The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: January 2014 (Page 1 of 8)

Women’s basketball falls to Tufts

Bates women’s basketball fell to 7-10 after suffering their fifth straight loss at #6 Tufts by a score of 62-46. However, the Bobcats are encouraged by their second half performance, in which they managed to outscore the Jumbos 34-30 after a shaky opening half. Senior Meredith Kelly, who led the team with 16 points and recently had her name added to the prestigious list of 1,000 point scorers in Alumni Gymnasium, commented, “That was the best defense we have played so far this year, so it really just shows our potential. We kept fighting down to the last minute, so even though the score wasn’t what we wanted, we still are proud of how
we played.”

Another positive for the Bobcats has been the emergence of their freshmen, including Allie Coppola, who received her first career start against Tufts.

wbball“The freshmen are getting a lot of minutes and a lot of experience as the season is going on, and it’s really evident how much they’re improving,” noted Kelly. With Coppola’s determined mentality and diligent work ethic, her impressive play is not a major surprise. She says that, “Everyday I find something new that I want to improve upon.” That attention to detail is also evident in her belief that “we need to bring that same level of play [as in the second half against Tufts] to every minute of the rest of our games and practices.”

Despite an outstanding attitude, the Bobcats face several practical challenges. For one, their offense has often struggled to get a wide distribution of scoring, with Kelly is averaging 22.3 points per game and junior Allaina Murphy the next highest scorer at 10.4 ppg. Yet Kelly states, “I don’t feel like I have any burden on me really. It’s a team game and everyone’s role is important. When we have all 5 players on the court on the same page we play really great basketball.” This elusive continuity Kelly refers to will also be key in improving the Bobcats defense, which is another broad area they hope to achieve greater consistency in.

Along with the long-term goals of qualifying for the NESCAC tournament and improving these various facets of their team, the Bobcats have high hopes for beyond this season. Even though they’ll lose Kelly and fellow senior Julia Rafferty, Coppola and fellow freshmen Bernadette Connors and Kate Moody should step into larger roles, along with other key underclassmen like sophomore Chelsea Nason.

Coppola believes that Rafferty and Kelly will have an enduring influence, stating “Meredith and Julia have taught us so much and made us all better, and I think we will be able to carry that with us into next season.” Hopefully Bates will also be able to keep building on their strong second half against Tufts to build momentum in the latter stages of this season. The Bobcats’ next encounter is at 7:00 PM on Wednesday night at Alumni Gymnasium versus St. Joseph’s (Maine).

Tensions fume in divestment discussion

Tensions are running as thick as oil on the Bates campus this week, as many students remain at odds with the Board of Trustees. Last Tuesday, January 21st, President Clayton Spencer released a statement outlining the Bates Administration’s position on climate change and divestment of our endowment from the fossil fuel industry. Bates College prides itself on its commitment to environmental sustainability, but Spencer’s bottom line is clear: Bates is not divesting. This came with a shock to the student body, and especially to environmental activist group BEAM (Bates Energy Action Movement).

Since the fall of 2012, BEAM members have pushed for the divestment of the Bates endowment from the top-200 companies in the fossil fuel industry, which includes oil, coal, and natural gas extraction and refinement. Senior Ben Breger, Co- President of BEAM, explains the issue, “Scientists agree that two degrees Celsius of warming is the uppermost level to maintain a stable climate. Consequently, two-thirds of proven fossil fuels reserves need to stay in the ground so we do not reach that limit. Fossil fuel companies are expanding their reserves everyday so the urgency to stop burning carbon is pressing, which is why we focus on this issue.” By investing in fossil fuel companies, Breger argues, Bates is promoting their growth. The school currently holds 3-5 percent of the endowment in the fossil fuel industry.

BEAM protesting during spencer innaguration last year photo credit Billy CollinsLast year alone, BEAM collected over 600 signatures for their divestment petition, not including 73 alumni signatures. Members worked in conjunction with the Board of Trustees and Administration in order to discuss a practical approach to divestment. Bates is not the only college focusing on endowment divestment. Over 300 colleges and universities across the country are joining this movement. So why are we maintaining the status quo?

