NCAA – Not All “Doom and Gloom”…Recent Graduate’s Experience at Career in Sports Forum

14 Aug



By Kimoy Mais

Is going to the NCAA National Office a main priority for any student-athlete? Is it on any student-athlete’s top-five list of things to do when attending school? Honestly, it wasn’t on my top-five list, and the thought had never really crossed my mind. As an international student-athlete, I was just excited to be furthering my education in the United States, and at the same time, competing in a sport that I enjoyed. Of course, winning conference championships and making it to Nationals was definitely on my top-five list, as well as maintaining a high GPA and savoring the best college experiences.


I personally used to perceive the NCAA as solely a “powerful organization, not to be reckoned with.” I thought it had a Strictly Business kind of attitude and its only purpose was to watch each school and student-athlete ever so diligently so that the instant there was any infringement upon any of the rules, that student-athlete or school would be terminated! Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little. But in my head, the NCAA was just a regulatory body for all of college sports and its main purpose was to establish the rules of the game. Well, they are that… but also a lot more!

The NCAA National office is a haven for student-athletes. It has an abundance of opportunities that it hopes student-athletes will pursue during their careers and more importantly, after graduation. Throughout any given year, the National Office will host a series of workshops and forums that are offered not only to athletic administrators, but to us, the student-athletes. These workshops and forums are all free! The National Office even provides us with career opportunities upon graduation. It’s just up to us to send in our applications!


I was given the opportunity to attend a Career in Sports Forum in June, 2015 at the National Office in Indianapolis, after being nominated by my Athletic Director, Patricia Thomas. However, gaining acceptance to any of these forums is not easy. In my case with the CSF, for instance, only 200 participants were invited from NCAA Division’s I, II and III which included over 1,200 colleges and universities. So, you can just imagine my surprise when I found out that I was a part of the selected few. Upon acceptance, everything was paid for: transportation, lodging, food…all I had to do was show up!

Man, did I have a fabulous experience! At the forum, all the participants had the chance to get more insight on all the various functions in the athletic department: Communication, Development, Sports Medicine, Internal/External Operations, etc. We then did a behavioral test to see which function would be most appropriate for our behavioral type. We also had the opportunity to attend a job fair where we got the chance to network with professionals and NCAA staff. We were provided with business cards and a fancy business card holder. I was so fortunate to meet the president of the NCAA, Dr. Mark Emmert – although, I didn’t get the chance to take a quick selfie with him like I wanted to!

The NCAA is not as rigid as I thought. They want us as student-athletes to reach out to them when we are in need, especially if you are a past student-athlete pursuing a career in sports. My advice is feel free to utilize the NCAA website or any of the NCAA staff members. They won’t be hostile or mean towards you. They want to help you!


Soccer Sophomores Fuel Firebirds Success

2 Oct

While teams are usually led by their upperclassmen, this year’s UDC men’s soccer team seems to be just a little bit different. In only their second season on the team, many of the sophomores on this year’s squad have already made a name for themselves and are key contributors to the Firebirds success so far this season. While the juniors and seniors are certainly vital to the team’s success, the current group of sophomores, especially Felix Angerer, Nenad Smiljanic, Sam Rowden, Pat Borchert, Flavio De Sousa Macedo, and Hassirou Diakite, has really taken the Firebirds to the next level through their skill as well as through their chemistry and teamwork. The secret to the sophomores’ success and cohesion, though, may not have as much to do with what happens on the pitch as much as what happens off of it.


Flavio De Sousa Macedo does a backflip to celebrate a goal against Queens as Felix Angerer and Hassirou Diakite look on.

This group of six players all entered UDC together as freshmen last year and after spending a large majority of their days together, seemed to hit it off with each other socially right away.

“It was easy to get along immediately because you were living together and spending almost every minute together,” said forward Felix Angerer.

Some of the players also pointed out that the immediate success they had on the pitch to start off their careers helped in the bonding process.

“We immediately got along on and off the field because we won our first four games of the season when half of the players in the starting eleven were new. When you win, it is easier to be friends with everybody,” added midfielder Nenad Smiljanic.

Even though the players clicked pretty early on, there were still a few difficulties in acclimating and getting used to each other, especially since five of the six players came from foreign countries and grew up speaking a language other than English.

