CONGRATS CLASS OF 2021!
ROCKET STAFF GOODBYES | B-2 HAMILTON AND THE ROCK | C-1 PHOTO COURTESY OF SLIPPERY ROCK UNIVERSITY
Friday April 23, 2021 • Volume 104, Issue Number 10 • An Independent, Student-Run Newspaper
Taking the walk in person
By Joe Wells Assistant News Editor
As students at Slippery Rock University prepare for finals week to close out another semester during the COVID-19 pandemic, those graduating will be the first in over a year to walk at graduation in person. More than 1,700 SRU students from the university’s four colleges and three doctoral programs will take to the Mihalik-Thompson Stadium on April 30 and May 1 to participate in most of the traditions that come with commencement. Along with having their names read and walking the stage to receive diploma covers, graduates will participate in singing the SRU alma mater and the moving of the tassel, according to an email sent out to students on March 24. In a ceremony which usually brings many friends and family to The Rock to celebrate the momentous occasion, graduates will be limited to two guests. There was hope that the situation and subsequent guidelines from the Commonwealth regarding the COVID-19 pandemic would allow students to invite more guests, but that will not be possible, according to Robert King, chief communication and public affairs officer.
Along with limited guests, the number of speakers on stage will be reduced as well. SRU President William Behre and Provost Abbey Zink will take to the stage with representatives from the Council of Trustees and Alumni Association and the dean of the college being honored at that time. No one from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) will be in attendance, King said. Having an in-person commencement is something many graduating seniors, including Hannah Runas, have wanted to see happen. Runas started a petition in January on change. org, asking the president and administrators to find a way to scrap the virtual formats spring and fall 2020 graduates received. “We, and our parents, are more than willing to follow any guidelines deemed necessary to attend a live graduation in the safest way possible,” Runas said in her petition that received more than 1,100 signatures. “We would rather sit in the rain at the stadium than receive our diplomas via Zoom.” While Runas, a special education transition program major, has signed petitions before, she had never authored one. When she posted the petition and sent it off to university officials, she hoped to get 200-400 signatures. She said
GRAPHIC BY: RAYNI SHIRING
reaching more than 1,100 was overwhelming. Even though the administration never reached out to Runas to discuss her petition or their commencement plans, seeing what the university decided to do shows they listened to the students about what they want, Runas said. “I know it is still going to look different than the past few years, by just having that opportunity to be able to go to an in-person commencement and walk and have at least two people there to support you, that's
all I hoped for,” Runas said. “So, I am comfortable and happy with what was able to happen.” Getting to a place where an in-person ceremony was possible took a lot by the community, King said. Low positive COVID-19 cases on campus – less than 0.05% this spring – and compliance by the student body about safety measures like masks and social distancing were the most significant factors, King said. With a lowering number of cases in Slippery Rock and across the state, Gov. Tom Wolf increased
gathering limits for indoor and outdoor events on April 4. Those changes have rippled through the campus to not only allow the upcoming graduating ceremony but other familiar sights like fans at ball games clubs holding events such as movie nights. SRU will hosts graduates by college at the following times: • Graduate Studies, 6 p.m., Friday, April 30; • College of Education, 9 a.m., Saturday, May 1.; • College of Business, Noon, Saturday, May 1; • College of Liberal Arts, 3
p.m., Saturday, May 1; • College of Health, Engineering and Science, 6 p.m., Saturday, May 1. SRU’s spring and fall 2020 graduates, who had virtual commencements last year, will be honored during the university’s Homecoming Weekend from Oct. 15 to 17. Plans for what that celebration will look like have yet to be decided, according to King. He said the university is entirely focused on giving students the upcoming in-person graduation.
COVID-19 vaccine clinic comes to SRU
By Nina Cipriani News Editor
Slippery Rock University partnered with Giant Eagle Pharmacy in Slippery Rock to host a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Russell Wright Alumni House Wednesday to administer the first dose of the vaccine. SRU is hosting a second day of the clinic on Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to give out the remaining 160 first doses of the vaccine. The pharmacy is providing the university with 320 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine total, administering roughly 160 doses per day of the clinic. As of Wednesday, 140 students, nine staff and two faculty were scheduled to receive the vaccine. This is the first clinic that the Slippery Rock Giant Eagle has hosted for the COVID-19 vaccine. Students and faculty will not be charged for the vaccine. The university implemented social distancing by having carpet squares on the ground to keep students six feet apart from one another. Angela Santis, the manager of the Giant Eagle Pharmacy in Slippery Rock, said they could return in
the fall to distribute more vaccinations. "As availability [of the vaccine] increased, there are more doses and we can get them to students," Santis said. Santis said the Giant Eagle Pharmacy has given COVID-19 vaccines to students already in their own facility as well. Students must bring their insurance card to the clinic to get vaccinated. But, if students, faculty or staff don't have health insurance, Benkeser said they will not be turned away. "The pharmacy is able to get an administration fee for administering the shot from insurance [companies], so there's no cost to students," Benkeser said. The university decided to host the COVID-19 vaccine clinic to give students the opportunity to get vaccinated before leaving campus, Benkeser said, since it was announced t h a t e ve r y a d u l t s i n the United States was eligible to be vaccinated by April 19 and April 13 for adults in Pennsylvania. "You have to strike while the iron is hot," Benkeser said. "[ The vaccine distribution] counts on you getting dose two wherever A-5
New Rocket staff incoming
JOE WELLS / THE ROCKET
Angela Santis, the pharmacy manager at the Slippery Rock Giant Eagle, admisiters the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine into the arm of SRU senior Lyndsey Dundon April 21. This was the first clinic the local pharmacy and university has done.
you got dose one." Benkeser said students and faculty should schedule in advance, but walk-ins are welcome for Friday. The two-day clinic is part of a two-shot process. Students and faculty can return to campus on May 19 and 21 to receive their second dose. Students can either make their appointment at the clinic when they receive their first dose or can be put on a list to be contacted to get the second dose through another Giant Eagle. Just like with all places that administer the vaccine,
Rocket Staff pushes on
students and faculty are required to sit and wait 15 minutes to make sure they don't have a negative reaction. "You spend more time sitting in the chair waiting than you do in all the steps that come before it," Benkeser said. If returning to campus to get the second dose is not possible, the Giant Eagle Pharmacy in Slippery Rock can work within the system to make sure that a student can get their second dose at a local, participating Giant Eagle Pharmacy near where they live.
"The trick to setting up clinics like this is scheduling that second dose," Benkeser said. "Even if students leave the area and cannot return to Slippery Rock for it, Giant Eagle can schedule you at one of their other facilities." All students who are fully vaccinated by the fall semester will receive $50 in flex dollars to use at any on campus dining location. Benkeser said the university decided to reward students with flex dollars to encourage vaccination and to motivate students to upload their immunization r e c o r d s t o t h e S RU Health Portal. "If 80% of our students are vaccinated, but only 20% uploaded [the record], that's a problem," Benkeser said, "because then we don't know. So, the way we make our decisions, we use science as our guide. Watching and monitoring our rate of vaccination among our students is going to guide and shape what we do in the fall." According to Benkeser, staff and faculty are offered leave time aside from personal, sick or vacation time to get vaccinated.
Gonzalez tears up court
Lyndsey Dundon, a senior social work major who works at Starbucks, said she has been trying to get vaccinated but didn't fall under the previous phases provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), even though she works in the food industry. After receiving her first shot, Dundon said she felt fine, but was a little worried as her father's arm was really sore when he got his. "The process was super easy and couldn't go easier," Dundon said. "I'm scared of needles so I expected it to be more painful." In an email to SRU stakeholders, Benkeser said faculty members are asked to be flexible with verified student class absences due to being vaccinated on Wednesday and Friday. SRU encourages the vaccination of students and faculty in order to go back to a relatively normal college experience, Benkeser said. "If we achieve a substantial vaccination rate, the University’s return to normal in the fall will be much easier to achieve, which will allow our community to continue to thrive," Benkeser said in the email.
VIDEO: New Rocket hires sound off
Housing and a fresh start By Sarah Anderson Campus Life Editor
Students at Slippery Rock University were able to begin the fall 2021 housing process on April 6, with the application open to all students interested in residing on campus next semester. Ju s t i n Kleemook, associate director in Office of Residence Life, said that the process is the same as past years. Students will log onto their housing portal and fill out the application where they will indicate if they want to reside in traditional or residential suites. There was confusion in regards to roommate selection early on in the process. Kleemook cleared up the confusion by saying, "Anyone can sign up: individuals, dual people, three groups of people. "So whatever size you and your friends are, or just you by yourself, you can apply for housing." Students are reminded that they have access to the social media platform, My College Roomie, which is a networking platform where students create their own profile and get matches with other students that an algorithm detects as having similar interests. "[My College Roomie] is set up to be kind of like a Facebook where you read a profile with your picture and your likes and dislikes," Kleemook said. "Then the software runs it's magical stuff behind the scenes and the algorithm figures out basic percentages on whom
you might match the best with." He advises students to look beyond this percentage and to browse student profiles and the software itself. The benefit of using My College Roomie is that students are able to get to know possible roommates before making their decision, Kleemook said. If students don't find a match before a date, they will be auto-assigned with a software the university uses. This option has no specific algorithm to make the decision. Kleemook said to not count on being assigned a roommate as a negative as both My College Roomie and auto assign can have positive outcomes. "We often tell our students to take a chance on someone you don't know, because at least you have an opportunity to grow your network and social circle," Kleemook said. As the fall semester approaches, there is hope that the campus population will be back up to 80%. With the campus population increasing so drastically, they are preparing by using some floors used for quarantine and isolation. Students can also expect changes to the visitation policy in the fall, which has been a complaint from many students on-campus this past year. With the semester coming to a close, oncampus residents are preparing to move back home. The move-out will be contactless and touchless, students will be given a paper that will list all of the things they must do before moving out. The final day
PHOTO COURTESY OF GARRETT TALKINGTON
When students return to Slippery Rock University in the fall, they will see more of their peers roaming the residence halls. This past year, SRU housed roughly 700 students, less than a third of its normal poplulation.
for students to move out is May 1. As Spring 2021 ends and students and staff prepare for the fall, there are plans in motion for a full and packed start. There is a focus on harboring a sense of community as two large groups of students come to campus for they first time.
Meg Nassif, a freshman residing at home, has some anxieties about residing at SRU for the first time as she enters her sophomore year. Those anxieties mainly revolve around navigating the campus, she said. Being at home for her first year effected some of the things she was looking
forward to. Nassif said she wanted her freshman experience to be in the dorms. "Living in a dorm was like one of the things I was really looking forward to, so the fact that it didn't happen was sad," Nassif said. "[Things] will definitely be different, you
know, having in person classes that we've all gotten used to with like, our flow and how we handle online classes." As SRU prepares for a more full campus for fall 2021, students can keep an eye on their housing portal and email for more updates from the university.
Tuition frozen for third year By Joe Wells Assistant News Editor
T h e Pe n n s y l v a n i a State System of Higher E d u c a t i o n ( PA S S H E ) Board of Governors voted Thursday against raising tuition for the third year in a row. Thomas Muller, chair of the university success committee, said he wrestled with the decision to freeze tuition again, knowing some presidents favored the planned increase of 1% - an average of $82 per student. While the state system works through a pandemic and system redesign, keeping higher education affordable for students remained the priority, Muller said. “I share [Daniel Greenstein's] opinion that we can’t keep loading costs onto our students,” Muller said. The freeze will keep tuition at $7,716 a year, along with the technology fee at $478 a year. The 14 universities within the system are allowed to make their own proposals for changes to tuition, which no universities did. SRU President William Behre said he did not submit a proposal for the 1% increase because he believed they were only required when deviating from the system’s planning.
“It's your right to hold the system to zero, then it's your responsibility to minimize cost increases,” Behre said. “If I had known that, I would have had to ask for the 1% that we were planning on, I would have that.” Along with the tuition freeze, the board approved a recommended freeze for the following fiscal year. That freeze will be voted on next year. The state system appointed Mansfield
"I share [Daniel Greenstein's] opinion that we can't keep loading costs onto our students." – Thomas Muller, chair of PASSHE university success committee
University (MU) President Charles Patterson as the interim president for Shippensburg University (SU). Last month, SU President Laurie Carter announced she accepted an offer from Lawrence University in Wisconsin to serve as their president. By appointing Patterson as president, the system will save money from completing a search and ensure continued momentum for Mansfield and Shippensburg Un i ve r s i t i e s i f t h e integration of the schools is approved, Board Chair Cindy Shapira said. Patterson will take over the SU role on June 1. At that time, an interim p re s i d e n t f o r M U i s expected to be named. Both Mansfield and Shippensburg Universities are part of the planned system redesign in the east. No other plans were announced regarding the system redesign. The board is expected to meet later this month for a presentation of the proposed plan. After that proposal, there will be a 60-day period for the public to comment on the plan. Once the comment period closes, the board will be able to meet and vote on whether to move forward with the redesign.
GRAPHIC BY RAYNI SHIRING
April 23, 2021
All by ourselves
By Joe Wells Assistant News Editor
The COVID-19 pandemic has spent the last year working its way to affect ever y facet of life and put a strain on ever ything we do. The spread of the disease has forced lockdowns and travel restrictions that have kept many apart. Those not under such restrictions have kept to their immediate family, their cohort, out of fear of spreading the disease. Still, isolation has begun to create new problems for those who feel trapped inside with their significant other. Fo r Sl i p p e r y Ro c k University (SRU) alums C h r i s t i n e Mu rc k o a n d Se a n Pa t t , g e t t i n g almost a year head start on adapting to living together helped them adjust to pandemic life, but still brought challenges. Patt, a former d e f e n s e m a n f o r S RU ’s Hockey Club, said the time spent in their twobedroom Cooper Street apartment before the pandemic gave them time to adjust to how one another liked things done before graduating in December 2019. “That was probably the most difficult work,” Patt said. “Kind of finding a middle ground.” Murcko said she felt d i f f e r e n t l y, t h o u g h . By the time the couple moved into Pa t t ’s p a r e n t ’s h o m e in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, in March of 2020, they had been together for four years and she felt they understood each other well. T h e n t h e l o c k d ow n s began happening across Pennsylvania. Patt's childhood bedroom was supposed to be a temporar y stay turned into an eightmonth stay with the two cramped into a 12foot by 12-foot room complete with a fullsize bed, three dressers, and a desk. Mu rc k o a n d Pa t t began to realize what my fiancée and I, along with millions of people across the world locked down, were learning – our living spaces were too small to work and live in day-in-day-out. For us, the twobedroom we have with my son began to close in as we turned corners of bedrooms and hallways into offices for school and work, which was all remote now. If Mu rc k o w a n t e d t i m e a w a y f r o m Pa t t’s parents, she did not have many comfortable options to choose. “ The only place to sit i n t h a t o n e ro o m w a s just on the bed or in a d e s k c h a i r,” Mu rc k o said. As couples began to spend ever y hour of the d a y w i t h e a c h o t h e r, licensed professional c o u n s e l o r s l i k e Su s a n Bella-Nesbitt said it takes a toll on i n d i v i d u a l s’ m e n t a l health. “A l o t o f p e o p l e feel trapped inside their house; they feel s u f f o c a t e d ,” B e l l a Nesbitt said. For many of her clients, the lack of human interaction and tr ying to stay engaged ever y day when school and work are just one Zoom meeting to another becomes difficult. Bella-Nesbitt, who s e e s c l i e n t s i n Bu t l e r, Pennsylvania, said they become fatigued by the constant hopping from screen to screen and lack of physical activity. Zoom burnout is something many have begun to feel, myself
included, as the pandemic passes its first anniversar y. For myself, the stress has led to small, meaningless fights with my fiancée over items we cannot even describe halfway through. Bella-Nesbitt suggests couples who feel like they may be pushing on each other emotionally find some time and an activity that can b e d o n e s e p a r a t e l y, but safely and has a physical component. One of the best things about the state of the pandemic today, Bella-
be at his job at a local beer distributor while Mu r c k o w o u l d g o i n t o her graphic design j o b a t Te x V i s i o n s i n Carlisle. With time working apart and finding activities to do together, like discovering new series to watch on Netflix, the couple has been able to minimize the tension between e a c h o t h e r. D u r i n g this time, others find t h e p re s s u re s o f b e i n g h o m e a l l t h e t i m e a re compounding other stressors caused by the pandemic.
