2016. 03. 21
Kings of the Mountain: C of I skiers dominate USCSA Nationals
Lake Placid, New York was home to the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. Last weekend, it was home to the United States Collegiate Ski & Snowboard Association National Championships. And for The College of Idaho ski team, it was home away from home.
Winning two individual national championships and one team title among multiple podium finishes, the Yotes capped a stellar season on the slopes by bringing back suitcases full of hardware. It all cycles back to the motto of coach Ron Bonneau, who urges his skiers to have the “best day ever.” Every time the team is on the mountain—whether it is practice or nationals—the Yotes aim to have fun.
“The success on the hill strictly translates back to the dynamic of the team,” Bonneau said. “If you have a great team concept and some good team players, it relates right back to the results and puts us on the podium.”
The national titles arrived by way of freshmen Anton Waller and Anna Granhed, who came to the C of I this year from their native Sweden.
“I don’t think any of us expected it,” Waller said. “It feels amazing.”
Waller kicked off the men’s slalom by posting the fastest first run of the day. The day before, he'd grabbed the bronze in men's skier cross. As he waited to go last for his second and final run, nerves started to build. It didn’t help that the course was deteriorating due to the warm, 60-degree temperatures.
When he crossed the finish line, Waller had no idea if he’d won. His run didn’t feel fast. He didn’t know how the skiers in front of him had performed. But then, over the loudspeaker, the announcement rang out: Waller was the new slalom national champion.
“That feeling was just, amazing,” said Waller, who soon was swarmed by teammates and his dad to celebrate the moment.
Later that day, Granhed would claim the gold in skier cross, an event she’d never competed in before.
“I’m even happier about my third-place in slalom, but it was fun to try something new,” said Granhed, who captured bronze in slalom the day before.
Granhed’s win made it back-to-back titles in women’s skier cross for the C of I, which has won the event thrice since 2011. With her win and teammate Marty Totten’s fourth-place finish, the Yotes also claimed the women’s team national championship in skier cross.
In addition to winning three national titles, the Yotes posted four team podium finishes on the men’s side by taking second in the dual slalom and third in giant slalom, slalom, and alpine combined. Overall, it was one of the best C of I performances since Bonneau took over as head coach in 1990.
And the plan for next year?
“To continue as we did this year—we had a great season and a great run at nationals,” Granhed said.
“Try to do it even better next year, maybe?” Waller said. “I don’t even know if that’s possible.”
Campus Ministries makes pilgrimage to Mexico
The bright colored clothing of dancers captivated the eye as a cacophony of sound washed over the sea of 2 million pilgrims. They came by car, plane and foot to the city of San Juan de los Lagos, Mexico, for the festival of Candlemas. Among the visitors was a group of 20 College of Idaho students and staff.
“I almost got lost a couple of times,” said C of I senior Patrick Mallory. “It was like playing Frogger, trying to cut through the crowds.”
During winter break, The College of Idaho’s Campus Ministries department traveled to Mexico for a Catholic Pilgrimage. The trip included touring Guadalajara, dropping in on a YoteFam wedding and visiting the Basilica of San Juan de los Lagos.
For Mallory, the day spent at San Juan de los Lagos was his favorite part of the trip. The Campus Ministries group visited the city along with the countless pilgrims who had traveled to pay homage to the small statue of the Virgin Mary. Known as Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos, the statue is credited with several miracles.
Outside the basilica, there were dancers, mariachi musicians, poetry readings and other various performers. The scene inside was similar.
“There were rows of people chanting, singing, dancing, walking down the aisle to the altar and praying to the image of the Virgin Mary,” said C of I junior Paloma Magana.
Though it was a chaotic and loud environment, the reverence displayed was evident, Mallory said. But it was an entirely different experience from his first trip outside the United State— a previous Campus Ministries pilgrimage to Mexico City and the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which he described as more solemn and quiet.
This year’s group began its trip in Guadalajara, sightseeing around the Mexican state capitol of Jalisco, before traveling to the town of Ayotlán for the weekend. There, they watched as C of I seniors Ivan Esparza and Yesenia Lozano tied the knot. The two met during freshmen orientation in McCall and had the wedding in Ayotlán, where much of Yesenia's family lives.
“I know them from the [C of I] Association of Latino American Students and have been part of the club since I was a freshman,” Magana said. “It was really fun to see them get married.”
For Magana, who grew up spending time in Mexico, the trip also offered her the chance to learn about her own history. Her mom grew up in a town an hour away from Ayotlán.
On the way back to Guadalajara, the Yotes visited historical sites relevant to the oft-overlooked Cristero War (La Cristiada), which was a struggle in the late 1920s between the Mexican government and the Catholic Church.
