The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Day: November 1, 2017 (Page 1 of 2)

The Case for Free Birth Control

In 2009, the Affordable Care Act reformed the American health care system. With its passage came a provision that all insurers had to cover co-pay free birth control of all types for all women with medical insurance. For many women, co-pay free birth control allowed them to choose when and if they want to become mothers without worrying about the cost of birth control.

According to Planned Parenthood, the birth control pill, patch, and ring generally cost $20 to $50 per month, in addition to an exam to get a prescription, which costs between $35 and $250. On an annual basis, it costs between $275 and $850 per year for the average (cisgender) woman to have control over her own body. Multiply the annual cost of birth control by the number of years most women are fertile and sexually active (somewhere between 20 and 30 years), and without insurance, many women will spend between $5,500 and $25,500 on the luxury of avoiding an unwanted pregnancy. According to Mother Jones, one in three women have struggled at some point with the costs of various birth control methods.

If cost is not enough to convince the reader that birth control should be covered, I propose that birth control allows for greater equality between men and women, gives women control over their own bodies and lives, and is fundamentally a medication. Taken all together, it seems ridiculous that women should have to continually prove to conservative men that what they do with their bodies is a choice between a woman and her doctor, not the government.

In the 67 years since the FDA approved the pill, the lives of women have changed dramatically. While complete equality is far from a reality, women and men are far more equal than they were in a large part due to reproductive freedom for women. According to Fortune, the wage gap has narrowed —today (white) women on average earn 78 cents to every dollar a man earns, up from 60 cents. Women also earn more undergraduate degrees than men as well as about half of all graduate degrees, in a large part due to the ability to delay pregnancy. In 1970, women who had access to the pill enrolled in college at a rate 20% higher than women without access and were more likely to graduate. All of these increases in equality are fundamentally good for the United States both economically and socially.

Birth control allows women freedom. Abstinence before marriage, the staple of conservative sex education, is an unrealistic goal. It fails to account for couples who are married and elect to either not have children or wait for reasons that they choose. Even more problematically, though, abstinence takes away choice. While there are certainly some women who do make the choice to be abstinent, it should be just that—a choice. On the most fundamental level, women should have control over their own lives and their bodies.

In the view of Courtney Porfido, Class of 2018, “I need to be in control of my physical and financial future. It’s not just about not having a baby—it’s about giving myself autonomy.”

However, on an even more basic level, birth control is a medication. There is no other medication that is so politicized. Aside from preventing pregnancy, birth control has dozens of uses such as regulating ones period, reducing the symptoms PMS and menstrual symptoms, fight acne, reduce menstrual migraines, and reduce the symptoms of various reproductive disorders such as endometriosis and PCOS. Most importantly, though, because birth control is a medication, the choice to use it is one between a woman and her doctor. It is not the business of anyone else, and especially not the government.


Women’s Cross Country Hosts NESCAC Championship Meet, 4th Place Team Finish

Olivia LaMarche ‘20 runs to a n eighth place finish. BREWSTER BURNS FOR BATES COLLEGE.

Olivia LaMarche ‘20 runs to a n eighth place finish. BREWSTER BURNS FOR BATES COLLEGE.

It was a beautiful day at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester this Saturday, October 28, but the hundreds of spectators were not there just to look at blue skies and foliage. This year’s NESCAC Championship race for women’s cross country was an exciting event to behold, amplified by the inescapable buzz of excitement in the air. Since Pineland is the Bates cross country home course, the Bobcats were ready to get after the six kilometer race.

Bates gave a tremendous team effort, all fifteen runners taking advantage of their knowledge of Pineland’s tricky hills and toughing it out with characteristic determination. This resulted in a strong showing of fourth place out of eleven teams, with a score of 90. Williams College took first place (62), Middlebury was second (77), and Tufts was third (82).

