November and December (1) 2020 Candygrams

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Tuesday, December 8, 2020---USC Baseball Zoom Meeting

05Daniel Aran, our host, opened up the USC Baseball Zoom meeting. He welcomed everyone and then asked Athletic Director Mike Bohn to speak.

45A.D. Bohn introduced a World War II veteran, who played baseball at USC in 1947 and 1948. Eugene Metcalfe was just honored in France, along with other WWII veterans, for helping to liberate France. He has written a book about his paratrooper experiences during WWII. The biography is titled, Left for Dead at Nijmegen.

44After some research, Trojan Candy found an article written by a reporter, Barb Charzuk, in April 1, 2019. She said that after the war, Metcalfe briefly became an animator for Walt Disney, and then, after attending USC, he became an art teacher and a basketball, baseball and football coach. He and his family are supporters of USC Baseball.

06Next, Daniel spoke again. He showed a picture of the newly remodeled Nutritional Lounge. Then he introduced Head Coach Jason Gill.

10Coach Gill spoke a little about our 2020 season that was shortened by the Covid-19 pandemic. He explained that our pitching and defense kept us in the fifteen 2020 games. Then, Coach Gill introduced our pitching coach Ted Silva.

11Coach Silva told us that our two #1 Friday pitchers, Kyle Hurt and John Beller, are gone. He said in the fifteen games we had to mix and match the staff by experience and talent.

Now it was Coach Gill's turn to tell what happened during the Covid-19 shut down and what is currently happening to his team now. Coach Gill said that we "hugged it out." There were weekly zoom meetings that lasted 15 to 30 minutes. They were mainly to keep their spirits up. On December 1st we were finally able to meet in person as a team. Other schools throughout the country were able to return to practices much earlier than we did. The team will work together until December 19th. There will be 16 practices in the 19 days. We are organized into two cohorts. Cohort One are the pitchers and catchers, and Cohort Two are the position players. We have 46 guys currently on our roster!

The two coaches introduced our fourteen new incoming freshmen. Here are their posters:

Infielder Alex Rodriguez
Pitcher Charley Hurley
Catcher Ethan Firestone
Pitcher Garrett Clarke
Catcher Garret Guillemette
Infielder Malikai Wickley
Pitcher Tyler Stromsborg
Outfielder Carson Wells
Infielder D'Andre Smith
Pitcher/3B Jaden Agassi
Infielder/Outfielder Jeriah Lewis
Pitcher Kyle Wisch
Pitcher/Infielder Nate Clow
Pitcher Toby Spach

FIGHT ON, Alex, Charley, Ethan, Garret C., Garret G., Malikai, Tyler, Carson, D'Andre, Jaden, Jeriah, Kyle, Nate, and Toby!

50Coach Gill had Associate Athletic Director of Capital Projects and Innovation Jeff Fucci speak next. He explained how the USC administration stepped up to issue the funds to complete the renovation of the Nutritional and Athletic Lounges. The next project is the Hall of Fame. He thanked everyone for their support.

Lastly, Coach Gill thanked all of the supporters for coming to the Zoom meeting and again for their support.

FIGHT ON, USC Baseball!

Thursday, December 3, 2020---USC Beach Volleyball Alumnae Zoom Call

0201USC Athletic Directors of Development Joseph Aguirre and Suzanne Ebner welcomed all of the guests to the Women of Troy Beach Alumnae Volleyball Zoom Call.

Mike Bohn, USC Athletic Director, spoke next. He congratulated our Beach Volleyball Team for being awarded a "Community Award" for its civic engagement of registering 100% of the team to vote. Then A.D. Bohn introduced Women of Troy Beach Volleyball Head Coach Dain Blanton.

03Head Coach Dain Blanton welcomed everyone to the Zoom presentation. Coach Blanton thanked A.D. Bohn for his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that USC, with A.D. Bohn's leadership, puts academics and the athletes at the top. It's been all about making and taking care of our student athletes. Then, Coach Blanton said that the team just got on the sand for the first time yesterday on Wednesday, December 2nd. Next he introduced volunteer Assistant Coach Laurel Weaver.

04Laurel joined the squad last year. She played Beach Volleyball at Hawaii. Laurel said that all the players are driven right now. She wants to help guide some of the technical feedback, and to see the Beach Volleyball game from so many perspectives.

