The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Author: Griffin Golden (Page 3 of 3)

Tennis drops weekend slate at Middlebury

The Bates men’s and women’s tennis teams visited Middlebury on Saturday. Facing the number-three and -six teams in the country respectively, the Bobcats did not fare as well as they hoped. Both teams lost 9-0 to the Panthers.

The men’s match, played in the morning, took place indoors in the state of the art Duke Nelson Recreation Center. The most exciting match of the morning was at the No. 1 between Bates star Ben Rosen ’18 and Noah Farrell. After Farrell dominated the first set with a 6-0 win, Rosen fired back and took the second set 6-3. The final set of the match seemingly would not end, as Farrell pulled away with a hard fought 13-11 set, and a match victory. Although he took the loss, Rosen’s close effort against top competition is promising for the future. In doubles, Pat Ordway ’17 and Fergus Scott ’18 of Bates lost to Palmer Campbell and Hamid Derbani, 8-6. The number 22 Bates men’s team is now 2-4 on the season. Battle tested against some of the best teams in the country including the defending champions (Claremont), the rest of the season should be much easier for the Bobcats. Expect the team to pick up some big wins in conference play. Bates will face Swarthmore this Friday at 7 pm.

The weather was picture perfect as the Bobcat women took the court for their afternoon match on the Proctor Tennis Courts. The Panthers set the tone early by only losing two games in three doubles victories. In singles play, Bates top seed Maisie Silverman ’18 was able to win two games in the first set against Ria Gerger, but ended up losing the match 6-2, 6-0. At number two singles, Elizabeth Erbafina ’17 lost 6-3, 6-1. The Bobcats are now 3-3 on the season, and will be back in action Friday afternoon.

Both teams will travel to the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia for the Blue-Grey Tennis Invitational. It will be a full weekend of tennis as each team is slated to compete in three matches. The men’s team will play Swarthmore, Mary Washington, and Johns Hopkins. The women’s team will play Mary Washington as well, along with Case Western Reserve and TCNJ. Hopefully the Bobcats will pick up some much-needed wins as the season gets into full swing.

 

Ahmed Abdel Khalek wins second straight College Squash Association national title

Sunday was truly a great day to be a Bobcat. Ahmed Abdel Khalek, a senior squash player from Cairo, Egypt, has made the Bates community proud by taking home his second consecutive College Squash Association national championship trophy. The senior extended his winning streak to 66 by defeating Rochester’s Ryosei Kobayashi in the final match. The four-time NESCAC player of the year has only lost twice in his storied career.

Coming out of high school, Abdel Khalek was ranked as the number six junior squash player in the world. Several Ivy League schools and squash powerhouses recruited him, but after a visit his senior year, he decided to apply Early Decision One to Bates. The rest is history.

When asked what makes Abdel Khalek such a great player, Coach Patrick Cosquer responded by saying, “Ahmed is a superior squash talent. He has tremendous skill and ability, and his court coverage and knowledge and sense of the game is unmatched. He’s a fierce competitor who is intensely focused on playing his best each and every time he steps on the court.”

Abdel Khalek competed in the College Squash Association Individual Championships, which features the top 16 players in the country. The tournament was held at the beautiful Chelsea Piers facility in Stamford, Connecticut. As the defending champion, Abdel Khalek was the top seed in the pool division. However, his path to the national championship was by no means easy, especially after battling an illness the week prior. Coach Cosquer said that Abdel Khalek’s early matches helped him prepare for victory in the final match.

Abdel Khalek’s first match of the tournament was on Friday against Rochester’s Neil Cordell. The win was a clean sweep for the All-American (11-6, 13-11, 11-5). The next victory was against St. Lawrence’s Moustafa Bayoumy. Abdel Khalek finished him off in a hard-fought five-game match. Abdel Khalek was given little rest, as he faced Trinity’s Rick Penders later that day. Trinity historically dominates squash and is known as the most successful team in intercollegiate sports. Still, Abdel Khalek proved to be unfazed by Trinity’s prestige. After dropping the first game of the match, he won three straight to close out it out in four games.

The stage was now set for an exhilarating final match between Abdel Khalek and Rochester’s Ryosei Kobayashi. Kobayashi is a junior and two-time First Team All-American. This pairing was a rematch of last year’s semifinals, which Abdel Khalek won on his way to his first national championship. The first game of Sunday’s match began with a series of long points between the two competitors. The crowd watched in awe as two of the best players in the country went at it. Abdel Khalek cruised to an 11-5 win in the first game. Undeterred, Kobayashi came out in the second game firing on all cylinders. He started out the game up 4-0 and eventually closed it out 11-6. With the match tied at 1-1, game three will go down in the college squash history books.

