On this week's Bobcast, we talk with sophomore women's swimmer Caroline Apathy, who won the NESCAC title in the 100-yard butterfly! We chat with senior men's squash captain Coley Cannon, who ended his collegiate career on a high note and we look forward to the Bates Carnival with sophomore alpine skier Hannah West. Plus, a women's and men's lacrosse season preview. All that and more...on the Bates Bobcast!

Interviews this episode:

  • 1:01 -- Peter Casares, Swimming and Diving head coach.
  • 13:05 -- Caroline Apathy '21, Women's Swimming (Female Bobcat of the Week).
  • 23:05 -- Coley Cannon '19, Men's Squash (Male Bobcat of the Week).
  • 33:02 -- Hannah West '21, Women's alpine skiing.
  • 42:02 -- Women's lacrosse preview with head coach Brett Allen, and senior captains Joanna Schafer and Eliza Statile.
  • 48:55 -- Men's lacrosse preview with senior captain Stephen Bull.

Bobcast Transcript

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 preview the women’s and men’s lacrosse seasons! Plus, the women’s swimming team turned in an outstanding performance at the NESCAC Championships and the men’s squash team finished its season on a high note. All that and more, coming up, on the Bates Bobcast!

Aaron: The women’s swimming team had a NESCAC Championships to remember, finishing fourth out of 11 schools and recording a number of NCAA B-Cut times. The 4th place finish is Bates’ best at NESCACs since 2016. The biggest highlight for Bates: sophomore Caroline Apathy recorded the fastest time in the 100-yard butterfly in the country so far this season on her way to winning the NESCAC Championship. Head coach Peter Casares recaps the meet.

Aaron: It all started Thursday night this year with the 800 Free Relay and the team got 5th in that one. Kind of setting a really good tone for the whole meet, didn't it?

Peter: Yeah, 5th place doesn't sound that exciting, but we ended up 11th in the country when that race was over. So, we knew we had a relay that you know, when they take 19 to the national meet was in a safe spot, knowing that there's a whole nother weekend of competition, so four of our women felt like, "Hey, we're headed off to North Carolina for nationals, and three of them had never been before.

Peter: So, it was two freshmen, a sophomore, and then our senior captain Lucy Faust. And, it was just a great way to start the meet. They all swam great, and we were smiling ear to ear on the way back to the hotel that night.

Aaron: Certainly, and there were a lot of NCAA B-Cut times swam by a variety of swimmers on the team, weren't there?

Peter: Yeah, you know the B-Cut times have gotten faster and faster each year. And, I remember thinking, Saturday night we had one B-Cut on the team from an individual and that was Caroline's 100 butterfly, and yet all of our relays looked like they had a really good shot at nationals.

Peter: So, the depth that we had been thinking was gonna pay off early in this year, was really doing its job because the relays were so deep and so fast that even though individually we weren't creating national opportunities for our kids. Our relays all together, coming together were doing it.

Peter: And that was what we really had hoped from the beginning of the year would happen.

Aaron: We mentioned the 800 Free Relay, what were some of the other relays that really impressed you at NESCAC?

Peter: Our 200 Medley Relay, right now I think is seeded 7th in the country. That was just outstanding, it was 1/100th off our school record.

Peter: Again, it's almost completely new in terms of whose on that relay.

Peter: And then, last night, our 400 Freestyle Relay, which is a sprint relay, we had Caroline Apathy anchoring it, Janika Ho, leading it off, which was what we knew would happen, I think probably from day one. Something of that situation, but there in the middle was our senior captain Lucy Faust.

Peter: And Lucy, earlier that day won a national cut in her mile, which is the longest event going. So, to throw your miler up in to your sprint relay on the last night, just really showed off how well she was swimming, and what variety she has, and what ability she has. So, you put that in there and you put a freshman in there, who has never been in this type of a situation. And, for us to go under 3:28 like we did was just a phenomenal way to end it, and I think our relay is in a really good position there to go off too.

Aaron: Well, Lucy I know she does a lot of outdoor swimming also. So, endurance is not really a problem for her, is it?

Peter: Yeah, she is an endurance queen. I think her NESCAC poster even refers to her as a distance queen by the team, by the men's team. So, she is able to handle many races. She found her groove in the mile that she dropped 15 seconds off her lifetime best, which is, my gosh, takes her 15 seconds to swim a length in the pool, so that's a significant drop in time. And, it was just a phenomenal way to see her, and end up her career with two national cuts on the last day. One in the mile, and one in a sprint event.

Aaron: The national cuts is not automatica, you have to kind of wait and see who they kind of select?

Peter: With her, she's going on a relay. So, she's on the 800 free relay, so she's swimming it. And so, we know for sure, since she went that mile, she has the ability to swim that at nationals and have another race while she's out there for those four days.

Aaron: Outstanding. Alright, so I gotta talk about Caroline Apathy, and what she did. First of all, the 100 Butterfly, she won the NESCAC title, I believe I read somewhere, she's also number one in the country right now, is that true?

Peter: Yup. The lists that are out as of this Monday morning, have her first in the country right now with the fastest time in the nation. So, to see what Caroline did in that event, really was mind blowing. She was 55:05 in the morning, and 54:05 at night. She didn't even think about her time, she just raced the girl next to her and wanted to beat her. It was just a beautiful perfect swim in our first NESCAC Champion in the 100 Butterfly, since Coach Vanessa was there doing it in 2004, I think, 2005.

Peter: So, just an awesome kind of torch being passed on, since Vanessa's coached Caroline the entire year and written every practice for her and led her in those practices. So, you can see how great that combination is, and Caroline literally had one of the most amazing NESCAC meets I have ever witnessed from anybody in the conference over 12 years.

Peter: In the 200 Free Relay, she threw up the fastest split in the entire conference to help our two free relay get that national cut. Breaking 23 seconds, and that's never happened before for us. In the 400 Medley Relay, she went 54 on that relay, being the fastest 100 Flyer in the conference. So, she was doing whatever it took to get friends and teammates to the meet with her, and then she was taking care of business herself, going a B-Cut in the 100 Free, B-Cut in the 100 Fly, and putting up a really nice 50 Free and 50 Fly for us also.

