11-4-2022 Digital Edition

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the rocket

Friday November 4, 2022 • Volume 106, Issue Number 4 • An Independent, Student-Run Newspaper

www.theonlinerocket.com

A2 | ELECTION CORNER

B2 | THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING, COACH MCGRAW

C1 | THE GHASTLY LEGENDS OF SRU D1 | THE LASTING LEGACY OF MCGRAW

GRAPHIC BY: JOCELYN KYTCHAK


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VIDEO: Colleen Cooke discusses APSCUF endorsements

NEWS

Election corner

POLITICAL CARTOON COURTESY OF MAX ENCK

By Matt Glover News Editor

CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses p o t e n t i a l l y s e n s i t i ve topics. Please use caution before reading.

The midterm election in Pennsylvania pits John Fetterman (D) and Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) against each other fighting for Sen. Pat Toomey's (R) seat. Experts say this race will decide which party holds the majority in the Senate next year. A free shuttle will be available to take SRU students to and from the polls. The township polling place is at 153 Branchton Road, and the borough polling place is at 320 N. Main St. The shuttle will run every half hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Background Oz got his start as a surgeon before becoming a TV p e r s o n a l i t y. H e h a s never run for political office, but has been active within the R e p u b l i c a n Pa r t y i n New Jersey. He was also appointed i n Ma y 2 0 1 8 t o t h e P r e s i d e n t ’s C o u n c i l on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition by President Trump. He ser ved on the council through Tr u m p’s p r e s i d e n c y and was removed by the Biden Administration. O z l i v e s i n Ne w Jersey and owns land in Pennsylvania. His career in the medical industry has been controversial due to being a decorated surgeon, though he stopped operating in

2018, and also began supporting alternative medicine and other failed products. Oz said he would support Trump if the Republicans nominate him, but he has distanced himself from all Trump branding since his endorsement. Fetterman has stated that he will endorse President Biden if he chooses to run for reelection in 2024. Fe t t e r m a n i s t h e c u r re n t Pe n n s y l va n i a L i e u t e n a n t Gove r n o r and former mayor of Braddock, a small town outside Pittsburgh. He also oversees the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons. While mayor of Braddock in Jan. 2013, Fetterman was involved in an incident near his home where he pointed a shotgun at an unarmed black jogger and detained him. The jogger has said t h a t Fe t t e r m a n l i e d about the circumstances surrounding the incident, but the jogger has forgiven him and doesn’t want this incident to cost Fetterman the race. Crime Oz consistently discusses crime in Philadelphia on the campaign trail. He also broadly opposes mandator y minimum sentences. Oz is also vocal throughout his campaign about justice for George Floyd, but he thinks the Black Lives Matter Movement “did justice to the real struggle that we have.” He also frequently criticizes his opponent for being “soft on crime.”

Fetterman suppor ts man d at o r y min imu m sentences in cases involving fentanyl dealers. Fetterman sometimes refers to his time as mayor of Braddock when they went five-and-a-half years without a death from gun violence. He also supports investing more in resources for local police departments including mental health and social services, but the appropriate staff is needed to implement these resources. Fetterman’s opponent has also repeatedly criticized him for his actions on the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons. Drug Policy Pe n n s y l v a n i a s e e s about 14 overdose deaths per day. Philadelphia is fighting the highest murder rate in the city’s history. Oz supports marijuana reform and has thought the dr ug could be a potential solution to Pe n n s y l va n i a’s o p i o i d crisis. He also thought Biden’s pardoning of convicts with nonviolent marijuana chargers was “rational.” Oz also supports using prescription opioids while recovering from painful surgery and assures patients they are far less likely to get addicted when following a prescription. Fetterman suppor ts decriminalizing drugs which would make possessing a small amount of a drug legal. He also supports legalizing

recreational marijuana and wants to open syringe service programs and safe consumption sites. Debates Fetterman and Oz have only held one debate in the running so far. The debate, held on October 25, discussed immigration, abortion and a few other issues. Oz endorsed states rights as far as abortion went, while Fetterman endorsed Roe v. Wade. Oz speculated whether Fetterman was medically fit to serve, while Fetterman stated that his doctors have confirmed his eligibility to serve as governor. Fetterman has not released his medical records regarding this. Fetterman suffered a stroke in May shortly before winning the Democratic primary. He has auditory processing issues as a result. In Fetterman and Oz’s only debate, Fetterman requested a closed captioning system to help him better understand questions and responses. Both campaigns agreed to the closed captioning system and were given two practice sessions with it. Fetterman only utilized one practice session. His campaign blamed Nexstar Media Group, who set up the system, for captions being delayed and incorrect. Nexstar responded by saying the system worked as expected and intended. Education Oz has suggested that Congress create a large, public fund to allocate

to each state to support school vouchers. Fe t t e r m a n b e l i e v e s in universal prekindergarten and childcare and wants more funding for teachers. He also wants to increase funding into career and technical programs to “prepare young adults for successful and indemand careers in critical industries.” Fetterman will also fight to make communitycollege tuition free and reduce student loan debt. Economy Pennsylvania currently has a lower minimum wage than all its neighbor states. It has not been increased since 2009. Oz wants the minimum wage raised “as high as it can go,” but he wants the raise to be driven by market forces instead of policy. He accused his Democratic opponent of “shooting too low” with raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Oz wants to use the energy “under our feet” to drive these wages up. He also opposes taxing social security. Fetterman believes in a $15 federal minimum and a “livable wage.” He has also pledged to fight for a fair tax code. Energy Pennsylvania is the second-largest producer of natural gas in the Un i t e d St a t e s a f t e r Te x a s . B o t h S e n a t e candidates support fracking in Pennsylvania. A Muhlenberg College public poll found that 48% of Pennsylvanians support fracking, and 44% are opposed to it. Oz wants to use fracking

and energy to raise wages based on Pennsylvania’s energy productions. He previously was skeptical about the public health effects of fracking and would make his decision pending the results of a public health study. Fetterman previously did not support fracking but now supports it, citing that “we need independence with energy.” Healthcare Oz has said that abortion should be up to “a woman, her doctor and local political leaders.” He wants laws about abortion to be made by states, not the federal government. He did not say whether or not he would support a bill banning abortion after 15 weeks. Oz does want more black doctors and to reduce disparities in health outcomes between black and white patients, according to an NBC News article. Fetterman has said that Roe v. Wade should be the “law of the land” and did not specify if he supports any abortion restrictions. Immigration Oz does not support open borders and sanctuary cities, but says he understands what immigrants can offer Pennsylvania since his mother and father are Turkish immigrants. He says that narcotics and other drugs from China being brought over the border are making every state a border state. Fe t t e r m a n b e l i e v e s in a bipartisan, "compassionate" solution to immigration.


NEWS

November 4, 2022

A-3

Mastriano vs. Shapiro

PHOTO COURTESY OF JULIO CORTEZ OF AP

Sen. Doug Mastriano speaking at a hearing on Nov. 25, 2020.

By Matt Glover News Editor

CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses potentially sensitive topics. Please use caution before reading. With midterm elections right around the corner on Nov. 8, The Rocket broke down the Republican and Democratic nominees’ beliefs in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race. A free shuttle will be available to take SRU students to and from the polls. The township polling place is at 153 Branchton Road, and the borough polling place is at 320 N. Main St. The shuttle will run every half hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Background Before being elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate in 2019, Doug Mastriano (R) served for 30 years in the U.S. Army. He retired in 2017 as a Colonel. His military career highlights include serving on the Iron Curtain in Germany, where he saw the end of the Cold War before being deployed for Operation Desert Storm in 1991. After 9/11, he was the lead planner for the Iraq invasion through Turkey. He has a doctorate in history and four master’s degrees. He also subscribes to Christian nationalist beliefs. Josh Shapiro (D) has been Pennsylvania’s attorney general since 2017. He previously served as Montgomery County Commissioner and as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Shapiro completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Rochester and received his law degree from Georgetown University Law. He discusses his Jewish faith in his speeches and ads. Abortion In Pennsylvania, abortion is currently illegal after 24

weeks unless the mother’s health is at risk. Mastriano has called abortion his “number one issue” and has fought to ban the practice without exceptions for incest, rape or health of the mother. He has twice introduced legislation to ban abortion after six weeks. Shapiro called the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade “a shameful moment for our country and for the Court” and has pledged to veto legislation that would further restrict access to abortion if elected governor. Economy Mastriano has said he would establish a “strike force” within each state agency that would aim to slash about 55,000 statewide regulations during his first year in office. His goal is to eliminate two regulations for every one created. Mastriano also wants to eliminate property taxes, lower Pennsylvania’s corporate net income tax and lower the gas tax. As a state senator, he has previously sponsored legislation to reverse Governor Tom Wolf’s moratorium on new leases for natural gas exploration in state parks and forests. He also wants to lift taxes and regulations on certain natural gas drillers, but those certain drillers have not been specified. In 2019, Mastriano also voted against raising the minimum wage to $9.50. Along with supporting raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, Shapiro has advocated for developing “innovation hubs” around manufacturing, life sciences and national defense strategies. His plan for this is to connect businesses in those industries with research institutions and funding. Shapiro also wants to create the Office of Economic Growth and also help these businesses navigate state permits and regulations. Shapiro also wants to create jobs by plugging abandoned wells, modernizing homes

PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL M. SANTIAGO OF GETTY IMAGES

Gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro speaking at a Joe Biden rally on Aug. 30, 2022.

and businesses via energyefficient programs, investing in sewer and storm-water projects and repairing deficient infrastructure. Shapiro plans to increase funding for law enforcement. Education Mastriano plans to reduce per-student public school funding from $19,000 per year to $10,000 and put that money into “education opportunity accounts.” The accounts would be managed as restricted-use accounts similar to health savings. Parents could use the money in these accounts to send their children to public or private schools. Mastriano also wants to eliminate property taxes and expand existing programs that give tax breaks to companies that fund private-school scholarships. He also wants more oversight for teachers to give parents more input in the classroom, and he wants to ban teaching “critical race theory” and “gender theory” via executive order within his first 100 days in office. Shapiro largely wants to maintain Governor Wolf ’s education spending plan despite parents, school districts and advocacy groups suing the state over the allegedly unfair, unconstitutional formula. He also advocated for less reliance on standardized tests, more vocational, technical and computer training in classrooms, and he pledged to appoint at least two parents to the state Board of Education. Both candidates have advocated for parents to have a larger say in the classroom. Shapiro is endorsed by the Pennsylvania State Education Association, which is the teacher’s union, and the Association of Pennsylvania State College & University Faculties (APSCUF), which is the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s (PASSHE) faculty union. Elections The current Pennsylvania law requires ID for first-time

voters or when voting at a polling place for the first time. Regarding Pennsylvania elections, Mastriano supports repealing Act 77 which allows any voter to cast a mailin ballot. He also supports enacting a “universal ID” for voting and wants every eligible voter to re-register. Regarding the 2020 election, he supports that it was stolen from Trump. He was at the Jan. 6 insurrection, which led to him being subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 Committee. Shapiro is open to adding voter ID requirements but has said he would veto any effort to restrict voting by mail. He also supports expanding automatic voter registration, setting up pre-registration for teenagers 16 and 17 and implementing same-day voter registration through election day. Environment Mastriano has promised to pull Pennsylvania out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) on his first day in office if he were to get elected. He cited that the 11 other states in the pact “do not come close to the number of electricity production facilities we have here in Pennsylvania.” As a state senator, he introduced legislation to allow drilling in state parks, reduce permitting fees and exempt gas producers from state corporate income tax. In March, Mastriano introduced the Pennsylvania Energy Independence Act which mandates the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to review natural gas and coal permits within 45 days or they would be automatically approved if they meet certain conditions. Shapiro is also not committed to keeping Pennsylvania in the RGGI. In 2020, the Office of Attorney General released a grand jury report that found government agencies failed to properly oversee and regulate fracking. The office

