April 17, 1998

  Volume 50A

Celebrating CSUS' 50th Anniversary

Number 46

[ Ropes Course - Weightlifting Club - Men's Tennis - Football - Women's Crew - Baseball ]

Sac State's ropes course reaches new heights

New location, improved design give campus challenging activity


One of Sac State's more unusual programs now has a new home. The ropes course, run by Peak Adventures, opened its new gates on April 6.

This new facility -- located between Yosemite Hall and the intramural fields -- was built with a $20,000 bond from the perimeter road budget and was matched dollar-for-dollar by Associated Students Incorporated. Construction of the new perimeter road forced the course to be moved to a new location.

"This course is everything I ever wanted from our old course, but never had the money or time to reconfigure," said Emiliano Palumbo, director of the ropes course.

Eight poles around the course provide the setting for 14 high-element exercises that test the mettle of even the most fearless of individuals.

"These things are really high off the ground," said Palumbo. "If you haven't been that high up before, it can be quite scary."

Groups can choose from high-element or low-element courses for team challenge events.

A typical low-element course takes about three hours to complete and is geared toward promoting goals that are specified by the participating group.

A high-element course is an all-day event that begins with low-element exercises in the morning and moves into the high-element exercises as the group begins to come together as a whole.

"Sometimes it takes the group support that was created in the morning to feel confident enough to complete some of the high-element exercises," says Palumbo.

Self-confidence isn't the only thing participants get out of the course. Students who participate in a Challenge Course tend to do better in school, according to Palumbo.

"The classes that come out as groups build better communication bridges between themselves and their instructors," said Palumbo.

"A sense of community has been fostered and it helps them with their group projects, especially in labs."

During River City Day on April 25, Peak Adventures and the ropes course will hold an open house in which students, faculty and staff members can put their courage to the test.

This is Sac State's third ropes course. The original course was located near the recycling center at the southern end of campus. The second course was built near the American River levee behind the Child Development Center in 1994.

The old ropes course served more than 3,000 thrill-seekers per semester. The new course design will enable Peak Adventures to increase its attendance numbers while still maintaining its ever-vigilant policy of safety first.

The technology used in building the new course is state-of-the-art. It utilizes a new type of diamond-formation technology that places the poles of the 50-foot tower in a diamond shape rather than the traditional square configuration.

This advancement adds stability and allows for the future expansion of the facility to include flat faced and contoured climbing walls with over-hangs.

By summer break the ropes course will be wheelchair accessible. One full section of the course, tower and catwalk will have universal accessibility.

The ropes course is available Monday through Saturday, and offers a variety of different challenges for people of all ages.

Reservations for the Ropes Course must be made 10 days before the event and payments received in advance. Students are charged no more than cost for the facility, ranging from $10 for a low-element experience to $18 for a high-level experience.

Weightlifters pumped up for national championships


Not too many people can lift more than their own body weight above their heads, but at Sacramento State there is a club that trains athletes to do just that.

With a few grunts and groans -- and a lot of sweat and determination -- the CSUS Weightlifting Club has built itself into one of the more successful weightlifting clubs in the country.

On April 26, Sac State and clubs from across the nation will descend upon Flagstaff, Ariz., for the Senior National Weightlifting Championships.

Sac State will be represented at the nationals by Alan Duben and Greg Johnson, two of its top members.

Dubbed "the biggest event of the year" by faculty adviser Bill Kutzer, the nationals will also be the biggest event of Duben's competitive weightlifting career. He started weightlifting two and a half years ago, as a sophomore.

"I've been in three national meets before, but this is the biggest event," Duben said. "I may get nervous as we get closer to it, but I'm not now."

He took sixth place at the American Open last November. Duben said that it's a step below the upcoming Nationals.

There are two events at the competition, the snatch and the clean-and-jerk, that will be performed by each of the eight men's weight classes and seven women's weight classes. Duben will be performing the clean-and-jerk, in which he has lifted as much as 353 pounds.

