Student body president Catherine Soler said student government is working with the University to make football pep rallies “shorter but more exciting” due to some student dissatisfaction with last year’s rallies.Student body vice president Andrew Bell said student government worked with Game Day Operations, the Athletic Department, football team representatives and Hall Presidents’ Council co-chairs Alexa Doyle and Mike Oliver.“Our discussion focused on the fact that while all alumni, prospective students and members of the Notre Dame community are welcome to the pep rallies, the students and the football team should be the heart of every rally,” Bell said.Soler added: “We hope everyone is excited for pep rally season. It’s a collaborative process, so while the students and the players are the focus, everyone can have a good time.”Soler said first-year Irish football coach Brian Kelly told her he is also excited about improving the pep rallies. She said Kelly want students more involved in creating successful pep rallies.“We hope that students will see that the pep rally format is different,” Bell said. “Some people were disappointed with pep rallies last year but we hope that they will come to the rallies next year and feel engaged and want to be involved.”“The biggest changes Soler and Bell are introducing are new venues and new traditions to enhance the energy and overall experience of pep rallies.“This is the first time that Notre Dame is actively seeking guest speakers for pep rallies,” Soler said. “We want big, exciting people to come and be a part of the experience.”The first pep rally will be the Dillon Hall pep rally on South Quad. “We’re very excited to be back at Dillon, upholding the longstanding tradition,” Bell said, “Last year’s reception and atmosphere were great, but there are ways that it can improve.”Bell said improvements for the Dillon pep rally would include better visibility, sound quality and a shorter length.The second pep rally will be outdoors at Irish Green for the Michigan game. Students voiced concerns about the Irish Green pep rallies after disappointment from this past year.“All of us, including the athletic department, acknowledge that it needs change, but the outdoor pep rally is conducive to a really great atmosphere, similar to the USC pep rally from last year,” Soler said.She said because of the size of the game and expected crowd attending the pep rally, organizers want to emphasize the students and players.“The pep rally will be focused around the players’ theme for the week to give the public a better glimpse at what the players are experiencing,” Soler said. “It’s time to start new traditions with the Kelly era.”One such new tradition, Bell said, will be a student body entrance onto Irish Green. “Each dorm will have its own walkover, but they will all meet somewhere like the flagpole on South Quad,” Bell said. “Then everyone will walk down to the pep rally together.”For the Stanford game, the pep rally will take place for the first time in Purcell Pavilion, reminiscent of the Joyce Center rallies from two years ago.“We all look back and love the old JACC pep rallies, but they weren’t perfect and students were upset about that,” Bell said.While the exact details of how everyone will be situated for the Purcell Pavilion rally are not yet determined, Bell said, there won’t be players sitting in the middle of an empty basketball court and students just sitting around it.Just like last year, there will be a students-only pep rally at Stepan Center for the away game at Boston College. “Next year, Coach Kelly and the entire football team will be there,” Soler said. “We’re excited to have the full support of the team at the pep rally.”Bell said the format for the Stepan rally wouldn’t change much from last year and will include a rowdy atmosphere, loud marching band and the football team.“We expect that it will be packed,” Bell said. “Stepan didn’t fill up last year, but everyone that went had a great time.”Soler and Bell have only planned the first four pep rallies to be able to take into account student feedback after each one before meeting with their group to plan the rest of the season. “We’re students too, and we went to last year’s pep rallies and see that they need to be improved,” Bell said. “We feel like we are getting the opportunity to discover the best location, length and format to figure out exactly how to get correct focus on the students and the team.”
Fitness Express, Trophy Stall on boardFITNESS Express and Trophy Stall have stepped in to show their support for the GAPLF’s Raw Nationals set for tomorrow at Critchlow Labour College. For almost a decade Jamie McDonald and Fitness Express have played a pivotal role in the development of powerlifting by sponsoring individual athletes and competitions hosted by the GAPLFFitness Express’ Jamie McDonald commits his bit to this weekend’s GAPLF 2016 Raw national championships.throughout its calendar year.Trophy Stall has also renewed its relationship with the GAPLF, that was forged several years ago, through its contributions to 2 competitions so far in 2016; Trophy Stall looks forward to continue working closely with the federation as it grows from strength to strength.Tomorrow’s competition was anticipated to be the largest the federation will host for some time and has proved to be exactly that with a total of 45 lifters, of which 8 females are registered.Athletes will be competing Unequipped in various categories such as Male and Female Sub Junior, Male and Female Junior, Male and Female Open and Male and Female Masters.Several seasoned national lifters have put aside their knee wraps and squat suits to test their might in this more modest form of lifting.Spectators will be treated to an exciting day of lifting as ‘Big’ John Edwards returns to the platform after 3 years out of competition and will be challenged by Berbice strongmen Farouk Abdool and Roshan Ali.There will also be other keenly contested divisions as Romario Gonsalves of Life Gym seeks to hold dominion over the 59kg Open and Junior categories.He will be rivalled in the Open division by seasoned campaigners the likes of Kevin Bridglall, Sohail Hussain and Navendra Tamasar. This will be the most keenly contested weight class with a total of 9 lifters in the Open Division.Vijai Rahim will seek to make his mark on this class of powerlifting as he has achieved total dominance over the past years of the Equipped Division.The 74kg division will see national athlete Osmond Mack coming up against junior lifters Donnel Perry and the 2015 Senior Nationals 74kg champion Demetri Chan who will also be contesting in the Junior category. The 83kg class will feature 2015 Senior Nationals Best Lifter Hardat Tarson who will be making his Raw debut against the likes of Paul Adams, Phillip Romalho and Dike Utoh.Carlos Peterson of the 93kg Junior and Open Division will be seeking to dominate the Raw Division as he has done thus far for 2016 but he will first need to dispatch Errol ‘Rugged’ Henry and other seasoned Raw athletes in his bid for supremacy.There will be a Masters Division which will see a clash of the mature lifters when the likes of Errol ‘Rugged’ Henry, Big John Edwards, Joseph Stoll, Jagdesh Budhram, Farouk Abdool, Martin Webster and a few others take to the platform to show what athletes 40 years and above are capable of doing.Nadina Taharally will be seeking to establish dominance once again, as she did at the Intermediate/Masters competition in June 2016 against other seasoned lifters like Nessa Bhagwandin, Jackelyn Toney, Chittra Ramlochan, Lisa Oudit and youngsters Tineisha Toney and Britny Mack who will also be contesting against each other in the Sub Junior Division.Overall, Sunday promises to be a very exciting day of powerlifting and the GAPLF encourages all powerlifting enthusiasts to come out in their numbers to support the federation and the athletes.