Zack Motta practices mixed martial arts
> C3 Men join varsity cheer Male cheerleaders add a new element to varsity squad
David Rohr staff writer
co-editor-in-chief As Head Coach James DeWald belts out, “Water,” spots around the Waterboy fill up with varsity football players. But as their teammates pass the six water-squirting spouts around, three players are left isolated, taking a knee on the field. “It is Osama’s choice to fast and it’s Osama’s choice to continue to play football due to his sense of responsibility to the team,” says Mohamed El-Sayed, Osama’s father. “He chose when he began fasting and I delayed it [his fasting] until he was old enough to make his own choice. I am proud of his sense of responsibilty, his self-dicipline, and his good values.” Seniors Osama El- Sayed and Omar Hadied, as well as junior Zafar Wazir deprive themselves of the basic amenity of water because of their religion, Islam. During the thirty-day long holiday of Ramadan, the only time that Muslims are al-
lowed to eat or drink is while the sun is down. Baron’s Offensive coordinator, Adam Korzeniewski, realizes the difficulties his players choose to go through. “When they [the players who keep Ramadan] have exhausted their sugar stores without replenishing them, when they have broken down their carbohydrate stores without replenishing them they are at risk of becoming catabolic and breaking down muscle,” says Korzeniewski, “Your brain is a little bit different. It can only use true glucose. It cannot use energy that is stored in fat. So the first thing that is going to go from them is their attention and their awareness and their ability to focus and they will physically start to breakdown from there.” Although the ability to focus is technically the first thing to flounder, El-Sayed believes his mental status remains unhindered. “During Ramadan I am much more focused. It may sound weird. During football,
I don’t worry about being thirsty. I play better. Osama El-Sayed Senior
for me, it’s reading the guard better as well as blocking the right person. I don’t worry about being thirsty. I play better.” To compensate for his energy depletion, El-Sayed wakes up before sunrises to load up on calories. “I’ll wake up at 5:30 a.m. and just start eating. I’ll usually just eat a sandwich. But food is not usually the problem as much as water is. I’ll drink a whole gallon at night. Then when I wake up in the morning I drink two more bottles of water.” While El- Sayed finds that he is more focused and able to play football during Ramadan, sophomore Zafar Wazir has discovered that he is unable to play. “I was playing in game and I hadn’t eaten that morning and I hadn’t eaten that day,” says Wazir. “I felt one or two steps slower during every play I was in. I was dizzy and disoriented the entire game. Shira [Schiff, Andover athletic trainer] had to take me out to give me glucose because my body was shaking I can’t play now because I don’t have the calories to burn.” Rachel Tinknell, Athletic intern from Central Michigan University, also believes that depletion of water in the body is the biggest risk the athletes face. “That (fasting) is hard on anybody who is not doing physical activity, and they [El-Sayed, Wazir, Hadied] are playing football. That is a very excruciating sport. So that on top of it just makes me nervous
Please see RAMADAN, C3
Photo by Madeline McIlhon
Three football players follow religious traditions while part team
Photo by Jake Gordon
There’s something new to Andover’s Varsity Cheer team, and it has a Y-chromosome. Senior Hunter Cooper and sophomore Jake Pazner represent two of the new varsity cheerleaders and the only two boys on the team since 2006. It all started last fall, when Cooper played football. After one devastating hit, Cooper felt something was wrong with his arm, a recurring injury from wrestling season. “I actually went into the hospital for a separated and dislocated shoulder and they discovered fractures in my vertebrae,” says Cooper. After an MRI, Cooper learned that the disks inbetween his vertebrae were degenerating. In short, his neck looked like the neck of a man thirty years older than him. He opted to avoid surgery, which would keep him eligible to wrestle come wrestling season and dropped football. Then Cooper, facing an empty fall schedule, looked for a new activCooper pumps up the stands at a JV football game. ity. “After talking to He is one of two males on the cheerleading squad my mom, she told this year. me that colleges always need guy cheerleaders,” he says. In fact, colleges are willing to give very fair scholarships to cheerleaders that make the team, a feat much more attainable for males. “I talked to the Michigan State coach,” Cooper says, “and he said definitely try out.” Cooper could potentially earn a scholarship to Michigan State or many other colleges needing male cheerleaders, but he knew he needed practice first. Last spring, Cooper tried out for the cheer team, along with friend Pazner. “Hunter asked me to try out with him, and it seemed like it could be a lot of fun,” Pazner says. Erin Cervi, varsity cheer coach, however, admits that she was at first skeptical of the boys trying out. “When Hunter and Jake showed up at tryouts I was a bit surprised and uncertain if they were mocking the team or serious about the sport,” says Cervi. “However, within 5 minutes they joined right in and tried to do everything the girls were doing. Both Hunter and Jake took the tryout very seriously.” Varsity captain Kate Merchant agrees. “At first [I thought it was a joke] but not anymore. Now they seem very serious about it.” While both guys made the team, they faced a different sort of cheering problem: cheer camp. There, amongst the 150 varsity cheerleaders, they were the only two guys. “Cheer camp was a lot of good, clean, American fun,” Cooper asserts. “And a lot of hard work, too.
