On this week's Bates Bobcast, the men's basketball team picked up a big NESCAC win at home. Plus, a women's basketball reserve player had a game to remember and the track and field teams hosted the Bates Invitational, with terrific results. All that and more, on the Bates Bobcast!
Interviews this episode:
- 0:38 -- Meredith Melendy '21, Women's Basketball
- 3:39 -- Nick Lynch '19, Men's Basketball captain (Male Bobcat of the Week)
- 9:18 -- Katie Hughes '19, Women's Track and Field captain (Female Bobcat of the Week)
- 16:58 -- John Rex '21, Men's Track and Field
- 32:20 -- Madeline Moberg '19, Women's Swimming and Diving captain
- 37:58 -- Pat Cosquer '97, Squash Head Coach
Aaron: This is the Bates Bobcast. Our weekly podcast where we take a look at the week that was, in Bates athletics. My name is Aaron Morse and this week we take a look at the Bates men’s basketball team’s victory over Tufts. Plus, a women’s basketball reserve player had a game to remember and the track and field teams hosted the Bates Invitational, with terrific results. All that and more, coming up, on the Bates Bobcast!
Aaron: The Bates women’s basketball team has won three of its last four games. On Tuesday, the Bobcats defeated Norwich 65-50 behind a career-high 21 points from first-year Meghan Graff. Then on Thursday, Bates defeated UMaine-Farmington 95-43. The story of this game was sophomore Meredith Melendy. She came off the bench to score a career-high 18 points, drilling five threes along the way.
Aaron: O'Brien outside for Melendy for three. Yes. Three pointer, Meredith Melendy. And the Bobcats lead 71-35. 9:08 to go in the game.
Aaron: Bogue over to Melendy for three. Again! Melendyi! From deep. She's got seven and the Bobcats lead 76-35. 7:50 to go in this one.
Aaron: Graff on the move across the timeline. Right wing, Melendy, how about another three. Yes! Meredith Melendy, one more time.
Aaron: Shot clock at 10. It's Melendy on the other end for three. And this one rolls in. Melendy's got 13 and the Bobcats lead 88 to 36.
Aaron: Middlebrook on the move. Middlebrook to Melendy for three. One more time! Score it and the foul! Melendy will have a chance for a four-point play as she knocks down a three and was fouled on the shot and Melendy is just having an absolutely sensational game.
Aaron: After the game, Melendy joined the live broadcast.
Melendy: I shot when I was open, but I gotta give it to my teammates, because they passed me the ball and they had faith that I was going to hit it. So, yeah, we did a great job of just getting the job done today and everybody do what they had to do.
Aaron: So, you know, during the NESCAC games, it's a short rotation, you don't necessarily get in there that much. How valuable it is for you to get these minutes in these non-conference games like this?
Melendy: Yeah. It's definitely valuable. It feels great to be out there, playing with my teammates. Nothing's like a good game. It's definitely different than practice, so it was fun. It was good.
Aaron: How's it feel to be the leading scorer tonight? All players, 18 points.
Melendy: It feels great. It honestly just feels great to have a nice team win like this. I'm just so proud of my teammates. We played well today. We did what we had to do, yeah.
Aaron: All right. Meredith Melendy. A game high 18 points, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it.
Melendy: Thank you.
Aaron: In men’s basketball, Bates picked up a big NESCAC victory Saturday against Tufts, winning 76-65. It’s the third straight year the Bobcats have defeated the Jumbos. Juniors Tom Coyne and Jeff Spellman delivered big-time performances down the stretch, finishing with 18 and 16 points respectively. Meanwhile, senior captain Nick Lynch scored 20 of his game-high 22 points in the first half. He also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds….and Nick Lynch is our Male Bobcat of the Week!
Aaron: Well Nick, first of all, against Tufts, 20 points in the first half. What was really clicking for you out there?
Nick: I think it was a lot of the mid-range game. I think we knew going in how they played the screens was the pick and pop, so the coaching staff really represented that well and the mid-range game was following, so pieces worked in that part.
Aaron: Yeah, I saw you feeling, you were pretty confident out there. You even tried a three at one point, I saw, right?
Nick: Yeah. Yeah. We'll get there at some point. But, yeah.
Aaron: You were up against another guy about your height who was one of their top scorers. How'd that match-up end up faring?
Nick: It ended up being a good match-up. He's definitely a big guy. He was able to create a lot on the offensive end. They've made ... They actually ran most of their plays just to get him the ball in the post, so getting him in foul trouble is crucial, so I think a couple other players ended up going at him in the offensive end, which ended up taking him out. Then the second half, I didn't deal with the same thing, so it was kind of a give and take there. But he's a great offensive player.
Aaron: Yeah, you ended up dealing with some foul trouble in the second half. How about Spellman, Coyne, what they did down the stretch?
Nick: Yeah, they always produce down the stretch. The unbelievable show in there. The extra effort plays from those guys really what won the game.
