A remarkable season cut short, but a goal achieved for women's basketball by The GW HatchetMar 23, 2015 “Media Credit: File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer
Head coach Jonathan Tsipis led the Colonials to a program-record 29 wins and the team's first NCAA tournament appearance since 2008.
After setting a program record for the most wins in a season and preparing all year for a shot to play on a national stage, the Colonials cruised to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2008. But GW’s moment in primetime was short-lived.
On Friday, No. 6 seed GW entered the Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, Ore. as the favorite against No. 11 seed Gonzaga. The Bulldogs were up for the challenge, upsetting the Colonials 82-69 in their eighth straight trip to the Big Dance.
The pain of a season-ending loss was etched on the faces of the players after the game, but it was bittersweet. The unusually skittish performance in the tournament seemed to show just how far into foreign territory the team had progressed.
“I don’t think [the loss] takes anything away from a team that sets the school record with 29 wins and wins three championships,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said.
At the beginning of the season, Tsipis’ goal to reach the NCAA Tournament seemed achievable, but still ambitious.
The team had performed well in the NIT the year before and was poised to benefit from a full year of eligibility from junior Jonquel Jones and the growth of former Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year Caira Washington, among other sophomores.
But Tsipis was still down two of his best players from the year before, Megan Nipe and Danni Jackson, and their absences seemed destined to create voids in both statistics and leadership.
By the end of this season, the team had gone on a 19-game win streak, risen to No. 19 in the country in the national rankings and boasted the best rebounding margin in Division I at +13.8. The Colonials waltzed through the A-10 regular season, save a flukey loss to Saint Louis, and won both the regular season title and conference championship to earn an automatic bid, though they were shoe-ins for an at-large selection in any case.
“I can’t even explain it,” senior Chakecia Miller said. “It was a great journey, a great ride for me. Back in my freshman year, I never thought this basketball team could accomplish everything we have.”
There was a slight hiccup in the Colonials’ path to the tournament on selection Monday. After the selection committee projected GW as a potential host in mid-February and bracketologists like ESPN’s Charlie Creme predicted that the team would likely earn a No. 4 seed, the No. 6 seed came as a surprise, as did the cross-country trip.
But at tip-off, the harsh reality of the tournament competition set in. The veteran Gonzaga team jumped out to a 40-25 lead at the half, with GW’s normally staunch defense seeming like it had not made the trip. Gonzaga took 32 of 52 shots in the first half, and the Colonials gave up 16 points off turnovers before the break.
GW showed the same toughness the team had in matches throughout the season in the second half. Jones got into rare early foul trouble with three personal fouls in the first half, but the rest of the team stepped up.
Freshman forward Kelli Prange and sophomore guard Hannah Schaible led the Colonials with 13 points each, and GW owned the paint in the second half. But the deficit from the first was too much to overcome.
“I was really proud of how we came out in the second half. We battled by rebounding the ball like we are capable of and getting out in transition and really was able to climb back into the game,” Tsipis said. “But when you expend that much energy, there is just not a lot of room for error.” Ultimately, that margin was too slim. Still, it’s telling that the season, which went further in racking up wins than any before it, seemed like it was cut short. The future looks good: The team will return its top four scorers next year. Miller is the only consistent starter who will graduate, and she said that she'll leave behind high hopes for the team. “Keep pushing forward, don’t be complacent,” Miller said. “Keep being hungry to get back to where we were, but to go further than where we got this year.””
Colonials flex March muscle to win ugly, overcome 34 percent shooting by The GW HatchetMar 20, 2015 “Media Credit: Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor
Head coach Mike Lonergan led the Colonials to their first-ever NIT win Tuesday night. GW defeated Pitt 60-54 in the tournament's first round.
Here’s a quiz:
Two basketball teams play a game. One shoots 34.4 percent from the field and pulls down 35 rebounds, the other shoots 48.9 and pulls down 41. The first team has 10 of 21 baskets assisted and missed 14 free throws, the second team has 17 of 22 baskets assisted and missed 10.
Well, most of the time it would probably be the second team. But on Tuesday evening in Pittsburgh, a normally hostile environment, GW found a way to win, topping Pitt 60-54 to advance to the second round of the National Invitation Tournament, despite coming up short in those categories.
They won on the gutsy plays, on the 14 offensive rebounds to Pitt’s six and with crystalline ball handling.
“We want to win this NIT and go as far as we can, but tonight should prove to these guys that even when you’re not shooting well, 34 percent, if you play defense and rebound like we’re capable of playing, you can beat anybody,” head coach Mike Lonergan said.
Defense was apparent as the Steel City became steal city Tuesday night. The Colonials swiped the ball 10 times from the Panthers, four winding up in the clutches of Atlantic 10 all-defensive pick Patricio Garino. It was a vintage performance for the junior swingman who, despite being known for his ball hawkishness, has had some off games on defense and games when his own turnovers were a cut to the jugular for GW.
But there were no such problems Tuesday: The Colonials coughed up the ball just four times, helping them outscore the Panthers – an ACC team that beat Notre Dame and UNC earlier this season – 20-8 off turnovers and 12-4 off the fast break.
“To me that was just heart and effort and energy, and we had it tonight for whatever reason,” Lonergan said. “I think our guys really wanted to win and they were battling in there on the boards, so that was key, the 14 offensive rebounds and then not giving the other team the ball 14 times with turnovers.”
The turnovers and offensive rebounding helped GW take 16 more shots than Pitt, which made up for the chasm in shooting percentage. The Colonials were 21-61, while Pitt had just one more make from the field at 22-45.
The rest of the game was won at the free-throw line, strange to say given GW’s 50 percent mark from the stripe. Still, the Colonials bested Pitt’s 44.4 percent and took 28 shots to Pitt’s 18.
