The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Author: Vanessa Paolella Page 1 of 3

Swim & Dive Pounces on Panthers

The Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving teams came out strong in their first meet since the start of winter break, each team solidly beating Middlebury last Sunday, Jan. 13, in the Panther’s home pool. This marks Bates’s fifth victory over a NESCAC opponent this season, each team having only lost to Div. I Dartmouth earlier this season. The Bobcats will be back in action this weekend, swimming two dual meets against Bowdoin on Friday, Jan. 18 at home in Tarbell Pool at 7 p.m. and at Colby in Waterville, Maine on the 19.


The Men’s Swim and Dive team won a decisive victory against Middlebury 192-102, taking first in nine of the 14 individual events and both relays. Additionally, Bates dominated the 200-yard freestyle, going 1-2-3 in this event to earn 16 points, almost doubling their point total in one fell swoop at the conclusion of the third event.

First-year Andrew Hall ‘22 placed first in the 100-yard butterfly (53.76) and 400-yard individual medley (IM) (4:15.30) and second in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:00.69), earning the most individual points by any one swimmer for Bates at 22.

However, this meet was won by many spectacular performances by various athletes. Alex Bedard ‘19 earned two first place finishes in the 200-yard freestyle (1:47.51) and 200-yard breaststroke (2:11.30). Jack Johnson ‘22 similarly found success in this meet, placing first in the 200-yard butterfly (2:00.94) and second in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:13.29) and 400-yard IM (4:16.62).

Rory Collins ‘19 sprinted to a first place finish in the 50-yard freestyle in a mark of 22.16 and received a second place finish in the 100-yard freestyle (48.77). Pieter Cory ‘22 similarly won first in the 100-yard breaststroke and earned a second place finish in the 500-yard freestyle.

Rounding out these numerous individual performances were Tanner Fuller ‘20 with his win in the 100-yard freestyle (48.39), Daniel Waterland ‘22 in the 100-yard backstroke (53.33) and second place finishes by Alexander Ignator ‘20 in the 1650-yard freestyle (16:56.31), Kyle Jorgensen ‘22 in the 200-yard freestyle (1:47.60) and Matt Puckace ‘19 in the 100-yard butterfly (54.37).

The two wins in each of the relays were similarly critical to the team’s success. In the 200-yard medley relay, composed of Waterland, Bedard, Hall and Fuller, Bates won with a final time of 1:36.89; the 200-yard freestyle relay of Cory, Collins, Waterland, and Fuller beat three competing Middlebury teams in 1:27.56, ending the meet with a final victory.

This year, the men’s swim and dive team welcomed two divers into their midst. In both the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events, Ossie Heard and Sam Poulos picked up points, placing second (208.35/210.53) and third (152.40/151.28) in each, respectively.

“We are right in the middle of our toughest stretch of meets with rivals Bowdoin and Colby coming up this week, so we will have to be at our very best to secure two wins for the men,” Collins said. “Bowdoin is our biggest rival and the meets are always extremely close between us…Bowdoin is a very talented team so I am hoping we can get a big home crowd to show up for our senior night and we can deliver a win. Once again our divers will be crucial in this meet and I am confident that they will come ready to give it their all.”


The Women’s Swim and Dive team similarly overcame the Middlebury Panthers, but by a smaller margin of 163.5-130.5. Many of these points were hard fought, and the second, third, fourth, and fifth place finishes were much more critical to the success of the women’s team.

Leading the team in individual scoring was Erin Bucki ‘21 who won both the 200-yard freestyle (1:58.62) in an outside lane and the 200-yard backstroke (2:10.22) and Emmy Daigle ‘20 who won the 100-yard breaststroke (1:07.71) and the 200-yard breastroke (2:29.72). Each of these swimmers earned 18 individual points for Bates.

Also playing a key role in Bates’ victory was Hannah Johnson ‘20, winning the 100-yard backstroke (1:00.30) and placing second in the 200-yard backstroke (2:10.29), first-year Saskia Wong-Smith earning a first place finish in the 200-yard butterfly (2:15.19) and a second place mark in the 100-yard butterfly (1:00.34), and first-year Caroline Sweeney who similarly took first in the 100-yard freestyle (54.70) and second in the 200-yard freestyle (1:58.80), outpacing a Middlebury swimmer in the last few seconds of the race.

