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Malcolm Moran's work starts when he and his students Owen Kaeble and Zach Powell walk into the Caesars Superdome on April 2, 2022 in New Orleans where North Carolina played Duke and Villinova played Kansas for the chance to go to the national championship. Kaeble, who’s in the department's masters program in sports journalism says the thought of covering the game is breathtaking for him.
When the Jags needed Macee Williams, the Horizon League player of the year the most in the Horizon league tournament, she performed at the highest level. In the Horizon league championship game Williams delivered a 19 point and 18 rebound performance to win the Horizon league championship title and secure a trip to the NCAA tournament.
Senior Jaida Speth and her sister, Jasmin Speth, a sophomore are well aware of the issues at the IUPUI softball complex. Some of the issues include flooding in the outfield, lights on the scoreboard not working, the dugouts being too small for players and smelling like sewer, and the bullpen being too small for pitchers to warm up in.The Speths say when one issue is addressed, another is often exposed. The athletic department constructed a new fence last year, leaving behind eight-foot-long puddles. “It's honestly probably still there, it was there for two months in the fall”, says Jasmin Speth. The IUPUI softball complex has a rich history but there are now a multitude of problems such as flooding on the field, lights not working in the scoreboard, and little room for players in the dugouts and bullpens. So why do they have these problems and why are they not being fixed? The IUPUI softball complex was built in preparation for the 1987 Pan American games, but before then in 1983, the IUPUI Metros softball team went to their first of nine consecutive trips to the NAIA national tournament. While the Metros played on a modest field back then, the boost they received in 1987 by the addition of the new field allowed them to continue their dominant stretch of winning until 1991. Now the IUPUI softball complex looks tired. After being played on for 35 years it shows its age. Jaida Speth, a senior on the IUPUI softball team, talks about some of the problems with the field, “The warning track is dangerous because it's soft and the dugouts are small and it tends to smell like sewer”. She also said that some of the scoreboard lights don't work and the bullpen does not have a lot of room for the pitchers. While there are issues with the complex, the IUPUI athletic department has made some renovations to the field recently. Ed Holdaway, Assistant AD for IUPUI has noted some of the updates that have happened recently.“The most recent renovations have been an updated backstop and netting behind home plate and improved drainage and grading to the playing surface”. Says Ed, “recently work is being done on the batting cages just beyond left field”. The complex might be old and in need of some repairs but it still has a great location in the Indianapolis area, and great potential as a unique and fun ballpark for teams in the Horizon League to play at. “The stadium is right by the zoo and the nature trails,” says Jaida. “The best part of the stadium is the potential that it has to be a really unique stadium”.
It's a Monday afternoon on November 29th, 2021, and the IUPUI men's cross country and track program is just about to begin practice. There is nothing nice about today, finals week is creeping up and the wind is whipping at about 20 miles per hour. However for head coach Chuck Koeppen this is a special day. On December 1. Koeppen will step down as the head coach of the IUPUI cross country and track program, his first time not being a head coach in 53 years. Koeppen’s story in cross country didn't start off as a head coach however. Koeppen set school records at Ball State University on the four-mile cross country course and the 2 mile event in track and field, Koeppen finished his career at BSU with six distance records. He then went on to qualify for the 1972 olympic trials and ran the Boston Marathon that very same year, finishing 37th in the marathon. Koeppen was an eight-time Indiana distance runner of the year and he ran for the Reebok and Adidas Racing Teams. Koeppen started coaching his first cross country team in Daleville, IN. There he coached for one year and then moved on to Wapahani High School. “The basketball coach used to coach the cross country team and of course all he cared about was basketball so I went in there and asked if I could have the cross country team and coach them,” he said. “I didn't even want the money, but after my first year he said ‘ok the team is yours you take the money for this’”. After taking over the cross country team from the basketball coach Koeppen stayed there for three years. Koeppen then moved to Carmel, IN, where he coached both mens and womens cross country and mens track to an impressive 23 IHSAA state titles in cross country and track. “Back when I got there Carmel was just a small little community,” he said.