05Next, Coach Blanton introduced Assistant Coach Gustavo Rocha. Coach Rocha came to USC from Pepperdine in 2017. Coach Blanton complimented Coach Rocha as being "like a mastermind in recruiting." He puts players on our radar. Likewise, Coach Rocha told us that he is learning a lot from Coach Blanton. Talking about recruiting, Coach Blanton informed us that there are six new recruits for the Class of 2020. Great work, Asst. Coach Rocha!

0125Now it was time to hear from our guest speakers. Coach Blanton invited USC Beach Volleyball Alumna Sara Hughes to join the Zoom. Trojan Candy was so lucky to have met Sarah when she was an incoming freshman. My husband Jim and I had just happened to be in the Galen Center office when we spoke with the student receptionist. Her name was Paige Hines, and she was a member of the Beach Volleyball team. As I interviewed Paige, her roommate Sara Hughes walked into the office. Naturally, I interviewed Sara too. Click on Sara's picture to read her interview.

06Coach Blanton bragged about Sara's success at USC. He said that she won three Beach Volleyball National Championships in a row. She also won the NCAA National Pairs titles in 2014 with partner Kirby Burnham and in 2015 with partner Kelly Claes. Coach Blanton asked Sara to recall her best championship experience. Sara said that her best championship experience was when she was a Senior. We beat UCLA after being down by one. I enjoyed the "dog pile" and the "ice cream runs" after dinner! Next, Coach Blanton asked Sara, "What's going on with you?" Sara said that she has not had much of a professional season. Her partner was injured, so she needs to find someone else to complete that journey. Sara offered advice to current Women of Troy Beach Volleyball players. She advised, "Always remember all of your experiences at SC. Have fun! Always know that the Trojan Family is there to support you as an undergrad and as an alumna." FIGHT ON, Sara!

Next, a short video produced by Assistant Sports Information Director Jeremy Wu was shown. Current Beach Volleyball team members told what they miss most with the campus being closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They miss their daily bike rides on campus, being able to lie out in the sun in McCarthy Quad, seeing friends from every country, eating breakfast at Galen every morning and missing the Trojan Family.

07Then, two current Beach Volleyball team members Senior Joy Dennis and Freshman Audrey Nourse were introduced by Coach Blanton. Joy spoke first. She said that it has been very challenging the last two months. She is still not great at Zoom. However, the team has been amped up in August and September. "We've been training outside and supporting one another." Joy described her teammates as driven to get good grades, to be the best person and to be the best athlete. They are always there when you need them. My teammates are "family." Joy is using her 5th year to earn her Master's Degree in Human Resource Management.

6972Trojan Candy was able to interview Joy when she was a Freshman. Click on Joy's picture to read the interview. FIGHT ON, Joy!

08Freshman Audrey Nourse will have four more years at USC because of the COVID-19. She and her twin sister Nicole met Coach Blanton and former coach Anna Collier on a European trip. Audrey chose USC because she wanted to be a part of a winning team. The "challenging environment at USC" ultimately makes you better. As a bonus, Audrey agreed with Joy about their teammates. She affirmed that the "Trojan Family" is a real thing. The strong support system is always there. She is excited with what is to come.

0052Trojan Candy was able to interview Audrey and her twin sister Nicole at the Beach Volleyball Kick-Off on February 21, 2020. Click on Audrey's picture to read my interview. The next paragraph is my interview of her twin sister Nicole. FIGHT ON, Audrey! FIGHT ON, Nicole!

09Coach Blanton had Beach Volleyball alumna Abril Bustamante unmute herself next to open up the "Question and Answer" segment. Abril had played Beach Volleyball at USC from 2016 to 2019.

09Trojan Candy had interviewed Abril at the Women of Troy Beach Volleyball Banquet on May 8, 2018. Click on Abril's picture to read her interview. FIGHT ON, Abril!

Here are three questions that were answered:

1. Who are the new recruits? Coach Blanton told us that among the recruits for 2020-2021 are six Freshmen. Lauren Harrison, Hallie Carballo, Olivia Bakos, Caitlin Cummings, Megan Kraft and Delaynie Maple. Megan and Delaynie are the #1 and #2 high school recruits. Megan and Delaynie are from Torrey Pines High School in San Diego. Here is an excerpt from Volleyball dated November 19, 2019.

