Monday, November 23, 2009

Josh Williams' NCAA Championship journal #3

Saturday: I woke up at 8:30 and blended my usual breakfast beverage. After that I went down to the breakfast area where all my friends, family and coaches were and talked with them for a little while. I went back to my room and gathered my racing gear. At 10:15 I hopped in the van and off to the course we go! Once we got there the parking lot the crew told us that the lot was full and had to park down the street even though we saw open parking spots in the upper parking lot.

The course was filled with tons of runners and a lot more spectators. It felt like state cross country last year because there were mobs of people from different teams wearing little clothes but a lot of paint and screaming at the top of their lungs trying to be the top cheering teams. But since there were more racers, more spectators were there.

After the womens race started, I went on my warm-up and inspected the new and beaten up course. The mud seemed to have gotten muddier and the possible sloppy areas turned in to definite sloppy areas where you could see racers feet sink in around their ankles. I got back to the big heated tent and Coach B helped me put my bibs (4 bibs, 16 safety pins and 2 chip timers) I think they went a little overboard with the chips and hip numbers/bibs.

I started doing a few strides before the race and was watching everyone from both starting lines. The idea of a double starting line is crazy because everyone crashes into each other about 400 meters into the race but I really enjoyed it!

Race started and everyone sprinted off to the front, trying to claim the lead and getting into a good position for the next 4.8 miles. I got out ok and my first mile was where it was at regionals last week. My mind was going all over the place because the spectators were screaming soooooo loud and the mud was just incredible! Every 400 meters or so my feet would sink into the muddy slop that would murder any momentum that I had to really make moves at crucial parts of the race. I got a cramp in the middle of the race that effected me a little bit but I finished kind of strong even though my time was a lot slower than my recent times. Oh well, I went into this race going for the experience and having fun. And even though I didn’t think I raced too well I had a blast!

Once I passed the finish line, I found Coach Chris and we talked to the Lynchburg coach who’s male individual won the race. We congratulated him and I talked to the two women from their team who I met at the banquet before asking how they raced and such. We got back to the tent and met up with Andrew, Connor, Alex and Annie who cheered me on the whole race. Following my cool down I went to lunch with them and they were on their way for the long trip back to Madison.

I got back to my room, threw on my swim suit and walked over to the hot-tub! I met a girl from New Jersey who was very nice. She was a spectator for her sister who was next to her. They left the hot tub and I talked with the parents of the winner of the men’s race which was funny because I didn’t know who he was until like 10 min. into our conversation.

For dinner we went to a really good pizza restaurant that my mom and sister looked up and we all went to it. The pizza was amazing! I ate a ton and was stuffed! We drove back to the hotel and I packed my things, checked my email, and played some computer games then went to sleep.

Its morning now and I’m in the car over half way home! I can’t wait to get home!

Side note: when I was looking at the course on Friday I had the biggest blond moment ever! I was walking back to the car with Coach Chris when I saw an Ohio license plate. Right there I said “OH LOOK! An Ohio license plate!!!” and Coach Chris then informed me that we were in Ohio.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Josh Williams NCAA Championship journal #2

Well the beds are extremely comfortable here. I tried to get to sleep around 10:30 here but stayed awake a bit longer because of the time change. Coach Brewster said we would meet for breakfast between 8:30 and 9:30. Coach Chris and I got there at 8:30 and had a great breakfast. Made to order breakfast…omelets, bacon, scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit…everything you could want in a breakfast.

Afterwards I chilled in my room for a while and then we decided to go to the course at 11:00. The course is less than 2 miles from our hotel so it was a quick drive. My thoughts on the course: hilly, wet, a bit muddy…it should be a great day tomorrow to run. Hopefully it won’t be so windy though. Usually the course is marked by two solid white lines. This course is lined (literally) by thousands of tiny BW (Baldwin-Wallace) flags (kind of like those orange electrical flags) one after another about 2 feet apart (souvenir anyone??).

I stayed in my room for the rest of the day mostly, just trying to stay relaxed. We did go to the student athlete banquet last night. Although we got there right before it started we got the best seat in the banquet hall, the table that was first to the food line. Great pick Coach Brewster! Oh yeah, and right before we got inside the banquet hall we saw this great big dog named Conner (check out the picture). All in all it was a great night.

