Forty-six truckloads of black gumbo clay were added to the quarter-mile oval this spring as part of ambitious facility-wide improvements. “It was excellent that we got the IMCA sanction,” said Kiraly. “We’re bringing the fun back to racing at this track. We saw four-wide racing at our last show and the drivers had a blast. We had 63 cars on our first night, 68 cars on our second and 72 on our third.” “Everything has been real positive,” he concluded. “We’ve gotten a lot of support from a lot of people.” “We have a lot of IMCA drivers who live in this area,” he added, “and we’re going to work very hard at getting the drivers who stopped racing here to come back.” The former driver and industry veteran Dennis Moore now co-promote The New Raceway Park in Jefferson S.D. “I’d raced for 15 years, in everything from a hobby stock to a modified. I hadn’t thought about promoting until some drivers asked me if I’d be interested,” Kiraly said. “One thing led to another before there was an offer I couldn’t refuse.” Kiraly and Moore also caught up on maintenance on the grandstand side of the track, notably with the concession area and restrooms. JEFFERSON, S.D. – An offer he couldn’t say no to got Sioux City businessman Steve Kiraly back into motorsports. Points earned at The New Raceway Park figure toward the Side Biter Chassis North Central Region for Modifieds, EQ Cylinder Heads Northern Region for Stock Cars and Big Daddy Race Cars Northern Region for Hobby Stocks. The former Interstate Speedway crowned its first IMCA champion in 1986; what later became Raceway Park was sanctioned for eight seasons, most recently last year. With IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars, IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks, Karl Kustoms Northern SportMods and Mach-1 Sport Compacts on regular weekly programs, they’ve seen car counts go up at every Sunday show since opening night on May 26.
Twenty years ago, on April 29, riots broke out in the city of Los Angeles not far from campus. The 1992 Los Angeles riots carried on for six days after the acquittal of four Los Angeles Police Department officers who were videotaped beating a man after a high-speed chase. The ruling incited a citywide violent protest declaring justice had not been served.Businesses were looted, homes burned down and 53 lives were taken as a result of the racial tension and uprising. The National Guard, U.S. Army and Marines were called into the city to help quell the riots and protect the city.Erna Smith, a professor of journalism who conducted a study on the media coverage of the L.A. riots, said she found animosity between races boiling before the beating of Rodney King.“Prior to the not-guilty verdicts in the Rodney King beatings, there had been several high-profile cases that exacerbated racial tensions, including the shooting of a black teenage girl by a Korean shop keeper who was sentenced to probation,” Smith said.The L.A. riots, however, crossed racial boundaries as victims and businesses of all races were targeted. Damages amounted to nearly $1 billion, according to Time magazine.Joseph Saltzman, a professor of journalism, said USC handled the immediate danger in the South Central area with concern to the students.“The university reacted very well in calming fears, adding more security and holding various meetings with students and faculty so everyone had the best possible, latest information,” Saltzman said. “Panic and fear usually [come] from the unknown, so by getting information out quickly, it helped calm everyone down.”Bryce Nelson, a professor of journalism, said students took part in the aftermath of the riot by helping with the cleanup.“USC always hoped to and worked to build a stronger relationship with the neighborhood,” Nelson said. “It was strong before that, but it played an increasing role after the riot.”Though USC’s academic standing and admissions were expected to be affected by the L.A. riots, Nelson said there was no damage to the school’s reputation.With the 20th anniversary of the riots approaching, Smith said it is important to realize the severity of racial issues in Los Angeles.“Unfortunately, race, in particular institutional racism, still matters a lot in this county,” Smith said. “And it will continue to matter if the only time we talk about it is when there’s riots.”
