FRIDAY, AUG. 16
Colgate capped off its Italy tour with an incredible experience in Siena on Friday. The bus trip from Pisa took roughly two hours and then the team enjoyed a delicious lunch at a local restaurant.
The team after lunch had a free day to roam the city and take in some of the amazing views. The city was extremely busy because of the famous Palio di Siena horse race, which takes place twice per year on July 2 and Aug. 16. This horse race is one of the most famous sporting events in all of Italy! It attracts over 30,000 citizens from all over the world.
The race, in which the jockeys ride bareback, circles the Piazza del Campo, which every other day of the year serves as the heart of the city. Each of the 17 neighborhoods in Siena are represented by a horse and jockey, with 10 horses racing three laps around the rugged terrain. It is common for jockeys to be thrown off their horses while making the difficult turns in the piazza, and it is not unusual to see riderless horses finishing the race. This event in particular, a riderless horse won the race! The winning horse's team climbs the Duomo in a great celebration, and they are enshrined with bragging rights for the next year!
Some student-athletes and staff members watched the race from outside in restaurants, while others were able to make it inside to experience the race first-hand. They even wore flags around their shoulders to cheer on their favorite racers!
"Seeing the horse race was one of the coolest things I have ever experienced in my life. Fans of the losing horses were crying, and fans were ecstatic to see their horses win. I have never seen so much emotion in one place before. The trip overall was an experience I will remember for the rest of my life. Sharing it with my teammates was very special." - Junior Jack Ferguson
More photos from today's visit to Siena!
The team is headed back to Rome and preparing to return to the States on Saturday. The flight is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. (local) and expected to arrive at JFK around 1 p.m. (ET).
Thank you for following along this week! A true experience of a lifetime for the Colgate men's basketball team kicks off the 2019-20 season.
THURSDAY, AUG. 15
Colgate left Pisa early Thursday morning by train to enjoy a free day in Cinque Terre. This rugged coastline is broken up into five cities - Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The cities are connected by footpaths, which offer some incredible hiking opportunities for a scenic route. There is also a train that runs from city to city.
The team had the option to either hike from one city to the next or travel by train. Each city offered beaches, hikes, restaurants for lunch, gelato, and various shops and stores. Most of the team found their home in Manarola, where they cliff jumped off the rocks into the Mediterranean Sea.
Some team and staff members chose to hike from city to city to take in the sights and scenes. The hike was difficult at times through steep hills, altering terrains, and heavy traffic. But it offered some amazing views that were well worth the challenges!
"One of the last days on our trip was spent at the coastal area of Cinque Terre. To get to each small town the team could take a short train ride for a view of the beautiful coastline, or hike through for a personal view of the towns. My highlight of the day was taking a swim in the Mediterranean Sea, laying on the sand, and soaking up the sun." - Senior Milan Williams
More Sights and Scenes from Beautiful Cinque Terre!
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 14
Colgate Men’s Basketball departed Florence Wednesday morning and bussed about an hour and a half to Pisa. The team checked into the hotel and enjoyed a quiet, relaxing lunch after battling the bus ride without air conditioning! Following lunch, there was a good bit of free time before joining together for a guided tour through this tremendous city.
The tour began with a walk through the Pisa Cathedral, which offered incredible sights both inside and out. The cathedral is located adjacent to the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa and was built there in the ancient times to show that Pisa had no fear of being attacked. The inside paintings were very detailed and gave an incredible 3D appearance.
The Pisa Baptistery is the largest in Italy. It is constructed completely with marble and was originally built to serve as the Bell Tower in Pisa. The guided tour allowed the Raiders to walk through and experience the ancient history inside the Baptistery.
The highlight of the tour guide was a walk to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The tower is famous for its four-degree lean as a result of an unstable foundation. The 300-plus steps it took to the top reached 56 meters, or 183 feet high. At the top, the Raiders were able to soak in the sights and scenes! Some were afraid of heights, but most took in the breath-taking view at the top.
"We started the day out with a fun bus experience from Florence to Pisa with little air conditioning but great views. The walking tour of the plaza of Pisa was amazing. The highlight was walking up the steps to the top of the Leaning Tower to see the view of the city as the sun was setting." - Sophomore Tucker Richardson
More Sights and Scenes from Pisa!
