Time off just ticket for DeGraffenreidt

Sojourn in France gives ex-Loyola football star new focus at Bucknell



September 29, 2004|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Baltimore's Aaron DeGraffenreidt didn't quite know how to act in January when he arrived in Tours, France, for a semester of studying abroad.

There would be no football meetings, no spring practice, no yelling coaches and no curfews for Bucknell's biggest and most talented lineman; just self-imposed weightlifting sessions and light workouts for the 6-foot-1, 332-pound left guard.

Meanwhile, the former Loyola High standout faced all kinds of distractions.

"I was one hour south of Paris and there was plenty to do," DeGraffenreidt said. "I lived with a French family and tried to see as many sights as possible while studying and maintaining my conditioning."

Bison coach Tim Landis lamented the fact DeGraffenreidt would miss spring practice, but said, "It gave Aaron a chance to refocus and rejuvenate. He is the leader of our offensive line, our best offensive lineman and a great drive blocker."

DeGraffenreidt, a senior, has quickly adjusted to blocking on the run in the rushing-oriented, triple-option offense implemented by the second-year Bucknell coach last season.

"It's a lot more fun than blocking straight ahead," said DeGraffenreidt, who is looking for his first Patriot League title this season.

Landis believes the triple option "levels the playing field" for strong academic schools such as Division I-AA Bucknell and the Naval Academy.

The Bison (2-1) are coming off a 42-13 romp over Columbia on Saturday, rolling up 408 rushing yards and 520 overall. Bucknell threw only five passes, but four went for touchdowns.

Also helping Bucknell this season is sophomore wide receiver Richard Simpson (Havre de Grace), who has started two games, though he hasn't caught a pass.

Kicking success

Four times, Cornell called on senior Trevor MacMeekin to kick field goals Saturday, and each time the former Dulaney player came through in a 19-7 upset of heavily favored Yale, ending the Big Red's 10-game losing streak.

MacMeekin established a Cornell single-game record with the four field goals, one more than he had all of last season. The 6-foot, 181-pound kicker hit from 32, 23, 25 and 29 yards to raise his average this season to 2.0 a game, which leads I-AA kickers.

The four field goals were the second most in a I-AA game this season and earned him the Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week award.

Giving Irish a boost

Notre Dame's football team has received some defensive help this season from two former All-Metro Players of the Year, Victor Abiamiri and Ambrose Wooden, both of whom are 2002 Gilman graduates.

The Irish (3-1) are using the 6-4, 269-pound Abiamiri as a backup defensive end. He has one solo tackle and one assisted tackle in four games, including being credited with a half sack.

The 5-11, 186-pound Wooden was switched from wide receiver to cornerback before the start of spring practice after seeing no action as a wide receiver his freshman season and being redshirted.

Wooden has played some corner in all four games, making one solo tackle and two assists.

Abiamiri was the 2002 All-Metro Defensive Player of the Year and Wooden was the 2002 Offensive Player of the Year.

Et cetera

Virginia Tech sophomore Allie Kupec (River Hill) had 11 kills and two blocks Sunday in a 3-2 victory over Miami in an Atlantic Coast Conference volleyball game. Kupec is fourth on the Hokies (7-6 overall, 2-0 ACC) in kills per game with 2.23, and fourth on the team in blocks per game with 0.53.

Junior goalkeeper Michelle Schwartz (Severna Park) continues to shine for the No. 12 Richmond field hockey team, posting a 1.00 goals-against average for the 7-2 Spiders. Schwartz shut out longtime nemesis James Madison, 2-0, Sunday in the Spiders' first win over the Dukes in 12 years. She had a 1.21 goals-against average as a sophomore.

Middlebury, runner-up to Salisbury in NCAA Division III field hockey last season, is off to a 5-0 start this year behind sophomore Claire Edelen (St. Paul's), who leads the team with five goals and five assists for 15 points. She also has one game-winning goal.

Have a Postcard? Contact Bill Free by e-mail at bfree7066@hotmail.com or by phone at 410-833-5349.

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