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Alums return for day of competition, nostalgia

WC hosts cross country, soccer events

August 28, 2011

Emily Bulach Garber '06 (at right) goes for the ball while freshman Emily Noskowiak defends.

Emily Bulach Garber '06 (at right) goes for the ball while freshman Emily Noskowiak defends.

PHOTO GALLERY

Former Wilmington College greats and current Quaker athletes shared the spotlight Saturday during the annual alumni cross country race and men and women’s soccer games.

The women’s soccer game at Charlie Gilhart Field provided spirited competition and a healthy dose of nostalgia.

“I love coming back to see everyone and to play on this field,” said Emily Bulach Garber ’06, a 2004 All-American. “There’s something about walking out of the locker room with your team and walking onto this field that I will never forget. I enjoy the total atmosphere of being here, from warming up with this year’s team to playing against them as a member of an alumni team. It’s always interesting to see who Steve brought in. They carry the WC soccer tradition — it’s great to see we still have an awesome program here.”

Women’s soccer coach Steve Spirk ’82 said the event provides a perfect blend of reflection and anticipation.

“Those are the players who graduated from your program — they’re All-Americans and people who played in OAC championships and the National Tournament,” Spirk said. “They are great role models for our players. Last year we played on the turf field, which was OK, but I know they love playing on the grass. Gilhart Field is a special place that brings back a lot of special memories to our alumni — and to me.”

AT LEFT: Kevin Brown looks to get his on a cornerkick as goalkeeper Anton Niklasson, Armin Fejzic and James Attinger defend.

Lenny Diaspro ’90 played in the alumni golf outing and attended the alumni games. He said the day brought perfect balance between the past, present and future.

“I enjoy the memories I have just being around the guys I played with,” Diaspro said. “Some of the guys I played (Steve and Jacob Spirk, John and Brandon Burgmeier, Chuck and Derek Nickoson) with have sons who are now in Bud’s program. It’s nice to see the evolution of the program become multi generational. Also I like to see who Bud’s brought in to continue the WC soccer tradition. I also enjoy seeing what Steve had done with the women’s program.”

More than 25 alums gathered at the start line to run alongside the 2011 cross country teams. For many, the event has become a can’t-miss tradition.

“I came here today from Plymouth, Indiana,” said Randy Frame ’07. “It’s good to see the old faces. It’s a fun weekend. The new kids just need to go out and have fun. If you have a bad day, make the best of it.”

Wilmington cross country coach Ron Combs ’93 said the value of tradition cannot be overstated and should not be overlooked.

“It’s nice to have the alums come back and meet the current runners,” Combs said. “It’s nice to hear them talk about the exciting things they did, the experiences they had at Wilmington. Hopefully, we’ve been able to establish a tradition with cross country, and the new kids are going to carry it on. It’s nice for them to hear that from the alums, the people who really built that tradition.”

BELOW: Smoke in the air means the 2011 WC alumni race is under way.