then recommended a series of regulatory and transparency changes. If elected governor, Shapiro set a goal of generating 30% of Pennsylvania’s energy from renewable sources by 2030 and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. Transparency Mastriano supports a ban on gifts to lawmakers and has floated bills to stop automatic pay raises for legislators and judges and ban state lawmakers from leasing stateowned vehicles. He has also proposed bills that would expand open records laws and place term limits on school-board members. Like Mastriano, Shapiro would also sign legislation barring elected officials and public employees from receiving gifts. He opposes term limits citing that restricting elected officials to a certain time in office empowers lobbyists and interest groups rather than voters. He also advocated for more frequent and thorough reporting of campaign donations and expenditures and supports limits on donations to candidates. He does argue though that this alone would be ineffective without a solution to “dark money,” which comes from nonprofits and other organizations that can accept unlimited amounts of money without naming donors. 2nd Amendment In 2021, Mastriano introduced a bill that would bar authorities from enforcing federal gun laws. He is endorsed by the Gun Owners of America and voted in favor of legislation that would legalize concealed carry without a permit. Shapiro supports stricter gun safety laws, enacting universal background checks and “red flag” laws that would allow authorities to temporarily confiscate firearms from people

deemed by a judge to be a risk to themselves or others. LGBTQ+ Rights Ma s t r i a n o o p p o s e d marriage rights and adoption rights for same-sex couples. As a state senator, he voted in favor of a sports ban targeting transgender women and a ban on teaching sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. Shapiro has said he would push to expand nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. He also supports expanding hate crime laws to cover LGBTQ+ communities, and he wants to ban conversion therapy for minors. Recreational Marijuana Mastriano does not support legalizing recreational marijuana. Shapiro formerly opposed legalizing recreational marijuana but would sign a legalization bill if elected. He would also support expunging nonviolent marijuana offenses from criminal records. Taxes Ma s t r i a n o w a n t s t o eliminate property taxes, l o w e r Pe n n s y l v a n i a’s corporate net income tax and lower the gas tax. Shapiro would expand Pe n n s y l va n i a p ro p e r t y taxes and support reducing corporate net income tax and rent rebate p ro g r a m s t h a t b e n e f i t t h e e l d e r l y, w i d o w e d people and residents with disabilities. He also wants to give a $250 gas tax refund for every personal passenger car registered in Pennsylvania up to four cars per household. Shapiro has also called to eliminate the 11% sales tax on cell service. His campaign said Shapiro would use surplus state dollars and other sources to pay for his tax plan.

No more 'falling back'

By Matt Glover News Editor

As time springs forward at 2 a.m. on Nov. 6, it could be the last time we change our clocks. On March 16, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Sunshine Protection Act, which would make “daylight savings time the new, permanent standard time.” If also passed by the house, the bill would take effect Nov. 5, 2023. "I know this is not the most important issue confronting America, but it's one of those issues where there's a lot of agreement," Senator Marco Rubio, one of the bill’s sponsors said in a previous article. "If we can get this passed, we don't have to do this stupidity anymore." The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on the subject in March, but no

further action has been taken. “We have so many other priorities, but it doesn’t mean because it’s not a priority that we’re not trying to work on it. We are,” Rep. Frank Pallone said in a previous article, later adding, “If we can accomplish anything, it wouldn’t be until the fall.” Twenty-nine states have already passed legislation or resolutions to accommodate the change if the bill were to be signed into law. Nineteen of them were in the last five years. Federal law allows states to opt out of daylight savings time, but not to observe it permanently. The states that follow standard time, Arizona and Hawaii, as well as many U.S. territories would be allowed to continue doing so. This would mean a yearround disconnect between states that should be in the same time zone. In March 2022, a CBS

News poll showed that 46% of residents preferred year-round daylight savings t i m e , 3 3 % p re f e r re d year-round standard time and 21% were fine with continuing to change the clocks twice per year. During daylight savings time, the sun rises later. For this reason, the National Association of Convenience Stores opposes the bill saying that “we should not have kids going to school in the dark.” Some studies have shown that daylight savings time causes people’s health and internal clock to suffer. Historically, there have also been a higher number of car accidents and workplace injuries days after the time change. Ot h e r s t u d i e s h a ve shown a slight increase in heart attacks and strokes in the days following the change. Supporters also say the extra light in the evening could help outdoor

GRAPHIC BY: JOCELYN KYTCHAK

businesses like golf courses and ski resorts. Daylight savings time was originally enacted during World War I to conserve energy and only lasted for seven months.

It w a s b r o u g h t b a c k during World War II and has continued since. T h e c u r re n t s p r i n g for ward-and-backward model was part of the Uniform Time Act of

1966. The most recent revision was part of the En e r g y Po l i c y Ac t o f 2005. Changes mostly affected the beginning and ending dates.


A-4

NEWS

November 4, 2022

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O

OPINION

Our View

Turkey or Mariah Carey?

OPINION

Volume 106, Issue Number 4

220 220 Eisenberg Eisenberg Classroom Classroom Building Building Slippery Slippery Rock Rock University University Slippery SlipperyRock, Rock, Pennsylvania Pennsylvania 16057 16057 Phone: Phone: (724) (724) 738-4438 738-4438 Fax: Fax: (724) (724) 738-4896 738-4896 E-mail: E-mail: therocketnewspapersru@gmail.com therocketnewspapersru@gmail.com

EDITORIAL BOARD Nina Cipriani

Editor-in-Chief

Matt Glover

News Editor

Tyler Howe

Sports Editor

Megan John

Campus Life Editor

Carson Denney

Copy/Web Editor

Jocelyn Kytchak

Photo Editor

Brandon Pierce

Multimedia Editor

Aidan Treu

Assistant Sports Editor

Annabelle Chipps

Assistant Campus Life Editor

Sophia Bills

Assistant Copy/Web Editor

Eddie Clancy

Assistant Photo Editor

Dr. Brittany Fleming

Faculty Adviser

ADVERTISING STAFF Kaitlyn Shope

Advertising Manager

ABOUT US The Rocket is published by the students of Slippery Rock University five times per academic semester. Total circulation per print edition is 1,000. No material appearing in The Rocket may be reprinted without the written consent of the Editor-in-Chief. The Rocket receives funding from the SGA Student Activity fee paid each semester by students. All other income is provided through the sale of advertising. Advertising inquiries may be made by calling (724) 7382643 or by emailing rocket.ads@sru.edu.

CORRECTIONS If we make a substantial error, we want to correct it. If you believe an error has been made, call The Rocket newsroom at (724) 738-4438. If a correction is warranted it will be printed in the opinion section.

JOCELYN KYTCHAK / THE ROCKET

As spooky season ends and the pumpkins, spider webs and skeletons get taken down, some are preparing for Thanksgiving while others are setting up their Christmas trees. Ornaments before turkey In world full of stress, people often associate the holiday season with fond memories they hold from childhood. This time of the year breeds a feeling of warm, nostalgic happiness, and there should be more time dedicated to that feeling, starting in November. Plus, there aren't many Thanksgiving-related tunes. "I think that today [Nov. 1] is the start to the holiday season," sports editor Tyler Howe said. "I, for one, will have my tree up, no matter what my girlfriend says, in the next couple of weeks. It makes the holidays more fun when they last longer." Daylight saving time occurs in November. Though people are gaining an hour of sleep when we "turn the clocks back" on the first Sunday of November, this also means people are waking up when it is still dark outside. Epidemiology, a medical journal, said there is an over 11% increase in depressive episodes around the time of daylight savings.

When Christmas music and some holiday decorations make people happy, why not produce those positive feelings as early as possible? 'It's not even Thanksgiving yet!' One of the biggest arguments against celebrating the winter holidays too early is that by doing so, you are "skipping" Thanksgiving. Each holiday in the latter half of the year has its own designated time: Halloween in October, Thanksgiving in November and Christmas/winter holidays in December—after Thanksgiving. Those who a re against celebrating the winter holidays before Thanksgiving would rather save the celebration for December to keep the festive feeling fresh and distilled. "I don’t want to drag it out by starting the celebration right after Halloween," advertising manager Katie Shope said. "I’d rather appreciate the weather, lights, movies, music and everything the holiday brings during December." The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a part of Thanksgiving tradition for many families, features Santa Claus at the end of the parade, signifying the

beginning of the winter holiday season. Black Friday also typically signals the end of the Thanksgiving season and the beginning of the holidays. In the United States, it marks the start of the Christmas shopping season. Capitalism's impact Retailers have skewed people's perception of when the winter holiday season starts because of how early they start playing Christmas music. Large corporations start playing holiday music midway through November but sometimes as early as the beginning of the month. Stores like Walmart and Target begin stocking the shelves with ornaments and Christmas lights immediately after Halloween. As soon as the inflatable witches are taken off the retail floor, they are replaced with a large display of lightly frosted artificial Christmas trees. Sometimes, they don't even wait for Halloween to end: One Rocket staff member saw their first Christmas advertisement on Oct. 15. A two-month long holiday season cheapens a special part of the year. The holiday won't hold the same charm. Sophia Bills, assistant copy/web editor, believes

this to be a point of holiday contention. "Celebrating the holidays and selling the holidays should have different timelines," she said. "Celebrating can take up as much time as people please, but it disgusts me when companies capitalize on our feelings of joy and nostalgia for as long as they can." No matter when you start celebrating the winter holiday, there's no doubt that companies take advantage of the season to get more money out of people. An article from The Guardian put it perfectly: "Corporate Christmas is a market-tested, prepackaged, shrink-wrapped box full of emptiness that peddles religious tradition as a mere product. The oddity is that this money-changing, profit-making and strangely competitive version seems diametrically opposed to the 'reason for the season.'" The Rocket staff is conflicted on whether the holidays should be celebrated before or after the Thanksgiving season. Then there are those who don't mind it either way. Assistant sports editor Aidan Treu addressed those who wish to experience Christmas as early as Nov 1., saying, "If people find joy in that, good for them."

SUBSCRIPTIONS Subscriptions to The Rocket are available. Subscriptions are $20 per academic semester and $35 for the full academic year. Inquiries should be directed to the Editor-in-Chief at the address listed above.

In the Quad

When do you start celebrating the winter holiday season?

BY: BRANDON PIERCE

EDITORIAL POLICY The Rocket strives to present a diverse range of opinions that are both fair and accurate in its editorials and columns appearing on the Opinion pages. “Our View” is the opinion of the Editorial Board and is written by Rocket editorial board members. It reflects the majority opinion of The Rocket Editorial Board. “Our View” does not necessarily reflect the views of Slippery Rock University, its employees or its student body. Columns and cartoons are drafted by various individuals and only reflect the opinions of the columnists.

LETTERS POLICY The Rocket welcomes letters to the editor and guest columns, but does not guarantee their publication. The Rocket retains the right to edit or reject any material submitted. Submitted material becomes the property of The Rocket and cannot be returned. Anonymous submissions will not be published. Those who submit letters must identify themselves by name, year in school, major and/or group affiliation, if any. Please limit letters to a maximum of 400 words. Submit all material by noon Wednesday to: The Rocket, 220 ECB, Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, Pa. 16057. Or send it via e-mail to: rocket.letters@sru.edu.

Max Hemmis Freshman Secondary Education Hermitage, PA "Either right before Thanksgiving or right after."

Keirstin Rotharmel Senior PR, IMC, Nonprofit Management Elizabeth, PA "I probably start in the middle of November, just to get some more time with all of the holiday stuff."

Brad Bracali Freshman Finance Livonia, Michigan "Nov. 1 because it's a [holiday] season and not just a day."


