot of confidence in Rick Greenspan and the institutional leadership at IU, and look forward to working with them in the future.”\nHawley has plenty of experience working in compliance after he most recently served as Assistant Commissioner for Compliance with the Big Ten Conference. He has also held compliance positions with the Mid Continent Conference, Ivy League, North Carolina State and Appalachian State.\n“I’m very pleased that Chad will be joining us as a member of our senior management team,” Greenspan said in a statement. “He brings outstanding experience and knowledge of both the Big Ten Conference and the NCAA to our department, and has very strong communication skills. Chad will provide leadership and guidance in many areas for us, and will positively impact both the coaches and student-athletes that he will serve.”\nBrinegar, who has 12 years of experience in compliance at IU, will assume the new position of Senior Assistant Athletic Director for Recruiting and Enrollment Services. \n“I am very excited about this opportunity, and I will work very hard to help our coaches with their on-campus recruiting efforts,” Brinegar said in a statement.\nAccording to www.iuhoosiers.com, Brinegar will “manage all aspects of the on-campus recruiting program for the athletic department, including direction of official and unofficial visit processes for prospective student-athletes, development of recruiting materials, oversight of initial eligibility certification and will coordinate summer orientation programming for incoming student-athletes.”\nA standout swimmer for IU as an undergraduate, during which time she won seven individual Big Ten Championships, Brinegar also graduated from Vanderbilt Law School. \n“Jennifer’s many years of experience and dedicated service to IU will enable her to be a great asset right away in our recruiting effort,” Greenspan said in a statement. “Her compliance background provides her with an excellent perspective on the NCAA’s complex rules in the area of recruiting, which will enable her to effectively advise coaches as they attempt to attract quality student-athletes. Her presence in this position immediately makes our total athletic program stronger.”
With the 2007-2008 IU athletics season nearing completion, two IU student athletes received the Big Ten’s Medal of Honor, rewarding achievement in athletics as well as in the classroom. \nSenior tennis player Thomas Richter and senior field hockey player Haley Exner received the award, which is given to one male and one female senior from each Big Ten school. \n“Thomas worked extremely hard on and off the court,” IU tennis coach Randy Bloemendaal said. “It’s great to see someone who puts in that kind of effort get recognized.”\nRichter, who was the No. 1 singles player for IU this season, compiled a 25-14 singles record this year along with a 28-6 doubles record. Richter cruised through the Big Ten season with a 10-0 mark in doubles and won the last 12 doubles matches of his career. \nBloemendaal said the men’s tennis team improved their GPA across the board and should be number one or two in the team GPA competition this year for IU athletics. \n”Thomas is a big reason for our improvement,” Bloemendaal said. “He was a real leader and he set a high standard for our student-athletes.”\nRichter is currently in his native Germany, where he just won a tournament last week, Bloemendaal said. Richter plans on returning to IU next year to work on his master’s degree in sports marketing and management before pursuing a professional tennis career.\nExner added the Big Ten Medal of Honor to a growing list of accomplishments. She was a three time all-Big Ten goalkeeper and was a first-team National Field Hockey Coaches Assosciation All-West region honoree her junior and senior seasons. She is also IU’s career leader in wins and goals against average.\n“She really deserves this recognition for her contributions as a student and on the field hockey field,” IU field hockey coach Amy Robertson said. “I’m very proud of her and I can’t think of anyone who better represents the field hockey program.”\nRobertson said Exner is the first field hockey player to win the award in the eight years of the program. \n“A girl like Haley doesn’t come around too often,” Robertson said. “She has shown great character to go along with her great performance on the field. She has really helped this program grow to an elite level.”\nRobertson said Exner, who is currently vacationing in Europe, plans to return as a graduate assistant next year. \n“She will have a lot to offer to our team and eventually she could be a great college coach,” Robertson said.