Senior captain Katherine Cook ‘18 was the first runner in for Bates, coming in fourth overall, with an impressive time of 22:05.0 (her 6k personal record). Also cracking the top fifteen were Olivia LaMarche ‘20, in eighth place at 22:25.4, and Ayden Eickhoff ‘19 in fourteenth place at 22:49.8 (6k PR).

Helping Bates to place fourth as a team were Abby Hamilton ‘21, in twenty-first place at 23:12.1 and Katie Barker ‘19 placing forty-fifth and scoring forty-three points for Bates with her time of 23:45.3. Hamilton led the entire field of NESCAC first-year runners.

Sarah Rothmann ‘19, in fifty-third place (score 47) at 23:57.5, and senior captain Mary Szatkowski ‘18, in sixty-first place (score 53) at 24:08.2, rounded Bates’s top seven.

In spite of a complication near the end of the race, in which runners found their paths intersecting as some approached the finish line and others ran past the finish line from the opposite direction, the race was an overall success and an excellent display from all the NESCAC teams. Luckily no collisions occurred at the intersection (which had been unplanned), and the race officials were able to clear up any confusion that may have arisen regarding the results. It was a great moment to see the resourcefulness and flexibility of the NESCAC cross country program.

The support from Bates spectators was enormous as well, with many students, parents, and alumni coming to cheer or help out at the race. Their confidence and pride in the team was immense, summed up by alumni Hannah Wilson when she was asked before the race if she felt nervous about how the team would perform. “They’ve done such a good job all season, I’m sure they’ll do well today,” she said.

Women’s cross country has had a remarkable season so far, and their NESCAC effort adds to their list of strong races. Now, with the NESCAC meet behind them, these Bobcats are getting ready to race their best at the NCAA Regional championships in two weeks, which will take place at the Gorham Country Club, in Gorham, ME.


Safety Day Brings the Heat

Students, staff, and members of the Bates community gathered on the field between Smith and Garcelon on Friday for Bates’ seventh annual Fire Safety Day. The event was originally supposed to be a day earlier but was postponed due to rainy conditions.

Members of the Lewiston Fire Department were on hand to burn down a replica dorm room, complete with furniture, posters and empty beer cans. The controlled blaze was meant to demonstrate to attending students how quickly a fire can spread once it has started and the way that smoke can fill a room. Firefighters even waited the amount of time it would take them to arrive on scene from their station. The display was meant to be as accurate as possible, with even a smoke alarm being sounded at the appropriate time.

According to Jim Guzelian, Bates’ Health and Safety Specialist, the purpose of the demonstration was not only to make sure students are alert once a fire alarm goes off but to make them aware of the things they can do in their rooms to help prevent a fire.

“I demonstrate with a candle because you’re not supposed to have candles,” said Guzelian, knowing well that many people break this rule. Later, when introducing the fire demonstration, Guzelian joked that students should be wary of candles even though they can add a “romantic” feel to rooms. Firefighters used a candle to start the blaze, knocking it into a nearby trash bin. As a result of the windy conditions, firefighters eventually had to add several flammable blankets to the replica dorm room in order to make the inferno spread.

Despite these technical difficulties, the demonstration still left a strong impact on many of the spectators. Several students remarked that watching the blaze had not only been entertaining but would impact their attitude toward fire safety in the future. Though he noted that the event got off to a slow start because of the wind, Rob Flynn ’18 felt that Fire Safety Day’s message was clearly communicated.

“I’m not much of a candle user but I think I’ll definitely take [fire safety] more seriously and look out for other friends who may partaking in those kinds of behaviors,” said Flynn.

In addition to the simulated dorm fire, Guzelian and the other organizers of fire safety day offered students the opportunity to wear “drunk goggles” that simulated the effects of alcohol on balance and coordination. Students could be seen racing each other across the field, swerving as a result of the goggles’ distorted lenses. The organizers also offered attendees a free fire safety day t-shirt with an illustration of a Dalmatian on the back, as well as drawstring bags emblazoned with the Bates College logo.

