Basketball, baseball rule in ’97-’99

In the first two years of the class of 1999 experience, women’s sports such as soccer, basketball, volleyball, and gymnastics ruled the Foggy Bottom scene.

In the next two years, the men redeemed themselves with some of the greatest basketball and baseball seasons in GW history. Fueled by the brilliance of `99 graduates Yegor Mescheriakov, Shawnta Rogers, Noelia Gomez, Ben Ferry, Tim Champney, and gymnast Meena Lakdawala, these last two years added many memorable moments to GW sports history. (See p. 9 for two years of GW history.)

June, 1997: Colonial baseball player Troy Allen is drafted by the Atlanta Braves.

August: Van Hoffman becomes the third water polo coach in a year. September: Men’s soccer coach George Lidster runs into citizenship problems and remains in England for the `97 campaign.

October: In the men’s soccer team’s 8-3 win over Fordham, Ben Hatton scores the first four goals, and Ben Ferry notches five assists. At one point in the season, Ferry is tied for the national lead in assists.

Soccer player Chemar Smith breaks the all-time GW points record. She also breaks the goals record.

The men’s water polo team plays in its first Eastern Championship.

November: As basketball opens, the men are granted a “mulligan,” having graduated no one of importance. Meanwhile, GW introduces its first “George the Mascot” rival, the short-lived “Mike the Superfan.”

The women’s team wallops Georgetown to open the season. In Maui, the men lose to the ninth-ranked University of Kentucky Wildcats, who go on to win the national championship. (Oops, I ruined it. Okay, GW didn’t win the national championship this year).

GW graduate Abe Pollin opens his MCI Center downtown. The first game is between the Washington Wizards and the Seattle SuperSonics. The night before the game, the Sonics practice at the Smith Center.

December: At the MCI Center, Maryland knocks off top-five team University of Kansas. The next day, in the championship game, the Colonials upset the 19th-ranked Terrapins.

January: Mike King debuts with the team and, in his third game, GW plays the 18th-ranked Musketeers of Xavier. He hits two free throws with no time left to send it to overtime, where his scoring secures the upset.

Elisa Aguilar scores 37 points in a win at Duquesne, but the women are only 4-4 at home. They had only lost three home games from 1994-’97.

The men are off to their best start since 1953-’54. A member of that team, Joe Holup, who is one of the greatest players in GW history, dies at 63.

February: Tajama Abraham sits in with Rebecca Lobo on ESPN2 as she calls the women’s game with St. Joseph’s at the Smith Center.

The men have won 15 of 16 and are 20-3. As the 17th-ranked team in the country (the best ranking since the Holup years) the Colonials lose at home to the 24th-ranked Rams of Rhode Island.

The men halt a disastrous four-game losing streak and Shawnta Rogers steals a win at home versus St. Bonaventure.

March: The men advance to their second A-10 Final in Philadelphia after avenging losses to UMass and Temple. After the Temple win, the Colonials have won 24 games, tying the school record. They lose to Xavier, but gain a nine seed, their highest-ever seed in the NCAA Tournament.

In the NCAAs, Oklahoma State University lays a 15-point loss on the men, while the women up their NCAA first-round record to 7-0 with an upset win over the University of Georgia. They drop an eight-point decision to the University of Connecticut in the second round.

The gymnastics team wins the A-10s for the first time.

April: Basketball players Rasheed Hazzard and Darin Green tell The Hatchet they couldn’t recommend anyone to play basketball at GW, because “of one person (Coach Mike Jarvis), just for fear that someone might go through what I went through,” says Green.

After sweeping a doubleheader from Xavier, the baseball team clinches the A-10 West title.

May: The baseball team finishes 33-18, setting a school record for wins.

The women’s crew wins the Championship Regatta. The varsity eight advances to the 16 team NCAA Championships, finishing 15th.

June: Mike Jarvis is considered for his umpteenth job, this time at St. John’s University. This time, he takes it.

Tom Penders, after getting run out of University of Texas, is eagerly hired to take over the Colonials. “We’re going to have fun and we’re going to fill this arena,” he says.

July: The Detroit Shock and Tajama Abraham visit the new Washington Mystics of the WNBA.

September: Men’s soccer knocks off NCAA team Howard. They lose or tie their next fourteen games. The women open 0-6 and then go 8-0.

October: The women’s soccer team beats UMass for the first time in 15 tries.

GW introduces a new logo, holds a Spirit Week, and stages the first “Midnight Madness” (replacing the weak “Colonial Madness”).

November: Ben Ferry ends his college soccer career as the all-time GW leader in assists.

The men’s basketball team tops 100 in the first two Penders-era exhibition games. The women’s team enters the season ranked 13th in the AP Poll.

The water polo team returns to the Eastern Championships.

Elisa Aguilar scores 29 in the women’s basketball team’s opening win over Georgetown.

December: The women struggle early but rock the 13th-ranked University of Arkansas at home. Meanwhile, at the MCI Center, the men drop the BB&T Classic consolation to fifth-ranked Stanford University. They sink to 4-4 after a loss at Siena College.

January: Men’s signee Chris Monroe scores 32 points in leading Good Counsel High School to victory at the Smith Center.

The University unveils “Big George.” Shawnta Rogers scores 36 points against Dayton.

The men’s basketball team annihilates Duquesne 109-57. The 52-point win is the largest margin in Smith Center history.

February: The women knock off Rhode Island on Senior Night. The men run to a 24-5 lead in a victory on ESPN2 versus UMass. Mayor Anthony Williams attends.

GW’s first basketball all-American and retired athletic director Bob Faris dies.

Swimmer Tim Champney is named A-10 Performer of the Year after setting two conference records at the A-10 Championships. He is featured in Sports Illustrated‘s “Faces in the Crowd.”

Students camp out overnight to see the men’s basketball team take on Xavier on Senior Day on ESPN. The men attempt to go 12-0 at the Smith Center and win GW’s first outright A-10 regular season title. Flu-stricken Shawnta Rogers buries his third buzzer-beater of the season to set off insanity at 22nd and G streets.

Shawnta Rogers and Noelia Gomez win the A-10 Player of the Year awards. Rogers becomes the first player to lead the A-10 in scoring, assists, steals, and free-throw percentage. He leads the nation in steals, the first Colonial to lead a category since Joe Holup.

March: GW crushes Dayton at the A-10 Tournament, winning 20 games two seasons in a row for the first time since the `50s. Tom Penders sets the GW mark for wins by a rookie coach.

The women fail to make the NCAA Tournament. Athletic Director Jack Kvancz serves on the nine-member men’s NCAA Selection Committee. The men make the NCAA Tournament, but are walloped by Indiana University in the first round.

The gymnastics team breaks a school record for points (that it had set earlier in the year) on the way to winning a second A-10 Championship.

Tim Champney becomes the first GW swimmer to compete at NCAAs.

April: Shawnta Rogers wins the Naismith Award awarded to the best player six feet or under.

The golf team has its best A-10 finish in 14 years and beats Virginia Tech for the first time in 21 years.

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