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    Forty Years and Counting

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    EDITOR'S NOTE: Northwestern softball rising senior Kristin Scharkey submitted this piece as her final project in a spring quarter Medill School of Journalism course. We publish it here on her independent NUsports.com blog, Schark Bytes, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Title IX.

     

    Anna Cassell is dressed in all black, accentuating the paleness of legs that have been hidden under shin guards for most of her life. She works diligently on the Northwestern University turf field with two other goalkeepers on the Wildcats' women's soccer team; juggling and taking rep after rep of shots on goal. The blonde-haired freshman started playing soccer when she was four-years-old, and she hasn't stopped since.

     

    "I'm on a scholarship here, and the fact that I can play the sport I love and pay for my college [tuition] that way is really lucky," Cassell says.

     

    I catch this bit of Cassell's practice before heading over to my own on the neighboring field. Our two teams often practice side-by-side on our respective fields like this in the spring, and I can't help but wonder if the opportunity we have is really luck like Cassell says.

     

    This past weekend on June 23 marked the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the legislation that paved the way for thousands of female athletes to have the opportunity to play college sports. Today more than 190,000 female athletes compete at the Division I level, according to data released by the NCAA in 2011. At the birth of Title IX, only one in 25 girls played sports. Now, it is one in three. Perhaps it has not been luck but the work of generations of women who have fought for equality in collegiate athletics.

    What the Future Holds

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    EVANSTON -- One week ago Friday more than 100 Northwestern student-athletes bid farewell to the university armed with the tools to head out into a successful life after college.

     

    Many Wildcats will scatter to every corner of the country and the seniors from the fencing team are no exception. Kerry Bickford, Annelise Eeman, Rebecca Grohman, Chloe McGuffin, Devynn Patterson and Camille Provencal starred together on the strips for four years and the sextet also added scores of honors in the classroom. All six fencers were recently named Academic All-Big Ten honorees.

     

    Bickford, along with swimming's Shelby Johnson and Tobias Reitz from men's tennis, claimed the Northwestern Director's Award for maintaining the highest GPA among all student-athletes. Patterson, along with men's golfer Sam Chien, was a recipient of the Big Ten Outstanding Sportsmanship Award.

     

    Each of the Wildcats will move on to the "real world" soon. Here are their plans for the future in their own words:

     

    Kerry Bickford - Art History and English:

    "After graduation, I will be spending the summer interning for the Prints and Drawings Department at the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as working for the Northwestern Summer Fencing Clinics. In the fall, I hope to pursue a job in museum or gallery work, and eventually plan to apply to graduate school to study Art History. I'm very excited to learn more about my field and to start working toward my ultimate goal of becoming a curator."

     

    Annelise Eeman - History and Religious Studies:

    "This summer I'm interning at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Headquarters in Des Plaines, Ill. Come September, I'll be back in Minnesota, enrolling at Luther Seminary to work on my Master of Arts in Systematic Theology. The plan right now is to work on getting my doctorate to teach, and maybe learning how to coach some fencing locally."

     

    Rebecca Grohman - Sociology and Science in Human Culture:

    "After graduation I am interested in pursuing clinical research before applying to medical school. I am looking forward to working closely with both patients and physicians to learn about different specialties, further my clinical experience and to better prepare me for a career in medicine!"

     

    Chloe McGuffin - Mechanical Engineering:

    "After graduation I will be joining Boeing's commercial aircraft division as a Payloads Engineer. I will be working on the 747 line of aircraft in the Seattle area. I look forward to putting all the skills and knowledge I have gained at Northwestern into practice to improve the experience of air travelers worldwide."


    Devynn Patterson - Learning and Organizational Change:

    "After graduation I will be joining Teach For America as a 2012 Corps Member in the Bay Area! I have been assigned to teach either elementary school or middle school in the South Bay, which is comprised of San Jose, Mountain View and the surrounding areas. I am very excited to begin what will be an eye-opening two-year commitment to help close the nation's educational achievement gap. I look forward to continue working with kids and becoming a teacher!"

