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Then-senior Owen Beightol hits in GW's win against George Mason last season. File Photo by Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Then-senior Owen Beightol hits in GW’s win against George Mason last season. File Photo by Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The Colonials will host the Atlantic 10 baseball championships at Barcroft Park for the first time in the team’s history next year.

The top seven teams from the regular season standings will compete in the double elimination tournament from May 20 to 23, the league announced this week. The winner will receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship.

The Colonials narrowly missed last season’s tournament when they finished the season eighth in the standings, a single game behind No. 7-seeded Fordham. GW last qualified in 2013, when it was seeded fifth.

GW has won the A-10 championships four times – the first time in 1979 – but has never served as host.

The team has played at Barcroft Park in Arlington, Va. since 1993 and saw the venue undergo a $3 million renovation before the 2013 season. The project added bullpens, batting cages and artificial turf to a facility that Athletic Director Patrick Nero has joked GW no longer hides from recruits.

Barcroft Park holds 500 spectators in grandstand seating at 4200 South Four Mile Run Drive. The University operates a student shuttle bus for weekend home games during the conference season, though GW has not yet released information about a shuttle for the tournament.

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This post was written by contributing sports editor Nora Priniciotti

Then-junior guard Chakecia Miller squeezes pass a George Mason defender for a layup in a January game. File Photo by Aly Kruse | Hatchet Photographer

Then-junior guard Chakecia Miller squeezes pass a George Mason defender for a layup during a January game. File photo by Aly Kruse | Hatchet Photographer

For the first time in more than a decade, the women’s basketball team will take a trip to Europe.

The squad will travel to England and France from Aug. 13 to 23 to see the sights and play in exhibition games against European teams, the athletic department announced Tuesday.

Women’s basketball has not traveled internationally since it took a tour of Italy and Switzerland in 2001, but will boast plenty of stamps on their passports by the end of the year, with a tournament in the Bahamas also scheduled for Thanksgiving break.

“[The trip will] greatly enhance our team chemistry by giving our returning players and incoming freshmen an early opportunity to bond while also playing strong international competition,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said in a release.

The team will first head to London, where the women will go on guided tours of Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, take a ride on the London Eye and sightsee on a cruise on the River Thames.

GW already took home top marks in the Revolutionary Rivalry with George Mason, but the Colonials will hope to stage a reenactment of the Battle at Yorktown in a game against Barking Abbey, a London-based team.

International tensions will ease, however, with a Colonials youth clinic for Barking Abbey’s younger players.

They will then travel to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Palace of Versailles and the River Seine before departing by train for Marseille and traveling along the French Riviera through Nice and the Principality of Monaco.

The port of Nice in France. Photo used under the Wikimedia Commons License

The port of Nice in France. Photo used under the Wikimedia Commons License

Athletic director Patrick Nero said in a release that giving student-athletes who can not study abroad the chance to travel internationally is a priority for his department.

“While we of course hope this trip allows the women’s basketball team to build on a successful season this past year, more importantly we hope that the experience our student-athletes will gain from an international tour broadens their horizons and enriches their lives,” Nero said.

After their final dinner in Nice, the Colonials will fly home and get to work stateside in preparation for the 2014-15 season, building off their first Atlantic 10 Championship semifinal appearance since 2008 and their nine-win improvement from last season.

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Director of Athletics Patrick Nero

Since arriving at GW, athletic director Patrick Nero has made academics a priority for GW athletes. Hatchet File Photo

Along with notable improvements on the field, GW athletes made strides in the classroom this year.

Fifteen of GW’s 19 Division I NCAA-competing programs achieved perfect Academic Progress Rates for the 2012-13 season, the association announced Wednesday. Of those 15 programs, nine teams were in the top-10 percent multiyear rate, three more teams than last year and tied for second-most in the conference with Dayton University.

The APR weighs a combination of factors including eligibility, retention and graduation rates, providing a measure of each team’s academic performance. The current multiyear period reflects the 2009-10 through 2012-13 academic years.

GW teams that received perfect scores included baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s cross country, golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, women’s rowing, women’s soccer, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s and women’s tennis and men’s and women’s water polo.

“Athletics has been a campus leader in striving for academic excellence, and this announcement is a testament to those efforts,” Provost Steven Lerman said in a release.

Athletic director Patrick Nero has made academics a priority for the department. Since he came to GW three years ago, team GPAs and six-year graduation rates have risen across the board.