Bates has been holding a fire safety day annually since 2010. According to Guzelian, the school was originally able to put on the event thanks in part to a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as well as the cooperation of the Lewiston Fire Department.

“We got a FEMA grant way back in 2007. We were the first college to get one. With the help of fire department we’ve been doing this and they’ve been responding ever since,” said Guzelian.

The event was one that only could be described as explosive (pun definitely intended).

Dear Sustainable Abigail…

Dear Sustainable Abigail,

I am very confused about where our food waste goes to be turned into compost once a plate is put on the revolving dish rack. Does it stay on campus? Does it go to a nearby farm? Is it even composted?

Many thanks,

Confused in Commons

Dear Confused in Commons,

This is a great question! Commons is cool in that it’s one of the most sustainable parts of the Bates campus, a title that the Commons workers strive hard to maintain. In fact, they are so successful at sustainability that they divert more than half of the solid waste from ending up in landfill! In regards to tackling food waste, there are three neat elements. Speaking first to your main concern, all of the post-consumer food waste is given to a pig farmer in Poland, ME, (or more specifically, given to the pigs of the pig farmer). However, even before we diners reach the point of having food leftover on our plate, Dining Services tackles the issue of food leftover in the kitchen prep process through a program with a farm in Lisbon, ME. Finally, there is the issue of extra food that made it out of the kitchen but didn’t make it onto a plate. This waste is resolved through a community outreach program, in which the extra food is prepared and shared with local homeless shelters and soup kitchens.

As you can see, Dining Services is sensitive to the food waste in Commons every step of the way. Yet, these processes are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of Commons’ sustainability. For example, even the packaging of the food purchased is carefully considered to avoid any unnecessary contribution to solid waste quantity. Dining Services tries when possible to buy locally produced products, such as Oakhurst milk, fresh meat, and fresh produce when in season. In fact, Commons is now even a part of the Green Restaurant Association, aiding them in making environmentally informed purchasing decisions. To find out even more about Commons’ contribution to sustainability efforts, you can visit, or you can sign up on BatesToday to participate in a tour of Commons offered every Monday.  There are a lot of ways that Bates Dining Services contributes to a more sustainable campus beyond their sensitivity to food waste; we have a lot to thank them for.

Nonetheless, it’s still just as important for us to take initiative in our daily actions and join in the sustainability movement on campus. From only the food left on our plates every day, Commons sends the equivalent of 100 full meals to the pig farm. Although the food is used as pig feed, and therefore not being entirely wasted, this is a lot of food that could have been reused in Commons or sent to the homeless shelters. So, it’s important that we students are only taking as much food as we can eat (the walk from the tables to the food isn’t that long, there’s no need to stock up and not eat it all!), and helping Commons minimize food waste as well. Fortunately, “No Waste November” has just begun, a time when we can all come together as a campus and cut back on waste.

Throughout November, the Ecoreps will be having events to increase awareness about the impacts of waste and the importance of sustainability. One such is a showing of A Place at the Table on November 8, a documentary that explores the affliction and implications of hunger in the United States.

By being cognizant of our contribution to food waste and waste in general, we are important participants both in Commons sustainability as well as Bates sustainability in general, so let’s keep at it together!

Thanks for writing!

-Sustainable Abigail

Freddy and Francine: A Quirky Duo at VCS

On a dark and stormy night, I cozied up in the windowsill of the Benjamin E. Mays Center for another night of acoustic music at the Village Club Series (VCS) concert. Freddy and Francine, the group of the week, warmed up the cold weather with their soft voices and gentle jokes. The group is composed of Bianca Caruso and Lee Ferris. Both performers sang lead vocals and Ferris played guitar. Their sound was aided by the stomp of their heels on the echoey wooden floor; they didn’t even need drums due to the strength of their feet and the reflective hard floor.

