Spring Fun and Sun!

In Uncategorized on April 28, 2010 at 4:29 pm

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During the brisk winter months the Towson University campus is a desolate place, students walking quickly to their designated areas in between classes. The second semester has been very unusual. The Baltimore Sun said, “After the snowiest December, snowiest February, and the snowiest winter on record in Baltimore, we’ve managed to topple yet another weather record this week.” Barely a month after the record breaking snow storm of 2010 there was record breaking heat. When spring hit so did the warm weather. Steve Zubrick from the science office out at the National Weather Service Forecast said, “The first seven days of the month were the hottest first week in April on the record books for Baltimore, which goes back to 1871.” The average temperature from April 1-April 7 was 64.6 degrees. According to the Baltimore Sun for the past 30 years the average has been 49.6 degrees. This year’s average for the first week in April was 15 degrees higher than average.

On Wednesday April 7 a water main broke in Towson caused by an early morning fire. Towson University cancelled its classes for the day. Lindsey Leckemby said, “I am relieved classes are cancelled because I had a huge chemistry midterm this afternoon and now I have an extra five days to study.” The front lawn of Towson University off of York Rd. was an open field for all sorts of activities for Towson students who now had another day off because of the weather. Students were playing soccer, kickball, and girls were laying out tanning. At the same time there was loud music pumping in the background. Ivy Wimberley said, “When it gets hot outside I need to lie out and work on my tan for the summer. I have a beach house in Seaside Heights, NJ, and I don’t want to go there without a tan so I’m happy I have an opportunity to start so early. Today really reminded me like a day at the beach.”

The apartment complexes around Towson University were filled with just as many happy students spending the day at their leisure. In the Colony on Kenilworth Av. Monica Wolgast and her two roommates, Kayla and Meredith were laying out making pink lemonade for all their neighbors in their yard. Monica said, “It was so nice having classes and swim practice cancelled. So now we can just enjoy our day off. Our neighbors above us are playing volleyball so we and some other apartments joined in and started a huge game of volleyball in our apartment complex. It was so much fun. My day is always so scheduled. Today I get to be spontaneous and interact with people I normally don’t have the chance too. It’s always fun to make new friends.

It seems the warm weather brings smiles to everyone’s faces. Walking around campus it is easy to spot students hanging out at the beach and outside in front of the library. Political science student, Alejandro Jaramillo said, “I like to just hang out by the beach on warm sunny days by myself over long periods of time. I like to see who I’ll bump into. It’s better than being cooped up in my dark apartment. If it’s sunny I want to be outside. Some days I won’t see anyone I know but other days I’ll see a lot of people and it’s fun to hang out with your friends on campus. It makes the day go by faster.”

Sabrina Warren, Mass Communications major at Towson University said, “I like to meet my friends at the Cook Library starbucks and get iced coffee or passion fruit iced teas. Passion fruit iced teas are the best when it’s hot out! They’re so refreshing. We just sit outside the library and hang out until we have to go to class.”

Greek Week is an annual spring activity at Towson University that took place last week. All of the Towson sororities compete against each other and whoever has the most points at the end of the week wins Greek Week. Each day there is a different activity and depending on how many activities are won determines how many points each sorority gets. The fraternities are also part of Greek Week and they compete against each other in the same activities as the sororities do. Lindsey Hayward, member of Alpha ZXI Delta said, “Greek Week is so much fun! There is a chili cook-off one day and whichever sorority makes the best tasting chili wins that day. Another day is Greek Sing where we compete in a dance off against all the other sororities. The most time is definitely put into Greek sing. We have to practice a lot and think of specific costumes. The fraternities always do the funniest skits. At the end of the week there is Whacky Saturday which is basically like a field day. We do tug of war, pyramid race, egg toss, three legged race, and a lot of other fun activities. This year is my senior year and my sorority won Greek Week over all.”

