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New Home for GoMason Blog

To all of the subscribers to the GoMason Blog.

Thank you. Thank you for subscribing over the past four months and reading the more than 75 posts.

This entry has one purpose: to let you know that the GoMason Blog has moved to the new GoMason website. In the coming weeks, the option of subscribing to the GoMason Blog will be available through the new web site but for now, we encourage you to visit GoMason regularly and click on the blog tab prominently displayed near the top of the page. The GoMason Blog, which is now presented by Toyota, will continue to feature regular content about all of George Mason’s athletics programs.

Here, meanwhile, are links to the three entries from this past week:

Edwards Making a Name for Herself Outside of Basketball

New Season, New Lockers for Baseball Team

Q&A With Jai Lewis

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GoMason Blog Presents the Top 10 Mason Moments of 2010

What kind of blog would the GoMason Blog be if we didn’t give you a year-end top-10 highlights?

Here, in chronological order, is a very unsophisticated look 2010’s top-10 Mason moments:

January 30 – The men’s basketball team beats James Madison, 70-68, to tie the school record with its 17th-straight home win over a CAA opponent. In the process, the Patriots improved to 10-1 in the CAA, the best 11-game start in conference play in school history.

February 28 – The women’s basketball team tops Georgia State, 47-43, picking up its 10th win of the year. It marked Mason’s first 10-win season since 2005-06 as the Patriots also picked up their first two-game conference win streak in four years.

March 19 – Ashley Danner capped a brilliant sophomore season with a runner-up finish in the 100-yard breaststroke at the NCAA Swimming Championships. What did it take for Arizona’s Ann Chandler to beat Danner?  An NCAA record and the second-fastest time in history. Danner had three All-American finishes at the meet while Kristen Meier became just the second female Patriot to ever compete at the NCAA Diving Championships.

March 20 – Becky Anderson pitched the fourth perfect game in school history as she recorded 15 straight outs to beat Georgia State 8-0 in the second game of a doubleheader. Anderson went on to be named All-CAA for the third time in her career as she set a school record with a 1.29 ERA and seven complete-game shutouts.

May 1 – The men’s track and field team captures the CAA Track and Field Championship, the fourth in program history but the first since 1995. The women’s team, meanwhile, placed second, its highest finish since 2004. Grace Mavugara was the Outstanding Women’s Field Performer after sweeping the long and triple jumps.

May 8 – The softball team closed the season with a three-game sweep of Delaware, missing the CAA Tournament by one game but finishing with a 21-24 record. It was the highest win total for the program since 2005 and the fifth-place finish in the CAA was the highest finish in conference since 2002.

May 23 – Ryan Soares finished off one of the best seasons in school history by setting one CAA record and two school records as the baseball team ended the year with a 17-9 win over Towson. Soares entered the game tied for the CAA single-season record for doubles and the Mason school record for career doubles and he hit two to break both marks. He entered the day with a chance to break the school record for single-season batting average and he didn’t falter, going 5 of 6 to finish with a .438 batting average, shattering the mark of .420 set in 1985. Soares was a first-team All-American and finalist for the Wallace Award, given to the nation’s top shortstop.

Oct. 29 – The women’s soccer team just missed a spot in the CAA Tournament in 2009, finishing the season tied with JMU for the fourth seed and missing out on a tiebreaker. This year, Mason didn’t allow it to come to a tiebreaker as the Patriots beat Towson 2-0 in the season finale to earn the third seed into the CAA Tournament. It was Mason’s first trip to the CAA Tournament since 2007 and the Patriots brought their A game to Hofstra. It took penalty kicks against JMU to end Mason’s season after the teams tied at 1-1 after regulation and two overtimes.

Nov. 21 – Laura Sinclair put together a terrific sophomore season as she was CAA Runner of the Week multiple times, was named All-CAA and All-East, set the Delaware Invitational event record and was Mason’s top runner in every single meet. She finished second at the ECAC Championships.

Dec. 30 – Cayle Byers was expected to have a big year in 2009-10 but he ended up redshirting the season due to injury. He returned with a vengeance this season. Byers started the year 16-0 and beat the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the nation. His undefeated year came to an end when he fell in the finals of the Southern Scuffle to the nation’s second-ranked wrestler.


Welcome to the New GoMason.com

At 12:01 a.m. today, the new GoMason.com launched. After a decade or so with CBS (previously College Sports Online) Mason has moved its athletics website to Neulion.