Aaron: Do you guys feel that going in that was kind of a must-win?
Nick: Yeah, that was absolutely a must-win. Tufts, historically, we've always tended to beat them in the last couple years, so we knew that we match up well against them and that we needed to win this. We could play hard and then playing against Williams and Middlebury, the prior weekend I think we knew we had to earn ourselves and we can play and finally that we can show them, really we can take anyone down, so Tufts was kind of a must-win. I think we ended up putting it together and finally finishing the job.
Aaron: You know, slow start to the season. What's really come together in recent weeks that you guys are obviously playing much better now?
Nick: Yeah, I think the chemistry that we're trying to develop has just been something that consistently has gotten better and I think finally NESCAC play, it's really clicking. Obviously we're missing Coyne until the NESCAC for the most part, so him, having him back, he's been an unbelievable scorer in the second half and the whole game. So having him back, getting everyone together, the chemistry continuing to develop and just everyone playing well is what we need and what we need to continue to do this weekend.
Aaron: Well, speaking of injuries, I know you missed the first few games also, right? Furbush said, was a little scared initially, but you were fine?
Nick: Yeah. It's actually ... It's a good story, but at the end of the day, I actually had a doctor's note that said I either tore my ACL or meniscus and that I needed an MRI. So I rushed to the MRI, ended up getting it back and the doctor was wrong, so it was great. He was happy about it. When he said, "Yeah, it was a very unlikely bone bruise", but I ended up taking two games and back the next week.
Aaron: So how big of a sigh of relief did you give after you found out what the true diagnosis was?
Nick: Yeah. It was unbelievable. It was ... It went from basically five or six games left in my career, finishing the end ... I was projected to be back in mid January, so right about now, if I did after the surgery, but then I came back and two games later. So that was unbelievable.
Aaron: I know Coach Furbush mentioned in terms of the captains, he said, "Look. You four seniors, you're my leaders." What's this group like? You and the other three?
Nick: I think we're all really taking charge in a different way. We each have a different environment. Some of us more vocal, others more lead by example and I think together we really enforce stuff well. We're all making sure everyone is on top of things, the whole team is supportive. 1 through 18 and just everyone's involved and really working hard during practices and games obviously as well.
Aaron: Galloway is a great guy to have come off the bench, isn't he?
Nick: Oh, unbelievable. His three point game and the quickest hands in the NESCAC. It's unbelievable that he can produce and just some plays off the stretch that are just crucial.
Aaron: So this week you've got Wesleyan and Conn. College coming to town. What's going to be key against these two teams?
Nick: Both of them I'd say defense. Wesleyan is a very, very good defending team and they have some improvement as well, but we need to be able to keep up with them, keep them under a low score, at the same time produce on our offensive end. So we need to play consistent, we need to play as hard as we did the last three NESCAC games and I think we'll be good.
Aaron: So off the court a little bit, you're a senior. What are you studying, what's your major?
Nick: I'm a double math and econ.
Aaron: Math and econ. What got you into that?
Nick: I liked math and I liked econ., so I kind of was starting off with just the major in math, but then I took a couple econ. classes and really got involved in that and just ended up doing both.
Aaron: So are you still trying to think about post-college plans, or is it way too early?
Nick: Yeah, actually I'll be working in New York.
Aaron: Oh, you got a job already.
Nick: Yeah, exactly.
Aaron: Oh, locked it in. Nice.
Nick: Yeah. It's exciting. Yeah, that's something that I'm going to enjoy.
Aaron: So that's pretty, probably a good relieving type thing, in terms of knowing what you're going to do?
Nick: Oh, absolutely. Let's you focus on basketball and all the other seniors actually. So Max Hummel is also working in New York and finance. Eli is working with the Milwaukee Bucks. Brandon recently decided he wasn't going to med. school. He's going to take a gap year, so he's now looking for a job. Essentially, we're all locked up, so it's good.
Aaron: Nice. Nice. Now going down the stretch, what are some goals you have in your mind to finish off your senior season strong?
Nick: It'd be nice to go 2 and 0 on a weekend, so that'd be something hopefully we can do this weekend or next weekend and really just make the playoffs and then honestly keep going from there.
Aaron: There you have it. Nick Lynch, Male Bobcat of the Week. Thanks so much.
Nick: Thanks for having me.
Aaron: In indoor track and field, the Bobcats hosted the Bates Invitational this Friday and Saturday at Merrill Gymnasium. Both teams finished in first place, with the women winning 11 events, scoring 224.33 points along the way. One of the top performers was senior captain Katie Hughes, who finished first in the weight throw and second in the shot put. And she is our Female Bobcat of the Week!
Katie: I love having home meets. I love competing at Bates. We practice at Merrill everyday for months and to compete here, we work hard for this meet and for every meet, but it's especially cool to compete at home.
Aaron: What kind of things are you working on with the weight and the shot here being your senior year?
