Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

UHH selects Beddingfield as Women’s Soccer Coach

Unity Beddingfield

  Vulcan Press Release: University of Hawaii at Hilo Athletic Director Dexter Irvin today announced the selection of Unity Beddingfield as the women’s soccer coach, effective April 16, 2012.
 
Beddingfield takes over the UH Hilo program after a year as the assistant coach at San Bernardino Valley College where the team finished 15-6-3. Six months earlier she was an assistant coach of former UH Hilo and current California State University San Bernardino Head Coach Travis Clarke.
 
“She works very hard on-and-off the field, is a great leader and mentor to younger student athletes,” said Clarke. “She is a driven young woman and stepped up to any challenge I have seen in front of her as a player, student, person and coach.
 
“She will do very well in her new role.”
 
The Vulcans finished the 2011 season 5-9-2 overall and seventh in the Pacific West Conference at 3-7-2 with a roster that included two seniors, four juniors, six sophomores and 15 freshmen.
 
“This is the biggest step I’ve taken and a great opportunity in a great atmosphere,” said Beddingfield. “I’m hoping to bring a different dynamic and atmosphere to help the program grow.
 
“I feel like a kid in a candy store. I have so many aspirations for the girls that I’m really excited. And when I talk to them, they get excited. So I’m thinking I need to do everything that I can for them.”
 
Beddingfield, a 2011 graduate of CSU San Bernardino, has played soccer for over 21 years. She was a two-year starting forward for the Coyotes before joining the Claremont Stars of the Women’s Premier Soccer League. Beddingfield hoped to take her talents overseas before a career-ending injury derailed her efforts.
 
A year after graduating from high school, she started her coaching career by joining the Arroyo Valley High School coaching staff while also playing collegiate soccer. By 2007, she became the head coach.
 
Fitness remains a crucial point in her life. With her bachelors in Kinesiology and Exercise Science/Pedagogy, Beddingfield is a certified personal trainer.

June 5, 2012 Posted by | Soccer | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vulcan Booster Luncheon profiles Volleyball and Cross Country

Hillary Hurley and Coach Reyes

The University of Hawaii at Hilo Vulcan’s booster club hosted a luncheon at the Naniloa on Tuesday, Sept 13.

Many of the high profile coaches from the athletic department were on hand including Vulcan Athletic Director Dexter Irvin.

Volleyball coach Tino Reyes and star player Hillary Hurley were on hand to say a few words about their program.

Reyes, when asked who will be the Vulcan toughest opponent this year, jokingly said BYU China!

“I don’t think we could have beaten Hilo High at the start of last season,” Reyes said.  “We have a good volleyball team this season.”

Hurley, who is the reigning conference champion, is a senior from Redding, California and has been offered an assistant coaching position at Chico State.

The Chico State offer is for next season and with it comes the opportunity for her to continue on with graduate school.

Nadia Ramirez and Coach Guerpo

Cross Country Coach Jaime Guerpo and lead runner Nadia Ramirez also said a few words at the luncheon.

“I’m just glad I can say I’m still a cross country coach,” Guerpo said.  “Like I tell my runners, we need to take it one step at a time.”

Guerpo was talking about the lack of funding for his sport which almost saw him without the necessary funds to continue the harrier program.

Carole Kai and the Great Aloha Run stepped forward to fund his women’s team with the necessary travel funds to keep the program going this season.

Guerpo will need to fundraise in 2012 to ensure the existence of cross country at UHH.

Ramirez, an incoming freshman from Hilo High, has led the Vulcan’s during the early season meets.

“We have five freshmen on this year’s team,” Guerpo said.  “We started with seven girls and we’re down to five left on the team.”

BYU Hawaii is the top women’s team in the league and Guerpo is hopeful that his ladies will qualify for the conference championships which will be held on Oct. 29 at Grand Canyon.

September 13, 2011 Posted by | Events | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UHH women’s cross country program saved

After given a death sentence the University of Hawaii cross country program might have received a last minute reprieve.

In April Vulcan runners were given the news that, due to budget restraints, the Athletic Department decided to cut both the men’s and women’s programs.