OPINION

November 4, 2022

B-2

Thank you for everything, Coach McGraw

Tyler Howe Tyler is senior journalism major and the sports editor of The Rocket. He had the pleasure of covering Coach McGraw's team for two years. It was three years ago, and I was still brand new to campus. Karl Ludwig, The Rocket's sports editor at the time, sent me to go do an

interview with “good ole Bobby.” I’ll never forget how nervous I was going to that interview. At that point in time, I had really only covered a couple teams and while I liked basketball, I didn’t know what I was going to ask. I came up with questions on the fly. I got up to the Morrow Field House, and I shook this tall man’s hand. His smile reassured me. I introduced myself and started asking my questions. He answered every single one better than anyone had ever answered my questions before. A part of me thought that maybe my questions were just really good. In reality, it was that Coach McGraw was just the best interview on campus. As the 2019 season went along, I got more and more opportunities to talk with him. We began to develop a good relationship. I was there after every home game and win or lose, he would always ask how I was doing. Then, we would jump into the interview, and it would be

the best one I had ever done. The last interview that season, I remember he cried at a few of the questions I asked. He was so proud of his team, whether things were going their way on the court or not. I got up to leave, and he stopped me. He told me how thankful he was for my coverage that season. He ended it with, “See you next season?” I smiled and said, “yeah definitely, coach.” The COVID-19 pandemic hit just a couple weeks later. No one would be on campus for a while. But I still saw Coach McGraw at the most unlikely of places, at least in my mind. He would come into my job, and he would stop and talk to me every time. Every time I saw him, my day got better. We stand and just talk, and while the world seemed so crazy, he just made it all seem so simple. Fast forward, and I’m in Greensburg for The Rock’s football game. As soon as I got on the field, I saw him and his son, Reed, throwing the ball.

You could see how much he loved Reed and The Rock at the same time. Again, he saw me, and he stopped me. We talked about how I was covering football, and I think in a way his thinking was that someone else would be covering his team in the winter. But I made sure he knew, I’d be back. I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to cover his team. First interview back, it was like we had never left. He just had such a passion that couldn’t be replicated. I made it to as many games as I could. But at the end of the season, at our final interview, a part of me treated it like it was the last time I would interview him. Not because I felt something bad would happen, but rather because I was close to graduation. It began to hit me that I could be done a semester early right around then. Meaning I wouldn’t be back. He ended the interview with the same question as

two years prior. “See you next season?” Once again, I smiled and said, “yeah definitely, coach.” Two months later, I saw him for the final time. I didn’t know it then; I’ll always be so grateful I got that one last conversation with him. I got to ask him how he was doing, and I thanked him. I wish I would’ve talked for longer. When the news broke a few months later that he had passed away, ironically, I had a basketball in my hand. I dropped it, midgame and sprinted to my phone. It couldn’t be real; I had just seen him a couple weeks ago. Sadly, it was. But the way Slippery Rock has rallied around his family makes me so proud. While McGraw may be gone, his spirit lives on here through every sport. He taught everyone lessons, but if I took one thing from him, it was to be passionate about what you do, but remember to look around and enjoy everything going on around you.

CLARIFICATIONS AND CORRECTIONS The Oct. 14, 2022 Edition of The Rocket printed an error in the campus life section. The Rocket edited the digital version of the organization spotlight on the College Progressives to correct the spelling of Katherine Cooklin. Read it here!

Financial anxiety and buyer's remorse

Nina Cipriani

Katie Shope

Nina is a senior converged journalism major with a certificate in global and intercultural communication. She is the editor-in-chief of The Rocket and the vice president of Lambda Pi Eta.

Katie is a junior advertising major with a minor in art. She is the advertising manager for The Rocket, as well as the Vice President of RockOUT and Treasurer of AdFed.

It’s true, what they say: “Money makes the world go round.” When everything around you is rooted in capitalism and consumerism, the only way to adapt is to maintain a steady flow of income. But sometimes that isn’t possible. Typically, college students are inherently in debt and financially struggling.

Financial anxieties can eat you alive, especially when it’s not the only stressor on your plate. Finding your next meal Nina goes to class with a multitude of things on her mind, but one is a constant: What am I going to eat? Nina lives on campus and has a meal plan, so she has access to food for all three

meals. Or at least on paper, right? But then you factor in the limited amount of time she has to grab food, and that cuts the options in half. Nina is also lactose intolerant and doesn’t eat much meat. That limits the options even further. With the standard meal plan that SRU provides, students have 14 meal swipes a week and start the semester with $350 in flex money. Nina, for one, doesn’t think the flex dollars are enough for the entire semester. The university also offers the meal equivalency option with on-campus dining, in which a student can spend about $6 and still use a meal swipe. However, when one food item alone can amount to $6 or more, this isn’t exactly affordable. When she gets a meal from the library cafe, for example, she typically spends upwards of $12 on a coffee, a breakfast sandwich and a bag of pretzels. That is two meal swipes to eat one meal. To take a step back for a second, outside of a university setting, those prices would be outrageous. Dividing that out for an entire week of meals, she would run out of meal swipes by midweek, if she’s lucky. Then that leaves flex dollars. But the same problem carries over. When individual items are so expensive, how do you make meal swipes and flex dollars last? It’s so bad that Nina often finds herself having to pick

"Guilt is a consequence of doing something we feel is wrong, but what is wrong with buying things we need?" between spending her last $20 on her medications or on dinner. Buyer’s remorse There’s immense guilt associated with spending any amount of money, even if it’s spent on necessities. Spending $2 on a pack of gum or buying a bottle of shampoo can cause Katie to sink into anxiety. After every purchase, Katie has to justify the reason for spending money to come to terms with the numbers dropping her bank account. Internally she thinks things like, “I didn’t buy that shirt I saw at the store last week, so it is okay if I spend half of that money on this drink at Starbucks,” or “I am getting a paycheck at the end of the week, so it is okay if I fill up my car with gas today.” At the end of the day, when she is laying in bed, she thinks, “Did I really NEED that?” Guilt is a consequence of doing something we feel is wrong, but what is wrong with buying things we need? When you are so financially insecure, it is drilled into

your head to only purchase necessities. But even when you need it, it is hard to calm the stress that comes with it. Where does this fear come from? A lot of financial anxieties can stem from the childhood experience of watching our parents struggle and seeing the stress financial insecurity induces. The overwhelming worry about the lack of money and abundance of needs pops into Katie’s head every time she swipes her card. She fears feeling and knowing financial struggle in the long run. This fear makes her feel like she will never have enough money. Katie doesn’t aspire to be filthy rich, but even if she was, the fear would not go away. What if she gets robbed right after she spends money on a vacation? What would she do if she got sick and had to pay a ton of medical bills right after she bought a house? At what point will she be able to feel content and secure?

Trying my hardest isn’t enough When the anxiety eats at us, we want to find a solution, but what if what we are already doing is all we can do? Katie has student loans, has three work study jobs, worked two jobs over the summer and plans to work one of those jobs over winter break. Somehow all of this combined still does not feel like enough. She is paying her bills, tuition, and other necessities, but getting by is not living. Being a full-time student i n vo l ve d i n m u l t i p l e executive board positions and other organizations on campus, she does not really have the time to add a fourth job. Katie’s only free time is on weekends, but who can live a sane life that is only school and work? When reaching out to SRU’s Financial Aid Office, typically the only options to get more assistance are to have your parents apply for another loan or apply for scholarships. You don’t get chosen for the scholarship? Better luck next time. Your parents aren’t willing to apply or co-sign for a loan? That’s too bad. This is yet another problem where the solution is that there is none. College students continue to struggle as universities get richer.

BY MAX ENCK, FRESHMAN PSYCHOLOGY MAJOR


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VIDEO: Booker talks diversity

CAMPUS LIFE

Parking problems are nothing new By Megan John Campus Life Editor

Finding a good parking spot on campus is famously difficult. In a Google survey posted on The Rocket’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages, 97% of students agreed that there should be more space to park. As it turns out, SRU students and administration have been dealing with the same issue for over sixty years. “You can only get a parking spot if you’re here before 9 a.m.,” said senior Sophia Geitner. “After 9 a.m. … you’ll never find a spot.” Sixty-six students took the survey. Participants ranged from freshmen to grad students, with about one-third living oncampus and two-thirds living off-campus. One question asked how they “would describe the process of finding a parking spot.” Responses i n c l u d e d “t e r r i b l e ,” “stressful,” “difficult” and

“frustrating.” Others were more descriptive. “Very much like playing parking roulette,” one said. “Sometimes you get a perfect space and s o m e t i m e s yo u’re t e n minutes late to class.” One student compared the experience to the Hunger Games; another compared it to Squid Game. A few were more impartial, writing answers such as “depends on time of day, but can be hard depending on location.” Almost 90% of students believe it’s harder to park on campus this year than it has been in previous y e a r s . Ho w e v e r, o n e student’s deep dive shows that SRU’s parking issue is not a new one. Stone Helsel, a senior secondary education major, covered the problem for a research project last fall. When Slipper y Rock Un i v e r s i t y o p e n e d i n 1889 as Slipper y Rock St a t e No r m a l S c h o o l , almost every student lived in dormitories on campus. Any visitors

could stable their horses across the street. The land was not close to a train station, the main method of transport; the roads were unpaved and meant for walking;

t h e r e w a s “o n l y o n e practical road through the campus,” according to Helsel. In the 1800s, it was practical, but it may have laid the groundwork for future issues.

PHOTO COURTESY OF STONE HELSEL

"An aerial snapshot of all of the [campus's] parking lots c. 1990s," according to Helsel's report. The East and West Lake lots were constructed after residents discovered there were more cars than parking spaces.

At first, when cars became widely available, most students were not allowed to use them on campus. “ Un i ve r s i t y d e a n s could issue ‘eligibility certificates’ on a caseby-case basis, usually for students who had to help out on the family farm or had to care for ailing parents,” wrote Helsel. The number of students who could have vehicles expanded until all restrictions were dropped i n 1 9 8 2 . Gr a d u a l l y, parking became more regulated, and new lots ate up green space all over campus, including a large outdoor garden. This was a response to the “parking problem” first mentioned by administration in 1958. When the university opened, 168 students were enrolled. Today, there are over 8,000. Administrators have tried to keep up with the rising population through building projects, but still, there are growing pains. The final survey question asked students

for any other comments about parking. “ The design of the campus makes it hard for students to walk to classes as none of the spots are close to the buildings besides staff parking,” one observed. Some had ideas about how to fix the problem: “Should be labeled as student parking only. No commuter lots [or] other specific labels. If I am going to be paying extra fees for parking, I should be able to park in any lot besides staff without being ticketed.” “To take care of on campus parking, I think residents should have designated parking lots depending [on] where you live,” another wrote. “Other colleges do this and it just makes sense.” Yet another student said that “people complain to [sic] much.” The same complaints have been repeated in one form or another since 1958. As of now, the solution is still not clear.

The ghastly legends of SRU By Annabelle Chipps Asst. Campus Life Editor

If SRU has not acquired any otherworldly beings in 133 years of operation, it has certainly gained enough supernatural folktales to make up for it. Over the last century, there have been numerous reports of spirits lurking on the school grounds. One story, regarding the alleged ghost of Emma Guffey Miller, was so widely discussed that a paranormal investigator assessed Miller Auditorium for her presence. Supposedly, she, or possibly a different spirit, appeared on camera in the form of a green mist. “Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, I think we all believe in Emma,” said Bob Watson, SRU alum, former staff member and local university historian, during a Halloween story time in 2020. Watson claimed that over 100 women have reported seeing Miller’s likeness while brushing their hair in the mirrors at North Hall. More than 50 of them have said they felt fingers moving through their hair as they brushed. One woman alleged that, after making a snide comment about Miller, someone pulled her to the ground by her hair. However, nobody else was in the room. “Ninety percent of the accounts I heard from women in North Hall occurred in one of two rooms, and all of the accounts were from a time before men were allowed to live there,” Watson said. One day, while looking down from a North Hall window onto the campus she built, she said, “I love this place and I don’t think I will ever leave,” according to Watson. In her lifetime, she was a wealthy socialite and close friend to Eleanor Roosevelt. She served on the Slippery

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION

Emma Guffey Miller (left) stands with close friend Eleanor Roosevelt (right). Miller was a proponent of women's rights and a prominent figure during the women's suffrage movement.