PITTSBURGH (AP)—Leonard Pope smiled, shook his head and rolled his eyes incredulously. Then he politely answered the question.Pope was the only unrestricted free agent the Steelers signed in the offseason, and questions for the 6-foot-8 tight end keep coming back again and again to one subject. Not the 102 receptions or nine touchdowns he has totaled in his six-year NFL career, and not his appearance in the 2009 Super Bowl. Not even his nickname, “Champ”—or the fact he saved a 6-year-old boy from drowning in a swimming pool last summer.All anyone wants to talk to Pope about is his familiarity with Todd Haley’s offense. Haley was hired in February as the Steelers first new offensive coordinator in five years. No surprise, Pope arrived in Pittsburgh weeks later.Wherever Haley has been the past six years—from Arizona to Kansas City and now Pittsburgh—he’s taken Pope with him.With the Steelers feverishly studying to master the new offense, Pope is a man everybody wants to speak with about it.“Every day—all day, every day,” Pope said with a chuckle. “And I give the same answer: I’m here learning the new playbook just like the rest of the players are. So my story ain’t gonna change.”A story Pope is much more eager to tell is how he potentially saved the life of the young child of a friend at a party in his hometown of Americus, Ga., last June.The only person at the party who knew how to swim, a fully-clothed Pope jumped into the pool, grabbed the boy, Bryson Moore, by the waist and pulled him out of the water to safety.“It was an act born out of the fact of me being a father and having kids,” said Pope, who recently threw a pizza party for the boy’s class. “Like I told people, I would want someone doing the same for my child.”That story has made its way among his new teammates.“I guess you can check the ‘Performs Under Pressure’ box for that,” fellow tight end Heath Miller said.Providing depth to Pittsburgh’s tight end corps isn’t a life-or-death issue. But with David Johnson having been moved to fullback and Weslye Saunders suspended for the season’s first four games due to a violation of the NFL’s performance-enhancing drugs policy, the 272-pound Pope will likely see plenty of reps this season for the Steelers.“He’s a big boy,” tackle Marcus Gilbert said. “He’s aggressive, he’s bright-eyed, he just loves to come in and stick his hand in the pile and try to help us win.”A third-round pick by the Cardinals in 2006, Pope clearly has the size to help in the blocking game—a trait the Steelers have sought in their tight ends in recent years.He also has shown an ability to be a weapon in the passing game, evidenced by the five touchdown receptions he had during his second year with Arizona or the career-high 24 catches he had last season with Kansas City.“I try to tell people, ‘Please don’t sleep on me. When you sleep on me, that’s when I get you,’” Pope said. “You think I’m going to block all day, then I’ll run a route past you. You think I’m going to catch all day, I’ll block.”Pope said his grandfathers and father used to argue about who deserves credit for bestowing the nickname “Champ,” given to him as an overly active and rambunctious boy.Pope even dubbed his foundation aimed at disadvantaged families that emphasizes physical fitness, C.H.A.M.P. (Creating Hope And Making Progress).But one thing Pope is not yet is a Super Bowl champ. He was with the Cardinals when they lost to Pittsburgh in the 2009 Super Bowl.“I want to be on the other side to not have that feeling again,” Pope said.Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin cited the hunger Pope has after being “on the wrong side of the confetti” that February night in Tampa three years ago. Tomlin mentioned that when asked about Pope before he mentioned the player’s history with Haley.That’s the way Pope would prefer it. Contrary to conventional opinion, Pope did not sign with the Steelers just because of Haley.“I came here because I had a job opportunity,” he said.Haley was the offensive coordinator in Arizona for Pope’s final two years there, including the NFC championship season. When Haley was hired as head coach of the Chiefs, Pope was signed soon thereafter.Haley was fired by Kansas City late last season, and the Steelers hired him to replace Bruce Arians less than three months later. Pope was signed in April.Haley’s fiery sideline demeanor, combined with the fact the affable Arians had a warm relationship with most of his players, have led to much discussion in Pittsburgh about Haley and the offense.Pope might not be willing to speak too much on Haley’s Xs and Os, but he will endorse Haley the person.“I love Todd,” Pope said. “He’s a great coach, and hopefully the guys are starting to see that right now.“I know a lot of people see the negative picture of him yelling on the sidelines and all that kind of stuff, but he’s a real humble person and has a great passion for what he does.”NOTES: Linebackers coach Keith Butler said that reserve LB Jason Worilds had offseason wrist surgery and that Pro Bowl LB James Harrison has not been practicing with the team because of knee inflammation. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wife Ashley are expecting a son later this year. Roethlisberger released the news on his official website. PROVIDING DEPTH AT TIGHT END—Pittsburgh Steelers Leonard Pope (45) stands with Heath Miller and the other tight ends during a break at practice. Pope signed with the Steelers as a free agent during the offseason, reuniting with offensive coordinator Todd Haley after playing for him in Arizona and Kansas City. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