Katie: I have been, basically since freshman year, competing on a two-turn throw. So right now, Fresh and I are kind of working up to a three-turn throw. We do lots of turns at practice. I threw last weekend at MIT in the finals on a three-turn throw. I didn't get to that this weekend, but that's something we're working on implementing.
Aaron: Excellent. And you've won it both weeks obviously, so that's been good, right?
Katie: Yeah. It's fun to win. This week I improved on my throw from last weekend, which feels good and then getting closer to my personal best, which currently was set my sophomore year, so I really, I'm trying to have a personal best and improve on my sophomore year's throw.
Aaron: For sure. Then overall, at the invite this past weekend, who were some other people who stood out to you on the team?
Katie: I could name so many of them. I should definitely highlight sophomore Amanda Coffman, who competed in the Pentathalon on Friday night. She PR'd in the hurdles, she matched her PR in the high jump, she PR'd in the shotput and in the 800. So she improved her overall score by a couple hundred points, I think and it was really, really exciting to see her just succeed on Friday night.
Aaron: Yeah, because that's one where all eyes were on her, because that was the only event they were doing that night, right?
Katie: That was the only event they did Friday night and she was the only Bates woman to compete in that event. So we were all there supporting her and there were only three other competitors, so really all eyes were on her. It was really fun to see her do so well.
Aaron: So once again, you're one of the captains. I know last year was kind of a quick turn-around, because you're coming back from abroad. This year it must be nice to have the full fall to get everyone ready for this winter and this spring, right?
Katie: Yeah. It was really fun for me to be a part of the building of the team chemistry from day one in the fall. I think that overall, we have really great team chemistry and I think everyone gets along really well. That's a really important part of the team. Obviously we want to show up to meets and do well, but I don't think you can if the team chemistry isn't good. So it's been really fun to be a part of that and to help build that since September.
Aaron: Terrific. So you're a senior. You're also from Maine. Do you have any post-college thoughts so far? I know it's only January here, but it's coming up soon, I guess.
Katie: I'm actually right now finishing up an application to a graduate program at USM to get my masters in Elementary Education. I'm planning on teaching in Maine.
Aaron: So, Elementary Education. Why that, I guess?
Katie: I have always really liked working with kids and it's just been something that, for my personal and work experiences, I just look ... I guess I wouldn't say it's my calling, but I just know that, I've known for a long time that I'm going to work with kids.
Aaron: What's your major here at Bates?
Katie: I'm a psychology major and an education studies minor.
Aaron: Gotcha. So the education study is minor. How is that mixed with the psychology?
Katie: I think the two intersect really well. My concentration in psychology is development and personality and just knowing, having a background in how children develop and what they're going through I think is going to be really important in my future as an educator.
Aaron: When you graduate college, do you think you'll keep throwing on the side a little bit? Or do you think this is about it here?
Katie: I hate to say it, but I think that my time throwing will just about be done. I do plan on coaching in the future. I don't know whether it will be track or not, but I do anticipate coaching. Whether it's middle school or elementary school, I'll coach something. I don't know.
Aaron: What are some other sports you have a background in that you might coach?
Katie: Well, I played field hockey through senior year of high school and basketball as well. I know enough about them that I could coach peewee or the rec departments and stuff.
Aaron: Terrific. This upcoming weekend, I know there's two meets that are going on. Which, are you going to both, one of them? How's that going to work?
Katie: Jay is taking primarily, I think people who run between the 400 and the mile down to BU on Friday night and then basically everyone else, sprinters, jumpers, hurdlers, throwers, will be at USM on Saturday.
Aaron: All right. So USM, so that's where you're going to be at.
Aaron: That's the meet you go to pretty much every year, right? What's that meet typically like?
Katie: The meet at USM will be the women first and then the men. So it'll be a quick meet. Genesis and I will throw weight and shotput back to back and then be back on the bus and head to Bates, but that's been a fun, kind of like no pressure, relaxed meet leading up to states.
Aaron: So Genesis, the other women's thrower, how do you work with her? You're a senior. What do you work with her on or does coach fresh coach everyone basically?
Katie: Genesis first of all is amazing and I love her. But she picks up on things pretty quickly and she does a lot of work on the side. I help her when I can, but she primarily works with Fresh and with Coach Kirkland and if she has questions, she'll likely go to senior captain on the men's team Zack Campbell or Johnny Rex, sophomore.
Aaron: Sure. Yeah. Well, I mean the throwers, men and women, you all work together basically, right?
Katie: We do, yeah.
Aaron: Yeah. And so Rex and Campbell, how are they looking?
Katie: They both look really good. They had some good performances this weekend. I'm really excited to see what the rest of the season has in store for both of them.
Aaron: Then, Campbell mentioned that you and him have been friends since day one. How has that gone?
Katie: Yeah. We lived on the same floor freshman year and developed this great friendship freshman year that's just stayed true throughout our years at Bates and I've really relied on him as a teammate and a friend throughout the years.
