Club sports springs into new season
With the winter season coming to a close, Washtenaw Community College club sports has begun making the transition to the spring sports season.
Despite indoor volleyball and basketball seasons ending, WCC has decided to extend the programs into the Spring semester. While not exactly in the most competitive format, club sports will host Tuesday and Thursday evening sand volleyball pickup games at the WCC athletic fields, just outside of the Health and Fitness Center.
Also new this year for spring sports is the addition of three vs. three or four vs. four pickup basketball games, located at the outdoor basketball courts, across the street from the college. Club sports expect a good showing at these events, which will take place on Friday evenings, beginning in late April.
Each spring sport will have its night to come out and meet the coaching staff and play with players from the teams. Soccer will be hosted on Wednesdays, and softball and baseball will have its time on Thursday evenings — all at the WCC athletic fields.
“Right now we have the fields and it’s a great thing,” said WCC soccer coach Dave Pieske. “We want to continue to grow and keep numbers growing … (the pickup) is a good way to come out and test the waters and see our fields.”
“Each sport, we’re going to have a night where students can pickup and come play,” he said. “The coaches will be running those, so you’ll get a chance to meet the coaches and play with the team.
From there, the next step would be actually be being a part of a team for that given sport.”
While basketball and volleyball will be in a pickup format, WCC baseball has officially begun its tryout process. The tryouts started on April 5, but students are welcome to come out at anytime during the process. Two more tryouts will be hosted on April 11 and April 14. All tryouts will begin at the baseball diamond at 6 p.m.
“They don’t have to sign up,” said Tiffany Stoddard, a club sports employee. “They can just show up and play if they want. The signup is really just to help plan for numbers.”
Students are also invited to join other club sports teams, including golf and cross country.
For more information, visit the club sports office in SC 118, or call (734) 973-3720.
Golfing with a different kind of club at WCC
ROBERT CONRADI THE WASHTENAW VOICE
Anthony Voss, president of the WCC Disc Golf Club, tees off in community park on campus while Mark Lapon, vice president, waits his turn.
With more than 3,000 courses in the United States, disc golf is growing at a rapid pace. That growth has spread to the campus of Washtenaw Community College. The recently formed Disc Golf Club is looking to organize players from around the area.
Anthony Voss, a 30-year-old applied science in computer networking major from Ypsilanti, started the club this year with the idea of helping players find different courses in Michigan to play. Voss started playing two years ago, and is looking to meet other players.
“I haven’t been able to put the game down,” he said.
The club meets on Tuesdays from noon-2 p.m. in LA 261. But Voss wants the club meetings to be where the group decides they’re going to play each week. Voss encourages the members to pick out different places to play so that the group plays a diverse selection of courses.
Most courses are free to play, and are usually built inside of existing parks.
“I like the fact that it’s a lot more affordable to play,” said Voss.
The discs used are much cheaper than golf clubs. There are few other differences between disc golf and the more traditional game. Each hole is a par 3, but like traditional golf, players are encouraged to shoot for an overall score, not by each hole.
Not every course has the same amount of holes. Some may have 18; others, like Lake Shore here in Michigan, have 28.
“[It] makes it more fun, cause you have more holes. The game lasts longer,” said Voss.
One of the other goals of the club is to help clean up the parks that players compete in. Voss wants the members to go out on community activities once a month. The club will take garbage bags and help keep the disc golf course clean, as well as the park that houses the course.
There have even been talks of the club helping clean the course that may be built on WCC’s campus. While nothing has been set in stone, it is possible that WCC will be getting its own disc golf course behind the Health and Fitness Center. According to Rachel Barsch, events coordinator for Student Development and Activities, there is still a lot of major excavation that needs to be done before construction can begin.
Voss is excited at the possibility of WCC students having their own place to play.
“This will give students with a break between classes something to do,” said Voss. “And they’ll be outside, getting exercise and fresh air.”
For now, Voss plans on building a makeshift course each week in Community Park on campus. He hopes that by being out in the park, it will encourage players that are unaware of the club to come to the meetings.
Athletic fields return
Washtenaw Community College club sports went a long time without having the ability to practice or hold games on campus – until now. With the ribbon cutting on Sept 28, kicking off the $2.2 million athletic fields, we look back at the how we got there.
