July 2013 Archives
Amir Pinnix spent the first few years of his University of Minnesota football career overshadowed by future NFL running backs Marion Barber III and Laurence Maroney. But when his turn in the spotlight finally came, he did not disappoint.
Pinnix, who wore No. 29 from 2004 to 2007, is the most recent Golden Gopher to reach 1,000 yards rushing in a season. He piled up 1,272 yards on the ground in 2006, the eighth consecutive year Minnesota could boast a 1,000-yard rusher. His season total ranks eighth all-time in the school record books.
He ran for 10 touchdowns and passed the 100-yard mark in five different games in 2006, including a 179-yard performance against Texas Tech in the Insight Bowl. Pinnix ended his career with 2,439 total rushing yards, eighth-best in Gopher history.
As the Minnesota football season opener against UNLV (Aug. 29) approaches, we acknowledge former Golden Gophers who wore the jersey number corresponding with how many days remain until kickoff. Noel Jenke and Lee Campbell, both of whom wore No. 30, start the countdown.
Jenke was a rare three-sport letterwinner, and was drafted in all three. On the gridiron (1966-68), Jenke played linebacker. He intercepted three passes in a 21-14 win against Wisconsin in 1967, tied for the school single-game record. Jenke captained the team and earned All-Big Ten honors as a senior in 1968.
Noel Jenke, three-sport letterwinner
He lettered for the hockey team 1967-69. In his one season with Gopher baseball (1969), Jenke earned All-America acclaim. He went on to play minor league baseball and NFL football, and is a member of the Gophers' M Club Hall of Fame.
Campbell wore the Maroon and Golf more recently, lettering in 2006-09. Like Jenke, he was a linebacker and a team captain. Campbell led the team in tackles as a junior (80) and a senior (total). As a senior in 2009, he also led the way in tackles for a loss (11.5 for 29 yards).
Campbell started his senior season with a stellar performance that earned him Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors. He tallied 13 tackles, 11 solo, providing key stops in an overtime win against Syracuse. At the end of the year, Campbell earned the team's Carl Eller Award for most outstanding defensive player, and shared the Neil Fredenburg Award for courage and love of the game.
Good afternoon, Gopher fans!
I am currently writing this blog 30,000 feet in the air, headed back from my last recruiting trip of the July recruiting period. A lot of coaches differ in their approach when it comes to July recruiting. During this period, NCAA rules allow us to evaluate possible recruits. That means we aren't allowed any in-person contact with a recruit, AAU coach, or anyone associated with the recruit. Many coaches have different game plans during this time. Some head coaches will follow around their top targets and make sure they are seen at their games. Other coaches believe being seen during this period isn't important come decision time. I have gone back and forth on this topic. I do believe it keeps you in the mix with recruits, but when it's time for a decision to be made, rarely does me being at their games in July come into the discussion. There are several stages to recruiting and this is simply a necessary step that has to be taken. Every kid is unique and values certain things in the process differently. Our staff will get together tomorrow and put together a game plan for how to approach each recruit.
Over the last two weeks we have done individual instruction instead of team practices. My goal during our team practices was to establish our style of play with the guys - more so offensively than defensively. We have given them a few plays and let them run with it. We have taught them certain terminology and rules that they will hear daily during the season. In the end, the summer is great because we get to work with our players, but it will be completely different than the regular season. We also do our best to build as much chemistry with the incoming guys so that they feel comfortable when school starts. It's only July and everyone understands it is a long season. A great foundation was laid with Coach Smith. We are looking to continue to strengthen that foundation each and every day.
I hope everyone was able to pick up Saturday's Wall Street Journal. The front page mentioned a story, "The Nations Nicest City." It was a two-page feature about how beautiful the Twin Cities are. It certainly was a great depiction of how beautiful our new home truly is. I hope everyone can check it out!
