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What you need to know about The Return of The Ultimate Fighter

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The Ultimate Fighter was an instrumental force during the UFC’s explosion of popularity in the early 2000s, shining a spotlight on fighters like Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock, who coached a variety of MMA hopefuls in a season-long competition in which all of the participants were housed in one place.

Over the course of 28 seasons — all of which can currently be enjoyed on ESPN+ — the emergence of fighters like Forrest Griffin, Nate Diaz, Tony Ferguson and Kelvin Gastelum, among many others, and the tension between coaches building up to a big fight of their own played out on a week to week basis as fans got to see it all play out behind the scenes.

The Ultimate Fighter returns for its 29th season (and first since 2018) with UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and upcoming title challenger Brian Ortega serving as coaches. The show, which debuted on June 1, will run for 12 weeks with a new episode dropping on ESPN+ every Tuesday. It features eight fighters each in the bantamweight and middleweight divisions.

Watch on ESPN+

Episode 1: New Beginnings | After TUF

Episode 2: Stake Your Claim | After TUF

Episode 3: Bring in the Rhino | After TUF

Episode 4: On My Time — , Dustin Lampros vs. Vincent Murdock (airs on ESPN+ on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET)

(Results at bottom of page)

The coaches

Alexander Volkanovski

22-1 (9-0 in the UFC)
Windang, New South Wales, Australia
32 years old

Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega coach a dynamic cast of 16 ascending athletes who have put everything else in their lives aside for the chance to pursue their UFC dreams. Season premieres Tuesday, June 1. Watch on ESPN+

Volkanovski debuted in the UFC in 2016, winning his first four fights close to home (three in Australia, one in New Zealand). After wins over Chad Mendes and Jose Aldo, Volkanovski got a shot at Max Holloway’s UFC featherweight championship in December 2019 in Las Vegas, and won the title via unanimous decision at UFC 245. In his first title defense, against Holloway at UFC 251, Volkanovski won a significantly tighter split decision over Holloway in July 2020 on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

His second scheduled title defense, against Ortega, was initially scheduled for UFC 260 on March 27, but Volkanovski was forced to drop out of the fight after a COVID-19 diagnosis, for which he was hospitalized. The delay set the stage for Volkanovski and Ortega to fight after the culmination of this Ultimate Fighter season.

Error! Filename not specified.Brian Ortega is coming off of a victory over Chan Sung Jung in October 2020. Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Brian Ortega

15-1, 1 NC (7-1, 1 NC in the UFC)
Torrance, California
30 years old

Ortega debuted in the UFC in 2014, but still has the same number of fights in the promotion as Volkanovski. Injuries and delays derailed Ortega’s momentum multiple times, with layoffs of 11 months (between July 2014 and June 2015) and 13 months (between June 2016 and July 2017) slowing Ortega down. Despite the stop and start nature of his career, Ortega picked up four straight finish victories, over Clay Guida (KO), Renato Moicano (guillotine choke submission), Cub Swanson (guillotine choke submission) and Frankie Edgar (KO) to set up his own title challenge against Max Holloway, a year and a week prior to Volkanovski’s shot.

Inside of Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena, Ortega suffered the first defeat of his pro MMA career when the doctor stopped the fight at the end of Round 4 due to the damage to Ortega’s face. Ortega was scheduled to face Chan Sung Jung in December 2019, but he was forced to pull out of the fight a couple weeks prior to its scheduled date due to a knee injury. After Ortega’s longest career layoff to date stretched to 22 months, Ortega finally returned to the Octagon and defeated Jung by unanimous decision on Fight Island in October 2020.

The fighters

Error! Filename not specified.ESPN

Bantamweights

Error! Filename not specified.Al Powers / ESPN Images

Brady Hiestand | 21 | 4-1

TUF record: 0-0

Nickname: Bam Bam

Birthplace: Spokane, Washington

Fights out of: Spokane, Washington

Gym: Sik-Jitsu

Trainer/coach: Rick Little

Fighting history: Brown belt BJJ, black belt karate

Error! Filename not specified.Al Powers / ESPN Images

Dustin Lampros | 26 | 5-0

TUF record: 0-0

Nickname: Scrappy

Birthplace: Freeburg, Illinois

Fights out of: Freeburg, Illinois

Gym: Sanford MMA

Trainer/coach: Henri Hooft

Error! Filename not specified.Mitch Raposo was the No. 1 overall pick of this season of TUF. Al Powers / ESPN Images

Mitch Raposo | 22 | 5-0

TUF record: 0-1 (lost to Liudvik Sholinian in Week 2)

Birthplace: Fall River, Massachusetts

Fights out of: Fall River, Massachusetts

Gym: Regiment Training Center

Trainer/coaches: Brian Raposo, Tommy Teixeira

Fighting history: Undefeated pro & amateur MMA record, Cage Titans champion (amateur)