“For me personally, it was very exciting to meet the guys last year and I think we got along right away. One of the difficulties for me was the language barrier in the beginning, but all my teammates helped a lot,” remarked midfielder and defender Pat Borchert, who himself hails from Germany. He added, “As we can see in the results of last season, we had good chemistry right away. In a team sport like soccer, with many internationals and also a lot of local players on our team, there are many styles of playing mixed together. But we also learned from each other, which made our chemistry even better throughout the season.”


Pat Borchert has become a free kick expert for the Firebirds.

In their second year together, the players have continued to gel and spend a lot of time together off the field and outside the classroom. UDC is currently 5-3-1 overall and 2-1 in the very competitive East Coast Conference. This group of six has collectively contributed 11 of the team’s 17 total goals this season. Meanwhile, they manage to stay close friends, hanging out together frequently outside of school and on the weekends.

“We have a close bond, we like to play video games, go out in the city, and play tennis,” said midfielder Hassirou Diakite.

When asked about activities they enjoy doing together, all six players mentioned playing video games – specifically, playing the FIFA soccer game…an indication of their love for soccer which further brings them together off the field. Some of the players even had the chance to go to Florida together for Spring Break last year. The players have also had some favorite activities with the whole team that they felt were the best bonding experiences.

“One of my favorite activities we did as a whole team was paintball. A couple of us also did Spring Break in Florida, which was awesome,” forward Sam Rowden said.

It is clear from talking with these players and watching the way they play together on the pitch that these six sophomores get along well and have fun together, which the players think has been has a very positive impact on their performance on the soccer field. According to Smiljanic, their cohesion off the field allows them to be better as a unit and encourages them to try harder on the field.

“[The off the field friendships are] really important. We’ve won some hard games because we were strong together and working for one another. I’m sure of it,” Smiljanic insisted.

Diakite also stressed that the bond off the field improves their play on the field because “we understand each other and play for each other.” The players have a sense for one another, know how the others play, and trust each other – all attributes that have contributed to the Firebirds’ success.

This camaraderie also has made it easy for the players to make it through some very long road-trips. The team is coming off a stretch of four straight road games which included long road trips to upstate New York to play Roberts Wesleyan and Erie, PA to play No. 13 nationally ranked Mercyhurst. The players feel that road trips like this, while allowing them to compete against some of the best teams in the country, also helps the team come together as a unit off the pitch, especially during the seven or eight-hour bus rides.

“The long trips can be fun, and the hotels are really nice,” Borchert said. “We all really enjoy when [Assistant] Coach Danny [Wadeson] plays his guitar on the bus and when we go out to eat the night before the games.”

The team even had a chance to see some sites between games. When asked about what he was looking forward to most on the road trip, Rowden had two things at the top of his list.

“Visiting Niagara Falls and of course competing,” Rowden said.


Sam Rowden and Nenad Smiljanic work up a sweat during pregame warm ups.

This strong bond has certainly paid dividends on the field as the Firebirds are 5-3-1 overall and 2-1 in conference so far this season, with two of their loses coming to two top-20 teams in the nation. The Firebirds were even ranked 21st in the country for a short time, a position they certainly hope to return to, if not improve on. They are currently ranked 5th in the East Region.

Still, with two more years left at UDC, the six sophomores are convinced that we haven’t even seen their full potential yet.

“Our bond will continue to grow if we stick together, and I believe we can expect some great times together as well as some great soccer victories. Maybe even an ECC title hopefully,” said defender Flavio De Sousa Macedo.

Look for these sophomores to continue to lead the charge for the Firebirds moving forward, this season and for seasons to come.

Firebirds’ Commitment to Excellence: 2013-14 Year In Review

7 Jul

As an integral part of the District of Columbia’s Flagship University, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics at UDC provides experiences that enhance the comprehensive development of students. Therefore, the student-athlete experience emphasizes opportunities through academic achievement, learning in high-level athletic competition, and development of positive societal attitudes in service to community. The balance and integration of these different areas of learning opportunity provide Firebird student-athletes a path to graduation while cultivating a variety of skills and knowledge for life ahead.