“When we struggle to score in the second half, we stop playing really hard … That’s been the frustrating thing about this season,” Lonergan said. “But tonight, even when we had some scoring droughts, our guys still grinded it out defensively, figured out ways to get to the free-throw line and get offensive rebounds.”
Joe McDonald was the only player to make more than two free throws while shooting over 50 percent from the stripe, where he went 5-8.
He was, in many ways, the poster child for the win: 1-8 from the field, 0-3 on three-point attempts, but all over the stat sheet in other ways. McDonald pulled down seven rebounds, second only on the team to Kevin Larsen’s nine, with three of them off the offensive glass.
Two of his offensive rebounds came with less than four minutes to play in the game. Ahead by just four, McDonald saved the bounce from a missed free throw by Savage and drew a foul. He increased GW’s small lead from four to five with a 1-2 mark from the stripe. That’s statistically bad, but it made for a true two-possession game.
Pitt got a shot off, but missed. Savage drew a foul on the next possession, but missed his first of a one-and-one opportunity. McDonald again, though, got the offensive rebound. Savage missed on the next play and Pitt got an offensive board of its own, but McDonald then stole the ball.
By the time Pitt finally made a shot and cut the lead to three, McDonald’s work had helped the Colonials burn more than a minute of the clock. He then drew a foul and hit two clutch free throws to regain the five-point lead with 2:18 to play. He hit two more with 22 seconds left. It’s not ideal to shoot less than 40 percent from the field in a single-elimination format national tournament game. But sometimes it happens, and sometimes teams go far in the postseason by winning ugly with the in-between plays. “It’s win or go home at this point, so there’s nothing you can do except lay it all out there,” Savage said. “Play hard, make aggressive mistakes if anything and leave it all out there.””
GW earns 'gold' rating after reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent by The GW HatchetMar 11, 2015 “Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo
GW attained "gold" status for sustainability from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education after reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Updated: March 10, 2015 at 5:52 p.m.
GW earned the second-highest rating for the second year in a row from an organization that tracks universities’ on-campus environmental efforts.
The University has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent since 2010, according to the report filed with the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education on Feb. 27.
GW's score rose by about three percent from last year as its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions showed steps toward a greener campus. That gave the University its second “gold” rating in two years.
“As GW works toward its carbon neutrality goals, the University will continue to seek projects to invest in to identify ways to reduce its carbon footprint through local measures,” Mark Ellis, the sustainability project facilitator at the University, wrote in the report.
Doug Spengel, GW’s manager of energy and environmental programs, reported a 6 percent increase in energy use since last year. But the University's gross square feet also increased last year and the number of days that required heating increased because of the longer, colder winter. GW slightly reduced its energy consumption per gross square foot.
Spengel mentioned the Capital Partners Solar Project, which will eventually allow the University to derive half of its energy from a solar farm in North Carolina.
He added that GW is “forging partnerships with other institutions in the Washington, D.C. community” to keep carbon emissions low.
AASHE reports show that silver-rated Boston University — one of GW’s peers, whose buildings' square footage is almost one and a half times GW’s — used about double the amount of energy GW used last year. Duke University, another peer, reportedly reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent last year.
But GW has not improved in areas like water consumption: It saw a nearly 3 percent increase in water usage since last year.
The report also lists areas of sustainable practices that the University has not worked to improve. GW has not shown an interest in creating a committee to ensure that its endowment investments are in sustainable companies, and it hasn't looked to provide transparency in its investments, according to the report. It also does not have plans to increase biodiversity on campus.
Last month, the Student Association Senate passed a bill to put fossil fuel divestment to a campus-wide vote. That question will appear on the March ballot and also ask students whether the Board of Trustees should disclose GW’s investments in fossil fuel companies.
The University also has no plans to make sure all employees’ wages are “sustainable,” which means their pay can meet basic needs. Boston University provides sustainable compensation for its employees, according to the report.
AASHE allows universities internationally to inspect their own work in sustainability. The organization's reporting forum is called the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System. Universities calculate their own STARS scores, and AASHE checks each for accurate and fair reports.
Numerical scores for STARS are calculated by giving point values to characteristics that make a campus sustainable, like water use and energy consumption. The final numerical score then falls in a range of numbers that corresponds to a medal ranking, ranging from bronze to platinum.
AASHE’s guidelines for the report have changed since the University filed for the first time last spring. For example, sustainability research on campus now weighs less, while energy use counts for more.
Meghan Chapple, the director of GW's Office of Sustainability, said the report acts as a benchmarking tool.
“The purpose of the STARS report is to provide an in-depth look at GW’s sustainability practices, create a dialogue around our efforts, highlight our success and motivate discussion for ways to improve,” Chapple said. “While the Office of Sustainability may not update its information in STARS every year, our staff did so this year because AASHE introduced an updated version of STARS with additional categories and questions.”
The University would have to increase its score by about a quarter to receive the “platinum” distinction, the highest honor. About 30 percent of participating universities have gold ratings. No university has a platinum rating.
AASHE did not return requests for comment. This post was updated to reflect the following correction: The Hatchet incorrectly reported that GW decreased energy use by 6 percent. It actually increased energy use by 6 percent. We regret this error.”
Preview: Women's basketball's journey in the A-10 tournament by The GW HatchetMar 11, 2015 “Media Credit: File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer
The Colonials secured the No. 1 seed in the Atlantic 10 tournament. They would need to win three games in a row to take home their first conference championship since 2008.
Updated: March 10, 2015 at 6:31 p.m.
At the sound of the buzzer in a dominant win over George Mason on Sunday, the Colonials rushed the court to accept their Atlantic 10 regular season championship title.
They celebrated that accomplishment for the first time since 2008, but not for too long. There’s still plenty of basketball to be played, and that starts on Friday in the A-10 tournament.