     

    Camille Provencal-Dayle - Political Science:

    "After graduation I will be joining Devynn Patterson as a Teach For America 2012 Corps Member in Greater New Orleans. I look forward to teaching secondary math, a subject youth in the United States continue to falling behind in comparison to their international peers. My experience on the Northwestern Fencing team has given me the tools to understand how to motivate and challenge others, as well as learn to be challenged. I am excited to apply skills gained both on the strip and in the classroom to my future students."

    Vote for Northwestern Wrestling!

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    Vote for Northwestern on the NWCA Facebook Page

    Northwestern wrestling needs your vote! The 'Cats have submitted three videos from the 2011-12 season to the National Wrestling Coaches Association "Best of Brand" contest and your votes count to help determine which videos move on to the next round.

    NU's three videos are submitted under the Pure Entertainment category, which is described as videos created to entertain and engage fans. Created by Northwestern student (now alum), Stephen Boyle, the three videos fans can vote on are his feature on team co-captain and two-time All-American Jason Welch, a video on two-time Northwestern NCAA champion Jake Herbert highlighting his weekend at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials which culminated with Herbert earning a spot on Team USA and a behind the scenes look at the team's trip to West Lafayette, Ind., for the 2012 Big Ten Championships.

    The fan vote is one component of determining which videos become finalists for the Pure Entertainment category. To vote, visit the NWCA Facebook page and click the "Like" button by the Northwestern videos.

    Since there were an overwhelming number of videos submitted from throughout the wrestling community, you may have to scroll down and click the "See More Recent Stories" link to view the NU videos.

    Voting ends at 5 p.m. Friday so vote now for all three Northwestern videos and tell your friends!

    Start Your Training For Run For Walk

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    With the inaugural Run for Walk six weeks away, the Northwestern women's cross country program developed a training program for beginning runners to prepare for the 4.1-mile event. The race is being held on Sunday, July 29 in memory of late NU head football coach Randy Walker.

     

    "The Northwestern cross country program is thrilled to join efforts for the inaugural Run for Walk," head coach April Likhite said. "We are excited that this event has now become a 4.1-mile race and will get the Northwestern and Evanston communities involved in what our program is extremely passionate about -- running. It will be wonderful day to remember Coach Walker and support C.A.R.E."

     

    Participants can download a six-week training schedule by clicking HERE. The training program provides a steady increase in mileage, while incorporating cross training (swim or bike) and fartlek techniques.

     

    "A fartlek run is simply a run with varied pace." Likhite said. "The "joy" of a fartlek run is that you control your pace based on how you feel. For the average runner, it's a great way to develop self-awareness with pacing and a good way to add variety within your run. Of course, fartlek training will enhance your anaerobic threshold when done consistently. 

     

    "Begin a fartlek at an easy pace. Then choose a distance from 200-400 meters (light pole to light pole, block to block) where you increase the intensity for a short period of time. Follow with a slow to easy jog until you feel you are able to pick up your intensity once again. A more specific example could be one minute of hard effort followed by a two-minute easy jog and repeat for 10-30 minutes depending on your fitness level.

     

    "Running is a great form of exercise. But it's much more fun to run when you have a goal to reach. By picking a race, like the Run for Walk, you will be much more motivated to train. As long as you prepare your body for race day, one can get great satisfaction from finishing a road race. Good luck and go out there and RUN WILD!"

     

    To take part in the Run for Walk, click here. Don't forget, the Run for Walk also features a 5k family walk and the Kids' 'Cat Dash. For an overview of the events, visit the official Run for Walk page.The Run for Walk is part of the City of Evanston's Let's Move Race Series.

    Kevin Schneider














    UPDATE! Today is Sept. 19, and it is Kevin's birthday! Over the three months since we posted this blog entry, cards, letters and boxes have been rolling in nearly every day. Thanks to hundreds of our fellow universities, professional sports organizations both major and minor and contributions from individual fans and collectors, we were able to give Kevin literally thousands of cards, promotional items and memorabilia today. Check out this video below to see how it went!




















    We in Northwestern Athletics have a friend we want to introduce to you. His name is Kevin Schneider, and you can't miss him at our games.

     

    Kevin is a 35-year-old graduate of Evanston Township High School and has worked at the Dominick's grocery store on Green Bay Road just north of our athletic offices for 17 years. He's a sports fanatic, is active in the Evanston and Chicago communities and has one of the biggest hearts we've ever experienced. He also has a developmental disability, which makes him all the more -- as he would say -- "amazing."