0Shares0000Midfielder Paul Pogba was one of two France players targeted by racist chants during a 3-1 friendly win over World Cup hosts Russia © AFP/File / FRANCK FIFEMOSCOW, Russian Federation, Mar 29 – A new racism scandal has rocked Russian football in the run-up to the World Cup — and anxious Moscow authorities are taking it seriously.The idea of fans targeting black players with monkey chants is haunting Russian football chiefs heading into the June 14 to July 15 celebration of the ‘beautiful game’. But racism reared its ugly head on Tuesday when French players Ousmane Dembele and Paul Pogba were targeted during France’s 3-1 friendly victory over Russia in Saint Petersburg.An AFP photographer heard imitation ape noises aimed at Barcelona forward Dembele, while internet users reported similar abuse from sections of the 50,000 crowd targeting Manchester United’s star Pogba.Following calls from French sports minister Laura Flessel for “European and international” action, football’s ruling body FIFA is now investigating.Although the Russian Football Union’s initial response was sceptical — its security council chief said his monitors “did not hear or record anything of the kind” — anti-discrimination inspector Alexei Smertin later said a RFU probe was already underway.The Russian parliament’s deputy speaker, Igor Lebedev — a sports fanatic who sits on the RFU’s executive committee — addressed racist abuse the way few football officials had done before.“I want to call on fans to stop this,” he told the Championat sports news site.“This is not just a problem with our fans’ perception of African American and black players.“The problem is elsewhere: none of this bad behaviour will stop until we start punishing it.”Russia’s history of all forms of discrimination stretches back to its Soviet era and is rarely tackled head on.Critics say it is only being fomented by a mix of nationalist and socially conservative Kremlin ideology that at times borders on xenophobia.Lebedev further appealed to Russians’ sense of patriotism and pride in “our nation’s prestige”.“Do we want to embarrass the country?” he asked.– ‘Ultras’ and bananas –Racism is especially closely associated with football because of the right-wing hooligans and club “ultras” attracted to the game.The scourge swept across Europe and was especially severe in countries such as England and Italy between the 1970s and 1990s.This hatred spilled onto Russian football stadiums in the last two decades as clubs began signing African and Latin American players.One of the starkest episodes saw Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos walk off the pitch in disgust after a banana was thrown his way in 2011.“I hope that the Russian football authorities get to grips with this,” he said at the time.Fellow Brazilian Hulk complained after another incident in 2015 that “nobody is paying attention to this problem, neither the referees nor the RFU.”The Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) anti-discrimination network reported 89 racist and far-right incidents at Russian games in the 2016/17 season.But for French former World Cup winner Lilian Thuram, nothing concrete is being done to resolve the problem: “Is there any real will on the part of FIFA, the Russian federation or society in general to address this issue ?“If this happens during the World Cup, will the referee stop the game? I doubt it.“We will only see how serious FIFA are if they decide to stop a game.”Anti-discrimination officer Smertin has been one of the sport’s most vocal proponents of change.The former Spartak and Chelsea midfielder visits schools and has organised a Moscow State University course for combating discrimination in football.Smertin now wants to introduce similar studies nationwide.“These lessons won’t just be about football but about dialogue between different people,” he wrote in the Moscow Times.“And football, in my opinion, is a great platform for dialogue.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
Ageno managed a double double in the win over JKL Lady Dolphins on Wednesday. (PHOTOS/FUBA)FUBA National Basketball League UCU Lady Canons 69-58 JKL Lady DolphinsMTN Arena, LugogoWednesday, 04-12-2019LUGOGO – Sarah Ageno was the star of the show as UCU Lady Canons leveled their FUBA National Basketball League (NBL) final series with JKL Lady Dolphins at 2-2 on Wednesday.The Power Foward was immense at both ends of the court as she managed a double double of 12 points and 17 rebounds on the day.While shooting 5-11 from the field, Ageno picked 14 of her 17 boards off her own rim to ensure UCU wins the contest 69-58 in the end.It was a game in which UCU had to be at their absolute best and they indeed were as the Mukono based side won all but one of the four quarters.Nicholas Natuhereza’s side were fast out of the blocks and found themselves 5:0 up inside the opening four minutes.By the end of the first quarter, they deservedly led 19-13.They continued their dominance in the second, taking it 19-15 to ensure they led by 10 points going into half time (38-28).Action between UCU Lady Canons and JKL Lady