As the Ohio days grow colder heading into winter, the swimming and diving and basketball teams are preparing to begin their playing seasons.
Swimming and Diving
Recently capturing two victories out of three swimming meets for the young season, the men’s swimming team has continued on the successful foundation that they established last winter.
First year head coach Devin Murphy has transitioned in smoothly and can already see the potential for this year’s team.
“We would like to move up in conference placement on the men and women’s side,” Murphy said. “I really see that happening on the men’s side, but it will be difficult for the women due to Marta’s injury.”
Sophomore swimmer Marta Jankowska, the lead swimmer for the women’s team, suffered a season-ending injury that will force teammates to step up to fill her void.
“I expect those three to qualify for nationals,” Murphy said.
The Pioneers look to finish near the top of the conference on both sides.
“I think we are going to be right in the middle of it all,” Murphy said. “We might not be at the very top, but we are definitely nowhere near the bottom of the competition.”
Many athletes take an off-season, but as for the swimming team, swimming year round is strongly recommended to stay on top.
“Swimming is one of those unforgiving sports,” Murphy said. “If you take off a couple of weeks, you completely fall out of shape.”
Although staying in the pool is essential for training, the Pioneers also headed towards the weight room to add an edge against competition.
“We worked really hard in the weight room and it’s going to pay off big time when it comes time to rest for conference,” Murphy said.
[pullquote]“We know what to expect this year and we know we just have to bring it every night,” senior guard Che Richardson said. “If we do that then Malone will have another GLIAC champ.”[/pullquote]
Head coach Tim Walker said, “We got a lot of guys coming back, so we have some pretty high expectations going into the year.”
“Our guys had a really good summer and worked really hard,” Walker said. “Isiah rehabbed and got healthy which is a big deal coming off his injury.”
Walker also commented on how being eligible this year changed the team’s mindset.
“It brings more meaning to some of these conference games,” Walker said. “There’s a little extra added excitement to what we are doing here.”
“Expectations are always tricky, but we like to expect to win,” head coach Jason Mishler said. “We expect to win and compete as hard as we can.”
The Pioneers have key returners who performed well last season and look to continue their success.
Mishler points to his bench and role players to be an integral part of the team.
“We got a lot of kids that are going to have opportunities,” Mishler said. “I feel like that is the strength of our team.”
Penn also has high hopes for growth this season.
“In the preseason we focused on being competitors and just another team in the GLIAC,” Penn said. “Not only getting stronger physically, but mentally as well.”
Along with working hard over the off-season, the Pioneers took part in some team bonding trips that they hope will contribute to the season’s success.
“We have gotten together as a team a number of times,” Mishler said. “Over fall break we all went down to Ho;mes County and basically had like a mini-camp with two-a-days and did some fun stuff together.”
The GLIAC is a meritable league in NCAA Division II, but the Pioneers know that when a new season comes along, it is a clean slate to push ahead.
“Every team starts off 0-0,” Penn said. “The way we compete in practice and games will determine our team’s success.”