Spencer articulates the thought process of the Board of Trustees in her statement. The portion of the endowment invested in fossil fuels is crucial to the diversification of Bates’ investment portfolio. Hall Capital Partners, Bates’ external endowment manager, strongly defends that the 3-5 percent endowment invested in fossil fuels is congruent with the school’s financial goals of maintaining high returns within stable risk parameters.

“To guarantee divestment from these 200 public companies, our investment advisers estimate that between a third and a half of the entire endowment would need to be liquidated and replaced with separately managed accounts…the transition would result in significant transaction costs, a long-term decrease in the endowment’s performance, an increase in the endowment’s risk profile, and thus a loss in annual operating income for the college,” Spencer said.

BEAM Co-President Bo Ra Kim ‘14 wrote a response blog post criticizing Bates’ decision to maintain their current investment position. Disheartened, Kim writes, “The last blog post we wrote was filled with hope, and yet somehow we have landed here… BEAM is shocked by the sudden lack of transparency in this process, particularly after we worked so closely with the administration.” Members of BEAM and of the Bates community are questioning the information used to back the Board’s argument, stating that there was a lack of clarity in the decision process.

“We don’t know who made the decision. We don’t know if it was the entire trustees who voted, or was it an internal decision. We want to see numbers,” Kim said.

President Spencer presented an additional argument stating that divestment from fossil fuels would constitute using the endowment for political ends. This could jeopardize our endowment, “and distort its function as a resource for our academic mission.” This would include losses to financial aid, funds for academic programs, as well as faculty and staff salaries.

BEAM strongly opposed labeling divestment as a political measure. “If divestment is considered political, then wouldn’t investment as well? “By investing in these companies, we are supporting their practices,” said Junior BEAM member Jordan Becker. This would not be the first time Bates has altered their endowment investment out of political principle. In 1986, Bates divested five million dollars from South African companies during the Apartheid.

However, BEAM and divestment supporters are still looking ahead. In a BEAM meeting last Thursday, members discussed their next course of action. BEAM hopes to continue discussion with President Spencer and the Board of Trustees in order to examine different approaches to divestment. Co-Presidents Kim and Berger are looking to bring in a speaker who can educate the Board in addition to the Bates community about the costs and benefits of divestment from fossil fuels.

The campaign for divestment is far from over. At the end of her statement, President Spencer encourages students to engage in discussion and participate in the schools affairs. We can look forward to observing the evolution of this movement because as BEAM members said, “We are not going away. We are not letting it go.”

Understanding brain death: What you need to know

A recent case has come to light this month that has invoked discussion about issues concerning death and dying. The parents of a 13-year-old girl are refusing to remove her from life support, despite the fact that she has suffered total brain death. Of course, this case brings with it a number of complex details that each hold the potential for debate and discussion, but it appears that one of the causes for the decision of these parents is a lack of understanding about some of the facts and modern realities surrounding the status of a brain-dead patient.

Cases such as this one emphasize the importance of learning about and discussing these types of issues with those closest to us, so that we can hope to make more informed decisions if we are ever faced with such difficult situations. Reading up on a few simple facts can have a significant impact on our ability to address these situations, should they be presented to us.

First, it is important to understand the definition of brain death. A fully brain-dead patient has suffered permanent loss of function of all parts of the brain including the brain stem, and as a result has lost the capacity not only for cognitive function, but for breathing and circulating blood on his or her own. These patients have virtually no hope of regaining brain function, and will therefore never be able to survive without the presence of artificial ventilation and nutrition treatments.

This diagnosis meets the criteria for the legal definition of death in the United States, based on the inability of the patient to experience any sort of continued meaningful life. While categorizing a brain-dead patient as “dead” seems to challenge our intuition about death, this standard has been put in place with the best interests of these patients in mind, partially as the result of an agreement that an existence sustained by pumping air through a body does not constitute an acceptable quality of life, and partially to allow such patients to donate organs and save the lives of those who do have the potential for continued life. In short, in the case of brain death, while cells and organs may remain alive, the person is unquestionably dead.

