Student-athletes and alumni head into the “Final Four” of the Pirate Pride Challenge, as they look to continue to raise funds.
Baseball, women’s basketball, women’s soccer and men and women’s golf advanced to the Final Four of this year’s pride challenge and move closer to the $5,000 award for the team with the highest participation. Other participating teams this year include: men and women’s cross country, women’s tennis, men’s swimming, women’s swimming, softball and men’s basketball.
This is the first year the bracket-style competition has brought in $20,000 to this date, according to assistant athletic director, Jay Judge.
Judge said he hopes to double or even triple that number as the challenge still has a ways to go. The competition began on Jan. 25 and is set to run through May 31.
“We’ve seen increased support in terms of donations and participation,” Judge said of the involvement of students and alumni. He added that he was very impressed with the student athletes who reached 100 percent participation in the competition.
Judge said he expects to see the numbers increase by April 30, Donor Matching Day. This year, any donation made to Pirate Blue will be matched by 30 percent.
“Some of our athletes and alumni are waiting until then to get their donations in,” he said.
Judge described the participation to this point as “fantastic.” He also added that the competition has “re-energized” some of the alumni as they look to give back to the same programs that many of them used during their time as a Pirate.
One of those alumni participants is Allie Matters, a 2010 graduate and member of the Hall’s women’s volleyball team. Matters said these types of events at Seton Hall bring her back to her playing days. “There are always certain events that you look back on as an athlete and they make you thankful for the opportunity you received,” she said.
Matters, a current assistant coach for women’s volleyball added that the team’s 100 percent participation will help as they continue to battle for awards including one for the most money raised and the largest participation improvement, both awards worth $2,500.
“We always get a big push of donations in the last few weeks, so we are hoping to push ahead,” Matters said of the competition heading into the final two-month stretch of the pride challenge.
The goal Judge says is for former student athletes to “give back” to the program and for current athletes to see the importance in “giving back. “Every dollar counts,” he said.
Neal McHale can be reached at email@example.com.