The Wall Street Journal has a great article about Minnesota today. Love the headline! pic.twitter.com/wSKzugUb7O-- Richard Pitino (@MNCoachPitino) July 27, 2013
Can't give enough credit to what Mo Walker has done with his body over the summer. He has lost more than 50 pounds and will continue to be in the best shape of his life.
Congrats to Peyton Siva, a player I helped recruit while I was at Louisville, and his new wife, Patience. I took a break from recruiting on Saturday to attend their wedding. Peyton is a great player and an even better person. We hope to find another one like him on the recruiting trail!
Lastly, we will be releasing our non-conference schedule tomorrow so be sure to check it out on Gophersports.com.
Trailing 43-49 at halftime, the West rallied in the fourth quarter, scoring 28 points while holding the East to just 17 for the victory.
The game was coached by two women for the first time in its 11-year history, with Lin Dunn of Indiana coaching the East and Cheryl Reeve of Minnesota coaching the West.
Reeve had four Minnesota Lynx players on her West squad, as Moore and Seimone Augustus were voted as starters and Reeve chose Lynx center Rebekkah Brunson to replace Britney Griner in the starting lineup.
Whalen was the first sub in for the West, replacing Diana Taurasi. That produced four Lynx players, who also were on the 2011 All-Star team, on the court at the same time.
The four Lynx stars combined for 24 of the West's 29 points in the first quarter.
On March 23, 2013, Minnesota head coach Don Lucia was named the head coach of the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team by USA Hockey. With Lucia behind the bench, the Red, White and Blue will compete at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship Dec. 26, 2013 - Jan. 5, 2014, in Malmo, Sweden.
In addition to Lucia, five current Gophers will compete for a roster spot on next year's U.S. squad. Sophomore defenseman Brady Skjei, freshman forward Hudson Fasching, freshman forward Taylor Cammarata, freshman defenseman Tommy Vannelli and freshman defenseman Michael Brodzinski will all be in action at the upcoming 2013 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid.
Next year, the U.S. program will seek its fourth medal in five years including a gold-medal performance in 2013 with Gophers defenseman Mike Reilly on the roster and assistant coach Grant Potulny on staff. As the tournament approaches, Gophersports.com will provide updates under using "Eyes on Sweden."
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - USA Hockey announced today additional details surrounding its 2013 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp set to take place in Lake Placid, N.Y., at the Olympic Training Center from Aug. 3-10.
COOPER/KLEINEDORST TO SERVE AS CAMP ASSISTANT COACHES
Jon Cooper (Tampa, Fla.) and Kurt Kleinendorst (Grand Rapids, Minn.) will serve as assistant camp coaches.
Cooper is the head coach of the National Hockey League's Tampa Bay Lightning, a position he was promoted to midway through the 2012-13 campaign. Previously, he was head coach of the Lightning's top American Hockey League affiliates in Syracuse (2012-13) and Norfolk (2010-12). He led the Norfolk Admirals to the 2012 Calder Cup Championship. Cooper also spent two seasons (2008-10) as head coach of the United States Hockey League's Green Bay Gamblers. The Gamblers won the 2010 Clark Cup Championship and Cooper received the General Manager and Coach of the Year Awards.
Kleinendorst has been a head coach at the AHL, ECHL, NCAA Men's Division I, USHL and international levels. During the 2009-10 campaign, he was head coach of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program Under-18 Team. He led Team USA to the gold medal at the 2010 IIHF Men's Under-18 World Championship. In 2008, he was an assistant coach for the U.S. Men's National Team. Most recently, Kleinendorst was head coach of the University of Alabama-Huntsville men's ice hockey team for the 2012-13 season. In the AHL, he was head coach of the Binghamton Senators from 2010-12 and the Lowell Devils from 2006-09. He coached the ECHL's Raleigh IceCaps from 1991-94 and 1995-97. For the NHL's New Jersey Devils, Kleinendorst was an assistant coach (2000-01), professional scout (2001-02) and special assistant scout (2002-06).
ROSTERS FOR TEAM BLUE/TEAM WHITE ANNOUNCED
The 44 athletes participating in the NJEC have been separated into two groups for the first three days of practices and games vs. Finland and Sweden.
