By Samantha Reid
The Lady Lakers beat Judson by an impressive 100-64, pushing their winning record to 21 wins and seven losses Feb. 15, as the men’s team went on to beat the Judson Eagles 82-61. However, that Saturday was an eventful day at the Goodman Center for more reasons than one.
The men’s game was a historic one for Roosevelt University’s newly revived athletic program. Since the program returned a few short years ago in 2010, no single player had yet to reach the milestone of 1000 points scored. This all changed Saturday, when announcers and fans recognized junior Joe Harks for scoring the 1000th point of his Lakers career.
But the basketball players were not the only ones to shine on Saturday. The Lakerettes cheer and dance team performed in their second annual guy/girl dance, bringing some of the university’s male students into the mix of halftime entertainment.
Student Government Association representative and senior Bartek Woroniecki was among the men who volunteered their time to be a part of the halftime routine. He took part in the new tradition for his second year in a row.
“It was a lot of fun,” Woroniecki said. “I never knew I was such a closet dancer, but it was amazing.”
The men put extra time and effort in to get their dance performance ready for halftime at both the men’s and women’s games. The dance was choreographed by Lakerettes Coach Natalie Visconti, as well as team captains Michelle Papandrea and Melanie Papandrea.
“We had two practices for the dance, about six hours,” said senior Katie Gould about the team’s preparation. All the men involved volunteered their time to show support for both the Lakers and Lakerettes.
The team used the event as an opportunity to welcome back some of Roosevelt’s alumni including Tyler Turner, Ernesto Irizarry and Jonathan Zuluaga, who all took part in the dance.
“As an [alumnus], I really felt the Lakers spirit and a part of the Roosevelt community,” Zuluaga said. “And the kickline was probably my favorite part.
The three alumni were joined by six current Roosevelt students. The crowd got into the performance as well, loudly cheering and clapping as the men took the floor for their performance.
After the Lakerettes and their guests performed, the Lakers welcomed the West Aurora Step Group, a high school step team from Aurora, Ill. The mother of senior basketball player Kiara Towles works with the team and arranged for them to perform at the game.
The step team performed in matching pink to commemorate the day’s fundraising event, Play 4Kay. Play 4Kay was arranged by the university’s Student Athlete Advising Committee. The game was played to show support for the fight against breast cancer, and proceeds from the day went to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
In keeping with the awareness theme, the first 50 students to arrive at the women’s game got free pink Play 4Kay T-shirts. To raise additional money, students on SAAC were also fundraising online and on social media. SAAC members were in attendance at the game to show their support for the cause as well.
“We raised $484 between donations and ticket revenue,” said John Jaramillo, the associate athletic director. “With that and the $50 currently on our Play 4Kay online donation page, $534 has been raised to date.”
Those who missed the game and performances can catch photos and video at rutorch.com.