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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cardinal Couple Thursday


(Cardinal Couple's Jeff McAdams brings us his report on the CARDINAL CARAVAN activities Thursday. Last seen, he was in one of the inflatable bouncies...coaching Maggie Ruckenbrod on her pickoff throws while Katie Keller and Katie George were making sno-cones for the UofL catcher to throw at Paulie)


Cardinal Caravan Rolled Through Captain's Quarters

Today is the last day for the Cardinal Caravan, with a 6pm stop in Shelbyville at the Fairgrounds Pavilion.

I hadn't been able to attend a Cardinal Caravan event before Tuesday at Captain's Quarters, and I'm glad I finally got the chance to make it to one of the stops this year.  Many of the UofL sports teams were represented with coaches and student-athletes, and more than a few with trophies.

Many of the Cardinal Couple favorites were on-hand.  Party-Crasher-in-Chief Jeff Walz was there, and by my perhaps-biased judgement, drew a larger round of applause than Rick Pitino did.  Surprised at having a mic stuck in their faces and being asked to say a few words were Bria Smith and Nita Slaughter, but both presented themselves well, thanked the crowds for the support at the basketball games - a familiar, but no-doubt heartfelt, refrain - and then strolled off to mix and mingle with the crowd.

Coach Pearsall came up and introduced 2nd team All-American 2nd baseman Katie Keller, and don't-try-to-steal-second-on Maggie Ruckenbrod.  I haven't been shy in pointing out Ruckenbrod's amazing job of picking off base-runners at second, both lead-offs and attempted steals, and apparently word is finally getting out.  In addition to having an amazing record of picking off runners, Ruckenbrod also had the fewest number of runners attempt to steal second on her in the country.  Quite a tandem with Maggie firing to Katie at 2nd.

Next up was Todd Sharp, head of the spirit squads at UofL, and he dropped a tidbit of news that I hadn't yet heard.  Apparently the NCAA is now considering "Stunt" an "emerging sport".  In NCAA terms, that is a sport that has developed in a way that can be competed with a formalized rule structure and a governing body, and has 20 or more varsity teams.  Stunt's governing body is USA Cheer and incorporates aspects, techniques, and skillsets of cheerleading.  To anyone that knows much about the spirit squads at UofL, this will come as no surprise...UofL is competing in the sport, and also unsurprisingly, is doing extremely in, has won all three National Championships contested thus far.  Looks like we may officially have another women's sport to cover here at the Cardinal Couple in a couple of years.

Katie George and Emily Juhl made an appearance for Volleyball.  I thought for a moment that Katie
George, who was also this year's in-game host for the baseball team, and Sean Moth were about to fight it out for control of the mic.  Both Katie and Emily spoke about how wonderful it was to play in front of large crowds at the KFC Yum! Center.  Emily mentioned that they were really worried about playing in such a large facility, and whether the crowd noise would get lost in such a large expanse.  It was a pleasant surprise to the team to see and hear how loud the Louisville crowd got in support.

Kellie Young and Monica Negron made an appearance for Lacrosse.  Field Hockey was represented, as was women's soccer.  Alas, I can't tell you much about what they shared as I took the opportunity to stroll over to the side and strike up a conversation with Katie George, Katie Keller, Maggie Ruckenbrod, and Emily Juhl.

I was looking for an opportunity to get a picture with three members of my UofL All-Sport All-Rod team, with Maggie Ruckenbrod, Emily Juhl, and Kevin Ware all being in attendance, but alas, the opportunity never presented itself.

Some tidbits from the conversation:
  • Kevin Ware and Emily Juhl have talked about the experience of having titanium rods in their leg, and Emily was able to reassure Kevin that she was able to jump and move on it with no real ill effects.
  • 3 of the 5 incoming volleyball players are on campus at this point.  Javoni Faucette started classes in January. Sydney Cooper arrived on campus this week, along with the surprise transfer arrival of Randi Ewing, a six foot middle hitter/blocker from Fordham.  The other two freshmen, Brook Betts, and Maya McClendon are still playing club ball and will arrive on campus in July.
Ewing is a fairly common name, so I will go ahead point out that Randi is indeed the daughter of NBA and Olympic basketball star Patrick Ewing.

All in all, a very pleasant evening on the river, the weather was perfect, the conversation fun, and it seems as if everyone had a great time.

Tennis to Compete in 2014 ITA National Indoor Championships

The International Tennis Association has announced that UofL's women's tennis team has been invited to compete in the 2014 National Indoor Championships.  UofL will open play against one of the elite tennis teams in the University of Florida.  After that will be matches again either Missouri or Harvard.  The first two rounds of matches will be January 25th and 26th in Gainesville, FL.  The winner of that bracket advances on to the Sweet 16 at the Championship event in Charlottesville, VA.

There are no automatic qualifications for this tournament, so this is a chance to play against the top 64 teams in the country.

Quite an honor for the UofL Women's Tennis team.

-Jeff McAdams


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