For the Team Blue roster, click here
For the Team White roster, click here
On Aug. 6, Team USA will trim its roster and a single U.S. squad will finish the camp with practices and games against Canada, Finland and Sweden.
Team Blue will be coached by Bob Motzko (St. Cloud, Minn./St. Cloud State Univ.) and Jon Cooper(Tampa, Fla./Tampa Bay Lightning). Team White will be coached by Greg Brown (Scituate, Mass./Boston College) and Kurt Kleinendorst (Grand Rapids, Minn.).
FASTHOCKEY TO STREAM ALL CAMP GAMES LIVE
USA Hockey, in partnership with FASTHockey, is providing live streaming coverage of the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp. Games will be offered on a pay-per-view basis. FASTHockey uses a unique game-credit system for viewing games, offering discounts to customers who watch multiple games. Users who want to watch one or more games must first sign up for a free account at USAHockey.FASTHockey.com. Users can then buy game credits - a single game ranges from $7.99 (when one game credit is purchased) to $5.99 (when 50 game credits are purchased). Game credits never expire and can be used to watch live games or access on-demand content.
The NJEC will convene 44 U.S. players, all vying for a spot on the U.S. National Junior Team that will compete at the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2013-Jan. 5, 2014, in Malmo, Sweden. In addition to daily practices, the U.S. will play international games against Canada, Finland and Sweden.
For a complete schedule of the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp click here. Tickets for all games that are part of the camp can be purchased online at WhiteFaceLakePlacid.com, by phone at (518) 523-3330 or in person at the Olympic Center Box Office.
NOTES: Use the hashtag #NJEC on Twitter to join the conversation surrounding the camp ... The 2014 U.S. National Junior Team will be selected following a pre-tournament camp Dec. 15-18 to be held in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area ... Don Lucia (Plymouth, Minn.), head coach of the University of Minnesota men's ice hockey team, was named head coach of the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team on March 23. Bob Motzko (St. Cloud, Minn.), head coach of the St. Cloud State University men's ice hockey team, Greg Brown (Scituate, Mass.), associate head coach of the Boston College men's ice hockey team and David Lassonde (Denver, Colo.) assistant coach of the University of Denver's men's ice hockey team will serve as assistant coaches. The video coordinator is Dan Muse (Clinton, Conn.), assistant coach of Yale University's men's ice hockey team ... Jim Johannson (Colorado Springs, Colo.), USA Hockey's assistant executive director of hockey operations, is serving as the general manager of Team USA for the fifth consecutive year.
#Gophers safety Brock Vereen on who will surprise in the secondary this year - sophomore corner Eric Murray-- Daily at the Bank (@DailyattheBank) July 25, 2013
.@SLGreenberg on Minnesota: "Hope a step forward for them. Jerry Kill has done a good job with that team. They're building the right way."-- ESPN 99.1 (@ESPN991SF) July 25, 2013
Although it's not volleyball season quite yet, the Sports
Pavilion have been busy this month. This week, Gopher coach Hugh McCutcheon
wraps up camps, concluding three-straight weeks of summer camp.
The McCutcheon Volleyball Camps kicked off on July 8-12 at the Sports Pavilion with the all positions prep camp. This group was designed for experienced athletes who aspire to play volleyball collegiately. The second began with an all skills camp, July 15-19, which was designed for any volleyball athlete who wants to learn more about the game. The summer camps wrap up this week as it hosts its Fundamental 4 youth camp, July 22, 23, 25 and 26, ranging from kids, eighth grade or younger.
The Gopher volleyball team will get under way early in August. Minnesota opens the season. Aug. 30-31, in Birmingham, Ala. when it competes in the UAB/Samford Challenge. Minnesota opens the home season, Sept. 6-7 when it hosts the annual Diet Coke Classic. This year, Western Illinois, Ball State and Duke come to town.