“We were devastated,” UHH cross country coach Jaime Guerpo said. 

Guerpo broke the news to his team four weeks ago as the cuts were necessitated to save the athletic department $100,000 or 10 percent of their overall budget and cross country was targeted to receive the death blow.

Since that time Guerpo had spearheaded a community campaign to try and raise the necessary funds to keep the program alive.

“I feel it’s my duty to try everything in my power to keep this program going,” the veteran Vulcan coach said.

Many people sympathetic to the cross country demise have made pledges of various amounts which has given new life to a once doomed program.

“We seem to have generated enough funds to keep the women’s program alive as travel cost were our main concern,” Guerpo said. “Not enough money for the men to compete, although I feel very bad for my returning runners, but I guess that’s how it has to be right now.”

The Vulcan women will run a bare bones program with no scholarships being offered, but interest and commitments are still running high.

“I have four committed runners to the program and I’m still looking for more walk-ons,” Guerpo said.

Stephanie Adams from Boulder City, Nevada, Jordan Bledsoe from Omaha, Nebraska, Nadia Ramirez from Hilo and Brithany Ariga from Kamehameha-Hawaii have all committed to running for the Vulcan’s in the Fall according to Guerpo.

The UHH squad will be made up of all new faces as none of the veteran runners are either eligible or interested in coming back, at least at the present time according to Guerpo.

“We’re going to start our summer training in June and if there are any women interest in walking on they should call or email me immediately,” Guerpo said.

To keep the program going Guerpo has agreed to a 50 percent pay cut and believes that the entire amount needed to fund his women’s programs travel cost is $20,000.

“I just got a call from Carole Kai of the Great Aloha Run and they have committed a large amount for our travel cost so I am very optimist that we will be able to keep this program going for years to come,” he said.

UHH athletic director, Dexter Irvin, was equally enthusiastic about resurrecting the women harriers.

“We are very excited to be able to resume our women’s cross country program,” Irvin said.

In a UHH press release Irvin was quoted as saying “Community support has made next season possible.  The funds raised will cover interisland travel for the squad.”

Guerpo will enter his 12th season at the helm of UHH cross country and Irvin has announced that a two year suspension of the men’s program will stay in tack.

“Credit goes to Coach Guerpo,” Irvin said in the UHH press release.  “He knows the situation the department is in and accepted the challenge to keep the program running despite the loss of operating and scholarship funds as well as his salary.”

   The UHH women will remain in the PacWest and be limited to a five race season which includes the UHH Invitational.

Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Chaminade University and Hawaii Pacific University will also host PacWest meets and the UHH women will be provided the opportunity to participate in the PacWest Championships.

“We had to make a tough decision to keep our athletic department in the black,” Irvin said in a phone interview.  “When looking at making cuts we wanted to affect the fewest number of student/athletes and coaches and that is why we targeted cross country in order maintain our fiscal responsibility.”

Irvin expressed his desire to revisit the men’s program and was hopeful that UHH could bring the men back in 2013.

“It is an extremely difficult decision to make these cuts,” Irvin said of keeping the men’s program on suspension.

“We’re feeling the pain in higher education and in the athletic department we are only able to fund our conference schedule,” Irvin said.

Irvin was asked if he would consider any coaches request to give up a small portion of their budget to help the cross country program and he replied with an emphatic “no”.

“Every one of our teams are on a minimal budget and I would not allow them to voluntarily cut their budget even further as this would put our athletes at risk,” he said.

Irvin explained that the budget crisis he faces for his 250 student/athletes is so complex that it would be difficult to paint a clear picture during this interview.

In the meantime women’s cross country has survived due to the generosity of the public and the willingness of the coach to operate on a travel only budget.

Guerpo can be reached at guerpo@hawaii.edu.

May 21, 2011 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Grassroot support growing to save UHH cross country program

Some members of the UHH women’s cross country team

“It is a sad day when UH Hilo cuts the only sport that has a connection to traditional Hawaiian culture (makahiki),” Kamehameha chemistry teacher Joel Truesdell said.