Legendary former college football head coach and philanthropist Joe Paterno once said: “Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won’t taste good.” To that end, the University of the District of Columbia Athletic Department’s commitment to excellence is not without integrity in its “Life in the Balance” mission. The 2013-14 academic year was no exception.

Three East Coast Conference team championships. Four track & field All-Americans. An ECC Athlete of the Year and Coach of the Year. Nineteen All-ECC performers. Certainly, these are all extraordinary accomplishments over the course of a year; however, they would not be nearly as fulfilling if not for these very same athletes’ exploits off the field and in the classroom.


Kaydian Jones was a 4x400M Relay All-American and an Academic All-American.

Track & field standout Kaydian Jones is a prime example. A Kingston, Jamaica native and Journalism major, Jones’ career is the epitome of what the NCAA student-athlete experience ought to be. Not only was she a two-time 4x400M Relay All-American (2014 Indoor & Outdoor) who helped her relay team set a school record and finish ranked No. 4 in the country this spring, she is also a Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-American. Twice named ECC Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year (2013 and 2014), she also managed to maintain a 3.53 cumulative GPA, serve as President of the UDC Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and two years as Vice President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. For her efforts, she earned the ECC and UDC’s most prestigious awards. The ECC awarded her the Excellence in Community and Character Award for student-athletes who have distinguished themselves through positive actions and behaviors consistent with the NCAA Division II attributes of learning, service, passion, sportsmanship, balance and resourcefulness. The UDC Athletic Department presented her the Reslyn Woodruff Henley Memorial Award – given to the senior student-athlete who has exhibited nobility of character, deep loyalty to fellow students or teammates, high team spirit and a demonstrated ability to inspire teammates, and who performs well in the classroom in addition to his or her athletic exploits.

Miguel Uzcategui is another case in point. A two-time First Team All-ECC Men’s Tennis performer, Uzcategui is also a two-time Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-American and this year’s recipient of the ECC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award. He helped his team to a No. 2 seed in the ECC Men’s Tennis Championship, finishing with a league mark of 5-1 at the No. 1 singles spot. Meanwhile, he has maintained a 3.94 cumulative GPA over his academic career as an Electrical Engineering major at UDC.

All in all, 24 student-athletes graduated from UDC in 2013-14. Eighty-six student-athletes made the Director’s List (earned 3.0 semester GPA or better for Spring/Fall 2013), 36 made the Dean’s List (earned a 3.5 semester GPA or better while maintaining a 3.0 or better cumulative GPA), and 11 qualified for the 4.0 GPA Club.

Firebird student-athletes also participated in many community service outreach projects throughout the year. The Men’s Soccer team was particularly active in the community this year as head coach Matt Thompson, assistant coach Danny Wadeson, and the over 20 young men engaged in five different service activities. Thompson continues to foster a growing relationship with KEEN (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now) where the student-athletes play soccer with young children of varying characteristics and/or disabilities. Twice, the Firebird soccer team visited St. Coletta of Greater Washington to work with KEEN this year. They also volunteered at the DC Rock ‘n Roll Marathon, Georgetown Ministry (where they visited the homeless), and completed a very successful Youth Day promotion before one of their games.

Meanwhile, women’s basketball took part in three community service projects: Overnight Adventure, Special Olympics, and Food & Friends. The Overnight Adventure was hosted by the Hyattsville, MD Department of Parks and Recreation’s “Xtreme Teen” Program and featured a number of recreational activities for close to 50 local teen girls. Starting a 12:30 a.m., for two hours, the women’s basketball student-athletes put together a basketball clinic where they ran drills and acted as referees and coaches during scrimmages. Also, during Halloween weekend, the Firebird women’s basketball team volunteered at Special Olympics DC’s Fall Sports Classic on October 30th and at the local Food & Friends on November 1st. At the Fall Classic, they supervised several local student-athletes, guiding them through basketball drills such as target passing, spot-shooting and dribbling. At Food & Friends, they renewed a relationship the program has had since the 2007-08 season by helping with everything from packaging meals for delivery to unloading and sorting canned goods and food items for the kitchen.


Miguel Uzcategui was a two-time First Team All-ECC Men’s Tennis selection and a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American.

