The big Badger win


Adiance Cheromiah

Mens’ volleyball takes on Bard College

Our women’s softball team, which had a brutal outing in Myrtle Beach, recorded their first win of the regular season against Massachusetts Maritime where they won after 7 innings with the final score being 9-6. This was a huge win for the Badgers softball team. After not recording a win in over a year it was a terrific way to start their regular season games. They continued to dominate as they next took the double win against the Fisher College Falcons. The significant effort by the team and the pitching staff resulted in a first career collegiate and complete game win for sophomore Mariah Muskin, and first-year Abbey Terry. This team started their season off on a low note but picked it up quickly.

Compared to their 1-30 record last year the Badgers are already improving with 5 wins under their belt, plus a lot of close games. But dealing with multiple injuries has a lot to do with the struggle that this team is facing. Nonetheless they continue to fight, and they continue to work hard. Their hard work has been showing, especially when looking at their 5-2 win over Lyndon. Their first win against Lyndon since 2019.

Pitching a complete game Mariah Muskin, with help from Jenna Rapoza who had a three-run homerun, the Badgers secured their win against Lyndon. Although playoff content doesn’t seem likely for this team, they still continue to fight with everything they have.

March was not kind for Men’s Volleyball. Playing two conference games against Endicott College and Nichols College, they ended up taking the loss in both matches, losing in three sets.

March was an entire month of conference games for this team. The Men’s Volleyball team went 1-5 in conference games this month. Their first conference win came against Bard College. This team ended up being 3-5 in conference, not enough to make it to conference play, but they still ended their season with a winning record of 12-9. This team fought and they fought hard. Their season has ended, but their fight isn’t over yet as they continue to grow as a team.

Track and Field participated in their first meet of the season on March 25. This meet went well for the Badgers, considering it is a whole new team, and this was their first meet of the season.

Some highlights from the meet came from Tim Gray, who beat his own shot-put record and placed first. Mercedes Durden also placed first for the Badger’s team in Women’s Discus Throw. And more than half of the team ended up placing in the top 10 in each event that a Johnson Badger participated in.

On April 8 their third meet of the season ended up being an exciting one. Not only did a lot happen for our athletes, but a lot happened for head coach Brian Slater, who competed on the US Virgin Island National Team, where he celebrated his one anniversary as the Badgers head track and field coach, and what an exciting year it has been for him. Slater started off his first season in 2022 with only six athletes, but now he has 28, and all 28 of those athletes are showing out. 90% of the team hit their personal best during their track meet on the 8th.

During the Men’s 4×400 event, Joshiah Wimberly, Andrew Schienbeck, Nathan Nawoichik and Richard Schieferstein, started off hot and ended up breaking the school record for the fastest time for the Men’s 4×4 in Johnson’s history. Their time ended up being 3:46.06, beating the old time by 11 seconds.

Also, in some other impressive news, in the Women’s 4×400 they placed second all time. Mercedes Durden and Tim Grey both have qualified for the NCAA New England Regionals, and alongside that Kali Wooster set a record for the 400m while also placing 2nd all time for the 200m.

Not only has the Track and Field team proven themselves repeatedly to the administration who had no faith in them at first, but so did head Coach Brian Slater. He started this year off with not a lot of members, but now he has a team that continues to break records, whether it be personal or school records. He has a team that is making history and it can only go up from here for Coach Slater.

Looking at both our Men’s and Women’s tennis team, there has been some unfortunate news. Their coach once again bailed on them. It is extremely unfortunate that the coach decided to quit on this team the same day as their first practice of the new season. But thankfully for this men’s women’s team our athletic staff was not going to give up on them that easily.
With a helping hand from Athletic Trainer Kate Harney and the help of our now dual sports athletes, our tennis program has a coach and a bunch of players willing and wanting to play.

Although Men’s tennis has struggled this season, securing no wins in their regular season, they still played hard. Considering that this is a brand-new team that didn’t even have a coach to begin with, they did an excellent job regardless of their record. Also considering that a majority of the athletes on tennis are new to the sport, it was extremely impressive that there was even a season to begin with. With the absence of the appointed head coach, plus the absence of any recruiting, the possibility for there to be a tennis team for both men and women’s was very slim. But our athletes stepped up and they gave it their all. No matter what the results say, that is a win for the Badgers community.

What is even more impressive is the women’s tennis team’s results. This team stepped up to the challenge and it allowed them to secure their first victory of the season against Norwich College, where they won 5-4. Both teams’ playoff contention is unlikely but either way their victory came from having an entire season considering the obstacles that they were faced with.

Before the news of the NCAA and library decision’s reinstatement, an anonymous questionnaire was sent out on March 19 by Dr Nora Beltz, when the decision to take us out of the NCAA was still on the table. When I reached out to Dr.Beltz on March 21, she explained that in the questionnaire she asked our student athletes a variety of questions about how they are feeling about the decisions that the VTSU administration decided to make. Here is what Dr Beltz had to say about the intended purpose of the questionnaire:“The purpose of the questionnaire was to have more complete and more recent data regarding student-athletes’ feelings and intentions surrounding the administration’s decision to move Johnson campus athletics from NCAA Division III to the USCAA.” She also added that “It had been about six weeks since the administration announced the decision, so it was important to see if and how student-athlete perspectives had changed since the initial announcement.”

This questionnaire was important to prove to the administration that what they decided to do at the time was unethical and wrong. Beltz stated that within the first 24 hours of this questionnaire being released there was a 74% response rate, and later in the week that response rate jumped to 81%. And within that 81% of athlete responses, 60 of them stated that they were “somewhat likely” or “extremely likely” to transfer due to the past decision. According to Beltz that is about 17% of Johnson campus-based undergraduate students.

Their overall thinking about taking us out of the NCAA was a poor one, especially considering how passionate all our student athletes are. They fought and they fought hard, and their fighting with help from different branches within our athletic community played a role in the reverse of their previous decision.

The Badger Den won this battle, and now NVU Johnson will not become a “glorified juco” and we will also continue to have library access for all. This pause does not mean that they will not try to push us out of the NCAA again, but for now we are staying, which means that the Badgers have won, at least for now. And we can thank everyone who put in any type of effort to help the Badger Den secure this victory.