Senior Swimmer Named Academic All-American

By Bob Marcotte
University Communications

“If you really enjoy something, you are going to find time to do it,” says Lauren Bailey, a rising senior in Chemical Engineering and star of the University of Rochester women’s swimming team, after being named an Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

This is one of the highest academic awards that a student-athlete can earn. And that is no small achievement considering the difficulty of her major and the time commitment involved in being a member of the swim team. Team members practice about 20 hours a week during the swim season, but during competitions, swimming sometimes takes up 30 hours a week. And yet Bailey has managed to excel in both the classroom and the pool.

Bailey, who is also pursuing a minor in mathematics, carries a 3.87 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.00 scale). That earned her a place on the Capital One Academic All-America At-Large Team. She is a Second Team Academic All-America selection after earning First Team Academic All-District honors. She is just the third Rochester women’s swimmer to earn Academic All-America honors from CoSIDA in the past 29 years.

She also has been breaking swim records left and right. At the 2013-14 Liberty League Championships, she won seven league titles, broke seven league records, and six Rochester records. In three years (freshman through junior seasons), she has won 17 Liberty League titles and set 14 Liberty League records. She earned All-America honors in four events at the NCAA Division III National Championships this spring: the 100- and 200-yard butterfly, the 200-yard freestyle relay, and the 200-yard medley relay.


So how does she balance a rigorous course load with the demands of varsity athletics? “College is all about priorities,” Bailey says. “I try to plan ahead, and if I have assignments due the following week and a swim meet over the weekend, I will try to do my work on Thursday or Friday to avoid stress over the weekend.” It helps that the swim team’s coaches understand that school comes first, she added. “If I am behind on school work, they can work with my practice schedule to make sure I get my assignments completed. My good friend, Zoe McCauley, is also a chemical engineering major and is on the swim team, so worst case scenario, we will do work together on the bus rides to away swim meets.”

“Being on the swim team keeps me very disciplined with my school work and helps me manage my time very efficiently.” As much as she enjoys setting a new swim record, the most important thing is being part of a team, Bailey added. “I know that every time I am in the water competing, I have 50 fellow swimmers rooting for me and cheering me on. At the end of the day, it feels great to know that you are part of a team where people have your back and show you continuous support and love.”

Bailey said she was “slightly unsure” about which major to pursue when she arrived at UR as a freshman. But after taking a few chemical engineering classes, she knew what she wanted to do. “My interest in chemical engineering stems from how versatile the field is. It is a great background to have, and getting a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering shows that you have great discipline and work ethic due to the difficulty of the major.”

“Also, the chemical engineering professors at the University of Rochester demonstrate a great understanding for the material they teach and show sincere respect for their students, which solidifies my choice to be a chemical engineer.” After graduating next spring, she plans to start working. “I may work for a couple of years and then go back to get my MBA or masters in chemical engineering,” Bailey said. “I am still unsure of where I want to work, but I know that when I retire one day, I want to run an alpaca farm.”

Photo courtesy of University Athletics.


Pep Band: On the Road Again?

By Joseph Bailey ’15
Intern, Univ. Communications

After three years cheering and encouraging the men’s and women’s basketball teams on to victory at home, the UR Pep Band may find itself going on the road once again. This particular group of peppy individuals, under the capable direction of Greg Savich, is made up of freshman through seniors, flute players down to tuba players, and everyone in between. The band can normally be seen rocking the crowds during home basketball games in the Palestra and during home football games in Fauver Stadium. However, once in a while, the Pep Band has the unique privilege of playing for the ‘Jackets at a Division III final four game. And, with the top ranked Yellowjackets dominating their opponents this season, they have high hopes of joining in on the fun of March Madness.

The band has been founded three times in its history. The present director, Greg Savich, founded the current band when he was a sophomore, in the fall 2003. The late, great Frederick Fennell directed the original band, founded in the 1930s. Eastman students will be familiar with Fennell because of his instrumental role in founding the Eastman Wind Ensemble. There was also another, second band, which lasted into the mid-nineties. Today, the Yellowjacket Pep Band wears their distinctive blue and yellow striped Rugby shirts, and favors upbeat music and outlandish antics at games to pep up the fans and team alike.

When the team is winning, and spirits are running high in the Palestra, director Savich tends to go with Pep Band standards, including “The Impression That I Get,” and “Take on Me.” Towards the end of such games, when the team is beginning to settle into its groove, the director often opts for the old favorite “Let’s Groove.” When the team seems to be getting off track, a simple “Let’s Go Band” or even “Long Train Runnin’” can help them to refocus their energies. Finally, whenever John DiBartolomeo scores, and there is a timeout shortly after, the band makes every effort to play “Johnny B. Goode.”