Error! Filename not specified.Al Powers / ESPN Images

Ricky Turcios | 27 | 10-2

TUF record: 0-0

Nickname: Ricky Hadouken

Birthplace: Houston

Fights out of: Houston

Gyms: Gracie Barra The Woodlands (Texas) and Team Alpha Male

Trainer/coaches: Alex Morono, Urijah Faber, Danny Castillo, Matt Wald, Joey Rodriguez, Chris Holdsworth

Fighting history: Black belt in Taekwondo, brown belt in BJJ

Middleweights

Error! Filename not specified.Al Powers / ESPN Images

Bryan Battle | 26 | 4-1

TUF record: 0-0

Nickname: Pooh Bear

Birthplace: Springfield, Maryland

Fights out of: Charlotte, North Carolina

Gym: Hayastan MMA

Trainer/coaches: Tom Ziegler, Kevin Forant

Error! Filename not specified.Al Powers / ESPN Images

Ryder Newman | 25 | 3-1

TUF record: 0-1 (Lost to Tresean Gore in Week 3)

Nickname: Rhino

Birthplace: Las Vegas

Fights out of: Las Vegas

Gym: Xtreme Couture

Trainer/coach: Eric Nicksick

Fighting history: TUFF-N-UFF welterweight champion (amateur)

Error! Filename not specified.Al Powers / ESPN Images

Aaron Phillips | 29 | 5-1

TUF record: 0-1 (lost to Andre Petroski in Week 1)

Birthplace: Kotzebue, Alaska

Fights out of: Kotzebue, Alaska

Fighting history: Alaska wrestling state champion

Error! Filename not specified.Al Powers / ESPN Images

Gilbert Urbina | 25 | 6-1

TUF record: 0-0

Nickname: The RGV Badboy

Birthplace: Ripon, Wisconsin

Fights out of: Rio Grande Valley, Texas

Gym(s): Team Urbina MMA, Jackson Wink

Trainer/coaches: Greg Jackson, Mike Winkeljohn

Error! Filename not specified.ESPN

Bantamweights

Error! Filename not specified.Al Powers / ESPN Images

Danny Argueta | 27 | 5-0

TUF record: 0-0

Nickname: The Determined

Birthplace: Chicago

Fights out of: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Gym(s): Jackson Wink Academy and Gracie Barra

Trainer/coaches: Greg Jackson, Mike Winkeljohn and Cub Swanson

Fighting history: Illinois high school state medalist in wrestling, NCAA Div. II wrestler (University of Wisconsin – Parkside) and team captain.

Error! Filename not specified.Al Powers / ESPN Images

Vince Murdock | 30 | 11-6

TUF record: 0-0

Birthplace: Oakland County, Michigan

Fights out of: Sacramento, California

Gym: Team Alpha Male

Trainer/coaches: Joey Rodriguez, Mike Malott, Danny Castillo, Chris Holdsworth, Urijah Faber

More about Murdock: One fighter’s incredible year: Surprise wedding, brain surgery and MMA return

Error! Filename not specified.Photo by Al Powers / ESPN Images

Josh Rettinghouse | 31 | 16-5

TUF record: 0-0

Birthplace: Spokane, Washington

Fights out of: Spokane, Washington

Gym: Warrior Camp MMA

Trainer/coach: Pablo Alfonso

Fighting history: BJJ Brown Belt

Error! Filename not specified.Al Powers / ESPN Images

Liudvik Sholinian | 30 | 9-1

TUF record: 1-0 (defeated Mitch Raposo in Week 2)

Nickname: Palmeyros

Birthplace: Alaverdi, Armenia

Fights out of: Kiev, Ukraine

Gyms: Aurum (Kiev), KDMMA (Los Angeles)

Trainer/coaches: Alexandr Pudochkin, Karen Darabedyan

Fighting history: Ukrainian national wrestling champion, Ukrainian national MMA champion (amateur)

Middleweights

Error! Filename not specified.Al Powers / ESPN Images

Tresean Gore | 26 | 3-0

TUF record: 1-0 (defeated Ryder Newman in Week 3)

Nickname: Mr. Vicious

Birthplace: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Fights out of: Decatur, Georgia

Gym: American Top Team

Trainer/coach: Dhiego Lima

Fighting history: High level purple belt in BJJ

Error! Filename not specified.Al Powers / ESPN Images

Miles Hunsinger | 30 | 7-0

TUF record: 0-0

Nickname: Gun Slinger

Birthplace: Nampa, Idaho

Fights out of: Las Vegas

Gym: Xtreme Couture

Trainer/coach: Amir Sadollah

Fighting history: Second in state Idaho wrestling (amateur)