Family members and friends of a brain-dead patient may feel distrusting of a doctor who attempts to tell them that their loved one is “dead,” as seems to be the case with the parents of the 13-year-old girl in question. However, understanding the ethical reasoning behind this legal fact may help to make such a statement less confusing.

An important differentiation also exists when considering three diagnoses associated with the cerebral cortex and the capacity for consciousness: the coma, the minimally conscious state, and the persistent vegetative state. Patients who are in a coma experience varied levels of cerebral function and often emerge from this state after a brief period of time and are able to regain all cognitive ability.

Occasionally, the coma patient will enter into either a minimally conscious state (MCS) or a persistent vegetative state (PVS). With MCS, the patient may experience occasional periods of awareness and demonstrates electrical brain activity. This patient may have a chance of fully regaining cognitive function. However, the PVS patient suffers irreversible loss of cerebral function, marked by a lack of electrical brain activity and the death of brain tissue. This patient will not recover the capacity for consciousness. Current medical tools and knowledge allow for the accurate distinction between these two states.

The significance of this medical lesson is as follows: the coma or MCS patient may have the ability to recover full brain function and continue to live a meaningful life. These diagnoses are associated with the “miracle” stories of patients who wake up years after losing consciousness. The fully brain-dead or PVS patient will not recover the halted brain functions and has no hope of regaining consciousness. It is vital to understand these distinctions when making a decision regarding the withdrawal of life-support.

Secondly, the importance of discussing these issues with loved ones cannot be overstated. When family members are left to make end-of-life decisions for an unconscious patient, they are charged to do so with the values and wishes of the patient in mind.

By making a living will, an informal written statement, or simply by talking about one’s wishes with family and friends, one can better ensure that a more informed decision will be made should such a situation arise, a decision that will reflect the values and religious and ideological beliefs of the patient, as opposed to those of family members. Topics of discussion could include the aforementioned medical facts, when ventilation should be removed, when artificial nutrition should be removed, organ donor status, and quality-of-life thresholds, a state at which one does not wish his or her life to be maintained. By initiating communication on this subject, we not only better ensure that our own desires are respected, but can also help ease the burden of decision-making for loved ones.

This combination of knowledge and discussion may have the ability to promote more informed choices, should us or our loved ones be faced with this most difficult of situations.

Remembering UPenn Student Madison Holleran

Nineteen year old Madison Holleran went to University of Pennsylvania this fall and, according to many, was “the happiest girl on the planet.” Planning to major in philosophy, politics, and economics, Holleran was also considered a star athlete at the ivy league university. She also wanted to rush and join a sorority in the fall.

From the outside, Holleran seemed to have it all. However, during Christmas break her parents noticed a change in their daughter. Her father said, “We knew she needed help. She knew she needed help. She had lost confidence in academics and she also lost confidence in her track abilities.”

madison-holleranNoticing how unhappy she was, her parents begged her not to return to UPenn. But Holleran insisted that she return to school.

On Friday, January 17th around 7pm, Holleran jumped from a Philadelphia parking garage, an act that ended her life. According to her father, James, “There was a lot more pressure in the classroom at Penn. She wasn’t normal happy Madison. Now she had worries and stress.” Stress and worries she couldn’t endure.

Holleran’s father also stated, “My daughter’s stress was self-induced, and although we had started her in therapy to address her issues, she hid the severity of those issues from everyone.”

Everyone has their own personal issues, goals, and aspirations in college, but if someone as seemingly “happy” as Madison Holleran could hide these deep seated issues, how can one know if someone is unhappy here at Bates?

After a long and stressful biology lab, I read an article about Madison Holleran and her story brought me to tears. I thought, how could this young, successful, smart, athletic girl end her life at nineteen? I thought about my stress levels in the different areas of my academic, social, and athletic life. As a freshman, I found the transition from high school academics to a college career a rather daunting. At Bates, where everyone ranges in intelligence and talents, the pressure to succeed can be overwhelming at times.

