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ND Club Sports: Cycling team travels to Wisconsin, earns first victory of year

Special to the Observer | Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Notre Dame Cycling members Douglas Ansel and Jose Lugo traveled to Mt. Morris, Wis., to participate in the last Midwest Conference mountain bike races of the season and marked the first victory of the season for the team.

The races were hosted by Ripon College at the Nordic Mountain ski resort located an hour and a half north of Madison. Ansel and Lugo lined up for the Cross Country races Sunday morning, which featured the largest and strongest fields of the entire season.

The course for the weekend was one of the most challenging courses on the conference race schedule this year. Held on a 4.5 mile lap that has been used for the national level Subaru Cup professional race, the course featured numerous steep, challenging climbs followed by twisty and technical descents littered with countless rocks of every size.

In the Men’s B race, Ansel worked his way into fourth position at the end of his first of three laps and continued to pick off riders in front of him, gaining time on both the climbs and the rough descents. Near the end of the major climb on the last lap, he passed the leader and pulled out a winning margin of over 20 seconds.

On a course where bike handling skills were just as important as power, Lugo used his technical abilities to outpace other racers and finish 15th in the Men’s C field.

With this weekend, ND Cycling notched its first victory of the 2011-12 season.

After several weekends with no collegiate races, the cyclocross season (a cross between road and mountain bike racing with the addition of barriers and steps riders must dismount and run over) will begin early November. Ansel and Brian Boyle will target several races in the final chapter of Midwest Conference races in 2012.



Disc Golf


The Disc Golf club of Notre Dame sent a team of four to a national championship qualifier hosted by Purdue University to vie for a chance to qualify for the national championships.

The Irish finished behind Illinois, which claimed the qualifying spot for the 2012 Collegiate National Championships in North Augusta, S.C. in April.

Notre Dame’s team consisted of Jerome Hall, Jake Pankow, Tim O’Brien and Michael Sizemore. The format was two rounds of individual play. The best three scores for each round would add up to the school’s team score.

Nine temporary holes were added to the nine permanent holes already on Purdue’s campus. The course was very challenging with elevation and wind in play on almost every hole.

The club will have two more opportunities to qualify for nationals in Augusta, S.C.



Women’s Rugby


Notre Dame dominated Indiana University in a 25-10 win at home this past Sunday in the women’s second league game of the season.

The Hoosiers received the ball to start, but the Irish launched forward and were able to gain possession on the ball as the Hoosiers struggled to field it. After a few phases the Irish were successfully able to create an imbalance in IU’s defense. The ball was passed out to outside center Ashley Okonta, who ran the ball in for a try.

Amelia Vojt made the conversion kick, putting the Irish at an early 7-0 lead.

Although the Irish sometimes struggled to move the ball out of their own territory, flyhalf Kayla Bishop gained significant distance for the Irish by repeatedly kicking the ball downfield, foiling IU’s attempts to score.

The Irish also kicked for points off penalties twice in the first half. Both kicks were taken by sophomore Amelia Vojt and were successful. The Irish continued to use their backline to challenge IU’s defense, leading to another try by fullback Natalie Branch. Vojt again kicked to convert the try but missed, bringing the halftime score to 18-0.

In the second half, the IU women were more successful. The team took advantage of offensive overloads created to get past Irish defense, and scored twice. The Irish also scored again in the second half with a dive into the try zone by Bishop. IU was unsuccessful in converting their tries, while Vojt made the conversion kick for the Irish, bringing the final score to 25-10.

Notre Dame Women’s Rugby also hosted Purdue this Sunday and won the match, which was played at McGlinn field.

The Irish received the first kickoff and junior Margot Dubot caught the ball in the air. However, the Irish seemed frantic early on in the game and let the Boilermakers push them back into their own territory. After holding off the Boilermakers in their own end, the Irish gained possession of the ball and became more calm and focused.

The Irish soon emerged as the better team in the match. Okonta put the first points on the board and Vojt successfully converted it.

For the remainder of the half the Irish largely managed to avoid being pushed into their own territory, with most of the action happening at midfield or in Purdue’s end. Bishop scored another try, with Vojt again kicking and converting the try. The Irish wrapped up the first half with a try by junior Janet Mostrom, bringing the score to 19-0 at halftime.