Rock board of trustees and was responsible for the construction of several buildings on campus. At 95 years old, Miller died peacefully in her sleep at Grove City Hospital. “She was a character bigger than life and, maybe, a character bigger than death,” Watson said. “I can say that, after 40 years and more than 100 accounts, I am absolutely certain that Emma Guffey Miller’s spirit resides in North Hall.” Ma n y b e l i e v e t h a t Miller’s ghost spends time

in the auditorium named after her. “I’ve heard tons of stories about flickering lights, damaged equipment and shadowy figures in Miller Auditorium,” theater student Heath Chase said. However, Watson feels those stories should be attributed to different spirits. “Students claim to hear a younger woman moaning and screaming, as well as a crying baby, but Emma was old,” he said. “And she was always silent whenever women spoke of her.”

“People say that if you leave out a 1950s baby doll during your show, there will be less mischief and things that go wrong,” Chase said of the disturbances in the theater. There are also accounts of a woman’s laughter sounding throughout the auditorium, even when it is empty. “Perhaps it is a mother and her child,” Watson said. Another performance space on campus, Swope Music Hall, is home to ghoulish myths as well. Students affectionately refer to the phenomenon as “The

Swost”—a combination of “Swope” and “ghost.” “There are many rumors about who and what [it is],” Brett McCutcheon, music student and creator of The Swope Gazette, said. “A common theme is that the Swost will take music right off the musician’s stand during performances in the recital hall.” “Another rumor is that every night at 3 a.m., the organ plays with no one around, but the organ hasn’t worked for years,” he added.

On the lower half of campus, students have reported weird sounds and sights in the newer residential halls. “I heard a couple shouting and arguing in the room next to me, even though nobody lives there,” said sophomore ghost enthusiast Chloe Wright. “It made me wonder if it was related to the murder-suicide carried out by a vengeful ex on campus 40 years ago.” One maintenance man claimed he was working inside Watson Hall during COVID-19 when nobody else was in the building. He asserted that, despite this fact, doors kept opening and slamming shut. However, it is not only within the bounds of campus that Slippery Rock ghost stories run amuck. In 2013, the cable channel SyFy came to town to interview former residents of 133 Kiester Rd for their show “School Spirits.” The residents, members of the fraternity Alpha Sigma Phi, recounted elaborate, violent happenings that occurred throughout their time living there. They heard little girls giggling, found themselves locked in rooms and even reported being randomly choked by objects in the house. The men did research and found connections to a brutal murder in the late 1800s, where a woman and her five children were stabbed to death, and the perpetrator was hung. It is unclear whether the current owners have experienced any paranormal instances. While the happenings on campus were a nuisance to some, there are no reports of hospital visits as a result of ghostly activity. “Even with all these ghost stories,” Wright said, “I still feel safe here at Slippery Rock.”


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CAMPUS LIFE Keshia Booker on diversity and belonging

November 4, 2022

By Megan John Campus Life Editor

After five years working in multicultural development at SRU, Keshia Booker is bringing her expertise to the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB).

Booker originally came to the university for her master’s degree in mental health counseling. After working as a graduate assistant, she accepted the assistant director of multicultural development position in the Office of Inclusive Excellence (OIE). “It was an opportunity to give back to students

who looked like me,” Booker said. “Coming from a small, private liberal arts school, there weren’t a lot of students who identified as people of color. Being here at Slippery Rock, believe it or not, it was an increase of heritage and exposure t o c u l t u re t h a t w a s similar to mine, and also different than mine."

PHOTO COURTESY OF KESHIA BOOKER

Booker facilitates a discussion on protests. When Diversity Dialogues began, she wrote and facilitated each discussion; now, they are handled by student workers with OIE.

“ I w a n t e d t o g i ve students [cultural] experiences as well. That was primarily the focus of my multicultural d e ve l o p m e n t j o b, . . . creating opportunities for cultural and social identities to be represented on campus, as well as providing opportunities for majority students to have conversations in a safe and secure format such as Diversity Dialogues.” During her time with OIE, she created and implemented Diversity Dialogues, events on campus that provide forums for open discussion about intersectional topics. When Booker learned about the open assistant director position, she saw an opportunity for growth in her career. “I thoroughly enjoy our students, and I love the work that I’ve done with students,” she said. “This was a way that I could stay, continue doing diversity work, but also … grow professionally.” As part of the DEIB office, Booker plans to concentrate on the belonging aspect. “I think the most interesting part of this

office to me is that it has a focus on belonging, and belonging is different than just recognizing diversity,” she said. “It’s a step beyond.” “A lot of people will say that we do great diversity programming, and we do. I don’t know if all of our students, particularly our underrepresented students, will say they feel like they belong. Making an opportunity for them to feel just as important, just as [much] a part of Slippery Rock culture, as anyone else is something I’m passionate about.” Booker officially began her new position on Oct. 24. Her current projects include a search advocate program, designed to avoid bias in the university’s hiring process; reworking t h e o f f i c e’s m i s s i o n statement to reflect their goals; and a discovery program for high school students. The discovery p ro g r a m s h ow s h i g h school students all that Slippery Rock has to offer, according t o B o o k e r. St u d e n t groups meet with faculty, staff, students and OIE. After the visit, they will

continue sending SRUrelated correspondence to keep them interested in Slippery Rock and hopefully get them to apply, Booker said. She said diversity work is the basis on which we can learn to respect each other. “In many places, people are not going to look like you, and you’re going to have to be able to recognize [and appreciate] their differences and work with them,” she continued. “The way our country is headed, diversity work is going to continue to be important." “If we can respect each other’s differences, then we can really respect the work and the people in front of us.” Booker hopes that the office will be judged based on what it does, not others’ interpretations. “I think Slippery Rock is a wonderful campus, but there’s always room for growth,” she said. “Making sure that I’m advocating for people who are disenfranchised in any way is important to me, and I think I’ll show that through my work.”

Weekly Organization Spotlight:

The ‘queen’ of Green and White Halloween events Society

By Annabelle Chipps Asst. Campus Life Editor

The Green and White Society at SRU creates a bridge between students and alumni as they work together to encourage Rock pride. Examples of their work are providing spirit tables at sporting events, organizing activities for students and hosting an alumni speaker series. “We work closely with alumni and try to keep them connected to [current] students, as well as trying to promote the traditions of Slippery Rock University,” club president and senior Pavels “Pasha” Avdejevs said. Some of those traditions include saying hello to everyone on campus, singing

the alma mater at games, rubbing a rock in the quad for good luck and wearing green and white on Fridays. “I heard that back in the day, they used to spray people with water guns if they were seen wearing a different university’s shirt,” Avdejevs said. Though Green and White Society is heavily involved with the football team, it is not the only sport they dedicate time to. “For every sport we have, there is a spirit table,” Avdejevs said. “We have four to five members at a table, and everyone can come spin [a] wheel to win free Slippery Rock swag.” They typically have an alumni tent at games as well. One of the more notable events the club puts on is

the school’s annual pep rally. They also sponsor the Haunting of North Hall event each Halloween. Last year, the group threw a party for SRU’s 133rd birthday. “If you look at our c a l e n d a r, we have something going on every single week,” Avdejevs said. Members must apply and be approved to become part of the organization. Once accepted, they can join one of eight committees, each led by a chairperson. Committee topics include alumni relations, athletics, finance and external affairs. “We try to get the best students and have the best representation of Slippery Rock,” Avdejevs said. “It’s an amazing club with amazing members.”

By Annabelle Chipps Asst. Campus Life Editor

On Friday, Oct. 28, Ro c k O U T a n d Ro c k t h e We e k e n d k i c k e d off Halloween weekend with a spooktacular drag show in the Smith Student Center ballroom. The event included a costume contest, tricks, treats, a raffle and performances from local drag queens. Queens featured were Akasha L. VanCartier, Miss V. VanCartier, Phoenix Fatale and Alora Chateaux. Each queen gave two choreographed lipsync performances, one before the costume contest and one after. The applause-based contest took place on stage, where students walked up one by one and introduced themselves while Akasha Van-Cartier provided sassy commentary. Contestants were dressed as a Playboy bunny, a plague doctor, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and a skeleton, among others.

JOCELYN KYTCHAK / THE ROCKET

Two students react to a drag performance. Asia Hawthorne (right), dressed as Kim Possible, was crowned the winner of the contest.

W h e n t h e w i n n e r, dressed as Kim Possible, walked on stage, VanC a r t i e r s a i d , “ I ’m not even going to say something stupid because you look like you could kick my ass.” The lip-sync performances were characterized by mashups that typically combined movie quotes with pop songs. Chateaux, who had a peg

JOCELYN KYTCHAK / THE ROCKET PHOTO COURTESY OF PASHA AVDEJEVS

Two members of Green and White Society man the spirit wheel at Slippery Rock's 133rd birthday. The event included raffles, pizza and a photobooth, among other attractions.

Drag queen Alora Chateaux poses during her lip-sync performance. During the show, she performed a mashup of songs from the hit musical "Rocky Horror Picture Show."

leg temporarily taking the place of her broken leg, opened her number with a sea shanty. “I thought it would be funny to do a pirate song,” Chateaux said. “Plus, it goes with my leg.” One p e r f o r m e r, Phoenix Fatale, is an S RU a l u m . O u t o f drag, Fatale works as a coach for SRU’s cheer team. Her act included songs with “a devilish theme” to set a festive tone. “ I ’v e b e e n d o i n g shows here for years … it’s always a good time,” she said. As students entered the ballroom and awaited the queens, they were greeted with a trick-or-treat bag section. There, they could grab candy and small prizes. Trinkets such as rubber skeletons and plastic spiders were placed throughout the ballroom for students to take and enjoy. “Would I ever come back to Slippery Rock?” said Chateaux. “Sure, as long as it pays the bills.”


S

VIDEO: Page

remembers Coach McGraw

SPORTS

The lasting legacy of McGraw

KEEGAN BEARD / THE ROCKET

Coach Robert McGraw, better known to everyone on campus as Bobby, was a staple at every Rock athletic event, but more than that, he was in the crowd cheering for every single team. Through it all, he never forgot to make time for those he loved and never lost his passion.

