Hornet Cup Brings Honey Filled Joy and Normalcy

Photo retrieved from https://www.lynchburgsports.com/information/directory/bios/SID?view=bio.

William Masselli ~ Sports Columnist

      After being away from competition, all University of Lynchburg varsity athletes received the opportunity to compete in the Hornet Cup, a series of intrasquad competitions. 

     University of Lynchburg Athletic Director, Jonathan Waters, gave more detail about the Hornet Cup. Waters said, “The Hornet Cup was a fun way for our student athletes to be engaged and show their pride during the week leading up to homecoming. They have all worked incredibly hard this semester and sacrificed a lot while not being able to compete externally to represent the University. We are proud of all of our students on campus and look forward to the spring with hopes that the cheers that normally fill our venues can once again be heard and will be louder than ever as we dominate our ODAC foes.”   

     Lynchburg Sports Information Director, Mark Robertson, further clarified the importance of the Hornet Cup and its relationship with fundraising. Robertson said, “The Cup happened to coincide with GiveDay 2020, which was the University’s one-day fundraising drive that happens annually. On GiveDay [Thursday, Oct. 15], the University raised more than $276,000 from more than 2,000 donors; of that, more than 1,000 donors gave to athletics, totaling just over $142,830. That number will grow over the next few days as mail-in gifts are processed. The big push for us in athletics right now is the Five for the Hive initiative, aimed at modernizing our on-campus athletic venues. More on Five for the Hive is here if one is interested: https://lynchburgsports.com/hive/five.”

     Robertson shared information about how the idea of Hornet Cups was inspired. Robertson said, “The idea for the department-wide competition that eventually became the Hornet Cup was the brainchild of some of our coaches back in the summer. Although our teams could not compete with other institutions, we knew how important it would be to give our campus something to cheer about. I would say the credit to promoting last week’s events goes to our students, though. They are the ones interacting with their friends and classmates, and we do our best to keep the stories about them. Joe Hutzler and his Lynchburg Hornets Sports Network crew worked incredibly hard to give fans live webcasts of the week’s contests, something that was also integral to the week’s success. With that, friends and families around the world could be a part of the Hornet Cup. The week was a culmination of a lot of planning and hard work throughout campus.” 

     Robertson expressed his gratitude of being able to enjoy the favorite part of his job. Robertson said, “Watching our student-athletes compete is far and away my favorite part of my job. At the start of the pandemic in March and April, we were all unsure of what the fall semester would look like, if we would be able to bring students to campus, or if we would have the ability to compete at all. With all the uncertainty of the year to this point, seeing our student-athletes buy into the idea of the Hornet Cup and come to play with their usual passion and grit has been the highlight of my semester. I hope that positive energy reflects across campus. None of the past few weeks’ competition would have been possible without the hard work of students, faculty, staff, and administrators across campus. They have done everything they could to make sure that students could return to campus safely. I am so proud of University of Lynchburg’s community.”

     Robertson continued, “The credit goes to our student-athletes. They have bought into our strategy for a safe and healthy return to play, and we would not be where we are without their leadership. As a staff, we will continue to work toward the resumption of intercollegiate athletic competition with student-athlete safety as the primary goal. I have no doubt that our student-athletes, their supporters, and the friends of our institution will do everything in their power to ensure we progress toward a healthy return-to-play in the spring semester.” 

     The Hornet Cup brought needed competition and normalcy to the University of Lynchburg Women’s Field Hockey Team. University of Lynchburg Women’s Field Hockey Head Coach, Enza Steele, said, “The Hornet Cup challenge helped put a little bit of normalcy in the lost fall season.  The team got to put on their Lynchburg uniform for the first time this year. It brought back countless memories of pride and success to all the upperclassmen and coaching staff while allowing the first-year players to become a part of countless traditions. The competition was intense but my Gray Team took control quickly and never looked back.”

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