The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Author: Vanessa Paolella Page 1 of 3

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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Bates Re-envisions Sports Medicine

It is hard not to notice some of the changes in the sports medicine department at Bates this year: new faces, new techniques and an explosion of activity evident to all who pass by the trainer’s room in Merrill.

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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!”

March Madness Bracket Palooza

Welcome to March, a time of dreary weather, academic struggles, and non-stop basketball. With the start of the NCAA Division I basketball tournament, commonly known as March Madness, on the horizon, many fans have begun to pore over season records and past championships to try and predict the outcomes of each of the 67 games played throughout the tournament.

The NCAA selection committee released the full list of the 68 eligible teams competing in March Madness last Sunday, March 11. Fans have a short window of opportunity, namely until the first game on Thursday, March 15, to create and submit their bracket predictions to any number of online pools, or in simple competition amongst friends.

Prediction methods vary hugely amongst fans and may include any combination of statistics, history and personal bias. Some have even been known to choose winners based on superficial characteristics, such as a team’s color or mascot. Others may simply choose to flip a coin or create elaborate and highly entertaining schemes involving their exotic pets. No method is foolproof, however, as no one person has yet to create a perfect bracket in the modern version of the tournament.

Ellie Strauss ‘21 says that she tends to take a pragmatic approach when creating her own bracket predictions. “I don’t have favorite teams, [although] I definitely have favorites between match-ups,” she explains. “If there’s a rivalry, like UNC and Duke, I have my favorite and I’m definitely more biased to pick them. But a lot of me goes into looking at what they did, especially in previous matchups. Duke has played UNC three or four times this season already, so you have to factor that in as well.”

The makeup of a team also factors highly into her decisions. Strauss will look at the seniority of a team’s players and how well they have worked together in the past. Additionally, team histories play a significant role in her selection process.

“I look at records as well as previous NCAA appearances,” she says. “For instance, if it’s a team first appearance at the NCAA tournament I’m less likely to choose them to win against a team that has been at the NCAA tournament a bunch of times…Then there’s a few teams that I know right off the bat who always win one or two rounds and then they’re done.”

Jaimin Keliihoomalu ‘21 tends to take a softer approach with his predictions; statistics may be useful in choosing the winners for the outer brackets, however the inner brackets are much more difficult, he says.

“It’s not about choosing who is going to win for the majority [of the games],” he says. “The higher seeds are going to win; now you just have to pick the upsets. You can guess every one of the first 32 games right, and you get all the points and all your teams move onto the next level. Then you can get all of the next ones wrong and you can lose. Every year, there are always upsets, there will always be upsets.”

When it comes down to these brackets, Keliihoomalu will look at who other people are choosing and go with his gut instinct.

“Sometimes you just know,” he says. “When you’ve been around sports long enough, you see how a team works, how it functions. It’s not something you can really point out…[but] you just know that this team is going to play really well against this team. In the end, it comes down to matchups.”

Justin Levine ‘20 is similarly enjoys choosing predicting brackets. His strategy? He first starts by picking his favorite team to win and then moves down from there. He tries to identify strong teams that are ranked higher than they should be as upset picks, focusing much of his time on the inner brackets.

Yet, Levine notes that his own personal preferences often drive his choices.

“[First], I usually pick my favorite team, which is Duke. Depending on the year, they are usually the team I pick to win…sometimes I pick teams based on whether I like the school or not.”

For most, March Madness is a time to get together with friends and family to enjoy one of their favorite sports.

“March Madness is a lot of fun,” Levine says. “My family has done a bracket every year since I was a little kid, so it’s just a really exciting time [for me]. I really love basketball.”

Justin Levine ’20 similarly enjoys predicting brackets. His strategy? He first starts by picking his favorite team to win and then moves down from there. He tries to identify strong teams that are ranked higher than they should be as upset picks, focusing much of his time on the inner brackets.

Yet, Levine notes that his own personal preferences often drive his choices.

“[First], I usually pick my favorite team, which is Duke. Depending on the year, they are usually the team I pick to win…sometimes I pick teams based on whether I like the school or not.”

For most, March Madness is a time to get together with friends and family to enjoy one of their favorite sports.

“March Madness is a lot of fun,” Levine says. “My family has done a bracket every year since I was a little kid, so it’s just a really exciting time [for me]. I really love basketball.”

 

Jessica Wilson ’17 Continues to Shine After College

For many athletes at the Division III level, graduation is the end of their competitive careers. Senior year is often seen as the last opportunity to achieve one’s athletic dreams. Yet, for some athletes, the love for their sport is simply too great to let go.

Five-time All-American Jessica Wilson ’17 has not only continued to run after graduation, she has done so exceptionally well, setting personal records, topping Division I athletes, and finishing mere seconds behind professional runners. She has done this all while living and working full-time in Boston.    

After graduating from Bates, Wilson moved to Cambridge, MA, where she began working as a research assistant for Boston University (BU). Here, she also joined a running group in Boston called the Heartbreakers and has continued training with the intention of racing a marathon in the spring with fellow Batesie Kallie Nixon ’14.

“Transitioning into what we term ‘the real world’ can be kind of scary and overwhelming at times,” Wilson says. “For me, running has always been my anchor, the sort of thing that I can always fall back on if other areas of my life aren’t going so well. I realized that running and competing with a group of people, having that camaraderie and support, is something that I really desire in my life.”

During her time at Bates, Wilson made a career out of breaking records. She currently holds the indoor 3000m (9:43.31) and the outdoor 1500m (4:27.33) and 5000m (16:57.09) records. Now after graduation, she continues to shatter her own personal records.

At BU’s Terrier Classic in January, she ran the 5000m in 16:19.45 on a banked track, placing second in a field of 48. Two weeks later, she raced the 3000m in BU’s Valentine Invitational and once more earned a huge personal record, running 9:27.52 and placing 13 out of 141 runners.

“It certainly isn’t always easy,” she says. “I find myself more tired than I did in college. Working forty hours a week and then trying to run before or after work can be quite a lot, but I’m happy with the decision that I made to continue running.”

Wilson also realizes that there may come a time in the future when she no longer feels this way. If she comes to that point, she says, she will reevaluate what she is doing. “To find that motivation, it can be hard at times, but it’s also something that I know makes me happy, and I know that I really care about it,” she says. “So for the time being, I’m continuing to run and compete. We’ll see if that continues for another two months [or] for another two years. It’s hard to say, but the nice thing about running is that, when you graduate, you can pick and choose what you want to do.”

Unsurprisingly, Wilson’s accomplishments after graduating from Bates are not just limited to the track. As a research assistant for the BU Department of Environmental Health, Wilson is helping to research the influence of metal contaminants on women’s health in different regions of Massachusetts. Additionally, she helps rephrase scientific information about research within the lab to make it more understandable for the public, community, and policy-makers.

“I really enjoy contributing to something that’s larger than myself and contributing towards something that hopefully will ultimately help women’s health in Massachusetts,” she says. “I find that sometimes my bosses tell me to slow down, because I do work too quickly, and the reason why is because the pace at Bates is just so rigorous and so demanding that you get used to that, which is absolutely invaluable.”

Her advice for current Bates students? “Take advantage of every opportunity you have at Bates,” she says. “You don’t realize until you leave that the ‘real world’ doesn’t have forty eight types of cereal coming out of a container in a wall. I haven’t found any of those yet.”

Wilson is a shining example of how one may continue to do the sport that they love post-Bates. It has not always been easy for her, but ask her about running, and she will tell you that she loves what she does. While she may not know what the future holds, for now she is content with running and will continue to do so as long as it makes her happy. Who knows what she may further achieve along the way?

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