By Tyler Howe Sports Editor

The sound of the buzzer echoed throughout the Mercyhurst athletic center. As the horn faded, the footsteps of Robert McGraw followed as he made his way to shake hands with Mercyhurst head coach, Brooklyn Kohlheim, after 67-65 win. Unfortunately, it was the last time that McGraw would coach the SRU women’s basketball team. Less than five months after the last game of the season, McGraw sadly passed away. The news didn’t seem real. It couldn’t be. McGraw was always everywhere making his voice heard and conversing with everyone and anyone. “He went 100 miles an hour, and he was all gungho on what he could do to push Slippery Rock forward, to make us better,” Slippery Rock Athletic Director Roberta Page said. “That’s the kind of guy you want on your staff, and that’s the kind of guy he was.” It all happened so quick. Just days before, you could spot McGraw at the Butler Sam’s Club, buying 20 cases of Gatorade. He always made sure to get more than he needed, because cause he would always say, “Th These girls give me their all, so I need to make sure that I’m keeping them hydrated.” Eight years rs is a long time. That’s precisely how long he spent as head ead coach of The he Rock women’ss basketball team. But from the first time he stepped on campus, his energy was felt by everyone. “First of all, the thing that hat stood out about bout Bobby was that hat he was so passionate sionate about everything rything Slippery Rock and Rock athletics,” volleyball eyball head

coach, Laurie Lokash said. “He was everybody’s biggest fan, and he was the loudest in the room, there was no doubt about that.” At times, you could hear his voice from all the way down the hall. But even when he was yelling, it was to rely to those around him that he cared so much. It never came from a place of disdain. That same energy is the reason people would come here. Not only would they come here, even through tough times they would stay. A big part of that was due to the way McGraw treated his team. Take Daeja Quick for example. In her feature story last year, she made it clear. She stayed because he took a chance on her, and he treated her like family. The quote was in her article and explains how caring he was. “We had a conversation, and he didn’t come on the phone and tell me I needed to play, he asked if I was ready to graduate and go into adult life or if there was a chance I’d like to come back and play with him,” Quick said. “I shut down all those other options and told him the only option was to come back and play for you.” He cared veryy deeply py for ever y player

that came through his program. He would go on record, even breaking down into tears, multiple times about how much he loved Daeja and how happy he was that she came back. Even though he knew she could go almost anywhere else and start immediately. That type of loyalty is what every coach craves. McGraw was able to accomplish that. There’s a reason why. It’s because of the culture he was able to build. “It’s important, especially for our newer coaches to see [how passionate Coach McGraw was],” Page said. “That’s the kind of coach you want, someone who’s going to bat for you and stick up for you.” How many coaches are realistically able to make time for not only their team, but their family and other teams as well? The answer is not many. McGraw did though. There was a sign that McGraw had in his office that is now next door on head coach of the men’s basketball team, Ian Grady’s shelf. That sign says, “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” He lived by that quote. “The passion that he had rubbed on p people p around him, but this sign was his and as passionate as we are already, this

TYLER HOWE / THE ROCKET

was something that I could take from Bobby,” Grady said. “Sometimes we get caught up in your everyday workload and you need to make sure that you make your family a priority and show passion for them as well as coaching and for your team.” Grady held the sign for a moment and smiled. McGraw was always good at making people smile, and by simply looking at that quote, it was easy for Grady to recall memories of a dear friend. That sign sums up what McGraw was about so perfectly. Family No trip was too far to support other teams on campus. No distance was too long when it came to watching his incoming recruits, either. On any given weekend, you could find him on the road. Whether that was with The Rock football team and his friend, head coach Shawn Lutz, or at a random gym watching a girl that he couldn’t wait to coach. McGraw’s love for the game of basketball spanned nearly his entire life. But there was one thing he loved more than anything in this world, his son Reed. He always made sure to bring his son on every trip. He wanted him to grow up in th the culture that he was helping to create here. helpin Before The Rock football Bef team matched up with Seton Hill iin Greensburg, McGraw Reed made sure to throw and R the ba ball on the field. McGraw made sure Reed got some fist bumps from the players and bump that h his smile was big as The Rock’s win. Rock Everyone knows how Ev impo important Reed was to him. Dr. Page made sure to note that he’s still just as important to everyone involved with Rock in athletics. ath McGraw was on the interview committee that int initially brought Page back init to The Rock, but it wasn’t their first encounter. Imagine a tall guy with a smile in a crowd sporting a t-shirt of a pla place that he loved and someone some who loves that place just as much seeing

it. It went exactly how you’d imagine. “I got to meet Coach McGraw the first day on campus, but I’ll back up a

"He was everybody's biggest fan, and he was the loudest in the room, there was no doubt about that." – Laurie Lokash, SRU women's volleyball head coach

little bit, it was a couple years prior that I was at the women’s basketball convention, and I was getting ready to give a presentation and obviously I was not here, I was with the NCAA,” Page said. “I saw him in the crowd with a Slippery Rock shirt and I ran over to him and gave him a hug.” The passion for this university is something that they both shared. Now, Reed continues to carry that with the help of Page. Reed is still heavily involved with all Rock athletics. From being a coach for the day to being an honorary captain, who goes out for the coin toss. He always has a home at The Rock and Lutz, Page and everyone else makes sure that he knows it. After his passing, it was easy to see how loved he was by the entire community. It doesn’t matter who you ask, the same terms will come up: friend, mentor,

but most importantly, he was a family man. “He was my best friend, we had such a great relationship and I know his son, Reed, really well and we’re honoring him for military appreciation day,” Lutz said. “We related a lot because he was military guy and so was my dad.” McGraw had something in common with just about every person on campus. Whether it was his military background or sports, coaches, players and students in general felt that they could talk to him about anything. “He just gave so much to other people,” Lutz said. This was echoed by Lokash. “He was there for every coach and every athlete, if you needed him, then he made time,” Lokash said. “I talked to him a lot, things you couldn’t talk to anyone else about or if you just wanted to vent, you could go to him, and he would sit there and listen.” McGraw wasn’t only highly respected by his peers at Slippery Rock, but also his peers from around the PSAC. “I had a great amount of respect for Bobby, he was energetic and passionate about coaching,” Gannon women’s basketball head coach Cleve Wright said. “You could always tell how much he cared about his players; he will be missed.” Wright wasn’t the only one who could see how much he loved everyone around him and the sport. Kohlheim, like every other coach in the PSAC, saw it every time they played too. “I think what I loved most about him was he always crouched in his huddles, even when he was on the floor, it was almost like he wanted to give the players some leadership opportunities and not appear to dominate the conversation in the huddle,” Kohlheim said. “Just something very small I noticed, but I will always remember about him.” So, if anyone was to take anything from McGraw, it could probably be put right back into one sentence. Live life with passion and enjoy what you do, but don’t get too caught up in it that you miss the important things around you.


SPORTS

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PSAC WEST STANDINGS

November 4, 2022

See you next year, Clarion

Football 1. 1. 1. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Indiana (PA.) Slippery Rock Gannon California (pa.) edinboro Clarion Seton Hill Mercyhurst

7-1 (5-1) 8-1 (5-1) 7-2 (5-1) 5-4 (4-2) 4-5 (2-4) 3-6 (2-4) 1-8 (1-5) 2-7 (0-6) TYLER HOWE / THE ROCKET

Slippery Rock has not allowed a point to the Golden Eagles in the past two games and have now beaten them five games in a row . They have outscored 106-0 them on the way to lifting the Milk Jug, once again.

Men's Soccer

By Tyler Howe Sports Editor

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Mercyhurst* Gannon* Seton Hill* Slippery Rock California (pa.) Pitt-johnstown

18-0-1 (10-0) 13-4-2 (6-2-2) 8-9-2 (6-2-2) 5-10-2 (3-6-1) 4-11-1 (2-8) 1-12-2 (0-9-1)

Women's Soccer 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Gannon* mercyhurst* Slippery Rock* Seton hill* california (pa.) indiana (pa.) pitt-johnstown clarion edinboro

13-2-4 (11-1-4) 10-5-4 (8-4-4) 7-4-8 (6-3-7) 8-4-7 (6-3-7) 6-8-3 (6-7-3) 5-4-8 (4-4-8) 4-10-4 (4-9-3) 4-11-3 (3-10-3) 2-9-7 (1-8-7)

It had been three years since Clarion had scored a point on The Rock going into their PSAC West matchup this past Saturday. They’ll have to wait another year in order to have another opportunity to do so after a 31-0 shutout. Clarion came into the game looking for some revenge on Slippery Rock after they embarrassed them 75-0. That was The Rock’s largest margin of victory and they just seemed to score at will. Clarion was one of the first team’s introduced to Noah Grover, who got in late in the second half, but the score was already out of hand. This year, they had the opportunity to strike first. The first two plays gained a combined 19 yards. A first down on their first pass of the day. Things were looking like Clarion could drive down and get on the board. A false start ended that real quick. They picked up right where they left off a year prior. The ball was handed to The Rock offense for the first time.

Nine plays and three minutes later, Chris D’Or punched the ball in from one yard out. 7-0 Rock. That score would continue to increase. Clarion got the ball back and drove down the field. Once again, they looked as if they were going to possibly get some points on the board. But they, just like everyone else, knew exactly what was going to happen if they settled for three points. The Rock offense showed what they can do just a week prior. So, the Golden Eagles chose to keep their offense on the field on fourth down, just two yards from the line to gain. But the story of the season has been The Rock’s defensive line and their stellar play. D.J. Adediwura let Clarion’s mobile quarterback, Zach Benedek gain just one yard. The ball was turned over and handed right back to a hot offense. Clarion wasn’t going to just lay down though. On three plays, The Rock lost two yards leaving them with a fourth and 12. The Golden Eagles were given another shot to tie the game up. Six plays got them only 16 yards though. It also

milked three minutes off the clock. The Rock followed their lead when it came to time management. “It was probably one of the quickest games we’ve had in my time that I’ve been here, the game was over within like two hours and 15 minutes,” head coach Shawn Lutz said. “They tried to limit possessions, but their kids played really hard and they did a really good job.” Slippery Rock started their next drive at their own 11yard line. They milked over five minutes of game time. The drive featured Kyle Sheets getting four targets and two receptions. The first of which went for 38 yards. The second was a 14-yard grab that went for his first of two touchdowns on the day. Sheets has become unstoppable in the past few weeks of play. Against Clarion, he nine receptions that went for 206 yards. Clarion got the ball back but handed it away fairly quickly. That gave The Rock nearly five minutes to work with. They drove with ease. But came away with no points. They carried a 14-0 lead into the break.

The Rock came right out and was able to get down the field with quick strikes. Two of which went to Sheets, but the touchdown pass went to Gavyn Barnes. The rest of the third quarter was silent from both sides. Each would have the ball and have it for an extended period of time, but neither could score. As soon as the final quarter opened, The Rock went on an eight-play drive that took another four minutes off the clock. The drive ended with DJ Opsatnik nailing a field goal to give them a 24-0 lead. The Rock’s next drive featured the last points of the game, with Grover and Sheets connecting for another 14-yard touchdown. The score gave them a 31-0 lead. That score stood as the final score and as the time ran out, The Rock celebrated yet another win over the Golden Eagles. In the past eight quarters of play against Clarion, The Rock has outscored them 106-0. It has become second nature, but perhaps the best part is etching the score with a goose egg right next to Clarion’s name.

Back to the court

Field Hockey 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

kutztown Millersville E. Stroudsburg Shippensburg west chester indiana (pa.) bloomsburg mansfield slippery rock mercyhurst

14-2 (7-1) 13-3 (6-2) 13-2 (5-2) 12-2 (5-2) 12-3 (5-3) 9-6 (3-4) 8-8 (3-5) 8-8 (2-5) 7-8 (1-6) 2-13 (0-7)

Volleyball 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Clarion* Gannon* indiana (pa.) * edinboro* SLIPPERY ROCK Seton hill california (pa.) mercyhurst pitt-johnstown

RAYNI SHIRING / THE ROCKET

After an early exit from the PSAC playoffs last year against California (Pa.), The Rock is looking to make their way back to the playoffs. They have gotten there each of the past two years of play, but have failed to pass the first round.

