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Mike Ritz is currently a junior journalism major at Iona College. He is from Yorktown, New York and is a sports writer for the school newspaper, The Ionian. Mike has been the manager for the Iona women's basketball team since his freshman year. A lover of sports, he played four years of basketball in high school as well as four years of golf. Mike comes from an Iona family, both of his parents, Ron and Michelle, graduated from Iona as well as his sister, Jen, played basketball for the Gaels for four years and graduated in 2008. Mike loves to be a part of the Iona family and aspires to be a successful sports writer when he graduates.

NEW ROCHELLE, NY - Iona College senior Frank Petrucci and Kevin Murphy '85, former men's and women's rowing head coach and alum, will be participating in next week's Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. 

The Pan American Games are the second largest multi-sport event after the Summer Olympics and are held every four years. The event represents 42 nations and has 361 events in 36 different sports. Other sports included in the Games are baseball, basketball, bowling, hockey, beach volleyball, and softball. 

Petrucci, along with three other teammates from Princeton, Syracuse, and Fordham, will participate in the Lightweight Four event at the games. He will be the first male Iona student ever to be a part of the Pan American Games. Eileen O'Rourke was the first female, in 1987.  At the age of 22, he is the youngest person in the event. 

"I am honored and proud of getting this far after how my summer went, said Petrucci. "Over the summer I tried out for the Light Weight Eight that raced at Worlds. It came down to me and 11 other guys in the final selection, and an accident took place which removed me from final selection. So this is good vindication, I know all the hard work I've put in has been paying off and my dreams of racing in the Olympics aren't a pipe dream."

Kevin Murphy will coach Petrucci in the Lightweight Four. He will be the first Iona alum to coach at the Pan American Games. He realizes that Iona was his stepping stone into where he is today. 

"As a rower and coach for Iona I learned that this sport demands focus and commitment every step of the way. If you want a boat to go fast then you and you alone have to work to make that happen. Whether it means more time training or more time developing training plans, you can't wait for the other guy to step in."

As the head rowing coach for Iona, Murphy achieved many accolades. His crew won the Men's Varsity 8 in back to back years at the Spring Met Championships, as well as receiving the bronze medal at the New York State Collegiate Championships for the Frosh/Novice 4+.

Murphy has been with the NYAC as a head coach since 2004. There, he has coached athletes who have been invited to the US national team and has coached two Elite National Championship gold-medal crews. 

The rowing events at the games will run from October 15th-19th, with semis and finals. Just participating in this prestigious event is a great accomplishment for these two Gaels. Murphy went on to say, "Being a representative of the United States in international competition has been a lifelong dream of mine. I tried as an athlete and didn't quite make it. To now be a member of the US coaching staff for the games, with those years of competitive experience behind me, has made this opportunity even more special."


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