Coach Jerry Kill, Ra'Shede Hageman, Donnell Kirkwood and Brock Vereen had a busy Wednesday at Big Ten Football Media Days. Each took part in multiple interview sessions with various local, conference and national media members at the Hilton Chicago. Retrace their steps with the photos, videos and tweets in our media day timeline.
11:50 a.m. Coach Kill starts a series of three short video shoots, the first being with USA Football.
12:30 p.m. Hageman, Kirkwood and Vereen arrive on the third floor of the hotel wearing their suits for the day. Vereen is miked up and will be followed throughout the afternoon. (Watch for this behind-the-scenes footage to appear in August.)
12:40 p.m. Hageman is the first Gopher to go into an interview. He does two with BTN, including one specifically for "The Journey.
1:00 p.m. Donnell Kirkwood sings the "Minnesota Rouser" and does an impression of Hageman for ESPN "College Game Day."
Meanwhile, Coach Kill addresses the media in the Grand Ballroom. Watch the video below or read the transcript here.
1:30 p.m. Coach Kill and each of the players sit at their own interview table for half an hour, available to answer questions. A few things we overhear:
Vereen on the Gopher secondary: "We made a statement last year, and we're looking to improve on that." He says the defense has shown it can be good, but needs to be consistent on every play.
Kirkwood on the Gophers' bowl eligibility in 2012: "It let us see that we can play with anybody."
Hageman on the bowl berth: "It kind of brings motivation for camp to start. We're motivated to be better and show who we are."
Hageman also wants to talk about his favorite foods, especially dishes with alfredo sauce. He says he is "not a fish guy," but would eat a shark.
Vereen on Coach Kill - "Coach Kill's brought this program a long way. A very long way." #Gophers-- Daily at the Bank (@DailyattheBank) July 24, 2013
One media member asks Coach Kill a question about MarQueis Gray, not realizing he has graduated. Kill wishes Gray the best of luck with the San Francisco 49ers.
Whalen will be joined on the squad by Minnesota Lynx teammates Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore and Rebekkah Brunson, as well as head coach Cheryl Reeve and assistants Shelley Patterson and Jim Petersen. It is the second time in franchise history that the Lynx have had four representatives in the All-Star Game (2011) and just the sixth time in WNBA hisotyr that a team has had four or more All-Stars. The Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star Game will be nationally broadcast on ABC this Saturday, July 27 at 2:30 p.m. CT from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
Whalen is having arguably the best season in her 10-year career, averaging a career-best 16.1 points per game while handing out 5.3 assists (fourth in WNBA). She's been especially hot of late, averaging 19.6 points and 5.7 assists per game over her last nine, including leading the Lynx in scoring in five or the past eight games. Whalen tallied 20+ points in four straight games between July 9 and 19, including becoming the first player in WNBA history with multiple 25+ point/10+ assist games against Tulsa on July 13 with a 25-point, 11-assist performance.
While at Minnesota, Whalen was a two-time Wade Trophy and Naismith Award finalist. As a senior, she was named to the Kodak All-America First Team, the USBWA All-America Second Team and the AP All-America Second Team. Whalen led Minnesota to its first Final Four Appearance in 2004, one of three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances for the Golden Gophers, before being selected fourth overall in the 2004 WNBA Draft.
She holds Minnesota career records in points, scoring average, games in double figures, free throws made and free throw percentage.
Head Coach Richard Pitino
On his philosophy for summer practice:
"This is the summer. If I come in here going nuts in July, in June, they're going to hate me come December. So I try to take it somewhat easy on them but also kind of instill the culture. We're allowed two hours (per week), and when the season starts we practice much, much more than that. So for me, I'm just trying not to make them feel like this is the season."
|Pitino and the Gophers met the media on Tuesday.|
Pitino and the Gophers met the media on Tuesday.
"A lot of our practices have been going up and down as much as possible, not blowing the whistle that much, getting them to play through mistakes."
"This time of year, it's probably good when they screw up, because you can show them on film."