Aaron: Do you imagine after you graduate, you'll be on of the alums checking in with the throwers of the future?
Katie: I think so.
Katie: But primarily because I'll be close and also I'll come back because of the rest of the team too. I've been teammates with these girls for, it will have been three years, so I'll come back to check in on them.
Aaron: Sounds good. Katie Hughes, Female Bobcat of the Week. Thanks so much.
Katie: Thank you so much.
Aaron: The men’s track and field team also dominated its meet, scoring 253 points, nearly tripling the score of second-place Franklin Pierce, a Division II program. Sophomore John Rex won the weight throw and the shot put to lead the charge.
Aaron: Well John, happy to have you on the Bobcast, talking some Bates Track and Field. First of all, you're a sophomore now, but coming out of high school, what made Bates the place you wanted to come to study and to throw.
John: My college counselor was a Bates alum and she was super gung-ho about Bates. It was actually the first school I looked at and the last school I looked at. I just knew it was the right school for me. I wanted the small school environment. I also really liked the idea of playing a sport in college and originally it was going to be football and then later on in the school year I decided I didn't want to play football anymore and I wanted to do track and field.
John: I didn't really realize how prestigious the throws were at Bates until I got to campus. I had met Dire, who's a huge mentor to me last year, I had met him in the spring of my senior year and sort of got a glimpse of how the caliber of his athleticism and his throwing capabilities, but I still didn't really have a grasp on what the program meant until ... So my freshman year, Dire was sort of haggling me in the fall, getting on me to come throw with him, come lift with him. I didn't really understand why. I wasn't really ... In high school, I had a lot of athletic potential, but I'd never really lived up to it. I just had a completely different mindset that I do now and I attribute a lot of that to Dire. But it wasn't until actually the meet from this past weekend, the Bates Invitational where David Pless came back and threw to break the facility record and all the All-American throwers came back to watch him and I just thought, that was one of the coolest things, just the camaraderie that they had was really inspiring.
John: I was 195 pounds. I was really weak. I had awful technique. After I threw, Dave Pless came up to me and just looked me in the eye and said, "You're going to be really good." At that point, I just didn't know what I did to deserve the sort of compliment from someone like him, but that really stuck with me and after I got to meet all the guys that came before me, it was really inspiring and it made me want to get after it. From that point on, I listened to Dire and we got after it together and he was a great training partner for the rest of the year.
Aaron: Terrific. That was at last year's Bates Invitational when Pless came back and everything. Watching something like that, to see him break the facility record, how cool of an experience was that?
John: It was really shocking to me. I'd never seen anyone so passionate about something and so technically sound, so powerful. It was just ... He was like a superhuman to me. I couldn't really describe how I felt, because it was pretty overwhelming. Again, I was really weak at the time and I wasn't really anything special in the throws. Nothing compared to how I am now. He really just ... It was that moment that inspired me to just get after it and start ... After that meet, weeks went on and I realized how passionate I actually was about the sport and how good I wanted to be at it. I just never looked back after that moment.
Aaron: For sure. Now I interviewed Zack Campbell and Drea Russo before the season to preview track and field. They both mentioned some Instagrams, you've been posting some of your training.
John: Yeah. I have posted a couple Instagrams. Instagram is a good outlet for throwers. A lot of throwers don't realize Instagram is a great outlet for training points, for communication with other throwers. So many videos posted on Instagram, like technical analysis. It's just ... For me personally, a lot of the reason that I've made the sort of jumps that I have since last year is because of the outside work that I've done, in addition to coming to practice. This is just another aspect of that.
John: A lot of people on social media will post things that they're passionate about, like post pictures with their family, with their friends. I do that as well, but another huge part of my life is, I love lifting, I love throwing and that's something I want to share with my followers and my friends. It's something I'm really passionate about.
Aaron: Awesome. When did you start throwing? What was the first event you competed in growing up and stuff?
John: I actually started throwing in the fourth grade. Surprisingly. There was a middle school track program through Andover High and the Andover High head coach ran the program. So I think I started in fourth or fifth grade actually. I just really threw the discus. I was sort of a fifth grade sensation, because I did not have, I didn't even know how to throw the thing, but for some reason, I was really good at throwing the discus. I had a natural feel for it. I wish I could say the same now, because it's one of my secondary events now, but ... Yeah, and I just ... It was one of those things that my parents just threw me into because they wanted me to stay active. I was a football player primarily throughout, from fifth grade to my senior year of high school, football was the most important sport to me. Track was just sort of on the side. It was always in the back of my mind.
John: So, yeah, I did middle school track and field, up and through high school. Freshman year I tried lacrosse and made my dad pretty upset because he wanted me to throw. He always thought I'd be a good thrower; and he was right. I guess. Then I went back to track, because I'm not a lacrosse player. I kept doing track. I'm glad I stuck with it and I really never thought, as a high schooler, I never thought that this is where I'd be right now.