Dolphins in the FUBA NBL on Wednesday.However, JKL would try to mount a come-back as they took the third 17-14 to ensure it was just a 7-point game going into the final 10 minutes.Despite JKL cutting the lead to just five points at some stage, UCU took the fourth quarter 17-13 to ensure they seal an 11 point victory.Apart from Ageno, Zainah Lokwameri also registered a double double as she scored a team-high 15 points and picked 10 boards of the bench.Rose Akon (14) and Rohda Nagiita (11) were the other managed double figures in terms of scoring for UCU.For JKL, they had only two players reach double figures in terms of scoring with substitute Stella Ayella managing 15 while Hope Akello scored 10.The series are currently level after both sides winning two of the first four games.Game five will take place at the same venue on Friday.The other series (Men) has City Oilers lead UCU Canons 2-1.Comments Tags: FUBA NBL 2019JKL Lady DolphinesSarah AgenoStella AyellaUCU Lady CanonsZainah Lokwameri
Brand South Africa welcomes the newly appointed Board of Trustees for the organisation as appointed by His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa. In terms of the Trust Deed, the Board is appointed for a period of three years, effective from 13 November 2019.These appointments come after a call for nominations for members to serve on the Board as advertised in August 2019.Brand South Africa is a Schedule 3A public entity and a Trust established in terms of the Trust Property Control Act, No. 57 of 1988 to develop and implement proactive and coordinated marketing, communication and reputation management strategies for South Africa.On Monday 18 November, Minister in the Presidency, Mr Jackson Mthembu and Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Ms Thembi Siweya welcomed the Trustees. Today the Board of Trustees met with employees and engaged with Brand South Afrifca’s Executive Management Team.“We are truly honoured to have such a diverse and well-versed Board who will bring the required expertise to Brand South Africa, and we look forward to working collaboratively with them. This journey is one that will ensure that the mandate set out for Brand South Africa is fulfilled, in line with President Ramaphosa’s vision of rebuilding South Africa for a prosperous future. This includes reviving the image and identity of South Africa to position the Nation Brand as not only the destination of choice for investment, but also as a global competitor”, said Brand South Africa’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Ms Thulisile Manzini.The newly appointed Trustees were selected for their business acumen and expertise in the areas of marketing, communications, tourism, investment promotion, research development, law, risk management, finance, corporate governance, leadership, community development, business management, academics and reputation management.The newly appointed Trustees are:Ms Thandi Tobias – Chairperson of the BoardDr Keabetswe Modimoeng – Deputy ChairpersonMs Loretta Jacobus;Professor Ylva Rodny-Gumede;Ms Rachel Kalidass;Mr Mlungisi Johnson;Mr Bushang Modipane;Mr Johannes Sebulela;Ms Tebogo Mamorobela;Ms Sisanda Bukeka Nkoala;Mr Andrew Madella.Three Board Trustees will be returning for another term.Ms Muditambi Ravele;Dr Stavros Nicolaou;Mr Geoff Rothschild“I am humbled to have been called forward to take up this mammoth task to serve our country towards its aspired glory that showcases our global competitiveness. We also would like the nation to stand behind this brand called South Africa and support the narrative of a country that inspires new ways. This Board brings with it diverse expertise that will certainly cultivate the organisations’ strategic positioning, whilst ensuring we also contribute to the national key priorities for our country”, said Ms Thandi Tobias – Chairperson of the Board.Ms Tobias matriculated at Phiritona Secondary school and obtained an advanced diploma in Economic Policy from the University of the Western Cape. She also attained a Certificate in Economics and Public Finance from UNISA, as well as a Certificate in Leadership Communication from Rhodes University. Her career spans from being a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, responsible for international trade, and Deputy Director Youth Development (Department of Tourism Economic and Environmental Affairs) DTEEA and various Portfolio Committees to mention but a few.Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng – the Deputy Chairperson, holds an MBA and PhD (Management Sciences) degrees. He is also a Harvard University Senior Executive Fellow and completed an Executive Development Programme from Wharton University and an Africa Director Programme at Stellenbosch University. He holds a National Diploma in Public Relations Management from the Tshwane University of Technology and a Certificate in Applied Project Management from Milpark Business School.Notes to the EditorAbout Brand South AfricaBrand South Africa is the official marketing agency of South Africa, with a mandate to build the country’s brand reputation, in order to improve its global competitiveness. Its aim is also to build pride and patriotism among South Africans, in order to contribute to social cohesion and nation brand ambassadorship.About Play Your PartPlay Your Part is a nationwide programme created to inspire, empower and celebrate active citizenship in South Africa. It aims to lift the spirit of our nation by inspiring all South Africans to contribute to positive change, become involved and start doing. A nation of people who care deeply for one another and the environment in which they live is good for everyone.Play Your Part is aimed at all South Africans – from corporates and individuals, NGOs and government, churches and schools, from the young to the not-so-young. It aims to encourage South Africans to use some of their time, money, skills or goods to contribute to a better future for all.For enquiries or interview requests contact Ntombi Ntanzi [email protected] or 064 890 6819
