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."
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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.
Even though Pedro Ramos today holds one of the highest positions in Philadelphia's education system, he still occasionally feels the same type of isolation he experienced as a Penn student more than 20 years ago. Ramos, the president of Philadelphia's Board of Education, spoke to about 30 students yesterday afternoon as part of the week-long Festival Latino 2000, a program which he himself helped launch when he attended Penn. Ramos' half-hour lecture focused on how his experiences at Penn as a minority student influenced his desire to find a sense of community on campus. "Getting to Penn was literally like landing on Mars," Ramos said regarding his experience of arriving on Penn's campus in his family's 1974 Chevy Impala his freshman year. "I saw all these cars that I had only seen on TV." Ramos attributed his difficult transition to college life to his upbringing in an insular Puerto Rican community. At Penn, Ramos continued, he found very few other students who were like him. Ramos, a Philadelphia native and the first Latino president of the Board of Education, described his experience at the University as his first introduction to mainstream American culture. It was also the place where he learned the true meaning of bureaucracy. "What was more shocking to me besides this sense of isolation was when you reached out to people and you felt this competitiveness," he said. But, Ramos said, he learned that in order to adjust, he had to immerse himself in activities that would allow him to meet people and replicate the strong sense of community he experienced at home with his family. As a result, he soon became involved in organizations for Latino and Chicano students like La Asociacion Cultural de Estudiantes Latino Americanos and El Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, which were much smaller at the time than they are today. Through these groups, he began to realize that he was not only Puerto Rican but Latino, as well. Ramos, along with other students, began a push for more Latino faculty members and a Latin-American studies program. When it looked less and less likely that these two needs would be met, the students decided to instead work on the creation of the Latin American Living and Learning Program. Today, the program occupies two floors in Harnwell College House and provides a housing option for Latino students to live together. "If you are tenacious enough, they eventually give," Ramos said. One of Ramos' guiding principles is to "never let them see you fight." For a lobbying group's members to at least seem unified is of great importance, according to Ramos. Several students said they were moved by Ramos' speech, especially by the fact that he had once been exactly where they are now. "His speech shed some light on his experience as a Latino and experiences for me that are yet to come," College junior Duare Valenzuela said. In introducing Ramos, College junior Jeff Camarillo, who has been working with Ramos for the past two months as an Urban Studies major, described Ramos as "a true role model for me in every sense." Ramos closed the night by discussing his experiences in the education system. "When you go someplace, someone remembers that you were helpful and, to me, that is so important," he said.
Penn rebounded from a 2-3 spring break trip to thrash its city rival. The daily routine of life at a crowded university in Philadelphia is about as far removed as you can get from a Hawaiian vacation. But for a Penn's men's tennis team returning from a tough week of tennis in the Aloha State, the change from a tropical paradise to the streets of West Philadelphia was a welcome one. The Quakers (7-7) rebounded from their 2-3 Hawaiian swing over spring break by pummeling Temple (2-4), 6-1, at the Lott Tennis Courts on Friday. There were no palm trees in the background for Penn -- just a sizable contingent of supporters in the Quakers' first home outdoor meet of the season. "It helps a lot to have that much support," Penn freshman Ryan Harwood said. "You really feel like you're playing at home when you're playing outside." However, it was not just the scenery that was different for Penn against the Owls. The Quakers were also a different team on the court. Penn excelled in doubles competition in Hawaii, beating four of its five opponents on the trip. But on Friday, only the Harwood/Brett Meringoff duo posted a doubles win for Penn, as the Quakers dropped two of three doubles matches to start off in a 1-0 hole to their cross-city rivals. However, the momentum Temple gained with a doubles win was fleeting. In another departure from its island form, Penn reversed its singles struggles to gun down the Owls in each of the six individual matches. In fact, none of the Quakers lost so much as a set to the overmatched Owls. "There has been a little dejection carried forward to the singles," Penn coach Gordie Ernst said. "But we didn't get any of that [on Friday]. We played like a bunch of guys who just killed the team in doubles." The biggest win for the Quakers was by sophomore Fanda Stejskal at No. 1 singles. The Czech Republic native, who is ranked ninth in the region, defeated No. 5 Pero Pivcevic -- who hails from Split, Croatia -- in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4. "[Stejskal] played focused, intense tennis," Ernst said. "When he's like that in that zone, he's really tough to beat." The other Penn winners in singles competition were Harwood, sophomore Brian Barki and juniors Joe Zupan, Rob Pringle and Eric Sobotka. In addition to the differences in the match results, Ernst has seen a notable change in attitude on his team. He admitted he was disappointed with the team's effort in Hawaii, but he has seen rededication by his athletes over the past week. "We took an average team like Temple and we pounded them, so that's a good sign," Ernst said. "The attitude was a lot better."
