Tag Archives: recreation

The Best $140 You Could Spend At Wal-Mart

Sean Neff

Sean Neff,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 25 April 2018

Over the last four years of my eventful time here in Athens, I’ve made quite a laundry list of incredible memories and incredible friends. One of my fondest memories is from last summer in the heat of late June. Out on Lake Snowden (about 15 minutes south of Athens) my friend and I decided to christen our new shiny Wal-Mart purchases.

Two days earlier, we stumbled upon a summer sale in the outdoor section of the State St. Wally World. A bright blue Sundolphin Kayak for $120… a steal for even the cheapest type of new kayak out on the market. We debated buying the small 8 foot watercraft for a few minutes as well perused through the cereal aisle…and as we finally hit the Captain Crunch, we decided to pull the trigger and buy the kayak. Our biggest problem was this: even though I only weigh 148 pounds, two grown men could not fit in the kayak comfortably. So to make up for this issue, we also bought a $20 child-sized dinghy raft.

So back to Lake Snowden… with a bright blue kayak and a child sized raft in tow, two college students with two fishing poles and some tackle headed out to purge the lake of its famously large, but tough to catch, channel cat fish.

We spent almost 12 hours from sun up to sun down paddling into every cove and fishing hot spot catching a massive haul of keeper-sized cats. As the fishermen with their $150,000 specially-designed high-tech fishing boats passed by and saw two sun-burnt college punks with 10+ large catfish in their Wal-Mart kayak, their mouths dropped and their wallets cried. We delightfully filleted and grilled up our catch for the day, and shared our bounty with our troop of friends back in town.


Now, as the spring of 2018 continues to roll by into the early stages of summer, I have a kayak of my own. Unfortunately I didn’t get this one on sale, but it was still only $140. Now instead of a blue kayak and a kiddy dinghy out on Lake Snowden… there is a blue kayak and a twin orange kayak still raking in huge hauls. Except now we tend to throw back more than we keep. Yet still, I think it’s the best $140 I’ve ever given to the Walton family.


Brandon Mahr

Brandon Mahr,
Senior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 8 February 2018

The weather has been absolutely brutal this winter, but thankfully, it’s still toasty 72 degrees in the Ping Center, so I can’t complain too much.

One of my favorite things to do when it’s nasty outside is to head to the Ping Recreation Center, where I can play one of my favorite sports, racquetball. Not only is racquetball a great way to get your “spring break bod”, it’s also a great way to engage in a little friendly competition.

If you haven’t played racquetball before, it’s basically tennis, but it’s indoors and you play without a net. The goal is to get the ball to hit the floor twice before your opponent can hit it off the “back” wall, and it is a blast. I had never played it before coming to college, but after trying with a buddy one night, I was hooked.

It’s a great game to play for several reasons, but one of the biggest reasons it’s great is it only takes two people to play. When everyone is busy and you can’t get a team together to play basketball, football, etc., you and a single friend can head to Ping and get a quick game in.

There are a ton of other things to do in the Ping Center, but racquetball has to be my favorite. So when it’s cold outside and you feel like you have nothing else to do, or you want to get a quick workout in, head to the Ping Center and play some racquetball, you won’t regret it.

The Ambassadors Take on Roller Bowl

Sean Neff

Sean Neff,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 1 February 2018

Although it was cold and dreary on the outside, the action could be nothing but hot inside Roller Bowl Lanes in uptown Athens. February 1st was the date of the first annual Russ College Engineering Ambassadors Bowlathon. It was bound to be a great one.

By the time 7:10 pm struck, the teams were set, the smelly 90s-era bowling shoes were laced, and the participants selected their 10 to 16 pound spherical weapons of choice. The match was destined for glory as Team Randy Savage (featuring Andrew “Randy” Videmsek, Sean Neef, Matthew McKenzie, and Emily Morello) set off to face Team Gutter Balls (featuring Joe Meyer, Jordan Osman, and Mollie Whitacre).

