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June 19, 2014

Men's Vikings win All Sports Trophy

By Aaron Cutteridge

The Cleveland State University men’s sports teams, collectively, came from sixth place in April to claim the Horizon League All Sports trophy for the 2013-14 season.

All Sports TrophyAn All Sports Trophy is awarded to each division, men’s and women’s, of the Horizon League by points accumulated by victories and championships earned during the season.

The McCafferty Trophy is awarded to the school with the most points collected overall.

In April the men’s teams held 11 points on the season. The golf championship and strong finish by men’s basketball helped to vault Cleveland State to 23 points, five ahead of Wright State University and University of Illinois at Chicago, who tied for second place.

“Well, the flip side of the men winning the All Sport side, but us finishing overall at fourth says ‘Whoops, where were the women’s teams?’ So, the results on the women’s side I think were disappointing, but I think we’ve made some changes that will play out,” said John Parry, Cleveland State Athletic Director.

Parry explained the womens sports with the potential to earn the most points are basketball, volleyball, softball and soccer.

New softball head coach Rebecca Norris, who was brought in last August, and soccer head coach Sonia Curvelo have put the women’s teams in a position to make progress in the Horizon League.

“I feel good where we’re headed,” Parry said.

The competitiveness of the Horizon League was another factor that Parry pointed to as a reason the women’s teams did not place higher.

Youngstown State University performed exceptionally well this season, and the addition of Oakland to the Horizon League made it more challenging in both men’s and women’s sports.

“The day they [Oakland] were named as a member of the league, [former Cleveland State swimming coach] Wally Morton said they were going to win the men and women’s swimming championship,” Parry said. “They have a tremendous swimming program.”

Budget cuts in the sports department are something Parry has to contend with while trying to make the teams more competitive. Fund raising, increasing ticket sales to women’s basketball and increasing sponsorships are all ways Parry is trying to prevent a step backwards in the sports department.

“What we did, which was a little bit disconcerting, if you will, is we took out of each recruiting budget and travel budget , we took 10 percent out,” Parry said. “Collectively, that was $110.000.”

The men and women’s basketball teams have chances to offset these budget cuts by playing guarantee games against teams such as Louisville and Minnesota, in which they are paid by those teams to play them.

An example would be the women’s team travelling to Minnesota to play and receiving a check for $25,000. That money will go toward the travel expenses, but also goes to offset any budget cuts the basketball team made or will make during the season.

Ensuring Cleveland State’s sports teams remain competitive is the main concern. The ineligibility of the Krenzler Field Dome for Horizon League conference games and the number of games the women’s softball team lost as a result still need to be considered. The softball team was forced to play numerous games back-back to make up those games.

Parry is optimistic for the upcoming season and where Vikings athletics can finish.

“Recruits are always great on paper. Proof is in doing it, the journey,” Parry said. “I think there is no question the whole institution feels good about itself. We’re going to celebrate the 50th year, sure, there are a lot of positives and our coaches are looking forward to taking advantage of that.”