The combination of Kraft and Maple for the San Diego-area prep volleyball powerhouse has been dominant.

Kraft, a 6-foot six-rotation right-side, has 283 kills this season while hitting .381, adding 209 digs and 53 aces. Maple, a 5-11 outside, has 324 kills, hit .278 and has 315 digs and 26 aces.

But that’s indoors. Their true love, evidently, is on the beach. Both are 2020 commits to USC, where they will play beach only.

Coach Blanton went on to say that the Freshmen are not playing like Freshmen. We also have transfers Hailey Harward from Long Beach State, Julia Scoles from Hawaii, and Bozena Culo from Loyola Marymount.

FIGHT ON, Lauren! FIGHT ON, Hallie! FIGHT ON, Olivia! FIGHT ON, Caitlin! FIGHT ON, Megan! FIGHT ON, Delaynie! FIGHT ON, Hailey! FIGHT ON, Julia! FIGHT ON, Bozena!

2. How many team members are on campus now? Sixteen. A few are at home out of state. Tina Graudina is at home in Latvia.

3. What changes have COVID-19 caused? Athletes are tested once a week and are given a wristband to wear. There is constant hand sanitizing. Each person is given a basket and a towel everyday. The basket is for personal belongings. Coaches wear masks and gloves, and the team wears masks while practicing. There is social distancing and temperature taking everyday.

What a fantastic 2020 USC Beach Volleyball Zoom Call!

FIGHT ON, Women of Troy Beach Volleyball!

Wednesday, November 18, 2020---USC Swim and Water Polo Olympic Zoom Meeting

0101USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn opened the Swim and Water Polo Olympic Zoom meeting. He introduced the host of the event, John Naber. He spoke about John's 1976 Olympic Games accomplishments. John won four Gold Medals and one Silver Medal and set four World Records in 1976. Then, in 1977 John won the Sullivan Award that is given to the top Amateur Athlete in the USA. Congratulations on all of your awards and your current television broadcasting, John.

2870Trojan Candy first met John Naber at a Swim with Mike event on April 18, 2009. Here is a picture that I took of John at a later Swim with Mike event on Saturday, April 13, 2013. FIGHT ON, A.D. Bohn! FIGHT ON, John Naber!

Next, host John Naber welcomed all of the Zoom audience.

8373Then he introduced the first Olympic swimmer Ous Mellouli.

Trojan Candy actually met Ous the Friday night before his USC Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in 2018. Here is Ous posing with Athletic Director Lynn Swann in front of his Hall of Fame Plaque across from the Track Office. Both men FIGHT ON!

Then on Saturday, May 19, 2018, Trojan Candy took a picture of Ous at his Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
Click on the thumbnail to see Ous's swimming career highlights.
Click on the thumbnail to listen to Ous's acceptance speech.

02John told the audience that Ous, who was born in Tunisia, almost went to Cal, but luckily he chose USC. Ous said the he chose USC for our Hollywood and our sunshine. Ous graduated from USC in 2007, and his major was Computer Science and Engineering. John then asked Ous to tell us what was his favorite memory at USC and his favorite Olympic memory. Ous told us that beating Stanford in his last dual meet was his favorite. USC hadn't beaten Stanford in ten years. The meet was neck and neck until the last relay, and he was the anchor! As for an Olympic moment, Ous said that his best memory was the 2010 World Championships. He won the 1500m in the slowest morning heat. Then he sat in the stands in the afternoon to watch the last 1500m heat. He won the 1500m and collected his medal from the stands! FIGHT ON, Ous!

03John introduced swimmer Kaitlin Sandeno next. Kaitlin graduated from USC in 2006 with a major in Social Sciences. John described Kaitlin as being happy and upbeat, and she is considered to be "the female voice of swimming." She works as the General Manager of D.C. Trident and has written a book titled "Golden Glow." As for her favorite USC memory, Kaitlin told us that in her first two years at USC she had illnesses and injuries. In her junior year, Kaitlin broke two American records and won her first two medals. Her favorite memory in the 2004 Olympics was that she accomplished a huge personal feat by beating her time in the 2000 Olympics by 6.5 seconds. In 2004, she lost the 400 IM by 0.12 seconds but she was thrilled that she improved so much in 4 years! FIGHT ON, Kaitlin!

