Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Crash stuns Poles around the world

Memorial poem amidst a candle memorial in Lodz, Poland. Photo courtesy of Hanna Marciniak.

Kasia Jagusiak. Photo courtesy of Kasia Jagusiak.


Marcin Marciniak and Sharon Ho
Issue date: 4/19/10

The crash of a plane carrying 89 Polish dignitaries, including the president, shocked Poles, including CSM student Kasia Jagusiak.

Jagusiak, 24, a native of Poland learned of the crash while watching the news. Using Facebook, she quickly contacted her family and friends in Poland. "Poland is in mourning," she said. "The country is stunned. People are trying to find meaning, some reason for this tragedy, to have so many leading minds taken away so quickly and abruptly is stunning."

The plane crashed near the Katyn Woods in Russia, killing all 96 aboard. The delegation was traveling to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn Forest massacre. Among the dead were the Commander of the Land Forces, Commander of the Navy, Deputy Defense Minister, Deputy Foreign Minister, and many top political, business, military and religious leaders. Also traveling on the plane were the families of the Katyn victims, social activists and many distinguished Poles.

"How could they have put so many political, military and business leaders on one plane?" Jagusiak asked.

The plane was a Soviet Tu-154, designed in the 1960s. It had been in service for 26 years. The Bulgarian government has grounded all Tu-154 flights until the official cause of the crash is determined.

The plane was denied permission to land due to weather conditions, but proceeded to attempt a landing anyway, according to reports by Russian investigators.

"The first day there was mostly disbelief and shock," said Hanna Marciniak, 23, a student in Lodz, Poland. "People were gathering in city centers, bringing flags, lighting candles, praying together, crying together."

"The support I've received from my friends, family and other students here on (CSM's) campus has been touching," said Jagusiak.

"Katyn is where so many lives were lost during World War II," said Marciniak. "The Katyn massacre was only two generations ago. It's still fresh in all our minds. Now, Katyn touches us all again, opening up old scars."

Since World War II, Katyn has been a source of tension between Poland and Russia. In 1943, mass graves containing tens of thousands of bodies were found in the Katyn forest in Russia, victims of the Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939.

Until 1989, the Soviet government denied involvement and blamed the German army, despite the 1943 finding of the International Red Cross which found the Soviets were responsible. In Poland, the truth about Katyn was passed from generation to generation by oral communication, as anyone who publicly disputed the official version would be prosecuted.

"Their deaths were tragic and unnecessary," Marciniak said. "They died in a very symbolic place. May they rest in peace. I hope that - despite the efforts of politicians and media - that the relations with Russia will improve. The Russians are helping a lot to reveal the cause of the accident."

New slot receiver coach 'excited'

New Bulldog slot receiver coach Mike Langridge. Photo courtesy of Mike Langridge.


Sharon Ho
Issue date: 4/19/10

If there is one word that new slot receiver coach Mike Langridge can use to describe coming back to CSM, it is the word "excited."

"I am really excited to be back at CSM," said Langridge. "Being an alumni coach made it so much more special."

During the interview, Langridge, 36, used the word "excited" more than five times to describe how he felt about his new position.

Langridge replaces former slot receiver coach Manny Orta, who is unable to continue coaching at CSM due to a time conflict schedule with his new second job.

Langridge was a Bulldog defensive lineman in 1991 and 1992 before receiving a football scholarship to play at Arizona State University. During his senior year at Arizona State in 1995, he was voted by his teammates as the defense team captain, which he described as "an honor."

After his college football career, Langridge returned to his alma mater Serra High School, where he was team captain in Serra's 1990 Central Coast Section Championship football team, to coach football for 10 years, five years as a defensive coordinator, before taking on the position of head coach and offensive coordinator at Archbishop Riordan High School in 2006.

At Riordan, Langridge was named 2007 Examiner Coach of the Year, leading the Riordan Crusaders to their first ever CCS Championship with a score of 47-21.

"It will be an easy fit for Mike since he played here, so he understands the coaching we do at CSM," said head coach Bret Pollack. "What we gain is a coach from Riordan, which has a very tough conference, and the experience he would bring being a head coach before."

Langridge is currently finishing up the 2010 school year as assistant dean at Riordian, and has been working every Thursday with the Bulldog slot receivers for the past few weeks.

"I don't know what I can bring to the program just yet. For now, I am looking forward to a great year with the Bulldogs and keeping the strong Bulldog tradition going," said Langridge, who joins the ranks of Bulldog alumni-rich coaching staff. Eight of CSM's 12 football coaches, including Langridge, are Bulldog alumni.

"Coach Langridge is a fun person to be around," said sophomore Bulldog slot receiver Matt Sevelo, a Serra High School alumnus. "We all respect him and listen to what he tells us, like how he wants us to focus on keeping our eyes up while running routes. I have known Coach Langridge since the eighth grade as he coached my older brother and my cousins."

"I'm extremely proud my brother has joined the coaching staff at CSM," said Langridge's brother John, who worked with Langridge at Riordan as the defensive coordinator and is also a Bulldog alumnus. "I am going to miss coaching with him but I look forward to him coaching alongside my mentors while I was attending CSM."

Langridge currently lives in Redwood City with his four children and wife Collen, who herself was a Lady Bulldog basketball player under then women's basketball and head football coach Tom Martinez.