According Hilary Dietz ’13, past pep band co-president, the last time the band traveled for basketball was the spring of her freshman year, in March 2010. That year, the band had the honor of going—all-expenses-paid—to Illinois-Weslyan University in Bloomington, Ill. Dietz says that whenever the band is away for the final four, “Everyone gives 200 percent.” The last trip to Illinois was particularly special for Dietz, because as a native of the state, her parents were able to attend the game. This year, she has high hopes that the men and women’s teams can advance far enough through March Madness to secure a road trip for the band.

Pep BandWhen asked how the band and games are different at the final four when compared to the Palestra, Savich replied, “The band plays very loudly, is very energetic and focused, and cheers a lot.” With regards to the fans, he described it as a weird experience, because the school who is located closest to the tournament play can easily bring the most fans to cheer.

Savich said that he tends to choose pieces that compliment the feel of the game. For example, if the game is close and nearing the end, he will choose music that is fast-paced, or a piece like “Final Countdown.” To motivate band members, Savich looks to the words of Duke Ellington: “You play with the intent to commit something.” Hopefully, that something will lead the men and women to victory as the regular season draws to a close, and the teams head for the playoffs.

Catch the Pep Band in action for the last regular season home basketball games on Sunday, Feb. 17 at noon (men) and 2 p.m. (women).

Pep band members for 2012-2013 include: Clarinets: Christine Ziegler ’16, Kathryn Strelevitz ’16, Joe Bailey ’15, Flutes: Hilary Dietz ’13, Keira Crist ’15, Ryan Challener ’14, Aurora Dopp’13, Aubrie Sauer’16, Saxophones: Taryn Mockus ’13, Ethan Senator ’15, Patrick Callanan ’14, Danika Teverovsky16, Kelsey Tuttle ’16, Amanda Baker ’13, Shyah Miller’16, Kaitlin Pellicano ’13, Trombones: Bennet Niedenburg ’16, Alexander Venuti ’14, Mellophones: Emily Danchik ’13, Nicholas Van Swol ’15, Trumpets: JamesWojakowski’15, Jonathan Strumpf ’15, Brandon Daehn ’13, Jeff Vankerhove ’13, Michael Myers ’16, Crystal Hans ’15, NathanBook’14, Zeke Starling ’16, Tubas: Daniel Macguigan ’14, JuliaMorris’15, Percussion: Marz Saffore ’15, Chelsea Hans ’14, Mike Tamburrino ’16, Director: Gregory Savich ’06.

Rochester Football Wins Home Opener

Rochester Athletics – Junior quarterback Dean Kennedy threw two first-quarter touchdown passes to lead the University of Rochester to a 17-7 victory over Thiel College at Edwin Fauver Stadium.

He finished 11 for 17 for 151 yards and the two scores. He ran 15 times for a net of 72 yards which included four sacks. Rochester finished with 306 yards in offense – 155 rushing (Chris Lebano rushed 24 times for 79 yards) and 151 in the air.

Thiel produced 229 yards in offense. The Tomcats rushed for 101 yards (Taylor Fink had 60 yards on 15 carries) and passed for 128. Andrew Smith hit 17 of 31 passes. He was sacked twice and intercepted once – by Rochester’s Cole Valko on the final Thiel drive in the last minute.

Kennedy threw a screen pass to Lebano that turned into a 19-yard touchdown with 9:01 left in the first quarter. That climaxed an 11-play, 69-yard drive which started the game. After a three-and-out by Thiel, he drove the Yellowjackets 63 yards in eight plays, finishing with a 50-yard strike to Garrett Kesel who got behind the Thiel defense for the score.

Alex Antonucci kicked both PATs for Rochester. He made a 40-yard field goal with 2:34 left in the game to clinch the victory.

Down 14-0 at halftime, Thiel reorganized and cut the deficit in half midway through the third quarter. The Tomcats converted two third downs and one fourth down in a 13-play, 61-yard drive to get within 14-7. Fink plunged one yard on 4th-and-1 from the Rochester 28 to keep the drive going. Three plays later. Smith found Berend Grube inside the one-yard line for an 18-yard gain. Fink scored on the next play and Cody McClelland’s PAT made it 14-7 with 3:48 left in the quarter.

Rochester’s defense held midway through the fourth to preserve the win. The Tomcats drove from their own 25 to the Rochester 26 where Smith’s pass for Grube on 4th-and-1 fell incomplete.

Kennedy drove Rochester 51 yards in 11 plays, eating up 4:24 on the clock. Antonucci kicked his 40-yard field goal on 4th-and-7.

