By CHRIS MARKHAM
In an annual celebration of its spring sports teams and the Fredericksburg community, the University of Mary Washington athletic department hosted the Spring Jubilee on Wednesday, April 8. Teams from across the UMW spectrum competed on what proved to be a busy day for UMW athletics.
The event featured food, games and music at the Campus Recreation turf field beginning at 5:30 p.m., and a wide variety of UMW sporting events, including women’s tennis, women’s lacrosse, baseball and a men’s lacrosse game “under the lights.” Philip Pierce, director of athletic development, and Taylor Johnson, vice president of the student-athlete advisory committee, organized the event.
The event is the spring equivalent of the annual Eagle Nation Day in the fall, also put on by the athletic department with a similar goal of getting community members involved and interested in UMW athletics. Much like Eagle Nation Day, B101.5 joined Spring Jubilee to supply the event with music and entertainment.
“It is important to myself and the athletic department mainly because we are celebrating the NCAA’s annual DIII Week,” said Johnson, a senior basketball player. “This is a time where all of the student-athletes come together to have a great time and celebrate our experiences as a DIII athlete.”
The reason for having the event at the turf field and “under the lights” was to bring awareness to President Rick Hurley of the need for stadium lights at the Battleground Athletic Complex. Currently, without stadium lights, games played at the Battlegrounds have to be played during the daytime, causing players to frequently miss class and making it difficult for fans and students to make it to the games.
“We play purely for the love of the sport, with no scholarships involved like in DI and DII,” said Johnson. “We believe being a DIII athlete is something to be proud of. Throughout the week, we are celebrating our stories of why we have chosen DIII and UMW in particular.”
The action began at 3:30 p.m. when the UMW baseball team took on Capital Athletic Conference rival Saint Mary’s College of Maryland. The game provided many fireworks for the fans, as the Eagles’ bats came to life in the fifth inning.
Senior Jono Haught continued his historic season with a grand slam to give the Eagles a 6-3 lead and never look back, as the Eagles came away with a 9-4 victory. Haught’s grand slam earned the senior the UMW record for most home runs in a single season, with four games still remaining on the regular season schedule.
The Eagles improved to 22-5 on the season, extending their nine-game winning-streak.
The women’s lacrosse team took the field shortly after the start of the baseball game to also face off against CAC rival Saint Mary’s College of Maryland. The back-and-forth game kept fans on the edge of their seats from start to finish, as the two teams traded goals throughout much of the game.
After the Seahawks held a 3-2 lead at halftime, they tacked on another early in the second half to extend their lead. However, the Eagles responded quickly, scoring two goals in a matter of five minutes to even the game at four goals apiece.
The Seahawks scored two quick goals at the 13:50 and 13:00 mark of the second half to take a late lead, and they ultimately held on for the 6-5 victory over the Eagles. The Eagles fell to 6-7 on the season with a Saturday home game against Colorado College on the horizon.
The women’s tennis team also took to the court, but rainy weather forced the match to finish after this edition’s deadline, as did the men’s lacrosse game, which took place at 7 p.m.
The event of Spring Jubliee is young and is still in the process of gaining traction in and around the UMW community.
“Something we can improve on in the future is to have more students involved in campus that are not involved in the athletic department,” said Johnson. “We want to celebrate with people all over campus and share our experiences with them.”