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‘Sports’ Category

Sports | Aug. 13 10:00 am EST
We want you

Apply to be a sports columnist

Kiera Wood / Spec

So you’re a Columbia or Barnard student. You have opinions about sports. You want to express them, but don’t think they’d be particularly well-received in your first-year English class.

We can help.

Spec Sports is looking for columnists for the fall semester. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a first-year or senior, whether you want to write about squash or football — we want people who have interesting, insightful things to say about Ivy and Columbia sports, and the athletic experience in general.

It’s a chill job (one column every two weeks), but nonetheless guaranteed to get you plenty of eyeballs and help your #brand. Especially if you write about Columbia’s, well, noteworthy football team, or its basketball team which will be facing both defending national champion UConn and defending national runner-up Kentucky. Coming off Columbia’s most successful semester in years (four Ivy titles), now is the time to hop on the bandwagon.

If you’re interested (or even if you’re not), fill out an application and sent it to by August 31. If you have any questions, also email

And if you’re really not interested in sports … A&E and Spectrum are hiring as well.

(If you want to apply for more than one section, go right ahead — you can be a columnist or blogger for multiple sections at the same time.)


Sports | Jul. 17 11:00 am EST
changing lanes

Swimming coach Caskey takes leave of absence

File photo

On the heels of veteran track and field coach Willy Wood’s resignation comes another coaching shakeup in a storied CU program. Diana Caskey, head of women’s swimming since 1992, has announced her intention to take a leave of absence.

Assistant coach Michael Sabala, who’s been with the program since the 06-07 season, will take the reins as acting head coach next season. He shared a statement by Caskey with swimming blog

“I love coaching at Columbia University. I love coaching our team. Taking this leave of absence is the best thing for my family and me at this time. I am healthy, I am well, and I am grateful to be able to give my full attention to my family in the next six months. Dr. Murphy, our Director of Athletics, has been very supportive in helping create this leave opportunity for me and I am tremendously grateful to have her support and guidance.”

The women’s swimming program is coming off of what was arguably one of its most successful seasons ever. While it couldn’t capture that elusive Ivy title, the squad went undefeated in head-to-head competition, winning the dual meet championship and posting definitive victories over conference foes Princeton and Harvard in the process.

Caroline Lukins, CC ’13, one of the program’s top swimmers ever in the butterfly, has been hired as an assistant coach.

Columbia won’t be the only swim team in the Ivies adjusting to a new coaching lineup: Peter Brown, the head coach of (you guessed it) Brown’s men and women’s teams announced his retirement about a week ago, and at Harvard, Kevin Tyrell was promoted to permanent head coach.


Sports | Jun. 27 10:00 am EST
soar eagle soar

World Cup group stage: What you need to know

Wikimedia Commons

The group stage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup wrapped up yesterday. In case you haven’t been paying close attention, here’s what happened:

The USMNT survived the “Group of Death”

Everyone who made a commitment to see the US men’s national soccer team—whether among the legion in Brazil or the record-breaking numbers watching from home—has been rewarded. Improbably, the United States finished second in Group G—behind Germany and ahead of Ghana and Portugal—to qualify for the Round of 16. It’s the first time the USMNT has advanced past the group stage in consecutive World Cups. More »


Sports | Jun. 19 4:41 pm EST
free willy

Track head coach Willy Wood resigns

Lisa Huang / Spec

Twenty years and eight Ivy League titles later, Willy Wood is calling it quits.

The longtime Columbia Director of Cross Country and Track and Field has resigned, the athletic department announced.

Under Wood’s tenure, the women’s cross country team won the 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005 Ivy League titles, while the men’s cross country team won championships in 2004, 2009, and 2013, finished a program-best 17th at NCAAs in 2012, and ranked in the top 10 at times during the 2013 season. The women’s track and field team also won an indoor conference title in 2012.

Columbia will conduct a nationwide search for a replacement.

If it opts for an internal option—perhaps unlikely considering Wood came on board after being named Big South Coach of the Year at the University of North Carolina-Asheville—options include assistant coaches Delilah DiCrescenzo, CC ’05, Nicole Blood, Elliott Blount, and Will Boylan-Pett, CC ’05.

The change comes a few months after volleyball coach Jon Wilson retired and longtime women’s soccer coach Kevin McCarthy resigned after the conclusion of their respective fall seasons.


Sports | Jun. 12 1:30 pm EST
getting brazilian

World Cup odds: what the models say

Tânia Rêgo / Agência Brasil

In case you missed it, the biggest event in the history of team sports begins again today. At 4 p.m., two hours after opening ceremonies, Croatia and host Brazil will kick off the 2014 World Cup.