Team Randy Savage started off the first game on fire with strong performances by the captain Randy Videmsek and veteran bowler Sean Neef. Role player Matt McKenzie also played an outstanding hand in the first game, finding the game’s first strike and hitting a double in the later frames.


Team Gutter Balls sputtered to a slow start due to some rust in the throwing arms and some early missed spares. Yet, the team was anchored by star player Mollie Whitacre, who finished the game with a strong 156 and only 3 open frames. Overall though, Team Savage took a commanding lead early and didn’t give up, finishing the game with a total team score of 403.

Early in the second game, the pressure started to mount on both sides. Spares and strikes were flying left and right as it became a shoot-out between the two star-studded teams. The crowd of Athens locals roared as fan favorite Jordan Osman showed off his amazing trick shot skills, laying down incredible backwards between the leg throws.


Joe Meyer also got the crowd on their feet as he hurled his fiery orange ball down the lane at incredible speeds. For Team Savage, Randy Videmsek and Matt McKenzie showed pinpoint accuracy and power on their straight down the middle strike shots.

Towards the end, it was an incredible dual between Mollie Whitacre and Sean Neef, as both players traded strikes and spares. It was clear that Mollie Whitacre was a force to be reckoned with, as shown by her great 160 score and consistent spare making ability. Sean Neef struggled to pick up the 10 pin spare, as his spare ball took a while to dial in. In the end though, Team Savage took game 2 due to solid performances team-wide.

In the third and final game, Team Savage made a late addition, adding rookie bowler Emily Morello to the active lineup. Although the power was not yet there in her shot, Morello’s accuracy made up for it, consistently hitting 8 and 9 pin first throws. For Team Gutter Balls, Mollie Whitacre continued to dominate the individual performance rankings, completely overshadowing the rest of the field. She scored an incredible 189 game with multiple doubles and only two open frames. Yet in the end, her performance was not enough to match the team consistency of Team Savage. Although Team Gutter Balls took home the final game, the match win went to Team Savage for overall pin count.

It was an amazing spectacle to observe on a cold February night in beautiful uptown Athens. The locals can’t wait for the next match to take place. Jersey sales for Whitacre and Osman are already through the roof, and fanfare is alive in the hills of southeast Ohio. Even though there were winners and losers on the lanes tonight, the real winners were all of the Ambassadors. They enjoyed cold drinks, great atmosphere, and best of all… great friendship. Reporting from Roller Bowl Lanes on Palmer Street, this is Civil Engineering senior Sean Neef signing out.

Ohio Snowcats Take On Keystone

Daniel Riordan

Daniel Riordan,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 16 January 2018

Wintertime in Athens is always visually striking—the trees are bare, snow is everywhere (unless the sporadic 60°F day comes around)—and there’s always plenty to do outside within walking distance. However, Ohio University’s location in the hills of southeast Ohio also places it within driving distance of ski resorts Snowshoe Mountain and Seven Springs Mountain as well as a couple
hours away from Columbus’s Mad River Mountain.

When it comes to snow sports, my trip into the white snow and high elevation this winter was not to one of those places, but with many of my friends and peers to Keystone Resort in Colorado, facilitated by the local ski & board club, Ohio Snowcats.

Many Ohio University students take advantage of this Athens-area club to spend a week of our winter break in the mountains of a world-class ski resort somewhere in the United States, and I surely enjoyed the choice of destination this year.


For a heavily subsidized cost, my friends and I, as well as about 200 other Ohio University students had the opportunity to ski down some black diamonds and enjoy the views from 10,000 ft. up at this scenic mountain range two hours west of Denver.


Athens is a great place to be, but the opportunities Ohio University has presented me to travel to places and with people I would not otherwise have had the chance to take advantage of are the source of life-changing experiences and many fond memories for me.