K a e l e e n Ma r t i n , t h e prevention education advocate for Victim Ou t re a c h In t e r ve n t i o n Center (VOICe) in B u t l e r C o u n t y, s a i d the center did not see a massive jump in calls during the pandemic, but speculated that being stuck at home with an abuser played a part in that. “Before [the pandemic] calls would be like, ‘I have 10 minutes to talk, like, I want to kind of just get this out, I want to see what I can do,’” Martin said. “ Versus now, like
offer support, Martin said. While the pandemic effects have put strains on relationships, including my own, for Murcko and Patt, it had helped strengthen theirs, even when the virus dealt a significant blow, infecting Murcko along with Patt’s parents. Mid-October and ready to move into their own place, they had to reschedule the signing of their lease while Murcko and Pa t t s t a y e d l o c k e d u p i n Pa t t ' s c h i l d h o o d bedroom. Patt, who had
PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRISTINE MURCKO
Slippery Rock University alumni Sean Patt (left) and Christine Murcko found themselves crammed into Patt's childhood bedroom during the pandemic. The stress of constantly living within those four walls and recovering from COVID-19 tested the couple throughout 2020.
Nesbitt said, is people can safely go out to places like the gym or grocery store, and as long as they are masked up and distancing, these activities may be done with a friend or family member.
"The only place to sit in that one room was just on the bed or in a desk chair.” – Christine Murcko, SRU alum, on isolating in her boyfriend's childhood bedroom “I encourage a lot of activity to snap out of it because they really do n e e d t o m ov e ,” B e l l a Nesbitt said. Getting time apart was something Mu r c k o a n d Pa t t c o u l d accomplish because both of their jobs stayed open during the pandemic. While both saw reduced hours at times, for up to 12 h o u r s a d a y, Pa t t w o u l d
Financial stress from one or both parties losing their job has created a tremendous amount of pressure on individuals, especially if they were the family’s primar y income source, Bella-Nesbitt said. That pressure, coupled with feelings of inadequacy and decrease in selfesteem, becomes tension points for the other spouse who may have been used to taking care of the household. No w, h a v i n g t o t a k e t h e o t h e r p e r s o n ’s expectations about how they prefer things to be done, both halves of the relationship become strained. Unfor tunately for some, this strain does not always lead to the couple seeking counseling, but violence. In Ma r c h 2 0 2 0 , t h e National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) began collecting data on how the pandemic impacted domestic violence survivors. During the 60 days, information collected showed a 9% increase in the total number of contacts the hotline received. Pe r s o n s a g e 1 9 - 2 4 consisted of 17% of t h e m o re t h a n 6 2 , 0 0 0 contacts received. More than 6,000 individuals who contacted NDVH said the COVID-19 pandemic affected them reaching the hotline .
people are just stuck in the same space with the same people all the time." “And I think it might have even gotten harder for people to reach out,” Martin added.
not contracted the virus but was required to stay home from work for 16 days, took on the role of caregiver, running water and Tylenol to Murcko when needed. Mu r c k o s a i d Pa t t ’s parents’ symptoms were a
"[People are] very kindhearted ... and they just kind of give people passes all the time. But if it's affecting intimacy, if it's affecting the closeness, if it's affecting communication, those are things you really shouldn't let go." – Susan Bella-Nesbit, licensed professional counselor According to a re p o r t by t h e N DV H , 69% of calls to the national hotline were f ro m v i c t i m s w h o h a d just been subjected t o In t i m a t e Pa r t n e r Violence (IPV) and were seeking resources. With the pandemic still isolating people from their friends and family, it is important people who have concerns reach out and
lot worse than hers, with them fighting horrible, c o n s t a n t c o u g h s . Fo r her, the first few days re s u l t e d i n t h e w o r s t migraine of her life, with her symptoms subsiding to something more like the stomach flu. Fo r Mu rc k o , t h a t w a s n’t t h e w o r s t p a r t , however. “He wouldn’t kiss me for three days,” Murcko jokingly complained.
Patt said he was doing his best not to contract the virus, but when he realized he had been in close contact with all his family members due to the living situation and not become ill, he gave in to make her feel better. “She’s just dramatic,” he smirked. Having now got through the most challenging part the pandemic had thrown at them, they moved into their apartment in No v e m b e r a n d b e g u n making it a place of their own. With restrictions slowly easing up, they are finding time for themselves and each other. While Patt does most of the cooking, they make sure they are eating dinner together to catch up on what is going on in each other’s life. Along with still working at the beer distributor, Patt became the head defensive coach for the Elizabethtown High School Ice Hockey Team. A s f o r Mu r c k o , s h e spends her free time playing video games like The Sims and Har vest Moon or watching a television show only she likes. “‘Parenthood.' That’s my show,” Murcko said. “But I only get to watch t h o s e w h e n h e ’s n o t here.” When both are home, she said the TV has either a show they both enjoy, like “Lost” or a hockey game. They also t r y t o g e t o u t a ro u n d Mechanicsburg and learn about the city they now call home. They both agree that they have fared well through uncertain times because of their effor t before the pandemic. Fr o m w h a t s h e h a s seen, Bella-Nesbitt said couples who took the time to address problems in their relationship early on, especially before the pandemic, have had better outcomes. Still, she finds people are hesitant to reach out for help when things are not going well. “ [ Pe o p l e a r e ] v e r y kind-hearted … and they just kind of give people passes a l l t h e t i m e ,” B e l l a Nesbitt said. “But if it's affecting the i n t i m a c y, if it's affecting the closeness, if it's affecting communication, those are things you really s h o u l d n ' t l e t g o.” Identifying these new stressors put on by the pandemic has had counselors like BellaNesbitt and others wanting couples to seek out help early to mitigate these effects. I have been seeing a counselor at the Department of Veterans Affairs for two years n o w. M y c o u n s e l o r has encouraged other veterans, including myself, who are seen for many reasons, to bring our significant other into the fold to help treat the patient’s complete picture. For couples out there who are in an unhealthy situation or those like my fiancée and I who are just finding the stress of not having personal space too much, agreeing to reach out is an essential first step. Those who wish to reach out for help or know someone in need of assistance should contact one of the resources below: • SRU Student Counseling Center – 724.738.2034 • VO I C e 2 4 Hour Hotline – 1.800.400.8551 • Na t i o n a l D o m e s t i c Abuse Hotline – 1.800.799.7233.
April 23, 2021
POLICE BLOTTER April 10 – University Police responded to an E-phone activation at the ROCK Apartments for a person locked out of their apartment. April 10 – University Police received multiple panic alarm activations from the reception desk of Building D. The alarms were malfunctions. Safety was notified. April 11 – Police received a call for a person who appeared intoxicated and passed out at the ROCK Apartments. Police found the person on a stairwell. Slippery Rock Ambulance arrived and transported the person to Grove City Medical Center. Carly Clark, 23, was cited for public drunkenness. April 11 – Slippery Rock Borough Police requested backup for a possible DUI along South Main Street. Borough Police utilized the Datamaster at the university police station. April 13 – Slippery Rock Borough Police requested assistance with a traffic stop along East Water Street. University Police stood by while Pry’s Towing arrived to tow the vehicle. April 14 – University Police assisted Slippery Rock Borough Police with a hitand-run. One vehicle hit a road sign and damaged the Fowler Building. Maintenance was notified of the damage and Borough Police is handling the investigation. April 14 – Police received a complaint of persons in the pasture of the Equestrian Center attempting to ride the horses.
Police on scene were unable to locate the individuals as they ran toward the Ivy Apartments due to a large outside party taking place. The horses were brought inside the facility. April 14 – Slippery Rock Borough Police arrived at the university police station to use the Datamaster for a possible DUI. April 15 – University police respond to a welfare check request near the water tower. Police talked with the individual and considered all to be fine. Police transported the person to the Student Health Center. April 15 – Slippery Rock Borough Police requested assistance for possible DUI on Elm Street. A Borough police officer utilized the Datamaster at the university police station. University Police stood by until vehicle was towed. April 15 – Police received an intruder alarm activation and found the alarm to be set off by cleaning personnel entering the room. The alarm system was reset. April 16 – University Police responded to a fire alarm activation in Building E and Safety was notified. The alarm was activated by burnt food and was reset. April 20 – University Police received an intruder alarm activation in Fowler Building and found the alarm was set off by staff entering the building without an alarm code. The alarm system was reset. COMPILED BY EMMA VELESIG
Keep an eye on The Rocket's social media over the summer for breaking news coverage
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NEWS The Rocket keeps a rollin'
April 23, 2021
By Hannah Shumsky Editor-in-Chief
Since March 2020, staff members of The Rocket had to adjust to everchanging conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the staff is planning to report back to a more fully open semester. This school year, staff members were limited on the number of people allowed in the office. This required half of the 14-person staff to Zoom into meetings and print night activities. More than likely, the 2020-2021 staff will never see each other fully in person, setting the current staff apart from previous years. This is a challenge that Nina Cipriani, incoming editor-in-chief, will need to address early in the semester. "I feel like once we get to know each other as a staff and are more comfortable with each other, I think everything else will fall into place," Cipriani said. "I think it will be hard at first, even those who have been on campus before the pandemic, but I think if we can lean on each other and have that relationship, it will make that much easier." A sophomore converged journalism major, Cipriani has previously served on staff as assistant news editor and news editor. She will be replacing H a n n a h S h u m s k y, a senior secondary English education major and current editor-in-chief, who will be graduating on May 1. In addition to Shumsky, three seniors on staff will be graduating this semester: Lesa Bressanelli, copy/web editor and an English major; Aaron Marrie, multimedia editor and a converged journalism major; and Brendan Howe, sports editor and a converged journalism major. Elisabeth Hale, advertising manager and a junior advertising major,
will not be returning to staff this upcoming semester. Bressanelli, who has led her section for the p a s t t w o ye a r s , s a i d that opportunities like T h e R o c k e t p r ov i d e opportunities to work with other staff members to do hands-on work and grow in a personal and professional atmosphere. " [ T h e Ro c k e t ] h a s so many opportunities to grow as not only an editor but even as a writer, even though I'm not necessarily a writer on staff," Bressanelli said. "It has been a great experience and kind of dipping your toes in the water, of what you might want to be before, you know, taking kind of that deep plunge post-graduation." In the ne ws section, Cipriani's former position of news editor will be fulfilled by Joe Wells, a senior converged journalism and digital media production dual major. He will be joined b y E m m a Ve l e s i g , a sophomore history major, as assistant news editor. Maddie Williams, a s o p h o m o re c o n v e r g e d journalism major, will join Tyler Howe to complete the sports section. A previous contributor to the sports section, Williams will be the first cisgender woman to fulfill the role of sports editor since 2013. Ry a n n e D o u g h e r t y, a freshman integrated marketing communications major, will be promoted to the position of copy/ web editor. She will be joined by Kaitlyn Myers, a sophomore English major, who will take over Dougherty's former position of assistant copy/ web editor. For her, Dougher ty looks forward to taking on more of a leadership role on staff, especially after developing leadership skills in high school and during her first semester with The Rocket. "When I was in high school, I really did enjoy being a leader for younger
HANNAH SHUMSKY / THE ROCKET
The Rocket staff of 2021-2022 will continue to face the effects of a pandemic world when the fall semester starts and new members will have large shoes to fill. This past year, The Rocket took home 33 awards for its reporting, editorial, layout, photography and graphical work.
people," Dougherty said. "Seeing the type of work that we do is exciting, and being a part of it for as long as I can is definitely going to be the most exciting thing for me." Brandon Pierce, a sophomore digital media production major, will take over Marrie's former position of multimedia editor. Pierce previously contributed to The Rocket's campus life section. Pierce said that he looks forward to getting to work with a new group of people to create The Rocket, especially as the university begins to open up more to a more on-campus student presence. "Especially during COVID, everybody felt so isolated and individualized, I think it will be nice to finally get together and work together again," Pierce said.
In the business section, Brooke Miller, a senior advertising major, will lead the section as advertising manager. Sara McClintock, a senior public relations major, will join her as her assistant. Two sections on staff will remain the same. The campus life section will be led by Sarah Anderson, a freshman integrated marketing communications and professional writing dual major, and Morgan Miller, a senior integrated marketing communications major. The photos section will be led by Hannah Slope, a junior public relations and integrated marketing communications dual major, and Rayni Shiring, a junior digital media production major. The 2020-21 staff of The Rocket had a recordsetting year, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this mostly virtual
school year, The Rocket has secured 33 awards from the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP), Columbia Scholastic Press Association ( C S PA ) , S o c i e t y f o r C o l l e g i a t e Jo u r n a l i s t s (SCJ) and Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association (PNA). Awards and honors include: • First Place - Best of Show (ACP) • First Place - Overall Ne wspaper Excellence (SCJ) • First Place - Ongoing News Coverage (PNA) • First Place - Continuing Coverage (SCJ) • First Place - Editorial (SCJ) • First Place - Sports Page (SCJ) • First Place - Layout/ Design (PNA) • Silver Crown (CSPA) Although Cipriani is used to being one of the youngest staff members in The Rocket, she
looks forward to working with the ne w staff and seeing how this upcoming staff work will with each other. "I feel like we have a lot of really talented people on staff this upcoming semester," Cipriani said. "I'm used to being the youngest on staff, and now there are people younger than me, so I'm really excited to see how they work with each other and also how they bring new stories and ideas to the staff." The Rocket expects to hire students for the spring 2022 staff due to some upcoming staff members who will be graduating at the end of the fall 2021 semester. Please visit theonlinerocket.com for more information about applying to the staff closer to the end of the fall 2021 semester.