     

    Kevin has a couple of passions in life that he shares with us, in particular his love of all 19 of our NU varsity sports teams and his schedule card collection from teams across the country. We thank our season ticket holders and boosters in a myriad of ways, and we want to extend the same thank you to Kevin in a way that's unique and special by launching "Schedule Cards for Kevin." We are asking our alumni, fans, family and fellow athletic programs to drop a schedule card in the mail to us so that we can make Kevin's collection as big as the heart he shares daily with our coaches, student-athletes and staff. Continue reading for the details and to get to know Kevin a little bit better!

    One Last Trip Down Memory Lane

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    Photos: 2011: A Championship Season

    With graduation looming on Friday, that significant academic achievement for men's soccer seniors Jonathan Harris, Oliver Kupe, Christian Ludtke, Peter O'Neill and John Rogers not only marks the end of the school year, but also the official close to the 2011-12 athletic year.

    Before we turn the page to the 2012-13 season, let's take one last trip down memory lane because let's be honest, there was a lot to celebrate in 2011 for the Northwestern men's soccer team.

    We all know how the season ended-- with this and this or as soccer folks like to refer to it as "the double." Before Northwestern won its first Big Ten titles in school history though, there was a journey and it began after the worst loss of the season.

    After falling 4-0 at DePaul and posting a 3-4-2 record through the first nine games, Northwestern was at a crossroads and in need of some direction. There were two paths the team could take; ride out the rest of the season with the status quo or shift gears.

    Head coach Tim Lenahan left the decision of which way to go up to his senior leaders. In the week of practice before Missouri State came to town, the game immediately after the DePaul match, Lenahan physically handed over his keys to senior co-captain Peter O'Neill and told the team "It's your car, it's time for you guys to start driving."

    And drive they did. Northwestern came out with a 2-0 win over Missouri State and did not lose again for 46 days. During that 46-day stretch, the Wildcats were unbeaten in 11 matches, including three ties with top-15 teams, won four Big Ten matches and capped off the season with the elusive double.

    The 2011 season was a complete team effort but these seniors that graduate Friday provided key leadership during the historical season. Oliver Kupe will always be remembered for his late-game heroics (match-tying goals against No. 12 Notre Dame, No. 10 Indiana and the game-winning goal in the BTT final vs. Penn State, just to name a few) and Peter O'Neill was NU's ironman, starting all 21 matches in 2011, and was the vocal leader guiding the team to two championships.

    Jonathan Harris, Christian Ludtke and John Rogers may not have had as much time on the field in 2011 but each still played a significant role. Harris always stayed positive throughout the season, and even though he's a goalkeeper, can say that he scored a goal in his college career as he played the field during one game. Ludtke kept the team entertained with his impersonations of assistant coach Neil Jones and during practice before the NCAA tournament, did his best to try and rattle freshman goalkeeper Tyler Miller by trash talking him from behind the net. Like Harris, Rogers also provided a consistent positive attitude and was a key contributor on the practice squad.

    As 2011-12 officially comes to a close (and Northwestern looks to repeat the same success in 2012-13), we say thank you one last time to the seniors and wish them the best of luck as they enter the next stage of their lives!

    ...And case you want to re-live the 2011 season, we have you covered with some of our favorite photos from the season as well as video highlights and photos from the Big Ten Tournament.

    Big Ten Network will devote 24 hours to Northwestern programming Thursday (June 14), as part of its summer "School Days" series.  Programming highlights include three episodes of Big Ten's Greatest Games, including a 2009 men's basketball victory over Ohio State. John Shurna -- who will receive his NU diploma during commencement activities on Friday -- won the game by hitting a three-pointer with 3.3 seconds remaining.

    The "School Days" series will also feature Northwestern-only programming on July 9 and July 31. A full programming lineup for Thursday is listed below, and the most up-to-date information for Northwestern coverage across TV, internet and radio can always be found at NUsports.com/OnTheAir.