Error! Filename not specified.Al Powers / ESPN Images

Kemran Lachinov | 30 | 10-3

TUF record: 0-0

Nickname: Killa Kam

Birthplace: Uzbekistan

Fights out of: West Springfield, Massachusetts

Gym: Team Link

Trainer/coaches: Marco Alvan, Jason Franklin, Daniel Fagan

Fighting history: Purple Belt in BJJ; 5-1 record in Bellator, including five-fight winning streak

Error! Filename not specified.Al Powers / ESPN Images

Andre Petroski | 29 | 5-1

TUF record: 1-0 (defeated Aaron Phillips in Week 1)

Birthplace: Chester, Pennsylvania

Fights out of: Philadelphia

Gym: Renzo Gracie Philly

Trainer/coaches: Daniel Gracie, John Marquez

Fighting history: Purple belt BJJ

The results

Episode 1: Petroski defeats Phillips by first-round submission.

Episode 2: Sholinian defeats Raposo by decision.

Episode 3: Gore defeats Newman by decision.

Filed in: Articles

San Francisco 49ers’ George Kittle explains why Jacksonville Jaguars’ Tim Tebow wasn’t invited to ThE University

One of the organizers of this week’s Tight End University said Tim Tebow did not get an invitation to participate because of a higher-than-expected response and there wasn’t enough room.

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle — who along with the Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce and former player Greg Olsen are conducting TEU — said on ESPN’s First Take on Tuesday that he eventually hopes to open the event to every tight end in the NFL but couldn’t justify inviting Tebow over more experienced players.

“If I can’t invite every tight end how do I not invite a second- or third-string guy on a team that’s been playing tight end since he was 18 years old in high school?” Kittle said. “Nothing against Tim Tebow. I hope that he has incredible success this year. I hope he has 10 touchdowns. I hope he has a great year but it’s hard for me to invite someone to this that just started playing the position when I can’t invite a guy that’s been playing it for 8-10 years. That’s just hard for me.”

Tim Tebow is attempting to make a comeback in the NFL as a tight end with the Jaguars after not playing in a regular-season game since 2012, when he was a quarterback. Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Tebow is attempting an NFL comeback at tight end after not playing in an NFL game since 2012 and not appearing in a training camp since 2015. Tebow was a quarterback then — he was the 25th overall pick by Denver in 2010 — but called up Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer and asked his former coach at Florida for a tryout at tight end.

Tebow worked out twice and the Jaguars signed him on May 20.

Kittle said he was surprised at the amount of interest TEU received from players around the league. The event will be held Wednesday through Friday in Nashville.

“I want everyone to come because I want everyone to learn, everyone to get better,” Kittle said. “But we didn’t really plan that every single tight end would want to come. We thought we were going to get like 20, 25 guys max and the next thing we knew we were at 45-50. Ran out of hotel rooms. Kind of ran out of space just in general.

“Hopefully in the next coming years I can make it available to every single person and then any tight end that wants to come can show up, learn, get better and just take another step forward.”

Filed in: Articles

Bundesliga clubs double down in UEFA rainbow row, several commit to displaying pride flags

lewandowski bayern munich

Several Bundesliga clubs have announced they will light up their stadiums with rainbow colours during the Euro 2020 clash between Germany and Hungary after UEFA denied a request from the Munich mayor to light up the Allianz Arena.

Barcelona’s Antoine Griezmann and Gerard Pique as well as Arsenal’s Katie McCabe have also expressed their support for lighting up the stadium on social media.

Chelsea and Denmark star Pernille Harder also posted a picture of the UEFA statement on Instagram and captioned it: “Equal game?”

Munich mayor Dieter Reiter had said he wanted to light up the stadium in the colours in protest against a new law in Hungary that bans the dissemination of content in schools deemed to promote homosexuality and gender change but UEFA denied the request, saying it was a “political” statement.

 

Wolfsburg, Hertha Berlin, Eintracht Frankfurt and Cologne have all announced they will display rainbow colours during the game in support of the LGBT community.

Barcelona also posted a picture of their crest with a rainbow flag in the background and captioned it: “Pride and respect.”

Bayern president Herbert Hainer released a statement on Tuesday which said the club stood for tolerance

“Open-mindedness and tolerance are fundamental values that our society and FC Bayern stand for. That’s why FC Bayern has lit up its stadium in the colours of diversity, for example on Christopher street day, for several years.”

UEFA had suggested that alternative dates could be used for the gesture during the tournament, such as Christopher Street Day which commemorates the gay community’s Stonewall uprising in New York in 1969.

Former Germany midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger — who came out as gay after he retired in 2014 — also called on UEFA to change their decision.

“Dear @EURO2020, don’t be offended by the [rainbow]. Think about those who still get discriminated. They need support.

