March 25, 2015

Page 1

Gempesaw shares his journey to the States

New Column: the Vincentian View Page 7


Pages 12 & 13

Students shave their heads for cancer research during St. Baldrick’s Page 5 & 10

Some seniors unable to vote in SGI election Talia Tirella News Editor


Kendrick Lamar’s new album shocks listeners Page 8

The student who lost the race to become Student Government Inc. president by only 90 votes says the election was clouded by confusion at the voting tables that left many upperclassmen unable to cast their

ballots. Andy Chang, a junior finance student, said some juniors, all seniors and all fourth and fifth year pharmacy students were not able to cast their ballots because of a technical glitch in the electronic voting program used by SGI. Chang said that he was not able to vote either. “I think there was very poor oversight over this process, and it’s ok to make mistakes,” Chang said, “but the real problem here is they did not make any effort to amend it or resolve the problem.” The senior-level students were not able to vote this year because of the way the online ballot was set up. Those with an amount of credits equal to or more than a senior were denied access to the ballot, a procedure based on the idea that seniors would not be returning to campus the following year, according to Chang, who expressed ideological disagreement. In previous years, seniors have been able to vote. Students, as well as those involved in SGI, realized the mistake when voting started last Thursday. Chang, as well as Caroline Zottl, the current SGI vice president, be came aware of the problem after it became obvious that students were not able to access the online ballot. Zottl spoke with the rest of the SGI e-board and they “all remembered that seniors had always been allowed to vote as well.” Zottl then went to the administrator and member of the Board of Directors of SGI who oversees elections, who told her that seniors were not allowed to vote.

Election Mishap

Story continues on page 3


Managing Board XCII

Samantha Albanese, Editor-in-Chief

Olivia Cunningham, Managing Editor Kyle Fitzgerald Features Editor Jenny Chen Chief Copy Editor Alexa Vagelatos Opinion Editor Livia Paula Asst. Features Editor

Briawnna Jones Entertainment Editor Cheyanne Gonzales Online Editor Gina Palermo Design Editor Amanda Umpierrez Asst. News Editor

Howard Barrett III jim baumbach Adviser Business Manager

Talia Tirella News Editor Stephen Zitolo Sports Editor Brandon Mauk Asst. Sports Editor Steven Verdile Asst. Design Editor Jasmine Davis Asst. Entertainment Editor

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CORRECTION: On p. 3 of our last issue, the Canada geese on the Great Lawn (B. Canadensis) were misidentified as ducks in a photo caption. Thanks go to “Doc” in the department of Biological Sciences for catching the error.



CORE becomes foundation for SGI while ICE slips through Despite split ticket, winners strive to work together and better SJU community

Amanda umpierrez Assistant News Editor On Friday, election results for Student Government, Inc. (SGI) were announced, prompting the new SGI e-board for the 2015-16 year. The new SGI e-board includes ICE members Ridge McKnight as president and Dominick Salvatori as treasurer, with CORE members Sarah Hanna as vice president, Mariam Shafik as secretary, Zachary Reale as senior senator, Opiyot Kaur as junior senator and Frank Obermeyer as sophomore senator. McKnight, Hanna and Obermeyer came together to discuss what they hope to achieve within the next months of the academic year, and how they plan to form their two platforms into one. One common opinion among the three members includes increasing visibility between SGI and student organizations, administrators and students in order to develop greater connections. McKnight, the newly elected president of SGI, recalled a past experience with the Resident Students Association in which the organization did not know any members of the current SGI e-board. “The first thing I would like to focus on is really being visible to all of our student organizations,” McKnight said. “To make an effort for e-boards and each organization to know me, and to hold

photo/Amanda Umpierrez

SGI winners, left to right: Ridge McKnight, Sarah Hanna and Frank Obermeyer.

at least a five-minute conversation with them.” Obermeyer, who was recently elected as sophomore senator, hopes to expand relations between college representatives and students.

“An easy thing to do would be to get all the representatives to send an email to people in their college, and to reach out to people and prompt them for questions,” he said. “To make sure the representatives know their classmates, and

the classmates know who’s representing them in student government.” Elected Vice President of SGI Sarah Hanna hopes to remodel Organization Congress, which consists of mandatory information sessions for budgeted student organizations hosted by SGI. “I saw a lot of the struggles and hurdles that organizations have to go through such as Organization Congress and the monthly report form,” she said. “I want to revamp these two aspects of student government and make them more personal to the organization, rather than just general information for everyone to know.” Although the election results concluded in a split ticket, McKnight, Hanna and Obermeyer are each certain that both platforms will work together to improve the St. John’s community. “If ICE wanted to do one thing, that does not mean that CORE did not want to do that. We both want the same thing, we both want to ‘improve the college experience,’ create opportunity and realize excellence,” he said. Like Obermeyer, Hanna believes that ICE and CORE had similar concepts that can be agreed upon. “A lot of the points on our platforms are very similar, so it will be very easy to move forward with those ideas,” she said. McKnight agrees. “It’s about taking both platforms and molding them into one.”

SGI voting confusion: seniors unable to vote continued from page 1 Zottl also went to Dean of Students Dr. Daniel Trujillo, who “clarified that seniors should be able to vote, as they have in the past years,” she said. Zottl said that multiple people, including herself, spoke to administrators in charge of the online voting platform about fixing the situation, but no change was made before voting ended Friday afternoon. Zottl said the confusion started when the Votenet online ballot was set up incorrectly. “The graduate assistant in charge of Votenet was quite unfortunately mixed up on the issue,” Zottl said. “He mentioned to Allison [Klasson], our elections chair, that seniors were not allowed to vote.” James Salnave, Associate Dean of Student Development, was the administrator in charge of handling the SGI elections, according to Chang. Chang said he spoke with Salnave Thursday morning, the first day of voting, around 10 a.m. about a mistake on the online ballot. One of Chang’s ticket members’ names was spelled incorrectly and he wanted to have the mistake fixed. Chang said it took 5 hours to fix the misspelled name. “The problem is, it was all covered up from then on,” Chang said. When contacted for comment, Salnave referred questions to Trujillo, who explained in an email that the parame-

ters for voter eligibility were determined when SGI provided the criteria to Votenet. These parameters were used last year as well, according to Trujillo. Trujillo also said that Salnave informed Chang that no changes could be made to the system, because Votenet is an outside provider. Trujillo said given the notice so close to the polling dates last week, there was not enough time to change the voting criteria. “I think there was very poor oversight over this process and it’s ok to make mistakes,” Chang said, “but the real problem here is they did not make any effort to amend it or resolve the problem.” In order to try to remedy the issue, paper ballots were issued in the D’Angelo Center, Change said. But he said there was no announcement that the paper ballots were available, and students only found out about the paper option if they went to vote in person in DAC. Chang said this ended up not being an ideal solution because many students had class, internships or work and “couldn’t afford to wait an hour to fill out a paper ballot.” “I don’t even know where to begin how to measure how many disenfranchised voters there are,” Chang said. Senior Patrick Casey, a mathematics major, said he was disappointed when he tried to vote but couldn’t. “It’s important that we have a say because we have seen what works well and

what doesn’t work well, and I think we could have made a really good and educated decision,” Casey said. In the past years, SGI has used an electronic voting system to facilitate the voting process for students. This year, the graduate assistant that helped to set up the Votenet system was confused over whether or not seniors could vote, according to Zottl. Zottl said that seniors have always been able to vote in SGI elections, and this year should have been no exception. However, the handbook that outlines the voting election rules does not include who is allowed to vote and who is not, according to Zottl. Chang discussed the problems with the online voting system and said that those who could not vote were not able to because of the human error in setting up the voting process. According to Chang, Student Affairs did not inform senior Allison Klasson, the Elections Committee Chair, of any sort of error with the online ballot. Klasson said that she was told that was how the system had been set up in previous years. Chang said that the mix-up was not Klasson’s fault, as she was not allowed to see the ballot and she said she had been told that everything was handled and had been “quadruple checked.” Others involved, like Salnave, knew about the mistake but Chang said that nothing was done to fix it. “I think if someone is really committed to students and the voting rights of

students who pay the same fee as all undergrads and who will be here next year, they deserve to have the right to vote,” Chang said. “There was no attention paid to that and it was totally disregarded.” Chang said he discussed the mistakes with Salnave, who responded by saying it was too late to make any changes. Chang felt that the elections process should have been stopped so the mistake could have been fixed. “To me, what was more important was that we did it properly. I said look, if we have to postpone the results I think we should do that, even if it takes a week, 5 business days, you need to make sure it’s done right, not done hastily and not just for the sake of doing it, and the response was no.” Going forward, Chang hopes there will be reform. Winning presidential candidate Ridge McKnight said “​I am not sure where the miscommunication occurred, however, my focus is making sure the same voting mishap doesn’t occur in next year’s elections.” Chang is concerned that this mistake will lead to distrust throughout the University community in the future and possibly lead to a lower turnout during SGI elections. “It indicates a much more concerning mindset when these things are approached. There really was not a fair process nor was there much effort to correct it,” Chang said.


