Sports

Dude, Where's My Football?

Triton football. It has a nice ring to it. It sounds … almost natural. So, what happened? Melissa Chow Guardian It seems each incoming freshman class arrives with questions about the lack of a football team at UCSD, and most of these questions go unanswered because very few know the chain of events that has led UCSD athletics all the way to Division II without a football program. The UCSD athletic department has had its hands full in recent years with its transition to the more competitive Division II, and the discussion of a UCSD football team seems to have faded into the ether. Most of what is going around now regarding the history of football at UCSD are vague half-truths and rumors. Here are the facts: Triton football was once a reality. There have been numerous attempts to bring football back to UCSD in some way, shape or form, all of which were unsuccessful. The only full-contact football being played at UCSD these days is Chargers preseason practice. The outlook for a UCSD athletics-run Triton football program happening in the near future is grim. Here at UCSD, the ghost of football past is a tormented soul, indeed. Back in the fall of 1968 is when the hallowed story of Triton football begins. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from head coach Walt Hackett that any with a brave enough heart come out and join the newly instated Triton football team. The team was formed, and it played its first game against the University of La Verne. The mighty Tritons fell 41-6. Next came the perennial division powerhouse, Cal Lutheran University. The mighty Tritons fell 56-8. These scores pretty well characterize the mighty Tritons’ entire 0-7 inaugural season. The real humiliation though was UCSD’s game against Cal Tech. At that time, the Cal Tech football team was the bottom of the barrel. It was so bad, it literally hadn’t won a game in years. Though it was close (the only close game of the season for UCSD), the diminutive Tritons fell 34-31. Rumor has it there were parties at Cal Tech for years after on the anniversary of the win. Apparently the humiliation was just too much, and UCSD football was scrapped at the end of the ’68-’69 academic year. There was an effort to bring the team back for the fall 1971 season, but it has met with lackluster support, and the effort fizzled. That was pretty much it for Triton football until the late ’80s, when there again was a push to bring the gridiron back to UCSD. According to Bill Gannon, sports information director at UCSD, the A.S. Council put three referendums on the ballot. There was one each in 1987, 1989 and 1994, all of which provided for a small increase in student fees to fund a football team. He said that all of the referenda were officially supported by the athletic department and each garnered about 60 percent of the vote. None of them, however, passed. This is because two of the referendums needed a two-thirds vote, and the other required that 20 percent of the undergraduate population vote in order to form a quorum, which it did not. After that, the focus of the athletic department moved from football to the transition to Division II. “”The idea of a football program here pretty much died when the athletic department realized that Division III didn’t make any more sense,”” Gannon said. “”No [Division II] schools but Davis has a team … and no Division III schools would play us anymore.”” That didn’t stop some UCSD students in 1997 from starting a football club team on their own. The UCSD football club team was organized by students who simply wanted to play. The founders of the team manned tables in the Price Center and in front of Center Hall to recruit students to be on the team. According to early football club member Richard Downing, who graduated from Roosevelt College in 1998, their recruitment and organizational efforts met with some success and some hardship in the beginning. “”Overall we had a lot of support from the student body and even some of the administration,”” Downing said. “”But at times it could get pretty frustrating when we’d hear students laughing, or when people would come up to the table and ask ‘Is this a joke?'”” The team received little funding from the school, and the players had to pay for almost all the expenses. The club ended up playing two games — one in 1997 and one in 1998, both against Cal Lutheran University. The 1997 game featured a Triton squad 35-strong and ended with UCSD losing 0-66. According to former club team member Brian Halderson, who graduated from Warren College in 1999, they came expecting to play third- and fourth-stringers from Cal Lu. “”I guess they thought we would be bringing out a bunch of ringers, so we ended up playing their first string the first half,”” he said. “”The second half wasn’t nearly as bad [as the first].”” The second game also ended with a Triton shutout, but the margin was not nearly as wide, with Cal Lu coming out on top 35-0. After its original organizers graduated, the UCSD football club did not return in 1999, and there has been no UCSD full-contact football team since. The future of football at UCSD is unclear, at best. Since the move to Division II, the lack of football programs at this level make it very difficult to find teams to play without getting on an airplane for most of the away games. “”There are far more teams dropping football than adding,”” said Regina Sullivan, associate athletics director at UCSD. Also, federal Title IX regulations mandate that athletic participation be representative of the student population in terms of the proportion of men to women. According to Sullivan, that would entail adding three women’s sports, which would make the financial burden even higher. It seems the only way football could come back to UCSD in the near future would be in the form of another club team, which has its own drawbacks, mainly being the high costs of equipment and liability insurance. “”The money can be raised,”” Halderson said. “”The equipment can be bought. The fields are there. If like 60 students who wanted to play just got together and said, ‘We want to play football,’ it would happen.”” Downing believes it’s just a question of motivation: “”Do the people who want it want it bad enough?”” ...