GW finished the season at 26-3 and 15-1 in conference and is ranked No. 21 in the weekly Associated Press poll and No. 19 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. The team has earned a first-round bye and will begin its quest for the trophy in the quarterfinals against the winner of No. 8 VCU and No. 9 Saint Louis at 11 a.m.
With his team as the No. 1 overall seed, head coach Jonathan Tsipis said he knows GW will draw attention as the frontrunner.
“We carry a bullseye around with us literally on paper. Our kids understand that, and it makes them even more driven. This is a team that loves challenges,” Tsipis said. “In the A-10 tournament, we’re now going to play teams that we’ve at least played once but that are going to be doing everything in their power, maybe things that they’ve kept hidden away in the regulation season, to try to disrupt us and find a way to survive and advance.”
Saint Louis was the only A-10 team to steal a game from GW this season, which snapped a 19-game winning streak, but the loss seemed more like a fluke than a real sign of weakness for the program. It’s unlikely the Colonials will give another lackluster performance under tournament conditions.
If anyone were to pull off the upset, it would most likely be one of these conference powerhouses:
Fordham (No. 4)
As the other team on GW’s side of the bracket with a bye to the quarterfinals, Fordham is the first conference heavyweight the Colonials could face.
The Rams are defending A-10 champions, but at 19-10 and 11-5 A-10, they’ve had trouble with some of the league’s best. Fordham hasn’t beaten any of the top three seeds and benefitted from a soft conference schedule that had them playing St. Bonaventure and Davidson twice.
Fordham’s strength is on defense, where the team is giving up less than 55 points per game and holding opponents to just 36 percent shooting. Emily Tapio is the only player averaging double figures, but her 12 points per game are backed by a deep bench: No one plays less than five minutes per game.
Dayton (No. 2)
On the other side of the bracket, the Colonials would likely face the Flyers in the finals if they advanced that far. Picked first in the preseason poll, Dayton's only two conference losses both came at the hands of GW, but one of those was a 69-66 squeaker that was one of the most tightly contested matches all season for the Colonials.
The Flyers are led by senior guard Andrea Hoover, who adds explosiveness on offense and would need to be limited. Hoover ranks third in the conference in scoring, averaging 16.5 points per game, and second in three-point field goal percentage (0.444).
Both times the Colonials have beaten the Flyers, it’s been thanks to strong play from GW’s pair in the post, Jonquel Jones and Caira Washington. They would need another big performance from those two during what would be, at least on paper, certainly the most competitive matchup the tournament could bring.
Duquesne (No. 3)
Leading the conference in offensive rebounds and coming in third in scoring offense, No. 3 Duquesne (20-9, 12-4 A-10) is one of the tougher rivals for GW’s dominant inside offense.
With an eight-game mid-season winning streak and victories over Fordham and Richmond under their belt, the Dukes have a consistency that could serve them well in a tournament setting. Heading into the A-10 tournament, Duquesne has notched its seventh consecutive 20-win season and completed conference play undefeated at home after an eight-point win over St. Bonaventure.
Senior center Jose-Ann Johnson leads the league in blocked shots, averaging 2.6 game per game, and broke a 26-year-old program record by tallying her 62nd block of the season. With a starting lineup of seasoned veterans and confidence from their regulation season success, the Dukes shouldn’t be easily fazed.
Duquesne might not have enough to top GW, but don’t expect this team to get upset in an early round. And if the team does take on the Colonials, it's one of the few in the league that has the length in the frontcourt to match GW.
The Colonials' dominant regular season signals that they won’t find much competition outside the top four seeds, but anything can happen in a condensed tournament environment. The remaining seeds in the tournament are listed below and would have to win early-round matches to get to GW:
Richmond - No. 5
Rhode Island - No. 6
Saint Joseph’s - No. 7
VCU - No. 8
Saint Louis - No. 9
St. Bonaventure - No. 10
La Salle - No. 11
George Mason - No. 12
Massachusetts - No. 13
Davidson - No. 14 This post was updated to reflect the following correction: The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the women's basketball team was ranked No. 21 in both the AP poll and the USA Today Coaches Poll entering the A-10 tournament. The team was ranked No. 21 by the AP but No. 19 by the Coaches Poll. We regret this error.”
Baseball passes second gut check in 5-1 win over Georgetown by The GW HatchetMar 05, 2015 “Media Credit: File Photo by Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer
The Colonials celebrate a victory earlier in the season. GW took down Georgetown 5-1 on Wednesday.
For the second week in a row, a game against Georgetown has served as an identity check for the baseball team.
The team’s 8-3 loss against UMES on Tuesday was played so poorly on some accounts that it came into question how long the players’ beards would stay on their chins. It was a sloppy game with three unearned runs.
Perhaps a rivalry game was what GW needed.
“Yesterday we just played like crap,” freshman Robbie Metz said. “We wanted to come out here and prove that we weren’t like that and we were better than that. So getting a win over them, it’s good.”
The Colonials faced the same starting pitcher they faced about a week ago. Fortunately for GW, its pitcher was the same man who shut down the Hoyas last Wednesday at Tucker Field.
Again on the bump at home – fresh off his second Atlantic 10 conference Rookie of the Week honors – Metz pitched a strong seven innings of one run, six hit ball for the 5-1 win over Georgetown.
“Win, lose or draw in this game, even when it was tight and you didn’t know where it was going, we were playing good baseball,” head coach Gregg Ritchie said. “I was very happy with that. They did show some character and some resiliency to bounce back. That’s going to make a championship-level team at some point.”
Metz had to help himself out on the mound early in the game. In the third inning, GW jogged out a pitcher to warm up in the bullpen.