Big East Career Fair attracts students, alumni, employers Event provided networking opportunities and chance to win Big East tickets

livia Paula Assistant Features Editor

The Big East Conference held its career-networking event on March 13 at Madison Square Garden. Students from St. John’s, Seton Hall, Georgetown, DePaul, Butler, Marquette, Providence College, Villanova, Xavier and Creighton participated in the event. Students had the opportunity to speak with 40 different employers, including the NYPD, Boar’s Head, Foot Locker, U.S. Peace Corps and Madison Square Garden. Site visits were available for a limited number of students. The event had a formal address from the Big East Athletic Conference Commissioner Val Ackerman. Students also had the chance to win tickets to the Big East semifinals that evening. Many St. John’s students were present at the event. Senior Michael Tully said he was thankful to be part of a Big East school. However, the sports management student thought the event wasn’t as sports-oriented as he thought it would be. According to Tully, he spoke with different employers and had the chance to network, even if the companies were not directly related to his major. “You never know where there’s an opportunity,” he said. The representative of PLS Logistics, Kristy Newton, said that these networking events are great opportunities not only for the students but also for the companies. According to Newton, these

photo/Livia Paula

The Big East Conference career fair attracted students from all of the Big East schools. They had the opportunity to talk to 40 different employers, including the NYPD, the U.S. Peace Corps and Madison Square Garden.

events contribute largely to their hiring process. Another St. John’s senior, Blake Ballard, said that he had the opportunity to speak with Val Ackerman, as well as representatives of other companies. Similar to Tully, Ballard believes that you “never know where you are going to land.” Executive director of the St. John’s University Career Services, Denise Hop-


Briefs J. Cole comes to campus for Spring Concert Cheyanne gonzales Online Editor The spring concert is back this year, and the special guest is hip hop artist J. Cole. Haraya, the Pan-African Students Coalition, released a short, 15-second video on Tuesday, March 24, announcing the return of former St. John’s student turned successful Roc Nation artist J. Cole. The announcement was released with the headline “J.Cole’s Homecoming Concert: The Real Is Back”. A link to a 32-second video on YouTube was posted via Twitter. The link has gained traction, with over 150 retweets. Several of St. John’s group Twitter accounts retweeted both the link and the video. The spring concert this year is only for St. John’s students and alumni. The private concert will be hosted on April 9 at 7 p.m., and will be co-hosted by Haraya and SGI. There was not a formal spring concert last year. Tickets go on sale March 30 at 9 a.m. and will be sold for a few days af-

ter. The cost is $5 for current students and $20 for alumni. St. John’s students have been expressing excitement about the recent announcement by using the hashtags that both the St. John’s and Haraya Twitter handles have been using: #WelcomeBackJCole, #StormCardsOnly, #HarayaMusicFest15 and #SJU. Current Haraya President Terrell Romeo, a senior, said that Haraya is excited to have J. Cole on campus. He explained “[J. Cole] fits what Haraya represents. His music and his message and what he does is the perfect example of a Harayan.” J. Cole was once the president of Haraya, according to Romeo. J. Cole’s hit songs include the songs “Work Out,” “No Role Modelz” and the album “2014 Forest Hills Drive.” Romeo said that the process to get J.Cole to come to campus wasn’t as difficult as it would seem. “I wouldn’t say necessarily he was hard to get, it was more of once we made contact with the right people, it just looked definite,” he said.

kins, said that she was “delighted” with the outcome of the event and that it was very successful. Hopkins was highly involved in the organization of the event. According to her, having the Big East commissioner speak elevated the event. In addition to the students attending the events, alumni and administrators from all the different schools attended and supported the event, including St.

John’s Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Kathryn Hutchinson. “I’m super thrilled that St. John’s students responded so strongly to this event and that they are so committed to their professional and career development,” Hopkins said. “I think that it is a tribute to the work ethic and the focus of our student body,” she said.


University community raises $25K for childhood cancer patients The St. Baldrick’s event honored two local now cancer-free children

Bridget Higgins Staff Writer St. John’s University students showed their solidarity for children with cancer on March 15 during the St. Baldrick’s and Children With Hair Loss (CWHL) event. Students, families and other participants got their hair either shaved or cut to raise money for cancer research. The gathering took place in the D’Angelo Center, where one was sure to see participants lined up in chairs, having their hair removed in some way by the DiRosa Hair Care hair salon or the barbers of the Long Island Barber School. Altogether, there were 60 head shaves, six of which were women and 29 haircuts, all of which raised $25,000 and counting toward cancer research, according to Angela Seegel, the event coordinator. This year’s event was held in honor of Jason Lamberti, 11, of Staten Island and Nicolas Colucci, 5, of Long Island. Jason was diagnosed in Dec. 2004 with Neuroblastoma, a common cancer in children that affects the nerves. After two years of treatment, his status is cancer free, but he still suffers from loss of hearing as a side effect. Nicolas was diagnosed with Hepatoblastoma, a form of liver cancer, on May 19, 2014. He was declared cancer free this past September. “We weren’t lucky for him to have it, but he didn’t have it for too long,” said his father, Phil Colucci. Tara Colucci, Nicolas’ mother, de-

photo/photo editor diana colapietro

University Provost Robert Mangione was moved to shave his head alongside students.

scribed the event as “totally amazing… to witness this, it’s life-changing.” Nicolas arrived with his brother, Brody, 3, and his best friend, who both had their heads shaved as well. However, this was not the Colucci family’s first experience with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. According to Tara, a hairdresser, her sons had been getting their heads shaved even before Nicolas’ diagnosis.

Tara said, “[Nicolas] would go up to people in the supermarket and tell them, ‘I made money for sick kids!’” “His hair actually started growing back in December and he shaved his head again,” said Phil. During the St. Baldrick’s event, many shaved their heads in honor of Nicolas and Jason. One notable person was Shannon Long, 19, of Endicott College. “I feel great…I feel so good and hap-

py and blessed,” Long said after barbers shaved her head. “I can’t stop touching my head!” Phil appreciated the shaved heads as a show of solidarity. “It takes so much of your identity away,” he said of those who had lost their hair during chemotherapy. The D’Angelo Center floor was packed full of people, some of which included the St. John’s Red Storm baseball team, Dr. Birte Wistinghausen of pediatric oncology at Mount Sinai Hospital, and SJU Provost Dr. Robert A. Mangione. The St. John’s University baseball team was an important presence to the honored boys. “I think he was pretty excited over the baseball team,” said Tara of her son, Nicolas. Dr. Mangione stressed the importance of coming in support of not only the cause, but in support of the brave student participants as well. “What inspires me is the students…I saw a student get her hair shaved, so I thought that it was the least I could do,” said Mangione. Throughout the event, there were also raffles, giveaways, bake sales and a grab-a-lunch for $5. Each head shaved raised money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, while every haircut raised money for CWHL. The St. John’s community succeeded in both raising money and showing support for children with cancer, who are often sources of inspiration and bravery. Tara said, “They’re bald, they’re sick, they’re hooked up to poison…but they never let it get to them.”

Spectrum has successful first year on campus talia Tirella News Editor The first full year of operation for Spectrum, St. John’s University’s first LGBTQ group, was a success, according to one of the group’s founding members and president, Oscar Diaz. Diaz said the reception that the group has received from students, faculty and alumni has been a positive one, and this is shown by Spectrum’s participation in several University-wide events. They started the year by participating in University Service Day on Sept. 27, and held an Ugly Sweater Party as part of the university’s week of Winter Carnival events. They will also be participating in Relay for Life later in the spring. “We are looking forward to participating in all University-wide events, we are very excited,” Diaz said. Thanks to the exposure they received at these events, Spectrum has been able to make strides when it comes to holding more events and developing opportunities for students, according to Diaz. Overall, the group held 12 events last semester, not counting monthly ‘How Ya Doin’?’ meetings that are meant to provide a safe space for students to discuss and share their experiences. Another consistent program that Spectrum has worked to develop is SafeZone training, which they were able to officially re-launch this semester. According to Diaz, the program was started in 2009 but went stagnant soon after its

photo provided/oscar diaz

Spectrum members at their latest meeting, a monthly How Ya Doin’? meeting meant to provide a supportive environment.

inception. Spectrum took a deeper look at the program and “re-launched [SafeZone] after reevaluating, updating and reviving the trainings,” Diaz said. The group will continue to expand on its SafeZone training program by offering training sessions to other campus groups. Diaz said the next groups to receive training would be Residence

Life staff, athletics staff and athletic peer mentors. They are also exploring the idea of implementing the training into the 5 Star Greek Life requirements, which Diaz said would determine how much funding they would receive for their organization. The more training they have to round out their organization, the more stars they get, and thus, more funding.

Diaz said that the group is currently in the process of planning their second facilitator training with hopes of it being held in April some time after Easter recess. One of Spectrum’s most successful events was a poetry reading featuring Saeed Jones, the Buzzfeed LGBT editor. “He is leading the way and writing critically about the community,” Diaz said. The event was also Spectrum’s Black History Month event. Dean of Students Dr. Danny Trujillo said that the group has put forth a “fantastic, significant effort” in all they’ve done this year. He said one of their most notable achievements was re-launching the SafeZone program, along with getting their message heard on campus. “They’ve really been getting their main pillars out there, and without their commitment that would have been impossible. They started from the ground up,” Trujillo said. Trujillo also explained the importance of Spectrum’s partnership with Campus Ministry. “It’s very important and significant. It provides support for students and they appreciate that,” he said. Going forward, Spectrum hopes to continue to hold monthly meetings and events, and will hold elections for new executive board members soon. “We will continue to develop. As president, I tried to develop student leaders. They have the experience, and [Spectrum] will only grow,” Diaz said.


Opinion Staff Editorial Editorial board XCII SAMANTHA ALBANESE Editor-in-Chief OLIVIA CUNNINGHAM Managing Editor TALIA TIRELLA News Editor BRIAWNNA JONES Entertainment Editor KYLE FITZGERALD Features Editor STEPHEN ZITOLO Sports Editor ALEXA VAGELATOS Opinion Editor

It’s been a year of transitions, both for the 92nd managing board of the Torch and for St. John’s University. Shortly after we began our tenure in April, we were informed that the Torch office would be moved to a much smaller location. After many meetings with administration and a tremendous amount of organization on eveeryone’s part, we agreed to move to a larger but more remotely located office in O’Connor Hall. Ultimately, the Torch is very happy with our new space and, it is to be hoped, the transition is finally complete. The University also saw a transition, with the installation of Dr. Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw as our 17th president. Dr. Gempesaw seems to already be making positive changes on campus, from the creation of the Strategic Priorities Working Group to the tuition freeze for next year and the tuition reduction for Staten Island students. His background in economics and business may have a positive impact on University issues, such as declining enrollment and rising costs. A more recent transition, as you read on page 3, is the newly elected Student Government, Inc. executive board. The group, which consists of four members of the CORE ticket and two members of the ICE ticket, seems to be ready and willing to compromise on their respective goals. Soon, we will be transitioning again; many of us will be graduating and pursuing opportunities outside of St. John’s, and others will form the 93rd managing board. It sounds clichee, but it’s true: your time at St. John’s is short, and your college years will fly past. Instead of dreading the inevitable transitions that will happen during your time here, try to make the most of them. Take advantage of the opportunities St. John’s offers you. While some like to complain about its flaws, others take pride in the programs provided. A few members of the 92nd e-board took advantage of one program in particular, and don’t regret one ounce of it. That program is study abroad. Whether it be a semester in Rome or Discover the World, studying abroad at St. John’s is ideal. The campuses are beautiful, and the experiences you have are once in a lifetime. College is all about bumps in the road, getting lost, and finding why not do that across the world? While you’re ‘at home’ here on the Queens campus, there’re plenty of activities in which to immerse yourself. Go to a meeting of every club that you’re interested in, and then join the few that truly pique your interest, even if they aren’t directly inline with your career goals. Focus on academics, but don’t forget to have a little fun. Take classes that challenge you. Learn to deal with difficult people. Learn to speak up when you should, even when it’s difficult. Try a leadership role; even if it’s not your cup of tea, in the end you’ll probably be glad that you gave it a shot. Get out and enjoy New York City! We are so fortunate to live within such close proximity to one of the greatest cities in the world. Hold an internship, take a walking tour, visit the museums. Where else in the world can you experience the Tompkins Square Park dog parade, a Halloween event featuring puppies in costumes? Transitions are inevitable. Don’t be afraid to change: your goals, your major, your dreams.