    Big Ten Network - June 14 (All times CT)
    6:30 AM -
    Football - Northwestern 28, Nebraska 25 (11/5/11)
    8:30 AM - Women's Tennis - 2010 Big Ten Tournament
    10:30 AM - Men's Basketball - Northwestern 72, Ohio State 69 (2/18/09)
    12:30 PM - Big Ten Icons: Otto Graham
    1 PM - Men's Soccer - Northwestern 2, Penn State 1 (11/13/11; Big Ten Championship)
    3 PM - Men's Basketball - Northwestern 81, Michigan State 74 (1/14/12)
    5 PM - Football - Northwestern 28, Nebraska 25 (11/5/11)
    7 PM - Football - Northwestern 47, Wisconsin 44 (9/23/00)
    9 PM - Football - Northwestern 27, Michigan State 26 (9/29/01)
    11 PM - Men's Basketball - Northwestern 72, Ohio State 69 (2/18/09)
    1 AM - Men's Soccer - Northwestern 2, Penn State 1 (11/13/11; Big Ten Championship)
    3 AM - Football - Northwestern 28, Nebraska 25 (11/5/11)

    Soccer Returns to Lakeside Field Saturday

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    It's not officially Northwestern soccer season yet but there will be a match held at Lakeside Field Saturday. The Chicago Red Stars, which is a women's soccer team from the WPSL Elite League, will host two games at the home site of Chicago's Big Ten Team, beginning with this weekend's 6 p.m. match against the NE Mutiny. The Red Stars then return to Lakeside Field at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 7 to host the Philadelphia Fever. This season, the Red Stars are foregoing one specific home venue as field turf renovations will be ongoing this summer at the at the Benedictine University soccer field.

    Sophomore midfielder Niki Sebo is part of the Red Stars roster but will not be competing at Lakeside Field Saturday. Instead, Sebo and a number of her Red Star teammates will be in Fort Wayne, Ind., playing in the US Open Cup. If the group makes it out of their regional, Sebo and her teammates would play in the national finals of the US Open Cup, which takes place July 20-22 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.

    Northwestern soccer fans can potentially watch Sebo when the Red Stars return to Lakeside Field on July 7.

    So far this season, the Red Stars have been unstoppable and bring an undefeated 5-0-0 mark into Saturday's game. Chicago is the only undefeated team in the league, but is currently second in the WPSL Elite standings. The Boston Breakers lead the eight-team league with 18 points (15 for the Red Stars) and have a 6-1-0 record.

    For more information on the Chicago Red Stars, visit www.chicagoredstars.net

    Former Northwestern baseball players are enjoying solid starts to their respective 2012 professional seasons.

     

    Right-handed pitcher George Kontos, who competed for the Wildcats from 2004-06, got the call up from Triple-A Fresno to the San Francisco Giants over the weekend and tossed one scoreless inning with a strikeout in his National League debut against the Texas Rangers on Sunday. Kontos was a September call-up for the New York Yankees last season, making seven appearances. It appeared that Kontos might make the Yankees' Opening Day roster this season, but he was traded to the Giants on April 4. He posted stellar numbers at Triple-A prior to his promotion, notching a 2-0 record with a 1.71 ERA in 23 appearances, including allowing only one earned run over his last 20 innings for the Fresno Grizzlies.

     

    Kontos is joined in the Majors by left-handed starting pitcher J.A. Happ of the Houston Astros. After struggling last season on a last-place team, Happ has gotten back on track in 2012 as he won four of his first seven decisions. Even though he has lost his last three decisions, he has recorded 23 strikeouts in 18 innings pitched over his last three starts, including fanning 10 over 6.1 innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers May 27. In consecutive starts that resulted in wins against the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs May 17 and 22, respectively, Happ allowed only one earned run over a combined 12 innings.

     

    The Wildcat who is currently the closest to the Big Leagues is outfielder Jake Goebbert who was promoted to the Triple-A Oklahoma City RedHawks in the Astros organization. He notched a pinch-hit double and scored a run in his RedHawks' debut Saturday evening. Goebbert was batting .279 with 12 doubles, four triples, four home runs and 29 RBI for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks at the time of his promotion. He also appeared in 31 games at Triple-A with the RedHawks a year ago.

