SAU Buzz

Renew the rivalry

by Sharon Adasme
Posted on Nov 08, 2018

St. Ambrose’s Fighting Bees versed the Augustana College Vikings in a renewed rivalry basketball game Sun. Oct 28 at the Taxslayer Center in Moline. Genesis Health System sponsored the collegiate community event.

The doubleheader began with the women’s basketball teams on the court. Viking women won a close 65-50 game against the Fighting Bees, and later the Viking men took home the trophy with a 71-51 win over St. Ambrose. Although Augustana took home the Genesis Cup, the fellowship and camaraderie were the real highlight of the challenge.

In a July 26 press release, Kate Murphy, director of corporate communications and marketing at Genesis Health System, said, “The Genesis Collegiate Challenge will not only bring together the basketball teams, which is something local fans of the two schools have asked for, but will also include cheerleading squads, dance teams, mascots and the St. Ambrose Marching Band.’’

Though only the Fighting Bee Band played at the event, Dr. James Lambrecht, Director of Bands and Co-Chair of the Music Department at Augustana, said, “Currently, Augustana does not have a pep band… We would be more than thrilled to ‘battle’ in a collegial way with the concert ensembles at St. Ambrose. Perhaps in the future, that might become a possibility.”

Coach Ray is going into his 36th year of coaching as head basketball coach at St. Ambrose. Before the Sunday game, he said, “It’ll be nice, this is an exhibition game. I’d prefer to play the other sports as well. Then, with the wins and losses, the Genesis Cup could go to the overall winner.”

Coach Ray isn’t hopeful that something like that can happen so quickly, as it has been since the 2011-2012 season that Augustana played St. Ambrose. But he hopes that this Collegiate Challenge will help grow towards that idea.

“We want to have a strong team at the end of the season, and to be able to see where we were,” Ray said. The Auggie men are really great right now, he said, and playing them will help the Bees as they continue to grow.

“We expect that even though the games will officially be exhibitions, the atmosphere and the games will be highly charged as the teams play for Quad-Cities pride and the Genesis Collegiate Challenge trophies,” Murphy said.  

Yelling coaches stepping onto the court, fans booing calls by the refs, the Fighting Bee Band blaring the “Hey Song,” and the two school mascots running around proved that this did not feel like just an exhibition game.

“I have gotten nothing but compliments from so many people including administration, the coaches, alumni,” Megan Cooney, althletic bands director, said.

Sister Joan Lescinski, president of St. Ambrose University, extended her thanks to both teams after the challenge.

“While we might not have won the games, we spread a great deal of positive feeling about St. Ambrose University,” Lescinski said. “Our teams played with heart and sportsmanship, and our dance, cheer and band groups were real highlights for the event.”

Lescinski also said that she heard a lot of positive comments about those who represented Ambrose, “especially the Bee.”