by Ryan Lackey
As the weather begins to cool, the fields and courts find themselves full again. With the beginning of a new academic year, fall sports at George Fox University have begun practices and games, promising an autumn season of athletic achievement.
The men’s football team has begun their long-awaited journey to intercollegiate competition following a hiatus that began after the 1968 season. Although Stouffer Family Stadium, still under construction, will not witness any games until the fall of 2014, about 75 players under Coach Chris Casey are practicing in excited expectation. These practices are the first organized team activities under Casey, the former head of the successful Aloha High School program.
Another new coach, Cory Hand, leads the women’s soccer program at George Fox. The team he inherited, praised as electric and laden with potential, lost admirably to a deep Corban team before securing Hand’s inaugural victory against Hope International. Though the team is young, they remain promising and a thrill to watch.
Also starting 1-1, the men’s soccer team, steered by second-year coach Luis Del Rio, looks to improve on a recent stretch of developmental stutters. Like the women’s team, the men are young but already show signs that suggest they are ready to capitalize on their reserve of possibility. Though they fell in their opener to Lawrence, a strong showing in a subsequent win against Northwest Christian reaffirms the team as a fun watch.
Though the women’s volleyball team is also young, with ten freshmen, the coach is a veteran. Coach Steve Grant begins his thirty-second year leading the Bruins. Despite the turnover from the previous season, the team seems to be meshing well, as shown by their two confident early-season wins, and should compete at a very high level this season.
Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams, historically competitive, opened their seasons against the rival Linfield Wildcats. Though Linfield claimed the top time, both Bruin teams, staffed with a considerable number of young runners, gave strong performances. The experienced Kody Tarbell took home the best time for the men, while freshwoman Erin Sanders paced all the competing women.
While the weather begins to cool, athletics at George Fox, spurred by young teams with energy and boundless potential, are just heating up. The fall sports season looks to be engaging and exciting.