The date, place and time of the 2000 NCAA Women's Final Four were set a long time ago. Now, just three days before the big party begins, the event finally has a guest list. Penn State, Connecticut and Tennessee all earned trips to Philadelphia last night, while Rutgers punched its ticket to the City of Brotherly Love in the wee hours of the morning after tipping off at midnight. Unlike the men's tournament, which has its Final Four dance card filled with unexpected teams, the women's Final Four boasts a heavy dose of favorites. UConn and Tennessee were both number one seeds, while Penn State and Rutgers were seeded second in their regions. While there was no official comment from the Final Four host committee last night, one can imagine their glee at having the two most widely recognized programs in the country -- UConn and Tennessee -- as well as a popular home-state team in the Lady Lions. With Rutgers joining the party as well, it looks to be a perfect ensemble that will begin play Friday night at the sold-out First Union Center. Penn Sate (30-4) pulled an upset last night, demolishing top-seeded Louisiana Tech 86-65 at the Midwest Regional in Kansas City. The Lady Lions used a 12-3 run at the start of the second half to build a 57-32 advantage over the Lady Techsters (31-3), and then cruised the rest of the way for an easy victory. The win sends Penn State to its first Final Four. The game also marked the final game for Louisiana Tech coach Leon Barmore, who is retiring after 18 years at the helm of the program with a lifetime record of 520-77. While Penn State's victory was a mild surprise, UConn's certainly wasn't. The top-ranked Huskies (34-1), who have consistently blown out opponents both during the regular season and during the tournament, had a relatively difficult time last night against LSU (25-7) before finishing with a comfortable 86-71 win in the East Regional in Richmond, Va. For the Huskies, relatively difficult means they led by only eight with 12 minutes to play, and never led by more than 17 during the game. UConn will meet Penn State in one Final Four game. Tennessee will comprise one-half of the other National Semifinal following their 57-44 victory over Texas Tech at the Mideast Regional in Memphis. The top-seeded Lady Vols (31-3) will make Philadelphia the site of their NCAA-record 12th Final Four appearance. In the last game of the night, Rutgers beat top seed Georgia, 59-51, in the West Regional final in Portland, Ore., to ensure a date with the Lady Vols at the First Union Center.
The Quakers go to St. Joseph's today looking to score early and often on the Hawks. The Penn men's lacrosse team (3-3) has been giving all it's got so far this season, just not at the start of its games. Perhaps the Quakers would do well to heed the advice that the Rolling Stones give in song, to "start me up, kick on the starter give it all you got." In fact, the Quakers have trailed in the first quarter in all but one of their contests and need to come out strong tonight in their game against crosstown rival St. Joseph's. The Quakers' latest slow start came this weekend against Harvard. Within five minutes, the Red and Blue had spotted the Crimson a 3-1 lead and could not rebound from the deficit. Penn played well toward the end of the game, coming back from an 11-6 disadvantage to cut the Crimson lead to 13-12 with 3:51 to go. But Harvard was too strong and scored the last two goals of the game to defeat the Quakers, 15-12. "They simply played better," Penn coach Marc Van Arsdale said. "They have a lot of firepower, and they scored a lot early. And we started slow on both ends of the field." The Crimson's 3-1 lead was nothing compared to a 6-1 advantage held by Yale and a 5-1 lead by North Carolina in earlier games this season. In both of these games, Penn was able to come back and tie the score. The Quakers even took the lead on UNC, but both contests resulted in losses for Penn because of the energy spent digging out of the hole. "If you're going to take something positive from the losses, it's that we do have the capability to score six or seven goals in a quarter," co-captain Pete Janney said. "We'd just like to do it in the first quarter instead of the fourth." Penn hoped it had solved its first-quarter woes with a convincing win over Lafayette last week. In that contest, the Quakers jumped out to a 9-0 lead and held the Leopards scoreless in the first half. That was not the case, however, as the early sluggishness struck again this weekend. The Quakers have continued to work on the problem in practice and though Van Arsdale says the solution is "easier said than done," the team is confident it can play consistently well for a full 48 minutes. "We've really turned up the intensity in practice," Janney said. "We've had full-field scrimmages and are keeping everyone focused." The Quakers cannot afford to start slowly against St Joseph's. The Hawks boast a 6-1 record coming into tonight's game, which is the best start in the school's history. The Hawks are averaging 13.8 goals a game compared to Penn's average of 10.5. In addition, St. Joe's holds an average margin of victory of 11.2 goals -- five better than that of the Quakers. "They're very explosive offensively and move the ball up and down the field well," Van Arsdale said. "They don't play