I brought up the article about Madison Holleran in one of my bio study groups and asked them, “Could something like this happen at Bates?” There was a pause. None of us could imagine something like this happening to one of our fellow students.

madison-holleran2First-year Amar Ohja commented, “Bates is such a tight knit community, everyone is so supportive. We have amazing JA’s RC’s and advisors who support students academically and socially.”

Hanna Chipman, another first year, shared her thoughts as well: “The likelihood of a suicide may not lessen, but the support system of a small liberal arts school may be stronger.”

Another student commented, “In large numbers it’s easy to get lost and for things to go by unnoticed.”

Is it due to the fact that UPenn is such a big school that Holleran did not receive the support she needed? Do big universities not have the appropriate support system for transitioning freshmen? According to the Daily Beast, UPenn ranked as the fourth most stressful college, after Harvard, Stanford, and Colombia University.

As a second semester freshman, I have felt the support from every professor, advisor, upperclassman, and coach, which has made the transition easier for me and certainly for others. When my classes started, I felt that every student at Bates wanted to succeed but also wanted their peers to succeed. Holleran’s tragic death should encourage colleges and universities to support and aid transitioning freshmen with the stress of college and the passage to adulthood.

Pracitioner-taught Short Term courses will enrich Bates’ quality of education

When you search for internships on Jobcat within a ten-mile radius of New York City, four of the seven search results require interns to be fluent in many graphic design programs. Beacause Bates does not offer courses in these areas, NYC native Bates students such as myself are forced to commit their summers to taking classes in graphic design, personally teaching themselves from software instructional packets, or ignoring the job post altogether.

Enter Bates’ practitioner taught short-term courses of 2014. These focused courses, offered in a pilot program this Short term, provide students the opportunity to grow a specific skill set that is easily applicable to an occupational field. Faculty and students from various organizational committees and academic departments have collaborated over the past nine months with Bates alums on designing these courses.

I had the pleasure this past week of sitting down with Professor of Sociology Emily Kane, the primary theorist behind this pilot program, to try and absorb her wealth of knowledge regarding the development of Bates’ practitioner taught short terms. While this addition to Bates’ short-term class list was originally President Clayton Spencer’s idea, Professor Kane has worked closely with Bates students and colleagues to execute Spencer’s vision.

Structuring a new class-system can be overwhelming, but Professor Kane was drawn to its emphasis on student needs.  “The reason I felt willing to work on it, and to try to develop a structure for it, was because it was all about students. It was just really exciting to me that it was all about what you need to make your way in the world.”

This short term, students will be able to select from four additional short-term courses: Graphic Design, Health Care Administration, Social Change Organizing and Advocacy, and Digital Innovation.  These courses seem to so clearly fill the void of so many resume skill sections because the BCDC did help advise program developers on skills that students seemed to be particularly lacking in job applications.

In Graphic Design, students can look forward to discussing the challenge of managing aesthetic and communication in one design. Students will take field trips, keep a journal and present a final project that utilizes the information they’ve learned through class discussions on branding, design management, and design thinking. Students will also gain proficiency in Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop.

Health Care Administration addresses the challenge of paying for quality health care that many Americans are currently facing. Additionally, students will investigate quality measurement of health care and the many roadblocks to offering such a high quality in the United States.

Social Change Organizing & Advocacy is perfect for any student who wishes to immerse him or herself into learning about the skills often used by professionals who organize advocacy for social change.

Digital Innovation will introduce students to the fast growing world of digital entrepreneurship and the techniques that many innovators use to experiment with product ideas. Students will work towards the development of a tangible product and the plethora of opportunities available in the field today.