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Illustrator/Nicole Marino

“Something unexpected happened today.” “Pillow fort 3”

So What Every day is another day without you So what I deal with the pain while always thinking about you Because even though we are apart I still keep you in my heart So what I miss being in your arms and all your stupid jokes I miss my head on your chest and your hand on my heart So what You don’t call for days I think you like driving me insane But when you finally call my world feels safe again My heart is full of joy So what The pain still feels the same when you are gone So what I don’t know when I’ll see you again So what You love me and I love you So what So what So what, so what By: Keisha Raymond


Smiley’s story am” (1 Cor 15:10). Fr. Patrick J. Griffin, CM community. I do not speak for the Congregation of the Mission any That holds true for me as for Special to The Torch more than I speak for the University. each of you. What I offer emerges

I also reserve the right to have several points-of-view on particular topics and may choose to share only one “The Torch” is a newspaper of for your amusement and puzzlement. the St. John’s University students. The “Congregation of the As such, my opportunity to contrib- Mission,” mentioned above, is the ute comes as a guest. I am grateful official title of my community. The for the chance to write about some “CM” after my name indicates that matters which may be of interest to affiliation. Most members of our our SJU community. I bring a differ- University population know the ent flavor to the mix. priests and brothers who founded My name is Fr. Patrick J. Griffin SJU, and who still serve here, by our and I am a Vincentian priest stapopular designation, “Vincentians.” tioned here at SJU. Born to Irish This title connects us to St. Vincent immigrant parents some sixty-two de Paul who was a great French years ago, I am the oldest boy saint in the 17th Century. Vincent among seven children. Home for found his particular calling in the me remains always Brooklyn. My following of Jesus ordination to priesthood took place within ministry in 1979, and my assignments have to the clergy and focused on teaching and seminary service to the poor. work. My specialty is the Bible. He is known as On two occasions, I have served the patron of all the international Vincentian family: works of charity. I six years in Rome and three years would wish that my in Paris. In short, I have been very contribution to our happy as a priest and a Vincentian. paper communiWhy do I want to contribute to cates something of “The Torch?” I had hoped to give his spirit as I have some idea of this purpose through come to channel it. the title which I have given to my Characterizeffort: “A Vincentian View.” I expect ing my essay as a that the direction and focus of my “view” suggests for writing will evolve as I find my me a sense of per“voice,” but that will only happen as spective, a context. I speak and meet you in print. Each of us can only I want to offer “a” Vincentian speak from particperspective. The column does not ular experiences express “the” Vincentian outlook and learning. I love the line from St. but that of a single member of the Paul: “By God’s grace, I am what I

as a result of where life and the Spirit have led me up to this moment. About what shall I write? A list of possible topics does exist in my head, such as thoughts on the images which abound on our campus (statues, texts, seals), observations on seasonal symbols (ashes, tents, colors), reflections on the values of our University (Catholic, Vincentian, Global), and so on. I will not engage controversial issues or matters of policy. Those require more space and conversation than granted (so generously) here. I hope to communicate matters of mutual interest with courtesy and character. We shall see.


Graduating College: What’s next? RYEN WATKINS Contributing Writer

think that you’re behind just because someone seems to have it all together. According to, Kristen Fisher says, “Even thinking about what you want to do and where you want to live—and arranging for those things—is smart planning. Start browsing websites, setting up accounts on sites like LinkedIn and” Take advantage of the many resources on campus! Visit University Career Services, located in the Chiang Ching Kuo building. St. John’s prepares students from across the U.S. and around the world to be confident, goal-driven and ethical leaders in today’s global society. The University Career Services Employer Relations Team embraces opportunities to collaborate with employers. Career Peers are also available to assist students with career advice. Remove the pressure and let go of anxiety! Use the next 60 days or so before graduation to understand what YOU truly want to become in life. Who do YOU want to be? And know, that it’s okay if you have no idea. You don’t have to have it all figured out upon graduation. Along with preparing for post-graduation, don’t forget to enjoy your last college days! Have fun, sleep-in, and take advantage of the activities on campus! There are so many people rooting for you, whether you know it or not! Discover your passion, discover your purpose and walk around with your head held high. You have so much to be proud of already, and it’s only the beginning! Good luck to the college seniors who anticipate on graduating May 17.

Registration opened for graduating seniors on March 9, and now the reality has set in: in less than 60 days you’ll be a college graduate. Congratulations. Are you supposed to be excited…prepared…ready? One graduates from high school, great! Well, the next step is college. One graduates from college, great! Well... good luck finding a job! Are graduating seniors pressured to continue their education? Are they pressured with the responsibility to find a job right out of college, one that requires a college degree for their major? Now, if you have it all together…Good for you! Stay focused! But, what about the upcoming college graduates who don’t know where to start? They’ve planned almost every aspect of their life up until walking across the stage. Or what about the college graduates who wanted to go to graduate school, but couldn’t get their applications in on time, or the graduates who wanted to go to medical school, but had a late start in preparing for the MCAT? What do you do when your plan seems to fall apart, and everything is just happening so fast? Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay. If you haven’t started applying for jobs, you’re not behind! Or if you’re not currently going in the direction you’ve always thought you would, it is o k a y! Take a moment and breathe. Write down some shortterm and long-term goals that you have for yourself and “Dreams are your paints, the world is your canvas. begin to plan accordingly. After you create your plan, Believing, is the brush that converts your dreams into a create a back-up plan! Considering the future with care- masterpiece of reality.” –Unknown. ful planning will help assist you in successful job and grad school opportunities. Don’t look at your friends and

ETHAN BROWN Staff Writer Who doesn’t love a good dog story? With so much negativity in the news today, it’s always nice coming across an uplifting story of any kind, especially when the dog is the star. Smiley is a 12-year-old golden retriever who has had a tough upbringing. Born with a dwarfism, Smiley had surgery when he was two to remove both of his eyes. Afterwards, he was left in a puppy mill with little chance of survival. Joanne George, Smiley’s current owner, found him a decade ago at the mill and rescued him. “People were so drawn to him, so inspired by him,” said George to CBS News. “I realized this dog has to be a therapy dog – I have to share him.” And so she did. Smiley later became a certified therapy dog and joined the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program in Ontario, Canada. Every day, Smiley visits elderly patients in nursing homes, children with special needs and others in need of some comfort. One of the nursing home patients, named Teddy, was visited by Smiley frequently. Teddy did not have speech and was unable to communicate in any way. However, a visit from Smiley changed it all. “One day, Smiley put his feet up in front of [Teddy] and he started smiling and making noise. All of the nurses rushed into the room and said they’d never seen him smile – never seen any kind of reaction,” said George. Now at age 12, George realizes that Smiley’s time may be coming to an end. While she has memories of Smiley accompanying her on her first date, being the ring bearer at her wedding and being there for her when she had a baby, George said, “He’s changed my life. People will say that Smiley is just a dog, and this is true. But dogs know their surroundings. They know when people love them. They know when they help others. Their unconditional love and support is unlike anything else. To me, Smiley exemplifies all the qualities a human should have (this may sound odd, but just keep reading). After being left for dead and later blind, Smiley still finds a way to make people happy, specifically sick people who need an uplifting moment, even if it comes in the form of a wagging tail and slobbery kiss. We should all be thankful that Smiley has been introduced into the world, because that still young puppy looking face in the pictures definitely made you smile.

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Think Outside...



Kendrick Lamar unexpectedly drops sophomore album MATTHEW MANERI Staff Writer

4 out of 5 stars

Kendrick Lamar To Pimp A Butterfly

For those expecting a new Kendrick Lamar album in the same vein as 2012’s “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City,” this is not the album you’ve been waiting for. “To Pimp a Butterfly,” which was released online a week ahead of schedule, is very different from its predecessor in many ways. “Good Kid” was a concept album that revolved around a narrative about a day in the life of Lamar in his native Compton. The picture he painted was not a rosy one, with the story descending into a violent climax that resulted in the death of a friend. The album garnered Lamar much critical acclaim and sold very well on the strength of club- and car-friendly singles. Following up the album would not have been an easy

task for Lamar and he must have known it going into the studio. He clearly did not want to make the same album again, and there is no greater sign of this than the fact that there is no real narrative in “To Pimp a Butterfly.” Instead, the songs play on connected themes of Lamar facing his inner demons, his insecurities, race, overcoming injustice and his place in music and the world at large. He explores the ideas running through his head in the series of songs and interludes. One idea that really stands out among the others is “misusing your influence.” Lamar found himself to be a household name with a breakthrough album people were hailing as a modern classic. He would speak and knew millions of people would be listening. The pressure to do the right thing and say what should be said began to weigh on him. On “u,” Lamar explores his deepest and most real emotions and lets us hear them in the rawest way possible. The track’s first verse shows his regret of not being there for his sister and admitting his issues with depression and alcoholism. Fame and having a platinum-selling album didn’t do much to help him. “Numbers lie too, f*** your pride too, that’s for dedication/Thought money would change you, made you more complacent.” In the second verse, he goes deeper with his depression and tells the story of his friend who died in the hospital from complications after a drive-by. Lamar was on tour and wasn’t able to visit him in time. Audibly, the verse is among

the most inventive I’ve ever heard in a song. Lamar raps as if he was actually crying. You can hear the tears when listening to this one. Mid-sentence, we hear him take gulps from his glass and continue to rap. Although the song can sound like him winning in your headphones, it’s way more than just a rapper complaining how much it sucks to be famous. “Blacker the Berry,” is arguably the strongest track on the album. Lamar speaks of racism and being a black American in 2015. With allusions to Ferguson and Eric Garner, he shows his anger while asserting his pride in being black in the world with powerful lines such as “I’m as black as the heart of a f****** Aryan.” This track stands in strong contrast to the lead single “i,” which is overwhelmingly positive. Once again he speaks about his black experience and life in Compton, but focuses on self-expression and overcoming adversity which is best heard in the chorus: “He said I gotta get up, life is more than suicide/I love myself/One day at a time, sun gon’ shine.” Not writing about the production of “To Pimp a Butterfly” would be doing Lamar a disservice. Hip-hop isn’t hiphop without the beats and these are some of the best beats I’ve heard in a while. Much like how the lyrics were informed by black experience, the beats are influenced by and contain samples of the predominately black genres of funk, soul and jazz. In fact, the jazz influence is the strongest and most striking on the album. Jazz-rap hasn’t really been represented in the