SRSGA election results finalized
By Joe Wells Assistant News Editor
Editor's note: This story was published before the results of the special election. The results follow before continuing to the original reporting.
The Slipper y Rock St u d e n t Gove r n m e n t Association (SRSGA) announced Leah Corbett as the winner of the runoff election for a College of Health, Engineering and Science Senate seat. Despite the loss, Madison Moore accepted a n At - L a r g e s e n a t o r position. According to Lauren Moran, one of the advisors for SRSGA, this was the first runoff election in recent history that she could remember. Both the senators and the rest of the 2021-2022 SRSGA members will be sworn in at the body’s final formal meeting on April 26. The Slipper y Rock St u d e n t Gove r n m e n t Association (SRSGA) will conduct a runoff election for a College of Health, Engineering and Science (CHES) Senator seat Thursday. The runoff is a product of last week’s election that saw 38 senator and executive board positions filled. The seat between candidates Leah Corbett and Madison Moore will be decided Friday morning. Polls for the special election will open on
CORE at 8 a.m. and close at midnight. The winner of the race will take the CHES Senate seat with the other being offered an at-large senator position. In this past election, 459 students cast their votes, an increase of 101 votes from last year, according to SRSGA Advisor Lauren Moran. Mi a Gr a z i a n i , t h e current vice president of internal affairs, made her first statement since being elected SRSGA president last week. In an email to The Rocket, Graziani said she was thrilled about what the next academic year would bring. “I am excited to help our campus reopen and bring live at SRU one step closer to our preCOVID world,” Graziani said. “This year I hope to continue the work that Joey [Sciuto] and [Alexis] Gish had done for diversity here on campus.” “I also want to be reaching out to students i n a m o re p e r s o n a l way through in-person information-gathering meetings.” Du r i n g i t s f o r m a l meeting M o n d a y, the SRSGA approved two SRU alums to the organization’s board of directors. Jude Butch and Macey Ackman will take their positions on July 1. Current SRSGA President Joey Sciuto said both Ackman and Butch were the best fit for the direction of the organization.
"I am excited to help our campus reopen and bring live at SRU one step closer to our pre-COVID world.” – Mia Graziani, SRSGA president-elect Both candidates served on the SRSGA during t h e i r t i m e a t S RU . During Ackman’s time on the SGA she served on the student and academic affairs committee. Butch served as the SRSGA president in the early 2000s. Before closing out t h e m e e t i n g , Mo r a n e n c o u r a g e d e ve r yo n e to sign up for their COVID-19 vaccine so the community can return to a more normal semester next fall. Gov. Tom Wolf opened vaccines to all Pennsylvanians aged 16 and older this week. The SRSGA will hold its final meeting of the semester on April 26 at 5 p.m. via Zoom.
GRAPHIC BY: HANNAH SLOPE
A resilient Rocket
Volume 104, Issue Number 10
220 220Eisenberg EisenbergClassroom ClassroomBuilding Building Slippery SlipperyRock RockUniversity University Slippery SlipperyRock, Rock,Pennsylvania Pennsylvania16057 16057 Phone: Phone: (724) (724)738-4438 738-4438 Fax: Fax: (724) (724)738-4896 738-4896 E-mail: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com GRAPHIC BY: RAYNI SHIRING
EDITORIAL BOARD Hannah Shumsky
Campus Life Editor
Assistant News Editor
Assistant Sports Editor
Assistant Campus Life Editor
Ryanne Dougherty Rayni Shiring
Assistant Copy/Web Editor Assistant Photo Editor
Dr. Brittany Fleming
ADVERTISING STAFF Elisabeth Hale
Assistant Advertising Manager
ABOUT US The Rocket is published by the students of Slippery Rock University five times per academic semester. Total weekly circulation is 1,000 (for fall 2020 semester only). 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Our View is a staff editorial produced collaboratively by The Rocket Staff. Any views expressed in the editorial are the opinions of the entire staff. A mere 420 days ago, The Rocket staff published its final print edition of the spring 2020 semester. While our staff didn't know it at the time, a global pandemic would shut down The Rocket's print production until the fall 2020 semester. After finishing the spring 2020 semester by regularly providing digital-only coverage of SRU news and happenings, The Rocket came back to an abnormal college experience-one in which the staff would need to continue its work, but mostly remotely. For nearly a century, The Rocket has strived to bring local news to the Slippery Rock community that is relevant, informative and showcases the diverse groups that exist here all while battling hardships many college newsrooms face. While The Rocket has witnessed standard journalistic trials such as questioning and criticism, the hardship presented by a global pandemic is something The Rocket had to quickly adapt to in order to continue our duty of reporting. Despite COVID-19, though, we have strived to continue to deliver quality coverage of the Slippery Rock community, and not only have we continued to succeed, we have also seen our newspaper recognized by multiple professional organizations. Having strived for excellence during these times, we are not only excited for the future of our newspaper as SRU returns to a more normal setting, but also as new staff members
join our staff and current staff members rise to new positions. From the start of the pandemic with covering the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) response to the pandemic to digging into the economic effects of Coronavirus, The Rocket has reported on COVID-19 from the very beginning. This semester, we followed the COVID-19 case numbers and compared them to last semester at this time. In years past, The Rocket staff would sometimes struggle keeping up with all the events that were being hosted by offices, organizations and clubs across campus, but strived to inform and represent the unique groups of SRU's campus. Though, COVID-19 required staff to cover events when it felt like there was "nothing happening" around us, and made contact hard as not only staff, but the SRU community were spread far and wide. Through this virtual form of engagement in classes or events, stressors have increasingly built up and made easier for students to be tempted to not only not participate, but to also shut out the world altogether. Though, it takes a lot of courage to get up from something like this and get things done. At The Rocket, we have collectively gotten up to make sure we not only get work done, but to produce quality work that holds up to our journalistic standards including staying diverse in coverage; this includes engaging every group on campus we can think of, interviewing people who's voices need a platform, and publishing what we as students believe needs to
be heard. It is this type of coverage that contributes to the unique perspective we strive to amplify that's not only representative of us, but to everyone in the Slippery Rock community. Overall, even with over half our staff living off campus, we remained a family and managed long distance contact to achieve one common goal. Through all of the negative effects of the pandemic, one of the positive effects was stronger communication, which made for an even stronger relationship among staff members. Despite the restrictions that COVID-19 brought upon us, from limiting the number of staff members in office to building a newspaper from very different locations, we won more awards than ever before. The Rocket just a few weeks ago walked away with more than 20 awards from the Society for Collegiate Journalists' 2020-21 National Contest, many of which centered on our newspaper's coverage of COVID-19. As a staff, we placed first for “Newspaper Overall Excellence,” a first for The Rocket in 10 years, and second for “Social Media Presence Overall Excellence.” Additionally, we received numerous honors for our editorials, including first for “‘Data Transparency Critical During COVID-19 Crisis;” second for “An Election with Historic Consequences;” and an honorable mention for “We’re Back and Here’s Why.” Our individual staff members have also walked away with many of their own awards, including first place for "News Photography: 'March for Equality,'" first place for "Continuing
In the Quarantine By: Aaron Marrie
Coverage: 'COVID-19 Continuing Coverage,'" and second place for Front Page (11-20-2020), Editorial Page (9-4-2020) and News Page (9-25-2020). It is successes such as these that recognize The Rocket's determination to provide the campus community with complete and accurate reporting. Even with a turnover of staff and a return to a more normal university environment, we will not waiver in providing excellent coverage. Although we will transition into more inperson classes and events next semester, we have not forgotten about the effects of COVID-19 on students and the community. The Rocket will continue to cover the pandemic as it progresses and encourage students to not only take care of themselves physically, but also mentally and emotionally as we continue to overcome this pandemic. During the past two semesters, The Rocket has proven that we can overcome adversity and challenges together to uphold our duties as journalists. As we transition into a new semester with new staff, we will not stop doing what we do best. This new semester will bring us a sense of normalcy: returning to most classes in person, seeing some of those same faces in classrooms and hallways, and, for The Rocket, returning to the office in a somewhat larger capacity. It is with these changes that we will thrive. If our staff has learned anything from the past year of coverage, it is that we are a much more informed, resilient community when we stick to our mission and code of ethics despite the circumstances and odds against us.
Question: What methods or techniques do you use to destress during finals week?
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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: email@example.com.
Valen Chrostowski President Improv Club
Morgan Chappell Member Color Guard
Ilaria Perry Public Relations Chair Alpha Kappa Psi
“Essentially, what I do to destress involves having a nice cup of hot tea and good time management. I study for two hours and then take an hour break so that my brain has time to relax and recuperate for the next study session."
“What I do is make sure that I get a good amount of sleep, eat well, and manage my time wisely. I also try to take breaks from technology and read books or go outside."
“I think the best way I've found to destress during finals is by going outside for walks. I like to take my dog on walks around my neighborhood and it lets me step away from my work and clear my head."
April 23, 2021
OPINION How lucky am I
The Rocket has shaped me into a more confident, determined young woman who is willing to work to support her staff and get us to where we want to be. I was not supposed to be editor-inchief as early as I was elected. However, I think we did a dang great job at what we did under these circumstances. Seriously, within just one Hannah Shumsky year, I had to adjust to a global pandemic, complete my senior year of classes and navigate Hannah Shumsky is a dream student teaching experience in the Pittsburgh a senior secondary area—all while I came back English education major to SRU and worked on lesson plans and Rocket design and and communication stories in the evenings. Plus I minor. Hannah is the had to deal with the (literal) current editor-in-chief highs and lows of managing blood sugar as a type 1 diabetic, of The Rocket and has and as most other T1Ds will been on staff for three tell you, it’s not an easy task, especially during stressful times. years. Not only this, but we still won awards—including My journey to SRU began 1st Place in the ACP Best of with a letter I received my Show for the first time in The freshman year of high school. Rocket’s history AND 1st Place Yes, really. Newspaper Overall Excellence My English teacher from SCJ. We earned over handed me a letter from Mr. 30 awards this year, and I am Fitzpatrick (known by many beyond proud of the growth as Fitz) encouraging me to join of this staff despite all of the the Print Media Workshop forces working against us to class. I spent three years with slow this incredibly important PMW and ultimately served work. I also had the honor of as assistant news editor, news being named the 2020 Student editor and editor-in-chief, but Leader of the Year, an award I I knew my work was far from am so gracious to have received over. during the height of the initial Then, I decided to come to COVID-19 lockdown last SRU. I joined The Rocket as spring. soon as I could and made it My time at The Rocket was onto staff my sophomore year. largely formed by the people I Little did I know how much met and worked with along the would happen within these past way. While our usual in-person four years. activities and print nights had to I met friends that I will be modified for the Zoom era, carry with me for the rest of I’m beyond thankful for every my life, and I even got lucky single game night and print week enough to find my partner that made us a closer team. for life (hello, Aaron!) in this I truly am thankful for every small town. I found my lifelong person I had the opportunity to passions through my work with work with while at The Rocket, The Rocket, WSRU-TV and but I have some specific people the Transition Achievement I want to thank. Program. Even during the First, I need to thank the pandemic, I have been so past EICs who have helped me grateful to find my own place in immensely in this role. Eric, this crazy world through these Cody and Ryan, thank you for organizations. your assistant and advice for the Now, in a week’s time, I will past two years. This was not an be graduating from Slippery easy transition for me, but your Rock University, joining my support was so worthwhile. sister, Rebekah, in one of few I also want to thank the past people in our family to graduate and current women of The with “Shumsky” written on Rocket (including those who their diploma. contributed to our opinion My time as editor-in-chief section) for your support and has been, well, chaotic. I was mentorship, as it surely did not elected to this position during go unnoticed. It was constant a time of grief, and I will be support like this that helped leaving as editor-in-chief as keep me motivated to continue this university strives for a the great work, even when the more “normal” fall semester. odds were against us. Victoria Seriously, if someone told me and Maggie, I'm especially every single crisis that would thankful for you both. happen during my time as EIC, For every staff member who I wouldn’t have believed them. has been around since I joined
staff in August 2018, thank you for your friendship and mentorship. I’m lucky enough to keep in contact with most of you, but it’s been amazing to see what you all have accomplished after graduating from SRU. Lesa, it has been such a blast to work with you not only at The Rocket, but at Sigma Tau Delta. You're going to do wonders while at graduate school, and I'm so excited to see you accomplish the next steps of your journey. May AP Style rue the day. Ryanne and Sarah, as two of the youngest staff members, I'm so incredibly proud of you both for accomplishing so much during your first semester on staff. You two are going to be wonderful leaders next year and beyond, and I'm so excited to see you two continue to grow. Hope and Karl, you two have helped me immensely during these past three years. You both are so talented, and I couldn’t have wished for better friends during my time on staff. I miss you both already, but I look forward to joining you on the alumni side of The Rocket. Hannah Slope, you are by far one of the most talented, dedicated team members I have had the chance to work with. Thank you for all you have done for us the past two years, and I can’t wait to see what you accomplish over your next reign as photo editor. You’ve been a terrific team player, and I sincerely thank you for all of the times you helped me whenever I was in a graphics panic. Brendan and Tyler, as two people who have been part of my Rocket experience since the beginning, I wish you two truly the best. I appreciate all of the work and positive energy you put into this staff and your work, and I look forward to seeing how Tyler and Maddie lead this section in the near future. Elisabeth and Rayni, while I will sadly not have the chance to work with you in person, you are both beyond talented in your work. I’m excited to continue to support you as an alumnus, and thank you again for all you have done for us. Brooke and Morgan, what an honor it has been to work with you two and be able to see you grow while on staff. While I wish I got to have a more traditional Rocket experience with you all, I’m glad you have the chance to shine for one more semester on staff. Joe, I’m so glad I was able to be a part of a news team with you and Nina. While my time in the news world is coming to an end, I look forward to seeing how you continue to cover the hidden stories of The Rock. We need more journalists like you.
Nina, I was so excited to see you for the first time as a freshman ready to join our staff when we needed someone like you most. You are the perfect pick for the next editor-inchief, and I am beyond excited to see where you take this organization. You have a great challenge ahead, but I cannot think of anyone better to lead the staff during a post-COVID renaissance of student life.
