Scots football motivated to exceed expectations

Ian Ricoy

Sports Editor 

The NCAC football season is upon us with the Wooster Fighting Scots preparing for a tough conference schedule this year. All eyes are on the trio of conference champs Wittenberg, Denison and Wabash as each school returns a with a plethora of talent. The preseason media poll has the Scots remaining at fifth preceded by DePauw, Denison (1), Wittenberg (3) and Wabash (6) with no straight consensus on a conference favorite. Wooster plays Denison and Wabash at home this year, which bodes well for the team looking to avenge nasty losses. However, the Scots play Wittenberg, Depauw, Wabash and Denison in consecutive games including the first two on the road back to back. If the Scots can do well in these four crucial games and run the rest of the table, the conference championship might finally return to Wooster. 

Last year was a year of foundation building and offensive strides for the Scots. The Scots went 5-5 last year finishing fifth in conference. It to be a routine season for the Scots as Wooster won more than seven games once since 2009. Quarterback Mateo Renteria ’22 threw for 2130 yards last season, fourth best in conference, with the third best completion percentage of 60.4 percent. However, the Scots also fumbled the ball 27 times including during crucial plays against rival Wittenberg last year that ended in a six-point loss. Running back, Antonio Bailey ’19 rushed for 88.1 yards per game for the fouth best record in conference. Defensively, the Scots look to improve from sixth place allowed with 27.4 points per game with most of the defense returning. Overall, the Scots will have nine out of 11 all conference players returning for the season which should strengthen the team, especially on defense. The Scots’ defense is determined to improve upon last year’s performance. 

“We have a chip on our shoulder and a lot to prove,” said captain and defensive back Christian Santos ’20. “We aren’t settling for close games, we want to embarrass every team that has the nerve to align across from us.” Wooster’s defense only lost three seniors from last year, making the transition for the unit easy for younger players to fit into the system. Santos notes in particular Sky Crain ’22 and Dorion Talley ’23 standing out among the defensive underclassmen for showing promise and growth in practice. Wooster was ninth in passing yards allowed last year but Santos maintains that the problems from last year weren’t systemic and can be fixed. “[We] just made some mental mistakes that we had to fix and trusting the coaching this year I can say we’ve done that,” Santos said. 

On offense, the Scots aim for small tweaks to a stellar season. “We’re adding some more short line packages, plugging in some new guys, and leaning less on the run game,” said Renteria. He echoes Santos’ aim to break expectations and lead the Scots to their first conference championship since 2004. Renteria says for him the biggest difference will be coming back with experience so he can focus more on leading the team “Everything clicks faster, the chemistry is better with returning receivers and can focus more on the team,” said Renteria. 2018 All-Conference honorable mention receiver Nick Strausbaugh ’20 returns to be the likely favorite for passes and explosive plays. Despite the great numbers, Wooster’s offense is hungry to avenge key losses against Ohio Wesleyan and arch rival Wittenberg including an 18-66 loss to Denison that stung hard for Renteria. “I’ve never scored less than seven points in any game and that won’t happen again this year,” said Renteria. 

The Scots open the season against Bluffton Sept. 7 at 1:00 p.m. at John Papp Stadium. 

 

 Where the English Premier League falls short

Nick Shereikis

Contributing Writer

Harry Maguire, $99.18 million. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, $62.70 million. Daniel James, $19.38 million.

Though none of these signings are even near icon Paul Paugba’s 2016 transfer fee (roughly $117 million), it is unquestionable that Manchester United splashed some serious cash in this year’s English Premier League (EPL) summer transfer window. While that’s good news for diehard United fans like me — optimistically, after all, it’s indication that our ascendance is imminent — the upward trend in spending is less sanguine for others.

The truth is, for all that Manchester United gets right, they get one thing incredibly wrong: their support staff payroll. United, along with 16 of the 20 current EPL teams, still refuses to pay their entire staff a living wage. Despite the massive amounts of cash shelled out by these clubs on player contracts, stadium renovations and merchandise production, many lower-level employees earn significantly less than needed to sustain a comfortable, “normal” quality of life. 