the most competitive teams, but any team that wins as much as they do has to have a lot of confidence." There are three players who make the Hawks offense as powerful as it is. Senior Drew Scott leads the team with 32 points, including 21 goals. Sophomore Bert Whitelock is also dangerous, with 31 points and 28 assists. Junior Randy McNeill completes the trio, also tallying 21 goals, good for 28 points. The Hawks' strong attack faces a young Penn defense whose lack of experience has shown a bit in recent games. Nevertheless, Van Arsdale refuses to use the backline's youth as an excuse. "It is a factor," he said. "But these players have played in games, and we don't want to lean on that at this point in the season." Despite its powerful offense, St. Joe's is coming off its first loss of the season, a 20-7 drubbing to No. 14 Delaware. And speaking of slow starts, the Blue Hens raced out in front of the Hawks, 8-0, and made the score 10-2 at the end of the first half. St. Joe's could never get going and trailed 15-5 at the end of the third quarter. Scott was held without a goal but managed three assists, while 13 different players scored for Delaware. The next stretch of games is arguably the most important in the Quakers' season. After the Hawks, Penn plays three Ivy opponents in a row: Cornell, Princeton and Dartmouth. "Up until now, we've been up and down," Janney said. "It's so important that we get a win tomorrow, and then go from there."
The Quakers have not won at the Liberty Bell Tournament since 1992. Penn faces Temple at the Vet today. In his three years of playing in the annual Liberty Bell Tournament, Kevin McCabe has never advanced with the Penn baseball team beyond the first round of the competition. Today, however, the senior outfielder feels that things will change for the better when the Quakers (8-7) kick off this year's installment of the single-elimination tournament against Temple (5-11-2) at 3 p.m. in Veteran's Stadium. "This is really a game that I want to win, and everyone on the team wants to win," McCabe said. "Not that we don't play every game to win, but there's an added incentive for the seniors in playing this game." The extra motivation to win this year is understandable in the Quakers seniors, who have literally seen the long and the short of baseball during their previous experience in the tournament. In their freshman year, Penn lost to La Salle 8-7 on a sacrifice fly after going a tiring 16 innings with the Explorers. That 5 1/2 hour marathon with La Salle was followed in McCabe's sophomore year with a 15-6, rain-shortened drubbing from Villanova that was called in the sixth inning. Last year, the Red and Blue again fell to the Wildcats, 11-10, despite a nine-run rally over the sixth and seventh innings that gave the Quakers a temporary 10-9 lead. These three losses in a row aren't unique for Penn. In fact, the Quakers have gone winless in the tournament since the Liberty Bell's inaugural year of 1992, when they made it into the second round. "We haven't won at the Vet in a while in this tournament," Penn coach Bob Seddon said. "It would be nice to win after getting knocked out right away in the last few years." Giving the Quakers hope for a turnaround this year is their depth in almost every position on the field. After 15 games, Seddon has had ample time to test and compare his young crop of freshmen and sophomores with his veteran players. The coach, who has spent 30 years at the helm, said he has been pleased with the results. "Nobody's better than anybody else," he said of his roster. "All these guys are going to intermingle all the time. I don't want a guy on the bench not getting his swings, because he's just as good as the guy who's out there [playing on the field]. I've told [the players] that, and there's no doubt about it." The one weak spot that Seddon sees is in his pitching staff. Four freshmen hurlers are leading the team in earned run average, topped by Paul Grumet's 1.50 ERA after six innings of relief pitching. Veteran pitchers Mark Lacerenza, Mike Mattern and Matt Hepler -- all preseason picks for the starting pitching rotation by Seddon -- can claim only the fifth, eighth and 11th best ERAs on the team, respectively. "We can't have failure with three starting pitchers who we counted on from last year," Seddon said. "That can't happen -- if it does, we're going to have a tough time. Hopefully, that gets straightened out, because you can't depend on freshmen carrying you." A chance for Penn's veteran hurlers to redeem themselves will come this afternoon when Mattern, a sophomore who was the pitching staff's statistical leader last year, makes his fourth start of the season for the Quakers. Mattern will try to better his 9.00 ERA against a Temple team that has a mediocre .264 batting average in 18 games played. Slated for relief is Hepler, a junior, and the probable closer in the nine-inning game will be junior Nick Barnhorst. The winner of the Penn-Temple game will face the winner of the La Salle-St. Joseph's matchup. If the Quakers get past the Owls and St. Joe's tops the Explorers, it will mark the teams' second meeting of the year. In Penn's home opener on March 23, the Quakers notched a 13-12, come-from-behind victory under virtual darkness against the Hawks to christen the new stadium at Murphy Field.
