The men's squash team competes at the NESCAC Championships this week. And the Bobcats picked up some key victories to wrap up the regular season. Meanwhile, the women's squash team earned head coach Pat Cosquer '97 his 300th career win. Plus, men's basketball picked up another NESCAC victory and we introduce you to the world of club basketball at Bates. All that and more...on the Bates Bobcast!
Interviews this episode:
- 1:06 -- Nick Lynch '19, Men's Basketball.
- 2:58 -- Maeve O'Brien '21, Women's Squash (NESCAC Player of the Week).
- 9:31 -- Dylan Muldoon '21, Men's Squash (Male Bobcat of the Week).
- 18:28 -- Ayden Eickhoff '19, Women's track and field (Female Bobcat of the Week).
- 27:14 -- Beaufils Kimpolo '20, Men's track and field.
- 33:32 -- Nick Beati '20, Men's basketball student-coach and club basketball president.
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’re recapping a big week for the squash teams that saw head coach Pat Cosquer earn his 300th career win. Plus, the men’s basketball team picked up a big NESCAC victory and we introduce you to the brand new club basketball team. All that and more, coming up, on the Bates Bobcast!
Aaron: The men’s basketball team fell to No. 25 nationally ranked Wesleyan 85-75 on Friday despite a career-high 26 points from senior captain Nick Lynch and a career-high 22 points from junior Kody Greenhalgh. But the Bobcats bounced back the next day to pick up a NESCAC win over Connecticut College. Lynch scored a game-high 20 points and Bates won 76-59. After the game, Lynch joined the live broadcast.
Aaron: So Senior Day, 20 points for you, Nick. Yesterday a career-high 26. Talking about the mid-range game, how much do you work on that in practice? A lot, probably, right?
Nick: All day, yeah. That's mostly what I do. I just go elbow-to-elbow, middle of the elbow, and just shoot around there. And sometimes corner, but that's about it.
Aaron: I know yesterday, obviously, the game didn't go the way you wanted, but you had that three-pointer, your first career three-pointer, right? In college?
Nick: Yeah, yeah. That's always good, but obviously, the outcome wasn't good. But it's nice to hit some of those sometimes.
Aaron: And then today, obviously the outcome going the Bobcats' way, 76-59. What was key to success today for the team?
Nick: I think defense. We got a lot of steals, transition, big moments from big guys. So Jeff, Kody, Hummel all really contributed in some major steals, and then we converted from there. But I think it really started on D, and then from there it was able to get most of our points on the half court, just guys making the open look and getting the right read.
Aaron: All right, so up next for you guys, you hit the road a little bit in NESCAC play, right?
Nick: Yeah, I know. We're going, yeah.
Aaron: I mean, you've had some home games. You go on the road now. What going to be the focus, do you think, in practice this upcoming week?
Nick: That's a good question. We don't talk about other teams until after the game.
Nick: I'm actually, I'm going to have get back to you on that. But I know Hamilton's an interesting match up. They play five out, basically, and just run and gun. We'll have to deal with that.
Aaron: So Senior Day today, what were your thoughts going through your head, now concerning Senior Day, with the four seniors?
Nick: I think all the seniors really came out strong. We knew we needed this as a win. It's a must-win, so I think they all really contributed, worked hard, and we got the result we needed.
Aaron: There you go. Nick Lynch, I'll let you get back in the locker room.
Nick: Thanks for havin' me. Appreciate it.
Aaron: Thanks so much. Congratulations.
Nick: Appreciate it.
Aaron: Although the women’s basketball team fell at Wesleyan and Connecticut College over the weekend, the Bobcats get a chance to bounce back Tuesday night when they host Regis at 7pm.
Aaron: The squash teams went a combined 6-2 last week, with both squads picking up key wins at Amherst on Sunday. The women defeated the Mammoths 5-4, earning Pat Cosquer his 300th career win as men’s and women’s head coach. Sophomore Maeve O’Brien won in four games at the No. 5 position to clinch the victory. O’Brien went 4-0 last week and has won 15 consecutive matches going back to last year. And she is the NESCAC Women’s Squash Player of the Week.
Aaron: You started this year kinda halfway through the season with the team, after playing all of last year. What was the adjustment like comin' in mid-season, 'cause obviously it's gone pretty well so far.
Maeve: Right. So I missed a lot first half of the season, but luckily, the Bates women's squash team has a great group of girls. And they're all very welcoming when I came back, and helped me to make that adjustment, and get me back into it.
Aaron: From a fitness perspective, were you still training a little bit in the fall, or did you have to kinda jump right back in?
Maeve: I was not training in the fall, so it was a little bit of a catch-up when I came back.
Aaron: What's that process like for you, first time stepping back on the squash court in quite a while?
Maeve: Right. So it was a little bit awkward, but again, I was on the court with all of my friends. And they were very patient with me, and very understanding of where I was at with squash.
Aaron: So, going back to your first year, coming into your sophomore year, what adjustments, if any, have you made, based on what you learned last year about what it takes to succeed in college squash?
Maeve: After last year, I definitely learned a lot. It was a big jump from junior squash, but I definitely learned to just be a lot more patient. And use your teammates as a resource, and just take your time. Take a deep breath before every point, and keep going.
Aaron: I understand you had the clinching game against Amherst, is that right?
Aaron: So take us through that game. And did you know, at the time, it was gonna be the decider in that 5-4 match?
