Football: Wide receiving unit looks to get healthy and produce in 2015

first_imgPotential is a word often tossed around in sports. But potential is meaningless if it doesn’t result in on-field production — a dilemma the Wisconsin football team’s wide receiving unit is currently facing.Despite a core with plenty of “potential,” they have not yet produced enough on the field to allow Badger fans to rest easy. Last season, the Wisconsin passing game ranked 12th in the Big Ten with only 2,082 yards.But UW fifth-year senior receiver Alex Erickson sees 2015 as a possible turnaround for the unit.“We have a deep group that has a lot of talent,” Erickson said. “It’s just a matter of being consistent every single day and putting it all together.”Now, the various weapons at starting quarterback Joel Stave’s disposal have a lot to prove, and the potential of UW’s offense likely rests on the shoulders of their wide receivers.Erickson was Wisconsin’s leading receiver in 2014, catching a total of 55 balls for 772 yards and three touchdowns. But the rest of the Badger wideouts who saw the field last season combined for just 34 total catches.The limited production on the field last year has been a cause for concern coming into this season, but Erickson said the on-field chemistry between the receivers and Stave has grown immensely over the summer.“I think the chemistry has definitely improved,” Erickson said. “We are spreading the ball around a little bit more than we did last year, which is obviously good for our team. Guys have really adapted and guys have made plays.”One of the players who needed extended on-field work with Stave this summer was junior receiver Robert Wheelwright.Since he arrived at Wisconsin, Wheelwright has shown flashes of being the big-play guy the Badgers have longed for. Injuries, which have consisted of a PCL sprain along with various hamstring and groin injuries, have slowed the junior’s development into serving as a legitimate playmaker for the team.With Wheelwright appearing to have better luck this offseason in regard to his overall health, the Columbus, Ohio native looks to be growing more comfortable within the confines of the offense.“I think that was big for him to be able to stay healthy,” Stave said. “That’s the best way to improve, that’s the best way to build chemistry, is with reps and reps and reps. Having him with us all summer and through the spring was pretty big for us.”Wheelwright’s lone moment of glory last season was an important one, as the then-sophomore’s first and only catch of the year came on a 17-yard touchdown pass against Minnesota that sealed a UW victory and sent them off to the Big Ten championship game.Despite recording just one catch, Wheelwright remains confident in his abilities.“I made the best out of my opportunity,” Wheelwright said of his single catch. “One catch, one touchdown sounds pretty good.”Rob Wheelwright had only one catch last season, but it was a big one, a game-clinching touchdown against Minnesota. Joey Reuteman/The Badger HeraldWheelwright made the most of his opportunities once again in the spring football game, when he caught seven passes for 79 yards with two touchdowns.Despite his standout performance in that game, Wheelwright is not the only player with the opportunity to ease Erickson’s load.Erickson said there are receivers who are ready to step up and take on a bigger role in 2015. Some of these players were previously limited because of injuries, like fifth-year senior Jordan Fredrick, younger players, like redshirt sophomore Jazz Peavy and sophomore George Rushing, or even because they have not yet played the position, like redshirt senior Tanner McEvoy.Tanner McEvoy (3) will start at wide receiver Saturday against No. 3 Alabama. Joey Reuteman/The Badger HeraldErickson thinks UW has the pieces in place to allow receivers to live up to their potential.“I think the guys have grown and developed as they should, as they get older,” Erickson said. “But I think the staff has been huge for us. When you have a head coach that’s as hands on as Chryst, it’s really cool because there aren’t a lot of times where a head coach is out there calling plays, trying to correct your routes and helping you out in that aspect.”Erickson, Wheelwright and the rest of the UW receiving unit will take the field for the first time Saturday, Sept. 5, when they take on Alabama in Arlington, Texas.last_img read more