Aaron: And she's doing this as a sophomore, which is pretty remarkable, isn't it?

Peter: Yup, she had a lot of expectation on her this year as our only swimmer that had qualified individually last year for the meet returning.

Peter: So, she dealt with that pressure really well, trained really hard. And then, you put her in a big meet, in a big moment and she is very dependable. The first meet of the year we needed to win the last relay to win the meet against Wesleyan, and she anchored it and touched the girl out with her fastest time of the year. The last meet of the year, she's there anchoring our relay with a 50.9 split and sending us off to nationals. So she's doing it when it counts, and that's really fun to be a part of.

Aaron: I know when we spoke on the radio, you mentioned the goal was probably top four, and you got top four for the team, huh?

Peter: Yeah, I mean that was the dream. We were sixth on paper, we were supposed to be 120 points behind fourth place when you scored out the meet, based on seeds. So, to see us nearly 100 points ahead of fifth place, and fourth by ourself, was just a tribute to the team as a whole. Our stars were stars, and our depth players swam better than they ever hoped to. So, from 1 to 24, we couldn't have asked for a better kind of experience. I told the team. I said, "I've been here for 12 years, and I've been through a lot of wonderful NESCAC meets. There's not one that's probably better than this. I can't think of one that was more special, so enjoy it and don't ever forget it, because they don't come around as often as you think."

Aaron: Hannah Johnson, in the last day got a B-Cut too, right?

Peter: Yup, Hannah, she to her credit, she was abroad first semester, she found a pool, she trained on her own almost every day, and she made it happen. Then she came here and she went to B-Cut in her 200 Back, which is an event she swam at National's her freshman year, she's 21st in the country, and they're taking 20. So she's gonna try this weekend at Middlebury to get a half a second faster and see if she can get to that meet again.

Peter: Janika Ho, was also abroad and she was a member of all of our fastest relays, and so Janika came back to us after missing our training trip, and was clearly behind. But boy, I don't think anybody could've worked harder over the last six weeks. She did everything possible to be ready for this team at conferences, and it showed up on every relay swim, and even individually, she just put it together and scored points for this group.

Peter: And really just kept talking about how she wanted to be fast on relays and she did it. And our relayers are going because of her. So, to see our abroad girls come through for us because of that grit and determination is great. I don't think any coach wants to see their swimmers take off for a semester, but if they are, you've seen that it can be done and you just have to really put your mind to it, and be really special to make it happen, and those two are.

Aaron: So, this weekend is the NESCAC Championships for the men, and the women have a last change type of opportunity right?

Peter: Exactly, on the last day of Men's NESCAC's there's a three hour break between trials and finals and the first hour of that break, while the divers are getting ready to compete in their session is an hour long meet for any women that wanna try one more time. A time trial to go off to nationals and improve their times. So, we'll have a handful of women that have made the meet on relays try to go there. And just drop a little bit of time, and make a B-Cut so they could get some individual swims.

Aaron: Awesome. And then, for the men, Alex Bedard has been the headliner all year for what he's done. Who are some other guys you're looking at to have big meets coming up here at the NESCAC?

Peter: There's too many. Alexander Ignatov is our school record holder. I haven't seen him have a better year of training that he has had this year. We've got a freshman Pieter Corey, who sometimes does the most amazing things I've ever seen in practice, and that always bods well towards a big breakthrough meet. Andrew Hall and Jack Johnson are two freshmen boys that are so good at all four strokes, their IM's could be unbelievable. Dan Waterland has been our lead backstroker as a freshman, and he's stepped into some big shoes. So, that's good.

Peter: Gosh, Rory Collins, he hurt his elbow about 2 weeks, 3 weeks ago, and he's been coming back from it. But, I just watched him swim this morning and he is looking great. I mean I could go through just about every class, and every group, and I know I'm probably missing some people. Matt Charest, and some of our sophomores, they're ready to go. And, they have to be pretty pumped right now after watching our women do what they did.

Peter: So, I'm excited to see them this afternoon, and talk to them about NESCACs and then see what we can do with our depth this year.

Aaron: This may seem like a weird question, but the pools themselves can be a little different right? How does Middlebury compare with where you were just at Wesleyan?

Peter: Each venue has its pluses and minuses. Middlebury is the best pool I think, in terms of deck space, lane space, depth in the water, speed in the pool. It's wonderful, what they don't have is hotels. So, we're cramming our guys into hotel rooms and trying to fit everybody.

Peter: Wesleyan, we've always had magical meets at. And we can spread out in the hotel space there in Hartford, in Middletown, but their pool has air quality issues every year. So, the kids are coughing a little bit by the time it's done trying to deal with some stuff like that. Wherever you go, there's something you have to deal with. Our team I think understands that and just says, "This is okay, we're gonna still do it. People have done it in the past." So, this is a fast pool, if they've rested well this week. If they've taken care of themselves, if they're doing everything right. They're gonna go there and just destroy it.

Aaron: And the men, you mentioned the women the goal was top four. The men have a lot of people they've had to replace from last year's team that of course graduated some of the best swimmers in Bates history. So, what are some expectations or realistic goals you're setting for this meet for the men?

Peter: I think this group has a chance to be in the top half of the conference, and when there's 11 teams you're hoping for fifth or better.

Aaron: And, I don't know if we're gonna send a group off to nationals or send no one off to nationals, but I think in this NESCAC meet they could be fifth, and they could flirt with fourth if everybody is on, and we're all scoring.

Peter: But, it's a fast meet, and there's a lot to have happen, and see how they rise to the occasion and I'll be excited to see who does step up and really embrace the moment.

Aaron: Apathy not only won the NESCAC title in the 100-yard butterfly, she also finished second in the 50-fly, helped Bates take third in both the 200-yard freestyle and medley relays, and she finished sixth in the 100-yard freestyle. And Caroline Apathy is our Female Bobcat of the Week!

Aaron: The fly seems to be your stroke at the moment, what makes that stroke so good for you. I've been told by many people it's the toughest in swimming, but what makes it thrive for you, you think?

Caroline: I think my underwater has definitely helped me. When I push off the wall, I do butterfly kicks, so I think that gives me a huge advantage over other competitors. I don't know, I tried to change my stroke this year to make a more wider entrance in my hands, but it's always just worked for me, I guess.