Nero receives regular progress reports from professors about athletes’ grades and participation in classes. He also enforces a mandatory class attendance policy and requires eight hours of study halls each week.

“At GW our student-athletes, coaches, administrators and staff strive for excellence in everything that we do, and today’s report is proof of the tireless efforts put into academics” Nero said in the release.

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Head coach Jonathan Tsipis speaks at his introductory press conference in 2012.  Hatchet File Photo.

Head coach Jonathan Tsipis speaks at his introductory press conference in 2012. Hatchet File Photo.

This post was written by assistant sports editor Nora Princiotti.

Women’s basketball head coach Jonathan Tsipis has seen his contract extended through the 2020-21 season, director of athletics and recreation Patrick Nero announced Tuesday.

The announcement comes after a turnaround year for the Colonials, in which they reached the Atlantic 10 semifinals for the first time since 2008, knocking off two ranked teams in the process.

After winning just 25 games in the last four seasons under previous head coach Mike Bozeman, Tsipis was tasked with restoring the reputation of a once nationally known program that had made 15 appearances at the NCAA tournament.

Since he joined GW for the 2012-13 season, Tsipis has not disappointed: He coached the Colonials to a nine-game improvement this season as they finished with a 23-11 overall record.

“We brought Jonathan here to restore the tradition of excellence of GW women’s basketball, and in just two seasons at the helm of our program he has done exactly that,” Nero said in a release. “We’re excited to continue on that path under his leadership in our women’s basketball program.”

Tsipis’ ability to recruit top athletes to the program has marked his success as coach. Freshman Caira Washington earned the A-10 Rookie of the Year award this season after leading the conference in offensive rebounding and field goal percentage.

Sophomore transfer Jonquel Jones, another Tsipis recruit, led the Colonials in scoring with nearly 15 points per game and rebounding with more than 11 rebounds per game. Jones also received postseason honors, earning a spot on the All-Conference Second Team.

Tsipis’ leaps in recruiting are extending into next season: His incoming players are touted as the highest-ranked recruiting class in the A-10 conference.

At season’s end, Tsipis was one of three finalists for the 2013-14 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Region I Coach of the Year, alongside Geno Auriemma, the head coach of National Champion team Connecticut and Louisville head coach Jeff Walz, whose team made an appearance in the Elite Eight.

Tsipis came to GW as a rookie head coach, toting an impressive start to a coaching career with a gold NCAA championship ring on his finger after nine seasons as Muffet McGraw’s associate and recruiting coordinator at Notre Dame.

Tsipis brought the experience of five NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances, with four coming in his last five years in South Bend. He pushed the Colonials to a playoff appearance this season, which was new territory for every player on his roster.

The North Carolina alumnus was one of CollegeInsider.com’s top-10 assistant coaches in the nation after back-to-back NCAA National Championship game appearances in 2011 and 2012. He helped pull together one of the nation’s top-20 recruiting classes in each of his nine years and a top-10 class in three of his last four seasons.

“I want to thank Patrick Nero and President Knapp for bringing me to Washington and for their support and belief in me, my team and my family,” Tsipis said in the release. “George Washington has become a home for us and I’m honored to be the head coach of this proud program.”

The details of Tsipis’ contract have not been publicly released, though Nero has said in the past that Tsipis is the highest-paid women’s basketball coach in the conference.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014 7:09 p.m.

NCAA votes to lift meal restrictions

Director of Athletics Patrick Nero

Athletic director Patrick Nero has spoken out against the NCAA’s rule on feeding athletes. Hatchet File Photo

Good news for hungry GW athletes.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association will likely allow student athletes to get access to unlimited meals and snacks from their universities – abolishing a rule that athletic director Patrick Nero had been advocating against.

Currently, student athletes receive three meals a day or a food stipend. Additionally, partial-scholarship athletes, walk-ons and commuters are not included in the meal plans and instead pay for their own food.

That’s been a big problem at universities like GW, which has a non-traditional dining plan and expensive on-campus options.

“We hear from our students that it runs out mid-semester,” Nero told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

He added that the University had appealed the NCAA to establish its own cafeteria for athletes on campus, but was denied.

If the NCAA’s Legislative Council’s proposal is finalized by the Division I Board of Directors on April 24, athletes will be afforded unlimited meals as early as Aug. 1.

The pressure to change the bylaw was heightened when University of Connecticut point guard Shabazz Napier told reporters that he sometimes goes to bed “starving” because he doesn’t have enough to eat.