Last week I wrote an article about Bates alums Tyler Mosher ‘11 and Ross Brockman ’11 who, though recently named to Forbes’ list entitled 30 under 30, weren’t supported by Bates in the creation of their hard cider company. Professors denied these two students an advisement meeting on their business plan because Bates is not a business school. While this is absolutely true, Bates should prepare us for the coming times and the ever-changing job market, rather than force us to have a vague sense of our future business endeavors.

Perhaps if Mosher and Brockman had access to one such course focused on small business development and planning, they would have felt more comfortable stepping into their future at Downeast Hard Cider. Liberal arts shouldn’t demand that we abandon all of our focus with regards to our future. Bates is sacrificing a bit of its identity to allow us to be focused and feel like we have a shot after graduation, so let’s take advantage of it.

Another issue discussed in development meetings was that of a grading scale. Alums all remember the classic alphabetical (A-F) grading scale differently, and it would be complicated to teach alums about current Bates standards. For the first year at least, practitioner taught courses will be graded on an unsatisfactory and satisfactory scale. Teaching alums won’t have to reacquaint themselves with Bates’ grading scale, and students will have the unique opportunity of taking a class for the sole purpose of immersing oneself in a new skill set. “We’d like it to feel,” described Prof. Kane, “like it’s a chance to explore a world of work and develop some skills and not have to think about whether my Adobe illustrator was excellent, or just ok?”

Common word on campus attributes Bates’ relatively small endowment to the trend that a small liberal arts college such as Bates doesn’t breed fortune five hundred companies. While annual giving is great way to maintain a connection to an alma mater, this year’s practitioner-taught short term courses allow alums to strengthen their connection to Bates with a more personal contribution to the community. Sophomore Jake Henderson commented, “It’s wonderful that this year’s practitioner taught courses are using alums as teachers because it offers successful Bates grads another way to give back to the community.”

Another advantage to the use of alumnae is the potential networking opportunities available to students. All teaching alums are successful professionals, thus students will be able to hear about first hand experience of a journey from Bates into their desired profession.

The behind the scenes designers of this pilot program are not only excited about this coming short term, but rather how great it can be in the future. Kane commented, “We’ll be assessing the entire thing, so for whatever students do it, we’ll be so excited to hear their suggestions.”

With this pilot program, Bates heralds in a new era of opportunity for student growth. Fiercely dedicated to its liberal arts roots, Bates is allowing students to investigate the path of a focused profession for the few weeks of short term. The timing is perfect because we don’t need to trade off between this course and our disciplinary studies. Full immersion is in store for the self-motivated, and I look forward to watching this program grow in the years to come.

Kristen Kelliher ’16 shares perspective on climbing 22,000 ft. peak

Batesies are always shooting for the stars, but for Kristen Kelliher ‘16, the stars are not high enough. This past December, the sophomore aimed for the moon (so to speak), planning to conquer the summit of the tallest peak in the Americas. Kelliher spent her winter break climbing up Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina, a 22,841 foot mammoth of a mountain.

kelliher 1A challenging climb is nothing new for Kelliher. Kelliher “got hooked” on mountaineering when she climbed Mt. Rainier in Washington State. “I really enjoy starting out in the dark for the summit…feeling alone (in a good way – gives you time to think, etc.), but also knowing that you’re connected to the people in front and behind by the rope,” comments Kelliher. She also loved the beauty of the mountain at sunrise, claiming it was “really kind of magical.”

In May of 2012, Kelliher became the youngest female to climb the tallest peak in all 50 states. She accomplished this ten year goal when she reached the summit of Mt. McKinley in Alaska, the tallest mountain in North America.

The McKinley trip was guided – though an experienced climber, Kelliher did not feel qualified enough technically to take on a feat such as that one. As a less technically-difficult climb, Aconcagua was thus a test of her developing abilities.

“By attempting Aconcagua unguided, it was a test to see if I was able to figure out all the other aspects of an expedition without having to worry too much about the technicality of it by going unguided,” says Kelliher. She told Jay Burns in a Bates News article from December 20th , 2013, part of the allure was the chance of “being able to plan, fund and do my own trip of substantial size with no guides.”