Aaron: When did you first learn it? I mean it is a tough stroke.

Caroline: Yeah, probably when ... I used to do a lot of backstroke when I was little. I started swimming when I was seven. So, I did backstroke for a couple of years, and then I started doing butterfly when I was like 10 or 9 I guess.

Caroline: And then, another person on my team started getting better at backstroke than me, so then I had to do butterfly for the team. So, I've always just done butterfly in high school and middle school. So, yeah.

Aaron: Great. So you won the 100 Fly, after finishing second last year. What was your reaction when you touched the wall and looked up there at the score?

Caroline: I was in shock. Because I couldn't believe that I was going into finals top seed. I thought there were a lot of strong competitors and the 100 Fly, and I thought that they would all go faster than me.

Caroline: It was circle seeded, so I was in heat like four out of six in prelims, so I couldn't race against the girls that were top five. And I won my heat, and I thought I had a pretty good solid time, but then I saw other girls go and I realized I was top seed, I thought it was crazy.

Caroline: I couldn't believe it and I tried to not think about being top seed going into the night because anything could happen. And, yeah, I couldn't believe that I had even swum like a 54, I've been really striving to go that time off a flat start for a while.

Aaron: And then, the runner-up was a swimmer from Williams, but then there was also someone from Bowdoin in the race. Tell us about that rivalry going back and forth.

Caroline: Yeah, so during the year, Mary Laurita, she's another sophomore, she beat me at the Maine State Meet in the 100 Fly, and at the Bowdoin Meet, against Bowdoin, at Bates. She beat me by 1/100th second. Yeah, so I was kind of like just focusing on that a lot and going into finals, I realized she was I think third or fourth, I don't know what was gonna happen. I thought she was gonna ... I think she got third. But, I was more focused on that than my Maia Hare, who won the 50 Fly.

Aaron: Maia was right next to you, I know in the 100 Fly, and I think, I'm looking at the video. It's hard to see, but it looks like briefly had a lead down the stretch, but then you overtook her, what was that like?

Caroline: Honestly, I had no idea I was out in front with her. I knew someone next to me was with me on the third wall. But, my underwaters, kind of helped me getting past her. But, I had no idea how it looked, except what my coaches tell me. And, Vanessa told me that I was dominating the field with Maia the whole time, so that was pretty surprising.

Caroline: Yeah, I just remember like being on the third wall and everyone cheering on that side, like my whole team, and a bunch of people were in my face, and I just knew I had to ... have a perfect underwaters to beat Maia.

Aaron: Now, for those who don't know, when you say underwaters, what does that mean in the context of swimming?

Caroline: Just when I do a turn and then I push off the wall.

Aaron: Right now, your 100 Fly is ranked number one in the country, what does that mean to you?

Caroline: That's crazy. I had no idea that it was gonna be number one. That is insane to me. My dad told me that my time from this year would've gotten second last year at nationals so that's even crazier to me. Because I remember swimming it at nationals last year and I got like sixth, I think.

Caroline: So, that's crazy to me to think that I got sixth and now I'm number one going into the meet. I mean, we'll still have to see for some other championships to end.

Aaron: But, as of now, number one obviously. And then, your teammates, just I mean, they turned in some monster performances. Tell us about some of your teammates that really stood out to you?

Caroline: Yeah, well another B-Cut qualifier, Lucy Faust, who is already going ... All of our relays are going to nationals, which is insane, because going into the meet, our coach was telling us, "You know, it's gonna be tough. We might not have a chance." But, every relay ended up making those times by like a second or a couple of seconds, which is insane. And, I'm so excited because the first night it was the 8 Free Relay, so everyone killed it. Erin Bucki, Caroline Sweeney, Maya Reynoso-Williams, and Lucy, they all took it out incredibly fast, which was such a great start to the meet.

Caroline: And, another race that was one of my highlights of the meet was watching Lucy doing the mile, because I didn't realize she was on pace for the national cut until my coach told me that she was, so we all gathered behind the block, or on the other side of the lane cheering her on to get it. It was really amazing to see her finish and get that cut.

Caroline: Also, just people who haven't gotten close to their best time, who did get a lifetime best. Emily Erard-Stone, she did in the 100 Back and other people who at finals like all the 200 Back, and all the breaststrokers who did amazing this weekend. It was a great meet for a lot of people.

Aaron: How cool is it for you to be, you're the first 100 Fly NESCAC Champion at Bates since your associate coach there Vanessa Williamson. What's that dynamic like? That's pretty cool.

Caroline: That is, yeah, it is great. I mean, Vanessa really calms my nerves. I was really nervous going into finals. Until I talked to her and she told me, "You have so many more swims of this, you've done this a million times. Just do your own thing. Just do yourself." And she kind of tells me, like she tells me what I did wrong in a race and I really take that into consideration, I do it, and then I do it better. I really appreciate her feedback a lot.

Aaron: Yeah, you touched on the opening night relay that you were not a part of.

Caroline: Yeah.

Aaron; Which must've been nice, because it's an exhausting meet.

Caroline: Yeah. My 200 ... there's so many other girls that are so much amazing at the 2 Free, and that's just not one of my specialties. Which is a hard race, it's a really tough race.

Aaron: I was gonna ask you how nice it was when they had the opening night where you did not have to worry about swimming and just watch your teammates.

Caroline: Yeah, it was nice. Because people had class. Like all those girls that were on the relay, I think they had class before we left to go on the bus. And, I can't imagine sitting on that bus ride being like, "Oh, I have to race tonight."

Caroline: But, it was a very exciting start to get in the pool warmup and then watch your teammates race, and be like, "Okay, this is finally starting. It was a good beginning to the meet.

Aaron: From a training perspective, is this week entirely a week off, or are you getting back to that pool pretty soon?

Caroline: We have a couple ... All the girls who are going to nationals, we have a couple of days off, and our first practice starts Wednesday, I think. Yeah, so a couple of people went home. Like Suzy Ryckman went home. Lucy went to Boston, like a bunch of people went to Boston. But, me, Janika, Emmy Daigle, and ... I think that's it out of the national group stayed here.

