by Davis Yake ’09, Sports Information Director
The Tiger rugby team shows how much bigger the playing field is after an expansion this summer. A generous contribution by Johnny Eliis, Jr. ’70 made this project possible.
Tigers top 2012 ODAC football preseason poll
Hampden-Sydney College received four first place votes on the way to 46 total points to lead the 2012 ODAC Football Preseason Poll. The top of the rankings are tightly packed, with Randolph-Macon College clipping at Tigers' heels with 44 tallies including three top nods. Washington & Lee University rounds out the top three with 37 points and the remaining first place selection from the annual coaches' survey.
The path to the 2012 ODAC championship will be tougher for all teams in the league as Shenandoah University opens conference play, increasing the league's football membership to eight schools. SU, previously a member of the USA South for the majority of its sports, became the ODAC's 14th full-time member institution in July, completing a process that will see the Hornets compete in each of their 20 sports under the ODAC flag.
Hampden-Sydney (8-3 overall, 5-1 in the ODAC in 2011) begins its third title defense in the last five years as it tries to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since Bridgewater College won five straight crowns from 2001-05.
XC and swimming see big gains in recruiting push
Thanks to coordinated efforts by Head Coach Betsy Prengaman and the Admissions Office, the cross country team is growing by leaps and bounds.
There are 21 students on the roster, 12 of whom are freshmen.
"We contacted a number of coaches and told them about our program and that we are looking for guys who might fit Hampden-Sydney. The amount of interest was crazy. Not only were we actively pursuing some runners, but there were also guys who were pursuing us."
Having so many freshmen also means she will see big changes in her team during the next few years. In high school, cross country teams run a 5k race; in college, they run an 8k. Prengaman says, "That first year is a mental struggle. Many of the guys have trouble getting used to the longer distance and figuring out how to run their own race. Once they overcome that hurdle, their times drop dramatically."
Prengaman's recruiting efforts are helping the fledgling swim team as well. As the head swim coach too, she has been working hard to grow that team and is seeing increased interest. Area coaches are learning about the program and more than 30 students showed up at a preliminary meeting early in the semester. She expects to have around 25 students on that roster.
The guys on the swim team will get the benefit of meeting Hollins and Sweet Briar's swim teams when Hampden-Sydney pairs with them on three occasions this season. By pairing with a woman's college, Hampden-Sydney can compete directly against co-ed schools. At invitational meets, the College does not need female swimmers.
Transitioning from cross country in the fall to swimming in the winter makes for a crazy few weeks for Prengaman when their practices overlap, but staying busy is nothing new for her. She also works as a personal trainer for Hampden-Sydney's TigeRec program at the Fitness Center and as the coach for the club track team in the spring.
Hampden-Sydney athletics are getting a huge boost from this rising star on the coaching staff.