Two fellow Bates sophomores, Jonathan Gougelet and Jordan Cargill, and her stepfather joined her on this endeavor. Kelliher notes how the mountain is not extremely technically challenging when taking the Normal Route, but it is none the less a “long, grueling hike.”

To physically prepare for a demanding hike such as this one, Kelliher trained at the gym or by doing laps up and down Mount David with heavy backpacks. There were logistical aspects she had to deal with as well. “The rest of the preparations were trying to use my broken Spanish to communicate with hotels, mule companies, visa people, the permit office and other entities that we were going to interact with while down there. Not to mention the extensive amount of looking at maps, reading trip reports, [and] guide books,” says Kelliher.

kelliher 2According to Burns, Kelliher and her team left for Argentina December 15th. They started climbing December 18th and planned to reach the summit at the start of the New Year.

Unfortunately, the team hit a snag. Acute Mountain Sickness is caused by reduced air pressure and lower oxygen levels at high altitudes and is the number one cause of death on Aconcagua. Bates sophomore Cargill was afflicted with AMS. Kelliher mentions how Cargill was not in need of a helicopter, but his symptoms were severe enough that the team had a tough decision to make. Once they reached the base camp (14,500 feet), they decided to turn back.

“It’s really tough looking at the summit and then making the decision to turn around, especially since it’s a mountain that I decided to climb in August of 2012,” says Kelliher. “However, since I was leading the trip, I feel confident in my decision to turn around because the safety of my climbing partners and group far outweighs the desire to summit.” Kelliher quotes high-altitude mountaineer Ed Viesturs to further support her decision: “Going up is optional. Going down is mandatory.”

Despite not reaching the top, Kelliher knows her decision was the best for her team. And the beauty of the Andes has her hooked – she hopes to one day return. As for future climbs, Kelliher aspires to climb peaks when abroad in Nepal next fall. She is also considering taking a semester off to climb in Canada, but there are no concrete trips planned yet. Regardless, climbing will continue to compel her.

Men’s hockey edged by Holy Cross, rebounds by lighting up Harvard

The Bates men’s hockey team suffered a setback in their playoff race last Friday, losing 5-3 to the Holy Cross crusaders before bouncing back on a road trip to beat Harvard 6-4. The Bobcats moved to a 2-1-2 league record in splitting the two-game weekend set.

On Friday, Bates suffered from some defensive lapses and a failure to convert on the power play late in losing to the Crusaders. On the whole, however, the Bobcats hung tough against a “good, fast, and physical,” Holy Cross team, according to senior team captain and forward Chris DeBrase. Sophomore forward Emmett “Shipwreck” Shipway tallied the team’s first goal, followed by freshman forward Brad Rutkin. Senior alternate captain Sean Thomas added another goal in the second period, but the Bobcats trailed 5-3 heading into the third.

Despite having about eight minutes worth of power play opportunity in the final period, the Bobcats simply could not solve the Crusaders’ goaltender, and ultimately fell short. “Although we had a couple of underclassmen step up on Friday, it just wasn’t enough,” noted Thomas. Senior goaltender Matt Mosca was pulled in the second period after allowing all five goals, and fellow senior Garrett Johnson played well in relief, posting a shutout in the third period.

On Saturday, the Bobcats rebounded against the Harvard Crimson in a game that would have made Ben Affleck’s character in Good Will Hunting proud. While the Crimson may possess slightly more prestige in the classroom, they were no match for the physicality and speed of the Bobcats on the ice. DeBrase and Thomas each scored two goals, “putting on a clinic for those smahht kids,” explained DeBrase.

Defenseman and senior alternate captain Ty Silvey added a goal in addition to some punishing hits in the defensive zone. Freshman forward Mark Upton added Bates’ sixth goal, as the Bobcats prevailed 6-4. Johnson, who received the start on Saturday, had another strong game. “It was a great team effort on Saturday. Garrett played well both games, especially as he made over 30 saves against Harvard,” commented DeBrase.

