Monthly Archives: January 2019

From Japan to America, Akiya Pursuing Dream at UJ

By Andy Reed

Kensaku (Ken) Akiya is not your average University of Jamestown Student.

Ken hails all the way from Tokyo, Japan where he was born and raised until he was 18 when he left to pursue his dream of a University education and collegiate level baseball.

Kens journey to America starts with a tryout of him, and other Japanese baseball players showcasing their skills to teams in the NWAC (Northwest Athletic Conference), Washington, Oregon and British Columbia’s elite junior college sports conference.

“We hopped on a plane and headed for Washington,” Ken explains. “I tried out for Edmonds, Tacoma, Centralia, Clark, Chemeketa and Skagit Valley. Every school we went to, we either got offered a spot right there, or we did not make the team. Every college wanted me, which made me very excited and gave me a lot of options to choose where I would go.”

Ken goes on about his choice, “Chemeketa’s head coach told me that I could be in the starting rotation right away if I signed, so it was a pretty easy decision.”

Chemeketa Community College is located in Salem, Oregon and is in the South Division of the NWAC..

Ken informed me that he did not speak English at all when he first got to Salem.

“The advisor told me what classes to take, I didn’t understand her, so I just said yes. Class didn’t really teach me English, my teammates did.”

Ken spent two years at Chemeketa and completed all his courses while playing baseball. He received his Associates in Arts and Sciences and became fluent in English. The journey was not over however, Ken had dreams of playing for a University and getting an Undergraduate Degree in Health and Fitness Administration.

Ken had offers from schools in NCAA Division 1, Division 2 and NAIA coming out of Chemeketa.

“University of Portland, Upper Iowa University, Western Oregon University, Concordia University, Corban University, Saint Martin’s University and University of Jamestown all offered me scholarships. I chose Jamestown because Coach Hager called me two or three times one week and he was very persuasive and persistent which made me feel like he really wanted me to play there.”

Ken signed his letter of intent and headed east to Jamestown, North Dakota. Ken moved into an apartment in Liechty Hall. His roommates are three other players from the NWAC, including myself.

Ken explains how he feels about Jamestown after having lived here for a little more than a semester, “It is very different here than anywhere I have ever been before. It is way too cold.”

Ken and the Jamestown Jimmies played 5 games in the fall. Ken started the 2nd game of fall against Valley City.

“I was very excited to start my first game against our rivals. I gave up 6 runs, but it is okay because we won.”

Ken has 5 innings under his belt with plenty of more to come. The future is very bright for this persistent young man with a dream.

Home Away From Home: Larson Center Stands Above Competition

By Isaiah Sampson

The Larson Sports center was built in 1980 where it houses many of our athletic departments, exercise facilities, and classrooms.

In 2007, the school decided to make plans to accommodate inside training in the winter for teams such as track, baseball, and softball.

The 12,000 square foot addition was constructed later in the year. The school continued it’s plans to produce better facilities for our students by adding a brand new weight room in 2018.

The Foss Wellness Center was built in 2008 where all of the physical education and training resides. The center was a gift from Dr. Merle L. and Dr. Peggy J. Foss. Both contributed tremendously to the academic enrichment fund.

All of these additions to the school make the university stand out a little more from the competition.

My featured guest or better yet my model for the day was Daniel Deck.

Daniel was born in Phoenix, AZ where he learned to love and play football. From there, he started to get noticed by coaches because of his snapping skills. He attended Phoenix college first before getting recruited here. Once up here on his visit, Daniel said” this is way better weather than being in 125 degree weather”.

I don’t know why, but Daniel walks around campus in a short sleeve shirt and shorts almost everyday. So I guess he was serious about this being better weather than AZ.

Being born in Michigan and moving to Alabama was pretty rough for me and was a culture shock. But I can see where Daniel is coming from. If my hometown felt like hell 365 days out the year and then I moved to ND for school, I would be happy as well.

I asked Daniel how his old schools training facility compared to here.

“It was like going from a flip phone to the iPhone X,” he stated.

That’s a pretty big jump if you ask me.

The school is moving in the right directions into making this place the best it can be.

