After winning their respective conferences on Jan. 18, 2015, the New England Patriots and 2014 Super Bowl Champs, the Seattle Seahawks will face off for a Super Bowl Championship. The road to the Super Bowl wasn’t an easy one. The NFL playoffs consist of four rounds: wild card, divisional, conference, and finally, the Super Bowl.
The New England Patriots clinched a first round bye in the playoffs after defeating the New York Jets 17-16 in regular season. In the divisional round, they faced the Baltimore Ravens. They trailed a total of three times (twice being by 14 points), but managed to come back. Although the Ravens got the ball back, Joe Flacco’s “Hail Mary” attempt in the final seconds of the game was knocked down. The Patriots defeated the Ravens 35-31, advancing them to the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. The Patriots showed no mercy to the Colts, who managed only 209 yards with three turnovers. The final score was 45-7.
The Seattle Seahawks are hoping to have back to back Super Bowl wins after crushing the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. The Seahawks, like the Patriots, clinched a first round bye moving them straight to the divisional round. There they faced the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers kept it close up until halftime, but the Seahawks took over during the second half, including a 90 yard pick-six by strong safety, Kam Chancellor. The 31-17 win led them to the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers. After five turnovers in the first half, the Seahawks were down 16-0 by halftime. The Seahawks again dominated the second half, closing the lead and scoring two touchdowns in only the last 2:09 of the fourth quarter. Green Bay scored a field goal, forcing the game into overtime, but failed to stop the Seahawks from scoring the game winning touchdown, thus giving Seattle an unexpected 28-22 win over the Packers.
The New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks will meet in Glendale, Ariz. to play on Feb. 1, 2015, at 6:30 p.m.
Image courtesy of: bleacherreport.com (fair use)
Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015 marked the date the NCAA had its first ever playoff system to determine the top two teams to make it to the college football National Championship. Four teams, Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, and Ohio State, were awarded the top four seeds and played that day.
The playoffs were decided on by a committee created by Notre Dame’s athletic director and eleven commissioners from large college football conferences as a more fair way of determining the teams for the National Championship game.
The committee consists of twelve people with various backgrounds, the majority with a sports background; however, a former secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, is also a member of the selection committee. The group met once a week during the regular season to determine the top twenty-five teams in the nation. The later in the season it got, the more crucial these meetings became for the teams and committee members; both groups were in the process of making history.
The University of Alabama received the top seed ranking after winning the SEC conference against Missouri (42-13) on Dec. 6, 2014. They finished their regular season 12-1; their only loss at Ole Miss (23-17) on Oct. 4, 2014.
The team to secure the second ranked spot overall was the University of Oregon. The Ducks won the Pac-12 championship game against the Arizona Wildcats (51-13) on Dec. 5, 2014 which they had lost to in the regular season, leaving them with a 12-1 regular season record. Their redshirt junior quarterback, Marcus Mariota, is the 2014 Heisman trophy award winner.
The previous national champions, Florida State University, secured the third seed ranking in the NCAA top twenty-five after beating Georgia Tech in the ACC championship game (37-35) on Dec. 6, 2014. The team is 13-0 for the regular season but they had not lost a game in over two years, giving them a 29-0 record until they lost to Oregon this past week. Their redshirt sophomore quarterback, Jameis Winston, was the 2013 Heisman trophy award winner.
The fourth ranked team was the Ohio State University. The Buckeyes finished their regular season 12-1 after losing to Virginia Tech (35-21) on Sept. 6, 2014. The team won the Big 10 championship against Wisconsin (59-0) on Dec. 6, 2014 while they were on their third string quarterback, Cardale Jones, after their previous two had been injured earlier in the season.
The National Championship game is set for Monday, Jan. 12, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. The game is set to air on ESPN with the kickoff beginning at 8:30 p.m.
Photo courtesy of: usatoday.com (fair use)
As the Christmas season quickly falls upon us, trees will soon be sparkling with lights and glittering with freshly wrapped presents. Although Christmas is full of gifts received, it’s also about giving. In Findlay there are plenty of opportunities to help the community and others have an enjoyable Christmas. Listed below are a few of the many volunteer opportunities:
Christmas Angel Tree Project- Around town there are trees with paper angel ornaments. The ornaments have a list of gifts that a child in the surrounding area is asking for that he/she could otherwise not get. Support an angel by taking one of the tags, or contacting Findlay’s Salvation Army at (419)-422-8238.
