Home Stretch for GW Athletes

Front, left to right: Alexandra Hamilton, Andrew Erickson, Erik Hannah, Christopher Kushma, Thomas Gately, Joseph Motto and Margaret Barone. Back, left to right: President Steven Knapp, men’s tennis head coach Greg Munoz, assistant baseball coach Jon Gree
May 11, 2011

Student-athletes in the class of 2011 graduated during a special ceremony May 10.

Ten GW seniors have the unique distinction of being the first in the class of 2011 to graduate.

Andrew Erickson, Erik Hannah and Christopher Kushma of men’s tennis; Joseph Motto and Thomas Gately of GW baseball; Margaret Barone, Craig Helmstetter, David Morgenstern and Guy Tawney of men’s rowing; and Alexandra Hamilton of women’s rowing were honored at GW’s Athletic Commencement May 10 in the Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre. These student athletes will miss the university-wide Commencement ceremony on Sunday due to athletic competitions.

President Steven Knapp and Provost Steven Lerman, along with University Marshal Jill Kasle and coaches from each of the seniors’ teams, were on hand to congratulate the athletes and welcome them into GW’s alumni community.

“College sports play an important role in university life,” said Dr. Lerman. “When done well—and we think here at GW we’ve done them very well—they are really educational opportunities. They teach teamwork, they cultivate skills of leadership, create a strong work ethic, hold people personally accountable for their performance and behavior, and encourage honesty in athletic competition. These are attributes that will serve all our athletes well in the future.”

Dr. Knapp read his charge to the graduates, reminding them they “always have a home” at GW.

Each coach spoke about the athletic and academic achievements of their graduating seniors and reflected on their 2010-11 seasons.

Women’s rowing head coach Eric Carcich spoke about Ms. Hamilton’s accomplishments as a student athlete and captain of the team, stating he was “proud of her leadership abilities.”

“I know she’s going to do some amazing things after she leaves the walls of this great university,” he said.

Men’s rowing head coach Mark Davis said the four graduating seniors on the team “have embraced their moment and made the most of it.”

“On the water, I had the crew stop often to take everything in,” he said. “We watched the cars sitting in traffic, the Metro train headed into the city. I remind them to enjoy the moment, for one day they’ll be in that car or on that train, and they’ll be dreaming of their days on the water.”

On Sunday, men’s rowing will compete in the Eastern Sprints in Worcester, Mass., and women’s rowing will compete in the EAWRC Sprints in Camden, N.J.

Men’s tennis head coach Greg Munoz described the challenges his team members faced this season as student athletes, stating his seniors gave “100 percent on the court every day.”

“I’m thankful and excited to see them move on--thankful for what they’ve given to me and men’s tennis and excited for the legacy they’re now leaving behind to challenge and push as GW men’s tennis seeks new heights within the NCAA,” he said. “I’m excited to see these three young men move on and accomplish greatness in the same manner they showed excellence here at GW.”

On Friday, men’s tennis will head to Durham, N.C., to face Duke University in the GW program’s first-ever NCAA Championships appearance. The team earned an automatic bid after winning the Atlantic 10 Championships on April 17. Mr. Hannah, team co-captain, went undefeated against A-10 opponents for a perfect 30-0 during his four years on the team.

Jon Greenwich, assistant baseball coach, said his seniors have tackled the “full-time job” of being both a GW student and athlete.

“Either of these endeavors alone would be an immense challenge. These young men have done both, and they’ve done both very well,” he said.

GW baseball will play against Xavier University in Cincinnati on Saturday and Sunday.

In his student speaker address, Mr. Helmstetter, captain of men’s rowing, spoke about the significant role sports has played in his life, stating that he “couldn’t think of a better way to learn about commitment and leadership.”

“As we move on to the next steps of our lives, I challenge my teammates to continue to maintain their perseverance, to help others realize the GW spirit,” he said. “Many of you leave with titles to your names, stats and accomplishments a mile long and, more than one of you, aspirations for the professional draft. But all of you leave…with a legacy and dedication to your teammates, and you leave committed to conquering whatever stands in your way.”

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