04Moving to water polo, John introduced Kaleigh Gilchrist.

0931On May 15, 2014, Trojan Candy took a picture of Kaleigh at the USC Student-Athlete Graduation Celebration.

John Naber said that in high school Kaleigh was a national titlist in two different sports. Kaleigh competed in surfing and water polo. She was chosen as the Orange County Register Athlete of the year in 2010. Kaleigh graduated from USC in 2014 with a degree in Communication and a minor in Occupational Science. Her favorite USC memory was being the Captain of the 2013 NCAA Championship Team in Women's Water Polo. Our women beat Stanford in three overtimes! Her favorite Olympic memory was scoring six goals in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games to help her USA Women's Water Polo Team win the Gold Medal. FIGHT ON, Kaleigh!

05The last Olympian whom John introduced was water polo player J.W. Krumpholt. J.W. graduated from USC in 2011 and majored in Communication. He won the Peter J. Cutino Award as well as being named National Player of the Year in his senior year. John told us that he knows J.W.'s father Kurt Krumpholt. Kurt was a swimmer and water polo player at UCLA. J.W. in his graduation speech mentioned that "His parents had Bruined their lives by going to UCLA." J.W.'s favorite USC memory was beating Stanford at Stanford, and then winning the 2008 NCAA Men's Water Polo title. His favorite Olympic memory was the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. FIGHT ON, J.W.!

Next, John asked one audience question of each of the four Olympians. He started with Ous first: "Your career had some political intrigue. Please tell us about it." Ous said, "I might be the only Olympic athlete who has won a Gold Medal under two regimes. I was the "celebrated" victor of the old regime in Tunisia. Then in 2011 there was a revolution that freed my people from the dictatorship. So in the 2012 London Olympics I had to "sink or swim." Luckily I swam and won medals. Then I became the "celebrated victor of the new regime."

Kaitlin was next: "What lured you to come to USC?" Kaitlin said that she wanted to come to USC at the beginning of high school. She said she is a homebody and wanted to stay near home. USC was a private university and its Communication major drew her in. Plus, USC's Hollywood connection was impressive.

Now it was Kaleigh's turn: "How is your leg doing?" In the accident in South Korea, I cut a couple of muscles. Even though my left foot feels like it aged ten years, the accident injury does not affect me in sports.

The last question was for J.W. (nickname J Dub): "Who is your toughest opponent?" Serbia is my toughest opponent. However, we did beat them 10-5 in the last match that I played them. We hadn't beat them the previous nineteen times.

Now, the panel was joined by USC Water Polo Coach Marko Pintaric and USC Swimming Coach Jeremy Kipp. John asked each coach to comment on the Olympians and tell us what he would say to a new recruit.

05Coach Pintaric spoke first. "Seeing all of you Olympic athletes makes me feel old. I have been at USC since 1998. Kaitlin, we were friends when you were an undergrad here, and we are still friends. Ous, I remember you out-pacing Coach Sato when he ran along side of you while you were swimming. Your pulse rate was normal and his was 220! Kaleigh, coming back from your injury is a fairy tale for you and your success. J "Dub," you would bring "game" to every practice and competition. You set the tone for our six straight NCAA championships to happen."

Finally, in answering John's question about what he says to every recruit, Coach Pintaric said, "You must have love for family and the game of water polo. At USC we train really hard, we keep the 'Pedal to the metal' and we refuse to lose." FIGHT ON, Coach Pintaric!

05Now it was Coach Kipp's turn. Coach Kipp told Ous that in training you were an "animal." Kaitlin, you are known to be gracious, nice and genuine. Kaleigh, you are a much better swimmer than you say you are! J.W., you are mean and tough! In answering what he says to every recruit, Coach Kipp said he tells every recruit that the Trojan Family is deep. John Naber, Kaitlin Sandeno or Ous Mellouli might phone you to give you advice. FIGHT ON, Coach Kipp!

06John Naber ended this fabulous Zoom meeting with an anecdote. You must watch it! Click on the thumbnail. FIGHT ON, John Naber!

FIGHT ON, USC Swimming!

FIGHT ON, USC Water Polo!