Student-athletes and alumni are joining forces this semester to see if they’ve got Pirate pride.
The Pirate Pride Challenge, which began Jan. 25, unites current and former student athletes in a fundraising contest.
Teams will consist of the current and former athletes in each of their respective sports. This year the contest will feature an all-new bracket-style for- mat. Teams will compete against each other monthly, and the teams with the highest participation rates advance.
Teams that fail to advance early on will have a chance to compete in a wild card round in March. The six wild card teams will compete against each other, with the highest participating team advancing to April’s final four.
The highest participating team will win $5,000. Teams with the most money raised and largest participation improvement from last year to this year will each receive $2,500.
Former student-athletes have been asked to make a minimum donation of $25, while current student-athletes are encouraged to make a minimum $1 donation to participate and compete.
Assistant Athletics Director Jay Judge said he hopes the new format will add some fire to the competition in its second year.
“We hope the new bracket-style format will get the competitive drives in our current and former student-athletes going and in turn, get more participants and higher fundraising numbers,” Judge said.
This year the competition has been extended to May 31, giving teams the chance to raise participation throughout the semester.
“We had great success last year, but we wanted to expand it this year to allow all of our teams who are in and out of their seasons the proper amount of time to participate,” Judge said.
“We also hope by extending the challenge we will allow ourselves more time to contact the largest amount of former student-athletes as possible.”
One of those former student-athletes is Allie Matters. A 2010 graduate of The Hall, Matters played libero for the women’s volleyball team from 2006-2009. During her time at Seton Hall, Matters was a two-time All-Big East Second-Team selection. She also set multiple records for the school including the single-season and career record in dig marks, which were recently broken by current senior Alyssa Warren.
Today, Matters is an assistant coach for the women’s volleyball team and will be looking to show her Pirate pride this semester.
“Everybody loves competition,” Matters said. “We want to try and beat other teams and have a good experience.
Beyond that, Matters wants to give back to the place where she was able to have an impressive college career as a student-athlete.
“It’s representing yourself and family,” she said. “I returned to coach because of my time at Seton Hall. Judge says involvement to this point has been great.
“We had seven of our 14 teams last year have 100 percent participation and this year we hope to have all 14 teams have 100 per- cent,” Judge said. “We had a good turnout from our former student-athletes last year, but know there is room for improvement and we hope the new format will help with that.”
All contributions will be going to the Pirate Blue Athletic Fund, which helps support the athletic department, raising funds for student-athlete scholarships, upgrading facilities and providing other support systems for student-athletes at The Hall.
Donations can be made at www.piratepridechallenge.com.
Neal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.