Penn will be making its first appearance in the tournament. The Penn men's golf team will travel to Issue, Md., this weekend to compete in the second annual George Washington Invitational at the Swan Point Yacht and Country Club. The tournament -- which will take place on Sunday and Monday -- is one of the largest intercollegiate golf events on the East Coast with more than 140 golfers from 27 colleges and universities, including two squads from the host Colonials. Last year's invitational was won by American with a 50-over-par 626, seven strokes ahead of runner-up Maryland-Baltimore County and 13 strokes ahead of third-place Hampton. After a successful fall season and a productive spring break, the Quakers are looking forward to getting back into action against other schools in their district. Although Penn has never competed in this tournament, the Quakers' outlook is positive. "I expect to win, and the rest of the team does, too," junior Todd Golditch said. "We go into every tournament expecting to win, and there's no reason why we can't win [this weekend]." "Every week we try to win, and I think [this weekend] it'll come out well," Penn freshman Chad Perman added. Over spring break, the Quakers competed in the East Carolina Invitational in Greenville, N.C. Even though their 21st-place finish was well back in the field and something of a disappointment for the Red and Blue, the Quakers were pitted against very strong competition with teams from different districts. A good showing this weekend will bode well for the team's confidence, especially after stumbling a bit at East Carolina. The field at this weekend's tournament should be more representative of the Quakers' typical District II competition and virtually free of the Southern powerhouses that they saw over spring break. "I think we can work out the kinks that haunted us at ECU," junior Kyle Moran said. "I think we will do really well this weekend. We will be competing against teams in our district who are in similar positions as we are." At any rate, the team feels confident about its ability to bounce back from a rough showing at East Carolina. "Now that we've gotten a tournament under our belts, as well as some practice in better weather, we feel more comfortable with our chances [of winning]," Perman said. This weekend's tournament should be a good warmup for the Navy Spring Invitational and the Ivy League Championships, both set to take place later in April. The Ivy Championships are especially important because this marks the first year that the winner of the Ivies will move on to the NCAA Championships. If the Quakers are to take advantage of this opportunity, they will need to start showing marked progress this weekend at GW.
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Bouquets of rainbow-colored balloons sprang up all over College Green yesterday in celebration of B-GLAD, the annual Bisexual Gay Lesbian Transgender Awareness Days. About 30 students, faculty and community members gathered at the Peace Sign for a rally at 12:30 p.m. to promote queer awareness, discuss their experiences and voice their concerns. Engineering junior Kurt Klinger, co-chair of the Queer Student Alliance, said the QSA hoped to increase its visibility through events such as these. "We're making more of an effort to be more visible on campus," he said. B-GLAD events will continue throughout the week, concluding with a party on Friday. Co-chair Mike Hartwyk, a College junior, also addressed the group's name change from the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Alliance to the Queer Student Alliance. "We feel [queer] is a more neutral term," he said, adding that although in the past the word was used in a derogatory sense, today "the times have changed," and queer people are "reclaiming the word." The rally opened with a talk from College sophomore Rudy Ramirez, who, wearing sparkling black and flashy purple clothing, quipped, "I was a bit concerned about wearing this outfit because I didn't want anyone to think I was gay." But in between his crowd-pleasing jokes, Ramirez spoke seriously about the many obstacles homosexuals face in society. Asking audience members to look at their hands, he said, "There are those who would rather cut off your hand than have you use it to love the way destiny has told you to use it." "I will love the way I choose," he added. Ramirez was followed by 1978 Penn alumnus David Azzolina, who spoke about the history of gays at Penn. Azzolina was one of the few undergraduate members of Gays at Penn, the campus group for gay people that existed in the 1970s. "Most of the gay men of my generation are dead," he said. "It is incumbent of you young gay men to not forget them." Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center Director Bob Schoenberg read a statement from University President Judith Rodin and Provost Robert Barchi, who expressed their continued support for B-GLAD events. "Truly Penn is a place that thrives on its diversity? and the spark and spirit it brings to campus," the letter stated. Undergraduate Assembly Chairman Mike Silver, a College senior, also spoke at the rally, emphasizing the UA's increased effort to work closely with minority organizations. "In the past, the UA has not really made this effort," Silver acknowledged. Silver also spoke about the derogatory e-mail sent to the QSA listserv last week. "Just because we are an Ivy League school? doesn't mean we're immune to these things," he said. Many of the students and other members of the Penn community who came to the rally said they found it inspirational. Mike LaMonaca, a 1998 Penn alumnus and now an employee of College Housing and Academic Services, said he was impressed by the speakers. "I'm continually impressed by the queer students here and how they are able to be visible on campus and to foster the ideals of tolerance and acceptance," he said.
For everyone playing in this year's women's NCAA Tournament, the road to the championship goes through Philadelphia. For Tennessee junior Kristen Clement, that road also leads home. "Little did we know that not only would the Final Four be here in Philadelphia, but it would be in many many ways a Philadelphia weekend," PWB co-chair Fred DiBona said at the ceremonial opening of Championship Week yesterday. "We're pleased that Kristin Clement, the great Cardinal O'Hara star, will be here this weekend playing in Philadelphia as a Philadelphian. "I remember sitting in the Palestra and watching her perform with great amazement." Clement has deep roots in Philadelphia, but she has ties with some of the members of the Penn women's basketball team that predate even her local fame. Quakers guard Claire Cavanaugh also attended Cardinal O'Hara. She played with Clement not only in high school, but on the AAU powerhouse Philadelphia Bells as well. She tells a story from their AAU days that, at this point, seems clairvoyant. When Cavanaugh and Clement were in the eighth grade, the Bells were the AAU's national champs. The finals were played at that mecca of women's basketball -- Knoxville, Tenn. "We got there really early," Cavanaugh said. "We arrived in our Philadelphia Bells gear and everything. This custodian, who I don't think had a clue what was going on, let us into the actual Lady Vols locker room. Anyway, we thought that was pretty awesome, and I could tell then that she was pretty enamored of the whole scene." Enamored, maybe, but not intimidated. Even as an eighth grader, Clement, and others, knew that she could go places with basketball. "She's such a good player," Cavanaugh said. "And she has been for a long time. She's the type of player that makes everyone around her better." If she made her teammates better, what did she do to her opponents? Quakers co-captain Diana Caramanico recalls facing Clement on several occasions when she was playing on a different Philadelphia AAU team. "When we played against her as 11-year-olds, everybody was like, 'Oh, she's really good, you've got to watch out for her left hand, she's killer on the left hand,'" Caramanico said. "When you're little, you expect everyone to be right-handed, so it's really difficult to be guarding someone who uses the left hand, and she just killed us. "She was amazing. She was the main focus of the Bells. When you had to play the Bells, you really had to be careful about her." Caramanico was quick to point out that Clement, of course, was more than just a young phenom. "She was one of those kids that never fizzled out," Caramanico said. "There are always kids that never really amount to anything. But she was one of those kids that, every year we played against her, she just kept getting better and better, adding more and more skills to her repertoire, and it really paid off. She worked really hard, and she's doing great now." Doing great means averaging 25 minutes, 5.6 points and a team-leading 3.5 assists per game for a Lady Vols program that just clinched its NCAA-record 12th Final Four appearance. While those stats aren't tops among the Final Four's local players, Clement will still likely receive the most attention during the weekend. For one thing, her team is favored to reach the finals, while the other three -- Rashana Barnes and Andrea Garner of Penn State, and Shawnetta Stewart of Rutgers -- will be playing the role of underdogs. A second reason is the fame she received as a player at Cardinal O'Hara, where she broke countless city and county records, including Wilt Chamberlain's career scoring record. But to the casual fan, she is also recognizable due to her much-publicized one-time relationship with Philadelphia Flyers star Eric Lindros. "She's a cutie," said College senior Paul Manion, a fellow O'Hara alum and 34th Street editor. "Women's basketball was a huge draw. It always packed the gym, and it was all because of her. There would be people there all the time, even for the crappiest of their games. "When she was a junior, they had five girls that all played [Division I] basketball, and they all would have been a star in their own right on any other team. She was just heads and shoulders above anybody, even in the country, let alone Cardinal O'Hara or Delaware County. "She got all of the attention because she was that good."
