Tag Archive | "wildcats"

The rivalry: IWU tops Taylor in all but one sport

IWU vs Taylor graphic

Not much changes in the 12 miles between the staked-off sections of Upland and Marion, Ind. The scenery seems the same, many faces will be familiar in both locations and each is sometimes defined by the academic institution residing there.

But the contrasts between those two colleges are as stark as their red and purple colors.

Those differences may be harder to spot in their evangelical mission statements, but when it comes to athletics, Indiana Wesleyan and Taylor universities have no intentions of turning the other cheek.

“Obviously you hate to lose, but especially to Taylor, it’s just way worse,” said IWU tennis player Kyle Johnson (jr). “Especially going to Taylor. I hate going to Upland.”

That disdain extends from the players’ bench to the coaches’ desks.

“Nobody can wear purple on Taylor day,” said volleyball coach Candace Moats. “Even in the [athletic] office, if you have purple on during someone going and playing Taylor, you get razzed for it. We’re all aware of when the Taylor matches happen for each sport.”

This particular rivalry is not only good for some highly competitive matches, but program unity as well.

“Everybody joins together. At that time, we’re not an individual team, when anyone has a Taylor game, it’s like everybody’s got the mindset, ‘We are going to go beat Taylor, even though it might just be volleyball.’” Moats added. “It’s a cohesive thing that draws us all together and makes us a united force.”

That united IWU force enjoys a current streak of success against its county rival. Since the start of the 2007 academic year, the Wildcats are 94-55-1 in head-to-head sporting events against the Trojans, including streaks of 11-0 by the women’s tennis team, 7-1 in women’s soccer and 13-2 from the women’s basketball team. The men’s cross country team leads the way on men’s side with a 6-1 mark since 2007. Of these sports, the Trojans only hold the advantage in baseball during that span.

But what makes these two schools such bitter rivals?

“Being close to them; there’s just something about them, maybe it’s the purple or something,” Johnson said.

“When you look at the two institutions that are so like-minded; we’re in the same league,” Moats said. “It’s ‘who owns Grant County?’”

Others, like IWU men’s basketball coach Greg Tonagel, say much of the intensity is situational.

“I think it has more to do with where they’re at in the league,” Tonagel said after the Wildcats’ most recent win over Taylor Jan. 14. “It’s so early in the league right now, it’s still intense, but I think if both teams are at the top or both teams are in the middle it probably means a little bit more.”

Either way, it’s hard for the Wildcats to escape the feeling of a larger target on their backs when they play the school just up Route 15.

“I feel like everybody when we play them brings their a-game,” Johnson said. “It’s that way across the conference, everybody wants to beat us, especially Taylor really enjoys beating us, but hopefully we enjoy beating them more.”

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IWU resurfaces outdoor track after 19 years

Just three days after the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes Track and Field Championships in May, a road grader invaded campus and tore up the surface of Indiana Wesleyan University’s outdoor track, according to Track and Field Assistant Coach Eric Jackson.

The new track, which Beynon Sports Surfaces is currently installing, is in the final stages of construction.

According to Athletic Director Mark DeMichael, the old Mondo track was in operation for 19 years since its previous resurfacing, having lasted about seven years past its life expectancy.

“We took such good care of [the old track] over the years,” Jackson said. “Our facilities guys were amazing at how well it was maintained.”

Though Mondo and Beynon are both rubberized tracks, the method in which they’re made is different. For the 1994 resurfacing of the track, Mondo applied the surface in large carpet-like rolls, about 13 millimeters thick, atop a flat asphalt base, Jackson explained.

This process, however, allowed rainwater to seep in through the seams of the alternating red and gray rolls, corroding the asphalt underneath. Every fall Mondo would return and fill the seams that had split apart.

The new track by Beynon Sports Surfaces will eliminate this problem. Unlike Mondo, Beynon comes in, pours a liquid surface onto the asphalt, and shovels the rubber granules onto the surface, according to Jackson.

DeMichael explained that a major motivation in choosing Beynon to resurface the track was that the University of Oregon, the location of the past two Olympic trial venues and the premier track facility in the country, recently resurfaced their track with the same company.

“It’s really safe for the athletes,” DeMichael said. “It’s soft enough that it’s safe on the legs, but it’s also [firm] enough that it’s pretty fast, which is the perfect thing for what the athletes are looking for.”

Like the old version, the new track will represent school colors. The entire surface will be red, with the exception of gray relay exchange zones. Instead of the standard brick red, however, IWU invested in a customized hobart finish, which will make the track bright red. Beynon ran UV tests on the finish to ensure it wouldn’t fade pink, Director of Facilities Services Don Rowley said.

“It’ll be a unique look. You don’t see this very often,” DeMichael said. “Most tracks are just one color… [Ours] will really pop.”

The purpose of this finish is to not only freshen the color but also “encapsulate” the track. According to Jackson, it will hold the rubber granules in place so that they don’t flake off and clog the drainage systems.

Beynon is currently in the final stages of construction. Though there have been delays from rain, Jackson said, there is no rush to finish the project.

“We’d rather have them be deliberate and do it right. Don’t rush through it and make any mistakes,” DeMichael said. “You don’t do this very often, so when [you] do do it, you want to make sure they do it right.”

Jackson said there is no immediate reason to rush the project. Though fall track starts this week, the first indoor meet is not until Dec. 1. Most runners are using the weight room to prepare for this season. If they need the indoor track facility, that is open as well.

If weather holds, the outdoor track should be finished within the next two weeks.

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Stepping things up: Wildcat men outlast ‘Leafs

After a disastrous first half that saw the Indiana Wesleyan University men’s basketball team blow a 12-point lead to trail by one at the break, the Wildcats rebounded with a strong second half and beat Goshen College last night in the first round of the MCC Tournament 74-66.

Jordan Weidner (so) owned the floor offensively, leading all scorers with 29 points. Weidner hit six three-pointers and sank 11 free throws — one more than the entire Maple Leaf roster.

Weidner said he had never played a game quite like it, but admitted there is still need for improvement all around.

“We didn’t play particularly well,” Weidner said. “We aren’t really satisfied.”

The Wildcats’ free throw problems as a team continued on the night, as IWU made just 24 of 47 attempts from the charity stripe.

Needless to say, coach Greg Tonagel wasn’t satisfied either.

“I certainly think we could have played better than what we did,” Tonagel said. “The first half they outplayed us. I would have thought we were playing for a little bit more and so the second half thankfully we came alive and played with a little intensity.”

The Wildcats’ next challenge comes to Luckey Arena on Saturday, when IWU will take on Saint Francis University in the second round of the tournament.

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Wildcats’ Jones out for season

George JonesGeorge Jones IV (jr) told The Sojourn on Thursday that he will miss the remainder of the men’s basketball season with a torn right Achilles tendon. The Indiana Wesleyan University guard had been enjoying a stellar season before going down with the injury in the second half of IWU’s 72-70 Tuesday win over Saint Francis.

The win was the Wildcats’ fifth in a row, moving the team into a tie for first place in the MCC with No. 5-ranked Grace College. Three games remain on IWU’s schedule before the MCC Tournament begins Feb. 22.

“George has been obviously a significant piece,” Wildcats coach Greg Tonagel said Wednesday, before learning the extent of the injury. “What it means is we need somebody else to step up until George is back. I think that’s what makes a team special is when the next guy up is ready and we’ve got guys that are ready and they’re going to get their opportunity.”

Jones said he will have surgery next week and wear a boot for six weeks

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