A bunch of family (my mom and sister) and friends (Garvey, Connor, Alex, and Annie) drove all the way from Madison to see me run tomorrow. I’m excited to race tomorrow. I’m just going to take it all in and enjoy the experience. I’ll keep you posted on the results! Race is in less than 3 hours!!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Todd Adrian interview 11-20-09

Head men's basketball coach Todd Adrian, talks about his team's upcoming games in the Albion College Tipoff Tournament.

Josh Williams' NCAA Championship journal #1

Edgewood College's Josh Williams is keeping a journal of his trip to the NCAA Men's Cross Country Championships in Cleveland, Ohio. Here is his first entry upon arrival:

Thursday: Got in the car at 8:30 and arived at 5:30 pm at Cleveland, Ohio. The trip was very long and boring due to the fact that my laptop ran out of batteries in mid-movie. I watched Transformers 2 and looked at a few running magazines/books. Slept for about and hour in the car. We went out to Red Robin once we arived at the hotel. The hotel is amazing!! Very large with a king size bed and the layout of the hotel is very nice. After dinner I hung out in my room for a little bit before going to bed.

Matt Werner: Guatemalan Adventure #2

Former Edgewood College baseball student-athlete Matt Werner is spending six months in Guatemala soaking up the culture and giving back to the citizens who live there. This is the second blog entry. You can read the first one here.

From there we headed south for the border town of Pharr, Texas. WHAT A CHANGE OF LIFESTYLE AND WE WERE STILL IN THE UNITED STATES!!! If anyone ever has the chance to visit a southern border town...let me tell you how different the lifestyle is there. Everyone seemed to be bilingual if not solely a spanish speaker and the design of the town is so "transient" based. Everyone seemed to be moving one direction or the other yet at the same time there were so many business employees, which meant that there were also a lot of residents in the town. I really have no idea how someone could live or raise a family in a town as fast paced as that but families did exist there. So with the help of a border crossing company who handled our paperwork, we were ready to make the crossing the next day and reach Tampico, Mexico. Of course we had to make a few adjustments to the trucks before we could cross such as re-wiring the brake lights on one of the trucks in order to load the other truck on it's dolly so we would have an easier time crossing the border with the pickups stacked together. Then of course Monday was Columbus day which apparently the Mexican government observes as well, so that put us back another day. However, the following morning we woke at 7am and left by 8am in order to make it into the long line of vehicles looking to make the crossing. Unfortunately we encountered a rude American border guard who would not let us stay in line while we waited for our car titles to be handed to us from the border crossing company. So we were booted out of line and had to wait at the gas station all morning before we could get back in line. Luckily, Leslie was able to use her Fire Marshall badge in order to gain a little sympathy from the guard who would help us out later.

Leaving the United States was easy and passing through into Mexico wasn't much harder however Kico later informed us that, it was by far the easiest crossing he had ever faced. Perhaps it was the fact we were coming in a school bus and a pickup or maybe the fact that Leslie had shown her fire inspector badge to the guard and told him that she needed to get back on duty as quickly as possible and it would be a big help if he helped us pass...I'll never know. So as we entered Mexico it was a long, long, long, way to Tampico and the Mexican highway system only slowed us down. For a country that is treated as a highway to the rest of the Central America, you would think they would designate a special highway system for those migrating through to use, however I quickly learned that Mexico is full of potholes, dirty roads, and two way highways. The first checkpoint system we reached, I was instructed, and later learned how beneficial it is to play the dumb gringo role, while dealing with the authorities. As they separated me and the other truck from Kico, Leslie and the school bus, I encountered the first guard who looked at me and asks "American?" I answered yes and he waved me through without even asking for papers. The next guy sees I am American and just does a quick look through the cars and passes me to the last guy who looks like the stereotypical, very smug, very full knowing of how the bribe system works, kind of guard. So he asks me in Spanish where I'm going and I say in English I am a missionary. So he starts smiling cause he knows he has me. So he asks again where I'm going and points down the road, so I tell him Tampico. So then he asks in Spanish (this whole time I know what he is saying and where he is going with it, but I still pretend like I don't understand) if I know how much the toll is. I wasn't aware that there was a toll however he told me the toll was 100 pesos. I would later learn that there was no toll. So I keep playing the dumb gringo and say I only have 20 pesos. So he then says, ok 20 is enough. So then he says to me "vas a aprender" (you're going to learn) meaning I'm going to learn how to give a bribe to this schmuck guard. So he tells and motions for me to lower my hand with the money in it and to give him, my papers. So as I do, he barely glances at them and then gives them back to me with his other hand hidden underneath, motioning for the money. So then he hides the money in his hand and stuffs it in his shirt and tells me to move on. So I leave fully knowing I just avoided giving him 80 pesos that he had tried to cheat me out of. It must be a tough life for those who don't know the bribe culture in Mexico.