The Penn men's heavyweight crew team will open its season this weekend at the San Diego Crew Classic. The Quakers will compete against 12 other crews, seven of whom are ranked among the top-10 nationally in preseason polls. Penn coach Stan Bergman is pleased with the progress his crew has made thus far. This year, a stronger emphasis has been placed on weight training and strength building. He has also increased his team's focus on heart rate and endurance to build a stronger aerobic base to improve spring speedwork. "We have lost many rowers this season," Bergman said. "The 18 that remain are a hard-core group showing much effort and dedication." One rower Penn has lost is commodore Nick Tripician, an Olympic hopeful who is training just across the Delaware in Princeton. Tripician took first place in the lightweight division at the Crash-B Erg Race held over the summer in Boston, where the competition included some of the world's best. But Tripician will be back next year, after he completes his training and possibly competes in Sydney. "[For now], our squad is small but tough," Penn junior Doug Sieg said. "Despite our losses, our boats are rowing well because we have a strong and committed group of athletes." The Quakers are looking to use their performance in San Diego as a gauge to measure the progress they have made since September. The Quakers have been fortunate to have had a lot of quality time on the water between winter training in Tampa, Fla., and spring break on the Schuylkill. "We are going to San Diego to row hard and focus on our team's racing skills," captain Greg Jenemann said. "We expect to be the fastest crew from the Eastern Sprints League." The Crew Classic will mark the beginning of a tough season of racing that will culminate in the prestigious Eastern Sprints and IRAs. "We are anticipating a technically efficient race and looking to draw our speed from our ability to row well together," sophomore varsity rower Mike Parker said. "Although this weekend will be highly competitive, it's important that we maintain our long-term goals of Eastern Sprints and IRAs and use San Diego as a springboard for success at national competitions." Through a combination of speedwork and endurance, the Quakers are leaving for San Diego well prepared to race hard and see the effects of their extensive winter training. "I personally want everyone to realize that we are going to San Diego to compete, not to eat hamburgers and hang out on the beach," Jenemann said. "There should be a high level of excitement just about racing after the long months of training." The Quakers hope to make those long months of training pay off in San Diego, and they will try to build on their results there when they return to the East Coast in two weeks. The Quakers, who were ranked third in the Ivy League and fifth nationally last year, will row three times before returning to the home waters of the Schuylkill on May 14 against Northeastern.
The Quakers continued their impressive play since returning from the West. In its final warmup before the Ivy season, the Penn women's tennis team swept Rutgers, 9-0, for the second consecutive year at Levy Pavilion. Although injury and illness kept Rutgers from bringing a full team to Penn -- the Scarlet Knights forfeited the No. 6 singles and No. 3 doubles matches -- the Quakers had little trouble taking care of the five Scarlet Knights who made the trip. At No. 1 singles, Penn junior Lenka Beranova was unfazed by the lobs and consistent returns from Donna Krouzman and cruised to an easy, 6-3, 6-3, win. Penn's Anastasia Pozdniakova had a much harder time playing Karla Porter at No. 2 singles. After Pozdniakova took the first set, 6-3, Porter adjusted to the Penn co-captain's style and started making fewer errors. Porter started the second set up 2-1, and her fast-paced, precise shots kept her leading the set until the match reached 4-5. Pozdniakova responded by coming to the net, where Porter could not handle the Penn senior's shots as easily. "I guess I'm used to playing outside, where the game is slower," Pozdniakova said. "I had to move faster. I came out strong on important points." Pozdniakova ultimately took the match, 6-3, 7-5. At No. 3 singles, Penn's Shubha Srinivasan did not lose a single game to the Scarlet Knights' Carissa Sommerland. Quakers Jolene Sloat and Justyna Wojas notched solid wins at No. 4 and No. 5 singles, respectively. After going undefeated in singles, Penn continued to show its strength in doubles. The top Penn duo of Beranova and Rochelle Raiss clobbered Krouzman and Porter, 8-1. When both of the Quakers came to the net , Beranova had no trouble hitting scorching volleys at the feet of the Scarlet Knights -- and on a shot or two, Raiss' powerful smashes made her opponents duck their heads for dear life. Penn senior co-captain Elana Gold and Srinivasan had a little more trouble when they faced Rutgers' Sommerland and Jennifer Heller at No. 2 doubles. At the beginning of the match, the Scarlet Knights almost consistently let balls sail by them, allowing the Quakers to sprint to a quick 2-0 lead. But when the Quakers were at the net together, Sommerland and Hellar began to smash the ball right past them, making the ball land repeatedly right on the lines. The Penn duo regained its strength to pull off an 8-6 victory. "We had some good battles," Rutgers coach Marian Rosenwasser said. "We were hitting some quality shots, and there were some very solid points. Even if we had a full compliment of players, we knew this would be a tough match for us. Penn is a very solid team with talent down the lineup. I think [Penn] is going to have a good spring." Penn is indeed having a good spring, as its tough early schedule has paid dividends. "In the beginning of the season we lost really close matches by just a few points," Penn assistant coach Tiffany Gates said. "We have a lot more confidence now, and I think it's because of the schedule. We expect to win [close] points now." Beranova agrees and believes this improvement will help Penn in the Ivy season, which begins on Saturday. "[Rutgers was] a good team, but we're all really playing well because of the competition we've been playing," Beranova said. "We've been going for our shots and making winners. When it comes close, Penn's likely to win."