Several people have built models to generate probabilities for winning the tournament. Here’s a rundown of a few prominent ones.


Three of Nate Silver’s writers worked together to make predictions and some neat interactive graphics. Built on the back of the Soccer Power Index, a predictive metric which Silver co-developed with ESPN in 2010, Brazil is the clear favorite to start, nearly 50-50 to win the whole damn thing. Argentina stands second at 15 percent, followed by Germany at 11 percent and Spain at eight percent.
More »


Sports | Jun. 11 10:07 am EST

The 3 best World Cup-related ads

Wikimedia Commons

The World Cup dominates the Internet like no other sporting event—and yes, that includes the Super Bowl. Several big websites have rolled out spectacular previews in recent days—Grantland’s Men in Blazers is especially good—and FIFA’s various big sponsors have produced World Cup-related commercials for their quadrennial chance to reach well over a billion pairs of eyes.

From what I’ve seen, here are the best of the lot. More »

Sports | May. 5 9:28 pm EST
cu lion pride

‘You Can Play’ video celebrates Columbia Athletics’ acceptance of all athletes

Athletes Derek Kim, CC ’16, Kayla Patton, CC ’16, and Jourdan Sayers, CC ’15, in collaboration with the Columbia Society for the Advancement of Underrepresented Filmmakers, created this video to introduce CU Lion Pride, a new student group. As they describe on the video, CU Lion Pride hopes to show that at Columbia, “teams depend upon and welcome each athlete’s individuality in order to succeed both on and off the field.” CU Lion Pride is based off of Athlete Ally, an organization that fights transphobia and homophobia in sports in schools around the country.

“We noticed that some ‘You Can Play’ videos at other colleges really stressed the idea that your personal identity doesn’t matter when it comes to competitions and games, but we wanted to say something a little different,” Kim explained. “We wanted to emphasize that it DOES matter, that you are important and embraced because you are you. That accepting and celebrating each other’s differences is what makes us better teammates, and consequently helps us to achieve higher success (on and off the field).” Check out the video, and check out other teams’ videos after the jump:

More »


Sports | May. 3 12:05 pm EST
Lou-ted Ivy chances

Ivy baseball needs to change division system

File Photo

Baseball is not always a sport that embraces change, but this season makes it clear that Ivy League baseball needs to think about it.

The current structure of Ancient Eight baseball consists of two divisions—the Lou Gehrig Division and the Red Rolfe Division. The respective winners of those divisions meet in the Ivy League Championship Series to determine the conference champion.

That’s all well and good, except when one division is much stronger than the other. That’s been the case recently—and especially this season.

Lou Gehrig Division rivals Columbia and Penn have been, far and away, the best two teams in the entire Ivy League. They are the only squads with winning records overall and are well clear of the other Ivies, with 15-5 conference records. More »


Sports | May. 2 6:23 pm EST
What 2 Watch 4

Sports viewing picks: Game 7 edition

File Photo

In the sports lexicon, ‘Game 7’ is synonymous with ‘winner-take-all.’ There are a bunch of Game 7s and Game 7 facsimiles this weekend.

Columbia baseball

At Penn. Saturday, 1 p.m., Philadelphia.

Since Columbia and Penn are tied in the division standings, per Ivy League rules, they need to play a one-game playoff to determine which team goes to the Ivy League Championship Series (to face the winner of the one-game playoff between Yale and Dartmouth). The Quakers get to host because of a tiebreaker.

If you’re DTG—down to go (which only differs from DTF by one letter!)—there’s an Athletics-provided fan bus leaving Columbia at 10 a.m. and returning right after the game. Limited spots available, unfortunately. (You can reserve a spot here.)

More »


Sports | Apr. 26 12:45 pm EST
what 2 watch 4

Sports viewing picks: Division title edition

Vanamali Porethi for Spectator

Spring sports are entering their home stretches. After winning the Ivy League championship last weekend, the men’s tennis team has some time off before the NCAAs. Golf has its Ivy Championships this weekend, too.

As far as spectator (pun intended) sports, though, this weekend, baseball—which was riding a 14-game winning streak heading into Friday’s doubleheader at Penn—is the one gunning for a chance to win the Ancient Eight.

Columbia baseball

Baseball: Columbia vs. Penn. Saturday, 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., Robertson Field at Satow Stadium

In baseball (and softball), the Ivy League title is decided via a championship series between the winners of the two divisions. More »