Kobayashi once again started out strong, but Abdel Khalek was able to climb back after key mistakes from the Trinity superstar. After Kobayashi tied the game at 11-11 with an incredible volley crosscourt, Abdel Khalek went down with a knee injury. The Bobcat community held their collective breath as their star spewed blood all over the court. But Coach Cosquer was not concerned. “In 91 matches as a Bobcat, Ahmed has never been forced to retire, so I was not worried,” he said. After a 15-minute break, the match continued.

Then, with the game tied at 13-13, Kobayashi injured his hand in a collision. Another 15-minute injury timeout ensued. After play resumed, Abdel Khalek won two straight points to win the game 15-13. The fourth and final game of the match came down to the wire. Abdel Khalek won the last two points to finish the game 13-11 and collect his second straight national championship trophy.

Coach Cosquer had high praise for his star player, and feels positive about the future of the squash program. “Coaching Ahmed has taught me a lot about myself as a coach, and this experience has solidified my goals and motivations for our squash program at Bates moving forward,” he said. “Ahmed has given me and Bates Squash much more than I have given him, and we have been fortunate to share four years together. We will be inextricably linked through our experiences here at Bates, and I look forward to helping him succeed in life as an adult after Bates.”

Skiing excels at Dartmouth Carnival

The fourth Alpine Skiing Carnival of the season for Bates skiing featured some of the best competition in the world. Members of the United and Swiss national teams joined powerhouses Dartmouth, New Hampshire, Vermont, and 10 other colleges at the historic Winter Carnival race in Hanover, New Hampshire. The Bobcats held their own in the face of elite competition, and showed why they are considered one of the best programs in the country.

A ski carnival features two days of competition; racers compete in the giant slalom on Friday, and in the slalom on Saturday. The day began early on Friday, as most racers were up before 6 AM.  Freshmen Matt Glasgow described the conditions as very icy, which combined with the flat hill made life hard for the racers. On this particular course, the pitch was a crucial section, because it provided the necessary speed for the flat zones.

Freshmen Max Slash, Peter Fordyce, and Glasgow, and senior Tanner Dirstine all struggled with the pitch in one of their two runs. Freshmen Michael Cooper and senior Chris Bradbury were the standouts for the Bobcats. Cooper, coming off of the best weekend of his career at Burke Mountain, kept his strong season going by coming in 49th place among all racers. Bradbury finished right behind him in 50th place.

The women’s team also had a good day. Junior Kelsey Chenoweth, who competed in the NCAA Championship last season, finished in 13th place. Chenoweth beat several members of the United and Swiss National teams, finishing just 2.44 seconds behind the winner. Sophomores Sierra Ryder and Hannah Johnson finished in 23rd and 25th respectively.

Could the Bobcats keep this momentum going in the second day of competition? The men’s team struggled a little. as Glasgow, Bradbury, and Dirstine all were unable to finish their first run. However, Cooper once again paced Bates with 53rd-place finish. Lash and Fordyce brought their names back to the leaderboard, finishing in 56th and 62nd respectively. Sandro Simonet of Sweden finished first out of all racers with a 0.98 second gap. 0.98 seconds may not seem like very much, but in the skiing world it’s an eternity.

Chenoweth again led the women in the slalom, finishing in tenth-place. Ryder and Johnson also repeated their Friday showings with a pair of top 25 finishes. University of Vermont superstar Lauren Germain dominated the field, racing three seconds faster than any other competitor. Germain is ranked in top 20 in the world. Bates ended up finishing fourth out of 13th teams in the slalom.

The Bobcats will have little time to recover, because they will be participating in the Williams Carnival this weekend.

Bernie or Hillary?

Recently I attended a talk at Bates by University of Rochester Professor Dr. Joshua Dubler titled, “Why Not Prison Abolition?” Dubler advocated for the absolute abolition of all prisons in the United States. But his position is not necessarily based on some kind of moral objection to the idea of prisons. Instead, he feels the only way to make incremental prison reform is to take a severe position. Surprisingly, attending this talk has actually helped inform my view on the Democratic Primary race.

This will be my first ever Presidential primary election, and I’m totally conflicted. On one hand, I like Bernie Sanders’ ideological commitment and passion. But I sometimes doubt his ability to implement any of his ambitious agenda. Hillary Clinton is not as exciting of a candidate, but her pragmatic and compromising approach to politics is intriguing.

Maybe also I’ve had trouble because there really isn’t that much of a difference between the two candidates. Despite some of the disagreements that the candidates themselves have raised in recent debates, both Sanders and Clinton are progressives. The New York Times reported that they voted the same way 93% of the time in the two years they were both in the Senate. Sanders certainly falls farther to the left than Clinton, but they agree on almost all of the core issues.

That being said, having a lens into Dubler’s thought process has helped make clear the distinction between the two candidates for me. Any rational person understands that their Commons crush will notice them long before Congress ever passes Bernie’s free college program. Not to mention single payer healthcare. But maybe there is a deeper strategy to the Vermont Senator’s tactics. Maybe he, like Dubler, believes the only way to even make incremental reform is to take the extreme position.

