Tag Archives: gym

National champion Nargis Shaghasi is victorious in a match against England in Washington, D.C. in August.
(Photo: Angelino Merino)

Not Just “Boxercise” Anymore

USF Boxing Club Boasts Three National Champions, the No. 3 Ranked Boxer in the U.S., Olympic Level Talent

Boxing is one of the most thriving, well-represented sports at USF. From the school’s boxing club to classes such as Philippine Boxing and Culture and Boxing and Social Justice, a plethora of opportunities are available for students to learn about boxing and also to experience the sport first-hand. While spirits are presently high among members of the boxing program — the club recently hosted the United States Intercollegiate Boxing Association (USIBA) National Championships earlier this year, which recognized female boxing as an equal part of the sport — there was a time when the boxing club was in a far less promising position.

“(The program) was introduced as a “boxercise,” Boxing Club Head Coach Angelo Merino said. “As we moved towards the competition side, we registered ourselves as a guerrilla movement without the University’s blessings. We were practicing at the balcony of Memorial Gym, running on the steps without bags, just using mitts and pads.”

Merino was there when the club was nothing more than an unorganized, unsanctioned “boxercise” in 1995, when he helped convince the University to turn boxing into a formal sport. Since then, the club has made significant strides, culminating in hosting the USIBA Championships, where they boasted national champions in three different weight classes.

While the team has seen much success recently, Merino has even higher expectations for this year.

“This is the best recruiting year we have had,” Merino said. “We have a few who are potential Olympians, and we have one who is a five-time world champion in kickboxing, and is ranked number three in the nation for boxing.”

This five-time kickboxing champion is Katrina Nahe, a 16-year-old prodigy who picked up boxing just six months ago. Nahe attends Deer Valley High School in Antioch, Calif., but still practices and competes with the USF Boxing Club. She will be showcasing her talents at this year’s Hilltop Cup, an on-campus boxing event on Oct. 18 that will feature USF along with up to 19 other schools. Headlining the club’s returning boxers is Nargis Shaghasi, who won a national championship in her weight class last year. Shaghasi recently made a trip to Oxnard, Calif. to compete in a five-week tournament for a spot in the Olympics.

In order to continue producing outstanding, talented individuals such as Nahe and Shaghasi, Merino’s boxing squad practices every day, using the city of San Francisco to its advantage. The club often runs at Ocean Beach and also works out in neighboring gymnasiums. Senior Adriana Bousalian, who won a national championship at the USIBA event last semester, does not sugarcoat the intensity of the boxing club experience.

“It’s a real commitment, it’s not a joke,” Bousalian said. “You’ve got to put your full effort into it; you can’t just put half, because first off you’ll lose, and second you’ll probably get hurt.”

Bousalian, who is “taking it a lot easier” this year but still training with the club, has both cautionary and encouraging words for students who may be interested in taking up boxing: “you sacrifice your social life, and sometimes even your academic work, but (the reward) is worth it.”

Along with the USF Boxing Club, the university also offers two boxing-oriented classes. One of these is Boxing and Social Justice, taught by Merino, along with professor and Boxing Club Assistant Coach Jay Gonzalez. The course not only teaches boxing, but also provides service learning experience through volunteer work to help homeless senior citizens in the Mission District, among other activities.

“Boxing is used just as an icebreaking tool,” Merino said. “It has a cultural diversity aspect to it, and it has a service learning aspect to it…there is a win-win situation between the students and the (volunteering) site.”

Boxing and Social Justice, which is in its fourth year as a class at USF, combines boxing culture with the University’s diversity-focused values. For example, boxing techniques such as jabs and hooks are used as a way of understanding cultural differences that students are exposed to when they travel to certain parts of the city.

“When we’re in the classroom teaching them to be mentors and teachers, we show them how the Europeans would throw a jab, how Cubans would throw a jab,” Merino said. “Those are the things that would break the ice.”

With a club that boasts three reigning national boxing champions, as well as numerous new Olympic-level talents, and two boxing classes that simultaneously involve students in the community, it is evident that boxing is currently prospering at USF. Regardless of what path it takes in the future, boxing has certainly expanded its influence far beyond the balcony of the War Memorial Gym.