"The Rocket has shaped me into a more confident, determined young woman who is willing to work to support her staff and get us to where we want to be... I think we did a dang great job at what we did under these circumstances." And I certainly cannot forget to mention Aaron Marrie, who you may know as WSRU-TV’s president and The Rocket’s multimedia editor. However, he has such a special place in my life as my true partner in life. Aaron has been my number one at SRU, and I never thought that I would meet my true person at college. However, he has been there to support me throughout these past few years, and I absolutely plan on cheering him on at his first sports broadcasting gig. Talk about a real student media dream team. :) Aaron, thank you for being there for me through everything, and I am so beyond lucky that I met you through WSRU-TV over two years ago now (I’m sorry that I was distracting you and almost made you get in the frame of a live shot, though). I love you so much, and I am so excited to see where our journey goes next after graduation. I absolutely know for certain that your passion and your work at WSRU-TV and WFMJ prepared for what’s to come. To every single Rocket staff member: keep on being you. The world needs more people
like us to continue the good work in the midst of turmoil. There were plenty of times I and other staff members were left disappointed and frustrated during our work, but we prevailed and succeeded anyway. Structures like us aren’t meant to belong here, but we work as hard as we do in order to continue this fight for fair and accurate reporting not only at the university, but in the community and even the state. Dr. Fleming, thank you for being the support and role model I needed during these past three years. I genuinely don’t think I could have done any of this without you, and I really am honored to call you a mentor and friend. The Rocket and all of SRU are lucky to have you. I’m beyond grateful that having you as an adviser is a lifelong guarantee, as I surely know I’ll need a mentor like you for the rest of my life. There have been plenty of professors, departments and offices on campus that made my experience beyond what I could have ever imagined. So, thank you to the professors of the communication, English and secondary education departments; Sigma Tau Delta; the Office for Disability Services; Jillian Stringfellow and the Adapted Physical Activity Program; Cindy LaCom and the gender studies program; Jason Hilton and the Honors College; the Office of Academic Affairs and Integrated Learning; and the Office for Student Engagement and Leadership for all of your support from these past four years. While this is a long list, every single one of you made a significant impact on my time at SRU, and I will carry memories from these experiences for the rest of my life. Truly, I couldn’t have accomplished as much as I did within these four years without every single one of you. I also owe a special thank you to my closest SRU friends who supported me during a wild college experience. Thank you especially to Jordan, Grace, Laura, Jacqueline, Megan, Peter, Brandon, Courtney, Jeremy and the many others in my college experience who encouraged me to keep going. I wish you all as many perfect d20 rolls as humanly possible. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the people who got me into this crazy ride in the first place. To Fitz, Kayla, Carly, Hannah Walden and the rest of my FHS Press friends, thank you for your encouragement as I took on a new challenge. I would never be here in this spot without you all. I cannot possibly write this column and not acknowledge
one of the newest mentors in my life, Savina, who took me on as a student teacher in the middle of a pandemic. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn and grow so much from you, and I really owe it to you and your students for your trust and faith in me this semester. I will miss you all dearly, and I hope our paths cross again one day. I also want to take a moment to remember my friend Adam Zook, who I will forever miss and wish I had more time with to spend finding the hidden stories of The Rock. While we all truly wish you were still here, I truly hope we all made you proud these last two years. We all miss you, and I know The Rocket will continue your legacy of telling all stories of SRU, making this community a more knowledgeable and welcoming place. And last but certainly not least, thank you to my family for supporting me through a tumultuous time in college. My time at college and The Rocket took a lot of time away from time I could have spent with you, and I appreciate your support in me pursuing my other endeavors. I love you, Mom, Dad and Rebekah. This final goodbye to The Rocket is slightly more bittersweet, as this officially marks the end of my career in journalism. I joined The Rocket knowing that I wanted to become a journalism/ communication educator one day, making a difference in the lives of middle and high school students by showing them the power and ownership behind journalism. However, as my time as a student journalist ends, I’m ready for the restart needed before becoming an educator and putting everything I learned into action. That being said, if by any chance any school districts are reading this piece and are thinking, “You know, she sounds like she would be a good fit for us,” please let me know. I’ll be dual certified in 7-12 English and 7-12 Communication after graduating, and I have a whole lot of ideas and experiences to bring to my first classroom. :) But even after these insane four years at The Rocket, I can confidently say that joining this staff was the best decision in my college career. It may have been one of the best decisions of my life so far. But now, my time at Slippery Rock University is coming to a close as I and the rest of my fellow 2021 graduates have greater purposes to fulfill. After all, how lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.
Two years later had my four years figured out. I found two organizations (neither The Rocket) where I envisioned myself for the next four years and I also laid out my EXACT course schedule for the next four years to take to make sure I accomplished everything I desired academically. I really liked knowing where I was going, when and what to expect. Though when I needed to take a semester off of school in Lesa Bressanelli order to compensate for my finances (and I wasn't sure at the time that it would only be one Lesa Bressanelli semester), the game changed. The SparkNotes version of that is a senior English time was that it was a time of writing major with isolation and loneliness. While I am so fortunate to have only minors in geology required one semester away from and environmental school, in such a short amount of time I felt that I truly lost myself communication. Lesa and that I became disconnected. is the current copy/web My life became consumed by editor of The Rocket and work trying to distract myself from feelings of being left behind, has been on staff for two unneeded and forgotten. Upon returning to campus, years. I was determined to get what When you’re on your way I thought was my life back, to college, you’re prepared by to pick up exactly where I left your parents, friends, teachers, off because that is where I was neighbors, co-workers, your supposed to be and who I was grandparents’ friends, your dog supposed to be. I was supposed and that one guy down the street to be accomplishing all of these on what you should do, what things already and I was already so you can expect, and what you behind, so I was determined. To should look forward to. To me, say I was very disappointed and a everything seemed like a brand little surprised when the sweetness new start and a chance to change of my old routine and doing the or reinvent yourself for the better. things I once loved now tasted Fortunately (or unfortunately) like a spoonful of ash is a bit of an for myself, everything was kind of understatement, and I felt so lost a new start and a chance to kind and confused. After coming to terms with of reinvent myself twice. Arriving at Slippery Rock not being able to resuscitate my in the Fall of 2016, I thought I old life, it was time to pursue a
new start and to reinvent myself a bit in order to really figure out what would, in the words of Marie Condo, spark joy. That is where I find out about open applications for The Rocket. While I will spoil that this wasn’t the single way in which I recovered my life, The Rocket would certainly play a huge role. In applying, I questioned myself every step of the way: Are you sure you’re even a good fit to apply? Are you sure they’re not just going to make fun of you after the interview? And finally, do you think you can really do the job? I remember almost emailing back on the offer to say I wasn’t interested anymore, but I have never been so grateful to a friend that convinced me to think otherwise and accept. My time at The Rocket has been two years of budget meetings, correcting grammatical errors, assisting staff members in navigating WordPress, answering AP-style questions, and figuring out the best captions and schedules for social media... But it's also been toasts at The Brewery and Primanti's, snowball fights outside of ECB, Rocky's runs, team-building through ropes courses, and convincing people I'm not an imposter during game nights. To that end, while being a part of The Rocket has offered me a breadth of professional opportunity that has taken me far already, it pales in comparison to the experience of getting to meet and know the people that make The Rocket what it is, and what it will continue to be.
To Ryanne, to say I am so excited for you is an understatement. While you are only a freshman and in your first semester with The Rocket, I admire your thoughtfulness and tenacity; I see a leader who will take good care of the Copy/Web section once I finally let go of the keys, or should I say passwords. To Sarah and Morgan, since stepping into your roles, you have transformed Campus Life into a very beautiful thing (building off of former Campus Life Editor Hope's work, of course) with the energy and care that you bring to each one of your pieces. Even after graduation, and given the fair amount of time you two still have, I can't wait to see the ways in which Campus Life further evolves under your leadership. To Brendan and Tyler, our Howe Brothers, the lengths that you two have gone to push out quality sports pieces since I met you both in the Fall of 2019 is admirable. With Brendan graduating, I am confident you will blaze your way through the world of sports journalism given your confidence and stubbornness which has made you successful here. With Tyler, you'll continue to represent some of the best that the Sports section has to offer. To Hannah Slope and Rayni, your work always leaves me in awe with how impeccable it is, whether it be graphic design or photography; you two are so very talented and your creativity will continue to be a huge asset toThe Rocket, and I'm so excited for you two and what content you'll
be able to produce once campus is a bit more open. To Elizabeth and Brooke, I'm thoroughly impressed by the way you two really took the ads section by the horns and how you've hustled to make it into what it is now. Best of luck to you, Elizabeth, with your internship, they're so lucky to have you with all you have to offer, and Brook, you are going to be a stellar leader with what you have to offer and take ads even further. To Joe, you bring a lot to the table for News between your combination of humor and cynicism and your drive to deliver the news. I'm going to miss reading and hearing all your Discord and Budget Meeting commentary, but look forward to seeing what you will bring to the News Section as you ascend in power. To Aaron, Nina might have stolen EIC from you after two years of working for it, but you learned a lot in boating school and after the great work you've put in for The Rocket (and your internship), you're going to do great things in the realm of sports journalism after you cross the stage in just some days. To Nina, look at you now!!! I remember when you interviewed for The Rocket, and now you're the freakin' EIC. You have come so very far, but it is literally only the beginning and I can't wait to see your name in the New York Times someday (probably soonish), and I'll hold you to that whether you agree or not. To Hannah, you are such a dear friend and having worked with you on both The Rocket
and Sigma Tau Delta has been some of the best experiences in my own college career. You are such a compassionate leader through and through, and any school district would be lucky to have you on staff. If anyone could change the world, especially through the classroom, I'd place all my bets on you. To Dr. Fleming, while I never did get the chance to see you in the classroom, you have served as such an inspirational mentor over these past two years. As I head off to grad school as a teaching assistant, you represent a lot of what I want to aspire to be as a teacher, but also beyond as a working professional.Thank you for all you have done for me, whether you realized it or not. And lastly, to our very new staff, while this may sound a little exaggerated, you have definitely made one of the best decisions of your college career, from both a professional and social standpoint. While The Rocket will serve as talking points during interviews for internships or jobs, it will also be a place to look back on fond memories. Make the most of your time. As I wrap things up, and as a final takeaway, what I think I’ve learned after five years is that maybe when you stop looking so hard, that’s when you’ll find the place you’re meant to be, the people you’re meant to be with, and what you're meant to do. To The Rocket as a whole: Thank you for finding me. I no longer feel so lost. I feel at home, and no matter where I go, this home will always have a special place in my heart.
THE ROCKET Prevailing in a I'm so 4chinit pandemic
April 23, 2021
Aaron Marrie Aaron Marrie is a senior converged journalism major with a minor in film and media studies. Aaron is the current multimedia editor of The Rocket and has been on staff for two years. I'm not sure what to start with here. I don't really write opinion pieces. I do have a lot of opinions, but that is for a different time. If you told me that I'd be writing this 16 days before graduation, I'd say "that sounds about right." I am a procrastinator 100% and honestly, I think that college helped me realize that I still can get things done but not procrastinate them as much, because eventually, I'll hit a wall. But enough about that, this is supposed to be a goodbye column, I have to leave Slippery Rock with this "document" that shows I took 120 credit hours and that I've achieved something. Well, I for one am pretty damn proud of that accomplishment. Also side note, the title "I'm so 4chinit" is based on a car license plate that I saw, "4chinit" sounds like "fortunate" and I've been incredibly fortunate during my time at SRU. If you know me, I'm also a jokester so this title fits. Since graduating from Sharpsville Area High School in 2017, I knew that I could follow my dream towards becoming a sports broadcaster here at The Rock, and with a push from Dr. Peiritsch, I did just that. She introduced me to Dr. Fleming who at the time I didn't know was going to change my life. I went to my first WSRU-TV meeting after Dr. Fleming invited me to, and that's when it all changed. I met London Fabian, the president at the time, and Matt Carlson, the co-producer to "Around the Rock." We talked about what I was interested in and what WSRU-TV was. This led me to meet Logan Synder and Austin Agosti, where we then worked on the "Around The Rocks Sports" segment together. I eventually met somebody who became my best friend. Hannah Shumsky joined WSRU-TV in the fall of 2018, helping out editing the scripts. Ms. Shumsky and I became friends and eventually became partners, and for the past 872 days, there hasn't been a day that she and I have not talked. If you told me that I'd walk away meeting the love of my life in college, I'm not sure I would have believed you, but after I met Hannah, I knew, without a doubt, that she's the one. Okay, sorry, I know, I'm tearing up too. In addition to WSRU-TV, I started to write for The Rocket, which would end up becoming another wonderful part of my time at The Rock. I started writing for Steve Cukovich, followed by Oscar Matous, and was trying to join the staff as the asst. sports editor. Although that did not work out, becoming the multimedia editor has lol, I've done a lot of cool things and even won a few awards! Being hired in 2019 was so exciting and hard. I think about Adam a lot, and although I did not know him as some did, I still miss him, but I know he's proud of everyone and what they've done during their time with The Rocket. With this new position, I was able to work with Karl Ludwig, Zack Bonnette, Hope Hoehler, Ally Downs, Nina Cipriani, Brendan Howe, Nicole Tolliver, Emily Heyn, Keegan Beard, Hannah Slope, Lesa Bressanelli, Sam Shiel and Hannah Shumsky. Our staff was extremely professional, winning 3rd place Best in Show at the CMA conference in D.C., where there were some world champions. This
staff was extremely creative and ran well under Hannah's leadership. I know that Zack, Ally, Nicole, and Emily are doing great things! In the fall of 2020, I became the president of WSRU-TV, as well as still being a part of The Rocket, and I had also started interning at 21-WFMJ in Youngstown, Ohio. You can ask anybody I know, but I've probably told them multiple times how amazing my internship was and just how much I learned, and how it reassured me I was following my dream. I met some of the most amazing people there, and a huge thank you goes to Dana Balash, Joshua Fitch, Corey McCrae, Dan Pushcar and Erin Simonek. During my time there, I went to countless amounts of football, soccer, volleyball, and basketball games. I learned so much about the industry in my seven months there and I can not wait to get back into the media world. This past fall at The Rocket, I continued to work with Editor-in-Chief, my partner in crime, Hannah Shumsky. Shumsky's the most talented person I've ever met, hands down. I'm not saying that just because we are dating either, I can brag about all of her awards, accomplishments, etc., but how about you just look her up instead! Jokes aside, I could not be happier to graduate with my best friend as I know we are both going to have successful futures together.
