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COLLEGE SPORTS: Cardinal Caravan hits E'town (06/12)

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By Josh Claywell

By JOSH CLAYWELL

jclaywell@thenewsenterprise.com ELIZABETHTOWN — It’s an exciting time to be a University of Louisville fan. Need proof? n The baseball Cardinals won the Big East conference championship and had nine players drafted in the Major League Baseball draft last week. n The swimming and diving team will send seven swimmers to the United States Olympic Trials June 29-July 6 in Omaha, Neb. n The softball team went 31-23 and earned its fifth consecutive NCAA regional bid. n Senior golfer Derek Fathauer will compete in the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego beginning today. Fathauer tees off at 7:11 a.m. on the par-4, 414-yard No. 10 and is paired with Scott Piercy and Justin Hicks. n Led by freshman Karsten Clements, a former John Hardin High School standout, the men’s golf team placed 10th at the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships at Purdue University’s Kampen Course on May 31. Clements finished with a 25-over 313 and was 64th overall. “We were searching for that fifth guy and we qualified our final three guys for that fifth spot and Karsten was one of those guys,” Louisville assistant coach Joshua Hellmann said during the Cardinal Caravan stop at Pritchard Community Center on Wednesday. “We go to the regionals and he struggles in the first round, improves a little bit on the second day and the final day, much like what happened at the national championship, the conditions happened to be the most difficult with the wind and everything.” n And the football Cardinals are preparing for the big game against hated in-state rival Kentucky. “Football is a great sport. I know we didn’t have the year we expected last year, but Coach (Steve) Kragthorpe is the right guy and he’s going to do a great job,” Elizabethtown-based orthodontist Dr. Gary Inman said. “But then when you talk men’s basketball, women’s basketball, women’s lacrosse, swimming, golf, you heard all the guys and women talk about their conference championships and their NCAA bids. I’m excited to be around winners.” And there’s the stadium expansion at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium and the basketball arena to be built in downtown Louisville. Both projects are slated to be complete in 2010, with the stadium expansion projected to be finished just in time for the first game of the season against Kentucky. “We’re excited about it. They’re both huge projects,” Louisville athletics director Tom Jurich said. “The great thing about it is it’s something we need very, very much. The arena will open hopefully October of 2010 and the football stadium expansion will open the first game of 2010 against Kentucky.” Inman, who played quarterback and safety from 1969-1971 under current ESPN commentator Lee Corso, said he can’t wait for both projects to be completed. “Tom and his crew really have it going,” Inman said. “Any one of those projects is huge. But to do them both at the same time is amazing. He’s got a great staff; they’re working 24/7 on everything. I can’t wait until 2010.” Jurich said bids for construction crews are due back to the university by July 17. He hopes to start on both within two weeks of receiving the winning bid. About 200 fans clad in red and black got to meet and greet with several Louisville athletes, including quarterback Hunter Cantwell, wide receiver Doug Beaumont and basketball guard Reginald Delk, who transferred from Mississippi State. Fans were also treated to free food from Fischer’s and Delano’s Pizza, which has been open for four weeks. “It’s better than everything, it’s the best pizza in the world,” Delano’s Pizza owner Mike Page said. “It will take off. Just try it and see.” The Caravan stopped in Elizabethtown for the second time in three years, with the last coming in June 2006 at Texas Roadhouse. This was the fifth of six stops for this year’s tour around the state, southern Indiana and the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area. The last stop is today at Huber’s Orchard and Winery in Starlight, Ind. “I love it. Absolutely love it,” Jurich said. “E’town has been great to us.” Josh Claywell can be reached at 505-1752