Truesdell is referring to the latest announcement from the Vulcan athletic department to cut both the men’s and women’s cross country programs in order to meet the projected 10 percent budget deficit.

“It shows a lack of sensitivity or awareness to the cultural basis of sport in our Hawaiian community,” Truesdell said.  “All we are left with are imported games.”

Along with being a teacher at the Kamehameha-Keaau campus Truesdell is also the head women’s cross country coach for the Warriors and an advocate for distance running.

The UHH cross country program is a non revenue generating sport and, like most business decisions, found itself at the bottom of the priority list and at the top of the chopping block of UHH Athletic Director Dexter Irvine.

“Our kids are devastated,” UHH cross country coach Jaime Guerpo said.  “I broke the news to them a few days ago and since that time we’ve been looking at ways to try to come up with the $100,000 needed each year to keep us going.”

Guerpo has been coaching the cross country program at UHH since 1999 and has taken a budget cut ever year.

“I feel it’s my duty to keep the program going,” Guerpo said.  “I understand that the administration had to make the cuts to keep the athletic program going and we’ve always made do with what we got and have produced a very successful program.”

Guerpo is even willing to coach the team without compensation if it would help salvage the program.

“I’d give up my pay in a heartbeat if that is what it would take to keep this program going,” he said.  “We’re looking at all sorts of ways to help keep cross country alive at UHH.”

Over the years Guerpo had heavily recruited local athletes from around the state to run on his men’s and women’s teams.

Currently Christian Liberty’s Justin Pang, Keoni and Nick Ucker, Keaau’s Nick Hagemann and Liliana DeSmither, Kau’s Kapua Lapera, Waiakea’s James Imai, and Hilo’s Stefano Barbis are members of the team.

Several of the current and former UHH cross country runners were winners of the Big Island Road Runners scholarship.

“We were all in shock when Coach Jaime broke the news to us a few days ago,” Imai said.  “We’re still hoping we can find a way to keep the programs alive.”

The BIRR, along with the Big Island International Marathon, Honolulu Marathon, and Big Island Running Company have all been contacted to lend their support towards helping to keep running alive at UHH.

These UHH runners have also been highly visible in the community, often found at the finish lines of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation cross country and track and field finish lines as they help give back to the sport in which they love dearly.

Guerpo and his runners have also been strong support/volunteers at Hawai’i Island Special Olympics and numerous County Parks and Recreation track and field meets as they serve as strong role models for our community.

“We also help out with the Big Island Marathon each year by setting up hundreds of cones and barricades along the 26.2 mile course at 3:00 a.m. and then collecting and returning them when the event is over,” Guerpo said.

“The UHH cross country team are not self-promoters, but are contributors in ways that are not always recognized in public forums,” Faith Nance, the cross country representative on the Vulcan Athletic Club said.

“Many of the talented high school runners who choose to remain at home have the opportunity to continue to participate in a sport that can become a lifelong avocation and a strong foundation for a healthy lifestyle,” Nance said.

Dozens of emails poured into the Big Dog’s mail box in support of looking at ways of keeping the cross country program alive at UH Hilo.

 “At least UH Manoa gets it,” Truesdell said.  “They have a full complement of the sports that are traditionally based such as cross country, track and field, swimming and sailing.”  

The UHH athletic department made their decision to cut cross country without getting community input which has many local residents upset because they feel they are stake holders in higher education.

“It seems to me that UH Hilo should reach out to the community before making this decision,” Truesdell said.  “The people here will take care of their own if given the opportunity or challenge.”

Guerpo continues to look over a variety of scenarios to see if something can be salvaged.

Vulcan runners support many local community races

“If we have to give something up then I’d like to see the women’s team saved as this would at least come into Title 9 compliance of gender equity, “Guerpo said.

 If the UHH decision makers were to come to BIIF cross country meet they would see the connections.  Keeping a sport like this will maintain and strengthen ties to the community that are priceless.

“A University’s cross country program provides a valuable benefit not only to the team members, but also to the entire university and surrounding community by inspiring everyone to get more active,” Jason Braswell, owner of the Big Island Running Company said.