“I went down for a visit in Carmel and they had a pretty nice track over there and at Wapahani, I had a track that was gravel and uphill on one side and downhill on the other,” he said. “So after seeing the Carmel track I said `` oh boy I can't pass up on coaching on this track”. Koeppen built Carmel into a powerhouse of runners, pumping out Division 1 runners every single year and creating a culture of hard work. Koeppen then heard from a friend about the opportunity to coach at the Division 1 level, the one hill he had not conquered yet. Koeppen was eager to take on the challenge of coaching a young and undeveloped group of runners at IUPUI and build them into a distance running powerhouse just like what he did at Carmel. Koeppen took over the IUPUI coaching job in 2008, since then he has won two Summit League championships in 2014 and 2015, and he has also won three straight Horizon League Championships in 2019, 2020, 2021. No other IUPUI team has ever won three conference championships in a row. After all of the success Koeppen has had coaching he still just loves to be around his runners. “I sent out a text to all of the current runners and even the alumni on thanksgiving just telling them how thankful I was for them, how lucky I was to be their coach,” he said. “I was just giving thanks for these guys, I love them. “I recruited all of these guys and I just love being around them everyday seeing them work hard and run so well.” It's clear Koeppen has built a culture dedicated to a hard work ethic, training, and communication between athletes and coaches. Koeppen has a great relationship with all of his athletes, joking with them before and after workouts. The runners have bought right intoKoeppen keeps him energetic with good jokes and playful banter, but when it comes time to put in the work to be excellent, everyone is willing to do whatever it takes. “Koeppen is such a genuine guy”, says Koeppen’s lead assistant and new head coach Justin Roeder. “The athletes and coaches really respect him and everyone just has such fond memories of him”. A big reason we have 20-25 guys on our team now is because of him, when he first showed up they had five maybe seven guys on the team, now we have 20-25 and they stick around for four to five years which is a testament to him”. Koeppen has a lot of belief that the program will only get better from here under the new head coach Justin Roeder. Roeder was also once a standout runner for Butler University, winning the 5,000 meter event in track and field at the Horizon league championship in 2007. He won the same event in 2010, he also won the 3,000 meter race in 2011 and won the 10,000 meter at the Horizon League championship in 2011. After a few years as Koeppens assistant Koeppen knows that it is time to hand over the reins of the program to Roeder. “One of the reasons I stepped down was because Roeder has been such a good and loyal assistant and I don't want to get in his way,” Koeppen said. “He does such a good job with these guys giving them all individual training plans specially made for their bodies and lifestyles, he really does an amazing job with them”. Roeder knows that taking over after Koeppen comes with some expectations of winning but he is confident about what he and his team can do. “Obviously there are some expectations but he has set us up well to win and to keep winning but with the recruits we have and the guys that we have now I think that we will be fine going forward in the future,” Roeder said. Roeder doesn't plan to make any huge changes to the cross country program, seeing that they have had a lot of success in cross country, however he wants to continue to build the track program into a full track team. As of now IUPUI only has distance runners on the trackteam, distance meaning 800 meters and all events above that. Roeder hopes to bring in a few sprinters and start to build out the track program. “The focus moving forward is to continue with the distance mentality but focus on the indoor and outdoor track season because I think that'll set us up in cross because we will be more well rounded runners and these guys will be a better team because of that,” Roeder said.Roeder has put a bigger emphasis on track this year and with that added focus on track Roeder has changed the schedule to put the Jags in more competitive races against better competition. “This year we're going to Bellarmine for two indoor meets, we're going to Notre Dame, and Grand Valley,” Roeder said. “We're focusing on going to tracks that are banked so those will allow us to run really fast times. We also want to run against teams not in our conference, obviously we see teams in our conference all the time so I just think it would be good for our guys to see some different competition”. Leaving the IUPUI track on November 29th you could hear the joy in the air with the laughter of coaches and runners all excited for another day of practice. “You know Koppen I think you ought to become AD here” Roeder tells Koeppen. Laughter instantly breaks out between them both, knowing that these jokes and laughs are what makes the job fun. You can't help but feel a bit more joyful after seeing a group of people filled with such energy and excitement for what they do everyday. Koeppen has brought this group together and nothing will break this group of brothers apart.
Indianapolis has seen a recent surge in crime in the last four years, with the Homicide rate rising 46% according to fbi.gov. With the increase in homicides in the last four years, how have crime rates in Indianapolis looked with past mayors, and what does the uptick in crime mean for IUPUI students?