Metz had given up a run in the second inning courtesy of a few singles, and the batters were making solid contact and lifting the ball. In the third, his classmate and battery partner Brandon Chapman jogged out to the mound to talk to his pitcher. Metz was missing his spots. Then a relief pitcher jogged out to the bullpen, and it caught his attention. From that point on, his focus was heightened and he struck out the third out of the inning looking.
“When you see a guy go down to the bullpen, you know you’re pretty close to coming out,” Metz said. “So I tried to step up my game a little bit, get ahead in the count. Once that started happening, it started working.”
The freshman was economical, averaging 12 pitches per inning. He found his groove later in the game, with the breaking ball falling in for strikes and Metz hitting his spots with his fastball. He was also helped by a few defensive plays behind him.
Metz was hit hard in the fourth. The first batter lined one to center but the ball was tracked down. The next batter, as it started to drizzle on the overcast day in Arlington, Va., hit a double off the wall in left center. The next batter hit it hard to center, and senior Ryan Xepoleas hauled it in, hit his cutoff and nailed the runner at third for the final out of the inning.
Xepoleas performed some acrobatics in the sixth. With two outs and a 5-1 lead, he laid out, going full horizontal. The ball was destined for the Colonial Corridor in deep center field, but the GW center fielder dove, rolled over in a tuck and came up clutching the ball, arm outstretched.
The bullpen came in and threw 17 pitches in two innings, courtesy of redshirt senior Craig LeJeune and sophomore Eddie Muhl. The two certified collegiate closers split the work in the eighth and ninth innings.
On the base path, speed stole the show for the Colonials, though they also had a couple batter’s interference calls and missed execution on hit and runs. Sophomore Joey Bartosic slapped a single to left to lead off the third inning. Then the cat and mouse games began: He stole second and moved over to third on a fielder’s choice.
The game was tied at one and the three-hole hitter, sophomore Bobby Campbell, laid down a suicide squeeze to score Bartosic.
“Just execution,” Campbell said. “I knew Joey would have the sign, too, so my job was just to get it done anyway because I knew he was fast enough to get there.”
Later in the game, Campbell had a scare at first base. Metz barehanded a bunt off the mound and threw off the back foot and into the base path at first to just get the runner out to end the inning.
Campbell, a natural shortstop playing first base this year, went into the baseline to secure the ball, but the Georgetown baserunner crashed into him. His right hand was banged up after getting spiked, but he did play the remainder of the game, including stepping to the plate at the bottom of that same inning. “There’s a whole lot of guys that would play that ball. Bobby said, ‘Here it is, I’m getting it and I know I’m going to take something,'” Ritchie said. “That really showed some serious guts to stay in there.” Campbell expects to play Friday, when the Colonials will resume play against Manhattan, barring weather interference.”
Running with the Bull: A pitcher settles in on the mound by The GW HatchetMar 02, 2015 “Media Credit: Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Junior Bobby LeWarne gave up six runs, five earned, through six innings of work Friday in GW's 16-7 win over Niagara. LeWarne struck out seven and gave up just one walk in his second start and second win of the season, matching his win total from 2013-14 in just two starts.
The baseball gods have a cruel sense of humor.
Minutes after his father talked about his pinpoint precision, the opening-day starter of GW’s staff headed out to the mound, dug in and lost all control.
First pitch: strike. The next pitch, though, was catapulted 350 feet deep into the Colonial Corridor in center field, saved only by the center fielder who caught it with a leaping over-the-shoulder grab. The pitcher pointed to him in thanks as the ball whipped around the horn.
Then he missed on the first two pitches to the next batter. Then he hit him. And then he hit the batter after that, causing the infield to come in for a talk. A couple pitches later, he stepped off the rubber. The catcher jogged out to him, the pitching coach not far behind. They returned to their positions only to watch the next pitch get rocked again, this time off the left field wall to drive in the runner.
Runners stood on second and third with one out in the first inning on a relatively warm winter day at Barcroft Park. An Iowan – 1,030 miles away from his hometown just outside of Des Moines, where cornfields marked home run territory in right field during his Little League days – stood alone on the dirt mound in the middle of the state-of-the-art turf.
His teammates, and those who know him, call him Bobby the Bull. They call him a grinder.
He went with his signature pitch, the one his dad Steve LeWarne taught him: a circle changeup that the bottom falls out of. The batter took an awful swing, nearly dropping to his knees and getting behind in the count. He took a weak swing on the next pitch, chopping the ball back to the mound. Bobby the Bull stared down the runner at third and threw over to first, two outs. He threw another strike via the changeup to the following batter, who would pop up to center to end the inning.
Bobby LeWarne, a 6-foot-1, 190 pound right-handed pitcher in his third year at GW, didn’t have his best stuff against Niagara on Friday afternoon. He found a way to wiggle his way into the seventh inning, but was left with two men on base, both of whom would score. His final line was six plus innings with six runs, five earned and six hits, one walk and seven strikeouts – and the win.
“You want the Friday guy to give you a chance to win every single time he goes out,” head coach Gregg Ritchie said. “Even if he has a bad day, your offense needs to step up. If it’s not that, he’s shutting them down to one run. That’s what you’re looking for out of that guy.”
Two years ago, LeWarne was not that guy on a Friday in April. He came in relief in the seventh inning in what was a 4-2 game, trailing to Richmond. The first batter tripled, the next hit a home run down the left field line and the one after that hit a home run down the right field line. LeWarne lasted just one inning.
“It was obvious I needed to work harder. I needed to be more mature. I was a freshman. I was a little squirrelly. I got more mature and got more dedicated,” LeWarne said.
LeWarne said he learned to attack hitters more and “just have more fun” playing. He embraced the long-toss program and the lifting program, pitched in a competitive summer league and came back his sophomore year more disciplined.
Ritchie always projected LeWarne as a starter because he is a three-pitch pitcher – with a fastball, changeup and curveball – but was just waiting for LeWarne to get himself ready mentally.