Clinton, on the other hand, has cast herself as the reasonable, and more practical candidate. She said in the last debate, “I want to imagine a country where people’s wages reflect their hard work, where we have healthcare for everyone, and where every child gets to live up to his or her potential.” This sounds almost identical to what we hear Sanders say on a regular basis, but Clinton continues by saying, “and I’m not making promises that I cannot keep.” Clinton claims she wants everything that Bernie advocates for, but adds in a touch of reality. She believes this compromising approach is the best way to get Congress to actually do something.

In a time of unprecedented Congressional gridlock, progressives have a serious dilemma. How do we go about pushing reform? Is it better to take the centrist position? Or is the only way to make small changes to advocate for extreme changes? This is what is at stake in the race for the Democratic nomination.

Which candidate has the better political philosophy? I’m not really sure yet. But I do know that the race is heating up after a virtual tie in Iowa and a big win for Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire. Although it looks like Clinton has the advantage in most of the remaining states, Sanders has been shockingly successful. This is going to come down to the wire. Luckily, I have a couple of months to decide.

Men’s basketball drops weekend games to Amherst and Trinity

The Bates men’s basketball team took two tough losses this weekend against NESCAC foes, Trinity and Amherst. Two of the top teams in the conference, the Bantams and Lord Jeff’s, proved to be a little too much for the Bobcats to handle. The Bobcats played Amherst in front of a packed Alumni Gym on Friday night.

The game began with a resounding dunk by junior forward Marcus Delpeche to put Bates up 2-0 just two seconds into the game. After seeing his twin throw it down, junior Malcolm Delpeche was excited. “It was actually a tip-off play drawn up by coach,” Malcolm said, “we felt pretty good after it worked exactly as planned.”

Despite a barrage of long jumpers from Amherst sophomore guard Johnny McCarthy, Bates kept the game close for the rest of the first half. McCarthy channeled his inner Stephen Curry by hitting a buzzer beating 30-footer to put Amherst up 41-33 at halftime.

Amherst began the second half on an 18-6 run, which put the Bobcats in an extremely difficult hole. However, Bates did not give up and put up a fight against the number 11 ranked team in the country. Junior guard Jerome Darling provided great energy off the bench, showcasing his playmaking and shooting ability. Malcolm Delpeche protected the paint and used his length to block two shots. Senior captain Mike Boornazian provided four rebounds, two steals, and 17 points.

First-year Nick Lynch drives through the Trinity defense. Alison Mackay/The Bates Student

First-year Nick Lynch drives through the Trinity defense. ALISON MACKAY/THE BATES STUDENT

The Jeffs showed why they are one of the best teams in the country, using their size advantage and sharpshooting to win 88-69. Sophomores and Jayde Dawson led the way for Amherst. Dawson scored 22 points, collected two rebounds, and dished out eight assists. McCarthy scored 20 of his 25 points in the first half, and had a game-high 13 rebounds.

Bates had little time to recover from Friday’s loss, because the Trinity Bantams traveled to Lewiston on Saturday. The Bobcats had extra motivation for this game because Trinity sent them home last season in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. Unfortunately, this attempt at revenge had to be postponed three hours, because Trinity’s 235-pound junior Ed Ogundeko, otherwise known as “Baby Shaq” shattered the backboard in warm-ups. Ogundeko is one of the elite big men in the NESCAC. Eager players and fans watched as the Bates custodial staff assembled a brand new backboard.

Honoring the seniors in their last home game, Bates looked extra hungry for a win when the game finally began. Coach John Furbush started all three seniors (Josh Britten, Boornazian, and Mike Newton) to pay homage to their successful Bobcat careers. But it was sophomore Justin Zukowski who was on fire Saturday evening. Zukowski drew two charges and splashed five threes en route to a career-high 19 points. Malcolm Delpeche said after the game, “He (Zukowski) was schwapping! I was really happy to see it, and it gave our team a big boost in the second half.”

Bates began the game strong, trailing by only four points at halftime. But after a three from captain Rick Naylor with 10:42 left in the second half, Trinity was up 56-33. Behind Zukowski’s energy off the bench, the Bobcats still battled and brought the game within 10 points with 3:32 remaining, as Boornazian, Newton, and Britten left it all out on the floor in their last game in Alumni Gymnasium. A win, however was not in the cards. Trinity came away with the 78-66 victory, led by senior Andrew Hurd.

Bates men’s basketball will finish out their regular season this week as they travel to Bowdoin on Tuesday and Williams on Sunday. They still have a chance at making the NESCAC playoff, but their fate is out of their hands.

Malcolm Delpeche is optimistic about their chances. “We just have to compete in our last two games, and hope the basketball gods are in our favor,” he said. Hopefully the Bobcats will make a return to the postseason.

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