The Penn men's lightweight crew team will open its season against Rutgers this weekend on the Raritan River in New Jersey. Although Rutgers is ranked highly in preseason polls, the Quakers, who have grown in both numbers and strength this year, expect a strong and competitive performance. Penn lightweight coach Bruce Konopka is pleased with his crew's progress. "We have trained hard and have increased the team's aerobic base with much success," Konopka said. "Our practices have been well attended and highly productive." With a team of 25, this is Konopka's largest crew since his arrival at Penn. "This year, we have enough rowers to fill three full eights, which increases competition for the top seats in the varsity boat," Konopka said. "I credit the sophomores especially for returning after their novice year." Penn captain Ben Goldman shares Konopka's optimism. "With three eights, team competition is tighter, making our entire varsity program much faster," Goldman said. "I think we will be showing some speed this weekend that Rutgers won't be expecting." Penn commodore Mike Smolenski has even more confidence in the Quakers' ability. "We are expecting to sweep all the races from the varsity on down to the freshmen," Smolenski said. "We are definitely mentally and physically ready to race, and we are patiently waiting to show how the training has helped us." Although the Scarlet Knights have already established themselves as a strong crew, the Quakers are ready for the challenge. "Based on what I have seen from them last spring and this fall, they are going to be very fast," Goldman said. "However, we are coming out of a solid winter of training, and our team is faster and deeper than I have ever seen it." The Penn lightweights anticipate they will have success this season beginning this weekend in New Jersey and culminating with the Eastern Sprints. "No matter what the results of this first race are, we are focused on the goal of winning Eastern Sprints, and our training reflects this goal," junior varsity rower Matt Morano said. Konopka is eager for the season to begin and looks forward to a good year. "After months of training, the crew is in its best shape ever and prepared for a season of tough racing," Konopka said.
The Quakers allowed the game's first goal, but then blitzed St. Joe's on the way to a blowout victory. Coming off a disappointing loss to Harvard last weekend, the Penn men's lacrosse team badly needed a win against St. Joseph's last night. And that is exactly what the Quakers got. Penn (4-3) got goals and assists from 12 different players to crush the Hawks, 19-9. "The best part of the game was the fact that we knew we were a much better team than them and that we didn't keep them in the game at all," Penn senior co-captain Bill Fowler said. The Quakers, who have had a tendency to start games slowly, did allow St. Joe's (6-2) to take an early 1-0 lead. But that was the only advantage the Hawks would hold for the entire game, as Penn stormed back to tally three goals in two minutes. Peter Scott scored the first of the Penn goals, followed quickly by a breakaway goal by Todd Minerley with an assist from Pete Janney. Adam Solow finished the run by netting a goal, and by the end of the first quarter, the score was 4-1 and the Quakers were in full control. At the half, Penn found itself with an 11-5 lead and augmented that by the end of the third quarter, putting the Hawks in a 15-7 hole at the beginning of the fourth frame. "We did what had to be done. Once we got the lead, it was no longer in doubt," Penn coach Marc Van Arsdale said. "The scoring was pretty balanced, and a lot of goals came out of the midfield, which was nice to see." Four middies -- Kevin Cadin, Mike Kehoe, Alex Kopicki and Solow -- all made important contributions in the game. The Quakers combined to take 63 shots on goal, which is about double their normal output. "It's big to have guys coming off the bench and even starters being able to put points on the scoreboard," Fowler said. "I'm always for dishing the ball around and having as many people contribute as possible." Penn's play also differed in that it was much more aggressive than usual. The Red and Blue registered eight penalties, almost matching their entire total for the season. This statistic did not bother the Penn coach, however. "I was happy that the team came out with so much energy," Van Arsdale said. "And since that was where the penalties stemmed from, I wasn't as concerned." One other change that the Quakers made in this game was naming freshman Ryan Kelly as the starting goalie the first time. Although Kelly has played in past games this season, John Carroll had been the starter until yesterday. "We felt it was time to give Ryan a chance to start," Van Arsdale said. "He played well and made the saves he should have made. The goals that were scored on him were hard goals to stop. I think Carroll also responded to not getting the start and played well in the second half." The change did not affect the rest of the team, not even the defense with which the goalie communicates throughout the game. "All season long we've dealt with both goalies," Fowler said. "I enjoy playing with Kelly because he's a great communicator, and Carroll has the ability to make great saves. Either way, they are both our last line of defense and are both good enough to be in the goal." Although the team was happy with the way it played, the Quakers know that they will have to improve their intensity even more against Cornell this weekend. While Penn's 63 shots on goal were impressive, the fact that most of those shots were not on net was a bit of a concern. "Some guys could have had a really big night points-wise, but we had trouble shooting on-cage," Van Arsdale said. In addition, toward the end of the game, the defense broke down on some of the goals as the Hawks did not have to work hard to put the ball in the net. "We cannot afford to have that happen against Cornell," Van Arsdale said. "They are going to make us work harder on the other end of the field, and we can't give up easy goals." Although the Quakers showed no signs of getting down on themselves after starting with two consecutive Ivy losses, last night's win was very important.
Penn hopes to ride its pitching to a sweep on the Main Line today. The Penn softball team is doing its best to show that pitching is not one of its liabilities, as some had predicted at the beginning of the season. The Quakers went 4-2 over this past weekend and gave up a total of only 12 runs, including a shutout victory against Lafayette. Penn started the weekend off 4-0 by sweeping doubleheaders against Lafayette and La Salle, but then lost two pitchers' duels to Rider on Sunday to drop its record back down to 8-12. "We had some really good pitching over the weekend," sophomore third baseman Jen Moore said. "Against Rider, we just didn't seem to get hits at the right time, when we needed them." Today, the Quakers will face off against Villanova. The Wildcats, who will host the game, sport an 11-6 mark on the year. Last season, these two teams, which play every year, split a doubleheader. "We are going into the game with the attitude that we should win both games," Penn senior co-captain Suzanne Arbogast said. "They are a tough team and have some great pitchers, but we are confident that we can walk away with two victories." One reason for Penn's strong pitching as of late has been the superb efforts of freshman hurler Becky Ranta. Ranta, who won her first three college starts, is credited with five of the Quakers' eight victories on the year. Ranta was also solid over the weekend. Against Lafayette she was unstoppable, throwing a three-hit complete game shutout. She also threw a complete game and gave up only two runs in a hard-luck loss to Rider. "Becky has been pitching really well, especially considering that she is a freshman," Moore said. "She's pitching with a lot of confidence, and her curveball is consistently fooling the batters and sometimes even the fielders." For the Quakers to sweep the doubleheader, they will definitely need more offense. Penn struggled to produce runs against Rider, scoring only once in two games. "In practice, we have been working more on hitting, so that should help everyone out," senior co-captain Michelle Zaptin said. "We know that we're not going to score nine or 10 runs every day, but we should be better against Villanova and get a few more hits and runs." One major problem for the squad has been an inability to consistently hit well with runners on base. "[Against Rider] we had some baserunners, but we just couldn't seem to hit them in," Moore said. "It's still early in the season though, so we just need to keep working and we'll be fine." Villanova may be about the last team that Penn wants to play, given the hitting difficulties that have plagued the Quakers as of late. The Wildcats are coming off a doubleheader against Monmouth in which they gave up a total of only two runs. "Everyone was pretty tired after four games and I think that was a factor against Rider," Arbogast said. "We're rested now and ready to play well. Our games with them always seem to be close, so it should be exciting."