“It was basically, ‘Here’s what’s in front of you, and here’s what you’re doing. Here are the results,’” Ritchie said. “‘Now, this has to happen. Either you’re going to do it, or you’re not.’ And to his credit, he basically grabbed it and said, ‘Ok, I’m ready to go.’ That’s just a maturity that just builds with experience.”
LeWarne moved into a starting role last season, going 2-5 with a 3.38 ERA and striking out 57. Twenty-nine of his 45 runs were earned in his 14 appearances, and his two wins came courtesy of complete games, one in which he threw 134 pitches in the nine innings, with seven strikeouts for the conference win over Rhode Island. The other was a shutout, a one-hitter against Monmouth.
In his two starts this season, LeWarne matched his win total from last year. He has a 3.46 ERA and is striking out a batter per inning.
Though the realization was complete only when Bobby was in high school, there were times back in his Amateur Athletic Union and Little League days when Steve LeWarne knew that his son could be a special pitcher.
“I’ll never forget it, and I still talk about it over beers. I’ve never seen a kid throw that many changeups in a ball game. They just couldn’t hit it,” he said. “That sticks out in my mind, when a kid’s throwing 90 percent of the game changeups. It’s like a knuckleballer.”
Steve LeWarne taught his son that changeup, telling him to throw that and not a breaking ball because he had hurt his own arm throwing too many breaking balls early in his career, which went as far as the college level. Steve LeWarne gave Bobby the nickname “Bull.”
“You wouldn’t know it now, but Bobby was not exactly a thin kid,” Steve LeWarne said. “He was kind of a bulldog. He was a little broad-shouldered, chubby.”
“Not only because of his size,” he added. “He just competed and was feisty and always wanted to have the ball in the big game. So that’s how we kind of gave him the name ‘Bull.’”
After playing third base on his father’s teams growing up, LeWarne flourished once he found himself on the mound in high school. But getting recruited wasn’t easy.
High school kids play baseball in the summer, but not the scout-preferred way. Instead of playing in big tournaments and camps, spring high school baseball starts at the end of the school year in Iowa Catholic school leagues and is played in front of big crowds through the summer.
But GW’s old pitching coach, Tim Brown, is an Iowa native. He saw Bobby play for his high school, Dowling Catholic. The connection was there, the interest was strong on both sides, but the question was whether LeWarne would head to the East Coast to play college baseball.
“We thought that was sort of a far-fetched deal, but once he got out there and met some of the guys, we thought this might be a good fit,” Steve LeWarne said. “Gosh, I’m real happy he made that move because he absolutely loves it out there. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get him back to Iowa.”
Now in his third year, studying biology as a pre-med student, LeWarne is starting to find his spot on the team. Starting on opening day is a nice nod, and LeWarne hopes to pitch in the pros one day – “Baseball every time. No question. No doubt. There’s only so many more years. You can go to med school whenever,” he said – but these days he is thinking about getting in his work for the day and getting ready to pitch the next Friday. His freshman year is quickly looking like it's miles in the past. “Just be real, talking to each other man-to-man and coach-to-player and saying, ‘Hey look, this is what you have to do. If you don’t do this, you’ll be the same guy,’” Ritchie said. “‘There’s more in you, there’s a whole lot more still in you.’ There’s more in him now. There’s still more. We haven’t seen the best Bobby yet. If he goes another step.””
Students begin to see fruits of three-year career services overhaul by The GW HatchetMar 02, 2015 “Media Credit: Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer
Career Coach Toy Draine, left, helps junior Alexis Chandler review her resume and plan out a job search strategy at GW's Center for Career Services. More specialized career advisers and better communication with students has led to a rise in the number of students using the office.
When senior Danielle Noel received an email from GW’s career center offering her the chance to travel to Manhattan in a professional networking blitz, she said she knew she had to apply.
Noel, a senior majoring in political communication, said working in New York City is her “life goal.” Now, she is one of 43 students who will travel to New York with GW for the first-ever Career Quest, made possible by the largest donation that the Center for Career Services has seen in its history. But officials say the program is just one of many that have rolled out across campus since the University began overhauling career services in 2012.
That three-year transition is now mostly complete. And students and officials say the shake up has paid off.
“We started to invest in resources, and you start to see the return,” Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski said.
Konwerski said increased specialization in career advisers and more communication between career services and undergraduates has drawn students to use the office more frequently. More students attended last month’s career fair than ever before, he said.
He added that the overhaul came from the top-down: It started from a push by Board of Trustees members and Provost Steven Lerman.
“It’s a combination of more people doing that and more specialization is definitely helping students realize they can see their career coach then go and see the employer relations person and figure out what is it they want to do and see what kinds of jobs are out there,” Konwerski said.
Money flows in
Through trustee Mark Shenkman’s $5 million gift – announced last May – juniors, seniors and graduate students had the chance to apply to participate in Career Quest, a networking trek to New York City with GW alumni, faculty and career coaches. Forty-three students were selected to go on the two-day trip over spring break. They will meet with employers like CBS Interactive, American Red Cross and Harper Collins.
While GW has offered a similar program for students in the business school before, this trip marks the first time the networking opportunity has expanded to non-business majors.
The Shenkman gift will also go toward Operation GW VALOR, a program that looks to assist student veterans in translating military skills to the workforce. The donation will bring a digital mock interview and virtual career-coaching space to Colonial Crossroads, as well as go toward resources for international students.
Students on Career Quest will focus on learning about businesses without the pressure of being considered for a job, said assistant professor of media and public affairs Imani Cheers, who is a faculty guide on the trip's media track.
“The trip is an opportunity for students to see the inner-workings of businesses, not to get jobs,” Cheers said. “They aren’t walking away with job offers, but it’s a great way to go somewhere like CBS Interactive and see if that’s the kind of work environment that would be appealing.”
