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Ernie's Insights - You've Been Put on Notice

Bobby Van Allen's third-ranked men's cross country team is one of seven JHU teams ranked in the top 25 in the nation this week.
Sept. 29, 2017

The calendar will flip to October on Sunday and maybe, just maybe, it will actually start feeling like fall in the Baltimore area. Hitting October means the regular season for the eight Johns Hopkins fall teams is roughly half over.

If we’ve reached the halfway mark and you’ve yet to notice what’s going on at Homewood, you’re missing something pretty remarkable. I know you’re busy – we all are – but that’s no excuse.

You’ve been put on notice – if another month passes and you still haven’t caught at least one Blue Jay athletic event, you’ll have only yourself to blame.

As it is, I’ve likely seen as many Johns Hopkins athletic events since arriving at Homewood in 1997 as just about anyone, and I still feel like I can never get enough.

The fall will end and I’ll likely have seen about 40 JHU games in-person and many more via live video – and I’ll be disappointed that I didn’t find time to catch more. I’ll be disappointed because when this season ends, this group of Blue Jays will never compete and represent our great university together again. Sure, there will be another fall season next year, but for this particular group the end is coming quickly.

So, what exactly are you missing? How about a women’s cross country team ranked number one in the nation for the 34th time since 2013. Their counterparts on the men’s side? They’re ranked third in the nation this week. That’s two cross country teams ranked in the top five in the nation – that makes Johns Hopkins one of just six schools in the nation – in all divisions of the NCAA - with both of its cross country teams ranked in the top five.

Cross country not your thing? That’s ok, there are three other Blue Jay teams ranked in the top 10 (football, water polo and women’s soccer), another knocking on the door at number 11 (men’s soccer) and still another (volleyball) ranked 24th. That #24 ranking for Tim Cole’s volleyball team is the first top-25 ranking in school history.

The eighth team? That would be first-year coach Jane Wells’ field hockey team, which is off to a strong 6-3 start and scored an impressive 1-0 win over nationally-ranked Rochester. Combined, Hopkins’ fall teams currently stand at a combined 45-11-1; that means your Blue Jays are winning their games at a combined clip of 79.8%.

Were you keeping count there? That’s seven nationally-ranked teams, including five in the top 10, among JHU’s eight fall teams. By any measure, that’s a remarkable feat, even for an athletic program that has earned top-10 finishes in the Learfield Directors’ Cup standings six times in the last seven years.

The air will (hopefully) turn crisp in the not-too-distant future and games will get tougher as Centennial Conference and NCAA Tournament berths are on the line. Maintaining that nearly 80% winning percentage will be tough, if not impossible, but what a joy it will be to watch our student-athletes compete.

Glancing at the calendar, maybe I can actually push closer to 50 events that I can catch in-person before we move indoors for the winter. You should check the team schedules at and match them up with your calendar soon to see when you can come catch your favorite team in action.

At worst, check out one of the broadcast-quality live streams of a home game. The handiwork of our Digital Media Coordinator, Matt Lawrence, the streams are produced in HD and feature a graphics package that rivals any in the nation.

After all, if the next time you look up the calendar is about to flip to November and you still haven’t caught a game, you’ll only have yourself to blame.

--- Forever a Blue Jay ---

Ernie Larossa is in his 21st year as the Director of Athletic Communications at Johns Hopkins. In short, he has the greatest job in the world; he gets paid to watch Johns Hopkins athletes compete and chronicle their achievements. In September, 2017, he decided it was time to periodically pen a column about something related to Blue Jay athletics.