From 2000-2007, mayor Bart Peterson was the mayor of Indianapolis and while Peterson was mayor, homicide numbers were mostly flat averaging out at 99.75 homicide cases per year. However there was a large jump in number for one year in 2006, where the number of homicides jumped from 108 in 2005 to 140 in 2006.
From 2008-2015, Gregory A. Ballard was the mayor of Indianapolis. During Ballard’s tenure as mayor the number of homicides were very low in the first half of his service, from 2008-2011 the highest homicides ever got to were 114 in 2008. However in the last half of Ballard's office the number climbed up every year from 2012-2015, going from 97 in 2012 to 148 in 2015.
Most recently, Joe Hogsett is the mayor of Indianapolis and he has experienced the highest homicides rates in the last 20 years. The number of homicides has increased 46% since Hogsett has taken office. In 2016 there were 148 homicides and in 2020 there were 216 homicides. However Hogsett knows the crime levels in Indianapolis are high but still says that the city is extremely safe,
"The fact that large cities all across the country are experiencing the exact same thing indicates to me that the scope of the problem goes beyond our borders and goes beyond our regular funding," Hogsett said.
So with the rise of homicides in the city what does it mean for IUPUI students? IUPD police chief Doug Johnson has noticed a rise in crime the last year however, he has several recommendations for students to keep them safe on campus.
“Knowing what's going on in the local community, not just the campus but our Indianapolis is important,” Johnson said, “A lot of students don't know that 24/7, 365 days a year they can give us a call and we will provide either a walk or a ride around the campus community”.
Johnson also mentioned countless other programs that IUPD has to keep students safe, like using the IUPD app called Rave Guardian. This app allows students to text a 911 dispatch incase of an emergency. The app also allows you to set a safe walk timer. A safe walk timer allows you to tell people that you trust that you are walking somewhere and it should take you a certain amount of time to get there. If you do not contact them within the time frame it will contact that friend for you.
“Take care of each other,” said Johnson, “I can't underscore that enough it really does take a village”.
Johnson wants all students to feel safe on campus and is happy to assist in answering any questions students may have. The IUPD dispatch phone number is 371-274-7911. If students do want a SAFE WALK the phone number is 317-274-7233 (SAFE).
“We really are our brothers and sisters keepers, if we all help each other out like that we are in a much safer environment. We want people to call us” said Johnson.
Nate Kaiser has been the top runner for an IUPUI cross country team that is searching for a Horizon league 3-peat this season, and he's been running his best times ever.
Kaiser, a junior from Tell City, Indiana, has been leading the Jags to a strong start in their cross country season, setting a new 6k record for their opening meet 18:18. He has been the team's lead runner for both of the meets they have had so far.
While most runners have a comfortable offseason to get their training and miles in, Kaiser had anything but a typical offseason while working a construction job and running 85 miles a week.
“An average day of training for me starts at 4:45 a.m.," Kaiser said. "I wakeup, stretch, eat a snack, then about 5:15 a.m. I go for my first run of the day. 7:00 a.m, I leave for work and I get back from work at about 7:00 p.m. Then at 7:15 p.m. I go for my second run and go to bed about 9:15 p.m. Saturdays were for hanging out with friends and Sundays were for catching up on summer class work and church”.
Whatever Kaiser was doing on a typical day he would always make time for his commitment to running, family, and his faith. The biggest difference from the regular season and the offseason for him was being able to run with his teammates again.
“The biggest difference I noticed was having teammates to run with again," he said. "Solo running can get very dull and having others to talk too again was a game changer. That boosted the morale a ton and really got me excited for the season”.
While most people would have crumbled under the amount of stress Kaiser was putting on his body with work and running, he credits his early season success to his family, his teammates, his coaches, and his faith in God.
“Everyday I get to experience the simple pleasures of being a part of a team who cares for each other greatly with coaches who want to see us succeed," he said. "I’ve got the greatest fan base known to man back home in a quiet blue-collar town nestled along the Great Ohio."
There is motivation behind him to get up and keep grinding everyday.
"I have a family who loves me no matter how I do, who just want to know when I will be home next," he said. "And I've got a foundation in God that always challenges me to pursue further in my faith. So this whole running thing is built on the people in my life. They are the reason I've been running well, but more importantly, growing in life”.