Old athletic fields, which include the baseball and softball field, are torn down, making way for the Health and Fitness Center.
Plans to build new athletic fields form. They are projected to be finished within a year, but work didn’t begin until 2009.
Field construction began, and WCC put in $342,000 over the summer. At that time, the total project was expected to cost $1.7 million. Plans are made to make the fields playable for Fall of ’09, but that never happened.
Construction of platform tennis is complete, and the first playable part of the athletic fields is usable. All the fields were expected to be done by this time, but construction is not near completion.
The sod hasn’t formed as well as planned. The unplayable ground delays the opening of the fields once again. Club sports still expect to have it for June.
Tuesday, Sept. 28
Opening of the new athletic fields. All fields (baseball, batting cages, softball, soccer, basketball, softball, volleyball and platform tennis) are ready for use at the planned ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Club sports still waiting for new playing fields
After waiting four years to build new athletic fields beside the Health and Fitness Center, Club Sports will have to wait at least another month to play on them.
“We’ve been waiting so long,” said Club Sports Adviser Mike Glass. “We tried to get batting practice in the cages, but they won’t even let us walk on the grass to get to the cages.”
Glass expects the sod to be formed together by June, which will allow baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball and outdoor basketball games to take place on campus.
The baseball and softball teams that play in the Ann Arbor Recreation leagues will begin as usual at Veterans park on the west side of Ann Arbor. Baseball tryouts started on April 21 and will continue April 28-29 at 6:15 p.m. The club went 9-7 last summer and 7-2-1 in the fall.
“Our fall pitching was phenomenal,” Glass said. “The hitting wasn’t there, if we can get in the cages that’ll help so much.”
Both men’s and co-ed softball will be trying out April 26 and May 4, also at Vets Park, at 6 p.m.
Soccer, volleyball and even three-on-three basketball won’t be able to start playing until early June, when contractors are done with the fields.
Golfers will be teeing up at Huron Hills, starting on April 28 and each Wednesday through the season. Afterward, the college will take the top four golfers to a post-season outing.
Tuesdays and Thursdays this summer will feature the cross-country competition. There will be a path marked around the athletic fields for runners.
Sheila Gilles plans to make her return after injuring her knee. She’ll be a player/coach for sand volleyball and soccer, while also participating in co-ed softball.
“There’s no one else I’d rather have up than her,” Glass said. “She can hit the ball with one hand as far as most of the guys can at all.”
For more information, or to join a club sport, e-mail Mike Glass at firstname.lastname@example.org
Student athletes finally get access, after hours and for a fee, to HFC
Three years after Washtenaw Community College’s Health and Fitness Center was built, the college’s student athletes are finally able to use the facility. Sort of.
Since October, WCC men’s and women’s basketball teams have been practicing twice a week in the Health and Fitness Center, and the volleyball teams are working to finalize a deal for after-hours practicing at the facility.
Why are the teams just now being allowed to practice? Because it’s a members-first facility, explained WCC President Larry Whitworth.
“The college fitness facility is a community fitness facility,” Whitworth said. “The only way that this fitness facility could be built was with bonds paid back by membership dues. The fitness facility is a self-financed project with no taxpayer dollars being applied to this project.”
The facilities bonds are being paid back by members of the fitness center, and only about a third of the facilities members are students at WCC, he said.
The college is also paying to use its own facility. According to a contract between WCC and the HFC, the men’s basketball team is paying nearly $2,000 to use the facility after hours. The volleyball team is close to completing a contract for much less.
The men’s and women’s basketball teams share practice time on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and if the volleyball contract is finalized, it would practice on Mondays and Thursdays.
For the basketball program, the schedule works out perfectly. The women’s team has a light Wednesday practice, with its game days on Thursday, giving more time for the men to practice. Men’s game day is Sunday, giving the women more practice time on Saturdays.
Despite having to wait three years to finalize a deal for Club Sports team to practice, WCC Club Sports is just happy with being able to prepare a little closer to campus.
“We’re excited to be over at the Fitness Center,” said Director of Student Activities Ian Griffin.
A huge benefit of practicing at the Fitness Center is the location. The teams are able to practice locally, instead of all across Ann Arbor.