Josephine Hill, a senior majoring in communication, found out about Career Quest through GWork, an online portal that lists job and internship opportunities. She will visit media-related businesses as part of a group focused on print and broadcast media. Other tracks will connect with advertising, service and sustainability companies.
Hill now interns in digital crisis communications at Edelman, a public relations firm in D.C., but said she knows she wants to work in New York after graduation. As a senior about to graduate, she said she is “constantly” in search of a job, and that she hopes this “informational experience” will help her land a full-time position.
“This provides us with contacts in New York through GW, and GW has such a strong community in New York, so it’s super ideal,” Hill said.
Before the trip, students are paired with alumni who work in the city through the Alumni Association.
Hannah Dannenfeldt, a senior majoring in international affairs, said her adviser has given her tips on how to strengthen her resume and told her about potential career and internship opportunities. They have met once in person and spoke once over the phone in the past month.
“She stressed branching out from what I’m familiar with, unique paths that might not be typical international affairs careers,” Dannenfeldt said, adding that she will visit companies with a focus on public service.
The New York area has the second-largest concentration of alumni, after the District. Alumni in both New York and D.C. have volunteered as advisers for the trip.
The Career Quest and Operation GW VALOR program aren't the only areas recently lifted by an influx in donations. In 2013, GW began fundraising specifically for its unpaid internship scholarship program, the Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund, which helps students afford taking unpaid internships.
Part of Shenkman’s gift also went toward that program, though it has also received donations from parents and students, Assistant Provost for University Career Services Rachel Brown said.
Brown added that the University has recently publicized the Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund to donors through videos highlighting the grant’s recipients. GW has given 140 grants to students interning so far.
“Students share their internship stories and the impact these internships have had on their personal and professional development. This demonstrates the value of the program in an invaluable way,” Brown said.
And while the University’s budget has seen crunches across departments — and just three GW departments not including career services were granted budget increases this year — officials point to the commitment to enhancing career services as a pillar of its decade-long strategic plan.
The blueprint, approved in 2012, laid out increasing career services' budget to $2 million each year to finance the overhaul, which means it would see a decade-long investment of an additional $20 million.
A focus on employer development
The center's restructuring included hiring career coaches who have experience in specific professional areas, the launch of a University-wide career services council in 2011 – consisting of faculty, staff and students – employer relations development, and a heavier focus on international and veteran students, Brown said.
The Center for Career Services has teamed up faculty and students across campus to join the Career Services Council, which is especially focused on international students, Brown said. The council has connected students this year with employers including MGM International, Amazon, Facebook, Gilbane and Sojitz Corporation, she added.
Brown said the Center for Career Service’s primary goal for the year is to “enhance student engagement with career services, starting at freshman year.” Career Services sent postcards to every incoming freshman’s home last August before classes began and increased outreach efforts within first-year residence halls.
This year, the employer development program has brought employers into classrooms. Professors invited the Children's National Medical Hospital to the School of Nursing's capstone class on the Virginia Science and Technology campus, and representatives from e-commerce giant Amazon visited a few GW School of Business career management strategy classes, career services’ managing director for employer services Staci Fowler said.
The center’s employer development program, led by Fowler, identifies new and existing employers in public, private and nonprofit sectors, and develops and maintains relationships with them.
Career services officials had previously said they wanted to complete the hiring aspects of the overhaul by 2015.
While the job market is better for recent college graduates compared to when the career services overhaul began, a healthy market should not change the emphasis on career building at universities, said Mike Cahill, the director of career services at Syracuse University.
“When jobs are easier to attain, people invest less in getting a job and they end up in a job they aren’t well suited for and find themselves looking for another job a year later,” Cahill said. “It’s counterintuitive, but when it’s easy to get a job, they don’t work as hard on it.”
Syracuse has general career advisers, but officials are considering the switch to specialized advisers like GW’s, Cahill said. At Syracuse, a central career counseling office works alongside career specialists within each school. “You have to have a big enough staff to be able to do what GW did,” he said. “Good career services will start before students come through, to completion and beyond.” Ryan Lasker contributed reporting.”
GW secures 2,300 foreign scholarship, research contracts in five years by The GW HatchetMar 02, 2015 “Media Credit: Anna McGarrigle | Senior Designer
The University clinched nearly 2,300 international scholarship and research deals with countries like Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and Brazil between 2007 and 2012, according to the latest available data that GW is required to report to the Department of Education.
That’s 20 times more contracts than any of GW’s competitor schools included in the data, like Northwestern and Tufts universities. Experts say those contracts are for research projects or scholarships funded by foreign governments – two areas that have grown over the last several years as universities shift to a more global focus – and are key to raising a school’s international profile.
But GW’s average contract was worth $26,750 during that time frame – putting it second-to-last on the list of more than 80 schools, just above the University of Kentucky. A spokeswoman from the University’s research office declined to comment on why GW may be so low on the list.
Kevin Kinser, an associate professor of international higher education policy at the University at Albany, said GW’s low average may be because most of those contracts listed were for small government grants or scholarships.
For example, GW had about 100 contracts with the JSC Center of International Programs Bolash, an organization that issues student scholarships funded by Kazakhstan's government. GW also had contracts with schools like the University of Cambridge in England and Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates.
Kinser said one reason GW may have so many more contracts than other schools is that GW officials may be more diligent about tracking the data. He also said the contracts may represent consulting work that schools do with foreign governments.
“Some institutions make these kinds of projects a significant activity because they can bring in a lot of resources for the institution and also help establish the international reputation of the institution,” Kinser said.
Philip Altbach, the director of the Center for International Higher Education and a research professor at Boston College, said the number of government-funded scholarships like the ones shown in the data have likely increased as schools have looked to expand their connections abroad.
