Bearcat Athletics News
Bearcat athletes volunteer for the Salem community during Into the Streets
Willamette athletes Josh Dean (Jr., QB, Dana Point, CA/Dana Hills HS), Madisyn Leenstra (Sr., OH/MH, Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS), Mike McGrew (Sr., MF, Portland, OR/Grant HS) and Andi Rowan (Sr., MF, Boise, ID/Timberline HS) helped with a community service project as part of Into the Streets during the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, Jan. 21.
Dean is a member of the WU football team and Leenstra is a volleyball player. McGrew is from the men's soccer team and Rowan is from the women's soccer team.
The Bearcat athletes were part of a group of Willamette students and staff who helped place bark chips and mulch on walking trails at Minto Brown Island Park in Salem, Ore. Willamette's group included the athletes and several other students, as well as President Stephen Thorsett, Head Football Coach Glen Fowles and Athletic Facilities and Operations Manager Rob Passage.
Willamette's group, plus groups from Corban University and Chemeketa Community College combined their efforts at the Minto Brown dog park. The WU students and staff, along with the Chemeketa CC group, focused on the trails at the east end of the dog park, while the Corban group concentrated its efforts at the west end.
"It's an awesome thing to do," Leenstra said. "I have the time ... I'm going to put it to good use."
As dog owners watched their dogs run throughout the park, the WU students and other volunteers brought load after load of bark chips and mulch in wheelbarrows to the various trails, while other workers spread out and flattened the mixture. Their efforts resulted in updated trails throughout the dog park.
"It's pretty interesting McGrew said. "We were each doing all three aspects at first (loading the wheelbarrows, transporting the bark chips, spreading it out). It took about 10 minutes before everyone picked up their own chores to divide the work. And two or three of the dog owners helped, too."
"I have been raking ... all over," Rowan noted. "Teamwork definitely helps. Three of us have been working on this trail (a wide trail in the southeast corner of the dog park) most of the time."
"This is my first time dealing with the the mulch," Dean said. "A nice even coat is what you're looking for. We've done projects similar to this with the football team during the United Way Days of Caring."
The Willamette athletes were able to contribute significantly to the project, while combining their efforts and meeting students from Chemeketa CC and Corban.
"I was aware there were events going on," Dean commented. "I was able to respond and come here and help out and have an enjoyable time."
"It's pretty fun," McGrew said. "One of my interests is community health, so I'm glad to be able to participate."
Into the Streets is an annual community service project for Willamette. It is part of WU's list of special events that are part of the celebration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
Willamette men's tennis season preview
Leading the way for the Bearcats is senior Joshua Wong (Sr., Hilo, HI/Hilo HS), who placed second in singles at the USTA/ITA Northwest Small College Championships this past fall. He is ranked #6 in the West Region in singles according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's fall rankings.
Wong was named First Team All-Northwest Conference three times in his first three seasons at Willamette. Now he is the team's only senior and a leader for the Bearcats. Wong owns a career singles record of 34-18 in spring matches, including a record of 27-10 against Northwest Conference opponents.
During last season's trip to Hawaii, Wong, who is from Hilo, defeated Ryan Coffey from Hawaii-Hilo (NCAA Division II), 6-2, 6-2 at #1 singles.
Other returning members of the team are Devin Abney (So., Shoreline, WA/Shorecrest HS/Univ. of Redlands), Will Agnew-Svoboda (Jr., Corvallis, OR/Corvallis HS), Will Cooper (Jr., Gresham, OR/Centennial HS) and Jack Schreiber (So., Solana Beach, CA/The Grauer School).
Last year, Cooper played #4 singles, while Abney competed mostly at #5 singles. Agnew-Svoboda split time at #5 and #6 singles, while Schreiber played mostly at #6.
Abney also saw action at #2 doubles, while Cooper played in nine dual matches at #3 doubles.
The Bearcat roster includes six freshmen. Sam Wexman (Tiburon, CA/Gamiscal HS) won his first match at the Northwest Championships before losing in the second round.
Shrujan Kalidindi (Fr., Cupertino, CA/Monta Vista HS) and Colin Yamaguchi (Fr., Damascus, OR/Clackamas HS) teamed up to win a first round doubles match at the Northwest Championships, but fell in the Round of 16. Likewise, Cooper and Mathew Dees (Fr., Henderson, NV/Coronado HS) earned a first round victory in doubles before losing in the Round of 16.
Other freshmen for Willamette are Blake Brash (Fr., Boise, ID/Boise HS) and Gunnar Lee (Fr., Hilo, HI/St Joseph HS).
Wood previously was the director of tennis at Illahe Hills Country Club from 2001 through 2012. He is a graduate of Willamette, who received a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Economics in 1992.
Willamette will play its first home match of the season on Saturday, Feb. 23, when the Bearcats will host NWC opponent Pacific Lutheran University. Match time is set for 11 a.m. (PST) at the WU Tennis Courts. If weather forces the match indoors, it will be played at 11 a.m. at the Courthouse Tennis Center (1379 Madison St. NE).