UCSD Club Sports

Sailing Team The UCSD sailing team is hoping to finish the season on a high note. With the completion of the final three races, the team’s goal is to improve on its 10th place showing in the Pacific Coast Sailing Championships last year. The veteran leadership of Ben Dahlin, Sarah Rozycki, R.J. Ward and Rob Grant has tremendously helped the team so far. These experienced crew members have guided the Tritons to many victories over their cross-town rival, San Diego State University. Looking to improve its chances this season, the UCSD sailing team mixed things up by pitting different crew members with the skippers. At the Stoney Burke Regatta and Sloop Pacific Coast Championships in October, the Tritons finished in 12th place and sixth place respectively. UCSD sailing team members Grant, Sonya Sankaran, Glen Richards, Kim Leung and Matt Kyler yielded impressive results with victories over San Jose State University, Cal Poly Pomona and the University of Oregon. In the following month at the North/South Intersectional Regatta, the team battled hard in cold temperatures. Finishing 17th out of 20 total spots, the Tritons fared admirably in the 40-degree weather. The three teams that UCSD defeated were Pepperdine, SDSU and the College of Marin. Despite suffering a setback from the beginning because they were unable to use a Laser boat, the Tritons made good use of what they did have. Ward finished second in one race and Grant had a consistent fifth place showing in his events. With many members who can rise to the occasion, the Tritons have a positive outlook on the remainder of the sailing 2001 season Upcoming Events Saturday, January 20th *Men’s Rugby v. Stanford @ Stanford; 1 p.m. *Women’s Rugby v. UCSB @ UCSB; 11 a.m. *Men’s/Women’s Ultimate Santa Barbara Tournament @ UCSB; all day — Compiled by Gloria Chung ...

Women Drop Two During Tough Road-Trip

After a strong beginning to the season, the UCSD women’s basketball team has been on a downturn of late. David Pilz Guardian This theme continued last weekend as the Tritons lost two games on the road. UCSD was defeated by Cal Poly Pomona 93-76 on Friday and also lost to CSU San Bernardino 56-51 on Saturday. Friday, the Tritons faced a large task as their opponents, the Cal Poly Broncos, are ranked first overall in the California Collegiate Athletic Association. UCSD started out strong and looked as if they would run away with the upset victory, leading at one point by 13 points, 36-23, with 5:57 remaining in the first half. The Broncos made a run, though, and narrowed the game to 46-42 by the break. The Tritons never got anything going in the second half. Three of their players, including two starters, suffered with three fouls a piece heading into the final period. “”We stopped handling their pressure,”” said Triton head coach Judy Malone. “”We got into foul trouble. When you get into foul trouble, you don’t defend as well. They pressed the whole game.”” Cal Poly, too, had trouble, but their young but deep bench helped them out of the morass. It was all Broncos in the second half. Up 65-63, the home team rambled off a 20-2 run and never looked back. Triton star Maya Fok lead her team with 14 points, four assists and three steals. Ali Ginn scored 14, Nicholle Bromley added 12 and Ashley Kokjohn chipped in with 10 points. The Broncos were lead by Lauri McIntosh, who scored 16. UCSD had better luck against San Bernardino but still came up short. San Bernardino controlled the first half and boasted a 30-23 lead heading into the break. UCSD made a run during the second half. The Tritons outscored their opponents in the second half but still came up short where it really counted, losing the game 56-51. “”We came out flat,”” Malone said. “”At the end, we had a chance to win it, but they made their free throws.”” Fok, again the Triton leading scorer, was the only UCSD player to score in double figures, logging 12 points. Genevieve Ruvald was dominant on the boards, grabbing nine rebounds. Amy George lead San Bernardino with 13 points and six rebounds. The Tritons record has dropped as of late, falling to 7-6 overall and 3-5 in CCAA competition. “”We’re learning,”” Malone said. “”Division II is a different animal. They’re very athletic, quick. It’s a very physical league. We need to get more physical.”” The Tritons hope to rebound this weekend, when they play their first home games since classes resumed for winter quarter. They did have a large tournament at the end of December, but fellow Tritons were still in the thralls of their hard earned winter break. “”It’s big,”” Malone said. “”We’re lucky to have this record after all the games on the road. We’re happy to be at home.”” On Friday, UCSD hosts California State University Los Angeles at 8 p.m. This will be the first of two games against Los Angeles, with the second coming on the road at the end February. On Saturday, CSU Dominguez Hills pays a visit for a 6 p.m. game. Dominguez will also feel the Tritons’ wrath during a game in February. ...