The Quakers had a 4-1 lead after the top of the fifth, but fell in 10 innings to city rival Temple. Even a little rain couldn't spell the Penn baseball team's Veterans Stadium drought. Battling a constant drizzle, the Quakers (8-8) lost their eighth straight Liberty Bell Classic opener, this one a 5-4 extra-inning heartbreaker against Temple (7-11-2). Getting six solid innings from sophomore starter Mike Mattern -- last year's staff ace -- and holding a 4-3 lead after seven innings, Penn looked as if it was on its way to exorcising its Liberty Bell demons. But missed opportunities at the plate and costly walks from their relief pitchers left the Quakers shaking their heads. Mattern got off to an inauspicious start when Temple leadoff man Jim Tully greeted him with a home run in the bottom of the first inning. But Mattern bore down and showed flashes of the stuff that won him six of the Quakers' nine victories last season. In the third inning, Mattern got into trouble when a leadoff single followed by a walk and an error put men on second and third with no outs. But Mattern used two timely strikeouts and a fly out to get out of the jam. Penn responded offensively the next inning. Center fielder Andrew McCreery, who went 2-for-4 on the day, smacked a single up the middle. Chris May then singled to right on a hit-and-run, giving freshman Nick Italiano runners at the corners with just one out. Italiano popped out foul behind third base, but McCreery alertly tagged up and scored, as Owls third baseman Sam Sabolchick had to make an awkward over-the-shoulder catch that put him in poor throwing position. Penn right fielder Kevin McCabe, who has found a new home at the nine-spot in Penn coach Bob Seddon's lineup, singled May home to put the Quakers up, 2-1. After a one-two-three bottom half of the fourth by Mattern, Penn added two more runs to its lead. Glen Ambrosius reached base on a fielder's choice, stole second and advanced to third on an errant throw by Temple catcher Andrew Clemens. Cleanup hitter Jeff Gregorio drew a walk, and then Ron Rolph singled home Ambrosius. McCreery then hit a deep grounder to Owls shortstop Cap Poklemba, whose quick throw to second was mishandled by second baseman Tully, loading the bases with only one out. But the Quakers could only manage one more run in the inning off a May sacrifice fly that scored Gregorio and made the score 4-1 Penn after four and a half. The Owls clawed their way back into the game in the bottom of the fifth. A two-run triple from Temple's top hitter, Rob Cucinotta, brought the North-siders back to within one run. By the end of the sixth inning, Mattern had already thrown 120 pitches, so Seddon and pitching coach Bill Wagner brought in junior Matt Hepler to pitch at the start of the seventh inning. "If we pitched [Mattern] any more, we wouldn't have him for the weekend," Seddon said. "You can't let a kid pitch more than that." After a scoreless seventh, Hepler walked Sabolchick to start the bottom of the eighth, and a wild pitch allowed him to advance to second. Next, Hepler walked Bob Filler, but Hepler's fourth ball was also a wild pitch, advancing Sabolchick to third. With runners at the corners and no outs, Seddon brought in freshman Paul Grumet. Grumet struck out his first batter, but then gave up a sacrifice fly to Poklemba that knotted the score at four apiece. A leadoff walk in the bottom of the 10th turned out to be Grumet's downfall. A single, a sacrifice bunt and an intentional pass loaded the bases. Then, substitute designated hitter Kyle Sweppenhiser singled to right center to clinch the win for Temple. Temple pitcher Jeff Rugg silenced the Quakers' bats in relief of starter Chris Joyce. The junior reliever pitched the eighth, ninth and 10th innings for the Owls, his only blemish being a leadoff, warning-track triple to May in the top of the eighth. "We didn't put them away when we had the chance," Seddon said. "We didn't score when we had a runner on third and nobody out." The Quakers only managed one hit -- May's triple -- after the fifth inning, and four times Penn had runners in scoring position with one out or less, but failed to convert. "It's too bad. That ball almost went out of there," Seddon said of May's warning-track shot. "If he hit it anywhere else in the ballpark it was a home run."
The Quakers took care of a Lafayette squad that last season beat them by seven. Before its game against Lafayette even started last night, the Penn women's lacrosse team already had a score to settle. The Leopards' head coach Jill Johnson-Redfern told Penn coach Karin Brower during warm-ups that she had heard the Quakers were "the same team as last year, but with a better attitude." When the final buzzer sounded, however, it was clear that more than just a better attitude separates this year's team from last year's 1-12 squad. The Quakers (3-2) defeated Lafayette (0-3), 11-8, in their first home game of the season. "I think we probably shocked them a little bit," Brower said. "I don't think they expected us to pressure them as much as we did and be as fast as we were, so that we could keep up with them." Kellee Salber struck first for the Leopards just two minutes into the contest. The senior's straight run to the goal looked effortless, prompting someone in the stands to scream out that it should be a "wake-up call" to the Quakers. Penn hit the collective snooze button for a few more minutes before Whitney Horton and Amy Weinstein responded with back-to-back goals just 25 seconds apart. Lafayette's Heather McClelland countered, but the Quakers tallied another four goals -- including three by senior captain Brooke Jenkins -- to take a 6-2 lead into the locker room at the intermission. After trailing by as many as four goals, the Leopards pulled within one to bring the score to 9-8 with four minutes remaining. But Penn shut the door on Lafayette as Jayme Munnelly and Traci Marabella scored in the closing minutes to end the game, 11-8. "We closed the gap, and we got close. But we could never get close enough. Penn was tough because they kept coming back, and they responded to every challenge that we gave them," Johnson-Redfern said. With 13 freshmen wearing the Red and Blue, Penn's personnel alone should have looked different to Johnson-Redfern when comparing the team to last year's. But while she might have missed these new faces during warm-ups, they were hard to ignore once the game began. The young Quakers accounted for six of Penn's 11 goals -- two each by Munnelly and Horton and one by both Alison Polk-Williams and Crissy Book. Penn's freshmen made their presence known on defense, too. "Christy Bennett did a great job on their big gun [Heather McClelland]," Brower said. "When I saw [Lafayette] play, she was definitely their go-to girl, and [Bennett] didn't allow her to challenge. As a freshman, I was really proud of her." Marabella said her team has not just changed since last year -- it has changed since last week. That is good news for the Quakers, since their last contest was a 15-5 loss to Cornell on the road. "I think we were really pissed off about Cornell, and we wanted to show that we are so much better than that," Marabella said. "It sounds really dumb because we got crushed by Cornell, but we really could have beaten them. We just lost our heads." This decapitation resulted in frenetic play against the Big Red such that the Quakers rarely executed their offensive sets. Fortunately for the Quakers, Penn had a few practice days to consider the error of its ways before taking the field against Lafayette last night. "We had some intense practices where we analyzed the game," Munnelly said. "We're really good at breaking down what we did wrong, correcting it and then moving on rather than dwelling on it." Brower definitely noticed a few corrections on her team's part. "They were much more aggressive, and they wanted it more [than Saturday]. They double-teamed the ball, went after ground balls, didn't get beaten to the balls, made smarter decisions on attack, ran through the plays, spread out more and worked as a team," she said. And that was just the offense. "Defensively, we did a better job at keeping them out and dropping -- not letting an open kid be there as much," Brower said. "We didn't communicate really well on Saturday. "To be honest, I think Cornell was a good loss for us because they needed to step it up and push themselves harder."