mainstream since the early 90’s with acts like A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul. “For Sale?” has Lamar rapping over a free-jazz instrumental reminiscent of an Ornette Coleman recording. To further the jazz influence on the album, he enlisted the help of jazz-pianist Robert Glasper and virtuoso bassist Thundercat. The album also features production from Flying Lotus, a producer making a name for himself in the last couple of years for his inventive fusions of hip-hop, jazz and electronic music. With no songs on the new album that sound like the trendy electronic DJ Mustard style popular in right now, Lamar is taking a pretty big commercial risk. Other than “i,” which was released last year and had a presence on radio and NBA commercials, I can’t see any of the songs on here getting much air-time. No one is going to want to dance to freejazz in the club, myself included. “To Pimp a Butterfly” was designed to be heard through headphones and is best when you can give it your undivided attention. The album is already sparking a lot of discussion among fans and will continue to be talked about and listened to for a long time. In a genre where too many of its top selling artists are either afraid or too complacent to take stylistic risks, “To Pimp a Butterfly” stands out as a refreshing artistic statement from Kendrick Lamar. It’s even better than “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City.”

Jhene Aiko releases alternative R&B single SHANTAVIA THOMAS Staff Writer The little songbird we’ve grown to love has released a new single that just tickles our eardrums. Jhené Aiko describes in detail what she wants her lover to do to her body in the most intimate of ways, but of course, she makes it sound so pretty. Produced by the Fisticuffs duo, the sexy track is a new theme for the “Bed Peace” singer. The smoothness of the single is typical Jhené, staying safe in her alternative R&B genre. Lyrically, however, the song is much more sensual

than we’re used to hearing. The story of the track is Jhené having a love affair, maybe with a “sometimes” mate. Jhené’s voice is so soft and slides across the instrumental that you don’t even notice the lyrics are mildly graphic (from her typical repertoire). Jhené herself seems to be growing more comfortable in her genre of sound. Given her longevity in the music industry, the 27-yearold mother has only recently been given mainstream acknowledgement for her soulful prowess. She has solidified her placement in the genre that seems to be growing in popularity; however Jhené can confidently say she was one of the

first to pin it. When she appears on any soft instrumental, her voice takes over. The bedroom fantasy that turns into a ‘living room flow’ is very much a highly descriptive tale of foreplay and intimate intercourse. It’s definitely a new subject matter from the singer, but it doesn’t seem to bother her growing fan base. No word if Jhené will be putting out a new album this year, but “Souled Out” (2014) is still fresh in our iTunes library.tremes Drake can offer. Overall, this is a transitional period for Drake. No one was expecting an album, putting people on their heels and forcing them to judge quickly.

Critics and listeners agree that Drake is heading in the right direction. Drake is at his best when he raps with conviction. Complementary sing-alongs are inevitable, but they have to balance not overwhelm. There aren’t many songs you’ll scramble to skip and the hype is mostly gone, so “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.” Want to write for Entertainment? Contact us at:


JASMINE DAVIS Asst. Entertainment Editor

by telling her that there were “a number of inflammatory markers that are elevated, and taken together they could be a sign of early cancer.” He made her aware that CA-125 has a 50 to 75 percent chance of missing ovarian cancer at early stages and wanted her to see the surgeon as soon as possible to check her ovaries. While sharing her story, Pitt specifically let her readers know that she wanted women to know that there were options and promised to keep everyone posted on her journey because she said that it may be helpful.



On Tuesday, March 24, Australian rapper Iggy Azalea opened up about her recent breast implants during her round of Vogue’s “73 Questions.” “When I first got to the States, people told me I should think about modeling,” said Azalea. “So I went to a few agencies, but once they measured my body, they didn’t like me anymore […] I was looking in the mirror a little differently.” When she was asked by Vogue’s contributing editor Lynn Yaeger what she would change about her body, she replied, “I did change something. Four months ago, I got bigger boobs! I’d thought about it my entire life […] I decided I wasn’t into secret-keeping.” While shopping for her hot new bod with the magazine, the 24-year-old “Fancy” rapper made sure that she paid attention to pro-

portion. “I have to have everything tailored, because I have such a small waist,” she clarified. “I’m a 2 or a 0 on the top, and a 6 on the bottom.” Two years after having a preventive double mastectomy to reduce her risks of getting cancer, Oscar winner Angelina Jolie Pitt received a phone call from her doctor about the results of her blood test. She shared in her New York Times op-ed piece on Tuesday, March 24, what she had learned about her results. “A simple blood test had revealed that I carried a mutation in the BRCA1 gene,” said the 39-year-old actress. “It gave me an estimated 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. I lost my mother, grandmother and aunt to cancer.” She also shared the experience of having her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed. “I had been planning this for some time,” she said. “It is a less complex surgery than the mastectomy, but its effects are more severe.” Her doctor started off by telling her that the results of her CA-125 were normal, which is used to monitor ovarian cancer and continued


Actor Vin Diesel, 47, revealed on NBC’s Today on Monday, March 23 that he and his long-time girlfriend Paloma Jiménez named their third child together after his late “Fast and Furious” co-star Paul Walker, who died on Nov. 30, 2013. “I named her Pauline,” said Diesel. “There’s no other person that I’m thinking about as I’m cutting this umbilical cord. I knew he was there and I felt like, you know, a way to keep his memory a part of my memory, a part of my world.” Pauline’s birth was first announced on Facebook March 16 and she was a precious addition to her parents and her older sister Hania Riley Sinclair, 6, and brother Vincent Sinclair, 4. In honor of Walker on the oneyear anniversary of his death in 2014, Diesel shared a photo of Walker with his first-born daughter Hania with the caption that explained their undeniable bromance. “He was a part of so much in my life...long personal talks with my mother or babysitting the Alpha Angel...he took a certain pride in being uncle Pablo...after all, we were filming a scene in FF4 the day she was born, and he being the only one I told, encouraged me to go in and cut the umbilical cord,”

said Diesel. “He was an important part of my transition into fatherhood...that healthy family member, with the most positive outlook on life...A year ago today...a year of mourning...and his absence still leaves me speechless. We miss you Pablo.” Diesel spent a lot of time with Walker while filming “Furious 7,” which was Walker’s final film. “Furious 7” will be released all across the nation in theatres Friday, April 3.

Cinderella: A Fairytale Facelift


Once upon a time, Hollywood remade a classic film. Often when this sentence is uttered, the film is a horribly-made letdown. However, in Cinderella, all truly does end happily ever after. The new Cinderella definitely varies from the 1950 classic. In this version, everything is live action with CGI animation for Cinderella’s animal friends. There are quite a few noticeable differences from the original, but none that distract from the overall story. In fact, they add to the storyline by answering questions you didn’t even know you had. The classic film begins by stating that Cinderella lives with her stepmother because her father has died. In the remake, they begin much earlier. The beginning shows a young girl named Ella (Eloise

Webb) whose family is the epitome of perfection. Then one day her mother (Hayley Atwell) falls ill and realizes she is very close to death. She makes Ella promise to always “have courage and be kind.” Ella keeps this saying with her throughout the film. It seems to explain why she puts up with her stepmother. After the tearful moment of Ella’s mother death, the film skips ahead to her teenage years. Ella’s father (Ben Chaplin) asks for permission to remarry to a woman named Lady Tremaine. Ella (now Lily James) allows it because she wants her father to feel happiness. It’s only a few minutes later that one of the most heartbreaking scenes happens. Ella’s father is a travelling merchant and must leave for work again. Ella does not want him to go and makes him promise he will return. He does not. Ella is then made to live in the attic and take care of her stepmother and stepsisters. They are still just

as evil as the original. Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) and Drisella (Sophie McShera) decide to call her Cinderella because she’s a “dirty wench” covered in cinders. As this happens, Lady Tremaine just laughs. Played by the beautiful Cate Blanchette, she is not nearly as scary as the original stepmother, yet still downright bad. Cinderella has her mice to keep her company but they don’t sew nor sing. In fact, this version is not very musical at all. Ella hums a lot but the classic songs aren’t really heard. The one exception is a beautiful instrumental of “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” during the ball when Cinderella dances with her prince. This version added a subplot involving her prince that is quite melancholy. In the classic Cinderella, the king wants the prince to marry so he can have grandchildren. In the new version, the king wants the prince to marry because he is dying. The court also wants the prince

to marry a princess to help protect their kingdom. This is something the prince, Kit, does not want to do after coming across Cinderella in the forest. He throws the ball so he can see her again. Overall, Cinderella was wonderfully made. If I did not have a nostalgic attachment to the original I might even say it was better. The amount of detail put into this film was extraordinary. The clothes alone were breathtaking, not to mention the background. With every outfit Lady Tremaine wore, the audience would gasp at its elegance. The acting was also superb. Helena Bonham Carter is the standout with her narration and portrayal of the fairy godmother. Cinderella is meant for nostalgic adults and children who probably have never even seen the original. The added storylines update it for the modern audience without distracting from the classic tale. A truly magical film.