Salvation Army Soup Kitchen- The best part of the Christmas season is of course the food! However, there are people living in Findlay who are not quite as fortunate and do not have the grand meal we all look forward to for the holidays. During the Christmas season, or anytime, volunteer at the Soup Kitchen (and no they do not just serve soup) and help give others a meal. The Salvation Army Soup Kitchen is located at 301 Center St. all ahead to volunteer at (419)-422-8238.
Coats for Christmas- If this winter is anything like the last, bundling up will be a must. A lot of people cannot afford coats for this season, and most of us have those old coats we never use laying around. Bring a few of the old coats to the office and put them into the Coats for Christmas box. This is an inexpensive and easy way to give back this Christmas.
Bell Ringing- You know those people who sit outside of Wal-Mart and ring bells with the big red bucket in front of them? Well they are ringing those bells for the Salvation Army. Volunteering as a bell-ringer is a easy and fun way to help this Christmas season. Go to https://www.registertoring.com/WebPages/Default.aspx to ring the holiday bell for a shift.
Operation Care Package- Men and women bravely fight everyday for our country, and not all of them have the opportunity to come home. In order to give to our troops, OPC is sending packages that include hygienic materials, handmade items, card games, and other goodies overseas. The OPC provides many opportunities to give, like a monetary amount of money. To find out more and provide for the soldiers this Christmas visit: http://www.operationcarepackages.org/Christmas/SendSantaToTheTroops.html
Oct. 31, 2014 will forever be remembered at Van Buren High School as the night the Black Knight Football team clinched a play-off spot for the first time ever!Their first tournament game will be away against Lima Central Catholic this Friday at Ohio Northern University. The close of the team’s amazing winning season calls for a regular season wrap-up.
The team finished with an 8-2-0 season that began with their first game at Ottawa Hills where they brought home the win with a score of 48-7. The following Friday, Bluffton was sent home with a loss as the Black Knights triumphed 9-7. The third game ended with our fans
When you see one of the football players roaming the halls make sure to give them a pat on the back for a job well done this season. See Mr. Hite during your lunch period for tickets to the play-off game. A spirit bus will be transporting students from Van Buren to Ohio Northern University for the big game for a fee of $12. This money will get you a ride down and back, a ticket into the game and a Black Knights playoff t-shirt. Come support the Black Knights as they make school history!
Spring starts the season in which people get their bodies ready for bikini season, and 5Ks are a great way for people to get toned, lose weight, and get in shape. This weekend holds an opportunity to do all of these things as the annual Live Rett Free 5K/walk will be held on Saturday and all benefits go toward those who suffer from Rett Syndrome.
The Rett syndrome is a disorder of the nervous system that reverses the development of certain areas such as speech and hand use. This syndrome is caused by a mutation of MECP2, and tells other genes when to turn on or off, possibly leading to apraxia, causing a disruption in every body movement, even eye gaze. This syndrome can last a lifetime, and as of now, there is no cure.
Paige Jacobs, a senior at Van Buren, has been living with this debilitating syndrome for her whole life. The Jacobs family, with the help of family friends and the community, organizes the Live Rett Free 5K race every year at Riverside Park and benefits the International Rett Syndrome Foundation. The Van Buren football team, both coaches and players, along with other students, volunteer or run the race themselves, showing their support for Paige, and the urgency to find a cure.
The race takes place on May 3, starts at 9 a.m., and costs $20 for adults, and $15 for high school students and younger. Shirts cost $10 while they last. An alternate one mile fun run/walk will start at 10 a.m. Winners of individual age groups, as well as overall, will receive awards.
A number of recreational and inspiring events fill up Findlay’s schedule in late April. With many 5Ks on the horizon, there are a multitude of opportunities to wake up from the winter slumber and get active. One such event is the Larry Beagle Memorial 5K which will take place in Arlington on April 19. The profit from this race provides annual scholarships for Arlington students and helps maintain the school’s track. The 5K will start at 10 a.m., while the alternative Recreational 1 Mile Walk will start at 9:30 a.m.
The sixth annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event will be at Riverside Park on April 26 to promote awareness of gender violence, sexual assault, and rape. A $20 registration fee will be due on the day of the event, and to qualify for first, second, or third, you must wear heels four inches or higher. If you want to be a ‘headliner’ of this event, any man or boy currently living in Hancock County will be the stars: showing their support for protection of women. Awards will be handed out after the walk, and all proceeds from the walk benefit the Open Arms in Findlay.