Caroline Apathy ‘21 placed first in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 59.04. Maya Reynoso Williams ‘22 earned second in the 1550-yard freestyle (18:25.74) and in the 500-yard freestyle (5:19.62). Amy Duren ‘20 placed second in the 200-yard butterfly (2:15.29).

While Bates may have lost the first relay of the meet, the 200-yard medley, to Middlebury by less than 0.30 seconds, they finished the meet off with an exciting performance in the 200-yard freestyle relay composed of Suzy Ryckman ‘19, Janika Ho ‘21, Sweeney, and Apathy. These swimmers won the relay with a time of 1:39.52, a brisk 0.14 seconds in front of Middlebury.

“The season has been going really well for us,” team captain Madeline Moburg ‘19 commented. “We are a very young group this year, with ten first years and seven sophomores on a 28 person team. This has made things super fun as there is a lot of energy on the team, and we have a lot of depth which certainly helps us to win meets. We had a blast in Florida on our annual training trip and put in a lot of hard work, and are ready for the next couple of dual meets this weekend before we start focusing on our big end-of-season meets.”

Unfortunately, the women’s swim and dive team does not currently include any diving members, so the two diving events were forfeited to Middlebury, giving them 32 points without contest.

“Bowdoin will be the toughest meet of the semester for both the women’s and men’s teams,” captain Catherine Mullen ‘19 said. “Without divers we are going to swim our best and secure as many top finishes as we can. As it is our last home meet of the season and the senior meet, it is sure to be exciting at Tarbell this Friday at 7pm.”

Men’s Track & Field Comes Down to Wire with MIT

The men’s track and field team set a high standard in their first meet of the season against MIT and Colby, placing second to MIT with a tight score of 149-140. This disparity of nine points marks what is likely the best performance Bates has shown at this annual meet against MIT.

Miles Nabritt ‘21 (left) won the 400 m dash in a time of 52.08 seconds. Mark Fusco ‘19 (right) took second in the 600 m and anchored the winning 4×800 m team

This meet was highly suspenseful; both teams traded off the lead for much of the meet, making every point earned on the track and in the field vital to the tight finish.

The highest total point scorer of the team was junior captain Brendan Donahue ‘20 with a total of 16 points earned on both the track, placing first in the 60 m hurdles (9.06), and in the field with a second place finish in the long jump (6.42 m) and a fourth place finish in the high jump (1.82 m).

Ryan Nealis ‘21 ran one of the most stunning races of the meet in the mile, placing first with a time of 4:21.72. Taking the lead in one of the final few laps, he pressed the pace and earned himself a two-second lead by the finish. Additionally, Nealis ran the 800 m placing second (2:00.84) followed closely by Jackson Elkins ‘22 in third (2:00.96).

“Ryan Nealis [ran an] excellent mile, [got a] huge PR [and] beat a very talented All-American runner from MIT,” Head Coach Al Fereshetian commented. “Great double coming back and [he] nearly pulled off the double win considering his competitors in the 800 m were all fresh.”

In the short sprints, Ryan Corley ‘19 played a key role in earning Bates 13 points, placing first in the 60 m dash (7.23) and second in the 200m dash (23.30). In the 400m, Miles Nabritt ‘21 won a convincing race in 52.08 seconds, 1.42 seconds faster than second place. Mark Fusco ‘19 earned second place in the 600 m, running a time of 1.26.76.

In the throws, John Rex ‘21 led the way for the Bobcats with a second place finish in the weight throw (16.77 m) and a third place finish in the shot put (14.44 m). Both of these events had some of the largest fields of contestants in the meet, with 12 and 13 throwers respectively. Quin Trent ‘22 scored Bates points in the triple jump with a second place mark of 10.81.

In the 1000 m, John Mieszczanski ‘22 ran a time of 2:36.19 to place second in the event. Closely following this race was the 3000 m race, the only distance event of the meet. In this race, Bart Rust ‘22 and James Jones ‘20 crossed the finish line together in third (8:57.33) and fourth (8:58.21) places respectively.