23-2 (13-1) 21-5 (13-1) 19-6 (9-5) 19-7 (9-5) 12-16 (6-8) 16-11 (6-9) 12-12 (6-9) 8-20 (1-13) 3-20 (1-13)

By Tyler Howe Sports Editor

In one week, The Rock men’s basketball team will step back onto the court as they begin the start of a long season with one goal in mind: making their return to the PSAC playoffs. But there has been a lot of work that has led up to where they are now. From the time they walked off the court in February after their loss to California (Pa.) to now, the task is just getting

back to the playoffs. “We’re generally pretty excited, we like the group we have, and we enjoy being around them and coaching them,” head coach Ian Grady said. “We’re optimistic about what this season will bring.” The team, which was projected to finish fifth in the PSAC West, is not paying any attention to the outside noise. But those who are returning look to claim their first playoff win. The Rock will return multiple players, who have twice made it to the PSAC playoffs, but

had an exit in the first round of action. Both of those games have been on the road. Neither was extremely close. Lucky for The Rock, they have many veterans coming back to help guide the incoming players. “It’s always a big help having players return, because they can help the newcomers get used to things and how we operate,” Grady said. Of the newcomers, there are three freshmen. Having the likes of multiple veteran players helps, but none will help

more than Amante Britt. “[Amante] is back and he’s been a three-year starter, he provides great leadership on the floor and in the games,” Grady said. Britt has a good chance to break multiple records this season. As of now, he is fifth on the all-time list of games started. Last season, he started to take control and run the floor a lot more. He averaged 13 points a game and lead the team in assists. He also scored double figures in 22 of the 28 games he SEE JUMPING PAGE C-4


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November 4, 2022

D-3

Let them eat

TYLER HOWE / THE ROCKET

The Rock offensive line has been dominant on the field, but even further, they have been able to help spark an offense that has been extremely hard to stop. They have changed the way that the offensive line is looked at here and kept their quarterback, Noah Grover, clean this season, which is not an easy task to do.

By Tyler Howe Sports Editor

transferred in. With them came a multitude of different perspectives and experiences. Burkhart came from Lock Haven, where winning was hard to come by. Rossi from Robert Morris, where he was originally a defensive lineman and Stazer from the University of Pittsburgh, where the game is more of a business than it is anything else. “For me I played center at Lock Haven, and I play center here too, but the difference is the culture,” Burkhart said. “ There you’d be lucky to win a game a year, here you’re expected to win ever y game and losing just isn’t an option.” S t a z e r ’s v i e w p o i n t coming in was totally different. “I came from a business, where you were lucky if you had a conversation with your coach,” Stazer said. “Coming here, it’s totally different, I have a relationship with every coach and they all can say the same, it’s definitely a special place here.” In his year at Pitt, Stazer was able to play with the likes of Kenny Pickett, who is now the starting quarterback for the Steelers. While that was cool and all, he notes that he had maybe two conversations with head coach Pat Narduzzi. H e r e , it is the

the word used by those around the program. They spend so much time together, that it literally begins to feel that way. However, chemistry can’t be forced. You either have it or you don’t. They have it. More than a n yo n e w o u l d’ve e ve r expected, and it translates to the field. “For me as a first-year starter, it means a lot to have guys next to you like Stazer or Rossi that you can trust,” Morgan said. “You can play your game and not have to worry what the guys next to you are doing.” As Morgan talked, once again ever yone’s heads nod in unison. The trust they have for the guy next to them is what has helped them to become such a coherent unit. “I think for us as a group collectively, we just want to impose our will every game. So we can’t miss a rep, have a misstep or wrong hand placement, because we just want to kill all game,” Rossi said. “We move completely as a unit, and if one of us isn’t there, then we’re not all there, so we always stay on each other and push each other.” What stands out about the group is that they all in one way or another have taken on a leadership role. They all acknowledge it and want to set the best example they can. “I think the o-line sets an example for all the other position groups, I think the last time we had

TY LE R H O

see multiple defensive players down on the turf on the same play. The aftermath is almost always the same. As the group is walking away, they let them know that they put them down and ever y once in a while, they take exception to it. “I think all five of us, but especially Colton and I, we like to go out there and embarrass people,” Stazer said. “We want to throw them down every single play.” Stazer and Rossi seem to be the two that the other teams come after the most. Sometimes this even draws a flag, but either way it won’t stop them from telling you that they’re just better than you and there’s nothing you can do about it. “Usually, the things we say to people are pretty exclusive, but it’s a lot of not nice words and pretty much telling them they shouldn’t be on the field with us, that’s just as disrespectful as it can get,” Rossi said. “That’s how we have our fun, we’re going to block you and tell you that you aren’t good.” But as soon as the whistle blows to end the game, they’re six of the nicest guys you can come across on campus. Each will crack a joke, but the competitive spirit in them has been reaffirmed repeatedly. With the same goal, win the game and win it convincingly. This season has stood out from other years, because of the offensive lines ability to take over a game. That has helped spark the offense to do whatever they want against their opponents. If you ask the line what they want to do though, they’re going to say run the ball. “ Pe r s o n a l l y, w e want the pressure on us and if you put it on us we’ll go out there and get the job done every week,” Rossi said. “ We’ll keep everyone safe and push the line of scrimmage all game.” Fo r a s l o n g as anyone can remember, The Rock has been a pass first team. With this group, t h e y ’ v e wanted to make sure people know that they can beat you by running the ball too. Matter of fact, they

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The left analog stick moves quickly as Josh Allen slides to right, avoiding the pressure from TJ Watt. The ball is launched deep and on the receiving end of the pass is Stefon Diggs. Another touchdown for Nick Stazer. He does play madden all the time, so he expects to win every time. What matters more is that he’s playing against people who are just as competitive as him. His fellow lineman, Colton Ro s s i , Je f f Bu r k h a r t , Sawyer Morgan, Anthony R e b a r, and Yu r i y Hryckowian. The six of them have become very well acquainted in the past eight months. “I think everyone of us can agree, we’re always hanging out, because if we’re not in practice or meetings, we’re at someone’s house hanging out and eating,” Rossi said. “We eat, it’s just what we do.” He means that last part both literally and metaphorically. With a grin on his face, he looks around as the rest of the group laughs and agrees. Eating is defined as two things for this group. The first is what it means to everyone, when they’re hungry they’re going to grab a bite. The second is what Rossi meant when he said it, and that’s dominating on the field. They’re hungry still, just for a different type of pancake. While each took a different path to get to where they are now, they’re sitting in the middle of Stazer’s living room eating pasta. Eating dinner together has become a tradition. Hanging out has become the norm. Dominating their opponents on the gridiron has become the expectation. “The culture is cool here, because we have swag. Because when we get off the bus, half the time we’ve already won the game. Because teams are scared of the confidence that we have,” Stazer said. In football, it’s quite obvious that an offense is only as good as it’s offensive line. You can have the best playmakers in the country, but if you have no time to get them the ball, it doesn’t matter. Lucky for The Rock, they just so happen to have one of the best defensive lines in the country to sharpen their offensive line every day. “I think ever y day we come out here iron sharpens iron. And we don’t get along on the field, but when we’re off it, it’s all love,” Rossi said. “There’s always brawls and fights, but we both know that’s the only way we’re going to get better.”

It would be hard not to get better every time you step on the field for practice. Especially when you’ve had to matchup with the likes of Jeff Marx for multiple years. Rossi, now a captain of the football team, had to earn his stripes against guys like that. “Going up against Jeff Marx since freshman year, when I first came in, he would whoop my ass every day,” Morgan said. “Now the playing field is more even.” But the job is a lot easier when you have a guy who has been to the highestlevel coaching you. They benefit from having coach Chris Conrad, who played his college football at Fresno State before getting drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of the 1998 draft. He was drafted in the same class as Peyton Ma n n i n g a n d p l a y e d under coach Bill Cowher for two years. There isn’t a player on the team that takes his presence for granted, and the offensive lineman thank their lucky stars that they have him as a mentor every day. “He’s done it at the highest level, so when he tells you something, you’re like ‘well that shit probably works, works,”’ Stazer said. “He’s just such a relatable guy, so it’s easy to like him, but he’s also truthful and he tells you how it is.” Conrad and Lutz have developed a special relationship, but they’ve also created an environment where players feel free to express themselves. That couldn’t be more important for a group like this one. “The coaches let you be yourself here, I t h i n k t h a t’s t h e biggest thing,” Rossi said. “It trickles down all the way, everyone accepts everyone and h ow t h e y e x p re s s themselves.” Conrad has been in charge of a group that may be the tightest knit group of offensive lineman that The Rock has seen in a while. They may benefit from him, but in a w a y, h e benefits from these guys just as much. Of the six lineman that are on the field for The Rock ever y S a t u r d a y, t h r e e

complete opposite. Expectations here are s o m e w h a t similar, but Lutz is around talking w i t h e v e r y p l a y e r. That closeness is whatt draws all six of them in further and further each week. Fa m i l y h a s always been

someone miss a meeting, it w a s probably three or four weeks ago,” Hryckowian said. As Stazer mentioned, all that chemistry leads to their style on the field. They play with flair that sometimes their opponent doesn’t like. If you play close attention, you may

wanted t o p rove this point as they began the year. “The big thing this year is the running game, and we wanted to make that

an expressive point from last year,” Rossi said. “We’re doing a good job of that, and we have some really good backs to help contribute.” When it comes to it, their job is to protect quarterback, Noah Grover. They’ve excelled at that task this year thus far. Grover knows it and can’t thank them enough. “It’s been easy playing behind this line, I could eat a sandwich back there,” Grover said. Once again, they all agreed, that’s what they’re supposed to do. Keeping Grover off the ground gives them the best shot to win a game. “He’s a pretty good guy, I guess. But seriously, we all love him, and we don’t want to see him get hurt or be on the ground,” Morgan said. “So, we take care of him.” They’ve done more than take care of him. They haven’t allowed a sack through nine games this year. Most quarterbacks can only dream of that. It wasn’t until they faced Indiana (Pa.) that they realized how much potential they had, h ow e v e r. Si n c e t h e n , they’ve continued to build off of it. “ We went into that game being told that was best of the best one of the be we were going d-lines that w to play this year, and we them, absolutely bullied b should feel bad and they sho said. about it,” Morgan M “Coming off of that we were those guys knew we wer and we have just built off of that.” Obviously, Obviously the result of that game gam didn’t go they planned, the way th but that has just thrown more fuel on the fire for every single one of them. point, they’ve Since that p contributed to an offense that has put up u 144 points over their past pas four games. “I think sometimes you have to lose a game that you don’t to realize th want to do that again,” Stazer said. “ We don’t that again.” want to do th Perhaps the th best part is that all of o them will another year of return for an action. But tthe focus still they can remains on what w do with this one. Now with just two games left in the regular season, the ggoal remains Win at all costs. the same. Wi At the end of the day they all want to bbe part of the reason they are holding championship a national ch trophy when the season concludes. They Th also want hello to each of to wave hell while their opponents oppon they stand over ov them after leading The Rock offense another big play. to yet anothe “I think all of us want to win at national championship, but more championshi importantly we want to week by week,” take it wee Hryckowian said. “We Hryckowia dreams, want to have h want to focus but we w on each week leading up to it and not be too focused on it.”


