ST.THOMAS — The faint echo of balls bouncing on the court is heard over the chatter of players as teams warm up in the gym at the University of the Virgin Islands “Annual Basketball Bush League.” Players gather from all communities of the island in hopes of enjoying the game of basketball.
ST. CROIX — Chants, cheers and screams filled the air on Saturday, as The University of the Virgin Islands Albert A. Sheen campus made history within the Athletics Department on the territory’s new and only soccer field. With a crowd of over 100 people the Buccaneers won their Inaugural Home Game, 2-0, against Polytecnica University of Puerto Rico bringing them to a 2-2 standing in the league. Continue reading UVI Wins Inaugural Soccer Match→
ST.CROIX – Students at the University of the Virgin Islands took part in the co-ed intramurals volleyball game Monday night behind the campus cafeteria just south of the campus dorms.
The university’s intramurals volleyball league played for the second time Monday night around 9 p.m. on the basketball court with teams “Stop Playing” against “We Would Hit It.”
The volleyball season officially kicked off last week on Thursday night and usually starts each year in September.
“Coach Bruce Ray has been doing most of the intramurals as far as putting the sport together and organizing the schedule here at the university and this year we started early,” Roderick Moorehead Jr. one of the coaches for the volleyball teams, said.
While enjoying the game with the rest of the audience Moorehead also said, “One of the main purposes for this weekly activity is to inspire campus life. It’s always great when you have students who have the interest to play.”
The league plays every Monday and Thursday at 9 p.m. with a second game following immediately after.
“If you want to take part in the sport you have to be somewhat serious. You can come and just play for fun but there should be a level serious interest in joining the teams,” Makeem Perinon said.
Perinon is a part of the Virgin Islands Juniors National Volleyball team and is also a sophomore studying criminal justice. He heard about the student activity at the University and became immediately interested. He decided to take part and started his own team called Go Hard for the intramural league.
The game is free to the public. It gives students on campus an opportunity to leave the dorms and enjoy a moment of interaction with other students on and off court.
ST. THOMAS- When 19-year-old DeLanni Matthew was surrounded by friends who all wanted to become members of the Buccaneer’s Cheerleading Squad last Spring, she decided to give it a shot.
Years ago, skirts didn’t exist to her. She would put up a fight whenever someone tried to get her out of her favorite basketball shorts. Now she can be found courtside shaking her pom poms in a tiny skirt.
To most of her friends, it was quite a shocker.
“Are you serious, I don’t even know who you are anymore,” ToQuoya George, long time friend of Matthew, said.
In junior high, when all the girls in her class were having conversations about hair and nails, she often stood out.
“I was the outsider all the time,” Matthew said, “I preferred basketball.”
Cheerleading, however, wasn’t the breakthrough for her.
She didn’t quite fit the petite look of the majorettes you see competing in the World Baton Twirling Federation International Cup, but she practiced baton twirling each summer with the Lutheran Church of Reformation from the young age of seven.
For this 5’9” computer science sophomore, the change officially began eight years ago. This was when she fully dedicated her heart to the sport and began twirling professionally.
“All the girly girls call themselves fashionistas, but me I’m a batonista,” Matthew said. “Twirling for me is more than just fun – it’s a way of life.”
Matthew was one of the few Charter Members of the eight-time champions, the St. Thomas Majorettes, Inc.
“I got a phone call from the assistant director of the organization and I took her to the first practice and we haven’t left since,” Brenda Monsanto, Matthew’s mother, said. “I didn’t take her seriously because whenever I tried to get her involved in something she never stuck to it but she proved me wrong.”
Even though she had been used to performing, for her, being a cheerleader was like being a totally different person.
“Cheerleaders are supposed to have school spirit and be perky all the time and that wasn’t me,” Matthew said.
To many, Matthew is considered a star performer. Her fellow cheerleaders look up to her and expect a lot.
“DeLanni Matthew is a talented and well-rounded student. The enthusiasm and skill that she has brought to the team is a great example of what a university cheerleader should look like,” Thia Homer, captain of the Bucs Cheerleading Squad, said. “She represents us well and is always encouraging others to do well also.”