Andrew Coates was slated to receive a scholarship to play for the Wildcats, but they pulled the offer. Penn basketball player Andrew Coates and his family have filed a lawsuit against Northwestern University, claiming the Evanston, Ill., school illegally rescinded a scholarship offer to the Seattle native in 1998. According to the lawsuit, Northwestern coach Kevin O'Neill took back the Wildcats' scholarship offer to Coates in July 1998 -- just over two weeks after Coates notified the Northwestern coaching staff that he would accept the basketball scholarship. Coates' father, Peter, said yesterday that Northwestern's eventual repudiation cost his son a chance at a scholarship elsewhere. Coates is currently paying full tuition at Penn --Ehe receives no financial aid. The Coates family is seeking "all damages caused by Northwestern's wrongful conduct," which includes payment for tuition at Penn as well as "emotional distress, damages [and] punitive damages." Coates, who has been advised by his lawyers not to comment on the suit, is currently a forward on Penn's team. He missed all but one game, a season-opening loss to Kentucky, this season due to surgery on his foot. Northwestern officials, including O'Neill, declined to comment through an athletic department spokesman. Penn coach Fran Dunphy also declined comment yesterday. The lawsuit alleges that O'Neill offered Coates a scholarship to Northwestern in an e-mail to the then-Eastside Catholic High School junior dated May 11, 1998. "We are offering you a full scholarship to attend NU -- we will make sure that one is available to you! We want to make you a Wildcat," said an e-mail titled "Scholarship Offer" from O'Neill to Coates that was filed as part of the suit. According to the lawsuit, Coates accepted the scholarship in a phone call to O'Neill's office on June 29, 1998. O'Neill was in Hawaii at the time. As a response, a letter addressed to Coates dated two days later from Northwestern assistant coach Bob Beyer said, "Congratulations on your decision to attend Northwestern and welcome to our basketball family." Then, in early July, Coates participated in the Nike All-American Camp. There, his play was hampered by a hyper-extended knee that he suffered in the final game of his junior season at Eastside Catholic. Coates was also ill that week with intestinal problems. Peter Coates alleges that this led to O'Neill sending an e-mail to him at around midnight on the night of July 13. "[O'Neill] said that he was disappointed in [Andrew's] play at the Nike camp and wanted to know what would be a good time to talk to us," Peter Coates said. At around 10 p.m. the next night, O'Neill called the Coates household. He told Coates' father, according to the lawsuit, that "Andrew cannot help our program. We are no longer interested in Andrew. I'm sorry. It's my fault." In addition to breach of contract and other related allegations, the Coates family is also claiming O'Neill defamed Andrew by telling the head coach of Stanford's basketball team that Coates was never offered a Northwestern scholarship. "This statement was defamatory because it indicated that Peter Coates and/or Andrew Coates had lied about whether such an offer was made," the suit alleges. "Further, the statement was defamatory because it indicated that Andrew was not a sufficiently talented student and athlete to receive such a scholarship offer." The suit further claims that "statements indicating Northwestern's commitment to recruiting Andrew? were false" and thus were both intentional and negligent misrepresentation. As evidence, the lawsuit sites a letter from the Northwestern coaching staff that says, "no other coaching staff believes in you more and will work harder for you than we will." Northwestern began to recruit Coates during his junior year at Eastside Catholic. According to the lawsuit, Coates, as requested by the Wildcats coaches, sent Northwestern a videotape of two of his Eastside Catholic basketball games. The two tapes came from his junior season, a season in which he averaged 20 points per game en route to an All-Seattle Metro team selection. On April 30, 1998, in a document cited in the suit, Northwestern assistant coach Billy Schmidt sent Coates an e-mail saying the Wildcats staff had received the tape. Shortly after that, O'Neill sent the May 11 "Scholarship Offer" e-mail. In that e-mail, O'Neill -- who had never met or seen Coates play in person -- also said, "I just wanted to let you know I have received your tape and watched it closely?. I want to make sure you realize how impressed I was with your performance." Coates visited Northwestern from June 25 to June 28, 1998, at which time he and his father met with the basketball coaches and Northwestern President Henry Biesen. O'Neill allegedly told Coates he anticipated the 6'8" small forward would play 20 to 25 minutes per game as a freshman. Following Coates' oral commitment to Northwestern, according to the lawsuit, Coates "advised other college recruiters that he would be attending Northwestern and he did not try to impress or attract the attention of other college recruiters." The lawsuit was filed in Washington state on February 25 and has since been moved from the Superior Court to District Court. A trial date has not yet been set.
The Penn men's volleyball club has enjoyed a terrific season thus far, but the fun is really just beginning. After compiling a 16-3 match record this spring -- losing only 13 games out of a possible 52 -- the team is looking ahead to three big tournaments, including traveling to nationals in Reno, Nev. Although the team's season began in the fall when it took home first place in two of three tournaments, the spring season is when the competition truly heats up. Penn plays opponents from the Ivy League and the South Atlantic division of the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association, as well as other nearby clubs. However, as club president Dean Pernisie points out, the squad is beginning to focus more on playing a wider range of national competition and looks to participate in three or four national tournaments annually in the future. The team of 19 practices twice a week in Weightman Hall but it can also be spotted getting in some extra digs and kills outdoors in the Quad or Superblock. Stephanie Horan, MVP of the women's varsity team, does most of the active coaching, while varsity head coach Kerry Major helps out voluntarily when she can. As with all club sports, though, the team is completely student-run and is partly funded by membership dues. Tomorrow at 8 p.m. in Weightman Hall, the Quakers will face Rutgers, a perennially strong club currently ranked fourth in the nation, which will help prepare them for their strong upcoming schedule. In April they will compete in an EIVA conference tournament, the Ivy League Championships, and, most importantly, the National Intercollegiate Recreation Sports Association National Tournament in Reno. Among nearly 200 teams competing for various titles in Reno next week, Penn will play in the tournament's 60-team men's first division. Although it did not receive one of the 25 automatic bids, Penn still looks to be a competitive force. "The fact that we have shown such synergy in decisive games is an indication of the great potential that this team has," Pernisie said. One of the reasons for the team's improved play this year has to do with the solid performances of several new freshmen, three or four of whom start regularly. "Bringing in such a strong class of freshmen has forced the upperclassmen to re-earn their spots on the court, which has been great for the team," Pernisie said. Although it has not been a varsity team since the late 1980s, it is obvious that the men's club volleyball team's stellar accomplishments this season prove that they know how to win and have fun at the same time.