TUESDAY, AUG. 13
The Raiders spent another unforgettable day in Florence on Tuesday. The team was able to sleep in a little later before touring the amazing Galleria della Accademia, home of Michelangelo's Statue of David. There were several famous works of art, highlighted by the Ratto delle Sabine (pictured below). The visit was once again led by a tour guide (pictured below), who explained the history behind the gallery's famous sculptures.
Following a fun afternoon of free time in the city, Colgate Men's Basketball took the court for the final time during its Italy tour and came away with an 88-27 victory.
The Raiders capped off a perfect 3-0 record on their foreign trip, led by Jack Ferguson, who was lights out from downtown and finished with a game-high 20 points. Keegan Records scored 15 and dominated the boards with 16 rebounds, while Zach Light and David Maynard added nine apiece. Jordan Burns finished with six assists to lead the Raiders.
The two teams after the game took a group photo and several players swapped jerseys as a sign of respect in another great moment on the court.
More Sights and Scenes from Tuesday in Florence!
Colgate is headed to Pisa on Wednesday! The Raiders will depart Florence at 11 a.m., with the trip scheduled to take about an hour and a half. After checking into the hotel and having lunch, the team will enjoy a guided visit to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Baptistery and Cathedral of Pisa before dinner at a local restaurant. Stay tuned for more updates as the Raiders continue their Italy tour!
MONDAY, AUG. 12
Colgate Men's Basketball departed Rome on Monday morning and traveled to Florence by train, which took just under two hours. The next two days will be spent in Florence, the the capital and largest city in Tuscany.
After checking into the hotel and grabbing a bite for lunch, student-athletes, coaches, staff members, and their families took part in another walking tour through the beautiful city. So many more unbelievable sights and scenes to cover! One of the more memorable sights was the Duomo Cathedral (pictured left). It is the third largest church in the world, behind St. Peter's in Rome (which the Raiders were able to tour at Vatican City) and St. Paul's in London.
The walking tour took the team through the heart of Florence, where the team was able to learn more about the history and culture in this beautiful city. There was also a good amount of free time for the Raiders to choose between relaxing in the hotel, exploring the city, and shopping in the downtown areas.
A rather quiet, relaxing evening was capped off with a tremendous dinner at Osteria dei Baroncelli located within walking distance from the hotel. The restaurant served four dishes, including varieties of bruschetta, pasta, pork and potatoes. Italian cookies were for dessert to top it all off!
SUNDAY, AUG. 11
The Colgate Men's Basketball Italy tour continued Sunday at the Rome Colosseum, one of the most thrilling, ancient sights in all of Rome. With over six million visitors per year, the main symbol of Rome holds nearly 2,000 years of history and joins Vatican City as the two top attractions of the city. The Colosseum construction began in year 72 and took almost eight full years to build. As the home of one of the nation's premier amphitheaters, it measures 188 meters in length (617 ft.), 156 meters in width (512 ft.), and 57 meters in height (187 ft.)
With a seating capacity of over 50,000, in ancient times the Colosseum was the hosting sight for spectacles such as animal fights, executions of prisoners, and of course, Gladiator fights. The Raiders had great opportunities to capture the sights and scenes!
Following the walk around the upper level and ground level of Colosseum, the Raiders were guided through the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. This is more modernly known as a plaza, where for centuries it served as the center of daily life in Rome. Student-athletes, coaches, and families were surrounded by ancient ruins that were once important government buildings at the center of the city.
Colgate parlayed its tour success with another strong performance on the court Saturday night, defeating the Roman Gladiators 96-66 to improve to 2-0 in Italy. It was the Raiders' final contest in Rome, with the final matchup slated for Tuesday evening in Florence.
Nelly Cummings led four Raiders in double figures with 22 points. He shot 53 percent from the floor (8-of-15) and finished 3-of-7 from beyond the arc. Jack Ferguson scored 18 on six 3-pointers, Will Rayman added 17, and Keegan Records racked up 14 to go with a team-high seven rebounds. Record's three offensive rebounds matched Milan Williams' game-high mark. The Raiders never trailed in the game. Ferguson was a spark from outside and Records was a force underneath. Jordan Burns dished out a game-high five assists.