Third-party employees like cleaners, match-day workers and security are often among the lowest paid. More tragic is the fact that the EPL towers over other soccer leagues in revenue. The EPL took in $638 million in revenue followed by the German Bundesliga ($387 million) and Spanish La Liga ($386 million). 

The moral philosophical argument for a living wage is clear. Every single person, without exception, deserves fair compensation for his or her labor. Fair compensation means enough to sustain a comfortable quality of life (or, in other words, a living wage). Consequently, employers have an ethical obligation to provide a living wage for their employees. It’s a straightforward proof, and one comprised of incontrovertible truths.

To be clear, a living wage is not a minimum wage, but a more accurate calculation of average expenses and cost of living in a particular area. In the United Kingdom, for instance, the national minimum wage is $10.07. The living wage, however, is $11.04 (and $12.94 in London). Though that may seem a minute difference at first glance, for many it’s the difference between a healthy life and a strained one. 

“I struggle to put food on the table for my family and I often have to have cut-price meals,” one cleaner at Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium said in an anonymous interview. “Considering the amount of money in football, too, it would be great to see the club paying all their staff a fair and decent wage.”

Alexis Alejandro Sanchez, one underwhelming and underperforming Manchester United midfielder, earns a colossal $3,000 an hour. In contrast, cleaners at the club average just $10 an hour. In a competitive sports league where finances matter as much as performances on pitch, it shouldn’t be the lowest paid workers bearing the financial burden. It is not only intensely outrageous that such disparity exists within the league but harbinger of serious structural and fundamental problem.

The Living Wage Foundation (LWF) accredits all Everton, Liverpool, Chelsea, and West Ham. Tottenham have also pledged to pay their entire staff a voluntary $11.04 an hour, and are awaiting accreditation by the LWF. Commendable as that is, it’s not enough. 25 percent is a failing grade here at the College of Wooster, and it’s a failing grade for the English Premier League as well.

College welcomes new interim athletic director, Kristyn King

 Angad Singh

Sports Editor

Kristyn King was named the interim athletic director on Aug. 1 for the 2019-2020 school year. She is currently serving in place of Keith Beckett, who is retiring at the end of July after 16 years as Wooster’s director of athletics, physical education and recreation. King will serve during the coming academic year while the College conducts a nationwide search. 

When asked how she has been finding her job so far, King said, “I have been here for the past three weeks and I have spent them mostly learning the culture, not only in our department, but in the College as a whole. I also have been spending some time looking at the processes and procedures of the way we do things.” King continues, “I have learned a lot about what makes Wooster good at what they do and where there are areas to improve upon.” 

How the student athletic body at Wooster is different than the other places she has had the opportunity to be a part of, King stated, “I don’t know about them being different with the small time I have seen them so far, but the one thing I can say that I have seen is how passionate they are about doing what they do. They have a lot pride and our student athletes are proud of the institution, about the facilities, about the campus and about the success of their institution. They came in this year ready to prove themselves. In general, I see there is a lot of pride in this institution. That’s great to see and I think that makes people smile.” When asked what inspired King to be involved in athletics, she said her early childhood mentors were her biggest inspiration. “In a nutshell, the impact athletics had on me as I was growing up, the mentors and the folks that guided me in my success and my career as a student athlete and I wouldn’t have given up that experience for anything. I enjoyed that experience and those mentors enough to realize that this is what I wanted to do. I think athletics are so impactful on people and student athletes that are involved in the program and it helps in so many ways in their growth.” She continues, “I think it’s purposeful work as you get a chance to work with 18 to 23 year olds and help to guide them into finding out what they’re passionate about and working with them on becoming better athletes and better students.” 

King says that coaches are at the best places to become excellent role models for the students and she continued by saying that she has been working with other coaches to become those individuals. 