Aaron: Well, and speaking of right now, Bates Invitational past weekend, you guys obviously won it. You won the weight throw and the shotput if I'm not mistaken. How'd those events go and what are some goals you have moving forward this year?
John: The Bates Invitational, I definitely went into the meet with a lot more intensity than the previous meet. In the previous meet, I'd sort of ridden on the fact that I'd put in so much work that I didn't really need to be so tense. So that sort of attitude, I think made me underestimate the abilities of the rest of the field and a couple really good nationally ranked guys from MIT caught up with me and beat me in the weight throw and the shotput. That was pretty disappointing, so I came back into the second meet. It was just a disappointing opener for me. I still had significant PRs, I was just expecting a little bit more.
John: So then the second meet I came in with more intensity. Still wish I could have PR'd a little bit more, but it's really early in the season right now and my marks, I'm looking to improve upon my marks from this past week.
Aaron: For sure. And then, coach Fresh. Everyone talks about him and what he does with throwers. What have you learned from him so far during your time in college?
John: Fresh means a lot of different things to me. Fresh, he's not just a coach to me. He's an inspiration. He's a father to me. Anything that's going on in my life, I feel like I can talk to Fresh about.
John: In high school, I had coaches, especially in football who just would, never really believed in me and would always overlook my athletic abilities. Fresh really, since my senior year of high school, he really took an interest and he just noticed that I had a lot of raw athletic ability and I think that's one of the great things about Fresh is, he's so good at taking raw athletes and turning them into technical, great throwers. It doesn't mean that you have to come in with amazing technique, but if you have that athletic base, Fresh can really do some amazing things. He's just been one of the most inspirational influences in my life and I'm really thankful to have a coach that believes in me so much. I attribute a lot of my success to him for that reason.
Aaron: Awesome. I understand one of your good friends on the team is a runner, roommate, right? Ryan Nealis. Runners, throwers, separate events. You don't even see each other compete necessarily a lot of the time, but how did that relationship develop?
John: I met Ryan the second week of school. This kid who's also on the team, Ryan Giunta, I was friendly with coming into school, because I'd known him from growing up. He's from my hometown. And Ryan Giunta lived a couple doors down from Ryan Nealis, so then second week of school, we became friends. We just like really hit it off. I remember ... It was the weirdest thing. We had all these weird connections. My host student from high school was one of his best friends in London, which is just really weird. It was funny. It was really cool. It's such a small world.
John: We just really hit it off. He's been my buddy since, never a dull moment. We're both huge goofballs, but also love to get after it. He really keeps me motivated. We have great times together. He's killing it right now. I think last year, towards the spring, we started to get a little more serious about track. We really wanted to come into this year thinking about changing the culture of the track team. Thinking in a new direction. We want everyone on the track team to have this sort of winning mindset. Because if you don't ... Everyday when you go into practice, if you do the same thing, you're never going to get better and we want people to realize that the work that you put in in practice does not guarantee success. There has to be other things that have to be done. You have to get yourself in the weight room, you have to do specific drills.
John: Ryan does hurdle mobilities after practice every day. It's just little things like that and they all add up because we practice five days a week and that's ... Five days a week times ... There's 52 weeks in a year, that's a lot of days and that adds up little by little.
Aaron: For sure. This week, I know there's a couple meets going on for the track and field team. Where are you going to be competing?
John: I'm going to be competing at USM. I think that Fresh ... Fresh relayed the information to me that he wants me to get more throws in in the shotput. It's my weaker event. I've been working really hard to get good at it. I'm hoping to break 50 feet in the next meet. That'd be a good breaking point for me, I think. I think I'd go up from there.
John: But it's important that I get six throws, because BU is going to be really competitive in the shot. There's going to be a ton of D1 guys there. There's a chance that I don't make the finals in the shot, so ... Yeah, he just wants me to get reps in for both and I completely agree with his decision.
Aaron: All right. So USM this weekend and then, I know we always talk about the legacy of throwers here. You know Dire, he was a mentor for you. Do you hear from some of the guys who graduated before you were even on campus? Do you hear from them too?
John: Yeah. That was the coolest thing about Bates throwers, is like I didn't even go to college with anyone except Dire, but I'm like boys with a lot of the throwers, because I see them. They come to a ton of the meets and they're so supportive of me. It's really, really cool and just makes me want to be a part of their legacy even more. A bunch of people have compared my body type and the way I throw to Sean Enos, who's like a huge inspiration to me. Probably the guy whose film ... We have this server called China and it has all of the videos from the past years, all throwing videos. Every practice, every meet. Sean's probably the guy that I watch the most film of.
John: I think I've watched every meet, every practice of his since his freshman year. It's really inspirational, it's cool to compare where he was at at this point in time to where I'm at in this point in time and look at the statistics of the throws over the years. That's something that, that's like a lot to me that I like to do a lot.
