Athletics Media Gallery
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Nadia Eke ’15CC Track & Field
I was born and raised in Ghana before coming to the United States to attend high school in Massachusetts, where my interest in track & field first started. I learned a lot on my own, grasping the basics of the triple jump from videos I found on YouTube. I knew I would need great coaches to help hone my skills and take me to the next level. I was being recruited by the likes of University of Miami and Stanford, but I found the dedicated coaches I needed at Columbia. It was clear from the start of the recruiting process that I was more than just a number to them and that they genuinely cared about me and my success as a student-athlete. The fact that Willy Wood has been with Columbia for 20 years shows both his commitment to the Lions and vice versa, Columbia Athletics’ commitment to retaining him as a coach.
That was put to the test last year, when I was hindered by a back injury. At the time when I could least contribute to the team’s success, I felt the most support from my coaches, trainers, and teammates. My jumping coach, Reuben Jones, and head coach, Willy Wood, supported me throughout the season and instilled the confidence in me I needed to come back stronger than ever this year. At the 2014 Lions Invitational, I won the triple jump, setting a new school record in the process, and at the 2014 National Championships, I was named to the All-America team after finishing 6th.
Thanks to the network of alumni and friends that provides so many resources to our wonderful coaches, we have the equipment, recruiting funds, facilities, and other tools necessary to help us reach new heights of excellence. We are able to travel around the country to the top meets with the best competition to prepare us to compete on the national stage and earn the coveted All-American status. We also have access to Dr. Brent Walker, Associate Athletics Director of Championship Performance, who works with us on our mental preparation. Coming back from my injury, my work with Dr. Walker was key in overcoming the fear of worsening my injury.
My teammates and I are looking forward to bringing home another Ivy League Championship soon, as we did in 2012, and we couldn’t do it without your donations to our Varsity Sports Programs and The Fund for Excellence. Thank you!
Max Schnur ’15CC and Ashok Narayana ’15CC, Men’s Tennis
Playing tennis for Columbia has been a dream come true for both of us. Columbia demands a lot from student-athletes academically and athletically, and we take pride in excelling at both. We work extremely hard in the classroom, the weight room, and on the tennis courts.
Financial support from Athletics donors provides our team with everything from uniforms and new tennis balls to our state-of-the-art facilities, including The Campbell Sports Center. We have access to the best coaches in college tennis (with The Columbia Tennis Alumni and Friends Head Coach of Men's Tennis Bid Goswami, Associate Head Coach Howie Endelman, and our strength & conditioning coach Tommy Sheehan). We are very lucky to have them, and it wouldn’t be possible to keep these coaches at Columbia without the support from alumni and friends.
We are incredibly fortunate to have alumni support, and as our program continues to build upon its successes, we will continue to need the support of our alumni and friends. We love that we go to a school where so many former student-athletes continue to show up to our matches. The Columbia alumni that we have met in our years here have added to the family that made Columbia so attractive to us in the first place when we were being recruited. We continue to see that we have the best fans and get the best support in the Ivy League, without a doubt.
Having these resources allows us to excel on the national stage, like winning the ITA/USTA National Indoor Doubles title in the fall—the program's first-ever national crown! Our teammates prepared us well for the tournament by pushing us to be our best. Having everyone cheer us on is something that we will remember forever. We took home the ECAC Indoor Championship in February against Harvard, and we can't wait to bring home more trophies this spring.
There are so many ways alumni show their support, from cheering loud at competitions, to volunteering time, to making a gift to our Varsity Sports Programs and The Fund for Excellence, in support of Championship Performance. We are both honored to wear Columbia blue to represent the tennis program, and, one day, we look forward to becoming part of the alumni community and giving back – because we couldn’t do it without you!
Alena Kluge, ’14CC, Women’s Swimming & Diving
I came to Columbia with an interest in swimming, but I wasn’t sure where that interest would end up. Throughout my four-year career here, thanks to my passionate and inspiring coaches, that interest has grown into a deep love of the sport. I want to share the love with the generous Columbia Athletics donors who made my experience possible.
My unforgettable moments—an Ivy League Individual Championship, a visit to the NCAA championships, and our first-ever dual meet victory against Harvard in November—would not have been possible without this support. Thank you!
Through my training and coaching I have learned a wide range of lessons, in and out of the pool. In addition to the wisdom of my swimming coaches, I also have access to career development resources and mental preparation through Championship Performance, which is funded through The Fund for Excellence. Last year, I was so overwhelmed with the experience of heading to the NCAA Championships that I couldn’t sleep. Dr. Brent Walker, Associate Athletics Director of Championship Performance, was there to counsel me on mental preparation. By talking to him and sorting out the stress I was feeling, I was able to recover and have a great experience at the meet.
I am so grateful to the network of support I have received from my fellow Swimming & Diving alums. It is a wonderful Columbia community that I will treasure as I go out into the workplace next year.
There are so many ways I feel your support, from cheering loud at competitions, to volunteering your time, to making a gift to our Varsity Sports Programs and The Fund for Excellence, in support of Championship Performance. None of our success would be possible without you!
Columbia Baseball won the 2013 Ivy League Championship, which they soon followed with the program’s first-ever win in the NCAA tournament, besting New Mexico in 13 innings. The team had standout performances from Joey Falcone, the U.S. Marine Corps veteran transfer, future MLB-draftee Alex Black, and future MLB free agent Tim Giel.
"The guys worked their butts off all year, and it was great to see it come to fruition," said head coach Brett Boretti after the Ivy League Championship series, which was played in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Robertson Field at Satow Stadium. "With all the work they put in and taking the same approach they took all year, they got it done."
“Having a great facility is extremely important in the recruiting process and also in the everyday teaching capability of our staff. We feel we have the best facility in order to teach our guys as best as we can, as well as the best facility in the Ivy League.”
Baseball can thank the generosity of its alumni and friends for its top-notch facilities. Having elite caliber facilities like Robertson Field at Satow Stadium makes a difference to the success of the team, and also sends a strong message to recruits that Columbia is serious about Baseball. Further, the FieldTurfTM surface, installed in 2007, allows the team to get on the field much more frequently in the preseason than if they had a grass field. More outdoor practices in January-March are crucial to post-season success.
Gifts to The Fund for Excellence help to fund critical facility initiatives for Columbia’s varsity sports programs, like those for the baseball program, so that more student-athletes can compete at the same championship level.