Caroline: And there's a bunch of girls who stay here every break because they just didn't go home, and the whole guys team is here for NESCACs. So, we're not alone.

Aaron: Sure. Absolutely.

Aaron: Any other thoughts on the NESCAC championships, that we haven't talked about that you wanted to share?

Caroline: It's a lot of fun to watch. I wish more people could come and see it.

Caroline: Wesleyan is pretty far. It's a like a five-hour drive, but watching everyone swim and people you know is a really amazing experience to look at. The best part of NESCACs for me is watching my teammates race and being on the relays, because I don't know, you're doing something with all your friends and you're a part of something bigger. So, it's really nice.

Aaron: The men’s squash team competed for the Summers Cup at team nationals over the weekend. The Bobcats dropped a match to MIT before bouncing back to defeat Tufts and Amherst, finishing the year as the 21st ranked team in the country. Senior captain Coley Cannon came up big for Bates, sweeping all three of his matches. And Coley Cannon is our Male Bobcat of the Week!

Aaron: Talking on the phone with Male Bobcat of the Week, Coley Cannon, here on the Bobcast.

Aaron; Coley, first of all this past week was quite hectic for you and for some of the other players on the team. I'm sure you had midterms and then you had Team Nationals down at Yale, where there were some morning matches. How did you handle that as a senior, you kind of knew it was the homestretch. How do you go about last week kind of?

Coley: Well, I think the key for me was just time management throughout the week. I knew I had to dedicate three hours or whatever it was for practice in the afternoon, plus all these exams, and papers I had to get done this week.

Coley: Of course, on top of that try to get good sleep every night. So, it was really tough. I had to prioritize some things for work earlier in the week because of some of these due dates.

Coley: But, I was able to get that stuff done, and focus on squash by the weekend. Minus a few assignments that I actually had over the weekend. Pat actually had to administer one of my exams, which was pretty hectic, but I was able to get that stuff done and focus on squash by the time Friday came around.

Aaron: Interesting yes. So, that's something we don't necessarily talk about a lot. But, coaches having to sometimes administer exams for you guys on the road. How does that kind of go about? How do you kind of go about doing that?

Coley: Well, it's tough. I mean, my exam time for that class was actually during one of our matches. So, I just had to play that match, and then refocus by the time that was done. And just start the exam pretty quick right after.

Coley: So, you know it's to tough switch mindsets like that, but that's part of the gig when you're a student athlete like this.

Aaron: For sure. So, as a senior in that match against Amherst, you swept your opponent there in your final match of your collegiate career. What was it like walking off the court after that and finishing on a high note, such as that, going 3-0 at nationals this year?

Coley: I didn't really think about it too much until towards the end of the match. I knew it was gonna be a tight one and we were down when I was on court. So, I was really just trying to focus on winning.

Coley: I remember I got to match ball, and I took a few seconds and I realized it was it, and I looked back, and my dad had a huge smile on his face. And it was kind of a moment where I got some tingle, and I was just trying to mentally capture that moment because I knew that was gonna be the last one.

Coley: And then, played that point out and won it, and I don't know it was definitely a big shock and I don't think it's hit me yet. Maybe once I get back to school and I'm not practicing every day, then it'll start settling in more often.

Coley: But, it was definitely a crazy experience, and a memorable one. I'm definitely in a bittersweet feeling right now. Now that it's all over.

Aaron: Did you sleep a lot afterwards at home? Because you're from Connecticut, so you probably went straight home right?

Coley: Yeah, well I was lucky. That match was actually held at a facility that was 15 minutes away from my home. Sometimes in the later days of the tournament, they schedule the matches in facilities outside of Yale, just because there's so much going on. If you're not in the actual final of your bracket, then you might be placed in another facility.

Coley: And, that place which was Chelsea Piers in Stamford was 15 minutes down the road, so I was able to get home quick and took a big nap right when I got home.

Aaron: For sure. I know Pat mentioned to me you're not planning on playing individual nationals are you gonna go down there to Rhode Island and check out some of the players who are participating in that one?

Coley: I might. I actually haven't missed one yet.

Coley: Because in the past I've gone, I mean I've overlapped one year with Ahmed Abdel Khalek and wanted to go see him win his second national championship, and then the next year which was at Dartmouth, I didn't play in it, but I went down because I have a few friends at Dartmouth. But, I don't really have any place to stay at the moment for Providence, but I'll definitely consider and weigh my options and see if I can go down there and support the team.

Aaron: What's it been like with you and McLeod being the captains this year? How's that going?

Coley: It's definitely been a roller coaster. In the fall, the fall is hands down the toughest part because first of all this is my first year doing it. McLeod did it last year. So he had a little bit more experience than I did in the fall. But, with all these guys coming in from the summer, and taking it nice and easy over the summer. We had to buckle down pretty hard in the fall and put these guys through a lot of fitness programs and sometimes you don't wanna put in that work that early, but it really pays off in the homestretch.

Coley: So, it was a lot of convincing the guys to get in as much practice as we can, and again with the academic schedule. You don't wanna kill yourself when you're not even in season. But, I mean, sometimes that's what you gotta do. So, the fall was really tough to get everyone in the mindset of playing every day and getting the mindset of getting competitive and figuring out how to win matches.

Coley: But, once the season started, Pat was great to help us with any problems or with the team dynamic, or with logistical stuff, and things along those lines.

Coley: So, he was very helpful and we are very grateful for what he's done for us this winter. But, as captains, you feel bad for the guys when you lose and you feel extra happy for the guys when you win.

Coley: So, you kind of have a little bit more of a foot in the game than some of the younger guys especially since it's your last year too. Anything you do this year, you don't have another shot at it. There's also that.

Coley: But, it was definitely a great experience and I'm really happy I did it.

Aaron: I know there's been a number of Cannons who have played at Bates, tell us a little bit about that history for people who are unfamiliar.

Coley: Yeah. So, my older brother, he was a senior when I was senior in high school. So, we never actually overlapped, but Pat never got rid of a Cannon for eight straight years. And, on top of that, I had a twin brother who played on the team as a freshman and stopped after that.

Coley: So, Pat's been dealing with Cannons for a really long time. Hopefully that's a good thing, but we also probably filled his plate a lot as well.