After we left, Leslie and I drove the red pickup with the other pickup attached to the car carrier. At one point we were driving down a typical two lane highway with what appeared to be newly laid asphalt. In fact the asphalt was so new that on the shoulder of our lane there appeared to be the work of new poorly smoothed blacktop. So as we are going on a slight downhill the small red pickup we are in slowly gains speed, from 45 to 50 to 55 almost 60 mph in a Nissan Frontier that didn't have the cargo capacity to pull the other pickup we had attached more than 30mph on an incline. So the speed picks up, the pickup in the back starts to swerve and fishtail and the red truck starts to fishtail with it going about 55 mph on a deserted Mexican highway. I have been in one car in my life that has left the ground and done a full rotation in the air and thankfully landed on its wheels, free from oncoming traffic. And I swear that if we would have let the car swerve anymore I would be in Mexican ditch right now somewhere between the United States and Tampico, Mexico off of highway 101. That was the closest I have come to flipping a pickup with another pickup attached to the back. Luckily, thanks to the careful watch of Kico and the advice of Leslie the red pickup slowed with gravity as I eased off the gas and I put the brake on hard in order to align the pickup again with the back of mine. That was the first extremely close call. The second came on the same night while we were driving through a town with the pickup trucks illegally unattached (the papers stipulated that we had to cross the border with the pickups attached, I don't know why, but it was a rule based on our migration status) and Leslie without tail lights. Just the opportunity a policia federal (federal mexican police) or the local mexican police look for in order to induce the driver to give them a healthy bribe or "mordida". So as we are driving through the town we pull over on the side of the road to decide if we want to try to make it to Tampico the first night or stay where we were (it was dark at this point and one of the worst things to do unless you are in a semi-trailer is to drive at night through Mexico).

So we decided to try for Tampico which was not a good idea but paid off for us in the end. So within about 3 mins of us decided to head to Tampico and back on the road, a local mexican cop from the town spots Leslie without running night lights and pulls her over. So Leslie and I immediately get on our walkie-talkies in order to tell Kico, who is in the lead, to stop and "talk" it over with the Mexican cop. Later we would learn that Kico's walkie-talkie battery had died. So Kico unknowingly drives on while Leslie is being pulled over by a Mexican city cop. I immediately pull over in front of her and go to confront the cop who is already interrogating Leslie who cannot speak a sentence of Spanish. So in the late dusk of the evening with barely any street lights around us, I go to try and plead ourselves to this cop. I do my best friendly American impression and start asking him what the problem is, fully knowing what was wrong. So he asks me why the lights don't work. Luckily, the brake, reverse, and turn signal lights worked on Leslie's truck, only not the running lights. So I tell him the lights that we need to navigate the traffic, do work. Then I start playing the dumb gringo role and saying I don't understand whats wrong and that we just need to get to Tampico tonight to be safe. So this cop mulls it over in his brain..option 1: try to get a bribe out of these dumb gringos or option 2: send them on their way and get them out of my jurisdiction or option 3: give them a ticket. Luckily he was more nervous about us interrupting his slow night rather than doing his job, so he told us that normally he would give a ticket for this type of infraction but rather tonight we should just be careful and arrive in Tampico soon. So we started on our way again not knowing where we would find Kico, luckily we found him five minutes further down the highway on the side of the road trying to figure out what to do. So after explaining to him what happened we started driving again as a whole group.