In the end, she says that it was her own past with sports that gave her the most inspiration. “Long story short, it is purposeful work that I am passionate about and those passions came when I was young,” she said. “My sisters, as I was growing up, it was about their involvement and basically pushing us out of our comfort zones and to get involved in things that we really didn’t like and didn’t know that we would we good at. Looking back, I wanted to give back to education and to sports and that’s why you can say I am here.”

When asked why she chose small town Wooster as her new home, King states, “I’m from Rockford, Illinois which is 60 miles west of Chicago and close to the Wisconsin border. The town has a population of 150,000 people, so it a similar setup to what Wooster has in Ohio.” But her main motivation for joining Wooster was a Wooster alum who was a graduate assistant soccer coach in Rockford. 

“She was a Wooster alum who joined Rockford around the mid to early 2000s and she could not stop talking about how amazing the College was. Therefore, when the opportunity came up, I was motivated for it.” She continues, “When I had conversations with President Bolton, I saw first-hand the outreach the institution has and the reputation it holds in the education community- something you don’t realize when you are at Wooster. But being part of an institution which balances its academics and sports to such a great extent is an amazing opportunity itself.” 

When asked what she hopes to bring to the College with her ample experience as head of sport infrastructure at Rockford, King stated, “It is pretty early to think that I can impact anything so far, and it’s too early to anticipate any changes. Bringing a new yet different perspective is an agenda for me.” She further smiled and stated, “Coming to an entirely new environment in Ohio, I found people to be extremely nice, helpful, passionate and extremely positive about what they do here. My three weeks have been very positive, but I know that I have challenges ahead and I look forward to working with people and building relationships so that all of us are working together. I look at athletics as a puzzle, pieces fit together for a while but after some time you need to shift them to see how they can work differently. But moving those puzzle pieces is something I enjoy thoroughly and look forward to in my time here.” 

Wooster baseball comes out of a great national run

 Ben Blotner

Contributing Writer

The College of Wooster baseball team ended former head coach Tim Pettorini’s illustrious career with a strong 2019 season, capping it off with a deep playoff run that lasted all the way until the Division III Super Regional round before falling short. Including the postseason, the Fighting Scots finished with a 30-15 record in Pettorini’s final year. Despite the success, the team will not be satisfied with any result short of a championship. 

“Making the Super Regional tournament was nice, but our goal is always to win it all, so we are anxious to get this year’s journey started and earn our way back to another World Series,” said new head coach Barry Craddock.

After finishing the regular season at 24-10 — the best record in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) — the team got off to a strong start at the NCAC tournament on May 9 in Chillicothe, Ohio. Wooster opened by defeating Wabash College 10-4 before thrashing Denison University 19-3 later that day. The Scots’ first win against Wabash was led by a balanced offensive attack, as seven different players recorded at least one RBI. Chandler Dippman ’19 knocked in three runs, including two on a long ball, while Jacob Stuursma ’19 also went deep. The offensive onslaught continued against Denison, and even more Scots got in on the fun this time, as 10 different hitters drove in at least one run. Dan Harwood ’20 had three hits and three RBIs, including a home run, and Ben Gbur ’22 knocked in four. Nick Strausbaugh ’20 sparked the team from the leadoff spot with three hits, two walks and three runs scored.

With the pair of convincing wins, the Scots advanced to the championship round of the NCAC tournament the following day, in which they again faced Denison. In the first game of the finals, Wooster took a 3-2 lead into the ninth inning, but the Big Red rallied for three runs to steal a victory. This extended the tournament to one final game, in which Denison jumped out to a 7-2 lead. Wooster fought their way back into the game with three runs in the eighth inning, but the comeback effort fell short, as the score ended at 7-5 and Denison took the tournament.