When asked about the team’s playoff chances, DeBrase responded, “we can afford to lose one more game but we need to win 6 out of the next 7, which we think is possible.”

Bates will seek to ride their explosive offense, as well as some hot goaltending in Johnson, in their bid to reach the postseason. The Bobcats will next play at home against MIT on Friday night at 7pm. The bad blood between these two rivals runs back for years, and few would be surprised if there were to be a brawl on the ice.

Track & Field sets plenty of records

It was a rather magnificent weekend for Bates Track & Field as many men and women set personal and team records. For the men, the remarkable times by some members garnered them personal bests while climbing into the Top 10 all-time performances lists. The women also had plenty of member’s record personal bests while nearly shattering all-time marks.

This past Saturday at the BU Invitational, senior Ben Levy led four runners in the 200m with a time of 22.56, good for 43rd fastest while placing him sixth on Bates’ all-time performance list for the event. Freshman Colin Kraft was 60th with a time of 22.82, which put him eighth on the all-time list.

In the 3,000 meters, a pair of Bobcats also had personal and school bests. Senior Noah Graboys and junior John Stansel each had blazing times of 8:29.59 and 8:33.03 respectively. The time put Graboys number six on Bates’ all-time list with Stansel right behind him in seventh.

trackIn other non-runner news, junior shot putter Sean Enos finished in second with an effort of 56-10.75 trailing only Errol Jeffrey of Division I Monmouth. Sophomores Nick Margitza and Rudy Pandora each had efforts of 46-2.75 and 42-1.25.

Senior John Wisener topped out at 14-5.25 in the pole vault, which was good for 13th out of 27 contestants.

On the women’s side, the contestants had their fair share of personal bests as well, led by seniors Kallie Nixon and Angeleque Hartt and junior Elena Jay. Nixon started the meet with a half-second personal record in the 3,000 meters with a time of 9:49.77. Along with Nixon, a trio of other Bobcat runners also had solid times, which were good enough to send them to the New England Division III Indoor Championships in seniors Andrea Fisher, Mira Carey-Hatch, and Tara Notarianni.

“I am very happy about my performance at the BU invitational,” noted Hartt. “It means a lot to me to have accomplished this goal and I can only hope to build on this performance in future meets,” she added.

Hartt recorded a personal record in the 200m with a time of 26.03 seconds; it places her number four on Bates’ all-time list and was the fastest time for a Bobcat in the past 25 years. Sophomore Alexis Dickinson ran in the event and finished right behind Hartt with a time of 27.12, guaranteeing her a spot in New Englands along with Hartt.

“Both the men and women’s team did extremely well over this past weekend,” Hartt noted. “It’s great to see both teams excel this early in the season and hopefully we can build on this momentum going into our state meets over the next couple of weekends.”

Both teams will be back in action February 1st in the State of Maine meet.

What the new instant replay will mean for MLB

Although it’s not perfect, I believe that Major League Baseball’s new instant replay system will be good for baseball. The expanded replay procedures grant managers at least 1 challenge a game on anything from safe/out calls to fa interference prior to the 7th inning.

The new rules contain some dense intricacies, but the fact that the owners unanimously voted in favor of these stipulations is extremely encouraging. I believe that any worries fans might have about further delays to the game or complete eradication of the human element from baseball can ultimately be alleviated.

One of the reasons why many are turned off by baseball is that the games seem to last for an eternity. With managers strolling out onto the field several times per game for mound visits, pitching changes, arguments, and substitutions, the latter innings sometimes feel as if they will never end. In the last several years, games have gotten longer and longer, with the average duration now approaching three hours.

While nobody wants a sport that already carries the stigma of being “boring” to give critics greater ammunition, I believe this is a small sacrifice baseball has to be willing to make. Fans who are attracted to hard hits and rapid actions are never going to be converted to diehards. Baseball should focus on those who like elements of the sport but are disillusioned with aspects of Major League Baseball. Yes, one common complaint from this contingent is that games are too long, but I also frequently hear people expressing their frustration at the way missed calls ruin great games.