Jackie Herro: Bold, Bald and Beautiful

S J U a l u m n a r e f l e c t s o n a n n i v e s a r y o f h e r S t . B a l d r i c k ’s e x p e r i e n c e


Jackie Herro shaved her head in 2014 in honor of her late boyfriend and for all of those afflicted with the disease. She raised $7,000 for the


Staff Writer

In the middle of her senior year, two months shy of graduation, Jackie Herro walked into the D’Angelo Center with a head full of hair—hair that would soon be in her hands and no longer on her head. It was March 20, 2014 during common hour when the buzzing of shavers and cheers of supporters filled the living room in DAC. St. Baldrick’s Day was celebrated again last Thursday, March 19 in the same place in DAC. A year has gone by, and Herro reflected on one of the most memorable and profound times in her life. Her day started out like any other: she felt completely normal, as if she wasn’t going to be bald within a few hours. “I didn’t feel scared until they called my name to go up on stage,” Herro said. “I was like ‘Oh my God, that’s me!’” Herro found out about the event the year before, completely by accident. “I was getting lunch in DAC during common hour and heard the commotion and walked over to see what was going on,” Herro said. “I couldn’t believe I had never heard of it before. I was ready to walk downstairs and do it right then and there but my roommates talked me into waiting for the following year so I was more prepared and could raise money,” she said. Over the course of the following year, Herro made up her mind to “brave the shave” the following year. She never once used that year to contemplate whether or not she should go through with it—she used that year to its fullest potential. “I’m thankful for that year because it gave me the time to raise as much money as possible, and buy really cute headbands,” Herro jokingly said. She signed up early and created a fundraising goal of $2,000, and nearly quadrupled that by raising just over $7,000. Herro had al-

most 100 people sponsoring her, from friends and family, to friends of friends and even strangers. “I will forever be blown away by the kindness of people and the way they supported me,” Herro said. “I had boutiques back in Jersey do fundraisers for me. A group of my girlfriends saved their change for months and that came out to over $200,” she said. Herro recalled the morning of St. Baldrick’s Day and how one of her roommates decorated their house with balloons that had money hanging from the strings. “I could go on and on. It’s still hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that so many people were willing to give in such fun ways to support me,” she said. Herro has always been very passionate towards the cause. She has participated in many fundraisers in the past, but never an event like St. Baldrick’s. She has been inspired to support childhood cancer research by high school boyfriend, Christo-


“He has inspired me to do many things in my life,” Herro said. “He battled brain cancer for three years before passing away. During his journey, I spent a lot of time with him in and out of children’s hospitals and I saw some of the most heartbreaking things you could ever imagine,” she said. According to Herro, Christopher was the influence behind her decision to participate in the event, but the money she was able to raise was aimed towards “all children battling illnesses.” Looking back at the moment of shaver to head, emotions flooded Herro. “I cried the entire time they were cutting my hair, but never one sad tear,” Herro said. When Herro was on stage and looked into the audience, she saw everyone she loves and the conscious thought of doing what she did for Christopher was an emotional ride. She needed a moment before she was able to look in the mirror or touch her head afterwards.

“Once I got the initial feel and look out of the way, I don’t think I have ever felt more beautiful or happy with who I was,” Herro said. Herro learned a lot about other people as well as herself. Her eyes were opened to how much society focuses on appearances. Herro described the experience of going to get breakfast the morning after the shave with her friend, and how she got stared at countless times. At first, she said she felt strong and the stares didn’t bother her. After a few weeks though, she began to get a bit frustrated at people constantly staring. “I didn’t care they were staring because I was bald,” she said. “I cared because it made me think – God forbid – I was actually sick and lost my hair due to an illness and they had no idea.” She questioned if that was the way people looked at children or adults battling an illness. “For whatever reason, being different is sometimes not accepted in this world we live in. But that made me even more proud to walk around with my bald head, living in solidarity with those who didn’t have a choice in losing their hair,” Herro said. Herro never once regretted her decision to brave the shave. She spends much of her time volunteering and participating in events for different charities and continues to raise money and awareness for cancer research. “I think people are petrified of the idea of curing cancer because it seems so out of reach,” Herro said. “But it is important to see that the little things, like volunteering and doing walks here and there will one day be the reason cancer doesn’t exist.” “St. Baldrick’s was without a doubt the most amazing experience of my life,” Herro said. “I wish everyone would participate to see that something as little as donating your hair or cutting it all off can make a difference in the life of someone who hasn’t been as fortunate,” she said.

The immigrant song Compiled by: LIVIA PAULA

Assistant Features Editor


Jasiel Martin-Odoom

Many people talk about the wonders of leaving their comfort zone; they believe that it allows room for growth and to discover aspects of life they never thought they would. For some, leaving their comfort zone means to literally leave the place they were born and raised and head on an adventure—a path that might transform their lives. Junior Jasiel K.N. Martin-Odoom was born and raised in Ghana. Although he loved Ghana, he could not ignore his desire to travel and explore other parts of the world. He made the decision to leave his home and study in the U.S. “What made me want to study someplace else was a mixture of curiosity, sense of adventure and a crazy passion to learn from a different country and perhaps use that experience for the improvement of my country,” Martin-Odoom said. Martin-Odoom is a junior at St. John’s University, he is pursuing a degree in criminal justice and forensic psychology. According to Martin-Odoom, St. John’s became his second home, which is why he is highly involved on campus. He is a resident assistant, a DNY Peer Leader, student ambassador and the president of the Ozanam Society. Martin-Odoom said that the relationships he had with both family and friends back home is what he misses the most. He faced culture shock, which is one thing that most people deal with when they move to a different place. In Martin-Odoom’s case, culture shock “hit him” the hardest in his speech. Growing up in Ghana, he never spoke differently from everybody else. In the United States, this was a different story. “I have always been a talker,” he said. However, when he came to NY, his accent was always pointed out. “After spending 19 plus years with people who sound like you, when every other person points out your accent, it shocks you to the core,” he said. Despite the struggle, he never got discouraged. “After a while, the accent became my thing,” Martin-Odoom said. Failure was his biggest fear when he left Ghana. “My family had put aside a lot to bring me here and I did not want to fail them,” he said. “And I still do not want to.” He said he is always striving to be excellent in everything he does. Martin-Odoom made the most out of his opportunities. According to him, he was able to grow substantially throughout his time in New York. “I am too much of a global citizen to call just one place home,” he said.


Delanique Millwood The beautiful island of Jamaica is many people’s dream vacation. The weather, the relaxed atmosphere, beaches and the captivating Jamaican Patois makes you want to pack your summer clothes and escape the busy big city routine. For St. John’s junior Delanique Millwood, this Caribbean paradise is home. Millwood describes the place where she was born and raised as a small, energetic island. Hectic New Yorkers dream of that carefree enviornment. In Millwood’s case, living in a place without any worries actually concerned her. “I didn’t want to become a lazy island gal, you know?” Millwood said. “So I thought that moving to the U.S., especially New York, would change my mindset.” Millwood is a career peer, a member of the advertising club and the secretary of the St. John’s Fashion Club. Fashion plays a huge role in Millwood’s life, and she began to view New York City as her second home. “I love fashion, and that is how I stimulate my creativity in anything,” Millwood said. “New York is full of inspiration, [and] that is what I was lacking back home, in Jamaica.” A big change sometimes comes with challenges and perhaps fears. Yet, such obstacles can only be as big as a person makes them. “Moving here, my biggest fear was becoming disconnected with my childhood friends and [the] authenticity of my culture,” Millwood said. “When I got here, my biggest challenge was finding real Caribbean people who attended SJU, and not those whose grandmother’s mother was born in Jamaica so they claim being Jamaican,” she joked. Millwood isn’t the same Jamaican gal from three years ago. Her initial idea that moving to New York would transform her was exactly what happened. “I became a woman, you know?” Millwood said. “I am more responsible, open-minded, risk-taking, and just learning as I go along.” Although she lives in the fashion capital, it is impossible for her to forget her roots. When she described Jamaicans, she shared a historical not-so-fun fact about her motherland, and how Jamaica was ruled by the British and became independent in 1962. “Now we are people full of laughter and love,” Millwood said. “As our motto says ‘out of many, one people,’” she said.


Erick Reyes

Since he was six years old, Erick Reyes was in love with tennis. He knew from an early age that the sport would be a huge part of his life. “Tennis is everything that I have and do, and everything I am as a person,” he said. Reyes left his home in Santa Cruz, Bolivia to play professional tennis. When he was playing in Mexico, he suffered a bad shoulder injury and stopped playing on the professional level. However, he moved to Argentina and kept on playing tennis. When he was 20 years old, he made a choice to move to the United States to not only continue on playing the sport he loved, but to also get a good college education. His first stop was Kansas, where he studied in Wichita State University. It wasn’t the right fit for him, though. Reyes needed to be in a much faster paced environment where he was surrounded by excitement. “I always wanted to live in a big city, so New York City would be the perfect place for me,” he said. Reyes started to reach out to other schools. It was then when a friend told him to apply to St. John’s and get in contact with their tennis coach. He decided to move to New York City, where he studies communications as a senior at St. John’s University. He said that adapting to New York was very easy for the most part. Reyes has been independent since an early age, so moving from Wichita to New York was a much easier transition to him at this stage in his life than if he had moved here without traveling to any other countries before. The responsibility aspect he learned through playing a sport was something that helped in his personal life as well. Reyes also said he wasn’t scared to meet people because he knew he would grow closer to his teammates. “If I wasn’t an athlete, maybe I would’ve had a harder time,” he said. Although he didn’t have insecurities about moving, he was timid at first to speak English and to express himself. Luckily, this feeling went away quickly. The beauty of sports, especially popular ones like tennis, is that you can find people all over the world that might be interested in it. Reyes wants to pursue a professional career after college, and New York isn’t the final stop on his destination. “I don’t plan to go back to Bolivia, not yet at least,” Reyes said. “I am already planning where to go next. It could be in the U.S., Europe, anywhere.”