The men’s soccer and women’s basketball team were named the co-winners of the UDC Athletic Department’s third annual Competition Cup. The winner is chosen based on three criteria: academic performance, attendance at other UDC sporting events and community outreach.

While women’s basketball accomplished a great deal off the court this year, the Firebirds also enjoyed one of their most successful seasons in program history on the court in 2013-14. They finished with an impressive overall record of 21-8, securing the school’s first ever East Coast Conference basketball championship and earning an NCAA Division II East Regional Tournament appearance as a No. 5 seed. Along the way the Firebirds were ranked as high as No. 20 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll and No. 3 in the East Region. Also, junior guard Telisha Turner and junior forward Denikka Brent were both named First Team All-ECC, Turner surpassed 1,000 points scored for her career late in the season, and head coach Lester Butler, Jr. surpassed 150 career coaching wins on Senior Night with a 76-68 victory over Dowling on Feb. 26.

Also in the winter, the Firebirds were heating up on the track in 2013-14, as the track & field team captured its second consecutive ECC Indoor Championship on February 22nd in South Huntington, NY. With just 12 athletes on the team, the Firebirds relied on their dominance in the sprint events to once again reign as conference champions. Kaydian Jones was the team’s work horse as she contributed a whopping 32 points for the Firebirds in the Championship meet. She won the Long Jump with a distance of 5.69M, won the 200M dash in 25.45 seconds, and she ran a crucial opening leg to help the Firebirds’ 4x400M Relay Team secure first place. She shared the Most Outstanding Athlete of the Meet honor with Roberts Wesleyan’s Rachel Hust.

Not only did the Firebirds win their second ECC championship in a row, but Head Coach Alton McKenzie was awarded his second straight Coach of the Year honor. His team produced 17 First Team and six Second Team All-ECC honorees across 20 different track & field events. Also, the 4x400M Relay Team of Kaydian Jones, Jerily Benjamin, Marlena Wright and Simone Grant, went on to compete at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships at JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, NC. There, they finished as the 6th best team in the nation with a time of 3:49.40, and were each individually named All-Americans.

The momentum from its spectacular Indoor season would carry over into the spring Outdoor Track & Field season, as the Firebirds continued to get better and faster as the season progressed. The first major highlight of the season came on April 4th when the 4x400M Relay team became the first event champion at the Colonial Relays in school history with a time of 3:46.51. About two weeks later, UDC would complete the sweep of Indoor/Outdoor ECC Championships with its first ever ECC Outdoor Track & Field Championship in Queens, NY on April 19th. Once again, Jones led the way by contributing 48 (28 individually) of the team’s 158 total points. She won both the 100M and 200M dashes, finished 2nd in the Long Jump and was a key member of both the 4x100M and 4x400M relay teams which both took first place. She was named co-Most Outstanding Female Athlete of the ECC Championship meet, and she was also named the Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year for the second straight year.

DSC_9091The success in Outdoor Track & Field did not stop there though, as just five days later, UDC took part in the 120th inception of the world-renowned Penn Relays. There, in front of a captive audience of over 49,000 people, at the world’s largest and oldest track & field relay carnival, the 4x400M Relay team ran a time of 3:44.99 to finish 6th in the Women’s College Final.

The track & field season culminated in yet another outstanding weekend performance on May 22nd-23rd by the 4x400M Relay Team of Jones, Benjamin, Wright and Grant at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championship in Allendale, MI. This quartet shaved nearly two seconds off of their season-best time to finish 4th in the nation with a new school record time of 3:42.63. Again, they were named All-Americans for their performance.

2013-14 was a banner year for University of the District of Columbia Athletics. Best of all, the department’s extraordinary athletic achievements continue to come as the Firebirds stay true to the Division II platform – Life in the Balance.

The Firebird is indeed rising in the nation’s capital. We hope you’ll join us for the ride in 2014-15.


Inspired by Deceased Mother, Coston Overcomes Adversity to Achieve Her Goals

21 May

UDC M Lax v UB 3032

Nova Coston was raised by a single mother in Queens, NY. It was from her mother that she learned a valuable lesson: “Never give up on anything just because you’re tired or hurting or bored with it. Nothing comes easy.”

Coston’s mother collapsed from a stroke and fell into a coma when she was just 19. She and her brother would have to take care of their mother for the remainder of her life.