Defensively, Jordan Honjiyo and Zach Cicero led Rochester with 10 tackles. Brendan Pidgeon had nine stops, one sack one forced fumble, and two pass breakups. Shawn Burke had eight tackles and one sack.

Thiel’s leader was Dustin Baker with nine tackles, including 2.5 tackles behind the line. Jack Sindlinger and Terry Gensel had six tackles apiece.

Notes: It was Kennedy’s second career start. He directed Rochester to a 16-13 road win at St. Lawrence last year…. Rochester won its home opener for the first time since the 2001 season.

Article and photo courtesy of the University of Rochester Athletics Department. For more sports news, visit

UR Quidditch: Passion, class, and brooms of course!

Univ. Communications – Many of you may have only heard of Quidditch as the magical sport of J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter series. But your dreams of Bludger dodging, Snitch chasing and Quaffle scoring can become a reality when you join UR’s Muggle Quidditch team.

Muggle Quidditch began circa 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont but has since grown into an international phenomenon. The International Quidditch Association comprises over 1,000 teams in at least 13 countries with over 400 teams in the U.S. alone, mostly on college campuses.

Naturally, Muggle Quidditch does not include any flying or enchanting (unless you count the rapt spectators). As in the books, a game is played between two teams of seven players.  Three circular goals (usually made of PVC pipes and hula hoops) stand on each end of the field protected by two Keepers on each side. Two Chasers per team concentrate on scoring goals (worth ten points each) by passing a volleyball, while two Beaters attempt to knock players out of play by throwing dodge balls.

Each team’s Seeker spends the match trying to capture the elusive human snitch – a person donning gold or yellow clothing with a tennis ball in a tube sock attached to their waistband.  The human snitch is allowed to roam an area far beyond the field, climb trees, hide, and pester the other players. The game comes to an end when the snitch is captured and thirty points are awarded to the captor’s team. In essence the sport is a combination of rugby, dodge ball, tag, and basketball. Oh yeah, and everyone has to run around with a broom between their legs.

“It’s a full contact, athletic sport, it’s not a bunch of nerds running around on brooms,” said Katherine Pieper, president of the UR Quidditch team (aka The Thestrals). “One of the most common misconceptions about Quidditch is that if you aren’t a Harry Potter nerd then you shouldn’t play. I think that’s completely wrong. It’s taken on a complete life of its own. There are people who play Quidditch who are obsessed with Harry Potter, people who hate it, people who have no idea what it is. It doesn’t have to do with Harry Potter anymore and that’s the great thing about Muggle Quidditch.”

The Rochester team has been steadily climbing the International Quidditch Association’s rankings since its founding in 2009. As a Division 1 team, they have been ranked 7th in the world and 1st in New York State. The team has performed well in the annual World Cup Tournaments though last weekend’s result were an admitted disappointment.  The Thestrals did not make it past pool play in their bracket.

“It was a devastating blow for the team, but it did leave us free on Sunday to watch, ref, and Snitch for as many games as we liked,” said Pieper. “Another highlight for us, while it wasn’t our own team, was supporting our friends from the RIT, The Dark Marks, as they made it to the Finals for Division 2 of the Cup, ultimately coming in second place.”

You may be surprised by this warm camaraderie, but the UR Quidditch team has earned a solid reputation as one of the most upstanding and well-mannered opponents in the sport.  “We’ve had several teams tell us that we’re one of the nicest teams they’ve ever played with, which we really pride ourselves on,” said Pieper.

Even in shut-out matches of 260 to zero, The Thestrals have held to the highest standards of ethical sportsmanship. “We don’t play Quidditch to win – we play Quidditch for the love of the sport and the people who dedicate as much of their lives to playing as we do,” Pieper added.

Though the season usually lasts only until the the annual fall World Cup, the UR team is attempting to extend training into the winter months and organize a regional Upstate New York Tournament on campus in the spring. As an SA recognized and funded club sport, the team has been steadily growing in numbers; today there are almost thirty active members that come together for practice drills and matches sever times per week. The Thestrals have also become involved in freshman orientation activities to inform and engage the incoming students as well as philanthropic community work through sponsoring book drives.

Article written by Maya Dukmasova, a Take 5 Scholar at the University of Rochester and an intern at University Communications. She majored in philosophy and religion and focused her Take 5 year on researching the way American media covers current events in the Muslim world. An aspiring journalist, Dukmasova has freelanced for Rochester Magazine, the Phoenix New Times, and the Daily News Egypt in Cairo. She also maintains two blogs, one devoted to culture and society in Russia ( and the other to photography (