More to Koret Than Just a Good Workout

With an aquatic center, basketball courts, volleyball courts, a variety of classes and all the exercise equipment one could ask for, from treadmills to stationary bikes to weights, the Koret Center is a popular place for USF students. All one needs is his/her student ID card and will have access to the entire center, but what the Koret Center offers goes well beyond its walls.

The outside activities that the Koret Center offers begin with their welcome weekends, which are offered to freshmen and new transfer students in the first few weekends of the school year. Whether it’s a trip to the Walt Disney Center, Muir Woods, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom or the Aquarium at the Wharf, the Koret Center makes it easy for new students to meet each other and comfortably settle in to USF.

Once welcome weekends are done, the Koret Center turns its attention to all students with their Outdoor Adventures activities offered all year long at a reduced price. On Saturday, Sept. 18, a USF student can go to the Giants vs. Brewers game for just $15 or go on a sailing trip the following weekend for just $25.

Events are offered all year, with deep-sea fishing, horseback riding, paintball and archery making up the October schedule for prices ranging between $12 and $35. Among the more popular ones offered by the Koret Center are the Alcatraz Night Tour and the ski/snowboard trips in the winter and spring.

The Alcatraz Night Tour on Nov. 20 offers students the chance to tour the famous prison for just $20. Dubbed “The Rock” and sitting 1.5 miles from shore in the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz served as a lighthouse and military fortification early on. The island gained a reputation when it was converted to a prison and from 1868 to 1963 was a military and federal prison housing some of the country’s notorious prisoners. The chance to tour the facility at night and walk the same halls where prisoners such as such as Al Capone and George Kelly spent years is an irresistible offer

When the spring semester gets underway and the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe are covered in snow, USF students can go on any or all of the seven trips offered to ski or snowboard at some of the best resorts in the country. The trips take students to Kirkwood, Sierra, Northstar, Alpine and Squaw Valley, site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, for a day of fun in the snow at a cost of just $45. With miles of runs and feet of snow, the Lake Tahoe resorts offer a ski and snowboard experience found in only a select few places worldwide.

Some of the trips are with small groups, not even ten, but others can reach as many as 55 people. All of the trips are offered on a first come, first served basis and refunds will only be given if the event is cancelled. For a list of all adventures, the pricing and any other information go to usfca.edu/koret or call Coordinator for Outdoor Adventures Mike Kelley at (415) 422-2942.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain

Sports Editor: Matt Steinbach

Koret Center Shows Art By Elders

If you’ve walked through the lobby of the Koret Center in the past few weeks, you’ve probably noticed that the empty space has been livened up a bit. Countless brightly colored paintings and sketches are now displayed on towers throughout the entrance. Each work is accompanied by the smiling face of the artist and a short biography of his or her remarkable life.

These pieces are a part of the Art With Elders program, an 18-year-old institution that provides elderly people in long-term care facilities with art classes. The program allows older people, many with chronic illnesses to express creativity, learn a new skill set and contribute to their community from the comfort of their homes. Through Art With Elders, emerging artists are able to share their works with over 60,000 viewers throughout the bay area.

The Koret Center has been affiliated with this program for 13 years, and exposes the paintings and the program to a huge base of potential clients. Most of the paintings are for sale, and all of the proceeds go to the Art with Elders program. Koret director, Chuck White, said, “We’ve been doing it a long time. We like it, the patrons love it, the students like it. It’s really a great program.”

The artists both benefit from as well as endorse the program whole-heartedly, as evidenced in their biographies attached to the pieces. The program has inspired many people who are feeling down on their luck and provides them something something to learn and look forward to. In her artist biography, Jin Liang said, “When I do it, I think it looks good and I’m proud of it.” Liang lives in Laguna Honda Hospital, where they teach an Art With Elders class in Cantonese. Mary McNeill wrote in her description how she loves everything about her classes and often, “sings along cheerfully with the music played in class.” Many of the artists confess that before Art With Elders, they were never interested in being artists, but they found inspiration through this unique opportunity. One artist was taught to paint with her left hand after a stroke.

The paintings created by these elderly artists are often strikingly beautiful, vibrant and surprisingly skillful. It’s easy to see how the program has been able to continue so successfully with such positive feedback. The Koret Center plans to continue its affiliation with Art With Elders as long as the institution exists.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain

Scene Editor: Tamar Kuyumjian