The spring and warm weather is a great time for Towson students to support their favorite spring sports teams. Baseball and lacrosse have been fan favorites so far. On spring afternoons and evenings next to Burdick Hall it is easy to spot many fans watching their friends who play baseball. Chelsea Kling, member of the Towson swim team said, “I love going to baseball games because I’ll stop by early before my practice or sometimes after practice I’ll sit out and watch. The swimmers feel close to the baseball players because on a lot of days our coach makes us do running loops around their field and they’re usually at practice as well. It gives us a bigger sense of pride in Towson athletics.” Christina Haig, Towson student said, “I love baseball. They look so cute in their uniforms and I have a lot of friends on the team. It’s so convenient to stop by the Burdick baseball field in between classes or even if I don’t have anything to do because it’s one of the fields that’s very close to campus. I like going to football and lacrosse games as well but they’re more difficult to get to because they play at a stadium at the Towson Center.”

With the sudden taste of warm weather many students on campus are thinking about planning summer vacations. Some students are so antsy to get away they are planning trips before school even ends. Mass Communications major, Amanda Antosh said, “I’m going to Miami next week with my boyfriend Alex for a week. I’m coming back Sunday May 6. I have had such a busy semester and have been so overwhelmed lately that I can’t wait to get away and enjoy the warm weather for an entire week! This is just what I need before finals. It will help me relax. I took advertising campaigns and public relations campaigns this semester and it was a lot of work. Since those projects are already finished I have time to take a week off and it is worth it.”

Most other students do not have the means to take a week off three weeks before school ends and are anticipating Memorial Day weekend. Ivy Wimberley said, “I am definitely going to my beach house in Seaside Heights. Its two blocks from the beach and two blocks from the bay and me and my friends go there every year for Memorial Day weekend. It is so much fun because we can’t wait to get back on the beach for the first time. We have cook-outs and parties. It’s just a blast.”

Ryan Brunet said, “I just took my boat out of the water and it is sitting at my parents house in Long Island. For Memorial Day weekend I am definitely taking it to Fire Island for barbecuing, beach, and the bars afterwards. Then I just sleep on my boat and drive it home the next day. It’s perfect.”

All Towson students seem ecstatic about the warm weather and spring semester. All around people are engaging in all sorts of social activities whether it is playing a game of ultimate Frisbee with a group of friends or going on a long morning run alone. Even teachers embrace the warm weather, canceling class on very nice days. Prof. Scott, who teaches individualized fitness at Towson University, said, “It’s way to nice outside to be stuck in a stuffy classroom. Just promise you go outside and do some kind of physical activity.” Leslie Powell said, “Warm weather really puts me in an all around good mood. It’s so obvious people are more friendly and there are way more things to do than during the winter. I think the warm weather gets students and teachers alike excited because we know classes will be ending soon and summer will begin.”


PIAA State Championships

In Uncategorized on April 28, 2010 at 2:53 pm

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The wait is over! The PIAA swimming and diving championships are held annually every year from March 17th to the 20th. This is a qualifying swim meet held for Pennsylvania high school students. To qualify for this championship meet swimmers and divers must first qualify for their district meet. There are specific times that every swimmer must make for his/her event to qualify. Every event has a different time and the athlete will pick two of his or her most promising events to swim at the district meet. The only way for a swimmer to qualify for states is to do it at the district meet. The state meet is composed of all the districts in the state of Pennsylvania. Only 32 swimmers from each event can qualify for states. .

The high school swimmers of Lansdale Catholic high school participated in the PIAA championship meet. To make it to states is a great accomplishment for any athlete but even more impressive for the swimmers of Lansdale Catholic high school because it is a small school with limited resources. The swimmers of Lansdale Catholic wake up at 5 A.M. every morning, November through March to practice at the local Y.M.C.A. since Lansdale Catholic does not have a swimming pool. Practice time runs from 5:30 A.M. to 7 A.M. and then the athletes must make their way to school.

Most teams that participate in the state meet have an entire team traveling to compete as a team. Lansdale Catholic has such a small team that it is a great achievement to just have one or two swimmers qualify. This year swimmers Jessica Gidzinski and Pat Augustine qualified for two individual events. Having only one person from the women’s team and one person from the men’s team to go to states would be considered a small amount for most schools but for the swimmers at Lansdale Catholic it is exciting.