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November 4, 2022

Putting things into perspective

Aidan Treu Assistant Sports Editor

Navigating through the pathway of life is a different experience for everyone based on background, family, relationships, and countless other things that may be out of any individual’s control. One thing that is always under an individual’s control is the mindset one chooses to take in everything life has to offer. SRU Senior defender Brooke Riefenstahl carries her positive outlook into everything she decides to undertake. She is always looking to learn from every experience. Riefenstahl had a decorated high school career as a versatile multi-sport student athlete. She was a four-year letter winner in soccer and track and field while also lettering in basketball and lacrosse. She accrued three separate Colonial League All-star honors for soccer, was placed on the All-Area team in soccer, lacrosse, and track & field, and was a member of a recordsetting 1,600-meter relay team at Saucon Valley high school. Additionally, she helped her school to 2017 and 2019 girls’ lacrosse District XI championships, played soccer for Harleysville FC

and Keystone Athletic club teams, and earned both Highhonors and AP Scholar honors academically. After high school, Riefenstahl’s college decision was made shortly after her parents shared the idea of going to Slippery Rock University with her. She was quickly drawn in by the well-known exercise science program and the friendly atmosphere created around the soccer team by head coach Jessica Giegucz and others. “After I got to meet Jessie and the coaches and the rest of the team I just really, really, liked the team and the program… From my first time here, I knew this is where I wanted to be,” Riefenstahl said. He r d e c i s i o n w a s immediately rewarded with a team trip to Costa Rica. Riefenstahl’s mentality of always putting in effort to learn how to be a better human and player came in handy. It was especially valuable because the freshmen hardly knew anyone else. In Costa Rica, the girls did two service activities at two schools over the course of a week and a half. Riefenstahl made sure to emphasize how the exposure to different communities than the one’s she had seen before changed her perception of her own life.

“Knowing how much of a positive impact it had on their lives, it kind of like, just gave me a new perspective about life… Not everyone has it as easy as you have it… there’s always people who have a lot harder of a background,” Riefenstahl said. The unique experience also undoubtedly strengthened the team’s bonds with each other. Riefenstahl shared that she believes the trip gave The Rock a head start on pre-season and a much needed cooperation boost heading into the season. “That week and a half, it felt like after that we had known each other for much longer than just that week and a half,” Riefenstahl said.

Scan the QR code to read the rest of the article.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SLIPPERY ROCK ATHLETIC COMMUNICATION

Rifenstahl and the rest of The Rock women's soccer seniors didn't end their career in the way they hoped, but their 2019 title has helped attract recruits.

Building a winning culture

RAYNI SHIRING / THE ROCKET

The women's basketball team returns to the court for the first time without their late coach, Robert McGraw, who passed away. Chenara Wilson, who worked with him as assistant has taken over the head coach position as acting head coach, but has made it clear that this season is for McGraw.

Aidan Treu Assistant Sports Editor

Being a team that is working through a rebuild to create a winning culture is something that can be hard to grapple with. Building a tightly knit squad and creating rolling confidence is much of the substance needed to turn a team over and consistently add to the win column. Slippery Rock women’s Volleyball head coach Laurie Lokash stresses the importance of both of these values on her way to putting her team on the path to PSAC success. Lokash is in her 39th season as the SRU women’s volleyball head coach. She has accumulated a career 660-626 record. Her triumphs have rewarded her with 2 PSAC Coach of the Year awards to go along with her five PSACWest titles and two PSAC tournament titles. Lokash commented on how, despite having a fivewin season last year, the team has already more than doubled that win total with two matches still remaining. “I think this group has taken some steps forward to unify the team culture… They’re on the pathway of learning how to win,” Lokash

said. Much of the preparation leading up to this year was focused on facing quality competition in tournaments. Lokash discussed how this played into her plan of building a winning environment. “The tournaments that we played, we played people that were as good or better than us… We thought that that would prepare us best for the conference," Lokash said. "Learning how to win comes from the confidence you get from beating a quality opponent.” One of the earliest rewards seen from this preparation came in the form of a September 13th match against rival IUP. The Crimson Hawks are known as a quality opponent, but on the backs of double digit kill performances by both Erica Selfridge and Mary Berger, The Rock defended their home turf in five sets. Coach Lokash explained that even when the team can easily see internal improvements, there is an inherent confidence boost given when you start to command respect from those around you. “When people buy in to what’s being put out there,

that can make very big difference,” Lokash said. Now coming off an utterly dominant showing against Salem in which SRU outscored their opponent 58-20 and tallied 13 aces, The Rock sits at 12-16. They have won four of their last six matchups. They are also 5-2 at home with both remaining matches being held at SRU’s Morrow Field House. This is despite facing the fifth most difficult schedule in the section based on opponent winning percentage up to this point. Coach Lokash attributes this success to a number of things, notably playing consistently and learning from each other. “Learning how to win means learning how to put forth a consistent performance day in and day out,” Lokash said. Some of the leadership and knowledge has come from new additions to the program. Part of the growth obviously comes from freshman recruits like Jaeden Yost, who leads the team with 570 assists. Coach Lokash also specifically referenced senior defensive specialist Maria Lucas who transferred for

this season after playing for two seasons at Shippensburg university. “[Someone like Maria] brings the whole package with them,” Lokash said. Coach Lokash also noted that Lucas comes from a volleyball family where she has been surrounded by the game for her whole life. This sort of consistent exposure and experience is invaluable not only because of the inevitable talent injection on the court but also because of the inherent knowledge a player like this brings with them. Bringing in experienced players to help on and off the court benefits everyone. Coach Lokash looks to her players to build off each other in order to transform themselves into a team competing in the PSAC playoffs. “I think this season for us was a bit of a turning point,” Lokash said. Erica Selfridge, Abigail Nigon, and Kate Lachendro are three players reaping the benefits of this mentality. Selfridge is a sophomore outside hitter. She started 29 of 30 games last year and has build on that by leading the team in kills with 254. Nigon is a senior middle

hitter who has established her defensive presence by leading the squad in blocks with 92. Lachendro is a junior defensive specialist that is in the process of leading The Rock in digs back-to-back seasons. This year she has already amassed 553 digs which is good for tenth overall in Division II women’s volleyball nationwide. The Rock now looks toward back to back home matchups with the season culminating on senior day which is November 5th against Seton Hill University. The first of the two games is against Cal U. On October 4th this year, The Rock played Cal U away where they were able to hang around for five sets only to fall at the very end. Coach Lokash and the team hopes their trend of strong home performances continues and propels them to a rivalry victory. Lokash mentioned how the more SRU puts out an entertaining product, the more people will come out to watch. “I can’t thank all those people enough that have been out supporting our team… If you put out a good product people wanna come back and keep seeing it,” Lokash said.

The hope from there becomes confidence and strong play snowballing into a senior day victory against Seton Hill on October 8th. Finishing with back-toback wins would cement The Rock’s record at 14-16. This would be an even more drastic improvement over last season, nearly tripling their 2021 win total. Along with the record improvement, this would mean SRU finished the year off winning a robust six games out of eight which could only create a massive wave of momentum and even further increased confidence looking toward the 2023 season. It is becoming increasingly evident that coach Lokash’s players are growing more and more comfortable playing with each other. After a relatively rough 1-4 start to the season, her team has rebounded. This reflects the one word they vowed to always live and play by before the season started, that word being unbreakable. “If you put the time in and you’re committed towards each other, then you’re going to start to achieve goals,” Lokash said.


November 4, 2022

SPORTS Jumping to play

CONTINUED FROM PAGE C-2

“It’s great to have a point guard with that type of leadership and skill, it makes things a lot easier when you have players in that position that can lead and be an extension of the coaching staff on the floor,” Grady said. He’s also benefited from having multiple big men to help him out during his time here. Last year it was Tyler Fredrick. With Fredrick gone, that leaves a hole, but Grady is confident that it’s one that can be filled. “We think that Lashon Lindsey has an opportunity to step into a big role, I think that’s the great part about keeping players in the program,” Grady said. “They can step into bigger roles as they grow and mature, so we’re really looking for him to step up.” Lindsey, who is listed as a junior, has been with the team since 2019. He has had time to play under the likes of Fredrick and Micah Till. But he has also gotten a lot of playing time. Grady feels that he will be someone to watch on the court this season. The team also benefits from being able to be together for nearly a whole semester before they even step onto the court for their first game of the season. But Grady acknowledges that is a long season, but also feels that they’re more than ready for it.

D-5

“It is a long season, as you know, we start from the first week of class in the fall and it goes throughout both semesters all the way to March,” Grady said. “So, I think it’s important that we prepare them for on the court, but also that they have an academic balance as well.” Grady also knows that some of the new players will not be able to fully understand how good the PSAC is before they are able to play in it. Especially with new transfers coming in. “I think people from the outside or people that you’re recruiting don’t understand how good the league is, especially on western side of the conference,” Grady said. “We communicate [how good it is] in every session, and that’s vital, because we need to leave no doubt when we leave the practice facility.” Overall, the goals have been set for the season. Some have been kept inside the locker room, others are plain for everyone to see. “We keep a lot of our goals in house, but I would say that we’re really excited and ready to get to it,” Grady said. As they start games, the biggest goal is going to be to win and do it in a way that makes the university proud. "It’s important for us to get going early and win, but also to represent the university in a first-class matter,” Grady said.

RAYNI SHIRING / THE ROCKET

Hardship to motivation

RAYNI SHIRING / THE ROCKET

The women's basketball team returns to the court for the first time without their late coach, Robert McGraw, who passed away. Chenara Wilson, who worked with him as assistant has taken over the head coach position as acting head coach, but has made it clear that this season is for McGraw.

By Tyler Howe Sports Editor

In his eight-year tenure as the head coach of Slippery Rock Women’s basketball, Coach Bobby McGraw left a lasting impact on everyone around him. He combined an increase in production with an irreplaceable family dynamic on and off the court. The team is taking this year to maintain the positive, connected dynamic that he created while playing for him. “Coach McGraw, you know, he cared about all of us and would do anything for us,” Acting head coach Chenara Wilson said. The Rock plans to dedicate this season to coach McGraw. Playing together is going to mean more than ever going into the season as an underdog. Coach Wilson shared that SRU is not highly ranked in the poll for the upcoming year, and they need to pull together if they are to improve from last year.

“We’re playing for McGraw… that’s our motivation right now,” Wilson said. Last year SRU Women’s basketball finished with a 1216 overall record, including 7-6 at home. The team hopes to get out of the gates fast again, as they were 6-1 after seven games last year. After the hot start, a rough patch followed and the Green and White hovered around .500 for much of the season before ultimately falling four games under, where they would remain. The combination of hardships over the past year has undoubtedly been distracting, but Coach Wilson commented on how the low poll ranking and family outlook may provide motivation to put together a successful season. When asked what would be driving the team, Coach Wilson responded, “Our motivation to play for something greater." According to Coach Wilson, the team is doing a good job playing off each other and looking at everyone for motivation and

leadership. Despite this, she also commented that the two seniors, Kennedy Middleton and Deleah Gibson, are starting to hold the reins to an extent. “We have two seniors with Deleah and Kennedy who, they will be leaders for us,” Wilson said. Another player that Coach

"We're playing for McGraw... that's our motivation right now. – Chenara Wilson, acting SRU women's basketball head coach

Wilson mentioned was Bellah Middleton. Middleton appeared in 12 games and started as a redshirt freshman while averaging 9 points per game. Wilson said that Middlton is eager to come back and make an impact after getting injured last year. Last year’s leading scorer, graduate student center Jamiyah Jackson, is not returning this year. That leaves some questions moving forward. Kelley McKnight is now the oldest and longest tenured center on the team as a sophomore. Coach Wilson noted that the two centers have different playing styles and that she is excited about McKnight’s growth into a bigger role on the offense. “I do expect her to hold her own and grow into her own person,” Wilson said. The Rock is thankfully returning their leading threepoint shooter from last year. Deleah Gibson is a redshirt senior. She joined The Rock from Youngstown State University in 2020 and started 24 games over the 2021-22

season. She averaged 8.5 points per game while also accumulating 23 steals last season. Gibson is slated to take over a very large role in the offense while helping those around her develop. “Deleah will be a big factor, we need Deleah to play big minutes along with hitting big shots this season,” Wilson said. Defensively speaking, Anyah Curd led The Rock women in blocks and is returning this year. Curd is a redshirt junior forward. During her redshirt sophomore season, Curd appeared in 26 games, starting 23. She averaged 7 points per game and 10 rebounds per game in addition to the team leading 22 blocks. Coach Wilson understands that it will be hard to make up for the talent lost by Jamiyah Jackson and others leaving. The equation to recreate success is simple: teamwork plus hard work. Players may come and go, but there is no replacement for relentlessness during practice and games. “The girls have come together and they’re starting

to gel… I just want us to work hard and play hard,” Wilson said. All of this is a part of an ever-building mentality of persistence and strength. The Slippery Rock Women’s basketball team has been put through more emotional and physical adversity than most PSAC or NCAA teams have had to deal with. Despite this, they have not lost focus and manage to maintain their important responsibilities to each other and to the program. They are underdogs, they lost some key players, and they had to experience the largest loss of them all with the passing of beloved Coach McGraw. They have also stuck together, continued to enjoy playing the game they love, and won’t let anyone take any of that from them. Coach Wilson shared a principle left with her by Coach McGraw that she plans on instilling in this team and hopefully for years to come. “Treat everyone as, you know, family… He would treat us as his own family,” Wilson said.