Coley: I mean, he's known us for awhile and that relationship has been great. And, it was really good to live up to Andy's legacy, he had a great squash career at Bates as well. And it's fun being on a team that he played on, and we've been able to talk about it and relate certain events to each other, and you know it's something special that some other guys don't have. So, I'm grateful for that.

Aaron: Do you have any younger siblings? Or, is this the end of the line for now?

Coley: No, it's the end of the line. My twin and I are the youngest of five. So, we're the last two Cannons. My parents have been coming to squash matches whether that's high school or college for close to 15 years now. So, that's a big end of the line for them as well.

Aaron: You know, I've been talking with a few guys. College squash is getting more and more competitive, more and more teams, it seems like each and every year.

Aaron: How have you seen things change from when you were a first-year, and watching, you know, Ahmed win his second national title, till now, you think?

Coley: Well, it's changed incredibly. Some of the teams that I've played as a freshman have improved a ton. It's a product of a lot of new international recruitment, and some teams that used to be club turning varsity and getting a lot of funding.

Coley: And, it's made it a lot more exciting because even though we might drop a few ranks down the ladder with a team that's similar skilled when I was a freshman, it's so much more fun to have a more competitive schedule playing. I don't wanna go out there and beat a team 9-0, I'd rather go out there and beat a team 5-4, that was better, it's a lot better for our team to mature and get some good competition before we play at NESCACs and nationals, and stuff like that.

Coley: It just makes it a lot more exciting.

Aaron: Excellent. Any other thoughts on this past weekend and your career in general, and what you've gotten out of it playing for Bates squash?

Coley: I guess, I'm just really grateful because it's helped me mature a lot as a person. I've learned a lot from the program, not only about squash, but about myself and about how I deal with pressure in competition and leadership, and stuff like that.

Coley: I hope to apply those skills to things I do down the line.

Coley: But, it's pretty crazy to think about it, looking back, I was looking at some of my career stats and how I did this past season. I'm definitely proud of how I played, but I guess I'm more proud on how McLeod and I were able to shape the guys this year. I mean that was by far the hardest task to do just because you're dealing with the emotions of 10 guys, or 12 guys instead of just one.

Coley: So, I'm definitely proud of what I've done, and I'm excited to see of what the guys can do next year.

Aaron: Alright, Coley Cannon, Male Bobcat of the Week. Thanks so much for joining us on the Bobcast, appreciate it.

Coley: Thank you very much.

Aaron: The skiing teams competed at the Middlebury Carnival over the weekend and alpine captain Griffin Mueller matched her career-best performance by finishing 7th in the slalom on Friday. Sophomore Hannah West had a strong weekend as well, finishing 23rd in the slalom and a team-best 15th in the giant slalom at Middlebury. On Sunday, the alpine teams competed in the GS at Dartmouth, making up for a race that got postponed earlier in the year. West shined again, finishing 13th in a field of 76. Then West joined the Bobcast to talk about her progress and what to expect at the Bates Carnival this weekend.

Hannah: For carnival races, we only race two days in a row. But, for FIS races, some FIS racers can be like two days of slalom and two days of GS. So, we're used to usually racing like four days in a row too.

Hannah: So, it's nothing anything different, but it's different for the means of racing two days at Middlebury and then going over and racing at Dartmouth again.

Aaron: You've got some great performances all year in the GS, starting to come to your own a little bit in the slalom also. What are the different challenges you face with those types of races? What are the similarities, differences, for you personally?

Hannah: For the slalom, I've been having a tough time finishing, and finishing clean, having a clean run. I think I just ... I get to excited, that's what I keep telling myself, and I get too antsy, and I just blow up and I feel like I just gotta calm myself down a little more and stick to what I know what to do, and finish my run.

Hannah: Just like that fine line of trying to stay in control but also to go as hard as possible, not near crashing, or near out of control.

Aaron: Bates Carnival coming up this weekend, Sunday River, you've had races in Sunday River before, during your time here. We didn't have a carnival last season at Sunday River. How excited are you for this opportunity?

Hannah: I'm actually really excited. It's so cool to go to other races and see other teams there, and their environment and they have some of their students come up and cheer them on.

Hannah: I'm really excited because like you said, we've had a few races there before, but no carnival races. So, this is gonna be like a big deal. It's our home hill, we have kind of an advantage over other competitors because we train there every day, we've raced there a few times. I'm just really excited to go up there and race one more last carnival.

Aaron: How does the hill at Sunday River compare to hills at other venues, say Middlebury or Dartmouth?

Hannah: Dartmouth, the GS I'd say has a steep pitch in the beginning, and then it's really flat. At Middlebury, it's more like ... I'm talking the GS hills right now.

Aaron: Yeah, yeah.

Hannah: But, we're racing on Monday morning, which is the same for GS and slalom.

Hannah: At Middlebury, there's a lot of rolls, I'd say, that kind of breaks off, flattens, then breaks off again.

Hannah: But, Monday morning, I really like racing Monday morning, because there's a lot of different, it's like similar to Middlebury, at the beginning it flattens off and then we're gonna break down into a pitch, then we're gonna bank onto a flat, and then we're gonna go over a roll, and then we're going back onto the pitch. And it lasts like four gates, five gates, it kind of flattens out a little bit more, but it's still like it's a false flat, and you're tired by the end, so you're still working it down there.

Aaron: For sure. For a carnival, this may seem like a dumb question. But, do you get any practice runs, or are you out there, first run, that's good to go?

Hannah: No, like we're inspecting the course, you visualize and you go. There's no practice runs.

Hannah: We do a warmup run, on the hill over. But, no practice runs on the course. So, it's like a two run race. Like all out, gotta go.

Aaron: Do you feel more pressure on the first or second run? Because I feel like it could kinda go either way.

Hannah: This season I've been doing a lot better in my second runs, so I feel like the pressure is on first run, and then you're like, "C'mon, I gotta go second run." But, this weekend you gotta go all out both runs. It's like that at every race. You gotta do that both runs.

Aaron: I know last year you came very close to qualifying for NCAA's, and you're kind of on that borderline again. How much do you pay attention to where you are in the rankings and stuff?