Maeve: I did not know at the time. I learned that halfway through the match, and the pressure was on. I was down the first game, and was able to come back the next three. But it was really nice to look back in the court, and have all of my teammates cheering me on. I think it definitely got me through that match.
Aaron: How cool is it to have it be Pat Cosquer's 300th win as a coach?
Maeve: I'm so happy to be a part of it. That's so amazing, so congrats to him, and congrats to the team.
Aaron: How's he helped you, maybe, developed your game since you arrived on campus?
Maeve: Well, definitely, in junior squash, I would get myself really worked up, and I'd have so many built up nerves before a match. And he definitely has been able to reassure me that, "Look, it's just a game. You can do this. You've been doing this forever, so just take a deep breath, and do what you know."
Aaron: Well, speaking of that, when did you start playing squash? What first got you on the court?
Maeve: I started playing squash when I was in sixth grade. My mom had just gotten into it a little bit. I'm from Essex, Connecticut, where squash isn't very big, but one of our friends has a court. And we used to go over there and play, so she was definitely that first step for me.
Aaron: So, it was your mom who kinda prompted that?
Aaron: Okay, and when did you start thinking, "Oh, I wanna play this in college?"
Maeve: Probably, after I started doing tournaments, and I started traveling, and it became a bigger and bigger part of my life. And as I got better and better, that definitely was a sign that this would be something that I wanna pursue in college.
Aaron: And what made Bates the place for you? How did you decide on coming to Bates?
Maeve: Well, definitely just the community here at Bates. I mean, after meeting the team, it was very apparent that this was the place for me. It's a great group of girls. I fit in really well, I feel comfortable here, so that kind of helped me make my decision.
Aaron: Is there some kinship playing kinda in the middle of the lineup, with the fellow sophomore in Katie?
Maeve: There definitely is. Katie and I grew up playing together, so there's a big connection there, and we've been through it all together. So it's definitely nice having her near me on the ladder.
Aaron: When you were deciding on colleges, did you and her talk about coming to Bates?
Maeve: We did once we both found out that we were interested, which was really nice to have somebody going through the same process, talk about Bates and all these different aspects.
Aaron: You're probably still playing against each other a little bit here because challenges matches, right? And you're right next to each other in the lineup, right?
Maeve: Right. So we haven't actually had a challenge match this year, but I do know that the last one we played last year went to five. So we'll see, we'll see. Katie's fitness in her game is really strong right now.
Aaron: Within a game, you mentioned against Amherst you found out, in the middle of the game, that this was the decider, right? And so, from a mental standpoint, did that impact you at all, or were you just so focused?
Maeve: That definitely did impact me. I mean, coming back and having a strong start to my season, I obviously didn't want to drop this game to Amherst. And on the way down there, we had lost to Tufts on Friday night, and that was a big loss for us. So I think everybody on the team was like, "You know, this is our match going into NESCACs and nationals are coming up. Let's really win this one." So the deciding match definitely did add a little bit of pressure, but I think that it was a good kind of pressure.
Aaron: You know, within the conference, obviously there's some pretty tough teams. What is the level of play like in the NESCAC against opponents like Tufts, and Amherst, and then, even when you have to play Trinity at times?
Maeve: Right. So last season, we had a few really good wins over Tufts, and definitely I think our win over Amherst this past weekend just gives us a little bit more motivation and a little bit more confidence coming into this tournament. So you never know what to expect against Trinity, but hopefully we can do well.
Aaron: What are the captains like? You know Vicky and Kristyna out there, a couple of seniors, they've been through it all. What's their leadership like, in terms of for the team and what not?
Maeve: You know, whenever I'm on court, and I'm worked up, or I'm nervous, they're always there to kind of say, "You know, take a deep breath. You know what you're doing." And so, they definitely have a lot more experience in college squash, and that's very helpful to the rest of us on the team.
Aaron: Yeah, 'cause between games, who's typically coaching you?
Maeve: So, usually, it's Natasha Jones.
Freshman Natasha Jones, and Katie Manternach, and so they're very helpful because they're kind of in the same position I am, too. And usually, I play second at number 5, so one of them has already played, so it's very helpful.
Aaron: Last question, I guess, for you. What does it mean for you to be the NESCAC Women's Squash Player of the Week?
Maeve: This is a huge accomplishment. I'm really excited. Definitely thanks to the Bates women's squash team, Pat Cosquer, and even the men's squash team, for being a really supportive part of Bates for me.
Aaron: All right, Maeve O'Brien, NESCAC Women's Squash Player of the Week, thanks so much.
Maeve: Thank you.
Aaron: After falling at MIT, the men’s squash team rolled to wins over Tufts, Hobart and Amherst last week. Sophomore Dylan Muldoon won all four matches he played last week. He’s now won six straight matches, improving his record to 8-5 on the season. And Dylan Muldoon is our Male Bobcat of the Week!
Aaron: This past week, 4-0 week for you personally, what was really working for you right now on the squash court, you think?
Dylan: Yeah, I think at this part in the season, it's very much kind of a do-or-die moment. These are the big matches we have to win, and I think everyone on the team knows that. So having that in the back your mind when you're goin' on the court definitely helps push you over that extra mile, when you're out there.
Aaron: What's it like playing 8, 9 position? You're battling for a lineup spot probably every week, right?