*Pitino said the Gophers have played a lot of five-on-five to get used to the pace he would like them to play. Building chemistry, instilling team culture and preparing for the pace are the main offseason focuses.
On some of his personnel:
"I think Austin (Hollins is) a really good player. We're going to rely on him a lot, just because he's done it. He'll be fine in any system that he plays in. Andre (Hollins is) another guy we'll rely on a lot."
"What you see right now is not what you're to get with Charles Buggs. Hopefully he'll continue to grow, continue to improve. When he puts on weight and when he figures out how to play for me, he'll be a very good player down the road. It's going to take time, though."
*Pitino said that the starting point guard spot is open for competition, but he would be "shocked" if Andre Hollins doesn't start as either point guard or shooting guard.
*The Gophers are still waiting to find out if transfers Malik Smith and Joey King will be cleared to play in the upcoming season. Smith played for Pitino at Florida International last year, while King transferred from Drake for family reasons. Pitino said that Smith has played the best in practice so far because he is used to his system.
Meet the New Guys
Malik Smith (Senior/Guard)
"I love the way Coach Pitino plays. A lot of shots. I love to shoot. ...He's a demanding coach. He's going to get the most out of us. He's a good guy."
On his new teammates:
"There's no bad teammate. Everybody's good people."
*Smith started 31 of 32 games for FIU last season. He averaged 14.1 points per game and made 96 three-pointers on the year.
Joey King (Sophomore/Forward)
On coming back to his home state (King attended Eastview High School):
"It's definitely a great opportunity. I'm enjoying my time at Minnesota, being close to home. It's really special playing for the hometown team. It was sad to leave Drake, but I couldn't be happier here. I'm really looking forward to the opportunity of playing in the Big Ten."
On his game:
"I want to bring an aspect of toughness. I'm a pick-and-pop 4-man, so I can shoot the ball from outside."
*King was selected to the Missouri Valley Conference All-Freshman Team last season at Drake.
Daquein McNeil (Freshman/Guard)
On his new teammates:
"I love them. They're all embracing me, welcoming me. I'm the only freshman, so they're always trying to make fun of me, but they're pretty good guys."
On what he is most looking forward to about the season:
"Getting to the games. ...Right now we're playing against each other, but it will feel good for all of us to be on the same team."
*McNeil, a combo guard, averaged 19.0 points per game as a senior at Vermont Academy
New men's basketball coach Richard Pitino will be writing Gopher fans periodic blog entries on GopherSports.com.
1. What has been your biggest surprise since you have taken the job?
Answer: The fan support has been by far the biggest surprise. What makes the University of Minnesota so special is we are the only Division I school in the entire state. That is extremely unique in a state comprised of 5.3 million people, and that is what makes this job so special. Everywhere I have worked, there have been divided fan bases. The majority of this state grows up dreaming of going to the University of Minnesota.
2. Can you play fast in the Big Ten?
Answer: You can play fast in any conference. You can play slow in any conference. The key to playing the style that we would like to play starts and ends with the type of players that we bring in. We will not succeed at playing that style if we don't get the right fit. Several great coaches throughout the country play the style they believe in to be right. None of these styles are particularly right or wrong. They only become ineffective if you don't have the right personnel to do it. We hope to be one of the best conditioned teams in the country.
3. What is the best piece of advice your father or Billy
Donovan has given you?
Answer: It would be impossible to pinpoint one piece of wisdom each guy has given me. Between the two of them they have won 4 national titles, been to 10 Final Fours and won over a thousand games. My father will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this fall and Coach Donovan will certainly be there in the not so distant future. Both guys do things very differently, but strive to the reach the same common goal. I learned so much from them in my 5 years as an assistant and know they will continue to teach me in the future.
Personnel Update (After 4 practices)
Austin Hollins: Has had 4 very solid practices. Has a great demeanor on the court. Very quick release with good size. I love his business-like approach on the court and in the classroom. We are going to rely on him a lot.
