STEUBENVILLE - As it has for the last four years, Homecoming weekend at Franciscan University of Steubenville kicked off Saturday morning with the annual Kelly Roggensack Memorial 5K Run/3K Walk. Despite a less than stellar weather report for the morning, the rains held off and the event was once again a huge success.
Don Bennette, who organized this year's event, said that if it was not for the TOR Sisters, the event might have turned out a little differently.
"In light of the TOR Sisters' prayers, the weather was great and the Sisters' prayers were a real blessing," Bennette said. "We were very thankful for that."
HOMECOMING?EVENT — Participants begin the annual Kelly Roggensack Memorial 5K Run/3K Walk during Homecoming weekend at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
About 200 people had preregistered for the race and Bennette said that they were still trying to get a tally of how many people registered upon arrival.
Being part of Homecoming weekend, there were a number of Franciscan alumni on campus for the event, both former cross country runners and otherwise.
"This event has become a great way to incorporate all of our alumni," FUS cross country head coach Dan Kuebler said, "allowing former runners to see everyone again and run together again, and also just alumni of the university in general.
This year's event had the most participants in its short history, and for the first time had a kids 1K "Fun Run."
"Everything went much smoother than it has in year's past," Kuebler said. "Don Bennette has done an excellent job (organizing the event). The kid's race before hand really made it more family-friendly, and they still did a great job making sure that the race featured Kelly and kept her spirit alive."
Kuebler, Bennette, and the rest of the organizational team got plenty of help from many volunteers, including current FUS cross country runners. Kuebler noted how great it was to see members of his team volunteering their time to help the spirit of Roggensack live on.
"A lot of them gave a lot of their time and got up really early on a very cold morning to make this event successful," Kuebler said. "It gives continuity from year to year, and it's a really nice event for (current and former cross country runners) to be a part of. A lot of the runners never met Kelly, but they get to hear about her and her spirit lives on through them as they get the opportunity to help out with this event."
Bennette said that although the number of participants has grown every year, the number of participants does not matter.
"It is a memorial race for Kelly," Bennette said. "It has grown every year, so something has happened, but that is not the purpose."
When asked if he thought the event would continue to get bigger, Bennette had a simple answer: "That is up to the Lord."
Women's volleyball wins
The Lady Barons beat Chatham University Cougars in four games Saturday as they hosted their Dig Pink breast cancer awareness event. Along with earning their eighth win of the season, the event earned over $500 that will be split between the Side-Out Foundation and the T.E.A.R Fund.
Amy O'Keefe led the way with 40 assists.
"We're flipping our offense a little," FUS head coach Kelly Herrmann said. "Even so, today was a great day offensively and Amy was a big part of that."
Anna Cain had 16 kills, two assists, and two solo blocks.
"Anna had a real strong performance," noted Herrmann. "This is the one weekend that her family comes every year. She loves playing in front of her family."
Christina Lawrence had 12 kills and Dani Link nine. Sam Kelly and Lawrence each had 17 digs and Maria Prezzia had 10 digs.
"We can be pretty effective offensively, but defense is the strength of our team," said Herrmann.
Two-time breast cancer survivor Marlene Nese was the honorary coach of the Lady Barons during the game. Nese was proud of the Lady Barons winning performance, but also stressed how important the Dig Pink event is.
She reiterated the importance of awareness, but hoped that Franciscan's Dig Pink would help raise knowledge on prevention.
"You want the awareness; you want to get the word out about breast cancer. But," Nese said, "prevention [awareness] is how you create survivors," said Nese. "You have to catch the cancer early, if you can catch it in stage one, it is easier to cure."
Nese has a special love for FUS because it is where she met her husband John Nese ('60), who played basketball for legendary FUS basketball coach Henry "Hank" Kuzma from 1956-1960.
She talked about the relief that programs such as Dig Pink can bring to anyone struggling with breast cancer. Not only is cancer physically draining, but it also wears on the mind and soul. Programs such as these are designed to help relieve victims of the uneasiness that cancer can bring.
"It's a scary feeling because you don't know what the outcome is going to be," Nese said.
Faith played an important role in Nese's what made her victorious in her two different stints with breast cancer.
"You have to have faith in God that he is going to get you through, and no matter what, you need to smile and have a positive attitude," Nese said.
The two-time survivor tries to give back to future survivors by doing volunteer work at the Teramana Cancer Center and she also belongs to a support group to help women who have survived breast cancer.
The Lady Barons host Mt. Aloysuis College at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Rugby earns victory
The Barons rugby team earned a 50-14 home win over Fairmont State University.
"It was definitely a forwards-orientated game," said rugby assistant coach Chris Courtnell. "Fairmont State has always had a big, physical team and we went into this game knowing it was going to be a grueling match. Our forwards stepped it up and matched their big hits with even bigger hits of our own. It took the wind out of their sails.
"Christopherson Cortes (Man of the Match) with his energy and his big tackles, running the ball and getting around the field - his energy was great to watch. It was the energy from him and the captains that got everyone fired up. Everyone was playing for everyone else, and that is what Franciscan rugby has always been about."
Cortes had two tries. Also tallying two scores were Adam Smyth and Eric Paskie. Rounding out the offense was James Kueber and Anthony Tatasciore each with one try.
Courtnell specifically mentioned the captains and how important their leadership and charisma was to a successful day on the pitch.
"The captains really stepped up and led the team from the front," Courtnell said. "Adam Smyth, Pat McClelland, and John Rall really kept the guys fired up."
There is an old rugby saying, according to Courtnell, which is: "the forwards decide who wins the game and the backs decide by how much." He said this was true in the match as both forwards and backs showed focus and determination.
"We dominated the scrums, we won our lineouts, when the ball was on the ground we rucked pretty efficiently, and that gave our backs plenty of space to do what they do," Courtnell said.
The Barons (3-1) play their final fall regular season game when they visit Slippery Rock University Saturday.
Men's soccer loses
HAMBURG, NY - The Barons dropped a 7-0 decision at Hilbert College Saturday.
"The first thirty minutes was all them," FUS head coach Ward Rogers said. "They pressured us and we turned the ball over, every turnover resulting in a goal."
FUS played much better in the second half.
"We started getting to the ball faster, our defenders marked their men closer, and we were able to hold the ball longer, which stopped their possession advantage," Rogers said. "I think what you need to say after this game is that it could have been a real psychological problem. When you're down six goals after only thirty minutes the game can really get out of hand, but our boys really pulled it together and only let one goal in the rest of the way. That's a testament to them, because it says they were able to pull it together and really play hard."
As the team looks forward to their next game Rogers said they will need to find a balance between defensive positioning and offensive attack.
The Barons will host La Roche College at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Women get big win
HAMBURG, N.Y.- The FUS women's soccer team won its first Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference win of the season with a 5-1 win at Hilbert College Saturday.
"It was a really outstanding game from back to front as these girls really played well today and they definitely rose to the occasion," FUS head coach Johann Marin said.
Julia Cocozza, who recently returned to play from an injury, acquired her first goal of the season. Katie Roemer scored twice and Jordan Byrley and Calene Dougherty both added one.
"These are all players who have found themselves in goal scoring positions on countless occasions and have now managed to reap the rewards of their hard work," Marin said. "We were very effective as a team Hilbert had no real chances to break us down. We dominated the game with possession and we were able to just get into scoring position and finish."
Goalkeeper and captain Lauren Koath had a strong day in goal.
"Today the offense finished on our chances and our defense continued to play well," Marin said. "My offense took the pressure off of my defense by scoring goals."
The Lady Barons host LaRoche College at 2 p.m. Tuesday.