Motorcross Mayhem Musings

There I sat, surrounded by drooling yokels and corn-fed half-breeds. They had crawled out of every backwoods barn and hillside shanty to pack the seats of San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium. The sickening stench of exhaust wafted up from the track below, mixing with the audience’s putrid nacho cheese breath and body odor — so foul that it could only emanate from the dirtiest of unwashed heathens. So there I was huddled, shivering in my seat in Qualcomm’s frosty night air, wondering why I was among them. Ah, yes, the race. Below me the mud-caked bikes boisterously made their way around the track for the umpteenth time, while the 60,000 or so other moto-enthusiasts cheered wildly. For me, it was more like watching a friend play the classic Nintendo game Excitebike, except without the excitement. So instead I concentrated on the contents of my 20-ounce plastic cup, which, contrary to what the price I paid might indicate, was filled with neither liquid gold nor rare Pokemon cards. Alas, it was but domestic beer, but I greedily gulped it down, if to do nothing more than combat the rising nausea brought on by the fumes now permeating the stadium’s every nook and cranny. What is it that had these yahoos on the edge of their seats, eyeballs bulging as yet another lap began? Clearly, these people are of a different stripe. One need look no further than the Q’s parking lot to realize that, as it was stacked sky-high with gleaming monuments of mechanical carriage. It was a veritable smorgasbord of automobile excess, with monster trucks rising three stories high, and it was stocked with motors that appeared (and sounded) capable of running a 757 jet or one of California’s belabored “”power”” plants. A look at the bumper stickers adorning the beasts gave a more extensive glimpse into the mind of a race fan. For the most part they bore witty, urbane slogans such as, “”Save a Mouse, Eat a Pussy,”” or “”Got Ass?,”” which I hope is a play on the popular milk campaign and not an anatomical inquiry. I knew I was out of my element as soon as I entered the lot. As the rest of the race patrons revved their engines and offroaded over the metal barriers, I slinked on in with my friends, packed six deep in an Oldsmobile sedan with a rust-ridden roof. Ours was such a manly rig that it was actually dwarfed by the tires of many of the passing cars and trucks. The gear-heads scoffed at our impotent little set of wheels as they passed in a roar of exhaust, yelling such derisive, stinging insults as, “”Hey Mario Andretti, see ya at the Grand Prix!,”” and “”Yo knuckle heads, how many horses ya packing under the hood?”” We absorbed the heat from the toothless goons and finally found a parking spot, beginning what was the impetus for many of us to take our friend up on his offer of free tickets to the event-the fastidious consumption of malt liquor. We hunkered down in the shadows of the other behemoths parked around us and began taking generous pulls from our King Cobra Foaties. We polished those off in good time and continued our “”tail-gate,”” which was kind of hard with neither a tail nor a gate, by cracking a 30-pack of the good ol’ red, white and blues. Budweisers, I mean of course, and we drank not to get drunk — well, maybe that was part of it — but mostly to feel at home among our parking lot brethren. Once drunk enough to make the trek from the car to our seats, we headed in, only to be met by the tired, dirty debacle that is motocross racing and the stomach churning odors of our 60,000 friends. ...