Explore the world, write your own story DIANA COLAPIETRO

Torch Photo Editor

Lagos, Portugal


The sun was shining on a 94 degree day in Rome, Italy as the students exited the airplane. It was Aug. 19, and the Discover the World squad just landed in the first country of their European journey. They wiped the sweat from their brows, gathered their luggage and met the St. John’s representatives to embark on a 40 minute bus ride to campus. Studying abroad is one of the most life changing experiences in which a student may partake. It teaches independence, patience, time management and budgeting skills—and these are some of the many practical abilities that supplement the lessons a person can learn from various cultures. After spending five weeks in each city, Rome, Seville and Paris, I now have a deeper understanding of my responsibility as a global citizen to raise awareness and appreciation for different cultures. My first week in Rome consisted of orientation, exploring the neighborhood and indulging in gelato, the most delicious frozen treat in the entire world. Nothing can be compared to a creamy Nutella gelato in a freshly baked sugar cone with homemade whipped cream on a hot, summer day. As the DTW students practiced their Italian speaking skills at local businesses, started classes and settled into their “when in Rome” routine, they began to consider potential trips. Planning trips is one of the most stressful, yet exciting aspects of studying abroad. The person must not only pick the most convenient time to go away, but also make sure they get on a tour before it fills up. On top of that, the person must always verify if they have enough funds for transportation, food and trinkets and souvenirs. It is challenging to plan with other people who have their own goals and budgets to manage. This is how you learn patience, a universal virtue that can also be a critical skill in any country. By the end of the first five weeks, the St. John’s students were professionals at navigating through awkward language barrier situations and had tried every single flavor at the local gelateria. It was time to pack up and move onto the next destination: Seville, Spain. Seville is different from Rome and Paris because it is relatively rural. The dirt paths to go in and out of the hostel where students live greatly contrasts with the concrete, urban atmosphere seen in the other two cities. However, different does not necessarily mean better or worse. For instance, instead of savoring gelato, the students were trying churros with chocolate syrup. There is a difference between the two treats and, depending on your personal preference, one may be better than the other. In my opinion, gelato is the winner. The best—and worst—aspect of Spanish culture is the siesta, also known as the nap in the middle of the day. Coming from bustling New York City, it is not easy to transition to a slow-paced culture in which businesses close for a few hours in the middle of each day. But if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Once you embrace the siesta and give it a chance, it is truly a beautiful tradition. My only advice is to try not to get too accustomed to it as readjusting to your normal schedule may be challenging (and disappointing). While in Spain, my friends and I spontaneously decided to book a trip to Lagos for a weekend. Although I did not know exactly what to expect, I was so excited to check it out and be surprised, and that is the beauty of studying abroad. During our time in Lagos, my friends and I discovered beautiful rock formations on an afternoon boat ride, explored the city center and spent our last day kayaking. Lagos is truly extraordinary. The next and final stop of the Discover the World journey was Paris. Actress Audrey Hepburn couldn’t have been more accurate when she said, “Paris is always a good idea.” After the warm, humid temperatures of both Rome and Seville, Paris was a welcome climate change from summer to crisp, autumn weather. Upon seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle for the first time at night from the airplane, I immediately recognized something spectacular about the city that I still cannot quite explain. There is a magical energy in Paris that is unlike anything I have ever experienced. In addition to admiring artwork showcased in museums like the Louvre and D’Orsay, walking along the Seine River became my favorite pastime. I will never forget the feeling of tranquility while slowly strolling through the leaves on the cobblestone, during the day and night. For most people, studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It is known that college is a great time for you to find yourself. I didn’t just learn about myself, but also about my relationships with close friends and strangers I met throughout my journey. When you are familiar with the way in which people around the world live, you are then able to carry what you learn back to your home. You are able to change your life and expand your personal horizons. Saint Augustine once said: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Never stop reading.



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While silent emotional sparks ignited the room, there was a calm assurance that the team’s final tribute to its coach would be paid. For many of them it was their last game, too. Lapchick gave an upbeat, honest summation, but he didn’t want his team too high. “Don’t believe that stuff you’ve been reading about winning this game for me,” he pleaded again before the game. “Win it for yourselves.” Lapchick traditionally remained in the locker room as the Redmen warmed up; he was usually too nervous to go out and chat with courtside crowds of sportswriters and fans who wanted to wish him good luck. He didn’t sleep much the last few nights, but he was up for the game. He would more than make it. When it reached three minutes before game time, Lapchick stood erect, walked out of the locker room, and made his last stroll through the Garden runway. As his tall frame approached the playing floor, a long, loud jolt of recognition erupted fro the crowd as it welcomed him, and he instinctively tipped an imaginary hat in appreciation. All 18,499 Garden seats were filled for the final game. Within a day, fifteen hundred St. John’s tickets were sold. The student body sensed the Redmen would win and history would be made. They shouted encouragement, hoping all the pieces would come together for the old coach. As the horn sounded, the team gathered for final instructions and the huddled binding of hands and intentions that were sealed with a quick prayer. “Our Lady of Victory, pray for us,” was a subconscious urging of outside forces to produce a happy ending. As he watched his starting five of Jerry Houston and Sonny Dove walk from the bench, joined by Kenny and Bobby McIntyre and Bobby Duerr, he saw confidence mingled with determination on their faces. “They’re ready,” Lapchick knew. The old coach sat back for his last game. Continued on page 16






Friday, March 20th, marked the 50th Anniversary of Coach Lapchick’s final game, a 55-51 victory over Villanova in the 1965 NIT Finals. Coach Lapchick is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. The following excerpt has been taken from the book “Lapchick” written by Gus Alfieri, Class of 1959. Alfieri was co-captain on Coach Joe Lapchick’s 1958-59 team that won both the Holiday Festival and the NIT. The St. John’s players floated past the NBC cameramen tuning up for their nationally televised NIT finale. The tournament continued to capture excitement in spite of NCAA competition. Maybe it was the Garden mystique the New York media, or just the tradition associated with it. The NIT still turned heads and sports pages. Players filed into the room and noticed their last pregame report on the blackboard. Red road uniforms gradually replaced their blue blazers. Above the scouting report was Assistant Coach Lou Carnesecca’s victory equation: “Guts, Will to Win, And Team Play = Champs!”



Coach Lapchick’s 50th NIT Championship Win Anniversary

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lanova began to chip away. Slowly cutting the lead 2 points at a time, Villanova showed the poise that made it a top-ten team. But then the game took a After Villanova missed its first shot, Houston dramatic turn in Villanova’s favor when George Leftcrossed half-court, looking to get St. John’s off on wich glided into position and at the 6:22 mark drilled top. He spotted an opening, beat the ailing Bill a sixteen-foot push shot that electrified the Garden Melchionni to the basket, scored, was fouled, and and television audience and cut the lead to one, completed the 3-point play. The Johnnies were on 50-49. Lapchick called a time-out to get a read on the board and had the lead. how his players were reacting to the comeback, and While the team’s early momentum had the game he was amazed how confident Houston and Kenny McIntyre seemed. The players had been there before [Lapchick’s] insides and were not going to let each other down. churned like a steamship‘s St. John’s had not worked to this point to play engines, but he knew he’d dead. Kenny McIntyre spotted his brother, Bobrather be here than anyby, heading to the basket up the right side of the place in the world. court. He made a quick pass to the cutting forward, who caught it on the fly and floated it in for a layup under control, Lapchick felt tension building in his and free throw, putting the Wildcats at arms’ length chest. His insides churned like a steamship‘s enagain, 53-49. With fewer than twenty seconds, gines, but he knew he’d rather be here than anyplace Villanova’s Eric Erickson made a difficult shot that in the world. It was his last game, and he was trying narrowed the score to 53-51. St. John’s sat on the to enjoy it. As the game progressed, he sensed the 2-point lead trying to “eat the clock” when Houston players had paid attention and were executing their was deliberately fouled by Erickson. With seven game plan, which boiled down to patience. With no seconds left, and two free throws, Houston had a shot clock, the deliberate strategy kept St. John’s on chance to ice the game. top at halftime 36-28. Continued on page 17 As Lapchick walked slowly from the court, he tried to digest every aspect of the game, breathing in its ambience that would have to last a lifetime. He walked slowly, pausing outside the locker room to review his strategy. Lapchick again reminded the team to look for good shots, but not to rush. He was satisfied with their performance, but both knew there was a second half. After everyone seemed settled, Lapchick sent the team out to loosen up. In the second half, Villanova switched tactics and came after St. John’s in a man-to-man defense. The Redmen were caught off guard at first but they continued pounding the boards, played good defense, and maintained a comfortable lead. The team seemed in control of itself and the game. The sellout crowd was a definite “sixth man,” actively encouraging every Redmen play. Despite a 14-point Redmen lead, midway through the second half Vil-

Coach Lapchick continued from page 15






and “Mr. Basketball,” their hero. The crowd found him somewhere near halfcourt and hoisted him up as he tried reaching out to shake Bobby McIntyre’s hand. In a few seconds, both were lost in a sea of euphoria. When the mob scene subsided, the McIntyres and the rest of the team carefully lifted their coach for a brief victory lap around the court. Why not? He had carried them for years. Among all the praise was the fact that Lapchick’s St. John’s teams had won an unprecedented fourth National Invitation Tournament, a feat that would never be matched. As he was carried around the court, waving to hysterical fans, he repeatedly shouted to himself,, “What a way to go!” He would repeat that expression throughout the night. The game ended in a dead heat with Lapchick’s coaching career. The scoreboard continued to post the 55-51 final score. Like a sharp knife cut, the end of his coaching career wasn’t felt at first. It took time to reach his senses. Lapchick was basking in victory, not wanting to face its solemnity. He reran the results in his mind while blotting out the there would be no more. This was it. There was no better ending to a career than the one he just experience; it was the way to go.




Continued on page 18


Quick Facts on Lapchick’s final game and 1965 NIT win 1. All 18,499 seats of Madison Square Garden were filled

4. St. John’s starting five were Jerry Houston, Sonny Dove, brothers Kenny & Bobby McIntrye and Bobby Duerr

3. St. John’s played Villanova


2. Lapchick’s team had won four NITs, a feat that any other team has yet to accomplish


5. The final score was 55-51




“Two Shots,” the official barked as he handed Houston the damp ball and moved to his left. The guard dried his hands on his pants and pumped up the first. All net. Three points, he said to himself. With only a few ticks left on the clock, the second one would ice the game. “Swish.” It was over. The team had given the “Old Man the appropriated send-off. The buzzer released a flood of tension in the Big Indian, energy that caused him to uncharacteristically dash onto the Garden floor. He hugged the players as if they were his children, and then he was swamped in a sea of gratitude and appreciation from the student body. Joe Lapchick was never so excited; it was a dream come true, the stuff of storybook ending that rarely happen except in those corny 1930s feelgood films, but it was happening to him. He had remained low-key during the game, not wanting his team to get lost in its emotion, but now all hell broke loose. “Everyone was in a frenzy immediately after the game,” the New York Post reported. For a frozen moment after the horn sounded, the large student body under the 50th Street basket was stunned, hundreds of them sat back to soak up the scene, as if framing it in their minds. Then, suddenly, the St. John’s fans exploded onto the floor like pellets from a shotgun, like swarming locusts seeking out the Redmen team



Continued from page 17


scribe asked. McIntyre knew the student editor probably couldn’t understand what he was about to say, but he gave it a try. “He would say things to you, and you would think, ‘I’m going to show that sonofabitch.’” But he thought some more and clarified it. “After a game if you played well, and won, and while you’re sitting by your locker saying to yourself, ‘I really showed him tonight,’ he would come by, tap you on the back and say, ‘Nice game, kid,’ and that made it all worth it.” McIntyre was describing what separated Joe Lapchick from all the pretenders who call



As Lapchick was called out to accept the victory trophy, the Garden crowd, all 18,499 of them, gave him a frenzied five-minute ovation. It would be his last.

themselves coaches. This was a man who inspired through the reputation and manner he projected, and all the attempts to explain why he couldn’t go on doing what he excelled in seemed absurd to the young athlete. After literally lacing up sneakers for more than fifty years, Lapchick now had to walk away from the only life he knew. He could successfully sell cars, give speeches, or represent a corporation, but he knew how quickly fame disappears, like a puff from an Old Gold. Lapchick knew how much he would miss basketball. A late-winter snow was blanketing the city, but the warmth in Madison Square Garden would have melted a blizzard. That afternoon, Lapchick took a long time to leave Madison Square Garden. As he and Carnesecca crossed the Garden floor, a cleaning man he had known for years called down from the mezzanine. “Good luck, Joe.” Lapchick shaded his eyes and squinted to pick out the voice, then waved to the well-wisher. A Life magazine photographer caught Lapchick’s final image in this building, which housed many good memories. Both would soon be torn down. With his tan tweed overcoat draped over his left shoulder. Be raised his right hand and stretched out his long arm, providing a classic farewell. Walking down the stairs past the courtside seats to the runway, an exit sign caught his eye. And, as if on cue, Joe Lapchick quietly made his last departure into the late afternoon snow.