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Alfalfa growers will need to make a decision if they should take another cutting of alfalfa, and if so, when. The recommendation in the newly revised 15th edition of the Ohio Agronomy Guide is to complete the last regular harvest of alfalfa by Sept. 7 in northern Ohio, Sept. 12 in central Ohio and by Sept. 15 in southern Ohio. At this point, undoubtedly some alfalfa growers are saying that they have taken a last cutting at the end of September or early October without any harm to the stand. True though that be, the fact is that the last or fall harvest of alfalfa is a question of risk management. Sticking to the Ohio Agronomy Guide recommendations provides the least risk of an alfalfa stand suffering damage due to low root reserves. Later fall cutting dates increase the risk for stand damage.All perennial forage plants including alfalfa use the fall period to build up carbohydrate reserves that keep the plant alive over the winter, provide sugars to keep the plant from freezing, and provide the energy needed to start spring growth. Photosynthesis is the process that produces the needed carbohydrate reserves. Photosynthesis requires green, healthy leaves to collect energy from the sun. The rate of photosynthesis in those leaves in the fall remains high. The issue with fall cutting is vegetative growth and recovery after a harvest cut is slow. There may not be time to regrow leaves and replenish the energy expended to grow them before a frost or cold weather ends the growing season. The worst time to take a last cutting is in the late September to later October period.Growers also need to decide if they need the forage a last cutting will provide. If the last cutting is extra, just some insurance, the better decision may be to let the stand rest. Realistically evaluate the amount of growth out there. Is there enough forage to justify the cost of harvest equipment and labor? In terms of risk management there are a number of factors besides the last cutting date that need to be considered when trying to determine if and when to take a last cutting. Those factors include overall stand health, variety, disease resistance, insect stress on the stand during the summer, age of stand, cutting schedule/frequency, fertility, soil drainage and winter weather.A vigorous, healthy stand is more tolerant of fall cutting than a stressed and weakened stand. This past year, many alfalfa fields were harvested under wet soil conditions. Ruts in the field and/or areas of soil compaction can reduce plant vigor. Damage to plant crowns from harvest equipment traffic decreases stand health.What alfalfa variety is in the field? Are you choosing improved genetic varieties that have been selected to perform under more intense cutting schedules? Alfalfa varieties with high disease resistance and good levels of winter hardiness will be more tolerant of a fall cutting. Adequate fertility, especially soil potassium levels, and a soil pH near 6.8 will improve plant health and increase tolerance to fall cutting. Stands under three years of age are more tolerant of fall cuttings than older stands where root and crown diseases are setting in.The cutting frequency during the growing season can affect the energy status of the plant going into the fall. Frequent cutting (30-day intervals or less) results in the plant never reaching full energy reserve status during the growing season. A fifth cutting taken in the fall carries more risk than taking a fourth or third cutting during the fall.Another factor is soil drainage. Alfalfa stands on well-drained soils tolerate later fall cuttings better than alfalfa on moderately or poorly drained soils. Removing the top growth of alfalfa plants on heavy soils and poorly drained soils going into the winter increases the risk of damage from spring frost heaving. Winter weather is another risk factor. Plants with adequate carbohydrate reserves can withstand temperatures down to about 5 degrees F at the crown before damage occurs. For colder temperatures, plants are dependent upon snow cover for insulation and protection from damaging cold. How reliable is that snow cover? Will it be there if temperatures get to zero or lower? Open winters increase the risk of damage to late harvested stands due to the potentially lower carbohydrate reserves and less top growth.Finally, if a last cutting is taken in that late September through late October period, leave some un-cut comparison strips in the field. Observe what happens in those strips vs. the cut portions of the field in terms of spring green up, vigor of new growth, number of stems initiated per crown and first cutting yield.