Hannah: Well last year, I was paying very close attention, and I think it kind of upset me a lot in my racing, I was focusing so much on my result and trying to focus onto getting into NCAA's, that it kind of affected my skiing.

Hannah: So, this year, I'm just taking it race by race, I'm just going out there trying to think about what I need to do, and to get faster at each run, and be the fastest one down the hill.

Aaron: I saw your teammate Griffin Mueller at one of her better performances this weekend, and what are you seeing from her, you and her kind of being leaders of the team this year it seems like?

Hannah: Yeah, it was funny because after my run in Dartmouth, we were talking because we were like, "Why didn't we do this earlier? We gotta get ... Why didn't we do this earlier in the season?" We were just like yeah, we figured out ... we remembered what we were doing. Sometimes there's little things that click for us, and we often forget it and we have to find those things that makes us click, and I guess we found them this weekend.

Aaron: Nice, and that's perfect timing right, with Bates Carnival coming up?

Hannah: I feel like we're really going into Bates Carnival coming in hot, like we're feeling good, we're feeling ready.

Aaron: Excellent. You're from Bend, Oregon right? So, how did you decide to come to Maine, to come to Bates for college?

Hannah: So, I went to a ski academy in Salt Lake City, Utah, and from there my counselor, I had a few teammates that came here. My counselor's daughter actually came here too. So, we were really like, "Okay." I was looking at all of the NESCACs as well. So, I was looking at Middlebury, Colby, UVM, UNH, all those schools.

Hannah: So, I applied to Bates my senior year, and I got in, but I didn't know what I wanted to do yet. So, I took a year off, skied, and then I applied ED to Bates, and I got in.

Hannah: I was like, "Yeah, I wanna go to Bates now." I was ready, I was ready to come.

Aaron: Yeah, it seems like skiers, a lot of you do seem to take a year or even two, like Arie van Vuuren took two years off. Was that year or two off from school help you in terms of your skiing?

Hannah: Taking a year off for me, I was just like, "It's taking the school part away. And it's focusing more on the skiing aspect." Because right now, we're balancing school and skiing. So during my post-grad year, I had a job, but I was also working out, I was focusing ... I was working out twice a day. And then, also working nights.

Hannah: Then, during the winter, I'd be training in the morning, or training in the afternoon. Maybe go powder skiing in the morning, it's mostly like PG years. We call them PG years.

Aaron: Yeah.

Hannah: It's just focusing on skiing because we commit so much of our time to this sport and we wanna be the best at it. We wanna get the most out of it. So, take a year off of school that helps a lot.

Aaron: Yeah, so coming into Bates, what was the adjustment like in the classroom like, "Now I'm back at school, and it's college, and it's a really good college too."?

Hannah: Yeah.

Hannah: Well, I feel like my high school really prepared me. But, during my post-grad year, I feel like after coming in there I was like, "Alright, I gotta remember how to take notes again. How do I study for quizzes again." It took maybe a few weeks to get back into it, but it wasn't a problem.

Aaron: Sure. And then growing up, when did you first start getting into skiing?

Hannah: At a young age. Like maybe three or four. I don't know both my parents raced, and they were putting me on skis as soon as possible.

Aaron: When you started competing, I mean, three or four years old, you're not really doing competitions?

Hannah: No, I was on the bunny hill, I had my little leash they had on us and the ... What is it called? The Edgy-Wedgie, I don't know, the thing that keeps your tips together, so you're always in a pizza. Yeah, that's like the younger version, and then moving up you lose the leash, and it's just like step-by-step.

Hannah: I actually grew up in Mount Hood, and Hood River. And, I grew up at this ... We learned how to ski at this little bunny hill, like one chair lift, four runs, but it was so fun. I had such a good time there.

Aaron: Do you ever go back and look at it now and be like, "Oh yeah, this is where it kinda all started"?

Hannah: In the summer, I work at the mountain and ski coach, and we drive by it because it's not really ... it's on the way to Hood River, but it's not where we're training in the summer. And, I drive by it and it's just like, "Oh, it's so funny, that's where I started." And now, I'm racing in these big races, and in Maine, I started at this little resort on Mount Hood.

Aaron: Sure. Alright, well any other thoughts on the Bates Carnival coming up?

Hannah: I'm just excited. I'm really excited to see what our team does. Our boys are skiing really fast right now. The girls are feeling ready, we're feeling confident, and our Nordies, they're feeling good too.

Hannah: I'm really excited to just like all of us to go in our home hill, and our home resort, and just like show them what we got.

Aaron: Absolutely yeah, so this Friday and Saturday at Sunday River for the Alpine. And Black Mountain for Nordic coming out and checking out the Bates Carnival, Hannah West, thanks so much.

Hannah: Thank you

Aaron: It’s time to preview the Bates lacrosse seasons! The women’s team gets going Thursday with a 2pm game at Cabrini. They are already off campus getting ready for the season opener so head coach Brett Allen, along with senior captains Joanna Schafer and Eliza Statile, joined the Bobcast on the phone to preview the season.

Aaron: Brett, we'll start with you. The team scrimmaged a team called Rowan, how'd that go in terms of being the first look at your team against another opponent?

Brett: It was great. I think obviously we have a short turnaround time from the start of the season to when we compete, just with our NESCAC rule of February 15th being the start date.

Brett: So, you have a couple days of practice and then you kind just sort of throw them right into the fire and see how it goes. And, we were really pleased with how the kids played and how they competed.

Brett: Certainly, Rowan played like a team that's been practicing for a month that they have, and we played like a team that's been practicing for three days.

Brett: But, we worked out some things that strategically we're gonna be trying to do offensively and defensively, and really got a chance to see everybody play. So, it was a pretty productive day for us.

Aaron: Joanna, being a senior captain this year, what was your reaction when you found out you were gonna be one of the captains, and what are some of your responsibilities there as one of the leaders?

Joanna: Honestly, I'm really lucky. It's just a pretty easy team to lead. Everyone has really good energy and really good positive vibes.

Joanna: And, Eliza and I have talked about a lot how we sort of got thrown into this great group of girls. So, pretty much our job is to make sure people stay focused and stay positive through May. But, we're really lucky that we have this group of people to be working with.

