Tag Archives: Sports


New Sports Club Brings Lacrosse To USF

If you’ve passed by Negoesco Stadium recently, you may have noticed something you had probably never seen before at USF; lacrosse players practicing on the field. That’s because the university did not have any type of lacrosse organization on campus before October, when a group of students got together to form the USF Lacrosse Club.

Though they are officially a University of San Francisco organization, USF Lacrosse holds the “club sport” status, which means they do not get most of the benefits that athletes in sports such as basketball and soccer get.

Suraj “Zed” Talluri is a first year lacrosse player and the goalie for the USF lacrosse club. Courtesy of Suraj Talluri.

Suraj “Zed” Talluri is a first year lacrosse player and the goalie for the USF lacrosse club. Courtesy of Suraj Talluri.

“Club teams often operate separately from the athletic department, the big difference there is that they don’t receive any funding from the school.” said Dan Vilar, head coach of the Lacrosse Club. “With varsity sports you have recruits, you follow NCAA bylaws, you have scholarships, and a big budget. Club sports are organized, funded and administrated all by the students – they do the work, they hire all the coaches, they pay the coaches.”

Not only do students hire the coaches, they also pay for everything else needed to run a team.

“It’s an additional burden on top of tuition and everything else – it comes out of the players’ pockets,” Vilar said before mentioning that it gets easier the longer you have the program. “More established programs will have better fundraising efforts, more alumni who give back to the program.” Vilar gives the example of UC Berkeley’s lacrosse squad, who have been a club team for 50 years now and were able to raise around $50,000 to help with paying for a coach.

Vilar played lacrosse from fourth grade through college, but only got into coaching once his eligibility ended. After that, he coached at various different levels at a number of schools around the Bay Area. Vilar jokingly said that “bossing people around” was his favorite part of being a coach, before continuing in a more sincere tone.

“My favorite part of being a coach is bringing out the best in somebody, seeing that moment where it clicks for them and they go from being a beginner to intermediate, or a brand new player on the team to a starter on the team,” Vilar said. “I love to see people who have that enthusiasm, that gusto, and are receptive to coaching.”

For sophomore Suraj “Zed” Talluri, who plays goalie for the USF Lacrosse Club, the best part of lacrosse is the feeling that he gets in the heat of the moment.

“The adrenaline rush, I’d have to say, is my favorite part about it,” Talluri said. “Like when I see someone bolting towards the cage about to take a shot, the insane amount of adrenaline I get before that shot is just addicting.”

Like a number of others on the team, this is the first experience that Talluri has had playing lacrosse, but skills from other sports have eased his training a little bit.

“I played a lot of tennis beforehand so that really helped with my hand-eye coordination,” Talluri said.

Hand-eye coordination is especially important for Talluri in his role as the team’s goalie. He said that while the position is pretty much what it sounds like, there are leadership aspects involved as well.

“It’s been described to me as the defensive quarterback in a way, because you need to command the defense, let them know what position they need to be in, and tell them who to approach and how to block,” Talluri said.

The team finished up its season on Sunday with a 15-3 win over Cabrillo College, but the players will be back in the fall to strengthen their skills and return to play. Moving forward, Vilar would like to see the team accepted into the Western Collegiate Lacrosse League (WCLL), but said that it will be hard if students with prior experience don’t show up to play.

“I know there are guys here who aren’t on the team but have played lacrosse before, and I hope that I can get them to come out and join,” Villar said.


Track and Field Golmes Glides to Fifth-Place Finish in 800-Meter Run

Nine USF athletes traveled to Arizona on April 11-12 to compete in the Sun Angel Invitational, which was held at Arizona State and consisted of athletes from schools all over the country. While only a handful of Dons made the trip to Arizona to participate in the meet, many of them left the Grand Canyon State with top-10 finishes under their belt.

The highlight of the meet for the Dons was junior Sean Gomes‘ fifth place finish in the men’s 800-meter (0.5 mile) race. Gomes crossed the line with a time of 1:52.44, well ahead of most of the other competitors in the 26-person race. Running alongside Gomes for USF was freshman Omar Solis, who crossed the finish line just 3.94 seconds after Gomes to complete the race in fifteenth place.

“[Sean Gomes] matched his personal best at 800 meters, and will certainly be able to crank it up a few notches the next couple outings,” head coach Helen Lehman-Winters said.

No Don finished higher than fifth in an event, but freshman Asaundra Dalton broke the top 10 in her event, the 200-meter (0.12 mile) dash. Dalton finished in 25.31 seconds, good enough to earn her seventh place. Dalton’s time put her ahead of her teammate, freshman Lupe Medina, who came in fourteenth place with a time of 26.82 seconds. The duo of Dalton and Medina also ran in the women’s 400-meter dash, but their results were not as positive. Dalton finished eleventh overall, while Medina trailed her closely and came in thirteenth.

