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    July 2012 Archives

    A New Home

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    While our student-athletes have been working hard in preparation for the start of the fall season, we've also made a few improvements in anticipation of the new school year.

    From this point forward, Irish UNDerground will be utilizing the Wordpress platform powered by NBC Sports.

    Here's a look at our three new blog websites:

    UNDerground: Notre Dame Athletics

    Strong and True: Notre Dame Football

    Irish United: Notre Dame Men's and Women's Soccer

    Go ahead and bookmark these now. With features, videos, photos, commentaries and news from inside the athletic department, we are committed to bringing you coverage of Notre Dame athletics unlike any you can find elsewhere.

    Get ready. 2012-13 is going to be an exciting year to be Irish.

    Irish Experience Camp

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    Here's a recap of yesterday's ND Youth Sports Irish Experience Camp at Stepan Fields. More than 250 local youth came out for a fun evening of soccer and touch football.

    Afterwards, the campers walked down the hallowed tunnel of Notre Dame Stadium, and enjoyed dinner in the bleachers, before touring the Irish locker room and hitting the famous "Play Like A Champion Today" sign.

    Be sure to visit ND Youth Sports on YouTube and like their page on Facebook. They also have their own blog with more frequent updates at http://youthsports.nd.edu/blog/.

    Riley's A Role Model

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    Though it should probably come as no surprise, Irish women's hoops great Ruth Riley ('01) received another nice honor this week. The WNBA recognized the Chicago Sky center's commitment to the community with its WNBA Cares Community Assist Award for June.

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    Here's more from the press release on the WNBA website:

    Since joining the Chicago Sky, Riley has assumed a leadership role off the court in the team's community outreach programs, while continuing to support health-related issues globally through her work with Nothing But Nets and Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign. This marks Riley's third Community Assist Award, having previously been honored in 2006 and 2008.

    Understanding the importance of being a positive role model for young girls, Riley visited two Chicago area high schools where she spent one-on-one time with students. During her visit with 9th through 11th grade girls at Chicago North High School, Riley shared personal life lessons with the group and emphasized the importance of setting goals and making positive choices. She also spoke with females students at Rowe-Clark High School and hosted a special clinic for the school's girls' basketball team.

    Last month, Riley was inducted into the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame. Fighting Irish Digital Media captured the moment, and you can watch more from that induction ceremony in the video below:

    Mic'd Up: Coach Kelly

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    The latest Fighting Irish Digital Media video looks back at spring ball and features Coach Kelly mic'd up during one of his team's practices in the Loftus Sports Center.

    Watch the video to get a closer look at the quarterback competition, which resumes on Aug. 4, when the Irish begin fall training camp.

    Lax In The City - 7.09.12

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    Emily (center) hangs out on the 4th of July at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, N.Y.

    Notre Dame rising senior women's lacrosse player Emily Conner has a dream internship for a sports fan this summer, as she is interning with ESPN in New York City in its Marketing & Sales department. Within the department, the Alexandria, Va., native works on the asset management team in the consumer marketing solutions department. The 10-week internship will offer Conner a chance to explore the fourth biggest city in the world, while working for The Worldwide Leader In Sports. Conner graciously volunteered to keep a weekly blog for Irish UNDerground, which will offer a small glimpse into her busy life this summer. Here is the fourth entry in the summer series: Lax In The City.

    "I might as well push myself. It's only 10 minutes worth of work. I might as well push as hard as I can."

    These are the inspiring words of the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest's six-time champion and world record holder Joey Chestnut - a man, known as "Jaws", who happened to spit backwash all over me in the midst of tying his world record. Yes, that is right, I got to count every last hot dog he so gracefully shoved in his mouth. I was standing in front of Chestnut as he put down hot dogs number 67 and 68 as the clock struck zero, and I have never been more afraid of being thrown up on in my life.

    So how did I end up judging this famous competition? I really do not know. All I know is that I was asked to do ESPN fan photos for the event. The job description included handing out foam ESPN fingers and taking pictures with fans. Overall, it was a pretty easy task, and a lot of fun! I actually had multiple people ask me if I was the talent (i.e. a competitive eater) and/or tell me they were big fans. For the record, I am not a competitive eater and I do not know how to respond when people ask me if I am. After taking tons of pictures and meeting many interesting people, I went back to the "Entertainment tent." Next thing I know, I'm being handed an official Nathan's shirt and being versed in the scoring of the competition. They told me that one of the judges I'd be scoring with was MarShon Brooks of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets (formerly New Jersey Nets). All I could think was, "Is this real life??" And an hour later, as Joey Chestnut's rain of backwash hit my face, the answer was clear- yes this is real life...and gross!

    Despite my very temporary aversion to hot dogs, it was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I mean only so many people get to say that they got to be the judge as someone broke a world record (I also counted for Sonya Thomas, who broke the women's record with 45 hot dogs!). It was never something I had on my bucket list, but as my roommate - who also worked the event -said, "now I'm pretty pumped to say I have that checked off!"

    While I have no intention of getting involved in the competitive eating world, I do think there are some lessons I can take from our champions and my experience. As Joey Chestnut demonstrated, as hard as it is to do what he does, it is only 10 minutes. He might as well push as hard as he can.

    I feel similarly about my internship. It is only 10 weeks. I might as well take advantage of every minute I have here. This week I have started to embrace more opportunities because I've started to realize just how quickly it all goes by. I even scheduled a meeting with one of the Executive Vice Presidents of ESPN to learn more about the business. I cannot even begin to detail how informative and interesting sitting down with him was. The 4th of July was supposed to be a day off, but I jumped at the opportunity to work the event. I did not do it because I thought I'd make it on ESPN, but because I wanted the full internship experience - whatever that may entail. I do not want to end my summer and realize that those 10 weeks went by so fast, and I did not take advantage of them.