Ice Skating

Veronica Ammer

Veronica Ammer,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 11 December 2017

My family has always had a love for ice skating. It is one of our favorite things to do, especially during winter. I have many great skating memories:

  • When I was two, my parents put me in beginner skating lessons at the local arena.

  • They were the designated chaperones when my friends and I would go skating in junior high school and they had instructed my nervous, wall-hugging friends on skating basics such as bending your knees and leaning forward as you push off.

  • At home in western Pennsylvania after my first semester of college, my dad and I went ice skating at Market Square in Pittsburgh and we won two tickets to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Skating in Pittsburgh

To me, ice skating is synonymous with wonderful times spent with family and friends. Ergo, nothing cures homesickness for me quite like taking a few laps around Bird Arena during an open skate. Feeling the cold air brush past my face reminds me of playing ice tag with my elementary school friends. My mom and dad’s gentle instructions enter my thoughts as I push off the cold, solid ice.

As an out-of-state student, I don’t go home very often, which means I still get homesick from time to time. However, sites like Bird Arena on campus replace that longing feeling with happy memories and something to look forward to the next time my family is together.

The Great Outdoors

Andrew Noll

Andrew Noll,
Junior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 8 December 2017

My entire life, I have been quite the outdoorsman. I attribute some of that to my parents who took us camping twice a year with several close families.

In addition to that, I used to go “creeking” and catch all sorts of animals. I would keep these animals and study them for a few days, feeding and caring to them as needed, then I would release them back into the wild.

I was very close to entering a major in bio or even environmental engineering. I do not regret my decision to chose engineering technology. However, in the future I could see myself getting into an industry that can work with or protect the environment.

As I’ve grown older I’ve moved onto different kinds of outdoor hobbies. I started fishing religiously, hunting, cliff diving, backpacking with my pup or even doing “man vs. wild” with my friend.

The two things that made me appreciate nature the most were hunting, and the man vs. wild camps where we went out for 3 days with just a pot, a bb gun, and two knives.

Now a lot of people ask how I could hunt animals yet love nature? Everyone has an opinion and I respect that. I am not here to argue why I believe hunting is okay, but I truly believe it has made me more in tune with nature and helped me understand its complicated beauty.

I might sit outside and freeze all day without seeing one deer, but I get an opportunity to study nature that non-hunters cannot experience. I learn about varieties of plants and animals. I understand weather patterns and how animals react to it. I see the delicate balance of the ecosystem, and the interaction between animals at its simplest level, in which no book can teach.

For example, something I see too often: chipmunks will chirp loudly and scatter into holes, then 10 seconds later a hawk will fly by. It is that sort of communication and realization of nature’s community that has made me enjoy hunting so much.

Whether I am hunting, cliff diving, hiking, camping, etc. nature has never failed to amaze me. At every turn, I will educate people on its importance advocate for its sustainability for future generations.

Here’s a short video I made about my love for nature and the outdoors.

Snowboarding in Colorado

Quinn Mitchell

Quinn Mitchell,
Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 3 December 2017

Around 5:00 pm on Friday, December 15, the last day of finals week this semester, my friends and I will start the 21-hour drive from Athens, Ohio to Keystone, Colorado. One of these friends is a fellow engineering ambassador, Dan Riordan.

Once we get to Keystone, we will be skiing and snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains. This will be the third year that we take such a trip. It will also be the third year that I spend much of November and all of December impatiently waiting to be in Colorado. Although it does make it slightly harder to concentrate on studying for finals, this snowboarding trip is a great way to end fall semester.

I learned to snowboard in eighth grade, and since then I have tried to spend as much time on the mountain as possible. This became especially important once I got to college; spending a day or two where I’m only concerned about how much snow is falling each day is a great stress relief.

Snowboarding trips like this one are also rewarding because I get to notice myself getting better every year.

If the past two paragraphs have not already convinced you that I’m a big fan of snowboarding, I suggest you ask any of my friends, roommates, or classmates if I have offered to teach them to snowboard. I doubt you’ll get too many “no” responses.