The decision by UEFA to not allow the Allianz Arena to display the rainbow flag comes two days after UEFA said Germany captain Manuel Neuer and the German Football Association (DFB) would not face any disciplinary action for wearing a rainbow armband during the tournament.

Neuer, 35, wore the armband against France and Portugal, to show the DFB’s support for the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month.

UEFA were investigating whether this contravened their rules over athletes not being permitted to make political statements. But UEFA said Sunday in a statement Neuer was “promoting a good cause” and opted against pursuing any further action.

Hungary are still under investigation by the governing body over “potential discriminatory incidents” during their games against Portugal and France at Budapest’s Puskas Arena.

During Hungary’s opening match against Portugal on Tuesday, images on social media showed banners with “Anti-LMBTQ” on them — the Hungarian abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.

Filed in: Articles

Chinese swimmer Sun Yang banned again, to miss Tokyo Olympics

sunyang swimming competition

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Chinese swimming star Sun Yang was banned for more than four years on Tuesday for breaking anti-doping rules after a retrial at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The court’s verdict ends Sun’s hopes of defending his Olympic title in the 200-meter freestyle in Tokyo next month. The ban is backdated to February 2020, meaning Sun could return for the 2024 Paris Olympics, when he would be 32.

The judges found Sun “to have acted recklessly” when he refused to let anti-doping officials leave his home with a sample of his blood.

Sun’s original eight-year ban imposed last year was overturned on appeal to Switzerland’s supreme court, which ordered a fresh prosecution.

Federal judges ruled the first guilty verdict unsafe because the chairman of the three-judge panel at CAS showed anti-Chinese bias in social media comments.

The retrial was heard by three new judges by video link over three days last month and fast-tracked ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, which open on July 23.

The case was about a failed attempt to take blood and urine from Sun by a sample collection team who made an unannounced visit to his home in China in September 2018.

It turned confrontational and led to Sun’s entourage ordering a security guard to smash the casing of a blood vial with a hammer.

The World Anti-Doping Agency appealed to CAS when a tribunal appointed by swimming’s governing body, FINA, only warned the three-time Olympic champion about his conduct.

WADA requested a ban of two to eight years for a second doping conviction. Sun served a three-month ban in 2014 imposed by Chinese authorities after testing positive for a stimulant that was banned at the time. The ban was not announced until after it ended.

Sun’s second ban was imposed after a rare CAS hearing held in open court and streamed live online. It lasted more than 10 hours in November 2019 at a special court session in Montreux, Switzerland.

Sun denied wrongdoing.

Pac-12 North college football offseason preview

basketball ucla college

The Pac-12 gets a bad rap sometimes. The conference is generally regarded as the worst of the power conferences thanks to the fact that it hasn’t produced a College Football Playoff participant since 2016, but evaluating a conference solely by how many losses its best team has is a pretty flawed approach.

On average, the Pac-12 can be trusted to at least exceed the average production of the ACC.

Average SP+ rating, 2018-20:

  • 2018: Pac-12 +6.1, ACC +5.3
    • 2019: Pac-12 +5.3, ACC +3.0
    • 2020: Pac-12 +5.9, ACC +5.2

The only reason the ACC is generally held in higher regard is that it has Clemson. And in 2021, after last year’s abbreviated season, the Pac-12 will boast a higher average of returning production than any other power conference. Lots of teams have top-20 potential, but can one breakthrough and threaten a CFP bid?

The two most likely candidates are in the North. Mario Cristobal’s Oregon has recruited like a playoff contender for a few years now, and Washington has top-10 potential and loads of experience. But they both have questions to answer on offense and tricky schedules to navigate. Let’s dive into the Pac-12 North.

Every week through the summer, Bill Connelly will preview another division from the Group of 5 and Power 5 exclusively for ESPN+, ultimately including all 130 FBS teams. The previews will include 2020 breakdowns, 2021 previews and a brief history of each team in one handy chart. The series has thus far covered the Conference USA East and West, the MAC East and West, the MWC Mountain and West, the Sun Belt West and East, the top and bottom half of the AAC, the seven Independents, the ACC Atlantic and the ACC Coastal.

Jump to a team: Stanford | Oregon State | California | Washington State | Washington | Oregon

Credit Stanford for this: With five down-to-the-wire finishes in six games, the 4-2 Cardinal packed a full season of drama into half a season.