Accompanied by two of Penn's established performing arts groups, Yofi! burst onto the scene this weekend before a packed house at the Annenberg Center. The Israeli dance troupe made its campus debut Saturday night at a sold-out Harold Prince Theatre with its first full-length performance, entitled "Ya'lah." In addition to the Israeli and Middle Eastern style dances in which Yofi! specializes, the show featured guest appearances by two other performing arts groups, improv comedy troupe Without a Net and a cappella group Dischord. The 15-member Yofi!, one of Penn's newest performance groups, is as diverse in membership as in expertise. "The people in Yofi! come from six countries, four continents and three religions," boasted the evening's emcee, College junior Josh Wilkenfeld, to the approximately 220 students, family members and Philadelphia residents who came to the show. The show opened with a number entitled, in Hebrew, "Pitom Kam Adam," which translates to "Suddenly, a Man Got Up." "Yofi! is still in its first year of existence, and suddenly they, too, can shoot up on the scene," Wilkenfeld said. The group's performance, which lasted for about two hours, included interpretations of traditional Jewish songs and contemporary Israeli and Turkish rock music. The group changed into different colorful costumes for each song. All of the dances Yofi! performed were choreographed by members of the group, primarily artistic directors Elana Leventhal and Rachel Bergstein, both College sophomores. After the show, Yofi! member and College freshman Micah Liben acknowledged their contributions to the group. "I can't get over the expertise with which they mold the whole group into an aesthetically beautiful sequence of steps and movements," he said. "We have traveled a long way from the old Israeli dance group to the new Yofi!," added Bergstein, also a member of Yofi's predecessor, Ayalah. "We are increasingly recognized and respected on campus." "The success of this show was in some ways very surprising considering how inexperienced we were with the whole thing," said College and Wharton sophomore Joseph Mazor, the group's treasurer. Just in case Without a Net had not provided the audience with enough laughs, Wilkenfeld experimented with a bit of improv comedy of his own to fill the time between dances. "I didn't write a script for this evening's show," Wilkenfeld told his audience. "But it doesn't really matter because I have the microphone and you don't." Between all of the applause, laughter and singing alone, it was clear the audience enjoyed the performance. "The show was really well done and the costumes definitely added a lot," College freshman Nini Ghosh said after the performance. "The emcee was also great and very entertaining." Engineering sophomore Tom Langen added, "Yofi! did a great job and it is exciting to see that they have come so far so soon. I room with one of the members, so I know how hard they've all worked."
The former Clinton aide spoke on the upcoming presidential election. Last night at Irvine Auditorium, George Stephanopoulos livened up the crowd with an opening one-liner. "The two students [that introduced me] left out my most important qualification," he quipped. "I directed the intern program at the White House." With this statement, Stephanopoulos, the Connaissance spring speaker, had the approximately 1,000 attendees applauding and laughing with a mixture of shock and amusement. Unlike previous Connaissance speakers like Conan O'Brien or Binyamin Netanyahu, Stephanopoulos did not attract a full house. Irvine Auditorium was about three-quarters full. Still, although the audience was smaller than expected, the listeners were definitely receptive to the former White House aide's 90-minute talk. Noting that almost exactly eight years ago this week, he accompanied then-Gov. Bill Clinton to Philadelphia to campaign before the Pennsylvania primaries, Stephanopoulos said it was far from a guarantee in the spring of 1992 that Clinton would be elected to even one term. "Though on the road to a nomination, it didn't look like Clinton had a good chance [in the overall election]," he said. Talk soon shifted to the current presidential election, and the seasoned political analyst shared his thoughts on campaign strategy, candidate views and partisan positioning. "This is not only the largest, but also the most expensive race in American history," Stephanopoulos said of the campaign. "Never has so much money been spent so quickly to ratify the status quo." His prediction was that the race would be an exceptionally close one, perhaps the closest since 1976 when Jimmy Carter beat out incumbent Gerald Ford. Stephanopoulos, who now works as a political analyst for ABC News and teaches a course on the presidency at Columbia University, said this election would have ramifications for all branches of government. He predicted that the next president will likely sweep his party into control of the House of Representatives and maybe the Senate, and would be in the position to appoint two or three justices to the Supreme Court. With talk of the impact the independent vote would play in the impending election, Stephanopoulos journeyed back to the election of 1992, when, "despite the fact that he is stone crazy, Ross Perot got 19 percent of the vote." Stephanopoulos spoke of independent voters as "the free-floating political enforcers of this decade" and said he expects them to play a significant role in the election. In the end, however, Stephanopoulos saw the race coming down to "the center of the country," with states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan deciding who will be the next president of the United States. On the subject of apathy among younger voters, Stephanopoulos had one suggestion: "Go vote." "Its hard to remind people of the importance of civic participation," he said. "People have to feel that it matters in their bones." Also important, he said, is bringing attention to the fact that topics like the future of Social Security really should mean more to 18-year-olds than to 65-year-olds. Stephanopoulos ended his speech with advice and a touch of inspiration. "We will succeed as a nation, as a people, only as long as we practice the art of the impossible," he said. After his formal presentation, Stephanopoulos opened himself to questions from the audience, among them a question about potential vice-presidential running mates. Ticking off a list of possibilities, women included, Stephanopoulos had the crowd laughing when he suggested the possibility of University President Judith Rodin, but could not recall her name. Reactions to Stephanopoulos' speech were largely positive, though students were a bit surprised as to the content. "I expected him to speak more on a personal level, his experiences and how he got to where he is today," said College and Engineering junior Ron Lin, a Daily Pennsylvanian columnist. "Though I thought he would speak on a more personal level, I was not disappointed," College junior Cam Winton said. "I thought he gave a great overview of the presidential election." Connaissance co-chairman Theo LeCompte, an Engineering junior, was very pleased at the end of the evening. LeCompte especially enjoyed the dinner at the White Dog Cafe that he and members of Connaissance shared with Stephanopoulos before the speech. "It was great to be able to talk to him on a more personal level," LeCompte said.
