All posts by athenaliu2018

On track or in life, Cassie Bloch runs as a true fighter

By Athena Liu
Medill Reports

It was 90 degrees and the humidity high in Terra Haute, Indiana Sunday as Loyola senior Cassie Bloch ran the 1,500-meter final at the MVC Outdoor Championships, trying to better her bronze-medal finish of last year.

Unfortunately for Bloch, the competition was also fierce, and she finished the race in 4:31.24, which was 0.23 out of third place. But while Bloch was not the winner, she succeeded in crossing another finish line at the same time. While she was competing for the last time in a Loyola uniform in the sultry Indiana town, she also earned her degree in biochemistry, missing the graduation ceremony her classmates took part in that day, 200 miles away.

Bloch runs her last race in the Loyola uniform. (Photo courtesy of Dave Wegiel)

Bloch was not one to whom success came easily in her sport. She took the steady, painful route from the bottom of her team and developed into a champion, a record holder and a true leader of the program.
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Wildcats showed strong start in Big Ten encounters, despite Coach Swan’s leave of absence

Athena Liu

Medill Reports

Northwestern University’s Men’s Tennis team achieved a good 1-1 start in Big Ten play, after falling to No. 6 Illinois 0-4 on Friday night and knocking off Indiana University 4-2 on Sunday morning.

The Wildcats fought with high spirits after a tough week when head coach Arvid Swan took a immediate leave of absence due to  a personal health issue.

“We wish Arvid and his family the best and, in this situation, the team and everyone in Northwestern definitely looks forward to seeing him back at the sideline in the near future,” said Assistant Coach Chris Klingeman, named interim head coach as the team headed into the Big Ten weekend.

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Five numbers to remember from Northwestern Men’s Tennis loss against Vanderbilt

By Athena Liu
Medill Reports

The Northwestern University Men’s Tennis Team dropped Friday’s home match against Vanderbilt University 3-4, with a 3-3 in singles matches and a 0-1 in doubles.

NU sophomore Dominik Stary achieved a come-from-behind victory for the game against his nationally ranked Vanderbilt opponent Daniel Valent. Wildcat freshman Nick Brookes also played a high-quality match in his first time at No. 2 singles, though falling to No. 50 opponent Cameron Klinger 2-6, 6 (6)-7.

Here are five more numbers to remember from Friday’s match.

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Big Ten Tennis Teams Expand Recruiting to a Global Scale

By Athena Liu
Medill Reports

International student athletes are commanding a bigger role on Big Ten tennis teams. The constant pursuit of better players, both athletically and academically, requires coaches to look outside the United States and keep an eye out for talented high school players at every corner of the world, said Arvid Swan, head coach of the Northwestern University Men’s Tennis Team.

Northwestern has four international players on the team roster, three of whom were recruited as rookies and started this year. Purdue University Men’s Tennis also added four international freshman players to the program for the 2017-2018 season, and the percentage of international players overall reached an incredible 88.9 percent – the highest among Big Ten men’s tennis teams. Purdue Head Coach Pawel Gajdzik is himself from Poland and assistant coach Francisco Stuardo Vargas is from Chile.

Don’t be surprised at the diversity of Big Ten tennis teams, nor their popularity among international high school graduates. There are currently 49 international players playing for 11 of the 12 Big Ten teams. Michigan State University an exception, with all U.S. players.

Medill interviewed Swan and Gajdzik on the issue of recruiting internationally, and how the name of Big Ten has helped along the way.
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Chinese Youngsters Celebrate their New Year at NBA All-Star Weekend

By Athena Liu
Medill Reports

For some young people in China, the Chinese New Year has become a time to get away from daily life and follow their passion. This year, instead of celebrating the festival with their families, some Chinese youngsters traveled to Los Angeles to treat themselves at the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend.

After a long year working at a bank in Hangzhou, China, Johnny Chen, 27, said he decided to take his girlfriend to do something exciting for the holiday. A self-described huge NBA fan, Chen believed if he ever traveled to the United States, it would be to see at least some of the All-Star festivities.

The couple spent six days sightseeing in LA, watched the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, then went to the All-Star practice session on Saturday before heading back home.

Although travelling to LA meant not being able to gather with family, Chen said his parents were unexpectedly supportive. He, on the other hand, felt a bit upset upon arriving. Continue reading

NBA family delivers food, love at LA Food Bank

Athena Liu
Medill Reports

LOS ANGELES — No matter if they play for different teams, at different levels or in different generations, when it comes to giving back to the community, the NBA unites as a family.

On Friday, NBA All-Stars Anthony Davis, Kemba Walker, Larry Nance Jr. and Eric Gordon joined NBA legends at Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to help assemble food boxes for individuals and families, especially seniors, who are still facing hunger in Los Angeles County.
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People and pets find the right match 94 floors over Chicago

By Athena Liu
Medill Reports

People came to find some love at the top of Chicago  – or close to it. A Chicago animal rescue organization made the matches, bringing dogs in need of adoption to 360 Chicago where the pups won hearts and people learned about responsible pet care.

Alive Rescue, a local non-profit organization, brought 21 adoptable dogs up to the observatory deck on the 94th floor of John Hancock Center on Sunday. The TILT & Tails event helped potential adopters find their perfect pet and raised money for the organization to continue the mission of saving, rehabilitating and placing abandoned, abused and stray animals in new homes.

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Northwestern men’s tennis: It’s never too diverse for unity

Athena Liu
Medill Reports

With players coming from three different continents, the Northwestern men’s tennis team shows their strong ability to leverage diversity into unity.

Among the 19 sports teams at Northwestern, the men’s tennis team has the second highest proportion of international players this season. Four of the nine players, or 44.4 percent, come from countries outside the United States, just behind the women’s tennis team’s 50 percent. Women’s field hockey takes third place with 31.8 percent but the team has a much larger roster of total players.

But while culture and traditions may be diverse, players rely on a common language to break the ice – their sport.

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Northwestern Men’s Tennis falls to North Carolina State in the first season match

By Athena Liu
Medill Reports

The Northwestern University men’s tennis team lost to North Carolina State University Thursday with a score of 4 to 3 in the ITA dual season opening game.  But the debut wins of several freshmen players shed a hopeful light on the season prospects.

The Wildcats opened their 2018 dual season with a home game at the Combe Tennis Center on the  Evanston campus. Though holding an advantageous 5-4 record against the opposing team from previous years, Northwestern had a slow start in the doubles matches. The Wolfpack, on the other hand, came fully prepared with two prior dual match victories over Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina and Winthrop University in South Carolina. Continue reading