Triton Star Finds Fun and Friends at UCSD

All right, pop quiz: what do visualization, confidence, practice, and McDonald’s food all have in common? Give up? Well, they are all parts of UCSD point guard Maya Fok’s pregame ritual, of course. Courtesy UCSD Athletics “”I have McDonald’s before every game”” Fok laughed. Just don’t tell the opposing coaches, or they might start waving fries at her on the court a la Grant Hill in those McDonald’s commercials. Whatever Fok’s routine consists of, it appears to be working. She is among the team’s leaders in steals, assists, scoring, minutes played, three-pointers and free throws. Her 2.38 steals per game rank her seventh in the league, while her 3.15 assists per game ties her with teammate Genevieve Ruvald for eleventh in the conference. The 5’5″” junior is even averaging 2.3 rebounds per game. But Fok’s contributions don’t stop there. “”She’s a very strong, dynamic leader,”” said head coach Judy Malone. “”[She’s] very outspoken and a very high-energy person.”” In fact, her energy was a problem at the beginning of the season. “”She’s a little bit quicker than we are at times and she gets down the floor quicker than everyone and tries to do it all herself,”” Malone said. “”[Now] she’s doing better controlling and setting up the offense.”” Not only is Fok directing the offense, but she is also leading the Tritons during their inaugural season in Division II. A transfer from UC Davis, Fok came to UCSD after feuding with her Davis coach and being kicked off the team after her sophomore year. “”I was a little too intense,”” Fok said. “”The coach didn’t really like me, which was weird since I was recruited so heavily. My sophomore year we didn’t make it into the playoffs (Fok was benched for a significant part of the season) and the coach told me there wasn’t a spot for me next year, and that the team ‘wasn’t going in my direction.'”” She then called every team in the conference, hoping to be able to play for a team that would get to face Davis. After talking to Malone, Fok decided to play for UCSD and hasn’t looked back since. “”I feel a lot more comfortable here,”” she said. “”The people on the team are great and it’s just a lot more fun.”” In turn, Fok delivers to UCSD experience playing at the Division II level and terrific ball-handling skills which doesn’t have Coach Malone missing last year’s point guard, who went to Japan. “”[Fok brings] confidence and a very competitive attitude,”” Malone said. “”She also has the mental toughness necessary for her leadership role.”” “”I love pressure,”” Fok said. “”Crunch time is the best part about playing. When you can pull it off under pressure, it’s the greatest feeling in the world. “”I really don’t care if I don’t score. Getting an assist on the game-winning shot is my dream.”” Unfortunately, her game-winning shot in UCSD’s season opener against Point Loma Nazarene with 0.8 seconds left, and her clinching free throws in the 21st Annual UCSD Doubletree Invitational Championship game have left her short of her dream. What’s Fok’s secret for dealing with pressure? “”I talk to myself a lot,”” she laughed. Despite her eccentricities (or perhaps because of them), Fok and her teammates have quickly bonded and come to rely upon each other. “”I just want to go all out for [the team],”” she said. “”Especially the seniors, I admire them so much. I want to cherish every second I have with them and make the best out of this year.”” To do that, according to Fok, the team needs to work on perfecting the mental aspect of the game. “”It’s not an issue of heart,”” she said. “”We have to be mentally prepared and gain some consistency. And gain confidence. I want them to be as confident in me as I am in them. Once we play to our potential, I know we can beat anybody in our conference.”” With the ball resting in the capable hands of Maya Fok, the last thing she should have to worry about is her team’s confidence. ...

Road Unkind to Tritons

The UCSD men’s basketball team seems to have gotten off on the wrong foot this season, and that trend continued on the road this past weekend. The Tritons’ losses were in the double digits during both weekend games. At California Polytechnic University at Pomona, UCSD came up short 91-67. At California State University, San Bernardino, the Tritons fell again, this time 75-52. David Pilz Guardian The Tritons knew going in that they weren’t going to have an easy time against either squad, as both are tied for first place in the California Collegiate Athletic Association. The Tritons were not playing half bad against Cal Poly, leading 19-13 with 10 minutes remaining in the first half. Then, Broncos star Lucas Lecour went on a tear, scoring 10 points in a row. He finished the first half with 18 points and led all scorers with 24 points for the game. The second half was more of the same as Cal Poly cruised to a 91-67 victory. UCSD has been deadly from three-point land this season, but it was Cal Poly this time around that was deadly from long range. The Tritons were only 10-26 from beyond the arc, a .385 shooting percentage. Cal Poly on the other hand was unconscious from downtown, hitting 8 out of 16. Cal Poly was also successful at the foul line, making 25-28 from the charity stripe. Nick Christensen lead UCSD with 13 points and Clark Goolsby chipped in with 11. For Lecour’s effort, he was named the Rawlings CCAA Men’s Basketball Player of the Week. “”We’re good for stretches, but we’re not competitive for 40 minutes,”” said Triton head coach Greg Lanthier. “”We’re too young.”” The story remained the same after a trip down the freeway to San Bernardino. The Tritons fell way behind in the first half, looking at a 35-19 deficit heading into the break. UCSD made somewhat of a run in the second half, being only outscored by seven in that period. San Bernardino was just too skilled, winning 75-52. UCSD had only one player in double-digit scoring; Erik Ramp scored 15 points in the game. San Bernardino was guided by Michael Edwards with 13 and Chris Mattice with 12. “”They’re just head and shoulders above the rest of the conference,”” Lanthier said. “”There’s a difference between losing to San Bernardino and Cal Poly.”” UCSD’s record fell to 2-11 overall and 1-7 in CCAA play with the weekend’s losses. The Tritons hope to get back on the winning side of things this weekend as they play their first home games since school resumed for the winter quarter. “”We haven’t been home in like six weeks,”” Lanthier said. “”We played our last nine of 14 games here at home. Whether we’ll win or not I don’t know, but we’ll be competitive.”” CSU Los Angeles is up for a game on Friday at 6 p.m. and CSU Dominguez Hills pays a visit on Saturday at 8 p.m. ...