Aaron: Great, and Eliza kind of the same question for you. What's it like being one of the captains this season?

Eliza: I mean, it's a huge honor. We really ... As Jo said, got dropped into a great position and the team kind of believes in itself. Now, it's about facilitating the mentality as we go into the season. We prepared all fall and winter, and now it's time to show people what we have, and it was nice to come out against and scrimmage a team that we don't usually see. So we could focus on ourselves three days in and see what we can do and perform and put everything we practice into play.

Aaron: Great. And then Brett, tell us about some of your key returners, maybe starting with the attack. I know obviously you've got Katie Allard back, who else do you expect to see score some goals this year?

Brett: Well, I think it's hard to say because we've played in so many different combinations with our scrimmage, and we've got probably about 10 to 12 kids that we're trying to evaluate right now, and figure out who's going to be really productive for us on offense.

Brett: Certainly, we have some returners that scored some goals last year, and I would expect that they'll be scoring some goals for us this year. But, honestly it's still so early in the season. Like, the next couple of days as we get ready for Cabrini, they're gonna help us sort of sort that out.

Brett: So, hard to say right now.

Aaron: And Joanna, I'm curious on defense, what are you looking for from that unit when you have the opener here coming up in just couple days there on Thursday?

Joanna: Yeah, so we're working a new system this year on defense, and I think everyone has really bought in and ready to contribute whatever their role may be in that sense. And that's sort of the mentality that we're thinking about, is just that like everyone has to trust the process and not going through the motions. We're really working hard to make that process be as good as it can come Thursday and throughout the rest of the season. We just have a great group of defenders who are ready to do what it takes and sort of compete really hard. So that's super exciting.

Aaron: Eliza, how do you work with the defense like Joanna the other defenders to help you make your job easier?

Eliza: I think the great thing now is that I've worked with them for quite a few years. We have a couple first-year defenders that are coming in and stepping in. We have a transfer, who stepped in and has done an excellent job playing on the crease and playing low. They communicate really well. It's nice, I get to see both sides of the field. So I feel really fortunate for that, and get to communicate with a lot of different players. But, it's made it really easy having Jojo with me on the field, and we get to communicate after a goal is scored or after a great play is made. So, I'm very lucky in that sense, and can just focus and do my job.

Aaron: And Brett, I know you have a new assistant coach this year, Lauren Kane out of UMass tell us about her.

Brett: She's new this year to this group of girls, but she was an assistant for us a couple of years back in 2015-2016, and I've known her for probably 10 years, because she used to be the head coach down at USM.

Brett: Actually, the seniors know her as well.

Brett: It's just great to have her back. She was an offensive player in college. Actually, went to Maryland and transferred and finished up and graduated at UMass. She brings a great perspective, she obviously has a lot of lacrosse knowledge that she's able to share and contribute to the program.

Brett: So, it's really nice to have somebody that I know really well, but also good that the girls are familiar with that has a ton of lacrosse information that she can bring to the team.

Aaron: Awesome. Then Joanna, I'm curious from your perspective of one of the captains, who are some of the players you're most excited about seeing this year in terms of maybe having breakthrough years for Bates?

Joanna: Honestly, like sort of aligning with what Brett said, it's hard to say who's really gonna come out of their shell and perform well under the pressure of NESCAC games. But, we definitely have a small group of freshmen, so that's really great because they've really been able to take on a lot of the values that we hold, and a lot of the things that we do.

Joanna: Then, we have two transfers. One is an attacking player, and one is a defensive player, and it's just been really a privilege to see, they went D1 first, so they have a lot of different perspective, and they have a sort of more big picture side of the game. That's pretty unique, so we're really lucky that we have them coming in and bring up the play a lot.

Aaron: Yeah, Eliza, with the D1 transfers coming in, you gotta make sure they know how tough the NESCAC is right? I mean, what have you learned about NESCAC play over the years?

Eliza: Yes, definitely, I think NESCAC is really competitive, you never know what you're getting into, and it can be any given day, and it could be a one goal game. They've done an excellent job kind of transitioning into NESCAC play and really stepped up as leaders. Kathryn Grennon is one of our attackers, and she's done an excellent job making the people around her look good. She's a really good feeder and attacker, and we're really excited for her.

Eliza: And then, Caitie Clark is one of our defenders, has stepped up. She has a really big presence, really loud, and she's brought a lot of energy to the team. So we're really excited for that.

Eliza: But of course, until you step on and play a NESCAC game. You feel that vibe, and you travel to Mid, and you're there, and you're playing full speed, you never understand what it really is to play NESCAC.

Aaron: For sure. Well, Brett, any other thoughts on the season opener coming up here?

Brett: No, I think we're just excited to get started. I think as coaches, because it's so early there's obviously a lot of enthusiasm and optimism and certainly, we share that as a coaching staff with the players.

Brett: Every time you get a chance to play early, you don't really have high expectations because you just don't know what you're gonna get yet.

Brett: So, we're just looking forward to that chance on Thursday. Cabrini is a really solid team, they won their conference, it seems like every year for the last five or six. So, it'll be a good test for us at this point in the season for sure.

Aaron: The men’s lacrosse team takes on No. 3 nationally ranked RIT this Saturday on the campus of UMass-Amherst, with the game getting underway at 1pm. With Bates head coach Peter Lasagna still finalizing the roster, senior captain Stephen Bull joined the Bobcast to give his perspective on this year’s squad.

Aaron: Being one of the captains this year, tell us about your leadership role, and tell us about your co-captains as well.

Stephen: Thanks for having me. Happy February 15th, favorite holiday, but it's good to have the coaches back obviously the captains still play a big role in leading the team throughout every day and in practice keeping an intensity. Our coaches do a great job of making practice plans very competitive. So, we don't really have to worry about guys getting complacent, it's all about the competition and just pushing each other to be better. So, that's how we keep it competitive.

Aaron: And your fellow captains, Rocco, Matt and Curtis. Tell us about what leadership qualities they bring.

Stephen: Yeah, so Rocco just leaves it all on the field with his play. And, Curtis is the vocal leader of the midfield, and Matt is obviously just running around with the attack. So, all three of them lead by example, and that's what I really love about them.