In a special moment, the Raiders had the opportunity to catch up with Kimberly Elek '87, who is currently visiting the area on vacation with her family. Coach Langel captured a quick photo with Kimberly and her family before the game tipped off. Their support for the Raiders was evident throughout the entire game!
SATURDAY, AUG. 10
Colgate Men's Basketball continued its Italy trip with a guided tour through Vatican City in Rome, home of St. Peter's Basilica, the largest church in the world. The Raiders were able to capture pictures, listen to the tour guide through headphones to learn more about the history of Vatican City, and bond with teammates. One of the challenges of this tour was sticking together and hearing the tour guide - hench the headphones! Vatican City, one of the busiest areas in all of Rome, welcomes seven million visitors per year, or nearly 30,000 tourists per day! Being able to stay inside was pleasantly welcomed by most, as the weather today topped out at nearly 100 degrees.
The team inside Vatican City also had the opportunity to tour through The Sistine Chapel, which is widely known as the home of some of the greatest art in the world. Through experiencing the paintings, sculptures, and unique architecture, The Sistine Chapel was a once-in-a-lifetime visit the Raiders were able to capture on Saturday morning.
Colgate capped off Saturday evening with a spectacular showing in its first exhibition in Italy. The Raiders came out on top 105-74 over the Roman Gladiators in Quarteire Ardeatino. The home team led early until Nelly Cummings converted a three-point play to spark a first-quarter run and open a double-digit lead into the second quarter.
The gap never narrowed down to single digits the rest of way, but it did trim down to 78-68 early in the fourth quarter until the Raiders used a 21-0 run to seal the 105-74 victory. Will Rayman led the way for Colgate with 23 points and he pulled down seven rebounds. Jordan Burns and Tucker Richardson finished with 17 apiece, while Jack Ferguson added 16. Cummings tallied 11 as five Raiders finished in double figures for the game.
"It was awesome to represent Colgate Basketball here in Italy. We have been eager to play against some new competition so it was fun to be out there playing with my teammates rather than against them." - Senior Will Rayman
"We had a really good week of practice leading up to the trip. It is a totally unique environment here, but it was good to see some of the things that we had the chance to be able to do. Nelly [Cummings] gives us a different dynamic and a lot of our guys contributed. Zach [Light] had a great game off the bench as well, especially in the second half. It was great to see our guys playing again and to feel their joy and excitement for what lies ahead." - Head Coach Matt Langel
FRIDAY, AUG. 9
ROME, Italy - Colgate Men's Basketball departed JFK late Thursday night and arrived in Rome, Italy early Friday morning around 11 a.m. local time (5 a.m. Eastern). The team grabbed a quick bite for breakfast before sitting in on an introductory presentation led by the Raiders' tour guides during their time in Italy.
The Raiders then checked into their hotel rooms and began their sight-seeing through the great city of Rome. Student-athletes and staff members dispersed into groups and stopped at various shops, stores, parks, and restaurants before coming back together for the late evening activities.
The team gathered together in the evening for a panoramic bus tour through the city of Rome. The tour guide pointed out various buildings and monuments that have established the rich culture and tradition of Rome. The Raiders had the opportunity to walk through the majestic St. Paul's Outside the Walls Roman Catholic Church and enjoy more team bonding activities.
Colgate wrapped up the day with a relaxing dinner at a local restaurant -- Antica Trattoria Croce Ristoranti Alle due Fontanelle -- before walking back to the hotel to get some much-needed rest.
"All in all it was a great first day. I give our entire travel party lots of credit for getting out and about to familiarize ourselves with the great city of Rome after such an extensive day of travel. I know everyone will get a great night of sleep and we look forward to another special day in Rome tomorrow as well as compete in our first exhibition." - Head Coach Matt Langel
"Over the last 24 hours we drove to New York City and flew into Rome. We spent a lot of time traveling but it is always good bonding with the guys. We took a tour of the city and it is more beautiful than I could ever imagine. Never in my life did I think I'd ever be able to go outside of the United States so to be here is a blessing." - Junior Jordan Burns
Colgate will tour Vatican City on Saturday morning before enjoying free time for most of the afternoon leading up to the Raiders' first exhibition against The Roman Gladiators at 8 p.m. (local). Check back on Saturday to stay up-to-date with all the Raider activities as they continue to explore Rome!