Taking to its home turf for the first time in this 2000 season, the Penn women's lacrosse team (2-2) hopes that a big victory is in the cards when it faces Lafayette (1-2) at Franklin Field at 7 p.m. tonight. The Quakers, who have defeated American and Villanova this spring by a combined 16 goals, are hoping to rebound from a lethargic showing in a 15-5 loss at Cornell on Saturday. And the team knows what it can improve upon from that defeat. "Intensity -- in general, as a whole team -- is what we're working on," Penn senior Lee Ann Sechovicz said. The Quakers were held to their lowest goal output this spring in Ithaca, N.Y., taking only 18 shots. The Big Red, by contrast, fired off 42 shots. This discrepancy can be traced to Penn's struggles with ground balls and moving through the midfield against the double-team. "It's not that we have to change a whole lot. We just have to stick to our game and do the things that we do well," Penn coach Karin Brower said. "And you have to win the ground balls, and that's all about heart. "I know this team can do it if they want it badly enough and they do what they're supposed to do." Last season, despite two goals apiece from Brooke Jenkins and Amy Weinstein, Penn fell to the Leopards, 14-7. Jenkins, who is second on the Red and Blue with nine goals this spring, will be called upon to lead the Quakers attack. Joining her are sophomore Traci Marabella (11 goals) and freshmen Crissy Book (eight goals) and Kate Murray (four goals). Although Penn sports a half-dozen frosh in the starting lineup, the youngsters have executed well in their four outings. Freshmen have combined to net 23 of Penn's 44 goals. "I think the freshmen are doing a great job," Sechovicz said. "They're doing exactly what they need to do." The day after the Penn loss to Cornell, Brower -- who has shown great confidence in her first-year players -- traveled to Easton, Pa., to watch Lafayette take on Monmouth. The Leopards picked up their first win, 13-11. "Lafayette is just real aggressive. They really want the ball," Brower said. "Monmouth stepped up the pressure in the second half, and Lafayette kind of fell apart a little bit, but they never lost the lead." One reason why the Leopards did not fall apart was the offensive leadership of sophomore Heather McLelland and senior Olivia Long. McLelland, the 1999 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, netted five goals against Monmouth and has nine on the season. Long, a second team All-Patriot selection last year, has added nine goals of her own. According to Brower, the Leopards offense utilizes speed in much the same way as Cornell did. And while Brower also describes her own squad as "very fast," containing opposing speedsters is something Penn needs to be concerned with. The last time the Quakers defeated the Leopards was at Franklin Field in 1997, by a score of 16-11. Only three current Penn players, senior tri-captains Jenkins, Sechovicz and Bethany Stafford, remain from that squad. But Sechovicz is confident Penn can do it once again on its home turf. "There's something about playing on Franklin Field," Sechovicz said. "And we only have five home games, so we're psyched -- hopefully we'll have a good crowd. "All I know is that we can beat them, and we are going to beat them."
The Quakers retained possession of the Class of '91 Plate by sweeping the Mids and the Hoyas. The Navy women's crew team hasn't held the Class of '91 Plate -- the prize awarded to the winner of each Penn-Navy race -- for a decade now. On Saturday, the Penn women's crew team completed a sweep of all its races against Navy and Georgetown to retain the plate and, in the process, to jumpstart its spring season, thereby continuing a tradition that predates anyone-- including the coaches-- on the team. "Penn traditionally beats Navy," Penn freshman Claire Manske said. "Historically speaking, to win this weekend shows that we are just as good as the teams of the past." To the team, the victory provided strong evidence that they are physically and mentally ready for the challenges of the season that lay ahead, including reaching the NCAA Championships in May. "All the training [during the fall and winter] is certainly paying off, but we still have room for improvement. As a team, we are already looking forward to getting closer to NCAAs," Penn co-captain Kealy O'Connor said. Perhaps most encouraging was the fact that all of the crews seemed to have effectively mentally prepared themselves. "We had a really professional approach to this weekend," junior Ursula Ahrens said. "We went in with a race plan and not only executed it, but executed it well." Penn coach Barb Kirch was most impressed by the synchronicity of her rowers, which led to the solid margins of victory, ranging from four seconds for second varsity to more than 12 seconds for first varsity. "[Going into the regatta] I wanted them to find their own rhythms, and they obviously did," Kirch said. "The margin of victory was important for us as a team." Racing at home may have provided a competitive edge for the Quakers, especially since the racing conditions were less than ideal with choppy water caused by a difficult tail wind. "It was really to our advantage to know the water. There were rough waters, but we knew what to expect in terms of the course," Manske said. In addition, the fans provided a home base of support that helped fuel the Quakers. "We had people follow us down on bikes [during the race], cheering us on. It made for a great atmosphere," O'Connor said. However, the Quakers know that they must continue to work to improve as a team if their season is to continue as successfully as it has started. "We can muscle through races, but we're going to have to race well on top of just being physically strong," Manske said. The team is already looking forward to this weekend's regatta against Ivy rivals Yale and Columbia on the Harlem River. "It's nice to have won the first race of the season, but we're looking to the future. Each race is a new race, so we have to keep on our toes," Ahrens said. Penn has only beaten Yale three times in the past 20 years, but on top of heading into competition with two consecutive first-place finishes dating back to the fall, the Quakers defeated the Elis last year to bring home the Connell Cup for the first time in nine years. "This weekend was great because it gets us pumped up for the upcoming races this weekend [at Columbia], which are really important in terms of the season," O'Connor said. Despite having to already think past their victory over Navy, knowing that the Class of '91 Plate is still in Quakers territory for another year won't be forgotten any time soon.