"To my friends and family, most of those people up there are my friends and have become family, I thank you for always believing in me and allowing us to grow together in college. To my biological family, I'm super excited that I've been able to grow so much in your eyes. I love you all and I'm excited to see what's next." In the fall, Karl, Hope (it was a goodbye column), Keegan and Sam all graduated. Just a few more Rocket legends to add to the list of people I got to work with. I hope you are all doing well! This crew also won Best in Show at the virtual CMA 2020 conference, something The Rocket has never done before. This semester, along with Hannah and I, Lesa and Brendan will be graduating. Lesa is crazy and is going to grad school, just kidding, I'm super happy for her, and I know she's going to be fine! Brendan is an extremely talented writer who I'm sure will end up writing for a sports program someday. To the staff that is returning: Let's start with the twins, Brooke and Morgan, I was really excited when we hired twins. I think the best part was that even though you look alike, you both have your own goals, and I'm extremely confident both of you will reach them. I know leaving the lacrosse team probably wasn't easy, but I think you found a wonderful home joining The Rocket. Photo's team, because of COVID-19, there are a few people I didn't get to meet in person, so I unfortunately never got to meet Rayni, however, seeing her graphic work and pictures, I know she's destined to be great, and I think being on campus will help her even more. Hannah Slope, it really impossible
to say your name without including your first and last name isn't it, but you have this crazy passion that we are seeing first hand. Not only are you a great photographer, but your a freaking double major who is set to graduate a year early, that's scary, nevertheless, keep up the wonderful work! In addition to Rayni, I never got to meet Elizabeth in person, and I wish you the best with your internship and in the future, I'm confident that you'll be successful! Tyler, I know that you are going to do just fine next semester, continuing along writing incredible sports stories. I hope another Roland Rivers-like QB shows up for you to report on. Ryanne, I actually did meet you lol! I'm super excited to see you lead the copy/web section, as I've only seen Lesa in the spot, I'm eager to see how you grow in the position. Joe and Sarah, I think that we've both grown into pretty good friends in this short amount of time and I'm very grateful for that. Joe, I know that if it's news-related, you'll have it covered, and Sarah, I always loved thinking of crazy Multimedia ideas for print weeks, and I think that you and Brandon will be able to do the same! Then there is Nina, I didn't think Hannah would ever give up the keys, but there is nobody that is more prepared than you. Hannah and I will always be there if you need us, but you already have that leadership quality that people (including myself) search for. You will be an amazing Editor-in-Chief. Congratulations to the returning staff, and for all the new staff members, Brandon, Sara, Emma, Madison, Kaitlyn you are not just joined a newspaper organization but a Family, these people will become your family, trust me on that. Brandon, I'm really excited to see what you bring to the table as just the fourth multimedia editor for The Rocket. I've seen your skills and passion and know you are going to do great things in the position. If you ever need help, you can always reach out to me! Closing out I'd like to say thank you, thank you to a lot of people. To my professors in the Comm. Department, I thank you all so much. The Comm. Department team has led tons of students to victory in chasing dreams and that was true for me, I am forever grateful. To my friends and family, most of those people up there are my friends and have become family, I thank you for always believing in me and allowing us to grow together in college. To my biological family, I'm super excited that I've been able to grow so much in your eyes. I love you all and I'm excited to see what's next. To Dr. Fleming, I don't know how to thank you enough. You have singlehandedly changed my life. I know you are going to say "you did that on your own," but without your help and guidance (and being dragged into your office), I wouldn't be where I am today. You've gone above and beyond daily to help students and you are an incredible inspiration to so many, including me. I'm so happy to not only call you my professor, but a friend. To Hannah, hey bro, if you are reading this, I love you. I'm so proud of us, we did it. Slippery Rock will always hold a special place in our hearts and I so thankful to have met you here. To my parents, mom and dad, jeez, 22 years flew didn't it? I can't believe I've done so much in this short amount of time and I'm so grateful that you've always had my back. I was never forced to become a doctor or lawyer, but to follow my dreams and you always believed in me. I love you both and I'm so thankful for having you in my life. On that note, thank you Slippery Rock for giving me an education, thank you to The Rocket and WSRU-TV for giving me new families and allowing me to achieve so much. Adios, bye bye bestie, Signing off, Aaron Bradley Marrie PS: If you are looking to hire a sports broadcaster that has an extreme passion and understanding of the industry, check out my portfolio website!
Kali Davies-Anderson Kali is a junior public health pre-PT major. She is a non-traditional student and a mom of five children between nine months and nine years old. She has previously worked with the New Castle News. April 20, 2021. Exactly one year ago today, I was sitting at my kitchen bar attempting to virtually school three of my children while tending to my own schoolwork. Exactly one year ago today, the parks had chains at the entrances and plastic over the playground equipment, prohibiting anyone from entry. Exactly one year ago today, I had a newborn baby that my family members had not seen in six weeks, and was at the tail end of several birthdays in my immediate family, all spent without the hoopla of visitors, gifts and cakes. Exactly one year ago today, the second half of a very tiresome and trying year was still ahead of us, and it would involve many canceled gatherings, news of sickness, school and dance class quarantines for my girls and a whole lot of worry and fear. Exactly one year ago today, I was searching for
toilet paper like Nicholas Cage in National Treasure. Today, however, my house is quiet. All four of my children are at school. I attended a field trip with my kindergarten student last week and yesterday her class hatched baby chicks in an incubator. My girls are rehearsing for their dance recital, my husband is still enjoying working from home, and I am looking forward to performing in an outdoor show this summer.
"The work and the sleepless nights will cease, and no matter your grades or how you feel you did, I assure you that you did your best. Even if you think you could have done better, you did what you could with the hand you were dealt." We can eat dinner at a restaurant, go to the movies, attend graduation ceremonies and plan events. The things of luxury that many of us took for granted are back within reach. But the struggle is not over. This semester was hard. Not like “oh I have so much work” hard, but more like “I can’t bear to
look at another assignment because my brain stopped working 6 weeks ago and I can’t learn this material online and I really don’t know if I want to be a college student” hard. The pandemic has taken a toll on our mental health. It has robbed some of us of the carefree college student experience, and been a nagging voice of discouragement as we attempted to do what, at times, seemed impossible. But, the end of the semester is here. In a mere matter of days, we can all breathe a huge sigh of relief. Some will graduate and move on from SRU and others may take a class or two over the summer, but Spring 2021 will come to an end. The work and the sleepless nights will cease, and no matter your grades or how you feel you did, I assure you that you did your best. Even if you think you could have done better, you did what you could with the hand you were dealt. And if you will be a student in the fall, I feel the reward of a more “normal'' year is on it’s way. Enjoy your summer, enjoy your friends and family. Take in and savor the normalcy that you can experience that you could not last summer. Take time to tend to yourself and your needs and build yourself back up, if you’re feeling down. And we will hopefully all see (like, as in person) each other in the fall. Cheers to a job well done, to all of you. Oh, and according to an article posted in the Wall Street Journal this week, Americans FINALLY have enough toilet paper.....
The clock hits zero Brendan Howe Brendan Howe is a converged journalism major. Brendan is the current sports editor of The Rocket and has been on staff for two years. Sheesh, it really seems like another lifetime that I nervously emailed Dr. Fleming, just trying to get my foot in the door with The Rocket. Over my past four years and 150 pieces with all of you, my passion for writing has only grown, and I can’t believe some of what we’ve accomplished. This goodbye isn’t for me to talk about how much I wrote or my favorite stories, so much as it is to thank some people that made Slippery Rock a better place for me. First off, Karl, you continue to push me to be a better writer. Even though you’re worse at replying to texts than Lou Will is at steering clear of Magic City during a pandemic, I can’t thank you enough for your advice and help. As a freshman, seeing the way you wrote your women’s
soccer recaps lit a fire under me to learn and grow. There are a few empty spaces for frames in the office that I fully believe our football coverage would have filled with national awards. Tyler, it will always be cool to have the distinction of (probably) being the only brothers to run a student newspaper’s sports section through a pandemic. Considering some of the other circumstances we worked with, I’m beyond proud of what we’ve done. I know the future of the section is bright, as long as you and Maddie keep pushing. For someone who had only written tennis before, Josh, your baseball writing has been top notch. As you have countless times since we met seven years ago, you really helped me out this semester, and your coverage has made the section better. Let me know if you get tired of trying to understand the economy. Hannah, so much goes into being an editor-inchief, and you’ve made it look easy. I know the future of journalism is in good hands. Keegan, I hope your work behind the camera affords you many more outrageously expensive Lego Star Wars sets. Delaney, I can’t express to you how much I appreciate you pulling all-nighters with me and always wanting to be the first to read anything I write. Thank you for being my biggest fan and correcting my conversational grammar. Of course, I have to mention my parents, who’ve never questioned my desire to write. You guys
"It seems like yesterday that Karl, Aaron and I were weaving through the crowded streets of D.C., taking the raucous crowd of Nationals fans celebrating their World Series win. What I wouldn't do for one more normal trip to Quaker with you guys." have picked up on what goes into what Tyler and I do, and your support really means the world to us. It seems like yesterday that Karl, Aaron and I were weaving through the crowded streets of D.C., taking in the raucous crowd of Nationals fans celebrating their World Series win. What I wouldn’t do for one more normal trip to Quaker with you guys. I’m not sure how to close this without crying, sooooo…
VIDEO: Bill Lennox Invitational
Hamilton takes The Rock by storm Div. I transfer provides steadying presence behind home plate
By Tyler Howe Assistant Sports Editor
It’s been nearly two years since Slippery Rock’s baseball team picked up a transfer from West Virginia University. Now the starting catcher for The Rock, Connor Hamilton, has played a huge role in the success The Rock has had on the field. “I visited West Virginia after those coaches came to watch me, and I made the trip to Morgantown and right off the bat, I knew that I liked it a lot and I committed to there as a junior in high school,” Hamilton said. During his two years at WVU, he played in 34 games. However, when he was there, something felt off. Hamilton explained that it was a really cool experience to be able to play against high-level talent, but he felt he couldn’t succeed there as much as he wanted to. Because of that, after his sophomore year, he decided to enter the transfer portal. “I came from a small school and there I was always the standout, so it was a humbling experience playing at West Virginia and playing with some of the best kids in the country,” Hamilton said. “It was a great experience, but I had some older guys in front of me and I didn’t want to sit around and watch other people play. I wanted to be somewhere where I could enjoy baseball, and
Slippery Rock is that place for me.” Hamilton entered the portal in June, so he had to make a quick decision on where he wanted to play. He received a call from Rock head coach Jeff Messer and that played a big part in his decision to come to The Rock. “Coach Messer asked me to come play for him and I came down and visited, and right away I knew it would be a good place for me to fit in and help this team win," Hamilton said. Hamilton got his first taste of Slippery Rock baseball last year before the COVID-19 pandemic began. He started all ten games that The Rock played last year. In those games, Hamilton hit .378 while scoring eight runs, hitting three home runs, and had nine RBI. Hamilton made his presence felt and helped The Rock get off to a 7-3 start before the season was ultimately cancelled. Last summer, Hamilton was able to play in a summer baseball league and he thinks that it was extremely helpful being able to get some at-bats. Many other players on the team weren’t as lucky though and nearly went a year without playing a game. However, the team has good chemistry, according to Hamilton, so they haven’t missed a beat. “I honestly think Div. II baseball is underrated, because I really wasn’t expecting the competition
to be as good as it was, and I think coming to Slippery Rock has made me feel like a standout again,” Hamilton said. In that short time, Hamilton said that he really enjoyed playing with the team and that led into this season as well. He thinks that the atmosphere makes this team different, and it was exactly what he was looking for. “It’s very team oriented and there’s no pressure like you have at the bigger levels, and sometimes when you’re in those pressure situations it’s hard to be yourself,” Hamilton said. “The way Coach Messer runs things it’s easy to just go out and play baseball and not have to worry about anything.” Pressure is something Hamilton believes Coach Messer does a good job of handling. This season, the team has a record of 14-5 and Hamilton says they’ve felt no pressure at all. The team has played a majority of their games at home as well, so that added pressure of staying safe has also been easier on the team. Hamilton went on to explain that he thinks the entire team has done a great job of staying safe. “We’ve been taking this COVID thing very seriously and we haven’t been shut down yet, but it’s been disappointing because some of the teams we’ve been scheduled to face have been dealing with some problems,” Hamilton said.
BRENDAN HOWE / THE ROCKET
Hamilton belts the baseball and begins his sprint toward first base. The junior catcher from Forestport, N.Y. ranks second on The Rock in batting average and RBI.
“It’s been a good thing in a way, though, because we’ve been more focused, and we’ve made sure everyone knows that a party isn’t worth missing any games.” This season, Hamilton has put up impressive numbers so far. At the plate, he’s hitting .484 while starting every game and has driven in 18 RBI.
He’s also hit two home runs and eight doubles. Now the Rock is heading into the fi nal stretch of the season, and Hamilton’s bat is going to play a big part in where the team winds up in the standings. He thinks that this team can make in deep in the PSAC tournament, and a large reason for that is
due to the leadership on the team. “I try to pick up other guys and encourage them, because in my opinion if you’re losing then it doesn’t matter how well you personally are doing,” Hamilton said. “If I have a bad day, I don’t care as long as everyone else is doing good and we’re winning.
Gonzalez Sanchez makes mark at SRU Newcomer helps tennis to conference's postseason tournament
PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL SCHNELLE
Adriana Gonzalez Sanchez is in her first year with The Rock and she's been on a hot streak as of late. Gonzalez Sanchez played in Div. I before coming to The Rock.