UCSD Tennis Looks Strong

If this weekend was any type of barometer, the UCSD men’s tennis team looks like it will have a good spring. The Tritons were well-represented at the 2001 Cal State L.A. Tennis Invitational, held on Jan. 13 and 14. In the men’s singles lower level flights, three out of the four semi-finalists were Tritons. Amir Nejad, Blake Wilson-Hayden and Sameer Chopra were the talented three vying for the top spot. The final was exclusively made up of UCSD players, featuring Chopra facing off against Nejad. Chopra made quick work of his teammate, winning handily 6-2, 6-2. In the upper flight category, two Tritons tried to make their presence known. Unfortunately, the results were less than stellar. Cory Moderink was unable to get out of the first round and Dan Albrecht and Jeff Wilson bowed out in the second round. However, Everett Schroeter did make it to the quarter finals. The men’s doubles teams were not to be outdone in tournament play. In the lower flights, the Triton duo of Nejad and Schroeter took the title while in the upper flights the team of Chopra and Wilson survived until falling, 9-7, in the finals. The women did not attend the event. Originally scheduled to span three days, the tournament was shortened to two days because of rain. ...

You Can't Puck with Hockey

As a hockey fanatic, I feel it necessary to defend the sport that I follow with such a passion. From the time I started following hockey — when the Minnesota North Stars packed their sticks and pucks and migrated down south to Dallas — to now, I have noticed that hockey, as a sport, and the players that play it, do not receive the respect they so dearly deserve. Perhaps I find this lack of respect as a personal insult because I too play hockey. OK, OK, so rollerhockey isn’t “”real”” hockey and intramural floor hockey is far from the ice as possible. And I’m not Canadian, Swedish, Russian, Finnish or Czech. I’m Chinese and Vietnamese. Hell, I don’t think there’s even ice in Vietnam. Despite these setbacks, I still carry the mentality of a hockey player: The team comes first, pain is secondary. Sacrifice. Passion. All for the sport. To the untrained eye, the game of hockey is just a bunch of big guys with weird accents skating on ice and bashing each other all over the boards. The critics are, well, correct. But hockey is much more than goons (yes, that’s a hockey term) pummeling each other with roundhouses. Hockey is a game of skill, speed, instinct, and yes, brute strength. If you are a good player, there is a reason behind every single movement, every flick of the wrists, nod of the head, and stutter-step. Though it may not seem so on television, hockey is a game that is played at a blinding speed. And it takes immense skill to move and balance oneself while keeping an eye out for 100 mph pucks and the forearm of a 6’4″” defenseman, let alone finely tuning a wrist shop or a one-time slapper while under all this pressure. Balance is the key. Hockey is a game of juxtaposing concepts. All players, from a power-forward the size of Keith Tkachuk to the sniper Peter Bondra, need soft hands to score goals or to make the floating pass over defending sticks. At the same time, fists of granite like those of Darren McCarty’s or Chris Simon’s are needed to defend your team’s stars. Pure skill, like that of Jaromir Jagr and amazing puck control skills are also crucial. All the while, brute strength is required to barrel through a crushing check or two defenders. Compared to professional players from other sports, hockey players stand in a league of their own. From their mentality to their willingness to sacrifice everything for the team while on ice, hockey players’ devotion to the sport is unparalleled. Hockey players play injured. Mike Modano played with a broken wrist in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1999. Brent Gilchrist took a puck in the mouth, breaking most of his teeth. He was shot up with pain killers and was out on the ice the next period. Superstars like Steve Yzerman and Keith Primeau lay their bodies on the ice to block 90 to 100 mph slap shots. Though most people would say these players are crazy for laying their bodies on the line, it just shows how much these players love their sport. More importantly, it shows they’re not playing for the money; they’re playing for the love of the game. I cannot find this devotion in any other sport. Football players complain about sprained wrists. Basketball players complain about sprained ankles. And, on the average, these players get paid much, much more than a hockey player. The size of the contract is also testament to how much hockey players are underappreciated. The highest paid hockey player right now is the Dominator, Dominik Hasek. He clocks in $10 million a year, and rightfully so. Yes, $10 million a year is absurd to pay for a person that plays a child’s game but compared to other sports, $10 million is mere change. Look at