“I never knew about the Cristero War,” Magana said. “I recently learned that from a Spanish class that I had at the C of I, and this winter I was able to actually visit significant sites from the war.”
It was a jam-packed week, with so many sights and places to see. Mallory sums it up best as a “cultural, historical, and spiritual trip all intertwined.” For some students, the trip connected them more closely to their religion as they were surrounded by a new culture and a different way of life. For others, it was a chance to watch their dear friends say, “I do.” No matter the reason for attending, all found new knowledge and fulfillment south of the border.
Perseverance pays off for first-generation C of I student
Growing up in a disadvantaged neighborhood in Caldwell, Samantha Guerrero saw that not everybody graduated from high school. And college? That was for the more privileged students with financial backing.
“It was not something that I was thinking of doing…I thought it was out of my options,” she said.
Even though the circumstances were stacked against her—first-generation college student, Latina, being a mother, having no financial support—Guerrero proved that not only was attending The College of Idaho in her options, but also that she could use her experiences to become a leader on campus.
This April, Guerrero and C of I alum Dulce Sanchez ’15 will travel to San Francisco for the annual Clinton Global Initiative University. CGI U brings together students, university representatives, topic experts and celebrities to discuss and develop innovative solutions to pressing global challenges.
At the conference, Guerrero and Sanchez will present and try to get funding for their project, FuN: Futuro Nuevo (New Future). FuN aims to give students from a small town in the Mexican state of Jalisco the opportunity to be agents of change through an after-school program. The students will be given classes in the areas of bilingual education, political science, art, and pregnancy awareness to create a better community in the Mexican state, which has below-average well-being and education rankings.
Presenting at a national conference is a big step for Guerrero, who used to cry because of stress during her early college years as she struggled to balance her academic work load with working part-time, being a wife, and being a mother to her six-year-old son.
“He has homework, too,” Guerrero said. “So I have my homework, and then his homework to work on.”
Being a pioneer comes with the distinction of being first in your field. It also comes with the struggle of exploring unknown territory. Though Guerrero was setting an example to her younger brother, son and family that college was an attainable goal, she couldn’t find common ground with her parents—neither of whom graduated from high school—to understand what she was going through.
Not living on campus, Guerrero found it hard at times to integrate into the C of I community. She would come to school, go to class, and then go home. There were no dorm-room bonding experiences, no conversations in the cafeteria, no late-night study groups.
“I really like this campus, and I really like our learning environment,” Guerrero said. “But integration is a big part of it, as far as working together with other students on campus and learning the material…when that’s not being done, the experience isn’t fully there. So, for my first two years, I really struggled with that.”
But going into her junior year, she decided to join the Association of Latino American Students (ALAS) on the C of I campus. What she found was a support system of students with backgrounds much like hers.
“It just made my experience at the C of I so much better, having that support and people I could go to for help,” Guerrero said.
Many students in the club are first-generation or non-traditional students, like Guerrero. ALAS provides that campus family support base for students to talk about problems and ask each other for help.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that when you have those types of responsibilities that Samantha has—aside from going to a tough institution like The College of Idaho—it’s going to take a special person to be able to jump through all the hoops and hurdles,” C of I Director of Multicultural Affairs Arnold Hernandez said.
When Hernandez first met Guerrero, she seemed very quiet and unsure of where to fit in. He’s watched her become more relaxed and find her voice as a leader, serving as vice president of ALAS this year. Guerrero said she enjoys sharing her culture with the rest of the YoteFam through hosting and informing the student body on holidays such Dia de los Muertos and Cinco de Mayo.
“She’s going to do some big things,” Hernandez said. “She’s got a bright future ahead of her, and what a role model, especially for her son.”
Knowing the adversity and barriers she has overcome in life has made Guerrero stronger and motivates her to achieve more and more. And it’s that same sense of empowerment that she wants to inspire others with.
“There are many students like myself who would like to go to college, who may be first-generation or are faced with certain barriers which make it difficult to do so because they lack the support and belief in themselves,” she said. “I want to show that if I can do it with these responsibilities and struggles of mine, so can they with persistence.”
Next year, Guerrero will graduate with degrees in psychology/ sociology and international political economy. Her goal is to go into an international law program for her master’s degree. Not bad for the girl who didn’t think college was in her options.
“It’s kind of like the motto of ‘The College of I can do anything,’ ” she said. “That’s basically how I feel at this moment. I can go into any field and succeed because I’ve gained research, critical thinking and communication skills, and I have leadership experience. I’m going to take away a lot from The College of Idaho. It has challenged me in many ways and has allowed me to challenge myself.”
