Meb Keflezighi perfectly represents America in Boston Marathon victory

By Dalton Johnson, Sports Editor

One year ago, smoke covered the finish line of the Boston Marathon in a tragic terrorist attack that will never be forgotten. The Boston bombings killed three people and left more than 260 people injured, with hearts in Boston and all over the nation torn as well.

One year later, and our nation was reminded once again how strong it can be. On the eve of the marathon, the Boston Red Sox – who always have a “Boston Strong 617” jersey hanging in the dugout – had a wild comeback victory over the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park. The next day, the marathon was here and an American won the male division for the first time since 1983.

Meb Keflezighi won the 26.2 mile marathon that begins on Hopkinton and ends on Boylston Street in Boston’s Back Bay, with a time of 2 hours, 8 minutes, 37 seconds. The time was a personal best for Meb. He defeated Kenya’s Wilson Chebet by 11 seconds.

All this week, articles of remembrance have been written on last year’s bombings and the victims, video montages have been made, and pictures have been posted all across social media. The Red Sox lost on the day of the marathon, but they were still ‘Boston Strong’ and it felt as if even Derek Jeter was hoping for a Sox win from a David Ortiz home run.

Just two weeks shy of his 39th birthday, Keflezighi showed his remembrance of the victims from last year by writing them on his bib.

He took a risky approach to the race, as a man much older than many of his competitors. Instead of being cautious, running with the pack and then taking over at the end to take the race, Meb took a much more aggressive way to run the marathon. He took the road of getting ahead and running physically and emotionally exhausted by yourself, with nobody around. In one of the most physically grueling sports, you ache, your mind is wandering and the pack feels like they are right on your heels ready to hunt you down no matter how far away they are.

Chebet closed the gap several times, and came close to taking the lead on the final two miles, but he could never get out front. On the final stretch of the race, Meb realized the title was his and a smile stretched to his ears and nearly up to his bald head.

Meb raised his sunglasses to his head, pumped his right fist to the crowd and made the sign of the cross over his heart before he crossed the tape. He then opened his arms as wide as he could and embraced the blue tape as a champion. When he crossed the finish line, the American flag was draped over Keflizighi as tears rolled down his face.

This is not Meb’s first time breaking an American drought in his running career. In 2012, he won the New York City Marathon, becoming the first American to do so in 27 years. Earlier in 2004, he won a silver medal in the Olympics, which was the first time the feat was done since 1976. The storied career of the runner almost came to an end when he contemplated retirement after the New York City Marathon.

Four years after Greg Meyer, the last male American to win the iconic marathon, Meb fled his birth country of Eritrea, then a 12 years old boy immigrating to America. When the bombs went off near the finish line of the marathon last year, Meb was near the horrible act and the sound reminded him of his childhood.

This year, all Meb could hear at the finish line was cheers of joy for him, and then “The Star-Spangled Banner” played for his victory. 32,408 runners started the race with the events of last year on the minds of each and everyone of them. The champion was one of those with last year’s victims on his mind, no matter where he originally came from.

Meb was not born here, and his family chose to immigrate to America. He cannot run for president, but he can run for freedom and the American dream. That’s exactly what he did.

After running for over two hours of grueling pain, Meb ran faster than he ever had before where we saw so much tragedy last year and so much triumph this year.

One year after the Boston bombings, an American from Eritrea represented our nation in the greatest way possible. You run through pain and adversity as hard as you can, until your arms grab ahold of freedom. That’s the American dream, and that was Meb’s dream when he came to the land of the free.

Pirates honor seniors, take two of three from Braves

By Caleb Bailey, Staff Writer

The Armstrong Pirates baseball team put their seven-game win streak on the line this past weekend as they hosted the No. 24-ranked UNC-Pembroke Braves. The Pirates first honored their four seniors before the start of the game as it was Senior Day at Pirate Field. Dalton Johnson, Ethan Bader, Clayton Miller and Mitchell Dolan were the four seniors recognized as their families joined them on the field. All four shared their experiences and memories.

“Senior Day was a memory I’ll always remember,” Johnson said. “Our coaches and teammates made it special for us and it was the first time my parents were able to see me play here at Armstrong.”

“My time here at Armstrong has been great,” shared Bader. “I have made lots of great memories and met many great people along the way. Looking back, it all seems like just yesterday when I transferred here, but I am happy to say my time here is almost up. Armstrong has changed me in many ways for the better and I appreciate all the opportunities I was given during my time here.”

“During my four-year tenure as an athlete at Armstrong I have had the luxury of making many friendships with several teammates,” mentioned Miller. “Every one of them has taught me a lot about myself, much more than I could have ever anticipated. Above all, I will always have the utmost regards for the memories and learning experiences I have encountered during the season and off-seasons while at practices, games, or outside of baseball in general with my team.”