Wind turbines in Sheffield, VermontAnother protester, Rose Friedman of East Hardwick, said, “I’m opposed to the destruction of the ecosystem for pseudo-green profit. I’m worried that industrial wind will take over the whole state.” In a similar vein, Suzanna Jones of Walden said, “I object to the destruction of nature for profit, especially when it is greenwashed.” Kaitlin Irwin of Sheffield Heights expressed doubts that the turbines would produce as much energy as predicted. “Everyone I know who has a wind tower is taking it down, because it isn’t producing as much energy as they thought it would,” she said. Although Irwin doubts that Sheffield Heights is windy enough to generate useful energy, First Wind is confident of their projections. According to Josh Bagnato, First Wind’s environmental manager, on the eve of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the 16 turbines in Sheffield were operating at full capacity — in other words, feeding 40 megawatts of electricity into the grid. All of the electricity generated at the Sheffield facility is being purchased by consumer-owned utilities in Vermont. Max Aldrich, a member of the Sheffield Board of Selectmen, summed up the mood of many local residents who attended the opening-day festivities. Aldrich said, “Now the citizens of Sheffield can say, ‘We are doing our part to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint.’ I’m proud to live in Sheffield.” Vermont’s largest wind energy development, the Sheffield Wind Project, is now fully online. At a ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 26, 2011, Governor Peter Shumlin declared, “Climate change is the biggest threat to our children and grandchildren. We in Vermont must lead — and get off our addiction to oil. It’s essential for Vermont to achieve our goal of generating 90% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2050.” Shumlin predicted, “If we go forward with plans for more renewable energy projects in Vermont, we will be able to retire our aging, leaky nuclear power plant.” The project developer, First Wind, began construction at the Sheffield, Vermont site in September 2010. The project was completed ahead of schedule. Paul Gaynor, the CEO of First Wind, noted that construction was undertaken in an environmentally conscious manner. Narrow cranes were used to raise the turbines; all of the electrical cables between the turbines are buried; and as few trees as possible were cut — to the point where the developer was worried whether the subcontractor responsible for raising the turbines would find the small clearings acceptable. In the end, however, the project proceeded smoothly. Although First Wind is proud of the steps that workers took to protect the environment, many Vermonters remain upset by the project. A dozen protesters gathered at the entrance to the wind site, holding signs expressing opposition to mountaintop development. Among the protesters was David Zimmerman of Sheffield, who said, “This project is wrecking the mountains and wrecking the view. This will be terrible for the economy. The electricity will be much more costly than what we pay now. This is a tragic day.” For more information on the Sheffield wind project, see Utility-Scale Wind Turbines.
Members of the OSU womens volleyball team during a game against Michigan on Nov. 14. Credit: Giustino Bovenzi | Lantern PhotographerWith a 12-8 record and a sixth-place finish in the Big Ten, arguably the nation’s best conference, the Ohio State women’s volleyball team believes it is prepared for the do-or-die nature of the NCAA tournament.As the No. 12 overall seed in the tournament, OSU (23-9) is set to take on Robert Morris (19-12) in the first round on Friday at 7 p.m. in St. John Arena.“It really is the third season,” coach Geoff Carlston said. “This is the fun part. There’s 64 teams now that have a chance … We beat Nebraska and went five (sets) with Minnesota, so I think our team believes we can make a run.”By earning the right to host for the first time since 2009, the Buckeyes accomplished one of the goals they set at the beginning of the season.“Getting to host is a huge opportunity, we’re so excited about that,” senior outside hitter Katie Mitchell said. “It’s something no one on our team has ever experienced. It’s been a long time since St. John (Arena) has hosted.”Unlike Robert Morris, which has won seven consecutive matches to end the season, OSU isn’t coming into the tournament on a winning streak, having gone 5-7 since Oct. 21. But after taking eventual No. 2 overall seed Minnesota to five sets and sweeping Rutgers in their final two regular-season games, the Buckeyes are going into the weekend with renewed confidence.