I can only imagine the steps they’re taking in the next 4-5 years to improve the school and its facilities. Not only in athletics, but the school as a whole.

Java City Serving Up Sweets, Drinks & More for Students

By Jayci McCrory

Java City, affectionately referred to by students as the Java Hut, is the University of Jamestown’s coffee shop.

Located at the heart of campus in the Lyngstad building, students swing by throughout the day (even multiple times per day) for a quick caffeine fix or a sweet treat. Music from the baristas’ radio flows through the Student Engagement Center as the smell of coffee and baked goods entice students to come in if they didn’t plan to in the first place.

Barista Keith starts off with a fun nickname on the coffee collar for his friends that come by. Photo: Jayci McCrory

What does Java City have to offer? There are a variety of coffees, teas, smoothies, Italian sodas, and more. There’s also an assortment of candies and baked goods to pick from. Anything from muffins and bagels to gum and chocolate are available for students to snag and snack on throughout the day.

When is Java City open? Hours of operation on this establishment vary depending on the day. During the week, Java City is up and running from 7:30 in the morning until 8 at night. As far as weekends go, they have shop closed up on most Saturdays, but open back up for Sunday evenings. These hours are also dependent on if the University is open or not.

How do you get these goods? At Java City you can pay with cash, card, or Jimmie Bucks. Jimmie Bucks are either included with your meal plan, or can be purchased from dining services for a good deal. How many meals you get each semester correlates with how many Jimmie Bucks you have to spend. The more meals you get, the fewer Jimmie Bucks you get to spend on sweet treats at Java City or the C-Store.

Java City prepares a multitude of tasty treats, including this lemon poppy seed muffin. Photo: Jayci McCrory

Java City has plenty of sweet deals throughout the week. At Java City you can get a punch card for each time you buy a beverage, and if you purchase 10 drinks you get one free, BUT if you purchase a drink on Wednesdays you get double the punches in your punch card! Java City also does deals on their baked goods from time to time, either surprise or advertised.

All in all, Java City is a great place to stop in quick for a pick me up, or stay and chat over a warm (or cold) beverage with a friend.

The morning line-up: people wait patiently for their opportunity to get a morning boost of caffeine. Photo: Jayci McCrory

Rensmon Overcomes Life Obstacles to Play Softball for Jimmies

By Kelly Halverson

At the age of 17, Toree Rensmon was diagnosed with a heart defect.

She was lucky enough at the time that it did not prevent her from coming to the University of Jamestown to play softball for the Jimmies. However, in 2018 just before her sophomore season Toree began having intense chest pains and was sleeping for extended periods of time. These symptoms prompted a visit to the doctor and at the age of 20 she was diagnosed with two more heart defects.

This combination of defects results in a leaky mitral valve, an irregular heart beat, and an enlarged left ventricle which works at a very low level. At the time of this diagnosis her heart was only functioning at 33%. Since a healthy heart should never function below 55% her doctor delivered the news that she was no longer healthy enough to play softball.

Despite the severity of the diagnosis she responded by saying “Okay this is my life I’m going to learn and grow from this and keep moving forward working on getting healthy again.” And that is exactly what she did.

Toree gets an extra bullpen session in, to prepare for her return to the field. Photo: Kelly Halverson

Nearly a year after her diagnosis, Toree’s heart is now functioning at 42% and she has been cleared to return to softball. Since her heart is still below the healthy level she is limited to the pitching mound, but that doesn’t bother her.

When asked how she felt about returning Toree says “The goal was to always make it back to softball. I think I appreciate it more now. Like no one likes 6:00 am practice but I’m grateful I get to be there. It’s more fun now for me being able to do what I love again.”

Her health issues have given her a new outlook and appreciation for the sport, “That phone call of ‘you aren’t healthy enough to play anymore’ was really hard. I had been playing softball for so long and I wasn’t able to go out on my terms which was awful.”

Now, she gets a second chance to finish her journey with the Jimmie softball team on her own terms. As far as her outlook for the upcoming season.

“We have a really good team this year with a lot of talent,” Rensmon says. “I think we will have a good season for sure. I’m excited to be able to play with these girls again they have all become like family.”