Like Dalton in the 200-meter dash, sophomore Eleni Fkiaras also finished seventh in the 400-meter (0.25 mile) hurdles. Fkiaras was hoping for a strong finish after earning second place and narrowly besting her personal record at the Stanford Invitational. Unfortunately, her time of 1:04.22 was not quite enough to separate her from the pack in a field that included runners from Texas A&M, Boise State, and Kansas. Megan Kelley of Boise State took first place in the race and ended the course less than two seconds ahead of Fkiaras.

Redshirt junior Kamilah Davis also finished amongst the top ten, dashing to the finish line in 12.53 seconds in the 100-meter (.06 mile) sprint. The event included 17 other sprinters from schools such as Arizona State, the host of the meet, and California schools UC Riverside and UC Davis.

In the field, junior Nile Norwood competed in the long jump event and grabbed eighth place after leaping 6.38 meters. Freshman Katoa Ahau and junior Cameron Farrell were both contestants in the men’s javelin throw, landing in seventh and eighth place, respectively, with throws 50.80 and 50.36 meters.

After having multiple runners finish near the top of the pack at the Sun Angel Invitational, the Dons will now prepare for the Mt. Sac Invitational, which will be held in Pomona, Calif. from April 17-19. USF will also send a group of athletes to the Bryan Clay Invitational in Azusa, Calif. from April 18-19. With only five events left on the calendar until the NCAA West Preliminaries, the Dons must continue to prove that they are able to compete with other major schools. Lehman-Winters was pleased with some of the individual efforts in Arizona, but acknowledges that there is room for improvement.

“We had a few highlights, but clearly we have more work to do to get where we need to be,” Lehman-Winters said.


Los Locos Spreads Spirit at Spring Training

Before the Dons’ baseball team took on Pacific last Friday, Los Locos, USF’s student spirit organization, held their annual Spring Training event next to Gillson Residence Hall. Although they call it Spring Training, it is less a rigorous training session and more a festive, social get-together – a place where students can eat and ramp up their school spirit before going to the baseball game as a group.

At 2 p.m., an hour before the game began, Los Locos set up an array of games and a table filled with hot dogs, lemonade, and other foods and beverages. Last year’s Spring Training featured tie-dye t-shirts, but this year Los Locos focused on providing more interactive games for students and USF fans. Pitching, hitting, and golfing activities all added to the fun at Spring Training, as students were able to test their baseball skills before cheering on the Dons at Benedetti Diamond.

Bradley Zimmer makes contact with the baseball in Sunday’s 12-9 setback against Pacific. The Dons’ preseason All-American led the team with four hits in six at-bats. Courtesy of Emily Bogden.

Baseball: Giarratano Gets Walk-Off Single, But Dons Lose Series with Pacific

The Dons had an opportunity to move up in the competitive West Coast Conference (WCC) over the weekend, but they let two crucial games against Pacific slip away, losing their three-game series with the Tigers and falling to eighth in the WCC in the process.

On Sunday the Dons (16-18, 6-9 WCC) lost to Pacific 12-9 in an offensive battle that saw a combined 35 hits from the two teams. Freshman right-hander Grant Goodman had a rough day on the mound as USF’s starting pitcher, giving up six runs in just four innings.

The Tigers went up quickly in the first inning, and stretched their lead to 5-0 in the third. The Dons clawed back in their half of the third, however, batting in three runs on four hits and a walk. Freshman second baseman Matt Sinatro kicked off the inning with a base on balls, and freshman shortstop Nico Giarratano, junior right-fielder Derek Atkinson, and senior designated hitter Zach Turner all delivered RBI singles for the Dons.

The game remained within the Dons’ reach throughout the middle innings, but it was in the eighth that things started to unravel. Pacific started the inning with a single from Tyler Sullivan, who scored on a sacrifice fly. RBI doubles by Gio Brusa and Erik Lockwood gave Pacific even more breathing room, and the Tigers ended the inning with an 11-4 lead.

Despite the dire circumstances, the Dons still had some life left in them. In the bottom of the ninth, USF began the inning with five straight hits, the last of them being a Sinatro double that brought home freshman pinch runner Sawyer Gieseke. Later, the Dons had the tying run at the plate with just one out and the score at 12-9, but Giarratano struck out and Atkinson’s groundball ended the game.

Center fielder Bradley Zimmer tallied four hits and two RBI’s for the Dons, and Sinatro also pitched in with three hits and two runs scored. Goodman took the loss to bring his record to 2-3 on the year.

A day earlier, the Dons escaped with a 3-2 victory that came courtesy of a walk-off single from Giarratano in the eleventh inning. Junior left-hander Christian Cecilio pitched 7.2 strong innings for San Francisco, and redshirt senior Houston Hibberd got the win to improve to 4-1 for the season.