C of I announces 2016 football schedule, Spring Game
The College of Idaho football team has released its 11-game schedule for the upcoming 2016 season, including five home games at Simplot Stadium. The Yotes return to the gridiron for the season opener against Frontier Conference rival Montana Western on Sept. 3 in Caldwell.
“The Frontier Conference remains one of the elite conferences in the nation," said C of I football coach Mike Moroski. “And we are building significant rivalries with numerous teams in the league.”
The opener promises to be a thriller. The Yotes and Bulldogs have played four times over the last two seasons, with each of the games decided by four points or fewer.
C of I also plays host to Frontier Conference foes Rocky Mountain (Sept.24), Carroll College (Oct. 8), Southern Oregon (Oct. 22), and Eastern Oregon (Oct. 29). The Oct. 8 matchup with rival Carroll is the Homecoming game. All C of I 2016 home games will kick off at 1 p.m.
The Coyotes will rekindle an old rivalry in their lone non-conference tilt on Sept. 10, playing a night game at NCAA Division III Willamette. The Yotes and Bearcats were charter members of the Northwest Conference in 1926 and squared off 45 times between 1923 and 1977.
“Adding the Willamette game will add some throwback excitement for our alums,” Moroski said.
C of I will play road games at Eastern Oregon (Sept. 17), Southern Oregon (Oct. 1), Montana Western (Oct. 22), Montana Tech (Nov. 5) and Montana State-Northern (Nov. 12).
Fans don’t have to wait until fall to see the Yotes take the field. Spring practices begin March 28, culminating in the annual Purple and Gold Spring Game to be held Saturday, April 23 at Simplot Stadium. For more details on football and season tickets, visit www.yoteathletics.com.
The C of I marching band is getting ready to rock and roll! Slick new uniforms are on the way, and Professor Luke Strother is gathering a talented ensemble of musicians to begin performing this fall! If you know a current or prospective C of I student who would be a good addition to the band—or if you are one!—contact Dr. Strother today!
Coyote Athletics Roundup: Check out the latest issue of "The Pack," the official magazine of Coyote Athletics...McKayla Stevens became the first NAIA All-American swimmer in Yotes history...Baseball was named the CCC Addidas Team of the Week as head coach Shawn Humberger won his 500th game...Football's 2016 schedule release was featured on KIVI Channel 6...The C of I ski team's national championship performance was covered by the Idaho Press-Tribune and KBOI Channel 2...Baseball second-baseman Hunter Hanson and softball pitcher Ashley Pesek were named Player of the Week...Basketball forward Joey Nebeker was named an NAIA All-American after averaging 20.7 points per game...Coyote athletics has announced details on upcoming summer camps. For information on basketball camps, click here, and for volleyball camps, click here.
The College of Idaho held its annual Pi Day celebration of irrationality on March 14, as student Brandon Nguyen and professors Isaac and Kerry Hunter took a pie to the face. Check out photos here.
Alumni News & Notes: Ron Bitner '68 was featured in the Idaho Press-Tribune for his recent Governor's Award for Excellence in Agriculture...Jan Boles '65 was profiled in the Idaho Press-Tribune for his work as a photographer and archivist...Sharon Buckle '72, owner of Sunrise Landscape Design, made the Times-News for emphasizing continuing education. Molly and Kate Leadbetter and newly opened Meriwether Cider Company taproom in Boise were featured in the Boise Weekly.
C of I math-physics students Michael Esparza, Tasha Sitz and Chelsea Walther recently traveled to Mayhill, New Mexico—a community dedicated to astronomy. During their stay, the students immersed themselves in the study of the hardware and software associated with remote astronomical imaging. They made the most of their visit by taking and processing multicolor CCD images of the Orion nebula. They also acquired images of two stars that vary in brightness; further analysis of those stars is ongoing. This was the second C of I group to visit New Mexico. The trips are made possible by the generous donations of Joe Daglen.
C of I math Professors Lynda Danielson and Robin Cruz recently were invited to present a talk at the Joint Math Meetings in Seattle. Their talk was included in a session on “Innovative Approaches to One-Semester Calculus Courses” and described the redesigned calculus courses developed at the College over the last two years. In addition, Dr. Cruz was a panelist for a discussion on “College calculus and the preparation gap: Identified problems and models for improvement.
Parents, grandparents and loved ones of graduating seniors at The College of Idaho have a unique opportunity to honor their student’s achievement—a commemorative brick with a personalized inscription to permanently honor your graduate! The 4 x 8 bricks will be placed in the walkway outside the Marty Holly Athletics Center on campus. To learn more, click here.
The Rosenthal Gallery of Art's newest exhibit, Liminal Spaces by photographer John M. Francis, opened March 11 and was featured in the Idaho Press-Tribune. The exhibit can be viewed weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. inside Blatchley Hall.