Despite sending only seven fencers out of a possible 12, the Quakers had a strong showing at Stanford. Even though the Penn men's and women's fencing teams only qualified a combined seven fencers for the NCAA Championships, the Quakers pulled off an impressive eighth-place finish out of 28 schools at the nationals, held at Stanford this past Thursday through Sunday. This performance marks the Quakers' third consecutive top-10 placement. With 79 total victories, the Red and Blue trailed Yale and Columbia by 22- and 30-point gaps, respectively. With 175 total victories, Penn State took the championship for the sixth year in a row. Notre Dame and St. John's tied for second place, each earning 171 points. Many schools that finished ahead of Penn qualified more fencers for the competition. A school can send a maximum of 12 fencers to NCAAs -- two fencers per weapon for both its men's and women's teams. Because a team's final placement depends on the total number of victories from both the men's and women's teams, Penn was at a disadvantage having only seven fencers in the mix. Penn junior David Cohen recorded the Quakers' highest finish, taking sixth place in the foil event out of 24 fencers. Though Cohen believes he fenced well, he is disappointed that he did not become a first team All-American -- an honor awarded to fencers who finish in the top four of their weapon. Because of the scoring system --which first takes into account the number of bouts won and then the number of touches both made and received -- if Cohen had won just one more bout, he would have recorded a top-four finish. Hindering Cohen, however, was that he was not fencing under ideal conditions. In addition to going into the championships with a hamstring injury, Cohen took a blow in the head on Saturday from the foil of Stanford's Felix Reichling -- who ended up winning the championship -- and had to get stitches. "It didn't hurt," Cohen said. "But it was a pain because my eyebrows were taped up and I couldn't blink easily." To make matters worse, Cohen became ill later that night and returned to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with esophagitis. Despite all this, Cohen managed to go 7-2 in his bouts on Sunday. Cohen's brother, Penn freshman foilist Yale Cohen, recorded a ninth-place finish. Also placing ninth was junior sabre Mike Golia. Last year, Golia had the highest Penn finish, coming in fourth. "He lost a couple of close bouts," Penn coach Dave Micahnik said. "He wasn't at the top of his game." In the epee event, Penn freshman Javier Garcia-Albea finished 10th. "I lost a lot of bouts I should have won," he said. "I don't really care about placement. I care about winning bouts I can win. I had a lot of close bouts I just didn't clinch." Penn junior epeeist Charles Hamann finished 12th, slipping six places from his finish of a year ago. In the women's tournament, Penn freshman Kim Linton finished 18th. Though Linton feels she lost easy bouts she could have won, she did accomplish her season goal of qualifying for the NCAAs. She fell short on her NCAA goal of making All-American, though. "I didn't fence smart enough to do that," Linton said. "When that didn't happen, I just made that my goal for next year." Fellow freshman Lauren Staudinger, the only other female from Penn to qualify for NCAAs, finished 22nd. Micahnik notes that for freshmen who are new to the NCAA experience, the championships' atmosphere can be rather intimidating. "To have the best in one place, at one time, is pretty heavy," he said. "Less experienced fencers sometimes get tense and nervous and they over-try, but the experience will be good for the future because every time out you learn things." Micahnik predicts the Quakers will do better in the future. "We have a good history of coming away from this with trophies," he said. "The Penn standard is higher, so we want to get back up there. We have higher aspirations."