Maverick Ahanmisi: Turned out his best practice last week. Showed toughess that I didn't know he had. Has the ability to make shots and play
multiple positions for us. He has the
potential to be our leader.
Malik Smith: Is playing arguably the best basketball on the team right now. The reason is he has the luxury of playing for me for a year. He is very comfortable in the system and has used it to his advantage. He truly believes every shot he takes will go in. He has also been a great leader.
Coach Pitino says FIU transfer Malik Smith is playing "arguably the best basketball on the team right now."
Elliott Eliason: Also had a very good practice last week. Still needs to add some muscle in order to be more physical. His greatest attribute is his running. He doesn't know how good he can be.
Maurice Walker: It has been well documented that Mo has lost 45 pounds. He deserves all the credit for that. He has worked extremely hard to lose the weight. Although Mo has lost a lot of weight, he is still not in great shape. When he isn't tired he becomes very effective. He is the best passer on the team by far. Needs to be more aggressive when he catches the ball on the low block.
Andre Hollins: Looked like an all conference player last practice. Didn't expect him to make the USA team because he had been studying abroad for a month. Andre is the epitome of a student athlete. Would love for him to be a more vocal leader. I fully expect him to have a great year.
Oto Osenieks: Has been solid over 4 practices. He has been playing mostly the 4 spot for us. It has given him the opportunity to shoot the three off of pick and pops. Would like for him to be more aggressive and physical on the glass.
Wally Ellenson: Had great success in the spring with the track team. It's very impressive for him to be able to become a high jump All-American with a limited amount of practice. On the court he reminds me of a kid I coached at Louisville named Kyle Kuric. Wally is a very good athlete in the open floor and has shown the ability to offensive rebound. He has to continue to develop his three-point shot.
Drake transfer Joey King filed for an NCAA waiver to be eligible for this upcoming season.
Joey King: Love his toughness. He truly believes he is the best player on the court. Confidence like that is extremely valuable. He raises the level of intensity for everyone in practice. His intensity is infectious. He, as well as Malik, both filed for NCAA waivers to be eligible this season.
Kendal Shell: Injured himself before last practice. Highest body fat on the team! To his credit he has lost a lot of weight. Will have a better feel for his game when he gets in shape. Great attitude and great kid.
Daquein McNeil: Day-Day, as we call him, has been the most pleasant surprise so far. Most freshman are tentative when they first come in but that has not been the case with him. Biggest room for improvement with him is his three-point shot.
Charles Buggs: Has a long way to go, but probably has the most potential to grow of anyone on the team. He will be very effective when we put in the press because of his length and athleticism.
Deandre Mathieu: Still in summer school at home. Really looking forward to working with him in the fall. Has great speed and quickness. Is a pass first point guard.
My staff is taking our newest T-Wolves addition to dinner tonight. Hopefully Gorgui brings that new bonus check for when the bill comes around!
Thanks again to Kris Humphries and Larry Fitzgerald for stopping by last week. We will have another practice this afternoon, then its off to July recruiting to hopefully find the next great Gopher!
Keith Ballard after the 2003 WCHA Final Five.
Mikayla Bailey: My Fourth of July tradition is spending it with my family, because it is my dad's birthday on the 4th and we usually go on our boat for the day.
Rachel Banham: My favorite Fourth of July tradition is to hang with my family and eat food, and chill and watch a movie. I don't know what I'm doing for the Fourth this year.
Joanna Hedstrom: My favorite Fourth of July traditions include going up to my cabin with my family and watching fireworks from the boat or in town! This year we plan on going to Canterbury Park to enjoy the Fourth of July festivities there.
Kayla Hirt: My favorite thing about the Fourth of July is being able to spend the day outside in the sun and grill. I love late night fireworks as well! This year I will be going home and spending the day with my family, hopefully to spend some time on the lake, grill and watch the fireworks. :)
Jackie Johnson: My favorite Fourth of July tradition was spending the week at my Grandma and Grandpa's cabin, going tubing, jet skiing, going to the town carnival and lighting off tons of fireworks with my family. Growing up I did this every year until I started traveling for AAU and summer basketball. This year my plans are to go to my friend's lake house!