“Collegiate cross country is particularly inspirational to middle school and high school students who get to see where their running can lead them,” Braswell said.

With the continued growth of the Big Island International Marathon and BIIF cross county programs the continuation of a university running team would be responding to the interest of a growing segment of our community.

We all hope that Athletic Director Dexter Irvin will reconsider his decision to cut an important sports program and instead become part of the solution in promoting something that has deep seeded roots in our culturally based community.

If anyone in the community would like to help save the UHH cross country program please contact the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com or call 969-7400.

Related link:  https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/uhh-athletics-suspends-cross-country-cheerleading-press-release/

April 18, 2011 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

UHH Athletics Suspends Cross-Country & Cheerleading – Press Release

Pac West men’s cross country

 University of Hawaii at Hilo Director of Athletic Dexter Irvin announced today the 2-year suspension of three programs as part of an effort to reduce its budget while maintaining the viability of the department.

On the table are men’s and women’s cross country and cheerleading.

The savings of approximately $100,000 in operational, salary and scholarship funding per academic year will be added to a 10-percent operational savings Irvin established at the beginning of the fiscal year.

“We’ve been able to stay in the black for the past two years but like everyone else we also need to cut back,” said Irvin. “We looked at many scenarios but felt that this move would have the least affect on our student/athletes’ academic opportunities and our program’s competitiveness.”

During the 2010-11 seasons, 120 athletes were on athletic scholarship. Six belonged to the cross country program.

“These scholarships will not be affected,” said Irvin. “We will honor our commitment to their academic success here at UH Hilo.”

Among the challenges Irvin faces in his second year at UH Hilo are the increasing cost of travel and education while trying to balance a budget that is currently funded below the NCAA Division II national average.

“We are part of a 7-percent decrease in scholarships as well as a probable 7-percent decrease in our operational funding,” said Irvin. “We have made significant reductions in many programs and we cannot continue to make overall program reductions without sacrificing student/athlete welfare and well being,”

University of Hawaii at Hilo Director of Athletic Dexter Irvin announced today the 2-year suspension of three programs as part of an effort to reduce its budget while maintaining the viability of the department.

On the table are men’s and women’s cross country and cheerleading.

The savings of approximately $100,000 in operational, salary and scholarship funding per academic year will be added to a 10-percent operational savings Irvin established at the beginning of the fiscal year.

“We’ve been able to stay in the black for the past two years but like everyone else we also need to cut back,” said Irvin. “We looked at many scenarios but felt that this move would have the least affect on our student/athletes’ academic opportunities and our program’s competitiveness.”

During the 2010-11 seasons, 120 athletes were on athletic scholarship. Six belonged to the cross country program.

“These scholarships will not be affected,” said Irvin. “We will honor our commitment to their academic success here at UH Hilo.”

Among the challenges Irvin faces in his second year at UH Hilo are the increasing cost of travel and education while trying to balance a budget that is currently funded below the NCAA Division II national average.

“We are part of a 7-percent decrease in scholarships as well as a probable 7-percent decrease in our operational funding,” said Irvin. “We have made significant reductions in many programs and we cannot continue to make overall program reductions without sacrificing student/athlete welfare and well being,”

Cross Country was started in the 1980s. Under similar fiscal conditions, the programs were suspended during the 1989 and 1990 seasons before being re-instated during the 1991 season. During the 20-year stretch since, the Vulcans claimed three conference championships and were consistent participants of post-season races.

“Coach (Jaime) Guerpo had done an excellent job in recruiting this upcoming season so it is very painful for him and for us,” said Irvin. “We look forward to the time we can revisit the opportunity for our cross country programs.”

Vulcan athletics consists of six women’s sports (basketball, golf, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball) and five men’s sports (baseball, basketball, golf, soccer and tennis). Nine of the 11 sports participate as members of the Pacific West Conference while women’s golf and men’s tennis will gain membership beginning the 2012-13 seasons.

NOTE: Vulcan Athletics will be submitting an application for a PacWest waiver in cross country.

April 18, 2011 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , | Leave a comment