"Since as many as 15 competitors can place, I'd be happy to place 10th at this one," he said.

Most of the members of the club, Duben said, will have the benefit of longevity in their sport.

"It's a very technical sport, and we're still young. We'll be doing this for years."

Johnson, who has been lifting competitively for the last two years, will participate in both events in Flagstaff. He has lifted personal bests of 275 pounds in the snatch and 337 pounds in the clean-and-jerk.

Johnson is enrolled in the master's program in the field of strength and conditioning, and is an intern for the Athletic Department.

He said that he is going to the nationals for a learning experience and to gain more exposure in the sport.

"I'm trying to lift within myself, more than competing with others," Johnson said.

The club usually practices from 6 to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and goes to five or six meets per year.

The first club roster, put together in 1989, was all women. They hit almost instant success, winning the Women's Collegiate Championship in 1990.

Since then, they have built up a strong men's team as well.

The club is slowly but surely improving in several ways.

"Every year we gain a few new members, we grow a little bigger and get a little stronger. We're doing pretty well," said Kutzer.

For more information about the club, students can stop by the weight room in Solano 1020, or call coach Bill Kutzer at 278-6298.

Tennis upsets Tigers


STOCKTON -- The Sacramento State men's tennis team pulled off its biggest upset in coach Chris Evers' four-year tenure, knocking off the University of Pacific 4-3 Tuesday.

Gary Schmidt's gutsy comeback in No. 5 singles play sparked the Hornets' victory, as Sac State defeated a team ranked No. 14 in the region, according to Evers.

"That was my best win as coach in four years," Evers said. "It was a close match and that tested our character.

"We had two weeks off and that worried me going in. We had to play well to beat UOP."

Schmidt overcame a 5-2 deficit in the third set to escape with a 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-1) victory. Todd Benson provided the decisive fourth win, downing Kengo Usui 7-5, 2-6, 7-6 (7-1) in No. 4 singles.

Jason Weiss and Vazghen Zaghiyan also provided victories for the Hornets, who improved to 16-6 for the year. The team had a 9-13 record last season, and the 16 wins is five more than Evers' highest win total.

Sac State will look to improve on that record this weekend, as the team will host the Big Sky Conference regional championships. Weber State and the University of Northern Arizona will square off today at 1 p.m. to open action. The Hornets will face Northern Arizona Saturday at 11 a.m. and Weber State Sunday at 11 a.m.

Hornet football team springs into action


Football season doesn't officially begin for Sacramento State until September.

Unofficially, it's well under way.

This week marked the beginning of spring practice for the Sac State football team. The competition for starting positions will be greater than ever before in head coach John Volek's three-year tenure.

With over 50 scholarship players on the roster, double the amount since joining the Big Sky Conference two years ago, the Hornets have their largest on-campus spring squad during the Volek era at 65.

"This is the first time we go into the spring with a two-deep roster," Volek said. "For the past three years, some kids could look over their shoulder and see that there was nobody behind them.

"That's not going to be the case this year."

The Hornets return 16 starters from last year's freshman- and sophomore-dominated squad. Twenty-five players on last season's roster were underclassmen.

"You can't slack anymore," said 6-foot-3, 315-pound offensive guard Brandon Santos. "You have to keep on your toes all the time because you could lose your starting job to the second string."

On the offensive line, all five starters return for Sac State. Last year most of the offensive line was enrolled at CSUS and did not attend spring practice. It took time for the team to gel, as positions were shifted from game to game in search of the right blend.

As a captain on last year's team, Santos sees a noticeable difference, especially with communication on the line, in this spring's practice compared to last year's.

"Everyone understands how the system works and what we're trying to accomplish," Santos said. "This year we have five guys on the same page."

One of the returning players who will benefit from an improved offensive line will be freshman running back Charles Roberts, who led the team in rushing with 587 yards, including a 183-yard outburst against Portland State.