“Battling with Minnesota is something I think we’re all going to remember and know that it could be a potential (big) match for us in the long run of the tournament,” senior middle blocker Tyler Richardson said.Nearly every player on OSU’s roster has previously played in the tournament, as the program advanced to the Sweet 16 last year and has qualified in three of the last four seasons.Carlston believes having that experience will be huge for his team, especially in helping the two freshman starters — outside hitter Audra Appold and setter Taylor Hughes — who haven’t been there before.“Our freshmen have played great under pressure all year long and the rest of our team’s done a great job of laying the dynamic and supporting the rest of us so we can play fearless,” Carlston said. “The team that’s going to win the national championship is going to be the one that wants those moments and plays fearless in those moments.”Most of the team has tournament experience, but the grueling conference schedule has prepared OSU more than anything, said senior middle blocker Andrea Kacsits.“It’s one of those conferences that every single match is a big match,” she said. “You never have a team that will let down or anything … and because we’ve had that kind of training over the last three years, I would say that the tournament becomes a little bit — I don’t want to say easier — but it becomes a little bit more in step with what we’ve been doing the rest of the season.”Scouting Robert MorrisAfter winning the Northeast Conference tournament, the Colonels earned an automatic bid and will be making their sixth tournament appearance and their first since 2003.Carlston noted Robert Morris for being an evenly distributed team, as it has five players averaging 16 or more attack attempts per game.“You can’t key, necessarily, on any one individual and they run a system (where) they can mix it up,” he said.Four Colonels have registered more than 200 kills this season, led by junior outside hitter Arden Fisher’s 353 (3.12 per set).Robert Morris has also proven itself to be a scrappy defensive team, sitting ninth in the nation in digs per set (17.62). Three different players are averaging more than three digs per set: Fisher (4.53), freshman outside hitter Taylor Lord (3.67) and freshman libero Allie Yurkovich (3.46).To compare, OSU has one such player in junior libero Valeria León, who has picked up 4.34 digs per set.“The thing that they do well is they really keep the ball in play,” Carlston said. “You can tell they’re a well-coached team and a high-IQ team … They’re going to force you to be patient.”The Buckeyes and Colonels have met three times before, twice in the first round of the tournament. OSU has swept all three matches, with the last coming in 2006.4 Buckeyes win conference awardsThe results of the postseason awards for the Big Ten conference were released on Tuesday, and four OSU players were recipients.Junior middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe was unanimously selected to the all-Big Ten team by conference coaches. It’s the third straight year she has taken home a postseason award, having been named to the all-freshman squad in 2013 and an all-Big Ten honorable mention last season.Sandbothe led OSU in hitting percentage (.364) and blocks per set (1.22), while ranking fourth and seventh in those two categories, respectively, in the conference.Senior outside hitter Elizabeth Campbell was named an all-Big Ten honorable mention, while Appold and Hughes were selected for the all-freshman team.Campbell was one of the Buckeyes’ top offensive threats, leading the team and finishing fourth in the conference in kills per set (3.65). She also added 2.21 digs per set, second on the team, and had a team-high 11 double-doubles on the year.Appold had the highest single-game kill total of any Buckeye this season with 29 against Iowa on Nov. 18 and was named Big Ten Player of the Week once and Freshman of the Week twice. She ended the regular season third on the team in kills (312) and digs (234).Hughes still established herself as the starting setter, leading the team in assists (867) despite battling an elbow injury since late October. She was named the Big Ten’s Setter of the Week once.What’s next?If the Buckeyes are able to top Robert Morris, they’ll move on to face either American or Kentucky in the second round. OSU has met Kentucky in the Round of 32 the last two times it has made the tournament, falling to the Wildcats in 2012 before defeating them last year.First serve for the second-round match is scheduled to be at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday in St. John Arena.
