Sunday, September 29, 2002

College Update

From senior stars to freshman hopefuls

By Ryan Ernst
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        One year ago, Jason Bainum was a senior at Williamsburg and was on his way to breaking Ohio's career high school rushing record. This year he is part of the front wedge on kickoff returns and third on the Capital depth chart at running back.

        DeShawn Wynn, one year removed from being the hottest recruit in Southwestern Ohio, plays a similar role at Florida.

        Meanwhile, Marty Mooney and Ricky Brown, two of the featured players in last season's high school playoff doubleheader at Paul Brown Stadium that drew more than 48,000 people, experience similar small-fish, big-pond issues at Yale and Boston College.

        Welcome to college, boys, where players are bigger, play is faster and, for a freshman, playing time is scarce.

        “I just keep telling myself that it's a process I have to go through,” said Brown, an Elder grad and second-string linebacker for the Eagles. “I have to learn the system, and hopefully playing time will take care of itself just based on the way I play.”

        Brown is one of only two true freshmen to see regular playing time at BC. He has three solo tackles, including a sack. But like many freshmen, playing time means special-teams duty.

        Wynn, a running back from Reading, said that although he'd rather be in the backfield, special teams work gets him off the sideline.

        “Special teams is definitely a lot different than what I was used to in high school,” he said. “By the time I came here, I was so used to getting the ball. But it's all part of the system. You just have to get out there and still do whatever you can to help the team.”

        Bainum's 8,216 career rushing yards made for a pretty strong prep resume. But as he's quick to point out, that doesn't mean much when you're third on the depth chart between two upperclassmen.

        “Getting all that attention last year wasn't really anything for me, because I know football's just a game,” he said. “Last year I really just thought of myself as another senior. Now I'm just another freshman.”

        And being a freshman means more than just changes on the football field.

        “That first week, I was starting to get pretty homesick,” said Wynn, who arrived in Gainesville June 22. “But after awhile there isn't time to be homesick, because you're so busy with workouts and then practice and tutors and classes.”

        Add an Ivy League class load, and one can appreciate Mooney's first semester.

        “Well, you know it's going to be difficult coming in, not only academically but also with balancing everything,” the former St. Xavier quarterback said. “But it's really nice here, because they know academics come first.”

        So after a week of practices, classes, tutoring and scout-team work, the freshman gets the big payoff: the game. And if a freshman is good enough to make the travel squad, game day is even more anticipated. Just ask Brown about BC's trip to No. 1 Miami.

        “It's been my dream ever since I was a little kid to play in the Orange Bowl. There were fans chanting - 74,000 people,” he said. “It was sort of funny - our head strength coach came up to me halfway through the game and told me I didn't look nervous.

        “I just told him: "I'm from Cincinnati. I've played in front of some big crowds before.' ”

               Miami's women's basketball team ranked 25th academically in Division I programs in a poll released by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.

        Bonita Wise, Cincinnati senior volleyball player and Conference USA co-player of the week, led the Bearcats to the title at last week's Coors Classic in an upset of No.25 Colorado State. Teammates Julie DuPont and Trish Ladusaw joined Wise on the all-tournament team. On the soccer field, four local products earned weekly honors.

        Kathleen Reynolds (Milford), Hanover's leading scorer, was named Heartland Conference player of the week.

        Northern Kentucky soccer player Stephanie Sandfoss was named the week's Great Lakes Valley Conference co-player of the week. The Highlands grad scored two goals and had an assist as the No.1 Norse posted a pair of wins.

        Amelia graduate Kristen Votapek of Mount Vernon Nazarene scored a school record four goals against Notre Dame College en route to earning National Christian College Athletic Association national player of the week.

        Nate Webb, from Badin, scored the game-winner as Urbana upended Thomas More, earning him American Mideast Conference soccer honors.

        LaSalle alumnus and current Miami cross country runner Steve Padgett won the Miami Fall Classic in a time of 24:46.54 and was named Mid-American Conference Runner of the Week for the second time this season.

        Four athletes from Xavier took home Atlantic 10 honors this week. Sisters and tennis teammates Lauren and Kristen Clary won the conference's Player and Rookie of the Week honors respectively. Elder grad Paul Staudigel was the cross country Rookie of the Week. Fellow Musketeer, volleyball player Meggie Hoffman, earned her third straight rookie-of-the-week award.

        Mount St.Joseph had a similar week, with Kurtis Smith (Elder), P.J. Volker (Elder) and Tammi Toney (Harrison) winning player of the week honors in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference for cross country, football and volleyball, respectively.

        The Cincinnati State women's soccer team (6-1) found itself ranked 13th in the latest National Junior College Athletic Association poll.


Sports Stories
Miami 48, Akron 31
Ohio State 45, Indiana 17
Florida 41, Kentucky 34
Kalamazoo 27, Mount St. Joseph 13
Wittenberg 31, Thomas More 6
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- College Update: From senior stars to freshman hopefuls
Enquirer Power Rankings

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