Bates finished off a strong meet with an exciting set of relay races. The Bobcats fell to MIT in the 4×400 m, finishing in 3:37.18 composed of Nabritt, Frank Fusco ‘19, Liam Evans ‘22, and Elijah Coyne ‘21. In the last relay of the meet, the 4×800 m team of Christopher Barker ‘21, Elkins, Mieszczanski and Mark Fusco, the cheering from Bates was deafening. Bates and MIT were neck and neck going into the last leg of the relay, run by Fusco, as Bates erupted with excitement. With Fusco confidently taking the lead, MIT hung on for a time and then dropped off perceptively as Bates went on to win the race in 8:17.10 to MIT’s 8:25.11.

Overall, Bates preformed spectacularly in this meet; this success is even more apparent in comparison to last year’s meet, where Bates was unable to earn a single point in the 60 m and 200 m dashes and the high jump.

“It’s good to see so much young talent developing on the team,” team captain Mark Fusco said. “I think it helped us at MIT and it’s likely going to be our team’s greatest strength later in the season.”

In meets involving only three participating teams, points can only be earned by the top two runners from each school, differing from other types of scoring which focuses more heavily on placement regardless of team affiliation.

“This was a very good start for us,” Coach Fresh said. “Generally MIT doubles our score in this meet…This scoring system does have the effect of keeping the meet close; however, MIT does not currently have the depth they have had in previous years, so it may have played to their advantage a bit.”

Swim & Dive Tally Two NESCAC Wins: Men’s Team Dominated Wesleyan and Trinity, Women Win Meet in Final Relay

The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams competed against Wesleyan University and Trinity College in their first meet of the year on Nov. 17 at Wesleyan. Bates came out on top against both teams, starting the season on a strong note against two NESCAC teams. Bates will compete against two more NESCAC teams for the Maine state title on Nov. 30, 6:30 p.m. at Bowdoin College.

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Field Hockey Tops Endicott with Strong Second Half, Falls to No. 1 Middlebury

While many students went home, visited family, or traveled with friends over October break, the field hockey team stayed at Bates to play some of their final games of the season.

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Alumni Update: Julia Rafferty ‘14

While many student-athletes at Bates graduate ready to leave behind the hectic schedule of a student-athlete, Julia Rafferty ‘14 had no such intention. Now, more than four years after graduation, Rafferty continues to structure her life around the collegiate-athlete schedule, but this time as an assistant coach for the women’s soccer team at Tufts University.

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Men’s Rugby Kicks Season Off 52-19 Against MMA

The Bates men’s rugby team solidly defeated Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) 52-19 last Saturday, Sept. 16, at Garcelon Field. While this was the first game of the season and the first rugby game played by some on the team, the Bobcats’ fitness, teamwork, and skill carried them to a strong victory over MMA, who they lost against last year.

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Men’s Field Athletes Lead Bates to a Fifth Place Finish at NESCAC Championships

The men’s track and field team competed at the NESCAC Championships last Saturday, April 28 at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. The Bobcats placed fifth out of 11 teams, with the field athletes earning all but a few of Bates’ total points.

Bates earned 78 points total, losing only to Middlebury (172), Williams (140), Tufts (137) and Bowdoin (110). Out of the 78 total points scored by Bates, 72 were scored in field events. In total, Bates left the meet with eight All-NESCAC honors, earned by placing in the top three of each event, and two NESCAC champions.

Adedire Fakorede ‘18 earned 24 points for the team with three top-three finishes in the throws. Fakorede won the discus throw for the second year in a row with a throw of 160-7 (ft), placed second in the hammer throw with a mark of 173-4 and third in the shot put with a throw of 49-3.75.

In one of the most remarkable outcomes from this meet, Bates took first and second in the pole vault with not one, but two Bobcats vaulting the winning mark of 15’5”. Garrett Anderson ‘18 earned the conference title and David Dick ‘18 took second place, earning a solid 18 points for Bates.