Toree’s comeback season will begin on February 8th, in a double-header against Valley City State University at the Presentation College Dome in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Toree Rensmon makes a comeback for her junior season after being sidelined her sophomore year due to a combination of heart defects. Photo: Kelly Halverson

Jimmies Cruise to Victory against Bulldogs

By Zach Miller

The University of Jamestown Jimmie Men’s basketball team, led by seniors Kevin Oberweiser and Jon Purintun, continued to pour it on offensively as they pummeled the Concordia University Bulldogs in their win at home 95-68.

But, it wasn’t just the Jimmie offense that willed them to victory. The Jimmie men showcased their defensive abilities as well, only allowing the Bulldogs 65 points, which is well under Concordia’s scoring average of 74.1 points per game.

The Jimmie men are scoring an astounding 91.6 points per game while allowing 79.9.

Brock Schrom slams home a dunk on a fast break in the Jimmie win on Saturday. Photo: Zach Miller

The 21st ranked Jimmies were hot from behind the arc against the Bulldogs, shooting 57.9%. Oberwieser made 5 out of 8 attempts from three in his 24 point performance. Purintun, who scored 20, hit two threes, and so did junior guard Isaiah Dobson. Off the bench, juniors Terrell Alfred and Jack Frazier both had one three.

Jack Talley and Brock Schrom held their own down low, each with 7 rebounds in the game. Schrom was close to a double-double, scoring 14 points for the Jimmies, along with a whopping 5 blocks.

The Bulldogs leading scorer was Brevin Sloup with 16. The top rebounder for Concordia was Sammy Adjei who pulled in 7. Adjei had 9 points, as did Tanner Schuck and Chuol Biel.

The two teams met earlier this year on Concordia’s home court. It was the Jimmies who came out on top beating the Bulldogs 74-61.

The next matchup for the 19-4 Jimmies is yet another GPAC opponent on the road at Mount Marty. Mount Marty is 6-17 overall and 2-12 in the GPAC. The Jimmies were victorious over the Lancers in their first meeting in November at Harold Neman Arena. Game time is set for 8 pm on Wednesday, January 23rd.

Concordia University will play their next game at Briar Cliff in Sioux City, Iowa. Briar Cliff is currently 15-4 overall and 9-3 in the GPAC.

University of Jamestown’s #5 Jon Purintun and the Jimmie bench celebrate a defensive stop during the Jimmie’s home victory against Concordia University(NE) on Saturday Jan. 19, at the Harold Newman Arena. Photo: Zach Miller

UJ Celebrates Students Back on Campus

By Tess Haugrud

Students were welcomed back to campus for the spring semester with Welcome Back Week, January 14th through the 18th.

The week included events to excite students for the semester. The Jamestown Activities Board (JAB) sponsored most of the events.

Students won grocery bag bingo with themed grocery packs. Photo: Tess Haugrud

Monday included an organizational fair, sponsored by JAB and UJ Student Senate. Over 20 student organizations were on hand for the event to encourage more student participation on campus. Among the carnival-themed activities was Spin Magic. Students were able to paint drawstring bags and vinyl records on a spinning turntable.

Tuesday included a craft night where students made resolution boards highlighting their goals for 2019.

Wednesday returned the popular Grocery Bag Bingo with over 80 students in attendance. Students played over ten rounds bingo for a chance to win a bag filled with groceries. Jacob Just, JAB Treasurer and Campus Activities Chair, said each bag was valued at approximately $50.

Thursday night, students put their knowledge to the test with the monthly Trivia Knights. Five teams participated in the competition with team “Quiz in my Pants” as the reigning champions.

Friday, students wearing Jimmie gear received candy as part of the Go Orange Friday celebration.

“It was great to have so many people stop by our events,” Just said. “JAB has some great events lined up for this semester, and we can’t wait for it all!”

JAB has created magnets with all of their events for the semester. These magnets can be found at the Java Hut or with Erin Edinger in the Student Life offices.

(from left to right) Part of the JAB crew Kim Bandy, Hannah Miertschin, and Jacob Just set up for the week’s activities and more to come throughout the year. Photo: Tess Haugrud