“I’ve had a great time at Armstrong for my two years here,” Dolan said. “I’ve made some lifelong friends from the team and a lot of good memories with them. Being a senior is bittersweet. I will miss being out on the field every day with my teammates, going on road trips, and just clowning around with them. I can’t wait to see what the future holds in store for all of us.”

After all the pre-game ceremonies were concluded, the fans were ready to get to some baseball. It was a defensive slugfest as there were only two hits recorded between the two teams in the first three innings. That changed for the Braves as Dalton Knight brought home two Braves with an RBI double in the top of the fourth.

Miller followed that up with a lead-off home run in the bottom half of the inning. He once again came through in the sixth inning, cracking a single to right field and scoring Cody Sherlin to tie the game at two. The Pirates were able to load the bases in the eighth inning and they took the lead after a throwing error allowed Sherlin to cross home plate. Joey Lupus smacked a sacrifice RBI to third base, bringing home RJ Dennard. Matt Wisniewski loaded the bases again with a walk, and then Johnson came up to the plate. He made history for himself as he blasted a grand slam to right field, the first for the Pirates all season and the first for Johnson in his career. The shot made the score 9-2, which held as the Pirates won their eighth straight game.

Ryan Good took the win with a complete game, three hit performance, that put him at 6-3 for the year.

The Pirates and Braves took the field on Sunday for a doubleheader to close out the three-game series. The day started off much like Saturday did for the Pirates as a late game surge put another notch in the win column.

The Braves got on the board first with a pair of RBI singles in the second inning. It took the Pirates four more innings to get their bats going.

Wisniewski homered to right field and Johnson was able to reach second on a throwing error on a bunt. The error allowed Lupus to cross home plate and tie the game. Both Tyler Avera and Dennard recorded RBI doubles in the inning to put the home team ahead 4-2.

The Pirates added some insurance in the bottom of the eighth inning as Avera brought home Sherlin with an RBI single and Dennard crushed a three-run home run, his ninth of the year, to make the final score 8-2.

Bader took the win to bring his season total to nine and tie the Armstrong all-time record of 29.

The final game of the series did not go the way the Pirates had planned. The Braves jumped onto the home team early, recording three hits and four runs in the top of the first inning. Armstrong answered the early deficit with an RBI double off the bat of Ryan Patterson.

Dennard homered in the bottom of the seventh inning, but the Pirates were never able to recover from the early deficit. The Braves added on three more runs in the game and took the third game by a final of 7-2.

“We snapped a nine-game win streak, but we won another big series,” Johnson said after the game. “The team is really coming together at the right time.”

The Pirates (24-15, 15-12) next play a crucial Peach Belt series against the No. 2-ranked team in the country, Lander University. They return home for their final series of the year against Belmont Abbey next weekend.

 

Make peace with your debt; Peace corp offers options for students

By Claire Golec, Staff Writer

For some students the path toward their future remains indefinite.  Not all graduating seniors have a plan set in stone for after May 10.

One option is to join the Peace Corps.  Though it may sound unconventional,  the Peace Corps offers many opportunities and experiences.

On April 10, Career Services held an information session about the Peace Corps. Recruiter and former volunteer Charles Portney hosted and informed potential Peace Corps volunteers. Continue reading

‘Godspell’ offers contemporary take on New Testament

By Randee May, Staff Writer

What do you do when a fight breaks out in the middle of a play? Do you rush up onto the stage to help break up the fight, join in with the cast as they cheer or simply sit back and enjoy the show?

The answer is quite obvious when it’s the Armstrong Masquers presenting “Godspell” – you just let the pieces fall where they may.

“I’ve seen a version of Godspell before, but this one was way better,” Catherine Rice, a Liberty County High School student, said. “It was fun and I liked the music.” Continue reading

Pirates extend win streak to seven, sweep Saints

By Caleb Bailey, Staff Writer

The Armstrong Pirates entered last weekend’s series against the Flagler College Saints with a four-game win streak. They looked to improve that streak and got the series started on Friday night.

Ryan Good took the mound for his team as the game was scoreless going into the fifth inning. That all changed when Dalton Johnson smacked an RBI triple, bringing home Joey Lupus. Johnson scored on a wild pitch soon after. Continue reading

Q&A with Masquers

Wesley Dashers, Armstrong Masquers

Wesley Dasher, Armstrong Masquers

Wesley Dasher

Senior

Theater Major

Attending Armstrong since 2010

Why did you choose to attend Armstrong?

Honestly, I started going to Armstrong just to get my core classes out of the way. I was fully expecting to transfer out and go somewhere else. But I liked it here and decided to stick around. Continue reading

Women’s tennis clinches 11th straight PBC title on Senior Day

By Berry Aldridge, Staff Writer

@berryaldridge21

“When I was a freshman I didn’t realize what it meant to be a Pirate,” said senior Marlen Hacke. “Now, looking back, I can see that being a Pirate means a lot more than just getting your bachelorette and practicing a lot. I learned that you are always capable of doing more than you think you can. All of it showed me that hard work and dedication will bring you closer to your goals.” Continue reading