The Easter Sand Sculpture, which has captured the attention of people around the state, is back for in town for another showing at the Hancock County Fairgrounds. An impressive 300 tons of sand will be sculpted into a religious-inspired picture. The sculpture construction began on Monday, April 14 and is set to be finished on Good Friday. It is available for viewing all through Holy Week (April 13-19). A 5-day Kids’ Club takes place throughout this week at 6 p.m., teaching children Bible lessons, scripture memorization, missionary stories, songs, and other activities. April 18 will feature ventriloquist Ned Miller and Rusty at 2:30 p.m., and bands Melody Road (6-7 p.m.) and Jericho Road (7-8 p.m.) will perform. On April 19 bands Grace Notes (2:15-3:30 p.m.), Broken Grounds (3:30-4:30 p.m.), and Bill Phillips (5-7 p.m.) will perform. All events take place at the fairgrounds.
Another Backyard Mission Trip is scheduled for this year on April 26. Churches in Findlay elect to stay in Findlay to support and build up the community. Volunteers will do yard work, paint, and make house repairs for the community. If you would like to be a volunteer, or know a family in need of house repairs, you can call Becky Greeno at 419-424-7466, or you can visit the Central Church of Christ at 307 East Hardin Street and talk to Matt Hayden, or talk to Chris Schultz of Trinity Episcopal Church at 128 West Hardin Street.
If your spring schedule isn’t full already with things to do outside, these activities will be sure to fill the rest of your schedule.
For many students at Van Buren, sports play a huge role in everyday life. Along with that, some students hope for sports to be a part of their everyday college life. The process of narrowing down colleges is overwhelming as is, let alone searching for an athletic program that fits you as well. Although this process has stresses, it can be easier if you know the direction you want to go.
According to former Black Knight and Mount Union volleyball player, Rachel Adolph, the recruiting process is different for boys and girls and also varies person to person.
Former University of Findlay softball player and current varsity softball coach, Stacy Sharp agreed the recruiting process is different for girls and boys. “A lot of girls really have to show interest in colleges in order for colleges to show interest in them. They have to put their name out there. Guys have to do that too, but I think guys have a little easier time getting attention because it seems there are more avenues out there for them,” she said.
Even though Adolph admitted that she didn’t do as much in the recruiting process as she could have, and Sharp stated that the process has probably changed since she has done it, they both offered valuable tips and information.
Adolph played travel volleyball and attended prospect camps in which college coaches came to see possible future players, and fortunately for her, she was one of them. Taking part in these camps and doing what you can to make yourself stand out is a big part of the recruiting process according to Adolph.
No matter what sport or what size college you want to attend, college coaches are looking for athletes that have a little more edge than the player next to them. If you want to have a wider selection of schools to choose from, making a name for yourself becomes a huge part in the recruiting process.
Sometimes girls have to advertise themselves which can take a lot of extra work. Sharp suggested putting together a skills video which highlights an athlete’s abilities. This can include clips of game film or a brief practice session featuring the skills required for the sport.
When struggling to find a school that fits you, Adolph suggested putting academics first, “You get four more years to play the sport you love, but in the end, the most important key is your future career. You need to make sure you choose a school that has the major/majors that you are interested in. College is expensive and academics should be your number one priority, not necessarily just where you want to play.”
Sharp added, “You are recruiting the school and programs just as much as they are recruiting you. Ultimately you are the one who will be there going to classes, practices, playing. You have to be happy with everything about it.”
The most important factor in all of this process is ending up at school you enjoy. Sharp advised going into things with an open mind and not ruling out options before you hear what they are about. Adolph continued urging students to go with their gut feeling because it’s usually right.
Sharp struggled during the recruiting process simply because she didn’t know what she was looking for. A big part of figuring out what you want is taking visits to different schools, meeting the teams and coaches, practicing with the teams if possible, and asking questions.
Each sport is different, but Sharp gave a few basic steps to take:
- Put together a skills video and profile to send to different colleges
- Compete in travel sports and hand out your profile to prospect coaches there
- Take lessons and go to showcases where college coaches are in attendance
-Complete NCAA clearinghouse information forms
- Go on college visits, attend or participate in collegiate practices
- Meet with coaches and be prepared with specific questions about the program
- A website with several helpful tips is http://collegerecruitingcenter.com/
Although there are differences in the steps you would take in the recruiting process depending on the sport, the list above provides a general idea of some things that would need to be done in the process.