Dylan: Well, recently, we've just been so busy with the amount of matches we've been playing, we haven't really had a chance to challenge up or down the ladder.
Dylan: But I think the 9 spot, in particular, which is where I normally play, that's one of the first matches that goes on. So the number 3, the number 6, the number 9, those are the spots that go out and set the tone of the match. And so I think obviously, we're not the closers, but we set how the match is gonna go, from that point forward. So I think it's really important for those guys to come out and get the big win, you know?
Aaron: Yeah. Do you like going first, then you can watch your teammates and support them afterwards?
Dylan: Yeah, I definitely like getting it out of the way. There is that pressure, though, 'cause there's a huge difference between going up 3-0 at the start of a match versus being down 3-0. But yeah, I definitely love just getting the squash out of the way so I can focus on coaching my teammates, and helping them win their matches.
Aaron: I know this past Sunday was the big one against Amherst, for both of the men and the women. What was the team's approach going into the weekend, at least? You know, after the loss to MIT, what was the focus the next couple of days to bounce back for the weekend, which you did?
Dylan: Yeah. So like I said, we knew that that was gonna be a huge match, in terms of our seating for NESCAC's and nationals. I think MIT was the first match of the weekend. It kind of took us off guard a bit, 'cause normally MIT isn't as strong of a program as they were this year. So when we went down there, we knew it was gonna be a fight, but I guess we were a little disappointed by the 7-2 loss, I think it was. So from that point forward, we had another day of practice, and then we went into the weekend. And I think everyone on the team realized that now's the time where we have to really, it's the do-or-die moment, we have to get these wins. This is gonna be one of the biggest weekends of our season, and I think that was what really made everyone fight for those matches and finally get the wins.
Aaron: Pat's called you guys "road warriors" this year, 'cause you've had a lot of road matches. What's the travel been like this season?
Dylan: It's been pretty terrible. We're never on campus, yeah. I mean, even this week, we went down to Boston on Wednesday, came back up, and went back down to Tufts on Friday. And then we were gone the rest of the weekend, and that's pretty typical for how it's been. We had our last home match, I think, first week of January, so we're looking forward to just being on the road ever since there, so yeah.
Aaron: Growing up in Bermuda, when did you first start getting into squash? I know your older brother played here as well, but growing up, did you kinda follow his lead, he was playing squash, or how did that go?
Dylan: Yeah. Well, my dad's from England, and it's a relatively big sport over there, and my brother and my dad kind of just started picking it up. And being the younger kid in the family, I would obviously wanna play with my dad and my older brother. So I just kinda picked it up when I was really young. I've been playing for awhile. I was playing in high school, in the States for a bit, at a boarding school. And then my brother played at Bates, and so I think it was kind of natural that I would also wanna play at Bates. So I think I'm kinda been following his footsteps in a bit.
Aaron: When your brother played at Bates, did you ever come to see any matches or anything like that?
Dylan: I was pretty young at the time, so he's a decent amount older than me, but I do remember vague memories of flying out to Boston, and watching a match at Harvard, I think it was the nationals. But I don't really remember much from those times, no, but-
Aaron: Did he tell you much about Bates when you were lookin' at colleges?
Dylan: Yeah, he definitely pushed for Bates, but I didn't wanna just go to Bates just 'cause he went there, you know? I wanted to look at it myself and decide for myself, and I guess I ended up did enjoy it here, so yeah.
Aaron: So yeah, what appealed to you about Bates, independent of the fact that your brother went here?
Dylan: Well obviously, Cosquer was a big pull for me, I think. Obviously, having a big connection with the coach, knowing that he is already in contact with my family. And he really put himself out there, I think that was a big, being an international student as well, having someone that you know is already rooting for you, I think that was a big pull for me, at least, yeah.
Aaron: Well, it's his 300th career win there, with the women's victory, that on Sunday. And 301, after the men finished, I guess. Pretty cool to see him get that to number 300 though, right?
Dylan: Yeah, that was crazy. I didn't even realize until he posted on Instagram, and my roommate showed it to me. I was like, "That's kinda absurd. I didn't even think about that." Yeah, good for him, though. That's crazy.
Aaron: I know we don't find out NESCAC tournament seedings till, we're recording this on Tuesday. It's tomorrow you find out, right, Wednesday?
Aaron: What are your thoughts now on possible NESCAC championships seedings?
Dylan: I think we're gonna go in around 4th seed, which means we'll have a match, and we'll play in the semifinals. And then the way the lineup works is basically, you don't wanna be on the side of the bracket that Trinity's in.
Dylan: I mean, for those people who don't know, Trinity's 13th time national champions, just absurd squash players. So basically, the goal of NESCACs is to not be on the side of of the bracket as Trinity, because that means you'll face them in the semifinals. So, ideally, you wanna be number 2 seed, so you can face Trinity in the finals and come in second. But what it means for us is that we're gonna have Trinity in the semifinals, which means our big match is gonna be the third or fourth place match, which it's looking like it's gonna be Middlebury or Williams. I mean, it's nice knowing that so that the team is ready and prepared for that eventuality, but I think everyone is gonna have a big fight for that third-place playoff.
Aaron: For sure. When you go into a match against an opponent like Trinity, what's the mindset? 'Cause you got a win against a Trinity opponent when they came here, right?