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Members of the men's water polo team dressed in togas and cheered raucously earlier this year at the Smith Center. Hatchet File Photo by Cameron Lancaster

Members of the men’s water polo team dressed in togas and cheered raucously earlier this year at the Smith Center. Hatchet File Photo by Cameron Lancaster

Ben Krimmel, a senior majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.

Foggy Bottom had become a virtual ghost town by Monday afternoon of spring break.

Except for a few holdovers — like myself — milling around campus, the only people around were prospective students on tours. With the sun cascading down on the Smith Center, I snuck up on one such group to listen for any mention of the men’s basketball team.

Knowing the GW marketing team’s penchant for hyperbole, I expected the guide to proclaim the basketball team serious NCAA Tournament contenders next to the likes of Florida and Kansas.

Instead, the bragging was rather scant. The tour guide simply stated that there had been a few attendance records set during this year’s season. I was mystified.

No mention of the 23 wins – the most since 2007 – and nothing about the team’s No. 3 seed in this weeks A-10 Tournament. The guide didn’t even let his group know that tickets are free for students. This may have been the guide’s only chance to boast about the University without any hint of irony, and he let the opportunity go by.

Of course, the omission of more statistics about GW’s winning season was this particular tour guide’s choice. But perhaps the underselling of the team’s success by this student and others on campus can be chalked up to the University’s collective uncertainty on how to promote the men’s basketball team’s victories – a new source of GW pride – to prospective students.

This is something that GW should highlight more, certainly at least as much as we tout the school’s proximity to national landmarks.

Sure, one winning season certainly does not mean there will be a flood of applications from students more interested in “bracketology” than election forecasting. But as the basketball team brings more national attention to the University, and some seedlings of the change have already taken root.

The increase in this year’s student attendance demonstrates the beginnings of a greater sense of community — something the University is often criticized for failing to create.

Higher attendance is a testament to the work of Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero, the leaders of the Colonial Army, the players and men’s basketball head coach Mike Lonergan. Whether it is the pregame tailgates, t-shirt giveaways or a free trip for students to the game at George Mason, this has been a year where pride seems to finally be coming naturally to GW students.

Tour guides and all other current students would be unwise to continue using athletics as a punchline. In fact, they should make it a focal point: For the millions who fill out an NCAA Tournament bracket, GW will now be known as one of 68.

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Elana Meyers became the first GW graduate to earn a silver medal Wednesday, finishing in second in the two-women bobsled competition in Sochi.

The former women’s softball shortstop, who now drives the top sled for the United States along with brakewoman Lauryn Williams, finished second behind the Canada-1 sled by just 0.10 seconds.

Photo courtesy of GW

Elana Meyers, right, represented the United States in the Winter Olympics this week. Photo by Pim Bonten, courtesy of Fireworks Sports and Entertainment

The gold medal only became out of reach for Meyers after her duo set a track record Tuesday, and had a .11 second lead going into the fourth and final run. But a cleaner run by the Canada-1 sled of Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse gave the Canadians the edge Wednesday.

After already becoming GW’s first-ever Olympic medalist after winning a bronze medal in the 2010 Vancouver games, Meyers made national history Wednesday night in Sochi becoming the first female bobsled athlete from the U.S. to win two Olympic medals.

Athletics director Patrick Nero, who is in Sochi supporting Meyers, said in a release that the alumna “exemplifies the dedication, passion and attitude that we want all of our student-athletes to train and compete with every day.”

“Her commitment to mind and body enabled her to make the transition from elite college softball player to one of the best bobsled pilots in the world, and we couldn’t be more proud of how Elana represents GW on the global stage,” he said in a release.

A recent inductee of the GW Athletic Hall of Fame, Meyers made her mark on the GW community as a standout softball athlete. During her GW softball career Meyers was both a two-time Atlantic 10 Student-Athlete of the Year for softball and former CoSIDA Academic All-American.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from the School of Public Health and Health Services in 2006 and her master’s degree from the GW School of Business in 2011.

NBC will re-broadcast the final runs tonight from 8-11:30 p.m.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Scott Nover.

There’s nothing like the feeling of coming home. A Maryland native, Mike Brey, a 1982 alumnus, will feel just that as he brings his Fighting Irish men’s basketball team to College Park Wednesday to face the Terrapins.

But on Tuesday, in front of a sold out Smith Center crowd, Brey was reunited with a different home as he was inducted into the GW Athletics Hall of Fame.