Top-ranked beach volleyball opens season with two victories

first_imgOn a windy Saturday morning in Malibu, Calif., the nation got a glimpse of what the new-look beach volleyball team has in store for the 2017 campaign. The No. 1 Trojans (2-0) edged No. 4 UCLA 3-2 and beat No. 3 Pepperdine 4-1 to pick up a pair of big dual victories at the annual Pepperdine Kick-Off on the sands of Zuma Beach. Four new Trojan pairs made their debuts for head coach Anna Collier and each notched at least one win, showing promise to begin the season.“I thought my pairs were quite solid this first weekend,” Collier said. “They had really good chemistry out on the court, and whenever they got in a little bit of trouble, which almost everybody did, they came together and worked through situations to improve on whatever they needed to improve on.”To start USC’s dual against UCLA, all five courts were engaged in hotly contested first sets, but the Trojans got on the board with wins at courts one and three. Senior All-Americans Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes took down UCLA twins Megan and Nicole McNamara(21-19, 21-12) at the top court, while the new pairing of senior Nicolette Martin and junior Terese Cannon posted a 21-16, 21-18 win over Savvy Simo and Torrey Van Winden at court three. The Bruins were able to snag a win at court four, as Izzy Carey and Elise Zappia defeated USC’s youngest pair of sophomore Abril Bustamante and freshman Joy Dennis, 21-19,21-15. The final two courts went the distance, and a victory by juniors Jenna Belton and Jo Kremer at court five over Chanti Holroyd and Lily Justine (21-18, 17-21, 15-11) sealed USC’s first dual win of the season.Immediately after their battle with the Bruins, the Trojans turned around and faced off against Pepperdine. The Waves’ home court advantage did not mean much, though, as USC scored 3 points in straight sets to secure the dual win. Seniors Sophie Bukovec and Allie Wheeler, another one of Collier’s new pairs, got their first win of the season over Brittany Howard and Corinne Quiggle(21-15, 21-18) at court two, while Claes and Hughes easily downed Delaney Knudsen and Madalyn Roh(21-12, 21-13) to give USC its second point. That victory for Claes and Hughes ran their winning streak to 75 in a row.The four-pair of Bustamante and Dennis bounced back from their early morning loss to notch their first win — a 21-13, 25-23 decision over Deahna Kraft and Anika Wilson — and clinch the dual for the Trojans. Courts three and five played to completion, as the Waves snagged their only point of the day behind Skylar Caputo and Heidi Dyer’s 22-20, 21-14 win over Cannon and Martin. Belton and Kremer once again went the distance on court five and triumphed for the second time with a 20-22, 21-16, 15-11 win over Gigi Hernandez and Katty Workman.With the victory, USC improved its school-record winning streak to 32 matches in a row. Before Saturday, Pepperdine was the only program to hold a winning record against USC, but the Trojan win evened up theall-time series record to 8-8. USC has now won four in a row against the Waves, while also remaining undefeated against UCLA at 6-0 all-time. Knowing that this weekend would serve as a good barometer of where her team stands to begin the season, Collier was pleased with how things turned out.“We were challenged exactly the way I wanted to be challenged,” Collier said. “Pepperdine and UCLA were able to show some of our weaknesses that we haven’t been able to find or see in our practices, and now we know what we need to work on in order to improve.”Hughes was also pleased with her team’s display of confidence and poise against top-ranked competition.“We came out with that No. 1 ranking, and that’s not an easy one to have because that target on our back gets bigger and bigger,” she said. “But we came out and proved ourselves today. We played two of the toughest teams in the nation, and I’m happy we came out with those wins.”The Trojans return to action on Saturday for the East Meets West Invitational in Manhattan Beach, Calif. USC will face off against Florida International at 10:30 a.m. in its first match of the day before taking on LSU at 12:30 p.m.last_img read more

City of Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert to host voter registration…

first_imgMIAMI GARDENS – Mayor Oliver Gilbert in partnership with a coalition of all the black Bar Associations in Miami-Dade, and the Miami-Dade County Elections Department will be hosting a Voter Registration Drive and Family Fun Day on Saturday, January 12, 2019, 12PM- 4PM, at Miami Carol City Park, 3201 NW 185th St, Miami Gardens, FL 33056.Effective January 8th, Amendment 4 restores the eligibility to vote for Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence, including parole, probation and restitution.“All of our voices are required, all of our efforts are needed and our attention must focus beyond Election Day and through election cycles. This event is intended to allow those previously disenfranchised to become active participants in the representative republic. Being an active participant means knowing your rights, registering to vote and educating yourselves on the issues,” said Mayor Gilbert.“We want our Residents to be educated, ready and excited about the most powerful position in any democracy. The power of our aggregated vote.”Prior to the passing of Amendment 4, Florida law excluded over one million Floridians who completed the terms of their sentence from voting for life, the largest number of any state.Florida was one of four states with a lifetime ban on voting. More than 5 million Florida voters, 64.55 percent of the votes cast in the November 2018 election, voted to amend section 4 of Article VI of the Florida Constitution (Referred to as Amendment 4).A 60 percent vote by Florida citizens would be required in order to change it. Amendment 4 is the largest extension of the right to vote in the United States since the 19th Amendment which granted voting rights for all women (1920) and the 26th Amendment to citizens who are 18 years of age (1971).Co-sponsors of this event include the Caribbean Bar Association, Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyer’s Association, Haitian Bar Association, Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association, Miami-Dade County Public Defender’s Office and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.last_img read more