By Brendan Howe Sports Editor
Riding an eleven-match win streak into the PSAC tournament, freshman transfer Adriana Gonzalez Sanchez has been instrumental in the Slippery Rock University women’s tennis team’s success. From Moralzarzal, Spain, Gonzalez Sanchez arrived at The Rock after spending one year at Saint Louis University, an Atlantic 10 school in
Missouri. Though thriving on the court, she wasn’t quite enjoying her time as a Billiken. A big reason being that the city wasn’t the safest, she explained. “It was really stressful and I had a lot of pressure,” Gonzalez Sanchez said. “My first year wasn’t really positive for me, so I decided to find a place safer and a tennis team with which I wouldn’t have the pressure that I had at the Div. I school.” At Saint Louis, Gonzalez Sanchez was playing on her team’s fourth singles flight. She
wanted to land someplace that would play her higher in the lineup. Her heart set on transferring around mid-April of last year as Gonzalez Sanchez spoke to a friend that helps students find schools. He recommended Slippery Rock and she took a look. Talks with the team solidified her choice to don green and white. “I decided to transfer pretty late […], so I wasn’t able to visit campus or anything before transferring,” Gonzalez Sanchez
said. “It was just, like, a lastminute decision, so I just took a look at the pictures that were on the internet of campus and I really liked it.” She also got in touch with a friend whom she’d met while preparing for the SAT, Alejandro Fernandez, a fellow Spaniard and first-team AllPSAC West midfielder on SRU’s men’s soccer team. He put in a good word about the school and women’s tennis head coach Matt Meredith. “A Div. I school is really more professional and you need to know every single rule and you need to follow everything,” Gonzalez Sanchez said, elaborating that the upper classification was much more strict, even with where players could stand while watching a teammate’s match. Gonzalez Sanchez dropped her first two matches against Cleveland State and Carnegie Mellon. In singles, she hasn’t lost since. She’s also won both times that Meredith called on her to play on the top solo flight. “I talked to my teammates and they told me that those two matches were for us just to play,” Gonzalez Sanchez said. “They explained that the coach wanted us to play without pressure. And for me, that was shocking, because my last coach, in Div. I, [match after match] he wouldn’t let you play without pressure. He was like, ‘You need to win this match.’” Meredith, she said, has been a help since she and roommate Gabi del Val del Toro arrived. He was the one to pick them up from the airport. If they need to go somewhere, he takes them. “He’s done everything that he could for us to be good here and to have fun,” Gonzalez Sanchez said. “[With no] inperson classes, we could not
make many friends, so the team was, originally, our group of friends. He’s tried his best to make us feel comfortable.” Also a freshman transfer from Spain, del Val del Toro has made playing and attending school through a pandemic easier on Gonzalez Sanchez. “I’m really thankful that Gabi’s on the team, because Spanish practices are not like American practices and we both found that we were missing something,” Gonzalez Sanchez said. The two would have extra practices together, doing the drills that they’ve so long been accustomed to. Though they have mutual friends from the Spain’s national tournament, Gonzalez Sanchez and del Val del Toro have made each other’s time in Slippery Rock more enjoyable. For instance, when other teammates would return home for holidays, they stayed behind and kept each other company. “If she wasn’t here, I would have had a really hard time,” Gonzalez Sanchez said. Gonzalez Sanchez said she likes to constantly be on top of her studying responsibilities, oftentimes working ahead of her schedule. She estimates that, because of Zoom classes, she spends twice the hours on schoolwork than she did previously. Last semester, she carried through with her online schooling from her home in Spain, with a six-hour time difference. “It was, like, 4 p.m. there in Spain and I had, like, a 10 a.m. class here in the U.S.,” Gonzalez Sanchez said. “And then I emailed my professors and then they were sleeping, or I was sleeping when they responded. So, it was really stressful. I [felt like I would spend] all day at my computer,
"It was just, like, a lastminute decision, so I just took a look at the pictures that were on the internet of campus and I really liked it." – Adriana Gonzalez Sanchez, freshman transfer for SRU Tennis erasing emails just so I didn’t miss something.” On April 5, Gonzalez Sanchez joined Lois Page and del Val del Toro as the third Rock tennis player to be named PSAC West Athlete of the Week. “That week literally took me by surprise,” Gonzalez Sanchez said. “I felt really happy, because it was like a prize for my effort and my results […] I’d never been Player of the Week. I’d been Rookie of the Week twice in Div. 1, but never Player of the Week.” Gonzalez Sanchez wants to add Freshman of the Year to her mantle. “I haven’t lost out-ofconference,” she pitched. “I’m the only freshman that is playing two singles and one doubles […] That’s a prize that I would like to win.”
April 23, 2021
Softball picks up two wins Slippery Rock grounds Cardinals, overrun by Hilltoppers By Madison Williams Senior Rocket Contributor
Last Tuesday and Wednesday, the Slippery Rock University women’s softball team took on two non-conference competitors from the Mountain East Conference, picking up a pair of victories before being swept the next day. The Rock (7-17, 5-17 in the PSAC West) first dispatched the Wheeling University Cardinals (8-20, 5-11 in the MEC North) by a score of 4-1 in game one and followed up with a 6-3 victory in game two. The SRU Softball Complex saw all the action as Erin Gardner went 5-for-7 over the doubleheader span, yielding two RBI, two doubles, and two runs scored in. Cami Fisk went 3-for-7 and Alexa Guglielmino 3-for-6, both with recorded hits throughout the series of games. From the mound, Kelsi Anderson (2-7, 2.48 ERA) put away 20 out of 21 final batters throughout game one. Claire Zimmerman (38, 4.65 ERA) pitched very close to receiving her second complete game in game two. Slippery Rock took away game one, 4-1, with ten hits in the game. Between the hits, four-runs and the standout lineup, the complete-game effort from Anderson was enough for a win. Anderson also fanned five batters over seven innings of work, only giving up three earned runs. The Rock offense was led by Regan Hozak who went 1-for-2 with three RBI. Gardner added a double and an RBI also as she went 3-for-4. Combined, Fisk, Guglielmino, Maggie Moore and Courtney Hoffman posted hits on the board.
Guglielmino batted in two runners. For Wheeling, Aubrie Lafferty (1-3, 4.83 ERA) wore the loss after allowing three earned runs on eight hits and one additional unearned run. Slippery Rock was falling behind to the Cardinals in the second inning, when Hozak, Moore, Guglielmino and Kaitlyn Bowman stepped up and loaded the bases. After a fielding error and a pair of singles, The Rock held the advantage. The lead was extended in the fourth and sixth frames with multiple insurance runs, sealing the 4-1 victory. In the second matchup, Slippery Rock came out strong to sweep the series with another win, this time 6-3. Anna Villies had a solid showing in game two, going 3-for-3 with two doubles and two runs scored in. Going 2-for-3, Garnder also hailed a double and an additional RBI. Leah Vith and Lexi Zavarelle each tallied a run scored, while Vith went 2-for4. Fisk and Guglielmino also doubled. Chloe Sharman (2-7, 2.48 ERA) finished the series out with a strong performance on the mound. Zimmerman allowed just three runs on eight hitters, earning the win, and striking out four along the way. The 6.1 innings Zimmerman pitched from the circle were successful before she gave way in relief to Sharman. Within the first six innings, Zimmerman didn’t allow a single run, and Sharman followed that up, retiring the remaining two batters for the save. The Cardinals were guided by Gina Fogle, who went 2-for-3 with a two-RBI double. Fisk got things going for Slippery Rock when she brought in Villies with a
double into left field. The following inning, the lead continued to grow, with Gardner and Villies coming up strong again and extending the run total to six. Wheeling had their chance to recover in the seventh inning, yet it was just short of enough. The sweep was done and over with. The next day, Slippery Rock was set to take on another non-conference team, West Liberty University. The Hilltoppers (19-9, 11-5 MEC North) swept The Rock (719,5-17 PSAC West) at the SRU Softball Complex. Game one was a hardfought, 3-2 loss over nine innings, whereas game two was another loss, but this time 5-2 within six innings. Slippery Rock’s offense was led by Vith who offered three-RBI, going 2-for5 over the doubleheader. Guglielmino and Gardner also added three hits per game one and two. An eventful nine-inning game took place as SRU rallied to keep the game going into extra frames. Both pitchers, Kelsi Anderson (2-7, 2.32 ERA) and Mackenzie Amend, battled back-andforth until Amend pulled away a win. Bennington allowed two unearned runs over the final three innings as relief to Amend. West Liberty held a onerun advantage going into the seventh inning, but Bowman forced out extra innings. Soon after, the Hilltoppers regained power over The Rock in the eighth and Vith wasn’t ready to go home yet. Her sacrifice fly scored Regan Hozak sending the game into nine innings. Laura Saunders’ RBI double put them ahead 3-2 for the victory, as Riley Bennington (8-3, 1.04 ERA) retired the remaining batters. Sanders
Rock Tennis continues tear
Team to play Mercyhurst Saturday
By Brendan Howe Sports Editor
Continuing on with its April momentum, the Slippery Rock University tennis team (8-5, 5-1 in the PSAC West) rounded out its regular season slate and extended its win streak to four by rolling over both Bluefield State and California (Pa.) earlier this week. At home on Sunday at the SRU Tennis Courts, the green and white hosted the non-conference competitor Big Blue (7-9, 0-0 in conference) from Bluefield, West Virginia. With a 5-2 triumph, Slippery Rock closed out a 3-0 week and reserved an opening round home matchup in the upcoming PSAC tournament. Competing alongside one another for the first time, freshman Adriana Gonzalez Sanchez and fifthyear senior Lacey Cohen pummeled the visitors’ first flight doubles pairing, shutting it out, 6-0. Juniors
Amy Varckette and Lauren Fadden followed suit in the third flight, downing their challengers by the same score and grabbing the match’s doubles tally. It was Varckette who kicked off singles play for the Rock. In the sixth flight, she bested Victoria Cabral, 6-2, 6-4, claiming the second point of the afternoon. After Cohen stumbled in the second flight, Fadden and Gonzalez Sanchez iced an SRU victory. The match already in hand, freshman Gabi del Val del Toro pulled out a 7-6 (7), 7-6 (3) third flight decision. Two days later, head coach Matt Meredith and company hit the road to visit the Vulcans of California (Pa.) (2-7, 1-5 in the PSAC). The singles play of both Gonzalez Sanchez and del Val del Toro remained hot, as the transfers best their opponents for the 11th and 9th times in a row, respectively. With a 7-0 victory, SRU improved its away mark to 5-1 on the campaign.
Again, Slippery Rock’s doubles duos made quick work with a couple of 6-0 conclusions. In the first flight, it was Gonzalez Sanchez and del Val del Toro, teaming up for the first time and dominating the court. Varckette and junior Olivia Warner were also paired for the first time, with a familiar result. Sisters Lauren and Lindsey Fadden downed Julia McDaniel and Laura Vargas, 6-4, in the third flight. Varckette then opened singles competition with a 6-0, 6-0 shutout, collecting her fourth consecutive solo win. Before the match concluded, both Fadden sisters, Gonzalez Sanchez, and del Val del Toro ran away with their individual matches. The Rock closed out its schedule with successes in seven of its last eight matches and will next face Mercyhurst in postseason action on Saturday morning. The team beat the Lakers in Erie at the end of March, 4-3.
PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL SCHNELLE
Lois page returns the ball to earn a point. The Rock women's tennis team finished second in the PSAC West.
PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL SCHNELLE
Juinor Courtney Hoffman fields a ground ball and throws to first to get the out for The Rock. Slippery Rock picked up the sweep of Wheeling University in a two game set.
was 3-for-5 with a double and Katie Beeman added a double also, going 1-for-3. Anderson and Sharman put in a combined effort from the circle, Anderson allowing two runs and Sharman giving up the go-ahead run to take the loss in the last 1.2 innings. It was successful for Anderson, who stranded nine Hilltoppers on base, struck out six, and only one earned a run on the day. Mo o r e , Courtney Hoffman, Gardner and Guglielmino each were successful at the plate, with at least one hit each in game one. Vith and Bowman led this offense and kept them fighting the whole time. West Liberty took away game one, 3-2, but their work wasn’t
finished as they had another competition immediately after. Slippery Rock held a one-run lead going into the fifth. However, West Liberty scored five runs in the same frame and Annie Patterson (5-3, 1.31 ERA) secured the win and stranded runners on base for the 5-2 victory. SRU’s offense was led again by Vith, going 2-for-2 with two-RBI, and Gardner who added two runs also, going 2-for-4. Guglielmino was also a standout performer in game two, batting 2-for-3 in the second game. Sharman took the loss from the mound after she allowed six hits and four runs over 4.2 innings of work. She was relieved by Zimmerman who allowed just one run
over the remainder of the matchup. Patterson gave up just two runs, one earned, while striking out give for the complete game for West Liberty. Kat Donzella’s effort and her two-run homerun, along with Allie Cook’s double, paced a smooth way to a victory for the Hilltoppers. Vith fought back with a sacrifice-fly that led The Rock 1-0 in the third, but five runs from West Liberty in the sixth finished it out. Due to darkness on the field, the game was stopped in the sixth inning. Slippery Rock faced off with Clarion in a pair of doubleheaders later in the week.
April 23, 2021
PSAC WEST Lacrosse tops Gannon STANDINGS Van Alstyne and Co. squeak by, help playoff chances By Tyler Howe
Baseball 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
Seton Hill California (Pa.) Mercyhurst Slippery Rock Pitt-johnstown Gannon Clarion Indiana (Pa.)
Assistant Sports Editor
17-1 (9-1) 19-9 (10-6) 19-9 (10-6) 14-5 (5-3) 13-11 (9-7) 10-12 (8-8) 4-15 (2-8) 2-22 (1-15)
Softball 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
Seton Hill California (Pa.) Gannon Indiana (Pa.) Mercyhurst edinboro clarion slippery rock pitt-johnstown
18-8 (15-5) 12-4 (12-4) 17-11 (16-8) 17-11 (15-9) 12-12 (11-9) 9-13 (9-13) 11-17 (7-15) 8-22 (6-18) 6-20 (5-15)
The Slipper y Rock University women’s lacrosse team picked up a win against Gannon on Tuesday to sweep the season series. The Rock earned an 11-9 victory, and the triumph sets them up with a chance to make the PSAC playoffs. The Rock controlled the first half on both ends, and it all started with a goal from Molly Buettner two minutes in. Gannon answered with a goal four minutes later from McKenna Woodworth, who netted goal number 30 of the season. For the rest of the first half, though, The Rock went on a 5-0 run. The Rock’s Emily Benham scored less than two minutes after Gannon’s first goal.
After Benham scored, Katie Dlugosz scored and Buettner and Benham also netted their second goals of the game. Jamie Dicarlo scored the last goal of the half, and things were looking really good for The Green and White as they went into the half with a 6-1 lead. “We were up 6-1 at the half, and we played very well defensively and offensively, and we controlled the ball for a lot of the first half,” Coach Van Alstyne said. “In the few defensive possessions we had, we did really well, and offensively we had a lot of great looks.” The Rock’s offense has been clicking as of late as they scored double-digit goals in six of the past seven games. Slippery Rock has been led by Buettner, Benham, Dlugosz and Dicarlo who have
accounted for a combined 81 goals this season. “I think the offense has come so far, we have so many threats all over the field that can put the ball in the back of the net,” Van Alstyne said. “We do such a good job of working off of each other’s strengths, so I’ve been really pleased.” In the second half, Gannon scored only 47 seconds in when Woodworth scored her second of the game. And for the entire second half, the teams went blow for blow. Benham scored again to put The Rock up 7-2. The Golden Knights then answered with two more goals to put the score at 7-4 with a little over 20 minutes to play. Dicarlo put the ball in the back of the net soon after, but once again the Golden Knights scored two to answer
back. Charleigh Rondeau put The Rock on the board again only 11 seconds after the Knights cut the deficit to two. In the final 13 minutes, The Rock was outscored 3-2. Both of The Green and White’s goals game from Dicarlo, who finished with four goals. Woodworth finished with five goals for the Golden Knights. In the end, The Rock pulled the game out, 11-9, and now Gannon hasn’t beat Slippery Rock in two years. With the win, The Rock also gave themselves a good shot at making the playoffs. They only have one game left as the added game against IUP was canceled. Now The Rock will finish out the season against Lock Haven next Tuesday and will look for a .500 record and a chance at the postseason.
