Jim Fennell's College Notebook: SNHU continues on-field success
An unusual start to the year has apparently not affected the on-field performances of the teams at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester.
The SNHU men's soccer team went into last night's game at Franklin Pierce undefeated and ranked third nationally in Division II, while the women's team just knocked off nationally-ranked UMass Lowell and was 4-1 going into yesterday's game at top-ranked and defending national champion St. Rose.
The Penmen were off to solid starts in most other fall sports, as well.
That little seems to have changed for the teams belies the muddle the school and athletics department is dealing with.
The first blow came in May when a budget review triggered what has led to a joint investigation by an independent auditor and the New Hampshire Attorney General into financial mismanagement by a former university employee.
Ray Prouty, the former SNHU budget manager, was placed on administrative leave shortly after the budget review and is no longer employed by the college.
SNHU spokesman Greg Mazzola said the investigation is still ongoing.
Prouty, a SNHU graduate, had moved into the position after being a long-time assistant athletics director. He was familiar face at many Penmen events and functions and his wife Terry is the women's soccer coach and senior woman administrator at SNHU.
Mazzola would not say if the investigation includes athletics and said only one person is implicated at this time.
Meanwhile, athletics director Chip Polak has been on administrative leave since July 19. Polak recently underwent successful prostate surgery and expects to be fully healthy and back on the job by the end of the month.
Mazzola said Heather Lorenz, the dean of student affairs, has been the interim athletics director during Polak's absence, but Polak said assistant athletics directors Chad Mason and Tricia Cote have been handling the day to day affairs of the department.
Polak said he has had little contact with anyone on campus during his leave and said he was not allowed to comment on the investigation or Ray Prouty.
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FILLING THE VOID: The UNH field hockey team lost two prolific scorers from last year's America East championship team in Whitney Frates and Hayley Rausch, leaving a huge hole in the offense to fill. Meg Flately was not expected to be the person doing the filling.
The red-shirt freshman was a walk-on last year and did not play, but she is making the most of her opportunity this season. Flately, from Townsend, Mass., was recently named the AE rookie of the week.
She earned her way into the starting lineup and, heading into the weekend, was leading the team in goals.
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DOUBLES TROUBLE: Or you can call this Brotherly Love. Either way, the success of brothers Nick and Chris Schwab for the St. Anselm men's tennis team has been worthy of cute headlines.
The Schwabs teamed to win the A-Flight at the Stonehill Doubles Invitational last weekend by taking three matches, including an 8-5 win over Austin Stedman and Sam Jon of Eastern Nazarene in the championship match.
The Schwabs hail from Seaford, N.Y. Nick is a sophomore who was on the Northeast-10 all-rookie team a year ago, while Chris is a freshman.
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CONTINUING THE TRADITION: The Cochran name is one deeply woven into the history of skiing at the University of Vermont, so it seemed like a perfect fit when two-time Olympian Jimmy Cochran of Keene returned to his old school recently as an assistant alpine coach.
Cochran skied one year at UVM after transferring from Middlebury and tore it up, winning eight races on the EISA circuit and finishing runner-up at the NCAAs in the slalom and third in the giant slalom in 2003.
He was a member of the 2006 and 2010 U.S. Olympic teams and competed for nine years on the World Cup tour.
Both of Cochran's parents were athletes at UVM. His father Bobby and his aunts Barbara Ann, Lindy and Marilyn all skied in the Olympics, while his grandfather was a former national team coach.
UVM is the defending national champion. The Catamounts have won six national titles since 1994.
'I'm honored to be a continuing part of such a rich ski racing legacy at UVM, and look forward to giving back to the program that put me onto the national team 10 years ago,' Cochran said. 'Lucky for me, the team today is made up of an incredibly motivated, impassioned cadre of student-athletes.'
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THE BEYOND THE BORDERS SPOTLIGHT SHINES ON: Stephen Grzywacz of Manchester (Central). Grzywacz spurred the Stonehill College football to a 13-0 win over Southern Connecticut in its NE-10 opener last week by booting two field goals and an extra point.
The field goals of 37 and 25 yards were the first of Grzywacz's collegiate career. He missed three in the team's season opener. He has made all five of his extra point attempts.
Grzywacz's first field goal came with three seconds left in the first half and put Stonehill (1-1) ahead for good.
Grzywacz is one of eight Stonehill players from New Hampshire who had a homecoming of sorts Friday when the Skyhawks played in Goffstown against St. Anselm in the annual 'Battle of the Ol' Bronze Hawk game at Grappone Stadium.
Grzywacz and freshman defensive back Jared Chandler came from Central, while freshman offensive lineman Sam Rainey is a Trinity High product.
New Hampshire College Notebook appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email Jim Fennell at email@example.com..