Winter sports preview: Where the Hawks are heading this winter break

Winter athletes will keep working towards their goals over winter break.

Megan Julian, Sports Editor and Megan Willgoos

While many students are home for winter break, the RWU Swimming and Diving teams will be headed to West Palm Beach, Florida to compete against Wheaton College and Randolph-Macon College on Friday, Jan. 3.  

Both teams have been successful with their season so far, with the women’s team holding a record of 3-1 and the men’s team standing undefeated at 4-0. Head Coach Matthew Emmert said Volt, a strength and conditioning program, is part of the reason for this success. 

“This is our third year in the program and we are really starting to reap the rewards from the team’s hard work in the weight room,” Emmert said. “Not only are they stronger in the water, but the program is also designed as an injury prevent tool, in terms of strengthening their core & posture.” 

Besides training, the swimming and diving teams focused on creating a positive and welcoming environment, which involved implementing core values. Emmert said one of these core values is “team first,” which was their primary focus in September. 

“We wanted to be clear with our expectations. If you wish to be involved with our program and our family, putting the team first is paramount, not only to our team’s success but each individual team member,” Emmert said. 

Each workout involves educating the team and reminding them of these core values as part of their values driven program. Emmert said one of the goals for the team this season is for each team member to leave with some “enhanced grit.” 

The RWU Men’s Basketball Team is off to a strong start, with a record of 5-2 as of Dec. 3. The team has achieved this under the leadership of Head Coach Michael Tully, who is in his 17th season with the Hawks. 

Similar to other sports, the team prepares for the season with a strength and conditioning program along with structured individualized workouts. On top of this, the team plays four to five times a week to keep their hands on the ball.

The newest member of the team, Matthew Beaudry, has signed the next two years and this is something Tully is looking forward to. Beaudry is part of Team Impact, a program that matches children with chronic or serious illnesses with college sports teams. The Hawks became affiliated with the program this year. 

Looking down the road, Tully said the ultimate goal is to win the conference championship. 

“Our primary goal is to improve everyday and strive to be playing our best basketball at the end of the season,” Tully said. 

The Women’s Basketball Team begins their season with a record of 3-5, as of Dec. 3. Now that the team is eight games into the regular season, Head Coach Kelly Thompson said she can see where the team’s strengths and weaknesses lie.

“Basketball season is six months long. It can be physically and mentally challenging at times,” Thompson said. “It’s critical that we always focus on the process of getting better every day. I believe if we do that, then the outcome we want will follow.”
One of the main focuses Thompson has this season is making sure the team has a grasp on appreciation. 

“Little things like saying ‘thank you’ are important to the character of our team,” Thompson said. 

She also acknowledges that everyone has stress within their own lives. 

“Whether it is classes, roommate problems, health issues, family concerns… it’s easy to get caught up in that. I want my players to be able to step into the locker room each day and be grateful that they are getting an opportunity that few others will ever get to have,” Thompson said.

The team along with Thompson sets some of the same goals each year, such as making it to the CCC Championship and the NCAA Tournament. Thompson also has a specific goal of her own every year.

“My goal for every team I coach here is to have each person feel like they had a positive experience as part of our program,” Thompson said.

Thompson is looking forward to seeing the players and team grow as a whole this season. 


The Wrestling Team is in season with a record of 6-2. Coach Jon Egan said the captains and team leaders do a terrific job of setting the expectations for the team. 

In addition to putting in a lot of hard work and training into the sport itself, Egan emphasizes the importance of academics to the team. One of Egan’s goals for the team involves receiving multiple Academic All-American Awards.

“We always spend a fair amount of time focusing on academics and focusing on a schedule that will make each individual successful. At the end of the day, all these student-athletes are here to graduate and get a job,” Egan said. 

According to Egan, the team wants to focus on one thing this season.

  “We are believing in the system and each other,” Egan said. “Our sport is unique where it is an individual sport, but you compete for the team. Compete for the better of the team and the individual will succeed.”