Dylan: Trinity is more like, in squash, there's never gonna be major upsets, in terms of how maybe like a basketball game, if your team's playing out of their mind, and you could beat a better team. In squash, you need several different people to play out of their minds in one day, and have that upset. So I think we don't necessarily go out there thinkin' we're gonna lose, but we obviously go out there trying to play our best squash. But it's more of a, "This is how it's gonna feel like when you're playing a much better opponent. This is the things you need to focus on." And that's how you gotta learn and try to play squash, against better opponents.
Aaron: Did you take a lot of pride in being, though, in beating someone from there?
Dylan: I did, just because of the name. I know maybe Trinity didn't put their best player out against me because they like to change out their lineup when they face teams lower down in the rankings. But just the fact that it says on the scoreboard that I beat a kid from Trinity is insane, so I'm definitely gonna enjoy that for the rest of my time at Bates.
Aaron: For sure. So you're a sophomore here. What are some goals you have in your mind for the next couple of years, what you wanna see outta your time at Bates, in terms of squash, and also, in the classroom as well?
Dylan: Yeah, well I think college squash is actually a pretty interesting position. I mean, recently a lot of teams have been getting really good, so I know, for example, UVA has gotten a lot better this year. MIT even, last week, we found that out the hard way, but I think it's gonna be interesting to see how Bates' squash is gonna compete on a scale with a lot more better teams. Because personally, from last year to this year, I don't think we've gotten worse. In fact, I think a lot of the players on the team have gotten better. We only lost one player last year, and it just goes to show that the entire college squash program is getting better. So I'd love to see Bates really competing in the new environment. I think, in the next two years that I'm here, I think we definitely can.
Aaron: And it's really going back to kind of in the classroom, what are you studying right now here at Bates?
Dyan: I'm going Biochem for my major, and I think I'll do Math minor. It's definitely in contention with my squash practice schedule, 'cause just two labs a week really kills you, but-
Aaron: Buckle up.
Dylan: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Aaron: So you learn time management, I take it?
Dylan: Absolutely, yeah. That's a big part of it.
Aaron: Excellent. Well, Dylan Muldoon, any other thoughts on the upcoming NESCAC championships, and the team nationals after that?
Dylan: Yeah, I know the whole team's ready to play their hardest, get out there, and earlier in the season, we lost to Middlebury and Williams. And I know for a fact everyone's gonna want that revenge match against them, so I'm looking forward to it.
Aaron: There you go, Dylan Muldoon, Male Bobcat of the Week. Thanks so much.
Dylan: Thank you very much.
Aaron: The track and field teams sent some of their athletes to the Terrier Classic at Boston University last weekend, including senior captain Ayden Eickhoff. She ran the 800-meter run in 2:11.97, the second-fastest time by a Division III runner so far this season. And for that, Ayden Eickhoff is our Female Bobcat of the Week!
Aaron: Let's talk about the race you did there Friday, at Boston University, on the banked track there. You were up against Division I opponents, some people who have graduated from college, so what was that experience like, racing against them? And how did it help you boost your speed?
Ayden: Yeah, so it's always an exciting place to run, just the energy in there. From the second you walk in, you get to see runners, throwers, jumpers from all across the field. There were a couple professional athletes, and a couple of really really solid D-I runners. So, for me, I always know that, out of the 112 runners running the 800 that day, there is pressure in the sense that I'm up against these people who can run very fast.
Ayden: But there's also sort of non-pressure in the way that you're 1 of 112, so what you do matters pretty much only to you. And so, I was in the second heat, and I had no idea where I'd start off this season, and I know that I just didn't wanna take it out too fast. Let the field carry me and see what I had left at the end, and that's exactly what happened. So it was cool to see it all execute itself well.
Aaron: Was this your first 800 of the year?
Ayden: Yes, it was.
Aaron: Okay, gotcha.
Aaron: What did you compete in, in the previous two meets?
Ayden: I did the mile last weekend, and then the 1000 at MIT the weekend before.
Aaron: Gotcha. So what's your approach differ, or is it similar, coming in to each meet, depending on what event you're running?
Ayden: Yeah. No, it is different, especially if I'm doubling up, I try to do as best I can in every race. I don't necessarily try to strategize, "I'll give it 75% in my first race, and then 100 later on." For me, it doesn't quite work like that, and especially for the mile, I don't run it very often. And usually, I run it in a relay situation, so when I'm running the open mile, I haven't quite developed a strategy. I just kinda run and see what happens. So this Friday, I will be running the mile, and I'm against some girls who have put down fast times. So it'll be cool to start with them and see what happens.
Aaron: I mean, you're already probably thinking about what it takes to qualify for NCAAs, what events you wanna possibly compete in there. So, second-fastest Division III right now in the 800, must be pretty nice to have that chalked up so far, right?
Ayden: Yes, it is very nice, and I'm hoping that time holds. I think it definitely will, and so it's cool to sort of have that on the books. And then be able to focus on other events that I haven't run as well or as much, and just can see what happens with those. And it's becoming, I was talking to Curtis on the way back up from the meet. These events start to take away, so that was my last BU indoor meet, and things like that. My last cross country meet, my last of all these meets, so I've been really having to focus on every second of every one because these events start to go into the past.
Aaron: That's true. In terms of the 800, is it possible you may not run it again until the NCAAs, if the time holds? Or do you think you will run it again?