Still, it was from her mother that Coston continued to draw inspiration as she went on to complete the Police Academy in 2001 and become an officer in 2002.

Later, she joined the United States Army in 2003 and served active duty for six years. While on active duty in 2009, she was hit by a tent pole during a windstorm and suffered a spinal fracture. After enduring months of rehabilitation, she went on to enter a tennis tournament, play basketball and even earn her yellow belt in Tae Kwan Do.

Upon completing her military service, she enrolled at the University of the District of Columbia at the age of 31.

“Obtaining my degree was something my mom was adamant about,” Coston said. “It meant so much to her, because she was told I would never learn like other children.”

Majoring in Psychology, Nova made the Dean’s List her 1st semester at UDC and has remained in good academic standing throughout her college career. Sadly, her mother died in spring 2011 during her sophomore year of college.

“I had no choice but to do what she ingrained in me as a child – complete what you start no matter how bad it hurts,” she said.

In August 2013, Coston visited head women’s lacrosse coach Melynda Brown in her office and asked for an opportunity to learn the sport and earn a spot on the team.

UDC W Lax Senior Day 4024

Coston and Coach Brown hug on Senior Day. “Nova is a perfect example that there is more to a person than what you can see,” Brown said of Coston.

“Nova is very involved in school, and it was clear from day one that her number one priority was graduating from UDC this May,” Coach Brown explained. “But she worked very hard to earn a spot on this team. When she didn’t understand something, she’d ask questions and wouldn’t stop until it made sense. She’d make the time to come into my office and go over game tape, and she’d write everything down so she could go over it again later at home. She’d show up every day ready to learn something new.”

While earning her degree at UDC, Coston said there have been countless opportunities made available to her, but the one she most cherishes is being a member of the school’s first ever women’s lacrosse team.

“I had no previous knowledge of this sport until recently, but now I can’t let it go,” she said.

Even when she recently discovered her knee was torn in two different places and it was recommended she sit out the season, Nova opted to fight through the pain and continue playing.

“My mind does not understand not playing,” she said. “The pain meant nothing compared to being out on the field and doing what I have come to love…playing lacrosse.”

Coston was a featured student speaker at the 37th Annual Commencment Convocation of the University of the District of Columbia on May 13th, 2014. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

“Nova is a perfect example that there is more to a person than what you can see,” Brown said. “She has gone through so much but has still managed to achieve her goals.”IMG954239

Danny Wadeson Interview Feature

30 Apr


See video of Danny’s “D.C. Social Climber”

Athletics Intern Phil Kim sits down with Danny Wadeson, resident guitarist/singer at the local UDC Potbelly…oh, and also UDC Men’s Soccer Assistant Coach!

Tell us a little bit about your musical background.

I have always loved to sing, and I decided I would learn the guitar rather than the piano as I knew it would be more portable. I have no formal music training nor can I read music; however, I do love to create and test myself. I find writing and playing music an enjoyable experience and have often found it a great way to express myself and relax at the same time.

Who are your favorite artists? Favorite songs?

My favorite artist is Noel Gallagher. He was in a band called Oasis. However, while their reputation was for Rock N’ Roll, I really enjoyed their subtle melodic acoustic songs. The majority of Oasis’s songs were written by Gallagher, and I was hooked. I also love Springsteen, Johnny Cash, and the Kings of Leon. Back home (in the UK), there is a group called the Stone Roses that were extremely influential when I was growing up. I also like Johnny Marr and Paul Weller.

Word on the street is that you write your own songs. Tell us about D.C. Social Climber.

I love to create. I find songwriting an amusing way to put down my thoughts about life. D.C. Social Climber was written about how everyone in D.C. is in a rush, yet nobody really knows where they are going. Too much time is wasted on people worrying about ego and status rather than actually living their lives with little consequence for how their actions affect others. I have a few friends who often get wrapped up in the silliness that can sometimes prevail around here, so I simply wanted to break life back down to basics and poke fun at them at the same time!

How does one even get to play at Potbelly? What’s the process? Any perks? What made you do it?

Potbelly was a great location as they promote live music. I simply asked the manager for an opportunity. The perks are free exposure and the chance to perform in front of an ongoing audience. The irony is that whilst performing, I can watch people going about their day. I also get compensated with free lunch!