“My mind is just blown,” Anderson says. “It was the first outdoor meet where the weather was good for us this year, which can be really important in the vault, but I didn’t expect to jump quite so well. For me to meet my PR from last year and David to come out and have a ridiculous one foot PR jump to tie me was just not something that I could believe would happen. All of the Bates vaulters had a really great day, and I think we capitalized on that energy well.”

Head Coach Al Fereshetian “Fresh” agreed: “The vaulters were amazing. I knew they could do well, but I never imagined a 1-2 sweep at 15’5”. David and Rett have established themselves as the best vault duo in Bates history.”

In the high jump, Beaufils Kimpolo-Pene ‘20 placed second with a season-best mark of 6’6”, only two inches lower than first and four inches higher than third.

Two first-years from Bates, John Rex ‘21 and Zack Smith ‘21 earned All-NESCAC honors in the hammer throw and javelin throw respectively. Rex threw a personal record of 171-7, earning him third place in the event. Smith similarly hit a personal record in the javelin with a mark of 168-1, also earning him third place.

Other scorers in the field include Tom Endean ‘18 who placed fourth in the discus throw (140-2), Tyler Harrington ‘19 placing fifth in the javelin (167-7) and Caleb Stotz ‘18 placing eighth in the triple jump (42-2.25).

“I do think that having the head coach directly involved in the throws and vault specifically is a big factor [in the success of Bates’s field events], and it shows,” Anderson says. That being said, we have a really great coaching staff on all sides.”

On the track, Bates’s 4x800m team comprised of Ian Wax ‘19, Jonathan Sheehan ‘19, Ryan Nealis ‘21 and Jack Kiely ‘18, placed sixth with a time of 8:04.86. The 4x400m team, run by Ryan Corley ‘19, Michael Somma ‘19, Mark Fusco ‘19 and Rob Flynn ‘18, earned seventh place with a time of 3:25.46, and the 4x100m team of Michael Bennett ‘18, Corley, Kimpolo-Pene and Frank Fusco ‘19, placed eighth in 43.94. Each of these relay teams received points which contributed to Bates’ total score.

However, even with Bates’ solid fifth place at NESCACs, Coach Fresh says that Bates was holding back.

“I think it was a great meet for our entire team and it should set us up very nicely to be even more competitive as a team this weekend at the New England Championships,” Coach Fresh says. “We had a great meet two weeks ago at States, but it’s hard to put strong efforts together three weeks in a row so we rested some guys and let others run in other races for developmental reasons this past weekend knowing that we had a sizable point base to start with, but not likely enough to contend for the title.”

For many athletes, the NESCAC Championship will be the end of their outdoor track and field season. However, others will continue on to compete this week, May 3-5, at the New England Division III Championships hosted by MIT in Cambridge, Mass.   

From Practical to Weird: Supersitions in Sports

If you talk to any athlete at Bates, you’ll find that each has their own unique pre-competition routine. While many of these actions are practical and are done out of necessity, others may seem odd and nonsensical. People in all walks of life hold personal superstitions. However, athletes may be the most fanatical of them all.

For most athletes, these superstitions seem to develop out of small habits: what they eat, the music they listen to, and the way they prepare their gear before a game. Then, what once was an unmentionable routine begins to take on a new significance, something that may even border on spiritual.

Even as athletes recognize the futility of these actions, they often continue to follow these customs until they are either forcibly broken, or when there is a significant change in the athlete’s life, such as the transition from high school to collegiate sports. Yet, it would be erroneous to believe that personal superstitions remain unchanged over the years.

Three-time All-American Katherine Cook ’18, a member of both the cross country and track teams, says that her pre-race routine and superstitions are always changing, though some have remained the same.

Before a race, Cook notes that she always has to have at least one coffee, drink water with several dissolved electrolyte tablets, and eat a banana an hour before her race “every single time.” Additionally, she makes sure to add a downward-dog stretch to the usual warm up routine and wish everyone at the start line good luck.

“Sometimes, I think of some kind of mantra before running. Depending on what I think my biggest struggle at the moment is, if I’m feeling extra nervous about the race, my mantra might be ‘courage,’ which I would repeat over and over before racing.”

While many of these current habits may seem practical and useful for settling nerves, she explains they have not always been this way.