Ayden: I'm not exactly sure, actually. We'll probably try to put together a medley relay here in a little bit. We haven't put together a team for that yet, so it's very possible I won't run the open 800 until much later in the season. I'm not quite sure how, if there's even a strategy with that. It could just be I run what makes sense on the weekend, or maybe take some meets off and get a couple more workouts in.
Aaron: And you've had the experience of going to indoor nationals multiple times, all three years? Is that, or did we not-
Ayden: I believe so. Yes, actually.
Aaron: Yeah, all three years, so in terms of that experience, and you being one of the captains, do you talk to some of the younger athletes about what it takes to make it to nationals?
Ayden: Yeah, I mean we haven't really quite had what it takes, 'cause I'm not necessarily sure what it takes. I think that this crew, this freshman crew, is very dedicated and, if nothing else, that will help them. So I have just seen such great efforts out of Elise, out of Mary, out of these girls who, week by week, are just getting much, much better throughout the workouts, being really determined and really dedicated at practice, making sure that they're staying healthy in a variety of ways. And it's really, really cool to see the younger generation come up through, and I know that, regardless of what else they have in their tank, that this can really only help them.
Aaron: Who are some of the individuals who have stood out so far? It's a young season, so far, though.
Ayden: Oh, it definitely is. We've kind of been all across the board, having really really great performances. Hannah Austin just had a huge PR in the mile. She's hoping to break 5:30, and she got right at 5:30, but she's looking forward to tryin' to get that time. And we had a couple great pole vault performances just this last weekend at the Southern Maine meet. And what I've really, really enjoyed this year is, we have a couple of girls who are kind of nursing injuries, or trying to prevent injuries. And I just see them everyday, coming to practice, going to cross-train, making sure they're doing their physical therapy, stretching out. And injuries like that, long-term injuries can be, they can make or break a season. And they can cause an athlete, especially if you're a first-year, to say, "You know what? Maybe this isn't for me." And I haven't seen that this year, and it's been really, really cool.
Aaron: Excellent. At at meet at BU, do you see a lot of Bates alums there?
Ayden: In the past years, I have. This year, not quite as many, as we've kinda spread out across the country. But there was definitely a lot of support last year. I met up with my friend, Jess Wilson, after the race, so it was really nice to see her.
Aaron: She's still competing, right?
Ayden: She's still running. I think that she's taking a year off from competing, but she did compete last year and did really well.
Aaron: Yeah, she'd be one of the ones you'd be up against sometimes, maybe.
Ayden: I'm hoping not, but if we ever wanted to just run a fun 5K or something.
Aaron: Yeah, she's more of a distance, yeah.
Ayden: Exactly, she'd be a good training buddy for that.
Ayden: But we've been talking about post-grad running, and we're thinkin' maybe a fun run, or one of those runs in the mud, or something. But maybe not another track meet event, we'll see.
Aaron: Right, right. Well, speaking of post-college, I've asked seniors this, and I know they love this question. But what are you thinking about, in terms of grad school or jobs and what not?
Ayden: Yeah, I'm definitely thinking grad school. There's no plan in the works yet. I'm hoping to be able to stay around Maine for a little bit, and then just get everything sorted, and then go from there. But I really like the area, and I'd love to stay.
Aaron: 'Cause you come from Montana, right? So you've really fallen in love with Maine a little bit here?
Ayden: Yeah. No, I really like it. I've been in Portland the past two summers, and it's just been so beautiful. Recently, actually my family found out they're moving to Wisconsin just next month. So my dad will actually be able to some visit me and watch nationals for the first time. So yeah, that's really, really exciting 'cause he's always just watched the live feed, which usually isn't on me. So I'm so, so happy that he'll be able to come support me.
Aaron: Well, that's outstanding, then. What are some goals you've had in your mind for the rest of, not only indoor, but outdoor season for yourself, and maybe for the team? What would you like to see happen?
Ayden: Yeah, definitely I have some personal goals, in terms of times. But I know that I'm gonna walk away from college and not think about, "Oh, I broke 2:10 in the 800. I was successful." It's more about, I think, the team that I leave behind. And I have really, really tried, as a captain, as a senior, and as a role model, to just make sure that at least something is in place. And that training partners and race buddies and teammates can grow together and keep growing forward. And so I've really been able to try to work with my co-captains, and just create more of team unity than we've seen in past years. And it's been going really well.
Aaron: Terrific. Ayden Eickhoff, Female Bobcat of the Week, thanks so much.
Ayden: Thank you.
Aaron: On Saturday, the women’s track and field team finished second out of 10 teams at the USM Invitational. And the men took first out of eight squads. Junior Beaufils Kimpolo took first place in the long jump, placed second in the 55-meter hurdles and placed fifth in the high jump.
Aaron: On Saturday, the women's track and field team finished 2nd out of 10 teams at the USM invitational, and the men took 1st out of 8 squads. Junior Beaufils Kimpolo took 1st place in the long jump, placed 2nd in the 55-meter hurdles, and placed 5th in the high jump.
Aaron: You competed in three different events. What's that like in a meet, when you have to go from the hurdles, to long jumps, so on and so forth?
Beaufils: It's actually not easy, kind of trying to balance all three different events. So when it comes to meet, I'm really short on time 'cause I have to watch out for what's goin' on. And what I end up doin', most of the time, is having a teammate checkin' for me in the hurdles. When I go to the long jumps, and take jumps out of order in the prelims, and then try to take a few jumps in the high jumps. So I try to do it, one at a time, but time doesn't really allow that. So sometimes, I have to do one after the other.