Considering that MLB has instituted a relatively efficient (compared to the NFL) Replay Command Center at their New York headquarters, it seems obvious that possibly adding a couple minutes to a game is worth it if baseball’s integrity can be preserved and fans can recognize that getting calls right matters to baseball’s brass.

Another common argument against instant replay is that umpires’ fallibility is part of what makes baseball unique. Proponents for this argument usually complain that expanded replay makes baseball too modern and removes one of its distinguishable characteristics. The problem with this line of reasoning is its overreliance on antiquated notions of the essence of baseball. Just because people have vivid memories of instances when umpires’ decisions seriously impacted games doesn’t mean that giving umpires the responsibility to make incredibly difficult, split second calls that nobody could ever get right all the time is a good thing.

Personally, as a former Little League umpire, I don’t understand how the ability to get nearly every call right wouldn’t be preferable to the flawed, romanticized “human element.” And for those who are for some reason intent on keeping umpires relevant, recognize that umpires still will call balls and strikes unchallenged, and will still make pivotal calls that either force managers to use a challenge or critically alter the game when a manager has exhausted his challenges.

Just because the ideal that baseball is pursuing of getting every call right is impossible to attain doesn’t mean that this goal and the expanded replay system intended to achieve it aren’t better than the rampant scandal and contentiousness inherent in the previous limited replay system.

USA hockey team to take on underdog role at Sochi Olympics

With just over two weeks until puck drop in Sochi, it’s finally time to start thinking about Olympic hockey again. After the exciting and emotional gold-medal game in 2010, Canada looks to defend its title and remain the dominant power of international hockey. The star studded Canadian team is led by team captain Sidney Crosby, who many consider to be one of the greatest players of all time. With players like John Tavares and Steven Stamkos supporting Crosby and the multitude of other stars on the teams, it is hard to favor any other team over Team Canada. All around, team Canada is without a doubt the best team in the tournament, at least on paper.

The only team that may be able to match Canada’s offensive firepower is tournament host Russia. With forwards like Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, and Captain Pavel Datsyuk it will be extremely difficult for opponents to stop the offensive onslaught that the Russians will undoubtedly bring. Problems for the Russians could come from a lack of depth on the back end. Despite this apparent weakness of the Russian roster, the Russians should expect to reach the podium in Sochi.

Another team with extraordinary depth and talent is Team Sweden. Led by New York Rangers goaltender Hendrik Lundqvist and a strong crew of defensemen, Finland should have no trouble keeping the puck out of its own net. As far as offense is concerned, the Swedes will be skating some top offensive forwards including the Sedin brothers, Henrik Zetterberg, and Alexander Steen to name a few. Other than Canada, Sweden seems to have one of the deepest and most talented teams in the tournament.

Finland is another team threatening to take the podium this year with arguably the best goaltending crew in the tournament. Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, who some consider to be one of the greatest goalies in the world, will likely play the role of starter, while Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen could also see considerable time. With a solid (yet not overwhelming) core of forwards, it is very possible for Team Finland to ride their goaltending and earn a medal in this year’s tournament.

Finally, the United States looks to head back to the gold-medal game after an impressive performance in the 2010 Olympics. Outside of a few highly skilled players such as Patrick Kane and Phil Kessel, the U.S. team will have to rely on grit and will to gain success in Sochi. On paper, the United States may not be the strongest team in the tournament, but they have a number of hard-working, tough, and fairly skilled players such as Ryan Callahan and Dustin Brown who have the capabilities to lead their team to the podium. To medal, the United States will have to play its best hockey and ride strong goaltending from Ryan Miller and/or Jonathan Quick.

With so many teams so evenly matched and with the infrequency of such a high level of international hockey, it is very difficult to predict winners. The tournament is truly up for grabs, but I predict that Canada will win gold, Sweden will earn silver, and Russia will take bronze. The real winners, however, will be the fans. With a larger ice surface than NHL rinks, fans will see a faster and more open game with playoff intensity. It should be fun.

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