Education major Nick Smith ’09 works on his upper body strength in Brown Fitness Center, with spotter Josh Kapla ’10, an exercise science major.

Yoga stretch: Peace studies major Samantha Carwile '10.

Education major Jennifer Beakas ’11 and physical education major Nicole Jessen ’12 keep pace in Brown Fitness Center.

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The PERC pulses with activity, bulging at the girders
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Spartans say ...

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IT’S A COLD FEBRUARY when the Spartan wrestler sets out from Schwalm Hall to practice in the PERC. As he walks across campus, the shouts and sounds of physical activity surround him. On the mall, Ultimate Frisbee players are flinging the disc, as they do every weekday – rain, sleet, snow or sun. Crossing East Street, a group of lean, ear-muffed runners sprints by with the camaraderie and speed of a pack of wolves chasing down prey.

If he had detoured by Cordier Auditorium, he would have discovered both cross country teams warming up in the basement, under the stage, before they hit the roads.

On the walk up to the PERC is a good view of rush hour in Brown Fitness Center. Then it’s past the rolling thunder of bouncing balls and rubber-soled feet in the gym en route to the locker room. He weaves among the football and softball players stretching and steps into the sweltering wrestling room.

Manchester College has 430 student-athletes (a dramatic increase from the 355 student-athletes only two years ago) competing in 17 NCAA Division III
sports. Factor in more than 800 intramural competitors in 12 sports and the 100-or-so students, faculty and staff who use Brown Fitness Center every
day. And don’t forget the pick-up games and the lone runners.

… and P.E. classes in weight training, wellness, Tai Chi, bicycling, badminton, bowling, canoeing, racquetball, golf, karate, fitness walking, softball, square dancing, tennis, yoga, weight management, stress reduction … and the south end of the PERC, where classes for exercise and sport sciences majors are under way.

“We’re full,” says Athletic Director Rick Espeset, who’s also head baseball coach. During winter, teams consume every bit of court time available in the PERC, with the gym lights off only four hours or so within the 24-hour day.

Those practices keep the Spartan tradition strong at Manchester, and its trophy cases also bulging with 65 conference championships, All-Americans, All-Conference teams, players and coaches, and (for awhile) the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Commissioner’s Cup.

Division III opportunities have a lot to do with the College’s popularity among student-athletes. At this level, the focus is on the development of the student-athlete, not the entertainment (or expectations) of spectators.

Manchester students get to play, and contribute to scoring, and even travel to NCAA regionals and nationals. They’re breaking school records left and
right. For example, under Head Coach Brian Cashdollar, Manchester’s track and field athletes have crushed 23 school records … probably the records of some alumni reading this. Sorry. Well, maybe not. And women’s tennis: They’ve collected six consecutive conference titles and three consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament since 2002.

But sports aren’t just for the athletes … no way. The College’s intramural schedule continues its tradition with an enormous schedule that attracts about 75 percent of our 1,150 students. Students, faculty and staff compete together in activities for the body and mind ranging from indoor soccer to table tennis, volleyball and whiffle ball, and the quieter but not necessarily calmer challenges like billiards and euchre. Lots of the sports are in the PERC – when there’s an opening in the team practice schedules.

With enrollments setting records – buoyed by feverish student-athlete recruiting by Spartan coaches, including 95 football players each of the last four years – Manchester’s athletics facilities are bulging at the girders.

“We have to do our core routine in the basement of Cordier because it is the only place big enough to house all of us (70 to 80 student-athletes),” said Cashdollar, who is head coach of both cross country and track and field.

The solution? A field house, for starters.

In addition to supporting Manchester’s student-athletes, a field house could open up sports and fitness options for all our students, said Coach Espeset. A field house would give the College an indoor track, more locker rooms, another weight facility, possibly a cardio room and practice courts. An indoor track could serve community runners and walkers, too.

That would please Andy Williams ’10, a national NCAA qualifier in cross country last fall. “I could train harder and become a better runner if we had an indoor track facility, which would allow me to train hard through the winter months when the snow and ice make it impossible to run fast outside.”

The football field, which suffered through 15 games last season as the College shared it with Manchester High School, also tops the athletic
director’s fix-it list. One solution is field turf, costly at $500,000 to $1 million, but used at most Indiana colleges, including Manchester’s major recruiting opponents.

But in the meanwhile, Manchester will still produce championship teams and athletes, academically strong students and genuinely good people on the mats, courts, tracks and fields and off.

That’s because Manchester College’s athletics program is proof of the adage, “It’s not what you have that matters, but how you use it.”

“Regardless of what facilities we have, it’s still about the students and coaching,” said Coach Espeset. “It’s still about the relationships with the athletes.”


Spartans say …

“Some people think that being a Division III athlete is just for people who aren’t serious, but everywhere I look, I see athletes who are training to compete at the highest level they can so they can win. My athletic performance has improved so much since I have come to college. I have
teammates at my level to train with, a great coach who believes in me and challenges me without discouraging me, and an amazing athletic training
team that is willing to help with anything that is bothering me.” —
Jessica Bremer ’11, cross country and track and field (exercise science)

“To me, being a Spartan means showing leadership and representing the student body. It means being a role model to my peers, being looked up to for encouraging words and support and representing myself and the school to the best of my ability.” — Jasmyne Ahmad ’11, track and basketball (political science)

“I was recruited to come here as early as my sophomore year of high school when Coach (Cashdollar) sent me two handwritten letters congratulating me on my successes and encouraging me to look into running for Manchester. My senior year he came and watched me perform at some of my meets. His persistence definitely got my attention.” — Andy Williams ’10, cross country and track (athletic training)

Auburn Golf Outing to raise $120,000 for Spartan athletics

Over the past 19 years, the Auburn Golf Outing has provided 75 percent of the non-building donations to MC athletics – from bleachers to press boxes and shot clocks, and, especially, fitness equipment.

Organizers Ken Metzer ’67 and Til ’47 and Dortha King ’47 are driving for
$120,000 at this year’s outing, scheduled for June 12 at Bridgewater East Golf Club in Auburn, Ind. Call the Alumni Office, 888-257-2586, to play.

In this issue
We are in this together
from the president.

The Chime Inscriptions on the 10 bells continue to ring true today.

A legacy of Faith, Learning and Service
Remembering President A. Blair Helman.

International consciousness
Expanding MC horizons on campus and abroad.

The PERC pulses with activity
Bulging at the girders with Spartans, intramurals, classes.

Not your parents' P.E. class
Exercise and sport sciences bring new career opportunities.

Manchester in the spotlight
New initiatives put College in national media.

Profiles of ability and conviction


Alumni Office | 888-257-2586 |