¡Pura Vida!

(From left to right) Junior Bryan Donovan, sophomore Drew Hart, sophomore JJ Pfohl, sophomore Doug Hostetler, and sophomore Jeff Stockmal race down treacherous waters at the Sarapiqui White Water Rafting trip. 

Screech! The tires of the airplane finally found the surface of the Earth after a three hour flight. The RWU men’s basketball team had finally made it. Costa Rica, here we come!

Every three years, the N.C.A.A. allows teams the opportunity to take a trip to a foreign country. Along with exploring the incredible geography of Costa Rica, the Hawks also had the opportunity to practice together and play four games over the course of eight days against club teams throughout the country.

For the first four days, we hung out around the capital city of San Jose. We were lucky enough to visit the Doka Estate, located in the hills outside the capital city. Known as the “best coffee plantation in the world,” we were treated to a tour. In addition, we also learned the tedious process that is used to create the coffee we drink.

The team also traveled to the Irazu National Park, where we were able to see some breathtaking views of a former volcano site. After our time at the volcano, we spent the rest of our day at a local orphanage. We brought new toys and supplies to the children and were able to play and talk to them.

Once our time in San Jose was up, the team traveled to La Fortuna, an area in north central Costa Rica. To break up the trip, the team stopped at Sarapiqui White Water Rafting and had the chance to zipline over a tropical rainforest.  

Our stop in La Fortuna also provided us with the chance to visit the La Fortuna waterfall. Visitors were able to swim in the spring below the waterfall. Some teammates, however, tried their best to get as close to the powerful waterfall as possible, journeying along rough tides and slippery rocks to reach their desired destination.

Later that night, the Hawks enjoyed a visit to a natural hot spring. The springs were located by a once active volcano. Thus, the heat generated to warm the springs all came from the volcano. 

Once the two days in La Fortuna came to a close, the team set out for the Flamingo Beach Resort on the pacific coast of the country. By far, this was the team’s favorite place to stay.

The all-inclusive resort had a gorgeous pool, delicious restaurant and a pristine beach with water clearer than a window within our view.  

“I really liked how we could walk outside of our hotel and we would be walking onto a beautiful beach,” sophomore JJ Pfohl said.

The final phase of the trip found the Hawks heading back to San Jose to finish up with a game and a send-off dinner.

“The trip to Costa Rica gave us, as a team, the opportunity to really bond off the court,” said senior captain Ben Stone. “We spend so much time together during practice and competing against each other, but to be able to create memories in another country was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for everyone.”

Overall, the coaches and players were elated with how the trip went, especially in terms of building team chemistry and being able to play with each other.

“The chemistry that we were able to build during the trip will certainly benefit us come regular season games, and in hopes will give us an edge over our competitors and help us reach our season goals,” said Stone.

The Hawks start practice on Oct. 15, and visit the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. to open up the season on Nov. 8.