“One of my earliest traditions was that I had to wear a pair of bright-green, leopard-print spandex under my uniform, and I did that every single [race]. I was on a relay, and my coach said ‘you can’t wear those, because you don’t match,’ and I basically panicked. [I said to myself] ‘How am I going to run without these bright green leopard print spandex…’ That was my first time diverging from my superstitions.”

Similarly, Brianna Karboski ’21, a member of both the cross country and ice hockey teams, says that she feels compelled to re-tape her hockey stick before every game, whether it needs it or not.

“Before a hockey game, I always re-do the tape on my hockey stick, because I think that I play better and handle the puck better with fresh tape. The tape job has to be perfect. If it’s not, then I get super anxious.”

For her, this simple superstition has continued for years: “I got serious about re-taping my hockey stick probably about three hockey seasons ago. I would practice handling a ball with my hockey stick, and I just liked doing it with new tape rather than old tape.”

No matter how strange or impractical these habits may be, each holds a special significance to the person who practices them: championships won, personal accomplishments, and mental preparedness, to name a few. There may be little to no science backing the validity of these actions; however, what matters most is that people believe in them and, in turn, themselves. This sense of comfort can be invaluable to anyone.


Bates Water Polo: Wild, Wet, and Fun

It is important to recognize that not all athletes at Bates compete under the NCAA Division III banner. Last year, the Bates women’s water polo team, a club sport, succeeded at defeating all the teams in Maine during a weekend tournament held at Bates’s own Tarbell Pool, earning them the title of Maine State Champions. This year, the team is coming back with a splash, as experienced team members and beginners alike come together for some fun competition in the pool.

The women’s water polo team began informal practices in February; however, they were not able to begin using the pool until after February break. Now, with access to the pool, a normal day of practice for them may include dry land work, swim sets, and general water polo skills such as dribbling, shooting, defense, and practicing formations. All of these skills are brought together during scrimmages, which are held every Friday.

On March 3-4, the women’s water polo team competed in their first two-day tournament at Yale University, where they proudly beat Bowdoin in an exhibition match 5-0. This tournament proved challenging for the women’s water polo team, because they only had five days of practice in the pool preceding this event.

“The way our schedule worked out coming back from February break, we had done some really casual team runs and team lifts… but we don’t have pool time until after February break, and so we only had literally five days of practice before our first tournament,” team captain Ashley Kulesza ‘18 says.

This would be tough for any member of the team, no matter their experience level. However, as many of the team members this year are beginners, it proved especially challenging.

“When you’re coming in with a young roster with a lot of beginners who don’t necessarily know the sport… it’s really rough getting in your first game and not really knowing what to do or what to expect,” Kulesza says. “As much as we had this barrier, I’m really proud of how it all happened. I saw so much talent and hustle that weekend that I’m really excited for our next few tournaments, and having these weeks to actually practice and get some experience and game time in scrimmages will really help our outcomes and record, I think.”

It is interesting to note that the women’s water polo team does not have a coach. Instead, team captains come together to discuss expectations for the team and help teach beginners. As a club team, this sport is meant to be competitive, but also fun. Since there is no coach, captains and team members with relevant experience are instructional during training.

“Sam Tyler is our varsity athlete swimmer who has been really great stepping up and helping us really focus on [our technique],” Kulesza says. “You swim on a swim team, and it’s about time, but you swim in a water polo game, and it’s about being fast, but also about swimming smart. She’s been really awesome about coaching us through how to swim smart and to get in shape for water polo.”

Water polo is a tough sport. Swimming and treading are important, but these tasks take on a whole new level of difficulty when one must also maneuver the ball around the pool and into the net.

“If you’re not an aggressive person or a strong swimmer, just that physicality of the sport can be tough for people,” Kulesza says. “I think that’s the most difficult aspect, but it’s also a really fine aspect if you get into it and have that mentality.”

The women’s water polo team is always open to new people who would like to try out the sport. Practices are held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in Tarbell Pool Tuesday through Thursday, and team scrimmages are on Friday at 5:30.

“Anyone who is interested can just show up any day and hop in with us,” says co-captain Margaret “Meg” Robinson ‘18. “All it takes is a swimsuit and little toughness, and we can teach you how to play!”

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