The Cutters made Little 500 history Saturday. \nBattling cold and wet conditions, the Cutters outlasted a field of 33 teams on the way to their record ninth championship, becoming the first team to repeat as champions at Bill Armstrong Stadium. Delta Chi was the last team to repeat, winning three straight titles from 1979-1981.\n“We had targets on our back all day,” Cutters senior Paul Sigfusson said. “Nine championships says something in itself. Then to repeat as champions on this track – it’s never been done – is a whole other story. I have no words for that. Two rings in two years is something else.”\nFour teams challenged the Cutters throughout the whole race, but around lap 180, the Cutters broke away from the pack and never looked back. \n“Everyone else was hurting so bad those last laps,” Sigfusson said. “You could feel that on the bike. You could hear them breathing, you could feel that they were dropping off the back, and as soon as we saw an opportunity we just gunned it off the front and it held up.”\nThe Cutters’ unofficial time of 2:10:00 left them 22 seconds ahead of the closest competition. This year’s finish sharply contrasted last year’s, when the Cutters won a five-team sprint to the finish on the final lap.\n“We had no doubt on (lap) 197,” Sigfusson said. “Last year on 197, we had doubt. It feels good to win that way. You don’t see too many races won that way, but that shows the strength of these guys.”\nThe race for second place came down to the wire with Team Major Taylor edging Dodds House, Alpha Tau Omega and Phi Kappa Psi, in that order, unofficially. \n“It was a good finish,” Team Major Taylor senior Ali Camara said. “I think we kind of unraveled around lap 180. You cannot take anything away from the Cutters, they were hands down the strongest team.”\nAlpha Tau Omega came all the way from its 26th qualifying position to finish in fourth place unofficially. \n“We were never mentioned to get top five, so it is just great to be able to do it,” junior Robert Perez said. “Next year, we will get a lot more respect on the track.”\nThe Cutters’ ninth title puts them one ahead of Delta Chi for the most Little 500 wins. \n“To say you rode for the all-time winningest team in Little 500 history is just something words can’t describe,” senior Erik Hamilton said. \nFor seniors Sigfusson and Sasha Land, this was their second straight victory. \n“I really can’t put it into words,” Land said. “It’s too much. It’s a little overwhelming how amazing this experience has been.”\nFor Hamilton, though, it was his first year riding for the Cutters. Hamilton used to ride for Cinzano, but switched to Cutters.\n“This was my last shot,” he said. “I sat out last year for this opportunity.”\nJunior Clayton Feldman, who rode in his first race this year, said it was great for the seniors to finish their careers with a victory.\n“Sending these guys out with a win is amazing,” he said. “It’s amazing riding with these guys, because you know you’re riding with guys people will talk about for a long time.”\nIDS reporters Greg Rosenstein and Michael Sanserino contributed to this report.
Around lap 20 of the women’s Little 500, Teter looked like it might run away with a win. The Spring Series champions had senior Sarah Rieke, one of the top individual riders, on the bike and had pushed out their lead to close to a lap.\nBut Delta Gamma, Delta Sigma Pi and Kappa Alpha Theta worked together and were able to set up a four-team race to the finish for the last half of the race.\n“There was a time in the beginning where Teter almost lapped the field, and we just held on and worked with the other teams, and that’s all you can really ask for,” Delta Gamma senior Jessica Lander said. \nWith four laps to go, the teams were still together in a pack. But Delta Gamma gave Lander the bike on an exchange, and she pulled away, securing her team its first Little 500 victory and becoming the fourth sorority in the history of the race to win the title.\n“We were planning on it being a sprint because everyone just kind of sat up and was riding together for the last 30 or 40 laps,” Delta Gamma coach Ryan Knapp said. “We put our sprinter (Lander) on the bike with four to go, and I think and she felt good.”\nJunior Kristina Heath completed the exchange with Lander on lap 96, giving her team a working lead after a good \nburnout.\n“The strategy was to just sit in, knock out a few more laps and get a good burnout,” Heath said. “I built the gap and Jess just took it.”\nDelta Gamma saw that Teter and Kappa Alpha Theta were ready to exchange the lap before, so they decided it was the right time to make a move.\n“We knew Teter and Theta were going into an exchange,” Delta Gamma senior Julianne Ellis said. “So we kept our rider in and put in a hard lap to get a gap on those two to make them chase. When Jess got the bike, she was able to maintain that gap and basically did an ITT (Individual Time Trial) for a couple of laps.”\nBy the time Teter made its exchange and Rieke was on the bike, there was too much ground and not enough time to make up the distance.\n“DG got away and had too big of a lead,” she said. “We couldn’t cut it much more than in half.”\nTeter was able to win the sprint for second place, though, edging out Delta Sigma Pi and Kappa Alpha Theta. \nDelta Sigma Pi senior Kate Rogoski rode the last leg for her team. \n“That last lap I just saw three girls,” she said. “You can’t really do anything but give it your all.”\nKappa Alpha Theta rode in the top-two for much of the race but finished fourth in the end.\n“We expended a lot of energy early chasing down Teter,” Kappa Alpha Theta senior Liz Pallotta said. “I think we rode a smart race, but at the end DG had what it took to close it out.”\nWhile the Delta Gamma riders expected the race might come down to them and Teter, they had to adjust to the four-team pack.\n“We kind of had a reactionary strategy,” Delta Gamma sophomore Lauren Half said. “You never know what is going to happen on the track. We were anticipating a one-on-one thing (with Teter), but this is great.”\nIDS reporters Greg Rosenstein and Lee Hurwitz contributed to this report.