Aaron: No break at all.
Beaufils: No. I get a break when I'm done with all three events.
Aaron: What's your favorite event, maybe?
Beaufils: I like all of 'em. I like all of 'em, but I say my favorite event is the high jump, probably because I've had a lot of success in the high jump. But overall, I like all of my events. I enjoy long jump. I think long jump is fun, just kind of have a mark out there. And hurdles is just a fast event. I love running, love competing, love going over obstacles, and hurdles is just the perfect one for that.
Aaron: Yeah, 55 meters, right? That's over in a snap, isn't it?
Beaufils: It's quite weird because we do 60 meters hurdles, but in a USM, it's a 55. So it's a change to quick turnover, and we have 1 less hurdle to worry about, which is cool. And then the times looks pretty fast.
Aaron: For sure. Which one of the men's track and field coaching staff do you spend the most time working with?
Beaufils: I spend a lot of time with all of 'em, all of the coaches, but mostly, Coach Art because he's the jump coach and hurdles coach. So I spend a lot of my weeks with him. On Mondays, we have hurdles, Tuesday long jump, Wednesday's high jump, Thursday's high jump, so I spend most of my time with him. But overall, I spend a lot of time with all of 'em. Coach Kirk, who is the sprint coach, so after the hurdles, I have to do the sprint practices. And I go to Coach Fresh for advice and stuff like that.
Aaron: How much, did you do a lot of track in high school also?
Beaufils: No. So I joined track when I PG'd at Loomis Chaffee. As a PG, it was my senior year, that's when I started track, and I kind of fell in love with track. Goin' into track, I didn't know what to expect, so Coach Purdy, who's the coach at Loomis Chaffee, just threw me in the hurdles. And he had me try long jump, triple jump, and high jump, and we decided that hurdles and high jump was my best suits. Then, when I came to Bates, I also felt a passion for long jump, so I've mostly been doin' that.
Aaron: That's interesting. So track and field, you only been in your fourth season doing it, basically, whereas soccer, I assume, you've been playing all your life?
Beaufils: Right. Soccer is a sport I grew up playing. It's a sport that I love, that I just enjoy.
Aaron: And this past year, you obviously had a new head coach, Tyler Sheikh, come in. What was that transition like?
Beaufils: The transition was, it wasn't a bad one, just because you have to be able to adapt to new changes. And I think the guys and I were able to step up to the occasion, and give Coach Tyler the best as we could give him, and you show him why we're here.
Aaron: For sure. And then Maine State meet comin' up this weekend, right? I mean, I know the team is pretty motivated to get that title back, right?
Beaufils: Yeah, that's one of the things we're actually really excited about, because the guys have put in a lot of work in the summer and in the fall. And going into this year, our goal is to get the state title. And with the talent I see on team, with the incoming class, the freshman class that we have, the sophomores, the juniors, and seniors. I believe that everyone is talented enough to rise up to the occasion, and get the work done, and get the state title back to us, then.
Aaron: For sure. And then after that, obviously you're tryin' to get times that might qualify for NCAAs, right? Are there any events you're particularly optimistic about this season?
Beaufils: This season, for now I'm trying to, which is, some people will find it not me, but I'm trying to qualify for the NCAAs in the long jump. I'm tryin' to get that 7-meter mark. I'm tryin' to go for my record-high in the high jump. So, I'm tryin' to go for at least 6.9 in the high jump. And hurdles, I enjoy hurdles. I just wanna keep breaking my personal records, and while breaking, I'm gonna be making marks, and who knows where that takes me.
Aaron: Excellent. And so, you being a junior now, right? What's it been like being in season at all times, whether it be soccer, indoor, or outdoor track? What's the experience been like throughout your time at Bates so far?
Beaufils: I actually enjoy it. Some people think it's too much, but for me, I think it's nice just because I have a structured schedule. So I have, I know after classes, I'm goin' to practice. And then afterwards, I'm getting dinner, then I'm doin' work. So I kinda like the discipline behind it. I like the structure behind it, and I just love competing, you know? I think competition brings out the best in me, and through competition, I'm able to focus also on the academic side of things, and be able to give the best of myself, both on the field and in the classroom.
Aaron: Speaking of the classroom, what are you studying here? What's your major right now?
Beaufils: All right, now I'm a double-major, so I'm doin' Economics and French, in Franco studies.
Aaron: And the French side of it, what's the inspiration to have that be part of your major?
Beaufils: So I grew up speaking French.
Aaron: So you know the language, that helps.
Beaufils: I do, but comin' to the U.S., I kinda lost some of the French virtues, like the conjugation part of it. I kind of found myself in a place where my French wasn't improving at all, so I thought that getting French back was one of the ways to improve my French speaking, writing, and understanding, pretty much.
Aaron: Awesome. Well, Beaufils Kimpolo, good luck at the Maine State meet this weekend. Appreciate it.
Aaron: Thank you so much.
Aaron: When he was a first-year, junior Nick Beati was on the men’s basketball team. But injuries eventually caused him to decide to transition into a new role: student coach. And this year, he started a club basketball team at Bates, that is off to a 6-0 start to its season. We chat with the do-it-all coach, basketball player…and golfer.