OSU redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) calls a play during the first half of the Buckeyes game against Penn State on Oct. 22. The Buckeyes lost 24-21. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorOhio State’s 24-21 loss to Penn State was shocking to many, including the team. The then-No. 2 Buckeyes played in a difficult atmosphere at Beaver Stadium in College Park, Pennsylvania, and suffered their first defeat of the season. While the Nittany Lions weren’t the team fans might have circled as a hiccup on the OSU schedule, nor was Virginia Tech in 2014.The offensive line had its worst game of the year, allowing 11 tackles for loss and six sacks. The wide receivers struggled to create separation downfield for redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett to deliver the ball. The special teams had several blunders that led to the game-winning score. The defense surrendered several chunk plays in crucial moments.All in all, OSU has things to learn from the debacle in Happy Valley.However, looking forward, the No. 6 Buckeyes remain in the hunt for the coveted College Football Playoff.“We got every goal still alive,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said after the game. “We’re not a great team right now. We got to regroup and get guys healthy and come back and keep swinging. I talked to the team and then Raekwon McMillan and some other players talked to the team like, ‘let’s go, it’s time to get to work.’”The 2014 Buckeyes lost to Virginia Tech in the second game of the year and looked to be on the fast track to a miserable season, for OSU standards. Then, the team regrouped and won 13 straight to capture the College Football Playoff National Championship.Each unit on that team showed progress each week. Barrett began to assert himself as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country, the offensive line proclaimed themselves as “The Slobs” for their brutish play, and the defense capitalized on opponents’ mistakes, finishing ranked fifth in the nation in takeaways per game.Last season’s loss to Michigan State came late in the season and left no room for error. Even then, a Clemson loss in the ACC Championship Game might have put OSU in the playoff for a second consecutive season.The Penn State loss was the seventh game of the season, which is certainly no death sentence for the Buckeyes.“The crazy thing is we have only lost five games in five years. We sit here and, you know, the world is ending and … the sun came up and it’s incredible. It’s just like, wow,” redshirt junior guard Billy Price said on Monday. “We’ve been here before. This isn’t an occurrence that happens often, but we grow from this. We grow tighter together and we focus in on us and we don’t worry about anybody else.”For many Buckeyes this is the first time they are experiencing a loss at a significant contributor to the team. So this adversity is new to them. It’s not new as in the first time they have ever witnessed a loss being from the sidelines, but the gravity of defeat weighs a bit more as a starter.In the last two games following losses for OSU, the Buckeyes played Kent State at home in 2014 and at Michigan in 2015. OSU looked flawless on offense in each game, winning 66-0 against the Golden Flashes and demolishing their rival Wolverines 42-13. Barrett said it doesn’t matter who the opponent is following a loss, the approach is still the same, but there’s a smaller margin of error now.“I think we just have to go to work. Losing happens in football. We do the best we can to prevent it,” he said. “We try our best to succeed and not lose but losing happens and now you go back to what we are built on and that’s toughness and grinding. I think that’s what we’re going to go back to and make sure this doesn’t happen.”Currently sitting two spots out of the top four, based on the Associated Press ranking, OSU has enough chances on its remaining schedule to move up at least two spots. After this week’s matchup versus Northwestern, No. 7 Nebraska comes to Columbus for a primetime showdown. The Cornhuskers play No. 11 Wisconsin this week, so they could very well jump a few spots if they come away with a road win at Camp Randall.Then, obviously, OSU wraps up the season with current second-ranked Michigan. Win out, and OSU will be in the Big Ten championship against another ranked team with a strong shot at a play-in game for the College Football Playoff.Penn State currently sits with one loss in the Big Ten and does not have another ranked team on its schedule. Its lone loss was to Michigan.There remains a possibility for a three-way tie between OSU, Michigan and Penn State. Given OSU wins out, Michigan’s only loss is to the Buckeyes and Penn State wins out, the following Big Ten Conference guidelines would be the order in which to determine a tiebreaker with three or more teams.The records of the three tied teams will be compared against each other.The records of the three tied teams will be compared within their division.The records of the three teams will be compared against the next highest placed teams in their division in order of finish.The records of the three teams will be compared against all common conference opponents.The team with the best overall winning percentage (excluding exempted games) shall be the representative.The representative will be chosen by random draw.Through the first four guidelines, OSU, Michigan and Penn State would all still be tied. On the fifth tiebreaker, OSU and Michigan would own a higher winning percentage than Penn State, and the Buckeyes then have the head-to-head over Michigan, granting the berth to the Big Ten Championship Game.Price said that the team isn’t viewing its chances to reach the playoff, rather having a week-by-week approach.“Our goal is to go out and execute each game, every week and take care of things up front. With that, that comes the Big Ten championship, that comes the College Football Playoff,” he said. “All our goals are still obtainable. We control our fate and we’re just going to take care of each week and go from there.”The 2014 team was ranked 16th when the first College Football Playoff poll was released. The first poll of 2016 will be released on Nov. 1.With a win against Northwestern, OSU should be well in line to be in the playoff by the unveiling of the first rankings.