Jamaica may have a bobsled team, but its Caribbean neighbor Dominica fielded not one, but two cross-country ski competitors in the Sochi Olympic Games, which concluded a few short days ago.
Dominica, a tiny island nation of around 72,000 people, doesn’t really have any native skiers, or even snow to ski on. What Dominica does have, however, is a path to citizenship, and, by extension, the Olympics, for the low, low price of $178,530.
That was the path taken–or, so says Deadspin’s Dave McKenna–by one Gary di Silvestri (COL ’89), a New York native, and his Italian-born wife, Angelica Morrone di Silvestri.
Having made “a financial contribution to the country that went to different projects” after a visit to Dominica “years ago” (di Silvestri’s own words), the couple became dual citizens. Around 2012, the exact details are hazy, the di Silvestris created the Dominica Ski Federation, and subsequently began to hop the globe, from one cross-country skiing event to another, in an attempt to qualify for Sochi in 2014.
Only 36 hours removed from their disheartening road loss Thursday night to Seton Hall, the Georgetown men’s basketball team (16-11, 7-8 Big East) regained their form Saturday at Verizon Center, as they cruised to a 74-52 blowout win over Xavier (18-9, 8-6 Big East). The win snaps the Hoyas’ two-game losing streak and avenges their earlier defeat this season to the Musketeers, who came back from a 17-point deficit en route to an 80-67 win on Jan. 15.
“It feels good because they beat us the first time and you’re able to get them back,” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said following the game.
In their past two contests against St. John’s and Seton Hall, lackluster starts to the game doomed the Hoyas’ prospects for success. In an effort to reverse this alarming trend, Thompson inserted junior forward Jabril Trawick into the starting lineup to replace freshman forward Reggie Cameron. The tinkering surely paid dividends for the Blue and Gray, as they jumped out to a 42-26 halftime lead which they never looked back from. As a result, Thompson anticipates starting Trawick in the future.
Over the years, Georgetown has sent quite a few athletes to go for the gold and represent the good ol’ USA in the Olympics. Here’s a brief look at a few of these Hoyas.
Check out a more in-depth look at some Georgetown Olympians in this week’s feature in the Voice tomorrow.
Aimee Mullins (SFS ’98): Track and Field, 1996 Paralympics
An amazingly inspirational story, Mullins was the first double amputee to compete in NCAA Division 1 track and field during her time at Georgetown, double majoring in history and diplomacy. She then went on to compete in the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta, shocking the world with her record-breaking times.
Missy Schwen Ryan (COL ’94): Rowing, 1996 and 2000 Olympics
Ryan won a silver medal in rowing in the 1996 Olympics. After recovering from a kidney donation to her brother months after the ’96 games, Ryan came back to win a bronze medal in the 2000 Olympics. In 2010 she was inducted into the rowing National Hall of Fame.
Georgetown Athletic Director Lee Reed announced today that Rob Sgarlata (C’94) has been named the new head coach of the Georgetown football program. Sgarlata has been a member of the Georgetown coaching staff for the past 18 seasons, including the last eight as Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator. He replaces Kevin Kelly, who resigned to become the defensive coordinator at Ball State. Since Kelly’s departure on Jan. 30, Sgarlata served as interim head coach of the program.
“Rob Sgarlata brings a wealth of relevant experience to his new leadership role in our football program,” Reed said. “As a coach and an educator, he has shown his commitment to the holistic development of student-athletes as well as his passion for the game of football. I look forward to working with Rob to ensure that Georgetown football is a quality experience for his players.”
With the hire, the Georgetown football program now has a leader who has lived and breathed Georgetown football for over two decades. Sgarlata, four-year letterman at running back from 1990-1993, is eighth all-time in career rushing attempts for Georgetown. Following his graduation from the College in 1994, where he majored in government and international relations, Sgarlata coached the defensive line from 1995-1996 as well as from 2002-2004. He also served as wide receivers and tight ends coach from 1996-2000 and offensive line coach during the 2001 campaign. In 2005, Sgarlata assumed his defensive coordinator position, where he worked the past eight seasons.
In a game filled with NCAA Tournament ramifications for both teams, St. John’s (17-9, 7-6 Big East) came out firing from the start, riding a 15-0 game-opening run and hot shooting to a 82-60 wire-to-wire victory over Georgetown (15-10, 6-7 Big East). The Red Storm exacted revenge for their earlier loss at the hands of the Hoyas, who defeated them in similar blowout fashion 77-60 at Verizon Center Jan. 4.
“We all know that today wasn’t how we want to play,” junior guard Jabril Trawick said. “That was unacceptable and we just got to come out and play hard every minute of the game. We can’t have any lapses like we did tonight.”
The Hoyas failed to contain the St. John’s backcourt duo of junior guard D’Angelo Harrison and freshman guard Rysheed Jordan, as each erupted for a game-high 24 points, with two-headed tandem shooting a combined 15-of-26 from the field. Harrison. In their prior matchup against the Hoyas, the two guards only managed a combined 6 points, with Harrison alone shooting an anemic 1-of-12 from the field.
“We did a good job playing as a group. We were hungry for this win,” Harrison said. “We came out with a lot of energy.”
In a back-and-forth affair at Verizon Center Monday night, which saw both teams exchange eight different leads, as well tied on five different occasions, the Georgetown men’s basketball team (15-9, 6-6 Big East) prevailed over Providence (16-9, 6-6 Big East) 83-71.