Going into the second half, the Irish women were determined to drive home a commanding win by putting several more tries on the scoreboard. They got off to a good start with a try by freshman Claire Kozlowski, who proved that she was a capable flyhalf despite being new to the position. The Irish, however, conceded a try to the Boilermakers when a Purdue forward struggled past the defense and was able to struggle well into Irish territory before the Irish brought her to ground. The Boilermakers continued to push and struggle their way to the try line, falling on the ball as it came out the Irish end of a ruck. The Boilermakers missed the conversion kick, and the Irish came back hard to score again.

The Irish quickly forced a turnover and moved the ball out wide to the backs, allowing Okonta to bring the ball in for her second try of the game and bringing the score to 29-5. In the remainder of the game, the Irish scored two more tries, both off of forwards breaking through the defense. Junior Veronica Ryan took the ball from midfield in for a try, which was converted by Vojt. With five minutes left in the game, the Irish struck again, pressuring the Boilermakers’ defense until it gave way. Senior Margot DeBot brought the ball in to the try zone, bringing the final score to 41-5.




Men’s Rowing

The Notre Dame Rowing Club competed this weekend at the Head of the Charles regatta, the world’s largest fall regatta by competitor count, in Cambridge, Mass.

The Irish raced with three boats in three different boat classes, with their Club 4+ and Collegiate 4+ racing on Saturday, and their Collegiate 8+ racing on Sunday.

On Saturday, the Irish raced at noon in the Club 4+ event. The Irish 4+, coxed by Casey Connoly and with Jim Ropa, Matt Planell, Pat Hickey, and Anthony Krenselewski sitting stroke to bow, navigated the course in 18:45.26 finishing 26th out of 53 entries. This time represented a great improvement over the Notre Dame Club 4+ from 2010.

Coming down the course next for the Irish was the Collegiate 4+. Coxed by Rebecca Holmberg and with Jamie Baffa, Brian Kwak, Charlie Janini, and Steven Froelich sitting stroke to bow, the Collegiate 4+ finished their race in 18:17.99, finishing 18th out of 41 entries in a very tight field.

On Sunday, the Irish sent out their Collegiate 8+. Racing with bow number 5 after a 5th place finish in 2010, the Irish had high hopes of repeating or improving upon their performance from a year ago. Coxed by Greg Obee and with Garrett Campbell, Tim Parks, Zach Stackhouse, Brent Shawcross, Alec MacDonell, Zach Weber, Michael Benvenuti, and David Link sitting stroke to bow, the Collegiate 8+ posted a time of 15:32.09, finishing in 6th out of 40 entries. This finish represents the second-best finish in history for a Notre Dame Collegiate 8+.

The Rowing Club now returns to training, as the entire team travels to Chattanooga, Tenn. on Nov. 5 for the Head of the Hooch regatta.




A depleted squash club dropped three of four matches over fall break, as five of the top six members were unable to compete in the required CSA competition.

In the opener against Swarthmore, Kevin Sandner at number four registered the lone Irish victory in an 8-1 loss, winning 14-12 in the fifth game for the 3-2 edge. Paul Mickan and Dennis Grabowski, at No. 2 and 5 respectively, lost four close game contests.

Mickan dropped a heartbreaker against the Illini, falling 11-8 in the fifth and deciding game. Ryan Gisriel lost in four games at No. 1, and the rest of the team dropped three game matches to bring the season record to 0-2.

The third time was the charm as the Irish rallied to defeat Illinois-Springfield, 7-2. Winning matches for the Irish were Micken, Mike O’Neilll, Grabowski, Riley McGraw, Joseph Whalen, Justin Campbell and Casey O’Meilia.

In their final match, the Irish lost to Purdue, 5-4. Grabowski, McGraw, Whalen, and Campbell won at numbers 5-6-7-8, while Kevin Sander’s rally fell just short in a 3-2 loss at No. 4 to clinch the match for the Boilermakers.



Men’s Water Polo

The men’s water polo team was severely hampered by a loss of players over fall break in their game against Ohio University, and they failed to claim the conference championship for the chance to advance to nationals.

In the opening round, the Irish defeated Loyola University of Chicago, 8-3. Senior captain Dan Geisman led the team in scoring, while goalkeeper Tate Kernell was strong in goal.

The Irish dropped a 9-6 contest to Grand Valley State, and lost 11-8 to Miami (Ohio), two teams the Irish had decisively defeated during the season with a full roster.