Lacrosse 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Seton Hill mercyhurst Indiana (Pa.) Lock Haven Slippery Rock Edinboro Gannon
Tennis 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Indiana (Pa.) Slippery Rock Mercyhurst Seton Hill Edinboro California (Pa.) Clarion
10-0 (9-0) 7-3 (5-3) 4-4 (4-3) 3-5 (3-4) 5-6 (4-6) 0-2 (0-1) 1-9 (0-8)
12-3 (6-0) 8-5 (5-1) 7-6 (4-2) 4-4 (3-3) 3-10 (2-4) 2-7 (1-5) 0-6 (0-6)
PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL SCHNELLE
The Rock women's lacrosse team has now scored in the double digits in five of the past six games. In those games, Slippery Rock has a record of 4-3, which will prove to be pivotal when it comes to playoffs.
Track and field shows out Team wins eight, breaks javelin record By Aaron Marrie Multimedia Editor
The SRU javelin record, which has been in place since 2004, was broken on Friday at the Bill Lennox Invitational by senior Danielle Collier. The NCCA qualifying and winning throw was 50.72 meters, which broke the previous record of 49.98 by Karyn McReady in the 2004 season. With the throw, Collier has placed herself inside the top two in the nation with the mark. She also clinched a spot in the Division II National Championships next month. "Lucky for us [Collier] arrived with a year of eligibility we didn't know she was going to have," Head Coach John Papa said. "So she's thrown that far before, but still that's a significant effort." Along with the recordbreaking win, sophomore Trinity Clark and freshman Skylar Sherry joined Collier in the javelin, claiming second and third, and both hitting NCAA provisional marks. Clark hit her season-high 48.78-meter
"Lucky for us [Collier] arrived with a year of eligibility we didn't know she was going to have." – Head Track and Field Coach, John Papa
throw. Sherry also hit her season-high with a 43.22-meter throw. Clark now ranks fourth in the nation with her mark, while Sherry is 25th. "Trinity Clark, our girl who took second, is not that far way from that," Papa said. "[Clark] is only six feet from that mark. So it's a great record but it may not stand the test of time." In addition to the javelin success, seven more events ended in victories for the team. Sticking with throwers, sophomore Jena Reinheimer won the discus throw with a 40.67-meter toss. Reinheimer also finished in second with a 49.71-meter throw in the hammer. Behind Reinheimer in the discus was sophomore Rachel Hutchinson who placed second with a 36.47-meter throw. Hutchinson also finished third in the hammer with a 49.05-meter throw. For the men, junior Alec Morris won the hammer throw with his 52.66-meter mark. Sophomore Dylan Close finished second in the javelin throw with a 54.96-meter toss. In the discus, junior Ryan Ferner finished second with a 44.03-meter throw. Freshman Eric Schultz finished in fourth in the discus with a 42.03-meter throw and finished in third in the shot put with a 13.94-meter throw. On the track, freshman Shannon Dooley took home the win in the 1,500-meter run with a 4:11.18 time. In the 4x100 meter relay freshman Isaiah Seybert, sophomore Jonathan Marfisi, sophomore Parker Reed, and junior Mitch Vleminckx finished in second with a time of 43.21 seconds. Reed joined senior Gunner Colemen, junior Damion Reed Jr. and sophomore Troy Shattuck in the 4x400 meter relay to finish third in 3:34.03. In the 4x100 meter relay for the women, the freshman group Samantha Gilbert, Lorna Speigle, Thai-Lin Pierce and junior Reagan Hess joined up to win in 48.89 seconds. In the 4x400-meter relay, senior
Courtney Nunley, sophomore Megan Miller and senior Allyson Stizer joined Spegile to finish in second with a time of 4:09.61. In the distance events, freshman Katie Plassio finished first among women in the 10,000-meter run in 42:15.97. Behind Plassio was freshmen Steph Kellon and Marie Scarpa. Kellon finished in 42:27.18 for second place and Scarpa in third in 42:50.10. Freshman Anna Igims finished second in the 1,500 meter run with a 5:05.51 time. Closing out the distance events was sophomore Julianna Stevens, who finished third in the 5,000 meter run with a time of 19:50.79. Hess also won the long jump with a 5.60-meter leap. Following Hess was Gibert who hit a 5.09-meter leap to place her in fourth. For the men, freshman Zack Duda finished in second in the triple jump with a 13.65-meter leap. Closing out was a tie in the long jump by Vleminckx and freshman Galvin Thomas. Vleminckx and Thomas both recorded a 6.67-meter leap to tie for fourth. In the hurdles, Stizer finished in 4th place in the 400 meter hurdles with a time of 1:09.46. For the men, junior Zach Wise finished third in the 110-meter hurdles in 15.04 seconds. Coleman and Reed Jr. finished third and fourth in the 400-meter hurdles. Coleman finished in 57.99 seconds and Reed Jr. finished just behind him with 59.08. In the sprinting events, sophomore Morgan Donatelli placed third in the 400-meter dash in 1:00.50. Reed also participated in the 200-meter dash and placed fourth in 22.62 seconds. In the 800-meter run, Shattuck placed fifth in 2:01.76. On Thursday and Friday during the Mike Kowal Multi competition, junior Jason Goodman won the decathlon, scoring 6,146 points. Following Goodman, junior Ryan McQuown came in second
with 5,900 points. Papa thinks that the men's multi squad is strong, one of the biggest strengths of the team. "Those two guys, there's a good chance that those two guys will go one, two," Papa said. For the women, sophomore Katie Bonczyk finished in fourth in the heptathlon, racking up 3,689 points. Slippery Rock will host another meet Thursday in the SRU Invitational before preparing for an invite this Sunday at Penn State Behrend. Papa believes that both teams have their strengths and are a bit different, but thinks that both teams can be in the championship conversation. "We're going to be fighting for the championship," Coach Papa said about the women's team. As for the men's team, Papa said he knows that Shippensburg is heavily favored, but he thinks that gap will be closer when they are on the same field. "We're gonna give [Shippensburg] our best shot that's for sure," Papa said. "The guys are ready for the challenge."
"Those two guys, there's a good chance that those two guys will go one, two." – Head Track and Field Coach, John Papa
April 23, 2021
Softball notches win vs. Clarion Rock falls to Clarion, hopes to tame Mountain Cats this weekend By Madison Williams Senior Rocket Contributor
Slippery Rock faced off with another Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Team yet again for 4 more rounds of gameplay. Clarion University (8-16, 6-14 PSAC West) and Slippery Rock (8-20, 6-18 PSAC West) split their first set of doubleheaders with a game shutout victory of 8-0 followed by an 8-4 loss to the Golden Eagles. Kelsi Anderson (3-7, 2.14 ERA) played an amazing game, allowing just one hit, and tying her career-high record of 8 strikeouts in one game. Leah Vith also led Slippery Rock to the victory in game one, going 4-for-8 over the doubleheader and slamming a homerun, three runs scored, and four-RBI. Alexa Guglielmino, Cami Fisk and Anna Villies performed well as a trio with three hits each. The eight runs in the first game came off ten hits with a complete-game and shutting out Clarion. Freshman and pitcher Anderson secured the shutout victory from the circle successfully. It was the first ever shutout game of her career, as well as the record of her eight strikeouts being matched. The one hit from the Golden Eagles was the lowest hit total a pitcher allowed this season, an impressive stat for Anderson to add. Per usual, Vith came up strong on offense, going 3-for4 and Guglielino and Villies too, each rallying hits on the scoreboard. Fisk, Erin Gardner, Courtney Hoffman and Maggie Moore each touched the bases three times that day, via walk. For the Golden Eagles offense, Brooke Cline recorded the one single hit on the day, while pitcher Kendyl Switzer (1-3, 6.18 ERA) took the loss after allowing six runs, five of which were earned.
The final three innings of the game were Slippery Rock’s most intense, gathering eight runs for the 8-0 shutout before taking on Clarion again in another exciting game. In the second matchup, The Rock was falling behind seven runs going into the sixth, but were kept alive with three runs from Gardner and Moore, who then cut the lead to four. The deficit continued and Slippery Rock took the loss on the second game, 8-4 as the final score. Garnder yielded a two-RBI double, and Moore added an RBI-single off of a pinch hit. Vith added her fourth homerun of her career, but Laura Sadowski (2-2, 6.37 ERA) was seizing the bats of Slippery Rock. Sadowski sealed the complete-game effort, stranding nine runners on bases, and allowing just four runs. Chloe Sharman (2-5, 3.22 ERA) ultimately took the loss, allowing six runs, five of which were earned, on seven hits. She hit her career high tying record for career best strikeouts at six batters, before Claire Zimmerman (3-8, 4.74) came to her aid in relief. Zimmerman had a short appearance, yielding two runs in the top of the fifth, before Sharman was placed back out on the mound for the remainder of the 2.1 frames. Hannah Norton led the offense for Clarion’s lineup, going 2-for-4 with a homerun, two runs, and three-RBI. Norton’s two-run homerun and a double by Alexandra Brentzel extended the lead to a comfortable spot for the Golden Eagles. Sadowski and Alyssa Stitt added singles to keep it going. The Rock didn’t give up easily, scoring three runs in the sixth, but Clarion added more insurance to the board with hits in the seventh before sealing the 8-3 lead. Vith kept trying, slamming afar shot into center, over the wall, for just one more run from Slippery Rock. Mackenzie
Freeman worked a one-out single, yet Sadowski got out of the jam, and the Golden Eagles took home game two for the split. The matchups weren’t over, though, as Slippery Rock headed to Clarion for more gameplay the nexy day at the Memorial Stadium in Clarion, Pennsylvania. Both matchups on day two were non-conference, and Clarion (10-16, 7-14 PSAC West) swept The Rock (8-22, 6-18 PSAC West) in both high scoring games. Clarion and Slippery Rock battled for nine innings before the Golden Eagles pulled away one more run, winning 11-10 in the intense matchup. Slippery Rock fought back in game two, leading for the majority of frames until Clarion came from behind again to win 10-7. Cami Fisk led The Rock offense over the doubleheader going 2-for-6 with three runs and four RBI. Leah Vith went 2-for-7 adding a homerun, double and three runs, along with three-RBI for an impressive game. The impressive batting, with two homeruns in the last three games, puts her average at .471 or (8-for-17) over the last five contending matchups. Senior leader Guglielmino (3-for-7), Gardner (2-for-7, two walks), Hoffman (3-for-8) and Villies (2-for-6, two walks) all led the way on Saturday for two close matchups. Gardner along with Guglielmino are in the midst of eight and nine game hitting streaks, as they exit the weekend contests. The nine-inning game one came as Slippery Rock brought four runs entering the fourth, but were halted later on as Clarion forced the game into extra innings. Vith, who tied her season-high in runs scored, who also tallied 11 hits, going 2-for-4 with a homerun, two runs, and three-RBI came up as a top performer Saturday. Fisk, Hoffman and Guglielmino each added
PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL SCHNELLE
Senior outfielder Alexa Guglielmino rounds the bases. The Simsbury, Ct., native has eight hits in her last five games.
hits and RBI, while Kaitlyn Bowman recorded two RBI. Kelsi Anderson (3-7, 2.54 ERA) had to take a no-decision after she allowed five runs on five hits over 1.2 innings. Sharman (2-6, 3.31 ERA) relieved Anderson and went on to pitch the final seven frames. Sharman yielded six-runs, four of which were earned, and an additional six hits and six walks while striking-out six two games in a row. Rebecca Kelley led offensively for Clarion, going 2-for-3 with a homerun, triple, a run scored in and two walks with five added RBI. Kelley (15, 7.67 ERA) was all around on offense and defense, getting the go ahead start on the mound, taking a no decision and giving up just two runs on two hits. Megan Anderson (2-5, 5.12 ERA) secured the win after pitching the final 5.1 innings in relief of Kelley. The game remained at a tie going into the fourth, Vith slammed the two-run homerun andVith and Guglielmino added hits, putting Slippery Rock up by four runs at 9-5. Clarion fought back with three runs in the bottom of the same frame, and Kelley ripped out the three-run
homerun to left, cutting the lead to just one run at 9-8. Kelley’s bat was on fire again, firing a triple down the center field gap, putting the Golden Eagles at a tie with The Rock. The game remained at 9-9 until Vith brought Gardner home in the eighth, prompting a response from Clarion, who scored one as well. Sharman kept working out of jams, leaving runners on base, and but nine innings were forced. Moore was struck by a pitch to start the final frame, and Guglielmino sacrificed a bunt to advance the runners on. The next two batters were retired, and Slippery Rock left their runners on base, now having to defend the tie. Jessica Cartia scored in their placed runner, Cline, with a fly ball, and it was game over for the first set, 11-10. The first three innings seemed promising for Slippery Rock who yielded a seven-run lead over the beginning frames. Clarion responded with 10 unanswered runs to secure a win and doubleheader sweep of Slippery Rock. Guglielmino, Hoffman, Moore, Villies and Julianna
Hutchinson had an RBI a piece, while Fisk had two. Zimmerman allowed eight runs on nine hits, five of which were earned, before taking the loss. Her 3.1 innings of work were followed by Haley Schmidt who relieved her of the final 2.2 frames from the circle. Kelley kept her hot batting streak alive from game one, going 2-for-3 yet again, yielding three RBI for the Golden Eagles. Zoe Ott (0-0, 13.59 ERA) was chased out in her debut after starting the contest with four allowed runs, and no outs. Laura Sadowki (3-2, 5.73 ERA) came into play again as she earned the win for Clarion, giving up just three runs on eight hits. The game was over as Slippery Rock had no response for the 10 unanswered runs with their 7-run lead being erased, losing 10-7 for the Golden Eagle sweep. Slippery Rock is set to face The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Friday April 23, at the SRU Softball Complex for a PSAC doubleheader. The first pitch will be thrown across the plate at 2:30 p.m. sharp.