Euro 2020: Wembley to have crowd of 60,000 for semis and final

wembley image
Crowd capacity at Wembley Stadium will be increased to more than 60,000 fans for the semifinals and final of Euro 2020, the British government said on Tuesday.
The new levels mean the stadium will be at 75% capacity for the final three games, which conclude with the final on July 11.
Euro 2020: Fixtures and bracket | Standings | Squads | Live on ESPN
All ticket holders will need to have either a negative COVID-19 test or proof of full vaccination — two doses received 14 days before the fixture.
The announcement came after Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi called on Monday for the final to be moved from England due to rising COVID-19 cases in the country.
Wembley’s capacity has been set at 22,500 for the three group and the round of 16 match between Italy and Austria on June 26 but will rise to 40,000 for the other round of 16 match on June 29 which could feature England.
“We are thrilled that more fans will now be able to walk through the Wembley turnstiles and enjoy the finals of Euro 2020,” culture secretary Oliver Dowden said.
“As we continue to make progress on our roadmap out of lockdown, keeping the public safe remains our top priority. We have worked extremely closely with UEFA and the FA to ensure rigorous and tight public health measures are in place whilst allowing more fans to see the action live.”
Error! Filename not specified.Wembley will host the semifinals and final of Euro 2020. Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
UEFA has been negotiating with the UK government about relaxing quarantine restrictions on overseas fans travelling to London for games but there was no mention of any change in the statement.
Currently, COVID-19 regulations require visitors from most European countries to quarantine for 10 days after arriving in the UK.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin welcomed the increased capacity and thanked the UK government for the move.
“This tournament has been a beacon of hope to reassure people that we are returning to a more normal way of life and this is a further step along that road,” he said.

Barcelona’s Dembele out for months, requires knee surgery

Ousmane Dembele is set for several months on the sidelines after Barcelona confirmed he requires surgery on a knee injury sustained at Euro 2020.

Sources have told ESPN that France international will be out for between three and five months, although Barca has not given any recovery timeframe.

Dembele, 24, left the France camp on Monday after getting injured in the final stages of Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Hungary in Budapest.

“Following tests, it’s been confirmed he has a dislocation of the biceps tendon in his right knee that will require surgical treatment,” Barca said in a short statement on Tuesday.

Dembele has had poor luck with injuries since signing for Barca from Borussia Dortmund for an initial fee of €105 million in 2017.

A hamstring injury ruled him for four months in his first season at the club, while further muscle problems restricted him to just nine appearances in all competitions in 2019-20.

However, the forward remained injury-free last season, playing 44 times and scoring 11 goals under Ronald Koeman.

His performances for Barca earned him a recall to the France squad recently and he came off the bench in both his country’s games at Euro 2020 so far, against Germany and Hungary.

This latest setback comes at a time when his long-term future at Barca is unknown.

Dembele’s contract expires in 2022 and sources have told ESPN Barca would have been open to offers for him this summer if he didn’t sign an extension. Barca risks losing him for free next year if he doesn’t sign a new deal but there’s unlikely to be any interest now until his knee is fully healed.

ousmane dembele barcelona

College World Series 2021 – Mississippi State hopes strikeout records lead to NCAA title