John: But yeah. Like Sean, Nick Margitza has been really, really supportive of me. He always checks in, make sure to see how I'm doing. Dave Pless has been a huge inspiration also, just a good mentor to me. I'm on, the lift I'm doing right now is a lift that he sent me that he's been giving me. It's definitely been helping me make a lot of technical jumps and lifts and also jumps and the amount of resistance I'm putting on. He's been helping me a lot with technique as well. He's broken down a bunch of my videos. Sean's also broken down a bunch of my videos.
John: A lot of throwing is not only practicing, but it's also visualization and conceptually understanding the physics behind the technique.
Aaron: Yeah. Excellent. Well, John Rex. Go get 'em at USM this weekend. Appreciate it.
John: Thank you very much.
Aaron: The swimming and diving teams held Senior Night at Tarbell Pool Friday when the Bobcats hosted Bowdoin in a dual meet. Although the results didn’t go the Bobcats’ way overall, there were some stand-out performers, with senior captain Alex Bedard winning the 50-yard breaststroke, 100-yard breaststroke and the 100-yard IM on the men’s side and senior captain Madeline Moberg leading a 1-2-3 Bates sweep in the 50-yard backstroke.
Madeline: It was really exciting. At the Bowdoin meet, it's always really fun for us with a little bit of rivalry. Bowdoin's swim team is always really good, so we always have a great meet. Super exciting, lots of really close races. It was really fun that my parents are here, since I'm from Minnesota, they don't come very often, but it was really fun for them to be here. They get to walk me around the pool deck and all that, so I was really excited. We had a really fun meet.
Aaron: Have they seen you compete before at Bates?
Madeline: Yeah, they have. But not that often. They've come to a couple in-season meets and one of them always makes it out to NESCACs, but not too often.
Aaron: Terrific. Then you won the 50 yard backstroke, right? Take us through that race.
Madeline: It was pretty exciting. I've never actually won an individual race at Bates, so it was pretty fun to have my last individual race at Bates on senior night be a win. I've been training a lot of backstroke this year, which is really fun, working on sprinting. The race was really close, obviously. It came down to a touch-out and I think one of the things that was most fun for me about the race was not just that I won, but that I went one-two-three with two of my teammates, all within two one hundredths. They were right behind me, so it was really fun for that to happen too.
Aaron: How thrilled were your teammates for you there?
Madeline: They were pretty excited. Yeah. A lot of cheering in the stands and I was pretty excited. My roommate came to watch. She was really excited for me. It was really fun.
Aaron: With the backstroke, how much can you hear the cheering throughout the race?
Madeline: You can't. I can't hear anything.
Aaron: Not at all. Yeah. Okay.
Madeline: Your ears are in the water the whole time, you can't see, you're looking at the ceiling. I had no idea that the race was that close. I knew nothing.
Aaron: Right. Right. Right. But afterwards, when you pop up, you hear everyone cheering?
Madeline: Yeah. I could hear ... It was really loud in there and there was a lot of cheering and then you look up on the scoreboard and you see the little 1 next to your name and that's pretty exciting, especially on senior night.
Aaron: Nice. So you're one of the captains this year. What's the experience been like?
Madeline: It's been great. We have a ton of underclassmen this year with 10 freshmen women and 13 freshmen men, which is really fun. There's lots of leadership going on, but I have two great co-captains on the women's team that have made a lot of our administrative duties really easy and a lot of the leadership, I think comes pretty naturally to us. We've had a lot of great captains the last three years we've been watching to learn from.
Madeline: It's been really fun and I've really valued the experience.
Aaron: So after the Bowdoin meet. How valuable was it for the team to come back and beat Colby the next day?
Madeline: It was great. A little bit of a reassurance that we can still swim fast the next day, even after a tough meet Friday night. It was tough to lose Friday night especially, because it was senior night. We would have loved to come home with a win, but we have a pretty deep team this year, which is really exciting and something we haven't had the last couple years, so I think that's really going to come in our favor come NESCACs when there are a lot more events and we have so much depth, I think. We're going to be really fast and score a lot of points all across the board and all around the team, which is going to be really fun and hopefully surprise some of our competition.
Aaron: With NESCACs right around the corner, but I know you have a meet before then, right? Tell us about that.
Madeline: Yeah. We have a meet down in WPI in about two weeks, which is just a one day meet, but they do prelims and finals and you can ... We get to pick our events, and they swim 25s of strokes, which is pretty uncommon, so we get to do something a little fun, a little tune up racing before NESCACs. So that's always a really exciting meet and fun for us to get to go down there and just practice what we want to do for NESCACs or do something a little out of the ordinary to break it up a little bit.
Aaron: So your touched on being from Minnesota. How did you end up deciding to come to Bates when your choosing schools?