I always have an inner drive to better myself, and after playing in bars where you only get maybe three songs, (at Potbelly) you get the opportunity to perform a set for over 90 minutes. What made me do it… why not do it?!

When can we go see you perform there? What’s your schedule?

At present, the college coaching duties are always of primary importance. I would love to go once a week on Thursdays, provided the Potbelly’s management allow me to perform.

Have you developed a following of fans? Any funny incidents? Ever nervous?

No fans. Seeing somebody respond or take the time out of their day to listen is gratitude enough.

Funny incidents… leaving the mic on whilst warming up, tripping over wires… it’s all part of the process when learning. I guess the funny incidents are more apparent to me, because I get to watch people whilst performing! You can normally see who likes who from across the room just from their body language, and they don’t even know you are watching them! I have also had people get up on stage and try to sing with me, which can always be eventful!


UDC Athletics Staff comes out for one of Danny’s performances. See – he DOES have fans!

Any similarities between soccer and performing?

The key similarity is people… I love people and any form of human interaction is great. Coaching and playing soccer are my vocation and my passion – playing the guitar and singing are my release and balance. If I can improve any of the situations I am in and make people feel better in the process, then I guess I am affecting things for the better whilst improving my skills to communicate with people in order to get a desired response from them, be it on the field or in a room.

Ever nervous?

Yes! There are always moments as you build up experience – mouth going dry, forgetting words, missing the beat, etc. If you weren’t nervous then it would not be a test, right?

Future plans? Bigger stage? Album?

I always want to keep writing and improving. I would love to play at parties for fun in the right environments. I have enough songs for an album, however I need to learn to play in a band before I get too far ahead of myself!

The basics of songwriting, starting from nothing and conveying your thoughts via music, is a wonderful experience as you never know how it will end. With so much fabrication, the chance to put something out where you know the true meaning of the words and how you want the message to be received is something special. To touch someone through a song is a wonderful ability to have, as they can evoke so many memories. I would simply love to be able to capture people’s feelings in a situation and help them out in some way.

Thank you for your time, coach! Please continue to support Danny’s musical endeavors and also Firebirds soccer!


Firebirds Boast Two League-Champion Teams During Winter Season

4 Apr

The Women’s Basketball and Indoor Track & Field teams secured East Coast Conference Championships during the 2013-2014 winter athletics season. Both teams succeeded because of a combination of talent, depth, and a complete team effort. Guided by Head Coach Alton Mckenzie, the Indoor Track & Field Team now has earned back-to-back ECC championships, while the Women’s Basketball team will look to achieve the same feat next season.



Indoor Track & Field


The Indoor Track & Field team ran in nine multi-team meets this season, and a majority of the student-athletes displayed consistent improvement. The team was led by Kaydian Jones (Journalism–Kingston, Jamaica/St. Andrew HS) and Shauna-Kay Creary (Accounting–Kingston, Jamaica/St. Andrew HS). Kaydian is a senior who was selected to compete at the NCAA Division II Championships this year in the 200M and 4x400M events. She finished 14th in the country with a time of 25.06 in the 200M and her 4x400M relay team finished 6th in the nation and earned All-American status. Jones was also given All-Region honors for her performances in the 60M, 200M, Long Jump, and 4x400M relay.


Shauna-Kay Creary is also a senior, and helped the Firebirds score crucial points in the Field to secure the ECC Championship. She competed in five events, which included a 2nd place finish in the High Jump, 2nd place in the Triple Jump, and 3rd in the Long Jump. (Below is a picture of all the gear she needed to pull this off!)1922466_684459544929121_857717213_n


“This year was different because we were defending our title, so the spotlight was more on us in comparison to last year where nobody was really looking at our small team to win the Conference,” Creary said. Defending a championship is never an easy feat, but the Firebirds’ consistent improvement throughout the season helped to defy any challengers. (See below the jubilation on the face of Kaydian Jones as she hugs Coach McKenzie after the Firebirds sealed the championship)



Throughout the 2013-2014 season, the Indoor Track & Field 4x400M relay team was dominant. In fact, they blew away the competition at the ECC Championship meet then had an excellent showing at the NCAA Division II Championship meet. The Relay Team finished 6th in the nation, good enough to receive All-American honors. These all Americans were Kaydian Jones, Simone Grant (Health Education–Bronx, NY/Pelham Prep Academy), Marlena Wright (Journalism–Bronx, NY/Dewitt Clinton HS), and Jerily Benjamin (Health Education–Queens, NY/Phillip Randolph HS).