VIDEO: BFA Exhibition Walk-through
'Beyond the Verdict'
By Sarah Anderson Campus Life Editor
Editor's note: This story contains mentions of police brutality in response to murder of George Floyd and the consequent trial of Derek Chauvin. On Wednesday night, at 6:30 pm, the Student Counseling Center (SCC) and Office of Inclusive Excellence (OIE) collaborated to host "Beyond the Verdict: Ma n a g i n g Em o t i o n a l Responses to Current Ev e n t s . " T h e Zo o m event had 18 students
"The platform today is about moving forward from the verdict. Coming together, healing and respecting each other's opinions." – Rodney Carson, parttime counselor in Student Counseling Center
that participated in a conversation mainly focused around the verdict regarding the anxiety-inducing, 16 day long, Derek Chauvin trial. On Tuesday afternoon, former Minneapolis p o l i c e o f f i c e r De re k Chauvin was convicted on three counts of secondd e g re e u n i n t e n t i o n a l murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter. This trial was long awaited after the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. The event was planned in advance before the trial timeline was known, but members of the SCC and OIE found this conversation to be necessary and wanted students to be prepared for what happens either way a verdict goes and how to prepare after. Keisha Booker, assistant director in the Office of Inclusive Excellence, prepared the group for what the discussion would hold. "We are well aware that this is just one of many current events that could be emotionally triggering to some, and so we wanted to give space to talk about more than just the Derek Chauvin trial," Booker said. ". . . It [the event's title] was created well before the verdict and so we are moving beyond what happened in yesterday's courtroom." The event then formally began with a guided meditation from Rodney Carson, a part-time counselor in the Student C o u n s e l i n g C e n t e r, having participants imagine a game of tugof-war over a bottomless pit representing, " . . . emotional trauma,
the pain, frustrations, struggles that you have been through." The game of tug-of-war represents something much bigger. Carson continues by saying, "This platform is about letting go from the rope. The platform today is about moving forward from the verdict. Coming together, healing and respecting each other's opinion." The participants are then asked to imagine what anxieties, depressions and things from the past year that the rope represents. This allowed students to open up with some of their anxieties regarding the many events through the last year, and it gave both Carson and Booker a chance to share anecdotes of some of their personal fears. A common anxiety among the group was that these brutal incidents keep on occurring with no end in sight. With the common occurrences and very few people being held accountable, many people are stuck in a rut. One student in the group shared his feelings about our country's reaction to this trial and how it's effected the masses. "This case, I believe, was a big wake up call for this country to see how law enforcement should change the policies and the procedures that they have while interrogating suspects. . . I think that the video of George Floyd . . . shows a lot of what may never have been told if people weren't willing to come forward." The conversation took a turn to how students can make the change. Booker began to share advice that she offers the
GRAPHIC COURTESY OF STUDENT COUNSELING CENTER AND OFFICE OF INCLUSIVE EXCELLENCE
students she works with in the Office of Inclusive Excellence. "A conversation I have with my students, is like when they're requesting something. 'We want change, we want policy change, thought process change,' and I have a conversation after of . . . how specifically would you like to see change." "You're the future, so you get to make that request, and it's also okay if you haven't thought about that," Booker said. As students who will be leading in the future, the discussion turned towards how the media is effecting ever yone. Many people brought up their COVID-19 media overload as well as the increased reporting of horrific cases, similar to Floyd. St u d e n t s w o n d e re d how they could combat the stress and anxiety from the media, and Carson offered up a piece of advice he regularly falls back on. "When you take i n n e g a t i v i t y, yo u ' re
probably going to get negative outcomes. You bring in positivity, it p ro m o t e s p o s i t i v i t y, " Carson started off. "We have control over what we bring in. . . I hear all the negative reports from the news . . . bring me positive things you hear from the news and that's when you start taking that control back." Students also brought up that they frequently feel they fall behind if they aren't keeping up with the news and checking all different types of media. Messina reminded students that it's okay, and encouraged to take breaks. The support group had active engagement among the students and hosts, conversation was productive and students left feeling lighter. The Student Counseling Center wanted to remind students that they are an available resource for students, regarding social issues and beyond. They can be contacted at 724.738.2034 or scc@ sru.edu.
"You're the future, so you get to make that request. It's also okay if you haven't thought about that." – Keisha Booker, assistant director in Office of Inclusive Excellence
Advice I wish I knew about . . . Getting involved
By Morgan Miller Asst. Campus Life Editor
When I was transitioning into college from high school, I was excited for the new opportunities to join clubs and organizations that I would be interested in. The high school I went to did not offer a wide range of clubs, or classes that were related to my interests of marketing, social media, graphic design and writing. I had a slower start at getting involved in college due to my commitment to the lacrosse team my first two years at SRU. My freshman year I joined Rock PRSSA for a semester and it did not exactly feel like the right fit for me at the time. On top of my responsibilities with lacrosse, it was difficult for me to be active in the club. Sophomore year I joined the University Program Board (UPB) Media which was perfect for me at the time. I met new friends, created relationships and was able to attend a few awesome events before COVID-19 began. Unfortunately, when we were sent home
it became more diffi cult to be involved in the club. Junior year I was no longer on the lacrosse team and felt that this was fi nally the time to find a club or organization I wanted to commit to. That is when I found The Rocket. I applied and got the position as Assistant Campus Life Editor. Not only has The Rocket allowed me to create more friends and relationships, but it fulfi lled the team feeling I was missing after quitting the lacrosse team. Getting involved with The Rocket has also encouraged me to attend events where I learn, interact and engage with other students and staff at SRU. I have truly learned so much from getting involved and speaking with other clubs and organizations for my stories with The Rocket. Experimenting with different organizations also allows you to grow and find yourself as you are getting older. When I first came to college, I would not have said I love to write, but three years later it has become one of my favorite things. I never would have thought
that I would be qualified or ‘good enough’ to be an editor for The Rocket, but when you take a chance and put yourself out there, you might just surprise yourself. It took me a few years to find the right organization for me, but I am so happy I did not give up. Every year I tried something different until I finally felt like I found my people and my place. Getting involved with a club or organization that is related to your major or something you are just passionate about helps you meet new people, create relationships, build your resume and portfolio and take advantage of all the opportunities SRU has to offer. My biggest piece of advice would be to get involved early. Finding your people and your place can ease your transition into college. It will also make your resume and portfolio building much easier. One of my favorite things to do as a soonto-be graduate is looking back at how far I have come from when I was a freshman and getting involved played a major role in this.
GRAPHIC BY: HANNAH SLOPE
CAMPUS LIFE BFA seniors present final projects April 23, 2021
By Morgan Miller Asst. Campus Life Editor
The Martha Gault Art Gallery presented the Bachelor of Fine Arts Spring 2021 exhibitions, which represent the capstone projects completed by art majors graduating in May 2021. Martha Gault Art Gallery held their receptions on April 12 and April 20.
The student artists showcased in the gallery through April 12-15 were Makaila Banka presenting Pennsylvania Endangered Wildflowers, Sam Firkaly presenting Digestive Health, Victoria Grabosky presenting Obake Karuta, and Teya Heller presenting Bliss. The student artists showcased in the gallery through April 19-22 were MacKenzie Garry
MORGAN MILLER / THE ROCKET
Senior BFA students Nicole McGuirk, MacKenzie Garry and Madison Wick had their Zoom reception on April 20 at 7 p.m. The virtual reception took the online audience around the art gallery with explanations of each artist's work.
MORGAN MILLER / THE ROCKET
The Martha Gault Art Gallery is in the Maltby Center where the BFA seniors works' can be seen. The gallery is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
presenting Simply Modern, Nicole McGuirk presenting On the Horizon, and Madison Wick presenting Bloom. Senior Wick presented Bloom which focused on growth and selflove shown through fibers and ceramics. Wick's fi berspresented a more literal view of the progression of self-love and body image. Through the four fiber art pieces, the message progresses to a place where you feel more comfortable with yourself. For Wick’s ceramic work, she continued the theme of the fiber pieces and showcased a series of four vases that signify growth and progression. Wick spoke on her thinking process when creating Bloom.
“A lot of my artwork in the past has kind of been scattered and random in terms of the theme and what it’s about,” said Wick. “I wanted to challenge myself to stick to one theme.” McGuirk presented On the Horizon which represent her time at SRU through paintings. Her paintings tell the story of the next steps in her adventures and each painting represents a year or years of her life. “I have been at SRU for seven years, so a couple of the paintings represent multiple years,” said McGuirk. “So, it started off as a sunrise and calm and then a couple years before the storm, and then I had a bad couple years so that is what is symbolized by the storm. Then the sunset represents coming to an end
and it is anticipating what is next for the day or chapter. Garry presented Simply Modern which focused on a variety of modern ceramic pieces. Her pieces consist of vases, small cups, dinner sets, small jewelry bowls, and other decorative pieces. Garry also made vegan soy candles to more of an intimate decorative piece. Garry spoke on her thinking process when creating the name for her artwork. “I went through a few names trying to figure out what I wanted it to be about, and I started with Simply Abundant,” said Garry. “I did not want to set myself up for failure with not having enough pieces, so I went with ‘modern’ because I look to social media and look at people’s lifestyles. I
picked four colors that are popular colors of this time, therefore it’s modern.” Director of the Martha Gault Art Gallery Theresa Antonellis congratulated the seniors on their hard work this semester. “The significance of this capstone project is heightened considering the perseverance needed to succeed in this semester of social distancing,” said Antonellis. “Their professors and parents have every right to be exceedingly proud of them and their accomplishments. Personally, I am very happy for each of them. Congratulations and ‘very well done’ to the art majors graduating this Spring 2021 who produced such amazing artworks and exhibitions.”
April 23, 2021
Movie Review: 'The Father'
By Dereck Majors Review Columnist
At first glance, a film like “The Father” could be overlooked simply as Oscar bait. With a poster that is simply a still from the film featuring the two main stars along with a bland trailer, the film seems as though it was designed solely to be nominated awards. This, however, is far from the truth. “The Father” revolves around Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) as he struggles with dementia. His daughter Anne (Oscar winner Olivia Colman) attempts to help, hiring nurses and caretakers who all eventually leave after her father’s degrading and occasionally violent outbursts. All the while Anne is attempting to live her own life, wishing to move from London to Paris with her new boyfriend which would leave Anthony by himself. Anthony, however, cannot seem to grasp the fact that his daughter will be leaving him. The audience experiences the effects dementia has on both Anthony and his daughter. At times Anthony forgets small things like turning down the radio all the way to not remembering that his youngest daughter, Lucy, died years prior in a car accident. This all makes “The Father” a heartbreaking story about family and love without sugarcoating anything. Hopkins’ performance places these gutwrenching scenes and the movie as a whole over the top. Following him
for the entire runtime, Hopkins perfectly illustrates the distress an individual with dementia endures. He is able to tap into this mindset of someone dealing with memory loss, switching his mood instantly to change the direction of a scene. An instance of this occurs early on in the film where Anthony misplaces his watch, even though it is always left in the same spot every morning. He accuses the caretaker of stealing the watch, though once Anne retrieves it, Hopkins deftly switches his emotions from distraught at the caretaker, relieved that it is found and almost instantly begins questioning if Anne hid the item from him to cause the initial confusion. This abrupt mood swing occurs in the matter of seconds, each showcased b y Ho p k i n s’ f a c i a l expressions and precise tone of voice. In a role like this, no one but Hopkins would be able to pull it off in such a beautiful yet haunting manner. The appeal of “The Father” is not just in the acting, but also in the masterful filmmaking. Florian Zeller makes his first foray into filmmaking after an award-winning career in authoring novels and plays, bringing along many of his tricks he learned from the stage to the screen. All throughout the film, Zeller attempts to put the audience into Anthony’s shoes by confusing them. In some scenes, wallpapers will change colors in the background, props will move
unexpectedly, and quick edits will switch from scene to scene with no explanation. The most obvious of these effects occurs when different actors step into the film to play characters that were previously established. Without a theater background, the execution of these tactics could seem gimmicky given the subject matter, but Zeller’s artistic spin takes what could have simply been a simple narrative about a man with memory loss into a truly moving film. Being able to feel the confusion, anxiety and hopelessness that Anthony experiences throughout this ninety-minute venture leaves a lasting impact on the audience of how someone with dementia thinks and acts. The screenplay is told nonlinearly, leaving the audience to guess if events occurred in the past or present (or if they are even real). It’s a highly effective way to craft the story while causing the audience to mentally participate in the tale. This all culminates into a powerful character study that will stay with audiences for the rest of their lives. Th e raw and honest way dementia is depicted by Hopkins in the film is the reason it will be regarded as his best performance (Yes, even better than his turn as Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs”). For a film that deals with forgetfulness, it is hard to ever forget or shake off the impact “The Father” will have for years to come.
Artists that need to drop !" By Owen Myers Review Columnist
For an artist to be successful, especially in the early stages of their career, they need to consistently release music. If they end up failing to do so, then they will most likely lose some of the buzz that they had around them from when they were starting to gain some traction. The next three artists are ones that have fallen victim to the previous explanation. In the current climate of rap music, for the artist's sake I believe that this summer at the latest, is when they should release music. Yung Bans Yung Bans, an Atlanta, GA native, is most known for his lethargic cadence on his early music. He is also known as being a part of the “2016-2017 SoundCloud Wave” of artists. Luckily enough, he capitalized on his exponential growth with the release of his song “Lonely” featuring Lil Skies, which was a smash hit on the Lyrical L e m o n a d e Yo u Tu b e Channel. Yu n g Bans was consistently releasing a project every year up until his 2019 album, “MISUNDERSTOOD.” According to the DJ Akademics, the album failed to sell 10,000 copies the first week, with features from all kinds of artists like Future, Lil Durk, Lil Tjay, and YNW Melly to name a few.
Since his 2019 release, the rapper has only released one single titled “Freak Show” which features a fellow Atlanta artist in Mulatto. By the end of July this year, it will be two years since the artist has released an album. His fans are begging for him to drop, and all they can assume is that he is working on it. D Savage D Savage, another Atlanta, GA native, was one of the smaller artists in the previously mentioned "SoundCloud Wave" but has released “classics” on the platform with his songs, “Ridin,” “I Know” and his mixtape "D Phoenix."
". . . for the artist's sake I believe that this summer, at the latest, is when they should release music." – Owen Myers, review columnist
GRAPHIC BY: HANNAH SLOPE
The artist had connections to the likes of Playboi Carti, another Atlanta rapper that is now mainstream, Ian Conner, a prominent fashion influencer within streetwear, and A$AP Bari, the creator of VLONE. D Savage has also been very scarce in his release of music. Just like Yung Bans, the end of July will be his latest project’s, “Trust No One,” second birthday. In my opinion, the album is all around good, and seemed like D Savage was becoming
more comfortable with the sound he was creating. As of now, we have received two singles in “How Does It Feel” and “IDC” featuring Trippie Redd. Unfortunately for D Savage, the tracks were leaked before the actual release, so his fans failed to receive anything new. His fanbase is left restless for a new release, and some are even giving up on the rapper. Ski Mask the Slump God Ski Mask the Slump God is known for his lyrical, fast-paced flow.
He w a s c o n s i d e r e d one of the kings of the SoundCloud era with the likes of Xxxtentacion, Smokepurpp, Lil Pump and more. T h e a r t i s t’s l a t e s t project release is his timeless album, “Stokely.” Fortunately for Ski Mask, the album has done phenomenally well, with three songs having at least 150 million plays. But he released this project all the way back in 2018. Since then, the fans have been given two singles: “Carbonated Water” and "Burn The Hoods."
Ski Mask is an artist that a lot of people have grown to love. With that love comes empathy, because since his album, he has lost the lives of two of his good friends and fellow rappers Xxxtentacion and Juice WRLD. Now t h a t h e h a s mourned, he has announced that he wants to release three projects in 2021 alone. On April 16th, the rapper simply tweeted “Next Month.” So, fans can now expect something, most likely a single, from the rapper.