On a cold and wet afternoon, the Cutters won their ninth Little 500 championship, becoming the first team to repeat as champions at Bill Armstrong Stadium.
Men's Little 500
Men's Little 500
On a cold and wet afternoon, the Cutters won their ninth Little 500 championship, becoming the first team to repeat as champions at Bill Armstrong Stadium.\n“We had targets on our back all day,” Cutters senior Paul Sigfusson said. “Nine championships says something in itself. Then to repeat as champions on this track – it’s never been done – is a whole other story. I have no words for that. Two rings in two years is something else.”\nSeven teams were on the lead lap for most of the race before the Cutters pulled away roughly at lap 180. The race for second place came down to the wire with Team Major Taylor edging Dodds House, Alpha Tau Omega and Phi Kappa Psi in that order.\nThe Cutters turned in an unofficial time of 2:10.00, 22 seconds ahead of Team Major Taylor. Senior Sasha Land rode the final leg for the Cutters, raising his hands in triumph as he took the checkered flag. Land and Sigfusson rode for last year’s championship team and fellow senior Erik Hamilton rode for the Cutters for the first time this year.\n“Sending these guys out with a win is amazing,” Cutters junior Clayton Feldman said of the team’s seniors. “It’s amazing riding with these guys, because you know you’re riding with guys people will talk about for a long time.” \nSee Monday’s Indiana Daily Student for full coverage of the Little 500.
Wow, what a race! Barack Obama made an appearance, the rain held off, there were blue skies throughout and it came down to the final lap.
Race day is now upon us and as I look out the window it's not raining at the moment. It rained hard last night, so hopefully today will be rain free. The forecast still calls for rain today and tomorrow, so we'll have to wait and see how that plays out.
With the 58th annual men’s Little 500 set for Saturday at 2 p.m., Cutters senior Paul Sigfusson has not had time to think about last year’s Little 500 victory and what it will be like to take the track at Bill Armstrong Stadium as defending champions. \n“I’m just trying to get through this week,” he said. “You kind of try not to think about last year or what will happen this year. Maybe I will on race day, but it’s really just about controlling your emotions.”\nLast year, Cutters edged out four other teams — Phi Kappa Psi, Dodds House, Black Key Bulls and Team Major Taylor — in a one-lap sprint to the finish. The four teams that came up short have had all year to ponder last year’s race and how close they came.\n“Finishing second is awesome, especially in a race like this,” Phi Kappa Psi senior David Schweer said. “To be on the final lap is awesome, but when you come that close and don’t win it, it just makes you want it that much more.”\nBlack Key Bulls junior Isaac Neff rode the final leg for his team last year. Neff said he has spent time analyzing last year’s finish so he is more prepared if this year’s race comes down to a sprint.\n“You always think about things like that,” Neff said. “I’ve learned a lot from watching \nvideo of that sprint, and we’ve talked a lot about it since.”\nOf the top five finishers from last year, only two qualified in the top 10 this year – Team Major Taylor in second and Phi Kappa Psi in third. Cutters qualified 13th, while Dodds House and Black Key Bulls qualified 16th and 17th, respectively. Sigma Alpha Mu will be in the pole position on race day. \n“We definitely think this is going to be one of our strongest years, hopefully in history, definitely in recent history,” Sigma Alpha Mu sophomore Stephen Quay said. “We’re very optimistic going into this year.”\nSeveral other teams are looking to break into the top-five this year after strong showings in the spring series. \nPhi Delta Theta qualified fourth and placed fifth in Team Pursuit with a young team.\n“The future is promising for Phi Delt cycling,” junior Matt Kain said. “We’re excited about it, but right now we’re just focusing on this year’s race.”\nAcacia finished sixth in qualifications and Team Pursuit and has hopes of a higher finish on race day.\n“Honestly I don’t think we showed everything we had in the series events,” senior Acacia rider Adam Mahomed said. \nThis year’s field boasts many experienced teams, starting with the defending-champion Cutters. Sigfusson and senior Sasha Land rode on last year’s championship team and senior Erik Hamilton has previous race experience with Cinzano before joining Cutters. \n“Anyone with experience on the track is in better shape than people without it, because they’ve been through race day before,” Sigfusson said. “Clayton (Feldman) is our only rookie and he’s witnessed the race before, but it’s about how you handle race day on the track.”\nAt the end of the day, however, every team is after what Sigfusson and Land have – a championship trophy.\n“It’s always nice to win, that’s the main goal,” Team Major Taylor senior Ali Camara said. “I don’t think we’ll be too happy with \nanything less.”