Alex Rodriguez. Trust me, playing goalie is, without doubt, the most difficult position to play, in any sport. A tiny, frozen, rubber puck flies off the stick of Al McInnis at 110 mph and is aimed straight at you. It’s not a pleasant situation to be in. Despite what most people say, watching hockey is far from being a bore. As mentioned before, it’s a fast-paced game, and following the puck becomes easier. But the epitome of human achievement in sports is winning the Stanley Cup. The Holy Grail of hockey is considered by many, even hockey enthusiasts, as the most difficult championship to win. Think about it. After 82 bone crushing, regular season games, NHL players still have to play up to another 28 playoff games. Playoff hockey is different. It’s more intense. It’s more electric. You can smell the tension in the air. The Cup is in sight and nothing, not a broken arm or a concussion will stop the players from getting to it. Non-enthusiasts do not realize this, but there is no ending a playoff game if there is a tie after overtime. The game continues, literally, into the wee hours of the morning until the final goal is scored. That’s why finally being able to drink from the Cup is so revered. Despite all that hockey players, both the professional and recreational, are willing to put on the line, they do not get the respect the game warrants. The history of the game is rich with long traditions. It is a travesty that the sport is not recognized for what it is: the epitome of human sacrifice. ...

Big Time Players, Big Time Egos

I am sure that even though Kobe Bryant joined the Los Angeles Lakers right out of high school, he did learn to spell. And obviously, Shaquille O’Neal, being a college graduate and all, can put letters in the right order to make legible and legitimate words. So, why is it that these two can’t learn that there is no “”I”” in “”team?”” The ongoing feud between the two Laker superstars, which is now being splashed across California newspapers’ sports pages, is childish. Can’t they realize that they need each other, and that without one another, they won’t win a championship? Each wants to be the focal point of the squad, and both have a very good argument. They both are, without question, superb athletes, and two of the most prominent players in the NBA. Shaquille is the dominant big man in the league. He is like no other since the days of Kareem and Wilt. He can control a game all by himself. I have always thought that, against one of the poorer teams in the league (e.g. the Clippers), Shaq could lay down 100 points. He is the big everything. Kobe, at the ripe age of 22, is becoming an unstoppable force in his own right. His explosiveness to the hoop is matched by few. He can make a shot from anywhere on the court. He is not Michael Jordan, not yet at least, but I see no problem with people comparing the legend and the kid and predicting that Kobe will be just as good. The thing is, without being on the same team, both men would only be good. The Lakers right now are very good. Now picture the Lakers without one or the other. Shaq leaves and some average center fills up the hole left vacant. Kobe would have the run of the team. He would lead the league in scoring, often knocking down 40 or 50 points. It would be the Kobe show, 24 hours a day. And the Lakers would win 45 games and bow out in the first round of the playoffs. Picture the Lakers without Bryant. Teams would double- and triple-team Shaq even more often than they do now. Hell, I would force Horace Grant to try and beat me. They too would win 45 games and be home watching the later playoff rounds on their gigantic television screens. All great championship teams needed more than one superstar. Jordan needed Pippen, Bird needed Parish and McHale, Magic needed Kareem, and now Kobe needs Shaq. Because as any player, manager or GM worth his salt would tell you, one player does not a championship team make. If all they want is personal gains, then they should be on other teams. If they want to go down in history as one of the greatest duos in history, each with a handful of championship rings, then they need to learn their roles and get along. The fact of the matter is that the team is Shaq’s. He should be the focus, with Kobe complimenting him from the outside and with penetration. Does this limit Kobe? Somewhat yes, but it does not limit their potential as the league’s best pair. Hell, Kobe is six years younger than Shaq. Wait eight years, and the offense can be all Kobe’s. Theoretically, the Lakers have the potential for a 10-year dynasty, which would bring glory and championships aplenty to a southland void of much to cheer about. Something that disturbs me is how the media is blowing this whole thing up. This is not the first time superstars have had problems. The media is only making it worse. Media people, let the organization be and things will work themselves out. After this column, that is. ...