Caruso and Ferris met on a 2007 tour of Hair in Los Angeles, and have been based out of the town ever since. Both had previous careers; Ferris on Broadway stages and Caruso with an ABC comedy television show. Since 2008, they have released 2 EPs and 3 full-length records, available on Spotify, iTunes, and Amazon.

The group opened with a few jokes and an explanation of how they came to Bates; Ferris mentioned that he conducted a Google search about Bates’ history, and found out that we were founded by abolitionists. The audience giggled, and the band started with their first song.

In between songs, audience members caught a glimpse into the psyches of the performers. Caruso and Ferris made small talk and light jokes, often about the weather or about Bates. They both were living in southern California, so apparently the torrential downpour was exciting, and Caruso kept joking that she “feels bad for the lacrosse boys out there” in the rain for hours. Each song was introduced by another joke or memory about its creation, and a song about a hotel involved several jokes about The Bates Motel and Psycho, a television show and horror film.

While their humorous content sometimes fell flat, their music was technically very strong. Both performers had clear voices with hints of southern accents; after scouring the biographies on their website, I found out that neither performer is from the south. Regardless, I thought I heard a hint of accent in their singing.

The group premiered several songs, including “Red, White, and Blue” from their forthcoming album. Before starting the song, Caruso compared the premier to a trust fall, because they might mess up the lyrics or make another mistake. As the title suggests, there were themes of patriotism and concern for US politics in the lyrics, though I did not hear any specific references to specific political events.

Another premier was the song “Ain’t No Way,” in which Caruso and Ferris highlighted the challenges of the traveling performer lifestyle with heartbreaking lyrics such as, “It’s hard to tell the truth when it’s staring back at you” and “Ain’t no way to go back.”

Despite these harrowing songs, the performers brought a cheery energy to the stage and evening. Their folk-indie-alt rock style appeals to many audiences, and the performance deftly moved through all three genres.

My favorite pieces of the night were their two closing songs, “Sideman” and Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind.” During Sideman, a pop song about loving a sought-after man, Caruso convinced audience members to sing along with her during the chorus’ oohs and heys. The succeeding song had a definitively different feel to it; it was a folk version of Etta James’ original, but I still enjoyed it. Caruso’s pure voice carried the pain of the lyrics, and I felt the scorned love of the narrator.

Their performance wasn’t as popular as other VCS artists’ performances have been, however, I appreciated Freddy and Francine’s spunk and relatableness. Many other VCS artists’ stage presences lacked the goofiness that the duo demonstrated on stage, and I hope to see more groups like Freddy and Francine perform in the Mays Center in the future.

Don’t forget, VCS is every Thursday night in the Benjamin Mays Center; next week Humming House and Becca Mancari will perform in a special 90-minute show starting at 8:30p.m.!

freddy and francine pic 1

Freddy and Francine perform a new song at VCS. TORY DOBBIN/THE BATES STUDENT


Boko Haram, 18 brave girls and the power of lending a hand

Northeastern Nigeria has long been plagued by the presence of Boko Haram and the violence and terror that they have inflicted on Nigerian citizens in this region. Boko Haram is a militant group that was formed as a result of the poverty and corruption that have long plagued Nigeria.

The former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, claims that the group has cited the corruption of Western educated leaders and Western ideals that they are taught, as reasons for the necessity of Boko Haram. Haram means “forbidden” and thus, for this group, the Western education is that which is forbidden.

In recent years, Boko Haram has been using children, especially young girls, as suicide bombers. Forcing them to go into areas such as universities, military checkpoints, displaced peoples camps, and pretty much anywhere else where people congregate and great amounts of damage can be inflicted, with explosives strapped to their bodies. The government of Nigeria tends to display a discourse that frames families of these children and the children themselves as supporting the cause for which Boko Haram is fighting. The government sends out Public Service Announcements (PSAs) warning families to not give their children over to these men.

The reality is that these children are being kidnapped in the middle of the night without volunteering to contribute.