Neither team scored until the fourth inning, when Pacific got on the board to lead 1-0. The Dons responded in the sixth, with junior catcher Justin McCullough’s RBI single tying the contest at 1-1. USF gave up a run in the top of tenth, but stayed alive in the bottom of the inning thanks to Giarratano, who scored on a wild pitch to set up his dramatic game-winning single in the following inning.

“Our back was against the wall today,” head coach Nico Giarratano told usfdons.com. “We needed to win.”

In Friday’s series opener, the Dons took a 6-3 lead but couldn’t hang on, eventually falling 11-7. Redshirt senior right-hander Abe Bobb surrendered three runs in 4.1 innings, and senior relief pitchers Jesse DeLong and Ben Graff struggled in their backup roles.

Zimmer had the crowd roaring in the first inning with a spectacular diving catch that robbed Pacific’s John Haberman of an extra-base hit. USF was down 3-2 in the game’s early innings, but exploded for four runs in the fifth. Giarratano started the action with his first ever collegiate home run, junior first baseman Brendan Hendriks hit another solo shot just three batters later, and sophomore second baseman Michael Eaton’s two-out, two-RBI double gave USF a three-run advantage. The Tigers scored a whopping eight runs in the next two innings, though, including five runs in the seventh. The Dons mustered a run in the ninth, but it was not nearly enough to bring them back from the deficit.

Eaton led the Dons with four RBI’s on the afternoon. Despite his highlight-reel catch, Zimmer went 0-5 to end his nation-leading hitting streak at 19 games.

The result of USF’s home matchup with Nevada on Tuesday, April 15 was not available at press time. With the series loss to the Tigers, the Dons are two games behind fourth-place Gonzaga, who they will have to catch if they hope to make the upcoming WCC tournament. USF will look to get back to its winning ways when they visit first-place Pepperdine for a three-game series from Thursday, April 17 to Friday, April 19.


Track and Field: Madera, Burkard Rewrite USF Record Books at Stanford Invitational


This past weekend, the Dons competed in two separate track events, smashing school records at both the Stanford Invitational and the San Francisco State Distance Carnival. The weekend was headlined by redshirt junior Jose Madera’s incredible performance that blew the Dons’ old 10,000-meter (6.21 mile) record out of the water, beating it by more than 19 seconds. Madera was not the only San Francisco athlete to have a solid performance, however, with several other Dons placing amongst the top finishers as well.

Madera ran to eighth place overall at the Stanford Invitational, earning a time of 29:19.23 in the 10,000-meter race. Joining Madera at Stanford was junior middle distance runner Sean Gomes, who also earned a top-ten finish in his section of the 800-meter (0.5 mile) course. Gomes was a mere two seconds off of USF’s 800-meter record, coming in with a time of 1:54.39.

Meanwhile, other USF athletes competed at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival at San Francisco State University. Junior long jumper Nile Norwood, who competed in both meets, took first at San Francisco State with a jump of 6.99 meters on his final jump. Norwood came extremely close to breaking a school record that has stood since 1966, but was just two-hundredths of a meter short.

Several other Dons turned in top-ten finishes on the weekend. Senior runner Gustavo Mena finished 10th in the 1,500-meter (0.93 mile) event, and senior Adam Smith was seventh in the 3,000-meter (1.86 mile) race. Among the field competitors, freshman javelin thrower Katoa Ahau ended with a fourth-place result.

“We are pleased with how so many of our athletes stepped up this weekend,” head coach Helen Lehman-Winters told usfdons.com. “We had multiple personal bests with many others showing a ton of improvement.  We walked away from this weekend with five NCAA qualifiers and look forward to picking up more later this month.”



USF’s female athletes competed at both the Stanford Invitational and the San Francisco State Distance Carnival this past weekend, and just like the men, they set multiple records in several different events. The highlight of the weekend was sophomore distance runner Elena Burkard’s record-toppling 5,000-meter run. Burkard, who hails from Germany, beat the previous record, which was held by teammate senior Jana Soethout, by a healthy six seconds.

Burkard placed in seventh after her record-setting time of 16:05.84. She was not the only Don to break a record, with sophomore hurdler Eleni Fkiaras besting her previous school record by a second, crossing the finish line in 66.0 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles event. Her time was enough to earn her second place in her section at Stanford. Junior Kamilah Davis also had a strong run at the Stanford Invitational, completing the 100-meter (.06 mile) dash in 12.51 seconds.

Fkiaras also took part in 4×100-meter relay, joining Davis and freshmen Asaundra Dalton and Lupe Medina. Together, the team of four runners were able to place in second with another record-breaking time of 48.42. Junior distance runner Kailey Ulland couldn’t add to the long list of new school records, but she ran to a personal best time in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing fifth at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival.

Both the men’s and women’s teams are scheduled to compete at the Sun Angel Invitational in Phoenix, Ariz. from April 11-12. Based on the three new USF records that were set at last weekend’s meets, the Dons seem poised to be among the top competitors in the Valley of the Sun.