Providence senior guard Bryce Cotton erupted for 31 points, but the Hoyas’ hot shooting in the second half proved decisive, as the Blue and Gray extended their winning streak to four games. Down 54-47 with 10:25 remaining in the second half, the Hoyas went on a 36-17 run to close the game and get themselves back to .500 in Big East play for the first time since Jan. 18.
“We still have a ways to go. I like the way our guys are competing,” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said following the victory. “We’ve had different guys step up and make big plays.”
The Georgetown backcourt of sophomore guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and senior guard Markel Starks continued their strong performance from their previous game against Butler, as the duo shot a combined 13-of-25 from the field. Smith-Rivera padded the stat sheet with a team-high 22 points and five assists, as well as five rebounds.
The Georgetown men’s basketball team (14-9, 5-6 Big East) continued its winning ways on Saturday afternoon at Verizon Center, defeating Butler (10-13, 2-9 Big East) 71-63 in the annual Gray-Out Game in front of 13,011 fans. Catapulted by the strong backcourt play of senior guard Markel Starks and sophomore guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, the Hoyas earned their third consecutive victory and completed their season sweep of the Bulldogs.
Starks, whose strong play has led the way during their winning stretch, scored a team-high 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including seven assists, while also playing the whole duration of the game. Smith-Rivera added 18 points on 5-of-11 shooting and pulled down five rebounds.
“Today’s game was just a fun game,” Starks said following the win. “Obviously down the stretch we have to be smarter, I think we all understand that, but today’s game was just a fun game.”
After the game, Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III praised Starks’ performance, specifically his defensive effort. Starks made life difficult Butler’s leading scorer, sophomore guard Kellen Dunham, who had to battle for 15 points on 4-of-11 shooting.
The wait is over. In a mid-season non-conference matchup at Madison Square Garden, the Georgetown men’s basketball team (12-9, 3-6 Big East) pulled off an upset against No. 6 Michigan State 64-60 to end the team’s five-game losing streak.
“That’s a good win and I would feel that way regardless of who the opposition was…but that is a good win against a very good team, “Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said following the much-needed victory. “I told the team before the game, let’s not come in here and have to listen to me give a speech after the game. We went out and played hard.”
In a reversal of roles, the Hoyas returned to full strength, while the Spartans played with a depleted roster. The Hoyas returned senior center Moses Ayegba from a one game suspension related to “pre-enrollment reconciliation and junior guard Jabril Trawick played increased minutes in his second game back from a broken jaw. Meanwhile, the Spartans played their second consecutive game without senior forward Adreian Payne and junior forward Branden Dawson due to injuries. And Georgetown took advantage.
Georgetown Football Head Coach Kevin Kelly announced today that he will resign his head coaching position in order to become the defensive coordinator at Ball State University. Current Georgetown assistant head coach and defensive coordinator, Rob Sgarlata (C’94) has been named interim head coach, while a national search commences for Kelly’s replacement.
“We are grateful to Coach Kelly for his service to Georgetown and for his devotion to the education and overall development of his players,” Georgetown Athletic Director Lee Reed said. “While on the Hilltop, he embraced the challenge of coaching this program in the highly competitive Patriot League and has helped to build a strong foundation. We wish him well in his new position.”
Kelly spent the last eight seasons as head coach of the Hoyas, compiling a record of 24-63. Despite the program struggles with only five wins in Kelly’s first four seasons, including a winless 2009 campaign, the Hoyas started to make strides in the past few years, winning a combined 17 games from 2010-2012 seasons. In 2011, Kelly’s best season by far, the Hoyas finished 8-3 runner-up in the Patriot League, with Kelly winning Patriot League Coach of the Year for his efforts. This past season in 2013, beset by injuries primarily at the quarterback and defense, the Hoyas finished with 2-9, their worst record in four seasons.
Not quite enough. Again.
The Hoyas (11-9, 3-6 Big East) played one of their strongest games of the season against No. 9 Villanova (18-2, 7-1 Big East), but again fell short 60-65. This was the fifth straight loss for the Hoyas who have also lost six of their last seven. This streak is tied with another for the longest of Head Coach John Thompson III’s tenure.
“We haven’t been in this situation too often. Don’t plan on being in it too long. This is how I’m interpreting this question: Are you guys going to get down?… Are you going to stop competing? That’s not them. I think the group understands who we are,” said Thompson of his team’s morale going forward. “I think we’re a different team now than we anticipated coming into the year. We’re a different team now than we were the first half of this year. With all that being said, I’m not saying this group is not going to lose confidence, but this group is not going to lose faith in each other.”
With the schedule coming to perhaps the toughest stretch of the season, the Hoyas, now 7th in the Big East, (11-8, 3-5 Big East) will have to beat the No. 9 Villanova Wildcats (17-2, 6-1 Big East) to avoid the first five-game losing streak since the 2010-11 season.
With junior center Joshua Smith gone for the year for academic ineligibility and junior guard Jabril Trawick still recovering from a broken jaw, Head Coach John Thompson III will have to rely even more on guards senior Markel Starks and sophomore D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera for production and leadership. Both players, however, are averaging career highs in minutes with Starks averaging 36.8 minutes per game and Smith-Rivera averaging 34.9 minutes per game.
The Hoya bench, unfortunately, has not compensated for the loss of production. In the games against Marquette and Creighton, both losses, the Georgetown reserves combined for only ten points. Injuries and academic issues among players have even forced Thompson to play seldom used reserves guards Stephen Domingo and John Caprio. During the Marquette game, Caprio played a career high of 22 minutes, and came two point shot away of matching his career high of four points. As Caprio’s minutes rise, the Hoya’s losses and number of sad Georgetown fans will likely increase as well.