    Life is short and there is no reason to waste it. Everything has an ending point. My internship will end. Lacrosse will end. One day my career will end. And I know that I will look back on each phase and think they flew by. So whatever endeavors I pursue I need to look at it with the mindset of a champion - the mindset of Joey Chestnut. "I might as well push myself. It's only (insert amount of time here) worth of work. I might as well push as hard as I can."

    This is Sportscenter.

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    Former Irish leprechaun Mike George ('12) appears alongside U.S swimmer Natalie Coughlin, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, in the latest ESPN "This is Sportscenter." commercial, which was posted on the network's YouTube channel last night.

    As you'll see in this 30-second spot, leprechauns sure do love gold. Enjoy.

    Get to Know Melissa Henderson

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    Former Irish women's soccer star Melissa Henderson ('12) is continuing her career at the next level, playing with the Boston Breakers of the Women's Professional Soccer League Elite (WPSL Elite). Through ten games, Melissa's squad is 8-2-0 and tied with Chicago for first place.

    Check out the video above from the Breakers' YouTube channel (BostonBreakerstv) featuring a Q&A with the Garland, Tex. native.

    While you're at it, here's a look back at "Student. Athlete. Irish.," a Fighting Irish Digital Media series that Melissa was featured in last fall.

    Bookstore Ballers

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    As any student or alum from the past forty years or so might tell you, there's nothing quite like Bookstore Basketball. Held each spring, Bookstore is the world's largest 5-on-5 outdoor basketball tournament.

    Featuring students, faculty and staff from Notre Dame, St. Mary's and Holy Cross, the Bookstore tournament attracts players of various skill and experience levels. Some teams treat it like the Final Four, others like it's a Friday night out on the town.

    Check out this YouTube playlist, a ten-part series produced by Fighting Irish Digital Media students, and highlighting some of the teams from this year's tournament.

    Irish at U.S. Women's Golf Open

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    Notre Dame's Becca Huffer ('12), Lindsey Weaver ('16) and Ashley Armstrong ('15) are competing at the U.S. Women's Golf Open, which tees off today at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis.

    Read more about the Irish in the Open at UND.com.

    Zagunis Among The Best Ever

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    When it comes to sports, we have our differences. What's the best rivalry in sports? Who's better: Kobe or LeBron? What's the greatest individual accomplishment in baseball history? The list goes on...

    But if there's one thing most of us can agree on, it's that the Olympic Games are awesome. In the weeks leading up to London, SI.com is counting down the top 100 memorable U.S. Summer Olympic moments.

    Coming in at #89 is none other than Notre Dame's own, Mariel Zagunis, who made Olympic history in 2004 by defeating Chinese fencer Xue Tan to capture America's first fencing gold medal in 100 years.

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    Check out the SI.com site for more on Zagunis' Olympic glory (When you visit the site, click each of the photos to learn more).

    You might as well go ahead and bookmark it now. SI will be releasing the remaining twenty moments, one per day, beginning on July 7 and continuing until the eve of the Games of the XXX Olympiad.

    - Josh Flynt ('11)

    View From A2

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    brindockusa.JPG Rising junior setter Maggie Brindock is one of 48 athletes participating in this summer's USA Volleyball Women's National A2 Team Program.

    Brindock's training began June 26 at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, while the matches will be held June 30 to July 4 during the USA Volleyball Girls' Junior National Championships (GJNC) at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

    During the pre-tournament training session, the 48 athletes will be divided into four teams of 12 players that will play one match per day during the GJNC. All matches will be A2 competing against each other in a round-robin format followed by a semifinal and final round.

    Brindock will be sharing her experiences with Irish UNDerground throughout the event ...

    --

    July 4

    Greetings Irish fans and Happy 4th! Well, my time in Columbus has now come to a close. This experience has been one that I will never forget. I will be able to take what I have learned and put it to great use for the Irish!

    Today finished up the tournament. Last night, we went up against the Gold team and we had a hard loss in five games. It was a great match, with high intensity volleyball, but we just did not finish on top. With that said, we played today against team Blue. We fought hard, and we played well, but we ended short losing in five. We were always right there, with the opportunity to win, but it did not work out.

    My time with the National A2 team has been so enjoyable! I have met many girls, and I know I will stay in touch with a couple of them. Those who were strangers to me when I started this camp are now good friends as I leave.

    I have said each time that this entire opportunity has made me realize how truly blessed I am. The memories that I will take away from this will stay with me always. I know I improved my game with the ten days I have spent here, but most importantly, I had fun doing it! I smiled a lot and I enjoyed myself, on and off the court, and I know if I did that, this experience was totally worth it.

    Now that my time playing with USA is over, for now, I am all about the Fighting Irish! Watch out, because NDVB 2012 is ready to take on anything that comes our way! We will be strong, I have no doubt.

    Take care my Irish fans. Come support Notre Dame volleyball this year! Always remember, JUST BELIEVE, and GO IRISH!

    There Are Over 360 Species of Sharks ...

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    ... but here are two of our favorites!

    Armstrong Headed To U.S. Women's Open

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    Sophomore Ashley Armstrong will spend her July 4th holiday preparing for the U.S. Women's Golf Open, which kicks off on Thursday at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis.

    The Flossmore, Ill., native was the BIG EAST Freshman of the Year and will be among 26 amateurs and three golfers with Notre Dame connections, in the 156-player field.

    If Ashley keeps playing as she has been, she may soon be signing many more autographs for people across the country, like the young fan in the photo above.

    For much more on Armstrong, as well as her former teammate Becca Huffer ('12) and future teammate Lindsay Weaver (an incoming freshman), check out the press release on UND.com.

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