Head Coach Alton Mckenzie was pleased with the effort displayed by the student-athletes, and is already looking forward to continued improvement. “The main feeling I have is one of knowing that there’s always more significant goals to strive for so we cannot rest on our laurels,” Mckenzie said. “My focus never really centered on how I felt about the team’s success or accomplishments, because I know how hard they worked to attain that success. If anything it was reassuring to see that we’re being consistent with our performances.”



Women’s Basketball


The Women’s Basketball team finished their regular season with an impressive record of 21-8 (15-5 in the ECC). This was good enough to earn them the 2nd seed in the ECC Championship Tournament, behind only top-seeded LIU Post. UDC was able to defeat LIU Post on their home court to secure the ECC Championship with a final score of 67-57. Telisha Turner (Criminal Justice–Wilmington, Delaware / Glasgow HS) led the Firebirds with 24 points in the game.


“We came in as the underdog to win it and Coach was telling us in the locker room that he never won on this court. They beat us last time we played in there, so we definitely had a chip on our shoulders and felt like we owed them one,” Turner explained.

Telisha Turner was named the ECC Tournament MVP.

Telisha Turner was named the ECC Tournament MVP.


It was a very emotional win for the Women’s Basketball team and junior Denikka Brent (Mechanical Engineering–Chesapeake, VA/Booker T. Washington HS). “I would say the most memorable moment of the season was the last seven seconds of the East Coast Conference Championship game. We were up, and we had the ball. We basically were stalling until the time ran out. I remember looking at everyone’s facial expression change as it started to sink in that we were conference champs. That moment was the most overwhelming moment of my life,” Brent said.


The Firebirds earned a No. 5 seed with their automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament but were defeated in the first round by Stonehill College. This, however, did not detract from their overall stellar season.


Head Coach Jay Butler summed up the experience of winning an ECC Championship like this: “It was a special season for us coming off of a 10-win season in 2012-13, and to be able to win the 2014 ECC championship the following year was a great accomplishment.”


Movember for a Cause: An Inside Look

13 Dec


Break out the shaving cream, Movember is over.  The UDC Men’s Lacrosse team grew out their mustaches during the month of November to raise money for prostate and testicular cancer.  The quality of the moustaches themselves varied greatly, but the benevolent feeling of raising money for a good cause was unwavering.

DSC_8154Thanks to the moustaches and generous donations, the Lacrosse team was able to raise $520.  “I am really happy with the amount of money we raised.  I really appreciate all of the people who donated to the cause,” said sophomore defenseman Zachary Kjeldsen (pictured above).  He also added that the team is hoping to participate in Movember again next year, and looking to include other male sports teams at UDC.

Junior attack-man Ben Taylor (pictured below) was the originator of the idea to participate in Movember. “My inspiration for organizing Movember at UDC was that every year back home my friend and I undertake this endeavor to try to raise awareness in our town and raise some money for a good cause.  It seemed like the next logical step to introduce Movember to the UDC community,” Taylor explained.


Taylor also noted that freshman Josh Norton (pictured below) was able to grow the best moustache by far. (This seems to be the team consensus)  Norton described his Movember experience: “Having a moustache for a whole month to me was pretty easy. I’ve had a ‘stache before just for fun and it wasn’t bad, but this time it was a little annoying to have.  You can only have a moustache for so long.”


The lacrosse team was even able to convince their head coach, Scott Urick (pictured below), to participate in the facial hair charity.  Although, his moustache became a fu manchu by the end of the month.  Overall, the team is very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this creative fundraiser.


Taylor sums up the experience well: “I just wanted to say that I had a blast doing this, and when I proposed the idea to the team, I wasn’t sure how it was going to be received.  I was blown away by all of the support from the various administrative and staff workers.  It really was an awesome experience, and I’m excited for next Movember!”


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