SPORTS Men's soccer bows out early

November 4, 2022

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EDDIE CLANCY / THE ROCKET

The Rock men's soccer team was unable to find their way back into the PSAC playoffs after they finished fourth in the standings. While they fell short of the ultimate goal, this year served as an important one in terms of growth for a young team, who had many players getting their first taste of PSAC action.

Layla Joseph Senior Rocket Contributor

The Slipper y Rock University men's soccer team was defeated 4-0 by No. 2 Mercyhurst University at home on Saturday. Before kick-off on Saturday, seniors on the team including Hossam Aly, Harry Griffin, Samuel Hillman, Derek Hoffman, Nathan Kortyna, Ramses Minaya, Alex Plimmer, and Deon Waldmeier were recognized for their contributions to the team and congratulated on their upcoming graduation. Slippery Rock allowed two goals in each half of the game, while only returning offensively with two shots on goal, both from Arturo Pla Hernandis. The teams played

a full 90 minutes before Slippery Rock was defeated by the Mercyhurst Lakers 17-0-1. The loss of the game on Saturday finished the season for the men's soccer team at Slippery Rock University, leaving them with a regular season record of 5-10-2. The outcome was undesired for a team that strives to compete in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference playoffs each year, and Coach Kevin Wilhelm recognizes the positives and the negatives stepping into the off-season. Some coaches may view eight seniors leaving the team as a huge loss, but Wilhelm seems optimistic about the future. With notable performances by underclassmen and the open positions available next fall,

Wilhelm labels the "youth movement" as a positive aspect. Compared to years past, first-year players got a significant amount of playing time this season, which can only be beneficial moving forward. According to Wilhelm, getting to experience game-type situations firsthand allows players to develop an understanding of the physicality, speed, technical ability, and determination demanded in competition. "Even if you're failing when you're out there, it improves the development process," said Wilhelm. "There's nothing better than having that experience to really push along the process." The more experience a player has, the easier it is for the process to develop. This

may explain why Wilhelm seemed disheartened to mention the dilemma that often occurs: deciding if it would be in a player's best interest to continue their academic career for another semester of soccer. Ultimately, it is the player's decision, but as a coach, Wilhelm has an ethical obligation to "instruct people the right way." He tries to guide his players to make the right call since many players receive no athletic aid to attend school at The Rock. According to Wilhelm, the men's soccer team does not have the same luxury as other programs that receive generous athletic aid. While other coaches may be able to ethically suggest that a player takes on a minor and plays another season, that is

not always possible for men’s soccer players at SRU due to financial restrictions. "You have to make sure everybody makes the correct decisions for the correct reasons," he said. While evaluating adversities faced this season, Wilhelm finds it necessary to go to the root of the issues and try to resolve them from there. He says the ultimate goal for the season was to get back to the PSAC playoffs but admitted that the competition with private schools in the conference makes it difficult. "Why were there so many injuries? Why were there a couple inconsistent performances?" Wilhelm asked. "What do we have to do to strengthen [the team] to be able to match those bigbudget teams?"

Muscular-type injuries were a challenge this season, and Wilhelm says the team could avoid injuries if their practice facility was held to the same, high quality standard as Egli Field. The men's team shares its practice facility with the women's and men's club soccer teams at SRU. Wilhelm argues that allowing the men's team to have a private facility would eliminate scheduling conflicts between the teams using the field. He said a private facility would help the team tremendously: improving his players' overall health and morale. The conditions of the practice facility now aren't sustainable long term, said Wilhelm, and having a facility of their own would show the university prioritizes the team.

The margin for error tightens

By Tyler Howe Sports Editor

As the year winds down, each game becomes more and more important. A game against a 4-5 team may not seem to be very important, but The Rock isn’t going to take their matchup with the Edinboro Fighting Scots lightly. Edinboro is a team that just one year ago put the final nail in the coffin on Slippery Rock’s archrival, Indiana (Pa.)’s, season with a stunning 21-17 win on the road. In a way, it is very eerie how similar the two situations are. The Rock hosts Edinboro with only one loss on the season, just like the Crimson Hawks last year. But Slippery Rock will look to avoid an upset that would likely mean the end of a promising season. “Edinboro is dangerous because they play so hard, and last year they beat IUP,” head coach Shawn Lutz said. “We’re still treating every game like it’s a playoff game, and this week against

Edinboro we have a shot to get a share of the PSAC West title for the fourth straight year.” Things once again come back to IUP. Last week, they saw their perfect season get tainted by Gannon, who pulled out a 43-36 win over the Crimson Hawks. Now, while they are still in the driver’s seat to go to the title game, they may have to share the title of PSAC West champs. Now The Rock will come in sitting at tenth in the country, but Lutz wants to make sure that they act like that. “If you’re ranked tenth in the country, you’ve got to act like that and we’ve got to leave no doubt,” Lutz said. “We just have to make sure that our guys are ready to go.” Slippery Rock was also ranked fifth in the super region one rankings this week. So, things are beginning to get more and more real as the regular season clock winds down. The goal this week will be limit Edinboro big

plays. The Rock has been able to limit big plays in general this season, but in a game where a team doesn’t have anything to lose, they immediately become much more dangerous. “We need to limit them big plays and trick plays, because they’re a team that’s not really playing for anything,” Lutz said. On the flip side, Lutz wants to get the run game back on track after they’ve struggled to get it going in the past two games. But he feels that they still have the group that will be able to get it done at a high level. “[It’ll be huge] to get our run game going early, because we have done that in the past two weeks, so I’ll be keeping an eye on that,” Lutz said. Lucky for them, the Fighting Scots have allowed over 2,000 yards on the ground this season. With T h e Ro c k’s b a c k f i e l d , it gives them a perfect opportunity to build some momentum and give the offense a spark in the run game.

But should there be any problems, Lutz knows they have a very good quarterback they can fall back on. Noah Grover passed for over 400 yards and three touchdowns in a road victory this past week. But the duo of Grover and Kyle Sheets has been getting hotter and hotter each week. It’ll be another aspect to keep an eye on. T h e Ro c k’s d e f e n s e also put up another great per formance this past week, posting their first shutout of the season. Lutz acknowledged how hard it is to earn a shutout, but it is even harder when you play in a conference like the PSAC. But ever y game has become a do or die situation for Slippery Rock. They know that the margin for error is slim to none, and any missteps could mean that they slide out of the playoffs. So according to Lutz, they need to take control early and not let go of it. “We can’t let anybody play with us, the sense of urgency needs to be at an all-time high,” Lutz said.

TYLER HOWE / THE ROCKET


SPORTS New leaders, same success

November 4, 2022

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PHOTO COURTESY OF SLIPPERY ROCK ATHLETIC COMMUNICATION

Aidan Treu Assistant Sports Editor

Sometimes a transfer in power from a highly successful and decorated coach can hinder a program’s future and development. Other times the strength in both the talent of the athletes and the coaching staff can carry a squad to maintain high performance. That high performance level is what Slippery Rock Cross Country was looking to achieve when the torch was handed down from former head coach John Papa to new head coach Bill Jordan, and so far the results yielded have only looked up. Former SRU Cross Country head coach John Papa was decorated to say the least. The 2021-22 season was his 35th year at the helm. His tenure was decades long for a reason. Papa garnered a stunning 25 PSAC team championships, an equally unbelievable 21 PSAC Coach of

the Year awards, and 16 regional coach of the year awards during his time here. Perhaps his greatest achievement was during the 2007-08 academic year, as he coached his way to all four of the women’s indoor, men’s indoor, women’s outdoor, and men’s outdoor PSAC Championships. First year head coach Bill Jordan shared what it meant to work with coach Papa, both when Jordan was an athlete at SRU and while serving as an assistant coach to Papa for 17 years. “I’ve known him since grade school… [Coach Papa] was a great mentor and friend,” Jordan said. Of course, new head coach Bill Jordan has had cross country running through his veins for the majority of his life. If anyone has been prepared with the experience necessary to take over for a figure as legendary as coach Papa, it is coach Jordan. “I was coach Papa’s assistant for 17 years, he was a great mentor

and boss… I was a student athlete here… taking over your alma mater’s program is just a dream come true,” Jordan said. Early on in his tenure, coach Jordan has already continued to foster a culture of winning. The Rock has competed in five meets since September 3rd. These contests have resulted in two first place finishes at the Allegheny Classic and the CMU Invitational and two second place finishes at the Bill Lennox Invitational and the Doug Watts open. Even with the success, coach Jordan has his sights set on the PSAC Championship this Saturday, November 5th. Everyone at SRU is going in with confidence. “The real test is gonna come this Saturday… The girls’ and boys’ team have been running fantastic… “We got a lot of faith in them,” Jordan said. The path to continued triumph for The Rock has been simple. Follow former coach

Papa’s outline while pushing the athletes to be the best they can be. No one at SRU would have it any other way. After all, coach Jordan replicating coach Papa’s championship culture even partially would be a massive accomplishment, and he is proving to be very capable. “We’re continuing to kinda push the word and the same mentality we had under coach Papa now with me just driving the boat,” Jordan said. Just as important as exceptional coaching is the athletes responding and developing accordingly. The new regime could hardly be happier with how their students have accepted them. “The kids have really responded and taken to the change really well,” Jordan said. As for individual players successes, there have been plenty. Ethan Brentham finished the 4-mile course at the Allegheny Classic in 20:52 which was good for first place. Troy Hart wasn’t far

behind, finishing in second with a time of 20:57. Brentham also paved the way for SRU at the Carnegie Mellon invitational by finishing the 8,000-meter course in 25:51. Brentham was the first collegiate finisher in both listed races. The Rock would go on to place first overall in both of these competitions including a 21-point victory over second place host Carnegia Mellon at the Carnegie Mellon invitational. On the side of women’s cross country, their firstplace finish at the Allegheny Classic came down to the wire. The Rock’s triumph was highlighted by a pair of freshmen- Ruthie Hughes and Jennifer Cichra. Hughes finished the 3-mile course in 18:59, taking home her first collegiate victory with Cichra 10 seconds behind, placing third. The team ended up claiming the win with 31 points which was three points

better than second place host Allegheny. The teams’ accomplishments have earned them well deserved praise from coach Jordan. He expressed how he feels his athletes are locked in heading into the most important competition so far. “What the kids were able to do throughout the regular season has lined them up mentally,” Jordan said. While no one is overlooking the challenge ahead, it is certainly nice to imagine the feelings that would be shared throughout Slippery Rock cross country if they should secure a PSAC championship in coach Jordan’s first year. Coach Jordan, humble as always despite his early achievements, made sure to express how positively the win would impact everyone as opposed to just himself. “It would mean a lot, I think it would mean a lot more to the kids,” Jordan said.


November 4, 2022

THE ROCKET

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EDDIE CLANCY / THE ROCKET