Aaron: Nick Beati with us here on the Bobcast to talk about a variety of topics related to Bates athletics. I guess we'll start with basketball, right? So, you come to Bates, you're planning to play on the varsity team, you do your first year, but you get hurt. Take us through your steps after the injury, where you decide you wanted to become a student coach, and how that all worked.
Nick: I had three surgeries in four years. The first week, my freshman year, I unfortunately had ankle surgery, tore a couple ligaments in my ankle, and that season was basically a wash. So I was at the point, after this season, I kinda made the decision that I couldn't physically make the commitment anymore to the six, the seven-day varsity commitment. So I wanted to be around the team, I had made such a great relationship with Coach Furbush and the staff, as well as the members of the team. So basically, sophomore year, they approached me, saying, "Do you wanna still be part of the program?" And I took that opportunity as a way to use my love for sports and basketball, and to possibly just another role. So the last two years, I've been assistant coach, and the rules have changed. I do like scouting reports, I'm on the sideline wearin' a suit, so I feel pretty official, but it's been an awesome experience.
Aaron: I was gonna say, oftentimes you're the most well-dressed person out there, it seems like, right? What's your approach to wardrobe, I guess?
Nick: Just try to mix it up, Bates tie, Bates watch. Try to look official.
Aaron: I gotcha. And then, student assistant, that's kind of a rare thing here. I don't know if there's any other programs that have one like you, at least in terms of how much involvement you have. What's that been like for you?
Nick: It's been an unbelievable experience, working at that level. Most varsity athletes, obviously in college, play. So to have this role, it's basically like I'm a grad assistant at a Division I school. So every day, talk to the coaches, I basically do have the role of an assistant coach. So from X and O's, to game management, kind of work. I mean, I'm obviously not "the guy," but I like to think I have an impact on the team.
Aaron: So you mentioned the scouting work you do, obviously. During the actual game, what's some of your responsibilities?
Nick: So I track just our timeouts, the fouls, who might be in foul trouble. And then I just work with individual players, and see trends on the court, what I think they can do better to help us out. We've been running a 1-3-1 recently, so just identifying player personnel on the other team, who can shoot, who can't. Yeah, so that type of thing.
Aaron: What's it like being a coach with people who are not only the same age as you, but also some who are slightly older, perhaps?
Nick: Yeah. So I actually had a similar experience in high school 'cause I was hurt, and I coached our fall league team. So it's definitely, even last year, when I was working with guys who were two years older than me, it's kind of, I don't like to get confrontational in any way. And I just kinda be constructive criticism when I see it, and I think the guys have adjusted well to it, and they know it's for the betterment of the team.
Aaron: Do you think coaching is something you might do post-college?
Nick: I've thought about athletic administration and sports management. I'm still weighing my options. I'm an Economics major, so I've considered economic consulting and stuff like that. But I definitely see potentially getting an MBA, and then heading back into athletics in some capacity.
Aaron: So this year, you've also made some moves in two other areas. First of all, you joined the golf team. Tell us about that.
Nick: Yeah. So I've played golf, on and off, the last couple of summers, here and there. And then, this summer, 'cause I wasn't playing basketball, I wanted to get involved in something competitive again. And I thought, "What a great opportunity golf might be" So played probably three, four times a week this summer, and was lucky to make the team. I actually played in three or four tournaments this fall, including the New England Championships down at the Cape. So I just got a brand-new set of Titleist clubs, I'm ready to rock those, and we have spring season. We're supposed to be heading to Naples, Florida for a week over April break, so that should be, I'm just excited. And then next year, to hopefully continue improving, 'cause it's a pretty new sport for me.
Aaron: Sure. I mean, golf versus basketball. There's almost no similarities at all, but what's the team dynamic like, compared between the two sports?
Nick: Yeah. It's definitely more of an informal kind of thing. I mean, we show up to practice in the fall, two hours, you can kinda do your own thing. Some people play nine, some people hit balls, but it's been just a new group of guys I've been hanging out with. It's one of the best decisions I think I've made at Bates.
Aaron: Then you've got the itch to play basketball again. Of course, you founded the club basketball team here. What was this process like? This is the first season, you guys are undefeated so far.
Nick: Yup. So last year again, I wasn't able to play on the core varsity, so I said, "Listen, I'm starting to get healthy. I wanna play basketball competitively again. What options are there?" 'Cause intramurals just wasn't cutting it for me. So basically, there's a national club basketball association that's basically all over the country. There's about 20 different regions. We're in the New England North, so I basically had to go through administration, setting up a budget, how it's gonna work with both campus life and athletics.
Nick: So basically, I have a lot of roles on the team, especially being the first year in the league. Basically, play, I help coach, I drive the van to away games, so I'm doing a lot of different things, but I've enjoyed it. We've had some immediate success. Actually, this coming weekend, we're at Harvard, who is the runner-up for the league last year. They lost to Ohio State in the Championships, so definitely gonna be our first real challenge, but I'm excited. We have a couple of former varsity guys who are on the team, got a good group of freshman, so it's looking promising.
Aaron: So how did you go about recruiting the guys to play on team? 'Cause it's one thing to get team started. It's another thing to actually have players.
Nick: Yeah. So through just my experience with basketball, and intramurals over the years, I kinda knew, coming in, who I wanted to be on the team. So I approached those guys, and then three or four freshman approached me this year, a couple who were considering playing varsity, so I grabbed those guys. And then, we have a couple football guys who didn't play for a semester, but are expected to join. So finding guys who potentially have a little time in their schedule, but that's basically, we have about 12 or 13 right now, which is the perfect amount.