He said many schools see international students as “cash cows” because they often come from wealthier families and can afford to pay full tuition.
“Also, the reputation aspect is very much there, as they’re trying to increase visibility overseas,” Altbach said. “It’s partly dealing with global rankings that they’re trying to improve and partly to connect themselves with more and better students.”
GW is ranked No. 194 globally by Times Higher Education on a list of 400 schools. U.S. News & World Report puts GW at No. 281 out of 500.
Officials announced earlier this year that they would push researchers to complete work overseas as securing national funding for research projects has become more competitive.
Vice President for Research Leo Chalupa declined through a University spokeswoman to provide information about the contracts, which countries GW works with most often, which schools at GW have the most research contracts or how many total international contracts the University currently has.
Benjamin Hopkins, an associate professor of history and international affairs, has won grants in the United Kingdom and a three-month fellowship at the National University of Singapore’s Asia Research Institute.
“They were not only helpful for my professional development, but also good for the University in the sense of raising its overseas research profile,” Hopkins said.
James Clark, an associate biology professor, has had a contract with the Chinese Academy of Biology since 2001 to study dinosaur fossils in the Gobi Desert. Through two $300,000 grants from the National Science Foundation, Clark has found four new species of dinosaurs and “a whole fauna of turtles, crocodiles and mammals.”
Clark said though he did not know why GW was at the forefront in number of international contracts, he was “not terribly surprised.”
The University has contracts with dozens of Chinese organizations, like the Chinese Center for Disease Control, the National Bureau of Statistics of China and Webster University in China, according to the data.
“China has exploded with science and they’re putting a lot of money into science, so it’s a really hot place to be working in science in general,” Clark said.
Included in the data were also 785 monetary gifts from foreign countries, worth $14.9 million. Though that’s the second-highest number of donations, the total amount puts GW at No. 17 on the list, behind competitors like New York, Northwestern and Georgetown universities.
GW’s average gift size was just over $19,000 – far smaller than most of the other schools on the list. Georgetown University’s average gift size was about $2 million.
Michael Nilsen, the vice president for public policy at the Association for Fundraising Professionals, said GW’s small average gift size shows “great potential.”
“Obviously, would you love to see a greater average? Sure,” Nilsen said. “It really behooves the fundraising department there, and I’m sure it’s something they’re working on cultivating.”
Nilsen said as schools like GW have tried to extend their international reach over the last several years, they may see more small gifts “because you reach out to more people on average.”
“You’re looking to throw a wider net out to students,” he said. “I’d imagine there’s more international giving as there are more international students overall.”
Nilsen said schools will try to connect with international alumni or build new donor connections as their presence in another country grows. In 2007, GW received $15,000 from its Seoul alumni club. Albert Wang, the highest individual donor, gave a total of $2 million in 2007 and 2008. Wang is from Taiwan, according to the data.
The government of Kuwait has also given GW a series of large gifts over the past several years. In 2005, Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences gave $3.4 million to establish an endowed department chair position. Three years later, the government of Kuwait put $1 million toward the Elliott School of International Affairs’ Institute for Middle East Studies.
And in 2011, the government of Kuwait gave $4.5 million to the Institute for Middle East Studies and the Global Resources Center’s Middle East and North Africa Research Center at Gelman Library.
University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said officials have “increased the level of integration that occurs” between international fundraisers and international alumni relations.
In 2013, the University added two international fundraisers to its six-year-old international fundraising team. GW also hosts dozens of overseas fundraising events each year.
“We have enhanced the global aspects of our curricula and made it a priority to engage our international alumni,” Csellar said. In the long term, that strategy might make GW a more successful international fundraiser than its peers, said Richard Ammons, a consultant at higher education fundraising firm Marts & Lundy. “My suspicion is that over time, because they’re cultivating a larger number of donors, they’d be able to surpass the total number as average gifts increase,” Ammons said.”
A slow start, a winning streak and a ranking on the road to a championship by The GW HatchetMar 02, 2015 “Media Credit: Dan Rich | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Junior Jonquel Jones drives through defenders during GW's win over George Mason on Sunday. Jones has dominated all season, averaging 15.3 points and 12.5 rebounds per game.
At the start of the season, women’s basketball head coach Jonathan Tsipis set the bar high for his team: Get back to the NCAA Tournament.
Four games into the season, the Colonials sat at .500. Following the only home loss of the season, however, they went on a 19-game winning streak that saw them climb into the national rankings, set records and all but ensure the fulfillment of Tsipis’ goal.
Over the last two games, No. 22 GW clinched its first Atlantic 10 regular season title since 2008 with a dramatic overtime win at Richmond on Thursday and a 35-point steamrolling of George Mason on Sunday.
The Colonials will begin their run at the A-10 tournament title Friday at 11 a.m. against the winner of the game between the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds. A championship would be GW's first since 2003, but Tsipis said the team is trying not to get overly distracted by the big-picture implications.
“We have a special group,” Tsipis said. “Our goals were even simpler than a championship. We just have to keep getting better throughout the whole year. And I think it’s ironic that we had to do something we hadn’t done – win in overtime – to clinch the No. 1 seed.”
The most prominent source of GW’s success is the frontcourt. Naismith trophy candidate and junior Jonquel Jones dominated down low for the Colonials all season long. She picked up even more steam as the season went on, finishing the year averaging 15.3 points and 12.5 rebounds per game, fifth in the country in rebounding and the only A-10 player averaging a double-double.
But Jones didn’t hold down the post alone. She was complemented and protected by sophomore Caira Washington, who is fifth in the conference in rebounding and seventeenth in scoring. Overall, GW ranks first in the NCAA with a +13.9 rebounding margin.