Mayor John Street unveiled a plan to remove the 40,000 vehicles currently abandoned on city streets. Philadelphia Mayor John Street kicked off his city-wide abandoned vehicle removal program yesterday by hitching a decrepit car to a tow truck, climbing behind the wheel and driving it out of North Philadelphia. Responding to a backlog of 40,000 abandoned vehicles reported to the Philadelphia Police Department, Street announced that the city will tow 1,000 of the vehicles each day for a 40-day period. Following Street's speech, State Transportation Secretary Bradley Mallory outlined steps the Pennsylvania government will take to further the initiative by revising the state's procedures for towing cars. Street, who has made neighborhood blight removal a top priority for his administration, had promised to remove abandoned vehicles from city streets during his inaugural address. "We intend to remove every single one of these abandoned cars," he said yesterday. "If we can't remove abandoned cars from neighborhoods, then we don't have a very bright future as a community." Dozens of community members, state representatives and City Council members turned out for Street's announcement at the North Philadelphia Ramonita Negron-Rivera Recreation and Community Center. Per the mayor's plan, the PPD will assign all current abandoned vehicles officers to a newly created centralized unit, which was established to organize the task of towing the city's deserted cars. "This move will place the responsibility for towing abandoned vehicles under one centralized command, promoting efficiency and effectiveness," the mayor explained. The program, which will begin April 3, encourages citizens to call a new hotline number to report abandoned vehicles. Private salvors will also be permitted to move the abandoned vehicles, with $15 per vehicle offered as an incentive to do so. Street had no definitive figure regarding the financial costs the removal will incur for the city, and did not release any cost estimates. However, he reaffirmed his commitment to the project no matter what the cost. "We're going to go from the problem to the money, not from the money to the problem," he said yesterday. "Although we're always concerned with money, we're not going to get caught up in it. It's too important." To support the city's effort, Mallory read a letter from Lt. Gov. Mark Schweiker to Street, promising help in this initiative. "These heaps of steel impact the health and safety of our citizens and are indeed a quality-of-life issue that our residents should not be expected to tolerate," Schweiker wrote. In the letter, Schweiker explained that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will aid in the effort by changing the specifics regulating which cars may be towed. City officials expect this will help remove approximately 40 percent of Philadelphia's abandoned cars. Street also said he met with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge last month to help outline several other initiatives the state will develop to help in this process of blight-removal. Among other things, PennDOT will work to make its staff more available to process abandoned car claims, and a full-time PennDOT liason will be assigned to Philadelphia. Members of the North Philadelphia community -- the site of yesterday's announcement -- remain optimistic about the impact the plan will have on their neighborhood. Jimmy Martinez, an area resident, said he hoped the mayor's program would free up space to devote to children. "We want to see if the mayor can help us take care of an abandoned lot nearby and make a playground and cultural center out of it," Martinez said. "We really want to make the area safe for children to go."
the former mayoral candidate spoke to Penn students yesterday as part of the Fox Leadership program. The Philadelphia mayoral race may have ended months ago, but Sam Katz is still campaigning for a better city. Katz, the Republican who posed an unexpectedly strong challenge to eventual winner John Street last November, discussed his views on the financial future of the city before nearly 30 politically oriented students yesterday as part of the Robert Fox Lessons in Leadership program. The 49-year-old Katz, a Philadelphia native, was an investment banker and financial advisor, and is currently the president and founder of EnterSports Capital Advisors, Inc. He is certainly best known, though, as the Republican mayoral candidate who lost by a narrow one-point margin and, in doing so, came as close to winning as any Republican since 1952. In his hour-long talk, Katz discussed problems that he believes have resulted from a consolidation of the city and county of Philadelphia into one legal entity. This consolidation, which means that the city and county share municipalities and hold a joint court system, has been an "albatross" around the neck of the city for the last 100 years, Katz said. Katz also reiterated his criticism of Philadelphia's wage tax, which he called a "killer." The wage tax became a focal part of his campaign when he released an 83-page plan that outlined his goal to cut the tax from 4.6 percent to 4 percent over four years. He said the tax has prevented the kind of growth the city needs to establish itself in this technological age. Katz cited SAP America, a Germany-based software firm that had hoped to move to Center City but decided on a neighboring county instead because the prospect of re-adjusting close to 7,000 salaries in accordance with the wage tax was unappealing. "Philadelphia could be the center of the technological revolution," Katz said, if the tax could be eliminated or at least lowered. Katz's speech was also not without its criticisms of Street and his performance in City Hall to date. "I don't see in the first 100 days of this administration what I would like to have seen," Katz said. Katz also offered several possible reasons for why he lost the election, including last year's presidential impeachment proceedings, which he said created a lingering bitterness toward the Republican party. He ended the talk by fielding questions about topics ranging from school choice vouchers to the new baseball stadium. Katz's own campaign had a three-pronged focus on decreasing the crime rate, improving education and lowering taxes. Some of those who came to hear Katz speak, like Spruce College House Dean Christine Brisson, were simply "curious to hear Katz speak" so that they could "be able to compare him to John Street." Mike Janson, a graduate student in the School of Arts and Sciences, said, "I wanted to find out what he thinks about poverty in the city, what he thinks can be done about poverty in the city and where he thinks that poverty comes from." At the beginning of the talk, Katz joked, "I don't feel this speech is a matter of life or death. If I do well, I won't be mayor, and if I do bad, I still won't be mayor."
Special Services is in charge of coordinating much of Penn's victim support network. The director job has been vacant since last summer. More than seven months after the Division of Public Safety's Special Services Department stepped down to resume her career as a psychologist, officials have yet to name a permanent replacement to head the University's primary victim support unit. The search for a permanent director has been underway since last summer, when Susan Hawkins resigned from the post following structural changes in her department -- most notably, the reassignment of Special Services investigators to the University Police main detective squad. Hawkins had held the position for 2 1/2 years. Since then, Det. Supervisor Patricia Brennan has been serving as interim director, in addition to fulfilling her duties in the department's detective unit. Special Services is responsible for assisting the victims of sensitive crimes including rape, sexual assault and domestic violence. According to Vice President for Public Safety Thomas Seamon, the search for Hawkins' permanent successor has not yet been completed because officials want to ensure that the best candidate is ultimately selected. "The search is going well and we hope to conclude it in the near future," Seamon said. "It has taken longer than we've wanted it to, but we wanted to be thorough in looking for candidates." Seamon refused to provide specifics on the progress of the search, but added that the ultimate selectee will be a person "who has extensive background in victim assistance, in the investigation of sex crimes and hopefully some experience in the university setting." Brennan, a former Philadelphia homicide detective, is considered a candidate for the job. She declined to comment. Special Services was originally formed in the early 1970s in response to a massive call for protection and support after a series of attacks on women in the vicinity of campus. But according to some of the people instrumental in the formation of the department three decades ago, the failure of Public Safety to name a permanent director quickly may be indicative of a change in Penn's law enforcement priorities. "I am a little perplexed that [the search for a permanent director] has taken so long, because in previous searches we've had with different public safety administrations, we've seemed to have no trouble gathering a pool of highly qualified candidates for the position," said Phoebe Leboy, a professor of Biochemistry and one of the women who helped build the department nearly 30 years ago. "I do wonder whether their inability to come up with a pool of candidates might be related to the fact that the Division of Public Safety seems less interested in community policing than it was in previous years," she added. Leboy has been quick to criticize Public Safety in the past. Last September, she and 11 other members of the board of the Association of Women Faculty and Administrators wrote a column for the Almanac -- the University's journal of record -- in which they vocalized their complaints regarding the structural changes in Special Services that preceded Hawkins' departure. Saying the department had undergone a "systematic dismantling" over the past few years, they specifically discussed the decreased collaboration between Special Services and University administrators, the various physical relocations of the department's offices and the transfer of department investigators into the main Penn detectives unit.