Aaron: Who's some of the key players?
Nick: So Griff Golden is my vice president. He's a senior. Robbie Hodin, he's a freshman. Finn Conway's a freshman, Wilky Joseph is a junior, Samatar Iman is a sophomore, so we got just a good spread of guys who can play. And the way this league works is, you actually play three games in a given weekend, so minutes are like, everyone's exhausted. So everyone plays pretty equal minutes, and it's worked out so far.
Aaron: You guys playin' a 1-3-1 on the club team, too?
Nick: We have mixed that in, yeah. I'm tryin' to take some of varsity tendencies and apply them over, yeah.
Aaron: Terrific. And then, we mentioned playing Harvard this week. I saw Harvard had two teams or something?
Nick: Yeah, I don't know how that works. We're playing this weekend their A team, who's obviously, the better of the two. I don't know what to expect. I think we're playing in their varsity gym, so it's pretty exciting. But besides that, I've tried to do some scouting, looking at some high school footage. But that's about all I'm gonna get.
Aaron: was gonna ask, there's not much scouting involved in club basketball.
Nick: No, it's not as much as I would like, but I think we do have a competitive advantage, compared to most.
Aaron: So if a student at Bates is listening to this interview, and they say, "I wanna play in club basketball," how do they reach out?
Nick: Basically, club sports at Bates, anyone can play. So, especially, this is our first year. I'm open to new members. This league does have a cap of 18, but we're not near that. So I expect, in the future, for this team to continue to grow.
Aaron: So all you gotta do is send you an email?
Nick: Yeah, pretty much. Yeah.
Aaron: Gotcha. Do you guys have any home games, or it's all on the road for you guys?
Nick: So, fortunate for us, I kinda planned this around the varsity schedule. So this is our fourth away weekend, but following this upcoming Saturday, we're home. We have the second week in February, we're home versus University of Vermont. And then, in March, we have three consecutive home weekends.
Nick: So hopefully, get some people at the games, and increase the publicity.
Aaron: And that's at Alumni, I assume.
Aaron: Do you get to coordinate hiring the referees, or how does that go?
Nick: That's basically a new process, as well. We're working on that now, just reserving gym time, and paying for refs is a big concern. But I think, hopefully, it's gonna work. I'm working with administration to get that all figured out.
Aaron: Well, this must be just a great experience for you, 'cause you mentioned sports administration's something you're considering. This is hands-on experience.
Nick: Yeah, and it's again, I'm finally competitive. So it's been awesome to have referees, and getting back in it again is something I've always dreamed of. And these injuries have been tough, but I'm glad I'm finally healthy and hopefully, knock on wood, that continues.
Aaron: For sure. Now, back to the varsity team a little bit, hittin' the road this weekend, I know some big games comin' up, Hamilton and Amherst, I believe? You're the guy doin' the scouting. What can you tell us about these teams?
Nick: So, Hamilton and Amherst are both Top 25 teams, top in NESCAC. Hamilton likes to get up and down, Amherst has a lot of size, so I envision us, hopefully, keepin' this 1-3-1 goin'. I think, game by game, we've learned to make adjustments and eliminate tendencies. I think Wesleyan Friday night, just them gettin' the ball in the middle of the court, just killed us 'cause they kicked out Hutcherson hit seven or eight 3's. But, if we can steal one this weekend, we're in great shape with Trinity that following weekend. So the way the NESCACs work, every year it seems like it's a logjam right in the middle. So if we can get one this weekend, even if we can get both, we potentially could even host the NESCAC playoff game. So we didn't have the start we wanted, but we've been playing well of late.
Aaron: Well, it's interesting 'cause you look at, anyone can beat anybody, right? Colby beat both these teams, and you guys beat Colby. Transitive property doesn't mean much. But it's interesting, right?
Nick: Yeah, exactly, yeah. And we gave Williams a game, we were up 10 Wesleyan in the first half, so we really feel like we can compete with anyone.
Aaron: Excellent. Well, anything else you wanted to share with us about your club team initiative that you started, or the varsity team perhaps?
Nick: Just that I've been workin' with Jason in the Athletic Department, just workin' with how to improve attendance at these games. And that would be my thing, just having people get behind Bates athletics, 'cause I feel like that's just such a good thing, for students to be a part of, in the overall game experience. And I think, hopefully, with Jason as the new AD, that's on the up and coming.
Aaron: Well, hopefully, you guys can earn that home game, the NESCAC tournament, and get some people out there, right?
Nick: Yeah, exactly.
Aaron: All right, Nick, thanks so much for joining us on the Bobcast.
Nick: Thank you. Yeah, appreciate it.
Aaron: Congrats to Nordic skiers Kaelyn Woods, Maya Seckinger, Henry Raff and Tucker Barber on earning All-State honors Saturday at the Maine state intercollegiate Nordic ski championship, better known as the Chummy Broomhall Cup. Both the Nordic and alpine skiing teams return to carnival action this weekend at the UVM Carnival. The track and field teams look to win the Maine State Meet, the men’s squash team heads to the NESCAC Championships and the basketball teams both take on Hamilton and Amherst, with the women returning home to Alumni Gym. We’ll recap all that and more, next time, on the Bates Bobcast!