The Scots, however, would continue their playoff run in the Mideast Regional tournament. After a 2-1 loss to the University of Rochester on May 17, Wooster would tear through the consolation bracket with four consecutive wins. The offense once again caught fire on May 18, starting with a 13-3 beatdown of Otterbein University. This time, it was Stuursma getting the offense going; he went 3-for-4 with 5 RBIs from the leadoff spot, while Garrett Crum ’19 went yard and knocked in three. In the second contest, Wooster’s offense showed even less mercy, getting its revenge on Rochester with a 21-4 massacre. This game was over before it started, as the Scots raked their way to a 5-0 first-inning lead that grew to 11-0 by the fourth and 20-0 by the eighth. Harry Witwer-Dukes ’20 and Gbur drove in four runs a piece, while Gbur and Noah Clement ’19 supplied the long balls. 

Wooster carried the momentum of this Herculean offensive performance into the next day, sweeping a doubleheader from Case Western Reserve University to become regional tournament champions. The Scots jumped out to 7-0 lead with the help of a two-run double by Stuursma and a two-run blast off the bat of Witwer-Dukes. Case Western cut its deficit to 7-4 before Dan Gail ’20’s solo shot made it 8-4 in the eighth. This run would be the difference, as the Scots’ bullpen held on for an 8-7 victory. 

The second win of the day, a decisive 9-3 affair, completed the Scots’ comeback from the losers’ bracket to win the tournament. The offense continued to roll, as Stuursma stayed hot with a two-run blast and Dippman also went deep while Witwer-Dukes contributed three RBIs. Along with his dinger, Dippman went the distance on the mound, allowing just the three runs with one walk and five Ks. Dippman and fellow starting pitcher Evan Faxon ’21 were gutsy performers on the mound throughout the tournament, with each pitcher starting a game on consecutive days. 

“Our team showed a lot of grit coming through the loser’s bracket to win the Mideast Regional tournament, especially having two pitchers [Dippman and Faxon] start two games each over two days,” Craddock said.

In the Super Regional tournament on May 24-25, Wooster’s magic would run out against Heidelberg University, ending the highly successful Pettorini era of baseball at the College. After weeks of outstanding performance, the pitchers and hitters finally ran out of gas, falling by scores of 8-5 and 14-1 as Heidelberg took the Super Regional title. Wooster’s class of 2019 became the first group ever to have an NCAC-best record in baseball for four straight years, and Craddock expressed pride in his players’ efforts and optimism for the upcoming season.

“Winning four straight NCAC Championships … was a tremendous accomplishment,” he said. “I know our senior class of 2020 wants to become the second group in history to win four titles.” 

The Wooster Scot Band welcomes new leadership

Band instructors pictured left to right: Ned Brooks, Joel Graham, Ed Kline and Mario Marini (Photo by Sarah Vandenbergen).

Megan Tuennerman

A&E Editor

As Wooster students, when we think of kilts, many of us immediately think of the marching band. A unique and historical group on campus, the marching band holds many traditions. But it is also moving into a new era. This year the band has three new faculty leaders – Joel Graham as the Director of Bands (this position is in charge of not only the marching band, but the band program as a whole), Ed Kline as the new marching band director and Mario Marini as the new percussion instructor..

Kline comes to the College after 25 years of experience and as a previous fan of the Scot Band. When asked about the traditions at Wooster, Kline was very clear that “the traditions here are, in my opinion, sacred and will not be changed.” In a meeting with the upperclassmen, Kline worked to further understand the traditions and how to ensure that they were kept intact, while also bringing in a new energy to the program – an energy and excitement he promises will be noticeable at the games. 

This year, the band will be playing multiple shows, much like in past years. The first show is a hard rock/heavy metal theme from the 70’s and 80’s with songs such as “Back in Black,” “You Shook Me All Night Long,” “School’s Out,” and “Enter Sandman.” Boyband lovers will enjoy the next show with its pop music of this millennium theme; and we can all maintain an excitement and curiosity about what the last two shows will entail! Marini feels that “audiences witnessing the marching band will be excited by the amount of collaboration with various college performing groups” as well.