Take some time to explore the site and its new features. The tabs that allow you to flip between stories, schedules, results and the blog; the new video portal; the built-in Twitter feed, the roster pages that have headshots when you mouse-over names; and the schedule pages with countdowns to the next event as well as the ability to download sports schedules to Outlook.

Because of the switch from CBS to Neulion, it isn’t just a new look you’re seeing, but an entirely new site. And like any new site, there are bound to be bugs. Everyone at Neulion and Mason worked hard to make sure such issues were at a minimum, but please be patient as we get all those little things corrected.

We hope you enjoy spending time on the new site as much we enjoyed putting it together for you. Happy New Year.


Gracia and Moss Turn the Tables, Going From Player to Commentator

How would you like to go to work every day and have hundreds of people, sometimes thousands, watching your every move and criticizing your every mistake? Wouldn’t you relish the opportunity to switch roles and be one of the ones doing the critiquing? Well that’s the opportunity that a couple of Mason student-athletes have had the past few months.

Ryan Gracia and Kimmy Moss have been both players and media in the fall season. Gracia played in the midfield for the men’s soccer team this year with a goal and three assists as the Patriots finished 8-7-2 and had a final RPI of 64. Moss was named second-team All-CAA after scoring two goals and handing out three assists from the back line as the women’s soccer team made the CAA Tournament and finished with a final RPI of 76.

Moss, who hopes to do to television or radio broadcasting in the future, has done color commentary for some of the men’s soccer Internet broadcasts. She also runs for the track and field team. Gracia, who wants to be a print or electronic journalist (preferably covering the NBA), has covered several events for Connect2Mason.

Both feel that being a student-athlete and having competed as well as having actual relationships with the people they’re covering has been a help, not a hindrance.

“As an athlete, covering another athlete, I know which part of the game is important to write about,” said Gracia, who came to Mason from Rockville, Md. Growing up in the area and loving basketball, it was natural for him to become a Wizards fan.

“I’m a huge NBA fan and I read all the blogs and articles about the NBA and I just really enjoy that style of writing,” Gracia said. “Whether it’s just something I continue with or a stepping stone, I think it’s a good start for me.”

Gracia has had the chance to cover Mason basketball, as he wrote the Connect2Mason story for the Patriots’ win over George Washington. He’s also had to deal with covering a tough Mason loss as he was on hand when the women’s volleyball team gave up a 2-0 lead over Northeastern in the season finale and lost, thereby missing out on a spot in the CAA Tournament. Finally, he’s also had the opportunity to cover some of his closest friends as he wrote about the 3-on-3 intramural basketball tournament won by Mason Soccer.

“Being a writer, you have an eye for the big plays and the most important things,” Gracia said. “You kind of have a sense of what the athletes are feeling whether they turn the ball over or hit the game-winning shot, you know the ups and downs of the game.

“I don’t think it’s too difficult (to be objective). Being an athlete and being able to understand writing, you kind of know what points to get at and what points not to get at. You’re not going to kill a guy for messing up.”

While Gracia chose to combine two of his loves, sports and writing, to pursue a career in sports writing, Moss has taken her main love, talking, and used it to work toward a career doing something she been a part of her whole life. Her father is Mike Moss, a long-time anchor for WTOP, the Washington area’s highest-rated radio station.

“When it comes down to what do I enjoy the most and what do I want to spend my life doing, I really enjoy talking, Moss said. “What had a big impact was my Dad being in the business. I kind of thought that it would be exciting to follow suit in that as well.”

Moss, who comes from nearby South Riding, has had plenty of experience through internships, including one with WUSA Channel 9. That gave her the opportunity to see every part of what made a TV station work. She also had experience at Mason when she worked several men’s soccer matches.

“It’s definitely hard to be objective when you’re broadcasting your own team,” Moss said. “You know them so well. But the biggest problem is you know more about your team than the other team. I would research for a couple of hours to learn the other players, but it’s just not the same.

“It’s a challenge, but it has its advantages. You can give insight that others can’t.”

Gracia, a junior, will be back next season for the Green and Gold. Moss just completed her senior season with the women’s soccer team but she has two years of eligibility remaining for track. She is weighing whether to apply for a graduate program at Mason so she can compete in 2012. So will the pair have to worry about saying something their fellow Mason student-athletes might take the wrong way?

“You have to be critical for both teams, it doesn’t matter who you’re for or who you’re against,” Gracia said. “You just have to convey it the right way.”