UCSD Swimming Makes Waves

The UCSD men’s and women’s swim teams participated in their first home meets of 2001 last Sunday at Canyonview Pool. UC Davis and Claremont College were originally slated to compete in the meet, but Claremont was unable to attend at the last minute. Lyon Liew Guardian The previous day, the women’s team traveled to Los Angeles for a dual meet against Division I schools UCLA and Washington State University. Sandra Lopez, a junior who turned in stellar performances over the two days, said that the Tritons were happy to be back at home competing against a Division II school rather than Division I schools. “”The conditions [at UCLA] were far from good. It was a mentally challenging meet,”” she said. Lyon Liew Guardian Head coach Scott McGihon concurred that the facilities at UCLA’s Men’s Gym Pool were not very good. “”There was no place to warm up or warm down,”” he said. However, McGihon refused to use the swimming conditions as an excuse. “”UCLA and Washington State were in the same situation,”” he said. “”We didn’t swim our very best on Saturday but we performed extremely well [on Sunday] and responded well from the meet at UCLA.”” McGihon said that UCSD’s schedule, because it includes Division I schools like UCLA, will be good preparation for nationals. “”You want to schedule with good teams so you can get experience against fast people,”” he said. Lopez competed in the 200-meter breaststroke, the 200-meter IM, and the 200-meter freestyle on Sunday, winning all three events with times of 2:21.40, 2:13.70 and 1:57.60, respectively. At UCLA she posted an impressive second place finish in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:06.37. Also bringing in notable times were Jennifer Watanabe, a sophomore, and Carly Ross, a freshman. Watanabe turned in two second place finishes in the 200 backstroke (2:04.87) and the 200 IM (2:11.18) at UCLA and continued her strong performance on Sunday with top times in the 100 backstroke (59.23) and the 500 freestyle (5:07.34). Ross claimed first place in the 200 freestyle on Saturday with a mark of 1:54.25 and the 100 freestyle with a time of 54.16 at home. The women’s 200 freestyle relay teams did well both days. Saturday’s relay team, comprised of Carolyn Kwok, Evelyn Kwok, Sharon Smith and Samantha Wong, came in second at UCLA (1:41.10). A similar team, this one with swimmers Carolyn Kwok, Evelyn Kwok, Smith and Christina Guintu, finished first on Sunday with an even faster time (1:40.39). The Triton men’s team came out with authority Sunday, putting in one of their best meets of the season. The team had put in a tough week of training after returning from winter break, and it was evident. Leading the way was Christian Deck, a junior, who finished no lower than third in all of his events. Deck competed in the 400 medley relay, the 50 freestyle (21.95), the 100 freestyle (47.89), and the 200 freestyle relay, finishing second in all events except the 50 freestyle, in which he placed third. The 400 medley relay team, made up of Deck, Luke Seed, Rusty Jones and Ryan Wong brought in a mark of 3:31.36. In the 200 freestyle relay, Deck, Seed, Daniel Fisher and Pat Carter finished in 1:28.73. “”Individually, this was one of my strongest mid-season meets,”” Deck said. “”We’re in a good position and it looks promising for nationals.”” McGihon was extremely pleased with Deck’s performance, both individually and with the relay teams. “”He swam about as fast as he did in nationals last year,”” McGihon said. The next, and final, home meet for both teams will be on Jan. 27 against California Baptist University. McGihon wants to use that meet as a springboard for the conference and national meets. The teams will have two weeks off before the conference finals in Long Beach, where the goal is to allow swimmers who have not yet qualified for nationals to do so. For those who have already qualified, the goal is to peak right around nationals. Lopez feels that the Tritons have a great shot at winning nationals. “”We need to come together and perform like we know we can,”” she said. “”It’s going to take everyone.”” With the strong showing at home this past weekend, both the men’s and women’s teams are in a good position to achieve their goals. ...