All three directors are experienced musicians coming to Wooster with well-rounded backgrounds and knowledge of the field. The Scottish influence that runs through Wooster and the band means that the band’s program is different from most, but a difference that Kline, Marini and Graham are excited to take on. Marini, an Ohio State University for undergrad and Belmont University masters alum, considers himself a “total percussionist,” or someone who can be comfortable in all the many areas of percussion; because of this, the differences that the Scottish influence brings to percussion has been a fun experience for him as he has been able to grow as a percussionist.

Graham was drawn to Wooster because of the care for the program held by our students and faculty. He realizes that what he does is mostly behind the scenes, but all with the ultimate goal of making sure that “the students have something they can be proud of.” Looking ahead to the spring, Graham has exciting plans that every student here at Wooster can be proud of. Besides the annual spring tour in March, Graham has planned a new work commission from award winning composer Paul Cravens. “Wooster has joined a consortium with a handful of schools across the Northeast to get Paul to write this new work,” says Graham, providing our students with a unique opportunity.

As a whole, Kline, Marini and Graham have come to Wooster because of the community here on campus and they aim to not only fill the shoes of their predecessors, but also to give back to this community and add their own personalities and ideas to it. The Wooster band program is special and we are excited to see the ways that these new directors will continue to improve the program.

The two “Bahubaali” epic films are indeed epic

 Elena Morey

A&E Editor

In 2015, director and screenplay writer S.S. Rajamouli worked with writer Vijayendra Prasad to create one of the most popular Hindi films of its era. “Bahubaali: The Beginning” swept across the main theatres of India, and even to a small Western theatre in Fairfax, Va. There, I saw the film on a whim. I had nothing better to do that day and the poster looked fascinating. As a Hindu, I occasionally see Hindi films and try and keep up with the latest Bollywood trends. Little did I know that this was the beginning of a two-film saga of epic proportions.

In the first few seconds of the first film, I was hooked. The story is very complex and spans more than one lifespan. The first follows Amahendra Baahubali (Prabhas) who lives in a small village under a vast set of waterfalls and cliffs. Baahubali dreams of climbing the cliffs in search of a beautiful woman he sees there, Avanthika (Tamannaah Bhatia). He is unaware of his true identity and abilities. Then the film goes back in time to the character Shivudu (Prabhas) who is the younger prince to a proud kingdom. His mother, Shivagami (Ramya Krishnan) is perplexed about who will take the throne, for her eldest son Bhallaladeva (Rana Daggubati) is not pure of heart or shows the making of a good king. He tricks his younger brother and steals his one true love Devasena (Anushka Shetty) as well as slaughters his own countrymen to try and win the crown on the battlefield. To ensure the crown, he plots to have his younger and beloved brother killed.

In “Bahubaali: The Conclusion,” the second film, which came out in 2017, the viewer catches up with the powerfully dynamic characters as the journey continues with the princes. However, the two films come full circle as Baahubali learns of his identity as well as comes face to face with his uncle, Bhallaladeva.

The epic is about five hours long when both films are watched back-to-back. The soundtrack is otherworldly and allows the viewer to be transported into the film entirely. Two years later, I still enjoy listening to the soundtrack, and with strong Hindu overtones as well as religious imagery, the film is beautiful. The beliefs do not overwhelm the viewer, but religious context does create great depth within the film itself. Perhaps the color of Devasena’s sari reflects the power of Durga and Shivudu’s archery reflects the might of Rama. Even the animals featured reflect more about each scene as well as the characters in them.

Earning its spot in the Guinness Book of World Records, the epic of Bahubaali definitely deserves it. It was the most expensive CGI film ever made in 2015, and as a result the scenery created is breathtaking. At some moments, the viewer must grant the film some creative license, but even the combat is very realistic and terrifying. But, what really makes this epic powerful is the characters. Their unique personalities echo a lot of archetypes as well as transforming them into more dynamic individuals that can change or break out of their destinies. Some characters are cliché, but the passion in the epic itself creates a perfect film to watch if you are after action, romance, heroism and some great music that you will be humming long after the film is over. Both Bahubaali films can be found on Netflix and Amazon Prime.