As sportswriters encircled the victorious coach, on the other side of the locker room The Torch editor questioned a dazed Bobby McIntyre. “Why did you guys play so hard for Coach?” The sweaty player tried to think among the merrymaking, and then answered honestly. “We respected him so much,” he started, “but we never played for him, we played to show him.” “What do you mean?” the inquisitive



Continued from page 18


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Obekpa-less Johnnies can’t figure out SDSU WILSON SY Staff Writer

The shorthanded Red Storm battled and competed, but could not overcome the size and depth of San Diego State. Without big man Chris Obekpa, out due to suspension caused by a failed drug test, and having four starters play 39 minutes, the Johnnies did not have enough to come out with the victory. After making the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three years, No. 9 St. John’s fell to No. 8 San Diego State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament 76-64 at the Time Warner Cable Center in Charlotte, N.C. St. John’s was led by their four seniors along with sophomore Rysheed Jordan. Sir’Dominic Pointer capped off his excellent senior season with game-highs of 21 points and 10 rebounds. D’Angelo Harrison finished with 18 points, Jordan scored 10 points (all in the second half) Phil Greene IV netted nine points and Jamal Branch chipped in with six. Harrison said, “We tried our best man. I played my hardest, I did what I could. We just came up short.” On the other side, the Red Storm bench scored zero points in a total of 23 minutes, as opposed to the Aztecs bench scoring 24 points.

The Aztecs were led by JJ O’Brien who took advantage of every mismatch. The 6’7” forward scored 18 points connecting on 8-of-12 from the field. Senior forward Dwayne Polee II, a former Johnny in 2011, finished with 15 points, including five three-pointers, while sophomore forward Matt Shirigley chipped in 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting of the field. During the first minutes of the game, Rysheed Jordan picked up two fouls, forcing the Johnnies to play their bench, which had little to no contribution on the night. Even though the Red Storm shot 15-of-30 from the field in the first half, the Aztecs was draining threes from all over the court. As soon as Jordan was subbed out, San Diego’s Dwayne Polee II connected on three straight triples. The Johnnies were led by the active Sir’Dominic Pointer in the early half, scoring 11 points in the first nine minutes, including three transition layups, before suffering a hip injury late first half.” This loss marks the end of the collegiate careers for Harrison, Greene IV, Pointer, Branch and Ndiaye. The futures of Obekpa and Jordan remain uncertain until further notice. “I’m proud of this group of seniors for taking us on this ride and restoring pride in St. John’s by getting us back to the NCAA Tournament,” said head coach Steve Lavin. “They’ve represented the

University in a first-class manner. These kids are superheroes in my eyes. I look up to them and I told them as much after

the game. I’ve had 27 years in the business and I probably admire this group more than any that I’ve coached.”


Chris Obekpa’s benching was too much for the Johnnies to overcome against SDSU.

St. John’s offense fires on all cylinders versus Fordham Four Red Storm players finish in double figures, Handford scores game-high 23 WILSON SY Staff Writer

After defeating the Fordham Rams 77-63 in a solid all-around team performance, the St. John’s women’s basketball team is headed to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament Round of 16 for the third time in the program’s history. St. John’s will take on conference rival Villanova in Philadelphia this Thursday, March 26 at 7 p.m. The Red Storm shot nearly 51% of the field, along with scoring a season-high 77 point outburst. They also had four players score double-figures for the first time since Dec. 11 in a win over the University of Central Florida. “I thought this was one of our most complete games of the year,” said St. John’s head coach Joe Tartamella. “We did a great job on both ends and withstood some runs. We didn’t turn the ball over, which was a big emphasis going into the game. 18 assists and 10 turnovers is a good day for us, and having four in double figures was good to see. Overall, I’m very proud of these young ladies and like I said the other day, anytime you have an opportuni-

ty to play in the postseason, you can’t take it for granted. We’re very excited to have the opportunity to move on and continue our season.” St. John’s was led by All-Big-East first team Aliyyah Handford, who scored 19 of her game-high 23 points in the first half, along with registering her fourth double-double of the year pulling down 10 rebounds. Jade Walker scored 17 points on 8-for-12 shooting in just 21 minutes of playing time. Danaejah Grant contributed with 16 points along with no turnovers in 35 minutes of action, while Amber Thompson had a great all-around performance finishing with 12 points, eight boards, four steals and two blocks. Controlling the offense was point guard Aaliyah Lewis, who had a gamehigh eight assists. On the other side, Fordham was led by senior forward Emily Tapio, who finished the last game of her collegiate career with 19 points on 8-of-10 shots. Graduate student Tiffany Ruffin also added 19 points as well. After St. John’s started out with an early 9-4 lead, the Rams responded with a 9-0 run, with a couple of jumpers by sophomore guard Hannah Misery who scored five of her 11 points during the stretch. The Red Storm responded by going

on an 11-2 run in the next two and a half minutes to build a 20-15 lead with just under 12 minutes left in the first half. Handford was feeling it all in first half, scoring seven points during that run with just a couple of missed shots going half-way down and around the basket. St. John’s held a 38-30 lead at halftime. Fordham got as close as two in the

second half after two back-to-back buckets by Emily Tapio at the start of the period making it 38-36. St. John’s refused to relinquish its lead after leading 49-46; they connected on five consecutive shots and made it 61-53 with 8:33 left. The Red Storm had its biggest lead of 73-57 at the 2:38 mark after a Jade Walker jumper to close out on a 14-point win.


Aliyyah Handford soars high above Fordham defense on Sunday in WNIT.

St. John’s wins 13th straight home opener Blankmeyer improves to 18-2 in home openers as St. John’s head coach

BRANDON MAUK Assistant Sports Editor

Mother Nature could no longer deny the St. John’s baseball team from winning their 13th consecutive home opener. Five pitchers combined for a sixhit shutout as the Red Storm defeated Central Connecticut State 3-0, The Red Storm’s record now stands to improve to 9-8 on the season. Head coach Ed Blankmeyer is now 18-2 in his career at St. John’s in home openers. “I think this has been the longest spell in which we haven’t played a home game,” said Blankmeyer. “Obviously, there’s no place like home. The guys like playing at the Jack. We’re just happy to get onto this field and get some work done.” The snow that accumulated over the winter in New York forced the Red Storm to move what should have been their first home series last weekend against Holy Cross elsewhere, and the first two games of this weekend’s series against CCSU were canceled. But this didn’t stop the Red Storm from winning their third straight game. “It feels good to be on the field,” said Cody Stashak, who earned the win in his first home start at St. John’s. “Good to see there’s grass instead of all white.” Stashak earned his team-leading third

win of the season. He struck out 10 batters and allowed just four hits in five innings. CCSU had some chances with runners in scoring position, but Stashak shut the door every time. “I just get that edge. I just go out and get outs, make sure nobody scores because I don’t like it when people score

“I think this has been the longest spell in which we haven’t played a home game. Obviously, there’s no place like home. The guys like playing at the Jack. We’re just happy to get onto this field and get some work done.

-Ed Blankmeyer-

on me,” he said. Alex Katz, Joe Kuzia, Matt Clancy and Thomas Hackimer each scored a scoreless inning to finish off the shutout. Kuzia is coming off a career-high 13 strikeout performance on Saint Patrick’s Day against Fairfield. He leads the team with a 1.02 ERA in 17.2 IP. “We have a great bullpen,” said Stashak. “I have no worries coming out of the game with them getting the job done.”

The offense scored a run with two outs in the second, third and fourth inning. Over a half of St. John’s runs batted in have come with two outs this season. Freshman OF Anthony Brocato and senior RF Zach Lauricella had the first two RBI’s and junior catcher Tyler Sanchez hit an RBI triple to finish the scoring in the fourth. “I think just when we have guys on base it’s really simple,” said sophomore OF Michael Donadio, who went 2-for-4 with a double and scored. “I just try to get the guy in, try to just get ahead in the count and hit the ball hard. It’s been working for us so far.” The Johnnies had trouble consistently driving runners in with runners in scoring position, as they left 10 players on base. “Offensively, I think we’re going to be pretty good, but we are, I called it, ‘disjointed,’” said Blankmeyer. “We have some guys who are doing nice jobs and some other people are struggling. When we start rolling and figuring this thing out and getting some at-bats they’ll be fine.” St. John’s won their first game of a nine-game homestand leading into conference play. Things are trending up for them as the weather continues to warm up. St. John’s beat Saint Peter’s 3-2 on Tuesday to improve to 10-8 on the year.


Cody Stashak struck out a career-high 10 in 5 innings of work.