college basketball in the usa
OMAHA, Neb. — Shortly after Mississippi State’s Game 4 win over Texas on Sunday night, the team bus drove a half-mile from TD Ameritrade Park to the Hilton Omaha. When the Bulldogs arrived, there were hundreds of maroon-wearing, cowbell-ringing, #HailState hashtagging fans waiting to greet their conquering winners’ bracket heroes. They really wanted to see one hero in particular.
“BEDNAR! BEEEDDNARRRR!”
“Man, that lobby, that was crazy,” said he who was being yelled at, Mississippi State righty Will Bednar. “I have been playing baseball my whole life. I play at The Dude [State’s uber-rowdy ballpark]. My brother plays in the big leagues [Pittsburgh Pirates reliever David Bednar]. But I have never seen anything like that in that hotel lobby on Sunday night.”
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No one at any College World Series game had seen anything like what Bednar had just done in 25 years. Over six innings, he faced 21 Longhorns and struck out 15, the most by a CWS pitcher since Clemson’s Kris Benson also had 15 against Miami in 1996. He was relieved by closer Landon Sims, who struck out six in three innings’ work. Their 21 K’s broke a team CWS single-game record set by Ohio State in 1968.
With every punchout, Bednar, Sims and Mississippi moved another rung up the CWS record book and another rung higher in the national-sports consciousness. To the millions who watch college baseball only during these two weeks in Omaha, the performance was a shocker. To those who follow the game all season, State’s K assembly line was nothing new. It was just a performance spike in a process that has been this incredibly deep staff’s modus operandi.
When the Bulldogs arrived in Omaha, they were already on pace to set the NCAA record for strikeouts per nine innings for a season at 12.4. Now that number is 12.5. Bednar and teammate Christian MacLeod own 128 and 113 K’s, respectively. Sims has 91. All added up, the MSU roster is tied with Ole Miss for the Division I single-season record with 765 strikeouts, but the Bulldogs have as many as six games still to play.
During this still-new baseball age of hyper-focus around pitching spin rates, a lack of focus on small-ball swings at the plate and an overall lack of fundamental sharpness because of the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, strikeouts have skyrocketed throughout college baseball. But even during this era of piled-up K’s (a half-dozen teams are above the pre-2021 K-per-9-inning record), Mississippi State is still way out ahead of everyone else.
“It’s really been like a couple of waves, I suppose is the best way to describe it when I think about why so many strikeouts from these guys this season,” said pitching coach Scott Foxhall, in just his second season in Starkville after stints at NC State, Auburn and College of Charleston.
Error! Filename not specified.Mississippi State’s Will Bednar struck out 15 batters in the Bulldogs’ College World Series win on Sunday, the most in a CWS game in 25 years. USA Today Sports
Thanks to the NCAA’s decision to permit all players an extra year of eligibility, Foxhall found himself entering 2021 with an overstuffed staff, a handful of guys who had made it to Omaha in 2018 and ’19 joined by blue-chip recruits who hadn’t played a full season, such as Bednar.
“The first part of the season,” he said, “we used a lot of different guys, so we never overused anybody, and if you’re a hitter, that’s a lot of different looks from a lot of elite talent used only in short stints. It’s hard to get a hit like that.”
The second wave came in May, when the headliners finally took center stage, just in time for a postseason push.
“The last month you’ve seen a lot of strikeouts because our top guys, starters and relievers both, have been fresh-armed,” he said. “And give credit to [head coach] Chris Lemonis for that. He is a master game manager and a real big-picture guy. When people might’ve been wondering in April, ‘Now, why aren’t they leaving this guy out there on the mound longer?’ Chris had a plan in mind, and he stuck with it.”
The spring was a study in both chemistry and sociology. While Foxhall preached his self-described “Lord’s Prayer broken record” mantra of “command your fastball and throw your off-speed pitches aggressively for strikes,” Lemonis, hitting coach Jake Gautreau and catcher/slugger/captain Logan Tanner kept an eye out for any bruised egos or hurt feelings. The natural rhythm of roster construction was altered by COVID-19, but as stars like Bednar emerged, the reaction from those who would’ve likely been pitching more, or even starting at another school, turned out to be all backing without any backstabbing.
“We have guys on this pitching staff that I think are going to have great careers, a real chance to be major leaguers, and we’ll look back and see that they didn’t really pitch much for us in 2021,” Foxhall said. “No one has sulked. No one has complained. If anything, they have gotten closer. I think I’m most proud of that.”
“When people might’ve been wondering in April, ‘Now, why aren’t they leaving this guy out there on the mound longer?’ Chris [Lemonis, head coach] had a plan in mind, and he stuck with it.”
Pitching coach Scott Foxhall
“At our practice just now, you saw that like I see it all the time,” Tanner said agreeingly on Monday afternoon following a Mississippi State workout at nearby Creighton University. “Our pitchers are always together, no matter where we are, you know, just being weird. Because they’re pitchers.”
Thanks to the rotate-and-rest approach, the weirdos helped lead the Dogs on an 11-3 run to end the regular season. After stumbling 0-2 in the SEC tournament, they’ve posted a record of 6-1 in the NCAAs. Because of the early SEC tourney exit, they arrived in Omaha a bit overshadowed. Despite being a No. 7 national seed, very little of the national pre-CWS pitching buzz was about the boys from Starkville. It was all about the arsenal of All-Big 12 arms from Texas and the one-two pitching punch of Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter of a foe that’s very familiar to Mississippi State: SEC rival Vanderbilt.
But Texas lost to State (though it must be noted that UT added 12 K’s of its own) while Rocker struggled in his opening day outing against Arizona. Two days later, Leiter looked great but ultimately took the L from unranked NC State.
In the middle of it all, Bednar rewrote the Omaha pitching headline in six innings. Sims sent that headline to the printer. Now MacLeod will try to add to the story on Tuesday night when the lefty All-American toes the rubber against Virginia. Just don’t try to frame those headlines up as a chip-on-the-shoulder team motivated by national disrespect.
“We don’t really look too deep into that kind of stuff,” Bednar said in reply to a sportswriter’s attempt to do just that. (OK, yes, it was me.) “The buzz is cool and everything, but it doesn’t really matter if you don’t go out and perform, so that’s what I focus on. That’s what we all focus on.”
Maintaining that focus won’t be easy if the Bulldogs keep the strikeouts and wins coming in Omaha. Their buzz will become a full-on roar if they can end the program’s 12th CWS appearance by finally earning the program’s long elusive first College World Series title.
“I can’t even imagine what that will be like,” Bednar said. “And I really can’t imagine what the lobby of our hotel would be like.”
Filed in: ARTICLES