Defensive play has also helped the Colonials capture their first regular season championship since 2008. GW is second in the conference in points against per game and first in field goal percentage against. Combine those defensive stats with a No. 2 ranked 72.8 points per game, and you get a team that led the league with a +14.8 scoring margin.
Another key component to the team’s success has been depth. Nine players averaged double-digit minutes for the season, five of whom averaged more than 20. Overall, 11 players played in at least 20 games.
GW was not only able to hold its ground at the Smith Center with a league-high 14 wins at home, but was also one of two teams with double-digit wins on the road. The Colonials received a double bye into the A-10 championship quarterfinals. The tournament will get underway with the first round on Wednesday. “It means a lot,” Jones said about GW’s No. 1 seed. “It gives us some more recovery time and we get to play early games, and it’s been a hard-fought season.””
Student lobbyists to advocate on Capitol Hill for sexual violence education by The GW HatchetFeb 27, 2015 “Media Credit: Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Freshman Eve Zhurbinskiy, a member of Students Against Sexual Assault, plans to lobby Congress to make funds available for educating secondary school students about sexual violence prevention.
Students Against Sexual Assault and other GW students will join Sen. Timothy Kaine, D-Va., on Capitol Hill next month to lobby for a sexual violence education bill targeting middle and high school students.
Freshman SASA member Eve Zhurbinskiy is organizing D.C.-area college students to push senators to pass the Teach Safe Relationships Act, which would allocate funding for teaching students in secondary schools about how to prevent sexual violence and harassment.
“I don’t think Congress or any state legislature can magically make sexual assault go away completely, but I do think the government has a role in supporting survivors and preventing sexual violence,” Zhurbinskiy said.
Ever since her freshman year of high school, when a friend confided in her about being sexually assaulted, Zhurbinskiy has followed sexual violence legislation at the state and national levels and has been an advocate for sexual violence survivors, she said.
“Being so young, I didn't know much about the resources available to survivors or the effects of sexual assault. I was also frustrated that the sex education class at my school did not comprehensively address this issue,” Zhurbinskiy said. “It's critical that schools be given greater resources to educate students about sexual violence because preventing sexual assault starts with education.”
If passed, the Teach Safe Relationships Act would allow school districts to compete for grants from the Department of Education to implement curricula focused on sexual assault prevention, domestic violence and maintaining healthy relationships.
The bill would be the first national legislation to fund education about sexual violence and healthy relationships, and is currently under review by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. National organizations, including Planned Parenthood and the National Women’s Law Center, have endorsed the bill.
Kaine said he wrote the bill with young people in mind based on conversations with the University of Virginia’s sexual violence awareness and advocacy group, One Less.
“I’m pleased GW Students Against Sexual Assault and other student groups are supporting the Teach Safe Relationships Act,” Kaine said in an email. “I appreciate their efforts to raise additional support on Capitol Hill for the bill, which would allow secondary schools to play a role in promoting safe relationship behavior and teaching students about these issues that disproportionately impact young people.”
Kaine introduced the bill — cosponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. — earlier this month. Policymakers have focused on sexual violence education and prevention since the Department of Justice reported that more than 290,000 Americans are victims of rape and sexual assault each year, with women between the ages of 16 and 24 consistently experiencing the highest rate of intimate partner violence.
Students from GW, American, Georgetown, Catholic and George Mason universities and the University of Maryland will go in groups of three or four people to senators’ offices for short meetings on two consecutive days between March 17 and 26.
Zhurbinskiy said student lobbyists will target senators on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, but they may speak with other senators, depending on how many students participate. About 40 students have registered online so far, and Zhurbinskiy said she hopes as many as 100 students participate.
“This tends to be the kind of thing that doesn’t really get a lot of attention and gets to committees then dies,” Zhurbinskiy said. “It’s up to us to bring attention to this issue so that we can force a move on it.”
GW student organizations, including SASA and College Democrats, have committed to lobbying, as well as American University’s Students Against Sexual Violence. GW College Democrats Vice President Amelia Williams said the group is participating because the issue is not well-enough addressed on a federal level.
“Too many institutions are failing to keep up with increasing rates of sexual assault nationwide, which is why congressional legislation is critically important to properly begin addressing the problem,” Williams said in an email.
The bill was introduced by four Democratic senators, but SASA co-president Laura Zillman said she wants students to believe that sexual assault education is a bipartisan issue.
“While SASA tries to remain almost entirely apolitical on most issues, this act just makes sense,” Zillman said.
Sexual violence has been at the forefront of GW student leaders’ efforts this semester, following the release of the University's anonymous campus climate survey results, which found that 36 percent of upperclass women had experienced unwanted sexual behavior. The Student Association Senate passed a bill this week that will put whether students should receive mandatory sexual violence training at Colonial Inauguration to a student-wide vote.
SASA co-president Kirsten Dimovitz said mandatory training for incoming freshmen would help “build a safe community” at GW, but education in secondary school would make an even wider impact on universities’ cultures.
“Supporting this legislation and ensuring that it passes is crucial because it will both propel the issue of sexual violence to the main stage and take steps to educate all of the next generation of Americans,” Dimovitz said.
Mike Domitzr, the founder of the Date Safe Project, said educating and providing students with the skills to make safe and healthy relationship decisions in middle and high schools is key to creating a positive university environment. The Date Safe Project is a national organization that holds trainings for middle schools, high schools, universities and the military about healthy relationships and consent.
“Students come to their campuses with what they’ve learned culturally in middle and high school,” Domitzr said. “The fact that students are stepping forward is critically important because there isn’t a track record about this happening on a legislative level before.” The president of Students Against Sexual Violence at American University, Amanda Gould, said she supports national legislation over state legislation because “people’s conservative views get in the way” at the state level. “I don’t think that should be up to personal beliefs held by people in the state that are religious,” Gould said.”