A New York Times article describes the experiences of 18 girls who were able to escape their explosive belts and share their experience. These girls told stories of being kidnapped and held hostage until they were ready to be used. When they were chosen to inflict harm, the girls were forcibly given bombs or suicide vests, moved towards large crowds and told that their religion required them to fulfill this duty. All of the girls were able to escape based upon sheer determination not to hurt other people. Each one of these girls, relied upon either a civilian, a soldier, or a family member to help them escape a fate they did not want nor deserve. The girls talk about how police officers, family members, and just kind strangers had faith in them and allowed them to not follow in the unfortunate path of other victimized children who were told they would be heading to the nicest place they could think of if they followed the fighters’ orders.

In a world that seems self-centered and devoid of compassion, this story caught my eye and truly moved me. If we all as global citizens can take a few messages away from this story, groups like Boko Haram may have a hard time finding new recruits and continuing the spread of their message.

For these girls, none older than 17, to have the confidence and willingness to risk their own lives to hopefully save those of others, shows true humanity and understanding of your neighbor. Most of these girls recalled contemplating going towards an empty field and detonating their device to spare other lives. The girls’ ability to put others before themselves and to serve the greater good, combined with the calmness and readiness of bystanders to help these girls escape and save lives shows that even in times of turmoil, small bits of hope and love can shine through.

As citizens, but humans foremost, we must remember to find similarities across or differences, help out people when they need a hand and by doing so we can strive to diminish the power of hate and violence.

A Public Health Policy Discussion at Bates

On Tuesday, October 25, healthcare experts Hilary Schneider ’96 and Erin Guay came to Bates college to talk about public health policy debates taking place within the Lewiston Community. The talk was the second in the “Theory In Practice” series this year, sponsored by the Harward Center.

The talk began with Peggy Rotundo, the Director of Strategic and Policy Initiatives at the Harward Community Center. “The purpose of this series is to provide people with the opportunity to learn more about some of the important policy-debates that are taking place in the US Congress, the Maine State House, and in state-level communities,” said Rotundo.

The first speaker was Erin Guay, a Bowdoin graduate and the executive director of Healthy Androscoggin, a non-profit here in Lewiston. “Essentially our job is to look at the community’s health needs and to try to fulfill them,” started Guay. “We are 95% grant funded and because of that we can’t do quite as much lobbying work as we’d like to.”

Healthy Androscoggin has five main issues that pertain to the Lewiston-Auburn community: childhood lead poisoning, physical activity promotion, healthy eating, substance abuse, and tobacco. They approach legislators as educators, not as lobbyists, since it is illegal for a nonprofit to lobby legislators. Guay went on to list two of the recent bills Healthy Androscoggin has worked on in the past year. Per Guay, “the first one is LD 1542, which is an act to support lead abatement in older residential properties.”

Lewiston-Auburn has one of the highest childhood lead poisoning rates in the state of Maine. In 2008, the rate for L/A was three times the state rate, but over the past eight years there has been a 32 percent decrease in childhood lead poisoning. Guay added, “for those who don’t know, the reason why we have such a huge lead problem is because we have old housing in Lewiston-Auburn. It creates a real problem for our community because the lowest income folks tend to live in the housing that’s in the poorest quality. Our refugees and immigrants tend to move into those properties and then try to find a way out.”

Guay went on to summarize the bill that she worked on to prevent this issue. The idea behind the bill is to create revenue so that the Maine State Housing Authority can provide funding to municipalities with the highest rates of lead poisoning. With the proper funding, landlords can address lead issues on their properties.

After Guay, Schneider spoke about how she became the current Director of Government Relations for the American Cancer Society Action Network in Maine.

“Basically, I landed in this world of advocacy and policy by accident. I wanted to move back to Maine and was just looking for any job where I could use my policy and economics background,” said Schneider. Since landing in Maine, she has been working on access to care advocacy.