Launch of a new wiki for fish-friendly hydropower plants

Scientists from SINTEF are launching a new wiki-website that lists tools and measures available to make hydropower more fish-friendly. The project draws on the concept of environmental design, which integrates technical, economic, environmental and social aspects when developing or re-designing energy projects.
Øvre Leirfoss. Image credit: SINTEF
– The objective of the wiki is to improve the conditions for fish while preserving hydropower production, by presenting the most up-to-date measures and innovative tools brought to us by environmental design, says Bendik Torp Hansen, who leads the project at SINTEF Energy.
The wiki is a product of the EU-project FIThydro. Its main target audiences are regulatory bodies who want to adopt new protective measures, hydropower companies, consultants, stakeholders and scientists.
– Climate change requires us to increase renewable energy generation including hydropower. We also need to use hydropower in a flexible way to integrate wind and solar energy, says SINTEF Energy senior researcher Atle Harby.
– This must be done respecting nature, which means we need environmental design. Environmental design is a method that balances the needs of energy production and the environment by combining knowledge about hydropower, hydrology, technology, economy, biology and society, Atle Harby adds.
A one-stop shop for all the measures
– The wiki gathers all the measures that can be adopted to make hydropower plants more fish-friendly while maintaining or even increasing electricity generation, says Bendik Torp Hansen. We assembled as much information as possible in one place, and that hadn’t been done before.
The wiki presents a catalog of mitigation measures that can be used to solve challenges related to environmental flows, habitat conditions, sediment management, and up- and downstream migration for fish. The wiki also provides information on methods, tools and devices that can be used to plan, implement, monitor and maintain the measures.
– A solid knowledge base is important and necessary to ensure a good balance between advantages and disadvantages of various environmental mitigation measures in any given case. A knowledge database such as this wiki will contribute to that, says senior engineer Eilif Brodtkorb of the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE).
Every measure is described with a classification table that provides extra information, such as the type of river it’s suitable for, what species of fish it can help, as well as the maturity level of the technology. The cost of every measure is also listed, when the available data makes this possible.
– The wiki is open to everyone in order to make our project results public, says Torp Hansen.
Decision support tool
The FIThydro project also created a decision support system (DSS) which is linked to the wiki. Together, the DSS and the wiki help users to find  possible and suitable mitigation measures.
–  The wiki can support decision processes and contribute to simplifying communication and debate by giving users a common knowledge base, says Torp Hansen. It is a living document that will continuously be updated by experts with the newest technology and research. 
Source: SINTEF
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Technology.org

E-scooters as a new micro-mobility service

escooter parking at roadside

A new study by scientists from Future Urban Mobility (FM), an interdisciplinary research group at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), MIT’s research enterprise in Singapore, has found that e-scooters, while considered by some to be a hazard to pedestrians and others, provide an important alternative mode of transit, particularly in urban areas. This study sheds light on the growing utility of e-scooters as a micro-mobility service in Singapore, and will also inform operators, planners, and policymakers on how best to harness and regulate this growing mode of mobility.

New research sheds light on the growing utility of e-scooters as a micro-mobility service in Singapore, and will also inform operators, planners, and policymakers on how best to harness and regulate this growing mode of mobility.

The study is described in a paper titled, “E-scooter sharing to serve short-distance transit trips: A Singapore case,” published recently in Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice. The work was led by Zhejing Cao, PhD researcher at Tsinghua University when she was a visiting SMART FM student, and co-authored by Jinhua Zhao, SMART FM lead principal investigator and associate professor in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning; as well as Xiaohu Zhang, an assistant professor at The University of Hong Kong; and Kelman Chua and Honghai Yu from Neuron, a Singapore e-scooter sharing operator.

Having first been introduced in Singapore around 2013, the e-scooter, also known in Singapore as a type of personal mobility device, grew swiftly in popularity as an affordable and convenient mobility alternative to driving on Singapore’s often-congested roads during peak hours. The number of e-scooter users has grown rapidly, swelling to around 100,000 registered e-scooters in Singapore by November 2019.

Their popularity, however, has not been problem-free, as a number of serious and even fatal accidents have involved e-scooters and their riders colliding with pedestrians. This ultimately led to a government-mandated ban on their use on footpaths across Singapore in November 2019.

Despite the footpath ban, e-scooters are currently a legal mode of mobility on some 440 kilometers of cycling paths island-wide, and remain in widespread use in Singapore today. E-scooter sharing services have also become micro-mobility services in many cities worldwide, including Singapore, with the emergence of companies such as Telepod and Neuron. E-scooter sharing services provide a convenient micro-mobility service to the public, with rental locations situated across the island and with e-scooters that can be unlocked and paid for via a smartphone app. In addition, e-scooters are an environmentally-friendly alternative to other transportation options via reduced carbon emissions, engender improved life quality and health, and offer mobility aid to the elderly and the disabled.

