Week One Wraps Up For Three Fall Sports
Scott Downing enters his third season at Northern Colorado with high expectations for his football team, which began camp under the lights on Friday evening, Aug. 8. The Bears have now had nine practices with the first double day one week after they began, on Thursday, Aug. 14. With 48 student-athletes on the roster who have never seen a game-time snap for the Bears, there is plenty of teaching going on at the Butler-Hancock practice fields.
Nine practices in, the Bears have yet to go full pads, but spend the last 30 to 45 minutes of every practice in 11-on-11 drills preparing for the season opener Sept. 6 at Purdue. Even though the media doesn't expect much out of Northern Colorado, picking the Bears to finish last in the Big Sky Conference, the team has other ideas, pushing themselves and each other hard in practice, team meetings and orientation sessions held all day long.
Junior transfer Bryan Waggener has been tabbed the number one quarterback by the Bears' staff as he and the other players on the roster continue to learn each other's tendencies. Senior captains Jacob Thornbrue (OL), Cristian Sarmento (LB) and Joe Kenney (LB) can often be heard on the fields leading the squad and working with the young players on the roster as the team looks towards the beginning of September.
The first team to compete in the 2008 fall season, the women's soccer team is beginning to feel the pressure. The Bears host Bryant on Aug. 22 at 7:00 p.m. at Jackson Field and were picked to finish second in the Big Sky Conference after playing for the conference title one year ago.
With nine returning starters from that 2007 tournament team, the Bears jumped right into heavy conditioning and extreme practices when they first stepped on the field Thursday, Aug. 7. After 15 practices, head coach Tim Barrera is pleased with where the team is and looks forward to opening the competition for Northern Colorado.
The Bears have three returning all-conference players in Teresa Prais, Sydney Vander Velde and Megan Bellendir, along with one of the captains, Ashley Brumback, look to lead Northern Colorado back to Big Sky Conference title contention.
Lyndsey Benson's 2008 preseason volleyball camp started bright and early Saturday morning, Aug. 9, and the Bears - eight veterans and seven rookies - have been busy ever since preparing for the upcoming season. Some meetings and a weight-lifting session were sandwiched around a single practice on day one, but Benson and her assistant coaches ramped up the pace from there with the intent of holding two practices a day nearly every day until classes start at Northern Colorado on Monday, Aug. 25.
The Bears, who were picked to finish fifth earlier this week in the 2008 Big Sky Conference volleyball preseason poll, will begin their season on Aug. 29 against Villanova in the LaSalle Tournament in Philadelphia.
Senior Lauren Carter is in the midst of her final collegiate preseason camp. She led the Bears with 853 assists last season and is just 25 assists shy of breaking into Northern Colorado's top 10 in the category. Her leadership, along with the other upperclassmen Allison Raguse, Kenzie Shreeve, Taylor Smith and Breanna VanDerMost, will be counted on heavily this year as the Bears continue their quest for a Big Sky Conference title and a berth in the NCAA tournament.