Once the swimmers get to the state meet they face the 32 fastest swimmers in the state. The competition is heavy and the atmosphere is intense. For the past five years the state championship meet has been held at Bucknell University in Lewisburg Pennsylvania. Bucknell University has a beautiful facility and a top-notch pool for the athletes to compete in. The pool is bulkhead to bulkhead which helps prevent waves from rebounding and interfering with the competition. Because of this feature the pool at Bucknell University is considered a faster pool and the swimmers and coaches expect to put up faster times. Pat Augustine’s father Al said, “Pat needs to lower his time by a couple seconds in the 100 breaststroke for Florida State to recruit him. He should be able to do it in this pool.”

The meet is held over two days with a morning session and an afternoon session. The swimmers must qualify in the morning to swim in the afternoon session. The morning session starts at 8 A.M. but the swimmers must be up and ready by 5:30 A.M. It is harder to swim in the morning than the afternoon because the athlete’s bodies have not fully woken up yet which is one of the reasons the swimmers have to get up hours before the meet starts. Most high school swimmers traditionally practice in the afternoon after school. Lansdale Catholic swim coach Bob Birnbaurer said, “One advantage my swimmers have over the rest of the teams here is they are used to getting up early and practicing in the morning  so Jessica and Pat will be able to put up good times in the morning. It is very important that a swimmer can get the time in the morning because that can be the difference in making it back in the afternoon for finals. If you can’t get up and go in the morning then you can lose your spot at night.”

Hours before the morning session began parents began filling up the building to stand in line to get to the top of the stadium for the best seat to watch their sons and daughters perform. Joan Gidzinski said, “I am nervous to watch Jess swim because I want her to make it back tonight and if she doesn’t I know she’ll be disappointed.” As warm-ups began on the first morning there were so many swimmers from teams all across Pennsylvania on every inch of the pool deck. The pool was filled with hundreds of girls getting ready to compete. Before the competition started all the swimmers were ordered to clear the pool and for a few minutes the water was calm. The faces of every athlete was intense and anxious as the swimmers trained all season for this one meet for a race that would be over in a blink of an eye. The 50 freestyle is the shortest race and takes less than 30 seconds to complete. Any small mistake could cost a swimmer the race.

At 8 A.M. the first heat of the first event started and the huge auditorium was silent as eight girls walked behind the blocks. All the spectators sat still in anticipation for the race to begin. The eight athletes about to compete were jumping around and stretching in front of their block out of excitement and nervousness for their race to begin. Jessica Gidzinski said, “Being behind the blocks before my race is so nerve-racking but exciting at the same time. We’re only behind the blocks for a few seconds but it seems like an eternity. I know all the other girls times going into the race so it is very intimidating swimming next to girls who have close to the same time as me or better. Everyone wants to win.”

The race is started by an announcer and a loud buzzer and a room that was once silent is full of cheers from teammates, coaches, and spectators. Pat Augustine said, “I know how loud it gets during a race but when I’m competing I cannot hear a thing. I am in the zone. When I’m racing it is my time and I don’t think about anything except beating the person next to me and getting to the finish as fast as I can.”

Jessica Gidzinski and Pat Augustine both made it through the morning session and qualified for finals on both days. Coach Birnbaurer said, “The morning is the most important because you have to swim fast to make it back at night. But the night session is much more intense because it is that race that determines what the swimmers final place is and it is another chance to lower their time. Both sessions are extremely important but for different reasons.”

Jessica Gidzinski finished at 14th place in the 200 individual medley and 15th in the 100 freestyle. Pat Augustine metaled in both of his events finishing in 7th in the 100 butterfly and 2nd place in the 100 breaststroke. Pat Augustine said, “In the morning I broke the record before the guy who placed first swam and beat it. I was so excited I ran up to my father, Al Augustine and jumped on him. I almost knocked him over. I wish I ended up in first with the record but I significantly lowered my time and I’m looking to get recruited by Florida State where my older brother Albert swims.”