Outside of classes, she has been very involved in student organizations. She is known for her participation in the Social, Cultural and Carnival Organizing Committee in the 2012-2013 school year. Many of her peers were granted an opportunity to see her perform in the Dining Pavilion during the First Annual Carnival Week in March of 2013.
Matthew also enjoys reading, playing games on her iPad and most importantly spending time with family and friends outside of school and performances.
Though she is over the age limit to perform in the annual Carnival Children’s Parade whenever there is an opportunity to perform, on or off island, she goes for it.
“DeLanni has proven herself to be a very dedicated and talented contributing member to the majorettes,” said Alicia Gumbs, secretary of the organization. “Even though she has graduated and is attending college, she continues to give up her time in order for the group to remain a success.”
So when you see her around campus, baton or no baton, pom poms or no pom poms, feel free to ask her to show you one of her famous “Olympic” toe touches. If you get lucky, she might even teach you.
ST. CROIX— The two soccer fields on the Albert A. Sheen campus are not being used after being called “unplayable” which is putting a strain on the BUCCS soccer team.
After three years of planning and construction, the university is doing maintenance on the fields such as cutting the grass and marking the field.
The fields should be available to the players by November but no later than spring 2014.
The Daily News published an article on Sept. 9 that called the UVI performance field “a field of dreams deferred.” It noted the condition of the field: the slope, the holes, the anthills and weeds. The field was “deemed unplayable” after a failed inspection from the Liga Atlética Interuniversitaria in August. Without the Liga Atlética’s approval, the field cannot be used for league matches.
“The biggest impact” of that decision has been a financial one, as the university tries to “address concerns brought up in the report” said Nereida Washington, Director of Campus Operations on the Albert A. Sheen Campus.
Travel to Puerto Rico for games can also get costly, but the decision impacts the students as well.
“Our students are the only ones in the league that have to travel for all of the games,” Washington said. “We have lost the home game advantage of being able to have fans and spectators who favor the UVI BUCCS on the sidelines.”
In addition to being at a disadvantage in terms of support, the UVI students may also end up missing classes to attend games.
Some team members don’t mind all the traveling or having to miss classes. They view the constant traveling as an exciting experience.
“I like traveling to Puerto Rico for games” Ismail Yusuf, a freshman member of the soccer team said.
Without a soccer field on which to play some of the league matches at home, the soccer team members have to travel to Puerto Rico for every game. Although some students view away games as a good thing, this constant travel could affect their performance in class since they will be missing so many classes and having to catch up.
“The university is seeking to increase athletic and physical education opportunities for student athletes on St. Croix and the V.I.” Washington said. The soccer fields, one for practice and one for games, would provide those opportunities but they are not being used.
Washington said “Intramural and athletic programs are key to your experience in [college]” so the university is working to make the fields ready for use.
Despite the league’s decision, UVI officials consider the fields “playable.”
Washington said that “given the concerns that were raised, the field is not being used.” She said the fields would begin to be used by the BUCCS between November and December, but “definitely in the spring.”
According to Washington, the Liga Atlética’s inspection impacts the ability for the UVI BUCCS to play on the field” but not the university’s. Washington said the inspection “is not a requirement to play.”
“There is no required inspection done by a body in order to play. We will use the Athletic director’s, the soccer coach’s [and other individuals’] evaluation of the fields to make sure that [they are] maintained properly so that [they are] playable,” Washington said.
Despite UVI officials’ assurances that the field is “playable,” the university has been taking steps to improve the condition of the performance field.
The primary measure is a process called top-dressing in which the holes are filled in with a mixture of soil and sand. The process would have to be done either “annually or biannually,” said Washington.
The university marked the performance field and had the grass mowed on Sept. 16.
“Everything we are doing is part of a maintenance program” Washington said, so there are “no extra costs.” The funds to “maintain a high performance field” come from the “grounds budget.”
Maintenance of the field involves processes such as reseeding, which is “recommended nine times a year,” Washington said.
It also involves mowing the grass “twice a week” physical plant employee, Ephraim Rodriguez said.
When asked to give his perception of the field, Rodriguez pointed out the fact that “there are no benches and no bathrooms, so that could be inconvenient.”
According to Washington, the university is well aware of these concerns and is working on them. A bleacher was purchased last year, although it was not put out because it would get in the way of field improvements.
“The goal is to move in that direction where all these amenities will be available,” Washington said.