Brey, who received his bachelor’s degree in physical education from the University, led the men’s basketball team in his only season for the Colonials. Brey’s 116 assists in 24 games earned him MVP honors for the 1981-82 season as GW went 13-14 for the season.

When his time as a Colonial came to an end, Brey decided his basketball career was far from over. He returned to DeMatha Catholic to serve as an assistant coach, before serving in the same role at Duke University under the leadership of legendary head coach, Mike Krzyzewski. Coach K was among the many well known college basketball faces to leave a message on the Smith Center’s jumbotron during halftime of GW’s matchup with VCU.

Brey then took the head coach position at Delaware and led the Blue Hens to two March Madness appearances in five years. In 2000, Brey moved to South Bend and took up the task of revitalizing a failing basketball program at what many would consider a “football school:” Notre Dame. Following a 10-year drought of failing to make the NCAA Tournament, Brey has turned the team around, taking the Irish to the NCAA Tournament nine times in his 14 years, including a Sweet Sixteen appearance during the 2002-2003 season.

Born in Bethesda, the Notre Dame head men’s basketball coach graduated from DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md., but chose to venture to Northwestern State University in Louisiana, for his first two years of college. Brey quickly returned to the DMV area for his final two years of school (1980-82), saying he “reinvented himself” during his time at GW.

The coach’s GW ties extend further, as his mother – an Olympic swimmer – once coached the GW swimming team, while his father, received a master’s degree from the University. He’s also close to Jonathan Tsipis, GW’s women’s basketball coach who previously coached at Notre Dame.

“Jonathan Tsipis was a close friend,” Brey said.

“And Mike Lonergan is almost like my little brother in a lot of ways,” Brey added, speaking of how “proud” he was of the current head coach.

Brey complimented the current athletics program, noting that it “is in great shape” with athletics director Patrick Nero at the helm. He spoke to reporters at a press conference before Tuesday’s game, but later addressed the jam-packed Smith Center while being honored during halftime of GW’s eventual 76-66 win.

Brey said, in his mind, his mother, the aforementioned swim coach, and his wife, a GW volleyball player, are the two “best athletes” in the family. “My mom and my wife should be in the hall of fame way before me,” he said.

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This post was written by Hatchet sports editors Sean Hurd and Nick Ong.

You know it’s a blowout when six different Colonials score in double figures.

You know it’s a blowout when only one GW starter needed to play more than 20 minutes.

But, most importantly, you know it’s a blowout when athletic director Patrick Nero offered up free hot dogs if GW scored over 100 points.

Sophomore forward Patricio Garino dunks during Tuesday's 94-50 win over Delaware State. Aly Kruse | Hatchet Photographer

Sophomore forward Patricio Garino dunks during Tuesday’s 94-50 win over Delaware State. Aly Kruse | Hatchet Photographer

GW came up just short of the century mark in its 94-50 win against Delaware State Tuesday night, but the Colonials’ bench nearly outscored the entire Hornets team, netting 48 points.

By the end of the first half, 10 different players had scored and by the end of the game, every Colonial had grabbed at least one rebound.

“Some of our bench guys were a little shaky in the first half, but it was nice to be able to play them extended minutes,” Lonergan said. “To be able right now to have Patricio [Garino], Nemanja [Mikic] and John [Kopriva] coming off the bench, that’s really good for us.”

The blowout was sophomore Patricio Garino’s first game on the Smith Center floor this season and the forward looked like he hadn’t lost a beat. Garino went 4-6 from the field, totaling 11 points, five rebounds, and three assists in 19 minutes of play – reminding the home fans of his explosive ability to run the floor and get to the rim.

“I’m getting close [to 100 percent], but I think – coming back for a home game after two games not playing – I think it feels pretty good,” Garino said. “I didn’t have a good time being on the bench or on the sideline at practice. I totally hated it, but I’m glad to be back and I want to do whatever it takes to make my team better.”

As a whole, the Colonials dominated in every statistical category, putting on their best overall performance of the season to improve to 4-0 for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

Six GW players finished scoring in double figures, with senior forward Isaiah Armwood leading all scorers with 17. GW would end the game shooting 60 percent from the field, going 35-58 with 25 assists.

GW also continued their success from behind the three-point line, shooting 58.8 percent on the night – their highest mark this season. Entering the game, Delaware State (1-3) had held opponents to 18.8 percent shooting from long range.

While graduate guard Maurice Creek was once again lights out, going 3-3 from the behind three-point arc, a new Colonial came through as another long-range threat: freshman Nick Griffin. The 6-foot-2 guard, who Lonergan tagged as a “zone buster,” shot a perfect 4-4 from beyond the arc Tuesday.