Stabresa McDaniel: My family and I just enjoy our time together, have a cookout and try to find a place to pop firecrackers. This time, in Minnesota, I just plan on hanging with my teammates and making new traditions with them.
Shayne Mullaney: When I was younger, my family would go jet-skiing on a lake in Eden Prairie and have a picnic. It was so fun! Then at night we would eat dinner at Bayside on Lake Minnetonka and watch the fireworks on the lake. This would always be a tradition for Fourth of July, but lately it has changed because a few of my siblings are in California and I have three nephews now so it changes on a yearly basis.
This year for the Fourth I might be going to my boyfriend's cabin or to my friends lake house. Either way I hope to be near water and outside enjoying the sun! I always watch the fireworks every year too. This year I want to watch them near the Stone Arch Bridge if I stay in Minnesota. I don't know how this year Fourth of July will turn out, but I know it will be fun! (:
Sari Noga: My family doesn't really have specific Fourth of July traditions, but usually we have a family reunion around that time of year, which I enjoy seeing my extended family. My favorite thing to do on the Fourth of July is to be on a lake, light off fireworks and have family time. This year I am unsure of our plans, but hopefully they involve water!
Micaella Riche: Well being Canadian, we celebrate Canada day July 1st. I used to love going downtown and watching all the street performers with my brothers. This year, I don't know how I will spend it yet, but it will most likely involve exercise physiology homework..! Gotta love being a student-athlete!
Amanda Zahui B.: I have never celebrated the Fourth of July and I have no idea what I am going to do. Hopefully, I'll eat some good food and hang out with my teammates.
Kelly Roysland: I love spending the 4th of July with my family at our cabin on Lake Bemidji. I plan on spending time golfing, waterskiing, hanging out with my cousins, taking a bike ride around the lake and grilling out. Happy 4th of July to all!
Deborah Edwards: I love the 4th of July more than ever, because last year I was married on July 6 - so this time of year always reminds me of our wedding day. What a great holiday! It's our own patriotic anniversary! This year we will be celebrating by cooking out and spending time with our family in Rochester.
Two members of the Gopher volleyball team are currently
training with USA Volleyball prior to the 2013 season. Tori Dixon is training
with the USA Volleyball for its summer training session in California,
while Ashley Wittman is competing with the A2 program in Dallas, Texas.
Dixon was selected to partake in a two-week, short term training session, invited by USA Volleyball national team coach Karch Kiraly. Dixon left on June 22nd and returns to Minnesota on July 4th, competing at the American Sports Center in Anaheim. She and former Gopher Lauren Gibbemeyer have been back in the gym together the last few weeks. Gibbemeyer, who helped Team USA win the Pan Am Cup, was recently named to Preliminary roster of USA's Volleyball Cup roster that will take on Japan, 10-13.
Wittman is competing with USA Volleyball's A2 program, while former Gopher coach Mike Hebert is also there in attendance as Team White's coach. With Team Blue, Wittman started competition on June 29th and continues through July 3 in the bronze and gold medal matches. In the June 30th match against Team Red, Wittman recorded 14 kills. The athletes were selected via the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team Open Tryouts held Feb. 22-24 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The tryout attracted a record 240 participants, 33 more than the previous best mark set in 2012. Athletes selected to both the A2 program and the U.S. Women's Junior National Volleyball Team (WJNT) could only participate in the WJNT program with the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Women's Junior World Championship as the priority event.
Both Dixon and Wittman enter their final year as a Golden Gopher. Wittman was Minnesota's 2012 team captain and a honorable mention All-American. Dixon received second-team All-America honors last season and was a First-Team All-Big Ten selection. Dixon and Wittman are two of 10 student-athletes returning from last year's Elite Eight team. Minnesota begins its season on Aug. 30-31st at the UAB/Samford Tourney in Birmingham, Ala.