"We will focus on running the football in the spring and developing our play-action game," Volek said. "The area of our offense in which we need to get stronger is first and second down, which comes from running the football. Our main goal will be to solidify and develop an offensive toughness."

The defensive unit will be anchored by All-American candidate Ryland Wickman at linebacker. Wickman led the Big Sky Conference last season with 154 tackles and was selected to the second-team all-league squad.

Spring practice ends on May 2 with the annual Green and Gold Game.

"We're not going to have to wait for 49 kids to report Aug. 1 to find out what kind of team we're going to have, like we did last season," Volek said. "We're going to find out this team's character over 15 days of spring practice, which will be a first in the three years I've been here.

"When the 20 new guys come in the fall, we'll have a solid foundation they'll be joining, instead of them coming in at that late date and having to become the foundation."

Women's crew looks to defend title


The Sacramento State women's rowing team will defend its varsity four title this Saturday at the CSUS Aquatic Center on Lake Natoma.

Three members from the team that won last year's California Collegiate Rowing Championship -- Christina Clinton, Abigail Smyth and Sabrina Lou -- will join Heather Watson and London Mackey on this year's varsity four lineup.

Hornets coach Bill Zack, who determined the lineup during spring break, said repeating won't be easy for the varsity four.

"The competition this year is going to be a lot harder," Zack said. "A lot of schools that didn't get to go to the NCAAs at all last year saw how well our four did and are really trying to beat us this year."

Clinton will be in the stroke seat for the Hornets, with Watson in the three seat, Smyth in the two seat and Mackey in the bow. Lou is Sac State's coxswain.

The qualifying heat is scheduled for 8 a.m. If the Hornets finish first or second in the qualifying round, they will advance to the final at 3:15 p.m.

The varsity four will also be looking to qualify for the NCAA national championships. Mackey, Lou and Smyth were part of the varsity four team that took a bronze in the NCAAs last season.

Other women's rowing teams competing for Sac State include the varsity eight, the second varsity eight and the novice eight. The men's team will also participate in the championships.

Baseball falls to top-ranked Stanford

Smith still looking for win No. 600


STANFORD -- Sacramento State baseball coach John Smith's quest for his 600th career win was put on hold Tuesday, as the top-ranked Stanford Cardinal rolled past the Hornets 12-2 at Sunken Diamond.

Stanford's Edmund Muth jumped on the first pitch of the game for a home run, igniting a four-run first inning.

That was all the offense Cardinal starter Brad Drew and three relievers would need: The four Stanford pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts and held the Hornets to six hits.

Sac State's Joel Walker led the Hornets' attack with a 3-for-4 effort. Michael Ford drove in a run with a double, and Mike Dominisse and Omar Prieto each scored for the Hornets.

Smith will get another chance at his 600th victory today at Hornet Field, when the Hornets host UC Santa Barbara. The 2 p.m. game is the opener of a three-game series.

The series will be an important one for the Hornets, who are tied for first in the Big West Conference North Division with the University of Nevada-Reno.

Sac State (8-10, 17-24) can put some distance between itself and the Wolfpack (5-7, 17-17), which will face No. 17 Long Beach State this weekend. The 49ers have won 10 of their last 11 Big West games and scored more than 10 runs in seven of those wins.

UC Santa Barbara won't be an easy opponent for the Hornets, however. The Gauchos, despite a 6-11 record in the Big West's South Division, have a 4-5 road record and have picked up seven of their 11 wins away from their home field.

The Gauchos are led by Brad Wright, who has a .366 batting average and 38 RBI for the season. UC Santa Barbara is batting .299 as a team, fifth in the conference.

Santa Barbara's slugging skills could give Sac State's pitching staff -- ranked last in the conference in team ERA -- a tough time.

The Hornets will look to continue their strong hitting. Sac State is third in the conference in team batting average, led by Brandon Marshall (.371, 34 RBI), Josh Payne (.367, 12 homers, 42 RBI) and Jason Bolton (.363, 37 RBI).