     

    Another former 'Cat who recently jumped up a level is left-handed pitcher Eric Jokisch who is currently with the Double-A Tennessee Smokies in the Chicago Cubs' organization. The promotion hasn't slowed down the 2008 Big Ten Freshman of the Year as he is a stellar 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA in four starts with the Smokies, while limiting opposing hitters to a .116 batting average. In his lone no-decision, Jokisch allowed only one hit over 6.1 innings on June 5. In his most recent start on Sunday, Jokisch surrendered just three hits and one run over 7.1 innings in a 4-2 win. Prior to moving up to Double-A, he was 3-4 with a 3.48 ERA for the High-A Daytona Cubs.

     

    Jokisch's catcher for the Daytona Cubs was his former Northwestern backstop, Chad Noble. Noble has been catching every other day as of late and has appeared in 37 games this season. He has a .177 batting average with four doubles and 14 RBI.

     

    Also at High-A is right-handed pitcher Bo Schultz who is with the Visalia Rawhide in the Arizona Diamondbacks' organization. Schultz got his 2012 campaign off to a terrific start as the team's closer. A recent string of four tough appearances have skewed his season numbers as he currently has a 2-1 record with a 5.76 ERA and nine saves. He has recorded 28 strikeouts in 25 innings pitched while allowing only six walks.

     

    The most recent Wildcat currently in the Minors is 2011 graduate Chris Lashmet. The third baseman is batting .240 with four doubles, three triples and 10 RBI in 41 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates' Class-A affiliate West Virginia Power. Lashmet got his season off to a hot start, batting .308 in 12 games in the month of April.

     

    The group is soon to be joined by 2012 Northwestern graduate Geoff Rowan who was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in last week's MLB First-Year Player Draft.

     

     

    Northwestern's Department of Athletics staff took a day out of the office Friday, June 8, to volunteer at five different locations around the Evanston and Skokie communities. While the Wildcat student-athletes spend many hours of their free time volunteering across the Chicagoland area, rare is the opportunity for our staff to shut down and make similar contributions. More than 100 NU staff gave their time Friday morning -- find out more about each place we went after the jump!


    There they were, side-by-side on the warning track dirt behind home plate at the Chicago White Sox' U.S. Cellular Field -- perhaps an unlikely locale but as good a spot as any to publically display all seven of Northwestern's NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship trophies together for the first time.

    The sight was enough to catch the attention of any media member, groundskeeper or passerby at field level, even for many of the several hundred Sox fans taking a pre-game stroll on the field as part of a marketing promotion who stopped to offer their congratulations or snap a quick picture with the national champions.

    Watch: NU at the Ballpark | Watch: NU On-Campus Celebration |
    Watch: NU at Evanston City Council

    It was just one memorable moment for the NU women's lacrosse team in what was a bit of a whirlwind week, during which the Wildcats shared their 2012 national championship trophy (and in some cases all seven) with their fans in the Northwestern, Evanston and Chicago communities.

    New York State of Mind

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    Jake Herbert and the 2012 U.S. Olympic freestyle wrestling team are taking over the Big Apple this week. The group is in NYC for Thursday's Beat the Streets Gala, which features a dual meet against Russia right in the heart of the city in Times Square.

    Yes, that's right, they will be putting a mat down in the middle of Times Square. It will be hard to miss Thursday's match as it also will air on the largest single-faced LED screen in Times Square.

    Unfortunately, Jake will not be competing in Thursday's match but that doesn't mean he's left out of all of the fun. On Tuesday, Herbert and the rest of his Olympic teammates and coaches were invited to Yankee Stadium for the Yankees' game against Tampa Bay.

    The team arrived early via the subway and hung out on the field during batting practice. A greeting awaited members of Team USA on the outfield video board and they also had the chance to meet a number of Yankees. Jake tweeted a few photos Tuesday, including one with Yankee centerfielder Curtis Granderson, in the background (see below).

    Fans can watch Thursday's USA vs. Russia dual via a live webstream on Universal Sports (www.universalsports.com), beginning at 5 p.m. CT. The NBC crew of Jason Knapp and Olympic champion Jeff Blatnick will be on the call.

    Jake Herbert at Yankee Stadium Jake Herbert at Yankee Stadium