Aaron: Yeah, so you and Rocco Fantoni, who was an All-American last year, you two kind of anchor that defense. What's that chemistry like?

Stephen: He definitely makes my job a lot easier than when he's not on the field, just because he makes plays that nobody really expects him to make, and he is predictable in that way, and I will know when he's gonna make those plays.

Stephen: So, we work really well together, and the third person, whether it's Frankie Spitz, or Will Haskell, or even Will Holland, wherever those pieces are, we are just gonna play as a unit. And that's how we're gonna stick together.

Aaron: You open the season with the number three team in the country RIT, they've already played one game. I know you got a chance to watch it. I know you played them last year, it was a close game, it was a low scoring game. What are some takeaways from last season's game versus what you've seen on tape this year?

Stephen: Yeah, so, my first takeaway was how fast they move the ball and skip lanes were wide open. So, we definitely have to close those just because that gets the defense rotating way too fast.

Stephen: On their defensive end, they were pressed out at every sideline, every sideline, every pass was contested. And then, this is an interesting year, because it's a rule change here. So, this will be our first time playing live with referees, with these new rules and obviously they've probably had one or two practice games. But, we think we could put it all together and pull up a W.

Aaron: For those who don't know, what are the rule changes?

Stephen: So, the rule changes are there's a straight up shot clock this year, whereas last year it would be on the refs to throw the shot clock on when they thought you were moving too slow. This year, 80 seconds, when the possession changes to get a shot. So, it should speed the game up and no offense can move around the ball too much. We have to go right to the goal.

Aaron: So, that changes things on offense a little bit, how does that change things on defense perhaps?

Stephen: So, one of the ways it changes on defense is we know we only have to play for 80 seconds at a time. Unless there's an offensive rebound.

Stephen: But, we also know when the shot clock is coming down, they can't too many more passes in, somebody's gonna have to go to the goal. That gives us an advantage on knowing where we need to slide, or who we need to slide to. And the time becomes another defender, just like they say the sideline is a defender.

Stephen; Time becomes a defender as well.

Aaron: Two years ago, your sophomore year, one of the best seasons in Bates men's lacrosse history, last year kind of a rebuilding year. What did you guys learn from last year's experience, that you're gonna take to this season?

Stephen: We put young guys in a lot of important positions last year. And now, those young guys has experience and are ready to take on the NESCAC.

Aaron: Matt Chlastawa obviously had a monster season last year on attack, you get to watch him from your perspective. What's that like?

Stephen: I get to watch him, I get to chase him around every day, and I'm glad I don't have to do it when it counts on game days. Because that's a true terror to defenses.

Stephen: He's just so smart with the ball, and so shifty that he can get around you with his quickness.

Aaron: Who are some other guys you're looking to see score some goals this year for Bates?

Stephen: Andrew Small, obviously on the midfield and then I would like to see Otis Klingbeil coming back from the ACL injury that he had. We're really excited to have Otis on the field with us.

Aaron: I know Curtis, he's one of the captains as well, he's got a shot that reminds me a little bit of Kyle Weber a few years ago, right?

Stephen: Definitely, they worked together when Curtis was a freshman, and Kyle was a senior, they were always shooting together and it is pretty much a mirror image, which is cool to see.

Stephen: And you know, he's not looking for the glamour of the top corner, he is putting it right, low, and away, where the goalie can't get it. Nobody "Oo's" and "ahh's" at that, but it goes up on the scoreboard.

Aaron: For sure. I mean looking at the NESCAC, obviously it's as loaded as ever. What's that like, day in and day out, in men's lacrosse playing these teams?

Stephen: I think last year we realized how hard it is to win a NESCAC game. It's every time you step out on the field to battle. Whereas sophomore year maybe, we took for granted our talent coming into the next year, but last year we realized it's tough. Everyone is a battle and if you don't bring your ball, you're gonna get upset, or you're just gonna get blown by.

Aaron: For instance, you guys were really close to Wesleyan last year during the regular season. Previous year, during the tournament, and then they end up winning it all last year. I mean, that just shows how close things are, aren't they?

Stephen: Right. So, the day that happened, we were already motivated to come back this year, but to see Wesleyan in Gillette Stadium and hold the trophy up last year is an added motivational factor that we were sitting with the best of the best in the top class.

Aaron: Tell us a little bit about the team dynamic this season, maybe what kind of team it is. I mean obviously you've only had a few official practices, but I'm sure there were captains practices and whatnot. What's the dynamic like so far?

Stephen: So, one part that people might not all know, is that we have a new defensive assistant coach. And, the intensity that he brings to practice, you should see his face when there's a good check, or a turnover. He's getting rowdier than the guys that are on the benches.

Stephen: So, he brings an added intensity, everybody is following him in that. A second new offensive assistant, would be IV Stucker, and he is one year out of college, played at Roanoke. So, he adds kind of a new flair to the offense, because he's a Mainer himself and he played a lot of box lacrosse, all these elements that come into play in small tight areas, he can help with.

Aaron: Who are the first years we should be excited to see play this year?

Stephen: You should be excited to see Dylan Williams on long pole middie. Who has not only defended well, but put balls in the back of the net, in our fall ball, and our captains practices.

Stephen: And then, also probably Jack Golden playing D-Middie.

Aaron: So, a lot of experience this year on the team it seems like?

Stephen: Yeah, definitely. We're definitely deep in areas that we need to be and in areas that we haven't been before.

Aaron: Excellent. Any other thoughts on the season upcoming and some keys you have in your mind to have a successful year?

Stephen: I'm super excited. We're looking forward to a great year, and just defending our turf, and going to other people's and spoiling their party.

Aaron: There you have it, Stephen Bull, thanks so much.

Stephen: Thank you.

Aaron: This is a big week for Bates in a number of sports. The women’s squash team competes in Team Nationals  at Trinity, the track and field teams compete in the New England Division III Indoor Championships, , with the men heading to MIT and the women heading to Bowdoin, the skiing teams host the Bates Carnival, which doubles as the NCAA East Regional Championship, the men’s swimming and diving teams head to Middlebury for the NESCAC Championships, and the baseball, tennis and lacrosse teams begin their seasons.

Aaron: We’ll recap it all, next time, on the Bates Bobcast!