“So when I started at the Cancer Action Network,” Schneider continued, “I basically started after they enacted the Affordable Care Act… you may not know this, but [the ACA] was modeled after health reform that was done in Maine years ago under what was known as Dirigo Health. So Maine was the first state in the nation that passed a piece of universal health care legislation.”

“Part of my job in the state is to help teach people whose lives have been impacted by cancer with how they can enact policies. Largely how we view our role as is putting a face on these issues so that lawmakers aren’t just looking at legislation in an ivory tower,” Schneider said.

Schneider put it best when she said that “access to healthcare should not be a partisan issue. Everybody, regardless of what party, gets impacted by something. One in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime.”

For anyone interested in becoming more active in current public health policy debates, Peggy Rotundo encourages those interested to come to her office at the Harward Center. The issue of healthcare will also be on the ballot this Election Day, November 7 with Question 2, which would require Maine to expand Medicaid.


Public health is an issue all Bates student are affected by. CHRISTINA PERRONE/THE BATES STUDENT


Mayoral Hopeful Mark Cayer Makes Visit to Bates

On Wednesday, October 25, Lewiston mayoral candidate Mark Cayer visited campus to share his platform with Bates students. Cayer’s visit was part of a larger local election series at Bates, and was followed by a similar presentation by fellow mayoral candidate Ben Chin on Thursday, October 26.

Cayer began his presentation by sharing some contextual information regarding his background; mentioning his upbringing as a native of Lewiston as well as his six year career as Lewiston’s Ward 6 Councilor, where he was then elected Council President. “This year,” started Cayer, “I decided it was important for me to run for mayor because I think there are party politics trying to take control of our local government, and I just think that’s bad for our community.”

Moving on to his platform, Cayer lamented on Lewiston’s local economic stagnation, including a statistic about the city’s average poverty rate of 30 percent and the general lack of desire for young entrepreneurs to open businesses in the city. To this end, Cayer stressed the importance of an educated, marketable workforce. “Lewiston’s workforce is undereducated. We’re well below statistics when it comes to degrees,” said Cayer. “We really need to start at our local educational level and focus on the jobs of today and tomorrow; like technology and manufacturing.” To achieve this practically, Cayer suggested more involvement and engagement with local secondary schools and community colleges. 

Ultimately, solving Lewiston’s poverty crisis was the core of Cayer’s mayoral goals. “Kids in Lewiston, every night, go to bed hungry. They go to school hungry. At home, they face domestic violence. They face severe substance abuse in their families, and they face sexual assault.” Cayer views these issues, however, as symptomatic of poverty; and attempting to fix them rather than the institutional causes of poverty itself is nothing more than a superficial approach. “I don’t have a clear understanding of what the root causes of poverty are,” admitted Cayer. “But within our community we have the experts that do, like Community Concepts and Project Tipping Point, that really create an understanding of poverty.” Thus, Cayer advocates for relying more heavily on these community resources to generate a more robust awareness of poverty so that the city may address its symptoms more effectively.

The conversation then moved to our own immediate community when Cayer was asked about what policy initiatives he would use to communicate with Bates students specifically. Cayer reflected on the stark divide between Bates students and the greater Lewiston area, remarking that “back when I was a teenager, there used to be this fence around Bates College. That got torn down, but the fence is still there, and it goes both ways.” One of the largest issues, according to Cayer, separating the college from its environment is the prevalent off-campus party scene, which has galvanized tensions (and police ordinances) with local residents. Meetings have occurred in the past at the college to help discuss the issues surrounding off campus housing with residents, but Cayer was thoroughly disappointed with the lack of administrative presence from Bates.

“We need the Bates administration involved [in helping bridge the Lewiston/Bates gap], and I’m going to make that happen as mayor. And if the President doesn’t want to do that purposely, we’ll start calling the trustees.”

Regarding ballot initiatives, Cayer stated he “saw value” in the merger, but believed too much money was spent in 2015 on studies regarding its theoretical effects. As councilman, Cayer advocated for putting the question on the ballot so that the people could have the final say.