Lead author Zhejing Cao acknowledges safety concerns surrounding the use of e-scooters, but also notes that they bring compelling benefits to many. “The safety concerns around e-scooter use and the safety of all road and footpath users are of utmost importance,” she says. “Nevertheless, given the numerous benefits that e-scooters bring to the mobility and transport ecosystem, we hope that our work will help inform policymakers on facilitating the safe and regulated use of e-scooters as an emerging but important micro-mobility service.”

In the Singapore Central Area (SCA), despite the high accessibility of the mass rapid transit system island-wide, the ratio of rapid transit network distance to the shortest street path can be much higher than the global average. Furthermore, 20.98 percent of rapid transit trips in SCA have at least one transfer, higher than the average transfer level in Singapore, and passengers may have to walk an average of nearly 1 kilometer to enter and exit rapid transit stations. As a result, even if the origin and destination of a trip are in close geographical proximity, the overall traveling journey may be suboptimal, and could be made more efficient.

E-scooters can provide a valuable alternative in this segment. As such, it is valuable to explore and investigate the practicality and potential of using e-scooter sharing to replace certain short-distance transit trips where alternative transit methods may not be convenient.

In this study, the researchers collaborated with Neuron to explore the potential of using e-scooter sharing to replace short-distance transit trips in the SCA. The researchers conducted a stated preference survey of e-scooter users in the SCA and estimated mixed logistic models to examine factors influencing a user’s choice of e-scooter and transit. Based on this, the number of transit trips that can be replaced by e-scooters was calculated, and the researchers then analyzed decisions made by e-scooter companies in terms of the trade-offs between serving more e-scooter trips and generating more revenue under varying fares.

The researchers found that fare, transit transfer, and transit walking distance have significant negative impacts on mode utilization, with seemingly random choices among respondents. The uncertainty is higher in predicting e-scooter usage preferences of male, young, and high-income groups. In analyzing the travel demands under different levels of transit inconvenience, the researchers discovered that a higher level of transit indirectness, more transfers, and longer access-egress walking result in a higher average probability of using e-scooters as a mode of transit.

Through analyzing e-scooter companies’ decisions, the researchers also found that the revenue losses borne by e-scooter companies can be significant if e-scooter mode share is maximized with no regard for other considerations, and vice versa.

In order to achieve a better balance between these two competing goals, the researchers found the optimal trade-off places in between two maximization extremes, thus finding the sweet spot where a small sacrifice in maximizing one goal can prevent great loss in the other.

“E-scooter sharing services have shown enormous potential to become an important component of transit systems in urban environments in Singapore and other cities worldwide,” Cao says. “Our study has highlighted the shortcomings of public transport in serving short-distance journeys in the SCA. E-scooter sharing services are able to bridge this gap and provide a convenient micro-mobility service to the public.”

Co-author Xiaohu Zhang adds, “E-scooter sharing as a new form of micro-mobility will improve the overall efficiency of urban transportation systems through enhancing last-mile connectivity as well as serving short-distance travels. It also has huge potential in the future if powered by autonomous driving technology.”

The findings of the SMART study can be used to inform operators, planners, and policymakers on how to harness and regulate this new mobility service, as well as provide suggestions on deploying shared e-scooters to satisfy demand unmet by transit, especially where transit travel involves greater indirectness, transfer, and access-egress walking distance. E-scooter supply strategies at different locations can be varied according to various socio-demographic factors that influence e-scooter preference and mode choices.

When public authorities and private operators take conflicting positions on whether to serve more individual trips or generate greater revenue, the trade-off can be gauged to achieve balance. Such possible means of mitigating disparity between the two goals and achieving balance include administrative regulations (e.g., requiring operators to serve inconvenient short transit trips at certain designated locations) or economic interventions (e.g., subsidies to operators provided by public authorities).

Jinhua Zhao adds, “Evidently, e-scooters present unique advantages and challenges for regulators and policymakers. If managed and regulated effectively, e-scooter sharing services can play an important role in the public mobility circuit, filling a gap in the short-distance transit segment that public transport is, as yet, often unable to fill.”

The research is carried out by SMART and supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore under its Campus for Research Excellence And Technological Enterprise (CREATE) program.

FM is one of five interdisciplinary research groups in SMART. FM harnesses new technological and institutional innovations to create the next generation of urban mobility systems to increase accessibility, equity, safety, and environmental performance for the citizens and businesses of Singapore and other metropolitan areas worldwide. SMART-FM is supported by the NRF and situated in CREATE.

Written by Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology

Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
FILED IN: Articles