Freshman Aaron Short is running for the UA despite a recent appendectomy. Most of the over 60 students running for the Undergraduate Assembly have been frantically campaigning for days, hanging posters across campus and handing out fliers on Locust Walk. But while other students have been preparing for the election which begins today, one candidate has been asking his friends to distribute his posters and get his name out. College freshman Aaron Short, who is running for College representative to the UA, had his appendix removed on Monday morning and has been trying to organize his UA campaign from the confines of a hospital bed. Yesterday evening, Short's faculty advisor dropped by HUP, delivering a directory that Short said he will use to contact helpers -- hallmates and candidates running unopposed. "It's a bad situation," said UA member Dave Burd, a College and Wharton sophomore. "It's important for us without appendicitis to do what we can." One hundred posters remain piled in Short's Goldberg College House dorm room, while campaign leaflets lie unclaimed at Campus Copy Center. Short said he postered the Quad before falling ill but will need assistance covering other areas on campus. "I certainly won't be going around knocking on people's doors," said Short, who was still hooked up to an intravenous unit last night. Nominations and Elections Committee Vice Chair of Elections Teresa Lee said that any candidate is allowed to ask friends to serve as surrogates and hang posters on their behalf. "It's pretty natural to have friends help you on your campaign," the Engineering and Wharton junior said, adding that the process takes up more time than candidates alone are able to give. Lee explained that even though Short will miss today's "Get Out the Vote!," he can still garner support just like any other candidate. "He's on the ballot," she said. "It's really all about the campaign." There are 36 students running for 16 open seats in the College representative race, according to Lee. Burd said he will hang about 25 posters for Short today. Short, who ran unsuccessfully for freshman class president this year, has attended UA meetings as a non-member since the fall. UA Chairman Michael Silver said Short has been a vocal presence at meetings and now possesses a "fair amount of name recognition." "I don't really see why this would deal a big blow to him," the College senior said yesterday.
Justin Finalle, 22, killed himself on Saturday at his home in western Pa. College junior Justin Finalle, who friends remember as a talented athlete and sympathetic listener, was found dead in an apparent suicide Saturday at his home in DuBois, Pa. He was 22. Finalle, a Sigma Nu brother, transferred to Penn last year from Allegheny College in Pennsylvania and participated in the Washington Semester program for five weeks this spring. He dropped out of the program to work as a sportswriter for his hometown newspaper. A small, private funeral is scheduled for this afternoon in DuBois, a small town in western Pennsylvania. Many of his Penn friends and Sigma Nu fraternity brothers said they plan to attend. According to Vice Provost of University Life Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum, Finalle's parents contacted Justin's two Washington Semester roomates to inform them of Justin's death. The roommates -- both Penn students -- informed Washington Semester Program Director Katie Tenpas, who notified administrators and University Chaplain William Gipson. VPUL Counseling and Psychological Services staff have been in Washington this week to provide support for Penn students in the Washington Semester program and have also been meeting with Finalle's friends on campus. "We are terribly saddened by the untimely death of this young man," University President Judith Rodin said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are most certainly with Justin's family and friends." Finalle's death came as a shock to many of his fraternity brothers and friends. "We looked to [Justin] for support in so many instances that it is tough for us to conceptualize that he could have problems of his own," said Sigma Nu brother Andrew Exum, a College senior and Daily Pennsylvanian columnist. "He was such a stand-up guy and positive influence that this is a time of mourning for the entire brotherhood." Finalle was highly regarded by all those who knew him. He was a talented athlete who walked on to the Penn football team last year, an avid country music fan and a political junkie who wanted to make a difference in his community. But most of all, he was remembered as a genuinely nice guy and caring friend. "I never had an encounter with Justin where I didn't leave without a smile," recalled Wharton sophomore Paul Sacchetti, who was Finalle's roommate at Penn last fall. "He was the most polite, nicest guy you would ever want to meet." "Justin had the biggest heart of anyone," added College sophomore Tyler Mullins, who was Finalle's hallmate for the past two years. "You could always go to him and he'd cheer you up." The University offers a number of resources to students who may be depressed and considering suicide, including the student-run Reach-A-Peer Helpline (573-2RAP), support groups facilitated by the University Counseling Service and psychotherapy groups through CAPS. When students or former students commit suicide, the University conducts various intervention programs for anyone connected with the victim, whether through residential programs, academic departments or extracurricular activities. It is difficult to pinpoint what can lead to suicide, according to the University Counseling Service. Loss, pressure and depression may combine to create a sense of helplessness or hopelessness, causing students to believe that killing themselves represents the only way out of a difficult situation.
More than a dozen colorful banners lined the Sigma Chi house yesterday, marking the start of the fraternity's Derby Days. Derby Days -- an annual philanthropic event run by Sigma Chi -- involves teams of Penn women competing in various games and contests to raise money for the Children's Crisis Treatment Center, a local charity that benefits abused children. This is the third year in a row that Sigma Chi has sponsored Derby Days, although the event has been a tradition among Sigma Chi chapters nationwide since the 1930s. This year, there are 30 teams and 285 women participating in the events, up from last year's 240. The contests will be held until Saturday and the winners will be announced Saturday at midnight. Although participation in Derby Days was traditionally limited to sorority sisters, when Sigma Chi revived the event in 1998, the brothers opened up the competition to all women on campus. "The events are not just for Greeks," Sigma Chi brother and Derby Days Chairman Dave Pitluck said. "We try to integrate the whole campus." The banner contest kicked off the week's events. The goal was for each team to be as creative as possible in designing a banner with its team name, while making the campus aware of the Children's Crisis Center. Outside of the Locust Walk house, one team painted on its team name, "Ole Derby Bastard," while another used graham crackers and marshmallows to spell out its name, "Smores." Derby Days will continue today with a skit contest, in which each team must dress up a Sigma Chi pledge and write a skit for him to perform. In past years, teams have dressed brothers as cheerleaders, ducks and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. "That's the event that really gets people into [Derby Days]," said Pitluck, a College junior. On Thursday, Sigma Chi will sponsor a concert by the Vermont-based band Dispatch and the fraternity will hold a casino party on Saturday. All proceeds will go to the treatment center. In 1994, the Panhellenic Council chose to boycott Derby Days on the grounds that the event was sexist. The women were upset that they seemed to be doing all the work while the fraternity brothers received recognition. But Pitluck, pointing to the fact that all of the brothers who were around in 1994 have graduated, said Derby Days is now a "completely different kind of event." This year, many sorority sisters are enthusiastic about participating in Derby Days. "It's fun for everyone and it's for a good cause," Wharton senior Stephanie Romeika said. "Plus, I'm in [Kappa Alpha] Theta, so it's an especially important cause for us to support because the money is being given on behalf of Emily Roberts." Roberts was a College junior and Theta sister who was killed in a car accident in July 1998.