“This could put Lewiston-Auburn on the map and be a springboard for our community,” said Cayer. As for Question 2 (which regards Medicaid expansions), Cayer expressed relative ambivalence about his feelings on the vote, but was ultimately in support of it due to the wide scale tangible effects it could have on the everyday lives of Lewiston residents, many of whom are without healthcare. “I’m voting for it not because I want to, but because it’s life and death for some people. Still, I don’t think that’s where government should be. We need a healthcare system that’s self-sufficient.”

Students will have a chance to vote for mayor on the November 7 Municipal Election, and may get registered on campus or on the day of the election at the Lewiston Armory.

Women’s Frisbee Impresses as a Club

Bates has 29 varsity sports programs (14 men’s, 15 women’s) that are well broadcasted by the Athletics Department and impressively supported by students, families, and community members. While the tremendous accomplishments of these varsity-level programs are exciting and not to be overlooked, Bates’ club sports also deserve some attention. One such club sport is the women’s ultimate frisbee team, otherwise known as Cold Front.

While many varsity sports, such as track and field and lacrosse, have attended Division III NCAA competitions, Cold Front has also performed on the national stage, representing Bates at the Ultimate national championships for the past two years.

“My freshman year on the frisbee team there were no tournaments because we did not have the organization or the enthusiasm that is necessary for a victorious sports team,” senior captain Katie Hartnett ‘18 says. “Watching the frisbee team go from having zero tournaments to qualifying for nationals was just an incredible feeling.”

“Everything that we get, from practice space to money for games, we have to fight for,” Josie Gillett ‘19, third-year captain, adds. “Stepping on an airplane to go to nationals with 20 dedicated women was extremely satisfying because it showed that we can use each other as resources for success.”

Unlike a varsity sport, a club sport has no cuts and is inclusive to all, regardless of athletic ability. Given the nationally renowned status of the team, Hartnett and Gillett have not had any trouble recruiting women to play and are really excited by, and impressed with, the enthusiasm of all the players. This year, roughly 35-40 people come to mostly every practice.

“One thing that I love about frisbee is that not many people play before college,” Gillett says. “If you look at our team widely, 90% of the women just started playing at Bates. This makes it optimal for new players. It is very easy to do and pick up which is awesome.”

As captains of Cold Front, Hartnett and Gillett always strive to balance the more laid back atmosphere of a club sport with the intense competitiveness that naturally follows any active sports team.

“There are schools where ultimate frisbee is considered a varsity sport. Other schools acknowledge it as similar to a varsity sport. We are not one of those schools,” Hartnett explains. “It can be tricky balancing the people in the group who really want to commit to coming to every practice and work really hard with the people who just want to come once a week and play and hang out.”

The beauty of a club sport like ultimate frisbee is the spectrum of ability that ranges from varsity athletes to noncompetitive students who just play the sport for fun. In order to attend to both types of players, the season is therefore divided into two parts: the first half, beginning in the fall, focusing on getting to know the team dynamic and teaching everybody how to play, and the second half, which starts by the spring, geared toward structured practices and consistent competitions. In the spring “A” and “B” teams are selected to compete in tournaments and work toward qualifying for the national championships. All the tournaments during this half of the season are sanctioned and count toward their sectional, regional, and national ranking.

“In the fall we try and have practice every day as much as possible. At these practices we teach different skills, work on different aspects of the game, and have a lot of fun. Regardless of skill level, everybody has room to grow so we can all work on basic skills together in the fall. We also have chiller tournaments with other schools to meet new teams, play, and have a good time,” Hartnett says.

Even though there are no home games for the women’s ultimate frisbee team, be sure to follow their season and possibly even join. You never know, even if you have never picked up a frisbee in your life, under the leadership of Hartnett and Gillett, along with being surrounded by a warm, welcoming, and enthusiastic group of girls, you might just find yourself on a plane traveling to compete a sport at a national level.