“Coach always talks about ‘Know your role,’ and he always tells me when I have open shots to shoot the ball,” Griffin said. “I’m just glad my teammates were able to find me out there and I was able to knock some shots down.”

Griffin would finish the game as the Colonials’ second-highest scorer and minutes eater, with 14 points and 21 minutes played.

The Colonials took ownership over the paint as well, outscoring the Hornets 44-18 there. Throughout the game, GW was scoring basket after basket down low, driving into the paint at will, and on multiple occasions finding either Armwood or sophomore Kevin Larsen for a crowd-pleasing slam. GW would out-rebound the Hornets by 17, 41-24.

The Colonials held  Delaware State to just 19 points in the first half off 28 percent shooting. It wouldn’t get much better for the Hornets, who would finish the game 14 points below their season average of 64.

Lonergan said after the game that he wanted to disrupt the Delaware State offense that likes to “shorten the game, run the clock and run the shot clock down.”

“We wanted to come out and force the tempo, play at out pace,” Lonergan said. “We tried to come after them with man-to-man, then we put our one-three-one on and stretched it out a little, and just got them to play a little faster than they usually do.”

The Colonials are in the best position possible before making the trip to California for the Wooden Legacy Tournament. With an undefeated record and ample time before their opening round matchup against Miami, Lonergan said he is focused on getting his team prepared both mentally and physically for what is sure to be the Colonials’ biggest weekend of 2013.

“I mean, you’d like to not have a break when you’re playing well,” Lonergan said. “But it’s a good time for us to have a break right now and take the trip out there to prepare.”

This post was updated on Nov. 20, 2013 at 12:05 a.m. to reflect the following

Correction appended
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the last 4-0 start for the Colonials was the 2006-07 season. They actually started 4-0 during 2009-10.

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Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 1:42 p.m.

GW declares war against George Mason

GW and George Mason declared war Tuesday.

In another effort to drum up a local rivalry, the Colonials and Patriots will compete annually for the Tri-Corner Hat Trophy in what is being dubbed “The Revolutionary Rivalry.”

Graphic courtesy of the Department of Athletics and Recreation

Graphic courtesy of the Department of Athletics and Recreation

The competition marks the first year in the Atlantic 10 for George Mason, which sits on the Orange Line and just 20 miles away from Foggy Bottom.

To win the Tri-Corner Hat Trophy (not to be confused with the Tri-Wizard Cup), the universites can earn points based on head-to-head victories in all 16 A-10 sports in which the teams compete.

That could spell trouble for GW, at least in men’s basketball. The Patriots made it to the third round of the NCAA tournament in 2011 while GW hasn’t made an NCAA tournament appearance since 2007. GW plays George Mason in men’s basketball in Fairfax, Va. on Jan. 25 and at the Smith Center on March 2.

But the rivalry will extend to all the team’s head-to-head match-ups this year. Next, the women’s volleyball team plays the Patriots at the Smith Center on Sunday.

Bryan Bynes drives against a Patriot opponent. Hatchet File Photo

Bryan Bynes drives against a Patriot opponent. Hatchet File Photo

“Success in rivalries can shape a student-athlete’s and fan’s experience with their university, so we’re excited to have this opportunity for a hard-fought, but friendly competition,” GW Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero said in a release. “We welcome George Mason to the Atlantic 10 and we’ll look forward to seeing them in competition across many of our sports for years to come.”

But this isn’t the first time GW has marketed George Mason as its local rival. The University heavily pushed the “Battle of the Orange Line” in 2009 and 2010. Since then, GW has still lagged in overall men’s basketball attendance, sparking GW to try to focus on sports branding and marketing to stir interest.

Now, the teams are in the same conference after George Mason jumped from the Colonial Athletic Conference this year.

And with the local rivalry between Maryland and Virginia fizzling with those teams no longer in the same conference, GW and George Mason could fill a void. GMU athletic director Tom O’Connor said in a release that this one “has the potential develop into a true rivalry.”

No one expects this to be UNC-Duke, Cal-Stanford or Alabama-Auburn. But GW expects fans in seats.

The revolutionary war starts this weekend. What do you think about this new rivalry?

This post was updated on Oct. 16, 2013 to reflect the following correction:
Due to an editing error, The Hatchet reported George Mason made it to the Final Four in 2011. They made it to the third round that year and the Final Four in 2006.

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