Please see CHEERLEADING, C3
Senior takes on unique sport
Siegfried Bierekoven is world’s second best disc golfer under 18 Nikki Kiester staff writer
Stepping out onto the grass, Siegfried (Ziggy) Bierekoven takes his last putt. This shot could make or break the round. He concentrates and tosses the disc straight into the basket and takes first in the tournament. After shaking hands with all the players in his round, he throws his hands in the air to celebrate his shot, and takes a deep breath releasing stress. The hard part is over. Bierekoven moved to Bloomfield Hills this summer from Royal Oak. He has played disc golf since he was 11 years old and continues to compete at the world-championship level, currently ranking as the second best player in the under 18 division. “I used to live next to a course in Royal Oak,” Bierekoven says. “I went there the day before
my 11th birthday and I saw guys throwing what I thought was a frisbee at metal baskets. I asked them what it was. They explained to me that it was disc golf and I went home and told my mom that I wanted discs for my birthday.” Bierekoven says “Basically you have this frisbee thing called a ‘disc,’ and it goes farther than any other kind of frisbee, and it’s like golf. Your arm is like the club and your disc is like the ball. You want to get the disc into the metal contraption, the basket, in the least amount of throws possible.” Bierekoven plays both locally in places like Troy’s parks and around the nation in tournaments. “It doesn’t annoy me when people ask what the heck disc golf is because it’s not really well known, so I can understand if someone asks and I’ll tell them because I didn’t really know at one time,” says Bierekoven. Since disc golf is an individual sport, Bierekoven fits practice in whenever possible. On the day of the tournament, he arrives right when the game begins as opposed to hours before in order to warm-up. “I get there as it starts so I get into the zone.” says Bierekoven. Although Bierekoven is not ranked at the top, the number one ranking is not out of reach. “The number one disc golfer in the world
is in the same grade as I am. I personally feel that we’re around the same level, but he gets ranked higher because he plays in more small tournaments than I do. I’ve played against him before, and the one round I played with him, I beat him. ” “I’m proud of my son and all of his accomplishments,” says Bierekoven’s mom, Lynne Wolensski. “He is currently a sponsored pro-disc golfer as a senior in high school. Above all, he is devoted to the sport. He puts one hundred percent into every practice and tournament.” Bierekoven is passionate about the sport and tries to get his friends in on the fun. Though he doesn’t play often, Bierekoven’s friend Andy Bawol of Clinton Township plays with him on occasion for the social aspect of the game. “Playing disc golf with Ziggy is fun because it’s always a challenge to try to out-do him. The competition makes the games intense. Ziggy will make these nearly impossible shots, while I’m trying to focus on getting the disc relatively near the basket.” says Bawol. “The way I look at it is that there’s no point in playing it if you’re not having fun.” Bierkoven says.
Photo by Madeline McIlhon Bierekoven prepares for a big tournament. He is trying to perfect his aim while tossing a disc towards his metal target.
The online publication for The Andover Shield newspaper from September 2009.