Frisbee player gets ready to make a pass. MADDY SMITH/THE BATES STUDENT

Frisbee player gets ready to make a pass. MADDY SMITH/THE BATES STUDENT

Men’s Cross Country Places Third at NESCACs, Makes Bid for NCAA Championships

In the last three years, the members of the men’s cross country team have been seventh at the NESCAC Championship meet. This year, however, things were different. Bates hosted NESCACs and the team ran one of their best races of the season, placing third overall.

Saturday, October 28 was an unseasonably warm day at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, Maine when the gun went off, which signaled the start of the race. One-hundred and fifty men surged forward, beginning the 8k course in a whirlwind of movement and excitement.

Zach Magin ‘18 led the way for Bates, placing sixth overall and completing the race in 25:32.5. Following him were Ben Tonelli ‘18 in 16th (25:51.4), Ryan Betz ‘19 in 18th (25:53.4), Henry Colt ‘19 in 34th (26:19.1) and Stephen Rowe ‘18 in 35th (26.19.5). Justin Levine ‘20 (26:23.5) and Matt Morris ‘18 (26:55.1) each came in 37th and 69th respectively, backing up the core five runners. Magin will also earn First Team All-NESCAC honors for placing within the top seven runners.

“We had some outstanding performances out there,” said Head Men’s Cross Country Coach Al Fereshetian. “Zach Magin is a leader who stepped up and gave us a great presence at the front of the race and the team really rallied behind him. All the guys really did a super job.”

Amherst won their first NESCAC title in the 34-year history of the meet with an overwhelming victory (35); Middlebury finished second (66). The difference between third, fourth and fifth place was much closer. Bates placed third (109), Connecticut College followed in fourth (115) and Williams finished in fifth (126). Although Conn. College had two runners place second and third, the Bobcats were able to overcome them with solid teamwork and effort throughout the race, running in packs and surging together at the end in order to cut down Bates’ point total.

“Watching that combination of Stephen Rowe, Henry Colt and [Justin Levine]…they probably made up a six point difference in our score right at the end of the meet in the last 100m. That’s been the trademark of our team all year, the depth,” Coach Fereshetian said.

Bates beat Connecticut College by six points; every point matters in a cross country race, and with this in mind, the men’s team did everything they had to do to finish third.

“Over the course of this season, we’ve had this great energy” Colt said. “We just have this positivity and belief in ourselves that really helped us out. Zach always said we need to believe in ourselves and I think we did that really well today.”

This is the best that Bates has placed since tying with Bowdoin for second in 2011. The NESCAC is one of the most competitive athletic conferences in the nation and Bates has only finished in the top three spots four times in the last twenty years.

To further build upon this victory, Bates has not had a win over Williams since placing 6th at the NCAA Championships in 2012, beating them by almost 100 points. Williams has won 16 out of the 34 NESCAC Championships meets held to date; this is the first time that Bates has defeated the cross country powerhouse at NESCACs in over two decades.

“It was a really great race,” Rowe said. “We came in being ranked fifth in this region and beat our ranking. Coming in third in the NESCAC is really huge for us. I think it says a lot about our team and how well our season is coming together that we did so well in such a phenomenal field.”

Following this meet, the men’s cross country team will compete at the NCAA Regional Championships in Gorham Maine on November 11.

“[Regionals] is a whole different race and a whole different day. But this certainly should be a confidence booster for us. Amherst and Middlebury were a good bit in front of us, but I still believe that we can run closer to them. That will be our objective, to narrow that gap,” said Coach Fereshetian.

At Regionals, the Bobcats will set out to prove that they deserve to compete at the NCAA Division III Championships at Principia College in Elsah, Illinois.

Zach Magin '18 kicks in to finish sixth overall at the NESCAC Championships. BREWESTER BURNS/BATES COLLEGE

Zach Magin ’18 kicks in to finish sixth overall at the NESCAC Championships. BREWESTER BURNS/BATES COLLEGE

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