Knights swim for cancer

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Photo gallery

Ali Breakey, a Queens College soccer player, wears a fake moustache to support members of the school's swimming and diving team in raising money for prostate cancer and the other cancers that affect men. Photo by Christina Santucci
Queens Coach students Michael Samandarov (l.-r.), Srdan Milic, Joseph Perna, Erik Larsen, Igal Mirman, Max Gottfried and Raphael Spiro, as well as Coach Jeremy Cuebas (second r.), all participated in the event. Photo by Christina Santucci
Diver Raphael Spiro was one of several students to grow moustaches. Photo by Christina Santucci
Diver Sonya Robinson flies through the air. Photo by Christina Santucci
Luke Culicerto swim the breaststroke. Photo by Christina Santucci
Soccer coach Carl Christian sports a fake stache. Photo by Christina Santucci

When the Queens College men’s swimming and diving coach started at his new post this year, he brought with him a number of goals: to increase the roster size, build a successful program and improve on the record of the previous year.

He also brought the “Movember” initiative.

Starting on the first day in the month of November, Jeremy Cuebas and the team he coaches have sported an assortment of different facial hairstyles in order to raise money for prostate cancer and the other cancers that affect men.

Essentially, the facial hair served as a walking billboard for the team that they created on Anyone could go online and donate to the specific team of their choice, with all the proceeds going to programs run directly by Movember, as well as the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Livestrong, the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Cuebas started participating in the Movember campaign at SUNY Cortland, where he served as a player and a coach. His current players loved the idea from the start.

“You get the couple of guys who are hesitant at first and usually those are the guys who struggle to grow facial hair, but it’s all about having fun,” said Cuebas.

Besides the fun, it’s also about the money that you raise. The team set a goal of $1,000 and they reached that goal on the last day of the month.

On Nov. 30, the Knights took on SUNY Maritime at Fitzgerald Natatorium in a contest they lost 160-116. The crowd in attendance showed their support by donning mustaches, both real and fake. This was also the day that the team took their first full shave in over a month.

One of the “Mo Bros.” who participated in the event was senior swimmer Joseph Perna. He happened to be one of the Bros. who had no problem with growing out his facial hair. He settled on the handle bar, Fu Manchu style that he claimed gave him a “’70s look.”

The particular style generated some attention on the Queens College campus, but Perna used that to his advantage, pointing out the true meaning of his unorthodox fashion.

“People were looking at me like what’s with the beard? What are you doing? I’m like, it’s Movember, if you want to donate. I tell them the information about it,” said Perna.

The Mo Bros. were not alone in their efforts. The women’s swimming and diving team, known as “Mo Sistas,” also were involved in the fund-raising. Lacking the facial hair to promote, they sent out e-mails and letters. The donations came in from an assortment of different funds, which included friends, family, players and faculty.

It was a unique experience for the women’s team senior captain, Angela Parra.

“We always do breast cancer, something for the girls … so it was a cool idea, something we had never done,” said Parra.

Cuebas praised his team and all those involved for coming together on a special occasion. He spoke about his experience so far with Queens College.

“[It has been] extremely positive, a great bunch of guys from a lot of different backgrounds, whether it’s culturally or religiously,” said Cuebas. “It’s a lot of adjusting, compromising, learning the players and they’re learning me at the same time.

Updated 6:38 pm, December 9, 2011
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