Next (about 10 minutes later) we encountered three very agile, low to the ground cars that appeared to be attempting to split us up. This turned out to be one of the scariest moments of the whole trip. As we were driving down a dark highway in the middle of the Mexican desert these three cars split up and each one gets in front of one of us. So we went from the line of cars going Kico, Leslie, Me, to Kico, Unknown Car A, Leslie, Unknown Car B, Me, Unknown Car C. This was not a good sign. Kico would later tell us that is one of the most common scheme attempts of car theft/highway robbery in Mexico. The cars are all working together, they single out a car and force it off the road, robbing the driver of his money, possessions, and possibly car and/or life. So as this is all happening and I realize that Kico still doesn't have a working walkie talkie. So the moment of truth comes. I am the last car and I see a corona bottle come flying back behind the car in front of me and hit the road directly in front of my passenger side front wheel. So I swerve out of the way of it and try to pass the car. They notice me trying to pass and realize my wheels are still intact and I would not slow down for them. So they all merge into the other lane for oncoming traffic and leave us. Later, Kico would confirm my suspicion, that one method of thieves is to fill a glass corona bottle with nails and throw it out of their window to the car behind them attempting to give the car a flat tire and forcing it off the road in order to make for vulnerable prey. After that we quickly found a hotel and relaxed for the night. The next day we made it just short of Veracruz on the Mexican gulf coast without any major delays or problems other than the scorching heat, humidity, and dehydration one feels while driving through Mexico.

The last day we make it to the border and make it through to the Guatemalan side by 12 pm noon which according to Kico was a good sign. So we are in the Guatemalan border hoping to get through quickly in order to make it to the farm and avoid another hotel fee but we were blocked by the good will and nature we had. A situation had arisen in which two young Guatemalan girls were attempting to bring a car across the border and were being treated very poorly by the Guatemalan authorities. So Kico intervened and helped them get through the border unfortunately at the cost of our paperwork not being cleared and forcing us to stay the night in the border town. So the next day we got up and were sure to start out early and arrive at Kico's Guatemala ranch by early afternoon...however we didn't anticipate the gridlock traffic we found on the highway that limited us from moving more than half a mile in a total of 6 hours. Apparently, just before we had reached a certain point in the road, two police officers were killed no less than a mile ahead of where we were and thanks to all the traffic on our side that all tried to push ahead to the front of the line using both lanes of the highway only causing more of a traffic jam we were forced to sit in one position for 5-6 hours. So after that later in the day around evening time we were able to make it through the "accident" site and get to the farm just before 10pm that night. So after 6,000 miles, 12 days, and more than a few close calls of car accidents, mexican jails, and highway robberies we arrived safely at the farm of Enrique Gandara in Oliveros, Guatemala. My plan is to stay here for 9 months teaching English and Computers to young students at the elementary school and any other person in the rural town who would like to learn. So that concludes this update of my adventure and I hope you found it well worth the time to read it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Eagle Men's Basketball at Loras highlights

Highlights from Edgewood College men's basketball's season opening game at Loras College. The Eagles' second half rally fell short as the Duhawks took an 83-74 victory.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Interview with Josh Williams

Freshman Josh Williams talks about qualifying for the NCAA Division III Men's Cross Country Championships. Williams will run for the national title this Saturday in Cleveland, Ohio.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cornell College Classic to broadcast Eagle games

We learned today the Cornell College will be providing Live Video and Live Stats of both Edgewood College women's basketball games at the Cornell College Classic. The Eagles meet Mount Mercy (Iowa) at 8:00 p.m. on Friday and turn around to play Nebraska Wesleyan at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Eagles at Cornell College Classic Live Video and Live Stats

Friday, November 13, 2009

Matt Werner: Guatemalan Adventure #1

Former Edgewood College student-athlete Matt Werner is living for nine months at Kico's Ranch in Guatamala. learning the culture and exploring our world. Below is the first in a series of blog entries Matt will be writing for us:

It's really a pleasure to be greeting you from where I am. Upon my graduation from Edgewood College in May of 2009 I saw two paths ahead of me. One didn't look very promising and the other although challenging looked to prove much more beneficial. So along with the help of my wonderful and beautiful girlfriend and her family and especially her father, Enrique Gandara, I decided to consolidate my possessions, put them in the house of my parents and uproot myself to Oliveros, Santa Rosa, Guatemala. Just to give you an idea it is in the south east region of Guatemala nearest the Pacific coast and El Salvador. The goal of my endeavor is to put a capstone upon one of the degrees I received in college. Although I studied Spanish for about 8 years in and out of the classroom, my ability with the language is still not near a level that I or others would consider to be professionally usable. So I have decided, along with the assistance of Enrique to spend about 9 months on his farm in Oliveros teaching English and computer usage at the local public elementary school. So far I have experienced a number of "firsts". Starting in Madison, Wisconsin from where I graduated and is the home of Enrique and his wonderful family, I embarked on a land cruising journey in order to help Enrique bring down a number of items to start his cultural tourist business (get a sneak peek of it at and continue his machinery importation business. So we left Madison, Wisconsin on Tuesday October 6th and headed south to Louisiana.

After reaching Louisiana we realized we had not sent the titles of the cars we were going to import to the Mexican authorities 72 hours before we were going to arrive (in order for them to check and make sure the cars had not been reported stolen). So after arriving in Opelousas, LA (20 mins north of Lafayette) on Wednesday night we settled in for what we knew would be longer stay in Louisiana than what we were hoping. But what a weekend it was. The hospitality shown to us (Enrique nicknamed Kico, Leslie (another driver with us), and I) was extremely comforting and the food was of exquisite taste. I am now a fan of the cajuns and quite fond of their cooking and creole french language. So knowing it better for us to start out earlier rather than later, we left on a Saturday (hoping to make it through the border on Monday) but were stopped quickly as we suffered our first major engine trouble. One of the pickup trucks we were driving had three small holes in the radiator and was burning oil. Luckily Kico has quite a generous family down there, who have an immense knowledge of cars and they obliged to help us out. So while Kico took off with Uncle George to repair the radiator, Leslie and I decided to try our luck at the local trucker stop/video poker arcade. So after winning four dollars I decided to keep playing as my thirst for gambling was sweltering at that point. Long story short I spent the four dollars hoping to make more and lost it along with another two on 25 cent deuces wild poker. But it was a small price to pay for occupying 30 minutes of my time.

So upon Kico, George, and George's son return, the radiator was repaired and George and his son left us bidding farewell on our upcoming border crossing. Unfortunately the radiator was only the first of two major problems. The whole time we had been waiting for them to return, the engine had become flooded. So at this point, our 30 year veteran mechanic had left us and the car was choking on oil. Fortunately, George was not far off and came back to fiddle with one of the spark plugs to make the oil go down and engine turn over. Luckily, the engine started behaving and we are on our way to Houston for the night. I am so grateful to my Aunt Michelle and her kind husband Marlin as they treated us to a very satisfying meal near their house in Houston along with their daughter Sally and Sally's new baby boy Vincent. So after spending a very relaxing dinner with them and Marlin and Michelle allowing Kico to clean up in their bathroom (because he had been working on the engine all day with George) we traveled a few exits down the highway to the house of a very dear friend of my father, Steve Tacconelly. Kico, Leslie, and I are really so very grateful to y'all, Steve and Suzanne for opening up your home and breakfast table to us that night and the following morning. It was such a treat to spend time with you and your adorable kids. We are also so grateful for all the help you sent with us to aid us on our journey. Thank you guys so much!

Check back in a few days for more on Matt's adventure to Guatemala (with pictures!)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Enrollment figures solid at state's private colleges

With the economy in the tank and the number of yearly state high school graduates in decline, it's no secret that many college leaders were concerned about their enrollment numbers this fall.

But preliminary figures are looking solid for the state's private institutions. Read more...

Enrollment figures soild at state's private colleges by Todd Finkelmeyer of the The Capital Times


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NAC Cross Country photo gallery posted

We've posted a new photo gallery from the Northern Athletics Conference Cross Country Championships on October 31. The Eagle men claimed thier first ever conference crown, while the women placed second. The pictures are courtesy of Adam Brown and Chris Weinard. Enjoy!

NAC Cross Country Championships Photo Gallery