Jessica said, “I am happy I improved my time but I wanted to medal. Next year is my senior year in high school and I am going to work hard so I will medal next year. That is my number one goal for next season.” Assistant swim coach Kate Klinger said, “All the swimmers worked extremely hard this season and it paid off for both Jessica and Pat. I am so proud of both of them for not only making it to states but to qualify to come back and swim at night. Coming back at night is a great accomplishment for any swimmers but it feels special when swimmers from such a small school do it because other coaches and swimmers notice.”

Blizzard of 2010

In Uncategorized on March 22, 2010 at 11:44 pm

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The blizzard of 2010 took the state of Maryland by storm. Although the weather forecast predicted a snow storm, many people were skeptical. Maryland received a record breaking 33 inches of snow. It snowed more in Maryland this winter than in the snow prone Buffalo, New York.

The snow fall started around noon on Friday, February 5th. By five o’clock that evening the roads were already in bad condition. Lindsey Hayward among others went to the super market to buy last minute groceries. She said that, “the Giant on York Rd. was a mob scene. There were more people in the store than there was food on the shelves. Every minute that went by there was less food and more frantic people.”

By nightfall on Friday there was a tremendous amount of snow and many Towson students had different ideas of how to pass the time and take advantage of the snow storm. Some girls in Cardiff Hall apartment complex wanted to go across the street to go sledding on Towson University’s big hill. My neighbor Alicia said, “both Wal-mart and Target were sold out of sleds so we improvised by using left over storage bins in our apartment.”

On Saturday afternoon the snow was still falling and Maryland residents were getting stranded in their homes and apartments. Leslie Powell a resident of Donnybrook took the snow as an opportunity to make her mothers famous tacos. Leslie said, “Since it was so cold outside I wanted to spice things up with margaritas and tacos. My mothers recipe is from out family in Mexico. It was a great way to pass the time with my friends since we were stranded in out apartment. It reminded me of the warm weather I’m used to in my home town of Texas. I have never seen so much snow before and I was a little weary of going outside because I didn’t know what to expect or if it was even safe!”

Outside the trees and houses glimmered, the snow beautifully highlighting every edge. The cars looked like mountains you would see in northern Pennsylvania. Suddenly Towson Maryland turned into Aspen, Colorado. The snow storm took over the state of Maryland and the only escape were the homes the residents were confined to.

The snow did not let up until Sunday and the students of Cardiff Hall apartment complex were outside digging their cars out of the seemingly never ending heavy snow. The post snow sun was glistening outside shining against the perfect white snow. Ryan was helping all the residents in Cardiff Hall who were not prepared for the storm. The were many people digging their cars out but only a limited number of shovels. Ryan and his friends teamed up to help make sure everyone of their neighbors got their cars out. Ryan, “I can’t believe my luck because I am the only person in the lot that can’t get my car out because the snow plows came through and put all the snow from the entire parking lot behind my car. There is so much snow behind my car that I will not get out for days.” Ryan’s friend Tom said, “The snow behind Ryan’s car must be six feet high and 8 feet long. He is not going anywhere any time soon.”

As Maryland residents were cursing the snow, Pennsylvania residents were relaxing. High school student Jessica Gidzinski and her mother shoveled a pathway to their hot tub. Jessica said, “The only shoveling I did was to get to my hot tub and it was worth it! I do not like shoveling drive ways because at the end you do not get any reward but after I shoveled a path I found my hot tub at the end. It was the perfect way to relax after shoveling and I always wanted to go in a hot tub while it was cold and snowing outside. ”

The snow storm of 2010 forced Towson University among many other Maryland schools to cancel classes the following week. The storm stopped for a couple days but then started again not stopping until Wednesday night. The snow fall on Wednesday looked like a thick fog whirling around in the wind. Towson University closed the school for over a week. On Thursday it was sunny again and the snow that a few days prior covered York Rd. was melting away leaving massive puddles behind. Sabrina said, “It is hard to imagine that just one day before there was a blizzard with snow covering the roads, cars, and swirling around in the air.”

“The snow storm of 2010 reminded me of the blizzard of ’96,” said Amanda Antosh. “I remember missing school for a week then but it’s hard to remember how I spent my time because I was so young then. I wonder where I’ll be during the next blizzard and I wonder how many years away Maryland’s next big storm is.”