“You need to tread lightly around some sensitive issues or games that are going wrong in an athlete’s life,” Moss said. “But you’re not being fair to your audience if you’re not giving the complete picture.”


Update on New Website

Last month the GoMason Blog mentioned that some time before the new year, GoMason.com would have a new look and a new partner. The switch to the new site is still on schedule as beta testing is currently underway.

One of GoMason Blog’s favorite new features is a pop-up head shot of student-athletes when you mouse-over their name on the roster page. And did we mention the enormous photos on the front page as well as every sport’s home page? And the easy-to-use tabs that allow you to quickly flip between headlines and schedule and results? And of course, there’s the beautiful new video portal. Below is a screen shot of it. Enjoy.


Thanksgiving Thoughts from the GoMason Blog

Happy Thanksgiving, Mason Nation. Yesterday the GoMason Blog brought you the favorite Thanksgiving dishes of some student-athletes and coaches. We asked the same group of Masonites what Thanksgiving means to them and here are their responses.

Eric Zuehsow – Men’s Soccer Player

It seems as over the years while away at college, staying in touch with family becomes harder and harder. Life just keeps getting more busy and complicated, so I think it’s a great way to sort of slow things down and really appreciate your family and all that they have done for you.

Kimmy Moss – Women’s Soccer Player

When I was a kid, Thanksgiving was all about the food– competing with my brothers to see who could eat the most, falling asleep immediately after, and never actually helping out with the dishes. 🙂  Things have changed as I’ve gotten older.  I appreciate the time together with my family so much more now.  I understand what it means to be thankful, and I understand how important it is to show my thankfulness with gratitude…even though that generally means having to do 3/4 of the dishes… Nowadays, I see Thanksgiving as enjoying every part of the holiday that I possibly can.  The cooking, the football, the running I do so I don’t get out of shape for track… All to be enjoyed. Every moment of it is precious time with my amazing family!

Angelee LaTouche – Women’s Basketball Player

Giving thanks back, and a day off from school.

Christine Weithman – Women’s Basketball Player

Relaxing and hanging out with my family

Andrew Gerard – Director of Men’s & Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country

Well, each year Thanksgiving comes just after the conclusion of our fall cross country season, so the biggest thing for me is, after almost three months of 6-7 day work weeks, team travel, and recruiting, I get to spend a long weekend with my wife and kids!  We don’t even really have to do anything for that time to be special for me.  Thanksgiving means spending quality time with my wife and kids! I look forward to it every year…

Fernanda Bartels – Women’s Volleyball Player

Well, considering that I am not American, I can tell you what I have learned about Thanksgiving for the past three years. It is a time of the year to spend with your family, and be grateful for what you have in your life. It is a good break to rethink about what really matters, and appreciate the simple things, like the opportunity to have a great meal surrounded by the people you love.

Jim Larranaga – Men’s Basketball Head Coach

Thanksgiving is about three of the most important things in your life – God, family and friends. Being thankful for being so blessed to having all 3 in your life.


Guess Who’s Raising His Own Thanksgiving Meal?

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a day to give thanks for all the wonderful things we have in our lives. And we all know that the day after Thanksgiving is for shopping. But the day before Thanksgiving? That’s for day dreaming about what you’re going to eat.

GoMason Blog asked some coaches and student-athletes what their favorite dish was. Here are some responses:

Jim Larranaga – Men’s Basketball Head Coach

“My wife makes the best turkey, turkey stuffing, mashed potatoes, biscuits and gravy. That’s my favorite meal of the year.”

Fernanda Bartels – Women’s Volleyball Player

“I would say turkey and gravy are my favorites”

Angelee LaTouche – Women’s Basketball Player

“Ox tail and rice and peas”

Eric Zuehsow – Men’s Soccer Player

“My favorite Thanksgiving dish that we make at our house is definitely the Hawaiian Salad. A medley of fruit such as grapes, sliced apples, mandarin oranges, pineapple chunks, etc. with marshmallows all mixed together with sour cream… amazing!”

Christine Weithman – Women’s Basketball Player

“Sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top”

Andrew Gerard – Director of Men’s & Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country

“I don’t really have a favorite dish but this year we raised our own chickens and a couple of the larger ones dressed out at over 8 lbs so we’re going to deep fry one of those!  We’re just having the family this year, so it will be plenty big enough and deep fried turkey is spectacular so we’re thinking this will be a highlight of the meal.”