Madeline: I actually looked at a lot of NESCAC schools because I knew I wanted a pretty strong school academically and athletically. So I looked at a bunch of NESCAC schools and picked ones that were in places I'd want to live and had good swimming programs and talked to a couple coaches and eventually ended up choosing Bates because it just felt right. The coaching staff was really welcoming to me, I was real excited about going to Maine. Maine and Minnesota are actually pretty similar. The environment felt right to me and it's been a great fit all around and I couldn't be happier.
Aaron: You're a senior, so what are you studying, what's your degree going to be in here?
Madeline: I'm a math major. That's what I've been doing all four years here.
Aaron: Terrific. Any post college plans yet? Or not yet?
Madeline: Always a great question. I'm working on that. I'm a math major, so I'm interested in doing something with that, working with numbers. But just in the last year or two, I've figured out I want to do something public health related. So using my math to work on public health research, maybe biostatistics. Something like that hopefully and using my math in a purposeful way, I guess.
Aaron: Awesome. Then the backstroke, the event you won your race in, when did you start doing that competitively?
Madeline: I actually started swimming backstroke part way through high school. I used to be more of a distance freestyler, but I had some shoulder issues when I was in high school, so I stopped doing that, because distance freestyle is long and repetitive. Not easy on the shoulders. Backstroke felt better, so my high school coach was like, "Well, why don't you swim the 100 backstroke this year?" And I did and it went better than expected. Since then, I've started doing a lot more backstroke and obviously it's working out pretty well most days.
Aaron: Awesome. Goals for NESCACs coming up?
Madeline: Mostly just to have fun and to swim as fast as possible. It's my senior year. I want to swim as fast as I can. I'm hoping to go all best times, place well and I hope that the team does really well too. Like I said, we have a lot of depth this year and I think that it's possible that all of us could come back at finals and score at night, which is real exciting and something that has been a goal and been on our minds all season.
Madeline: I'm really excited about that.
Aaron: All right. Madeline. Thanks so much for joining us on the Bobcast.
Madeline: Thank you.
Aaron: The women’s and men’s squash teams went a combined 4-0 this week against Colby and Connecticut College. The win over Colby marks the 18th consecutive year that Bates men's squash has defeated both Colby and Bowdoin in the regular season. Both Bates teams have a record of 5-5, with a big week of squash coming up. Head coach Pat Cosquer joined the Bobcast to give us an update.
Pat: It was nice to beat Colby. Their a program that's on the rise. They have a new coach. They're building new courts in the next year or two. So we know they're going to come after us. Last year was a 5-4 match for the men, so it was a really close one. Going up there on a Wednesday night, obviously with classes all day and then traveling north in the cold and all that. It's just really challenging. We've been road warriors since the first weekend of January and so to go up there and to beat them pretty handily is really impressive. It speaks to the character of the teams. We had talked a lot about mentally preparing for that and physically preparing for the crowd and all. It was their only home match at Colby, so the crowd was out there and they were chirping the whole time and the whole thing.
Pat: So a really good performance. To win the CBB for the men, it was the 18th time in a row. For the women, it was the 15th out of 18 years. That's just something that we really pride ourselves on. So I'm really proud of the team for performing that way and then to go on Friday down to Conn. after a day of classes and drive all the way down there and play Conn. at Yale was another nice NESCAC victory. Yeah, I'm proud of them.
Aaron: For sure. After playing Conn. at Yale, I know some of the players took a trip to New York City to watch a tournament of champions going on. Tell us a little about that.
Pat: Yeah. The tournament of champions is a professional squash tournament, both men's and women's. It's sort of the, New York City becomes the hub, the Mecca of professional squash for a couple weeks. We have some really supportive parents that helped us with some tickets to the matches and had a little nice alumni involvement and reconnected with parents. So we were able to go down there on Saturday, reconnect with some families, watch some squash, a couple of kids went to museums and ate some nice food and all that. So it's just really nice for our kids to get back to New York. A lot of our kids have never seen New York.
Pat: Some of our kids, a lot of our kids are from New York, so it's always nice to reconnect and have a couple days off here. This has been a grind of travel in January and especially with the weather and all that. It's a grind.
Pat: We go into this, what we call the tournament season in February, so NESCACs and nationals and individuals, so it's good to be able to chill out for a couple days and rejuvenate ourselves and be inspired by watching professional squash. A lot of our kids, the international kids, have friends that play professionally. So it's really cool. It's cool for everyone.
Aaron: I've got to say, Luca Polgar, the top of the ladder for the women's squash team on a roll right now. Is this the best you've seen her play during her time at Bates?
Pat: Absolutely, yeah. Luca has the eye of the tiger, no question. She's a real leader this year. It's just great. We always knew that she had the potential to play this way, but for her to be able to ... For me to see that she is in the mindset that she's going to win every single match that she plays, it's just really impressive. We've had a lot of conversations about that and changing her mindset.
Pat: I also think that it's important for each individual to feel themselves and to feel confident about their own squash, but also to give back to to team and help their teammates. She's been doing both this year and that's really great too. It's great to see her development as a teammate and as a Bobcat for the team, because we've gone through some adversity this year, for sure.