St. John’s finishes sixth overall at NCAA Championships Senior Isis Washington win national championship in women’s epee KIESHA RAYMOND Contributing Writer

The St. John’s fencing team had a strong finish to the season. They finished in sixth place at the 2015 NCAA Fencing Champions at French Fieldhouse of Ohio State University with a total score of 137 points. The Red Storm maintained its streak of finishing sixth or higher at the national championship for 23 years. Five fencers for the Red Storm earned All-American honors, which includes senior Isis Washington, who became the 22nd national champion in the program history by winning the 2015 NCAA Fencing Champion. Washington won against Julia Garcia of New Jersey Institute of Technology in the women’s epee finals. She won the match 15-6 to win the gold medal and All-American honor for the first time in her career. Senior Marta Hausman and junior Irene Spezzamonte took home All-American honors two years in a row. Hausman tied for third and claimed the bronze medal. Hausman lost to No. 1 seed Lee Kiefer of Notre Dame 15-7. Kiefer would later on claim the national title. Spezzamonte improved from 10th place last year to eighth overall this year with a record 13-10 to earn second-team

All-American honors. Hausman on the overall season said, “I’m happy with the season overall. I had better and worse performances throughout the season but I had a very strong finish at the regionals and then most importantly at the NCAA champions. I’m fully satisfied with my third place. Making top 4 this year only increased my appetite for next year’s championships.” After taking a year off, sophomore Margaret McDonald returned to the national championship and finished in 15th place with a 9-14 record in the women’s saber event. Freshman Veronika Zuikova, who was making her NCAA championship debut, finished with a record of 12-10 for 12th place in the women’s epee. On the men’s side, saber fencers and juniors Roman Sydorenko and Ferenc Valkai both had 17 wins in pool play. No. 3 seed Sydorenko would face and lose to Andrew Mackiewicz of Penn State 158 to take home the bronze medal. No. 4 Valkai would lose to Eli Dershwitz of Harvard 15-10 in the finals to claim the silver medal. Valkai said, “Losing a final is always hard, but I am really happy that I could make it to the NCAA top two for the second year in a row. This season was long and tough, but I’m proud to be a member of one of the strongest teams in the country and one of, if not the most, successful team of St. John’s.”


Isis Washington (r.) became the 22nd national champion in St. John’s fencing history after winning the women’s epee at the 2015 NCAA Fencing Championships.

St. John’s track having a season for the ages A deep Red Storm roster has one goal on the season, ‘Eugene in 15’ CARMINE CARCIERI Staff Writer

The women’s track and field program has always had their fair share of success at St. John’s under Jim Hurt but this season has become impressive because of the special group of student-athletes that look to improve on their past seasons. “We have a collection of young ladies that are serious, talented, highly successful, disciplined and prepared,” said coach Hurt, who is in his 26th year as head coach of Red Storm, said. “They are great student-athletes who work hard and maintain a high level of focus.” The team has already put together a critical program boosting finish as they came out on top in the Metropolitan Indoor Championships after three straight years as runner-ups. The Red Storm has shown a true team effort so far this season, as six seniors, junior Pariis Garcia and rising star junior Stephanie Van Pelt have led them to national prominence in the Big East. “Garcia has ran some great times in multiple events and Stephanie [Van Pelt] has really progressed,” coach Hurt said. “It’s really a testament to how hard the student-athletes work.” Van Pelt, who has stepped up to be a difference-maker this season, has felt

that both her and her teammates are getting better week-by-week. “I’m getting used to the training,” Van Pelt said. “Coach always says it’s a twoyear process and I think it’s finally starting to click for me.” As the brutal winter weather becomes a thought of the past, the outdoor track and field season is starting to help a roster that has depth and ability in every event from long distance running to throwing events. “We are actually better outside than inside,” coach Hurt said. “So when we get back on that track we are looking for consistent work. We are a very unique team because we have a full roster. We can score in a lot of different events, which puts us in a great position to come out on top.” The Big East Conference is competitive as ever and is loaded with talent from top to bottom (Georgetown and Providence are some of the top schools) but St. John’s certainly has the firepower to match those squads. The confidence that has been instilled after a third place finish in the Big East Indoor Championships is critical to a strong second half of the season where the ladies expect to make a run. “The goal is always to win,” Van Pelt said. “Every year [Coach Hurt] makes up a slogan. This year it’s ‘Eugene 15’ as in NCAAs. It’s important that we continue

to make progress so we can achieve this goal.” And as the team heads down to Georgia and Jacksonville in the coming weeks, there is one goal in mind.

“We want to be at the top of the podium,” coach Hurt stated. “Not just in one event but in all the championships.”


The St. John’s track and field Team is opening eyes across the nation during their record breaking 2015 campaign.

Softball falls to Dartmouth, head to Butler to open Big East Burner and Free earn spots on Big East Weekly Honor Roll REZA MORENO Staff Writer

On Thursday, March 19, the Red Storm were defeated by Dartmouth 5-2 in Queens, N.Y. It has been 11 consecutive days of being off the field for games since playing against Rhode Island at the JMU Dukes Invitational. This past weekend, the softball team was supposed to go into back-to-back play against DePaul, but due to the low weather conditions, the three games were cancelled as they weren’t able to play their first conference games. Lexi Robles was St. John’s first runner of the game, reaching first base on a walk. Then Krystal Puga got a hit to right center putting two base runners on with one out. Following Puga, Erin Burner hit a sacrifice fly to deep center, scoring Robles for St. John’s first run of the game 1-0. Five innings later after a pitching battle between the Red Storm and Big Green, Dartmouth was able to take advantage in the top six according to the press release. Thanks to Burner, St. John’s was able to make a comeback towards the bottom half as she hit a solo shot deep over the right-center fence tying them for 2-2. Dartmouth was able to make three runs on only two hits after both teams were still tied until after the eighth inning leading the Big Green 5-2. Af-

ter not playing for 11 games straight, the team did well as they combined with all four pitchers, including Tori Free who pitched well her third-inning start. Then McKenzie Murray allowed only one hit in the two innings she played, while Grace Kramer gave up a pair of runs on only one hit in her inning, according to the press release. This weekend, St. John’s will head over to Butler to play back-to-back for their first conference games of the season.


Erin Burner drove in a run on a sac fly in the Johnnies 5-2 win over Dartmouth.


Tori Free drove struck out eight in 3.2 innings of work in the Red Storm’s 5-2 win over Dartmouth.

Harrison and Pointer have racked up the accolades at SJU BRANDON MAUK Assistant Sports Editor

Sir’ Dominic Pointer


-Ranked third in Big East play in points per game (17.3 PPG)

-Became the third mem-Member of the All-Big ber of the 2000-point club in East First Team for the sec- school history (2178 points) ond straight year -Record holder for the -Fifth St. John’s player to most three-pointers made in be named to the All-Big East school history First Team multiple times -Scored in double digits in -Named to the USBWA 28-of-31 games this season All-District II Team for the second straight year -Career: 17.4 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.0 APG


-Became the 50th member of the 1000-point club in -Big East Co-Defensive Play- school history (1078) er of the Year -Ranked first in Big East -Big East Most Improved play in field goal percentage (.524) Player -Ranked third in Big East play -Member of the All-Big East in steals per game (2.0) and Second Team blocks per game (2.5) -Named to the USBWA -Ranked fourth in Big East All-District II Team play in rebounds per game (7.7)

With the loss of five seniors, St. John’s future uncertain Will Obekpa and Jordan declare for the NBA Draft? STEPHEN ZITOLO Sports Editor

On Saturday night, the St. John’s men’s basketball team’s NCAA Tournament run came to a quick end in the second round versus San Diego State as they fell 76-64. The game should have and could have ended differently. The biggest problem the Red Storm had coming into the season was their lack of size. But with 6-foot-10 junior forward Chris Obekpa protecting the rim and the athleticism of senior G/F Sir’Dominic Pointer doing the same, they were able to withstand their lack of size and have a successful season.


D’Angelo Harrison

But that success didn’t carry over to the postseason. According to reports, Obekpa tested positive for marijuana prior to the NCAA Tournament and head coach Steve Lavin decided to suspend him for two weeks on Selection Sunday. Without Obekpa in the line-up, St. John’s was too undersized to combat the SDSU big men and that was a big part of why they lost. “Oh, I am upset about it and I will have some words for him when we get back,” Harrison told the NY Daily News. “All we needed was a little push from the big guy. I’m disappointed and this should have been a very different ending for all of us.” The season came to an end for St. John’s, but what also came to an end were the collegiate careers of the first recruiting class of Lavin in 2011. The class would be ranked as the third best in the nation coming in and the future looked bright for the Red Storm. The class included what are well-known names and faces around campus like D’Angelo Harrison, Pointer, Phil Greene IV, Jamal Branch and Khadim Ndiaye. It took time for the main pieces of the class to come together and be the team that Lavin envisioned. In the 2011-12 season they won 13, in 2012-13 they won 17, in 2013-14 they won 20 and in 2014-15 they won 21 games. Their goal was to get the program back to an elite


Sir’ Dominic Pointer

level, to be nationally recognized again. This season they did that; they made it back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011 and were ranked as high as 15th nationally. “I’m proud of this group of seniors for taking us on this ride and restoring pride in St. John’s by getting us back to the NCAA Tournament. They’ve represented the University in a first-class manner,” Lavin said. “This has been the most gratifying year of my coaching career because of the opportunity to participate in this senior class’s journey.” The seniors finished their collegiate careers leaving a lasting legacy on the Red Storm. Harrison finished third alltime in scoring in school history with 2,178 points, Greene IV finished with 1,243 points and Pointer finished with 1,078 points. Combine those numbers with the play of Branch and Ndiaye and that gave the Johnnies 71 wins over the last four years and three straight postseason appearances. Going into next season, St. John’s is going to have a lot of question marks. First off, Steve Lavin is heading into the final year of his contract. Reports are that Lavin is going to come back and is currently working on an extension with the administration. With the loss of five seniors, three of which were starters and played crucial minutes night in and night out, how will


Phil Greene IV

the Red Storm replace the production of Harrison, Greene and Pointer? With all of the production leaving, will sophomore guard Rysheed Jordan and Chris Obekpa declare for the NBA Draft? If that happens, what will the Red Storm do? Is their recruiting class for 2015 (so far it includes: G Brandon Sampson, G Samir Doughty, G Sammy Barnes-Thompkins) going to be enough to keep them competitive in the Big East next season?

“I’m proud of this group of seniors for taking us on this ride and restoring pride in St. John’s by getting us back to the NCAA Tournament.This has been the most gratifying year of my coaching career because of the opportunity to participate in this senior class’s journey.”

-Steve Lavin-

For St. John’s to be competitive next season, I believe Jordan and Obekpa will have to return. The offseason is sure to have its twists and turns for the Red Storm; only time will tell what the Johnnies will look like next season.


Jamal Branch

SPORTS March 25 2015 | VOLUME 92, ISSUE 17 |

Read on page 23


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