“We’re pleased to be in a facility right on a bus line,” said Club Sports Athletic Adviser, Mike Glass. “Lots of players don’t have vehicles.”
With the local practice facility and a bus line, players have much easier access to practice. Cutting practice isn’t a problem and the players are familiar with their environment.
“It’s easier to travel to and from practice because it’s closer,” said Jamal Jackson, 20, a forward on the men’s basketball team. “It’s one distinct location.”
Last year, the teams were practicing all around Ann Arbor. Much of the time, the teams were practicing in small elementary school gyms, and players were restricted from practicing certain skills —particularly prohibitive for volleyball players.
“It might help our [game] performance,” Jackson said of the HFC. “It’s a nice facility to practice in.”
WCC soccer team vying for league title
ROBERT CONRADI WASHTENAW VOICE
Going into the last weekend of the Division 1 Men’s Wide World Sports Center league, Washtenaw Community College’s soccer team owned a share of the lead atop the standings.
Both WCC and the AAFC were 6-1 before the eighth and final game of the regular season.
On Sunday Oct. 11, WCC won a WWSC a tournament, conquering four teams. The workload of this team has been put on the defense. After seven games WCC defense led the league, allowing just 19 goals. The next best defense was AAFC, with 31 goals allowed.
The Washtenaw offense had held its own too.
“It’s wrong for me to say the defense has done it all, ’cause the offense can explode and score four goals real quick,” said WCC midfielder Ababacar Ndoye.
Washtenaw’s offense was the second-best in the league with 47 goals, seven goals behind AAFC. The only meeting between the top two teams came down to the final minutes.
“They scored a lucky goal at the end of the game,” Ndoye said.
AAFC jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, but Washtenaw fought back, tying the game before ultimately losing, 5-4.
“If we played them again, we’d beat them,” Ndoye said. “We want to beat them so bad.”
AAFC’s lone loss was against The What Have Yous. WCC beat The What Have Yous twice, handily, 6-2 and 8-5.
WCC was scheduled to finish the regular season against a 2-4-1 Ajax team, but it will continue to practice throughout the fall. It has six practices scheduled through November and into December.
“We always play together outdoor and indoor,” Ndoye said. “We click and work together; we have a lot of good players.”
$55,000 for new platform tennis court. Wonder why?
MICHAEL WESTHOFF THE WASHTENAW VOICE
Club Sports has no use for it, the Health and Fitness Center didn’t know it was coming and most students have no clue about the game, yet Washtenaw Community College is investing $55,000 in a heated, lighted platform tennis court.
“This had nothing to do with us,” said Greg Hanby, executive director of the Fitness Center. “It coincided with the soccer fields being put up, and the athletic fields.”
Mike Glass, Club Sports coordinator, couldn’t explain why WCC is spending money on platform tennis. “I don’t have any information,” he said.
Nor Damon Flowers, vice president of Facilities Development/Operations, explain the genesis of the project.
“I don’t know where the idea came from,” Flowers said. “I guess (the president) played it before. . . .”
And President Larry Whitworth apparently enjoyed the game so much, he wants to introduce it to others.
“I’ve played it for years,” Whitworth said. “I expect the students to learn it. It’s for anybody to use. Any student who wants to play it can use it.”
MICHAEL WESTHOFF THE WASHTENAW VOICE
The sport, which originated in Albion in 1898, according to The Atlas of Popular Culture in the Northeastern United States, is sparsely played today except for large pockets in New York City and Los Angeles — and some retirement communities in Arizona, Florida, Hawaii and South Carolina.
Platform tennis is built like a miniature tennis court. The major difference is the 12-foot fencing, eight feet behind baselines and five feet out along the length of the court.
It is also raised off the ground, for a heating structure below it that keeps the playing surface clear year-round.
“It’s a cross between tennis and racquetball,” said Whitworth. “You can play it off the wall like racquetball. It’s a great way to stay in shape.”
The scoring is the same as tennis, love to 15, 30, 40 then game. It can be played singles or doubles matches.
The court is up and nearly ready for play, with eight light structures to allow play at night. The surface is elevated. The fencing around it is up. The only thing left in construction is the heating element to help fend off ice and snow and make it playable all year.