Talk to your high school coach about being a reference for you and use websites to help guide your steps along the path to collegiate level sports.
Kristin Conner & Nichole Miller
The unpredictable weather this season has led to several spring sporting event cancellations at Van Buren, but after the first several games and meets, the Black Knights are now officially in in full swing.
Meeting some challenges early in their season, the softball team holds a record of 4-5. With many games to come, the team has high aspirations for the rest of the season.
Senior outfielder Robyn Flick is “definitely expecting to get the BVC title. I think everyone works really well together so I think we will see a lot of success this season.”
Rachel Wymer, junior JV second-baseman and varsity outfielder, agreed with Flick. They are one step closer to accomplishing that goal, as they defeated Vanlue 6-5.
Flick and Wymer mentioned that another season goal is to get further in tournaments than last year and the improvements of two new coaches and more girls participating will help to accomplish these goals.
Flick shares one of the top spots for hitting statistics with freshman Kila Fultz, juniors Nichole Miller and Erin Neall, and freshman Brylie Rampe. Miller and Neall are leading in stolen bases for the team. The JV team is undefeated as they won two games versus Liberty Benton (21-17) and Hopewell Loudon (22-2) standing at 2-0.
The baseball team is off to a strong start with a record of 4-2.
Photo Courtesy Alexis Youngpeter
Based on their record in the BVC, which is 1-0, junior short-stop and pitcher Jameson Jacobs said, “Winning the league is a big goal for us this year and we also want to make a long run in the state tournament.”
Jacobs has a pitching record of 1-1 and junior Schuyler Turner has a record of 2-0. JV baseball’s record currently stands at 1-3.
The girls’ and boys’ track teams’ seasons is underway with girls finishing third place overall in the Carey Relays and second in the Doug Mowrey Invitational, and boys finishing fourth at Carey and fifth at the Mowrey Invite.
Since the girls’ team sent two relay teams and two individuals to state last year, expectations are especially high. Sophomore Mackenzie Edler, stated that one of the teams’ goals this season is to have a better work ethic and to improve as a whole. Edler, throwing and running hurdles, admitted that some talent left with last year’s seniors but it isn’t going to stop the girls’ team from competing and going to state again.
Photo Couresy Amy Hertel
Some of the top finishers at the Carey Relays were long jumpers junior Lauren Wise, senior Madi Endicott, and sophomore Lexi Hassan, who placed first. Hassan and Endicott also teamed up with sophomore Carlee Schmelzer in the triple jump event to take away another first place for the team. Another first place finish went to the sprint medley team consisting of seniors Abby Shroll and Rachell Resnik, junior Lauren Wise, and sophomore Kylie Sturgill.
As for the boys’ track team, they have made great strides in improvement. According to senior Ted Simmons, “In comparison to previous seasons we have grown tremendously this year. This helps build and promote a strong family atmosphere within both our school and team.”
In the discus event at the Carey Relays, juniors Grant Wagner and Cole Martin, and sophomore Zac Lonyo earned the team eight points for a second place finish. Another top statistic for the meet was the second place finish in the mile event for senior Joel Schumacker.
Spring sports are underway and have had an impressive start to their seasons. Success is on the mind and in the future for the Black Knights.
Keep up with spring sports happenings on The Knight Writer’s Sports tab.
The Big 10 has made an effort in the past few years to add new teams to the conference. Before 2012, the Big 10 was host to 12 teams: Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin, and the newest member Nebraska, who officially joined on July 1, 2011 to make it an even 12. The Maryland Terrapins left the ACC and Rutgers Scarlet Knights left the Big East conference in favor of the Big 10 in late November 2012, taking the conference’s total to 14. Maryland and Rutgers will play their first Big 10 game on Nov. 29, the conference’s “Rivalry Weekend.”
While basketball will keep the same 18-game conference schedule, the change will majorly affect football.
Whether or not this will add competition to the already impressive Big 10 league, the additions of these two teams will shake up the conferences. No longer will there be the Legends and Leaders divisions in football: the divisions will be renamed to East and West divisions. The East division will contain Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, and Rutgers. The West division will hold Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, and Wisconsin. Instead of the OSU-Michigan matchup being played in separate divisions, the greatest rivalry in sports will possibly decide the champion of East division for years to come (bigten.org).