Aaron: Also different lineup changes, I know. It's nice to have Maeve and Katie back though, right there, kind of the middle of the lineup providing some victories.
Pat: Definitely. We were missing our sophomores, no question. Katie coming back strong in January and right into the Williams and Middlebury matches, which are tough. But she handled them well. Maeve just recently coming back. Her spirit, her energy, her squash has just been a real blessing to us and I think will pay dividends as we move into NESCACs and nationals and all that. It's great to have them both back.
Aaron: On the men's side, who's really stood out recently?
Pat: Yeah, well Graham has really stepped up at number one. It's a challenge at number one. You're playing the best player from the opposing team every match. But recently, he's had some big wins for himself. The Colby match was a good one. Wesleyan, he came up a little bit short, but then again Conn. ... He's played a little bit better recently and I think that ... He's such a hard worker, he's so determined, he's so motivated that, as a coach, it's great to see him finally getting some results, because that's the type of player that you want and you want to instill that in every teammate and every team member.
Pat: So Graham has really stepped up. We're deep too. We have some guys in the middle in the back of the lineup that have taken some lumps early in the season, but are starting to get their form back. I really think that we're in for a big finish here. This week is important obviously, but moving it to NESCACs next weekend and the nationals a few weeks after that, I think we're in for a big finish.
Aaron: Yeah, certainly. You look at this week, what? Four matches for each team, right? Starting Wednesday with MIT.
Pat: I go one by one. Coach cliche, but yes. I think it's four. I don't know. I'm a sociology major. I don't count very well, but I think it's four.
Aaron: Yeah. Well, the matches coming up. First of all, MIT on the road. MIT. Have you guys played them that recently?
Pat: We played them last year. I think here, or maybe it was two years ago here. They're recently better. They have a strong top of the lineup. They're actually one ranking point behind us, I think. So it is a big match for us, even though it's non-conference and it's out of NESCAC and all that. They recently beat Amherst, who's on the rise as well. We need to beat them in order to maintain our seeding for NESCAC and our own ranking, if that means anything. We try not to talk about that stuff.
Pat: Tufts is getting better. Tufts on Friday night, at Harvard, which will be a challenge, with travel and all that. Family members coming and a little bit of a distraction on the road and being in Boston and all that. Then Hobart for the men, William Smith for the women. Should be pretty clinical, but you never know on the road. Then Mount Holyoke has a really strong number one, so Luca will be challenged, which is going to be really good for her.
Pat: And then on Sunday is a big show and a huge showdown between, with Amherst, who's on the rise again. The women, I think finished higher than us last year. We never got a chance to play them. The men are stronger, but like I said. We're getting stronger. We took a little bit of time off there to rejuvenate. We're healthy, we're strong. I think we're going to be in a good position to win all those matches.
Aaron: In terms of NESCAC tournament, just for people who don't remember. How does the seeding work? Is it just purely based on rankings?
Pat: It is. It's based on rankings. Then it's ELO system, so it's sort of a point system, which we've been the butt of in the past few years. The computer does not like the Bobcats.
Aaron: The computer has no respect for us.
Pat: No. No love for the Bobcats. But that's okay. The matches play themselves. We'll play. I think because of the computer last year, we played Tufts three times and beat them and we were still behind them at one point after those three wins or after two of the three wins or something.
Pat: I have a feeling that that will happen with Amherst College because the women lost to Dickinson and Tufts beat Dickinson. So, anyway.
Aaron: Amherst beat Tufts.
Pat: Yeah. The only thing we can do is play the matches and win them and control our controllables. I think we're going to be fine. The issue for us now is getting into the top five seeds, because six through ten play on Friday night, and that's something the women did last year. We don't want to have to miss class on Friday and travel to Middlebury and Trinity to play on Friday night and all that. It's just an add-in match. It's an extra missing one or two classes extra. It's just not what we want to do.
Pat: So if we're in the top five, we'll be good. We'll play on Saturday morning. We'll have a nice leisurely trip in Friday. Nice dinner and go from there. And I think that's where we'll end up.
Aaron: The Nordic and alpine skiing teams combined to finish 9th out of 15 schools at the UNH Carnival over the weekend. Nordic captain Kaelyn Woods netted a pair of top-20 finishes, finishing 18th in both the classical technique and freestyle races. And in alpine skiing, the women combined to finish fifth in the slalom on Saturday, led by captain Griffin Mueller who finished 11th out of 59 skiers. The skiing teams are off this week from the carnival circuit, but they return to action at the UVM carnival February 1st and 2nd.
Aaron: Next time on the Bates Bobcast, we’ll recap a big NESCAC weekend for the Bates basketball teams. Plus, the squash teams have a combined eight matches this week and the track and field teams have their final tune-up before the Maine State Meet. All that and more, next time, on the Bates Bobcast!