“Getting DTE to get gas service is taking a long time,” Flowers said. “It will be playable in November, but without gas.”
And it’s free.
“There will be a sign-up sheet at the Fitness Center,” said Whitworth. “I expect students on break from classes to go over and play platform tennis.”
Whether or not they do is a matter of concern.
“I don’t want to say $55,000 doesn’t sound like much,” said Ian Griffin, director of Student Activities and Development. “I just hope it gets used. We didn’t have a demand for it. I haven’t heard anyone express excitement from students.”
Some seem willing to give it a try. Mitch Stidham, 19, from South Lyon, has never heard of platform tennis, but he said he’d consider learning it.
“I’d like to see people who know how to play, play it,” he said. “Then I’ll play it with my friends who don’t know how to play either — so I don’t get my butt whipped.”
Others say they have no interest.
“I’ve never heard of it,” said Jean Snyder, 18, from Dexter. “I don’t know what it is, so I probably wouldn’t play it. I would play tennis, but it’s not tennis.”
Indeed, Griffin speculated that interest among students may be higher in a regular tennis court.
“We’ve had requests for tennis teams but haven’t been able to explore it,” Griffin said.
When asked why regular tennis courts weren’t built instead, Flowers speculated that space was the issue.
“I don’t know where we could have put tennis courts though since they’re bigger,” he said. “We’re already tight with space.”
The dimensions of a regular tennis court are 36 feet by 78 feet. Platform tennis dimensions are 30 feet by 60 feet.
WCC’s Club Sports can keep them going for you all year long
Are you missing your high school sports glory days? Do you feel like you have more left in the tank? Washtenaw Community College offers eight Club Sports to get you back in the action.
Baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, hockey, soccer, softball and volleyball are all sports that WCC offers to play for free. As the new school year begins, the sports teams are holding tryouts and forming teams to get ready for a big year.
The Fall Club Sports lineup:
Coach Terry Rickard looks to build off a very successful summer league heading into the fall season. Washtenaw went 10-9 this summer including playoff berth. Fall tryouts will be held Tuesday and Thursday night from 6-8 p.m. at Vets Park in Ann Arbor.
Pitcher Matt Frazor is the key player coming back for WCC. Frazor struck out 16 of 21 batters in one outing to set a club record.
Games will start Sept. 13, and the team will play every Sunday and Tuesday night through Oct. 18.
Men’s softball begins Sept. 9, while co-ed softball will begin Sept. 14. Co-ed took home the league championship this summer after finishing 18-2. Practices for the Fall leagues have already started.
“They’re fired up and geeked to get ready for next season,” Mike Glass, Club Sports Athletic Adviser, said about the co-ed team. “They start practice at EMU’s softball facility and they’re real excited.”
The practice at EMU was held last week, and the next practice is Wednesday, Sept. 2 at Tappan Middle School. It begins at 6 p.m. and it is for both co-ed and men’s teams.
The team plays doubleheaders on Monday nights and practices on Wednesday nights.
Washtenaw golfers tee up at Leslie Park Golf Course for eight weeks starting the first week of September. They will go every Wednesday at 4 p.m. through the third week of October.
The team carries about 12 golfers and has eight returning. Coach Glass said he has four to five guys ready to step up.
Leslie Park Golf Course is located on 2120 Traver Road., in Ann Arbor.
Runners will lace them up this week. If you want to run, there will be a meeting in Coach Mike Glass’s office on Sept. 2. at 12:30 p.m. Other runners already have a step up on the competition from three practices in August.
The group of about 5-8 long-distance runners meet at least once a week to run, and race on the weekends. Tiffany Stoddard will return as one of the group’s leaders; she won the Year Round Consistency award at last year’s awards banquet.
Preseason practices are scheduled for Sept. 2-3, from 6-7 p.m., at One on One Athletic Club on 2875 Boardwalk, Ann Arbor. Head coach Sheila Gillies will be at practices to give players information on the upcoming season.
Washtenaw will field four teams this fall. Two women teams and two co-ed teams will play on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights throughout the Fall.
They are working on scheduling a game at Monroe County College on Sept. 24 at 8 p.m.
For any more information on Club Sports, phone Club Sports Adviser Mike Glass at (734) 973-3720.