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Three Days In Omaha

A college lacrosse reporter at the College World Series, a baseball event. How did it go?

2017 Division I Men's College World Series - LSU v Florida - Game 1 Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

It’s been a fun month for me since the end of the Syracuse Orange lacrosse season. It started with Memorial Day Weekend with my third Championship Weekend at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, followed by my 21st birthday. I also reported the Kevin Conry hire by the Michigan Wolverines just last week.

I was fortunate to be invited by the good folks at Pizza Hut to spend part of this week in Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series. As you may or may not know, I got connected with them and their Pizza Hut All-American Jason Zone Fisher in Foxborough and did and interviewed him and former Johns Hopkins Blue Jay and current New York Lizards midfielder Paul Rabil, who was the lacrosse representative for this program. Jason also went to Syracuse and graduated from Newhouse where I’m at now, so The Duopoly was very much present. You can check out that interview below:

We got a special Monday interview with Paul Rabil and Pizza Hut All-American Jason Fisher!

Posted by College Crosse on Monday, May 29, 2017

I arrived in Omaha Monday afternoon after a short stop in Charlotte where I may or may not have seen Joe Gibbs pass by. We got a nice little welcome from the city.

When I got to the hotel, which was in Iowa since the airport is right on the border between Iowa and Nebraska, Pizza Hut provided their guests with a gear bag with a t-shirt, shorts, a drawstring bag, and eventually a dinner box.

I ended up watching some random Milwaukee Bucks rookie win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award over Joel Embiid and Dario Saric (either should have won) and LaVar Ball look like an idiot on WWE Raw.

Tuesday was the only full day I spent in Omaha, which started with Pizza Hut’s All-American Challenge, hosted by the Creighton Bluejays. A select number of pros and legends that represented their collegiate national championship were there to run challenges related to their sport. Rabil was there, along with Taylor Twellman (soccer), Joe Carter (baseball), and Jay Williams (basketball).

Here were some highlights:

  • Field hockey star Lauren Crandall hails from Doylestown. STAND UP BUCKS COUNTY! I also asked about her favorite shore town. She used to rep Ocean City, New Jersey, but has since become a part of Sea Isle! TAKE THAT SAFE! #TeamSeaIsleAndAvalon
  • The hardest challenge was the gymnastics one. Part one of the challenge was holding on to bars for as long as possible (mine was 50 seconds). The second was holding a handstand for as long as possible (mine was 27 seconds). I’m still sore. Thank Paul Hamm.
  • Finally, I did talk lacrosse with Paul! We discussed the Lizards season so far, which hasn’t been that good. I found out that Lizards head coach Joe Spallina doesn’t like to play a ton of rookies, which is why we’ve mainly seen Austin Pifani play since he was drafted last month. It began when I asked Rabil why “The Phantom” Scott Firman has only played in one game since he was drafted, and we both agreed he was a great defender. Also if you haven’t yet, subscribe to his podcast!

We had a free Pizza Hut lunch and had a longer discussion with some of the pros. You can watch the end of it below:

Chris is talking to some legends of various sports, including Paul Rabil.

Posted by College Crosse on Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Here were some other interesting notes:

  • Jay Williams almost went to Rutgers on a soccer scholarship and Taylor Twellman almost went to Maryland on a baseball scholarship.
  • Something that was really interesting was how some athletes remembered their failures and regrets more than their achievements. Williams has always remembered his loss to Indiana in the Sweet 16 back in 2002. Rabil also remembers his loss to Syracuse in the 2008 National Championship game, even though he won two titles while at Hopkins.
  • Twellman was hilarious and the trio of himself, Rabil, and Williams had great chemistry out there.

One final thought, I could see Creighton add men’s and women’s NCAA lacrosse at the school. Creighton currently has MCLA and WCLA club teams. The men play at the school’s Sports Complex, which is mainly used for their baseball and softball teams, and sometimes at Leahy Stadium at nearby Creighton Prep. I think their soccer stadium, Morrison Stadium, was a very nice facility and could fit both teams in the Spring. Creighton could fit in the Big East, which could possibly help Denver start a conference with other western teams like Utah in the future.

We also toured TD Ameritrade prior to Game 2 of the CWS.

Most of the gang:

Game 2 saw the Florida Gators win their first ever national championship over Jake Nazar’s LSU Tigers. We were in a suite for the game.

CNN reporter Kaylee Hartung is also an LSU fan.

Speaking of Hartung:

GOT ‘EM!

Overall, it was a great trip for me to experience the midwest for the first time ever. Thanks to Pizza Hut, ProCamps, Jason Fisher, Doug Terfehr, Creighton University, and the NCAA for an excellent experience! I hope to be back again next year to do it again!

Finally, if you’re listening Pizza Hut people, we have sponsorship opportunities for the College Crossecast. Please contact us if you’re interested (which you should be)!